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Moonlighting as a fashion reporter

27 Feb

Last night, I live tweeted the Oscar red carpet with my sister and it was so much fun.

I love writing about food. But Omavore readers probably know by now that I also love fashion. So when my editor started to talk about Oscar coverage, I invited myself to the meeting and exposed my love for fashion. I wrote a story in Saturday’s Omaha World-Herald previewing the red carpet looks and was lucky enough to interview two of my favorite local gals: Sarah Lorsung Tvrdik and Cora Rasp.

They sent me their thoughts on the red carpet last night, and their best and worst dressed picks ran as part of two stories I wrote for a huge spread in today’s Omaha World-Herald.

This early afternoon, Sarah and Cora came down to the World-Herald and we talked on video about our best and worst-dressed picks. They both looked adorable (naturally.)

Click here for the video.

I pulled out a few stops, too: my one and only red lip gloss and my fiercest Burberry shoes.


World-Herald Pie Day

31 Jan

Today is “World-Herald Pie Day.”

No it’s not related to 3.14. No, it’s not related to any national holiday.

It’s pretty simple: the newsroom likes pies. So we eat them.

See my co-workers down at the end there? That’s the end of the nearly never-ending row of pies. (That’s 33 pies, in case anyone’s counting.)

Pie is one of those things that really scares me. I’ve never made one. But what better occasion to give it a go than W-HPD? So I searched out a recipe via Mark Bittman, because I figured he’d never do me wrong, even on something as tricky-seeming as a pie. I went with his recipe for Coconut Sweet Potato pie, which had a yummy sounding spiced filling and a coconut graham cracker crust.

My pie in its natural office habitat.

Here’s how I made it. I fired up my trusty food processor to whiz together the crust.

My never-used red Fiestaware pie plate.

The crust after seven minutes of baking.

Sweet potatoes for filling.

I forgot to take a picture of the pie before I put it (and two small ramekins of extra filling for sampling) in the oven and my sister, who came over to give me moral support during baking, forbade me to open the oven before the timer went off. So here’s an in-the-oven shot.

And the final pie. We sampled the filling last night, and it was great: light, eggy and sweet. Sort of like a spiced flan. It was a hit at Pie Day 2012.

Search hash tag #pieday and #pieday2012 on Twitter to see the newsroom’s anticipatory and excited tweets from the day.

My Seven Day Detox Diet

18 Jan

As promised, here’s my story about my seven-day detox.

It was hard.

I lost some weight on the detox, but I haven’t weighed myself since I ended it. I think I’ve gained some of that weight back. My favorite jeans don’t feel as tight as they did after the holidays, but they are tighter than they were the day after the detox ended. I’m fine with ending up somewhere between where I was before the cleanse and right after it ended.

A lot of people asked me: would I do it again? I would. But I would try to get my husband to do it with me. And I would probably research better tasting recipes before going in because a lot of the recipes in this detox were absolute flops: a marinade didn’t work out, and turned into a rock as it cooled. I don’t care for avocado, and it was in many of the recipes. And one can only drink so many blueberry smoothies.

In the days after the diet, I continued a few of the habits. I am still starting every day with a big glass of water. I’ve stayed off Diet Coke, save for one or two slips. And I downloaded the Whole Living Smoothie iPad app, which gives me lots of options aside from blueberry. My blender is still on my counter instead of hidden away collecting dust.

I feel like the positive changes that came from the cleanse were (almost) worth the pain.

Detox Diet

9 Jan

So for the past five days, I’ve been on a detox diet.

I’m on the diet for a story that I’m working on about the fad of detox and cleanse diets, and the story will be partly about my personal experience. Let me just say that Wednesday (a.k.a. “day seven,” the final day!) can’t get here soon enough.

Though I also know it could be worse: my friend Quentin sent me a clip from “This American Life” where a reporter went on a three-week fast without any solid food.

So yesterday, after a trip to the Asian market, which is always a fun adventure, I made miso soup. A lot of the recipes on the diet I’m following fall firmly into the “bland” category, and I’ve been having poor results with a lot of them — they just haven’t been turning out right, which is pretty frustrating.

This soup was an exception. It was really tasty, and actually pretty closely resembled the miso soup I’ve had at Japanese restaurants, though because my diet doesn’t include soy, mine didn’t have tofu.

Miso Soup (adapted from a cleanse designed by Dr. Alejandro Junger.)

6 cups water
a bit less than a half cup of dried bonito flakes (find them at the Asian Market, 321 N 76th St.)
3 dried Shitake mushrooms, plus a handful more that you reconstitute separately (find them at the Asian Market.)
1/2 cup (or to taste) dried wakame (it’s the green stuff you see floating in the bowl above. Also from the Asian Market.)
6 tbsp miso paste (I used light miso, but use what you like best. It’s in the refrigerated section of the Asian Market by the produce.)
matchstick sliced carrots and zucchini and sliced white mushrooms (you can add whatever type of vegetables you like.)

I suggest adding Tofu if you are not on a soy-free diet.

Heat the water in a medium pot and when bubbles begin to form around the edge, add the bonito flakes. Turn the heat down and simmer for two minutes, then turn off the heat and let the broth sit for five minutes. Strain the broth and discard the bonito flakes.

Return the broth to a clean pot and add the three dried shitakes and the wakame to the broth and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Pull out the mushrooms, discard the stems and slice the tops. Add the vegetables of your choice and raise the heat a bit, but be careful not to boil the soup.

In a small bowl, blend the miso paste with a bit of the broth and whisk together. Pour the miso mixture into the pot and stir, then let the soup simmer for about ten minutes.

Chefs for Christmas, part two

23 Dec

A handful of Omaha chefs were kind enough to answer a question or two about their holiday traditions for the paper earlier this week. I asked them all one more question to feature on the blog: “What is your favorite holiday dish?” See the first two here. Enjoy!

Chef Clayton Chapman, The Grey Plume: Cheesy potatoes!  The traditional casserole with loads of cheese and sour cream.

Chef Jessica Joyce, New York Chicken and Gyros: Although I am honestly crazy about pasta and always ate more than my fair share I can’t help but mention turkey skin with mashed potatoes and gravy.  I loved peeling the crisp, golden brown, greasy skin from the turkey and making little skin cups that I would then fill with mashed potatoes and gravy.  As an adult I now gravitate towards more sophisticated things, especially tourtieres, except when nobody’s looking!

Chef Jesus Rivera, Rivera’s Mexican restaurant: Pecan Pie, and my wife’s pasta salad is to die for.

Chef Jon Seymour, V. Mertz: My family always had a bowl of mashed potatoes topped by the homemade chicken and noodles.  It’s reminiscent of high school cafeteria turkey gravy over mashed potatoes, but exceedingly better.

Chef Gina Sterns, Dolce Cafe: Paraguayan corn bread, called Chipa Guazu. This is from a period of my life I spent in Paraguay South America.

Some of the chefs also shared recipes; find them here.

Happy Holidays!

Chefs for Christmas

21 Dec

Today in the World-Herald I have a few Q&As with local chefs from Lincoln and Omaha about their holiday traditions. I also asked each of them one additional question and saved the answers to be featured on Omavore: “What is your favorite holiday dish?” I’ll share a few of their answers today and for the rest of the week. We’ll begin with two chefs from Lincoln.

Happy Holidays!

Chef Kevin Shinn, Bread and Cup, Lincoln: It probably sounds odd, but I like the soup I make from the turkey after the main meal.  I take the carcass, and make a stock, add the leftover meat, vegetables and seasonings and let it simmer away.  I eat it daily until its gone.  It makes the holiday meal seem like it lasts longer. (Kevin’s recipe for leftover turkey soup ran today in the paper.)

Chef Erik Hustad, GUP Kitchen, Lincoln: I almost hate to admit this, but my favorite holiday dish is actually green bean casserole.  Now, sometimes just for fun, I like to make this dish with fresh green beans, homemade bechamel sauce, and fresh mushrooms.  But, there is something about the version made from canned beans, canned mushroom soup, and canned fried onions that just takes me back to my childhood, and that’s really what’s so wonderful about food.

My crazy week, in review.

1 Dec

So Chick-Fil-A and it’s soft opening and opening took over my life earlier this week. I can’t say I’ve ever seen so much frenzy over a fried chicken sandwich (or so much controversy over the politics of restaurant owners, for that matter.) I also had to finish writing my story that ran Wednesday about creative hostess gifts (seriously, check out the cheese board that’s featured with the story — it’s amazing) and write my review for tomorrow’s paper and of course compile dining notes. Tomorrow’s review is a good one. I can’t wait to share it here.

Oh yeah, and I have a little column called art notes that always seems to get lost in the fray.

On Monday, I escaped my desk for a photo shoot for the gift story. Yes, that’s my back at left (and my own hand wrapped gift and front door, I’ll add.)

So those are all the reasons that Omavore has been quiet this week. But I’ll be back on track next week, beginning with a recap of this weekend, which I’m spending in Kansas City with my husband. His favorite band is playing a show Saturday night — can’t wait. Next week I’ll tell you about all the good food we eat and the good things we drink over the weekend.

Until then.