Introducing the newest member of the Phoo-d family: Sarah Jane! She was born on Feburary 25th, weighing a staunch 8lbs 2 oz. (Proof that a vegan diet does not necessarily equal a small baby!)

This darling little red head is the reason for my long absence from this space. The pregnancy was slow and filled with many challenges.



Hello dear readers and a happy 2012! While I am always happy to see the beginning of a new year, this one was welcomed with particular exuberance at our house. 2011 will always remain special thanks to the birth of our Anna- however there were also many months of flood fighting, living without furniture, and unpacking random boxes that I am eager to forget. The holidays crept up on me, whacked me over the head, and dragged me away from the computer for a while. Now with the dust settling I’m back and ready to dive in and share the healthy and fun new dishes we have been enjoying. Here is to a happy, healthy, and dry new year!



After 100 days of living without furniture, television, and extra socks we are finally moving back into our house. I am up to my elbows in boxes, unpacking around nap times and trying to get everything back in order after a long absence.

I could write a post mortem, about how this was one of the longest durations for a flood in US history creating over $2 billion in damages to levees in multiple states. Or how the flooding was largely caused by screwed up policy guidelines and poor choices on the part of the Army Corps of Engineers. Emails show they knew months in advance that there would be a problem but choose to give the affected public only one week notice with a press release right before a holiday weekend.



First off, a big thank you to everyone who left comments and words of encouragement. It meant a lot to know that you were sending positive thoughts our direction during the past two weeks.

Where to start? We are all safe and our belongings are stowed in 4 different locations out of the flood zone. I packed and moved our entire house in less than 6 hours while Mr. B was outside building a 6′ high x 130′ long sand bag wall. It was in a word- insane.



We are in the middle of building a sandbag levee, evacuating our house, and trying to move out everything in 24 hours. The Missouri river is flooding our house and they expect the water to remain high all summer. We live far outside of the 100 year flood plain and never thought this could happen to us. My parents who live nearby are in the same situation. It is too horrible for words. I will post an update once we get through this craziness and come out the other side. Please keep everyone along the Missouri in your thoughts and prayers.



If you have been hanging out here for some time you may be familiar with our obsession fascination with a certain triple ginger cookie from Trader Joe’s. Mixed into peachy kefir ice cream, crushed beneath a bright key lime pie, or supporting an oozing toasted marshmallow and dark chocolate- we can’t live without a stash of ginger cookies! You can imagine my dismay when I realized that once my parents moved nearby, our regular care packages from Trader Joe’s would disappear along with the steady supply of ginger cookies.

This desperate situation called for action and I immediately began trying different recipes in an attempt to recreate our favorite cookie. Too soft, too hard, not enough ginger; I felt a bit like Goldilocks as I searched for the perfect recipe. Nothing turned out like I wanted and I began to think we may have to adjust to a life without ginger cookies.



Hello! Welcome to the new and improved It has been a very long time since the site went through a redesign. Raise your hand if you remember the original fridge? Since my first post about sweet nutty love nearly two years ago the site has grown and taken on a life of its own. After pushing the bounds of my Blogger template to the limits I realized it was time to jump ship and switch to a full blown website. The change has been in the works for over a year now and I am thrilled to say that it led to a new look and level of functionality that far surpassed my original dreams.



Apple Bourbon Smoked Pork Chops

Whenever I think about bourbon I remember a story my grandmother used to tell me when I lived with them during my time in graduate school. It was the early 1950′s, and my grandmother lived in the Delta Gamma sorority house on the campus of the University of Colorado in Boulder. The house was run with precision by an eagle-eyed house mother who allowed no boys, no drinking, and no shenanigans on the premises. Girls who wanted to “live a little” had to either do it before 9 pm and feign innocence when walking past her desk or try (often unsuccessfully) to sneak out after hours. There was, however, one exception. A girl in the house had a doctor’s note prescribing a shot of bourbon for her monthly “female troubles”. She would lie in bed sipping a glass of bourbon while the other girls looked on with envy. This story always makes me laugh, because while bourbon can definitely cure what ails you, what doctor would prescribe it for a 1950′s sorority sister, and why didn’t everyone in the house track him down?
In the summertime my bourbon bottle often migrates to the back of the cabinet. Warm weather calls for gin, vodka, tequila, and other “cooling” spirits. However when added to a slow cooked barbecue sauce, bourbon sheds its warm winter coat and can party hard with pork and pineapple. This recipe for apple bourbon smoked pork chops comes from the incredible cookbook Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book. Written by legendary pitmaster Chris Lilly, it is a masterpiece of incredible BBQ recipes which came to my attention when Todd & Diane, Jen, and other bloggers attended a weekend “grilling university” featuring his instruction and recipes.

Apple Bourbon Smoked Pork Chops-4

Making Apple Bourbon Smoked Pork Chops

The dish begins with quality pork chops, cut in the thick Iowa Chop style, with a moisture locking ring of fat and big meaty bone. The meat is rubbed with mix of classic BBQ spices including brown sugar, paprika, cumin, and ginger. A base sauce recipe is sweetened by sautéed apples and kissed with caramel notes of bourbon. When slowly cooked over coals spiked by smoking pieces of apple wood the pork chops turn into succulent slabs of porcine perfection. Moist, tender, and running with sweetly flavored juices no one will dispute that these are award winning pork chops.

Apple Bourbon Smoked Pork Chops

Apple Bourbon Smoked Pork Chops (Printable Recipe)
Serves 8
Dry Rub:
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
6 1/2 teaspoons Salt
2 Tablespoons Paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground Cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground Ginger
8 Thick-cut Pork Chops, about 5 1/2 lbs
1/2 cup apple wood chips
Apple Bourbon Barbecue Sauce (Recipe Below)
Combine all of the dry rub ingredients together in a small bowl until well mixed. Rinse pork chops, pat them dry with paper towels and set them on a large plate. Generously sprinkle the dry rub on top of the pork chops. Pat the rub gently into the meat. Flip the pork chops over and repeat to add rub on the other side. Cover the pork chops with plastic wrap and place them in the fridge until ready to use (up to 1 day ahead).
Soak the apple wood chips in water for at least 1 hour before using.
When ready to cook the chops, prepare a charcoal or wood fired grill for indirect cooking. This means that the coals will be on one side of the grill and you will put the food on the other side, not directly above the coals. Pre-heat the grill until it maintains 250 degrees. Use a grill tool to lift up one of the racks and add the soaked apple wood chips. Replace the rack and set the pork chops on the grill, leaving a little space between the chops for air circulation. Close the lid and cook the chops for 2-3 hours, until they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
le='font-family: "Trebuchet MS",sans-serif; text-align: left;'>Once the chops reach 145 degrees, paint both sides generously with the apple bourbon barbecue sauce. Continue to cook the chops over indirect heat until they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Remove the chops from heat, and serve immediately with any extra sauce on the side.
Apple Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
Makes 3 cups
(Don’t be afraid of the long list of ingredients, this sauce comes together in 15 minutes.)
2 Tablespoons Butter
1/4 cup diced Sweet Onion
1 firm apple, peeled and coarsely grated (about 3/4 cup)
3 Tablespoons Bourbon
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 Cayenne Pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground Cumin
2 cups Ketchup
1/2 cup Distilled White Vinegar
1/2 cup Cola
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
6 Tablespoons pure Maple Syrup
1 Tablespoon Molasses
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 1/2 teaspoons Liquid Smoke
Place a small skillet over medium heat and add the butter. When the butter is melted, add the onion and saute for 4 minutes, until the onion is soft. Next add the grated apple, bourbon, salt, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and cumin, and saute for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and set it aside.
Place a large non-reactive saucepan over medium-low heat. Add all of the remaining ingredients, stirring until they are well combined. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the apple onion mixture to the sauce and continue to simmer for another 2 minutes. The sauce should be thick and fragrant. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool. Once the sauce is cool transfer it to a sealed container and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.



Tri-Color Vegetable Pate

It’s time for another Daring Kitchen challenge!
The official line: Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge!
When faced with the June Daring Kitchen challenge, I decided to opt for the veggie version of pate. I consider myself an adventurous eater but liver often gives me pause. Considering the function of a liver, I want to make sure that the animal it comes from was raised in decent way without any chemical or pharmaceutical additives. Because life is moving at warp speed this month it was much easier to reach for a bunch of basil than to source chicken livers.

Making the Tri-Color Vegetable Pate

The pate came together quickly, with a base layer of pureed white beans, a second layer of roasted red bell peppers and ricotta, and a third layer of pesto. Once assembled the pate went into the fridge to chill overnight.

Tri-Color Vegetable Pate-7

The French baguettes also cooperated, rising into big beautiful puffy loaves. A year ago I never would have thought that I would be able to bake bread without breaking a sweat. I still consider it a minor miracle when a new recipe actually rises and browns! I guess what they say about practice paying of in the long run actually has some merit.

Tri-Color Vegetable Pate

But it wouldn’t be a Daring Kitchen challenge without something going awry. As I went to unmold the pate, things began to fall apart. Quite literally. No matter how hard I inverted the pate onto a plate, or tapped on the bottom of the pan, it wouldn’t budge. I tried running warm water around the bottom of the pan to loosen it a touch. I tried using a thin knife to separate the sides. No luck. Finally I left the pan upside down on top of the plate and walked away exasperated. A few minutes later I heard a thump. Gingerly picking up the pan I hoped to find a beautiful cube of pate. Instead I saw a pile of pate that looked anything but appetizing. Drat. Mr. B and I dug in anyways, enjoying the vibrant pesto flavor and soft warm bread. It is a good thing that food doesn’t have to be beautiful to also be tasty. This recipe and others for traditional pate can be found at The Daring Kitchen
I am going to be MIA a bit this week, as my parents are hours away from completing a 1,500+ mile drive and arriving in town with all their belongings. We will be moving boxes, scrubbing floors, and putting away dishes as they move into their new home this week. I’m so excited I can hardly contain myself!



Uchi Restaurant in Austin, TX

Uchi Restaurant
Last month Mr. B and I had the opportunity to spend a weekend exploring and eating our way through Austin, Texas. The defiant phrase “Keep Austin Weird” is the city’s unofficial motto, telling you up front that Austin is not your ordinary Texas town. A population made up of college students, high tech workers, organic food proponents, and live music aficionados gives the city a colorful and happening vibe, infecting even weekend visitors with a sense of energy and excitement.
Once we landed in Texas, we made a beeline for an early dinner reservation at Uchi. This nationally acclaimed sushi restaurant is tucked off the street in a cozy red bungalow. Inside vintage Japanese patterns meet modern textures providing a vibrant backdrop for some seriously beautiful fish. Maguro sashimi with goat cheese, fuji apple, and pumpkin seed oil combines familiar and unusual textures with fantastic results. Sake is served in tiny wooden boxes instead of glasses lending a woodsy note to the clean crisp finish. Velvety fresh slices of hamachi slip across your tongue leaving a lingering sweetness representative of carefully prepared sashimi. Our favorite dish was Walu Walu- oak grilled escolar with candied citrus, yuzupon, and myoga. Mr. B and I ate with gusto, savoring the experience and celebrating the bounty of fresh fish found at Uchi.
Continued after the jump »




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