Monday, September 17, 2018

Grandma Pizza

I am, admittedly, a little old lady.

Yeah, yeah, I'm 33. But think about it. I like fall and cozy stuff (someone once told me I dressed like a human tea cozy and I took it as a compliment) and jigsaw puzzles and tea and British tv and knitting and baking and going to bed at 8pm and corgis.

So I'm a British little old lady it seems.

But I also really like pizza, the ultimate kid and lazy college student food. In fact, we LOVE pizza in our house. Pizza is a problem though.

1. You get a frozen pizza and it's fine, but it never gets crispy and what do they even do to that sauce?

2. You get pizza delivered but they always forget something and also you have to...talk...to people. Hard no on that one.

3. You make pizza, but it takes forever and sorry, home ovens are not brick ovens and never will be.

Luckily, we have a solution.


Grandma Pizza.

I first read about Grandma Pizza in this Bon Appetit article a few weeks ago. The basic idea is that little old Italian grandmas (hey girl hey!) have never had time to do all the weird stuff we do to pizza dough, including long, strict rising times. Like Sicilian pizza, Grandma Pizza is stretched in a pan in a pool of delicious olive oil, but the rise time is much shorter. It's a New York thing, apparently (I rode the train under NYC once so no, I have not eaten this before) but I knew I had to make it.


Using this article as a guide*, I decided to just do it. And we're so happy we did.

Grandma Pizza
easily serves 4 with some leftovers, but it's just as good the next day!

4 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 envelope Active Dry Yeast
1 3/4 cups warm water
2 Tablespoons plus 1/2 cup olive oil (if there was a ever a time to spring for the good stuff, this is it)
3 teaspoons kosher salt

1. Pour water into the bowl of a stand mixer and add yeast. The water should be warm, not hot.

2. Let the yeast bloom for 10-15 minutes - it will kind of start to foam.

3. Add salt and oil to the yeast and stir, then add 2 cups of flour.

4. Stir flour until the mixture is relatively well incorporated.

5. Place bowl on mixer and attach a dough hook, then add the remaining flour.

6. Knead mixture for 10-11 minutes on the lowest setting. You may need to add more flour if your mixture is too sticky - do this 1 teaspoon at a time.

7. When dough is fully incorporated and bounces back slightly when poked, remove dough and add to a smooth bowl coated with olive oil (I use another mixing bowl).

8. Don't freak out! This is a dough that rises slowly but then does it ALL AT ONCE. Let rise for 2-3 hours if you have it, or chill the dough up to 24 hours and then let rise and come to room temperature for about an hour.**

9. Preheat oven to 500F, pour about 1/2 cup of olive oil in a sheet pan (it's going to look like a lot, it's okay, I promise).

10. Plop the dough out and kind of smush it into a rectangle with your fingers. You don't have to get it all the way to the corners, just close.

11. Top with whatever makes you happy and then bake for 20-25 minutes! Take it out and let sit for 5-10 minutes so all the toppings set, the oil gets soaked in, and to get your beer/mimosa/camera to take pictures of your creation.

12. Slice and eat!




We made a classic Margherita pizza the first time and a breakfast pizza (sauce, homemade breakfast sausage crumbles, cooked and chopped bacon, spinach, mozzarella, then topped with eggs at about the 12 minute mark, with more cheese and spinach and Everything but the Bagel seasoning on top!) that was eaten so quickly I can't believe we actually got pictures! No matter what you put on Grandma Pizza, it's going to be good!

Thanks, Grandma, from a fellow little old lady.


*I used the Bon Appetit recipe but, most likely because of the humidity here, realized that I had to add way more flour and a little more water and salt. I also used my KitchenAid because I literally refuse to knead anything by hand. No thank you.
**For reference, I made the dough, went to a 2 hour yoga class, came home, took a shower, got a beer, and then started the oven. The dough was huge, but it was fine. 


Exciting announcement! Truly Madly Deliciously is starting a podcast! We're just getting started, but we'd love to have YOU as a guest - come talk about food with us! Email us at trulymadlydeliciously@gmail.com for more info!



Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Bite Into Maine

On our honeymoon, we tried really hard not to make concrete plans. Like, "we want to do x, y, and z" was fine, but we didn't schedule our days other than vague suggestions, and tried not to be on too much of a time schedule. But one of the things we had to do was eat all the lobster.

Like. All of it.

We basically crushed that goal by eating lobster everywhere. From the amazing brown butter mini-rolls at Eventide Oyster Co. (post coming soon - their chowder changed our lives) to the oceanside picnic tables at The Lobster Shack at Two Lights (can we just live there?) and everywhere in between, we ran the gamut of lobster deliciousness.

But for a classic, amazing, "this is the single best bite of food I've ever had" experience, we were pretty sure we knew where to go.

Bite Into Maine.

With a permanent location (and now even more places!) and food truck, we had a couple of options. Luckily for us, they happened to be at Portland Head Light/Fort Williams Park the day we were there sightseeing.

Let me set the scene for you.

It's 65 degrees, sunny with a nice breeze. The park is bustling but not crowded, and the waves are crashing on the beach in the background. We're one day into our trip and in love with each other and Maine and life.


And then this happens:



So basically, the best thing ever. 

Bite Into Maine is a celebrated food truck (and now restaurant!) and it's easy to see why. First, they're local and use amazing local ingredients. 


Second, they have an adorable truck with a small but amazing selection. You can get different kinds of lobster rolls, a couple of different kinds of sandwiches, and clam chowder! We opted for the Maine style (with chives and mayo) and the Connecticut style (with warm butter). 


Why is my finger in this photo? Why is it so beautiful outside? Why did we not get 5 rolls each? Who knows the answer to life's greatest mysteries.
Third, they even have local drinks (from Maine Root), which coincidentally go perfectly with lobster rolls!


Finally, their lobster rolls are just...amazing.


The Maine style one (that Sloan got) was so good. Mayo is actually the worst, but with lobster and chives on that warm, super butter bread? We might be mayo converts. The Connecticut style - with warm butter on that same buttery bread - was my favorite, but that's mostly because butter is life. We couldn't pick a favorite even if we wanted to. We just wanted to keep eating them. 

If you're in Maine (or hell, go to Maine just for these lobster rolls), make sure to stop into Bite Into Maine. Super nice folks, amazing food, local business with great ties to the local community. Plus, if you can catch them at Portland Head Light, you'll get to see a beautiful park and historical landmark while eating the best food you've ever had. 

Monday, August 20, 2018

Maine Beer Company

We're back from Maine, we've decompressed, and now we're ready to tell you about all the amazing food and drinks we had on our honeymoon in and around Portland!

Maine Beer Company was at the top of my list for breweries to try while in this part of Maine. After seeing the quaint but bustling little city of Freeport (home of the 24-hour L.L. Bean store!),  I was not expecting this location for one of the most famous breweries in the region. As it came into view in the distance, I thought this small white building (with a larger brewing area down the hill in the back) and unassuming sign could easily be Joe’s Catfish Shack, not be the home of some of the most amazing beer I've ever had.

It was dark when we were there, but thanks to The Forecaster for this great pic!
This all beer no frills approach continued as we entered the taproom. We came in right as they were about to close, and asked if we could just buy some bottles so they could get on with their evening. This was one of the first displays of the incredible hospitality we experienced throughout the entire trip. The guy behind the bar insisted that they didn’t mind if we stayed for a flight, and then took the time to help us choose beers!

Both their taproom and their labels stand out from the pack because they are overwhelmingly simple, but the beer truly speaks for itself! What I saw in Maine was some of the finest IPAs I have ever tasted. This place was special in that regard especially.

Via Maine Beer Company.
The beer:



Lunch - Named after a whale spotted off the coast of Maine with a bite taken out of it’s fin, Lunch is a tasty morsel of hoptastic goodness. We narrowly missed the release of the sequel, Dinner, but Lunch was a winner, and famous for a reason. Lunch didn’t give me that Captain Ahab feeling as a beer hunter, but it was a really satisfying beverage after a day of airplanes and L.L. Bean.

Another One - Being inexperienced with Maine Beer company’s delicious brews, I was expecting Lunch to steal my heart, but this was the balanced little number that did me in. It has a spicy hop profile with a little herbaceous twist that you don’t see in most IPAs. I love that it gives off such an intense and unique aroma and still manages to avoid being a total palate wrecker. So crisp, So fresh, So clean!

Each beer had its own description, adding to the cozy and friendly taproom environment.
Mo - Amber’s favorite, this APA does not play. Citrus and pine leap from the itty bitty snifter. Had this beer showed up 20 years ago, it could have started it’s own craft revolution. I think Amber considered leaving me to marry this tightly wrapped little libation.

Peeper - This is not a “lawnmower beer”, but I wouldn’t kick it out of the yard on a hot summer day in Memphis. It had a hard time standing out in a flight loaded with big IPAs, but in a different context I could see it becoming a staple.

A tiny beautiful something - This one is it’s own thing in a really fun way. A single hop variety, El Dorado, flavors this tasty little pale ale. Kind of like the Peeper, I would love to have this one in a different context. I really enjoyed it, but it had a hard time standing out against more showy offerings side by side.

Woods & Waters - I love it when the name of a beer is both clever and contains something that actually comes out in the flavor and aroma of the beer. This one is a pine powerhouse. Brewed with Maine-grown grains, this one also has a unique backbone holding all those pretty piney hops together.

Zoe - It is obvious that what these guys at Maine Beer Company do is showcase hops at their finest. This Amber ale is doing something completely different though. The main descriptive words that stick out to me for this guy are malt and raisins. Light sweetness, a crisp clean palate make this a nice contrast to everything else I had. It had just enough weight to meet style guidelines, and just enough crispness to wash the hop resin off my teeth.

Mean Old Tom - This was an acceptable stout. I wasn’t wowed, but I also feel like from what I saw on the whole trip, Maine may just not be stout country. I think that’s a shame considering the weather, but maybe I missed some remarkable seasonal offerings too coming in late spring. We'll just have to go back in the fall!


Overall, Maine Beer Company exceeded my expectations. From the incredibly kind, knowledgable, and friendly staff to the excellent flights all the way to the great bottled offerings (many of which we took home with us when we returned to Memphis!), it was one of the best brewery experiences I've ever had. After a long day of flights, the excitement of being on our honeymoon, and a full day of exploring, walking in Maine Beer Company felt like coming home to a cozy fire and some amazing beer.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Sunrise Memphis

We are huge fans of breakfast at our house. Sweet, savory, doesn't matter - all breakfast foods are amazing. About a month ago, Amber was on the news talking about her work, and stopped by on the way back from downtown (and ran into one of Sloan's coworkers - hi Mike!) and gushed. Last weekend, we all finally made it to Sunrise Memphis, who we've followed on social media and drooled over for months, and it did not disappoint!

It was so good we went back this weekend too.

No shame.


We love puns, so we're already sold at this point. Plus, the sun is an egg. I'm in.

Sunrise is an order at the counter and get a number place, and there's been a line each time we've been, but it moves really fast. The menu is large but accessible, and the counter staff (and everyone else) is super nice. 

Let's start with drinks. First up, the pineapple mimosa.


We're huge fans of mimosas that aren't just orange juice, and this pineapple one was super refreshing on a super day. 

But the real star? The Bloody Mary.

This is not a Bloody Mary. This is the glass of vodka they brought. Sunrise does not play.



True story: This comes to the table. Aiya and Amber are sitting there, Sloan is getting silverware. Amber says "Oh, I already got my water but thanks." The waiter says, "No ma'am. This is vodka."

You win some, you really win some. 

Here's the end result:


Holy goodness. 

But wait. How did we get here. 

We'll tell you how. 

A. BLOODY. MARY. BAR. 


You. Guys. Huge selection of mixes and garnishes for ultimate Bloody Mary fun.  

For kids - or any monster who doesn't want booze with breakfast - there's also a cooler of drinks, water, and soda. Aiya went old school. 


So the menu is pretty outstanding, with breakfast, brunch (on the weekends), and lunch options. It's written on a huge, easy to read chalkboard right next to the line for the counter.


They also have daily specials and a kids menu and brunch.



Side note: We usually hate kids menus. Kids shouldn't get whatever they want - offering Kraft mac and cheese (which is fucking delicious, fight me) isn't a way to create adventurous kids who will try and eat things. BUT. If there are chocolate chip pancakes, we're in. Also, Aiya eats slower than any human ever, so sometimes smaller portions are good, so we like this menu for its variety and size. But really - don't pay $5 for mac and cheese. Make your kid try new things. Eat the mac and cheese in your shame closet at home, alone, as god intended. 

Anyway. 

Let's just get this out of the way. You're going to order too much food. And you're going to moan the rest of the day. Just accept it. 


Let's start with Aiya's pancakes from our first visit. They're huge, clearly. The hashbrowns were nothing special (good, but I mean...choices) but these pancakes, y'all. 


She made a valiant effort. We're happy to report that they were still good the next day, even reheated. Light, fluffy, filled with chocolate chips. 

Sloan's choice the first visit? Disaster Bowl, or the King Biscuit. 


It's hard to take a good picture of gravy, but this thing was intense. Biscuits (oh! and Sunrise makes their own biscuits and breads in an adorable open kitchen and they are the best biscuits in Memphis), country ham, gravy, fried chicken, and an egg. In a bowl. 

Remember what we said about laying around moaning?

There was also a beautiful reunion at our table. 


The Rooster, which is pickles, fried chicken thigh, tabasco honey, all on a gorgeous biscuit, can have an egg added for a mother-child reunion, which speaks to my morbid side so hard. Plus it's amazing.

Our first visit we also got a side of toast (again, on their house-made bread) and it's so good. Like, so good it was gone before I took a picture good. 

The second visit, we made even more good decisions. 

Aiya got the Death By Chocolate French Toast (not on the kids menu) and it was intense. 


Chocolate bread (made there), chocolate chips, white chocolate drizzle. 

She literally didn't speak the entire time we were eating, and took half of it home. She ate it cold for two days and apparently her life has been changed for the better now. 

Because we never learn our lesson, we decided to get a side of biscuits and gravy. Perfect sausage gravy and biscuits. 


Our only minor complaint is that this gets cold really fast. It was HOT when it came to the table but was barely warm a few minutes in. I think maybe we were under a fan, but maybe a different plate would help?

Whatever. We'd eat this out of the fridge. So good. 


We also got the special that day, the Tex-Mex Grit Bowl. Poblano grits, pork belly, radish, cilantro, and Cotija cheese. Delicious, and if you haven't had poblano grits, what are you even doing with your life?

You can eat in in the adorable restaurant, do a grab and go (with a super convenient bar), or sit on the great patio. It's too damn hot in Memphis to sit outside, but in the spring and fall? Yes please. 




We'll definitely be back at Sunrise Memphis whenever we get the chance. Friendly staff, delicious food, easy parking, cute restaurant, house-made bread, and a Bloody Mary bar? Can we just move in?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

One Pan Pork Chops with Bacon, Red Potatoes, Onion, and Apple

We love one pan meals in our house. With a tiny kitchen and busy schedules - seriously, how can two people and a kid be this busy? - sometimes dinner is the last thing we want to fuss over. Especially in the summer, we tend to save big baking projects or complicated meals for weekend.


This one pan meal is perfect when you have enough time to chop some stuff, but don't want to stand in front of the stove. Chopping to eating takes about 45 minutes, and it's easy to change up for whatever you have in your pantry.

One Pan Pork Chops
serves 4

4 bone in pork chops
6-8 small red potatoes, diced
1/2 white or yellow onion, sliced into half moons
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small apple (like a honeycrisp or gala), diced
6 slices bacon
2 handfuls of spinach
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Smoked paprika
Black pepper
Crushed red pepper
Fennel seed

Pre-heat oven to 425F with the rack in the middle position. Place potatoes, onion, garlic, apple, and bacon on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil, then season to taste. Toss everything so all ingredients are coated with olive oil - this will help keep everything from sticking. 

Make 4 spaces and place the pork chops on the pan. Season on both sides and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes, stir everything around, flip pork chops, and bake for another 15. If your pork chops are very thick or very thin, cooking time may vary. 

When done, take the pan out of the oven and turn the broiler on. In our oven, you move the rack to the top of the oven, but do whatever your oven requires. With the broiler on high, broil the entire pan for 3-5 minutes, keeping an eye on it. 

Remove from over and place spinach over the top. Rest for 2-3 minutes and then toss the spinach to wilt, then enjoy!


This is a great meal that can be modified to suit your tastes and what you have in your fridge and pantry, plus it can easily be made Whole 30 and gluten-free. We enjoyed with a glass a couple of glasses of Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc from Wine Market for a nice, light summer meal with barely any work!


Friday, December 22, 2017

The Ultimate Holiday Gift: Whiskey

As a whiskey lover, I find that the bottles I get as gifts need to be bottles I wouldn't buy for myself. That doesn't necessarily mean they need to be expensive. They just need to be interesting regardless of price. I went to Doc's Wine and Spirits, a store not too far from my house to peruse some options that are available this year and give you folks a few recommendations of things I find interesting.

Scotch Whisky



These are collaborations between Macallan distillery and various other parties such as chefs of Michelin starred restaurants and master perfumers. Unique for sure.



Exclusive Malts by Creative Whiskey co. is a cool idea. They buy single casks from various Scottish distilleries and bottle them under their own label. These are malts that really showcase unique regional character!



Kilchoman is a rarity in Scotland as they grow the barley they use themselves. It's peaty but not as much as something like Lagavulin. If you know a less adventurous Scotch drinker and want to show them the power of peat, this is the bottle for you! Not to mention the cool glasses.

Bourbon/Rye



This historic Nashville distillery has been hitting it out of the park since day 1 of their return. They are currently specializing in bourbons finished in casks that held various other things. The best part is, they have a sampler gift set to let you try out 3 of these whiskeys, XO Cognac Finish, Madeira finish, and Sherry finish!



You can't go wrong with any of their bottles, but their small batch bourbon is more available than ever, it won't break the bank, and most importantly, its good!




Most people will be familiar with Buffalo Trace bourbon, but they do more than just bourbon. They also do a heavenly line of scented candles, and the holidays just aren't complete without their Bourbon Cream. Think Bailey's with a Southern twist.

Whatever whiskey you gift, have a wonderful holiday weekend! Sorry for the lack of posting lately - Amber has a new (awesome!) job, and our trip to Chicago/the holidays have worn us out! We'll be back soon with Chicago reviews, Memphis reviews, and so. many. recipes. Happy holidays!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Unexpected Thanksgiving Wines

It's almost Thanksgiving, and we all know what that means. Sure, turkey is great, whatever. But it really means wine.

One of the most challenging things about picking a wine at Thanksgiving is finding something that will play well with all the myriad of flavors involved. Sweet, savory, spicy, acidic, and fatty goodness are all signs of a celebration, but there is never one wine to rule them all!

Don't choose something expected, like a Beaujolais, this year - pick a surprising wine and impress everyone!

Sparkling:

Bubbly is my favorite choice for Thanksgiving. The flexibility is just too perfect, and it adds to the air of celebration. It also leaves the option of mimosas for those who aren't really into the idea of having a glass of wine.

Via Gloria Ferrer
Gloria Ferrer Extra Brut: At about $20 a bottle this bubbly is easy to find and never disappoints. This producer is the California arm of famed Spanish Cava producer Freixenet. They make excellent non-vintage bubbly at a reasonable price. I would recommend this not only for its flexibility, but the depth of flavor is tough to beat in its own right. They also make an excellent Brut Rose for anyone who likes it pink!


Jeaume Serra Cristalino: If I have any occasion that calls for bubbly and I am on a tight budget This is my go-to. Big family? Shallow Wallet? No Problem! They have an extra dry, brut, and a rose, but I dig just the standard brut. This is not a bottle that will change your life, but it is pretty impressive for the under $10 category!

Via Bleasdale.
Sparkling Shiraz: When you think of sparkling reds, many people think of cheap Lambrusco and cringe a little. Thankfully sickly sweet and boring is not a requirement for sparkling reds. I find that in Memphis, a sparkling Shiraz can be hard to locate. Some brands to look for that are a little more common are Bleasdale and Paringa. These wines are super flexible for pairing and the weight of them can appeal to the crowd that only drinks reds. I love using these with a Thanksgiving feast!

Via Dr. L.
Dr. L Sparkling Riesling: This ticks two boxes in my Thanksgiving checklist. It is slightly sweet and deliciously bubbly. On top of that, it is usually very easy to find. Earnst Loosen does Riesling so well, and this is probably my favorite glass of bubbles for Thanksgiving!

Whites:


Off-Dry Riesling: When you are dealing with such a variety of flavors, just a touch of sweetness in your beverage can make all the difference. The problem you run into looking for wines like this is that they rarely say that they are off-dry on the label. Some producers have opted to using a graph on the label showing the level of sweetness. Some wines to look for include Kung Fu Girl from Charles Smith, one of the Kabinett offerings from Donhoff, Monchoff Spatlesse, Foris Vineyards Riesling from Oregon, and if you can't find any of those, Chateau Ste Michelle makes a bottle that is actually labeled off-dry that's passable.

Via Hugel.
Gewurztraminer: Often considered the bastard of the wine world. This ancient grape variety really gets a chance to shine at the Thanksgiving table. It can be made a little sweet to fully dry, but it's aromatics are what takes center stage in this context. It can be spicy and complex, and it offers a great option when you just don't know what will fit. My favorite examples are from Alsace made by producers like Hugel and Zind Humbrecht, but there are many good options from elsewhere. And while it isn't that exciting, if you just need a magnum bottle, Fetzer makes a cheap one that I have used at Thanksgiving more than once.

Reds:


Pinot Noir: It isn't my top choice but it is practically canon in wine retail to sell Pinot at Thanksgiving these days. And I do love good Pinot. If I am going for a Pinot at the Thanksgiving table though I like the acidity to really pop. Willamette Valley Vineyards Whole Cluster Pinot Noir does this quite well. It is so light in the glass you might almost think you just poured a rose.

Beaujolais: Cru Beaujolais, the more serious cousin of Beaujolais Nouveau (too expected and usually not that good), is something I would call one of my top picks for a red at the Thanksgiving table. I lean toward selections from Morgon or Fleurie for this purpose. They tend to be somewhat lighter than some of the other Crus and that acidity and regional character really come through. They also tend to be really great values when feeding a group.

Amber here - I've never met a Malbec I didn't like, but this one surprised me! It's also easy to find!
Malbec or Shiraz: Some people who come to Thanksgiving may be hardcore Cabernet enthusiasts who always want the biggest and boldest of reds. I find that South American Malbecs and Aussie Shiraz often satisfy this group at Thanksgiving without taking too much away from the flavor of the feast. The tannins can be a little softer and rounder but the flavor is often big and bold.

Whatever wine you choose, have a great Thanksgiving!