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  1. Thursday, November 4, 2010

    Skillet Biscuit Bread

    Despite the fact that Nate and I used to be addicted to the show Good Eats, we actually hardly ever watch any food shows on TV. One of the cooking shows that has had staying power for us, however, is Jacques Pépin’s More Fast Food My Way on PBS. Jacques shares low-key, simple food and I especially like it when his daughter is on the show with him. Their interactions are so, I don’t know, un-produced and we love it. On a recent episode, Jacques made a simple skillet bread. I paused the TV, got out a pen and piece of paper and wrote down everything he did. The result? Today’s recipe for skillet biscuit bread.

    Quick and easy biscuit skillet bread recipe, inspired by Jacque Pepin, from This Week for Dinner

    I am so happy I took notes and tried out this skillet biscuit bread. It was really good. By the way, Jacques did not call this skillet biscuit bread himself. I’m renaming it because the bread tasted a lot like biscuits, minus all the stress that goes into making biscuits! This bread is really so easy to throw together and my 2-year-old Anna couldn’t stop eating it! Three cheers for skillet biscuit bread!

    How to make biscuit skillet bread like Jacque Pepin from This Week for Dinner

    Here’s a side shot so you can get an idea of the texture. The outside is quite crusty and cripsy, while the inside is very moist and biscuity (how’s that for an adjective?). So, if you’re tight on time and ingredients and want a simple biscuit-like bread to go with dinner, give this a try.

    Jacque Pepin's Skillet Biscuit Bread, easy and tasty weeknight bread!

    Skillet Biscuit Bread
    As described by Jacques Pépin on More Fast Food My Way
    Recipe type: Side Dish, Bread
    • 1½ cup flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 cup water + a few more tablespoons
    1. Mix the dry ingredients, then add water and mix.
    2. Pour about 1 tablespoon of olive oil (I have also used butter with great success) in a 9-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Immediately pour the batter into the pan, spreading evenly and letting some of the oil come on top as you press the dough down. Add a few tablespoons of water around the edge of the bread then cover with a lid.
    3. Cook for about 7 minutes (until browned), flip and and then cook covered about another 7 minutes or so. Bread should be browned on both sides.
    4. Cut up, butter the bread and enjoy! Would also be delicious with a bit of honey!




  2. Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    The Food Matters Cookbook (Plus a giveaway! Plus how I turned into a blubbering idiot in front of Mark Bittman!)

    Warning: This is a long post. But it’s worth every word. Especially the part where you get to laugh at, I mean with, me. Also, the giveaway is now closed.

    A year or two ago, I was aware that our modernized food system was posing problems both to our health and to the environment, but mostly in a philosophical, oh-that’s-very-interesting sort of way. Then my dear friend Emily W (who I credit the existence of this blog with!) told me about the book Food Matters by Mark Bittman (a food hero of mine). If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know once I finally sat down and read that book, a fire was lit. And, for the first time, I made real changes in the way our family eats. Nothing drastic, but most certainly substantial. Hense the Eat Less Meat Challenge I’ve been talking about since January. I know some of you have joined me on the challenge to eat less meat and processed foods, and I think we’ve all discovered what a satisfying change it has been, for so many reasons.

    I wrote about the book, gave away a few copies, and have been exploring the world of lessmeatarianism every since. I received an email a few weeks ago from Emer at Simon & Schuster about Food Matters. I wrote back and said, “Oh! Thank you, but we already gave it away on my blog!” and then Emer wrote back, “Silly Jane, there’s a cookbook now!” to which I replied, “YIPPEEEE! Please send me a copy and let’s give some away!” to which he replied “Anything for you, Jane!”  (Okay, he never called me “Silly Jane,” but he did say “Anything for you!” True story.)

    The Food Matters Cookbook arrived soon after and it’s wonderful. No pictures, but in Mark’s case, it doesn’t matter. He writes wonderful reference cookbooks with about a billion recipes. Good ones, at that. How to Cook Everything is my go-to whenever I want to know a basic technique or recipe. ANYWAY…I love The Food Matters Cookbook. Like Food Matters, it’s very common sense and approachable for the everyday cook and eater (which is almost all of us).

    Emer also scored me a ticket to Mark Bittman’s recent appearance in San Francisco with the unbelievably lovely Ruth Reichl. As I sat down in my seat (one of the best in the house), I was counting my lucky stars I started this blog nearly 4 years ago (and dying I couldn’t use my camera in the theater!!). Mark and Ruth’s discussion was inspiring, frustrating (it is downright scary where industrialized food has taken us), funny, endearing, and personal. I took pages and pages of notes with the idea I would share them all with you. But then I would need to write a book, not a blog post. And Mark already did that. So here was the gist – eat more plants, cook more food. They both felt strongly that people need to cook more and not be afraid of cooking. Ruth said the first real disconnect between our society and food is that people think home cooks have to be chefs. We don’t! Dive in! Enjoy cooking, no matter how simple it may be!

    Which brings us to the moment in my story where I turn into a blubbering, incoherent, stalker-type book signee. Emer said there wasn’t time for me to interview Mark afterward because of the book signing, but that he would be expecting me and that I could get a picture with him, etc, etc. Well, as I’m waiting in line, I realized I would feel like a big schmuck if I pulled the “I get to take a picture with Mark, even though no one else does” move. So, I just decided to say a quick and, of course, eloquent word to him when he signed me book.

    I had visions of telling Mark how inspiring his book was. How it truly changed my outlook on food, how I shop, how I eat. And that it inspired me to spread the word to my readers, in turn impacting their lives (and Mother Earth) in a positive way. I was going to tell him that I had decided to have him sign Food Matters, rather than my old, well-loved copy of How to Cook Everything, because Food Matters had such an impact on my life. (P.S. I would have looked cooler in line with How to Cook Everything since, while standing in line, I discovered mine is a different color than the new edition, which proves what a fan I am, right?)

    Okay, so that was the vision. Instead it went something more like this.

    Person in charge of writing our names on a post-it for the signing: “Ma’am, it’s your turn.”

    Me, stepping up, handing Mark my book: “Uh, hi, I’m Jane Maynard. It’s so great meeting you.” {Uh-oh, nerves setting decidedly in} “Um, I have a food blog and I wrote about you.” {Very eloquent, no?}

    Mark nodding, being polite, saying a few nice words here and there.

    Me, again: “I’ve actually been in touch with Simon & Schuster…” {uh-oh, starting to feel a bit like a schmuck} “…and we’re giving away  a couple copies your book on my blog next week, when I write about tonight.” {And I’m pretty sure that my sentence was a little longer and more confusing even than that}

    Mark: “Oh, wonderful! What’s the name of your blog?”

    Me: “This Week for Dinner”

    Mark: “Well, be sure to tweet me and I’ll share the link!” {Do you remember that, Mark? I’m holding you to it!}

    Me: “That would be awesome! Thank you!” {Yup, I think I said awesome. Which is, uh, awesome.}

    Then we said goodbye, thank you, nice to meet you, whatever. I don’t remember. I was shaking too much.

    Then, since I had ZIPPO pictures from the entire night, I stood to the side and started photographing Ruth and Mark signing books. At first he didn’t know I was there. Then he noticed. And then I felt a little like a stalker. But it was all in the name of the blog!

    And I actually love this photo. It was worth making both Mark and myself feel uncomfortable. I think it captures Mark and Ruth’s personalities beautifully.

    So, there you have it. I met Mark Bittman! And it didn’t go at all the way I imagined in my head. But that’s okay. That’s not what matters. It was a wonderful night with amazing insights from two great minds. Who can complain, even if I sounded a bit like a clueless teeny bopper.

    And, yes, we ARE giving away two copies of The Food Matters Cookbook! Simply leave a comment on this post before Midnight PT on Sunday, November 7. If you do feel like sharing a bit about your own foray into the world of more sustainable and conscientious eating, we’d love to hear about it! But you don’t have to. Any comment will do! Two winners will be randomly-selected and announced on Monday, 11/8.

  3. Monday, November 1, 2010 has arrived!

    I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned FoodPress on my blog yet! As this crazy day is coming to a close, I just realized I’ve been telling the world about FoodPress, but I haven’t told you. And I really want to share the exciting news about FoodPress with you!

    I have a new job, editor of It’s pretty awesome. I get to read food blogs and then feature them on each weekday. Seriously? This is a job? Someone pinch me…ouch! I am awake after all! It is true! and Federated Media launched FoodPress today and people are taking notice (including Mashable and a whole bunch more). The site is looking fantabulous and I am so grateful to be part of the amazing team working on it. Click here for a little introduction to FoodPress, and click here if you are a WordPress food blogger wondering how to get featured.

    FoodPress, like all projects, is continually evolving. If you have suggestions or things you’d like to see, please let me know!

    Off to read food blogs!