Pizza Break: Katie’s Pizza & Pasta

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If I had to choose one word to describe Katie’s Pizza (besides delicious), it would be consistent. I’ve never had a bad experience eating their pizza, which is an impressive feat because I’ve been going there for years.

The first restaurant opened when I was still in undergrad at Wash U, so I would go there for dinner occasionally with my friends. Then, a new location opened in a neighborhood called Rock Hill. I went to that one for the first time after I moved home last year and it was just as delightful as the original.

I like Katie’s Pizza because it takes risks. There are pies on the menu that people might not order at usual pizza establishments in St. Louis, and I’m glad. The mozzarella/red sauce routine gets boring after a while and I’m always craving new flavors.

I went to Katie’s the other night after work and ordered the roasted chicken pizza, which I’d never tried before. Usually I go for their vegetarian pizzas so I was wondering how the meat-laden version would measure up. In short, it surpassed the vegetarian pizzas.

The roasted chicken and the slightly charred crust give the pizza a smoky flavor, and the goat cheese cools it off a little. The caramelized shallots and balsamic on top add some sweetness.

My favorite part about Katie’s pizzas is the crust: It’s fluffy, springy and chewy. I don’t know how it manages to be all these things, but it does. I could make a meal out of eating the crusts.

Anyway. If you’re in St. Louis and you’re looking for an alternative pizza experience, stop by Katie’s. It will not disappoint. Here’s a song that describes how I feel when I eat their pizza.

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Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie Bowl

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Fridays call for peanut butter and chocolate. When I woke up this morning, the last thing I wanted to do was get out of bed. But knowing that I had a peanut butter banana chocolate smoothie bowl in store motivated me to get moving.

Peanut butter and banana is one of my favorite combinations of all time. When I was growing up, I would always order the “All Shook Up” concrete from Ted Drewes, a local frozen custard store. The concrete came with, as you can probably guess, peanut butter and bananas. I found out that they named it after Elvis because he also loved bananas and peanut butter and so he would order this concrete when he came to St. Louis.

ANYWAY. This smoothie bowl comes as close to being dessert without actually being dessert as possible. Actually, let’s just call it what it is: dessert. I have no shame. It’s delicious and everyone should eat it, if not on Fridays, then another day during the week when you need motivation or something to look forward to.

The game-changer in this bowl is the coconut. I decided to put it in at the last minute. Sometimes, afterthoughts bring the best inspiration. The coconut flavor balances the salty peanut butter and sweet bananas, and also pairs well with the chocolate. It’s kind of like a life raft for the rest of the ingredients in the bowl.

In other news, John Mayer dropped some new tracks today. I feel the way about John that I would about an ex: I like him somewhat apologetically and not without fond memories. Sometimes when I listen to his music, I think to myself, “every song sounds the same.” This troubles yet soothes me. Sometimes, especially in trying times like the ones we’re facing lately, we could use some constancy.

Here’s one of my favorite new releases. And here’s a John Mayer song that will always hold a special place in my heart for no reason, really. I used to play it sometimes before I went to class in college and my roommate told me that she liked it. It was one of the few things that we agreed on.

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie Bowl (from me, to you)

Ingredients

2 bananas, 1 whole and 1 sliced into rounds
2 tbsp chunky peanut butter (who likes creamy?)
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup rolled oats
blueberries, coconut, granola, chopped dark chocolate for topping

Directions

Blend one whole banana, chunky peanut butter, almond milk and rolled oats in a blender on high until smooth. Top with blueberries, coconut, granola, more banana and chopped dark chocolate. Enjoy!

Posted in Breakfast, Gluten-Free, Smoothie Bowls, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Smoothie Bowl Jar

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It all seems so clear now: I love smoothie bowls. I love breakfast in jars. But I never thought to combine the two. Now that I have, there’s no going back.

A smoothie bowl jar is the ultimate breakfast. It has everything you want: The “buried treasure effect,” or, the fun of digging to the bottom of a jar for granola; it’s pretty; and it’s delicious. It’s basically everything you want in a life partner, except that you can eat it for breakfast.

I started my jar by sprinkling a layer of granola on the bottom. Then, you fill the jar up halfway with a smoothie of your choice. Layer in some bananas and then top with the rest of the smoothie. Garnish with more granola and berries and you’re good to go.

The one thing I will say is that it’s not as easy to eat a smoothie bowl jar as it is a smoothie bowl. Fitting the spoon in the jar can be challenging, which is probably why you’ll want to use a straw at some point. I drank part of the smoothie and then went in with my spoon for the granola and banana.

Anyway. Enjoy this hybrid! Here’s a good song to play while you’re blending, or when you’re pondering the deliciousness of smoothie bowls and breakfast in jars.

Smoothie Bowl Jar (from me, to you)

Ingredients

1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1 cup strawberries, hulled and stems removed
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup granola, plus more for topping
1/4 cup blueberries
1 banana, sliced into rounds

Directions

Blend the raspberries, strawberries, Greek yogurt and almond milk in a blender on high until smooth. Take a Mason jar (or another glass jar with a screw-top lid) and put the granola at the bottom. Then, pour roughly half the smoothie on top of the granola. Top the smoothie with the banana rounds, then pour in the rest of the smoothie mixture. Top with granola and blueberries. Enjoy!

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Bourbon Banana Bread

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I’ve wanted to make this banana bread for years but I kept putting it off. Last night, I had the perfect excuse.

I was already feeling depressed because it was President’s Day and America doesn’t have a President, plus I had to work when most people got a day off. Then, I heard that anti-semites desecrated the burial grounds of a Jewish cemetery where my great grandparents are interned. After that, it was time to bring out the bourbon.

Sometimes, when you add alcohol to food, you get a subtle whiff or taste of it. That’s not the case with this banana bread. You can almost get drunk smelling the batter. This bread is not messing around.

I love the chocolate chips and walnuts in the loaf. I usually put chocolate chips in my banana bread but I’d never put walnuts in before. As it turns out, it’s the perfect complement. They add some texture to the crumb and balance out the sweetness from the bananas and chocolate.

I brought part of the loaf to work for breakfast this morning to bribe people into doing what I wanted them to do. It seemed to work. I didn’t tell anyone that there was bourbon in the bread, but I figured that everyone needed it whether they said so or not.

Here is a song that describes the last 48 hours. Here’s a song that I hope describes the next 48 hours.

Bourbon Banana Bread (slightly adapted from Joy the Baker)

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups mashed ripe bananas (from about 3 bananas)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons bourbon
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8×4-inch or 9×5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition. Stop the mixer, scrape down sides of the bowl, and add bananas, lemon juice and bourbon. Beat until well incorporated.

Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture all at once. Beat until almost incorporated. Stop the mixer and remove the bowl. Add the walnuts and chocolate chips and incorporate the last of the ingredients with a spatula.

Batter will be thick. Spoon the mixture into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow loaf to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy! The loaf keeps for about five days as long as it’s tightly wrapped.

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Berry Smoothie Bowl with Seed Mix

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A month ago when I was on the train coming back from Chicago, my youngest sister sent me a picture of her (first?) attempt at a smoothie bowl. I thought that I’d found every topping that there was to find for bowls, but I was wrong. She topped her bowl with a seed mix that I’d never seen before.

It turns out that it’s from Trader Joe’s and it’s delicious. It adds some texture to smoothie bowls, which I like, and it looks pretty next to berries. Win-win.

I used to be strict about only using fresh berries on top of my smoothie bowls. Now, I don’t care as much. If the fresh berries look bad (which, let’s face it, they often do during the winter), I slightly defrost some frozen berries and put them on top. In this bowl, I used frozen raspberries and fresh blueberries. It still tasted delicious.

Anyway. This is a great bowl for days like today, when you maybe had to go to work but no one else you know had to, and you feel depressed because it’s President’s Day and America doesn’t have a President.

Here’s a song that makes you forget about it all (at least momentarily).

Berry Smoothie Bowl with Seed Mix (from me, to you)

Ingredients

1/2 cup frozen raspberries, plus more for topping
1/2 cup blueberries, plus more for topping
1 banana
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
Trader Joe’s seed mix, pumpkin seeds and gluten-free granola for topping

Directions

Blend the frozen and fresh berries, banana, Greek yogurt and almond milk on a blender on high until smooth. Top with the seed mix, pumpkin seeds and gluten-free granola. Enjoy!

Posted in Breakfast, Gluten-Free, Smoothie Bowls, Uncategorized, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Açai Almond Butter Smoothie Bowl

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I made this bowl a couple weeks ago but I forgot to tell you about it. If I’m going to be completely honest, I avoided telling you about it. I made this bowl for breakfast for me my sister and she specifically said that she didn’t want any almond butter in it, but I put a heaping tablespoon in. Whoops.

I wanted to make the smoothie bowl thicker because I was worried that the toppings would sink to the bottom. There’s nothing worse than starting to assemble a bowl and watching everything sink like quicksand. So, when I noticed that the smoothie was too thin, I added the almond butter and oats. They made the smoothie thicker so I could pile whatever I wanted on top.

Anyway. My sister ended up loving the bowl so clearly, what she doesn’t know doesn’t hurt her. Also, I loved the bowl, so it was a double win. I like to have a lot of texture in my food and this bowl is a perfect example: There are juicy blueberries, crunchy almonds and granola and light hemp and chia seeds. The ingredients make you feel less like like you’re eating fruit soup and more like you’re eating a full meal.

Here is a good song to play when making smoothie bowls with secret ingredients. It’s also good for winter days when it feels like spring and you drive around with the car windows rolled down. Enjoy!

Açai Almond Butter Smoothie Bowl (from me, to you)

Ingredients

1 açai frozen smoothie pack
1/2 cup strawberries, hulled and stems removed
1/4 cup blueberries
1 heaping Tbsp almond butter
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup almond milk
blueberries, kiwi, almonds, granola, hemp seeds, chia seeds and strawberry for topping (feel free to add or subtract based on what you want)

Directions

Blend the açai, berries, almond butter, almond milk and rolled oats in a blender on high until smooth. Top with additional berries, almonds, chia seeds, hemp seeds and kiwi. Here’s a good video tutorial for making kiwi flowers.

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Spinach Gruyère Quiche

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This is my first quiche. I feel proud of it, the way you might about a newborn baby or a puppy that you’ve finally house trained.

I think that before, I was scared to make quiche. I’ve had a lot of traumatic experiences with homemade pie crust and I didn’t want to repeat them. Thankfully, that did not happen tonight.

The trick to making pastry crust is time and patience. If you’re willing to wait, you will be rewarded with delicious, flaky crust. My crust didn’t reach all the way to the top of the pie pan like I wanted it to, probably because I was worried about ripping the dough when I rolled it out. It still tasted delicious, though.

My favorite part about the quiche is the filling. I love shallots and eggs together, and the Gruyère takes the combination to the next level. I was a little wary of using frozen chopped spinach because I like using fresh ingredients when I cook. But it ended up being delicious. Just make sure that you wring all the liquid out of the spinach before you put it in the quiche. Otherwise, the quiche will get soggy. There is nothing worse than soggy quiche, except, maybe, no quiche at all.

Here’s a song that I played while I waited for the quiche to bake. It’s good for moments when you need motivation. Or, you know, whenever.

Spinach Gruyère Quiche (slightly adapted from NYT and here)

Ingredients

for the crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter (1/4 pound), cut in 1/8-inch pieces
3 tablespoons ice water

for the quiche:
1 9-inch deep dish frozen pie crust
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 large eggs
1-1/4 cups heavy cream
pinch ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup grated Gruyère
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and wrung free of water

Directions

First, make the crust. Put flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor. Add butter and quickly cut it into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water and mix briefly, about 30 seconds, to form a soft dough. Remove dough, shape into a thick disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Bring to cool room temperature before rolling.

To roll, lightly flour dough and counter. Roll out gradually, periodically letting dough rest for a moment before continuing. This makes rolling easier and will keep dough from shrinking back during baking.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Roll dough to a thin round approximately 13 inches in diameter, then trim to make a 12-inch circle (refrigerate and save trimmings for patching). Lay dough loosely into a 9 inch pie pan (or fluted pan if you have one), letting it relax a bit. Fold overlap back inside to make a double thickness, then press firmly against the pan so the finished edge is slightly higher than the pan. Bake the crust for 10-15 minutes, or until light golden brown.

Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool on a baking sheet. Turn down the oven to 325 degrees F. Meanwhile, make the quiche filling.

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook shallots until slightly brown. Add in garlic after about 3 minutes and cook the mixture until fragrant. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, heavy cream, nutmeg, salt and cayenne pepper.

Spread shallots over bottom of cooked crust, then sprinkle grated Gruyère over top. Scatter spinach evenly over cheese (breaking up clumps as best you can), then pour egg mixture over top.

Bake at 325 degrees for 50-55 minutes until custard is set and top is lightly golden. Serve hot or warm. Enjoy!

Posted in Dinner, Uncategorized, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment