Saturday, April 18, 2015

Every time...
So, every time I try and heat up a Celeste microwavable pizza...
Silver disc thingy has been placed...
Directions followed....
And the result...


 Every. Single.

© MBrown 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Cheese time! 

Today we enjoyed some Winnimere cheese. Quite the stinker, it's very creamy and rich and delicious.

And it looks pretty cool too! Almost like a calzone.

There's a ton of flavor packed into this one, you could add some jam or chutney- but I found it great with just some plain 'ole water crackers.

After running out of crackers I seemed to get more and more hungry as I was scarfing this cheese down. So I began to chomp on the rind part a little bit. While not "frowned upon", it's typically the part you would peel off before taking large chunks of this cheese and swallowing them whole. 
It was brought to my attention later that Winnimere's outer rind is partly tree bark. So perhaps slice that bit back before you "go to town" on it like I did. Anyone want to count my rings?

 There is something funky that happens on occasion, if you eat enough cheese before bed- funky being the key word in cheese and a good way to describe the DREAMS you will have afterward.
There are plenty of articles on "cheese dreams"- here is one.

 No nightmares or anything like that. But here's something you may envision in your slumber after taking on a big piece of Winnimere-

Hula Hooping Elephant!
Trippy fun!

© MBrown 2015

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Today, a special shout-out of appreciation to:
Sahara Grill

We got a delicious lunch today from the great Middle-Eastern spot Sahara Grill right in center city. 
For years they've been the best go-to place for 
Falafel, Hummus, Shawarma, you name it-
and are just a few short steps from City Hall.

 Chicken Shish Toauk Sandwich

 Baba Gannouj

Here is a photo of THE BEST LENTIL SOUP you will ever have. 

I've tried making lentil soup quite a few times as you may have read- but I doubt I'll ever get close to the perfection that is their recipe. Short of slipping all the kitchen guys a truth serum, I may never know the secret. 
But at least the real thing is only 2 blocks away for about $4.

© MBrown 2015

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Another highlight of Easter weekend was a great meal at 
Pub & Kitchen, where our pal Mike is a sous chef. Always an inventive and creative menu and a good way to spend an afternoon when you're craving something perfect and different, and are a bit hungover from oysters and wine.

First a little "hair of the dog"


Steak Tartare

And for my dinner- 
~ kale pesto, brown butter, pork sausage ragout~ 

Cheesy and filling, I ended up taking half of these bad boys home to enjoy for lunch the next day. Rich with great pesto flavor, I'd recommend this or any and all of the menu. 
Top notch!

© MBrown 2015

Monday, April 6, 2015

For Easter weekend this year, we began Saturday morning with a search for the best spot to watch some soccer matches. Our friend came to town and was hoping to catch the Munich game. Sadly, it was only playing at one German bar with barely any standing room left. (You best get to Brauhaus Schmitz super early if you want to get a seat for soccer!) 
So, after hopping around to a few more pubs, we settled in at Misconduct Tavern in center city. There were a bunch of other games on. Plus- brunch specials!

 If Eggs Benedict is on the menu, I will always order it, no matter what. There's something about the magnetic pull of Hollandaise sauce that speaks to my soul. Pairs nicely with a good Hefeweizen.

Our next stop was Oyster House a few blocks away. We started with some sparkling wine and went all out on the oyster platters. 
A combo of east & west coast:

 And THEN we got an order of their special BARBEQUE oysters. At first glance, they may sound strange. But once you sip on that smoky goodness there really is nothing like these. Amazing!

After a long boozy brunch, it should have been about time for a nap. We kept at it though and had some brewskis through the afternoon. Hey, it's a holiday right?

© MBrown 2015

Friday, April 3, 2015

Tonight we ordered take-out from

We each got a Bento Box.

A very full meal that for under $15, gets you a main entree of chicken, shrimp or other seafood choices, and a side of some California roll, mixed tempura and rice. Also it includes a side salad and Miso soup!

Here's a shot of my Shrimp Teriyaki and Tempura Side.

I'm stuffed!

© MBrown 2015

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Another healthy dish to go with our inventory of leftover Lentil soup.

Roasted tomatoes baked with a bit of olive oil.

Along with some cubed baked sweet potatoes and sauteed spinach.

A filling dish for a mild spring evening.

© MBrown 2015

Monday, March 30, 2015

This evening I tried my hand at some hearty 
Lentil Soup.

Sadly we were almost all out of red lentils, which are generally a bit prettier to use when including in soup, in my opinion. I mixed them with some black lentils and rinsed this little Halloween-colored combo:

Before adding the lentils, I cooked a chopped onion in a pot with some curry powder, garlic powder and other spices. 
(Use spices of your choice, to taste). 

Once the onions are softened, add lentils and about 4-6 cups of vegetable broth. Chicken broth can be used as well. Depending on the amount of soup you are preparing and how thick you'd prefer it to be, the broth amount can vary. I ended up using about 6 cups, and had 3 cups of lentils. This made a very generous amount of very thick soup that lasted for days! Cook time will vary as well, for a thicker soup it may take over an hour. If you'd prefer it not to cook down as much as I did though, it should be done in about 45 minutes.

Here's a photo of the near-finished product:

The soup with mostly black lentils came out a grey-ish green color that as you can see, is not very appetizing. It's healthy and tastes great- however next time I'm definitely making sure we have enough red lentils on hand before prepping!

Here's a prettier picture of some bubbly goodness- my glass of hard cider.

© MBrown 2015

Friday, March 27, 2015

We've been having such unpredictable weather here in Philly lately. One day it'll be springtime 65 degree warmth, then a couple days later- SNOW!
I've been planning my meals accordingly...
Snowy day go-to meal: Grilled Cheese on Dark Wheat Bread with Tomato Soup. 
So cozy!!!

T-shirt weather: Strawberry Ice Cream with Cool Whip topping.
AAAH. Refreshing.

Finally it seems to be a bit more temperate outside.

© MBrown 2015

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tonight for my pal Darcy's birthday I made this bread, as seen on TV:

Very simple and quick, it calls for only 4 ingredients. Bread specifically should be any French or Italian loaf. The one I used was a deeper loaf, almost the shape of a football. 
Cut through the loaf diagonally both ways, creating a crosshatch pattern. Slice as close as you can to the bottom of the loaf, creating as many crevasses to pour in the other ingredients...
Using a spoon, drip in all the pesto and spread the shredded cheese into all the "nooks and crannies". 

Pour the melted butter over the top surface, and wrap in a large piece of foil.

After about 20-25 minutes baking in the oven, unwrap and let cool. There you go- serve to friends and have fun pulling apart the cheesy goodness.

This was what I'd describe as an appetizer version of Monkey Bread. It's inexpensive and easy to make for a gathering. My only change for next time I make this would be to use a shallower loaf such as a long baguette, that way there is more surface area and space for "MAXIMUM CHEESE SOAKAGE"

© MBrown 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015

 Today I tried out some Kraft Thick & Creamy Mac & Cheese...

It matches our placemats quite well. 
I also worked on some promo cards today for my illustrations.

Lots of nice colors, I realize where my inspiration comes from now...

Just need to be cautious if purchasing any Original Flavor lately...

No worries. We'll be back together in no time.
And who wants to buy a cartoon?

© MBrown 2015

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day.

 Here's one of the many green beers we had last weekend. 

On the actual holiday, though- sometime's it's best to stay inside. Especially in the city! There a lot of douches outside....

© MBrown 2015

Friday, March 13, 2015

Beep Beep!

Here comes the Oreo truck.

Sadly it drove away before I could get a chance to pry the back door open.

Time for an Oreo Illustration!

© MBrown 2015

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A look back... 
At my week in 

 Let's take a moment to sit back and appreciate the classic PB & J. 
Reliable and always delish.


In an effort to save some cash, I've also begun making a lot of my other favorite- 
Ham, American Cheese and Yellow Mustard.
Oh look- it almost spells out my initials- "MB" in mustard!

Look at this guy, just loungin' around by the sink...

Time to mix it up a little, healthwise and such. This German Dark Wheat Bread is quite tasty. And filling! The extra fiber and seeds are good for you. 

 Plus, as an artist, I appreciate the glorious pairing of the bright yellow and darker warm brown. 
Great color combo!

Happy sandwiching 

© MBrown 2015

Friday, March 6, 2015

Tonight we decided to take a trip back to Amsterdam and try out some Swiss-style fondue.
Just like Cafe Bern!

For a proper Swiss fondue, it's important to get some GOOOOOD cheeses. Luckily Di Bruno Brothers is close by and they always have great suggestions for the melty-est best cheeses. We tried out different pairs of cheese and made fondue twice this week. After both meals I can say that the
Gruyere and Emmental (Swiss) Cheese are good bets. Others seemed to take much longer to melt, though tasted JUST as delicious.

Here are the cheeses we tried out this week:

The biggest difference between regular 'ole fondue and the real-deal Swiss recipe is 
Along with the set came some handy recipe cards.

 Once your ingredients are prepped and the bread is ready... 
(a good French baguette is my favorite for dunking-but any harder bread will do)

The first step is heating up the fondue pot. Our kit came with a gel plate that is lit up and placed under the pot. Best to follow instructions on your fondue kit, as each one is a bit different.
Once it is warmed up, flavor the pot with a sliced garlic clove. Pour in the white wine, about 2 cups- and wait a bit for it to simmer...

Once the wine is bubbling, have the cheeses on hand...

Gradually add the cheeses a little at a time, by the handful. It's also helpful to have a little bit of cornstarch to mix in with the cheese for thickness.
And don't stop stirring!

Fondue is lots of fun to have for a small hangout evening with friends. We set the fondue pot in the middle of the table and took turns stirring and sipping beers. 

It could take a while, ours was about an hour- depending on the cheeses and heat level on the pot (which is adjustable)- but soon enough the cheese will be perfectly melted.
the best part of all.

Isn't it beautiful?

Now let's all move to Zurich and eat this for dinner every night.

© MBrown 2015
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