Tag Archives: Production

Thanksgiving 2016: I’m Unprepared!

If there’s one thing I can say about myself, it’s that I’m consistent. I have consistently broken my promise to write on this blog consistently. I will try to be better.

It’s almost Thanksgiving, which has become my favorite holiday as of late.

Christmas? It used to be cool. But now, it’s just a lot of build up for a whole lot of nothing. Like when I lost my virginity.

HEYO!

Anyways. Thanksgiving is 4 days away. Even with my proclivity for procrastination, I am normally flipping through Bon Appetit and browsing Food52 for inspiration. But this year, I have not been.

This year has been a bit weird. Between some pretty heavy family dramz and the fact I’m on production right now in Salt Lake City, I’ve planned almost nothing. In fact, I only decided to go home to Jacksonville a few days ago.

Which means, I need to cook.

So, here we are. Real life Top Chef Challenge. Put together a Thanksgiving Dinner in 45 minutes of meal planning/grocery list writing. Dad will shop for ingredients at the best grocery store in the world, Publix. I will fly in on Wednesday to prep and the big day is on Thursday.

Game on.

Here’s what I’m doing.

  • Rosemary and Citrus Turkey For a Crowd from NYTimes Cooking
    • I made this turkey last year and it was a real crowd pleaser. And by crowd, I mean: me, my mother and father.
  • Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing from Martha Stewart
    • This has been my go-to stuffing recipe for the past few years. It smells and tastes like being home for the holidays. And unlike being home for the holidays, this stuffing will not ask you why you’re not married yet or if you are a lesbian. (‘I have a busy job’ and ‘no, but like, a little bit in college.’)
  • Best Ever Green Bean Casserole from Alton Brown via Food Network
    • Lovers of my prose will know that I have been searching for the right green bean recipe for Thanksgiving for a few years. Previous green bean casseroles have been too fancy. Regular green beans are too plain for Thanksgiving. Alton Brown has never let me down, so let’s audition this one.
  • Classic Mashed Potatoes from NYTimes Cooking
    • Potatoes? Good. Milk? Good. Butter? GOOOOOOOD.
  • Cranberry Sauce from Alton Brown
    • Cranberries? Good. Sauce? Good. Ridges made by molding cranberry sauce in your own can? GOOOOOOOD.

I’ll get a little help from Sis Schubert’s rolls and some sort of frozen pie. A frozen pie is not my preference, but there are only so many hours in a day.

Bring on the Thanksgiving pants!

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You are my Everest.–via Tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanksgiving Prep: Procrastination Station

Well, holy hell. Thanksgiving is next week.

Or depending on when you start your calendar, this week.

I’m hosting. I think.

If all goes according to plan, my parents are going to be arriving on Tuesday for Thanksgiving. Because I’ve been in the middle of some hot and heavy production, I have been procrastinating my ass off on my Thanksgiving planning. 

So, everything is pretty business as usual!

Thank goodness for the New York Times.

If you haven’t signed up for their NYT Cooking emails, you should. They’re written so well–signature NYT combination of cool wit and great information. But they also are chock-a-block full of excellent ideas. Weekend meal suggestions, what to cook on a busy weeknight, how to plus-up that Friday night takeout pizza, and yes, even what to cook for major holidays.

They’ve created an amazing meal planning website for planning your hosting needs. It’s located here

Just answer 5 quick questions and instantly, you have 16 recipes to choose from. Will you use them all? Likely not. But it’s an excellent jumping off point. In fact, it’s where I’ve found the green bean casserole recipe I’ll be trying out this week. A nod to nostalgia with some updates that will hopefully satisfy every palate. (I’m mean you, Dad.)

The Thanksgiving Recipe Collection Carousel is located here. You can browse turkey recipes, side dish recipes, stuffing recipes, etc. You can also access their how-t0 guides for various Thanksgiving tasks: roast a turkey, make stuffing, make pie crust. 

A gift from me to you, fellow procrastinators.

Cause if we’re being honest. You’re reading this post and not working/cleaning your house/going to the gym or any of the other myriad things you’re supposed to be doing.

People after my own heart.

 

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My Writing Process: A Thesis on Blogs & Pantlessness

So, quick update on me and my fanciness: I was invited to be a part of a Blog Tour.

YEAH. I KNOW. I AM A BIG DEAL.

My amazing friend Anna of Curiouser & Curiouser invited me. Those of you who don’t read Anna’s blog should leave this blog and start reading hers.

WAIT!!!!

AFTER you’ve read this post, go read her blog. She is incredibly smart and fun and talks about just about everything. She is a one of my best friends and reading her blog feels like talking to a bestie, doing something we call lilypadding: jumping from topic to topic. (Posts on Advertising! Food! Cocktails! Nail polish! Clothes!) She’s the deal.

Now, onto the Blog Tour. A fellow blogger invites you to answer 4 questions about your blogular process and then you pass the baton on to another blogger.

Without further ado, I’m ready for my close up, Mr. DeMille.

1. What are you working on?

Currently watching the first season of The Rockford Files because I’m sad about James Garner’s death. Also, doing the laundry and wearing no pants. Oh, and waiting on the Chinese food to come because I didn’t feel like cooking.

In reality, I’m a producer at an advertising agency and I write my blog as a creative outlet. In college, I was a theatre major and loved working on/being in plays. I did one show after I graduated, but found it was too tough to commit to the production schedule with the reality of #agencylife. But I still needed creativity in my life. I began to cook more and thought, hey, maybe I could turn this into a blog. So about a year ago, I did. And it’s been WILDLY successful* ever since.

*Wildly=mildly

2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?

Well, for better or worse, I’m not an avid blog reader. There are a few I follow on the reg, but otherwise it’s more like appointment reading. So I can’t say for certain that it’s different than others in the genre. I know there are sassy, f-word laden cooking blogs out there. (I’m looking at you, Thug Kitchen.)

But, what I can say for certain is this blog is written the way that I talk. The goofy asides, the lilypadding, the good and bad jokes, the healthy dose of self-deprecation: 100% Bethany. I’ve been told by more than one reader (and by reader, I mean real life existing friend) that they can hear me when they read the posts.

This blog is me, through and through.

3. Why do you write what you do?

I love food. I love to make people happy with food. And I love to make people laugh. This is all my favorite things in one.

4. How does your writing process work?

Well, the reality of the situation is I don’t write as much as I’d like. I’d like to post one to three times a week. But because of #agencylife, I find it’s very easy to get pulled away from your extracurriculars.

Mostly, I write when I’m inspired. (I’m like Oscar Bloody Wilde over here.) When I’ve eaten somewhere fantastic or made something terrific/terrible, the inspiration will strike me and I find that the words come out just the right way.

But when I’m not inspired, I feel like the words are like lumpy gravy: heavy and wrong. (Just stir it, Una!)

The exciting part is that there’s tons of inspiration out there.

So, that’s My Fake Food Blog. Thank you for coming and be sure to come again.

And in the meantime, visit my other friend Anna’s blog, Seasoned to Taste. Anna is a real life Barefoot Contessa. Everything she does is gorgeous and beautiful and seems effortless. From the food to the presentation to the way she writes about it all. Basically, I want to be her when I grow up.

She’ll impress and inspire you. Particularly if you are like me and haven’t showered today and only put pants on when the delivery guy arrived.

Happy Blog Tour, y’all.

 

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Change Your Life: Weave Your Bacon

There’s a lot of bad stuff in the world. Murder. Poverty. Zoe Saldana’s wig in the Rosemary’s Baby mini-series.

Seriously, though. They couldn’t find an ACTUAL wig maker for this? | Photo by: Roger Do Minh/NBC via The Grio

Which is why we all need a little bit of goodness in our lives.

I give to you: the bacon weave.

Did I come up with this? No. Not even a little bit.

Did it revolutionize my life? Absolutely it did.

I was out in LA on a shoot with some people and was talking to a friend of mine about my favorite subject: bacon. (It might’ve been about pork products in general, but I digress.) And he was telling me about his technique for putting bacon on a burger: the bacon weave. You simply take 3 strips of bacon, cut them in half and weave them together like a little basket. Bake on a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet at 400 for 15-25 minutes until crispy. Put on sandwich. Change your LIFE.

Heaven must be missing an angel.

Heaven must be missing an angel.

“It’s great,” he told me, “because you get bacon in every bite.” It’s so great that he asked me if I’d tried it like, the very next day. “Nah, man. You just told me yesterday.” But I wish I had. It’s THAT GOOD.

The other benefit is that your bacon doesn’t fall out of your sandwich. Like a bad infomercial. Has THIS ever happened to YOU?

Womp womp. | Via Imgur

Womp womp. | Via Imgur 

Get control of your life. Be a man, even if you’re a woman. Weave your bacon. Put it on a BLT today.

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Blame Canada…that my pants don’t fit.

The phrase “I can’t complain” has always confounded me.

When pressed, I could always complain about SOMETHING.

Like, right now? I’m laying on the couch. It’s very relaxing. …but the clock is ticking a LITTLE bit loudly. It’s mostly a goof, but it’s rare to find something you can’t complain about AT ALL. Humans, by nature, are complainers.

And this GD clock is so loud I’m going to murder it.

But one thing I don’t think I can find much to complain about is the food scene in Toronto.

I spent a week there shooting a spot (for those not in the biz that’s a “television commercial.”) And it’s just silly the variety of food that they have up there.

While it sounds incredibly glamorous (Callbacks! Lights! Fake Snow!), a lot of the reality of production is more like this: Emails! Phone Calls! Room Service between Emails and Phone Calls! So one of the most exciting treats of being on production is getting to go explore a city’s food culture.

And I could not complain. Well, I COULD….it was very cold.

First amazing meal? Acadia on Clinton Street.

The restaurant was surprisingly empty when we went, apparently a common occurrence due to just how many restaurants there is. (Things pick up later in the week, too.) But the food was spectacular. Piping hot cornbread with bacon butter, mini oyster po-boys, with a main of hominy, mushrooms truffles and a slow cooked egg. It just spoke to me. And the words were magical.

Miniature Oyster Poor Boys

Miniature Oyster Poor Boys

Next amazing meal? Bar Isabel on College Street.

This tapas place was jam packed, with music reminiscent of the 40s. The cocktails were delightfully named. I did not pick the “Choose Yer Own Adventure” and instead selected the “Hopeless Mermaid,” which sounded unbelievably sad. Like a salty sea captain fell in love with a mermaid who he knew would never love him back because he walked on two legs. But he loved her so much anyway, his ‘hopeless mermaid.’

Anyways, the tapas.

We got everything. We had a group of 6 and we each selected two items from their amazing menu. Some traditional. (A selection of meats and cheeses!  Patatas bravas! Beefsteak tomato with boquerones and onion!) And some incredibly inventive. (Deviled duck egg with salt cod, morcilla and hollandaise! Whole fish ceviche!)

But the meal to top all meals was at Buca. My friends Jon and Dennis had told me about this place back when I was up in Toronto in April, but we couldn’t get a reservation. But we got one this time. OH YES, WE GOT ONE THIS TIME. And despite me trying to get us lost on the way there, I had one of the most interesting meals evar.

We started with crispy pig’s ears.

THAT’S RIGHT.

If you are a lover of pork and you have never had crispy pig’s ear’s than your pork card is getting revoked. (What does that even mean?) They’re crispy (obviously), but they’re also tender. It’s like a chicharon, only softer. It’s out of this world. Get some now.

We split two amazing pizzas—one with truffles and one with a bunch of mushrooms. Delicious.

And my main was insane. I got something I’d never had before and it was delicious. I got the ravioli doppi, which is a double stuffed ravioli. One half of the ravioli was stuffed with goose. The other half of the ravioli was stuffed with butternut squash puree. The whole thing was accompanied by a parmesan  espuma (foam) with rosemary and a hazelnut brittle.

I still dream about this ravioli…

This has got to be one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. The gamey/oiliness of the goose was balanced wonderfully by the sweetness of the butternut squash. The parmesan espuma gave sharpness. And man, that ravioli was cooked perfectly.

It was an amazing meal. It was an amazing trip. And I could not complain about it at all.

Well. I COULD.

Because it had to end.

Awww.

 

…lame.

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And on the 15th day, I moved.

A brief respite from my humble bragging about Barcelona and #ham to tell you that in between my trip to Barcelona and my upcoming production, I moved. (Oh, you didn’t know that I went to Barcelona? WELL, I DID)

I didn’t move because I wanted to. Well, I did want to. But I also had to. My landlady decided to sell the condo I’d been renting. So, I had to find a new place. 

My parents came up last week and frankly, I could not have done it without them. Literally. If I’d done it alone, it would’ve gotten done. Like, all the stuff would be at my house. But I would’ve been living in a fort of boxes because I would’ve gotten overwhelmed and instead of unpacking the boxes, I would’ve come up with something new to do with them. Like make a fort. 

I’m living in a house now, which is exciting. And kind of scary. I think I might set up a tar and feather station, a la Home Alone. Just for some extra security. Bless this highly nutritious, microwavable meal and the people who sold it on sale. (Sorry, Sarah. Home Alone sin, quoting it out of season.)

Here are some pics. 

Naturally, the thing I’m most excited about is my new kitchen. And one thing in particular.  

IT. HAS. AN. ACTUAL. OVEN. For the last 5 years, everything I’ve baked was made in THIS monstrosity. 

Although, to be fair, it didn't usually have other racks in it.

Although, to be fair, it didn’t usually have other racks in it.

I know, it’s worse than Portia di Rossi’s new face. But, seriously folks…

This was really hard for someone who loves to bake. To make a batch of chocolate chip cookies, it would take me over 2 hours. I could fit 4 cookies on a sheet tray. I had to buy special sheet trays to fit the oven. It was just dumb. 

My dad, whose passion is model railroading (I know…we’re a really cool family), compared my love of baking to model railroading. And he said “you’re probably just as excited to bake something as I was to get out there and put cracks on the sidewalks on my model railroad!”

Again, VERY cool family. Welcome to the family, fake future husband!!

So, he asked what the first thing I was going to bake was. And I said: coconut tres leeches cake.

Much like the patatas bravas, I haven’t had a chance to make this yet. But it’s from Food 52, so I feel like it’s gonna be delicious. It’s going to be the first thing I bake. I mean, I may throw a piece of salmon in the oven. But this will be the first cake-ular thing that happens. Because man should not live on bread alone. And let them eat cake. And I’m out of phraseology, but now I’m hungry for cake.

Fuck.

Coconut Tres Leches Cake from Food 52

Serves one 9×13 cake

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), plus more for the pan
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3/4 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • One 13 1/2 ounce can coconut milk
  • One ounces 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • Zest from 1 lime
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Heat the oven to 350. Butter a 9×13 baking dish. Melt the butter and honey together and set aside.
Whisk the flours, salt, and baking powder together in a medium bowl.
Beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a larger bowl until everything lightens in color and is nice and smooth. Now on lower speed or with a gentler arm, beat in the flour in 2 additions until the batter is just smooth. Fold in the butter and mix until it is just fully incorporated. Pour the batter into the pan and bake 25-30 minutes, rotating cake once halfway through, until it is golden and a toothpick comes out clean. This is going to look like a sort of shallow cake. Don’t worry.
While the cake bakes, mix the three milks (tres leches) together and also spread the coconut out on a baking sheet. When the cake comes out, pop the coconut into the oven to toast. Check and stir every 3-4 minutes. It should only take 8-9 minutes to get golden brown.
Use a toothpick to poke little holes all over the warm cake. Now pour the milk over it — slowly. It is going to look like a LOT of milk and you are going to want to panic. Don’t. My cake actually floated up like a raft briefly! But pour it all on and wait — 95% of that milk is going to adsorb into the cake and the rest is that lake you are looking for. Allow the cake to cool completely, and the toasted coconut as well.
Now whip the cream, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and lime zest together until stiff peaks form. Spread the cream over the cake, then sprinkle the coconut over top. You can dig in right now, our keep it in the fridge for 3-4 days, though I doubt it’ll last that long.
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In search of my collarbone: Roast Salmon and Southeast Asian Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad

I have a cool job.

I make commercials and videos. I met Big Bird once on a shoot. I produced a video for Small Batch Brewing Co., opening late summer 2013 in Winston-Salem! (See the video and support them here on Kickstarter!)

But shoots aren’t all fun and games and cavorting with Jim Henson’s Sesame Street Muppets. The hardest part about shoots isn’t about the work. It’s not about the long hours. It’s not about the potential challenges. It’s about the craft services.

Yeah. Craft services, or as those of us in the biz call it “crafty.” I don’t know why. Cause it’s cool? It sounds ridiculous. Like what ladies would call their Bible study knitting hour. “Y’all ready for crafty? We’re doing Leviticus today and purls.”

Anywho. Shoots take a long time. And in the down time, you go to craft services.

Craft services is this amazingly wonderful/evil buffet of snacks for you to eat during the long day when you’re hungry. And when you’re not hungry and you’re just looking for something to do. (Good eating habits!) There are healthy things like apples and veggie trays. And unhealthy things (read: DELICIOUSER THINGS) like beef jerky and quesadillas and fresh baked cookies. And it never runs out. And what’s even crazier is that you don’t even have to get up and go to the craft service table. PEOPLE BRING SNACKS TO YOU.

Needless to say, you (I) eat too much and you (I) need to get your (my) shit together and eat healthier. So you (I) make roast salmon and Southeast Asian Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad.

This dish was stupid good. And stupid easy. And stupid healthy. All you needed was the stupid stuff. I didn’t have any of it at home. Except for salt and pepper. I’m an ADULT!

I roasted the salmon in the oven. One filet at 350 with salt, pepper and olive oil for about 20 minutes. Picture perfect.

The salad has simple ingredients, but a deep flavor. It’s basically all veg and herbs. And it’s oil free, so it helps combat all those trips to craft service.

Enjoy with a friend. Preferably one who is 8’2” and yellow. Birds like fish, right?

Southeast Asian Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad from PopSugarFood 

  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 large or 4 medium heirloom tomatoes, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • ½ seedless English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • ½ jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Thai or regular basil, cut into a chiffonade, cause we’re fancy
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Whisk together the fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.

Add the sliced tomato, cucumber, scallions, and jalapeño, basil, and cilantro; gently toss to coat. Serves four.

Except the garlic. I forgot the garlic for the picture. What an ass.

Except the garlic. I forgot the garlic for the picture. What an ass.

This salad dressing is oil-free and is delicious as is, though a sparing drizzle of toasted sesame oil wouldn’t hurt. Treat yo’ self.

The highest compliment I got about the salad is that "it looked like the picture." Boom.

The highest compliment I got about the salad is that “it looked like the picture.” Boom.

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