Food on Fridays: We Are Real (and so is the food)

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Here at the Food on Fridays carnival, any post remotely related to food is welcome—though we love to try new dishes, your post doesn’t have to be a recipe. If you want to tell us about the first person who taught you to cook, that’s great. Posts like that are as welcome as menus and recipes.When your Food on Fridays contribution is ready, just grab the broccoli button (the big one above or smaller option at the bottom) to paste at the top of your post and join us through Simply Linked (a new tool I’m trying out this week).Here’s a Mr. Linky tutorial:

Write up a post, publish, then return here and click on Mr. Linky below. A screen will pop up where you can type in your blog name and paste in the url to your own Food on Fridays post (give us the exact link to your Food on Fridays page, not just the link to your blog).You can also visit other people’s posts by clicking on Mr. Linky and then clicking participants’ names–you should be taken straight to their posts.Please note: I’ll do my best to update this post by hand. In the meantime, please click on the Mister Linky logo to view the complete list.

Food on Fridays Participants

1. Melodie (My New Kitchen) W/VEGETARIAN LINKY2. Alex@A Moderate Life- healthy chocolate chip cookies3. Mixed Greens Master Mix4. Aubree Cherie (French Onion Tart – Gluten and Dairy Free)5. Baked Chicken Tenders @ Gettin’ Healthy Cheap 6. April@ The 21st Century Housewife (Stephanie’s Soda Bread)7. Grilled Peaches w/ Homemade Whipped Cream8. Kristen (shrimp carbonara)9. Sara (rhubarb berry cheesecake pie)10. Tara @ Feels Like Home (Polynesian pork chops) 11. Easy To Be Gluten Free – Chicken Chilaquiles Casserole 12. Summer Chicken Salad & One of my Poems13. Janis@ Open My Ears Lord14. Shirley @ gfe (Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins)15. Odd Mom (Broccoli- Lemon Couscous)16. Strawberry Soup @ Susannah’s {Kitchen}17. If it looks, If it tastes, it is not18. Beth Stedman (Olive Oil Cake)19. Vegetables & Heat20. Mustard Baked Chicken @frugalcrunchychristy

Food on Fridays with Charity!This week at High Calling Blogs (HCB), we launched a writing project called “You Are Real,” inviting network bloggers to write about connections they’ve made—real connections—with other bloggers. People throughout the HCB community are swapping posts. Charity Singleton of Wide Open Spaces is my guest blogger today for Food on Fridays, and I’m appearing at her place. Click HERE to read my post for today.So… may I introduce to you my new and very real friend, Charity Singleton:Long before I drove the 20 minutes to Ann Kroeker’s house, I knew we were both Hoosiers. She had told me so on Facebook.Before I ever sat with Ann on her patio and talked about organic farming, I knew she pulled her weeds by hand. She wrote about once in an email.And before I had the chance to sit at the dinner table with her and her children or drink a cup of her husband’s strong coffee, I knew Ann cared deeply about her family. I read about them in one of her posts on The High Calling Blogs.By the time I actually met Ann, we were already friends.

Developing relationships online is relatively new for me. Until about four years ago, I thought of the internet as nothing more than a tool. I used it for researching recipes, sending emails, and occasionally buying a book or an airline ticket. But then, I started writing a blog.Blogging gave me a way to claim a little space of my own out in cyberspace. As an aspiring writer, I had hoped it would be like hanging my virtual shingle. As it turned out, it was more like creating a home where I could invite people in. And the community that eventually developed is what this “We are Real” project is all about.It was my very first contact in the blogging world that providentially made my online life “real.” Ironically, I met her first in person at a writing conference. But since we lived several states away, our friendship quickly took to the ‘net.In those early days of blogging, I wasn’t always sure what to make of it, what would become of it. Back in 2006, I posted this comment on my friend’s blog: “Blogging is just another hue on the increasingly gray-scale palette of my life. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Sometimes a waste of time. Sometimes a perfectly useful way to process. Never always one way.”Then I was diagnosed with cancer. I hadn’t been blogging much in the few months prior. I was restless and distracted. The relationships I had started to build online seemed easy to set aside in favor of the drama that was unfolding in my real life. But I knew the people I was avoiding were real, too, and were probably wondering where I was. So I told them.Two days later, I found myself in the hospital.I know it was God’s providence that I reached out to my online community like I did just days before cancer. He knew I would need their support, would need their words of encouragement. When I finally made it home after a couple of weeks in the hospital and gathered the energy to post what I had been through, the response was overwhelming. Our relationship wasn’t just bits and bytes floating through cyberspace. It was real.Through continued connections with this same community that supported me through the ups and downs of cancer treatment and recovery, my path eventually crossed with Ann. Because we already knew each other online and had many mutual friends there, it was only natural to meet in person when we discovered we lived only 20 minutes apart.

The other thing you should know about my relationship with Ann, however, is this. Long before we ever sat at my table and enjoyed zucchini brownies, and long before we sat at her table sharing a plate of cookies, I knew Ann likes food. I read about it here, on a Friday.One of our first interactions came as a result of her now famous steel cut oatmeal recipe. And since then, every time we’ve met there’s been some type of food exchange, including the zucchini dumping (er, I mean “gifting”) that I did the morning we went running togetherThese online relationships, they’re real alright. Ann has the zucchini to prove it.

In the tradition of Food on Fridays, here’s a great recipe for artisan bread I shared with Ann recently. It is from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery that Revolutionizes Home Baking by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois (Thomas Dunne Books, 2007).Serves 4Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance.

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (about 1-1/2 packets)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 6-1/2 cups unbleached flour, plus extra for dusting dough
  • Cornmeal

In a large plastic resealable container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm (about 100 degrees) water. Using a large spoon, stir in flour, mixing until mixture is uniformly moist with no dry patches. Do not knead. Dough will be wet and loose enough to conform to shape of plastic container. Cover, but not with an airtight lid.Let dough rise at room temperature, until dough begins to flatten on top or collapse, at least 2 hours and up to 5 hours. (At this point, dough can be refrigerated up to 2 weeks; refrigerated dough is easier to work with than room-temperature dough, so the authors recommend that first-time bakers refrigerate dough overnight or at least 3 hours.)When ready to bake, sprinkle cornmeal on a pizza peel. Place a broiler pan on bottom rack of oven. Place baking stone on middle rack and preheat oven to 450 degrees, preheating baking stone for at least 20 minutes.Sprinkle a little flour on dough and on your hands. Pull dough up and, using a serrated knife, cut off a grapefruit-size piece (about 1 pound). Working for 30 to 60 seconds (and adding flour as needed to prevent dough from sticking to hands; most dusting flour will fall off, it’s not intended to be incorporated into dough), turn dough in hands, gently stretching surface of dough, rotating ball a quarter-turn as you go, creating a rounded top and a bunched bottom.Place shaped dough on prepared pizza peel and let rest, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it in lidded container. (Even one day’s storage improves flavor and texture of bread. Dough can also be frozen in 1-pound portions in airtight containers and defrosted overnight in refrigerator prior to baking day.) Dust dough with flour.Using a serrated knife, slash top of dough in three parallel, 1/4-inch deep cuts (or in a tic-tac-toe pattern). Slide dough onto preheated baking stone. Pour 1 cup hot tap water into broiler pan and quickly close oven door to trap steam. Bake until crust is well-browned and firm to the touch, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven to a wire rack and cool completely.

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  • Comments

    1. I have met Amber from Strocel.com when I was on holidays in her neck of the woods. It was great. I’d really love to meet more of my bloggy friends though. Maybe next year I’ll take in one of the blog conferences.

    2. Hi ann! Happy friday! Don’t you LOVE making real connections with those you have shared emails and blog posts and finally a cup of coffee? Great for you! I look forward to going to the WAPF conference in november to meet up with loads of real food bloggers! My recipe this week is a healthy chocolate chip recipe from Mark Bittman. Enjoy! Alex@amoderatelife

    3. It is nice to “meet” you Charity. Thank you for sharing your story, and also your recipes!

    4. I found you through Breastfeeding Moms Unite. I’m enjoying my browse.

      Thanks for the linkup and have a great weekend.

    5. Hi Ann,

      I’m moving my Tasty Tuesday to Friday to link up with your “Food on Fridays”. Thanks for the opportunity to join.

      This ideal that we are real to one another online has exploded through HCB. It’s exciting to see and to be part of the experience.

      Hi Charity, I loved Ann’s story about the two of you meeting. Hope I meet someone close by that is also part of HCB. But I am grateful for the friends I have made through these online connections.

      Have a great Friday,

      Janis

    6. Great idea for a series! It’s nice to meet Charity. :-) I’ve met lots of my online friends and it’s been wonderful! I’ll meet even more at IFBC next month–can’t wait! I liken online friends to old-fashioned pen pals … you get to know each other over time hearing about daily events in one’s life, favorite recipes, etc. Not that different, huh?

      The Artisan Bread Book even has gf recipes that people love. :-)

      Shirley

    7. Thanks for introducing us to Charity!

      Blessings, e-Mom @ Susannah’s {Kitchen}

    8. My blogging friends are every bit as real to me as my IRL friends! The internet has expanded my world and I am grateful!

    9. I accidentally linked twice (I think – it doesn’t show up when I refresh?) sorry for the double link1

    10. Hi Ann,

      I loved reading yours and Charity’s stories about your burgeoning and very real friendship — what a great thing that is!

      I, too, have enjoyed getting to know you a bit more through our email interactions about writing, and through your writing on HCB — I look forward to growing our friendship!

    11. I love how you both have brought FOOD into these stories! Isn’t it true that our most intimate conversations and closest bonds often happen around tables? Would love to pull up a chair with the two of you someday…

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