Monthly Archives: October 2010

Let’s Do This

Just a quick update before I head off to my annual foray into overeating….

My yearly tradition of competitive eating….

My yearly spike of sodium and caloric intake….

The Eat A Thon.

Bring. It. On.

I get weirdly nervous before this competition every year.  But we’re only a few hours out….so I’m ready to get in the mindset of eating some serious wings (for a good cause). So here we go…time for some motivational trash talking:

You are going down, Wings.  Just think just because you’re an appetizer I won’t annihilate you and all your friends?  Wrong.   You’re not even a tough appetizer: not wrapped in bacon.  No toothpick required.  You’re only a breath away from chicken strips and you know who eats chicken strips?  Little kids.

So don’t think your so tough, stacked up in a big pile hot from the fryer.  You’re all sauce and suckage, Wings.   I am going to eat you like I was born and raised in Buffalo.

Wish me luck!

xoxo Flyover Foodie

Friday Hot Dish- 10/15

Hope you saved room, because here’s the


1. This week was the World Food Prize, an annual celebration of those who have made contributions to end world hunger.  The event was started by Dr. Norman Borlaug, a native son born, raised, and educated in Flyover country.  He’s also a Nobel prize winner who is credited with saving more lives than anyone in history.   That’s one hell of an accomplishment.  Spend a couple minutes reading about the past recipients of the honor….it’s an inspiring group: World Food Prize Laureates

All set up for the World Food Prize

2. I don’t have children (yet.) (No, that’s not a hint.) But I  have a slew of nieces and nephews with some food “issues”.  Too be fair, I used to cry when my mom made corned beef.  And my older sister used to shun all mom’s dinners in favor of sandwiches of white bread and ham and cheese loaf. (I know. Shudder).  Check out this awesome slide show of parents succumbing to kids’ tastes.  I’m am so making that ostrich egg.  Give ‘Em What They Want

3. So other than election results, what else is happening on November 2nd?  The return of the elusive cult favorite, the McRib.  I think the Handsome Husband already has it marked on his calendar.  McRib returns And yes,  there are people who hunt the elusive McRib down, trying to locate it in its natural habitat.  I think I may be married to one of them….McRib Hunters

4. New HOT DISH feature: There is so much food literature out there.  From books on eating well to collections of personal essays on food, to behind the scenes stories from some of America’s top restaurants.  So each week, I’ll link to a new food book for you to check out.

I’ll start with one I’ve actually read.   The bestseller Heat by Bill Buford is all about Mario Batali’s rise to fame, the kitchen at famed restaurant Babbo, and learning the art of butchering.  The stories of Batali’s appetite and energy are almost exhausting to read, but the full access he gave to the author makes it an amazing story.  The butchering Check it out here: Heat

Hope I peaked your appetites looking ahead to this gorgeous fall weekend.   More next week including our FINAL 30 before 30 recipe post.

xoxo Flyover Foodie



In Support of Overeating

“They that study hard ought not to eat so much as those that work hard, their digestion being not so good.” – Benjamin Franklin

There are a few times a year where we get to indulge; even a few times where we can overindulge.   But I’m a lucky girl: I actually get to overeat once a year to help raise money for a good cause!!

Clean and overeating here!

October 20th is the 5th annual Iowa Central American Relief Effort (I-CARE) Eat-A-Thon.   I-CARE is a non-profit started by two of my law school classmates.  After studying abroad and then returning to Nicaragua, they were moved to action by the poverty they witnessed.  And ICARE has grown each year: this year the non-profit began a revolving micro-loan fund to empower people to build a better future for themselves.

Best of all: they cover all the expenses of the non-profit themselves so 100% of the money raised benefits their projects in Central America.  Please read more about I-CARE here.

This is where I come in.  This is my FOURTH year participating in their largest fundraiser: the Eat -A-Thon.  The rules of the Eat A Thon are simple: 2 rounds, 15 minutes total, eat as many chicken wings as possible.  My supporters pledge money per wing…so each wing eaten equals money for charity.

UNFORESEEN BONUS: This is one of the few times I can use “literally” correctly…I have literally eaten as many as humanly possible (without dying) each year.  The evidence:


Not now bro, I'm in the zone.

The Results: 39 hot wings eaten in 30 minutes.


Getting down and dirty

Please note the pained look....that is dedication people!!

The results: 46 hot wings eaten in 15 minutes.  (I know…I’m a monster.)


This must be early...note the clean face.

And the results??  Last year I ate a personal best 47 wings in 15 minutes (Don’t act like you’re not impressed)

Over the  last few years I have eaten 132 wings and raised over $2,000.  Each wing has been worth an average of $10.00.  And next Wednesday….I’m doing it all again!!

If you are a fan of chicken, or charity, or just eating in general, would you consider helping me reach another personal best this year?  You have all been so supportive of this blog and I would love to have your support for my one annual charity event.  Your per wing pledge helps me raise money with EACH hot wing I consume and every penny goes to a good cause.

I mean…how often can you support a good cause that involves hot sauce and Tums.  Lots and lots of tums….

You want in?  Email me at and tell me your pledge.  THAT’S IT!  After the Eat A Thon, the non-profit directors will contact you with the gut-wrenching results and the steps to fulfill your pledge (PayPal, baby!)

Thanks for your support, both moral and financial!!

Any of you ever dabbled in competitive eating?  What food would you dominate an eating contest in?

xoxo Flyover Foodie

p.s. I promise to post post-competitive results here, along with some love for my donors!


“There is no untrue proverb” – Don Quixote

Dear Spain,

You are one of my dream destinations.  I already have a travel book all about you!   I would like to pre-apologize for the following account because I pretty much butcher your national dish.  Can I still come visit?  Maybe you could teach me a thing or two.  xoxo, FF

So, yeah.  Paella is harder than I thought.  My research lead me through dozens of different recipes.  Some cook over an open fire.  Some on the grill.  Some with seafood.  Some with chorizo.  Some with eel or rabbit.  And almost all requiring a paella pan.  Uh oh.  We are officially sans paella pan in the Flyover house.

I should have been further concerned when I realized paella was not one of the 28,442 recipes in The Joy of Cooking. ie. Not an average home meal.   I did find one recipe for paella that used a baking method and had made an appearance in Bon Appetit magazine.  Somewhat comforted, I made up my mind that this would be the best option with my lack of fire and pans.

I was buoyed further when Handsome Husband (who had a flirtation with Spain in his younger years) spotted this in the grocery store:


Mariscos Mixtos!!


FANTASTICO!  This would be my seafood mix for the recipe.   I would still have to cut the recipe since I was making it for two, but this amount of mixed seafood would be almost perfect.

Start by cooking the bacon in your pot, then remove and cook the chicken.  In goes the onion, the rice the pimentos (I also added roasted red peppers), and the saffron.  This will smell delicious and be full of potential:

Next I added the liquid and bring it to a simmer.   This mixture gets poured into a baking dish.   Rinse the seafood…..


Cuttlefish, shrimp, mussels, squid, and clams..........OH MY!


…and add to the rice mixture with the chicken.  Finally, the peas and the bacon pieces get sprinkled on top.  Cover the dish with foil and pop it into a 450° oven.




The recipe uses clams and mussels in their shells and requires cooking for 45 minutes or until the shells open.  Obviously, I was editing/reducing the recipe so I reduced the cooking time slightly so it wouldn’t be totally dry….maybe 30 minutes total.  And….




It was still kind of dry.  The reviews of the recipe on Epicurious noted that the seafood tended to get dried out and that the rice could get mushy.  Check and check.

Do I get sympathy points for plating?


A poor representation of Spain


True Spanish paella should have a crusty bottom and seafood that retains its flavor and texture.  It has a little bit of heat, but also the exotic warmth of the saffron and pimento.   Notsomuch for my paella.

UNFORESEEN BONUS: I learned two things.  1. Those marsicos mixtos would be great in a fun pasta dish.  I fully plan on purchasing those little guys again.  2. Some dishes require special equipment to fully realize their potential.  I have a feeling paella is one of those dishes.

I hate to say it, but I think this was probably my least successful dish of the list.  But I will not hold that against Spain.   And hopefully, Spain will not hold it against me.

I should probably just go there and learn what TRUE paella should taste like.  What do you say, Handsome Husband?  (hint, hint)

xoxo Flyover Foodie

p.s. Our FINAL 30 Before 30 post is coming up asap!!!

A Bowl of Nostalgia

“Only the pure of heart can make good soup.” – Beethoven

A few years ago I was lucky enough to spend a summer studying in France.  I like to think of this as the summer I ate my way around Europe.  And like most adventures in eating, I stumbled across something I loved and will forever associate with that summer: soupe de poisson.

It’s basically a French fish soup very similar to bouillabaisse.     It’s thick and garlicky, with a fish flavor that’s hearty but not heavy. There are dozens if not hundreds of versions, but I was hoping to find one close to what I remembered.  But first I had to track down a recipe…

Handsome Husband bought me a vintage copy of Larousse’s Gastronomique (first English version!) which had about 25 versions of fish stew/bouillabaisse in it.  Then I found this recipe from good ol’ Martha.  And this guide from, of all places, Country Living.

The methods and main ingredients were the same in all three of these sources.  So I figured I could follow that and tweak the ingredients to get the flavor I was looking for.   Annnnd, we’re off:


Tomatoes, onions, leeks, garlic, and bay leaf


The first round of ingredients go into the pot: tomatoes, leeks, onions, garlic, fennel, pepper, and saffron.  Let them soften and sweat for about 5 minutes.  Next add the fish, wine, and water to the pot and bring to a boil.  Let it simmer and make your kitchen smell delicious.

While the soup is simmering and reducing, slice up some thin slices of baguette and toast just slightly.  Prepare the rouille.  Rouille is a mixture of mayo, garlic, red pepper, and saffron.   Can I just mention that I LOVE that the French have multiple versions of “fancy mayonnaise”?  Genius.

The next step involves straining all the solids out of the soup.   You have to really push the soup through a sieve to get all the liquid out:


Straining out all the solids


I then did a quick mix with an immersion blender, to ensure it was really smooth.


Immersion blender....Best. Tool. Ever.


Now we’re ready to serve!   Ladle the soup into bowls, smear a little of the rouille on a slice of baguette, and float it on the soup.  Sprinkle a little Parmesan and VOILA!


Ahhhhhh! Just how the French intended!


A little chilled white from the Loire Valley and you’re all set. The soup is filling, without being heavy and it does have a fish flavor, but its not “fishy”.  I think for most of us in flyover country, its a really unexpected “seafood” dish and not what most poeple think of when they imagine French food.

UNFORESEEN BONUS: The recipes seemed much more surmountable that than making bouillabaisse!  Which, most aficionados will tell you takes hours if not days to make properly.    And you get to eat rouille (aka fancy mayonnaise)…which is DELICIOUS.

The best compliment

Plus, during dinner, you can regale your fellow diners with the tale. of the night in Nice when you got ketchup on your post-bar kebab and began a tradition called “The Throwing of the Kebab”.

I’m pretty sure they still celebrate it in France.

xoxo Flyover Foodie