My Dad’s Grilled Cheese Happy Place

by Addie, age 10 1/2

Addie with Grilled Cheese for DOOF

You know that feeling of you just went to your happy place I get that feeling every time I eat my dad’s grilled cheese. I don’t know what he does to it, or is it just how he waits till that perfect second to take it off whatever he does to it they taste great.

Addie's Grilled Cheese

All the restaurants just make it too fancy my dad just uses Kraft cheese and whatever bread we have. To me my dad’s grilled cheeses are the best in the universe, but that’s just my opinion I wish I could have them 24-7 that would be awesome, and the best part is my dad likes making them so that’s great sometimes I see him sneak a bite.

I think he should open a restaurant and all they serve are my dad’s grilled cheese, but sadly that can’t happen my dad is already busy enough with work and all that.

Someday I hope that he will tell me his secret so I can make them for my kids when I’m older.

What I’m wondering: what food takes you to your happy place?

Addie with ZeBot

Want to write your own food blog for DooF?

ZeCaptiva Coconut Caper

Zebra Beach Picnic on Captiva Golf Course

When it comes to exploring, zebras (like kids) really know how to earn their stripes!

My Uncle Zep (also known as ZeGreat Chef Zepicure) and I got together to spend a whole month exploring a magical island called Captiva, which is just off the west coast of Florida in ZeGulf of Mexico.

The place where we’ve had our ZHQ (zebra headquarters) is called South Seas Island Resort — which was once a big plantation. In the early 1900s, it was one of the world’s largest growers of Key limes!

ZeScoutAbout at Beach

We’ve been roaming ZeBeaches and mangrove forests in search of adventure—and an island fruit that could keep us going strong through all our explorations, which tend to make us super hungry and thirsty.

Well, you can imagine how excited we were when we found these big nutty-looking green things underneath a palm tree. We thought it was really cool that they had subtle stripes—and decided to call them ZebraNuts.

Coconut Top Flying Off

To read ZeRest of the story of how our Jamaican buddy Jade gave us the REAL island scoop on these exotic fruits (and to check out our aMazing recipe for coconut smoothies), please visit me at ZeBot’s Kitchen!

ZeBig Chill: A Zebra Investigates Freeze-Dried Fruit

ZeBot & ZeBig Chill Snowman in Snow with White Frameby ZeBot Zebra

One thing zebras know is that when we don’t know something we want to know, it’s time to start asking lots of questions.

Case in point: the other day, I overheard some scientific humans discussing “freeze-drying” as a good way to preserve fresh fruit. Supposedly, when you freeze-dry fruit, it will keep its great taste and color for years and years!

Frosty Life Around the Fruit Bowl

Well, I’m a huge fan of fruit, so that sounded totally cool to me (pun totally intended)! But how the heck would a zebra go about freeze-drying?

My zebra buddies and I decided to get some frosty advice from our coolest friends: the SnowDudes and the Penguin Brothers. They said they were pretty sure they’d seen a polar bear freezing-drying his own food, so how hard could it be?

Apples, Polar Bear Style

For the rest of this super-cool story (including amazing food science, a chilled-out video & easy recipe for homemade honey-vanilla frozen yogurt), click here to be transported to ZeBot’s Kitchen!

ZeFrozen Yogurt Close-Up

ZeHunger Challenge

ZeBot's Hunger Challengeby ZeBot Zebra

Zebras love challenges (including learning to cook and write without the benefit of opposable thumbs). And we’re always hungry for new things—new foods, new friends, new ideas.

So when I heard about the Hunger Challenge, I knew I wanted to give it a try—but in a ZeZillion years, I could never have imagined how powerfully it would help me learn about the world around me.

The Hunger Challenge is a five-day journey initiated by the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, whose executive director Paul Ash describes it as a special way to “become an advocate for the hungry.”

ZeBot Lentils

How do you do it? Well, it’s pretty simple, but not easy.

All you need to do is live on a food stamp budget ($4.50 per person/zebra per day) that’s supplemented by a list of fresh seasonal foods and staples that are available at the local food pantry.

By asking people (and zebras) to participate in the challenge, the Food Bank is hoping to create a perspective of understanding and empathy.

“We can read articles and digest statistics,” Paul says, “but until hunger is a visitor at your table, it’s difficult to wrap your head around the complexity of the problem.”

I wanted to wrap my head and heart and stripes around the challenges: I know that 1 in 4 local residents go hungry every day. And in other parts of the country and the world, the problem is even bigger.

Read more of ZeBot’s story — and find Deborah Madison’s Caramelized Tofu recipe here!

Cooking Up ZePerfect Mardi Gras

ZeBot New Orleans Mardi Gras

If there’s one thing zebras love, it’s a celebration!

And when it’s Mardi Gras, which is all about local traditions, food, family and friends–well, that makes us so happy that our stripes start to turn colors.

Purple, green and gold, to be exact.

In New Orleans, Mardi Gras celebrations are the most brilliantly colorful parties of the year.

In fact, you’ll see the signature purple, green and gold just about everywhere you look.

Why purple, green and gold? Well, each color has a special meaning: purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power.

These became the celebration’s official colors back in 1872, when the first Mardi Gras parade brightened the streets of New Orleans.

“But what IS Mardi Gras?”  you may ask.

Great question! To find out, come visit me in my kitchen — right here!

ZeBot's Mardi Gras ZeSearch

Eileen’s Noodle Kugel

Recipe by: Simply Irresistible: Easy, Elegant, Fearless,  Fussless Cooking by Sheilah Kaufman  www.cookingwithsheilah.com

*Note from Author: A superb dish guaranteed to have everyone asking for the recipe! The tiny noodles are the secret to making this dish so great (which are different than the typical kugel egg noodles pictured above). This is the first kugel I ever loved however, and the only one I like to eat!  Believe it or not, it can be made low-fat.

Ingredients:

8 oz tiny (soup) noodles, cooked according to package directions
5 large eggs
1 lb. cottage cheese (regular or low fat)
2 cups sour cream (regular or low fat)
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
2 sticks butter or margarine, softened to room temperature
8 oz cream cheese (regular or low fat) softened to room temperature
cinnamon to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 F.  Grease a lasagna size baking dish.
Add salt to the boiling water before cooking the noodles. Cook the noodles for 5 minutes in boiling water. Drain well. Let cool before mixing with eggs and other ingredients.
In a bowl, beat the eggs.
Using a wooden spoon, or hand mixer, combine the remaining ingredients and stir in the noodles and eggs.
Pour mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top and bake for 5 minutes. This sets the custard.
Reduce heat to 350 F and continue baking for another 45 to 50 minutes (depends on size of your pan) until lightly browned on top. Freezes beautifully after cooling to room temperature. Serves 8 to 12.

Roasted Onion & Shallot Soup

Easy, elegant, healthful… what more could you want?

Recipe By: Simply Irresistible: Easy, Elegant, Fearless, Fussless Cooking by Sheilah Kaufman  www.cookingwithsheilah.com

Ingredients:

  1. 4 medium onions, peeled and thickly sliced
  2. 12 large shallots, peeled and halved (or 16 small)
  3. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  4. Salt
  5. 1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
  6. 6 to 8  fresh thyme sprigs
  7. 6 tablespoons brown or white rice – optional
  8. 6 cups chicken stock or Swanson’s Vegetable broth or 3 cups of each
  9. 1/ 4 to 1/ 2 cup dry white sherry
  10. 1/ 2 to 3/4 cream or half or half

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Place onions and shallots on a large jellyroll pan. Sprinkle with olive oil; toss vegetables to coat lightly with oil. Sprinkle vegetables with salt, sugar, and thyme sprigs. Roast, turning vegetables occasionally, for 45 to 50 minutes, or until lightly golden. Place vegetables in a 5 to 6 quart pot. Add rice, if using, and vegetable stock. Cover pan and simmer 35 minutes.  Remove thyme sprigs. Using a blender or food processor, puree soup (this may have to be done in batches) and return to pot.  Stir in sherry and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add cream, mix well, heat through and serve.  Serves 8.

Greek Salad

Ingredients

4 cups romaine lettuce torn (did you know the darker the lettuce, the healthier?)
1/2 cup onion red, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cucumber thinly sliced
1/2 cup tomatoes cherry, halved
1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons vinegar red wine
1/2 teaspoon oregano dried
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil extra-virgin

Directions

Combine first five ingredients (through feta) in a large bowl.

Combine the next four ingredients (through salt) in a small bowl. Gradually add the 1 tablespoon olive oil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Drizzle oil mixture over salad; toss well.

Veggie Fried Rice

By: YouveGotSupper.com

Ingredients

1 cup(s) brown long grain rice
1 egg(s)
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp ginger
1 cup(s) edamame shelled (frozen), thawed
1/ 2 cup(s) red bell pepper chopped
1/ 2 cup(s) scallion(s) sliced
2 tbsp soy sauce low sodium
1 tsp sesame seed oil

Directions

1. Cook rice according to package directions (brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice). Spread rice on a baking dish coated with cooking spray when done (this will let the rice cool quickly before toasting).
2. While rice is cooling, pour beaten egg in a skillet over medium heat coated with cooking spray. Let set for 1 to 2 minutes. Break into large chunks and remove from pan. Wipe out pan.
3. Heat 2 tsp vegetable oil in pan. Add cooled rice and cook without stirring for 6 – 7 minutes until browned (let it sit longer for more crunchy rice). Flip rice with spatula and let it brown for a few more minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook for another minute.
4. Stir in veggies and cook until heated through. Add soy sauce, sesame oil and egg. Serve.

Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Bread

By: What’s Cooking

Ingredients

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs
1 cup mashed cooked fresh pumpkin
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown
sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
6 (1 ounce) squares
BAKER’S Semi-Sweet Baking
Chocolate coarsely chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 350? Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices until well blended; set aside.

Beat eggs, pumpkin, sugars, milk and oil in large bowl with wire whisk until well blended.

Add dry ingredients; stir just until moistened.

Stir in chopped chocolate.

Pour into greased 9×5-inch loaf pan.

Bake 55 minutes to 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack. Cut into slices to serve.