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Yes, yes. You read that right, cherry ketchup. I recently found myself with some excess cherries and instead of going the boring jam route, I thought I would mix it up a bit. This cherry ketchup has a rich and spicy flavor you won’t find in a Heinz bottle; you’ll want to use it on everything.

This recipe makes a small amount (only a 8 oz.), but it could easily be doubled or tripled if you wanted to make a big batch. And believe me, you will.



July 3-10 is COSE’s annual Northeastern Ohio Buy Local Week, a cause I happily support. The goal of the week is to have as many people as possible pledge to redirect $100 to local businesses and follow through with that pledge. I’ve made my pledge and suggest you make yours because for every $100 you spend in NEO, $45 of it stays right here. You can pledge your support here and if you do you’ll get a discount card you can use at 40 local businesses.

Being a fat guy, I’d suggest you spend that $100 on Northeastern Ohio food. In addition to having some of the best chefs and restaurants in this country, there are fabulous small-scale food producers and fresh farmers markets across the area. Here’s 11 ways you can spend your $100 on local food during the week of July 3-10, feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments:

  1. Grab a couple of pints of East Coast Frozen Custard.
  2. Lunch at Lola.
  3. Buy all of your produce at your local farmers market.
  4. Mow on a Parmageddon at Melt.
  5. Chill out with a 6-pack of Lake Erie Monster from Great Lakes Brewing.
  6. Find your nearby Mom & Pop pizza shop, you deserve it.
  7. Mounds and mounds of Greenhouse Tavern fries.
  8. Pick a few pints of berries, there’s only like 100 places.
  9. Find a farmer, buy whatever they got, it’s gonna be good.
  10. Local goat cheese is extra creamy.
  11. $100 worth of pies is a great way to end any meal.

Photo: Julia Manzerova

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Having read and written about food so much (and eaten so much) it’s rare for me to come across a food I’ve never even heard of before. But alas, that was the case with these little guys. These guys are called Feijoas, or sometimes Pineapple Guava.

As you can see they are about the size of a small lime with a skin of a similar texture. To eat one, simply slice it in half and scoop out the sour & sweet fruit. There are little cavities that hold the seeds in a jelly-like substance which is super-sweet. This is surrounded by a firmer flesh that is a little bit gritty, like a pear can be, and it has a bit of a sour taste. The combination of the two is a really unique taste and I’ve become a big fan of it quickly.   

Feijoas are available at Giant Eagle supermarkets, so considering picking a few up your next time in. I bet it won’t be the last time you do.

Full disclosure: I did receive 4 of these guys, so I could describe their delicious flavor to you.



I’m not a cake person.  Especially that pedestrian cake that they sell at your local grocery store, that shit is awful. I’d rather have a nice golden brown fruit pie. Preferably apple or strawberry.

My beautiful and amazing wife however, is a cake person. Specifically chocolate cake. So this year for her second consecutive 29th birthday, I surprised her with quite possible the most luxurious chocolate cake ever made.

This cake was comprised of two unbelievably moist chocolate cakes, between which was an extra thick layer of creamy chocolate mousse. If that wasn’t rich enough, the entire thing was covered in chocolate ganache. Lots of chocolate ganache. Easily 1/4 inch in some places. On the top was some decorative chocolate swirls and sugar flowers, which for some reason my wife really thinks are delicious (She drinks).

I can not even begin to describe how wonderful this cake tasted. Chocolate times 1000! It’s almost overwhelming. After enjoying the delicate inside you get to basically eat an entire candy bar that has been wrapped around the outside. You really feel like you’ve accomplished something after eating a slice. And damnit, that’s the way dessert should be!

You might be wondering where I obtained such a wonderful cake, a fancy boutique bakery perhaps? Absolutely not. I was introduced to a woman who makes these cakes out of her house. As you can see she’s amazingly talented and she’s working up to doing this full time. She lives on the near East-side of Cleveland and she’s available to make a cake for you too. In the interest of keeping her personal contact information off of the Internet, if you’d like to order a cake from her leave a comment down below and I’ll send you her email address.

Update: No email address for you! The aforementioned cake lady is leaving the state. No more secret cake lady.


A 20 Minute tomato soup recipe, huh? What’s the big deal how long it takes?

People are lazy these days. Really freakin’ lazy. I’m quite sure that most people would much rather pop the top on a can of Campbell’s tomato soup than take time to make their own tomato soup.

And you know what? That’s completely f’n dumb.

Did you know Campbell’s tomato soup has high fructose corn syrup in it? What about 480mg of sodium or 20% of your suggested daily sodium intake? FOR A HALF CUP! When was the last time you ate half a cup of soup?

I’m certainly no health nut, but if you can make your own delicious tomato soup in about the same amount of time it takes to open and heat up a can of Campbell’s why wouldn’t you?

Look at that picture! Hot damn do I love that picture. I had just gotten a new lens for my camera (If you have a Nikon camera this lens is the shit and it’s inexpensive.) and I needed some recipes so I could put it through it’s paces. Doing low carb at the time, I figured a homemade beef jerky recipe would be perfect. Not only could I put together a nice piece for the website, but I’d also end up with some delicious beef jerky.

Good intentions often end in miserable failure.

I decided to make a ground beef jerky as I’d made the simple dried jerky before and that’s a boring ass recipe. Things started out fine, I got that sexy shot of the meat all ground up in the food processor, added some seasonings and then I took this frankly, disgusting shot: 

Isn’t that appetizing? Mmmm, mish-mash meat. I’m salivating.

I should have stopped right there and given that to my dog. That would have been the wise thing to do. But I am a complete moron, this is well recorded. So I rolled this meat out between to sheets of wax paper until it was incredibly thin.

I figured that since the box of wax paper says all over the damn thing that’s it’s “great for baking” that it would be cool to just leave the meat on the wax paper while it cooked. It was at low temperatures, right?

Not right at all. By the time the jerky was done that wax paper had joined forces with the meat to combine one inseparable soul. So those people at Cut-Rite can kiss my big Irish ass.

Additionally, the meat had become very brittle and offered the most unpleasant texture to anyone daring enough to eat it. I still tried to force the issue by getting some showcase shots of the final product for the website, but that too, sucked:


If that doesn’t look like tree bark…and it didn’t taste much different than bark either, so it was the whole package.

What a waste.

In the end, my dog did get to eat the meat, or what was left of it, you certainly couldn’t call it meat.

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This one isn’t for the feint of heart, but it is highly recommended for those that enjoy incredibly delicious pieces of animals. This idea came to me one day after I had roasted a chicken for dinner and stood there picking off the tasty pieces of crispy skin.

“Why the hell don’t they sell pre-cooked chicken skin?”

And then my wife gave me that blank stare where I knew she was thinking to herself “Why did I marry this guy?”

And that is when I knew I had a hit. Because if my wife thinks it’s ridiculous, it’s got to be tasty. 

Making chicken bacon is super easy, it only costs about $5 and you’re left with a whole chicken to do with what you wish. Well, maybe not what you wish. I mean, it is kinda slippery and has a cavity and all…so use the chicken for food, please.



Nobody bakes bread anymore. Well, maybe a couple of blue-haired old ladies do, but that’s just because they don’t have jobs and must do something to justify their existence. 

People think that making bread to laborious and time consuming, but that’s not the truth at all.  Bread making is not only easy (especially with the help of a food processor or mixer), but it also produces some kick-ass product that you can’t buy at the grocery store. Filling your house with the aroma of baking bread isn’t a horrible thing either.

This is a fantastically simple recipe from Mark Bittman. There’s only 5 minutes of real work on your part, the rest of the time lively little yeasts are doing the heavy lifting for you. And your work consists of turning the knob on a food processor and rolling a doughball, so quit being a lazy S.O.B. and get to making bread.


59 days into my diet, my scale this morning registered 302 pounds. If you’re keeping track, that is 34 pounds gone and so damn close to being under 300 I can taste it. 10% of my starting body weight gone. That shit rocks the freakin’ house.

A few days into the diet, my mother-in-law asked me why I was going on a diet. I answered, obviously, “To lose weight.” I think a better question would have been “Why are you going on a diet now?” The answer to that is a bit more interesting and the culmination of a couple of events.



lucky_penny_logo Abbe Turner is a hard woman to keep up with. As we walk through the pasture on which her goats graze she points out heirloom apple trees full with blossoms scattered amongst the plain and describes the flavors of all the delicious apples they harvest each year.

Before I can even finish absorbing what an apple that tastes "just like a glass of Chardonay" may be like, she spots some edible Johnny Jump-up flowers that she says can be a nice addition to chevre. Almost instantly, she’s on one knee in her big rubber boots pulling up some for me to try (pretty, but didn’t taste like much). 

Strolling through her farm, she talks about how important local food is to her, what it means to be a artisan producer, the challenges that come with it, but most importantly, how much she loves being a part of this movement. All with a youthful exuberance that you’d never expect from someone that only sleeps 4 hours a night and is barely 3 months into opening an business. 

But that’s Abbe. Very early on in meeting her it’s clear that she’s filled with an unending passion accompanied with a vision as to how she wants to share that passion with the rest of the world.  For Abbe Turner, that is through her cheese.

To Love a Goat


Great cheese comes from loved goats. From morning to night, the goats on the Lucky Penny Farm are loved and cared for to produce the best tasting milk for superior cheeses. Even the types of goats they use are the result of careful decision making based on the qualities of the milk each produces. The farm has Nubian, La Mancha and Alpine Dairy goats, the milk from all of which is mixed to make a truly unique product you won’t find anywhere else. (Although I must note that the La Mancha goats kinda creeped me out, I mean, just look at em.)

Everything for these goats is done right here on their farm in little Garrestville, Ohio, from growing the hay for feed to milking. And it’s all done naturally, without any chemicals or pesticides, so you don’t have to worry about any of that crap being in your cheese. It’s probably a lot more work that way, but they believe their dividends are paid in higher quality cheese.

An Urban Creamery

23 miles away from the Lucky Penny Farm, in Downtown Kent, is the creamery where their beautiful goats milk it transformed into the creamiest goat cheeses I’ve ever eaten. The creamery is currently producing the classic chevre cheese along with a briny feta and plans for expansion into other types of cheeses and candies are already on paper.
Downtown Kent, in an old, run-down Union hall is about the last place in the world you’d expect to find an artisanal creamery, but after months of hard work the urban creamery is now living and breathing. The building will soon be home to a retail center where you can buy artisan cheeses from all over the country as well as other specialty food products.

The creamery is also providing a valuable service to other small scale farmers. As you can imagine, building a creamery from the ground up is not an inexpensive endeavor, as a result many small farmers can’t process their milk for cheese and end up just selling their milk off. The Lucky Penny Creamery is providing an outlet for those farmers to have their milk processes into cheese so that they too can have a cheese business, or use it for their own consumption.

Where to buy Lucky Penny Farm Cheese

If you’re interested in trying Lucky Penny Cheese in Northeastern Ohio it is available for retail purchase at the Mustard Seed Market and many local farmers markets so be sure to keep an eye out for it. You can also find Lucky Penny Cheese at some of Cleveland’s finest restaurants like The Greenhouse Tavern and Fire.

The retail store in Kent at the creamery should be open in the next month if you’re interested in going to the source. I would also recommend whether it’s at a market or your favorite restaurant, that you request Lucky Penny Farm Creamery cheeses by name, not only will you help out a great local business, but you’ll be doing something good for the advancement of local food in Northeastern Ohio.

Lucky Penny Farm Creamery