Category Archives: Press

A Brunch at Franktuary with Brunchburgh!

March 2014

Brunch, how do I love thee? The perfect mix of sweet and savory, the balance of mugs of uppers and bubbly downers doused in orange juice, the slow pace, the revelry, and the reviving effects of food on laziness… Brunch, I love you, and I could count the ways!

Franktuary Bar

Though I spend a lot of time thinking, writing, serving, and blogging about brunch, my passion for this portmanteau meal meets its rival in Brunchburgh, a weekly podcast which asks, “what is it like to have brunch with ______?”

Reflections and Recordings

Each week, founder Mary E. Stewart eats and records brunch with a different Pittsburgh mover and shaker [hence the "burgh" in Brunchburgh]. Listening to the show is a lot like sitting at the table with the interviewee, so don’t listen while hungry. ;)

Franktuary Pews

I was honored when Mary asked me to be a guest on the show (as if I need any extra excuse to eat brunch on a Sunday morning). The choice of “recording studio” was up to me, so I chose Frankutary, a restaurant I love but had yet to experience by morning.

Irish Whiskey Breakfast

Our Brunchburgh session happened to fall on St. Patrick Day Eve (though Pittsburghers seem to drink the entire week prior to the holiday as if every day were the “eve”). In honor of the Irish (or perhaps in honor of those hungover in honor of the Irish?), the chef at Franktuary had crafted a themed menu [fastest way to my heart is through a theme!]. Though many options were appealing, one clearly stood out amongst the rest- the Irish Whiskey Breakfast. It appealed so much, Mary broke gluten rules, and I broke my own rule of not ordering the same thing as a table mate [it's all the better for sampling when everyone has something different].

The Irish Whiskey Breakfast Plate

If you’re curious about the above meal, how I received my name, or what it’s like to have brunch with me in general, give a listen to this episode of Brunchburgh with yours truly.

Single-Grain

Happy Listening!
-Quelcy

From Zero to Hero: 30 Days to a Better Blog

January 2014

One of the best pieces of advice a fellow blogger gave me was to take my template, make it unique and then charge full speed ahead. I spend a lot of time on this here corner of the blogosphere, so it was important for my site to reflect me as much as my wardrobe and home do. After several iterations, the best technique was to put pencil and puns to paper. After so many hours spent with my sketchbook, I was ecstatic WordPress took note. My drawings were featured in their series Zero to Hero: 30 Days to a Better Blog on the topic of customizing a blog.

2014.01 WordPress Zero to Hero

In addition to adopting a custom detail, the Zero to Hero series has plenty of great tips no matter where you are in your blogging journey, so check it out! In the meantime, I offer you this more detailed glimpse into my head, where sweets and social media combine via mechanical pencil…

Instagram

…and while we’re on the topic, do you follow me on instagram? I promise they aren’t all pictures of Julep [but full disclosure, a lot are because she is really adorable and growing up way too quickly].

Single-Grain

Cheers,
Quelcy

Urbanist Guide Pittsburgh: Three Meals & A Bar with… Me!

January 2014

Whether you’re a native or a newcomer, there’s a really useful and [most importantly to me] a very visual guide to Pittsburgh. Available in almost every nook and cranny of this steel town, the URBANIST guide facilitates pinpointing the city’s outstanding local businesses. Additionally, the forces behind the guide have been moving and shaking to put more events on the calendar including the amazing Low Country Boil last summer [apologies for bringing up summer in the heart of polar vortexes].

I was quite honored when the URBANIST asked me, if I only had 24 hours to show a friend the best that urban Pittsburgh has to offer, where would I take him or her?

Urbanist Guide Pittsburgh

To read all my suggestions for 24 hours in Pittsburgh, check out my interview here, and then come visit me!

Single-Grain
Cheers,
Quelcy

Wild Rice Salad Featured on WordPress’s Freshly Pressed

January 2013

WordPress gave me a birthday present, wrapped it up and tied it with a tag…

2014.01 WordPress Freshly Pressed

What an honor to have one of my posts featured on Freshly Pressed and on my birthday nonetheless. That makes for at least two reasons to dance around the apartment like a fool!

Wild Rice Salad 01

If these wholesome colors strike your fancy, check out the recipe here. Thanks to all those who left kind words in response!

Single-Grain

Cheers,
Quelcy

“Bourbon Desserts Will Change Your World For The Better” on HUFFPOST TASTE

September 2013

I was quite proud of my little Brown Butter Strawberry Bourbon Cake when it had its 15 minutes of fame in the Huffington Post’s online Taste section. The theme was kicking baking up a notch by adding bourbon, a kick I have been known to add here and there (and there and here for that matter).

Huffington Post Taste 01

After properly soaking up the excitement of seeing my little cake, I clicked through the other bourbon recipes, and my baking to-do list began to grow! There are some stylish shots of mouthwatering recipes in this line up! In the spirit of September being National Bourbon History Month, I highly suggest you click through this lineup and find some inspiration of your own.

Huffington Post Taste

Check out my full recipe for Brown Butter Strawberry Bourbon Cake, especially because it’s a cake I recommend eating for breakfast! Happy September bourbon-loving friends!

Redbook Wants To Add More Booze to Brunch! (me too!)

August 2013

I’m quite honored to see Redbook Magazine and I are on the same page. Let’s put some bourbon in our brunch…!

Redbook Pancakes

Get your daily serving of fruit and grains—and whiskey—from this southern recipe. The peaches ‘n cream combo dribbled on top of these dense, pillow-y soft cakes makes them almost too pretty to eat.

“Lemonade is Just One Step Away From World Domination…”

August 2013

“That last step is alcohol.”

Imagine my excitement when I discovered one of my cocktail recipes (styled by me and shot by Adam Milliron) in a BuzzFeed post with the words “World” and “Domination” in its title! Call me a megalomaniac or call me over on a hot day. The choice is yours, but I highly recommend the latter because Whiskey-Thyme Lemonade is lovely.

Buzzfeed Boozy Lemonades

Buzzfeed Boozy Lemonades 02

Check out the full recipe here.

How Bloggers Made Bon Appetit’s Plum Semifreddo [insert a series of excited obscenities here]

August 2013

To say I hold Bon Appétit magazine on a pedestal is an understatement. Color me content when I arrive home to see the beautiful magazine curled in my mailbox. I retrieve it, pour a cup of coffee, curl in my window-lit chair and pour over the cleanly styled images.

In a moment of personal triumph, in which I managed to plunge beyond oogling to making, I prepared my own version of the magazine’s plum semifreddo. Due to an obvious oversight, my version was a beet semifreddo. Long after my last melty bite, I happened to track a picture from Bon Appétit’s facebook page to their feature “Bloggers Cook BA.” While lamenting the fact that I hadn’t submitted my own rendition, I continued to click and arrived at a very familiar photo- my own! What followed was a series of internal expletives and surely some very stupidly excited facial expressions… something along the lines of “HOLY F&*KING S%&t YOU GUYS! I’M ON BON APPÉTIT!”

Bon Appetit Bloggers Cook BA

I was ecstatic!

Table Magazine Gatherings Issue: Part One

April/May 2013

Some say print is dying, but there’s nothing like the surprise of a magazine amidst the junkmail, foregoing responsibilities, sitting outside, feet up, an icy cocktail in hand and paging through beautiful spreads of food, interiors, fashion, etc. Some say print is dying, but there is something exciting, maybe even more exciting these days, about tangibility, especially, especially, especially when it’s your name in the print!

Table Mag

I regard myself as a professional picknicker, so it was fitting when my photographing friend Adam Milliron asked if I wanted to style a spread all about picnics. Of course I did! Then he asked if I wanted to style a rooftop deck for a cocktail gathering. Of course I did! Then he asked if I wanted to be in front of the camera for a change. Huh?

Final Shot_gatherings

The article’s concept was a gathering of friends- Italian style. Adam was asking if I wanted to join a group of foodies at a beautifully set table (styled by Suzanne Friday) on the patio of Il Pizzaioloa and eat authentic Italian cuisine. OF COURSE I DID!

Duane and Quelcy

I was in such good company it was easy to forget editors and a photographer and lights were all staring at us from the other side of the table. Duane Rieder poured (glass after glass!) his Engine House 25 wines (the smoky, caramely Port style was my favorite); Dylan Steigerwald, the restaurant’s manager, pointed us to his favorite pizza and cheeses (cheese board cravings have since commenced!), and Lou, better known as “The Pie Guy” and I exchanged stories of European journeys and secret pie ingredients.

Il Pizzaiolo Slice

This gathering enabled me to connect with new faces with similar interests. It also pushed me beyond the city limits to experience a beautiful courtyard just as spring had begun to paint with broad strokes of green.

Il Pizzaiolo Cheese Board

Encouraged to approach this gathering as I would any other gathering, I did what I always do- I brought a dessert! Though I have yet to experience it firsthand, when I imagine a meal’s finale at a true Italian table, I smell strong coffee and taste the tartness of palate cleansing lemon. These were the flavors I channeled for my contribution.

Quelcy Cutting Cake

The meal ended just like a patio gathering of friends should- a few more sips of wine, a slice of dessert, another little extra forkful of pie, espressos and friendly farewells and see-you-soons.

With The Grains Chocolate Espresso Cake

Be sure to pick up your copy of Table Magazine’s summer edition to see my food styling work from behind the camera! While you’re at it, kick up your feet, sip something icy and refreshing, and really enjoy paging through some print!

Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake with Whipped Lemon Mascarpone Topping & Candied Lemons (recipe to follow in subsequent post)

All photos in this post by Adam Milliron.  

A Cup of Tea With Me!

November 2012

If you have never seen the blog Tea With Me, you’re about to spend hours lost in Heather Mulholland’s beautiful photos of food and landscapes. Her photos are so vivid you will feel the mountain mist hitting your face, smell the food set before you at her table and feel the warmth of her gentle kindness.  I am so honored to share a cup of tea with Heather, albeit a digital cup. I am sure a real teapot is in our future. Until then, check out my spot of tea in her series…

 

A Cup of Tea With Me!

Thanks again, Heather! Also, check out her other tea guests. Heather has curated an inspiring lineup of lovely ladies with lots of creativity and passion.

Coffee, Donuts & A Little Bit of Press

November 2012

There it was, on a shelf at Goodwill. Was this gem too good to be true? Was it another example of why thrifted electronics are not to be trusted? Memories of the coffee grinder surfaced and pained me a bit. Then I spotted a gift from the gods- an electrical outlet. I looked to my left and right. The coast was clear (randomly plugging in appliances didn’t seem legal). I removed the donut-shaped gem from the box, plugged it in and voila! The tiny donut maker began to emit heat. WOOOOOOOOO! Success!!

An $8 Goodwill goldmine!

The Machine

The only piece missing was the user’s manual with recipes specific to the machine, but that’s why geeks invented the internet…or Al Gore? After a few Google consultations, little blank canvases emerged from the donut maker, ready to be rolled in butter or iced with divinely dark chocolate. My life had changed!

Basic Donut

Basic Whole-Wheat Donut Recipe

Ingredients

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup organic raw sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder

1 egg (local/free-range)
1/2 cup organic half & half
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 tbsp olive oil

*Extra olive oil for greasing the donut maker

Directions

Stir dry ingredients together.

Add egg, vanilla and half & half, and beat 1 minute with an electric mixer or vigorously by hand.

Add oil and continue to beat 1 minute.

Oil your donut maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions.

Donuts and Coffee

A Sunday morning with donuts, coffee and a newspaper seemed too good to be true, especially when I turned the page to a story about me..!

Stack o Donuts

Grain of Truth
A local food blogger reaches out … and within
by 

Characteristically, food blogger Quelcy Kogel first appears in an email — easier to reach her there, or at her With the Grains blog.

“You’ll arrive at a yellow brick building,” she writes of her Polish Hill digs. “The address is printed on the step to the left of the corrugated metal garage door. Follow that step and walk through the long, white hallway. If you find the hallway a bit creepy, you’re on the right track.” After a Byzantine series of twists and turns, “you’ll see a red wagon with empty wine bottles. That’s my apartment. I use the door farthest from the steps. The other door leads to my laundry room.”

If you enter the wrong door, the one with the torn screen, abandon all hope. You’ll find paint strips hanging from the ceiling, holes in the floor — basically post-Blitz London. “My apartment,” Kogel says with aplomb, “is a work in progress.” In other words, de rigueur for her emerging Polish Hill neighborhood.

The correct door, appropriately enough, opens into Kogel’s 1950s-style kitchen, all sink and stove and aquamarine cabinets and shelves. From there the visitor enters the adjacent dining room to join Kogel’s ad hoc Sunday brunch — her weekly opportunity to try out new recipes, to chat, to reminisce about her undergraduate days.

Born in small-town Nebraska, brought up in suburban Philadelphia, voted by her family as least likely to succeed without mom, Kogel came to Carnegie Mellon University for an architecture degree. She then took a job with a CMU start-up, and worked on her appetite.

Deciding that her eating life had been far too interrupted by ephemera, Kogel blossomed in the kitchen, cooking, creating, blogging. (Withthegrains.com, now 18 months old, spiked at 2,000 hits a day.)

“My thrill is making recipes of my own,” Kogel says. “I’m of the grandmother school: Add what you have, a pinch or a heap is close enough. Once one thing is on the table, start making something else. And know that nothing will ever taste the same twice.”

“For now,” she adds, “this is all a hobby. These are my ideas, my stories, my progress. These are my whole grains, and other aspects of me emerge from there.”

Blogging and cooking, cooking and blogging, Kogel found that virtual friends and empty rooms weren’t enough. “I needed people to make it worthwhile,” she says.

Hence the Sunday brunches, for which Kogel is the genial, slender, soft-spoken hostess.

Sitting at the head of her second-hand metal table (red tablecloth with seeds scattered about, burlap throw atop) she announces the day’s fare: nests (eggs poached with squash and corn in rounds of honey wheat bread), black forest bacon, cooked green apples and curry squash cake.

And, of course, the bubbly.

Setting her egg nests on red plates, Kogel serves her half-dozen guests, friends and friends of friends. The guests are dressed largely in high-tech chic — blue jeans and sweatshirts with a scarf or two thrown in for color.

A camera set to take photos for the blog, water poured into mason-jar glasses, local honey poised to drizzle onto the apples, and they’re ready to dig in.

Good cheer rises, stories make their way around the table like passed plates. There’s the CMU architecture program (“a weird environment,” one veteran says). Los Angeles (“great if you’re young and hip,” a second woman makes a face). Emerging technologies (“it’s going to be the coolest app ever!” a third gushes of a proprietary project). Increasingly overpopulated Lawrenceville (“not enough Dumpster and way too much trash,” Kogel muses).

As the banter bounces back and forth, we see the future of food. It’s one in which traditional cookbooks and fading yellow recipe cards are bypassed by omnipresent blogs, where the global village — democratic and decentralized, made up of real and virtual friends — gnaws all at once.

Now it’s time for cake, slathered with hand-whipped cream laced with maple syrup and bourbon, every morsel savored.

Finally, the champagne. Put in the freezer for some flash-cooling, it — yuck! — explodes all over the place.

Sopping and mopping, Kogel giggles. “Does anyone want a champagne slushy?”

Well, sure: Glasses are raised in expectation of a bit of half-frozen moscato, which gurgles out in icy clumps.

By 1 p.m., it’s time for the overworked, overscheduled folks to be on the road.

“We have a meeting.”

As one, they rise, proffering thanks.

Kogel nods.

They promise to read the blog.

Kogel smiles.

“If you have leftover cake at 5 o’clock, I’ll be over to help you take care of it.”

Kogel laughs.

Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate Donut Ganache

Ingredients

1/4 cup organic unsalted butter
1/4 cup organic half & half
1 Tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped (Valrhona Equatorial Feves 55%)
1/2 cup organic confectioners’ sugar

Directions

Combine butter, milk, honey, and vanilla in medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until butter is melted.

Decrease the heat to low, add the chocolate, and whisk until melted.

Chocolate Layer

Then go crazy…!

Salted Almond and Maple Sugar

My toppings for this round:

Salted almond
Maple sugar
Coconut
Toasted Pecan
The classic brown sugar ‘n spice

Chocolate Coconut

This marked the beginning of a new era, my friends- a donut era!

Ready For My Closeup: The Final Show at The Waffle Shop + Blog Reflections

July 2012

There was a corner in Pittsburgh that my have caught your eye. Whether it was the curious bilboard atop the building or the large, waffle-shaped sign on the sidewalk, there was something different about that corner.  

That corner was the site of The Waffle Shopa neighborhood restaurant that produced and broadcasted a live-streaming talk show with its customers, operated a changeable storytelling billboard on its roof, and ran a take-out window with food from countries engaged in conflict with the U.S. The shop was a public lab to bring together people from all walks of life to engage in dialogue, experimentation and the co-production of culture. The project functioned as a classroom for students from Carnegie Mellon University, an eatery, a TV production studio, a social catalyst, and a business.

The Waffle Shop was - past tense- all of those things because it has since closed. July 28th, 2012 marked the end of an era for that corner. The Waffle Shop poured the last of its batter onto waffle irons and streamed its last episodes. I was honored to be part of the finale thanks to a special invite from Chef Tom Totin, the host of a weekly program titled “Cookspeak.”

The timing for my appearance on Tom’s program was symbolic for me. Just a little over one year to the date, I had launched my blog on Cookspeak. I had worked privately for more than a year to solidify my photos and stories into something more meaningful. When I caught up to my real time food adventures, I sought to share my blog with the world in a big, celebratory way. Tom and The Waffle Shop immediately came to mind.

Tom’s show became a set of bookends marking these chapters of my life in the blogosphere. Accordingly, much of our most recent “on air” conversation reflected on what I have learned, what I have experienced and what is yet to come in my adventures with the grains. Now I’ll share those thoughts here.

Reflections On A Year in the Blogosphere & Lessons Learned…

Making Food For People Is Far More Satisfying. 

I put a lot of extra care into designing my kitchen and dining room, knowing I’d be spending a lot of time there. It finally dawned on me I needed to share that dining room space for it really to come to life. I started inviting friends over for brunch on a regular basis, and I have posted several of those experiences. Through these brunches, I have been reminded how strong and inspiring my friends are. I have a friend who fights fracking, a friend who promotes the education of girls in science/math/technology, a friend who draws intricate worlds of imagined mechanisms, a friend who knows exactly who she is and beams with positivity! This brunch in particular reminded me how special the people in my life are, and how lucky I am to know them.

The series of posts related to my boyfriend’s birthday also remind me of the significance of preparing meals for the people I hold dear. I’m tremendously grateful to have him in my life, and I wanted him to feel as special as possible for his birthday. In addition to his many amazing qualities, he supports my food fancies. He always lets me take pictures of our food before we eat, and not every fella would be so tolerant, let alone encouraging. I’m very grateful for his patience, and I showed him my appreciation in this birthday video.

Blogging Can Bring Exciting, New Opportunities.

When I first launched my blog, I happened to run into Adam Milliron, a photographer I had met years prior through a photoshoot. I asked him for photography advice. Since he liked my style, we started to do some practice shoots together for fun. One of my favorite shoots with Adam was this ode to Art in the Age liquors. Nearly one year after reconnecting, we worked together professionally on the Sarris Candies catalog (stay tuned for its distribution this winter!!!). This was a huge step for me as I’m very eager to dive deeply into the food styling world.

Blogging Inspired Me To Look At Pittsburgh With Fresh Eyes

When I started to blog about the food and experiences of my travels, I decided to include my Pittsburgh wanderings as well. In many ways, I had begun to feel stagnate in this city. I had lived here a long time and started to feel like everything was the same. When I opened my eyes a tad, I noticed a burgeoning food scene, so I began to incorporate posts about the many noteworthy Pittsburgh restaurants.

My goal was never to act as a food critic in those posts. Though I might make critiques or suggestions for improvement, I’m offering support to the places I see as raising the bar. I have many pictures (again…the patient boyfriend dinner companion) that never make it to the blog because if I have nothing nice to say, I shall follow the ol’ proverb and exercise restraint. On the other hand, when a restaurant really does it right, my enthusiasm shows!

Through these restaurant posts and social media, I have been able to connect more closely with other local foodies and chefs, especially Justin Severino of Cure. I admire his obsessive dedication to sustainable and local foods, a characteristic that became very apparent after attending one of his Sunday hog butchering demos.

I’ve also stretched the bounds of a food blog through some more unique Pittsburgh experiences:

What does brunch have to do with a Porsche? I’m so glad you asked! Find out!

What do small plates and craft cocktails have to do with a giant, water balloon fight? Well, let me tell you!

It’s A Great Big World, But The Internet Can Make It Smaller & Friendlier! 

I hesitated on using twitter, but like many a modern tool, if used correctly and with restraint, it can be an invaluable resource. Through twitter, I happened to connect with a whimsical and creative chocolatier based in Charleston, SC. I still owe him a care package, but he got the ball rolling by sending me a sampler of his chocolates. As a thank you, I made him a video.

I also connected with a PGH blogger who has since relocated to the sunnier coast to live in San Diego. Who can blame him?!? I feel like I’ve known Rodzilla the Diningsaur for a while even though we never had the chance to meet. I liked his writing and trusted his restaurant reviews. Unfortunately for him, he left before Union Pig & Chicken opened, so as part of a promise I made, I took “him” to the restaurant, so to speak, by bringing a cutout of his little diningsaur logo with me. Then I brought “him” to The Waffle Shop because I figured he hadn’t been there either. You’re famous little diningsaur!

My Fifteen Minutes

As we all exist more and more in the digital realm, there is something increasingly special about the tangibile, printed world, which is why seeing myself in an edition of Edible Allegheny was especially rewarding.

I smiled one of my BIGGEST, longest-lasting smiles ever on July 4th of this year. On that day, I opened my inbox to discover it had been bombarded with emails from WordPress (my blogging platform). I thought I had been spammed until I looked at my stats. On the contrary, I had been featured on WordPress’s “Freshly Pressed” page, where they highlight standout blogs. There was a picture of my avocado egg recipe, and it was a dream come true for a WordPress blogger.  I was so honored and happily overwhelmed by all the comments and praises. It still makes me really giddy inside!

What’s Next?

I’m taking some time on my blog to focus on the simple moments in life (such as this stoop picnic), to step back and focus on intentional happiness. Hopefully, I won’t come across as a cheesey lifecoach, but I am investigating a lot of life questions that are common for my age.

You will see even more touches of my style online and in publications! I’m pursuing more food styling opportunities, so if you know of any, send them my way! I dare say, you’ll probably see a portfolio soon because that’s the grown up thing to do!

No editors or publishers or independently wealthy individuals have contacted me, so I can’t say there is a book in the works yet, but I would love to turn With The Grains into something you could hold, dog ear, write on, stain, wrinkle and cherish.

You’ll probably see me experiment more with graphic design, as I’d like to learn more about the rules of the design game. If you are a graphic designer and love bestowing your wisdom upon eager learners, let’s grab some coffee and talk!

Branding! Ooh, that’s a topic that interests me quite a bit. I also like change. Combine that interest and that habit, and you’re bound to see some changes around here.

A wedding cake(s)! When I launched my blog on Cookspeak, I mentioned I’ve always wanted to make a wedding cake. This September, I will be doing just that! I’m thrilled my dear friends have asked me to make the cakes for their special day.

I’m looking forward to even more connections with other bloggers, online food publications, chefs and foodies.

In honor of The Waffle Shop, might I remind you of these delicious waffles? You really must give them a try!

In Conclusion

I love my little corner of the blogosphere. I love creating and preserving memories. I hope my passion inspires you in some way, or in the least, fancies your eye because if you are reading this, you are part of what has made this year quite magical for me! Now go find ten friends and tell them to read too! Cheers!

ps: I created various versions of a flier to leave for The Waffle Shop brunchers, but you might spy some around the town as well.

Dear WordPress, You Have Made Me A Very Happy Blogger!

Hello WordPressers,

I’m sure we all, as WordPressers, have shared a similar feeling and whimsy when logging into our blogs- the Freshly Pressed feature.  Oh to be a featured blog, to see one’s own image and blog name on the very pages of the platform that pushed us into the blogosphere!

Avocado-Served

Yesterday I couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked at my blog stats- in the thousands?!? Whaaaat happened?!?  Then I discovered my little avocados on the Freshly Pressed page (top right corner). My musings had finally come true, and so many witty, creative, talented bloggers left encouraging comments and praises.  There is still a smile filling my face from ear to ear!

In case you missed it, my featured Avocado Idea is here.

Friend Friday…friends are cool!

June 2011

I am so very fortunate to be friends with the very talented Magali Duzant, and I was so very flattered when she asked if she could feature an element of my work on her blog in between posts of her snarky drawings (snarky in the utmost complimentary sense) and dreamlike photography.  It was the perfect precursor for my big blog launch.

The Interview…

Tell me a little bit about yourself: Where are you from? Where do you live?

I was born in Nebraska, and though we moved when I was young to the ‘burbs of Philadelphia, I still like to claim some Midwestern roots, mostly because the majority of people think Nebraska is comprised only of cows and corn (both of which I am very fond). I still have family there, visit(ed) frequently and venture that my parents’ deep Midwestern roots influenced my upbringing in many ways.

At that transitional age of eighteen, Carnegie Mellon University roped me into Pittsburgh. I made significant escapes to Argentina and France, but somehow, I found myself in Pittsburgh again (the mistake was leaving my personal belongings here when I left for Paris).

What do you do? What is the project you are working on?

By day, I am the Organizational Development Leader for a clean-tech, start up company based on a CMU professor’s research in energy storage. His solution is a battery so environmentally benign, all the components are edible (by “edible,” I mean they will taste like charcoal, but they won’t hurt you in any way)! My long-winded title means that I promote company culture, design interiors, help bring what we call “rock stars” into the company and bring baked goods for employees’ birthdays (that last part wasn’t in the job description, but I saw a void and filled it).

By night and weekend, I am an avid baker, amateur photographer, professional picnicker, aspiring concept artist and “a wanderer by trade,” as Bob Dylan would sing.

I also like to dance a lot, but I do not sing.

Where do you plan on taking this project, what are some hoped for outcomes?

First and foremost, I am launching this blog because I truly enjoy everything that goes into it: baking, food styling, wandering, writing, etc, so I plan on taking it wherever the fun and ideas take me. Not only is the blog a consistent creative outlet that also satisfies my sweet tooth, but I am learning more and more about both food and photography as I go.

Beyond that basic premise, there are lots of things I hope to gain from this project. Here is a mini baking blog bucket list of potential outcomes I hope to achieve:

1. Freelance food styling/photography opportunities
2. Bake a wedding cake and even more ideally, style a wedding
3. Connect with other bakers/bloggers and see where that takes me
4. Contribute on a regular basis to another blog or online magazine

Where do you find your influences? Who or what are they?

With regard to my baking blog, my mom was my first and most inspirational influence. She is known far and wide for both her cooking and baking. When I was in college, she would send me care packages with homemade graham crackers! I hope that sentence garners appropriate envy because they were the best graham crackers I have ever eaten!

Around that same time, I became very interested in the sustainability of food systems, overall nutrition and the politics of food at large. I read the heavy hitters in the food politics world: Michael Pollan, Barbara Kingsolver, Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon.

What really started me baking on my own was a combination of an incredible sweet tooth (very certain this was a product of nurture and not nature as my family seems to place equal importance on ice cream as vegetables) and wanting to satisfy that tooth with the purest of ingredients- locally sourced and/or organic ingredients as much as possible.

I love both being in front of and behind a camera, so the documentation of my food creations came quite naturally. I had a growing collection of food photos and recipes and a head full of anecdotes, but it took me a while to embrace the blog format. It wasn’t until I started seeing more food and design blogs that I really liked (I imagine at some point, I will include links to some of my favorite sites) when I finally considered starting my own blog about my baking adventures.

The focus of my blog is baking from whole ingredients and celebrating food, both in preparation, presentation and in the sharing of the final product. It’s about celebratory moments. I kept the blog private until now as I wanted its entrance into the world to be celebratory as well. Hence, it took me a while to work my way through my baking/photo archives and arrive at the point where I am now: ready for the world to meet my baking side!

What is on the horizon? Any new projects percolating?

Hopefully, there is grad school on my horizon in the MFA realm, which means portfolio creation is definitely in my near future (Dear Magali & World, hold me accountable to that!!!!).  Other than that, I have some projects up my sleeve unrelated to baking. Stay tuned!

If you haven’t had enough – never fear! The blog will be up on Sunday and I’ll be doing a post-launch follow-up to see what Quelcy’s got cooking.

 

Thanks so much Magali!  I hope you have fun finding all the posts on here that mention you!

-Q

A Little Press, and I Was In Pi(e) Heaven!

3.14.2011

Just last week my bosses had been teasing me about my less than sunny demeanor, but had they seen my face today at the moment I first heard the word from Erin, “Check out ReadyMade’s homepage,” they would have seen unarguable, pure joy!    I was beaming!  Seeing this article made me melt like butter and then float to a DIY cloud.  I love the mathematical title and the prime location on the homepage banner!  I love the slideshow!  I just simply love it!  Thanks to everyone who helped turn this dorky math pun into a reality far more rewarding than I ever imagined!

Pittsburgh’s Small Press Festival

September 2010

 

Open Thread is an arts & literary service organization based out of Pittsburgh, whose books, events, and online presence highlight emerging artists and writers from Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The Pittsburgh SPF is Pittsburgh’s annual small press festival, organized by Open Thread, sponsored by AIR: Artists Image Resource, and supported in part by The Heinz Endowments.

The QT Pi(e) Project was one of the artisanal vendors on site.  I made the pies, and Erin made the ice cream as well as the adornments.  She represented the QT Pi(e) name for both of us while I spent the weekend in the heated wilderness.  The flavors on the menu were:  honey pear, honey peach and maple plum.  As usual, the QT Pies and ice cream were made from all local ingredients!

Honey Pear

Honey Peach

Maple Plum

Honey Peach

Event photos from Erin…

Cookspeak meet Piespeak

August 2010

We made another appearance at The Waffle Shop, but this time we were the interviewees.  Tom Totin hosts a weekly segment called “Cookspeak,” and he invited us to be his guests.  According to The Waffle Shop, “Cookspeak is  an out of the box Culinary Commentary by an experienced Cook who still loves the business in spite of himself.”

We brought a fresh QT Pie and maple ice cream.

Tom brought a sweet tomato topping, a sweet jam topping and fresh melon, all in concordance with our goal to promote local ingredients.  Quite delicious!  Thanks for having us Tom!  To hear a podcast version of our show and to listen to more of Tom’s interviews, click here.  Thanks also to Dana Leigh Dolney for being our photographer for the morning event.

Talkety talk talk talk… PIE!

… a la mode.

A perfect pairing!