Tuesday, August 25, 2015

#330: Honey Mustard Salmon with Arugula and Pear Salad

I love salmon marinated with honey.  This honey mustard salmon is absolutely great.  While I used Dijon mustard, honestly you could use plain old yellow mustard.  I think the bitter flavors would contrast so well with the salmon and honey.  Plus, the arugula and pear salad follows the similar theme of sweet and bitter, which I absolutely love. 

This meal works as the perfect summertime dinner, light and healthy.  It might be easier to cook this in the oven, but sometimes (like when you run out of tin foil and hate cleaning a baking sheet) cooking on the stove top just seems easier. 

Honey Mustard Salmon - Serves 4

4 salmon filets
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 tbsps Dijon mustard
2 tbsps honey
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  1. In a shallow dish combine Dijon mustard, honey, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper.  Add your fish to the mix and coat both sides. 
  2. Place oil in a saute pan on medium heat.  Remove the salmon filets from the honey-mustard mixture one at a time and add to the pan.  Make sure that just a touch of the mixture is coated on the fish, but that it is not drenched while it enters the pan because then it will splatter. 
  3. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side.  
I used skinless salmon, but if yours has skin, cook that side first for 6 minutes, flip, and cook on the other side for 3-4 minutes.  Also, if you have a grill pan, definitely use it, it will make for gorgeous grill marks.  If you prefer to use the oven cook at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.  

Arugula and Pear Salad - Serves 4

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsps lemon juice
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 pears (Barlett is what I used), cored and sliced lengthwise 
6 cups arugula
  1. In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, lemon juice, honey, dijon mustard, salt and pepper. 
  2. In a large bowl toss together the arugula and pear.  If you had pumkin seeds, pine nuts or walnuts (anything with crunch effect) to add, this is the time to do it.  
  3. Then drizzle your salad dressing over the salad and toss.  Top with gorgonzola cheese or grated parmesan. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

My Week In Food

Saturday, August 15:  We moved today, and my mom made Biryani.  This time with chicken and it was fantastic.  For those of you who recently hopped on the Mint and Mimosas blog, the blog was originally started by my mom and she posted a couple recipes for biriyani, here and here.  In any case it was a delicious start to the weekend. 

Sunday, August 16:  I've been friends with Rabia for 14 years; it's pretty ridiculous!  Her birthday is tomorrow but we decided to celebrate with brunch today.  Here's a peak into dessert, but I'll do a full review this week with a lot more pics from brunch at Central Michel Richard -- yes, I was just here two weeks ago! 

Monday, August 17:  Sachin and I were craving a drink and appetizers after work today, so we both agreed upon a trip to Friday's.  Weeknights always seem the best for your run of the mill restaurants, where the new or more exotic options are left for the week.  We downed a lot of ghost peppers buffalo wings...delicious!

Tuesday, August 18:  This might be quite a labor-intensive way to cut your bagel, but the result does look pretty delicious - and I'm a personal fan of cream cheese and lox on my bagels!

My lunch today, salad and chicken all courtesy of Sachin: 

Wednesday, August 19:  Tonight popcorn and Muddy Buddy Chex Mix was my dinner.  Sachin and I had a double header movie night and saw "Straight Outta Compton" and "Trainwreck."  Both were great movies, but I think "Trainwreck" may be more of a repeat watch for me, meaning I'm down to watch this with all my friends at any point; it was absolutely hilarious.  

Thursday, August 20:  How cool is this map showing the food capitals of Instagram.  Basically the top five cities for different dishes based on number of Instagram posts.  Love this! 

Friday, August 21: Another night at Kora; I think we have an addiction.  While I tried out a new pizza, the pepperoni, Sachin stuck to his duck confit pizza.  Absolutely delicious!  I think my favorite might still be the sausage - the dollops of whipped ricotta in between layers of mozzarella really adds this creamy texture that is amazing.  

Thursday, August 13, 2015

DC Eats: Red Derby

Red Derby consistently is one of the top five results that comes up on Yelp! whenever I've searched for a 'brunch' in D.C.  It's touted as a dive bar, so I wasn't exactly clear on how it could be so highly rated.  I mean don't get me wrong, dive bars have delicious food.  I use to consistently go to Quarry House when I lived in Silver Spring, MD for their delicious burgers. But, the word 'brunch' brings with it this air of 'fancy' or 'eggs benedict' or something of that nature.  

When Mirona mentioned that she wanted to do brunch with a few of us, I immediately said 'let's try Red Derby!'  I wanted to lay to rest what all this hype was about.  Now, I think I recall a Yelp review stating that this is the perfect place for hangover food, and I soon learned they were correct. 

On arrival we immediately decided on a rooftop seat, which by the way, their rooftop has a separate bar from the downstairs one - you get a point for that, Red Derby.  Then they had $3 bloody marys, um that's another point.  Now, the menu was definitely minimal with a few items to choose from, and no nothing fancy, although I do think I remember seeing 'eggs benedict' on there.  In any case I ordered the Smothered Tots which came topped with sausage, tomatoes, onion and scrambled eggs (oh! and can't forget the cheese!).  It was delicious don't get me wrong, and probably the best tater tots I've had, and for cheap eats, this is definitely the way to go.  I mean my total bill was around $12 for the bowl and a bloody mary!  But, not sure this would exactly be my go-to brunch spot.  But, certainly, when you're looking for some cheap stick-to-your-ribs kind of breakfast, I think this might be a great go-to.  If I go again, I'm trying out the breakfast burger!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

#329: Zucchini Noodles

I finally joined the zucchini noodle, or "zoodle," bandwagon.  With everyone trying to be healthier lately, and honestly, just not being as hungry in the summer month, zucchini noodles are the perfect fix when you're just craving a big bowl of pasta with a ton of sauce on time - I'm an extra sauce kind of girl. 

With zoodles, you can prepare them in a pan with a little olive oil, in a vegetable steamer, or just boil them for about 5 minutes like I did.  Since making this recipe I've tried just tossing the spiralized zucchini into a pan with olive oil and it works just as easily, so really everyone can make this to their preference...there's no real recipe.  So, this post will be a bit different and I'll just highlight to you the three ways I've made zoodles.  

I recently went out and bought a spiralizer.  I should've taken a picture of it for you all, but next time. It's a small, cupboard friendly version.  When you share a kitchen with a roommate, it just makes things all the more easier and saves you some counter space.  

This was my first venture into making zucchini noodles, and I have to say it was super simple and the perfect weeknight dinner.  I actually tried parsnip noodles the other day - yes, you can spiralize pretty much any veggie and turn it into a base for a fantastic fake-noodle based dish.  

This time I cheated and mixed my zoodles in with some gluten-free pasta I had laying around in my refrigerator.  

Then I topped the whole dish with an easy spaghetti sauce I made, with ground turkey, carrots, tomato sauce, garlic, basil and oregano. 

And, I mean of course you have to top the whole thing with basically a pound of grated Parmesan.  Just kidding!  But, I think it's okay to be heavy handed here. 

Zoodles via Sauce Pan:  Simply spiralize (or thinly slice or use a vegetable peeler) your zucchini.  I think one large one is sufficient for one serving.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a sauce pan.  Add your zucchini noodles and cook for 3-5 minutes or until tender. 

Zoodles via Vegetable Steamer:  Place the spiralized zucchini in your vegetable steamer.  Fill a pot with about an inch and a half of water, place in your vegetable steamer and let the pot come to a boil.  Cover with a lid and cook for 3 minutes or until tender.

Zoodles via Boiling:  Place 3/4 cup of water in a small pot. Bring it to a boil and add in your spiralized zucchini noodles.  Cook for 3-5 minutes or until tender.  Drain the remaining water, and you're ready to eat! 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

My Week in Food

Sunday, August 2:  Today we celebrated Mirona's birthday with a delicious brunch at Central Michel Richard.  Of course the best part of this brunch are the three courses - I started off with the Blueberry Pancrepe, moved on to the Chicken and Waffles, and finished off with a Chocolate Mousse for dessert.  Below is a quick screenshot of a picture of all of us post-brunch.  Next time I'll remember to have someone use my phone to take a pic!  

Monday, August 2:  Sachin made us a nice healthy and surprisingly good (kidding, kidding) dinner tonight.  He's slowly learning to learn how to cook a few more things, besides his infamous breakfast sandwiches (which seriously are the best I've ever had).  

Tuesday, August 4:  I talked about this last week, but forgot to share pictures!  Here's pics at Grand Truck in D.C. and the Naan Burger and Lamb Gujranwala that Rabia and I shared.  

Wednesday, August 5:  I love this Food52 article with ideas on 5 ways to cook with red wine.  

Thursday, August 6:  Went to my parents place for dinner and enjoyed some delicious Italian style meatloaf with roasted potatoes and peppers.

Friday, August 7: Tonight we hung out with the local high schoolers at the Arlington County Fair - just kidding!  It really is fun for all ages, plus I like to go to binge on Fried Oreos.  

We shared this Mac-n-Cheese Bowl (bacon mac-n-cheese topped with BBQ chicken, jalapenos and crumbled potato chips) from Tailgater Toby BBQ Cafe.  It was good, but not exactly worth the $10. Pretty sure you can just go to Rocklands BBQ and get an even better version - just my personal opinion though!

Then we moved on to the Fried Oreos - don't these look delicious?! MacBrand Foods came through with these deliciously warm fried pieces of deliciousness. 

Post eating content faces.....you see the word 'Deep-Fried' in the back? Yep, that should explain it all! 

Saturday, August 8: Two friends hosted a poolside cookout today.  I feel like the summer is almost wrapping up, so this was the perfect way to keep it alive!  

Thursday, August 6, 2015

DC Eats: Il Fornaio and Ted's Bulletin

Last month when N was visiting from San Francisco, we decided to have a happy hour + dinner at Reston Town Center. Sachin works nearby and I'm not too far off, so that location worked perfectly. Plus, it gave us all an opportunity to go back to Il Fornaio (a staple!) and check out Ted's Bulletin (finally!).

Il Fornaio  is hands down our mom's favorite Italian restaurant, at least locally.  She loves that they make handmade pasta and we've gone there for quite a few birthday dinners. But, this time since we went for happy hour, we didn't quite take on any large pasta dishes, but instead shared this delicious thin crust pizza.  The Fradiavola Pizza is topped with sausage, onion, bell peppers, mushrooms and mozzarella, with peperoncino oil drizzled over the top.  The dish is the perfect amount of spicy and full of flavor.  And, of course, since it was a hot night out, we washed it down with a few glasses of a sweet Italian white wine. 

Rating: A The only reason it doesn't get an A+ is because that honor goes to the best local Italian restaurant, Filomena Ristorante (forever in our hearts!).  

Once we were done with happy hour, we figured lets keep the food tour rolling.  None of us had been to Ted's Bulletin before, and while I was more intrigued by their breakfast menu, I figured checking out their dinner couldn't hurt.  On arrival though I was happy to find that you had access to breakfast, lunch and supper all day long.  Unfortunately we were all disappointed by our entrees.  N and I shared the Meatloaf with Mingo County Ketchup Glaze - not good.  Honestly, I didn't even bother to take a picture of it, it was that disappointing.  I think I'll stick to my mom's meatloaf!

Sachin ordered the Popeye Chicken Burger, which is topped with spinach, mushrooms, caramelized onions, and a Boursin cheese spread.  It tasted better than the meatloaf, but I wasn't exactly impressed.  

A bit of a disappointment as far as their Lunch + Supper menus go, but I think I would still go back to try their Breakfast dishes - I mean they had biscuits and gravy, I'm sold.  We didn't leave too upset though, because the highlight of the meal was definitely the Homemade Pop Tarts (we got Strawberry - classic!) and the Adult Milkshakes (the coconut one is fabulous).  

Rating: C for Lunch + Dinner / B for Pop Tarts + Milkshakes

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

#328: Spicy Garlic-y BBQ Chicken

Who doesn't enjoy Barbeque Chicken, particularly in the summer months?  I know many of you enjoy juicy perfectly cooked chicken, and I mean, of course I do, but I also love having portions of chicken charred a bit.  It's the best of charred ends with a tender juicy chicken thigh (or breast).  This time around I made chicken thighs and instead of hauling them out to the grill, I just gave these an initial hot sear on the stove, and popped them into the oven to finish cooking (with a quick baste in the middle of the cooking time).  These turned out fantastic.  

The recipe is a combination of a Chipotle Chicken Marinade my roommate and I made and used on chicken last month, with some of this amazing Alamo Spicy BBQ Sauce my mom picked up on her recent trip to San Antonio.  It made for a spicy, sweet and garlic-y finish to the chicken.  With a side of collard greens,  I was completely content! 

Spicy Garlic-y BBQ Chicken - Serves 2

4 Chicken Thighs, skinless and boneless
1 cup barbeque sauce
3 habanero peppers, chopped
1/2 cup Chipotle chicken marinade
1/2 tbsp McCormick Jerk Seasoning
1/2 tbsp salt


  1. I made the marinade used in this recipe for Chipotle Chicken over a month ago and had some saved over, so I used 1/2 cup of this marinade.  I recommend making it and saving it, because it is absolutely fabulous.  But, if you'd prefer not to, I would just recommend using 2 ancho peppers (rehydrated and blended) + four garlic cloves.  If you prepare this mixture it will work just as well. 
  2. After you've done either, then we can proceed with the recipe.  Chop up your habanero peppers.  If you want less heat, take out the veins and the seeds.  
  3. In a bowl add your barbeque sauce, the Chipotle marinade (or ancho pepper + garlic mixture), McCormick Jerk Seasoning and salt.  Mix thoroughly with a spoon or whisk. 
  4. Add your chicken thighs to the bowl and coat thoroughly with the marinade.  It might seem like there's a lot of marinade, but trust me you'll want the extra for basting during the cooking process. 
  5. I let the chicken marinate overnight, but if you don't have time 1 hour is fine.  
  6. When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  7. Then take out a pan and add 1 tbsp olive oil to the pan.  Allow the heat to rise to medium-high.  Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade and add to the pan.  Make sure that you take off as much of the marinade from the outside of the chicken before adding to the pan to avoid splatter.  Let it sear for about 1 minute per side.  
  8. Place the seared chicken in an oven safe casserole dish.  Baste with half of the marinade.  Cook in oven for 25 minutes. 
  9. Then take out and baste with the remaining marinade.  (Note - You can remove the chopped habanero peppers if you would prefer).  Turn the heat to high broil and let the chicken broil for 5 minutes.  
Serve with a side of collard greens, green beans, macaroni and cheese, or potato salad!  

Sunday, August 2, 2015

My Week in Food

Saturday, July 25:  Today I met up with Mirona, Rekha and Rich at Red Derby.  I had a great Bloody Mary (and the fact that it was $3 doesn't hurt) and a Breakfast Bowl, tater tots covered with cheddar cheese tomatoes, onion, sausage, and scrambled eggs.  Of course I doused mine with some Tabasco.  

Sunday, July 26: I have to pat myself on the back for a delicious food Sunday Funday, or maybe Foodday?  Started off the morning with Chocolate Whey Protein Pancakes topped with almonds, maple syrup and strawberries.  For lunch I made this insane BBQ Chicken : I marinated the chicken in a combination of: (1) a Chipotle styled Chicken marinade we made for a cookout a month ago and froze extra of; (2) a BBQ sauce my mom brought me back from a recent trip to San Antonio; and, (3) some habanero peppers for added heat - delicious!  All with a side of collard greens doused in vinegar.  Finally, the day ended with a dinner of Honey Mustard Salmon, Arugula and Pear Salad, and Caramel Cookie Crunch Gelato (Talenti is freaking awesome).

Monday, July 27:  Tonight I made a homemade spaghetti sauce, with ground turkey, carrots and spinach.  Not to mention, I tried out gluten-free spaghetti for the first time! Yum.  

Tuesday, July 28:  For lunch today I had a delicious Chicken Red Curry from i-Thai Restaurant.  This is sort of the de facto place where my office orders their Thai lunches.  But, I gotta say it's good stuff! Then, since it was a co-workers birthday we downed some Georgetown Cupcake - I had the caramel one for the first time, um delicious!

Wednesday, July 29: Went to dinner tonight with Rabia.  We decided to check out a new place, on her recommendation, Grand Truck.  Situated right next to the Archives Metro Station, this place is great for casual dining or take out.  We ordered a Naan Burger and Gujranwala Lamb Masala to share.  Then we decided to order the Chocolate Naan...now we thought this would be a dessert naan, but what arrived was actually a naan filled with chocolate, onions and spices.  So, it was actually more savory than anything else.  I think the one thing I would definitely come back for here is the Naan burger...delicious! 

Thursday, July 30:  
Sachin and I enjoyed a date night at Kora, where we downed (per usual) a Duck Confit Pizza - this has quickly become our "go to" pizza order at Kora.  I mean the pizza is topped with, duck (obviously), gorgonzola, carmelized onions and walnuts.  Such a unique and fantastic combination that results in a sweet/salty combination.  Then, because we weren't quite full enough we shared the Penne Pasta which comes served with salmon and spinach, all in a delicious vodka tomato cream sauce.  

Plus, we made friends with the wonderful bartender who made us Palomas and Margaritas, without any of that nasty sour mix I hate so much (he said he hates it too).  So, all in all, a great meal!

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