Sunday, January 31, 2016

My Week In Food

Monday:  Spicy Tofu Burrito from Mixing Bowl for lunch.  Filled mine with kimchi, radish salad, kale, pico de gallo and gochujang.  

Tuesday: Dinner at Delihi 6 in Frederick, MD.  Samosa chaat, tandoori chicken, butter chicken and rajma chawal (rajma (kidney beans) and rice). 

Wednesday:  Kung Pao Tofu at Cheng's Asian House.  I love how well tofu takes on the flavor of the sauce it's cooked in; each bite is so delicious!

Thursday:  I have a problem...I'm hooked on Cheng's.  Went back to have Grandma's Silken Tofu with ground pork on top.  The bean sauce is super spicy in this Szechuan style dish.  Incredible!

Friday:  Afternoon tea at the Tea Cellar.  Trust me, I'm not as fancy as I let on!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

DC Eats: Tea Cellar

On Sunday Rabia and I went to tea at Tea Cellar at Blue Duck Tavern.  Now, this sounds a lot more fancy than in reality it really is.  I mean don't get me wrong, the tea was amazing, but doesn't come with any kind of pretentiousness guys, in case you're thinking that!  I absolutely love tea time.  I think Rabia asked me because while I'm definitely obsessed with coffee, my love for tea knows no bounds.  I usually have a green and herbal in rotation at all times, and so does Rabia, so it only made sense we would go together. Let me just say the Tea Cellar does not disappoint.  For $45 you get two pots of tea (of your choosing) and an unlimited sweet and savory small bites buffet.  Delicious!

We started off with the Blossoming  Jasmine Tea.  So light and subtle, but absolutely perfect.  For our second pot we went with this tea that was described as "smoky," oh and that it was. It tasted a little too "liquid smokey" for mine and Rabia's taste.  Yeah, it tasted like liquid smoke.  I love that the waitress, when asked how it was, she said "it's smoky, you either like it or you don't"...super helpful, clearly.  

Since I have more of a savory tooth than sweet, I thought I'd save the best for last, but honestly after eating everything I couldn't definitively say which I liked better.  The sweet side of the tea included scones with raspberry jam and clotted cream (how British-y does that sound?!) - my first time having clotted cream, and it's like this amazingly thick delicious butter AND the raspberry jam was delicious, if it was in a jar I could sit down and eat straight out of the jar kind of like Joey in that episode of Friends where Monica made jars of homemade jam and Joey downed them like a jam crack fiend, yup that's what I'd do to this jam.  Ok, moving along...they had assorted macarons, lemon curd tart, chocolate mousse and a dark chocolate tart and mini pear cakes.  Everything was so unique and delicately prepared...really great!

The savory side of the tea held its own!  Raw oysters with a clean taste (no cream! I hate the creamy ones); deviled eggs; open faced lobster BLTs; pumpkin tartlets; and, cabbage rolls filled with chicken salad.  The cabbage rolls were mine and Rabia's favorite.  It sounds so simple, but it was really delicious.  I think I want to try my hand at making it, fingers crossed! 

Rating:  A
I'm definitely going back!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

#345: Cucumber Dill Salad

The other night I made pasta for dinner.  Usually I would pair my pasta with a Greek or garden salad, but I had a ridiculous number of cucumbers in the fridge (all that juicing/I love cucumbers) and remembered a quick and easy salad I use to make when I was in high school.  I might be one of the few high schoolers that, when they were in a mood for a snack, decided to whip together a cucumber dill salad.  I mean who decides to make a salad, instead of reaching for that wonderful shiny bag of chips? Ummm, I guess, me?  And, some other weirdos out there who can't get enough of their veggies.  

Anyway, I felt like a throwback salad was necessary, and boy did this one bring back some memories, but this one was a little more healthy (subbed in some yogurt in place of all that mayo) than 16 year old me would've chosen.  I guess some things do change!  

Cucumber Dill Salad

6 pickling cucumbers or 3 regular cucumbers or 2 english, diced (feel free to peel also if you like)
3 tablespoons dried dill 
2 tablespoons celery seed
4 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
1 tablespoon Himalayan pink salt
5 dashes of hot sauce (I prefer Tapatio or Cholula or good old Tabasco - sorry, put the Sriracha down for this one)

  1.  Prepare the salad dressing by whisking together in a medium to large bowl the  yogurt,  mayonnaise, brown mustard, hot sauce, dill and celery seed.  
  2.  Add in the cucumber and stir gently to coat the diced cucumber.  
  3.  Add in the black pepper and salt.  Stir one final time and you're ready to eat!  

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

#344: Rosemary Garlic Lamb Chops

With N arriving in DC from SF a few days after Christmas, we decided to delay the full Christmas festivities.  So on Christmas day itself our parents and I decided to still do a small but nice Christmas dinner, and wait to do the bigger meal when she got into town. 

I was thinking about the best dish to make when I came across these gorgeous thick lamb loin chops at the grocery store.  Now, I've never tried my hand at making lamb chops, so I definitely had to look through a few recipes to understand the right temperature and preparation style to cook the perfect chop, and this is what I came up with.  I was going for the crunchy/slightly charred exterior and juicy interior, and that's what I happily ended up chowing down on.  My dad enjoyed his chops thoroughly (and he's a tough one to please)!

Rosemary Garlic Lamb Chops

6 lamb loin chops (about 1 1/4 inch thick chops)
1/4 cup rosemary leaves
8 garlic cloves (I like this extra garlic-y, but 4 large cloves would work just as well)
2 teaspoons salt
cracked black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  1. In a blender toss in the garlic cloves, rosemary, olive oil and some salt & pepper.  Blend until it turns into a thick marinade.  
  2. Place the chops flat in a glass container.  Pour the marinade evenly over the chops and massage into both sides.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  (I marinated them for 4 hours.)
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a hot pan sear the chops on each side for 3 minutes and then place on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. If you have a cast iron skillet this could work perfectly, if you can fit the chops all in (otherwise, try cooking in batches).  Searing for 3 minutes will give the outside of the chop a nice charred crust, before cooking the chops through in the oven.  
  4. Place the chops in the oven and cook with the timing below, based on how you like your chops cooked. 
  5. Once you take them out let your meat rest!  This means keeping it on the tray, not moving it, and covering it lightly with a sheet of foil for about 10 minutes.  
I was cooking these for my dad, so I cooked them well done like he likes.  

10 minutes - medium rare
15 minutes - medium
20 minutes - well cooked

To join my juicy lamb chops on our dinner plates, I made some super easy crescent rolls which I smothered with homemade vegetable cream cheese.  I also oven roasted asparagus and eggplants - simply cut them per my instructions below and drizzled them with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and cooked them in the oven. Then tossed a balsamic glaze over them after they were cooked. 

1 medium purple eggplant, sliced into 1/3 inch slices
1 bunch of asparagus

Asparagus faces the endless controversy (to snap or not to snap).  I snapped the ends off for this particular recipe, basically the idea is to bend the end of the asparagus until it naturally snaps off, thereby removing the tough part of the asparagus.  This feels super wasteful sometimes, so in the alternative merely peeling the outside a bit can help.  Take your pick! 

The eggplant slices take about 30 minutes, turning them halfway through.  The asparagus takes just 20 minutes.  This is all at the 400 degree Fahrenheit temperature used for the lamb chops. 

The greased up asparagus before they head into the oven.

After 3 minutes and flipped over, just look at that charry goodness!

And, we flip again!

This is what they should look like right before you put them in the oven to finish cooking. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

My Week In Food

Monday, January 11:  Meatball Monday.  Homemade turkey meatballs with zucchini noodles. 

Tuesday, January 12:  Bacon-Blue Burger from Melt in Leesburg, VA.  This bacon cheeseburger has gorgonzola blue cheese, balsamic glazed onions, apple-wood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato and a creamy blue cheese dressing.

Wednesday, January 13:  A mid-morning trip to grab an iced latte at Cafein. 

 Thursday, January 14:  Pumpkin Bread and some of the most amazingly chocolate Brownies from Tartine (the best San Francisco bakery).

Friday, January 15:  French Onion Soup from Mon Ami Gabi.  Crusty layer of croutons and a thick layer of delicious melted cheese.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

DC Eats: The Dabney

Does it feel like a long time since I posted an actual D.C. Eat?  Feels like it.  Well, this past weekend we had a girls night starting with dinner at a new restaurant, The Dabney.  Of course I perused the dinner menu a few days before (I like to plan - at least when it comes to food) and it looked like southern cuisine, but a little fancier.  I was hoping it wasn't going to be like Vidalia, ok, no offense to that restaurant, but, really? what's the big deal?  I guess I prefer my southern food not fancy? Anyway enough of the hate, Vidalia is unique and not bad, and so was The Dabney.  The cocktails were good, the food was good, but I think we all left deciding that we wouldn't come back except for a cocktail or two.  Just a heads up most of us decided this is NOT the place to take a guy, the food portions would not suffice a guy who is not a foodie, so beware!

My rating?  B-

We started off with drinks.  The drinks were great, but my favorite was the American Trilogy - a take on a Manhattan - apple brandy, bourbon and stone fruit bitters, the perfect cold winter weather drink.  This one will definitely warm you up. 

Then we shared a few appetizers:  sweet potato roll with fried whitestone oyster and pickled chili tartar saucecrispy sweet potatoes with smoked trout roe and horseradish cream; and, crispy catfish with buttermilk dressing, pickled onion and cilantro.  The appetizers were hands down my favorite part of the dinner, each was absolutely delicious.  The sweet potato rolls were light and buttery, with the crunch of the fried oyster and then the creamy sour tang of the sauce perfectly complimenting the mini sliders - talk about layers of flavor!  

The crispy sweet potatoes with roe and horseradish - another example of great flavor layering.  

I'm not even a huge fan of catfish, but the perfectly fried fish was dusted with some red chili powder which seriously gave it a slight hint of heat, delicious!

Seared trout with confit potatoes and a beurre blanc sauce.  The skin was crispy and layered on top of the perfectly cooked trout.  The beurre blanc sauce was creamy and delicious with the trout and the confit potatoes it sat upon.

The cornbread we shared at dinner.  It was ok, but would have been a lot better if it was sweet!!

For dessert we shared delicious cinnamon dusted donuts.  

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

#343: Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler

It's 2016, crazy, huh?  While the holidays are over, pumpkin is here to stay!  Or at least it's making an appearance in this week's recipe.  When I saw this recipe on Lauren's Latest, it sounded delicious and easy.  I'm not the best baker; I like to say it's because I don't have a huge sweet tooth, but who knows!  So, I'm always on the look out for easy and delicious dessert recipes.  Plus, peach cobbler is on my short list of desserts I like, so anything with the word 'cobbler' in it immediately appeals to my tiny little sweet tooth.  Oh, and pecan pie is on that list too (I promise it really is short), so here we go....Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler

Promise me if you make this, you'll scoop vanilla ice cream on top!  

Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler

1 cup + 3 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated suger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups hot water

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and spices. 
  3. In a smaller bowl, stir pumpkin, milk, melted butter, and vanilla together to combine.  Pour wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix to create a thick batter.  Pour into a small 8 inch casserole dish with high sides.
  4. In a separate bowl, stir sugar and pecans together.  Spread over the top of the batter evenly.  Pour hot water over the entire thing (without stirring). 
  5. Bake for 40 minutes or once the middle is set (be sure to place on a baking sheet in case it bubbles over)
  6. Cool 5-10 minutes before serving.  Serve with more pecans and vanilla ice cream.  

Sunday, January 10, 2016

My Week In Food

Monday, January 4, 2016:  Panzanella salad with cornbread croutons and grilled salmon from Matchbox.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016:  Homemade shrimp pulao for dinner.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016:  Hump day pick me up at work with this delicious chocolate mousse, whipped topping and crumbled oreo cookies on top.

Thursday, January 7, 2016:  Tea brought back from a friend's trip to India.  Loose black tea made into delicious Indian Chai this morning.  

Friday, January 8, 2016:  Cadbury chocolates (made in the UK, not the ones that Hershey makes - sorry I'm picky) from Lolli and Pops - an amazing candy shop.

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