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November 28, 2009

My Twist on Thanksgiving

Ah, Thanksgiving- the American celebration of gluttony. A day in which we give thanks to the turkey, stuffing and mashed potato gods. This year was a low-key Thanksgiving for us. We opted not to travel given the holiday is sandwiched between two destination weddings we are attending. There were only going to be four of us so instead of doing an entire turkey, I opted for a turkey roulade with apple cider gravy. Along with the roulade, we had stuffing, mashed potatoes (courtesy of our friends Eric and Suzi), brussel sprouts with bacon and apple pie. Below is my roulade recipe. You will notice I opted to make my life easier by using bagged stuffing mix (shame, shame!). Don't judge. I added my own touches and frankly happen to really like the mix. I hope everyone had a wonderful and tasty Thanksgiving!

Turkey Roulade with Apple Cider Gravy (for 4)
4 Turkey breasts, pounded flat to 1/4"
1 Bag Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix (or whatever brand you want)
low sodium chicken broth
1 package baby bella mushrooms
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
4 slices smoked bacon
1 cup apple cider
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 stick of butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1/4 cup white wine
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Roasting twine

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In large skillet, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil. Add celery and onion and cook until slightly translucent. Add the garlic and saute for about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and a tablespoon of butter. Cook until the mushrooms are soft and cooked down. Prepare the stuffing mix as directed. Add the mushroom mixture to the stuffing and set aside.

On a cutting board, lay the 4 turkey breasts side by side. Cover with plastic wrap and pound flat to about 1/4" thick. Take spoonfuls of the stuffing and place in the center of the breasts along the length of all of them. Add the remaining stuffing to a casserole to bake as a side dish. Fold the turkey around the stuffing and tie them all securely with the twine. (see roulade tying demonstration video below)

Place the roulade in a glass baking dish. Cut the bacon slices in half and cover the roulade with them. Bake in the oven until the temperature of the center of the turkey is 160 degrees F, about 20 minutes. (Do not insert thermometer through the roulade into the stuffing- you want the temperature of the thickest part of the meat). Remove from oven and let rest on a cutting board for about 10 minutes. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add flour and stir into a paste. Pour the drippings from the turkey into the saucepan and stir, removing all lumps. Add cider, cider vinegar, white wine, 1/2 cup of chicken stock and another tablespoon of butter. Continue to stir over medium, to medium high heat until thickened. Add the sage. Salt and pepper to taste.

Carefully remove all of the twine, slice and serve with the cider gravy. Enjoy!

November 25, 2009

Gimme Some Flippin' Pizza

Flippin' Pizza, a chain originating in New York in 2007, just opened in downtown Silver Spring. There are not many great options in Silver Spring when it comes to pizza. Of course there is Mama Lucia's which is pretty good and Z Pizza which seems to take 45 minutes just to get a slice. I have been eagerly awaiting this Flippin' opening and yesterday had the chance to try it for lunch along with my friend Laurie (shout out).

It definitely had the feel of a New York pizza place with the brick walls and cozy black wainscoting. It was a little on the kitschy side and ditto for the menu with its quirky anecdotes (check out the IFAQS "where does pepperoni come from?"). What didn't seem very "New York" is the people were extremely friendly. There were what seemed to be about 15 people behind the counter all smiling and politely willing to serve. Ok, there were 5, but you get my point. At Z Pizza there could be 30 people behind the counter and yet none of them will acknowledge you are there unless you throw something at them.

In the limited time I had, I opted for a slice of the Brooklyn pizza from the case. This has pepperoni, meatballs, mushrooms and garlic. I have to say it was pretty good, even though pizza is never as good as a re-heated slice as when it's a fresh pie from the oven. The pepperoni was spicy and curled with crisp edges. You could taste the garlic and seasonings and I was pleased with the thin crust- not too crispy and not too soggy. It's not the Italian, gourmet neapolitan style pizza like you would find at 2 Amy's, but if you are looking for a simple New York style pizza this is a pretty good bet. It would be even better if they delivered, but they don't. The menu has an anecdote for that too.

Flippin' Pizza
8517 Colesville Rd (near Georgia)
Silver Spring, MD 20910

November 23, 2009

Hard Cider Happy Hour At Equinox

Warm up this fall with hot-cider and seasonal snacks at Chef Todd Gray's Equinox . Every Friday through December 19th from 5-7 p.m. you can get hard cider cocktails and snacks including venison chili, sweet potato pot stickers and pumpkin fritters. Don't miss this adult version of a seasonal favorite!

818 Connecticut Ave, NW
Washington, DC
By the Farragut West Metro should you over-indulge

November 22, 2009

Go Out for Thanksgiving

Don't feel like slaving in the kitchen for 4 hours and stuffing your face with a week's worth of calories in one sitting this year? Perhaps you just are a little challenged when it comes to roasting, basting, or even boiling water? Go out! There are plenty of restaurants who offer wonderful Thanksgiving menus and will take care of the mess afterwards. Going out lets you feast up and skip the clean-up. Below are a few DC options but you can get a full list of over 100 participating restaurants and make reservations online at . Better hurry, I'm sure most places are filling up fast.

Bistro Francais
Wisconsin Ave and 31st Street
3 Course Thanksgiving menu starting at $18.95 for adults, $10.95 for kids

Blue Duck Tavern
24th and M St. NW
Foggy Bottom
American brunch 10:30-3:30 including hors d'oeuvres, entree, sides & dessert
$85/adult, $42.50/child

Chef Geoff's
13th and F streets, nw or Nebraska Ave, NW
3 course Thanksgiving dinner $39, children dine for just $11

November 17, 2009

Sushi at Sei

I don't mean to be harsh, but D.C. is not exactly a "sushi" town. When I lived in Manhattan, I could get amazing sushi on pretty much every corner. I was in a bit of a sushi-shock when I moved here to find so few options. I recently decided to meet my girls downtown for some sushi at Sei, on 7th St., NW in Penn Quarter.

When you walk in, you are surrounded by the warm glow of soft light, white walls and gold trim. The hostess was incredibly friendly. She led us to the dining area which was ultra-modern white and gold accented by red twigs in the room partition and a gold, ornate picture frame around a glass wall.

We were concerned at first when we looked around and saw that NO ONE was eating! I was worried that it was either bad food and a good place for drinks or a restaurant for hot anorexic types who want to give the appearance that they eat. We were delighted to discover that it was a huge coincidence that everyone had only recently been seated and hadn't ordered yet. Whew!

The model-like waitstaff was incredibly attentive and pleasant. We were seated and perused the menu. I took a look around and noticed the strong "naughty and nice" theme. Everything was so modern, clean and white, then I noticed the backs of the chairs being laced up tight like a corsets. This place is sex on rice!

Now for the food... we ordered a lot. Enough that I can't remember each roll or beautiful slab of sashimi, but it was ALL quite spectacular. The one that stood out to me would have to be the "Fish and Chips roll" which included a fried fish, vinegar, fries and wasabi tartar sauce. It was amazing! I was incredibly happy to find something unique on the menu other than the standard options of California Rolls, Philadelphia rolls, or rolls representing any other city or state for that matter. There were several unique options and everything we tried was magnificent.

The waiter was incredibly polite and attentive without being too intrusive. We didn't even feel rushed when we realized we were the last people in the restaurant keeping the poor staff from locking up and going home.

Sei was a great sushi experience and something I have longed for since I moved here about a decade ago. I wish there were more sushi restaurants like Sei in DC (although I also would love more that are this quality and more casual and budget-friendly. Sei is magnificent and hip, but you will pay for it.)

This is making me hungry. I think another girls' night at Sei needs to happen again soon! Ladies?

444 7th St., NW
Washington, DC  20004