Recent Posts

July 16, 2010

OMG It's An Earthquake!

Ok, it was kind of fun waking up at 5 a.m. this morning to the rumblings of a 3.7 earthquake.  (Well, maybe not the 5 a.m. part.)  If you can get over the trauma and sleep deprivation, here are some things happening in the DC area this weekend that might be fun to check out:

  • According to Metromix DC there are not one, but TWO Christmas in July parties this weekend.  The first is at the Eden rooftop at 1715 I Street, NW and the other on Union Street in Alexandria.  If you're looking for something a little less, um, Christmas-y, head over to the Palace of Wonders for the "Best Night of Your $!@# Life"
  • What better way to celebrate our first "big" earthquake in 30 years than with a shake?! The Washingtonian Best Bites Blog rounds up some of the best milkshakes in the area.  I like peppermint.  I'm just sayin'.
  • Still not enough to satisfy your sweet tooth?  Georgetown Cupcake has a treat for you.  In celebration of the premier of their new show on TLC tonight, they are offering free cupcakes all day today! Head on over to grab your cupcake crack and tune in to TLC at 10pm tonight.  (I'm not selling out because I work for a certain media company in Silver Spring, I am fairly reporting DC food news and this is relevant...and I like cupcakes.)
  • Want some great food from a DC landmark followed my an evening of mellow music? (Or the other way around if you want music first then munchies.) Hit up Ben's Chili Bowl then walk down to the 9:30 Club for the Jack Johnson show.  I'm a huge fan of their turkey burger and, of course, chili fries.  Oh- and coming soon, there will be an app for that.
  • If you can't get enough Top Chef mania, head over to We, The Pizza on Capitol Hill.  Show alum, Spike Mendolsohn's new joint offers traditional and cast iron pies as well as wings, subs, salads and Italian sodas.  It's opening was delayed until Monday, however, so you'll have to ride the weekend out.

July 15, 2010

Some of My Favorite Things

I've decided to let you all in on some of my favorite things- from restaurants to specific eats.  They are now on the left above the produce that's in season locally. I'm sure my list will change periodically and if you have any recommendations, be sure to let me know and I'll check them out!

July 14, 2010

Schnitzel With Sherry Mushroom Sauce

I was watching Tyler's Ultimate the other day (favorite comfort food master of mine) and he made a dish I've never cooked before- schnitzel.  No, that's not a swear.  After watching him pan-fry the breaded thin pork cutlet into a crisp, golden brown medallion of heaven, I decided I needed to try it and hope it didn't turn out like shitzel. (OK, really horribly lame joke. I haven't been sleeping well the last few nights- give me a break.  When getting ready this morning I mistakenly spread what I thought was toner all over my face only to look down and see I "freshened" my skin with contact lens solution.)  Anyhoooo, here is my take on the dish, and I will say, it turned out great. (In case you haven't noticed, I don't bother publishing my horribly, embarrassing failures.)

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 lb. boneless pork loin
8 oz. Crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 cup flour
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
Olive oil (about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
4 sprigs fresh Thyme
6 oz. egg noodles
1/2 cup Sherry
1/4 cup fat free half n' half
Salt & Pepper

Fill a pot with water, season with salt and place on high heat to bring to a boil.

In the meantime, prepare the pork:  Heat a large saucepan on medium high heat and coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil.  Set up a dredging station by putting the flour in one shallow dish and the breadcrumbs in another.  Remove the leaves from the Thyme and add to the breadcrumbs.  Beat the egg in a small bowl with the tablespoon of water.  Lay the pork out on a cutting board, cover with plastic wrap and pound out flat- about 1/4 inch thick.  Dip the pork, one piece at a time in the flour, shaking off the excess.  Then dip in the egg and coat in the breadcrumbs. Once the oil is hot, put the pork in the pan and fry for about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown.  Remove to a plate with a paper towel and set aside.  Tent it with foil to keep warm.

Drain the excess oil from the pan.  Add butter.  Add the onions and mushrooms and cook until tender.  Add the sherry, reducing until slightly thickened.

Boil the egg noodles for about 10 minutes and drain.

Remove the mushroom mixture from the heat and mix in the half n' half.  Place some egg noodles on a plate, top with pork and then mushroom and sauce mixture.

July 9, 2010

Bacon is the New Black

Bacon is no longer just a side to your morning eggs. It is turning up in gourmet dishes and cocktails in many restaurants all over the nation and DC restaurants are no exception.

According to a study by Mintel, the number of restaurant menu items containing bacon has spiked 25% in the last five years.  No longer simply wrapped around scallops as an appetizer, bacon is dipped in chocolate, garnishing drinks and even blended into gelato. 

At Founding Farmers in downtown DC, there are a total of seven items on the menu showcasing this salty, smoky meat. Their Bacon Lollis appetizer, in which they candy Nueske’s bacon with a cinnamon and brown sugar glaze, is their star. The lolli doubles as a garnish in their Bone 12 cocktail made with Knob Creek bourbon, fresh lime juice and Tobasco. Plenty of people are ordering these smoked meat concoctions.  The restaurant goes through 50 pounds of bacon a week just to make enough lollis for the bar to garnish every Bone 12 they mix.  Their sister restaurant, Farmers & Fishers in Georgetown, also offers a bacon lollipop appetizer, but this one is dipped in chocolate. “It’s a nice flavor to start with and is an easy thing to eat and drink,” says Jennifer Motruk Loy, their Director of Marketing.

The ultimate homage to pork would have to be the “I Love Bacon” cooking class at Lia’s in Chevy Chase. For $55 a person, Chef Geoff Tracy or Chef Peter Russo instructs students on four courses including a soup, salad, entrĂ©e with side and a dessert that all include bacon. The class even teaches you how to make your own bacon, should you be so inclined.

It’s not just DC that is experiencing the boost in bacon. In Scottsdale, Arizona there is a restaurant devoted to pork, appropriately named Bacon. Vosges Haut Chocolat based in Chicago with boutiques in New York and Las Vegas makes a chocolate bar with bacon as the main ingredient. It is called the Mo’s Milk Chocolate Bacon Bar which has applewood smoked bacon, alder wood smoked salt and milk chocolate.  Lou, a wine bar in Los Angeles, has an item on their menu called Pig Candy, which is bacon with spices and brown sugar frozen to have the texture of brittle or toffee.  If you don’t want to go out, you can create one of 150 dishes from The Bacon Cookbook by James Villas.  There are also websites such as that offer everything one could ever want to know about this salty pork.  It even has stories of people proposing marriage with bacon!

Could this obsession with bacon be causing a toll on our health?  In short, yes. Medical News Today reported on a study published by the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine that frequent consumption of cured meats could lead to increased odds of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This is due to the nitrates added to cured meats. They are “thought to generate reactive nitrogen species in the body—molecules that cause structural damage to lung tissue, in a similar way to emphysema.” The study found this risk to be greater for those eating cured meats at least 14 times a month. COPD is just one thing to consider, however. At the Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology & Prevention and Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism Joint Conference this year, the American Heart Association states that eating processed meats is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. However, if you are consuming cured meats you made yourself or that don’t contain nitrates, these risks are not as significant.

Despite these health risks, people are still flocking to consume bacon dishes and drinks, as evidenced by the recent upswing in bacon-based menu items at popular restaurants. The cookbooks, classes and websites devoted to the meat are evidence that sometimes bacon just makes things better.

Fish Tacos

To me, fish tacos are synonymous with summer. They are full of flavor, healthy, light and go great with mojitos. Here is a quick, easy fish taco recipe.  Sorry, mojitos not included.

Ingredients (serves 4)
1 lb Turbot (or other white, flaky fish)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
shredded cabbage for garnish
2 ripe tomatoes
1 ripe avocado
small tortillas

1/2 cup cilantro leaves
8oz low fat sour cream
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne

For the sauce, finely chop the cilantro. In a blender or mixer, puree with the sour cream, lemon juice salt and cayenne. Set aside.

Heat a pan on med-high and add olive oil. Mix the paprika, garlic powder, cayenne and salt. Coat the Turbot with the seasoning mixture and place the fish in the hot pan. Pan fry for about 2 minutes then flip.  Pan fry for about another 2 minutes, depending on thickness, until the fish flakes apart and is opaque in the center. Remove from heat.

Place the tortillas on a plate and cover with a slightly damp paper towel. Warm in the microwave, about 20 seconds on medium.

Slice open the avocado and carefully remove the pit. (See instructional video below.) Slice the avocado into thin strips or cubes.  Dice the tomatoes.

Assembly: Break off a piece of fish and place on the tortilla. Top with slices of avocado, tomatoes and shredded cabbage. Drizzle sauce over the top and serve.

How to cut an avocado without stabbing yourself or losing digits:

July 8, 2010

Some Things Lindsay Lohan Won't Be Eating In Jail

Okay, it's more than a bit ridiculous how much attention Lindsay Lohan's jail sentence and her behavior is getting. Seriously, who didn't see this coming? That girl literally couldn't stop making bad decisions long enough to show up for court. Well, I'm jumping on the bandwagon and contributing to the media obnoxiousness with some foods I've found on local menus and around the blogosphere that Lindsay won't likely be enjoying anytime soon. Good luck Li-lo. Coming soon- recipes for Crowbar  Cornbread and Hand-Saw Bundt cake.

July 3, 2010

What's Up DC? 4th of July Weekend

It's 4th of July weekend and time for fireworks and barbecues. It's the weekend welcoming summer with slow-cooked ribs, apple pies, spiked sweet tea and sparklers. Not sure how you're going to spend it? Here are some ways you can celebrate our independence with some good grub and adult beverages.

Fireworks on the National Mall
(although no adult beverages are allowed on the mall, sorry)
July 4th
9:15 p.m.

Boom with a View
Party with Adrien Grenier of Entourage and his band, the Honey Brothers
P.O.V. at the W
515 15th St, NW
$200 (yikes!)

Red, White & Booze Bash
Town Tavern
2323 18th St., NW
Food, cheap drinks, games and patriotic attire contest

J&G Steakhouse
Barbecue on the patio
$20 includes burger or Kobe beef hotdog, chips and beer
515 15th St, NW

Asia Nine
$20 to-go meals, great for taking to the mall for fireworks
915 E St, NW

Ten Penh
Patio barbecue for $29, $12 buckets of beer, late night happy hour
1001 Pennsylvania Ave

Panko Crusted Chicken Paillards with Garlic, Tomatoes & Basil

Here is a simple, healthy and fresh chicken dish that is great for an easy weeknight dinner. I coated the chicken with panko crumbs and Parmesan, baked it and topped with freshly sauteed tomatoes, garlic and basil. A lot of flavor for so few ingredients.

Ingredients (serves 4)
2 very large chicken breasts (or 4 small)
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
5 cloves of garlic
2 ripe tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a cutting board, lay out the chicken breasts, cover with plastic wrap and pound them out until they are about 1/2 inch thick. Try to make sure the thickness is even so the chicken cooks consistently. In a large bowl, combine panko, Parmesan, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg with water. Dip the chicken breasts individually in the egg, then coat with the breading mixture and set on a greased baking sheet. Put in the oven and bake approximately 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken, until the internal temperature reaches about 165 degrees.

In the meantime, mince the garlic, dice the tomatoes and finely chop the basil. Heat a saucepan on med-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and tomatoes. Cook about 5 minutes, until tomatoes are slightly softened. Add the basil and mix well with the tomatoes and garlic. Remove from the heat. Plate the chicken breasts and top with the tomato mixture.