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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Fresh Out Of Dough

It’s not just running that has me occupied with a new curiosity. I’ve also been baking, which of course is the perfect counterpoint to exercise! I have been cooking since I was just a wee little one. Proof:

Beyond a killer banana bread (you know you want that recipe!), baking has never captured my imagination, like cooking, but I suppose it runs in my blood. My maternal grandfather made his living as a successful bakery owner in Queens.  You know you want some of those recipes too! Note to self…

It all started with an abundance of blueberries…I made chocolate blueberry oatmeal cookies, blueberry banana bread, peach coffee cake and then my attention turned to bread.

Thanks to Pinterest (follow me here), I got to cooking up some sourdough starter. I was following this recipe and using this container. Here is what it looked like at the beginning:

Even though the container I got looks identical to the one from the website, I accidentally knocked the lid and it broke, so then I covered the starter with plastic wrap and it actually really took off from there, so I am thinking it kept too much air out of the mix.

Once the starter was ready, I followed this recipe (sorry if you do not subscribe to Cook’s Illustrated, totally worth the money, but I am sure you can Google another). It’s an intense and time-consuming process and the recipe actually needs some tweaking. I will post the final recipe after I get it right. But this is a teaser photo, following the recipe exactly:

I also made a non-sourdough following this recipe. I took the basic instructions and added some olive oil, rosemary from a friend’s garden and a bunch of cloves of roasted garlic. It was a bit dense (might’ve been the yeast I used) and needed a touch more salt, but also delish. Here’s a pic:

Have I made you hungry yet? What’s your favorite thing to bake?

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Birthday Sweets

To offset the dream birthday wish list, I thought I would add a sweet, little dish on birthday festivities that is more realistic, but equally indulgent…

Brace yourself, I’m not a cake person…I know, I know – insane!

Not that I don’t enjoy the occasional Costco cake or a cupcake from one of those gourmet cupcake stores, but I’m just not that into cake. I prefer my sugar in the form of doughnuts, pie, cookies and for all my midwesterners…bars!

So if you want me to be your best friend forever,

I am dreaming of lemon bars and raspberry bars:

Not that I would complain if you made me these:

Mmm…

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Have you been watching the new series Portlandia on IFC?

I have and I definitely have mixed opinions on the show. There is some really funny stuff there, but you have to get through a lot of not funny to find it. One of the clips that has been making the rounds on design blogs is Put A Bird On It. If you haven’t seen it, here it is:

All I have to say is…guilty as charged. From the bird-themed shower curtains to my owl related decor, despite GK’s insistence that owls are creepy, to my latest arts and crafts project…

Back in January, I had a sisters weekend in NYC (shout out to AHK and BCK – love you!). In addition to eating the best soup dumplings I’ve had since my last trip to China – thank you Joe’s Shanghai – we also did one of my favorite A&C yuppie activities…pottery painting (with wine of course)! And here is the picture of the pen holder I made for my new office (more on that to come!):

You got it…I put a few birds on it!

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I hope you had a great long weekend and getting into the post-holiday groove isn’t too painful. This time is all about countdowns, so I thought I’d do a one of my own (while reading this, please use your best Carson Daley/Casey Kasem voice)…

Highlights of 2010:

1. Marrying the love of my life!

*Photo taken by the fabulous Sarah Hodzic of Blink Photography.

2. Buying our first home!

3. Benefit Benetint

4. A fantastic family vacation to Costa Rica!

5. My super fun bachelorette trip to Austin, TX!

Mmm..green chile queso.

6. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

7. Catching up with one of my college roommates, who now lives in London, and I haven’t seen in 5 years.

8. Swackets…is it a jacket? is it a sweater? No, it’s a swacket!

9. Starting this blog!

10. My incredible family, friends and readers!

 

Things to look forward to in 2011:

1. My new job!

2. Adopting a dog!

3. Reading the rest of the Millennium Trilogy.

4. Getting back on the diet bandwagon.

5. Hitting a birthday milestone…

6. Traveling to the midwest twice for friends’ weddings.

7. My incredible family, friends and readers!

 

What were your favorite moments/things of 2010 and what you are looking forward to in 2011?

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Dulce Delicious

One of my favorite Fall traditions is apple and pumpkin picking and this past October was no different. But when some of our apples went uneaten, I had to save them, so I sliced them up and sautéed them in butter, then stuck them in the freezer for a moment of brilliance.

Then, I came across this recipe for homemade Dulce de Leche. Yum! Tasty and I get to use the crock pot GK and I received from SB for our wedding! I did not grow up using a crock pot, but thanks to my Midwesterners, I’ve learned it’s a handy gadget to have in the kitchen.

Now, if I were to make it again, I would not cook the condensed milk for the full 8 hours, because I prefer my dulce de leche more syrupy than jammy.

Apples and milk caramel are a match made in heaven and there are dozens of ways to put them together, I chose cake…pound cake. Pound cake gets it’s name from the original recipe, which used a pound each of flour, sugar, eggs and butter. Thank goodness I did not use that much, but I went to the Queen of Butter, Ms. Paula Dean, for a pound cake recipe.

Then I added 2 tsps. of cinnamon, some walnuts, the apples and dulce de leche and VOILA! Pure decadence warm with vanilla ice cream… Sorry, I don’t have a finished picture, it went too quickly to capture!

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Hip! Hip! Hooray! I’m back!

I can’t tell you how nice it has been to get requests to return to blogging. Truth is, I’ve missed blogging, but life has been a bit challenging lately, and I like this to be a happy space. So let’s not dwell, let’s enjoy some holiday cheer!

It has certainly been a busy holiday season, starting with Canadian Thanksgiving. What’s that you ask? Well, our lovely neighbors to the North like to celebrate the festival of food on the second Monday of October every year.

And who doesn’t love a chance to chow down on the best meal of the year twice?! So for the second year in a row, we gamed the system and hosted a potluck Canadian Thanksgiving at our house, in addition to our family Thanksgiving in November. It is a great chance to celebrate how thankful we are for the great friends in our lives.

GK and I are in charge of the turkey and we loved last year’s recipe so much, we used it again this year… Oven Roasted Turkey with Sage Butter, plus Carmelized Onion and Cornbread Stuffing. Tyler Florence is our favorite celebrity chef and this recipe of his does not disappoint.

Now, I hang with a lot of foodies, so when it comes to potlucks, it’s best to wear your comfy pants, because you will have to be rolled home. That being said, it’s hard to pick a favorite dish, but I did want to share one I thought was both different and delicious. LS brought Olive Biscuit Cookies that she found the recipe for here. They are an incredible blend of both sweet and savory and easy to make, so I hear.

Trust me, there will be more food blogging to come, after all isn’t that one of the best parts of the season?!

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Art and Soul
415 New Jersey Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 393-7777

I finished my RWDC tour with a ladies night out with LS, SB, and LCB at Art and Soul.

We started out early with cocktails and small bites at the bar.

I was the only one going the cocktail route and I wanted the Orange Crush with castel cru, soda and mandarin oranges, but they were out of castel cru. In fact they were out of a lot of things, which wasn’t great, but The Capitol with vodka, kalamansi, honey and cointreau was an equally tasty substitution.

To snack on we had ham and cheese biscuits, house cured jerky and pork rinds. The ham and cheese biscuit was the winner and a meal in itself. Luckily there were four of us to share the wealth.

Then came dinner. A two thumbs up for the cornbread to start:

As for appetizers, the shrimp and grits was the choice of the table, with three out of four of us ordering it. LS was the odd woman out going with the gazpacho. I was a fan of my choice and embarrassingly gnawed on the sugar cane stick the shrimp were grilled on (thank goodness there are no after pics of that one!) and got some grits on the floor while trying to pull the shrimp off.  I am a mess!

 

For my main course, I went with the herb roasted pork chop with spring onion risotto, rhubarb and ham hock jus. It was excellent. The risotto was creamy and flavorful and the pork chop was perfectly cooked (although SB thought hers was a bit underdone) and the sweet sauces added the perfect touch.

LS ordered the blackened scallops with mashed potatoes, collard greens, smoked bacon and red-eye gravy. While tasty, she felt it was a poor pairing with spicy tomato based gazpacho with crab meat. Too much tomato and seafood.

LCB ordered the ravioli with sweet onion farmers cheese, seasonal vegetables and fresh herbs. A perfect vegetarian option and delightfully decadent with all the butter.

And for the table we got a plate of macaroni and cheese to share. It doesn’t look very pretty, but this was by far the best thing I ate all night:

For the finale we went with a no holds barred, free for all with two strawberry ricotta cheesecakes with whole wheat crust and balsamic molasses:

An indulgent caramel brownie bar with popcorn brittle and vanilla ice cream:

And of course we ordered the bread pudding with blackberry compote and vanilla whipped cream, because if we didn’t there would have been blood according to SB:

You couldn’t go wrong with any of them, but I believe the cheesecake was the favorite.

So to sum up this three-part post, I am in desperate need of a detox…well hello there salad! But, I had some fantastic food with (more importantly) fantastic company this past week! Thanks to all who participated and I look forward to RWDC Winter addition.

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