Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday November 25, 2009 - Sale at Safeway

Looks like Safeway is extending last week's deals until tomorrow. You can see this deals here.

Happy Turkey Day!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Baked Eggs with Spinach and Pancetta

In my cupboard are eight lovely, yellow Le Creuset ramekins that I have never used. They were given to me by my brother and sister-in-law a year (two years?) ago and I just haven't found anything that I wanted to make in them until recently; Baked Eggs with Spinach and Pancetta. I really should call this clean-out-the-fridge-baked-eggs but it doesn't sound as tasty. I just happen to have all these ingredients so this is how these pretty little ramekins got used. May I recommend that you use farm fresh eggs from the farmers market for this dish. The egg is the star of this dish and so you should really use a good quality egg. The kind where the yolk has such a golden color that its almost orange. It will make a big difference in the taste of the dish. I bought a dozen farm fresh eggs today at the Bloomingdale farmers market for $4. There are just some dishes worth spending the extra few bucks for.

Baked Eggs with Spinach and Pancetta
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

4 ramekins
Butter for greasing the ramekins

4 eggs
1/4 lb of pancetta - sliced and then cut into small 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 a cup of frozen spinach - thawed and squeezed dry
8 Tb of heavy cream
1/2 a cup of Fontina Cheese - grated
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Fill a 8x8 pan 3/4 inch of simmering hot water.

Sautee pancetta until crisp. Place on a plate with paper towels to drain out fat. Butter the ramekins and add a tablespoon of cream to each. Add a little spinach, a little cheese, one egg, and another tablespoon of cream into the ramekins. Place ramekins into the 8x8 pan and place in oven. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes. The eggs are done when they are just set but trembling slightly in the ramekin. Do not assume they are underdone and need to sit in the oven longer like I did the first time I made these. They will cook a bit more if you leave them in pan of hot water for a bit longer outside of the oven.

Season with salt and pepper. Top each ramekin with the crisp pancetta and serve with good bread.

Even with the extra money you spend on the fancy eggs, this dish is still pretty low budget. You can also use bacon instead of pancetta if you want to use a less expensive meat. You can use any cheese you have on hand. Frozen spinach is about $2 per bag.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009 - Items on Sale at Giant

In case you are looking to eat light this week in preparation for the gluttony that will happen next Thursday, you can buy one Sabras Hummus and get another Sabras Hummus for free.

Here are this weeks deals at Giant:

Variety of turkeys - from $0.47 to $1.39 per lb
Land O Lakes Butter - $1.99 per package
Yams - 3lbs for $1
Beef Rib Roast - $5.99 per lb
Brussel Sprouts - $2.50 for a 10 oz container
Asparagus - $2.49 per lb
Collard, Kale, Mustard, and Turnip Greens - 2lbs for $1
Green Beans - $3.99 per 2lb bag
Sabras Hummus - Buy one Get one

Please check to see the specials at your local Giant Supermarket.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lemongrass Marinated Pork Chops

In college, I lived with two other Vietnamese girls who also loved food and loved to cook. The roommate who taught me the most about cooking was Nga who is a great cook. I used to watch her dice ginger into little bits and was amazed by her knife skills. Together, we experimented with making Korean BBQ, Vietnamese eggrolls, lotus salads, Pho, etc. We always had a great time.

When we actually made it out to an Asian store, we went wild. Riverside, Ca is about an hour east of Los Angeles and there wasn't an Asian grocery out there (kind of like DC). So when we made it out to an Asian store, we would stock up on things such as mangos, asian herbs, and different condiments. Back then, the only lemongrass I knew about was the one that was already frozen and already chopped up. It wasn't until I moved to DC that I really started using the fresh stalk. Now I can never go back to the frozen green stuff (I don't know know how they get it so green.) Its just so easy and more flavorful to buy the fresh stalk, rough chop it, and place it in the food processor to grind up. The smell is just amazing.

If you plan to buy lemongrass in DC, buy it at Whole Foods. They charge something like $5 per lb but lemongrass is so light that you end up paying $1 for a stalk which goes a long way in terms of flavor. Its fresh and the flavor is good. The biggest rip off is the packaged kind sold at Safeway and Giant that is already cut up. I end up paying $4 and they were flavorless the last few times I bought them.

When Nga made me this lemongrass marinated pork chop, I was really amazed how easy it was. She pan fried it and got enough heat on the pork chops to give the fatty edges a delicious smokey flavor without drying out the meat. She would add chili flakes to the marinade to give it a bit of spice.

This marinade is pretty awesome. Its kind of sweet and kind of salty. The lemongrass gives it this nice, fresh taste. My favorite bite is the crispy fatty edge. Its just a bite full of goodness. I made this for a meal for some friends. I'm not sure if it was the pork chops or the wine but it was a warm and lovely night.

Lemongrass Marinated Pork Chops
Adapted from Viet World Kitchen

This marinade will work with any pork chop. Of course, the more fat in the meat, the more flavor you are going to get out of the pork chop. Pork chops are normally very inexpensive. I buy them on sale when they are $1.49 per lb but at most, I've seen them sold for $2.99 per lb.


1 pound boneless pork shoulder steak, about 1/2 inch thick

1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons granulated or light brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped shallot or yellow onion
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and finely chopped (3 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon dark (black) soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon oil

Put the sugar, garlic, shallot and lemongrass into an electric mini chopper and process to a fine texture. (Or, mince the garlic, shallot, and lemongrass individually, put them into a bowl, and add the sugar.) Add the pepper, soy sauce, fish sauce, and oil and process to combine well. Transfer to a bowl.

Add the pork, and turn to coat well. Cover and marinate overnight. Let it sit out for an hour before cooking.

Preheat a grill (or pan) to medium-high. Grill/panfry for 6 to 8 minutes, turning frequently, until cooked through. If you like the fatty edges to crisp up a bit, let it sit on one side a bit longer until you see the edges smoking. Nick with a knife to test. Serve with Jasmine rice and slices of cucumbers and tomatoes.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - Sale at Safeway

I love shopping for food during the holidays. I especially love it that I can get good deals for a holiday meal and for other events. My friend Michael (from is having a birthday cabin trip this weekend and since I can't head out of town for this reason, I will be sending him off with some sweet potato pie. Lucky for me, yams are $0.39 per lb at Safeway . Also lucky for me, I know Michael will probably read this and I know he will not judge me for spending less than $3 on his birthday pie. Happy Birthday Michael!

Here are some sweet potato recipes I've come across that look good. After reading comments and suggestions, I will roast the potatoes instead of boiling them to get a deeper, more intense flavor. Hopefully these pies will turn out delish.

Sweet Potato Buttermilk Pie - Smitten Kitchen
Sweet Potato Pie - Washington Post
Sweet Potato Casserole - Maya Angelou
Sweet Potato Pie (made with yogurt) - Alton Brown
Old Fashion Sweet Potato Pie - Paula Deen
Sweet Potato Cheesecake - Gladys Knight

Here are this week's deals at Safeway:

Variety of Turkeys from $0.47 per lb to $0.99 per lb
Safeway Frozen Vegetables - $1.88 per lb
Rib-Eye Roast - $4.99 per lb
Pork Shoulder Blade Roast - $1.29 per lb
Whole Roasting Chicken - $0.99 per lb
Yams - $0.39 per lb
Grapes - $1.47 per lb
Cranberry Cocktail - $2.50 for a 64 oz bottle
Cool Whip - $1.29 a tub
Broccoli Crowns - $1.49 per lb
Green Beans - Buy one Get one 12 oz bag
Russet Potatoes - $3 for 5 lb bag
Celery - $1.50 per bunch
Asparagus - $2.99 per lb

Please note that each Safeway location is different. Please check to see your local specials.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Baked Potato with Brocoli-Cauliflower-Cheesy Sauce

As a kid, my favorite thing to order at Wendy's was a baked potato topped with broccoli and cheese sauce. I don' t know what makes the flavor of broccoli work so well with the flavor of a cheese sauce but it works and is so good. Broccoli and potatoes are both in season right now so you should get good prices on both. Safeway had a 5-lb bag of Russet potatoes on sale for $1.49 each last weekend. You can probably find them for about $3 a bag now. Broccoli should run about $1.49 to $1.99 per lb. Note that you can also use frozen broccoli for this recipe.


1 lb of broccoli
1/2 lb of cauliflower
4 large Russet potatoes - baked
1 cups of whole milk
1 cup of grated cheddar cheese - shredded
1 cup of Monterey Jack - shredded
1 tablespoon of flour
4 tablespoons of butter

Place butter into a small sauce pan and heat to a simmer. Add flour and stir using a whisk to make a roux. Allow to cooking at medium for about 4 minutes until it browns just a bit. Add milk slowly while you are stirring the mixture. The mixture will thicken a bit. Add cheese slowly while stirring. The sauce should be pretty thick.

Cut broccoli and cauliflower into 1 inch pieces using mostly the crown. Boil in water for 3 mins and then place them into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain them set them aside for awhile to dry out the moisture. Drop the vegetables into the cheese sauce and allow it all to heat up a bit. Cut open a baked potato and spoon cheesy vegetables on top. Enjoy.

Or you can just buy a block of Velveeta. I think a Broccoli-Velveeta Cheese baked potato would also be delish.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gourmet Magazine's Beef Stew

I liked how Gourmet magazine looked on my coffee table. This is the reason why I started collecting them. The covers were so beautiful and they weren't just flimsy pieces of media filled with advertisements. They had great stories and good recipes. If asked what I liked most about the magazine, I would say that the food was photographed with respect.

It was a year ago that a co-worker of mine told me about a dinner party she was having for her future father-in-law. Her fiance and her were on a budget but wanted to throw a nice dinner party. They decided to do a stew and found this recipe. Stews are an economical way to throw a dinner party because you can use a less expensive cut of meat and it would still come out delicious. She described the rich and deep flavor of the stew and it was burned into my memory.

The stew is so rich tasting because it calls for an entire bottle of red wine. Is it worth it? YES. Don't forget to use a wine that you enjoy drinking. At the Metropolitian Cooking and Entertainment Show, Giada DeLaurentis reminded the audience that if you use a wine you don't like, the flavor is just going to be more intense when its reduced. Check out the YES! Organics on 14th and U or in Petworth for some good deals on wines. Trader Joe's also usually has good deals.

The recipe doesn't actually call for tossing the pieces of beef in flour but I like a thicker sauce and so I did before browning the meat in olive oil.

Note that I don't have a dutch oven so I sauteed the vegatables in a large pan and added the wine, balsamic vineagar, and wine into the vegtable mixture before transferring it into a crock pot. The meat was browned in a separate pan and then placed into the crock pot. It was all mixed together before stewing on high for 4 hours.

Beef Stew with Potatoes and Carrots
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine

(note: this recipe was halved to fit into my 4 quart crock pot)

For braised beef:
5 pounds boneless beef chuck (not lean), cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup of flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 carrots, quartered
3 celery ribs, quartered
2 medium onions, quartered
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 (750-ml) bottle dry red wine (about 3 3/4 cups)
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
2 thyme sprigs
3 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
3 cups water

For potatoes and carrots:
2 1/2 pounds small white boiling potatoes
1 1/2 pounds carrots

Braise beef:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Pat beef dry and season with 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss pieces flour so that they are lightly covered. Heat oil in pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then brown meat, without crowding, in 3 batches, turning, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a platter. Reduce heat to medium, then add carrots, celery, onions, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 12 minutes. Push vegetables to one side of pot. Add tomato paste to cleared area and cook paste, stirring, 2 minutes, then stir into vegetables. Add vinegar and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in wine, bay leaves, and thyme and boil until wine is reduced by about two thirds, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer into a crock pot. Add broth to pot along with water, beef, and any juices from platter and turn crock pot on HIGH. Cover and braise for about 4 hours. (You can also turn it on HIGH for one hour and on LOW for 6-8 hours. This might result in the meat coming out more tender.) Set a large colander in a large bowl. Pour stew into colander. Return pieces of meat to pot, then discard remaining solids. Let cooking liquid stand 10 minutes.

Cook potatoes and carrots:
While beef braises, peel potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch-wide wedges. Slice carrots diagonally (1-inch). Add potatoes and carrots to stew (make sure they are submerged) and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until potatoes and carrots are tender, about 40 minutes. Serve over rice or with crusty bread.

Note: Giant has Chuck Roasts on sale this week for 1/2 off the per pound price.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009 - Items on Sale at Giant

I get tired of turkey very easily. I love the whole Thanksgiving holiday fare with the stuffing and the cranberry sauce but I really like it for one meal...not the six meals you end up eating with leftovers. And when my housemates and I started talking about having a Thanksgiving meal together before we all head our separate ways for turkey day, I knew we had to think about non-Thanksgiving foods. My plan is to make a beef roast with non-Thanksgiving sides (no mashed potatoes, no mac and cheese, no green bean casserole.) Hopefully we can come up with some fun sides that won't ruin us for our Thanksgiving meal. (sauteed spinach? potatoes au gratin? french onion soup?)

Here are this weeks deals at Giant:

Certified Angus Beef Roasts - Half Off all Roasts
Shady Brooks Frozen Turkeys - $0.47 per lb
Nature's Promise Organic Eggs - $2.99 per dozen
Swanson Broth - 4 cans for $3
Ragu Pasta Sauce - 3 for $5
Barilla Pasta - $1 a box
Variety of berries - $2 per pint
Celery - $1.99 per bunch
Broccoli - $1.99 per lb

Please check to see the specials at your local Giant Supermarket.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - Sale at Safeway

Wow...its been awhile. I can only tell you that I have every intention of continuing to find good deals but am just having a hard time finding time to get posts up. I do have some fun recipes to share with you and will be posting them up soon!

Here are this week's deals at Safeway:

Shady Farms Turkey - $0.79 per lb
Boneless Beef Bottom Round Roast - $1.88 per lb
Pork Loin Chops - $1.88 per lb
Red Delicious and Braeburn Apples - $0.99 per lb
Avocados - $0.99 each
Pepsi Products - $0.88 per 2-litre
Lucerne Butter - $1.99 per package
Hillshire Farms Lil' Smokies - $3 each package
Green and White Asparagus - $2.99 per lb
Red Grapefruit - $0.99 each
Pineapple - $2.99 each
Yams - $0.99 per lb

Please note that each Safeway location is different. Please check to see your local specials.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

DC Food Blogger Happy Hour

I will be stopping by here tonight. Please join us. RSVP here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Good Ole Bakes Sales and Spice Cupcakes

The Bake Sale was a success! Its been a few days since the first DC Food Bloggers Bake Sale and I have already gotten several requests from people to do this again. We raised over $500 for Martha's Table and I'm just so happy with how everything turned out. The baked goods were delicious, everyone who promised to donate baked goods came through, and I got to meet a lot of really nice people! I got to see Modern Domestic again, I got to talk Culinary School talk with Mango & Tomato and Capital Spice. I got to meet State Dinner, French Twist DC, Gradually Greener, and Metrocurean for the first time. The couple from Pete Bakes! stopped by to check out our baked goods. So many others came and supported us such as Urban Bohemian, DC Brit from Endless Simmer, and thanks to Stopthepota for doing the heavy lifting. (Yes, I am shamelessly name dropping.)

A big thank you to Adventures in Shaw for coming up with the idea and organizing. Thank you to Arugula Files for helping recruit great Food Bloggers to participate and for having great energy at the booth. Another big thank to my friends Joy, Rachel, and Anna who donated delicious baked goods for the cause (these girls are some of the best bakers I know.) For more pictures and info about the event, please check out these write-ups:

Adventures in Shaw
Arugula Files
Modern Domestic
Gradually Greener

This is a picture of the table towards the end of the day when we had already sold most of the baked goods. The two tables were COVERED with delicious things such as Caramel Bars, Heath Candy Bar cookies, Congo Bars, Mint Chocolate Whoppie pies, Snickerdoodle Cookies, Peanut Butter Cupcakes, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and so much more.

Thank you ACKC for donating coffee. It was so nice to sip a hot cup of coffee while it was drizzling and we were shivering from the cold wind.

One of the items that I baked for the Bake Sale were Spice Cupcakes. This recipe was given to me by a good friend's mom. She would like to stay anonymous but I can tell you that this lady is one of the sweetest and coolest moms I know. I hope she comes to visit us often!

The recipe calls for one box of Pillbury Plus Yellow Cake Mix. I have been told that this is the best boxed cake mix that you can buy because it produces the most moist cake. Lucky for me, they were on sale for $1 per box at Giant last week. The secret to using boxed cake mixes is to add a little bit of flavor to each batch. I added a teaspoon of vanilla that my cousin Stephanie got for me from Mexico. Its a very strong vanilla. Also added to these cupcakes are a variety of spices: nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, allspice and cloves. I ended up using pumpkin spice because I didn't have any allspice or cloves in the house.

Did you know that you are suppose to remove the paper wrappers from the foil wrappers? I always baked my cupcakes with the paper wrappers in the foil. I guess that just doubles the value of those foil wrappers because I will just use the paper ones the next time I make cupcakes.

They come out so pretty and so moist.

The topping is a Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting. Its pretty awesome. Here is the recipe:


1 Pillsbury Plus Yellow Cake Mix
1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves
1-2 tsp vanilla, depending on taste

Mix cake as directed and add the spices and vanilla. Mix it all together. Pour into baking cups and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely. Frost with cinnamon cream cheese frosting.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
8oz cream cheese softened
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 lb powdered sugar
1tsp vanilla
1/2 - 1 tsp cinnamon, depending on taste

Mix all ingredients together at medium speed until light and fluffy.

All I can say is that Food Bloggers are probably the nicest people on earth because they eat well and have good Karma for sharing the food love.