Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Joy's Grandma's Ginger Snaps

The Bake Sale for Haiti was a success. We were able to raise almost $1000 for Doctors Without Borders and there were plenty of baked goods left over to donate to N Street Village. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend or bake due to a stomach flu but here are some great recaps:

Nikki Rappaport
Envizon Your Dreams
Adventures of a Florida Girl in DC
One Bite At A Time

My friend Joy donated her Grandma's Ginger Snaps and I have tasted these cookies before. They are so good. Joy has graciously allowed me to post this recipe on my blog. I made these cookies tonight and can say that they are very simple to make. It was the first time I have ever used molasses in a recipe and am kind of curious what it would taste like if I omitted it. I think it could taste similar but the color of the cookie would be less appealing.

The cookie is simple and delicious and perfect with a tall glass of cold milk.

Joy's Grandma's Ginger Snaps

2 Cups Sugar
1 1/2 Cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/2 Cup Dark Molasses
4 Cups Flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 tablesoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

16 ounces white chocolate or white almond bark.

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Mix all all of the ingredients together. Roll into small balls (about a 1/2 tablespoon). Dip in sugar. Bake until golden brown (around 10 minutes). Allow to cool on baking rack. Dip half of the cookie into melted white chocolate or white almond bark. Place on wax paper or parchment paper to cool and harden.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Bake Sale For Haiti - Sunday, March 28th

Its been two months since the earthquake and the people of Haiti still need help. Some local DC Food Bloggers and some local DC bakers are getting together to hold a bake sale. All proceeds will benefit Doctors Without Borders. Please email me at thriftydccook at gmail dot com if you are interested in donating some baked goods for this cause. Otherwise, please come visit us on Sunday morning for some delicious treats.

Big thank you to Zorba's Cafe for allowing us to use their patio. Thank you to Tommy for creating this beautiful flyer and to my fellow bake sale planners Adventures in Shaw, Not Derby Pie, and One Bite at a Time.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Individual Shepards Pies (made with Bison)

I've always known that I am a lucky girl. Nothing makes me feel luckier than when I look around my kitchen. My kitchen is filled with gifts from family and friends; spices, vanilla, cast iron skillet, Kitchen Aid mixer. There is no doubt, I'm a lucky girl.

St. Patrick's Day is tomorrow and its time that I cooked something Irish. Shepards Pie is my favorite Irish pub dish to eat. How can you not love the savory meat with the buttery mashed potatoes on top? Its delish with a tall glass of Guiness.

This was a perfect opportunity for me to use my new potato ricer from my best friend (and sister-in-law) Caroline. I gave this same tool as an engagement gift to my cousin and her fiance's reaction was, "is this a torture tool?" It is not. You simply place boiled pieces of potatoes in this little gadget and it (for lack of a better term) spews out perfectly mashed potatoes. Please see the example below.

Ok, it perfectly mashed once I used a fork and mix all that potato mess together.

These little ramekins are the perfect size for a healthy portion of Shepards Pie. Thats why my housemates and I ate two each. If you noticed from the top picture, I used Bison meat. This purchase was made during a Farmers Market trip with Adventures in Shaw. This woman seems to have a knack for getting me to buy things. The bison meat was...different. It doesn't taste like ground beef as much as I thought it would. Similar but not quite.

Individual Shepards Pies (made with Bison)

Recipe adapated from Simply Recipes

  • 1 lbs ground bison (or beef) - $5.94
  • 1 onion chopped- $1.20 each
  • 16 oz bag of frozen vegetables - diced carrots and peas- $1.50 each
  • 1 1/2 - 2 lbs potatoes (3 big ones)- $3.99 for a 5lb bag
  • 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)- free from previous purchase
  • 1/2 cup beef broth- $0.99 per can
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce- $1.49 per bottle
  • Salt, pepper, other seasonings of choice - free from previous purchase
1 Peel and quarter potatoes, boil in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes).

2 While the potatoes are cooking, melt 4 Tablespoons butter (1/2 a stick) in large frying pan.

3 Sauté onions in butter until tender over medium heat (10 mins). If you are adding vegetables, add them according to cooking time. Put any carrots in with the onions. Add peas either at the end of the cooking of the onions, or after the meat has initially cooked.

4 Add ground beef and sauté until no longer pink. Add salt and pepper. Add worcesterchire sauce. Add half a cup of beef broth and cook, uncovered, over low heat for 10 minutes, adding more beef broth as necessary to keep moist.

5 Mash potatoes in bowl with remainder of butter, season to taste.

6 Place beef and onions into ramekins about half way. Distribute mashed potatoes on top. Rough up with a fork so that there are peaks that will brown nicely. You can use the fork to make some designs in the potatoes as well.

7 Cook in 400 degree oven until bubbling and brown (about 30 minutes). Broil for last few minutes if necessary to brown.

The entire dish cost about $16. This could be cheaper if using ground beef. I loved eating this dish out of ramekins but I do recognize that I am turing a manly meat and potatoes dish into a danity girlie dish but whatever. It tasted so good.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

DC Food Bloggers Happy Hour at Clydes

Looks like Clyde's in Chinatown has a new Sports Bar. Its taken over the space that used to be their take-out counter. Some of us Food Bloggers and some Sports Bloggers decided to check this place out for a happy hour. Hope to see you guys there!

Please RSVP here.

Friday, March 5, 2010


I've had the pleasure of visiting Vinoteca a couple of times for Jazz night when my friends played and for the last Food Blogger HH. Each time I have been there, I have had a good experience. This last Wednesday, I tried the sliders (HH Special was $7 for two with a salad). I ordered the bison with gruyere cheese and carmelized onions and the lamb with feta and roasted peppers. Both were very good. The meat was cooked well done yet the sliders were so juicy. Tons of flavor. I also got the fingerling potatoes with a dill sauce which looked like they were roasted, cut in half, and pan seared. Nice! They were cooked to a point where they had a nice carmelized favor to it. Tasty and filling.

I wish I was trained in wine tasting so that I could tell you that which great wines they carried but all I can say that I enjoyed two white sparkling wines for $10 and that I was happy...and buzzed afterwards.

Service was great. Sophia was our primary waitress who took care of a party of 30+ HH attenddees. She always remembered my name and my orders came out perfect.

My only comment to the Vinoteca space is that I wish they had more tall bar stools so that some of us didn't have to spend so much time standing. The other thing was that the water tasted like it had a strong chlorine/bleach smell to it. Blogger Mango and Tomato felt that it was too strong. I figured it was just the treatment that DC water gets but some restaurants have been able to deal with this by using water filters. I hope Vinoteca does the same.

Good food. Good Service. Good place to check out for HH. Sophia our waitress recommended Sunday nights when they have Flamenco dancing and half off South American and Spanish wines.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Whole Foods Coupons Online

Whole Foods now has printable coupons online. I'm starting to realize that these online coupons are so much better for the environment. When I think about how many coupons I don't cut out from the Sunday paper and how much of it ends up in the recycling bin, the online coupons make sense to me. I just check the coupons I plan to use and I print. Love it.

Here is the site:

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Beacon Bar and Grill (and Yelp)

Living in DC, its hard to turn down an invitation to go out for dinner when the other choice is heading home and cooking. My love for cooking is still strong but lately, after a long day at work, I've found myself enjoying sitting down amongst friends and enjoying good food with some good conversation. My friend Monali started pushing me to write Yelp reviews a few months ago and though I have only written a few, I have been surprised by the number of managers who have contacted me regarding those reviews. This is great! I really enjoy the fact that restaurant managers are reading these reviews and it makes me glad to know they care. So, in addition to some recipe sharing, I will be adding restaurant reviews to this blog. Let me know what you think.

This last Sunday, I went to a “Drunk Brunch.” This brunch has been two years coming. Its started off as a suggestion to a group of friends. We planned, cancelled, planned again, and it just never happened. Until this last Sunday. With my friends Monali, Christine, and Sarah, I spent three hours of my Sunday eating, drinking, and gossiping. For $30, you get an all-you-can-eat brunch and all you can drink Mimosas and Bloody Marys.

The food is ok. I was first interested in this brunch because I heard from several people that the food was good which is not something you expect from an all-you-can-eat buffet. I was a little disappointed. They omelet station had a lot of ingredients to choose from but the omelet was more of an egg scramble than an actual omelet. The croissants and bagels looked like something they picked up at Costco. There were a lot of hot dishes to choose from; roast beef, roast chicken, ratatouille, shrimp and grits, clam chowder, corned beef hash, bacon, sausage, breakfast potatoes, waffles, etc. The corned beef has was good but I avoided the dried up sunny side egg that sat on top of it. The cheesy shrimp and grits was tasteless. The blitz was terrible.

I did say the food was ok. Here were the highlights. The salad bar was really fresh looking and their prepared salads were delicious. They had a roasted beet salad with watercress that was great. Their Asian brocolini salad with lo mein noodles was also very good and very refreshing. The other is the dessert table. They had carrot cake, apple pie, chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies, and lots more. Everything looked good. What I ate the most were the chocolate chip cookies. The chocolate was a dark chocolate and they were chunks of chocolate and they were served warm so they were nice and gooey. They were perfect with a hot cup of coffee and the coffee served there was good. The omelet station was actually pretty good and I was glad to see that they had fresh eggs which isn’t always available at buffets.

Though my review of the food is not that great, I still rate this restaurant pretty high because my friends and I truly had a good time. The waiters kept the Mimosas flowing and never hassled us out. The beauty of the buffet is that you never have to wait for someone to serve you. You can get up at anytime and get what you like. Even after three hours, the waiter still let me order a Bloody Mary just so I could try it. (It was terrible. Don’t order the Bloody Mary. Stick with the Mimosa.) We may not have eaten our $30 worth but we sure drank our $30 worth.

If you can, get there early. We got there at 11:30 a.m. and the lines were two or three people deep. By the time we left at 3 p.m., the line was 15+ people deep. They also ran out of Danishes and the mimosas were more orange juice than champagne later in the afternoon. Overall, it was a great time.