Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ebbitt Express

Did you know that Old Ebbit Grill has an express counter?  And if you did, why didn't you tell me!? 
 
 
Ebbit Express is awesome. It is hidden away in the back of the restaurant and the entrance faces the lobby of an office building.  The space is small but serves its purpose. It even has a window where you can pick up the orders you placed over the phone or online.




The prices here are fantastic for the kind of food and the amount of food you get, especially for a downtown establishment.  The Beef Brisket Platter is $9.95 and it is a hearty portion of brisket, mashed potatoes with gravy, and green beans.  The brisket had great flavor, was not too fatty and wasn't too dry.  The mashed potatoes and green beans both were great.  The green beans even had a good crunch to them.


The Pulled Pork Sandwich was $7.50 and was plenty for lunch.  A co-worker mentioned that the bottom bun was a bit soggy but look at that all that BBQ pulled pork...

Ebbit Express is open Monday through Friday and has daily specials.  You can place an online order here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sandwich Bread


So, I think I finally got the hang of baking bread. For years, the idea of baking bread has intimidated me but look at this picture above.  Isn't it gorgeous?  I am at that point where I am so excited to see the yeast activate, to smell the dough as it comes together, and then to see that bulge in the kitchen towel that covers the bowl as the dough is rising.  I love it.

I decided to give myself a break from trying to make artisan breads or using whole-wheat flour because the breads that I was trying to bake did not turn out very well.  It was discouraging me from trying to bake again. So I simplified my life and looked up an Amish white bread recipe from All Recipes.com.  It was perfect.  I only used 1 tablespoon of sugar to get the yeast going.  Otherwise, I followed the recipe to a tee.  Yeast can be pretty pricey so I ordered 2lbs from Amazon.com.  I filled a quart mason jar with yeast to use now and froze the rest in the freezer for later use.  This yeast works great and should last in the fridge for at least a month. 

If you read the reviews for this bread, the possibilities are endless (dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, garlic knots, etc.)  I am just so happy to be able to make bread with no preservatives and to be able to share them with my friends.  We had a little picnic at Logan Circle last week and I brought the bread, some turkey, sliced up vegetables like radishes and onions, and we had ourselves a delightful little picnic.  Now if I can only figure out whole-grain baking...

Happy Eating.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Not So Simple Southern Things


Less than one mile from my apartment is a Popeye's Chicken establishment.  In order to ensure that we live a somewhat long life, I have been pretty strict about how often we can visit this restaurant.  I am proud to say that since we have discovered this location almost a year ago, we have only visited twice.  And the chicken is good.  Popeyes has discouraged me from attempting to make fried chicken at home.  Why bother with all the grease, the heat, and the messy batter when you can get good fried chicken less than a mile from your home? 

That is until I read a blog post by Momofuku For Two.  The recipe looked relatively simple and her pictures just made me want to bite into that crunchy skin.  A few weeks ago, I made this chicken and it was worth all of the grease, all of the heat, and all of the messy batter.


We put the brine in a gallon-size ziplock bag, placed it in a cooler, and put in ziplock bags full of ice in the cooler (our fridge is packed so there is no way we could fit a bowl of chicken and brine in there.)  It brined for 10 hours and then I removed the chicken, dried each piece, and placed it into a baking sheet and covered it with paper towels.  I let the chicken sit for two hours.  This is such an important step and something I have learned about good frying. My mistake in the past has been frying food that just came out of the fridge.  Naturally, the insides are too cold and therefore you will end up with burnt skin and bloody red, raw flesh.  The meat needs to sit at room tempertature for awhile.

I set up my battering station, heated up 48 oz of canola oil (until you can sprinkle some flour in and see it fizzle), battered the chicken, and dropped the chicken in for about 13 mintues.  Ok, I confess that I didn't technically fry the chicken.  Marshall stepped in because 1) he is from the South and feels that he has the genes to properly fry food 2) he wants to do the fun part.

This fried chicken is worth the trouble. It was moist, the skin was crispy, it was simply delicious.  The funny thing is, Marshall and I could only eat one or two pieces (instead of a lot more.)  Our theory is that when you cook the food, the sensory exposure (sight, smell, feel) has been satisfied and therefore you don't need to eat as much.  We are totally going to write a weight-loss book and make millions of dollars.  I guess we should first prove this theory.

Happy Eating.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Kitchen with Character


Recently, we started a registry for the wedding.  Marshall and I added all of these great items and got really excited over a bunch of kitchen gadgets.  What I started to realize was that the gadgets were fun but I wasn't getting excited over the china or the serving platters.  Most were not attractive and the ones that did appeal to me were over-priced.  I want a kitchen with character but I am not willing to spend $500 for a sugar bowl.

My prayers were answered when we went to the Arlington Civitan Open Air Market.  The "garage sale" is held once a month on the first Saturday of the month during the summer.  It is a large parking garage that is filled to the brim with vendors selling pretty much everything imaginable.  I scored the two bowls for $5 and the embroidered tablecloth for $1.  (I do realize they don't really go together but had to get them in the same picture somehow.)

The bowls are really charming and are perfect for chips and dip.  The tablecloth isn't really my style but for $1, it is perfectly good to cover wood picnic tables that normally give me splinters.

My goal in July is to head to this market and score some good baking tools such as loaf pans and pastry cutters.

Happy Shopping!





Friday, June 22, 2012

In A Hurry Noodles






There are people in our lives who are there to remind us to stop being whiny, self-involved, bratty adults.  For me, they are typically people with kids.  If you ever want to get a cold, hard stare (or even a growl) from someone, go and complain to a parent about how little time you have as a single person.  I was talking to my brother over the phone about how tough it is to make quick and healthy dinners.  I mentioned how it has been really great for Marshall and I to make pizzas at home since I learned how to make and freeze pizza dough.  My brother said he didn't have time to make pizza dough.  I replied "What about Sunday nights?"  He reiterated, "I don't have time to make pizza dough."  It hit me. He is in medical school and they have a 3-year old boy to take care of and entertain.  I backed off.

So the picture above is a dish that I made while thinking of my busy family.  The noodles (spaghetti though I would recommend using Angel Hair pasta) are tossed in a soy and sesame oil sauce (recipe by the Pioneer Woman) with shredded rotisserie chicken, sliced up red peppers, and cilantro thrown in.  It was quick, easy and hopefully something my brother and his family can use in one of their future meals.

Love you guys!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Simple Southern Things

In November, I will be getting hitched to a southern boy. The kind of boy who loves fried chicken, biscuits, and ice tea. The kind of boy who has an accent that suddenly gets thicker when he talks to his mom on the phone. The kind if boy who tried to get me to appreciate the Dukes of Hazard by telling me random facts about the show and how they are so cool for jumping into the car through the windows. Not sure I am sold on this show yet.

In trying to cook more at home, making southern style food has been a challenge for me. But there is one thing that is simple enough for me, iced tea.

Today is suppose be a scorcher for the DC area so I decided to make sun-brewed iced tea. Simply place some Lipton tea bags into a mason jar and fill it with water. Let it sit out in the sun for about an hour. Then sweeten and serve over ice. Simple, refreshing, cheap, and delicious.

Stay cool, folks.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Nice Email


My aunties make me laugh.  Especially when they are together.  They are these beautiful, youthful women who scold us to eat better, laugh at us when we make silly mistakes, and who loudly (and yet lovingly) explain to my cousins and I their theories on life.  I get regular emails from them and they are typically "WARNING" emails about how cell phones can pop corn kernels and will do the same to my brain.  Or how I should not get out of my car if I see a note taped to my windshield because it is another way that I can be attacked.  I get these types of emails on the regular and I have to explain to my friends why I get so paranoid and crazy sometimes. 

For once, I got a nice email.  My aunt Emily sent me an email with a simple subject: Pound Cake.  This is what the email contained:

POUND CAKE

1-1/4 cup flour

1-1/2 stick butter
¼ cup of milk
2/3 cup sugar
3 extra large eggs
1 tp baking powder
¼ cup rhum
orange skin
½  to ¾ cup of  raisin

Beat the butter first,  sugar , then add one egg  at a

time for 2 mn each.  Add flour and baking
soda, then milk and rhum and raisin last.

Cook at 350 to 375 degree for 45 mn


Check with a knife, if it comes out net, the cake is ready

to be taken out.


What a lovely email and a delightfully simply written recipe.  I was instantly inspired and baked this within a week of receiving it.  It is light and sweet with a hint of rum. This pound cake is normally found in Vietnamese bakeries and I am so happy to have a recipe for it now.  I hope my Aunt Emily keeps sending me these types of emails.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Puckered Face, Lit Up Eyes


If you follow Mrs. Wheelbarrow and OneVanillaBean on Twitter, you will know one fact; sour cherry season only lasts for a few weeks. I started to have "I am going to miss out on sour cherry season" panic attacks. It is even worse this season because I heard rumors that the weather somehow effected this year's crop so the scared little jewels of red are going to be scarce. I was determined to make one fresh cherry pie.

Lucky for me, By the White House Farmers Market brought these sour cherries to me (the market is a block away from my office.) The market is open once a week on Thursdays from 11 am to 2:30 pm. Bigg Riggs and Toigo Orchards both will have sour cherries this week.

The pie in the picture is my first cherry pie of the season. It is a mix of fresh, pitted sour cherries and canned Dark Morello Cherries from Trader Joes. I used Mrs. Wheelbarrow's sour cherry pie filling recipe, baked it at 350F for 1 hour and let it rest for one hour before cutting into it. Just a be sure to pit the cherries well. Marshall almost broke a tooth biting into this pie. #sorry!!!

I Did A Bad Thing



So...I did a bad thing. Well, kind of bad but not really. I feel badly about it. This past Sunday, Marshall and I were lucky enough to attend the Fancy Food Show which is basically an adult-foodlover's Halloween-ish event (without costumes). There were over 2400 exhibitors and almost all of them had samples of a food or drink. Before I got to the event, I already knew that I was going to love it. My imagination failed me because it was ten times more glorious than I could have ever imagined. Wall-to-wall cheese, smoked meats, crackers, bread, cookies, brownies, tea, liquor, soda, olives, biodegradable cartons of water, sparkling water, sake, Aloe water, fried elbow pasta snacks, rum cakes, dried fruit, mezcal, applesauce in pouches, hot pasta, hot pizza, cheese, cheese cheese, and did I mentioned they had a lot of cheese? Here are a few of the items that I really enjoyed (I wish I could post the hundred that I tried and enjoyed):

-Icebox Water - it is water in a biodegradable carton. I would love for schools to order these to get kids to drink water and for them to get use to using another container other than plastic water bottles.
-Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams - Splendid indeed. This ice cream is a must-not-miss if you are at the show. Their samples blew my socks off.
-Beanitos - Chips made of beans. I think that is pretty cool.

Six hours later, Marshall and I stumbled out into the sunlight loaded down with heavy bags of samples. We crossed the street to the Passenger and relieved our weary legs by sitting on stools and drinking beer. It was an awesome day.

That night, I started getting tweets that asked "Did they search your bag?" and "Did they let you out with stuff?" I was only slightly confused and figured it was only paranoid friends.

Today, my friend Cecilia got out of work early and attended the show and sent me a picture of the sign by the doors that read: ATTENTION EXHIBITORS - The removal of samples from the Exhibit Halls is prohibited. All product sampling must be done on the show floor."

Whoops.

I promise you that I didn't see those signs. I was blinded by the attractive food displays and all the cheese (and my greed)! But seriously, the goods I took off with were not nearly as amazing as the products I tasted inside the exhibit halls. No word yet if the Fancy Food Show will be coming back to DC but if they do, I will gladly pay the registration fee and attend (though I guess I would have to also ask that extended family member who actually owns a business if I can go as their rep since this is an industry only event.)

The last day to attend the Fancy Food Show is tomorrow, Tuesday, June 19th. I also wanted to mention that my new goal in life is to be a food buyer for a major grocery store. :)




Friday, June 8, 2012

Trader Joes Sold Me a Bag of Goods

I dislike hearing a sales pitch. When sales people approach me, I head in the other direction or I smile politely and tell them that I am fine. Either way, I prefer to be left alone to judge the value of a potential purchase on my own.

Today at Trader Joes, the nerdy-looking guy behind the samples counter convinced me to try the featured dish. He told me the queso he was serving was from two Trader Joes' products: a can of Turkey Chili and one container of cream cheese. I tasted it with some tortilla chips and... it was pretty darn good. Begrudgingly, I admit that I was sold.

The canned chili was tasty with beans cooked just right, lots of diced peppers and onions, and a good kick from the spices. Heated up and mixed with the cream cheese with some chopped up green onions and cilantro thrown in (and jalapeƱos if you have them), it is competitive to some of the best queso dips I have ever eaten and definitely beats the yellow stuff they probably microwave-cook at Tortilla Coast.

The can of chili was $1.99, the cream cheese was $1.79, and the bag of tortilla chips cost $2.49. For an appetizer that costs less than $7, I will be making this my go-to contribution during football season. Just remember to garnish with some cilantro to make it look more expensive.

(the picture doesn't do this queso justice. )

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

DC Food Blogger Happy Hour - Haven Pizza - June 6th


The beautiful Bethesda Foodie and the great Anita from Greg's List will be co-hosting the next DC Food Bloggers Happy Hour which will be at Haven Pizzeria in Bethesda, MD.  Come hang out with a great crowd on Wednesday, June 6th starting at 6pm.  It is always a great time and I hear that Haven has some really delicious pizza.

RSVP Here.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Croissants Are for Lovers



Baking bread is f-ing hard.  This weekend, I attempted to make four loaves and only one was a success (though a bit dense.)  There is so much to consider: temperature of the water, timing of the rise, etc.  I found myself looking at my risen dough and scrutinizing the bubbles to see if it was ready for the oven.  This took a lot of energy.  Spent and covered in flour, I vowed to myself that I would try again.

There is one baked item I don't think I will ever be able to conquer, the croissant.  If you read a recipe for croissants, it would make your mind spin. There is just much to it. Luckily for me, there are a few places in DC that make great croissants.  My favorites are Watergate Pastry, Buzz Bakery, and Paul.  

Paul opened their third location in the DC area today on Connecticut and K Street NW and offered a free large macaron or a baguette with any purchase. I happily purchased a delicious croissant and picked up a free baguette.

Happy Eating!