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Archive for January, 2010

Snowy Trek

Now that was an adventure. We set out for Frederick at 4PM yesterday, and didn’t get in town until almost 7:30! The roads were horrendous last night :(. My friends and I had booked a hotel room anyway since Frederick is kind of our of the way and we wanted  to avoid any drinking and driving – given our travel time, thank GOD we did!

By the time we did get into town, we were more than ready to get the fun underway and drank a few bottles of champagne before heading out to dinner. We were in much better spirits after that!

I looked into a bunch of places to eat while we were in town, but as soon as I saw  the menu for Acacia I knew that’s where I wanted to go. Luckily my friends are agreeable :).

We started dinner with a lovely glass of malbec and “a gift from the kitchen” – tuna with heart of palm and black truffle salt.  Black truffle salt, I love you.

And then some lavash.

 

For our first course, my friend Abby and I shared the Lobster Monte Cristo – butter poached maine lobster on cardamom scented french toast topped with fontina cream and dorsey’s crispy country ham.

I loved this because it was so different – I’ve never had anything like it before. The lobster was deliciously tender and the ham was really light and crispy which made for an awesome balance of textures.

And then came the main:

Kung Pao, which is not on the online menu but basically a traditional chicken/peanut kung pao with tempura lobster and broccolini. The lobster was amazing and I loved the tempura preparation especially. The rest was good, but nothing out of the ordinary which was kind of a shame.

 All in all, a very good meal. And the service was so sweet. The heavy snow plus our late arrival meant we were among very few other diners and they really gave us VIP treatment!

And then we headed across the street to meet up with everyone for Anna’s birthday celebration. It was such a shame it snowed so much because it meant a lot of people couldn’t make it. But our little group managed to have plenty of fun anyway!

So! I need to get my act together this upcoming week. I think my newly very busy schedule is going to take some getting used to and my time management hasn’t been the best this week. I think I’ll go write myself out a little look-ahead agenda now :).

See you for Productive Monday!

Beth

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One Year!

Hi Bloggies! Gotta make this one short and sweet.

First things first – Happy official one year in DC to me!! – I’ve already celebrated the occasion and I already wrote my cheesy post here – so that’s all the mention I’ll give it today. But trust that I feel like the happiest, luckiest girl in the world right now.  Life is wonderful :).

It’s been a beautiful Saturday so far. DC woke up to quite a blanket of snow(!) and it just keeps coming.

This morning my roommate Allison and I walked over to Le Pain Quoitidien for a delicious breakfast. I had the Ricotta Tartine which is topped with mission figs, tomato, cracked pepper and honey. It is just dreamy. Sweet but only very subtly so and just the perfect size. Plus, look at that for a presentation! Lovely.

And because there’s no such thing as a good breakfast without a little chocolate, a Belgian Hot Cocoa to drink. They steam the milk and then bring you a little jug of chocolate to stir in. Adorable.  The chocolate was rich and bittersweet – perfect beverage to sip while watching the snow fall outside :).

Then we did a bit of shopping – Dean and Deluca and  Anthroplogie – where I got my very own bottle of truffle oil so I can recreate the mushroom soup from yesterday’s post at home. Exciting!

So nowww I need to quickly jump through the shower and pack my bags. This afternoon I’m headed out to Frederick MD for a gorgeous dinner and Anna’s birthday celebration. We got a hotel room, so trust there will be some trouble this evening :).

See you in the AM!

Beth

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Souped Up

FRIDAY! 🙂 🙂 🙂

I can’t believe we’re here already. And I’ve got a super fun weekend planned so I couldn’t be in a better mood about it.

But first, last night’s culinary school! I just love it.

We did the soups lesson and spent the majority of our class time watching demonstrations of –  Soup Cultivateur (soup of the farmer), Mushroom, Butternut Squash, Fish Head soup and Consomme. The best part of demonstrations?? TASTING! 🙂

Here are my top picks:

The Mushroom was by faaaaar my favorite. I would even say that it was the BEST mushroom soup I’ve ever eaten. I absolutely adore mushrooms in the first place but the little drizzle of truffle oil on top of this? To. Die. For.

Butternut Squash with a lovely hint of ginger. Also fantastic.

And the Fish Head soup with a garlic mayonnaise crouton. Watching a giant ugly fish head cook wasn’t the most appetizing thing I’ve ever seen but wow did it make some yummy soup. And the crouton alongside was heaven in my mouth.

So then we moved into the kitchen, where we made a soup of our very own. My new friend Rebecca and I (of course) chose to make the yummiest :).

You MUST try this!! Here’s your recipe:

You need:

  • onion
  • mushrooms (we used button and oyster)
  • leeks
  • garlic
  • butter
  • cream
  • chicken stock
  • salt and pepper
  • truffle oil

I should mention that we’re not told specific quantities, everything is done by sight and more importantly taste. Adds to the adventure.

First, sweat the leeks, garlic and onions in a bit of butter and salt. Once they cook down, add the chopped mushrooms and let those sweat also. When the veg has turned into  a nice soft, sweet mix, ladel in chicken stock and let everything simmer. Add soup to a blender and mix. Return soup to the pot and season with s&p and add cream to taste. Finish soup by whisking in a chunk of butter and serve. Drizzle the top of the bowl with a smidge of truffle oil.

Yummmm, nothing like a nice bowl of mushroom soup at 10:30 at night :).

So there you have session two of my culinary adventures. We were there SO LATE last night – I didn’t get home until almost midnight! But when I’m having that much fun I could care less.

I’ll see you for a weekend of fun very soon.

Beth

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You’ve Got Mail

Morning!

I love getting mail, most especially packages. Especially when they’re packages of food.

The other day Foodbuzz and Special K sent me some new products to try – fruit crisps and low-fat granola.

And this morning I tried them both!

First, my breakfast.

A cup of granola with a tbsp. of flax, a banana, vanilla soy milk and a peanut butter spoon. I do love granola but one has to be careful – it tends to be pretty caloric. However, this one isn’t bad at all. 190 calories for 3/4 cup. I enjoyed it’s denser, sweet oaty texture and it makes for quite a hearty AM meal which is sometimes hard to find in a cereal.

And for my morning snack – well a little early because I wanted to blog 🙂 – I tried the fruit crisps. These taste like POP TARTS! Let’s be honest, I kind of love Pop Tarts, I just never eat them because they’re full of crap. These are sugary sweet and taste  just like their kiddie counterparts so at 100 calories a pack I guess they could make for a less guilty pleasure every now and again. They’re certainly a far cry from real food though and so I don’t think that they’d be something I’d  buy on my own.

So, back to work I go. Thursdays are my craaazy day but I can’t believe the weekend is almost upon us again. That’s what I like to hear :).

Beth

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Almond Butter Love

I looove long weekends. It feels like Monday yet it’s Wednesday already!

I’ve missed my oatmeal dearly the past few days. Apparently not everyone loves it as much as me and so I had to go without. The sacrifice!

 

  • 1/3 cup oats/water/vanilla soy
  • cinnamon
  • vanilla
  • banana
  • tbsp. flax
  • tsp. maple syrup
  • 2 scoops of almond butter

This bowl was full of almond butter melty fantastic-ness :).

Speaking of, my friend Carmen is adorable. Knowing my love of almond butter she sent me these fun facts yesterday.

Foods that help you lose weight:
Almonds and almond butter
Another counterintuitive choice; aren’t nuts and nut butters supposed to be incredibly fattening? Well, almonds are calorie-dense, but they also pack a huge nutritional punch—and they’re particularly effective in counteracting cholesterol and triglycerides. One study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating almonds was as effective as taking a statin [drugs that actually lower cholesterol]. Spreading almond butter on your morning toast gives you a nice protein boost while preventing the carbs in the toast from spiking your blood sugar.

Let’s be honest, I love AB because it’s insanely delicious but the fact that it is also good for you never hurts :).

So! Things are going to be busy busy the rest of the week. I need to get my life back in order from the weekend as much as possible today because tomorrow is not only class #2 of culinary school but also the start of my online food writing course. Of course I’m feeling fairly relaxed right now but I sense tomorrow will be a totally different story…

I’ll see you then! eek!

Beth

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Back in Action

Ah! Hi everyone!

Sorry for my brief hiatus from blogging. I was entertaining my out-of-town visitor but he’s gone today and it’s back to reality for me.

It’s been a fun past few days – the One Year in DC night was fab, we’ve done lots of Washington sightseeing and of course made some time for some delicious meals. Here are a few highlights:

Chicken Parm made by yours truly from this recipe, which is easy and impressively delish.

And a side salad of spinach, tomato, Gorgonzola crumbles and homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

Pancake Brekkie from Martin’s Tavern. I’d never been there before but always wanted to try as it seems to be quite the historical Georgetown hang-out (also where JFK proposed to Jackie O.!). These pancakes were divine – crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. I am newly a total Martin’s fan.

 Annnd my creative use for chicken parm left-overs: a cup of pasta tossed with leftover chicken, marinara sauce, sautéed spinach and mozzarella. Yumm.

So there you have it! I’ll be back to normally scheduled blogging from today on, so I will see you tomorrow for sure :).

Good to be back!

Beth

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Cupcakes for Breakfast

Awww man, I am not a baker.

I had what I thought was an adorable idea to make Ina Garten’s Peanut Butter Chocolate cupcakes last night for our party guests this evening. But, it didn’t go so well.

I was on a roll at first, but once they went into the oven the cups were wayyy to full and basically baked into one giant mess of cake! eek. Not pretty. After cooling, I was left with this.

They actually still tasted delicious, but of course there’s not much to see there.

Round two went a little better and I was left with these:

So, we now have 8 cupcakes to serve our guests :). Oops!

But of course we can’t let delicious chocolate cake and delectable pb frosting go to waste. So, this morning, cupcake oatmeal!

That, my friends, is the breakfast of champions. Probably the most delicious oatmeal ever, although I’ll try not to make it a habit!

So, I’ll probably stick my focus on cooking in future. Cooking I enjoy because you can throw things together and adjust accordingly. Baking is just so precise, which unfortunately is not how my brain works

Anyway! Bottom line is breakfast was delicious and now I have a fun fun day ahead. I’m off to get Tom from the airport now and then it’ll be a few hours of calm before tonight’s gathering!

I’ll see you tomorrow…

Beth

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