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Archive for March, 2011

Blog Vanity

Good morning!

Well, my intention was to share another Salad as a Meal recipe with you today but I’m afraid I’m just not happy with the blogworthiness of the pics.

I have a bit of an unhealthy obsession with the beauty of Dining and Dishing’s photos. I go through my posts every so often and pull down pictures I’m not satisfied with – sometimes even entire posts! I think if my blog were a person, it would be very vain. Oopsie daises :).

But luckily I’ve got something else for you today instead. Pumpkin Pancakes! The thing about weekend breakfasts is, they always photograph well because of all of the natural light coming into our kitchen at that time.

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Plus, when is a chocolate chip swimming in a melty pool of almond butter not pretty?

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Ohhhh yes :).

In her latest book, “How Easy is That?”, the Barefoot Contessa recommends some of her favorite grocery store finds that simplify cooking. One of which is Stonewall Kitchen’s pancake mix.

My mum gave us some a little while ago and Saturday morning I tried it out. I loved it! The batter is lightly sweet, which worked really well with my addition of pumpkin. Plain old pumpkin definitely needs a little sweetness boost to have yum potential. I also added a few other ingredients to the standard recipe to create one very delish batch of pancakes. All together, my recipe looked like this:

Pumpkin Pancakes (makes about 9 pancakes):

  • 1 cup Stonewall Pancake Mix
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • cinnamon
  • splash of vanilla
  • 3/4 cup of canned pumpkin

Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Warm greased pan over medium heat. Pour about 1/4 cup of prepared batter onto pan (as many as can fit with a little space between for flipping) and cook pancakes for a few minutes. When batter is bubbling, flip and cook a few minutes longer on the other side. Transfer to plate, add toppings and serve.

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You may have noticed my toppings of choice rarely differ :).

So there’s a nice little recipe for your enjoyment! Posting will be a bit spotty the next few days as I’ve got lots coming up. Tonight my friend Eddie and I are going to see The Blue Man Group (yay!). Tomorrow I’ll be up bright and early to drive back to Cleveland. One of my very best Canadian friends Aaron is coming to stay at my parents’ house for the weekend. I haven’t seen Aaron since July which is just tooooo long! So I really cannot wait :).

I’ll pop in as I can to say hello and will be back for real on Tuesday. See you then!

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Ugh…

Oh hey! Another fancy meal!

Enjoyed on Sunday at Addie’s.

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A glass of rose…

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A vegetable plate…

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and chocolate toffee cake.

As you know, normally I love Addie’s! Just like a love a good meal out. But if we’re being honest, HOLY WOW am I sick of fancy meals right now. The past few weeks it seems like it’s just been one after another and I’m so burnt out! Special meals are meant to be a special treat and that gets a bit ruined when they’re happening so close together.

Don’t get me wrong, I love good food and I feel so blessed to live in a great city with lots of great friends to enjoy it with. I appreciate all of it very much! But once in a while, a girl just wants to sit in her pajamas and eat a salad, you know??

I realize this is the dumbest thing to complain about ever, so please take me with a grain of salt.  But since it’s my blog and I mean to always be honest, it’s just how I’m feeling.

I’ve got lots coming up in the next few days with a night at the theatre, a trip to Cleveland(!) to meet up with my Canadian college roomie and a wine tasting event the day after I get back in town. And I am SO looking forward to all of it! But I do mean to get a little better at the balancing act.

It’s just life and I certainly want to take advantage of all the fun it has to offer. So my goal from today forward is to continue doing just that, while recognizing everything is best in moderation. Including those fancy meals :).

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Hi Bloggies!

I’m sad to say, I’m most definitely coming down with a cold. The other day Louisa came home with one, all bummed out because she “never gets sick”. And neither do I! Yet somehow both of us have managed to fall victim.

Anyways, I shouldn’t complain – it’s only a cold. But even colds are crummy! Mines mostly a dry/sore throat at this point which means that my appetite is lacking and only cold food and drinks sound appealing.

So last night was just the perfect occasion to try out one of the chilled soups from Salad as a Meal.

Chilled Pea and Buttermilk Soup

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It was so simple to make and so soothing to eat. I’m positive I would love this soup even without a sore throat! The recipe includes fresh mint which is something I absolutely LOVE. Next to basil, I think it’s the very best herb – it adds such a freshness to dishes and the scent is just heavenly!

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This soup would make for a great pre-dinner appetizer – full of flavor yet still nice and light.

So I’m just chugging water, resting up and hoping I kick this pesky bug soon. What’s your favorite comfort food when you’re not feeling your best?

See you tomorrow :).

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Vermillion

Hey all! Welcome back from the weekend. I hope you enjoyed it!

As promised, Saturday’s meal at Vermillion in Old Town. My roommate Anna and I had plans to meet our friend Jimmy for supper and decided to head to the area early to walk around a bit. It was a lovely sunny day and Old Town is just adorable – so I jumped at the chance to soak it in :).

We strolled around, shopped a bit and went down to the water. After our walk we enjoyed a beer at a local Irish pub and then headed to Vermillion for supper.

Other than the Fluke, everything you see here was shared among our table. Enjoy this endless stream of pics!

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Vino

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Celery soup amuse bouche. And how adorable are those tiny beer mugs?? 🙂

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carolina white shrimp – gruyère gnudi, black trumpet mushrooms & sauce “thermidor”

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carpaccio of wagyu* – celery root “remoulade,” rye grissini & shaved parmesan cheese

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lobster stuffed va fluke – pearl barley “risotto,” lemon, fennel barigoule & shellfish reduction

The desserts we ordered aren’t on the online menu so sadly I can’t give you their proper description. But I’m sure the pics speak for themselves!

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Rhubarb cake with marscapone and almond brittle

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Goat cheese cheesecake with sour cherries and vanilla bean ice cream. The highlight of the meal for me was absolutely this cheesecake! Tangy goat cheese, sour cherries, sweet, creamy ice cream – die.

Everything was fantastic, start to finish. And I looooved the ambience of the restaurant. Exposed brick walls, candlelight and rows and rows of wine bottles. It was gorgeous! A fab evening of good food and good company. The best way to spend any Saturday :).

See you tomorrow!

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Checking In

Friends!

It’s been an excellent weekend over here in Beth-land. Yesterday was spent strolling around Old Town Alexandria, soaking up the sunshine and enjoying a DELICIOUS supper at Vermillion. I took a million pics and can’t wait to share them with you, which I will do tomorrow! In the meantime, take a moment to enjoy the sweet bar :).

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I hope you’re enjoying yourselves on this Sunday. See you very soon :).

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Black’s Bar and Kitchen

So now that I’ve cooked my little heart out for you this week, let’s rewind to Sunday, when someone cooked for me!

One of my very favorite restaurants in the DC area is most definitely Addie’s. I just love how cozy it is, set back in a little house. And the food is outstanding! Seasonal, often local and very creative. Lucky for me, the owners of Addie’s, Jeff and Barbara Black, also have a couple of other restaurants in the area, including Black’s Bar and Kitchen in Bethesda.

My Cleveland friend Cody came to town last weekend and we planned to meet up with a few other friends at Black’s. I’ve been there for (a delicious) brunch once before, so I was excited to try it for dinner.

My roommate Anna came along with me and we ordered a glass of wine while we waited for the others to arrive. One thing I really liked about the wine list is that you can order a “taste” (3oz) or a “quartino” (6.4oz) glass. The wine list at Black’s is impressive, so this way you could taste a couple of wines or enjoy one big one. Since we both had our hearts set on a glass of viognier, we just went for the biggies :).

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As it was a warm Sunday, this cool, slightly sweet white wine was just what I had in mind. However, only once our whole party arrived did the server let us know it was half-price bottle of wine night! I was a bit annoyed since it would have been much better for us to share a bottle than order glasses. Hmph.

I’ve only had oysters once before, while I was on vacation in Australia after my sophomore year of college. It was my last night there and my friend and I went out for a fun meal that included all kinds of Australian specialties. While I enjoyed much of the cuisine, the slimy oyster was the most horrible thing I’d ever tasted! I thought I might die as it slid down my throat.

Since then I’ve recovered, grown up a little 🙂 and have really been meaning to give them another shot. Black’s has an impressive raw bar and since Anna is an oyster fan we decided to take the plunge and order some for the table. Half a dozen Boutique Oysters.

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And I’m happy to report I had a much better experience this time! So our next plan is to return for a night of wine and oysters. Sounds like a ball!

I ordered the rockfish special for supper. I LOVE rockfish, which I’ve only really discovered since moving to DC. It’s often available locally, so you see it on a lot of menus. This version came over spinach, bacon and local mushrooms, topped with crispy TRUFFLE potatoes. Sold!

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Oh yes, it was certainly as good as it looks. Buttery soft fish on an earthy bed of spinach and mushrooms, nicely balanced with crisp, salty bacon. And you know me, I just died over the truffle potatoes :).

And last but not least, dessert. Anna and I decided to split something and barely had to say out loud which one we’d both like – the Salted Caramel Trio! Is there anything better on earth than salted caramel?

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It was all divine, especially that salted caramel tart. A most perfect end!

I don’t enjoy the atmosphere of Black’s nearly as much as Addie’s. While Addie’s in a funky little house, Black’s is a bit more posh and formal. However, the food was juuust wonderful.

Mostly, it was just great to see my sweet friend Cody again! I miss friends from home. It was also the last meal I enjoyed before I grounded myself for the week, so I’m staring at it with envy as I type this! But don’t worry, the ban on my social activities has been lifted as it’s now the weekend. I’ll see you then with some fun! 🙂

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SAAM #3: Homemade Hummus

Hi Bloggies! And now for the moment I’ve been waiting for since the process began on Sunday: Homemade Hummus from Salad as a Meal! On Sunday, I soaked my chickpeas overnight. On Monday, I cooked my chickpeas. On Tuesday I attempted to make the hummus…until our power went out (argh!). And finally, last night my hummus was complete.

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And kinda worth the wait, no?? B-E-A-utiful.

I totally love hummus and eat my way through a container almost every week. So it would only make sense that I attempt to make my own. And I’m not sure why I haven’t! Everything’s better homemade and Patricia’s version is no exception. Hers was a little creamier, although I like hummus thick and modified the recipe for my own taste in texture.

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My dad makes the most delicious hummus and will often divide the batch into three and flavor each portion with something extra special. For instance, we’d have a trio of sun-dried tomato, basil and garlic. So much fun for the taste buds!

This is a traditional hummus and could work very well with the trio idea. But as is, I thought this made for one very beautiful dish.

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It’s all about the garnish :).

And with that, my first three attempts at cooking from Salad as a Meal are complete. I haven’t been able to share any of these recipes with you yet but I hope you got a little taste of the appetizers and sides the book has to offer. Healthy, fresh and beautiful! And it’s only the start. I promise to share some publishable recipes with you soon!

I’ll see you tomorrow with a little taste of life outside of my kitchen. I swear I do have one :).

What’s your favorite homemade dish?

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