Friday, June 29, 2012

corn soup


cornsoup
Originally uploaded by stephykay
Corn soup is a recurring theme around here. This go round was inspired by a corn and zucchini soup with a bisque-like texture. The zucchini gave it an odd tinge, and muddled the taste of the corn as well.

My attempt - corn, Vidalia onion and roasted garlic paste, and summer squash, topped with cilantro oil. The summer squash helped maintain a nice crisp yellow color, and gave the soup a creamier texture. The onion and roasted garlic (all boiled down with the cobs) helped keep the soup on the sweet side, since the corn wasn't quite there yet. All in all, a huge improvement over the other corn soups I've documented!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

loose threads

Pernil Asado con Mojo - this was so good! I used a much smaller pork shoulder (3.5 lbs) and the bone was already removed. The leftovers were great in enchilada pie and quesadillas.

Laotian food from Food and Wine magazine - the only one I haven't made yet is the Ground Turkey Laap, and that will probably get knocked off the list in the next few days. And they were all keepers!

Shrimp and grits - I used half the shrimp and added two chipotle cheddar sausages to the grits, as well as a diced poblano and smoked sea salt. I upped the cheese a bit (what can I say, I like Cabot clothbound cheddar). I think that the ratio of sauce to grits is a bit off, since I found I needed a lot of the chile sauce.

Chicken and hominy soup - we made this with Rancho Gordo hominy. As long as you remember to soak the hominy in the morning, this is very doable as a weeknight dinner.

Chickpea and spinach stew - I usually have all of the ingredients for this on hand. It's a really nice and easy weeknight recipe, especially in winter. Even though it doesn't really feel like winter here because we haven't had much snow. Not that I'm gloating...

Butternut squash soup with coconut and ginger - I was quite taken with a coconut kabocha squash soup I ate (from a food truck, of all places!), so when I ran across this recipe I had to give it a try. It's good, but definitely not as good as that kabocha squash soup - I think you need that extra sweetness. I will have to give the recipe another try with kabocha.

A few others of note... salt and vinegar kale chips... roasted cauliflower with golden raisins... breakfast quinoa...

We signed up for occasional Washington's Green Grocer deliveries (it's similar to Boston Organics). It's much more flexible than a CSA, but of course it isn't all local produce. We get to add and subtract things, too, and they offer products from Brooklyn Brine. I love their fennel beets and the curry squash and the chipotle carrots and... well, I haven't had anything that I haven't liked!

Momofuku's ginger scallion sauce - I wasn't sure if I was ready to purchase David Chang's cookbook, but I ran across this recipe. Quick and easy and you can throw it on anything!

I was really happy to see that the Dupont Circle farmer's market is open year round, and it's on Sunday mornings. It's a shame that dogs are prohibited, because I have dreams of taking Hobie for a walk while visiting the farmer's market.

Still looking for replacements for some of my old favorite things from Formaggio Kitchen and Central Bottle. I found that the Whole Foods occasionally has Jasper Hill Farms Bayley Hazen Blue, and since Meadow Creek Farms is local, it's easy to find their Appalachian cheese. I've grown fond of Cowgirl Creamery's Devil's Gulch cheese and Firefly Farms' Merry Goat Round. On the chocolate front, I haven't seen any Mast Brothers or Rogue chocolate here. Our Whole Foods has been lacking in general - they don't carry many chiles, they never have fresh lemongrass, and the bakery selection is abysmal (then again, I haven't found a bakery like Iggy's or Clear Flour in DC).

Speaking of things I miss - I have yet to find a replacement for Flour. I have made a few things from Joanne Chang's cookbook, like the dacquoise (which was much easier than it looks!), the gingerbread cake, the boozy rum cake, macarons... I also made her maple apple upside-down cake from Food and Wine magazine.

As much as I enjoy cooking, it's nice to eat out, too! There are several restaurants here that we were already familiar with before we left Boston (Oyamel, Againn, and Brasserie Beck, for instance), and we're starting to explore a bit more. Restaurant week was a great opportunity for this. We had a great Mexican themed meal at Untitled, Southern comfort food at Acadiana, and we finally went to Birch and Barley.

Other places of note: Estadio (still not sure if I like it better than Jaleo), Bourbon (beer cocktails and fried chicken!), Two Amys (although next time I will stick to the small plates), Pizzeria Paradiso (great beer list and delicious pizzas), Pho 14, Scion (they have a great beer list!) and Vermilion (if I can't get Garden at the Cellar's tater tots anymore, I'll be happy to replace them with Vermilion's hush puppies). I'm sure I'm forgetting a few. And China Poblano, but that doesn't count because it's in Las Vegas. Or maybe it does, because it's by Jose Andres. Anyhow, it was a huge disappointment.

I've been making the food truck rounds, too - @eatwonky, @FlmeetsDC, @lobstertruckdc, @fojolbros, @capmac, @sweetbitestruck...

And of course there's lots of places I still want to visit. I have a lot of eating ahead of me!

Monday, November 29, 2010

the times, they are a changin'

Two months ago today, I received a call asking if I could interview for a job in a city 500 miles away. Even though everything fell into place - my boyfriend received a job offer in the same city just before I received my job offer, we had a temporary place to stay, we found an apartment, we found someone to rent the condo in Cambridge - life has been pretty hectic. My last day at my previous job was one month ago, and we left for Washington, DC shortly thereafter.

I'm very excited about my new job. It's a big change from my previous life as a medicinal chemist, which is exactly what I was looking for. My days in a chemistry lab are over, and now my kitchen lab is my only lab.

So I'm adjusting to a new city, but more importantly, I'm adjusting to a smaller apartment with a smaller kitchen, which is equipped with an electric range *sigh*. We are very lucky to live near a great Whole Foods (with a fabulous beer selection!) but I'm looking for other places to restock my kitchen. I was very lucky to have lived within walking distance of Formaggio Kitchen, and Savenor's wasn't much further away. Yes, there is Cowgirl Creamery here, but their cheese selection is not as extensive as Formaggio Kitchen's. I think I owe Balducci's another visit, and of course I need to explore my own neighborhood a bit more. I know Chinatown no longer exists as I knew it, and it seems that many other ethnic groceries are a bit further afield as well. So if any DC area (DMV?) residents are reading this, I would love to hear your recommendations for any food-related stores I should visit!

In the meantime, here are a few things that I've been up to in the kitchen:


  • framboise cranberry sauce - I used Dogfish Head Fort. Dogfish is one of my favorite breweries, and now that Delaware is a short drive away I see a visit in my future! There's no way I could drink a bottle of Fort myself - it's 18% ABV! - but there was some beer left for me to enjoy while I cooked the sauce.

  • Upside-Down Cranberry Cake - I used twice the cranberries and spread it out over two cake pans. I like a heavier fruit-to-cake ratio so this worked out much better for me than the original.

  • Chickpea and spinach stew - In our packing and unpacking, I discovered two issues of Food and Wine magazine from 2005 which I had saved for their great articles about Spain. I combined two recipes, chickpea and spinach stew and one with chorizo. I used a chicken chorizo, and I used hot paprika instead of sweet, which didn't make it through the move. It was easy, delicious, and hearty, and if you substitute canned diced tomatoes for a fresh tomato, the recipe features ingredients which I always keep on hand.

  • I made my first batch of beer! We brewed it in Cambridge and bottled it up just in time for the move! I'll definitely have a separate post about it, especially since we'll be doing another batch shortly, I suspect.

  • Spent grain pancakes, made shortly after the beer was brewed. The recipe needs work but I will give it another go. As you can see from the photo, I should have ground the grains a bit more. I'm hoping that the new, larger food processor I invested in will aid in this. I anticipate baking some bread using the spent grain as well.


And of course, I cooked a lot of my old favorites. If there's anything that will make you feel better about a life change, it's comfort food.

Monday, October 11, 2010

apple and parsnip soup


photo.JPG
Originally uploaded by stephykay
With the apples, cider, and parsnips in this recipe, this is the perfect fall farmer's market soup. Over the weekend I made apple-parsnip soup from Cooking Light magazine's October 2010 issue (which is full of great fall recipes, in case you're looking for some inspiration!) I used parsnips from my Parker Farm CSA, and a couple of Gala apples that were a bit past their prime. I love any excuse to use my immersion blender! I love the spices used in this soup and the soup had a great texture to it. Again, another hearty fall soup that can be converted to a vegan version if you use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. (I omitted the creme fraiche garnish.)

By the way, here's a great diagram of which apples are suitable for cooking, baking, and eating. It's very handy and I downloaded it to my iPhone so that I can refer to it while I am at the store.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


We made baked shrimp with feta from Cooking Light (April 2009) for dinner tonight. We made the suggested orzo accompaniment as well. Just before the orzo was finished cooking, we threw in some spinach, and tossed the orzo and spinach with the herbs, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Although the recipe suggested the orzo as a side, we threw it into the baking dish with the shrimp mixture. It turned out great - I will definitely make this again!

Monday, August 9, 2010

chocolate beet cake

Every week I have received a bunch of beets through my CSA. I do like beets in their typical preparation - I am especially fond of beets and goat cheese on salads - and I was quite pleased with the beet and carrot latkes I made earlier this summer. But I can't always make the time to cook them, so I have been boiling them, pureeing them, and freezing them for future use. This is well suited for chocolate beet cake. I had my reservations at first, but yes, I would gladly make this again (as a matter of fact, this was the second time I made it). The recipe calls for 2-3 oz of chocolate - but who's going to use 2 oz chocolate when you can use 3 oz? And it just so happens that Taza Chocolate bars come in a 3 oz size. I used the 70% dark chocolate bar since that's what I like to eat on its own.

It would be delicious as a layer cake with a cherry filling, or even a cherry glaze on top... or perhaps chocolate ganache. But it's delicious on its own - it's very moist with a nice hint of chocolate, and you don't really notice the beets.


I also made a vegan cupcake of sorts - red velvet pupcakes. It was my first attempt at vegan baking and my first attempt at cooking for Hobie, the three month old Australian Cattle Dog that joined our household last month. She can be a picky eater, but I know she has enjoyed other treats that include beets, so I gave this a go. I replaced the applesauce with more beet puree (so the cupcakes are quite pink) and rather than using cottage cheese as a frosting, I simply used peanut butter.

Although I'm not canine I tried one of the "pupcakes" myself, sans peanut butter and biscuit, and it's surprisingly good. And my intended audience was quite pleased (although she left the little bone shaped biscuit behind).

Friday, July 30, 2010

honey spice beer cake


IMG_1477
Originally uploaded by stephykay
I love spice cake, and I love beer... so I couldn't pass this recipe from The Washington Post up! They adapted it from the book Booze Cakes. I used the beer they recommend, Leinenkugel's Honey Weiss beer, which someone had recommended to me as a nice summer beer. Of course after the cake is baked you can't taste the beer, but it made the cake nice and moist. Although most people prefer spice cakes during the winter, I think this one was "light" enough to be used year round.

For the frosting I used Formaggio Kitchen's Hefeweizen, which is made for them by Cisco Brewers (pictured behind the cake). I screwed up the frosting - my butter was too soft. It's more like a glaze. The flavor is just kind of meh to me, so I think next time I would stick with a traditional white frosting. The walnuts were nice - I might try to bake these in the cake next time (yes, there will be a next time!)

I went ahead and ordered the book, so I'm sure you'll be seeing more spiked baked goods from me!