Monday, February 27, 2006

Sloppy Bobs

Long story short, at some point in my childhood we started calling Sloppy Joe's, i.e. Manwiches, Sloppy Bob's....Don't ask me where the story came from because I don't know where/why or how. But I do remember them being something that I enjoyed, both at home and at school. The school ones were only good with a slice of American cheese on them though.

Here is the recipe that I made tonight. I pulled it mostly from this online source.

I've made some alterations, so here is my recipe:

Sloppy Bobs

1 lb ground beef
Pinch of salt
Shake of Mrs. Dash

1 medium onion, diced finely
1 bell pepper, diced finely

1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 TB brown sugar

2 tsp cider vinegar
1 1/4 cup water
1 6 oz can of tomato paste

and something extra:
1/2 tsp Zanzibar Cheromula from Nirmala's Kitchen. (I thought it would be good. It was, I'd add more in the future!)

In a large pan, brown the beef, while browning season with a little salt and Mrs. Dash....I always give my ground beef a little season, even if more is seasoning is coming'll just taste better. Drain of most of the fat. Add the onions and peppers and cook for about 5 until the onions and peppers soft. When they are done, add in the spices and stir for about a minute. Add the water, cider vinegar and tomato paste. Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes until hot, sloppy and bubbly.

Serve on hot roll and garnish with cheese if you like, I do!

Here they are. We had funny square bagels that I toasted up under the broiler and put some cheese on. Perfect. I'd highly recommend this and think it would be great with a ground turkey or chicken as well.

Cloud 9

I saw this over at Stef's site this afternoon. How fun! Based on a random word pull, that would be a Word Bubble t-shirt from my blog!!! I love that Objectionable and Sausage are both in there.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Sorry, not foodie related...

but freakin' funny...

For all Project Runway fans out there, VH1 brings us, THE TIM GUNN NETWORK!!!!


Tonight I went back to the new favorite Italian tome, "The Silver Spoon" and made...Greek Chicken! Yep, an Italian Cookbook for Greek cuisine. Doesn't surprise me at all. You pick up any "American" cookbook and it'll be filled with food from all over the world, so why can't an Italian cookbook have a recipe from their Mediterranean neighbor?

I'll say right out, that I had to alter the recipe some because when I went to the store they didn't have a full chicken! This has happened to be a few times before. The shelves are overrun with over-priced, over-processed boneless skinless chicken breasts (which are fine and I use them ALL THE TIME!), but this time I wanted a full chicken...and there were none...and the packages of parts...really were unpleasant in appearance. I just need to make a commitment and head back to Eastern Market once a week for things like this. It's out of the way for me now, but really worth it.

So is tonight's dinner:

Greek Chicken
Pollo alla Greca

1 chicken
5 TB olive oil
juice of 1 lemon, strained
1 TB fresh, chopped oregano
Salt & Pepper

Gently rub the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper and put a pinch of salt in the cavity. Whisk 4 TB of oil with the lemon juice and half the oregano in a bowl, season with S/P, add to the chicken and marinate for at least 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 350. Drain the chicken, reserving the marinade an dplace in a roasting pan with the remaining oil. Roast, turning frequently and basting with the reserved marinade, for 1 1/2 hours until tender. Serve sprinkled with remaining oregano.

That's how the recipe is in the book.

Here's what I did:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 TB olive oil
juice of 1 lemon, strained
2 tsp, dried oregano
Salt and Pepper

Again, no full chickens at the store and no fresh oregano. Dried herbs are more potent than fresh, so use less.

Trim up any leftover fat on the chicken and place in a ziptop bag. Add the marinade as described above with the 4TB of oil and lemon juice. Allow to marinade for an hour.

In a large fry pan over high heat, place the chicken breasts, (reserve the marinade) give them five minutes per side and allow to get a good nice sear on them. Then transfer to the oven set at 425 for about 10 minutes--until cooked through.

Meanwhile take the reserved marinade and put in a tiny saucepan--there won't be much--and bring to a boil and allow to reduce for a minute or two. I have nice stainless steel measuring cups...I put the marinade in the 1 cup measure and carefully held it over the gas was the perfect size. When the chicken is done, pour over!

I served the chicken with:

Roasted Red Onion and Tomato Orzo

Fresh thyme, about 2 tsp, give or take
1 medium red onion, diced medium
1 can diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine all of the ingredients, in a small, shallow baking dish. Put in the oven and roast. My batch took an hour, I stirred the mixture every 20 minutes. The last five minutes got about a TB of olive mixed in and then went under the broiler to get everything nice and carmelized.


And PS: I want to give a shout out to Ms. Chase for a lovely time on Saturday afternoon/evening. We meet up for a blogger blind-date and had a great dinner at Rosa Mexicano in the Penn Quarter. She's pretty freakin' cool! Good times.

Friday, February 24, 2006

It's almost spring...

...and in the spring my Germanic foodie heritage comes parading out. I guess it should be more along October with Oktoberfest, but for me it seems more a spring thing...? I don't know what that's about. Must have been all the crack I've smoked.

When I speak of my dear dear grandmother, I have had people say things like:

"She sounds like a lovely Southern woman."
"Are you sure she ain't black?"
"You're Jewish right?"

No, no and no. But I would love all three!!! OMG I would love it! Nope, actually grandma was just a lovely Irish lass who married a strapping lad of German lineage. This is all on my mom's side. On my father's side...I have no far as I know...I could care less...he took off when he found out mom was preggers, came back when I was three, took off again and I didn't meet him until I was 14, saw him again @ 16 and haven't seen him good riddance to bad rubbish. Anyways...sidetracked...

Irish + German = BEER

All that said, grandma made some amazing food and I have a few of her authentic German recipes and will be sharing them in the near future. But as a preview, Simply Recipe had this one up the other day that got me really's one that we had on a regular basis when I was growing. And the world famous....(I CAN'T EVEN SAY IT YET--You'll have to hold your britches!)

One other thing though that I will share...and hopefully try the loyal readers know, my mom and aunt visited this past weekend and we were chatting on Friday night with some guests who were visiting when my aunt reminded me of grandma's French Fried Pork Chops. Yes, French Fried Pork Chops. You know on Seinfeld when Elaine PUSHES someone and yells SHUT UP! That was me. I COMPLETELY FORGOT ABOUT THE UNBELIEVEABLY AWESOMENESS that was grandma's French Fried Pork Chops.

Way Way back in the land before time...actually not that long aunt is only going to be grandparents owned and operated a tavern called Heinie's in Appleton, WI. There was the beer and booze, but there was also the food. I think Friday night's were for Fried Chicken and grandma went to grab the chicken to prepare it from the freezer, but grabbed the wrong thing...oops. She grabbed pork chops. Oh well, she continued. (I don't have a recipe if you try this...trial and error) Coat the chops in flour then dunk them in a beer batter of Aunt Jemima and fry them in big ol' pot of hot oil until golden brown and delicious.

The chops get the nice crispy coating and then stay perfectly moist on the inside. I seem to always remember having these with some sort of potato, usually mashed, maybe home-fried, or maybe just fries? Now that I mention it I can't remember. The chicken was made with the same was the fish....!

I've put a call out to the family for more of grandma's recipes...I do hope to share them with you all.

Have a good weekend.

And if you want more German locally. How about Blob's Park? Read about it here. and here. I think plans might be forming for a field trip to Jessup, MD to Blob's Park for Polka and Beer!

And there is Cafe Berlin. Cafe Mozart Deli & Restaurant. Old Europe. These are all in DC and the ones I know of...the only one I've been to is Cafe Berlin...many many many times. I've heard good things of Cafe Mozart, it's downtown near the White House and Old Europe is in Georgetown...a friend has been many times and enjoys it.

And in Hagerstown, MD, there is the Schmankerl Stube. We've been a few times and have enjoyed ourselves.

If you know of and recommend other local German restaurants, please share!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I'm still wearing part of tonight's dinner

...just a few little bits of it on my shirt, I guess it was good.

Tonight I dug back into the recipe archives to one of the first recipes I posted on the the blog. It was the second recipe!!!

This really is a simple recipe and really tasty. I highly recommend it. One of the early things I did and am starting to get back to doing again, just need to plan and think...was a "special event." I called it Cooking Without Borders, for lack of a better name. The purpose was to gather a group of friends and readers from all over to have the same dinner, on the same night, in different locations. I'd post a recipe a few days in advance. Then a shopping list, and on a set night, everyone who wanted to play, would get together and make the same recipe and the next day we'd all come back together and post their comments...sharing their experiences, likes and dislikes. Long story short, this was the first recipe that we tried this with and the results were generally glowing. Everyone who tried the recipe liked it, with a few moderations here and tweak there. (HERE is the first event.)

In keeping with varying the recipe, tonight I added an onion, extra garlic, jalapeno, hoisin, sesame oil, both sherry and rice vinegar. It was great! Love it.

I'd also like to share a little info on Sesame Oil. It was not even two or three years ago when sesame oil in or on food grossed me out. Now I like it...I don't want my food swimming in it, as it is a strong flavor, but I do like it. I use it here and I have a few other recipes where it comes into major flavor play.

Also known as gingelly oil and til oil. Sesame oil is a very ancient ingredient. The Assyrians, more than 600 years BC, used it as a vegetable oil. It was expensive, however, and a hundred years later it is recorded as being used only by the rich as food, ointment and medicine during the reign of King Cyrus of Persia (559-529 BC).

Still used as a medicine in India, oil pressed from the raw seed is used as a massage oil in Ayurvedic medicine. In Burma and some parts of India, sesame oil has long been the universal cooking medium and is what gives the typical flavour to foods of those regions, although fairly tasteless in itself. It may be a clear or golden colour compared to the darker, more aromatic oriental sesame oil used in China, Japan and Korea, which is pressed from toasted sesame seeds. If gingelly oil or til oil is unavailable, use the cold-pressed sesame oil from health food shops mixed with 20 per cent oriental (toasted) sesame oil or use one part oriental sesame oil to 3 parts other flavourless vegetable oil such as corn oil, grapeseed oil or light olive oil. This is a reasonable substitute for the til oil or gingelly oil called for in recipes from India and Burma.

Asian sesame oil derives its dark amber colour and nutty flavour from hulled sesame seeds, toasted prior to pressing. It is used in Chinese and Korean cuisine, not as a cooking medium but generally added at the end of cooking in small quantities as a flavour highlight. There are quite dramatic colour variations in sesame oil, depending on its source. Cold-pressed sesame oil is almost colourless; sesame oil from an Indian store (probably labelled gingelly or til oil) is golden; and sesame oil from a Chinese shop is dark, almost red-brown. Cold pressed sesame oil, however healthy, has none of the flavour of oriental sesame oil since it is pressed from raw, not roasted seeds, and will therefore not produce an authentic result if used in an Asian recipe.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Another Breakfast Dinner

Alright. The family has departed and I had the day to rest. I shopped and I dropped. It was great. I also forgot what day it was and what the rest of my week was like. So I shopped for the two meals and knew that a social event tonight would require a quick dinner, so the longer dinners would be for "tomorrow and Wednesday." HA! That implies Tuesday and Wednesday. So stay tuned a new recipe on Sunday night instead of "tomorrow". Wednesday will actually be a repeat of a favorite that I've already done on here a few times...but I'll tell you more about that tomorrow.

So, making due with what I had available...tonight's dinner was a favorite usually reserved for lazy Sunday mornings....Sausage Gravy and Biscuits.

It's a real easy recipe and pretty fast.

Very interesting...if you look closely, you can actually see wisps of!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Strawberry Jam

You remember these from last night...these were left over.
Just over 1/2 a pound left over. What should I do???

I decided to make a quick 'jam.'

Really simple and a good way to extend the produce a few extra days. This can be frozen as well to make it last even longer.

Strawberry Jam

1/2 lb Strawberries
1 cup sugar
1 lemon, juiced

Hull the strawberries and rinse them. Roughly chop/quarter them. Put them in a small sauce pan with sugar. Start with 1/2 to 3/4 cups of sugar, you can add more later depending on your preference for sweetness. Add the lemon juice. Over low heat, mash the strawberries with a masher or large spoon. They will start to get very soupy and mix with the sugar. As they heat, stir until the sugar is dissolved. Give a quick taste to see if you want to add a little more sugar or not. I added a full cup of sugar and it might have been a touch too much. Carefully raise heat to medium low to bring slow simmer, keep this going for about 10 minutes to allow the jam to thicken.

I got almost two cups from 1/2 lb of berries.

Allow to cool, cover and refrigerate. You can freeze as well. Just place in the refrigerator the day before you might want to use it, it will thaw overnight.

My Dinner!


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Two of Hearts, Two Hearts that beat...oh I'm so full!

Happy Valentine's Day Kittens!

So last week I posted what was being made are the results!

First up: Chicken Breasts with Brandied Cherry-Chocolate Sauce

This was tasty. Not bad at all. But if I were to make it again, I would make some changes!
1) The recipe calls for 1 oz of unsweetened chocolate. I think this was too much. I would go to 1/2 oz, or 1/2 a block of Baker's chocolate.

2) There is 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar. This is alright, but maybe make that a 'scant 1/3 cup'. When you add this and allow it to simmer, it is going to make you nose tickle and want to sneeze! Have fun.

3) After you add the balsamic and the cherries, the recipe says to let it simmer for another 8-10 minutes. I think this is too much. Maybe only go 5 this closely. You don't want to the sauce to get too thick!
With this, we had our favorite salad ever!!!! Mixed greens with pears, cashews with basil balsamic vinegarette. Yum yum yum. The vinegarette is from Ken's Steak House. Good Times!

Next Up: Tiramisu Fondue

This was incredible. But sometimes even those of us who can cook up great things can be total fuck ups...pardon my french.
1) I read the recipe 3, 4, 5, 6 times. Yet I still messed up royally. But then I thought I saved everything...and messed up again! Lesson to everyone. Read your recipe until you are familiar with it.

2) OK, all that said, here's what I did...recipe calls for dissolving 1 1/2 cups instant coffee in 1 TB boiling water. 1st mistake I made...brewed a full cup and a 1 1/2 of regular coffee....oops..but I caught that soon enough...that's ok. Then I remembered that I actually wanted to try this Australian Wattleseed....ok, no problem. So I put a few tsps of that in a bowl and added a cup of boiling water to that...and then ADDED THE WHOLE DAMN THING! So, instead of what should have been a thick, rich, velvety fondue, I had a rich, creamy, tiramisu soup! It was really tasty! The Wattleseed was great. Just don't add so much liquid!
Here are some strawberries...because they are good!
Except if you know who you are...LOOK AWAY NOW!!!!

Alright. I hope you all had a good night!

A small bit of housekeeping: I'll picking my mom and aunt up at the airport this Friday and showing them around DC for the weekend. That said...I won't be doing much in the way of food, postings will probably be few until next week. But if I get bored with my hosting duties you might just hear from me! Have a good week/end.

Here is another photo of the chicken with the cherry/brandy/chocolate sauce. We thought it looked a little obscene/ this is shown down here. Alright...I'm tired...I'm going to bed.


Monday, February 13, 2006

Sweet Georgia Brown's

Yesterday, while everyone in the DC metro region was waking up and freaking out over the snow, we packed ourselves up and trekked down for a birthday brunch to celebrate with Sterfanie at Georgia Brown's. Read all about our decadent sinfulness here....

But in a's the verdict....GO, FAST & OFTEN, WITH ELASTIC PANTS!!!

Georgia Brown's
15th & K Street NW
on McPherson Square with the green awning
Washington, DC 20005

Make your reservations early and well in advance by calling 202.393.4499

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Be brave

A few weeks ago I got my copy of The Silver Spoon. You've heard me talk about it already, so I won't go into it again. But tonight, I ventured into the first recipe!

When I first opened the book, the first recipe that JUMPED OUT AT ME was....

Blueberry Risotto!

There really were no words for my curiosity....reading the recipe shows that it is clearly a savory dish, but really, Blueberries????

So tonight, I give you Blueberry Risotto from The Silver Spoon!

Serves 4
About 6 1/4 cups Vegetable Stock
3 TB Butter
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 Cups risotto rice
3/4 cup white wine
1 3/4 cups blueberries
Scant 1/2 cup light cream
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, to serve

Bring the stock to a boil. Meanwhile, melt the butter in another pan, add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until softened. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly until the grains are coated with butter. Sprinkle in the wine and cook until it has evaporated. Set aside 2 TB of blueberries and add the remainder to the pan. Add a ladleful of the hot stock and cook, stirring, until it has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, and stirring until each addition has been absorbed. This will take 18-20 minutes. When the rice is tender, stir in the cream and transfer to a warm serving dish. Garnish with the reserved blueberries and serve with Parmesan.

This is right after I added the blueberries and before any of the stock has been added.

The finished product. The photo really doesn't do it justice, but out of 35 photos, it's the best I could get for you. The others were gray or out of focus.

That's the recipe as stated in the book. Plain and simple. I did cut the recipe in 1/2, as it was just the two of us tonight. Please note that "Risotto Rice" is Arborio Rice. Can you use another rice for risotto, read this for the answer.

Arborio rice as I prepare to make the risotto

I didn't have cream, or milk, so I added a little marscapone cheese, thinned with's what I have! Did it work, I guess.

This was good. But I have to say...this is a dish were the quality of your ingredients is VITAL! I swear by swanson's low sodium chicken broth for many dishes. Including risotto. I just don't have the time, nor the energy to make chicken broth all the time. This recipe called for vegetable stock and as I was very last minute in preparing this tonight, I didn't have much to make a vegetable stock, so I used a swanson's can vegetable stock and a cube of vegetable boullion. I just thought the flavor was to manufactured and unpleasant. It ruined the whole risotto for me. Now, having made this once, per the instructions, I have no objections to making this with chicken stock, I don't see any reason not to.

OK, overall though, this was good and was blue~~!


Saturday, February 11, 2006


This is my 200th post! Who Knew....and in only two or three months Eat With Me will be One Year Old. What Fun!


Last night we had some guests over for dinner and the opening ceremonies of the olympics, as well as a rousing game of Puerto Rico. (The game is great fun, but challenging....get it!)

Dinner was something that has been posted on here before. Sirloin Tacos with Roasted Tomato Salsa. It's very easy, fast and really tasty! Outside of a smoke out from the grill pan and then...I'm sooo sad and going to have to go to Target timer/digital thermometer got to hot...and melted into a beeping mess!...Outside of those things, it is a very quick tasty dinner. The steak sits for 30 minutes with a quick dry can do many other things while that's going on. Then while you grill it, you make the salsa...done and done. Enjoy!

When I took the steak off the grill pan to rest, I threw on a red bell pepper and an onion, just to heat up and soften, to add to the tacos...not necessary, but a nice little touch. Also had an extra two tomatoes, so those were sliced up. Other fixin's were some shredded cheese and sour cream and we served them on soft tortillas. Chips on the side.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Someone might need a spanking!

Awhile back, Brunette posted a comment that she had a fondue recipe that might be of interest. Sure it would. A reader contacted me offline asking if I had gotten the recipe, because they were interested, but Brunette was off to India for two weeks. OMG! Yesterday, the reader asked if I had gotten the recipe, at the same time Brunette had basically pulled the recipe out to send to now...long story short...I must share with all of you...

I think I'm going to make this as dessert on V-day next week.

Tiramisu Fondue

UPDATED 2/15/06

1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee (not 1 1/2 cups as originally posted)
1 tablespoon boiling water
17 oz mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons sweet Marsala wine
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 large egg yolks at room temperature
finely chopped or grated bittersweet chocolate for dipping

For serving: strawberries, ladyfingers, peaches, etc.

~In a small bowl, dissolve coffee powder in boiling water.

~In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, combine the coffee, mascarpone, sugar, Marsala, and cornstarch, mashing/stirring with a rubber spatula until mascarpone has melted and mixture is smooth.

~In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks to combine. Gradually whisk in about 1/2 cup of the warm mascarpone mixture.

~Whisk the egg yolk mixture into the rest of the mascarpone mixture. Whisking constantly, cook until fondue is hot and thickened, about 2 minutes.

~Transfer to fondue pot and serve over heat source.

~Place the chopped or grated chocolate in small individual bowls.

~Dip your goodies in the fondue, then the grated chocolate right before eating.

A NOTE: Brunette mentioned that Nirmala's Wattleseed might be an interesting option instead of instant coffee. I have the wattleseed at home, and made ice cream with it-it was great, so I might actually try that...I'll let you know.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006's my favorite color!

Just over a week ago, Katherine at the ToastPoint blog put up a post on Penne alla vodka. Oh Yeah! I have made variations of this decadent dish over the years, no matter how it is made, it is always a pleasure to have.

For those who haven't had or made Penne alla Vodka, it is 1) penne and 2) a very simple tomato sauce with a touch of 3) cream and 4) vodka. The tomato and cream make a velvety sauce that coats your mouth with a full lusciousness that is to die for. Adding the vodka kicks up a natural heat level, warming your lips, throat and belly.

Below is the recipe as found on ToastPoint!

Penne alla Vodka
(adapted from Nigella Lawson's "Feast")

Put on a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.

In another heavy-bottomed pan, warm over medium heat:
2 Tablespoons garlic oil (or 2 Tablespoons olive oil with minced garlic)

Finely dice:
One large onion
A pinch of salt

Add to the oil and cook until soft and just beginning to caramelize, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

2 14 ounce cans chopped tomatoes
Cook over medium-low heat for another 15-20 minutes.

2 Tablespoons heavy cream, or 1 1/2 Tablespoons creme fraiche
Stir to combine, then remove from heat.

When the water boils, add:
A pinch of salt
1 lb. penne or other similar pasta (I used rigatoni)
Cook until very al dente, then drain and return to the pan.

1/2 cup vodka
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

I know it seems odd to add that much vodka to your pasta, but it really works. If you're squeamish, you can add the vodka to the tomato sauce to cook off the alcohol, you wimp. Stir until the pasta is coated and strangely fragrant buttery vodka fumes begin to rise enticingly from the pan. Tip in the tomato sauce and stir to combine.

Serve immediately, with grated parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top.


Tonight when I made this, I only had 1 can of tomatoes, so I 1/2 everything else. I also only had "mini penne." No worries. All was good. For a touch more added heat, I added a pinch of red pepper flakes with the onions in the very beginning. I used two garlic cloves, minced, added with the onions as well.

When my pasta was done, I drained it, put it back in the pot and added the butter. I then took the sauce, as prepared above, quickly stirred in the vodka, then poured it into the pasta. I did this just to make sure the sauce was evenly stirred together, then allowing it to evenly coat the pasta.

Next time I make this, given the advanced planning, I would see about getting some fresh basil to add in at the last minute, just for a little something extra! But as it, it's perfect!

Monday, February 06, 2006

V-day dinner plan

V-day is just a week away. We're not going to be hitting the restaurants or doing anything really...just a night home. But we will be making it a little special, so this will be our plan for the evening...I'll have to decide what to do for dessert, yet.

Chicken Breasts with Brandied Cherry-Chocolate Sauce

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons salt
4 cups water
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup good-quality balsamic vinegar
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons brandy

1. Mix salt into water in a large bowl or zip-top plastic bag until dissolved. Add chicken and allow to brine for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Remove breasts from brine, rinse with water, and pat dry with paper towels.

2. Preheat oven to 200°. Pour flour onto a plate or pie pan and roll each breast in flour, patting gently to lightly coat.

3. Heat butter and oil over medium-high heat in a heavy 12-inch skillet. Swirl to mix, and cook until butter begins to color. Lay breasts in pan and cook, undisturbed, until brown, about 5 minutes. Turn chicken pieces over and cook on second side, undisturbed, until juices begin to clot around pieces, 5–7 minutes. Remove chicken and keep warm in the oven while making sauce.

4. Add chicken broth to skillet, scraping to release any brown bits. Boil until reduced to 1 cup, 8–10 minutes. Add cherries and vinegar; boil until spoon scraped across pan bottom leaves a visible path in sauce, 8–10 minutes. Stir in chocolate and add brandy. Spoon over chicken breasts and serve.

I plan a salad as a side....probably our favorite...greens, pear, cashew and basil balsamic vinegrette.

I'll report back in a week. Oh, by the way, the recipe came from a magazine that was available free at Teaism called Delicious Living...and available online here.

UPDATE: Here are the photos from this dinner!

Sunday, February 05, 2006


On Saturday night a group of 8 of us went out to dinner to celebrate J-lo's 29th birthday for the Xth time. We went to the Moroccan restaurant Marrakesh. I had been there once before about 7 years earlier. The last time I had been, the group I was with had a good time. Everything is served family style and you eat with your hands from one large plate. I'll talk more about the food in a minute.

To start, you knock on the door to get in...kinda cool. The staff are all in what I gather to be traditional garb. You sit on bench/couches, pillows and eat from low tables. Dinner here is seven courses. The meal was about $29 per person and with the 7 bottles of wine, tax and tip, it was $70/person. Yikes, but for nearly three hours, good food, an alright belly dancer and really good times with good friends, it was well worth it!


This was the first course. It was three "dips." From the top, 12 o' clock position are carrots with a corriander sauce, they were perfectly tender and sweet. Next to the right was this cucumber, bell pepper salad and the last one was an eggplant tomato sauce dip. You eat this with a large piece of bread, you take a piece of the bread, dip or scoop up and eat. My favorites were the Carrots and the Cucumbers.

This is a really interesting dish. That is a flaky pastry covering chicken, onions, spices, egg and yes, it is covered with powered sugar with a little cinnamon. Who knew! Very tasty.

I think this was in fact the #1 favorite of the night. I've already found a few recipes online that I'm going to see if I can mimic and recreate for home. Roast chicken with lemon and olives. It was perfect. PERFECT! Tender, juicy, crispy, the olives and lemons. The only problems was that you wanted to eat faster, but it was sooo hot you'd burn your fingers!!!

This was the fourth course. This is the one course I took only a taste of and didn't participate further. It was a tagine of lamb with honey and almonds. It just reminded me that I don't like lamb. The first bite was sooo very lamby, I thought maybe a second bite wouldn't be, but oh it was...just not a flavor I like....moving on. This is something that has been proven over and over in the past few years as I've tried lamb at various places and each time just dont' like it...the only place I thought it was acceptable, but again only had a bite, Ireland.

This is the only course where you get a utensil...couscous with some stuff and squash. The couscous was very tasty. The squash on top was fine, but as we discussed, would have been better with some butter, salt and pepper....but that probably would be more authentic to WI, and not particularly Northern Africa.


After the couscous, we got a basket of fruit and nuts, (course 6) and then some baklava (course 7). The final bit the restaurant leaves you with is some tasty, sweet Morroccan Mint Tea. I really liked it at first, but after about 1/2 a glass, I started to taste DC water, so I stopped.

It was a great night and the food was very tasty. 7 courses, a ho-hum belly dancer, nearly 3 hours of fun. Again, a very good evening!!!

617 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202.393.9393
Fax: 202.737.3737
reservations required


Super Bowl Food

aka-Gut Rot

We're watching the game now. Yep, that's right, we're watching the game. Partly for the commercials, partly for the sport, partly to see who was going to out diva who during the Star Spangled Banner, Aretha Franklin or Aaron Neville. I think, gratefully, it was Aretha.

Anyway, there, needs to be game food. 1) Nachos-YUM, 2) Buffalo Bites by Rachel Ray-not really...see below for the recipe as I had gotten it online a while back, then my notes below that.

Buffalo Popcorn Chicken Bites
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

Vegetable oil, for frying
2 1/2 cups complete pancake mix, any brand, divided
1 1/4 cups water
8 teaspoons hot sauce, divided (recommended: Tabasco)
1 1/4 pounds chicken tenders or chicken breast cut into small bite-sized pieces
1 cup store bought, good quality refrigerated blue cheese dressing (recommended: Marie's brand)
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper, 1/3 palm full
Cut celery sticks, store bought

In a deep sided skillet heat 1 1/2 inches of vegetable oil over medium heat. If you wish to test the oil, add a 1-inch cube of bread to hot oil. If it turns deep golden brown in color in a count of 40, the oil is ready.

While the oil is heating make the batter. In a wide mixing bowl combine 2 cups of the pancake mix, 1 1/4 cups water and about 6 teaspoons hot sauce. (Use a regular teaspoon you would stir coffee with – that's what I did. I don't, technically, have a set of actual measuring spoons.) Place the remaining plain 1/2 cup pancake mix in another wide mixing bowl. Arrange the batter and the bowl of plain pancake mix near the cook top and the heating oil. Line a plate with a few sheets of paper towels and keep within reach.

Once the oil is heated and ready, toss the chicken pieces in 2 teaspoons of hot sauce then toss in the plain pancake mix, coat evenly and shake off excess. The plain dry pancake mix will help the batter stick to the chicken pieces. Add some of chicken to the batter, you are going to want to work in 3 to 4 batches coating and frying. Using a fork, toss the bites in the batter. Remove the first batch from the batter, shaking off the excess batter as you carefully add them to the hot oil. Fry for 2 minutes on the first side, or until the first side is a deep golden brown, flip and continue to fry for another 2 minutes or until deep golden brown all over. Remove from the oil and drain on the paper towel lined plate, season with salt. Repeat until all the popcorn chicken bites are fried. Serve immediately with refrigerated, good quality creamy blue cheese prepared dressing with chopped scallions and black pepper stirred into it for dipping. Garnish platter with celery sticks.

This was alright. Nothing spectacular. The batter was thick and doughy when fried up. So it was sort of like having some bad sweet & sour chicken pieces from a Chinese restaurant, all batter. Maybe thinning it out with more water...or beer?!!?!?!!!

And MORE Hot Sauce. It needed more. You could taste it, but I'd had a few more shakes of hot sauce.

We don't like bleu cheese, so we did ranch dressing...that was tasty.

We had less than a pound of chicken and we didn't even have half of serving suggestions would be for four or six depending on what else you might have going on.

I bought a small box of Aunt Jemima (sp??) pancake mix. It was pretty much exactly the amount needed...give or take a bit.

The nachos were some chips, cheese, beans on 1/2...tomatoes, peppers, some cumin, fresh ground pepper, sour cream, salsa. Yum!

Also, FYI: Giant had Edy's Ice Cream, buy 1, get 1 free! Doesn't mean we didn't buy 3! And they had a one day only special...with a coupon, and your guest card, free 4 pack diet Dr. Pepper!

Friday, February 03, 2006

It's the 21st century. Protection is everyone's responsibilty. Not just yours and not just your partners. Please make sure you are protected. Today I took the step to make sure that we are protected and safe.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

News Items

I worked last night on the new Cook Book Catalogue on the right hand side. I've made my way through it, but there is still a ways to go. The only ratings systems I'm going to give is a "MUST HAVE". Anything else is like saying which child is my favorite. Every cookbook has given me something....well most all of them have. So truly the best children will be singled out. A NOTE: I get the feeling that different internet browsers give you different formatting views, this is probably old news to some of you old timer web heads, but it's frustrating to a newbie like me. I spent loads of time last night formatting in Firefox and this morning I looked at it in Internet Explorer and it looks like crapola. I'm sorry. (pouty sad face)

In other news, during my morning news roundup, I noticed on WTOP that ZAGAT's dining guide is looking for online reviews to be submitted and it looks like those that are accepted will recieve a free book! I haven't read any details or log in yet myself, so go have a gander. Good luck.

--also...Happy Birthday Chilefire!!!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Hey's the Chitlins Trailer!

We see this puppy regularly as it's right down the street from our apartment. It's really nice to read a little story behind this business venture. I know I'm not brave enough to try chitlins, but if I ever was, I'd have to try them from my neighbor....but again, I'm not that brave....

....running away with tail between my legs.

Life's No Good For A Pimp...

Sorry for getting this post up late...but after dinner last night we watched Hustle & Flow and while that was on, I worked on a side projected. I started cataloguing my cookbooks. You can find those on the right side of this blog now. It's a work in progress, so check back as I keep updating and making changes.

As for the's not the purpose of the blog...the song...great...the if you want more on yesterday's Oscar noms, go to Sterfanie's blog or J-lo's blog.

OK, on to Dinner.

When I moved to DC in 1998 to go to grad school, the place I moved into had a kitchenette. I had a tiny fridge with a freezer that didn't work. A mini-microwave, a double hot-plate and a sink. That's what the apartment came with and that's what I had to work with. I soon added a few things. A blender...I was a college student after all and needed to make margaritas! An electric wok and what was called a "kitchen kettle." I still have the blender, it was a good investment and still works really well. The wok worked well (alliteration!) for awhile, then it went into a landfill. The kitchen kettle stayed around for a few years. It was a marriage of an electric kettle that worked like crap and a slow cooker that was either too hot or too cold. But it was much safer than the hot plates and I had many uses for as a warmer as years went on.

One of the first "dishes" I made actually came out of the wok...and really wasn't a wok sounding food....Spanish Rice.

This is a side dish that served as a main dish more often than I care to admit in those early, very broke, no money years. It is still a a good affordable dish and can be adapted easily to many likes and dislikes. We had it last night with a basic cheese it was a non-meateaters friendly meal. But not particularly healthy, unless you add more veg, which we could have done, I just estimated wrong in my prep!

Spanish Rice
(serves 6-8, as side)

1 cup rice (we had jasmine rice)
approx 3 cups water (start with 2 cups)
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
6 shishito chiles (it's what we had, or 1 bell pepper and 1 jalapeno)
1/2 yellow onion, diced (it's what I had in the fridge prepared)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 TB Olive Oil
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp oregano
1/2 packet taco seasoning
S/P to taste

In a large skillet heat the olive oil until hot, add the onions and pinch of salt, saute until soft, about five minutes. Add garlic, stir for one minute. Add rice, stir for one minute. Add first two cups of water, bring to a soft simmer and cover for ten minutes.

Remove cover and stir. Add in peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, cayenne, oregano and 1/2 the packet of taco seasoning. Allow to simmer over low heat. Pay attention to the rice and the amount of water in remaining. I always have to add extra water, so I add a few splashes at a time. Last night it was an extra cup, before the rice was done. One reason for the extra water, the taco season has a thickening agent in it that sucks up the play it by ear.

Take a taste and season with S/P.