Friday, July 30, 2010

More Green!

I've recently made potato salad with salsa verde. Then there is my pollo verde. And now more verde. Chili Verde! I love this dish. A unique, for me, approach to chili! This is no tomato/beef based chili that I grew up with. And it all starts with a tomatillo base!

Get a few pounds of tomatillos from your market. You want a firm fruit with limited blemishes on the papery skin. I give mine a good rinse in the sink, which in turn helps the papers peel off.

Here's a close up of the green tomatillo. When wet, the skin peels right off.

Cut the tomatillos into quarters, roughly, then put under the broiler until they begin to blister and burn.

The main flavor component and heat for the chili. A variety of peppers. There's ancho (dark green). Jalapeno (small and dark green). And the two pale green & yellow idea what they are! Rinse and put under the broiler until well charred. Also include some garlic with the peppers. The garlic will sweeten when roasted.

Peel off the charred parts and remove most of the seeds.

Now the peppers and the tomatillos go into the food processor or blender for quick whiz to break everything up. You don't have to whiz the tomatillos, but I like the texture better. I don't go too smooth, but mostly.

Simmer for while with some broth and add some diced pork (I use porkchops I dice up.)

Yum! Serve with rice. But something's missing...

That's better looking. You might want a dab of sour cream to help tame the heat, depending on how hot the chiles are. And some diced tomato for a cool color burst. Finish with a little salt and pepper to taste.


Fried Chicken and Potato Salad

Buttermilk Fried Chicken &
Potato Salad with
Green Beans and Salsa Verde

Dinner the other night. So Good! There were a few changes I didn't anticipate making, but over all, all was good. Good!

The chicken marinates overnight in spiced buttermilk. Dredged in flour. I had very little AP flour, so I used a mix of whole wheat flour, corn meal and AP flour. The WW flour and cornmeal brought a nuttiness and textural change to the traditional party. The flavor very good though.

The Potato Salad was good. I had the wrong type of potatoes for this salad and I didn't have the lemon needed for the dressing. I subbed in some vinegar. Still really good!

Potato Salad with Green Beans & Salsa Verde
Adapted from Food & Wine

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup minced chives
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 TB fresh lemon juice
1 large garlic clove, minced
Salt & Pepper
1 1/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 TB unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed

In a medium bowl, combine the olive oil with the chives, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Let the salsa verde stand at room temperature while the potatoes and green beans cook.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold water, add a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes over moderately high heat until just tender, about 8 minutes; drain and return them to the saucepan. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and toss to coat. Season with salt.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook until crisp-tender, 4 minutes; drain. Return the beans to the pot and stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Season with salt.

Add half of the salsa verde to the potatoes and half to the beans, stirring to coat. Transfer the beans to a serving bowl. Top with the potatoes, and serve right away.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Chicken Delicious

If I'm craving chicken and don't want to make something, I go to Chicken Delicious.

But I've I'm craving good chicken at home, have some time to think about it and a little time to go it...I make this, my infamous Pollo Verde. I don't follow a recipe. I've made it enough times, I just know when things are going to be all right. Here is a previous version.

Pollo Verde
To start with my green chicken, we start with what will become the marinade. 1 bunch of cilantro, leaves and most of the stems. Well washed. Several times. You don't want any sand in the leaves. Discard any brown or black leaves, those are nasty! Then you need some peppers. Please, no bell peppers. And you want mostly green peppers. I used Ancho, Sweet Banana and Jalapeno. Usually I only use one jalapeno, but I taste it to see how the spice level is. If it's mild, I'll go with two. With the other peppers, I usually try to have 3-4 each. Roughly chopped, with the seeds removed. Plenty of salt and ground black pepper. The rest of the green comes from lime juice. Usually I go with two limes. And for something fun, add about 1/2 a teaspoon of whole coriander seeds. **Note, I added whole, I should have smashed them a little. Crunching of those seeds--little brown seeds towards the top of the picture--is an experience; I'm talking flavor. Anyway. Drop in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil as well. Whiz it all together in the food processor or blender until smooth and sauce-like. Oh, if you like, you can add some garlic. I prefer to skip the garlic.

Reserve about 1/3 of the sauce for serving later with your chicken and for brushing on while the chicken grills. **See, there are more coriander seeds that didn't chop up in the processor. When you bite into them, they have a highly floral flavor. Very interesting. Not awful. But very interesting. Pour the rest of the green sauce over chicken thighs. I only use chicken thighs with this recipe. It's just that good. Boneless/Skinless is good, but you want the dark meat. If you're going to make this, use chicken thighs, you'll thank yourself later! Make sure the chicken is fully coated, seal in a bowl or zip bag and set in the ice box over night.

To accompany the chicken, we have some tasty morsels. Heirloom tomato, diced, salted and peppered.

Avocado, diced, salted, peppered, lime juice.

Grilled corn, little olive oil, salt and pepper, cut off the cob after cooking.

Pollo Verde can work on a grill pan or in the broiler, but the best--flavor and technique is on the grill. I like to have a pile of hot coals to one side of the grill. Get the chicken nice and seared and starting to char, then I'll move it to a cooler side of the grill and let it finish cooking with the cover on the grill. The corn, I just move it around a few times until charred. When the chicken is almost done, I spoon some of the extra verde sauce on and allow that to get one final sear over the hot coals.

I like to serve Pollo Verde with a tortilla of some sort. I happened to have these sun-dried tomato wraps. They worked well. I tossed them on the grill for a few seconds on each side when the chicken was done.

I pile all the ingredients on my plate and make little 'tacos' with all the goodies. Corn, tomato, avocado, chicken and some sauce. Wrap it up and chow down.

And towards the end, I get bored with the tortilla and just start mashing everything together. Amazing! This particular time, the tomato and corn were fresh from the farms. Both were supremely sweet and the tomato was particularly juicy. The only thing missing from this amazing line-up was some diced jicama that I wanted to add for crunch. I grabbed one from the grocery store, but I realized when I was in the check out, that half of it was rotten. If I get jicama, I make a quick orange/cumin vinaigrette that I dress the jicama with. Add that to the pile and you're in heaven!

This is one of my signature dishes. It's amazing. Great flavors, great spice levels, fresh, satisfying. All just right.

Next time though, I'm going to try gilding the lily...and adding a splash or two of a dry, crisp white wine to the verde sauce and see how that goes. Something tells me I'll slip into a food coma if it works out, never to be heard of again. Beautiful flavors.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sunny Saturday @ Eastern Market

You've already read about our great lunch this past Saturday. But the rest of the market was beautiful too...



Piles of peaches

Heirloom tomatoes

Fresh herbs

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Seventh Hill Pizza

As a former resident of Washington, DC's Capitol Hill/Eastern Market neighborhood, it thrills me to no end to see the amazing progress the neighborhood has made in the past ten years. Sure, that same progress is what ultimately made me move--things got to expensive for us to live off of, but all the same, I'm very proud of what's become of the community.

This weekend I had to run an errand down to Eastern Market (two of my doctors are still there), so we decided to visit the Eastern Market for some fresh produce and to walk around the flea market. Of course, lunch had to be had.

A new pizzeria has opened in a former Ben & Jerry's location, and it's worth visiting!

Seventh Hill Pizza
327 7th Street SE
Washington, DC 20003

7th Hill (from the creators of the French bistro next door, Montmartre) has a limited menu of 11-12 pizzas, named after SE/SW DC locations and neighborhoods, from the Capitol Hill (classic margherita) to the Navy Yard (tomato, sausage, oregano and pecorino-next photo). The toppings will be more familiar to those visiting an authentic Italian restaurant than those visiting the local college town pizzeria. Which leads me to think most of their ingredients come from nearby Eastern Market vendors. There's no Meatlovers or Hawaiian pizzas here. And oddly enough, there's no pepperoni either.

With limited seating, we pulled ourselves up to the counter to enjoy our brick oven fired pies. The toppings were fresh and wonderfully balanced with the bright red tomato sauce and creamy cheese. But I think the star here is the crust. Crisp and chewy, with the right thickness, we both chowed down on every last piece of crust. And it was a treat to sit at the counter, to talk with the chef when he wasn't throwing the dough in the air to stretch out the perfect eight or twelve inch diameter pies.

Outside of the small pizza menu (I think that's a good thing BTW), they also serve a soup d'jour (Chilled Corn & Leek the day we were there) and a selection of 5 sandwiches. There's the kicker...the sandwiches are priced at $7.50 and when you order...they bake the bread right then and there. Did you hear that...fresh baked bread, hot out of the oven, piled high with ingredients like roasted red peppers, prosciutto, provolone, pesto, tomato...I'm dying here! I love pizza. No really, I LOVE PIZZA...but at the end of the day, a sandwich on hot bread from the oven with the highest quality fresh ingredients for only $7.50...heaven. We watched the chef make the sandwiches in between throwing pizza dough, it was lots of fun. I caught his name, but can't remember...he said to us at one point when we realized he was making the fresh bread, "if you're gonna so something, you want to do it the best you can." I have to agree--those sandwiches looked scrumptious. They looked to have a little topping sprinkled ontop before hitting the ovens, possibly a cheese/herb topping?

Oh, and the soups also come with loaf of this fresh bread too! I think the soup was $6-7. Pizzas are $10-$17, depending on size and toppings. Beer is served.

A reminder, space is at a premium here, maybe four 4-top tables outside on the patio, up to 12 chairs/tables inside and maybe 8 chairs at the counter. The pizzas are fast--we had ours in under 10 minutes, sandwiches looked to have the same wait.

And one final point--this is a pay at the register and sit kind of place--no waiters or hosts/hostesses. Order, pay, sit and someone from behind the counter will bring the food and they might come back to clear around you, but if you want something more, go back and order. Also, something I don't have a problem with...let them focus on the food and getting people in and out in a timely manner. I could have sat for another 30 minutes, but the place was starting to get busy so we cleared out when we were done. Hopefully other customers do the same thing here.

Good luck to Seventh Hill Pizza. I hope you stick around for a while, become one of many great neighborhood places on the Hill.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Wrap for Dinner

We were craving a quick, light dinner the other evening, but also something with a high, zesty flavor profile. Oh, and totally satisfying. I think we did pretty good by going back to a previous recipe.

Start with a quality wrap or tortilla that you like. These were sun-dried tomato and basil. Good flavor components with what we were looking to accomplish. Add some mixed greens of your choice.

Here's the one area I really wanted to play around. I used some shredded mozzarella. I did the same the last time I made these. I really want to try some feta, but I'm a little gun-shy with feta. For me, there is a fine line between enough to taste and too much that I can't eat it. Oh, and I don't really want to buy feta from my cheap-0 grocery store. I just don't trust it. Well, one of these days I'll get up the nerve and try..

Previously & Meanwhile, marinate some chicken with olive oil, lemon, oregano, garlic, salt & pepper. Saute or grill until cooked through. Dice. You can use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for ease. I used some chicken thighs for flavor. Very tasty. Saute or grill some peppers, shallots and tomatoes as well. Toss with chicken and some reserved marinade. If you have some toasted pine nuts, add those. Pile on the mixed greens and wrap up.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cobbling It Together

It happens every year. Usually it starts mid to late May and goes in fits and starts through July & August. It's my ongoing love affair with Summer. Warm weather, flowers; all good. Hot weather, humidity; all bad. But them something that speaks only in the language of summer comes along and woos me, and as soon as it seduces me it runs off and leaves me for another year. Leaving me sitting and soaking in the oppressive humidity.

Well, here we go. Peaches. Blueberries. Together in perfect harmony and lightly spiced.

Peach & Blueberry Cobbler
by way of Smitten Kitchen

Fresh peaches and blueberries from some of our local farmers. The peaches were stupidly juicy and just the right amount of tart. The blueberries were bursting with sweetness. Add a little flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg and a pinch of salt.

The ingredients for the buttermilk cornmeal topping. Mix until resembling lumpy sand. Add buttermilk. Spoon on top of the peach/berry mixture.

I gilded the lily...sprinkled a pinch of coarse demura sugar. Bake at 425 for about 20-25 minutes.

When your kitchen is full of the heady, fruity aroma, you know things are gonna be good. Allow to cool for a bit.

Dig in. Serve with some whipping cream, ice cream or even some yogurt if you like. We skipped all and just enjoyed the delirious fruit flavors and tender biscuit topping.

Ooops, all gone. Good thing I made four individual cobblers...I'll have one for breakfast, with the yogurt.

This recipe will make a 9x13 baking dish full of goodness. I halved the recipe and made four small ramekins...portion control!

Peach Blueberry Cornmeal Cobbler
Via Smitten Kitchen
Adapted from The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern

For the fruit
1 1/2 (about 4 cups) pounds peaches, pitted and cut into slices*
1 pint (about 2 cups) blueberries, rinsed and dried
2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the biscuit topping
3/4 cup (3 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup fine stone-ground cornmeal (yellow or white)
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C).Toss peaches with blueberries, sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in the bottom of a 2-quart ovenproof dish.

Make the biscuit dough: Stir together the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into the dry mixture with your fingertips, a fork or a pastry blender. Stir in buttermilk with a rubber spatula until a wet, tacky dough comes together.

Plop spoonfuls of the biscuit dough over the filling; don’t worry about covering entire surface. Bake until the cobbler’s syrup is bubbly and the biscuit tops are browned, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool slightly and scoop it into bowls. Top with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, of if you’re having an accidental run-in with this cobbler before noon, plain yogurt.

*Want to peel your peaches? Here’s how: Cut a small “x” in the bottom of each peach. Dip them in boiling water for 30 seconds, and the skins will slide right off.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Doing it the Old Fashioned way

After watching a video on Facebook posted by Maker's Mark on how to make an Old Fashioned, I had to have one...but I had to wait until after work.

Bourbon Old Fashioned

1 orange slice
2 Maraschino cherries
1 sugar cube
3 dashes of bitters
1 1/2 oz of high quality bourbon (Maker's Mark!)
Sour mix (soda water or Sprite/7-11 can work too)
Plenty of ice

Start by muddling the orange, cherries, sugar cube and bitters in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and add the bourbon. Shake until well blended. You want to make sure the sugar is dissolved. I don't have a formal muddler, so I use a wide handled bamboo utensil for a wok.

Pour into an Old Fashioned glass, fill with additional ice if necessary. Top off with your favorite sweet & sour mix.

Garnish with an additional orange segment and cherry. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


The past 13 days have been a whirlwind of fun, relaxing, enjoyable vacation. This past weekend in particular was an extremely action packed visit to New Jersey and Manhattan. As with all trips to Manhattan there is good food. But not just in Manhattan. Let me draw your attention to a strip mall in Edgewater, New Jersey, along the Hudson River....

Healthy Cuisine

A mostly vegetarian/vegan restuarant--they serve some fish--with a mostly Asian fusion spin.

We were famished after running all over Manhattan that day, so we jumped right in with some appetizers.

These were the spring roll special. There is soy protein in there, some veg, some jicama and a nice tangy, slightly spicy dipping sauce. A bit or two was good enough for me, the texture of the rice paper wrapping was a little funky. And overall it tasted very grassy. How Green is Your Grass grassy. (inside joke, sorry, you don't get it! Jodie Foster does!)

Our other appetizer was Roti Bread with a Malaysian dipping sauce. The bread was intensely buttery...without butter. The sauce was amazing, was sipping it with my spoon after the bread was gone! Curry coconutty, warm, spicy, beautiful.

This was entree. A major first for me...!!! Orange zest infused crispy wheat seitan in a sweek smoky sauce accented by dried chili and prickly ash (?). Served with a cold sauted spinach (ick) and brown rice. If you've had Orange Chicken at any Chinese restaurant, that's what this is...but so much better. Amazing texture, great flavor and after eating the whole plate, was full, but didn't get that sick gross nasty bloated full feeling you get after a box of take-out. I would order this again!

Similiar to my entree, this is a sesame sauce version with crispy beet garnish. This was a milder version of my dish. I will say about both. Delish...but only when hot and crispy, the minute the crispy goes soggy, I don't want it!

Our friend Kara had this Roasted seitan on Chinese broccoli, pumpkin and roasted almonds. She loved it. I tried the pumpkin, but stayed away from the rest of it. It looked to squigy for me. And I don't like any broccolis.

Our friend Terri had this "small plate" of Malaysian pan fried rice noodles. Also very good. Wonderful balance of flavors here.

The two crispy seitan dishes came with brown rice served in a banana leaf. Cute.

And desserts. This is a coconut custard with a lemon reduction sauce. Coconut flan, just a little to 'set' for me, more Jello-y, then custardy.

And the big bad ass dessert. Chocolate hazelnut ganache filled profiteroles with ice cream and a berry sauce. OMG!

Ganache Filled! That is all you need to know.

I would go back. I would order the same things...I took a chance trying something new and really enjoyed it, but there are still things I'm not sure about there. The only bummer part of the's BYOB only. So no drinks unless you plan in advance. Soda, tea and water.

Su Healthy Cuisine
725 River Road
Unit 21
Edgewater, NY 07020
Phone: 201.840.7988
Open for lunch and dinner
Take out & delivery available

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

quick note

Back from vacation. Will have a post or two up in the next day or so. A great restaurant in NY and NJ. Mmmm! Can't wait to share.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Blue Moon

Summer Vacation! For part one of our vacation, we headed to Rehoboth Beach, DE. We usually keep things low key, but this time we decided on a major splurge. For our final dinner we headed to Blue Moon. What a treat.

After placed our order a hot waiter brought us a treat from the kitchen. I do love restaurants that give you a little amuse bouche. This time I wasn't sure I was willing to play the game. We were given a date, stuffed with Gorganzola cheese, wrapped in bacon and drizzled with balsamic. I really don't like Gorganzola cheese. I've tried it several times and just haven't liked it. Well...this time...this time was different. The sweetness of the date and balsamic, paired with the salty bacon brought a lovely balance to the tangy cheese. Very delightful.

We were told right up front the kitchen was busy, so we might want to consider a starter so we weren't waiting too long. I appreciate the honesty. So, we ordered a salad to share; bibb lettuce, poached egg, pickled onions, bacon and a herby buttermilk dressing. YUM!

A warm roll with soft butter. Not cold butter, but soft butter. THANKS!

My entree. I got the New York Strip with herb butter and herb roasted fingerling potatoes. Here's my feeling on herb butter. Keep the raw garlic out of it. The raw garlic is just too overpowering and for me, TMI, it makes me a little burpy and keeps making a reappearance all night long. That being the said, the steak was super tender and otherwise had great flavor. I was a touch surprised by the doneness. I ordered medium-rare. I expected a lovely pink steak. It wasn't. The pink was mostly gone. Which would tell me it was overcooked, but it wasn't. Still tender, juicy and great flavor, but the color wasn't there. I think the steak may have been cooked at a lower temperature after receiving a quick sear. Mmmm, I do love some steak!

I skipped dessert in lieu of a tasty cocktail. Coconutty goodness. I don't remember what was in it beyond coconut rum and Irish cream. The table next to me saw what I got and they order a few as well...they also loved it.

Blue Moon
35 Baltimore Avenue
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971