Sunday, December 19, 2010

Matchbox review

We went for dinner to the newly opened Rockville Matchbox and had a 6 minute wait even though they were very busy and told us it would be 30 minutes. DH and I split 6 mini burgers and a small fire and spice pizza. No meat on the pizza and I wish it had a little more on it. There was a smoky flavor and some roasted peppers but I needed a topping I could sink teeth into.

I think we should have tried the pizza with meatballs. The staff said it was a spicy one too because the meatballs are spicy. The guys next to us got it and I was a little jealous.

We decided Mia's pizza in Bethesda was very similar and we have some favorites there. I guess we'd go to Matchbox to avoid paying for parking in Bethesda. I do love my Mia's alsace pizza more-, gruyere cheese, parmesan, caramelized onion & thyme and instead of pancetta I get arugula.

I loved my little burgers with gorgonzola and onion straws at Matchbox. It looked like everyone ordered the mini burgers. Heaps of onion straws on every table.

You can get the burgers as a set of 3, 6, or 9. I don't know if we could have only three for splitting because we each polished off two of them quickly.

My only negative for Matchbox was the dessert round. I got something with a frozen rock hard cookie (I'm not sure if the cookie was frozen or the ganache that coated the cookie). There was coffee gelato sandwiched between two cookies. My husband had to chisel away at it. I'm surprised we didn't break the plate it came on. The flavors were great but like Top Chef dessert, they'd be eliminated on that dessert. Did you notice that a few people did rock hard ganaches this year?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Our Own Holiday Dinner photos

We had our own dinner part back in November. I finally have some photos from the party. Looks like we missed a few dishes though

This is the brie appetizer I have made before. It's a Paula Deen recipe I always make mine with macadamia nuts and red and green apples instead of apples and pears.

These are Devils on a Horseback. First time we had them was at Mario Batali's Spotted Pig in NYC.

Cheesy brussel sprout casserole was eaten but not photographed :)
Recipe was from here

The star of the dinner. Beef tenderloin with shallots, red wine glaze, and fingerling potatoes with some special citrus sea salt sprinkled on them

The tenderloin recipe is located here

Lunch! Grilled cheese and tomato soup

I love grilled cheese and tomato soup together!

Checkerboard Cookies

The annual cookie swap is coming up. Last year there were about 40 girls and it sounds like this year will be the same. So I made over 100 red and chite checkerboard cookies to swap :) I think they taste and look great!

This recipe comes from The Way the Cookie Crumbles

The recipe is found here

4 cups (19.2 ounces) unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, preferably room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
20 tablespoons (2½ sticks) butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (7 ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup (3½ ounces) granulated sugar
Liquid food coloring (I used red)

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Break the eggs into a small measuring cup, whisk them lightly, and mix in the vanilla.

Place the butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle. Beat the butter on medium-low speed until it’s smooth, then add the salt and both sugars. Continue beating on medium-low until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.

With the mixer running, gradually add the egg mixture. Once the eggs have been added, scrape the sides of the bowl, continue mixing on medium speed for about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until evenly combined.

Creating the checkerboard pattern- Divide dough into two equally sized parts. Mix red food coloring into one half and leave the other half plain. Roll each portion into a 9-by-3-inch rectangle. Freeze the rectangles for about 10 minutes, until they’re firm enough to cut and stack. Cut each rectangle into eight 9-by-3/8-inch strips. On a sheet of wax paper, lay four strips next to each other, alternating colors. Press the strips together gently to remove any gaps. Lay another four strips on top of the first layer, alternating colors between layers. Repeat for three layers. Trim the edges if desired. Wrap in wax paper and freeze for at least four hours.

When ready to bake, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350ºF. Slice the frozen logs into cookies about 1/8-inch thick. Lay the cookies on the prepared pan, about ½-inch apart. Bake for 7 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the pan for about 2 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks. Serve at room temperature. Store in an airtight container.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Our Own Holiday Dinner

We spend the holidays with my family and we don't get to cook very much. We are hosting a dinner party tonight so we can cook for our friends. The menu is shaping up and we just need to hit the grocery store soon

Paula Deen's brie with brown sugar, macadamia nuts, and brandy. Served with apples and crackers

Balsamic vinaigrette salad with goat cheese and pecans

Rosemary roasted fingerling potatoes

Brussel sprout casserole. lots of creamy cheese sauce

Beef tenderloin with a red wine glaze and shallots

Pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Metro Cooking Show 2010

Yesterday many hours were spent browsing at the DC Metro Cooking Show.
We saw Paula Deen this year! She was really personable and funny. Many fun stories were told

So things I like from the show were:

The restaurant Cava (Greek Tapas) is now selling items in local Whole Foods, Roots etc. I tried the "crazy feta" and it was very very spicy. I had to follow up with some tzatziki to cool off. I must buy some of that Crazy Feta for the holidays

I already knew I loved Havana Banana bread but it's much cheaper to buy at the show than to buy from the website and have it shipped so I bought the chocolate chunk banana bread this year. Our favorite is the white choc, coconut, macadamia nut one, but they didn't have any at the show this year. I popped my banana bread in the freezer for possibly Christmas time breakfast.

Paula Deen's cousin Johnnie has a restaurant and bakery, Gabriel's. I bought some pumpkin bread from the booth and it is a great dessert! They had plenty of good looking desserts

McDonalds strawberry banana smoothies were given out too and they were pretty good! I was surprised.

My husband bought some Cooney's Mountain Mustard. He plans on giving it as a Christmas gift.

He also bought some sweet potato and liver pate that he really enjoyed from Weeping Radish. It's a restaurant, farm, smoke house, and brewery in NC. We'd have to drive 2+ hours to visit. Nice up them to come up to DC for the show!

I was focused on sampling some ice cream. I passed up on the liver pate. Can you blame me?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Molded Herbed Butter

Softened butter
Fresh chopped herbs
Shaped silicone baking pan

Whip ingredients together
Stuff into the pan
Cover with wax paper
Freeze overnight
Pop the butter out of the mold

Asian Pork Pitas

My version of this recipe from Nestle New Zealand
Asian Pork Pita Pockets

Sliced cooked pork tenderloin
Shredded carrot
Peels and sliced cucumbers
Bean sprouts
Asian Sesame ginger salad dressing
Pitas with pockets

Stuffed Zuchinni Boat

Recipe thanks to
Primal Matriarch Blog

Two large zuchinni- cut in half and the middles scraped out so it resembles a boat
1 lb Ground Beef, browned
1/2 an onion, diced
1 can diced tomatoes, we got one with jalapeno mixed in
Seasonings- salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Start by washing, slicing, and scraping out your zuchinni
Next brown the ground beef with seasonings and the diced onions
Add in the diced tomatoes and dash of Worcestershire sauce
Stir everything together
Spoon mixture into the zuchinni boats
Top with shredded cheese

Bake at 400 degrees until cheese is melted

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Oct 17th Weekly Dinner Planning

Sun night- leftover flank steak fajitas

Mon night- I have leftover pork tenderloin that I could make into something similar to these pita pockets. I think I'll add cabbage to the salad mix
Asian Pork Pita Pocket

Tues- Broccoli Cheese Soup (I think this needs a little something to go with it)

Wed- Snakebite Pasta with some bread sticks or garlic bread.

Thurs- Pizza, either frozen or homemade. I have class on Thursdays after work and I have leftover pepperoni


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cheesecake Factory

Vietnamese tacos. Try them! Meat was tender (I didnt even know it was pork, it seems brown to me like beef!) and they were spicy.

Menus description: Steamed Asian Buns with Roasted Pork, Marinated Cucumbers, Carrots and Onion with Chiles, Cilantro and Sesame Seeds

yum yum yum

I recommend checking out this blogger's recipe from Steamy Kitchen. It seems similar except it's not on a bun.
Korean Style Tacos

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Taylor Gourmet comes to Bethesda

Taylor Gourmet/

We tried Taylor Gourmet for lunch today. Happy Labor Day everyone!!
Ordered a 12 inch 9th Street Italian, the Risotto Balls, had red hot chips, and tried two of the fabulous fountain drink choices. They don't serve Coke or Sprite here! We had cream soda and black cherry soda instead :) The drinks are artificial color free, and use cane sugar, no corn syrup.

The Risotto balls were amazing! After Ed's win on Top Chef for his risotto balls I imagine that the food blog world will soon have many posts on making them :) Taylor's were spicy!

The sub was good, the meat and cheese were better quality than you'll get at Subway.

I'm not sure if it's worth getting the rolls from Philly. I thought the roll was hard to chew through.

I really wanted a roast beef sandwich and was told they were out. It's only Saturday on a holiday weekend! How can they be out of beef???

Next time I want to try an Island Avenue

Monday, August 30, 2010

Chocolate Ganache and Pecan pie

When I reviewed Againn I think I mentioned a chocolate pecan tart for dessert. I invited friends over for dinner and tried to make my own chocolate pecan tart. It was very chocolately.

1 pie shell, I used a graham cracker shell
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 1/4 cup cream
chopped pecans

First I toasted the shell in a 350 degree oven
Place pecans in the bottom of the shell
Then I boiled the cream and poured it over pieces of the bittersweet chocolate
I stirred the mixture together and poured it over the pecan pieces
Chill in the fridge until the ganache is set.

Bison Burger

We have a Saturday market in my little city. There is a guy who sells buffalo and we bought buffalo burgers last week. We topped the burgers with leftover bacon and bleu cheese from a classic wedge salad we had made for a dinner party

Pesto Pasta Salad

I bought three basil plants this year. I have a Thai, Greek, and one called Michael, seriously. The Greek is the biggest plant of the three. We've made a lot of pesto this year and made this pesto pasta salad several times.

Pesto sauce
Cubed cheese
Spiral pasta
A few fresh basil leaves

German Potato Salad

Complete with bacon grease :P I cooked a whole package of bacon and added what looked like a good amount.


* 4 potatoes
* 4 slices bacon
* 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
* 2 tablespoons white sugar
* 1/3 cup water
* 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
* 1/2 cup chopped green onions
* salt and pepper to taste


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes; cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool and chop.
2. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside. Reserve bacon fat.
3. Add the flour, sugar, water and vinegar to skillet and cook in reserved bacon fat over medium heat until dressing is thick.
4. Add bacon, potatoes and green onions to skillet and stir until coated. Cook until heated and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

German Potato Salad

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Againn Restaurant Review


This place just opened up in Houston's old place on Rockville Pike. Its like an Irish Bistro Pub. We tried it out last night. The food was really good but the menu is short so I don't know how often we'll go back. We also spent about $50 because we had two meals, an appetizer, a dessert, and two iced teas

The meat is farm raised. It makes me really want to go back to try the burger :) or maybe a steak

Aman had fish and chips and the chips were amazing (I stole a few)! He said the fish was just like he had in Dublin. They bring you a bunch of dipping options; vinegar, ketchup, mayo, mustard.

I ordered the corned beef sandwich and the meet was so soft and tender. The roll it was on was really soft and good. I felt like the horseradish sauce didn't have any bite though

We had the spinach artichoke dip for an appetizer and it was amazing. I think it had aged white cheddar and mushrooms. It was a different taste but delish.

We ended with a chocolate pecan tart that wasn't crazy chocolatey but had a nice salty flavor from the nuts.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Top Chef

My husband and I used groupon to buy a cooking class with Carla from Top Chef :)
I can't wait! We saw Carla last year at the metro cooking show. She did a great demo.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


My mom has this recipe. The blondies had toffee pieces, white chocolate chips, and nuts. I thought they were good but my mom wasn't into them. I took photos in case she loved them and wanted to save the recipe on my blog.

Happy 4th of July

I made red, white, and blue cupcakes for 4th of July this year. It seems just about everyone else in the food blogging world did too :)

I used a white cake mix and added lemon extract to my batter. Separate the batter into three equal parts and use gel coloring to make red and blue. Layer the colors in cupcake foils and bake according to box directions.

The frosting is 1 stick softened butter and 1 package softened cream cheese, powdered sugar and water to the consistency you desire, and vanilla extract.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Buttermilk Waffles

Recipe from Gold Medal Weekend Breakfast and Brunch

Makes 10 4-inch waffle square

3 eggs
1 1/2 cups gold medal all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter melted
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Heat waffle iron; grease if needed. Beat eggs in large bowl with hand beater or wire whisk until fluffy. Beat in remaining ingredients

2. Pour about 1/3 cup batter onto center of hot waffle iron. Close lid

3. Bake about 5 minutes or until steaming stops. Carefully remove waffle. Repeat with remaining batter.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Blueberry Muffins

Paula Deen's Blue Berry Muffin Recipe

Followed the recipe exactly. Decided to spring white sugar on the tops of the muffins :) I got 19 muffins out of the recipe

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Half and Half Cookies

Remember these cookies from our Spanish themed party a few weeks ago?

Several people asked me to get the recipe so here it is :)

1 stick of butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 egg yolk, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1 12oz package semi-sweet chocolate morsels

Sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. In mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add egg yolks, water, and vanilla. Gradually add dry ingredients and mix well. Pat out onto a greased 11X16 jelly roll pan, and sprinkle with chocolate morsels.

Meringue Topping

1 cup brown sugar
2 egg whites

Beat egg whites (at room temperature) until foamy; gradually add brown sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue evenly over chocolate morsels. Bake at 350 about 25 minutes or until done.

Cut into squares

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Muffins

The party we went to today had BBQ pork, brisket, coleslaw, rice and beans, potato salad, fruit salad etc. To go with the BBQ type food my husband decided to make jalapeno cheddar cornbread muffins. These were made in mini muffin tins.

Jalapeno-Cheddar Cornbread Mini-Muffins
makes ~84 mini-muffins (7 dozen)


* 2 (8 ounce) boxes Jiffy cornbread mix
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 cup milk
* 1 (8 or 8.5 ounce) can cream-style corn
* 8 ounces sour cream
* 6 large jalapenos, diced
* 8oz sharp cheddar, shredded coarsely


1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Beat eggs. Gently blend in milk, sour cream and corn, then the cornbread mix.
3. Gently fold in the cheese and jalapenos.
4. Bake in greased mini-muffin tins for 11 minutes, or until edges are browned. Allow to cool on pan for a couple minutes before turning them onto a cooling rack. Re-grease/spray pans between batches.

If you'd like to skip the mini-muffin pan and use a regular sheet cake pan, you'll need to more than double the bake time and check it with a toothpick before taking it out (though some moisture will pull on the toothpick due to the cheese and creamed corn, so don't be fooled).

Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake

We went berry picking yesterday and black raspberries are in season.
I made a chocolate kahlua cheesecake with a black raspberry ribbon for a party we went to today. This cheesecake has a lot of steps.

Preheat oven 350 degrees

Raspberry Sauce Ingredients
2 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Raspberry Sauce Directions
Puree berries in a blender of food processor. Press through a sieve into a measuring cup; discard berries into another cup. Add water to seed and press through sieve again. Add water to berries in measuring cup if necessary to measure 1 cup of berry juice. In a sauce pan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Stir in raspberry juice; bring to a boil. Boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Let sauce cool

Crust Ingredients
2 cups Oreo cookies, crushed
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar

Crust Directions
Combine crust ingredients to make crust; press into bottom and up sides of a greased 9 inch spring form pan. Chill 1 hour or until firm.

Cheesecake Filling
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1/2 cup Kahlua
2 tablespoons butter
3 packages (8 ounce) cream cheese softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg whites
3/4 cup whipping cream

Cheesecake Filling Directions
In small saucepan, over medium heat, melt chocolate with Kahlua and butter; stir until smooth. Set aside.
In bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, flour, and vanilla. Add egg whites; beat on low.
Stir in cream.
Gradually blend in chocolate mixture.
Pour half of the cheesecake filling into the prepared crust.
Spoon all of the raspberry sauce on top spreading it out with a spoon to cover the chocolate cheesecake filling.
Then pour the rest of the cheesecake filling into the pan covering the raspberry sauce.
Bake 40-50 minutes or until filling is barely set in center.
Remove from oven and let stand at room temperature 1 hour.
Then refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Bridal Shower Sugar Cookies

I went to a bridal shower a few weekends ago. It was hosted by my mom so she made sugar cookies and I decorated them just like we did for my friend's baby shower.

I decorated these in a hurry. I did them after work and before my brother's deck party. I almost died when I saw that she had made heart cookies with a heart cut out of the middle because then I needed to outline each cookie twice.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Onion Rings and Smothered Pork Chops

We have a hit and a miss here for dinner tonight.

I wanted a breaded smothered in gravy pork chop.
I tried this recipe
It was not successful. The cooking time was also WAY under for the chops I bought. I ended up sticking it in the oven to finish cooking
Adding buttermilk to the thickened gravy just made it watery again. I don't understand the reasoning behind that step. I wasn't impressed with the end result with the gravy.

For onion rings I followed this recipes ingredient list and technique.
I seasoned the flour with the same seasonings except I only have black pepper instead of white at home.
My husband did the dipping method, flour mix, then buttermilk, then back in the flour.
He heated vegetable oil in our electric wok and fried away.
I ground some sea salt on top while they were hot
They were great! Very flaky.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Annual Summer Party-Spanish theme

We had so much food yesterday for our annual summer house party that I do not have photos for all of it.

I will start with my personal contribution. I doubled the recipe and got about 60 empanadas. I also used store bought pie crusts. I loved the result and honestly it took me several hours just to make the filling, cut the circles in the dough, fill them and bake them.

Beef and Potato Empanadas

2 medium potatoes, boiled for 5 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound extra lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon chile powder
3/4 teaspoon round cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Grate the potatoes and set aside. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the ground beef and brown, breaking up as it cooks. Add potatoes, onion, spices and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until ingredients are soft. Cool.

Served with Chimichurri Sauce

1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1 clove garlic
2 minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced basil, thyme or oregano, or mixture
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend. Let set for at least 2 hours before serving.

The grated potato and onions and seasoning

Ground meat

The ingredients stirred together and heated until the onions and potatoes softened

After filling and baking

The sauce ingredients. I picked basil from my own yard! I have three types of basil growing this year

Onto the dishes my husband made with my assistance

Patatas Bravas (I diced all those potatoes and pureed the rasted red peppers with the onion)

Spanish Chicken with Potatoes (I washed the potatoes, dumped seasoning into a bowl, and cut lemons)

Mixed greens with pear, manchego cheese, and a homemade lemon vinaigrette
(I washed the greens and ripped them into pieces)

We had lots of Sangria but I only have a photo of the fruit. I took the brandy soaked fruit out of the bowl and put it into our pitchers. That is the end of my food contributions to this party!

Shrimp were grilled by my husband

Chorizo sausage were grilled. My dad actually manned the grill for these guys for us. Next to the sausage is the only Spanish cheese I found at Harris Teeter. It had a rosemary crust and was really good. Also in the tray but not photographed were a blue cheese, another soft cheese, and serrano ham.

I happen to be related to chefs of these next selections but I had no hand in the making of these yummy items :)

Yellow Rice made by my mom

Texas Sheet Cake made by my mom

Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies made by my mom

My aunt made Half and Half Cookies. I am going to get the recipe! Yum

My sister-in-law made these brownies

Lastly, my oldest friend Jill made this potato tortilla and garlic mayo. It tasted AMAZING

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

It was my co-worker and friend's birthday over Memorial weekend. She told me she really wanted a chocolate chip cake. I told her I had never made one before and asked her to describe it. She said it could be made in a loaf pan or bunt pan and it didn't usually have frosting.

I looked up chocolate chip pound cakes.

Here is the recipe I used.
I did make the glaze but I would change the glaze recipe the next time around. If you want to top this cake I think I'd just melt chocolate chips with butter. I wouldn't fool around with the milk and powdered sugar.

Greek Pitas

I roasted a boneless leg of lamb weeks ago. Then I made some rice to go with it, bought some pitas (that didnt have a pocket) and my husband made tzatziki sauce.

The lamb was fantastic. I highly recommend the Harris Teeter pre seasoned boneless leg of lamb. It was so good I couldn't stop cutting pieces off and just eating them.

The rice was a Rice o Roni type packet.

The odd pitas that I cut in half with a serrated knife.