Sunday, November 27, 2011

Founding Farmers Potomac

Founding Farmers in Potomac

My husband and I tried the Founding Farmers in Potomac for dinner. My husband has been to the DC location which is a 100% green restaurant. It's a really big deal to win the award for being so green. The restaurant also deals with ingredients that are farm fresh.

We order the chips, crips, and dips because he already knew he liked it. Fancy potato ships with three different dippers including one that was like pimento cheese.

I had a special soda. They make all their own and they all sounded great. The waiter claimed to love hibiscus. Mine has raspberry syrup and lime juice in seltzer.

My hubby ordered the chicken and waffles for dinner which also came with mac n cheese and some steamed vegetables. I tried a piece of the waffle with the syrup. I don't even like syrup and I could tell this homemade syrup was good! The waffle was not as good as the savory waffles of Mosiac Cafe though.

I ordered gnocchi with beef ragu. I really shouldn't have. Even though the dish was good nothing could have topped the gnocchi with pork ragu that Chef Mike Isabella makes at Graffiato. I just wanted his dish again and took a chance that Founding Farmers would have a dish that was just as fabulous. It is a good dish and if you didn't have Mike's to compare to you would probably love it!

We did not order dessert even though the huge slab of red velvet cake was singing to me :)

This Potomac location also had odd parking. We ended up spending $4 on parking because stay for just over 1 hour. The spots in front of the restaurant are metered and the parking garage has horrible prices. Now we know why people were parked far away in the streets. Free parking there! Live and learn. I must come back to this restaurant. I will have a specialty soda of a different flavor next time and I will order myself some fried chicken. The question will be southern style or northern?

Thanksgiving Leftovers

What did everyone do with their turkey leftovers?

We roasted a turkey breast Friday night.
We carved the meat off the bone and made turkey stock with the bones and some vegetables overnight.
Saturday I made turkey pot pie and my husband made turkey noodle soup.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thanksgiving responsibilities

We have our orders for Thanksgiving. My husband and I will be making several side dishes. The best news is I am allowed to leave work on Wednesday before Thanksgiving at 1:45 this year without using any leave time.

Creamed corn casserole, triple batch
Broccoli rice casserole which is a new recipe this year without cream of mushroom soup and without cheez whiz
Brown sugar glazed carrots
Cranberry habanero sauce

Thanksgiving is creeping closer and I can't wait for the food and the nice long weekend :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mike Isabella

This weekend was the DC Metro Cooking Show! We have been going to this show for several years now seeing different chefs each year. This year my husband and I went to a food and wine pairing with Mike Isabella from Top Chef and owner of local restaurant Graffiato and Laurie Forster the Wine Coach.

Mike looking over the menu






We had three tastings and with each tasting we had two glasses of wine to pair it with.

6 glasses of wine! There wasnt a dump jug either :)


This first tasting was a scallop with sunchoke puree and pickled apple.


After this point I forgot about taking photos of the food and I just inhaled the food and wine. I will say that my husband and I are dying to make Mike's final dish of pork ragu and gnocchi. The recipe can be found on Laurie's website thewinecoach.com

Bottling homemade hot sauce

We grew many varieties of peppers this year and my husband made several batches of hot sauce. Here is the process in his words

I've been making hot sauce with my garden peppers this year and it isn't nearly as difficult as it might seem. Here is my process:



1. I collect my peppers in batches and keep them in the fridge until I have enough to make sauce (I don't care if the earlier picks start to get a little pruny, as long as they don't start to rot.
2. Clean all of them by seeding and keeping the seeds.
3. Toss all peppers into a sauce pan and sautee without anything added until they begin to blacken and soften.
4. Pour in white vinegar and season with salt. (At minimum, it should be 1 part vinegar to 2 parts pepper meat.)
5. Puree the mixture with a submersible blender. (You can use a normal blender, but keep a firm hand on the lid because the steam will blow it off.)
6. Continue to simmer, while adding anything else you want. I've added garlic, lemon juice, lime juice, black pepper, green tomatoes, etc. to get the flavor I am going for on a particular batch. Follow your mouth, tasting and letting the peppers speak to you.
7. Put a lid on it and let it simmer for 30 or 45 minutes to finish breaking down.
8. Pour the hot liquid into cleaned mason jars, filling halfway up the neck, then lidding. The hot liquid will sanitize the glass and create a vacuum when it cools. If the air pocket is too big, ad a bit of vinegar to top it off. You can shake it after it cools, to mix.
9. Place the mason jar into a cool/dark location or the fridge and age for 3 months.
10. After 3 months, open the jar (you may have to run under hot water to release the vacuum) and strain the liquid through a fine metal mesh.
11. Discard the pulp left behind (the seeds and skin parts will have already released their heat during aging, so they don't add to the flavor).
12. If your sauce is too thick for your taste, add more vinegar. You can't have too much vinegar.
13. Simmer the liquid again to get it hot, then add about 1/4 tsp of xanthan gum powder (optional) and stir until integrated. This prevents the sauce from separating in the bottle, but you can just as easily "shake well".
14. Funnel sauce into your hot sauce bottles and enjoy!

I bought my bottle kit from http://peppermania.com/hot_sauce_bottles.html and it comes with the drippers, lids, shrink wrap, xanthan gum, and even some gifted seeds.



For my first three batches, I just winged it with whatever peppers I had, then experimented until I had flavors I liked. You might want to take notes on what you put in your sauce (like I should have), in case you want to recreate it again. Otherwise, just remember peppers, vinegar, and salt as your base...the latter two of which are natural preservatives.



Note: Keep in mind when you sautee the peppers, your kitchen/house will fill with evaporated peppers and you will cry and cough. I don't use gloves, goggles, or a paper mask, but you may want to if you don't enjoy the punishment like I do. Open a window and keep the stove fan going.



Happy Halloween !

Martha Stewart sugar cookies with royal icing.




Apple Pie


I got to use my tiny apple cookie cutter to decorate this apple pie.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Goodie Bags

We have very few trick or treaters who visit our house. It is unfortunate because my husband loves Halloween and decorates the yard. This year we decided to do Halloween goodie bags verses the giant bowl of candy because we usually end up eating most of the bowl of candy ourselves. We did a few candies and some non candy items for the baggies. I like them :)



Sunday, October 16, 2011

Apple Braid

For the apple braid I used this recipe. I had a hard time with the dough sticking to the paper but I will be making this recipe again. It was just so easy and it tasted great.





Cream Puffs

My husband's work assigns breakfast duty and he was in charge of breakfast a few weeks ago. I made a few things for him, cream puffs and an apple braid. He made some pork schnitzel, potatoes with onions and cheese, and bratwurst.

This cream puff recipe comes from my mother. I have no idea where she originally got it from.

Small Cream Puffs
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
4 eggs

Heat oven to 4--%. Heat water and butter to rolling boil. Stir in flour. Stir vigorously over low heat about 1 minute until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat. Beat in eggs, all at one time; continue beating until smooth. Drop dough by the rounded teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake 25-30 minutes or until puffed and golden.

Vanilla Cream Pudding
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Blend sugar, cornstarch, and salt in two quart saucepan. Combine milk and egg yolks; gradually stir into sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir for 1 minute more. Remove from heat; stir in butter, vanilla, and almond extract. Cool slightly and chill in fridge.

Chocolate Icing
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
1 teaspoon butter
1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons hot water

Melt butter and chocolate over low heat. Remove from heat, stir in sugar and water. Beat until smooth.

Assembly
Cut off tops of pastry. Pull out soft dough. Carefully fill puffs with vanilla cream pudding. Replace tops and frost with chocolate icing.



Saturday, October 1, 2011

Bush Beans

During the summer I would harvest these guys and just have a small handful at a time. It was not enough to make a real side dish out of them. They seem to really be enjoying this cooler fall weather. I clipped enough beans today to toss them in the beef stew I was making.

Beef Stew

My coworker had a baby a week and a half ago. My gift was to make food for her. I made her a smoked turkey and mashed potatoes before the baby was born but on Monday I made this beef stew with some Grands biscuits and my apple cake.

I followed the Paula Deen recipe and needed to add in a bit more water part way through cooking. I remade this recipe today for my husband and I and I added fingerling potatoes and some of the green bush beans from our garden. I added all the vegetables at the beginning of the cooking process, not after an hour and a half.

French Onion Soup

Plus some pork, friend green tomatoes (from our garden), potatoes with chili (from our garden) infused oil and rosemary (from our garden). I bought the french onion soup bowls from the thrift store. They are just like my moms :)





The summer garden has been winding down but we have some fall items planted!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Using up yellow squash

I have 3 yellow squash currently sitting in my fridge. The vegetable garden is still going strong. Last week I used up a yellow squash by adding it to
Cajun Chicken Alfredo instead of the mushrooms I usually add.



Monday, August 8, 2011

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

I made Pioneer Woman's meatloaf recipe for dinner tonight. The recipe is found here.
I highly suggest you adjust the temperature and time to cook you meatloaf. Mine was far from cooked through when I took it out of the oven. I'm throwing mine in at 375 degrees for an hour the next time I make it. My husband also wants the addition of diced onion to the meatloaf. I served the meatloaf with mashed potatoes and cucumber salad. I still have so many cucumbers growing in our garden!





Cucumber Salad
This salad is something our Austrian friend has made for us several times and now we make it as a side dish in the summer too.
1/5 large cucumbers, thinly sliced
Fresh chopped dill
About half a small container of sour cream
A few dashes white vinegar to make the sour cream saucy
Salt and pepper to taste

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tomato Soup


Recipe from food52.com

Ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into quarters. We had about 8 tomatoes from ourgarden plus two heirloom from the farmers market.
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Garlic cloves
1 sprig of rosemary which was also from our garden.
3 springs of thyme
(cream was part of the original recipe but I tasted the soup without it and liked the way it tasted. I saved myself some calories!)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Line a deep baking pan with foil. Something shallow like a jelly roll pan wont hold all the juices from the tomatoes as they roast.
Place the tomatoes cut side down on the foil and drizzle with olive oil.
Cook the tomatoes and cloves of garlic for an hour.
Let cool and then peel the skins off the tomatoes. We found that using your hands worked faster than trying tongs and a spoon.
Put the tomato pulp and juices into a large saucepan.
Peel the skin off the garlic and place the soft garlic in with the tomatoes.
Heat the tomato pulp and garlic until almost boiling.
Use an immersion blender to smooth the tomato soup into your preferred consistency.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
(This is where you can add some cream)
In a small sauce pan add olive oil and pick rosemary and thyme from their stems. Heat but keep the temperature low.
Place the hot tomato and garlic puree into soup bowls and drizzle with the herbed olive oil.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Falafel and Tzatziki Sauce

I made falafel pitas with tzatziki sauce (using up some of my garden's cucumbers!)

I used Anne Burrell's falafel recipe They tasted awesome and I've made them twice now for dinner.

I used 1 can of chickpeas that I drained instead of soaking dry beans

One thing to note, everyone in the comments said to NOT flour these patties until you are ready to pan fry them. I chilled my chickpea patties without flouring them. When I was ready to pan fry them they needed some reshaping and then we floured them.

Ingredients for a falafel pita sandwich

Pita with pockets cut in half
Cooked falafel patties
Lettuce
Onions
Tomatoes
Tzatziki sauce





I used Emeril's recipe for tzatziki sauce as a guide. It was really good and I will be making it again. I think I'll be making this whole dinner again very soon.

1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, minced
Fresh chopped dill
Fresh ground pepper
Dash of hot sauce (this was my kicked up addition, I didn't add Emeril's Essence ingredients)
I also threw in a few leaves of the fresh thyme since it was used when boiling the chicken peas in the above falafel recipe.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Creamy Taco Mac

This recipe has been circling several blogs. I finally caved and tried it out. It was fast to make but I felt like it needed more seasonings and the sauce was too liquidy.

About 1 pound ground beef
Half a pound of dry pasta shells
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
14 ounce canned diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 an 8 ounce block of light cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Shredded Mexican cheese
Dash of hot sauce

Bring salt water to boil for the pasta. While the pasta is cooking start browning the ground beef. When the beef is almost cooked through add the onions and garlic. Stir in drained diced tomatoes and taco seasoning. Drain the cooked pasta reserving 1/2 cup of the water. Add the water, pasta, cream cheese and sour cream to the beef mixture. Simmer everything together for several minutes to remove some of the liquid. After taco mac is added to your dinner bowl you can top with the Mexican cheese blend and a dash of hot sauce.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

This was my first time making swiss meringue buttercream and I think I can never go back to my usual frosting recipe again. It was so good!

I used this recipe from Chef Mommy. My only change was I did 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract to try to get more lemon flavor into the cupcakes.



Monday, July 25, 2011

Pickles

As you can see in our harvest photo we have many cucumbers and this is after I've given neighbors some of our extra cucumber, squash, and zucchini away! I made three jars of pickles with some of our cucumbers. We are growing pickling and slicing cucumbers.



I used this refrigerator pickle recipe and also added some sliced onion to my jars.

Three clean jars with lids
pickling-type cucumbers, sliced into spears
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 bunch fresh dill
1 Tbs. pickling spice (I bought mine at Williams Sonoma)
1 quart water
1 cup distilled white vinegar
4 Tbs. kosher salt (I used pink sea salt)
Half of an onion, thinly sliced

Add the water, vinegar, and salt to a saucepan. Bring to a boil and turn off the heat. Let the mixture come to room temperature.

Layer in the jars the dill, a garlic clove in each jar, some of the pickling spice in each jar, the cucumber spears, and top with the onion slices. Pour the room temperature brine into the jars. Refrigerate pickles for at least 2 days before opening and eating. We waiting exactly two days and we were very happy with how the pickles tasted.



Sunday, July 24, 2011

German Chocolate Cake

For my husband's 30th birthday I baked him a German Chocolate cake. I used the recipe on the back of the Baker's German Chocolate bar. The recipe can also be found here on the Kraft website. The cake was so soft and fluffy and the frosting had lots of coconut flavor and was really rich.



Saturday, July 9, 2011

Eggplants and Cucumbers

Our eggplant and cucumbers are now ready for harvest. We also had a baby honeydew melon. We have two types of eggplant in our garden.

This long skinny purple one has produced three eggplant so far




Watermelon Cookies

I made these cute cookies for 4th of July this year :)
I was inspired by these!
I used Martha Stewart's Sugar Cookie Recipe
and Royal Icing (a bag of powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons meringue powder, and 7 tablespoons water) in plain, pink, and green
To make the watermelon shape I used a circle cutter and then ran a knife across the center to cut the circle in half
I probably spent about 6 hours on these cookies from making the dough, chilling the dough, rolling, cutting, baking the cookies, and then decorating them (that took about 2 hours). I made the cookies 6 days in advance and kept them in ziplock bags in the freezer. I took them out of the freezer on July 4th and decorated them. They tasted yummy



Reubens

I love our panini press. I bought it at Target for Christmas a few years ago. I just love how the bread comes out crunchy and the cheese is soooo melty.

For reubens we use rye bread, corned beef, sourkraut, swiss cheese, and thousand island dressing. When using the panini press the bread gets a good dose of butter too



Using up Pizza Dough

I made pigs in a blanket using leftover pizza dough. It tasted the same as using crescent dough and I happened to have both pizza dough and hot dogs in the fridge :)

Lemony Pasta

I made my own version of the Barefoot Contessa's Lemon Fusili with Arugula.

I made just a few changes. I substituted asparagus for broccoli and skipped the tomatoes. I also made some chicken breast to go with it. We didn't dive into the leftovers so my husband ended up adding sausage and lots more cheese and rebaking the whole thing. I just wasn't crazy for this recipe. I'd rather have Cajun Chicken Alfredo





Friday, June 24, 2011

Mike Isabella

We have tickets to see Mike Isabella (former Top Chef X2) at the DC Metro Cooking Show November 5th :) Hubby and I are super excited.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

harvesting

We are able to harvest some of our veggies now :) we've harvested yellow squash and a hot wax pepper and a cubanelle pepper.

Yellow Squash from last week, it's bigger and with a lot more squash right now




We have a baby eggplant right now. It's about 1 inch long so far. The flower stem seems too weak to hold an eggplant. We'll see if it grows to edible size.


Some peppers which are supposed to turn red and be very hot! Like a thai chili


We have about 10 green baby tomatoes and we still have some tomato flowers so we'll have even more tomatoes growing soon.


My husband's work gave him several tomato plants. We drilled holes in the bottom of rubbermaid containers and made it into a tomato planter


My honeydew vine is out of control. It's taken over an entire veggie box. Lesson learned for next year. Give melons lots of space all to themselves!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Texas Sheet Cake

Cake Ingredients
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 sticks of unsalted butter
6 tablespoons Hershey's Cocoa powder
1 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

Sift flour and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, combine butter, cocoa, and water. Bring to a rapid boil. Pour the mixture over the flour and sugar. Mix well.

Combine buttermilk and baking soda in measuring cup. Lightly beat the eggs and add in buttermilk/soda mixture. Mix well.

Add salt, cinnamon, and vanilla to mixing bowl. Mix well.

Last add everything in the sugar/flour/chocolate bowl to the mixer. Mix well.

Pour into a greased 16 X 11 X 1 inch jelly roll pan. Bake 20 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.

Frosting Ingredients
1 stick unsalted butter
5 tablespoons Hershey's cocoa powder
6 tablespoons cooked black coffee
1 pound box of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Combine butter, cocoa, and coffee in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Pour over the powdered sugar in mixing bowl. Add vanilla and beat until smooth. Add nuts and stir together. Spread on warm cake. (Make this frosting while the cake is baking and put on cake a few minutes out of the oven). Frosting will be liquid at first but will then set and form a crust.




Sunday, May 29, 2011

Raised Vegetable Garden Box 2


Check out how big everything we planted on Mother's Day has gotten in the first raised veggie box! The flowers on some of the peppers have started turning into little peppers. They are really cute! I have one lone strawberry that is turning red so far. Hopefully more will follow.



The nursery had some new plants out so we are trying some beans, watermelon, cucumber, zucchini, honeydew and spinach in the newest raised veggie box. The plants seem so small in comparison.

Potato Salad

and grilled hot dogs for dinner tonight!
I made this potato salad based on Tyler Florence's recipe. I skipped the onions, capers, lemon juice, and eggs. I hate eggs.

2 baking potatoes, cut into large pieces and boiled until fork easily slides in. Let cool and then cut into smaller bites
2 stalks of celery, diced
Dill pickles, we had the long thin cut for sandwiches and I diced about 4 of the slices
Pickle juice
Mayo
Yellow mustard
Salt
Pepper
Fresh dill, ripped from the stems
Chives, I cut a few from the garden but didn't like how they were browning in the potato salad
Paprika, a sprinkle to finish off the potato salad





Sunday, May 15, 2011

New Vegetable Garden Box

Here are some of my plants from last weekend. The cilantro and dill have really filled out and the strawberries have flowered. My husband built a raised vegetable box and we filled it with tomato plants, pepper plants (hot and sweet ones), and some eggplant.

Cilantro










Monday, April 18, 2011

Check out my garden

See those tiny little sprouts? I lovingly collected the dill seeds and cilantro seeds when my herbs bolted (went to seed) last summer. Then the seeds were planted a few weeks ago and here they are growing!



The rosemary plant is new. I did not dig up my rosemary plant for the winter and bring it inside and therefore needed to buy a new plant. I will dig it up this fall and bring this guy inside!



See my chives? I didn't have to plant them this year! Those chives came back from last year without any extra care from me. Chives are awesome! New this year I bought sage because I ate incredible fries with fried sage in Boston in December and I also bought Cinnamon Basil. Last year we had three basil plants, Michael, Thai, and Greek. The Thai and Greek were the biggest producers of the three. I'm sure I'll end up buying a Thai or Greek plant soon.




Chicken Tikka Masala

I have posted this recipe before here but I haven't posted photos before :)
I made a little Indian feast for dinner tonight. Chicken Tikka Masala, Basmati rice, samosas, garlic naan, and mint chutney.

Recipe from "Complete Indian Cooking"

Chicken Tikka Masala

1 package of chicken breasts, my package had about 3 breasts which I drizzles with olive oil, salted and pepper and baked in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes. Dice into bite size pieces.

4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onion, thinly sliced. I used just 1 onion
1 inch piece of ginger root, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 tablespoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
A few handfuls of frozen peas

Make the sauce by heating the in a large skillet or saucepan; add the onion, ginger, and garlic and cook over gentle heat, stirring frequently, until softened but not colored.

Add the spices and fry, stirring for 1-2 minutes until fragrant, then add the cream, tomato paste, water, sugar, and salt. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring, then lower the heat, and simmer gently, stirring, for 10-15 minutes. We cooked the sauce for about 10 minutes and for the last 5 minutes we included the precooked meat and the frozen peas.

We served this over some basmati rice, had Trader Joes Garlic Naan on the side. I also bought a package of 4 samosas that came with packets of mint chutney.



Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ham and Cheese Quiche

Ham and Cheese Quiche

1 frozen pie crust
1 egg
1/2 cup cream or milk
salt
herbs, I like to use rosemary (fresh or dried) but I cut some fresh chives for this one
Diced ham
Shredded cheese, Swiss goes well with ham

In a bowl beat together the egg, cream or milk, and seasonings.
Pour into the prepared pie crust.
Evenly sprinkle ham onto the egg mixture.
Top with a layer of shredded cheese.

Bake in a 375 degree over for about 40 minutes. Check to see if the quiche is set in the middle. If it is still liquidy put back into the oven for another 10 minutes and check it again.


Foursquare Day BBQ

My husband uses Foursquare on his work iPhone. I think everyone at his office uses it too. His workplace hosted a Foursquare Day BBQ today so my husband and I made food for the party. About 40 people RVPed for the party. Brats, burgers, chips, and drinks were provided by other people.

Cantaloupe Salsa appetizer

My husband made this salsa. He used red onion, cilantro, juice a lime (1 lime per cataloupe), cantaloupe, and jalapeno. I don't usually eat cantaloupe as just sliced fruit but I really did like it as a salsa.


The salads

Asian Coleslaw

I made this recipe
Ramen Noddle Coleslaw and my only addition is I like to toast the almonds before adding them to the slaw





Wagon Wheel Pasta

I use this recipe Wagon Wheel Taco Pasta Salad and I also add Good Seasonings Italian Dressing. I buy the packet of seasoning in the salad dressing aisle and follow the directions on the package. I like my pasta salad to be a little wetter than the original recipe.



Bread
My husband made jalapeno cheddar cornbread muffins again. The same recipe and results as posted here Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Muffins

Desert
I made M&M Sugar Cookie Bars because I saw this post in my Google Reader this week and it made me HUNGRY for this desert!
I doubled the recipe for my larger sized pan. After 10 minutes I would pull the bars out and add the m&ms. I think I waited a little too long (15 minutes) and the bars were cooked enough that the m&ms didn't set into the bars very well. No complaints about them at the party. They were wiped out. I managed to cut out 30 bars from the 1 pan.





Friday, March 18, 2011

Blackberry frosting

Two coworkers on my team had birthdays this week so I made a cake, another teammate bought cards, another teammate bought balloons, etc. This time I made a french vanilla cake (same as Karen's birthday cake in Dec) and I made a new frosting.
I wanted strawberry frosting but the strawberries didn't look great at Harris Teeter on Tuesday. I went for the blackberries and just subbed them into Cooking Agents' strawberry frosting recipe. I found my frosting to be too wet to hold up to piping. I tried a few different swirls and tips on wax paper but the shape wasn't holding. I did have a lot of frosting leftover. I must make some cupcakes to use it up!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

No. 68 Project

My husband and I went to our No. 68 Project dinner on Sunday night! The chef was Justin Bittner and the mixologist was Justin Noel. We don't have photos of every single food and drink course, but we took quite a few photos.

The night's theme An unexpected relationship will become permanent.

There was a rosemary infused drink at the beginning of the evening that was paired with a tuna tartar appetizer. I don't eat seafood so I'm not sure of the taste. Everyone around me grabbed up several of the tuna and seemed happy to accept more.

I loved the first drink. I actually ended up drinking two :) good start!

We moved upstairs to the seated portion of the evening.

The first upstairs course was a chicken liver mousse with black truffles, on buttered brioche, with a little fresh salad on the side. I'm not a huge fan of liver mousse but I did eat a little bit on both of my pieces of brioche. The big plus of the dish was it came with two fancy salts on the side. Salty liver mousse was better

Next course was a prawn with asparagus and hollandaise sauce.
I ate the asparagus and hollandaise part of the meal and gave my prawn away to my husband



The drink paired with this course had coconut flavoring and I believe it also had a liquor that was bacon fat washed. I sipped this a bit but didn't finish the drink. It was rich.



The next course was a lobster and scallop dish. There were peas, green beans, bacon, onion and a cream sauce infused with lobster also on the plate. I tried the veg and bacon and tried to avoid the cream sauce.



The drink with this course had pineapple juice in it. I really enjoyed this cocktail and finished it off. I finished it off so quickly we had to take a photo of the girl next to me's drink (Kristan)



Wooohooo next course was pork tenderloin, with gravy, and a potato/celery root gratin. Did I mention my husband recently bought celery root to make french fries? When we ate with Carla Hall one of her recipes included celery root so we stopped at the grocery store and bought one. Hey we are trendy! I of course could eat this course and did. I also stole some of my husbands :)



The drink had ginger beer. I couldn't do much more than a sip or two of it. See how it's brown like a root beer? It also had sage. We were given the recipes for the drinks but I don't have the menu in front of me. There were actually like 6 ingredients in each drink. Some seemed labor intensive.



Cheese course! Gorgonzola cheese, with wildflower honey, and strawberries. I don't even like honey but this was good.



The drink was fiery and awesome. I drank all of mine and Kristan offered me hers. I didn't finish the second one though. I was getting full. This drink had strawberry and serrano chili infused vodka among other things. I liked that it was pink. I'm a sucker for pink drinks.

Here is the drink side by side with the last one. The food and drink timing was off by the end of the evening. We'd get the food, start diving in, and then we'd remind ourselves the drinks were coming and to save some food for the drink pairing.



Hello chocolate dessert! Vanilla cream on the plate, a sprinkling a pistachios. YUM. We had a giant spoon for eating this and it seemed really out of proportion.



The last drink was across the table. I didn't really try to drink this one. It had something called creole bitters in it. It was also very creamy and the garnish on the toothpick is the bacon. Remember the drink with the fat washed bacon? Here is the bacon part. You have to cook the bacon to make the fat to infuse the liquor.



and 4 hours later dinner was over and we all had to roll out of there. Too bad we all had to work the next day. I would have had seconds on all my favorite drinks

Here is Justin


and all of his bottles