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

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 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.