A Four-Step Guide To Shopping at The Farmers Market

leeks

Pardon us! We’ve interrupted your usual weekly farmers market roundup to discuss a very important issue: shopping at the farmers market… effectively. As someone who rarely shops with a grocery list (if I’m lucky, I’ll think about what I want … Continue reading

Eating Your Feelings

I’m fairly well-known for talking about eating one’s feelings. Usually in a “Bertha-esque” voice I jokingly proclaim that I, or someone close to me, should eat their feelings. A pint of ice cream. A bacon cheeseburger. Whatever food it is that evokes feelings of comfort or security. Or maybe a ridiculous level of indulgence that transcends moods and lifts you from the dredges of life.

It wasn’t until last Friday afternoon, over a bacon cheeseburger in the lounge at Bourbon Steak, that I understood the alarming truth in those three words: eating your feelings.

I’ve been going through a bit of a rough time, friends. Life has thrown me some emotional curve balls. I am a fairly resilient person, not easily shaken by change. But when said change flips you on your head and changes what your every day looks or feels like – there’s no ignoring it. I’ve taken the last few weeks to not even deal with the changes in my life, but just accept them. (They say it’s the first step…)

Not to discount the positive, I’ve also had some really amazing and wonderful changes happen over the last month. Alas, even positive changes can mean leaving your comfort zone.

So, it was after a particularly “red zone” type of morning with work emails rolling in, tripping my way to work, hot coffee in hand, tourists standing on the left (DC people will get this) and, of all things, Amazon servers going down and taking out HootSuite (my new job is nothing but social media so this made for a particularly “WHAT THE F*CK!” moment) I found myself craving a bacon cheeseburger. Red meat cravings, for me, are a sure sign of emotional eating.

Well. You try to resist the bacon cheeseburger from Bourbon Steak.

Yeah.

After I had consumed the entire burger I sat back, looked at my fellow diners and said, “You know. I actually feel better. Like. I’m in a good mood now!” We all laughed about it but. Wow. Truer words hadn’t been spoken in at least a couple of weeks.

More after the jump…

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How To: Butcher a Chicken

You know. You can barely even call this butchering. It’s…baby butchering. Butchering light. Diet butchering. Cutting up a chicken into all its various parts and bits is easy. Too easy for this girl, who set a New Year’s Resolution to learn how to butcher.

I said I would start small…learn how to properly break down a chicken. So that’s where I started.

Whole chicken. Didn't stay like that for long.

Remember my friend Ian? He took pictures of those Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies. Yes, well, I roped him into coming to my chicken class at Hill’s Kitchen. He hovered around me as I learned to pop bones out of joints and cut through cartilage.

The drama of the first cut!

I had to explain to the class that Ian was there just to take pics of me and my probably hackish looking bird when all was said and done. Awkward.

We used a small-ish knife throughout the whole process but mostly just our hands. A lot of popping of joints and what nots – like I said. Plenty of fingering around looking for that dip…in the…joint…where the oyster…oyster? wtf is an oyster? is.

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Food News: Last Week

Every morning I go through my Google Reader which is home to 83 food blogs and countless other types including design blogs, local DC blogs, blogs I read for work and more. Sounds a little absurd, right? Maybe – but it’s not exactly a chore to read them all. I really enjoy all the news, recipes, tips/tricks…and most of all I love learning. I won’t be going to culinary school any time soon so this (and cooking/baking a lot) is all I’ve got!

I’m not a huge fan of consistent food news round ups, but last week was really an amazing week for food news. I found more links to share each day than I usually do. While I put them out there on Twitter, I thought I’d share them here too. So here goes:

  • Design*Sponge is a truly epic design blog that makes me wish I was more crafty/handy. But last week they featured The Clive Coffee Drip Stand which made me swoon. This method of brewing coffee is getting more popular in DC (you can catch it live in action at Dolcezza in Dupont or Filter Coffeehouse). The Clive makes me want to brew coffee like this at home. They also featured recipes to cure cold weather wear on your hair! An avocado scalp mask and a rosemary hot oil treatment sound like just what I need right now.
  • Eatocracy, CNN’s food blog, ran a great round-up of affordable  prix fix menus at restaurants most of us can barely afford to have a drink at the bar at. There’s a couple DC restaurants on there too!
  • Eat Like A Man, Esquire’s food blog linked to this amazeballs profile from New York Magazine of various types of heritage hogs. Even after attending Cochon 555 I still didn’t really get the whole heritage hog thing…this helped a bit.
  • Best Bites Blog, Washingtonian’s food blog, is running a Chefs Tell All series wherein chefs anonymously bitch and complain about everything from critics, to bloggers, to their bosses, their peers and probably dinners eventually too. Personally I think this is bullshit – just like any other news source, if they want to say something they should say it with attribution. They don’t probably because they know they’d catch hell, or a bad reputation, if they did.
  • The Washington Examiner ran news that infamous Mayflower Hotel’s bar, Town & Country is closing Jan. 15th. Sad news for us all – lovers of manhattans, martinis and high dollar…erm…ladies of the night, alike.
  • Baking Banter, King Arthur Flour’s official blog, did an amazing and super helpful photo step-by-step on how to make, and fix, buttercream frosting. I’m no longer afraid of the stuff!
  • I spotted news from the Las Vegas Sun saying Chef Adam Sobel was joining the Bourbon Steak DC team…only to not have my emails returned in a timely fashion about what that meant for current Executive Chef Dave Varley and then watch Tom Sietsema break the news Varley was movin’ on up. Congrats to Varley! Sounds like a super cool gig!
  • Jason Wilson of the Washington Post’s Food section is stepping in as wine columnist for a bit and managed to write the first wine column I a) understood and b) really enjoyed!

That…was a lot of news and info in one week. I’d say normally there’s about half as much interesting stuff going on! Hope you guys find this stuff as interesting as I do…and let me know in the comments if you want to see more posts like this. I’m happy to oblige if you like them!

Enjoy! :)

New Year’s Resolutions 2011

via From Me To You

Another year, more resolutions.

  1. Cook more Mexican food. More specifically, I want to cook an entire meal, from scratch (everything…like…everything) at least two times this year. Maybe one occasion will be Thanksgiving? (I realize what this means Mom. You’re gonna end up making me do Christmas tacos this year aren’t you?)
  2. Learn to butcher…something that…ya know…lived once. Okay, I’ll be honest, I don’t really know what this means to me yet. Maybe I’ll start with spatchocking a quail or something similarly thin-boned. Maybe I’ll learn how to break down a chicken. Maybe I’ll get some balls and go learn how to cut up an entire pig. I don’t know. I just think it would be cool to learn how to cut up meat properly. Mostly I want to wield a large, sharp knife and take a picture of me making a super fierce face with it.
  3. Not buy anymore cookbooks. Until I cook from the ones I already have at least three times each. This. Is going to be hard. Because my idea of retail therapy-lite nowadays is buying pretty cookbooks.
  4. Use all those fun kitchen things I bought. Already using the dutch oven like gangbusters. I’m still borrowing Shaw Girl‘s mandolin. There’s other stuff too.
  5. Get back to baking. I really wanted to cook (like meals…I know! Muffins aren’t a meal. It was news to me.) more in 2010. As a result, I strayed from baking, which is my true love. Hear that coworkers? Carb Queen is back!! Buy stretchy pants!!
  6. Exercise with purpose. Joe Yonan noted in his recent Me Minus 23 post what his friends Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg told him: “…everybody who is passionate about food should also be passionate about some form exercise.” I’ve always loved working out…and I fall in and out of running…but there’s a difference between going through the motions and really hitting the gym with purpose. I’ll be using my buddy Peter Shankman as inspiration from afar.

That’s all for 2011, folks. Considering how busy I’ve become, I’ll be lucky if I can do these…and this isn’t a bucket list. So yeah. We’ll see how we do!

Thanksgiving #TurkeyTalk Round Up

Well, I would say the #turkeytalk chat was quite a success. At some point, enough people were on the chat long enough that we were a trending topic in DC on Twitter! Pretty exciting I say :)

Here’s the round up tips, tricks and recipes shared during the chat – but the hashtag is very much alive! Keep using it on Twitter to join in and share!

Tips, Tricks and Resources

Snacks & Apps

Turkey

  • Big winner idea of the night: @MrsWheelbarrow rubs her turkey down with bacon fat. Rubs. Her turkey. Down. With. Bacon. Fat.
  • I plan on rubbing my turkey down with butter…and that’s when @ThriftyDCCook recommended Cowgirl Creamery‘s European style salted butter from Vermont.
  • Brine recipe: Salt, brown sugar, oranges, lemons, thyme, parsley. Keep in the cooler overnight w/ice. via @MrsWheelbarrow
  • Everyone raved over Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio book for a brine recipe.
  • Ever consider spatchcocking your turkey, then cooking it on the grill? @MrsWheelbarrow and @ThriftyDCCook are thinking of doing their turkey this way – but be warned – this takes muscle and a strong pair of kitchen shears.
  • There was a debate over stuff in the turkey vs. out of the turkey – some liked out of the turkey because that frees up the cavity for aromatics (lemons, oranges, onions, fresh herbs) others like it in because all the flavors and juices get to mingle. In the end, it’s a personal preference.

Vegetarian options, Sides, Desserts, Drinks and more after the jump…

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Thanksgiving: Avoiding A Total Cooking Meltdown

People. I’m nervous. I’m basically planning, directing, orchestrating, cooking for five people for Thanksgiving this year. Maybe six if they show up. This is my biggest cooking venture yet. And the stakes couldn’t be higher.  I need to make this:

Gobblers in their natural state (via Hey Paul on flickr)

Turn into this:

Gobbler decidedly not in its natural state (via tuchodi on flickr)

…in something like six hours.

So instead of absolutely freaking the frack out…I’m hosting a twitter chat. A Thanksgiving recipe exchange…on twitter. Next (I wrote the post last week)This Wednesday, November 10th (that’s tomorrow) at 8:00 p.m. ET (6:00 p.m. for West Coasters and Arizonans) log in to your twitter account and use the hashtag #turkeytalk in all your recipe and food related posts to participate. UPDATE: I neglected to mention, to participate you also need to follow me…I’m @frijolita! :)

I’ll take us through forty minutes of recipe sharing…from turkey to stuffing to sides to desserts we’ll share tips, tricks and most importantly, recipes with each other and hopefully ease the collective pain a bit.

Collect links to your favorite recipes, from any source and be ready to share! And let me know if you have any questions about how this will work in the comments – I’ll get you ready for this! No worries.

For those of you not on twitter…I’ll post a round up of all the recipes shared within a day or two of the chat!

Enjoy!

I Have New Toys!

It was my birthday a few weeks ago…and with birthdays come fun gifts!

I got myself a super-duper holy-cow-this-goes-really-fast Cuisinart hand mixer. Thanks to co-worker, Dave, who emailed me from the VA outlets and walked me through all the options…one email at a time.  I’ve only used it a couple times but HOLY MOLY what a difference!

Mom (wonderful Mom!) got me this rolling pin that I’d been eying from MOMA. See those disks at the end? They help you measure the thickness of the dough you’re rolling out! No more guessing for cut out cookies! No more fear of pie crusts! RAR! Watch me roll dough! I can’t wait to put this one to use!

These tools definitely satisfy New Year’s resolutions #2 and #5 which makes having them even MORE exciting!

Yay!