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

Be My Valentine {One Bite At A Time}

Nikki of Cupcakes For Breakfast asked me to guest post in her week long series for a bloggers’ Valentine’s Day! Hope you guys like it – and thank you so much Nikki!

A Guide For Two Cooks In The Kitchen

When Nikki originally asked me to do a Valentine’s day guest post I was excited, but at a loss as to what to write about. Then I recalled a conversation I had with a chef friend of mine.

Food is so many things, but most importantly food is all about love. And on special days, it’s quite sexy too! My chef friend asked me if I’d ever cooked with someone before and imagine his surprise when I said no, no I had not. For loving food as much as I do and cooking or baking all the time, I’d never cooked with someone!

Click through to check out my tips for cooking with a (special?) friend :) 

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! :)

Homemade Tacos (aka My Mom is The Bomb)

Every year it goes a little something like this:

Mom: Don’t you want a roast or a ham for Christmas this year?!
Me: No. I want tacos.
Dad: Oh god.
Mom: Are you sure? Doesn’t a ham sound nice?!
Me: No. I want tacos.
Mom: How many would you eat?
Me: One or two. (Because I’m in total denial and trying to “eat healthy.”)
Mom: I’m not making tacos if that’s all you’re going to eat.
Me: Fine. I’ll have three.
Mom: Fine. I’ll make tacos.
Dad: She only makes them for you.

See, my mom makes the most amazing tacos every year for Christmas. Our family bucks tradition, setting the Christmas ham aside, and makes Mexican food. Some years it’s tacos, tamales and refried beans. Other years it’s just tacos and beans. But there are always tacos. And they’re my most favorite meal of the whole year. Yep. Of the whole year.

I took step-by-step pictures to show you (and remind me) how she does it. I have a fear of deep-frying things. Hot oil + me + tiny kitchen = panic. I’m hoping my new dutch oven will help set some fears aside because it’s such a deep vessel. (I’m ridiculous, I realize.) So here we go:

 

Prepare your seasonings. Mom chops up an onion for the meat and uses some salt and pepper.

I might add some chili powder? Fresh garlic? Whatever you like really.

 

Mix, mix, mix!

 

She’s a beast with the meat. Rar!

The rest of the steps are after the jump!

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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!