Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

March 11, 2012

Eat, Write Retreat | Photo Potluck with Feastie

This year’s Eat Write Retreat is coming to D.C. in May.  It’s been a retreat I’ve admired from afar.  The weekend is packed with workshops on everything from food styling to adventures to some of D.C. best restaurants.  Happily, Feastie is holding a photo potluck of sorts with the winner being treated to a trip to EWR.  Feastie is a recipe search engine that has the sleek feel Pinterest, but the added capacity to write your grocery list for all those recipes.  It’s kind of genius.

Since it’s a potluck, I decided to throw my hat in with this post that’s long been a favorite of mine.  The post is short and to the point, capturing a moment in family life with a slightly messy, but welcoming meal at the center of it all.  Which is to say, it’s quintessentially me.

Juniper Rubbed Sirloin with Balsamic Dressed Potatoes

Weeknight meals aren’t super complicated around here.  That doesn’t mean they have to be the same old boring flavors that make you want to tear your hair out.  Ok, maybe that’s just me that gets worked up like that.  But I digress.  Today I’m not going to give you so much of a recipe as an idea of how to flavor your next steak and potato meal.

Juniper berries, long used to flavor game in Europe, work perfectly with grass-fed, slightly wild-tasting beef.  Crush a half tablespoon of berries along with equal parts peppercorns for a lovely spicy and fresh fall rub.  Mix in a bit of salt and drizzle the steak with olive oil and let it sit for as long as you have time.   Perhaps you’ll mix yourself a gin martini, since you’re going with the juniper berries on the steak.  Not a bad idea, you clever thing.

For the potatoes, treat them as you would a salad.  Make a mustard balsamic dressing, perhaps chop up some tarragon for good measure and a single green onion.  Dress them after you’ve either roasted them or boiled them as you would for a potato salad.

Since we grilled the steak, Cherub asked if we could eat outside.  It was a perfect night for it and who are we to say no?  As the cool front blew in we realized that fall is probably our favorite time to grill and enjoy a dinner outdoors.  No being too hot or swatting away bugs.  Just lovely weather, the turning of the seasons and our little family enjoying a meal that celebrates it all.

The grass fed-sirloin was from Flying J Farm and the potatoes from Northridge Organic Farm.

The playlist included Velcro Shoes, by Pete Yorn.

September 28, 2011

A New Southern Favorite | Green Grits

I am currently hoarding the last of my Nora Mill Granary yellow speckled grits.  These stone milled grits are honestly the best I’ve ever tasted.  My favorite way to make them is with half stock and half Snowville whole milk; then stir in a few pureed greens, anything that’s seasonal, even lettuces are lovely.

And do I need anything to go with them?  Not really.  But if you have a bit of a fresh ham that you’ve brined and baked, that’d go just beautifully.

Green Grits, Serves 4 to 6, Inspired by original recipe in Jamie’s America

2 c stock, chicken or vegetable, preferably homemade

2 c whole milk, Snowville, if it’s available in your area

read more »

March 9, 2011

Dining Out | Katalina’s Cafe Corner

There is a wonderful buzz about Katalina’s Cafe Corner.  So many folks I know love it and eat there regularly.  Other fantastic places help with local sourcing of meats.  I found myself wondering why in the world I hadn’t been there.  What was wrong with me?

I rectified that situation this morning with a brunch during Dine Originals Columbus week.

And the place is adorable.  A gorgeous, rusty old chandelier hangs over the cases and counter where you order, plentiful chalkboard menus tempt you with all manner of delicious descriptions, shelves stocked with salsas, ketchups, Nutella and Abuelita (a PK favorite) for buying and taking home.  And a highchair in the back made me feel like I wasn’t wrong for bringing nearly four-year old Cherub along with me.

Somehow, when I walked in, there was the gestalt experience of thoughtful food and cheerful, comfortable ambiance.  It felt like the owners kind of “got it.”  That this was a place I’d be returning really soon.  If not simply moving in right away.

And I hadn’t even ordered yet.

I’ll admit, it was the Huevos Rancheros special that had been calling

read more »

March 8, 2011

The Real Deal | Taqueria Los Guachos

Owly Images

The Tacos, Quesadillas and Volcanes at Los Guachos

Top picks from Persephone include anything with the very tender lengua (tongue), especially the quesadilla.  Also worth ordering  are the volcanes topped al pastor (pork and pineapple and heaven).

Lovely and loud with soccer on the two TVs, it’s a great spot to pop in for a quick snack washed down with sugary Cokes and Jarritos. The staff is friendly and fast and fawns over kids.  I can’t wait to go back.

Los Guachos | 5221 Godown Road | Columbus 43235 | 614.538.0211

More comprehensive location info and reviews can be found on AltEats and Taco Trucks Columbus.

March 8, 2011

Another Day, Another Braise | Ropa Vieja

I have coveted my parent's molcajete for ages. It showed up in the mail and I use it constantly now. Thanks, Demeter and Zeus. xoxo

I do have a thing for braises.  I just think they happen to be God’s gift to the busy home cook.  Sear it and throw it in the oven (or slow cooker) and forget about it until dinner.  This manner of cooking results in the cheapest cuts veritably transformed into tender chunks of meaty goodness.  Hardly any skill is required to cook up something just about everybody will love.

My version is originally inspired by Hades’s favorite little Cuban place in Montclair, New Jersey.   He would always order the ropa vieja: braised and shredded flank steak served with black beans and rice.  In my version, I omitted the usual canned tomatoes (tomatoes aren’t in season and I didn’t can any of mine from last year) and gave it a good spice rub before searing it.

Ropa Vieja, serves four

1 pound flank steak

3 cloves garlic

read more »

March 7, 2011

Bon Temps Rouler | Gumbo with Duck and Catfish

I grew up watching Demeter make roux.  She made it for a German spinach recipe that she got from Zeus’s mom.  She made it for cream gravy for chicken fried steak.  But we never needed to make our roux as dark as it needs to be made for gumbo and Cajun food.  A dark roux is the essential flavor base for some of your favorite Cajun dishes.  Master this and you’re well on your way to recreating some great bayou dinners.

It gives me a bit of a thrill to make a dark roux.  One that’s the color of chocolate: a deep, dark brown.  When you’re making one, the pan and fat get really hot.  You have to stir the flour like mad with a wooden spoon.  The spoon itself darkens a bit after making one.  Don’t even dream of using a spatula, it would surely melt.  And mind your stirrings don’t splash anything.  A friend says roux is Cajun napalm.  They are not wrong.

But none of this is difficult – just roller coaster thrilling – as only cooking can be.  Add to that the Cajun Holy Trinity, a kick of spice from some tasso ham and a shake or two of Tabasco, and if you’ve made this on a first date, you two might just fall in love.

Acadian Gumbo, serves 6, at least

3 T fat (lard, bacon drippings, or vegetable oil)

3 T flour

1 onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, deseeded and chopped

read more »

March 6, 2011

My New Favorite Condiment | Sweet Pepper and Pine Nut Relish

Let’s just put it straight out there: this is a great little recipe that is flavorful, quick and tremendously versatile.  And, if you don’t count fussing with the pepper, it’s no cook.

I’m not going to tell you a long story about how it was inspired or where it came from because, well, I don’t have one.  It was a case of “well this looks pretty; I have such and such in the pantry; this seems like it would work; oh, I could munch on some of those while I’m cooking” and I got this.

This mighty little mixture of rough chopped garlicky olives, blackened red bell pepper, pine nuts, parsley (and yes, you have to put them in – anchovies) has transformed itself into the number one condiment in my house.  I’m going to start putting it on everything: omelettes for breakfast; hummus for lunch; crostini for cocktail apps; fish, chicken, steak, duck, roasted vegetables, anything for dinner.  I had to stop myself from eating the entire bowl of it before dinner.

Mah tummy has a happy.

Persephone’s Favorite Relish

1 red bell pepper

6 large Greek green olives with garlic (good olives from your grocer’s olive bar, or plain pitted green olives and 1 clove of garlic grated)

3 anchovy fillets, minced (Please listen.  No, don’t turn away.  Come back.  This dish is not going to taste like fish.  You won’t know there are anchovies in it.  But somehow, the flavor will be deeper, richer, more delicious.  Not at all fishy.  Trust.)

3 T pine nuts (buy them in the bulk section of your store if you can, they’re pricey)

3 T chopped fresh parsley

1 small sprig of fresh thyme, leaves picked

2 T olive oil

pepper (no salt)

Roast the Pepper – If you have a gas stove, take a pair of tongs and place the bell pepper directly on the burner.  Turn the pepper periodically (don’t walk away from this, seriously) to blacken it evenly.  Alternately, you could put it in a grill pan over high heat and do the same.  Or chuck it in the oven on broil and keep an eye on it, turning regularly until the skin blisters and blackens.  When the pepper is black, put it in a bowl and cover it tightly with plastic wrap or slide it into a ziploc.  Let it sit for ten or fifteen minutes.  When it has cooled, remove the stem and seed core and rub off all of the blackened skin.  Give it a quick rinse under cool water to get the seeds and black off.

Chop the pepper and the rest of the ingredients together, drizzle with the olive oil. Rough chop for topping meats, finer chop for crostini.  It’s all about how you want it to look.  Taste for seasoning.  You probably won’t need salt, the olives and anchovies should be enough.

Tonight I served this on top of a mixed grill of duck breast and sausage with Puy lentils that looked like minute green turtle shells.

Playlist included Are You Ready?, by Richard Ashcroft.

%d bloggers like this: