7/28/10

What's new in Dupont Farmer's Market?

Let's not pretend: this is definitely a lazy post. I haven't had too much time or desire to cook lately, but don't feel like leaving you with nothing to read or look at ;) So I present you a few photos from Dupont Farmer's Market I snapped last Sunday while taking a cooking class from Chef Dan of 1789 Restaurant. (I won the class through a Twitter contest and will be blogging about it on Friday).

Tomatoes were everywhere! I especially liked this display of different colors and shapes:


Another commonly seen fruit (because tomatoes are technically fruit!): plums. I love the color contrast of the yellow/greenish plums and the blue containers.


And check out these sun-kissed apricots!



While at the market we saw a few people carrying strange looking greens, only to discover they were Sweet Potato Greens: have you ever heard of them? And if so, how did you use them?



I absolutely love watermelon, but have never seen yellow skinned ones (although I've tasted a yellow flesh watermelon):


And of course summer means summer squash:


Here is another thing I haven't seen before: mini cantaloupes *someone should spell-check their signs*



And one more photo before the end of this post: a gorgeous flower! Stay tuned for the next post in which I tell you which produce Chef Dan picked up and what we cooked!

7/26/10

Fojol Bros: eating food from a truck

What's the latest food craze? If you ask me, I think it's food trucks. Yes, trucks that drive around, park on a street and sell food straight out of the truck. These trucks usually have tweeter accounts and tweet to their followers where to come and get the food. So far I've heard of cupcake trucks, Vietnamese trucks, Latin trucks, etc, etc. But as of a week ago the only truck food experience I've had was with one dessert truck: don't want to name any names, because the cupcake I tasted, although very pretty, had a stranger after taste to it.

Last Monday I was meeting Nicole from Discojing for lunch and a quick lesson on Photoshop. Somehow, the two girls who ♥ food (that's us!) could not decide on where to eat. We ended up agreeing to decide on Monday right before meeting up. Early Monday morning Nicole emailed me to say that Fojol Bros will be parking their truck in a suitable to us location according to their tweet status. I could not have been happier.



You see, I've heard about Fojol Bros for a while, but haven't had a chance to try their food. What kind of food? Indian: just one of my most favorite cuisines. But how good can food from a truck be?

Some info about Fojol Bros from their website:

On January 20th, 2009, the fojol bros. of Merlindia emerged from their home in the village of Adams Morgan and hit the streets of DC to share their family traditions with the world. They served food from their family truck and listened to and interacted with folks from all over the world. They watched with amazement as armies of people flooded DC on the day the world changed.


While the fojol bros. may represent something different to each of us, they hope to bring together local communities through a dynamic food experience on DC's streets. So, when you see or hear the traveling culinary carnival in your neighborhood, please do not hesitate to stop and join the festivities.
Check out the funny looking hats and mustache!



The menu of Fojol Bros varies and is displayed on the side of the truck: you choose the number of sides you wish, come to the window, order, pay, and then wait for your food.


I decided to try "pick 3" and chose vegetable mix, chicken curry and buttered chicken. Alas, there were no beverages for sale, other that water. I ended up buying a Diet Pepsi from a hot dog vendor nearby.

Then Nicole and I headed to the Portrait Gallery to escape the hot weather and enjoy our food.


My favorite was butter chicken: of course! There is a word "butter" in the name of the dish (it's in the top right corner in the photo above). The portion size was more than generous, the rice grains were separated and cooked just right. As far as I could tell, the chicken was all white meat: a definite plus in my book. The vegetables (seen in the photograph below) included carrots, beans, cauliflower and potatoes. They had a bit of a kick to them (as in heat), and would be perfect addition to the rice for any vegetarians.

All this for $9!? Definitely a win/win situation.


What are some of your favorite food trucks!?

7/23/10

Maine Avenue Fish Market in DC

I've lived in DC area for almost 9 years, but not till last weekend did I finally made my way to the Maine Avenue Fish Market. Why? I don't really know. I love seafood, I like being by the water, I've even gone salsa dancing at Zanzibar (which is only steps away from the market) for many years.

Finally, last weekend, my friend Laura who is sadly leaving DC next week, called and asked if I would join her and Katie for some seafood at the market. I gladly accepted the offer.
The market has been in operation since 1805, and is in fact the oldest operating market in the US!

There were as many people as the variety of fish. If you are not a fan of crowds, stay away.


Not only can you purchase food to eat at the market, you can also buy the fresh seafood and take it home to cook yourself.


Crab legs, oysters, salmon, bass, etc, etc, etc: I bet the market would have any variety of seafood you could think of.




As far as the food goes, I decided to get a "make your own combo." Alas, the combo came with all fried food: I wanted oysters and shrimp. But I wanted raw oysters and steamed shrimp. And so, I decided to also buy an order of  fresh oysters: you live only once ;)





God, how gorgeous are these oysters? They tasted fresh, cold and went down oh so smoothly. Unfortunately, the guy did not completely separate the oysters from the shell, so I had to do some maneuvering with a plastic fork.



These are the fried shrimp and oysters. Not too bad at all, but rather heavy: that's what you get with the fried food.



Potato wedges: these reminded me of my days working at Kentucky Fried Chicken. The combo meal also came with corn on the cob and two slices of white bread in case you wanted to make a fried oyster sandwich.


Laura ordered crab and gave me one to try: honestly it required too much work! Still, I proceeded to break the shell, scrape away all the eeky parts and enjoy the white crab meat.



Check out the views!!!!



And these are the leftovers :) This was a perfect way to spend a Sunday night. If you haven't been to the Fish Market, what are you waiting for?

7/21/10

Anchovies: Love them or Hate them?

Anchovies.

The word itself freaks me out. I know some people are huge fans of adding anchovies on top of pizzas, inside their sandwiches, in sauces and in pasta dishes. I, on the other hand, want to stay as far away from these little tiny fish with bones as possible.

So far, I've been quite successful in my avoidance of anchovies....that is until Robyn Webb emailed me a recipe for Linguine with black olives, capers and walnuts. I am, after all, her Senior Editor: I prepare the food, take photos and post her write ups.

I went to the store and bought a jar of anchovies. I opened the jar and smelled the fishiness (my face is scrunched up as I write this); I then accidentally spilled some of the oil on my kitchen counter, and then finally, bravely, but squeamishly, reached into the jar with a fork to take out a few of the anchovies filets.

Look at them! How can anyone want to eat these, I wonder?



But I had to proceed with the recipe. I chopped black olives, parsley and walnuts. I infused the olive oil with the garlic, then added walnuts and toasted them. In went the capers and olives, then parsley and some of the pasta water. So far, so good.

But then the crucial step: adding the anchovies, which have been finely chopped. Magically, they disappeared in the sauce: they literally melted in with the other flavors. The smell, of anchovies, either real or imaginary (in my head!), remained.

After cooking and adding the linguine, I added the pasta into the sauce and incorporated all the ingredients. I even tasted the dish: not bad at all. But if I make this again, I would definitely leave out the little fishy, bony anchovies filets.



It's your turn: do you love or hate anchovies? And if you ♥ them, how do you use them?

7/19/10

Mediterranean Vegetables & Poached Egg for Breakfast

I feel like I haven't been cooking anything interesting in a while. Yesterday I needed a big breakfast and to use some of the random things I had in my refrigerator. Thus, Mediterranean Vegetables & Poached Egg for Breakfast was born.

Ingredients
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small potato, peeled, cubed
1 zucchini, cubed
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons chopped roasted red pepper
2 teaspoons capers
5 kalamata olives, pitted, halved
chopped fresh parsley
1 poached egg

Directions
1. Cook potatoes for a few min. Add zucchini and paprika. Cook till the vegetables are tender and browned.


2. Add roasted peppers, capers and olives. Heat through. Add parsley.

3. Pile the vegetable medley on a plate and top with a poached egg.



Once you break the egg, you can dip some of the vegetables in it: delicious!



No need to add salt to this dish because you get enough saltiness from the olives and capers.



Do you like my stacked plate look!? It seems rather popular now ;)

7/15/10

Nashville: Fido's

You know what the problem with mini vacations is? Well, there are actually multiple: 1) not enough time to spend with the people you are visiting 2) not enough meals to try out all of the restaurants on your list 3) vacation withdrawals once you get back to reality of your normal life. Still, I love mini vacations, and Nashville was really great: fun company, great food, time off from anything Internet related, and great 4th of July fireworks.

One of my favorite places was Fido's. Right, I don't like animals, but this was a very funky, quirky, and pretty-to-look-at restaurant/coffee place. Alas, I can't remember who to thank for this recommendation.

Monday before dropping me off at the airport and after a great lunch at Jack's BBQ, Kenny and I went back to Hillsboro Village neighborhood and checked out Fido's for a coffee/dessert break.

Check out the cute bathroom signs! And of course I loved that this restaurant is on Twitter!


This is definitely not your typical Starbucks. Colorful and fun decor, original artwork on the walls: this vibe reminded me of many of the places I visited in Savannah.


But let's get to the food. I ordered iced coffee and chose Pink Radio Cake to share. After all, I'm Russian: I ♥ buttermilk and beets! And look at the different hues of pink in the cake.


Doesn't the cake look gorgeous?



But looks aren't everything: what about the taste? Take a look at the photograph below: we clearly loved it. The cake was moist and dense, but not too heavy. The frosting and icing weren't overly sweet and definitely did not scream "beets."



If you, or anyone you know, are planning a trip to Nashville, TN, definitely check out this place. The plates of sandwiches and salads that I saw looked fresh and appetizing too!

I think it's a great idea when you travel to check out local restaurants instead of sticking to national chains. Just my two cents ;)

7/13/10

Blueberry & Pomegranate Popsicles

I realize I haven't shared recipes with you for a while now. With traveling, freelancing and trying to go to the gym, cooking has taken a back seat. But I promise to be better :)

Here's a super easy "recipe" for Blueberry & Pomegranate Popsicles. But first, a bit of a back story. After picking 7 pounds of blueberries, making blueberry & raspberry oatmeal muffins and freezing two bags of the berries, I still had some of the berries oh hand, and was looking for a healthy and easy way to cook them.

That's when Karen from Our Life in The Kitchen came to my rescue and tweeted me a recipe for Blueberry Pomegranate Sorbet. I've been reading Karen's blog for a while now and absolutely ♥ her gorgeous photographs!

Alas, I did not have an ice cream maker, and did not want to spend time scraping what would eventually become a sorbet. Instead, I decided to make popsicles!!!! I also simplified Karen's original recipe.

Ingredients
2 cups blueberries
1/4 (or more) cups of pomegranate juice


Directions
1. In a blender process blueberries with pomegranate juice.
2. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze.

Can it be any simpler!? Caution: the amount of berries and juice is an estimate...I've made these popsicles several weeks ago and could not find my notes. But there is very little room for error. Also, feel free to add a bit of sugar if you want.



This is a great healthy dessert for yourself or if you have kids. And just think about possibilities: strawberries, peaches, watermelon or peach popsicles!