4/27/17

A Taste Of Hong Kong In Washington DC: Tiger Fork



There is no end in sight to new restaurants opening in Washington DC. How to even choose where to go? And once you settle on a new place, would it live up to its hype?

In the case of Tiger Fork, the answer is yes! Last night was my second attempt at having dinner at Tiger Fork, and this time there was no wait! I guess sometimes it pays to be patient and also showing up at 6 pm on a Wednesday works better than 7 pm on a Saturday!

Because I've never been to China, I can't attest to the authenticity of Tiger Fork, but I can tell you that the food was fantastic. The cocktail was strong, and the service was top notch.

I chose the seasonal cocktail made with the variety of citrus juices with a bit of bitters. It was almost like drinking punch, but not too sweet and definitely very refreshing. My friends and I also shared a bottle of rose. I was a bit tipsy by the end of the meal. Shocker!!


I knew I would have to try one of the most instagrammable dishes from Tiger Fork: Cheung Fun. It's hard to tell what I liked the most: the rice noodles stuffed with shrimp or the aromatic sauce. I was tempted to tell the waiter not to take the plate away before I could lick the remaining sauce, but managed to control myself. 

Turns out the name Cheung Fun comes from the fact that these noodles look like pig intestines!


Calla, Laetitia and I also shared a side of cucumber salad which offset the heaviness and fattiness (in the best way possible) of Beef Chow Foon: noodles with brisket and bok choy. I could probably eat that dish daily!

Another highlight was an order of beef patties with spicy dipping oil. Meat stuffed in dough and crisped up in a skillet? Yes, please.

We also tried the over the top dessert of two types of ice cream in freshly made waffle bowl. It was quite something ;) Have you ever tried green curry ice cream? I wasn't a fan of the savory and spicy flavor, but did appreciate the playful nature of the dish.

Basically, go get yourself to Tiger Fork! 

4/24/17

Meatless Monday: Roasted Eggplant, Chickpea & Tomato Salad Recipe

How often do you bookmark a recipe only to never actually make it? I'm trying really hard to change this habit.

Last year I bought a 3 year subscription to Real Simple: I love paging through this magazine, especially when traveling, learning about new products, reading inspirational quotes and stories, and seeing easy to make recipes. I decided I should actually make one of those recipes!


Real Simple's Roasted Eggplant and Olive Pasta Salad looked like something I'd love especially after I made a few changes. I took out the pasta and added chickpeas and arugula. Instead of oregano I used scallions. I also added whole grain mustard. This is a recipe you can easily customize to your taste buds!


Meatless Monday: Roasted Eggplant, Chickpea & Tomato Salad
Adapted from Real Simple

Ingredients
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 small eggplant diced into 1/2" pieces
15.5 ounce can chickpeas rinsed and drained
1 cup red cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
3 cups arugula
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup halved kalamata olives
1/2 cup feta
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
salt & pepper to taste

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 475F. Drizzle cubed eggplant with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and roast in a single layer for 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool.
2. Meanwhile, combine the rest of the ingredients. 
3. Add cooled roasted eggplant to the salad. Serve.


I loved all the flavors in this salad. If you happen not to be a fan of eggplant, substitute roasted sweet potatoes, cauliflower, peppers or zucchini. This salad keeps well as leftovers and I actually had it for breakfast. It'll also be perfect to take on a summer picnic!


What recipe from a magazine have you tried lately?

4/19/17

Ricotta, Potato & Asparagus Pizza Made With Oxo


My Ricotta, Potato & Asparagus Pizza is pretty easy to make, a fun twist on your typical tomato sauce based pizza, and is great as leftovers for lunch.

My friends at oxo sent me 3 new-to-me products to try and use to make this pizza, but I received no monetary compensation, and as always, all opinions are my own.
  • Non-Stick Pro Pizza Pan features a micro-textured pattern to improve airflow for even baking and rigidity for strength and durability. 
  • Complete Grate & Slice Set includes coarse and medium grating and straight and julienne slicing surfaces. Each can be used over bowls or plates or placed on top of the lid, which doubles as a container for collecting and measuring.
  • 4" Pizza Wheel's clear plastic wheel won't damage non-stick pans, and the slick surface prevents cheese from sticking.

Let's talk about the pizza pan: it has a good weight to it, browns things evenly, and can be easily used for baking cookies, free-form tarts or even roasting potatoes.

I loved the grate & slice set because of the ease of use and because all the components nest into one container!

The pizza wheel worked pretty well, but I did have to apply more pressure than I expected.

Ok, let's talk about the pizza! I need to give thanks to my twin Anna for the ricotta suggestion. The rest of the ingredients/steps were my own ;)

Ricotta, Potato & Asparagus Pizza Made With Oxo
Ingredients
olive oil
1 ball of pizza dough or rolled out dough {I purchased mine from the grocery store}
1 red skinned potato, thinly sliced 
8-10 asparagus spears, sliced lengthwise and then in half
2 ounces dry sausage or salami
1.5 cups ricotta
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup grated Parmesan
10 basil leaves, chopped


Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
2. Roll out the pizza dough on a lightly oiled pizza pan and bake for 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the pizza. You want to pre-bake it slightly before adding the rest of the ingredients.
3. Meanwhile, simmer potatoes for 5 minutes in salted water, then add asparagus and continue simmering for another 3 minutes. Drain and cool.
4. Spread ricotta on pre-baked pizza dough and season well with salt and pepper.
5. Arrange potatoes, asparagus and sausage in a fun pattern.
6. Bake pizza for 15 minutes.
7. Top the pizza with red onions, drizzle of olive oil and Parmesan cheese and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
8. Top with fresh basil.




Isn't this a pretty pizza? You can completely leave out the sausage if you want to keep it vegetarian.


4/11/17

Travel Tuesday: 30 Hours In Philadelphia.

If you had 30 hours in Philadelphia, what would you do?

I realize that's a random question, but that's exactly what I got to ponder last month after on a whim I decided to whisk myself to Philadelphia to celebrate my birthday.

My original idea was to get out of DC and see if I could make a reservation at Zahav. I've been obsessed with wanting to go to this well renowned Israeli restaurant for several years after falling in love with its food when Michael Solomonov had a Zahav popup in DC. I called. Surprisingly, I was able to make a 5 pm reservation at Zahav. {Tip: don't go by OpenTable. If they say there are no reservations, pick up the phone and call!}

Next came purchasing Amtrak tickets. Then I booked a hotel stay at Club Quarters. Then my good friend Laura said she'll be able to come and meet me for dinner and my friend Kelly agreed to meet me for lunch the following day. 

And then I filled in the rest of the time with food and walking around and a bit of salsa dancing.

Because this was my 5th time in Philadelphia, I've already toured The Reading Terminal Market, The Liberty Bell, ran up {who am I kidding????} walked up the Rocky steps, etc. This trip was going to be about food.

For lunch I went to Oyster House recommended by an older married Jewish man who tried to pick me up on the train. No, I did not take him up on his invitation to join me for dinner, but I'm really glad I listened to his food related recommendation. These Cape Cod oysters were some of the cleanest, plumpest and delicious I've had. I loved the oyster plates hanging on the walls of the restaurant and the entree of mussels with fries. {You can see all the photos on my instagram with #30HrPhillyBdayTrip.}


Then there was the main event: dinner at Zahav. That's my friend Laura on the left. The restaurant offered us sparkling wine to start our meal and gave me a menu with "Happy Birthday Olga" written on it. The meal was great. I think the little salads at the start of the meal were my favorites: beets, fennel, carrots, etc.  

We also shared a few plates of raw lamb, chicken skewers, Turkish hummus and ended the meal with an assortment of dessert. 

I need to say this: the service and the food were solid, but I wasn't blown away. I don't know if my expectations were too high, or family style pop up in DC was a better way to experience the meal than the tapas style in Philadelphia...I don't regret the meal at all, but like I said...I wasn't blown away.



After hanging out at my hotel for a bit I decided to go and burn a few calories salsa dancing at Brasils. Thanks to all the gentlemen for the leads. 

After checking out of the hotel and storing my bag, I went to Rival Bros for caffeine and food. Below is Daily Bread: toasted thick slices of bread slathered with butter and topped with salt and served with blueberry jam. WOW. I must have gained 2 pounds just by looking at the plate ;)



My plan after breakfast was to walk around the city and photograph some of its many murals. On my way to find the murals I discovered Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and am so happy I walked in. Other than its stunning architecture, there were paintings and sculptures by multiple artists: and it was free!




This is one of my favorite murals. I have about 14 others on my instagram feed ;) You can find a map of the murals here and even take a guided walking tour, which was unfortunately unavailable when I was visiting.




And then it was time for lunch with Kelly. Guess what? We chose Michael Solomonov's restaurant again: Rooster Soup Company. Smoked matzo ball soup and meatball sandwich were great. Chatting with Kelly and being treated to lunch by her were greater. The fact that all profits go to Broad Street Ministry was the greatest.



After lunch I did a bit of shopping and more walking around. It was a perfect Spring day. Of course I snapped photos of doors. #ihavethisthingwithdoors 



And then it was time to head back to the Amtrak station and board the train back to DC. How adorable are the swings next to the station? Dear Union Station, please take note.


But wait!! Before getting on the train, I stopped at Michael Solomonov's third restaurant in Philadelphia, Dizengoff, and picked up a bowl of hummus with brisket, a salad and pita. It was divine. This was probably some of the best hummus I've ever had, and let's not even talk about how tender and flavorful the the brisket was. I bet many of the Amtrak passengers hated me :/



In case any of you are wondering, this is not a sponsored post by Michael Solomonov ;) This was a great treat to myself to take a few days off for my birthday and spend time eating, seeing Philadelphia and catching up with friends.

4/10/17

Meatless Monday: Raw Beet & Cucumber Salad


I love salads. Last week I wanted a light dinner before going dancing and noticed two golden beets in my fridge. I decided to slice them using a mandoline and layer them with sliced cucumbers, and shallots on a bed of Boston lettuce. A simple drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice was the dressing. A bit of salt. Some pepper. Ribbons of basil.

No need to even use a fork: pick up the vegetable disks with your fingers! Imagine all the energy you'll use to chew ;)

Meatless Monday: Raw Beet & Cucumber Salad
Ingredients
Boston lettuce leaves
golden beets, scrubbed well, sliced into thin disks
English cucumber, thinly sliced
shallot, thinly sliced
olive oil
lemon juice
salt & pepper
basil leaves, cut into ribbons {chiffonade}

Directions
1. Layer Boston leaves on a plate. 
2. Make an appealing design with beet and cucumber slices.
3. Scatter shallot slices.
4. Drizzle your creation with olive oil and fresh lemon juice.
5. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Top with basil.

This salad is pretty. It's perfect for Meatless Monday. It's vegan. It's raw. It's whole30 approved. Best thing? It's really refreshing and delicious.

4/5/17

Passover, Easter Or Mother's Day Menu: Easy Spring Entertaining With Lamb

Whether you are looking for a Passover, Easter Or Mother's Day menu, I have you covered with my Garlic & Za'atar Roasted Leg of Lamb with Harissa Potatoes, Za'atar Carrots and Peas with Shallots and Basil. Entertaining at home doesn't have to be stressful or complicated.


Last week I received a bone-in leg of lamb from Superior Farms and a challenge of creating an easy Spring menu. I decided to invite a few friends over for Sunday lunch and began a mental list of ideas for what to do with the lamb. I thought about using my pressure cooker, but settled on roasting the lamb using the method from Martha Stewart. Martha would not disappoint, right? RIGHT!

For the 3.5 pound bone-in leg of lamb:
1 day before your meal, combine 6 minced garlic cloves with 2 tablespoons za'atar, 2 teaspoons salt and 3 tablespoons olive oil and rub all over the lamb. Cover in aluminum foil and refrigerate for 24 hours.



Every time I opened the refrigerator, the garlic aroma hit me in the face. It was magnificent.

The day of the lunch, make sure to take out the lamb out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature before starting the roasting process. Count backwards!


1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
2. Set a leg of lamb on 3 thick slices of onion in an oiled baking dish. Or you can use a roasting rack.
3. After 20 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 350F and insert a thermometer into the lamb without touching the bone. I used one of those thermometers that has a cord that comes out of the oven and is connected to the device that allows you to set the goal temperature.
4. Roast the lamb until the internal temperature reaches 130F {about 50 minutes}, then broil for 5 minutes.
5. Allow the lamb to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.

This was a great way to cook a leg of lamb. It was tender and juicy and not overcooked. Next time I think I'll take out the lamb when it has reached 120 or 125 degrees for a more rare result. Note: leftover lamb is great thinly sliced on a salad or a sandwich. Don't reheat it.

For the vegetables
Simmer halved small potatoes and whole carrots until tender while the lamb is in the oven. Brush potatoes with harissa and olive oil mixture. Brush carrots with za'atar and olive oil mixture. Season with salt {I forgot this part}. Once the lamb is out of the oven and resting, roast the vegetables in a single layer at 450F for about 20 minutes.

Saute thinly sliced shallot in a bit of olive oil, add defrosted peas, heat through and add fresh lemon juice, lemon zest and basil right before serving.

The whole menu came together perfectly!

Have your friends bring dessert and rose and you'll be all set.


Don't forget the flowers.


What are your suggestions for easy entertainment?

Disclosure: I received leg of lamb as a present from Superior Farms but no other compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

4/3/17

Meatless Monday: Watermelon, Asparagus & Feta Salad


I love a sweet, juicy watermelon for snack or dessert, but also love mixing it into salads. A few weeks ago I was bored out of my mind and made a whimsical salad from watermelon cubes, blanched asparagus, feta and red onions. Drizzle the arranged salad with chili olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt.

Of course you can also mix all of the ingredients together, but why not play with your food?