CSA Weeks 5 & 6

Can you believe it's week 6 already?  I feel like I just started.

Last week was butternut squash week.  I was making the J&G soup from Metrocurean like it was my job.  It was so delicious, I even brought a lunch starter portion for EM.   Sweet potato found its way into an Indian simmer sauce TJ dinner, and everything else was eaten raw.  I did use some apples for my two batches of Smitten Kitchen's apple cheddar scones, which were well-received each time, to say the least.  I did find that putting the butter in the freezer for a little bit to really chill it helped keep the dough from getting a little melty/soft in shaping the scones.  Also, trying to cut 8 instead of 6 was an error in round 1--making them thicker and only making 6 made round 2 way better.

 Also above with last week's haul was pear cider.  J has been drinking the cider in the morning.  We used to always have Light Chocolate Silk (soymilk), and it was a go to just-before-leaving-the-house thing for both of us when you just need a litttttle something to hold you over til breakfast (we both eat at our desks).  You need a taste in your mouth, not minty toothpaste.  We've been Silkless for a while now, for no particular reason, so J is digging the fall cider.  He reports that this one totally tastes like pear.   (What else would it taste like?)

This week the market was DARK.  Of course, out of a 4-7pm or so pickup I'm there at 6:40 (thanks traffic!), so that's what I get.  I crouched and squinted to catch the names of the apples.  I got a few apples, a pepper, two tomatoes, a couple small zucchini, green beans, a small eggplant, a medium butternut squash, a medium spaghetti squash (can't wait, our first of the season!) and cheddar cauliflower.  Simply roasted of put into a casserole type situation with actual cheddar, that baby should be yummy.  I'm thinking of spaghetti squashing (roasted) with some freshly grated parm and halved grape tomatoes, simple but effective.

We're still doing a great job finishing everything up before it goes bad, and I definitely see a difference in our visits to the supermarket.  We're working around what we've got and being creative.  We aren't aimlessly picking things out that we forget to use.  When you have a true limit (what fits in a tiny basket), you really have to be thoughtful in your choices!  I am so so so thankful that at Norman's I actually get to choose what I'm getting.  I don't need a lot of onions and potatoes, and sometimes I want to make butternut squash soup, but other times I want all acorn squash for a particular recipe.  And sometimes I don't want any apples, I want all pears!  I'm not sure I could go for a CSA where someone else chooses for me.  I want it my way, darn it. 



I'd been wanting to go to Ethiopic for months--ever since I heard a delicious newcomer was on the Ethiopian scene, and in a funny spot, too.  On H Street NE, but not quite in the Corridor with Sticky Rice, Rock & Roll Hotel, etc).  Nope, closer to Union Station and the totally charming-looking Ebenezer's Coffeehouse, which was brand spanking new around the last time I worked near the Station.

Anyway, you know how it is.  I'd get home from work, not feel like schlepping across town, and then it was too hot to even think about eating saucy spiciness.  Then I had to read about Olga's adventures on the Little Ethiopia tour.  And Angela & Mark finally found some injera, et al that pleased both palates.  Last but not least, Top Chef featured Marcus Samuelsson for an Ethiopian quickfire in episode 8. So off we went (this was a while ago, I'm dreadfully behind).

I like to have new beers when I can.  This time, it was the Ethiopian beer St. George, recommended by the server.  It was cool, refreshing, with a nice fruity/floral finish.  I love it!  Jeff had Meta, but I liked mine better. 

For the uninitiated, Ethiopian food is often lots of spiced herbed deliciousness  (mostly vegetables) served on a platter covered with injera, a flat, spongy bread-like friend of yours.  Not only is it a fine canvas for your piles of delicious food, but then you get to EAT the canvas.

 Vegetarian Sampler:  Ya gotta go sampler, people.  If we had another couple with us we'd probably just get two big samplers.  Spicy chickpeas, cabbage, yellow split peas, cabbage and carrots, collards, red lentils...basically if you like warm, flavorful, comforting foods, then you need to get yourself a vegetarian sampler. 

Ethiopic Signature Tibs:  Hello boneless leg of lamb. 

Beware: this place gets packed (because it's great), and it's not so big.  The bar is tiny, but we sat there originally until a table (quickly) opened up.  But if more than a few people are waiting for a table it gets tight--fast.  And they are CLOSED on Monday.  Just like my favorite LYS

I'll definitely go back to Ethiopic.  If it were closer--let's say, as close as Pete's Apizza---I'd be there all the time. 

401 H St NE
Metro: Red Line to Union Station

Ethiopic Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Sticky Rice

With a deal in hand ($25 for $50, I believe), we headed to Sticky Rice for my very first H Street NE experience.

This joint is hipster heaven.  Before buying the deal, I read a review that called it "reminiscent of a tattoo parlor's secret bordello."  When I walked in I was like, "Yeah, I see that."  This place is known for having a mishmash of American and Asian foods.  Sushi?  Check.  Lots of fried stuff?  Check.  Tater tots?  Double check.

We had a good time here.  At the least the food is entertaining and a little silly, and at the most it's tasty and comforting.  Our bill was bigger than I would expect if I hadn't seen the prices.
We shared the following: ribs, Jolly Green Wontons (vegetarian soybean wasabi wantons), Sticky Balls (sriracha rice, tuna, crab, etc) , the Chili Roll sans jalapeno, sesame chicken with udon noodles (my least favorite, it wasn't very sesame-ey), and PBR.  Well we didn't share the PBR, we sprung for separates.

The Sticky Balls are fun to order and eat.  I didn't love our apps, mostly because it was fry city.  I'd go back and do sushi and beer only.

Sticky Rice
1224 H St NE
Metro: Schlep from Union Station or take the bus.  We drove because I came straight from work in outer Mongolia.

Sticky Rice on Urbanspoon


AIL's Lunch in Chevy Chase

Hot off the presses, folks, from my Aunt-in-law:

The Red Hook Lobster truck came to Chevy Chase at lunch today and it was not to be missed. Lots of really, really great lobster with some shredded lettuce for crunch and a little paprika, sliced spring onions and almost no mayonnaise. Just as good as Maine and Nova Scotia. I just need a scenic ocean view and I am transported.

And may I note that she recently vacationed to Nova Scotia, so that's a fresh comparison.

Red Hook Lobster Truck


Fall Dining Guide

 Let's have a little montage to open this talk.

[Spring pea soup w/Parmesan at J&G.]

 [Corned beef hash at Birch & Barley]

[Dining room at Ethiopic]

  [Beautiful, delicious chilled roasted red pepper soup at Vermilion.]

The fall dining guide is out.  Looks good to me.  Obviously there are places that I love that aren't in the dining guide, but does it really need the same places every single year?  Nah.

Where I've been in the Dining Guide, in no particular order.  * designates multiple visits, in some cases, many many visits (hi Palena and your roasted chicken, I am looking at you).



Birch & Barley

Pizzeria Orso






Bourbon Steak





Restaurant Eve Tasting Room

Last year I kvetched about Vermilion not being included.  Win this year!  Overall I think it's a fine list.  I don't personally oppose anything on there.  Mr. Sietsema includes the cream of the crop, along with an assortment of other (some new, some not) options all over our fair metropolitan area.

What do you think?


CSA Friday and Shared Items

Woo! Happy Friday, guys.  This week brought GREENS!  Collard greens, kale, and some gorgeous looking lettuce.  I picked kale, zucchini, pears, one lone apple (after all, we had picked so many), 2 red bell peppers, green beans, and little bebeh tomatoes.  This was one of those weeks that I wish we had a full share.  But I'm thrilled that nothing is going bad.  We're cooking better, planning meals better, and eating every last drop.  I would have liked another zucchini or two, a few full size tomatoes, and, as per usual, Concord grapes. I gave up my grapes for bebeh matoes (or the kale, depending on how you look at it). 

We made zucchini boats from State Dinner again (mmm), kale chips from Smitten, and a lot of other stuff is being eaten raw. 

Tomorrow I must make these scones from Smitten.  Apple cheddar omg I want it now.

When is a bagel not a bagel?  From the WSJ.  Also from WSJ, some people are still hunting down the McRib.

It's fall now, which means I'm looking forward to making these CSK butternut squash enchiladas (mild of course), J&G's butternut squash soup (via Metrocurean), and the pumpkin challah I found on the list of amazing 100 Ways to Cook a Pumpkin from Endless Simmer.  I'd like someone to make the pumpkin spice latte cheesecake for me, though. (h/t Mel)

And lastly, I need to go to Vegas right now.  Because I have to camp out in front of China Poblano until it opens, and maybe along the way they'll feed me some practice dishes.  Jose Andres, you are killin' me!


CSA deliciousness and apple picking!

Week 3 of the CSA brought some smaller butternut squash, so much so that they were two per option instead of one.  I mixed and matched with a small butternut, regular-sized acorn squash, and of course, concord grapes.  You can smell those babies across a room.  Otherwise I got a few apples (not too many, since we'd be picking soon), tomatoes, onion, and pears.

Stuff we made:
African Peanut Soup from The Dirty Radish - very tasty. I served this to some guests on Friday night, and the reviews were rave.  I emailed the recipe to my Grandma.
- Acorn squash and gorgonzola pizza....or at least, our own special variation of it.
- Butternut squash and chickpea salad from I Flip For Food.
- Cakeballs from Eat Run Read.  OK, these had zero to do with farm-freshness, but they were a HUGE hit with the gang at home, in the office, and on our picnic.  Red velvet.  Decadent.

J just demanded that I take a wedge of tomato and suck out the seedy gooey part "like an oyster," because "this is the sweetest tomato [he's] ever had in [his] life."  I obliged.  Thanks for sharing, friend.

Apples are still ready for picking.  We love pairing local farms with wineries (see Stribling Farm adventure, and we've also done Great Country Farms + Bluemont Vineyard).  So Homestead Farm + Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard seemed natural.  I'd been hearing about SMV from my very favorite future sister in law for quite some time, and it was high time I enjoyed the stunning view of the mountain, a $5 tasting, and a glass of sangria.  Plus, we stumbled upon the perfect farmstand for J3 to find a beautiful white pumpkin.  Did I say beautiful?  I meant spooky!


SIL's Lunch in Portland

Hey all, quick Friday message for you to recap lunch that I didn't eat.

Some people I love email me pictures of their food because they think it would interest me.  And they are RIGHT.  Also, it makes me hungry while I'm at work.

SIL is in Portland (that's Maine, not Oregon) for the wedding of a curly-haired beauty with a fabulous name.

Pictured here:  banh mi, beef/pork burger, bacon-dusted fries, chipotle mayo dip.

Man vs. Food led her there, and I hope he didn't let her down.  Doesn't seem like it...

Nosh Kitchen Bar
Portland, ME


CSA Friday and What I've Been Sharing

We picked up more CSA items, this time together.  This week's bounty includes zucchini (for ERR zucchini bread, perhaps), peppers, apples, pears, Concord grapes, grape tomatoes, green beans...all things that want to be eaten muahahahh.  I am controlling myself around the squash because I know it'll keep coming week after week.  Spaghetti squash and butternut, I'm watching you!  You will be turned into a pasta substitute and a soup (M&T perhaps), respectively.  Mmm.   

What I've been sharing: My weekly recaps started in February when I had become stir-crazy and blog-crazy from the snow, and they ended right around the time Top Chef began.  Instead of confining myself to something weekly, I just want to round up some things I've shared via email, Google Reader, Twitter, and *gasp* face-to-face conversation recently.  Maybe you'll find something story-worthy in my yammering.

Pretty cranberry beans from Cara's Cravings.

I am dying to eat this goat cheese and tomato quiche from Corcoran Street Kitchen.  It's beautiful, mostly because like me, she's not shy with the parsley : )

Skirt steak salad! And also, a sock monkey. From Smitten Kitchen.

Sometimes eating makes us tired.  Puppies too.

This Crispy No-Knead bread from Evan the Carnivore looks awesome and crusty (in a good way).

Amsterdam Falafel is expanding, says Metrocurean.  I'd like to see one in Bethesda!

Quinoa got a prime nerd spot on the popular law blog Volokh Conspiracy. Then another.

What to do with all those apples (and apples, apples, and more apples )?  Pinch My Salt has a few ideas. Don't forget to pick them too!  It's nice to see that Stribling was popular this year!

I did a noodle kugel showdown between BGSK and the Shiksa by making half of each recipe for an official taste test (and by official I mean at a staff meeting).  The (legal) opinion of our team was for the Shiksa's recipe, but J liked BGSK better.  Both are delicious.  Shiksa's has a crumb topping (YUM), less butter, and adds cottage cheese to the mix.  J thinks it's too dessert-y because of the crumb topping (which could easily be left off).  Anyway, it was my first kugel ever, and I'm happy with the results.

W. Mark Felt (the fictional one, not the real one mayherestinpeace) hit up Volt's Table 21. Jealous!

Lunching in the DMV laid out the details for next week's Curbside Cookoff, maybe a chance for those of us working in outer Mongolia to try some trucks?

I recently ordered Girl Scout cookies from a coworker's daughter.  I finally took the 30 seconds to Google the answer to the age old question: why are they sometimes Samoas and sometimes Caramel deLites, but always the same and delicious?  Two bakeries, my friends.  Two bakeries that are the Official Girl Scout Cookie bakeries, and each council can pick which one they want to go with.  Certain cookie varieties and package sizes are required, and some are nearly identical due to popularity.  My favorites are Thin Mints from the freezer. Samoas/Caramel deLites are second favorite.

Other than that, recently I've eaten from Taylor Gourmet in Bethesda twice, BGR The Burger Joint once, and I haven't been to Pete's Apizza in almost 3 weeks, so obviously I'm going through withdrawal.  We're saving our appetites and pennies for a special dinner coming up.