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Showing posts from May, 2012

Sweet Pea and Ricotta Tortellini Won-ton Style

It's spring here in Northern Virginia and we enjoy that our Meatless Monday dinners reflect the changing of the seasons. Later this summer we'll start using freshly picked vegetables from our garden and local farm stands more and more. One of the rites of passage each spring is the arrival of fresh peas and when we saw them in the store, Cyn decided to feature them in our dinner. That lead to her making Sweet Pea Tortellini -- Wonton Style.

But before we go there, I need to give you the background on our first course -- parsley root soup. Yes, there is background, bear with me a bit.

Six or seven years ago we had the pleasure of eating an amazing meal in Philadelphia at Studio Kitchen. At the time, Chef Shola Olunloyo was offering a private dining experience for 10 people 4 nights per week in a converted townhouse in the Powelton Village section of Philly, not far from the historic Philadelphia Zoo. The first course that evening was a parsley root soup and, after …

The Tale of India Pale Ale

OK, if you thought I was going to write this post in iambic pentameter, rhyming couplets or any other form of poetry, you clearly haven't been reading my blog up to this point. I have a basic and utilitarian command of the English language (sort of) and am happy when my co-workers don't point out any misspellings, grammatical errors, misplaced commas or stylistic crimes.

On to the beer...

As I've said here several times before, I love craft beer. I feel fortunate to be living at a time when brewing quality, small batch, beer is back in vogue. I realize that it never was out of vogue in most of the rest of the world, but here in the US, the period from 1960 to 1990 was dominated by large corporate breweries  making what was, to my taste, soulless beer.To put things in perspective, in 1992, the top 6 brewing companies controlled 92% of the US beer market. In the 1990's micro brewing started to pick up steam (no pun intended since Anchor Brewing in California,with it's…

Black Rice Salad with Mango and Peanuts

About three months ago, we made a wonderful Meatless Monday dinner with Forbidden Black Rice as the main ingredient. We enjoyed it so much that we wanted to find another way to use this unusual ingredient (and we still had the remains of the original package in the pantry - waste not, want not).  Searching for some inspiration over the weekend, Cyn found a recipe in this month's Bon Appetit magazine that featured the Forbidden Rice! Although she certainly was inspired by and used components of the recipe, she made significant enough modifications that I feel confident in calling the following her own.

We are well into Spring here in Northern Virginia and the weather has turned warm, making salad very appealing as a main course. But this week, Monday was raw and rainy, prompting Cyn to want to serve something warm and comforting as a first course. She settled on a simple miso soup. Miso, if you are unfamiliar, is a traditional Japanese seasoning made by fermenting rice and soybeans…

Refrigerator Orphans

If you're like us, you tend to accumulate little bits and pieces of leftover foods in the refrigerator as the week goes on. We're a household of just two people so we often have the typical leftovers but we are also savers of the little things -- sauces, components of other meals and vegetable pieces and parts. We try hard not to waste food, although sometimes something gets mysteriously hidden in the fridge, only to be discovered after it has developed a wonderful rainbow of colors (but that's why we compost).

Once a week we usually try to put together a meal from these pieces/parts before they reach the end of their usefulness. The other night, Cynthia managed to cobble together a particularly delicious one that I felt deserved to be memorialized here. I'm not going to try to write this as a recipe - it's more of an inspired invention.

Earlier in the week she had purchased some ground turkey. When we eat burgers these days, they are much more likely to be made …

Versatile Blogger Awards - Pass it on

Recently, I was nominated for a Versatile Blogger Award by my twitter friend, Leila, @PersianLiving who writes a wonderful blog of the same name. Check it out here. If you like Persian food and culture with a hint of British humor, you'll like Leila.

I have to admit I didn't know what the Versatile Blogger Awards were all about so I immediately went out and bought a tuxedo and started preparing an acceptance speech. It was all about thanking my beautiful and talented wife for cooking the food I write about. I was working on a witty closing joke when it occurred to me that I might be overreaching just a bit. So I goggled  Versatile Blogger Awards and found this. Seems I might have gotten a little carried away. What? No awards ceremony? No red carpet? No Joan Rivers asking me who I'm wearing?

Anyone need a tuxedo?

The basis of this clever award is that those of us in the blogging community should support each other in a "pay it forward" kind of way. Hmmm, seems I&…

What's going on in Lovetsville, VA?

Lovettsville is a bucolic little town in extreme Northern Virginia, near the Potomac river and close to both the Maryland and West Virginia state lines. The 2000 US Census listed the population at 853 and the 2005-2009 American Community Survey listed it at 1187. It was originally settled by German immigrants in 1722 and was then called The German Settlement. It's a little less than an hour north of where we live and, for the second month in a row, we went there for what turned out to be a really good meal.

Last month we had a truly extraordinary meal at the Restaurant at Patowmack Farm and we filed this report. This past Saturday night we went back to Lovettsville and the Market Table Bistro. After another much better than average meal, it's clear that something good is happening in Lovettsville.

The restaurant is an unimposing building on the main street in Lovettsville. We were warmly greeted and seated immediately. The main room is comfortable and bright. The staff, from t…

What do you do when your spinach bolts?

A while back Cynthia posted this about our cold frame. Well, the weather is changing here in Northern Virginia and the cold weather greens are very near the end of their cycle. In fact, the Red Cardinal spinach was on its way to bolting and we needed to do something with it before it sent all its energy to seed production. The spindly red stalks still had plenty of tender green leaves on them -- we just needed to come up with the a good way to use them.  (Many thanks to the mighty Margaret Roach of the uber garden blog A Way to Garden for suggesting Red Cardinal spinach.  It's easy to grow, beautiful, and doesn't turn bitter when bolting.)   
So, where does a creative cook go for Meatless Monday inspiration, when the cook actually has a little time to ponder such on a Monday? In Cyn's case it is often to one of her favorite cookbooks devoted to vegetables, the aptly titled Vegetables, by Charlie Trotter. What she found was a recipe that included, polenta, greens, and portob…