1.31.2010

Colors of the Rainbow

I am not much of a baker, but every now and then I have a sweet tooth to satisfy. Sometimes I just enjoy being creative. Sarah showed me this cake one day at work and I think thats the day I started reading food blogs religiously. This cake was more of an art project than a baking project. Note to selves, while this cake could brighten anyone's day, it is especially a kid's dream-come-true cake. Great for birthdays, parties, or just as a weekend craft project. Look how pretty and fun it is! Not to mention, it tastes great too!




Rainbow Cake adapted from Omnomicon

*1 box white cake mix
*12 oz of clear diet soda (1 can, ginger ale and sprite work well)
*food coloring
*16 oz whipped topping

1. Mix cake mix with 1 can of soda.

2. Divide equal amounts of cake batter into X amount of bowls and color them. You can decide what colors and how many colors you want to use. I used ROY G BIV minus the V...so 6 different bowls.

3. Pour each bowl of batter into your cake pan, one at a time. Spread each bowl of batter out so it fills pan. Make sure to not mix the batter together, otherwise you will have a brown cake and thats not nearly as fun.

4. Bake cake according to directions on cake box.

5. Color your frosting any color you wish.

6. Frost your cake and cut out a piece so you can see all of the colors.

7. Show all of your friends and don't tell them how easy it was.

If you make this and love it, think about the other possibilities...cupcakes or layered cakes or other things I haven't even thought of yet!

1.29.2010

Hello Kitty Bread

Happy Friday!!

My co-worker, Natalie, has a minor obsession with Hello Kitty and asked that I post this picture of her bread to my blog:



It's a bit difficult to make out, but if you already know what you're looking for, you should be able to see it! She didn't actually buy the bread this way. She got a toaster for Christmas that prints the Hello Kitty on the bread. As she says, "Cool, eh?"

1.27.2010

Happy 50th Birthday to my Mother!

So my mom's birthday was actually yesterday. And no...I did not forget...I just didn't get a chance to put it on here! I've actually told her this many times, but I hope she had the best day!!

Here's to 50 more great years, Mom! I love you!

1.25.2010

Zengo

The following menu from the asian-latin fusion restaurant Zengo:

Mojito de Mango
Thai Chicken Empanadas
Charred Tuna Wonton Tacos
Chipotle-Miso Soup
Wok Tossed Rice Noodles
Pork Belly Steamed Buns
Roasted Scallops al Mojo de Ajo
Wakame-Hijiki Seaweed Salad


annnnddd...dessert!:

Lemon Yuzu Cake
Mexican Chocolate Tarte
Churros Y Chai


































Babaganoush





I have recently come to really appreciate eggplant. It's easy, healthy and delicious. This may be the most simple recipe I have ever come upon. If you like babaganoush...don't bother buying it, make your own. It will be cheaper, it will last you a long time, and it will most likely be better for you because you know exactly what you're putting into it. The following recipe is really just a guideline. If you want it more lemony, add more lemon. If you love garlic like me, go wild. If you like it creamier, add more Greek yogurt and more tahini.

Babaganoush

*1 whole eggplant
*1 garlic clove, minced
*1 tablespoon tahini
*1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
*lemon juice
*salt & pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Cut the top off the eggplant and poke holes with a fork in the skin. Place on baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes.

3. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Peel skin and leave behind. Put eggplant in a bowl.

5. Mash together eggplant with fork and add remaining ingredients. Adjust ingredients to your liking. Enjoy with Wasa crackers.

FYI: For the Holidays, in an attempt to help me with my blog, my boyfriend got me my first subscription to Bon App├ętit. It was really sweet and thoughtful...he did good! Anyway, I just received my first copy and, needless to say, I am very excited. Why did I not already have a subscription? That I don't know. I have no reasonably good response. I am actually simply excited to have a collection of them. Perhaps I will buy a cute shelf to display them. Have I gone too far? But really, I have already found a bazillion things I want to take a shot at recreating. Maybe not a bazillion, but you get the idea. I'll keep you updated, whether things turn out great or if I completely destroy them.

1.21.2010

701 Restaurant



This is the only picture that we got from 701 Restaurant, thanks to my crafty co-worker, Sarah. When we walked in the lights were dim and everything was very elegant...probably not the place to be snapping pictures! So this is all you get. And I'm sorry about that because the food was amazing. I was pleasantly surprised. Most of my Restaurant Week experiences have been good, but not really memorable. My entree reminded of a dish I had in Philadelphia at a restaurant called Alma de Cuba . It was a salmon dish with a lentil and banana salad. It was one of the most memorable dishes I had ever had. My experience at 701 Restaurant was very similar. I had the Rice Crusted Sea Bass. 1. I love Sea Bass. 2. It included pureed cauliflower and I love cauliflower in all forms. It may, however, be at its best when pureed. And, of course, if you add enough butter, cream and salt, anything will taste amazing. This cauliflower had so much of those oh-so-healthy ingredients that it tasted just like mashed potatoes. I actually asked the waiter if it was cauliflower or mashed potatoes. His response "Yes, it is cauliflower. They put it though this machine...." He did not have to go any further. I got the idea. The dish also included lentils, golden raisins, eggplant, chickpeas and a curry emulsion. It was delicious! Bottom line....701 Restaurant is a must-go restaurant, if in DC.

1.15.2010

Help Out!

Text "YELE" to 501-501 to donate 5$ for Haiti releif. You can donate up to six times!

Happy Friday!

1.12.2010

a good day for a good meal

Today was a bit stressful. It started with the DC metro, my nemesis. While I absolutely love public transportation, the fact that I am car-less, and that my job provides me with a monthly transportation allowance, I hate the metro. And yes, it is "metro" here...not subway...not train. (And no, I am not a DC native, but very few of us are.) The pushing and shoving is difficult to adapt to. I guess it is a good thing I don't live in New York City! But sometimes, its either the tourists or, as my co-worker referred to them as, "local morons" that can really put a damper on the rest of your day. So I created a list with some guidelines for riding the metro, not in necessarily any order. Read them, learn them and live them.

1. Please stand on the right side of the escalators. PLEASE. Some of us like to walk up and down and when you stand on all sides there is a lot of unnecessary bopping and weaving required. If we can't even bob and weave around you, then we can't move, and we may miss the next train.

2. If you are visiting and want to see all the amazing monuments and museums, take a cab or walk. If you have a dying need to experience the metro because you're from the 'burbs, do not even attempt during rush hours. Thanks.

3. The metro constructed these amazing poles inside the train cars so that everyone can hold on and not fall over. They were not put there so that you could lean your entire body against it. This is especially true when the metro is crowded. (And yes, you would assume this was all common sense, but let me tell you, it is apparently not.)

4. When the metro is crowded, and people need to get off at their stop, everyone blocking the door needs to remove themselves. If that means getting of the train, then I suggest you get off. It is likely a DC local will yell at you if you do not.

5. While the train is moving, it is not necessary to annoy everyone else and ram into them so that you can get closer to the door because you have to get off soon. You will get off...trust me, I have never missed a stop!

6. If you are wearing a massive backpack...you suck.

7. Watch and observe someone using their metro card. It will save you, and me, a lot of hassle.

8. When the platform is crowded, please do not run to the front of the line. That's just not fair!

9. Walk faster.

10. Turn down your music. We do not ALL want to listen to it.

11. If the line you are riding is delayed, wait a few trains. They will come every 2 or so minutes. I promise! Please do not shove yourself in. It makes for a super unpleasant ride.

12. Deodorant is a wonderful thing.


Ok, I think that is all I have, but I am sure there are a few others that other disgruntled metro riders would be more than willing to share with you!

OH...I thought of another one. Just came to me.

13. Do not jump into the tracks. That would be great.

Now I'm really done.

Do I dare divulge the rest of my day? Lets just say it involved an eye appointment, paying a lot of money, not understanding why, being ridiculously confused by my insurance company's coverage and their website, and then having blurry vision for 4 hours...all while knowing that today is not the end of it because I still have to actually order the contacts that I do not yet have a prescription for. UGH.

Luckily, it's restaurant week here in DC which I started planning for weeks ago. I actually made 4 or 5 reservations knowing that I would later cancel most of them. I'm not always on top of everything, but this I can do! Tonight, my co-workers and I are going to 701 Restaurant. We have been trying to decide what to get all day. Sad...I know.

Here's the menu...


Dinner Appetizers

Black Bass Ceviche
orange, red onion, avocado, cucumber, mint

Roasted Beet Salad
granny smith apples, walnuts, goat cheese, orange yogurt

Grilled Scallops
butternut squash puree, grapes, oranges, capers, balsamic brown butter
$3 Surcharge


Baby Greens
stayman apples, manchego cheese, red onion, radish, mustard vinaigrette

Clam 'Chowder'
smoked potato gnocchi, manila clams, prosciutto, bacon, oyster crackers



Dinner Entrees


Baked Potato Raviolis
cheddar cheese, scallions, malt vinegar onions


Roasted Pork Tenderloin
braised red cabbage, winter vegetables, whole grain mustard sauce

Braised Beef Short Rib Rigatoni
cremini mushrooms, tomato, shaved parmesan, whipped ricotta

Rice Crusted Striped Bass
lentils, chickpeas, spiced eggplant, golden raisins, cauliflower puree, curried emulsion

Crispy Buttermilk Chicken Breast
creamy polenta, collard greens, scallions, gravy

Scottish Salmon
potato puree, roasted fennel, swiss chard, preserved lemon, coffee hazelnut vinaigrette



Dinner Desserts


Brown Butter Feuilletine Blondie
soft chocolate ganache, sesame seed brittle

Lemon Cheesecake Miroir
lemon cheesecake with gingerbread crust, lemon bavarain, lemon miroir

Chocolate Bete Noir
flourless chocolate cake with blood orange marmalade

Apple Buckwheat Shortcake
apple, dried cherry and fig compote with fresh whipped cream

Banana Pudding Profiteroles
banana cream puffs with bittersweet caramel sauce, almond toffee


I'm fairly certain that whatever I choose, and of course the drink I decide to get, will make the this morning seem like a piece of "Lemon Cheesecake Miroir." Too corny??

To be continued (minus the ranting)......

1.06.2010

"She's so.....granola"

I heard someone described as "granola" recently...and I loved it! It's so accurately descriptive! Well, not of me...but hippies. Ya know..the earthy, with nature, hemp-wearing, granola-y type. Fits in perfectly! I'm going to use it all the time. Exciting, right?

Anyway, the subject is somewhat relative to my main New Year's Resolution: get healthy. You just fell out of your chair due to shock...I know. About ten years ago(ish), my dad had a mini-mid-life crisis. Losing some weight was an objective but it was about more than that. It was about completely changing his lifestyle. As he started riding 40 miles a day on his bike, he also became very aware of his eating habits. And while he was reading and learning all this new stuff, my family and I were hearing about it regularly. At the beginning, it was a lot about exercise and being active and burning calories. Then there were the foods that would make you uber healthy, superfoods, which included blueberries, broccoli, spinach, raspberries, etc. (basically any food with very bright coloring). Ten years later, after 3 Ironman competitions, two 100-mile bike races in the mountains of Colorado, a few new bike purchases, losing a few pounds and packing on some muscle, it was really just about living a long, healthy life. What does that entail? It doesn't mean being skinny and eating fat free, carb free, sugar free foods! It means being fit, flexible, having a strong core, eating foods that make you live longer, understanding how and why you should eat those foods, and just feeling good. My dad has become somewhat of a preacher when it comes to this stuff. He could write this much better than I could! I would love to convince him to teach a class.

I have been preached to many a times! I am built just like my dad...unfortunately. My older brother, of course, was built just like my mother! (My younger brother might as well have been adopted because I am unsure how he fits in! He's about 6'1" and 200lbs of muscle.) Life is so unfair...jk...jk...my dad hates when I say that! But seriously, I am built just like him. I could blow up at any point. Scary thought! Luckily, I have had him building and maintaining my motivation for years. This Christmas he bought me the book he just read called UltraMetabolism: The Simple Plan for Automatic Weight Loss .

So far, I love the book. It starts by informing you that our country's obesity levels have tripled in about thirty years. You would think we were getting smarter, instead, we're just getting fatter. It goes on to explain how different foods effect your body and metabolism. It touches on obesity, the food industry and government policy, which is a really great aspect to the book, despite the hostility you might feel towards the USDA. Bottom line, we are in control of our metabolisms and we can make it run more quickly and smoothly if we want. You do that by eating foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. Eating food that is processed, which is our country's forte, ruins you. It slows down your metabolism, makes you fat, gives you heart disease, and all of that other bad stuff. We have actually processed foods that are barely what you could consider food, i.e. shortening/trans fat! It's almost like a form of soft plastic. Gross.

Are you seeing how "granola" made its way into this post yet? Before I give you the wrong impression, I am in no way perfect. When it comes to eating, I am no saint. I love cheeseburgers. I love french fries. I love pasta. I love bread of all types. I love butter. I love Wendy's Spicy Chicken Sandwich combo meal! Truthfully, I love high fructose corn syrup because, lets face it, everything that it's in tastes good! BUT...yes, but...over the years, I have learned a little about high fructose corn syrup, and I understand what it is and what it does to you. I tend to be the person in the grocery store that takes 2 hours to buy a few things because I read labels religiously. Sadly, I am not amazing at implementing my knowledge into my daily lifestyle, hence my New Year's Resolution. I may read the labels, but, disappointingly, restaurants don't have labels, and I really enjoy eating out. I can say that I try though! If you have noticed, the recipes I have posted thus far are for the most part healthy and use whole, raw foods. I am very passionate about making food healthy/making healthy foods, even if I completely butcher something to the point where your dog won't eat it. (That hasn't happened yet. I don't own a dog.) It's like a challenge to me. How many bad ingredients can you remove and how many good ingredients can you substitute? On that note, future warning: I will most likely only provide healthy recipes. When I say healthy, I don't mean strictly fruits and veggies. There will be some butter, sugar, bad carbs and probably a decent amount of cheese. Also, if it's disgusting, I'm sorry. Don't make it again? What can I say? I like to experiment.

Here's to eating better in 2010!

Homemade Granola (surprised???):

2 cups Rolled Oats
1 handful of Almonds
1 handful of Pumpkin Seeds
1 tbsp. Sunflower Seeds
1/4 cup Raisins
3 tbsp. Canola Oil
1/4 cup Honey
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

-Toss the oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds together in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil, honey and brown sugar in a small bowl. Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated. Pour onto a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan.

-Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even, golden brown, about 45 minutes.

-Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Add the raisins. Store the cooled granola in an airtight container. You can use the container your rolled oats came in.

-Pour it over some Greek yogurt and Enjoy!




Happy New Decade!

I am alive! I am alive and doing quite well actually. So do not fret! I know that you were worried...the 2 of you that read this! I had a feeling this would happen. That I would start to write and get excited about having my own blog...and then...as the excitement faded, my writing would come to a halt. Typical slacker behavior. Ugh! Maybe being less of a slacker should be thrown in with my like 8 other New Year's Resolutions. Yeahhh....so don't panic if I take a week, a month or a year...hopefully not the latter. I have had a journal since 9th grade, and while I haven't kept up with it consistently, I still write it in when I want to. I am rambling. Basically, if I disappear for long periods of time, it doesn't mean I quit posting. I'm just lazy.

Happy Belated Holidays! I hope the first 6 days of 2010 have been spectacular! I will be back VERY soon with something new...but for now, I will leave you with this little gem of a quote from the BEST SHOW EVER, Jersey Shore! (Please note my sarcasm.)

"That's why I don't eat frickin' lobster or anything like that. Because they're alive when you kill it." —Snooki

Read more: Jersey Shore Recap: This Week’s Top Ten Catchphrases -- Vulture http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2010/01/jersey_shore_catchphrase_count.html#ixzz0brZIn2NH