Archive for the ‘Spice’ Category

Linguini with Bacon Clam Sauce

Monday, July 9th, 2012

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Alex spent the weekend in DC and prepared what we will now refer to as “the hot-date pasta.” This dish was so delicious and looked so impressive, it is perfect for a special night (read: hot date with someone you are trying to impress).

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1/4 pound sliced bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 can Italian seasoned diced tomatoes
3 dozen small hard-shelled clams, scrubbed well
1/2 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
1/4 cup basil, chopped
salt to taste
1 box of linguine, prepared according to package

In a frying pan, cook bacon over a medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, leaving the drippings. Dice bacon. Sauté onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes in the bacon drippings until onion is golden (about 6 minutes). Add bacon and tomatoes (fresh and canned) and bring to a simmer for 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large pot, steam clams in white wine over a low heat until they open (6-10 minutes). Spoon clams and about ¼ cup wine into tomato sauce. Add about half the basil and mix. Serve clam sauce over linguini and garnish with the remaining basil.

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Easy Homemade Pickles

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

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Dill pickles are one of my favorite snacks, so when I spotted pickling cucumbers at the farmers’ market last weekend, I decided to try out this homemade version. There are lots of pickling techniques, but I like this recipe because it’s fast and the pickles are tangy and crunchy.

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6-8 small pickling cucumbers, sliced
1 tbsp peppercorn
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dill
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 c. water
1 c. white vinegar

In a medium bowl, combine water and vinegar. Add salt and sugar then stir to dissolve. Pour liquid into a medium jar. Add cucumber, dill, peppercorn, and garlic. Seal jar with lid and refrigerate 24-48 hours.

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Grilled Bruschetta

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

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 We celebrated Scott’s farewell to DC with a big grilling weekend. I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon than grilling with good friends. It was bittersweet to celebrate since we will all miss Scott so much, but at least we sent him off in style … and with Erin’s famous grilled bruschetta.

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Grilled Bruschetta

4 or 5 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 baguette French bread

Combine diced tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, basil, and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Mix and let stand in refrigerator for about 2 hours. Slice the baguette on a diagonal about 1 inch thick slices. Spoon tomato mixture on to the bread and toss on the grill for 2-4 minutes.

busy week!

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

This has been a crazy week and a few things (ahem, this blog) have been a little neglected. Good news is the balcony is finished and it looks amazing! (Post to come!) Now I am getting ready to visit Tennessee for the holiday weekend. I am so excited to see my good friends, Laura and Matthew, get hitched! I am also looking forward to staying at a haunted hotel in Chattanooga and then a quick trip to Nashville.   For now, here are a few things I have been enjoying in DC:

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{sneak peek at the new balcony}
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{Erin’s famous banana bread}
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{empty park in front of the white house}

the weekend, Brooklyn edition

Monday, May 14th, 2012

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Well, I finally made it up to Brooklyn! This felt like the longest short-weekend-trip ever, because we packed in so many sights and activities. I always hear that I would love Brooklyn, so it was high time for me to visit.

I left the office a little early and met Ashley at Union Station where we boarded our Bolt bus to NYC. (FYI, I so prefer the DC2NY bus, despite the name. Their buses seem newer, they give you water bottles, and the play movies. It’s the little things that get me.) When I arrived in New York, I said good-bye to Ash and took the train to the Upper East Side to meet up with Suj for a celebratory dinner at Maya. This was the real excuse for the trip; we were toasting our good friend who just graduated from Colombia business school (yeah!). The restaurant was great! I love Mexican food and DC is sadly lacking in that area. After dinner, we headed out to Brooklyn to stay with one of Suj’s friends. He has a great place on a really cute block in Cobble Hill.

We started our Saturday early with brunch in the city then spent the afternoon exploring Brooklyn. I will admit, I’ve never loved Manhattan. I get a little overwhelmed with the noise and the people, so Brooklyn was much more my speed. I liked browsing the shops and strolling through cute neighborhoods, and I got ice cream twice. We were all over the place; Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, then Fort Greene. Oh, and we saw Ice T. It was quite the day.

Our walking tour was really nice, but I was exhausted by late afternoon, so we regrouped before heading to dinner. We met up with friends at DBGB for our 10:15 reservation. Considering this is usually my bedtime (old, I know), I felt very swanky and European by our dinner plans. The food was worth the wait (the burger and the Thai links, all I’m saying) and the company was even better. I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun at dinner.

On our last day in the city, we headed over to Williamsburg to do a little shopping at the flea market. We grabbed brunch at Nita Nita, where I had an excellent BLT that I will be attempting to recreate at home. After the market, we said good-bye to friends and started the journey back to DC. Whew, how did we manage to pack it all into one weekend?!

20120515-090524.jpg{salted caramel sundae from The General Greene}


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MG 0056{banh-mi style hotdog at the flea market (plus hipster)}


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Chicken Pot Pie Muffins

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

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I come from a big family and learned at a young age the value of an easy, kid-friendly recipe. Even though I am not living with any kiddies at the moment (though we may act like it sometimes), I got a rave response when I made these fun savory, muffins. This recipe is easy and I love the concept so much that I think I will play around with other filling ideas. The pot pie muffins are perfect for entertaining (think heavy hors d’oeuvres) or they make a great snack for kids (or a row house full of busy 20-somethings!).  

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1 1/2 c. chicken, diced
1 (14.5 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 bag frozen mixed veggies, thawed
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
2 (10 oz) cans biscuits

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine chicken, cream of chicken soup, frozen veggies, cheese, and salt and pepper. (Note: when I made these muffins I used frozen veggies, which makes this recipe super easy, but next time I will probably substitute for fresh, chopped veggies, sautéed for a few minutes until soft. Fresh is always better!) Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin and press one biscuits into each cup to form the crust. Spoon the pot pie mixture into the biscuit cups. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and serve!

(original recipe via)


Monday, April 16th, 2012

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This weekend, Z surprised us by showing off his impressive (and well-concealed) culinary skills. This was the first time I had ever eaten shakshuka, but it certainly will not be the last! As Z explained, shakshuka is a traditional breakfast dish, but it made a perfect one-pot Sunday dinner.  Z served it with warm pita bread, and he welcomed the positive reinforcement (keep up the good cooking!).

1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and black pepper
1 can of crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup feta cheese
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Warm pita bread

Preheat the oven to 425. In a large sauce pan, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until onion is soft (about 8 minutes). Add chickpeas, cumin, salt, and pepper and cook for 2 minutes longer. Add the can of tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes (or until thickened). Sprinkle feta over the top of the sauce. (Now for the fun part.)Crack eggs onto the surface of the mixture, making sure to evenly space them apart (they will “set” in the oven). Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 6-8 minutes. Remove, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve.

Butter Chicken

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

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Last night Erin and I had a girl-date with our friend, Lisa. We decided to be adventurous and cook butter chicken from scratch. It turned out fantastic! Erin was excited to break out her extensive stash of Indian spices, and I was pumped to use my new ginger grater for the first time. We followed a recipe from this book (also found here), which was surprisingly fast and easy (although Erin and Lisa would probably point out that my contribution consisted largely of reading people magazine and keeping up the conversation…). The food turned out delicious and the girl-date was a great success. We can’t wait to have Lisa over again!

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{ginger grater}

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{prepping the chicken}


Where To Eat – DC: Taylor Gourmet

Monday, March 19th, 2012


I love a good sandwich. Taylor Gourmet is a stylish DC spot with a creative sandwich menu, so I was thrilled when they opened a location in my neck of the woods. Last week, I visited their new 14th street location in northwest DC. The reclaimed-style decor gives the place a cool, urban feeling, but the highlight, of course, is the food (I ordered the “race street” and it was awesome). This place is definitely on my restaurant-list when my folks visit next month.

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20120319-092940.jpg{the race street}

Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Last night, a few girlfriends and I held our first book club meeting. We read Bel Canto by Ann Patchett then got together to discuss over wine and chili. (It was really cold out and chili sounded amazing, that’s why.) I used Ashley’s awesome chili recipe and decided to be adventurous and make jalapeno cornbread muffins. I followed this recipe (but added double the jalapenos) and couldn’t have been happier with the results.

I think our first book club meeting was a wild success thanks to the awesome company (especially those who actually finished the book…). This month we are reading  The Paris Wife and I am looking forward to our 1920s-in-Paris themed meal. It turns out reading is even better when there is food involved.

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Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins
Original recipe from love and butter

2 jalapenos, seeded, diced
1 c. grated cheddar cheese (I used about 1.5 cup)
1  egg
4.5 oz can diced green chiles
8 oz can cream style corn
8.5 oz box corn muffin mix

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine green chiles, corn, egg, cheese, and jalapenos.  Slowly fold corn muffin mix into the wet mixture, taking care not to mix too much. Divide mixture into well-greased muffin tin. Bake for 13-15 minutes then let cool for about 15-20 minutes.

(Top photo source: love and butter)