Saturday, October 27, 2012

Bacon Mushroom Broccoli Quiche

The weather forecast for the last two days has been warning Hurricane Sandy may strike the Mid-Atlantic states. Since this area falls frequently victim to power outages, we've learned that it's best to be prepared. While we were lucky to not lose power for an extended time this summer when the derecho hit, our luck may not hold out this time. Looking in the freezer and refrigerator to see what I could cook up, I decided to make a quiche.
Par bake the freezer crust first. Then fill with sauteed mushrooms, bacon, onion and parboiled broccoli.
Top the vegetable mixture with diced pepperjack cheese and a mixture of eggs with a touch of buttermilk.
Beautiful cheesy broccoli quiche after 45 minutes in the oven.
Gorgeous savory quiche that helped use up some leftover bits and bobs.

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

My husband loves blueberry pancakes. I'm not as much of a fan of pancakes, so this was my first time to make them for him. After a long work week, we had breakfast for dinner. I found a good recipe on Smitten Kitchen with buttermilk, baking powder, baking soda, flour, salt, sugar, butter and eggs.
Using an electric griddle makes is great for cooking four decent-sized pancakes at once. The nonstick surface is great too, just needs a quick swirl of melted butter.
Flip the pancakes.
Oven-baked bacon strips with blueberry buttermilk pancakes. 
I was a little surprised how much thicker the batter was, but the texture is nice and cakey. I made extras, which were easy to reheat in the oven the next day for his breakfast. 

Japanese BBQ at Satsuma in Bethesda

My husband's office had some out of town visitors this week. I was invited to join them for dinner at Satsuma in Bethesda. I've been before with my former office coworkers, but have not been back in awhile. For a weekday night, the restaurant was disturbingly empty at 8 pm, with only one other table. They also took off a few of the more unique items from the Japanese bbq menu. I do love the bbq grill inset into the table in the tatami section. 
Gyu-tan, ros, kalbi (beef tongue, skirt steak and marinated beef)
Japanese-style bbq (yakiniku) uses very thinly sliced meat, often marbled with fat.
Given the option and the price difference, I think my husband and his visiting colleagues would prefer to go to Korean bbq next time instead. They are also big fans of soon dubu, Peking duck and Sichuan food. Satsuma was nice, but the atmosphere was very odd, with the restaurant nearly empty, and the prices were higher than at the popular Korean places.

Weekday Lunches

Work has been hectic, and I have not been doing the best job at preparing lunches at home. Searching for something delicious, filling and from not too far away, I headed to my favorite haunts near the office. 
Axian reuben with steak fries.
I love the marbled rye bread they use at Axian. Love. The corned beef is a little too thick, but I think I would be just as happy with a meatless reuben on this bread.
Sichuan Express buffet melange
Chicken with Chinese vegetables, bok choy, mapo tofu, vegetables with shrimp and fried chicken.
I love little tastes of everything, and this assuaged my spice craving.

Nostalgic Chicken and Rice

My mom used to make a similar dish with pork, white rice, bell pepper and tomato paste in an electric skillet. With some chicken thighs defrosting, some brown rice and a melange of vegetables, I set about to make a nostalgic dish for my husband with some modern updates.
Zojirushi electric skillet.
This is a fantastic and versatile kitchen appliance that I highly recommend. It's great for tabletop sukiyaki, and for dishes like this.
Saute the chicken thighs, brown rice, zucchini, mushroom, onion, sundried tomatoes, scallions and tomato paste.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Adventures with Crockpot Pork

While my husband was out golfing during the day, I spent Saturday taking care of the home-front. Sleeping in, I cleaned the apartment and prepared the pork butt to cook slowly all day in the crockpot while I hit the gym and caught up on my favorite TV shows. By the time my husband arrived home from 18 holes of golf and some time at the driving range, I had a full dinner ready for him.
Homemade guacamole
Fresh with cilantro, ripe avocados, tomato, jalapeno, onion and lime.
Salsa Fresca
Tomato, onion, cilantro, jalapeno and lime.
Slow-Cooked Black Beans with jalapeno, onion and cilantro.
Pork butt after 6 hours of cooking in beer and spices.
Pulled pork for tacos with corn tortillas.
With tons of leftover pulled pork, I put most in the freezer to use another day. The rest was used in BBQ pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw and black bean soup with pulled pork.
With a bottled BBQ sauce on toasted potato buns, the pulled pork sandwich is made more interesting with the fresh coleslaw with vinaigrette dressing.
I combined the leftover black beans with sauteed mushrooms, red bell pepper and pulled pork to make a hearty soup.

Moby Dick post-golf Lesson

The husband set up a special private golf lesson with the instructor we took group lessons from over the summer. I had intended to take a nice leisurely walk around Kingstowne while he had his lesson. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate and there was seriously heavy rain and hail, so I was stuck waiting for him in the bar. One crossword puzzle and half a game of Words with Friends later, he finished up and we headed out for a quick dinner.
Combo #2
They were out of the ground beef kebab, so he had the beef and chicken with rice.
I love the joojeh kebab.
The chicken was super moist and flavorful, and the salad is light enough so I can eat the bread with yogurt sauce without guilt. I do steal little forkfuls of the rice from my husband's plate.

Sichuan Express Special Order

Sichuan Express in the International Square food court at Farragut West has become wildly popular at lunch time. While many people go there for the buffet, more and more have been ordering the special noodle soups. These are delicious, but also take more time to prepare, creating bottlenecks in the line. If you want to order one, try to go at off lunch hours, either before 12 pm or after the 1 pm lunch rush.
I headed over at 11:47 am, ordered a #5 (mapo tofu with pork), "extra spicy".
This version had more heat and spice than normal. Absolutely delicious and highly recommended. In an amusing side-note, my husband went independently from my visit to Sichuan Express, and also ordered the #5 noodle soup. We're a couple of heat-seekers I guess.

Loeb's New York Deli Breakfast Sandwich

Sometimes my husband has early morning meetings. Since we commute in together, I ended up going into work earlier than normal. His meeting was over at the Newseum on 6th and Pennsylvania Avenue. I walked over from there to my office at a nice and leisurely pace. On the way, I picked up a sandwich from Loebs on I Street.
Bacon, Egg and Cheese on rye toast
Incredibly delicious and filling.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday Food Fun

The husband had a great day golfing, and perfect weather. While he was out, I baked up a couple of treats did some 'homework' due Monday morning at the office, and hit the gym. The best part was sleeping in past 6 am. 
Beer Bread
My brother's family in New York sent this mix, just add one can of beer and bake for 55 minutes. Pretty dense and soft bread with a hint of sweetness.
Apple cake topped with almonds
I peeled and chopped up the remaining apples and mixed with the cake mix and two eggs. This smells fantastic while baking, and will be heading to the office with the husband tomorrow.
Sausage, yellow squash, zucchini, onion, red bell pepper, mushrooms and tomato sauce with orecchietti. Lots of leftovers for another meal during the work week when we arrive home later in the evening.

Famous Dave's on Route 1

We had a pretty busy Saturday, cleaning the apartment, fitting in a workout, heading down to Potomac Mills outlet mall to look for golf clothes for the husband, and then some time at Hilltop driving range. Feeling a bit too lazy to cook dinner, we stopped off on Route 1, full of chain restaurants and relatively close to our apartment. Outback had a 45 minute wait, and while I like the bread, it's not worth a wait to me. Cruising down the street, we wandered into Famous Dave's and got a table right away.  
Two Meat Combo
BBQ chicken and ribs with green beans and broccoli.
BBQ Chicken with macaroni and cheese and broccoli.
The leftover chicken made killer chicken tacos the next day with corn tortillas. 

Full Kee in Virginia

After the short work week (which felt plenty long to me), we headed out to dinner Friday after work. Feeling under the weather all week, it was great to relax with some Chinese food before settling in to watch the Nats play. Usually when I feel a Chinese food craving, it's Sichuan food that I'm salivating about. However, Full Kee has a fantastic dish of seafood noodles, with thin, crispy egg noodles. 
Shrimp wonton and noodle soup with gai lan (Chinese broccoli).
Large enough bowl of soup and noodles to share.
Chinese bbq pork
Seafood noodles in a super delicate sauce.
The crispy noodles start to absorb the sauce and soften up, but the crunchy noodles are a fun textural addition.
Lobster Special - 2 for $29.95
Two fresh lobsters prepared with ginger and scallions. 
Super fresh and delicious, although messy.
The leftovers the next day with some sauteed bokchoy were just as delicious, although not the best meal to eat before our Insanity cardio workout. eat like this, you need to put in some gym time in addition to portion control and restraint the rest of the week.

Apple Turnover

The husband hates Arlington. He's lived in Alexandria for so long, he never learned how nice it is to be able to walk around the cute neighborhoods and rarely went to the restaurants up there. Almost every car trip to Arlington also includes near miss car accidents with super aggressive drivers who drive with a little too much anger. One "lady", who was more than a few car lengths behind, started honking her car horn and sped up to give us the finger when he tried to signal and change lanes into her lane. Sigh.
After two trips to Arlington in a row, he was doubly disappointed when he wanted some apple pie, and we couldn't find any. To make up for that, I decided to make him a special apple treat.
All you need is some delicious apples we picked up from Shenandoah, some puff pastry from Trader Joe's frozen aisle, and some spices.
Stewed apples wrapped up in the puff pastry and baked for 20-some minutes. 
This was so delicious hot out of the oven, he opted for dessert for dinner, and loved it. If one turnover is good, two is even better. He took the second apple turnover to work and shared with his coworkers.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mala Tang in Arlington

When I woke up Sunday after the hike, all my muscles were unified in protest. Rallying, we headed over to Arlington to meet a friend for Sichuan hotpot. Unfortunately the husband was felled by a bout of mild food poisoning and had to skip lunch. He also absolutely hates driving in Arlington, which was not helped by almost being hit by two different drivers. Arriving at the restaurant, my friend welcomed me with a warm hug and we settled into enjoying a leisurely lunch together.
Dan Dan Noodles
They had a fun area set up with toppings to mix together into dipping sauces.
Zhong Dumplings
We both had the spicy Sichuan broth. Mala Tang is odd and only uses individual sized hotpots. This is great if you have different spice level tolerances or food allergies, but it doesn't feel quite right some how. 
We chose cabbage, bok choy, mushrooms, renkon (lotus root), and shrimp/prawns.
Napa cabbage and boy choy is great in hot pot.
As the broth boils down, the waitress came by with a tea kettle full of chicken broth and added more to our pots. While that's great, it does dilute the spiciness. There was so much leftover, we took home the remaining ingredients in broth from each of our pots. This is definitely a more upscale experience than at its sister-restaurant, Uncle Liu's. They also have a long list of Sichuan dishes that sounded good, and the restaurant is located a lot closer than our other favorite Sichuan places in Falls Church. 

Shenandoah Climb

We haven't gone for a hike in two years. Our last big trek was to Old Rag where I became reacquainted with my complete fear of heights and falling. The 'rock scramble' is really just a euphemism for death-defying gauntlet to traverse without a safety net below. With a long weekend and a promising weather forecast, we set out early to climb White Oak Canyon-Cedar Run. 
 The trees were just starting to turn beautiful colors. 
We aggressively hiked the White Oak portion, which ascended over 2,000 feet and took a nice breather during the fire route cut over to Cedar Run trail. The last time we climbed this same route, it took over 6 hours, since we stopped for photos and a number of snack breaks. This time, we zoomed through in just about four hours with a short lunch break. We definitely paid for the speed and aggressive pace the next two days, but it was a gorgeous day together. 

DC Po'boy Shop

 Located on 19th Street next to Boqueria and across from Taylor's Gourmet.
Oyster Po'Boy $12.50
The bread was soft and had a good flavor. Unfortunately the sandwich lost a bit of heat between the shop and my office down on I Street. These would be best consumed as soon as possible. The breading on the oysters was nicely spiced and the spicy sauce had a great kick. I would like to try the roast beef one with debris next.

Autumn Cooking at Home

With the weather turning colder and the days shorter, I'm drawn to the soups, stews, chili and heartier dishes. The great thing about cooking these dishes is having ample leftovers for lunches during the week.
 Turkey chili with jalapenos, white kidney beans and chickpeas.
 Top with cheddar cheese and scallions.
Seeking a bit of heat, I made a fusion spicy Asian noodle soup dish.
 Korean fresh noodles
 Pork sausage, spinach, scallions, mushrooms, green peppers, Sichuan peppercorns, chili, turkey, black bean sauce, tobanjan and soy sauce.
 Add noodles to the bowl, then top with the soup.
What did you eat before watching the first presidential debates? We stopped into Whole Foods and picked up a ribeye steak.
 Grill on a grill pan, set off the fire alarm once, then finish in the oven.
This was massive, so we ended up eating half before the debate and then the rest another day. 
 Arugula salad with a lemon vinaigrette and sliced steak.
Homemade pasta with cheese sauce and broccoli.