• 07Nov
    beef_1

    Here’s a burger.

    What can be better than having great tasting, hormone free, locally raised beef delivered to your door? In a society that now focuses on the importance of eating organic and knowing where your food comes from, the Firelands Cattle Company comes to the rescue. We were lucky enough to be given a box of Firelands’ products to review.

    The Firelands Cattle Company began with the intention of bringing the Kobe style raising practices to the heartlands of America. Their business practices center on the motto that they are involved in every step of the customer experience ranging from the rearing, production, packaging, and delivery to each customers’ doorstep. Therefore, you as the consumer can know EXACTLY where your food comes from and can rest assured that there is a stamp of approval guaranteeing that each cow is hormone free and given an all-natural feed consisting of corn, oats, and grains. The result? Some of the greatest tasting red meat in the world. Go to their website for a full scientific explanation of what makes the kobe style the best.

    beef_chili

    Beef Chilli.

    Each order is vacuum sealed and freezer packed to arrive completely fresh and ready for consumption at your door step. They offer hamburger patties, sirloins, rib-eyes, T-bones, ground beef and more. I was fortunate enough to try the hamburgers, ground beef and a sirloin myself. The steak was so tender it literally melted in my mouth. And both the hamburger patties and ground beef were packed with delicious flavor. The hamburger was plump with delicious moist juices and the ground beef made the best chili I’ve had this year.

    You can order Firelands’ beef yourself and see why American Kobe Beef is the way to go for freshness and flavor.

    -JPM (Joyana)

    Editor’s Note (JAY): I tried the burgers, and they were excellent grilled (and topped with my own home-made Chimichurri). :)

    Disclosure: From time to time, we are given free items, meals, or entry to events.

  • 29Oct
    rsz_relayfoods

    This is what was supposed to be in the produce box, but they ran out of some items so made substitutions. It would be nice if this list was representative of what they actually gave me in the box.

    I recently added an ad/coupon for Relay Foods (a grocery pickup/delivery service) to the right side of DCFüd so that our readers can save $30 off of $50 on their first order. (Or, you can use the code “9wz8kg” instead.) Relay Foods has many good quality products including those from local businesses and farms. I decided to try the grocery delivery service, and write this review about my experience with Relay Foods. I ordered $50 in groceries (total before adding the discount code).

    The Groceries:

    • Local Bounty Share Produce Box. Between the day of the order and the delivery, they changed the box to Fall produce. They should have sent me an email, so that I knew I’d get different produce than I’d ordered. The box did have good quality items, but some of the items in the Fall box were out of stock, so they replaced them with other items. Instead of 2 Asian pears, I received 1 pear but there was also 2 bell peppers instead of one. Instead of butternut squash,  received a small yellow summer squash. Instead of potatoes I received extra sweet potatoes.The greens in the box were organic mustard greens (that were actually from California while everything else seems to be local). The pear has a sticker identifying it as this Stemlit product (and organic); the pear was quite good.
    • Artisan Cuts‘ Freebird Whole Chicken from Artisan Cuts. Their description of the chicken: “These humanely raised chickens are grown in Amish Country, by experienced family farmers, who follow strict animal welfare standards. The chickens are free-roaming in well-ventilated, spacious barns, which offer more room than those of factory-raised birds. The chickens are vegetarian fed sun ripened corn and soybeans, and are never treated with antibiotics.” The chicken was very flavorful and obviously high quality; I will definitely purchase one in a future order.
    • Artisan Cuts’ Plainville Farms Ground Turkey – Fresh, 1 lb. I messed up the ground turkey meatballs by forgetting to add the beaten egg. They taste great, but are heavy and their texture is off, so can’t really judge the ingredient.
    • Family Ties & Pies‘ Mixed Berry Pistachio Scones, two Scones (frozen). I enjoyed the scones, and may try different varieties next time.
    • Mimi’s Whole Grain Cinnamon Rolls, Honey Whole Wheat, 6-8 Pack, 20 oz. These are very good when warmed up.
    • Mission Home Bakeshop‘s Homemade Honey Oatmeal Bread, 16 oz. This had great flavor and texture when used to make French toast.
    • Bombolini Pasta‘s Spinach Fettuccine, 16 oz. It arrived half frozen, but it should not have been frozen at all. When I cooked it, the pasta stuck together (because it is not packaged in one layer so it can be frozen), was gummy, and inedible. I let Relay Foods know about the inedible pasta, and they apologized, removed the item from my bill, and gave me a $5 credit to be used on a future item.

    Other good products Relay Foods Carries:

    Virginia Vinegar Works. I’ve only tried the Heritage Blend Red (which is a good local product) but I noticed that they have the 500 ml White Heritage Blend and Chardonnay varieties on sale for $7.20 (instead of $12) right now.

    Holy Grael Sorbet. My favorite of Holy Grael sorbet is the Blackberry Lime.

    Cavanna Pasta. I am a fan of their Artichoke-Pesto Cannelloni and Spinach-Egg Taglierni.

    Moorenko’s Ice Cream. I have written about this company previously, and Relay Foods carry one of my favorites, the Honey Lavender.

    Soupergirl. We wrote about this soup company in 2009.

    Pickup and Delivery:

    Relay Foods has a map of their pickup spots. You can also get your order delivered (for a fee) or signup for monthly delivery service (for a larger fee).

    Customer Service:

    Relay Foods’ customer service by email and phone is excellent. When I noticed that the ground turkey I ordered was listed in my confirmation message as frozen instead of fresh, I called Relay Foods to change the item. The representative said they were out of fresh ground turkey, told me how to edit my cart, and told me to check the site in the next few days to see if it was back in stock. I let her know that I’d remove the frozen item and that they could email me if they have the fresh version in the next few days. The representative agreed and stated that she would call their butcher. I got an email the next day saying the item is back in stock, and added it back to my order. Customer Service (as mentioned earlier) also handled the issue with the spinach pasta in a positive way.

    The delivery person was running a half hour late (there was a 2 hour range), a customer service person called me at the end of my time range to let me know. When the delivery person (who was very nice) gave me the box (and I checked it out), there was a whole chicken I didn’t order. She told me I could keep it for free.

    So, yes, there were a few glitches here and there, but it is a new business. I will definitely order from Relay Foods again.

    -Jason

  • 04Oct

    Tomatos afterGrowing up in Virginia, with its beautifully changing seasons and abundance of local produce, I have developed certain food craving patterns. Tomatoes are at the top of my seasonal cravings list. For most of fall and all of winter, I dream of perfectly ripe tomatoes just picked and still warm from the sun. As soon as the last frost thaws, I can’t wait to get my hands dirty and plant some. And every spring, without fail, I develop amnesia and decide that it’s a great idea to plant way too many tomato plants. My crazy, tomato-deprived side says, “Why plant just one??!” and my logical side falls for it every time.

    Roasted tomatoes finished productSo, at some point during the summer I have tomatoes of all different shapes and sizes coming out of my ears. While I would never consider this a problem, it is certainly a situation that needs to be dealt with. I do the obvious and toss them in salads, add them to sandwiches (BLTs anyone?), throw them into various pasta dishes, and frequently make my son’s favorite: Caprese salad. But I also try to come up with new, creative recipes of my own. I made a fantastic rustic tomato soup a few summers ago… of course I’ve made marinara sauce and fresh salsa… but my favorite creation came to me this summer when, after a few days of being ignored, my roma and cherry tomato plants were bursting with ripe fruit. I stood staring at my tomato-covered counter top, waiting for inspiration to strike… and boy did it. I’m still patting myself on the back.

    CrostiniWith sun-dried tomatoes in mind, I created something even better. I thought about calling them “oven dried” but they aren’t dry at all. So, I settled on “slow roasted” and never looked back.

    Now, obviously I used fresh summertime tomatoes, but this would be a great way to transform the less than desirable supermarket tomatoes we are forced to buy in the fall and winter—something I am definitely planning on doing, and I hope you will too.

    Slow Roasted Tomatoes

    Ingredients: 

    • Lots of smaller tomatoes such as roma, cherry, or grape, halved-about 8 cups (they shrink after roasting)
    • 1/4 cup Olive oil
    • salt and pepper
    • pinch or two of red pepper flakes to taste
    • fresh herbs, oregano and thyme are my favorites
    • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and very thinly sliced

    To prepare: 

    Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

    Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Toss gently to coat the tomatoes and spread the entire mixture evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet(s). You want an even layer with no overlapping.

    Roast for 2-6 hours, gently tossing occasionally (or just shake and rotate the pan). The time is broad, I know, but it depends on the juiciness and size of your tomatoes and your oven. The tomatoes will shrink and their juices will dry slightly. Don’t take them too far; you want them to still have some juiciness. This really needs to be judged by eye, so just check on them occasionally.

    Enjoy straight from the oven, or transfer, along with all juices and herbs, to a mason jar or other storage container, cover with more olive oil and store in refrigerator.

    Note-The olive oil will harden upon refrigeration. Allow refrigerated tomatoes to sit at room temperature for 30-40 minutes before using.

    Serving suggestion (and THE reason to make these tomatoes…)

    Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Crostini 

    Ingredients:

    • Baguette, or any good bread, sliced 1/4 inch thick on an angle
    • Oven roasted tomatoes
    • Fresh goat cheese
    • Fresh basil

    To prepare:

    Drizzle or brush bread slices lightly with olive oil, and either toast in a 350 degree oven 10-15 minutes, or gently toast in a grill pan or skillet until lightly golden on both sides, but still tender in the middle. Transfer to a platter and smear with a tablespoon or two of goat cheese, top with oven roasted tomatoes, and sprinkle with fresh chopped basil. Enjoy!

    -ALH

  • 19Aug

    I’m on a protein kick – I’ve been going for over 100g/day which, unless you’re willing to suffer masses of artificially-flavored shakes and supplements, can be a challenge. I also avoid processed foods, so I have learned to be pretty handy with shrimp and quinoa. This is one of my favorites.

    Gambas!You’ll need:

    • About 20 shrimp
    • 3 cloves of garlic, diced.
    • A mix of about 2.5 tablespoons of fresh ground black pepper with about 1/2 tablespoon salt. Grind in a few sichuan peppercorns too for a nice extra somethin’-somethin’.
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • Olive Oil
    • Quinoa

    I use frozen cleaned shrimp because I’m lazy. Fresh would make this even more awesome.

    So, get your quinoa cooking as you do. While that cooks, saute your garlic in olive oil. Toss in the shrimp (at room temperature), and stir in about half of the pepper/salt mix. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the shrimp are almost done. At that point, stir in the rest of the salt and pepper.

    When the shrimp are fully cooked, remove them to your serving dish and deglaze the pan with some more oil and the lemon juice. When it’s reduced halfway, and you’ve got all the good charred pepper and garlic crust re-emulsified into a sauce, pour that directly over the shrimp and quinoa. A parsley garnish is a nice touch if you’re feeling fancy.

    And here’s your dinner – bloody good, pretty quick, and full of protein!

    -MAW

  • 31Jul

    Beyond BaconBeyond Bacon is the latest Paleo cookbook from authors, Paleo Parents. The book hit the shelves July 2nd and promised to address a variety of key concerns about the Paleo lifestyle, while also providing a plethora of delicious easy recipes to introduce newcomers to the lifestyle. I excitedly got my copy of the book because, although I am not the hugest fan of pork, the website promised to convert me. I also was hoping that the book would open my eyes to how easy the Paleo lifestyle could be.

    Unfortunately, I cannot report that the book fulfilled either of these expectations for me. I wanted to like this book I really did, it’s got a beautiful layout, great pictures, engaging text and some great information. But the problem, in my eyes, is it does not convert the newcomer. Yes, the book does go into great detail about where you can buy into a meat share and how you can use every single by-product of a pig, but my question is, how is that breaking it down to basics for a newcomer who is just sticking their toe into the waters of the Paleo lifestyle? Not everyone is going to want to jump right in to a meat share and use an entire animal. And the Paleo Parents do not offer substitutions in their recipes. Almost all of the recipes I sampled called for you to make your own lard. Although I went to the butcher near me and got the best cuts of organic pork, I drew the line at making my own lard. So I was then left with trying to scramble to find a viable substitute for a key ingredient in the majority of these recipes.

    Another issue with the recipes is that although the sides were interesting and contained some  great flavors, the pork itself left a bit to be desired. I sampled first an avocado, zucchini pasta tossed with bacon. For starters, this was the first time I had made zucchini pasta. Although I followed the directions explicitly, it still came out quite mushy and watery. The recipe also called for the bacon to be cut into small pieces and then broiled in the oven. One of my pet peeves with pork, is the amount of fat. I am a crispy bacon girl. No matter how long I seemed to keep this mixture in the oven though, it still came out fatty. Overall, this recipe didn’t wow me.

    The next recipe I tried was the ground pork burgers. This one did involve an interesting array of spices mixed into the ground pork mixture, but what was not explained was how quickly the burgers would dry out on the grill. We made these on two different occasions and both times the pork shrunk down to almost half the patties’ original size and tasted quite dry.

    Now one could argue that both of these above issues were in fact due to user error, and I would even agree with that argument. However, in a book that claims to be targeting newcomers to this lifestyle, the author must take into account that the user may not be familiar with making zucchini pasta and how quickly you need to remove it from the pot of boiling water. Or the author could address the loss of moisture in the burgers and provide tips for alleviating this issue. These common mistakes should be taken into account in the writing of the step by step directions and tips for making these recipes.

    Overall, I think that the Paleo Parents really need to consider who their cookbooks are meant to be targeting. If they are planning to tap into the already growing network of Paleo followers, great, however, I feel they are missing out on the potential of recruiting new followers. With some language that offers less extreme substitutions and a few additional points of instruction, they could double their potential audience. They have an interesting message to spread, however, I think some of that message is being lost in translation, by the overwhelming packaging. Perhaps instead of just focusing on the die-hard options like participating in a meat-share and making your own lard and stock they could teach you to navigate the local butcher or farmer’s market. Then they would have more people believing they could manage the constraints of a Paleo lifestyle. That would be the key to truly converting new-comers.

    -JPM (Joyana)

  • 22Jul

    There are some people that are instantly likable. John Shields, author of Chesapeake Bay Cooking, host of the PBS series Coastal Cooking, and owner of Gertrude’s in the Baltimore Museum of Art is one of those people. (Unless you are a crustacean, in which case you need to run for your life.) Not only is John personable, but he also has a passion for – and possibly an addiction to – this region’s native cuisine. I was a little cautious about speaking with him about Baltimore seafood restaurants because as a restaurateur he might see such establishments as competition. But, John loves Chesapeake Bay cooking and has no problem discussing his favorite (and sometimes hidden) gems.

    John was the special guest at Wildfire’s annual Chesapeake crab dinner. I was happy to be present and follow along (crab in hand) while he taught us how to break the spice-covered crustacean down step-by-step. John informed us that due to some early season chilly weather, the current crop of crabs contain crustaceans that are a bit smaller and more expensive than usual; he speculated that this will change by early fall. John even visited our table later on to give DCFüd’s videographer (Cy, a Virginian with childhood memories of the river) a one-on-one lesson in how to break down blue crabs like someone who picks jumbo lump for a living.

    Wildfire’s Executive Chef, Eddie Ishaq, did a wonderful job showcasing crab in a variety of uses. The blue crabs were well spiced. The pan seared halibut with garlic spinach and sauce supreme was delicious. The ribeye medallion and crab cake were very well executed; that was the best piece of steak I’ve had lately and everyone agreed that the restaurant did an amazing job n the crab cake. That particular surf and turf masterpiece is on the menu at the Chicago Wildfire restaurants but there are normally only enough of that particular cut of steak for Windy City Diners, so Eddie had to order the meat three months in advance for this particular dinner when John (who often dines at the Chicago Wildfire restaurants) asked about the dish. We (Cy, myself, and the people seated at our table) would have preferred a wine or beer pairing over the dinner’s cocktail pairing.

    Below is our Youtube video: How to Pick Chesapeake Blue Crab with John Shields:

    Based on how wonderful the food was at this dinner, I definitely recommend trying Wildfire’s dinner events, such as the Chimay Brewery dinner on August 9th ($60 per person plus tax and gratuity). The courses will be:

    • Risotto Frito, paired with the Chimay Red Cap
    • Mussels Meuniere, paired with the Chimay Triple
    • Braised Sausage & Cabbage, paired with the Chimay Blue Cap
    • Pot de Creme (dark chocolate custard with whipped creme), paired with the Chimay Blue Cap

    -JAY

    Wildfire - Tysons Galleria on Urbanspoon

  • 13Jun

    Bacon Festival -1- Stuffed Avodaco Shell

    When I think of bacon, I think of waking up Saturday mornings.  Salty, crispy goodness coupled with fluffy pancakes and sunny side up eggs to brighten up your day at the kitchen table with your loved ones.  Bacon brings me this cozy feeling of home and always seems to give me a good jump start to the day.

    The 1st Annual Bacon Festival in the city of Richmond, VA was a knockout.  You get a profound connection with the young, the old, and the furry friends (yes man’s best friend was present and partaking in the festivities) who share a love of delicious bacon.

    Bacon Festival -2- Stuffed OysterBacon is getting stuffed in things that you probably wouldn’t even begin to imagine.  Stuffed in Avocado shells?!  Who would’ve thunk it!  Casa del Barco has on their daily menu guacamole with tomato and bacon which is already an amazing combination in itself.  But let’s take it a step further and introduce the bacon stuffed avocado shell!  Delicious chunks of bacon, chicken, and tomatoes are covered in cheese.  It’s a flavor blast in every bite.  The blending of all the different flavors was truly out of this world.

    And let’s not forget seafood delights.  This takes “surf and turf” to a new level.  On the Rox really outdid themselves with infusing the flavor of bacon into a seafood favorite – fried oysters.  The flavor burst was more than one could ever imagine.  From the light breading of the fried oyster to the creamy rich bacon flavored tartar sauce, this was one to be savored.

    Bacon Festival -4- SmoresLast but not least would blow your mind.  Think of bacon as savory salty happiness in your mouth and add occasional hits of candied bacon, creating a fun filled party of sweet and salty in your mouth.

    But, did you ever stop to think, “Man, I wish I could finish off this delicious meal of fried oysters, and stuffed avocado with some bacon for dessert?”  Well, if you’ve ever had the opportunity to savor a bacon cupcake, bacon ice cream, and bacon s’mores…you would be thinking just that.  These innovative culinary artists have brought the art of bacon to desserts and it’s not even weird.

    Before you cringe at the thought of eating bacon ice cream, try it out.  You’re guaranteed to be amazed at how great it really is.  I’m sure salted caramel doesn’t scare you, and bacon ice cream is right along the same lines.

    So the moral to this story, folks?  Eat bacon.  It’s just wholesome goodness.

    -Guest Blogger Angie (ADT)

  • 28Apr

    Gluten Free Nats 1As awareness about Celiac Disease has become more widespread, so has the range of people being diagnosed. With that comes more children who are being diagnosed with this allergy. I’ve had  many parents ask me about family friendly restaurants who offer gluten free menus. I decided to compile a list of a few of the best offerings I found.

    Pizzeria Paradiso- Pizzeria Paradiso has two locations in DC (one in Georgetown and one in Dupont Circle) and one in Old Town Alexandria on King Street. It has a casual family restaurant vibe and serves a variety of specialty pizzas, paninis and salads. Gluten free crusts are offered. These restaurants are the perfect place for a casual family pizza night.

    Pizzeria UNO- Pizzeria UNO has also taken an interest in the gluten free population. They offer a full gluten free menu including gluten free pizzas, burgers and buns and even gluten free ice cream sundaes! 

    Silver Diner- The Silver Diner is another great place for a casual family meal. They also have multiple locations including one in Arlington and one by the Springfield Mall. They have a wide range of gluten free offerings especially for brunch/breakfast. They now even offer gluten free Belgian waffles! Kids also love to play with the jukeboxes at every table.

    The Counter- The Counter is a Build-Your-Own burger place located in Reston Town Center. They have gluten free buns and offer a clearly labeled list of all ingredients for every item on their menu. So you can check which toppings contain gluten and also which of their specialty fries are safe for gluten free followers to eat. 

    Chuck E. Cheese- Every parent’s worst nightmare, every kid’s dream come true…. Chuck E. Cheese now offers a gluten free menu in 500 of their restaurants and are planning on offering it in all of their locations by November. You can call and check if your local Chuck E. Cheese is currently offering it.

    When you have a child with a food allergy you are constantly worrying about their safety while eating out. However, you also want them to be able to enjoy themselves and feel that they’re one of the gang and not the oddball sticking out. Luckily, these restaurants seem to be catching on to that fact and are addressing both of these concerns. So feel like taking the family out for pizza tonight? You have a few choices. And the best part? No dishes to clean. Enjoy!

    -By Guest Writer: Joyana (JPM) of Gluten Free Nova Girl

    Editors Notes: Joyana has written an article about the Gluten Free stand at Nationals Park. Also, Silver Diner’s Springfield location is the “test location” and does not have all the GF options listed on the website’s menu.

  • 15Apr

    ALB_lambjam_NYCOn Monday, May 20th at the Eastern Market from 6-9pm, 19 of DC’s top restaurants and chefs will come together to celebrate American Lamb by creating succulent and savory selections for the lamb loving public. It is a friendly chef/dish competition to garner awards and prizes in categories including “Best in Show,” “People’s Choice” and “Best Leg, Breast, Shank and Shoulder” with voting by a panel of key media representatives and event attendees. Tickets include gourmet lamb tastings, local wines and beers, hands-on American lamb butcher demos, lamb swag, sweets, caricature artist & much more! New this year, a VIP Pre-Party from 5-6pm, includes specialty cocktails with a variety of American Lamb charcuterie & sheep’s milk cheeses. Beat the lines with the VIP Pass, only a limited supply available! To view participating chefs, sponsors and to purchase tickets visit: http://dc.fansoflamb.com/lamb-jam.dc/.

    We attended last year and posted pictures of the event here. And, JAY of DCFüd (that is me) is one of this year’s judges!

    -JAY

     

  • 21Feb

    Oceana Story--SushiCy has been talking about all these stories he has been running across where the consumer is buying food items that are misrepresented. A few examples are fake honey, calamari (we hope this one is not true because it is nasty), and lemon juice. The big story that we keep hearing again and again is how often you are told you are buying one kind of fish (at a fish store or sushi bars), when you are actually purchasing another. A fish (escolar) that is often a substitute for white tuna in sushi bars can even cause :serious digestive issues.”

    From Dr. Oz:

    “As part of our campaign, Oceana conducted DNA testing of seafood meals in multiple cities across the country to get to the bottom of how much bait and switch was occurring. What did we find? Everywhere we tested, we found seafood fraud: 39% of seafood tested in New York, 55% in Los Angeles, 31% in Miami, and 48% in Boston (including testing by The Boston Globe) were mislabeled as entirely different types of fish than listed on the label.  ”

    Oceana sent me their DC-specific story.

    -JAY

    ———————————————————————————

    “Oceana Study Uncovers Widespread Seafood Fraud in Washington, Nationwide

    26% of Seafood Mislabeled in D.C. Grocery Stores, Restaurants & Sushi Venues

    WASHINGTON—Oceana, the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans, uncovered widespread seafood fraud across the United States, including in the nation’s capital, according to a new report released today. As part of one of the largest seafood fraud investigations in the world to date, DNA testing confirmed that 26 percent of the 105 seafood samples collected by Oceana in Washington, D.C., and one-third, or 33 percent, of the 1,215 fish samples collected nationwide were mislabeled, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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