• 19Dec

    bridge-option-new-8-copyBest of contains 225 recipes for special occasions. This feel good cook book is perfect if you are craving a bite of nostalgia. If you are hosting a party, going to a potluck, wondering what to do with your leftovers from a previous event, or even want a recipe for making an edible holiday treat to give to friends or family, this book has your solution. The recipes are straightforward, and for the most part are simple and pretty easy. Many dishes utilize items often kept in the pantry.

    The book has a retro feel and is written in a conversational style, allowing you to hear the voices of the authors. The Bridge ladies included some of their favorite quotes throughout the book and most of them gave me a good chuckle. I look forward to cooking and baking my way through this book. The baking section is especially interesting to me as it contains things that I’ve never made or eaten before, like Victorian Orange Peel Cake  (I think this is going to be on the menu for New Year’s Eve). I was also very  impressed by the edible gift chapter.  I love giving (and receiving) homemade presents for the holidays, and this book has some great ideas and recipes to make a really nice, delicious, thoughtful gift that is under $10.00  per person.

    My absolute favorite recipe that I made from this book  so far was the  Gingered Carrot Puree. The flavors in this dish are wonderfully bold without hitting you over the head. The sweetness of the carrots and the bite from the ginger marry very well together. The end result is a velvety puree that is  quick and easy to make. I loved this so much I’m pretty sure that I could live off of this gingered carrot puree alone.

    Honey Garlic Chicken Wings

    Honey Garlic Chicken Wings

    I made the Honey Garlic Chicken Wings for a potluck. They came out with a gorgeous golden brown glaze on the skin. The wings were tasty.  Hoisin Sauce, soy, honey, garlic and rice vinegar play off of hot pepper sauce. The recipe suggests an amount of hot pepper sauce, but says to do it to your tastes. I’d recommend doing at least the amount in the recipe because the flavor balance won’t be there without that heat.  I kept them very mild,  and the end result was a sweet, garlicy wing. The flavor was maybe a seven and a half  out of ten, but because they were so mild, they were very easy to keep eating. If I was making them just for my household, I’d have made them a little spicier for  better sweet/salty/ spice balance. This is a good make ahead item, I’d get the wings sitting in the marinade overnight next time before cooking to get even more intense flavor into the wings. As a plus, when you bake these and boil the marinade, your entire house will smell amazing.

    I  made the  Fantastic Fudge Brownies recipe. The end result was a rich fudge brownie, topped  with icing. They were a hit at a ten-year old’s birthday party as well as my husband’s office. To my personal taste, they were a little too sweet and too rich. Maybe I’m more of a cake-y brownie gal than a fudge brownie one.

    I also made the Peppermint Brittle recipe (also in the gift section). This is a super easy, fast recipe that allows you to make a really nice gift for someone in about ten active minutes of cooking and an hour to cool it down.

    The book also has a Microwave Peanut Brittle Recipe. It takes 8 minutes plus about an hour to cool to make some pretty delicious peanut brittle. I did make this (and forgot to photograph it), and sent it with my hubby to give to co-workers for holiday presents. It tastes good and goes from hard to very sticky once in your mouth. Caution to those with dental work.


  • 12Dec

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWildfire (Tysons Galleria) wants to share some holiday cheer with DCFüd readers. A great way to do so is with Eggnog, so they have shared their recipe with us. You can also try this luscious, rich Eggnog Bread Pudding as the holiday dessert special the week before (leading up to) Christmas, paired with an espresso cup of freshly made egg nog. It’s a spoonful of holiday cheer times two! There’s no way to overdo a good thing at holiday time!


    1 cup brown sugar

    1 cup granulated sugar

    4 eggs

    1tablespoon. vanilla extract

    pinch nutmeg

    1 qt. eggnog

    2 cups whipping cream

    1 loaf (1 lb. 12 oz.) challah, cut ¾” thick

    Mix brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla, nutmeg, eggnog and cream in a stainless steel mixing bowl to make a custard. Cut bread slices into 16 cubes per slice. Gently fold bread into custard. Let stand 20 minutes. Place the mixture into a 9” x 13” pyrex pan. Smooth the top and cover with plastic wrap and foil.

    Place bread pudding into a bain marie (water bath) and bake at 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes until done and temperature is 190 degrees.

    Let rest for 15 minutes, then cut into 4 x 3 into 12 squares. Serve at room temperature.

    Each serving can be garnished with 1 oz. warm caramel sauce, a scoop of whipped cream, a dusting of nutmeg and powdered sugar. At Wildfire, Eggnog Bread Pudding is served with an espresso cup of fresh eggnog.


  • 13Oct

    Organic tequila, roasted pig, and wrestling masks: Need I say more?

    Last week at Oyamel’s menu preview of their upcoming Day of the Dead Celebration event, I entered Oyamel’s establishment and found festive bartenders donning wresting masks while pouring Oyamel’s specialty Day of the Dead cocktail drinks. I knew it was going to be a good night.

    But what exactly is The Day of the Dead? It is a Mexican holiday tradition that recognizes Mexican friends and family members who have passed away. This year, Oyamel honors El Santo, or Rodolfo Guzman Huerta, an actor and Mexican folk icon, but he is best known as Mexico’s legendary luchador wrestler.

    Oyamel’s Head Chef Colin King recently came back from a trip to Mexico and personally created the Day of the Dead menu items inspired by El Santo’s favorite dishes. They are as follows:

    Puerco en Chile Morita:
    Local pork spare ribs that are braised and lacquered in a chipotle chile morita salsa. The balance between the subtle yet steady flavors of the pork and the exceptionally fresh salsa was very well executed. This was one of my favorite dishes from the night.

    Bistec con Pasilla:

    This local hanger steak is placed over a sauté of cactus paddle, sweet potato, and seasonal squash mixed in with salsa pasilla negra, a cured egg emulsion, and pickled chile dressing. It was cooked beautifully with the right amount of rareness in the meat and the flavors are a bit louder than the Puerco en Chile Morita but rightfully so.

    Ancas de Rana en Mole Verde:

    Cured frog legs coated in a crispy batter served over a green mole of tomatillos, sesame seeds and serrano chilies with a frisee salad. I was not particularly fond of the batter but once I got through it and indulged into the frog leg, I must say, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it tastes just like chicken.

    Huatape de Hongos:

    The locally foraged wild mushroom is served with a green chileatole consisting of epazote, sorrel, and jalapeno. This was surprisingly a favorite of my boyfriend (who attended the menu preview with me). This is a delicious vegetarian choice (or any choice for that matter).

    Pescado Veracruz:

    Now this was one of the more popular items of the night. The wild-sourced snapper was tender and juicy in a Veracruz-style sauce that consisted of tomato confit, caramelized pear onion, garlic, capers, and olives. Another favorite of mine other than the Puerco en Chile Morita.

    Mole de Olla con Rebo de Res:

    This was my third favorite dish of the night. The locally sourced braised oxtail is succulently tender and complemented by a vegetable stew served with pickled vegetables. The tang from the pickled veggies was an excellent choice to balance the braised meat.

    But that’s not the end of the Day of the Dead menu specials! Oyamel’s Beverage Manager, Jasmine Chae, is responsible for specialty cocktail drinks that complement El Santo’s movies featuring El Luchador, a clean-tasting organic tequila made by David Ravandi. El Luchador itself was inspired by the famous masked wrestlers of Mexico so it only makes sense that they are also the official sponsor of this event.

     El Santo Contra los Zombies or Santo vs. the Zombies:
    Inspired by the movie Santo vs. the Zombies, the Zombie cocktail rounds up El Luchador Organic Tequila, 123 Organic Tequila Blanco, 123 Organic Tequila Añejo, D’Aristi, orange liqueur, orange, lemon, and pomegranate in a nice large cocktail glass. For those who appreciate the sweetness of fruits without compromising its cocktail kick, this Zombie is for you.

    Santo en Atacan las brujas or The Witches Attack:

    Inspired from Santo’s role in the film The Witches Attack, this simple yet refreshingly delicious cocktail was my favorite choice of poison for the night. The Witches Attack consists of El Luchador Blanco Organic Tequila, grapefruit-lavender mint syrup, and soda. It’s dangerously good; you have been warned.

    Now that you have a sneak peak at what is to be offered at Oyamel’s Day of the Dead Celebration Event, you can purchase your tickets at: nvite.co/oyameldotd. (Editor’s note: This link did not work for me, so I’ll followup for the correct one.)

    The event will be held at Oyamel (401 7th Street NW, Washington D.C.) on Monday, October 20, 2014 from 6pm to 9:30pm and tickets are $60. Specials remaining will be available from October 20th to November 2nd.


    -EHY (Elina)

    Oyamel on Urbanspoon

  • 16Jul
    Frozen Fattoush, last year’s Top Tomato contest winner. (Deb Lindsey/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

    Frozen Fattoush, last year’s Top Tomato contest winner. (Deb Lindsey/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

    Thanks Contest Cook for info on this one.

    “Enter your best original recipes tomatoes in the Washington Post’s Top Tomato 2014 contest. You’re only allowed 13 ingredients, and salt and pepper do count in this contest! If you plan to enter a recipe for soups or sauces, or for a tomato sandwich, make sure it’s very special. Open to amateur cooks only. You do not have to live in the Washington area.

    Prizes: The best recipes will appear in the Washington Post’s special tomato issue on August 20, 2014. More prize details haven’t been released, but last year the top 3 winners received prizes in the $50-$100 range.”




  • 12Jun

    Please vote for my two recipes in the “V Culinary Challenge.” Mine are the Vidalia Onion Cobbler and Vidalia Onions & Colby Jack Fried Empanadas. Both of these recipes came out delicious, so I entered two dishes. You need to “like” the Vidalia page in order to vote for anything. Then select “Vote Now,” scroll down, and vote for both of them. Thanks!

    The recipes are below: Read the rest of this entry »

  • 15May

    IMG_2701Guest blogger Maya reports great success with this family recipe – however, she warns that you *really* need to take your time with this, especially taking care to cook slowly and not let things burn. Indian cuisine, she reminds us, requires constant attention and no multi-tasking.

    This is why it’s her recipe, not mine.   ;-)

    The Shrimp:

    • 1 – 1.5 pounds large or extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined.

    The Marinade:

    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground peppercorns
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)

    To make the marinade, place all of the ingredients in a gallon-sized resealable plastic bag. Add the shrimp, toss to coat, and refrigerate.

    The Sauce:

    • 1 cup water
    • 1/4 cup canola oil (don’t use olive oil – flavor is too strong)
    • 24 curry leaves, roughly torn (optional)
    • 4 dried red chiles
    • 1 teaspoon ground peppercorns
    • A 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
    • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
    • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
    • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    • 2 cups canned chopped tomatoes (OR 4 chopped salad tomatoes)
    • 1 teaspoon Sambhaar powder, or 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
    • 1 can of full fat coconut milk
    • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro


    Set 1/2 cup of water next to the stovetop. Heat the oil with the curry leaves (if using) and chiles in a medium pot over medium-high heat until the curry leaves start to sizzle, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the ground peppercorns and cook for 1 minute longer. Stir in the ginger, onion, and salt and cook, stirring often, until the onion is browned, about 8 minutes, sprinkling with water and stirring whenever the onion and ginger begin to stick to the bottom of the pot.

    Add the garlic, coriander, and turmeric and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the tomatoes to the pot. Cook, stirring and scraping the browned bits up from the sides and bottom of the pot, for 1 minute. Increase the heat to medium high and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often. [if using fresh chopped tomatoes instead of canned, will take a bit longer than 5 minutes to cook it down. Use really high heat and stir often, adding 1/2 cup water if it gets too dry.]

    Stir in the Sambhaar and cook for 1 minute, and then pour in the coconut milk. Bring to a boil and add the shrimp and any accumulated juices. Bring to a simmer and cook until the shrimp are curled and opaque, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and enjoy!


    - MAW

  • 21Nov
    Justin Swain knows Gluten-free Baking!

    Justin Swain Knows Gluten-free Baking!

    At twenty-six years old, Philadelphia native, Justin Swain, has already achieved a lot.  He lived the exciting life of a bike messenger for five years. Then growing fed up with the unpredictable nature of the job, he decided to follow his dreams and attend culinary school. He ended up graduating valedictorian of his class and becoming the executive chef of a top restaurant in Philly. Now a year after taking over the reins at Rex 1516, a Southern-inspired restaurant with a modern day twist, and Justin Swain has definitely made a lasting impression.

    What distinguishes Justin even more is his empathy and consideration for people with dietary restrictions. Justin began preparing gluten-free food for his girlfriend’s father who has celiac disease. He was concerned about the blandness of most gluten-free foods and began experimenting to improve the flavors. When he took over the restaurant, he soon became aware of the increasing number of gluten-free requests and decided to implement some of his new creations as a specialty gluten-free menu at Rex 1516. He now offers gluten-free rolls, baguettes, delicious desserts as well as a full selection of gluten-free appetizers and entrees.

    Unfortunately for us here in the DC area we are not able to enjoy his cooking first-hand. But luckily for us, Justin has graciously released the recipe for his newest gluten-free Thanksgiving creation. So we have the pleasure of enjoying his delicious pumpkin pie in the comforts of our own home. Best part of all, it’s an easy recipe to prepare and doesn’t even need to be baked, giving you one less thing to worry about in the midst of your holiday preparations this year. Enjoy everyone and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

    Gluten-free Pumpkin Pie!

    Gluten-free Pumpkin Pie!

    No Bake Pumpkin Pie (Gluten Free)

    Pie Crust

    2 1/4 cup ground raw hazelnuts

    3/4 cup cocoa powder

    1/2 cup coconut oil

    9 dates, stoned

    – Place hazelnuts and cocoa powder in a large bowl and mix well, breaking up any lumps.

    – Add coconut oil to powder mixture and mix well.

    – Place dates in a small bowl and mash with a fork.

    – Add dates to dough-like mixture and combine well with hands.

    – Place crust into 9-inch round pie pan.

    – Place crust in refrigerator while making filling.


    1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

    5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

    1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

    1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

    1 teaspoon molasses

    2 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

    1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

    -Beat cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer until smooth and creamy.  Both fats should be well softened to ensure the filling is lump free.

    -Add the powdered sugar to the mixture and beat until smooth and fluffy.

    -Add the vanilla extract, molasses, pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin puree and beat until thoroughly combined.  If you find that your filling is lumpy, pass it through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl.

    -Spoon the filling into the pie shell.  Let pie chill in the fridge overnight.  (very important that it chills overnight or it won’t setup)

    -JPM (Joyana)

    Rex 1516 on Urbanspoon

  • 21Oct

    photo 1Enchiladas are one of my top 5 most craved meals. If I go to a Mexican restaurant, I inevitably find my way to the enchilada section of the menu and usually get a combo of beef and cheese enchiladas, always with red sauce. I also make them at home frequently. I love their melted cheesiness, the soft corn tortillas filled with beef, the flavorful red sauce… from a can! Other than beans and tomatoes, I’m not big on canned food.

    So, the other day, as much as I’ll happily, and without shame, admit to photo 2loving the canned sauce, I began to wonder… “How do they make that?!” So I started to google. I am by no means an authority on authentic Mexican food, but my taste buds don’t lie to me very often. Do you know how many “authentic Mexican enchilada sauces” used tomatoes as their base? dozens! Even I know that’s not how it’s made. I knew the sauce was based on dried chiles, but that’s about all I knew.

    photo 3So I researched (obsessively) and found two recipes that sounded very authentic, and had no tomatoes or flour on their ingredient lists. One was based on a recipe from Rick Bayless’ cookbook, and if you’ve never heard of him, he’s like the ultimate rock star chef when it comes to authentic Mexican cuisine. Another was from mexicoinmykitchen.com. I took my favorite elements from both and combined them with a few other things I learned on my googling adventure, and came up with this. It was so fun and satisfying to create something from scratch that I have loved for so long! And it was really inexpensive and easy. The best part was that my house smelled like a Mexican restaurant, which I took as a sign I was doing something right! Here’s how I did it.

    Mild Red Enchilada Sauce


    • 8 dried ancho chiles (also called California chiles)
    • 3 whole garlic cloves
    • 1 tbs salt
    • 1 tbs sugar
    • 2 tsp black pepper
    • 2 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 tbs cumin seeds (or ground cumin)
    • tiny pinch of ground clove (traditional, but optional)
    • 2 tbs white vinegar
    • 2 cups chicken broth
    • 2 cups soaking liquid
    • 3 tbs vegetable oil

    To Prepare:

    Preheat oven to 400. Set a tea kettle or small pot of water to boil. Prepare chile peppers by tearing or snipping of stems and shaking out as many seeds as you can. Place peppers on baking sheet and toast in preheated oven for 5 minutes. Place peppers in a large heat proof container and pour over boiling water to cover. Let them steep for 1-2 hours. The water will become a deep red color and the peppers will become very soft.

    Place peppers, two cups of soaking liquid, garlic and spices in a blender and puree until completely smooth. Heat oil in saucepan and add the pureed mixture, vinegar, and chicken stock and cook over medium-high heat until the sauce reduces and slightly thickens.

    Use in your favorite enchilada recipe and enjoy!

    Note: For a vegetarian version of this, either use vegetable stock, or just use 4 cups total of the soaking liquid and omit the stock all together.

    -ALH (Ani)

  • 16Oct

    Goat StewI’m furloughed. That means I’ve had time to explore recipes that take way longer than my usual 30-minutes-and-done dinner routine, and also to use ingredients I don’t really have any idea how to address. I saw bags of trigo mote verde (peeled green wheat) at the Latin grocery I’d been meaning to check out for some time, and bought it on a whim. When I saw the goat tidbits were on sale, an idea began to form. When I started to ponder what to cook, I noticed that the goat was not … the highest quality … and was going to need major work to taste good. I’m not one to waste food if I can avoid it, so I decided that some spice-fu should do the trick.

    So, inspired by the Spanish labeling on the wheat, I decided to take a Latin direction (heavily informed by my own Caribbean leanings with respect to goat). I started with sofrito:

    • 1 large yellow onion, diced
    • 2 yellow bell peppers, diced
    • 1 head of garlic
    • 2 habanero (scotch bonnet) peppers, finely diced
    • 1 tsp dried cilantro
    • 1 tsp dried basil
    • 1 tbs sesame oil
    • 2 14.5oz cans of diced tomatoes, one drained

    And added the other ingredients along the way:

    • 2 pounds goat meat (boneless, chopped into 1 inch cubes)
    • 1 bag of trigo mote verde (peeled green wheat)
    • About 5 tsp fresh grated ginger
    • A handful of allspice berries
    • 1 tsp each cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • 4 cups water
    • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
    • 1 pound okra (washed, but NOT CUT*)

    I browned the goat briefly in a large dutch oven, then set it aside.

    Next, I added all the sofrito ingredients except the tomato, and tossed over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until fragrant. Then I added the tomatoes and re-added the goat.

    Once well mixed, I added 3 cups water, trigo mote verde, allspice, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and salt, and brought it all to a boil. Once boiling, I reduced the heat to simmer and covered the pot, leaving open to let some steam escape. Stirring occasionally, and sometimes tasting to adjust flavor, I let that cook about 30 minutes.

    At this point I added the ginger, vinegar (I didn’t want to cook away all that sharpness), and a bit more water, and re-covered for another 15 minutes or so. At that point, things were looking close to done, so I added the okra and did some final salt/pepper adjustments.

    Another 10-15 minutes saw the okra where I wanted them, nice and al dente as a textural contrast, so I turned off the heat and served my stew. Delicious, with the heat and spice and vinegar pushing the very earthy goat into a lovely flavor profile, and the long cooking keeping it nice and tender.

    This recipe makes what I’d call about 10 servings, so I’ve been taking fun ways to use the leftovers too. My favorite so far: wrapped, dolma-style, in collard greens blanched in lemon juice. Enjoy!!

      – MAW


    * Oxygen is what makes okra get all slimy. If you don’t cut it before cooking, the texture is much nicer.

  • 09Oct

    Being furloughed and not really having much in particular to do (but needing to save money!), I’ve been experimenting with African cuisine, particularly soups and stews, and even more particularly rekindling my love of (a) couscous and (b) fufu.

    What follows is my favorite concoction so far, a hybrid recipe using ideas from a few places – mostly from The African Food Joint, Serious Eats, and Leslie Cerier. Being me I couldn’t be bothered to follow any of the recipes exactly, but the result was sufficiently delicious (if not all that authentic), to make it very worth sharing.

    Vegetable StewI used:

    •  2 cups cherry tomatoes
    • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
    • 1 Scotch bonnet Pepper, seeded and minced
    • 1 large Yam (the purple kind with white flesh), cubed
    • ½ cup raisins
    • 1 can Garbanzo Beans
    • 4 cups kale, chopped
    • 6 small garlic cloves, finely diced
    • 1 Cinnamon stick
    • 1 tablespoon Sesame oil
    • 4 cups Chicken Stock
    • Salt, pepper, cayenne to taste

    What I did:

    •  In a large pot (I used an aluminum stock pot), add the tomatoes, onion, 3 cloves of garlic, and Scotch bonnet and toss with the oil over high heat, just until it starts to get fragrant.
    •  Add 1 cup of stock and bring to a boil for about 2 minutes, then blend using your hand blender.
    •  Add your remaining stock and bring back to a boil, adding your yams and cinnamon stick. Boil on high heat for about 5 minutes. Now lower heat to simmer, cover the pot, and leave for about 15 minutes.
    •  Next, add your chickpeas, up the heat to medium, and taste/adjust heat level using cayenne. Stir in your kale and remaining garlic, cooking a few minutes till the kale is done.
    •  Season with salt, black pepper, and more cayenne if needed.

    The first night I made this, I made fufu as described in the African Food Joint recipe, except I made quenelles out of it which I then fried in butter, because I just got back from France, but it goes well with the more traditional fufu, and couscous too. If I were going to adjust this recipe next time, I’d again call out to my French culinary habits and add in some cream in the second step (the blending), and maybe use a second Scotch bonnet as opposed to extra cayenne. That said, I’m going to happily keep eating this batch till it’s gone!

     – MAW

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