• 23Aug

    As sometimes happens, I was unable to stop myself. I didn’t need ground meat of any kind – I’m more of a whole-animal-parts guy – but it was there. Ground venison. I had to. The problem being, of course, that there’s no way I’m wasting that in a burger or ragu or whatever that’s going to totally just treat it like any other unidentifiable ground critter.

    Googling around, I came across this recipe for Korean style ground venison that looked like a nice way to get the needed fat and salt into the meat but also let its essential woodsy-ness come though. Also unable to help myself, I made a few adjustments.

    I used:20150817_193728

    1 pound ground venison
    2″ fresh ginger
    4 cloves garlic
    1″ fresh tumeric root plus an extra couple slices for later
    2 squeezes of raw agave nectar
    1/4 c low-sodium soy sauce mixed in 1/4 c water
    About 6 grams of coconut oil (maybe 1/2 tsp?)

    (Other stuff I’ll explain in a second…)

    1/2 a sweet onion
    1 jalapeno (diced)
    1/2 lb shitakes (clean and slice to taste)
    3-4 scallions (just the greens)

    Slice the onion and start it slowly caramelizing.

    Puree the ginger, garlic, and tumeric in a blender (except the extra slices). Brown the meat, add the spice mix, agave, and soy water. When the meat is almost cooked, add the ‘extra’ tumeric, finely diced. When all done, careful not to overcook, remove it to a bowl with a slotted spoon or mesh strainer.

    Now, your onions should be nice and caramelized. Add them, the mushrooms, and the jalapeno. Sautee that until done (just a few minutes), and remove with your slotted spoon to a serving plate. Plate the meat with the mushrooms (I did side-by-side, as you can see), and then jack up the heat under the remaining juices to create a glaze. Pour the glaze over both sides of the dish, and serve, topped with sliced scallion greens.

    It’s also low-carb and gluten-free and all that if you’re neurotic, but I ate the leftover meat with forbidden rice, and it was awesome too.



  • 27Jun

    Being a junkie for greens runs in my family, and my mother’s new garden plot has been churning out prodigious quantities this year – lacinato kale and rainbow chard, particularly. However, one thing that she does that drives me bonkers is that she trims and only eats the leafy bits – she wastes those lovely crunchy stems (ditto with beets, radishes and carrots – she never uses the greens)!! I’ve taken tons home from family dinners to use myself. I usually crisp-fry them or just add to other greens I’m making, but recently stumbled across this fantastic idea over on the Food52 blog – chard stem hummusHelping my mom cook the other night I couldn’t help but secretly smile as I berated her for again ‘wasting’ the lovely chard stems and beet greens (we made a raw chard salad with fresh lemon and crispy onions, roasted beets, and prosciutto-wrapped halibut). I was taking all those lovelies home, and I had plans for them.

    Being me, of course, I couldn’t possibly follow the recipe exactly. I used:20150627_122124

    • 100 grams chopped chard stems
    • 100 grams chopped beet stems
    • 2oz (1/4 cup) tahini
    • 2oz (1/4 cup) olive oil
    • 2 tbs. fresh lime juice
    • 4 cloves garlic

    First, I washed and chopped the stems, and threw them in a pot of about 4 cups boiling water, to which I also added a tablespoon of salt and half cup vinegar (doing this adds a bit of flavor and improves the texture of the greens for blending). While boiling, I smashed and peeled the garlic, and measured everything else into my blender. After 15 minutes, my stems were soft, and I strained them into the blender, adding about a tablespoon of the liquid to pull in more flavor. I blended it until not-exactly-smooth to yield the comedically pink condiment you see at right.

    How’s it taste, you ask? It’s good. Really good.  Can-I-fit-my-whole-head-in-the-blender-to-lick-it-clean? good. And that’s just the ‘base’ version – I’ve played with is a bit, adding sumac, cayenne, cumin, and in one attempt flax seeds, all of which can dramatically change the flavor to fit whatever dish you’re pairing with the hummus.


    – MAW

  • 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)

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