Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wine on the Roof - Rain and Success!

So it rained... but all 30 people on the roof fit under the awning and seemingly had a fantastic time.

We had just enough food... which everyone praised (and made my night in doing so), the 30 some-odd bottles of wine flowed freely and the birthday girl left smiling and tipsy. My much anticipated guest ... the ex ... the one who I recently and briefly believed could still be THE love attended and spent most of the evening talking to a girl he somehow knew because DC is a very small town. And finally after 3 years of being broken up - it didn't bother me.

This party mixed the old with the new ... and the old and the new. The ex has finally become a friend and will stay that... a friend has possibly become the new but I'm in no hurry to get there for once. The old tried and true friends mingled with the new friends from work and then their friends after that... we are finally maturing and stepping out of our safe friend zones to meet the new and realizing that no, it doesn't make us total douchebags to be social (just sorta yuppies).

The wine guy came about an hour and a half late because clearly he has never traveled to DC before in his 5+ years of running tastings in the DC Metro area ... but the bright side of that was that we all got drunk before he arrived. The wines we tasted were nothing special - but that could also be because we had all killed our pallets before his arrival. People purchased wine.. people made fun of wine guy ... people were reprimanded by wine guy... all sorts of amusements.

The food was a hit (yay for my ability to adapt/improve recipes from foodandwine.come and The highlights were the Scallop Ceviche and the two pizzas (Recipes below the photos). While the menu was not exactly complimentary (ceviche before an array of italian dishes?) somehow it worked very nicely with the wines. Annah and I, the two fabulously dressed hostesses, delivered easy to hold and eat delights as the wine guy described (sometimes in painful detail) each wine.

The party was an overall success... people left tipsy and smiling and complimenting us on a job well done. My party style is more relaxed and prepared ... less drunk and more focused on guests ... less anxious to get somewhere and happier to pause, look around and enjoy. Swirl that wine baby.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Wine on the Roof

Tonight I am throwing a yuppy wine tasting party on my roof. One of my new girlfriends and I have been planning this for quite some time and today is finally the day. To our surprise and slightly crazed shock almost everyone we invited plans to attend. We are over capacity for both the "wine guy" who is coming to teach us all about five lovely wines he has picked as well as for my building's roof policies.

Party planning happens to be one of my favorite things to do. I am a natural born event planner in my professional and personal lives. I am one of those people who thrive on the stress of a 50% chance of rain on game day (as we are dealing with today.....). In college we had a perfect party house so we threw numerous swanky (and not so swanky) evening soirées. My party style has, naturally, evolved from kegs and pretzels to cocktails and 4 course carefully planned menus... from drunk sorority girl to ... drunk yuppy 20-something. At least now the food is better.

More after it doesn't rain and the party is a fantastic success....

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

New Toy

I broke down yesterday and bought a Cuisinart Immersion Blender - ignoring the little voice in my head yelling save! save! save! Its not that these fun tools are particularly expensive... its that I already own a Cuisinart Mini Prep (small food processor), a hand held dual head egg beater thing, AND a normal run of the mill blender. I could make soup for an army brigade.

My first project with the new blender was to make a light tomato sauce. It turned out pretty well considering I made it in about 30 minutes. I threw it all together and ran to the gym for an hour and a half or so... unfortunately when i got back the pasta has soaked up too much of the sauce ... loosing the nice soupy texture .. but it was still quite delicious.

I took my favorite le crusette pot and heated olive oil. I added two cloves of garlic and a good hefty pinch of red pepper flakes and cooked them over moderately high heat until my kitchen smelled amazing. Then i added diced shallots and cook those down until soft. At some point in here i decided to add balsamic vinegar to get it a bit more rich. And then came the tomatoes. I added 3 large diced locally grown heirloom tomatoes that i got from my fresh produce delivery service (

I let all of this cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Once the tomatoes break down and become mushy you can puree the mix with the blender... I waited a bit longer and added fresh oregano and dried basil (oregano seems to grow well indoors - basil, sadly, does not) and salt and pepper. After some tastes, some sugar proved necessary as well. I tried to puree the sauce right in the le crusette but there wasn't enough sauce to fully immerse the blender and i now have tomato sauce all over the walls.

Once it was all blended I cooked it a little bit longer. I should have served it immediately with a little fresh parm but the gym got in the way ... also, an obvious tip that somehow evaded me: store the sauce separate from the noodles. My leftovers today were too dry!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mom's Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

September has been a brutal month. No dates and barely enough time for any fun cooking projects or lavish meals. Such is the end of a quarter for a political fundraiser.

Naturally, I have managed to developed a cold and a minor stress related disorder. What better to soothe the nerves and enjoy my bundled up couch time than to make up a pot of my favorite meal - my mothers' spaghetti and meat sauce. This is a rich, simple meat marinara dish that is hearty and comforting. I pull out my le creusette pot about once a month and make a huge batch.

It took me until I entered college to realize my mom made hers with a spice packet from McCormicks - a minorly depressing realization. I use fresh and/or dried herbs that I regulate in my version of this meal. Mom also makes hers much more saucy than i normally choose to, although I vary mine depending on the noodle I am pairing it with. Sometimes mine is pretty close to chili!
  • 1 large onion (I vary the type i use and the cut of the onion. I think my favorite is a very small dice on a yellon onion)
  • 1 green pepper (finely diced)
  • Mushrooms, about two large handfuls- optional. I typically use your typical run of the mill mushrooms and chop them up coursely.
  • 1-2 cloves garlic - pressed or finely chopped
  • 1 pound (or a little less depending on your preference for chunky-ness) ground sirloin. I try to find the 90% lean/10%fat one as its a little richer. (my mom uses Ground Chuck or Ground Round, but i can't bring myself to use it ... i must say her sauce is a lot richer than mine and i'm pretty sure this is the reason)
  • 1 and 1/2 can tomato sauce
  • Aprox 1/2 to 1 cup heavy red wine (zinfindel or cabernet)
  • 1 tbs butter
  • Red chili flakes if you want a little heat
  • Fresh or dried Basil, Oregano and Bay Leaf
  • Fresh Parsley - chopped for taste and garnish
  • 1 package spaghetti noodles (or other substantial noodles of your choice. Note that this sauce needs something more substantial than capellini or angel hair)
I use a le crusette pot because i like to simmer the sauce for a good long time and the cast iron heats it thoroughly. Really any large sauce pan will work though.

  1. Cook Pasta - reserve a little of the pasta water. Cook ground sirloin on medium-high heat, constantly stirring and separating so you get nice crumbles. Cook until you don't see anymore pink meat and immediately take off the stove. Remove meat from pot and set aside.
  2. In the same pot (keep drippings) add butter and melt. Add pressed garlic and cook, stirring, for a minute. Add chopped onions and green peppers and cook over moderately high heat until the peppers start to look a little opaque. About 7 minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms and cook down until they have released their juices and look pretty thoroughly cooked. About 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add in red wine and stir so the vegies are saturated. Return meat to the pot.
  5. Stir in tomato sauce. Add more red wine or some of the pasta water if you would like a more saucy sauce. Add the bay leaf.
  6. Season with basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for just about as long as you want it. the longer it cooks the richer it will be. My suggestion is an hour. Stir frequently.
Serve with fresh parmesan and chopped parsley.

Mmmmm comfort food.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Black Salt

Labor day came around very quickly this year. I am not really prepared for September's political onslaught - although thrilled for the emergence of fall. Since I know September will be a brutal month, I try to have a relaxing sun and food filled Labor Day weekend.

One of my girlfriends from college escaped New York and returned to visit those of us who never left. This friend grew up in northern-ish Jersey and always dreamed of moving to The City (for me "the city" means San Francisco and i somewhat resent that everyone on the east coast has conceded that NYC is the end all be all of cities. Whenever i visit the city the girls take me out to nice restaurants that they claim I will love because (flip wrist in that faux disdain sort of way) I live in DC where there couldn't possibly be restaurants that can rival those in the city. So when the girls return to DC it is the perfect excuse for me to take them out to a splurge restaurant and remind them the district can absolutely rival the city.

Black Salt has been on my list for years now. It moved into the neighborhood I lived in during college but it was quite out of my price range at the time. An employer of mine a few years ago suggested that we go for Restaurant Week (since she employed me and clearly knew I couldn't afford it on my meager salary) but getting a reservation on a normal Saturday was hard enough let alone get a RW res (and this year they did not participate). I'm pretty sure the only reason I could get a good reservation was because it was empty in DC during the holiday weekend ... so thank you all for leaving (even if you were defecting to the city)!

The city girl was blown away. We originally planned to have the three course tasting menu and a bottle of wine.... The price for the tasting menus is about $10 more than the website reports, but still a great deal. As we perused through the menu, we ended up deciding to order al la carte. (Click here for dinner menu... it changes all the time)

I choose a relatively inexpensive ($37) bottle
of Pino Noir from Burgundy from their fairly varied list which was delightful... especially after a glass of champagne. We shared the Thai Muscles and the Heirloom Tomato Salad. These two dishes didn't actually go together so well but both were incredible. Three tomatoes, red, yellow and orange, were incredibly fresh and sweet. I really couldn't resist in-season tomatoes even if they were not seafood oriented. The Thai Muscles came next. Quite spicy... try to add a shallot to each bite of meat. I choose the Bouillabaisse and I (heart) NYC ordered the Bangkok Seafood Stew. Her meal was assorted seafood in a coconut thai style broth over udon style noodles. It matched the Thai Muscles perfectly. My dish, the Bouillabaisse, needed a bit more seasoning but everything was cooked to perfection... the scallops being the absolute highlight.

Desert could have easily sent me over the edge. After the meal, there was very little reason to continue eating except that we spied a neighboring table devouring a creme brulee dish which I had to have. It was a trio of creme brulee ... Chocolate hazelnut with a piece of chocolate on top, coffee with a truffle and this hardened sugar contraption ... and vanilla-mandarin orange topped with a fresh mandarin orange. I have started to salivate and get hungry just thinking about this desert ... and its 10am two days later. Definitely save room for desert.

In short... suck it NYC... I've eaten better here in my city than I do in the city. **

** With the exception of Cafe Habana in Soho ... best cojhita and chipolte grilled corn in the world.

Monday, August 27, 2007

What normal everyday thing do you most equate with sex?

Last weekend (or was it the weekend before?) I drove up to NYC with two of my guy friends. The topic during the entire four hour up and seven (yes SEVEN) hour drive back was sex. Favorites, dislikes, bests, toys, fantasies, lists etc etc etc. We promised that "what was said in the car stays in the car" so that every last detail could be explained. I'm only going to share one - i think - inconsequential tidbit. One of the questions was: "what normal everyday thing do you most equate with sex?" Two of us immediately said food (the third said sports, but he also "doesn't enjoy eating" so i think he has bigger issues).

It is becoming more clear why I put a lot of emphasis on the dinner date. My date's choices surrounding the initial dinner(s) is not a make or break situation but very telling. Choice of restaurant is obvious ... but choice of drink, main course, how he goes about discussing and ordering shared appetizers, discourse with the wait staff (huge) and another obvious, dealing with the check work just as well as any personality test.

I'm not positive how I got on this tangent because my initial point was to talk about two dates I've had recently where I cooked dinner. I guess the same general concepts apply.... behavior towards host/chef, gratitude.... tip ;-). I didn't realize it was possible to be utterly frustrated with the male race after one date and a giddy bliss-filled girl anxious to hear from the new (or in this case old) crush after the next. I doubt it had much to do with my choice of dishes because i think they were both pretty successful, but one has to wonder.

Date number 1 was last Wednesday with the same boy who scored top points for taking me to Indebleu the week before. I made Tarragon Chicken Fricassee over orzo and a simple salad. I took the recipe from (although I decreased the amount of heavy cream to about 2/3 cup) so I will simply link to it, but it is very easy and very yummy. He seemed to be relatively pleased with the dinner but I think he was more interested in pounding wine (and encouraging me to do the same) so as to more generously tip me. This did not go over so well and I probably will not be dining with him again.

Date number 2 did not actually begin as a date. My ex - the love of my life ex - came to town to visit and was lamenting how he never has time to cook anymore. One of our favorite things to do together way back when was to cook. We experimented and ruined perfectly good dishes and enjoyed every second of it. Separate for almost three years now, we have both continued cooking in our respective worlds and become much more versatile, adventurous and successful. So we decided to cook and Lamb Chops with a Mint Pesto sauce over angel hair pasta. As he is an almost-doctor (otherwise known as a medical student) and on-call our cooking party turned into me cooking for him and trying to get food on the table at about the time he arrived (10pm). I felt quite a bit like when we were living together and he was a first year med-student with even less time and me looking for work and therefore cooking ALL THE TIME. Ignoring the fact that the deja vu was unsettling and the fact that I've never even attempted to cook lamb before or the fact that i normally ruin any non-basil pesto .... i set to work. .... and had a perfect evening which could have taken place three years ago.

I kept it simple with the lamb chops and seasoned them (8 chops) with salt and pepper. I started them on a grill pan searing each side for a couple of minutes and then put the whole pan in the oven at about 400 for 10 minutes or a little less. I tried to use the instant read thermometer to make sure I was cooking them thoroughly but it was reading much less hot than it was supposed to be. The chops were threatening to be massively overcooked so i took them out despite the thermometer being 20 degrees lower than it should have been. They were perfect ... so don't trust the lil' gadgets. For the pesto I threw in about 2/3 of a cup of mint, 1/3 cup flat leaf parsley, a small handful of pine nuts, two cloves of garlic (use one for a date....), parmesan cheese, lemon zest, salt and olive oil. I had to tweak it quite a bit to be happy with it and i still contend it was too salty. I opened a bottle of Cabernet Franc that i was saving from a Virginia winery called Pearmund Cellars to remind him of our old adventures in wine tasting. The bottle didn't quite compare to the french bottle he brought over, but i like to think it jogged some good .... great memories. The dinner was great, i was an impressive impromptu chef (yah) and we fell back into a perfectly comfortable "us" evening and maybe even rekindled what sadly fell apart three years ago.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Good with the Bad

I suppose I should report on the unfortunate experiments with cooking as well as my successes.... The other night I attempted to make a portobello, red pepper and squash pizza. The recipe that inspired this only called for portobello, red pepper, shredded mozzarella and parm but I had a lot of extra stuff in my fridge that needed to be used... so improvisation occurred.

I used whole foods pre-made pizza dough.... which is absolutely not better than Boboli. The packaging and recipes will tell you to lightly sprinkle olive oil on the dough ... i used a marinade brush and thought i was going light... but it was way too much once i also added the oily sautéed veggies.

I decided to add tomato slices as a base to the whole pizza which turned out to be a good idea. I removed the seeds to avoid making the dough too soggy however i should have also salted the tomatoes first and let them drain a little. Then i topped the tomatoes with the sautéed veggie mix... the squash actually being a great addition to the initial recipe. I also used one red chili pepper and one red bell pepper. This didn't seem to affect the taste at all unfortunately. i was hoping for a bit more of a kick or at least that nice fresh taste the chilies give.

For the veggies i used way too much olive oil to sauté and then
was probably a bit overzealous in adding the toppings to the pizza itself. The mozzarella and parmesan melted well and through some of the veggies which was a nice surprise. I think if i ever make anything similar again i will also add in a stronger cheese like fontina as well. This pizza also... naturally... needs more garlic, basil and oregano as well.

I am off to cook dinner for my third date with the new prospect.... the same one who took me to Indebleu. It better be a yummy dinner i guess!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Great Date Spot - Indebleu

Being single, it turns out, has some great advantages. The quality of restaurant that a date will take you to is far superior to the restaurants a long-term boyfriend will spring for on a random Thursday (or even on say ... a random four year anniversary).

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of dining at Indebleu. The French-Indian fusion restaurant lived up to its distinguished reputation. I expected the decor to be a lot more mysterious but the main dining area was par for the course with safe artwork and mellow tones. I think there are some more intimate tables in the back area but i didn't see those. The upstairs bar was really beautiful. There is a bench seat right next to the big window that looks out onto the Chinatown/Verizon Center area. Its a nice little people watching perch. No idea what wine i had but the house sauv blanc at the bar was yummy.

Then onto dinner.... Indebleu extended their restaurant week menu for the entire month (check to make sure). The entire menu is available, although if you were choosing the RW prices you could only order small plates under $11 and entrees under $26. These limitations didn't affect my ideal choices too much luckily ... although on my next visit i would like to try the scallops and the tuna & salmon.

We shared two small plates - the Wild Mushroom Dosa and the Curried Mussels. Dosa is a lentil crepe essentially. The mix of mushrooms was satisfying but i was left wishing it was a tiny bit more rich or exotic. The mussels were fantastic. Very spicy, especially if you dipped the meat into the broth, with a sweet aioli sauce draped beautifully over the shells. I find that mussels are a great date food. They provide a little humor since nobody can ever seem to eat them without flinging something across the table but they aren't too messy or tough to talk between bites. Anyways, they are a nice choice.

For the entrees Mr. Date choose the Pork Loin. This isn't my favorite meal ... even more so because he ordered it medium (big mistake... order it medium rare or rare! Medium was way too chewy). The pineapple slaw that accompanied the meat was incredibly interesting. Almost like a palette cleansing sorbet but not desert.

I choose the Yellow Fin Tuna and am still ecstatic about my choice. The tuna was seared and sliced to about a half inch thickness and presented on top of a roasted corn and avocado salad. I hated finishing this dish and made the runner come back two times before I would relinquish my plate. I would suggest this to anyone who enjoys seared tuna and/or light summer corn salads. Together they are paradise and a wonderful beginning to a great date. If food can be likened to sex, this dish was incredible foreplay.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Brasserie Beck

Restaurant week for me has never been that exciting. I have either had a job where there was no humanly possible way i could sneak out for an hour and a half or a boyfriend who thought the concept was ridiculous. Normally i will do one dinner with the boy of that year and be mildly satisfied.

This year, my whole office got really into it. We spend a good deal of time talking about food in here ... trading recipes and planning group dinners and the such. One of the girls even has a spreadsheet ... So this year we got a tip four months ago about the Restaurant Week dates for August. We work in the political world so August is paradise. We must have
each made 6 reservations for various lunch/dinner combinations.

In reality as a group we just went to one lunch together at Brassiere Beck. We made the reservation four months ago before the RW list was actually posted and nobody checked if Beck was actually on the list... so to our surprise upon arrival, they are not participating. We are told by our waitress that "none of Robert Weidmaier's restaurants participate in discount restaurant week affairs." No wonder its not packed with interns! Our waitress continued to be sooty throughout the meal ... prompting us to ask her to explain just about every dish on the menu ;-). I should say that the rest of the staff were delightful.

We stayed of course and everyone left perfectly satisfied, impressed and full. I choose the Duck Congolese Almondine, Paul had the Potato Leek Soup and the Avocado, Shrimp, Hearts of Palm and Maria Rose Sauce salad, Roshan had the Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Confit of Cabbage and Mustard Sauce and Kellyn choose the Roasted Rabbit in Kriek Beer.

I had the Duck Congolese Almondine cooked medium rare and it was perfection. It was displayed on a bed of Israeli couscous with a sweet almond cranberry type sauce that was definitely not overwhelming. I loved the mix of crunchy almond slivers and the couscous with a little of the tender duck on top. Very rarely in my life have I wanted to lick a plate clean ... but the waiter literally had to wait for me to sup up the last bits of sauce with my bread (which was also fantastic.. it was light and flavorful and served very hot).

I sampled the other dishes... the pork tenderloin can only be described as melts in your mouth wonderful. This was my first experience with Rabbit so I can't compare this particular presentation but it was very tender and flavorful. I didn't love the salad but that was just because I didn't love the sauce... it had a bit too much mayo for my pallet but the presentation was beautiful ... like ceviche.

It was lunch during a work week so we did not sample the beer (a monumental mistake), but the list was overwhelmingly impressive and i would like to wander back for a happy hour at the bar to sample a few along with a few small plates.

Brassiere Beck
1101 K Street, NW
WDC 20005
202-408-1717 or for reservations.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Light Mexican Feast

During the summer I crave Mexican beer. Pacifico, Dos Equis, even Corona if i must. Mexican beer is so incredibly refreshing in a way that only Coors Light can beat, but also surprisingly flavorful in a way that Coors light absolutely is not.

However, Mexican food during the hot hot summer weeks is not appealing. Melted cheese and heavy beans and over-marinated meat is a major turnoff when DC is this humid.

This week i came up with a light Mexican meal that was ridiculously easy and quick to throw together. i got home from work at 6:30, did a quick shopping trip (2 blocks to whole foods) and had the full meal on the table for 5 people by 8:30pm. And we had cold refreshing Pacifico!

Here is the menu:
Black Bean Soup with Avocado Salsa - Serve in bright colored bowls
Spicy Corn Salad
Chicken in a Creamy Tomatillo Sauce - i served both the corn salad and the chicken on a white plate arranged with lime slices and cilantro for garnish.

The Recipes... Most of these are adapted from Food and

Black Bean Soup with Avocado Salsa
* 6 cups drained and rinsed canned black beans (three 19-ounce cans)
* 3 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
* 2 tablespoons cooking oil
* 1 onion, chopped
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 1/2 cup dry sherry
* fresh-ground black pepper
* 2 avocados cut into 1/2-inch dice
* 1/4 cup chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley ... cilantro is better in my opinion
* 6 radishes, halved and sliced thin ... or use red bell peppers or red chili peppers, seeded
* 2 tablespoons lime juice

1. Combine 3 cups of the beans and 1 cup of chicken broth in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
2. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat, add the sherry, and boil until reduced to approximately 1/4 cup, about 3 minutes.
3. Add the bean puree, 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper, and the remaining 2 cups of chicken broth and 3 cups of beans. Boil soup until it has reduced to a consistency that you like. I prefer a relatively thick soup so i let it boil down for at least 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the avocados, cilantro, radishes, lime juice, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Mix gently. Spoon the soup into bowls and top with the salsa.

Chipotle-Corn Salad

• 5 ears of corn (a bag of frozen whole corn)
• 1/2 medium Vidalia or Walla Walla onion, thickly sliced crosswise
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• a bit less than 1/4 cup sour cream
• 2-4 tablespoons fresh lime juice depending on tastes
• 2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, seeded and finely chopped
• 1 scallion, thinly sliced
• Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the corn and onion slices with the olive oil and grill over moderately high heat until charred in spots but still slightly crisp, about 7 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut the kernels from the cobs and coarsely chop the onion. If using frozen corn cook them in a separate pan from the corn.
2. In a medium bowl, mix the sour cream with the lime juice, chopped chipotle chilies and sliced scallion and stir in the charred corn and onions. Season the corn salad with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Chicken in a Creamy Tomatillo Sauce

Tomatillo is one of my favorite things to cook with. It seems unusual until you taste it and realize you've been eating it at Mexican restaurants for years. I love that its light and sooo versatile.
* 3/4 pound fresh tomatillos--husked, rinsed and quartered
* 1/2 cup beer, such as a pale lager
* 2 medium canned chipotle chilies, stemmed and seeded - keep seeds if you want it to have a kick.
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for brushing
* Four 6-inch corn tortillas
* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (1 1/2 pounds)
* Freshly ground pepper
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1/4 cup heavy cream - i didn't try this but i bet you could substitute sour cream
* 1/4 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded (1 cup)

1. Preheat the oven to 200°. In a food processor, puree the tomatillos with the beer, chipotles, garlic, vinegar, sugar, oregano, 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon of salt.
2. Heat a medium skillet. Brush both sides of the tortillas with vegetable oil and cook over moderate heat, 1 at a time, turning once, until crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.
3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden brown on both sides and just cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
4. Melt the butter in the large skillet. Add the tomatillo sauce and heavy cream and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Lay a tortilla on each plate. Slice the chicken breasts and arrange on the tortillas. Sprinkle with the mozzarella, spoon the sauce on top and serve.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Summer is for sweet corn

We made this last night. It took very very little time and was a perfect side dish (or, considering how much of it i ate ... a meal). Essentially you can add whatever you would like in this ... its a great hodge-podge dish and looks great in simple white bowl because its so colorful.

Orzo Feta and Corn Salad
1 package feta cheese
1 red pepper (substitute long red chili if you want it a little hotter), chopped
1 jalapeno, diced
4 (or more) ears corn, cooked (you can boil the ears to soften the corn, or if you want a more grilled taste, grill them). Remove corn from cob with a sharp knife.
1 small red onion, diced
olive oil

Cook the orzo
Combine all other ingredients in a large bowl and let sit for a while to allow the flavors to mesh.
Add the cooked orzo while hot and serve with salt and pepper to taste.

Michel Richard's Central

I visited Central about a month ago and am still thinking (dreaming) about the Goat Cheese Vinaigrette Salad. It is the sort of thing you go home and try - desperately - to recreate but just can't quite get there. I assumed it would be a heavy ode to goat cheese, but instead i was pleasantly surprised with a light yet incredibly flavorful dressing ... and it STILL somehow tasted like goat cheese.

The entire meal was incredible.. its a must visit. We also saw Mark Warner in shorts at the bar. This is not a restaurant you should visit in shorts ... unless you are a former presidential candidate.