Archive | January, 2012

KitchenAid FTW

24 Jan

I knew when I got my KitchenAid that it would be life-changing. But I didn’t realize quite how amazing it would be.

Using some of my winnings from my office’s fantasy football league (sorry men of NP, you lost to a girl) to buy the KitchenAid pasta attachment. I went back and forth about whether it was worth the $160 investment, but eventually my love for homemade pasta and my dislike of rolling out the dough with a rolling pin won out and I took the plunge.

Last night, I finally got around to using the new attachment–and it was everything I had hoped for and more. Kneading? Ha. Try 1-2 minutes of kneading by hand. Flour all over the kitchen? Not this time!

My grandmother and her sister-in-law used to make egg noodles, and it was tradition for the diner to say to the cook: “Your noodles are SO thin!” Just think how thin they could have got their noodles with a KitchenAid…

Perfectly thin sheets of pasta, perfectly shaped noodles–I’m 100% sold and have found my new favorite kitchen toy! My only concern is that I’m going to start making pasta every day because it’s just so easy now.

It also gave me an excuse to continue my love affair with homemade pesto. For those of you who haven’t made pesto, you are missing out. The homemade stuff is infinitely better than anything you can buy in a jar. Just whip out your food processor, toss in a few simple ingredients, and blend to combine. It’s a 2 minute process and it yields amazing results.

Ingredients:

  • Basil leaves (use a lot; once pureed, your volume will shrink a ton)
  • Garlic cloves (start with one and add as you go; you don’t want it to garlicky)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Pine nuts
  • Olive oil

Once you get comfortable with this basic recipe, you can try adding and substituting ingredients to make your own specialized blends.

Neighborhood Brunching in Cleveland Park

22 Jan

Cleveland Park may not be Dupont or Logan Circle (though I hear it’s the next Eckington), but I absolutely love living up here. The trees, the Giant up the block and the easy street parking are all great. And, though you may not think of us a center of cultural activity–the Cleveland Park and Woodley areas actually have a great restaurant scene.

It may be surprising to those of you who stay further south on the red line, but we have a number of great brunch spots–including Dino, Medium Rare, Steak & Eggs, Open City and my recent favorite Ardeo/Bardeo.

Ardeo/Bardeo’s brunch not only has delicious food, but it also comes at a fabulous price. For $25, you get two courses plus unlimited mimosas. And let me say that the service is excellent – you will never have an empty champagne flute.

Some of the foods I’ve sampled and would recommend for your first course:

  • Crispy Brussels Sprouts, pistachios, apricots, lemon yogurt
  • Granola and greek yogurt, fresh apples and pears
  • Salmon rillettes with everything bagel
  • Butternut squash soup, licorice marshmallow

And for your second course:

  • Bacon and egg risotto with house bacon, parmesan cheese
  • Steak and eggs –barrel cut ribeye and roasted potatoes
  • Shrimp and grits with lobster emulsion, arugula
  • House Benedict–English muffin, Canadian bacon, hollandaise

Next time you’re looking for a weekend brunch and having a hard time making a reservation at some of the 14th Street hot-spots, move your search northwest and take a trip to the lovely Cleveland Park neighborhood. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

For the love of food

10 Jan

I may not have been posting a lot or photographing a lot, but that doesn’t mean I’m not cooking plenty. There have been lots of cooking successes recently, and I figured it would be rude to not share some of those recipes with all of you:

  • Maple mustard glazed chicken (via Cooking Light)
  • Chocolate chip cookie dough brownie bars (via Babble) - Emily and I made these without the Oreos
  • “Paella” (via Cooking Light) - Add artichoke hearts for a bit of tang and texture
  • Pizza dough for a pulled pork pizza (via 101 Cookbooks)
  • Slow cooker hot and sour soup (via A Year of Slow Cooking)
  • Butternut squash soup (via me) - Roast 1 butternut squash & 2 shallots; add chicken stock, curry powder, chili powder, ginger, plain yogurt. Eat and enjoy.

What have you been cooking recently? Any favorite winter recipes worth sharing? I’m making miso udon soup for dinner tonight to help combat the cold weather.

Off to a great start

6 Jan

Despite the 18 degree weather we had to suffer through earlier this week, I am still confident in my estimation that 2012 is going to be a great year. I’m in a relationship with a man I love, I live in a wonderful city filled with amazing and passionate friends, I have the love and support of my family back in California, and am in a great job where I get to work alongside smart and engaging people. That’s not to say that things are always a piece of cake, but I’m a glass half full kind of girl. And 2012 is going to be a good year.

So when I talk about resolutions, they aren’t necessarily things just for 2012–but for life. If we’re not constantly growing, learning, and improving, we are missing out on so many new opportunities.

If for no other reason than to document these for myself and to look back on years from now, here are a few of my New Year/life resolutions:

  • Be a “yes” woman. We’ve all seen the movie, and I don’t want to be as crazy as Jim Carrey’s character, but I’m in my mid-20s and have every reason now to jump at new opportunities and be spontaneous. I want to jump into life every chance I get.
  • Self-teach and learn from others. These past few years, I’ve learned a ton from my job and my friends/family, but not necessarily in a proactive way. I loved school because there was always something new to try and learn, and I want to make sure that I maintain that mindset moving forward. There are so many places online and in the city where you can find new sources for information–and I want to seek those places out. A friend tweeted this link yesterday of 12 dozen places to educate yourself online for free, and I’d love to take advantage of some of those.
  • Be good to myself and others. I’ve done a pretty good job recently of taking care of myself by eating well, drinking lots of water, working out, sleeping plenty of hours and allowing myself to take it easy when my body needs it. These are huge steps, because like many of you, I’ve had a history of putting others ahead of myself. But moving forward, I want to focus on finding a healthy balance that allows me to be the best possible friend/girlfriend/sister/daughter, while also being aware of myself and my needs.

There are so many other things I’d like to accomplish this year and changes I’d like to make to my life, but I think most of them fit into these three resolutions.

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