You Gonna Eat All That?

A fork in one hand, a pen in the other.

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Location: Virginia, United States

(Biscuit Girl)

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Strawberry Pie

Here's the (Revised) recipe. I realized after I posted it that there was some confusion about the amount of strawberries needed.

Take 4 cups of strawberries. After cleaning and capping them, select the prettiest 2 cups worth and set them aside. Place the remaining 2 cups in a saucepan and mash them. Add 3 tbsp. of corn starch and 1 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirrring constantly until thickened, about 3 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

Bake your pie shell and let cool completely. Add the cooled strawberry mixture. Arrange the reserved strawberries, bottoms side facing up, in the filling. Chill and serve with a big ol' dallop of whipped cream.

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Saturday, March 26, 2005

Roast Chicken Dinner

After I got home from work, I got busy in the kitchen. First on the list was to start dessert. I hadn't planned on dessert until we went to Trader Joe's this morning. They had the prettiest strawberries on sale. When you sniffed the package, you could tell they would be good. The smell was sweet and full of fresh strawberry goodness. I put a package in our cart and told Biscuit Boy we'd be having pie for dessert. He was a happy boy.

I started the filling for the pie while the crust baked. Ok, I cheated and bought one of those pre-made pie crust you have to unfold then put back together because it cracks at the fold lines. But hey, I had to work today. Time was of the essence. After the filling was done and cooling on the counter, I capped the strawberries I had set aside. All that was left was to assemble it after the filling cooled.

Next up was the main attraction....Mr. Chicken. I started out by mixing some room temperature butter with some freshly dried rosemary and thyme, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Then I put bits of the mixture under the skin of the chicken and rubbed it all over so that it was well coated. Then I thinly sliced some garlic and placed the slices under the skin as well. A good squeeze of fresh lemon juice across the top of the chicken, tossing the rest of the lemon inside the bird and off to the oven it went.

Once that was done, Biscuit Boy took over and fixed some oven roasted potatoes and stir fried snow peas. He cleaned and halved some new red potatoes, sprinkled them with some kosher sale and olive oil. Then he took the leftover garlic slices from my chicken,minced them and tossed them in with the potatoes. He fixed the snow peas by first sweating a sliced shallot then adding the snow peas and some soy sauce and tossing it all in the skillet until it was done.

Dinner was ready! We opened a bottle of sparkling wine and ate, and ate, and ate. Between the two of us and the dog, there was not much left. Biscuit Pup got a bunch of the little bits of chicken from the carving board and is at this very moment asleep at my feet. That's one content little doggie.

After dinner had settled, we had a little slice of the pie. It was great. The filling was sweet but not too sweet and gave that little umph to the strawberries. We wanted more but were so full. Hmmm wonder how strawberry pie tastes for breakfast?

Oh my....Biscuit Boy just walked out of the kitchen with the last remaining piece of chicken left, a piece of thigh. Guess one of us wasn't so full after all. Sorry Biscuit Pup, daddy just ate the chicken I was going to give you tomorrow.

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The Egg Man Cometh...

Every two weeks, we get a visit from the "Egg Man." He's a guy from out in the western part of the state who drives into the Metro area twice a week to sell his wares. As you have probably already guessed, he sells eggs. Fresh eggs, eggs so fresh they were under a chickens butt just days before. He also sells fresh sausage, bacon, and chicken. During the summer and early fall he also has seasonal items like peaches, tomatoes and apples.

The Egg Man has a long history in this area. His predecessor (Egg Man 1) made the rounds for 40 years before retiring in 1999. There's a great article in the Washington Post archives about him. It's dated June 25, 1999. Just days after I started working in my present job. I remember one of my first days at work being told about this "Egg Man" and how good his food was. Then lo and behold, he showed up with another man in tow who I learned would be taking his place. And he's been coming faithfully ever since.

He's a stout old guy that looks like he's sampled what he sells quite often (must be a quality control thing). He doesn't speak much except to ask if you want brown or white eggs, hot or mild sausage, whole or cut up chicken, etc. In October he takes orders for fresh Thanksgiving turkeys. Let me tell you, these are some of the best turkeys I have ever eaten. Moist and tasty. I made my first one in 1999. I had never made a whole turkey before and was nervous but the bird didn't let me down. We pigged out and subsequently slept like a rock that night.

Egg Man was here two days ago so I bought a dozen brown eggs, a pound of bacon and a whole chicken. I plan on cooking the chicken tonight and will post about it later (with pictures). Now to put on my recipe hat and think about how I will roast Mr. Chicken.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Adventures in Korean dining

After eating at home all week, we decided to go out for dinner tonight. We couldn't decide where to go until we both got home from work. Biscuit Boy finally decided for us, we would go to A&J's. I mentioned them in my last post. It's the nummy Chinese place where we can feast on the cheap. So we pointed the car westward and off we went.

While we were driving we remembered this little Korean place that was just before A&J's. We've been curious about it for the longest time but never tried it. We talked about trying it several times but always decided to wait til another time. Tonight was that time.

There is no English on the outside of the building except for "24 hours." Ok.....we knew it was a Korean restaurant that was open 24 hours a day, interest was piqued. A little searching on the Internet yielded a little tidbit of information. Tyler Cowen, a local economics professor at George Mason University is a true foodie. He's compiled an extensive list of restaurants in the DC Metro area organized by country. You can check it out here: Tyler Cowen's Ethnic Dining Guide. He's usually spot on and we've discovered several places thanks to the list.

But anyway, back to the restaurant. It's called
Sun-dal Chung. It's very small with only 11 (maybe 12) tables in the place. The limited menu was printed on the paper placemats. far so good. The menu options were written in Korean (of course) with an English translation that didn't quite match the common names we were familiar with. Thankfully we figured out what the items were when the waitress came by for our orders. In fact, I think it earned us a few Korean brownie points when we ordered using the familiar names. I ordered the duk mandoo guk, a beef dumpling and rice cake soup. It comes with strips of egg, green onion and seaweed floating on top of it. Biscuit Boy got the Seolleong-tang (so-long-tonge), a soup made from stewed beef bones served with sliced beef and thin noodles. And as with most Korean restaurants an assortment of panchan arrived at the table as well. There was kimchi, mung bean sprouts seasoned with garlic, shredded fish cake with sesame oil, sliced pickled eggplant and little squares of fried tofu.

Everything was very good. The soups came out blistering hot so we nibbled on the panchan while they cooled a little. The kimchi was fairly spicy but could have been kicked up a notch or two, the bean sprouts were nice and crunchy with a garlicky tang. The fish cake was my favorite. Thin strips tossed with green onion, sesame oil and some other unidentified spices. The fried tofu was nice, little squares with (I think) a touch of soy sauce and green onions. My least favorite was the eggplant. It had a funky taste. I left those for Biscuit Boy.

Our soups were excellent. Mine (the Duk mandoo guk) had a nice light beef bone based broth, about 6 dumplings, rice cakes, shredded egg, green onion and seaweed. It came in an enormous bowl. I did well to get 2/3 of it eaten. The
Seolleong-tang had a rich beef bone broth, lots of slices of beef and a little nest of noodles lying below the surface. After Biscuit Boy seasoned it with salt and pepper he dumped in a little bowl of rice, stirred it up and tucked in. He came up for air after a few minutes and pronounced the soup to be good. We watched as other things came out of the kitchen for nearby tables, made a few mental notes and said we'd have to come back soon. And I'll bring the camera.

Our tab was barely over $17. Good eats done cheap.

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Friday, March 18, 2005

Comfort food, Chinese style

It's been a long week. Biscuit Boy and I were torn between going out to eat or just staying in. The temptation of having someone else fix our dinner was only outweighed by the thought of having to actually get in the car, drive somewhere, eat, then drive home. That would take more effort than either of us wanted to expend.

I knew we had the fixin's for a great big bowl of Mapo Tofu. Ahhhh, Chinese comfort food. I also had what I needed to try out a new dish, pressed bean curd with cilantro and peanuts in hot sauce. We get this appetizer everytime we eat at a place called A & J's. It's probably the best bargain in town. Biscuit Boy and I can feast there and not spend more than $20. Our usual fare consists of the pressed bean curd dish I just mentioned, cucumbers with a hot garlic sauce, a big bowl of spicy beef noodle soup, an order of pan fried dumplings and a scallion pancake.

I have been trying to perfect a recipe for the scallion pancake and I think I am pretty close to the ones we get at A&J's. Now I wanted to tackle the bean curd dish.

I bought a small pack of extra firm bean curd and shredded it onto a plate. Then sprinkled it with some peanuts and pieces of cilantro. That much was easy. Trying to replicate the spicy sauce will take a few more tries. Tonight I tried a little chili oil, sesame oil and soy sauce. It was ok but I think I can do better. It will mean some more in depth research at A&J's to do it. Darn, how will I break the news to Biscuit Boy?

But at least my first attempt was edible. There was nary a crumb left on the plate, just a little puddle of sauce......and Biscuit Boy - chopsticks in hand - thinking about picking up the plate and licking it clean. Not a problem for me.....I was tempted to lick the Mapo Tofu bowl. Fair trade, if you ask me.

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Monday, March 14, 2005

My first link!

I'm excited, I've got a link to my blog on Sharp Cookie! How cool, my very first link!! If you haven't seen this blog yet, please do, it's really good. She does an amazing job with her photos and descriptions. Makes ya hungry just looking at them.

I have some other blogs that I read faithfully. I'd love it if they read mine and added it to their links. Some of the other blogs I really enjoy are Kitchen Monkey, I'm Cookin' Here, Word to Eat by, At our Table and LovesCool. They all write in such a way, that you really enjoy it and want to keep coming back for more. And they have great photos. I mean, come on, you can't have a great food blog if you don't include pictures!

Of course there are others I like to read often as well. They're all listed over on the left side of the page. Check 'em out. I think you'll like 'em.

Oh, how could I forget this one!? I also found 1000 Recipes. Have you seen or heard about this one? It's a project that involves sending out journals to people all over the world who sign up at the blog's site. You get the journal for two weeks and have six pages all to yourself to add recipes. Then the book goes to the next person on the list. He currently has 18 journals in the works. I'm in #17. I haven't gotten it yet but am anxiously awaiting it. I have my recipe list pared down to about 6 things I want to include. My award winning White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake and Raspberry Brownies. They won first and second place, respectively in a local Festival years ago when I still lived in Tennessee. I also might add my mom's Swedish meatball recipe as well as a few others that I won't reveal just yet. (I gotta leave some mystery here, haha).

Well Biscuit Pup is asking for attention, so I need to wrap things up here. Be sure to read some of the other blogs I linked to here, you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Eat at Joe's

We went to Joe's Noodle House with a few of our friends for dinner last night. It's a Chinese place in Rockville, MD about 45 minutes from our house. And it's well worth the drive. The owner (who is not named Joe) will guide you through the menu if you are new to the place. She'll warn you if a dish is spicy and offer to tame it down a bit if you like. We did this on one of our first visits when we ordered the Fish Fillet over Szechuan Vegetables. She warned us, "Do you want it full strength?" Biscuit Boy said no but she still toned it down a touch. Although ever since, we've taken everything full strength. I have to admit, the first time I ate it I couldn't eat much, it was so spicy! But since then I have eaten enough spicy food that I can take the heat pretty well. My taste buds must be properly cauterized by now.

Not everything at Joe's is spicy but some of our favorite dishes there do have a considerable amount of heat as well as the numbing szechuan peppercorns. Besides the Fish Fillet dish, we usually enjoy items like the Mapo Tofu, Szechuan Beef Jerky, and the Wontons with Red Hot Sauce. On the milder side, I love the Fish with Pine Nuts and the Salty & Crispy Squid......YUM!

Even though it's a very authentic place, we still haven't mustered up the courage to try the more exotic dishes like duck tongue or duck feet. It's only a matter of time (or one too many beers).

Last night's dinner consisted of the Salty & Crispy Squid, Szechuan Beef Jerky and the Wontons in Red Hot sauce. Our entree's were the Mapo Tofu, Fish Fillet over Szechaun Vegetables, String Beans Szechaun style and Chicken & Shrimp w/Crispy Lettuce.

Conversation around the table was lively and fun until the food arrived. Then it got quiet real quick. A few "mmm's" were uttered but that was it for at least the first few minutes. Then everyone finally looked up from their plates happy and content. Bowls of food were passed around, beer was swigged to cool the heat and chopsticks were in constant motion.

We all agreed that the friends that decided not to go really missed a good time. The food was excellent. We all had a great time.

After dinner we all got a fortune cookie. Yes, I know I said the place was authentic, but they also give out fortune cookies after your meal. My fortune read: "A pleasant surprise is waiting for you."
Ooooo, I can't wait!

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Tuesday, March 01, 2005

A No Snow......

The snow storm was a bust. I"m not surprised, a little disappointed maybe. The snow was supposed to start in the wee hours of the morning. At 6 a.m. I got up and looked snow......not even a flake. Dang.

The weather forecast was still calling for some accumulation but nothing near the panic inducing amount from the night before. It started to snow lightly when I took the Biscuit Pup out for a quick pee before I left for work at 9. Within an hour it was starting to really come down but it was only sticking to the grass and was very pretty to look at.

By evening it was switching from sleet and freezing rain then back to snow. When all was said and done, we got about 5 inches on the ground and about 1/2" in the streets.

Where is spring?