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)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Lobster Risotto

I've been neglecting my blog again but I hope this is the last time I do so. I've got all sorts of yummy recipes and pictures just waiting for me to post them. So baby, I'm back! And with style.

Usually when I have a Friday off, Jim and I take advantage of it by planning to meeting in DC for dinner. But yesterday we decided to have a nice dinner at home. I had all day to prepare it so I didn't feel rushed and wanted to do something I normally wouldn't do on a average work night.

A while ago I bought some frozen lobster stock and wanted to use it in the meal somehow. A soup first came to mind but what won out was a risotto made with it rather than the usual chicken stock. And why not make it totally indulgent and add some lobster claws and morel mushrooms? A quick trip to Slavin and Sons for the lobster and I knew somewhere in the pantry I had a bag of dried morels.

But I wanted a veg to go with it. That's when I remembered that I had the mother of all yellow squash in the fridge. Last week the Egg Man* stopped by and tossed this baby in with my order 'just because'. I'd been scratching my head over what to do with the mutant beast and then it came to me......fried it up like a you would a green tomato. A little cornmeal, salt and pepper to coat and a quick fry in the skillet. Yum!
*This is actually a new Egg Man, the former one I wrote about a couple of years ago passed this past November.

Jim came home a few minutes earlier than planned which worked out great as I was in the midst of cooking the risotto and had no free hands to cook the squash. He jumped into action and the meal came together beautifully. I tossed some of the small bits of lobster meat into each serving and placed a whole piece of claw meat on top, plated up the fried yellow squash and put it all on the table. Add a nice bottle of Aria Cava and dinner was ready.
And it was Dee-lish-us! I'll post the recipe for the risotto tomorrow.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

El Pollo Ranchero - review

A few weeks ago I decided to pick up dinner on the way home. I stopped at a Peruvian chicken place called El Pollo Ranchero on Route 1.

The chicken is seasoned heavily on top and under the skin then cooked in an industrial sized rotisserie. The result is an extremely juicy and flavorful chicken. It's served with two side dishes and two types of sauces, a green one that is spicy and a yellow one that I think is mayonnaise based and mild.

Each time we've gotten a chicken we've had enough left over for dinner the next night. And it's a real bargain. $11.95 for the chicken and two side of your choice (fried yucca, salad, coleslaw, refried beans, French fries, or Spanish rice). I got fried yucca for both side dishes since we eat left overs the next night.

They have a pretty good menu of other options such as papusas, yuca con chicharron, fajitas, and several tex-mex offerings. The restaurant is located in an old bank building next to the new Krispy Kreme on Route 1 in Alexandria. And every time I've stopped in the place has been busy. They do a very brisk take out business in addition to eating there.

Check 'em out:
El Pollo Ranchero
6324 Richmond Hwy
Alexandria, VA 22306


Singing the bathroom blues

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I've been too tired or busy (or both) to do much after work besides sleep. I can say that a lot of it is from the broken pipe in the staff restroom that took over 2 months to repair and the beginning of our busiest time of year at work with schools being out. The bathroom is finally back in working order, after they jackhammered up the floor - yes, a library. Not to mention all the dust it created and my office being directly across the hall from the restroom.

Once they repaired the pipe, it took nearly 2 months to get new tile to re-tile the floor. The first tile ordered by our Facilities folks wasn't a perfect match so they decided (once they had laid it all down) to rip it up and start over. OY! So back to ripping up all of the tile, old and new followed by a week long wait for new tile to be installed. Then of course the plumbers had to be called to re-install the sink and toilet. We kept looking on the bright side by making jokes about it. I sent out an update telling everyone we were flushed with anticipation that it would be over soon and how I had a sinking feeling it would be longer than we had hoped.

My staff were real troopers and hung in there til the bitter end. On the day the plumber came to reinstall the fixtures, we all cheered (seriously, we all clapped our hands in delight and cheered!). This amused the plumber no end. He'd never seen such happy customers.

Now we just have to get through the rest of summer and all the extra programs we do for the kids. It's a busy sort of fun, but tiring nonetheless.

I've also found a great way to help get through times like this. Book a cruise! Jim and I did just that last week. And we're going first class.... a mini-suite on a 7 day cruise to the Mexican Riviera in November. Four months and 2 days to go! I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (and it has a poolside deck chair in it).

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Roast Chicken

By Biscuit Boy

Biscuit Girl has been busy with work and home lately, so I'm helping out a little bit. One thing I made a week or so ago was a roast chicken. A friend at work recommended this. This was from Thomas Keller's recipe, roasting at high temperature for about an hour, giving you crispy skin and quick chicken. You can find this recipe on Epicurious. It's really tasty. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. You take a whole chicken, say 2-3 pounds, rinse it off, then dry it thoroughly inside and out. This allows the skin to become extra crispy. Salt the outside of the chicken with about a tablespoon of Kosher salt. Then pepper and put it in the oven for about an hour. Toward the end, it will be sizzling and popping, making a mess in the oven and making you wonder if it will catch on fire. According to my friend who recommended it, it won't.

After about an hour (more or less, depending on the size of the chicken, use a probe thermometer to make sure it's done), pull it out of the oven, sprinkle with about a tablespoon of fresh thyme, and baste with the juices in the pan. Let it rest for 15 minutes, then carve.

Keller recommends serving it with butter and dijon mustard. I can't see needing the butter, it is juicy as it is. But the mustard would be a nice touch. We served it with roast potatoes and stir-fried snow peas. And it was so good that I'm making it again tomorrow night.

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