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)

Friday, April 29, 2005

DC Dining - The Reef (Adams Morgan)

On the rare occasion that I am off from work during the week, or get home earlier than usual, I like to meet Biscuit Boy in DC for dinner, happy hour or whatever. Even though we've been married nearly 6 years, we still like to go out on 'dates' with each other. (Here's where you're supposed to say Awwwww.....).

Earlier this week, I called in sick to work. I didn't sleep worth a hoot the night before and really just wanted to stay home and nap all day. I knew I wouldn't be worth a lick at work and they'd be better off without me. Trust me on this one.......I knew I would be worthless when I picked up the milk container from the fridge and promptly let it drop straight on the floor. The cap popped off and the milk shot straight out of the container, all over my legs and the floor. This was followed by me almost dropping my (full) coffee cup in much the same fashion.

After a nice long nap I felt much better and Biscuit Boy asked me if I wanted to meet him downtown after he got off work. A date? Why yes.....a date! We mulled over several places that had good Happy hour deals and decided on The Reef in the Adams Morgan section of DC. The thing we like so much about the Reef is the fish tanks in the main bar/dining area. Big salt water fish tanks, each with a different assortment of tropical fish are perched between each of the booths as well as one big tank in the middle of the room. There's something so relaxing and cool about sitting there while you eat and watching the fish.

When we got there, a co-worker of Biscuit Boy was there with a friend so we joined them on the roof deck. It was a beautiful evening. Clear skies, light breeze. We enjoyed a few beers during Happy Hour while we enjoyed the view from above of Adams Morgan. Biscuit Boy had a couple of Allagash Whites and I had draft cider and the Belgian Sunrise (Allagash White layered on top of Kasteel St.Louis Framboise).

Since it was still nice out, we decided to have dinner on the roof rather than head down stairs to eat among the fish tanks. Normally you wouldn't think of a bar as having really good food, but The Reef will change your mind. The food is excellent and reasonably priced. And on Wednesday nights, all bottles of wine are half price with an entree. Since I was getting red meat and Biscuit Boy was getting fish, we compromised and got a blush wine. It was very tasty. For entrees, Biscuit Boy's coworker got the Fried Tofu with Spicy Greens & Ponzu Sauce. Very yummy. Her friend and I each got the Bison burger topped with provolone cheese, bacon and bar-b-que sauce - served with pomme frites. Really good. Biscuit Boy got probably the best halibut we've ever eaten. It was served on top of rice and bean sprouts and topped with a red curry sauce. I don't think any of us left a scrap on our plates. I totally forgot that I brought the camera with me because we were enjoying ourselves so much. Otherwise I would have had some great pics to post here. I guess we'll just have to go back.

After dinner, it started to get a bit chilly so we all headed downstairs into the bar/dining area. We found a nice corner of the bar and claimed it as ours. We sat there for a little over an hour and enjoyed a couple of after dinner beers. I tried the Framboise. It was nice and sweet and perfect for after dinner.

We reluctantly had to leave about 9:30 so we could get home to walk Biscuit Pup. The trek from The Reef to our house in VA is about an hour using the Metro. Driving would be quicker but parking is a Bitch and a half in that area of Adams Morgan. So in our slightly buzzed stupor, we headed home. Biscuit Pup was glad to see us and greeted us royally. A nice way to end a great night out.


Thursday, April 28, 2005

Pea Shoots with Velvet Shrimp

We bought some snow pea shoots this weekend. Finding a recipe proved to be a challenge. After searching my cookbook collection, I looked in the Internet and found this recipe at "Pea Shoots with Velvet Shrimp." It looked pretty simple so I gave it a shot.

The only thing I would change next time I make it would be to cut the pea shoots into smaller lengths. I left them 'as is' but found them to be hard to mix in with the shrimp. Otherwise it was quite a tasty meal. Very mellow flavor, the seasonings all melded together nicely so that no one in particular jumped out at you. The flavor of the pea shoots and the shrimp shined through.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Infrared photos

Biscuit Boy got a new camera, and with it comes the usual giddiness of havin
g a new toy. While this picture wasn't taken with the new camera, the idea of infrared photography stemmed from it. Using our digital camera and several step rings, Biscuit Boy attached an infrared filter to the camera and began experimenting. Biscuit Pup, who hates the camera, has been freaking out and hiding in my lap.

The pictures were taken last night while I was cooking dinner. The one on top may appear as just an ordinary black and white photo. But wait! Look at the teddy bear cookie jar on the right hand side of the picture. He's not all light shades as he appears, he's wearing a bright red sweater. Then look at the picture below it (He took that one without the infrared filter). Pretty cool, huh?

There's no telling what kind of food pictures you will see on here from now on as Biscuit Boy fine tunes his skills. It's going to be an interesting adventure.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Szechuan Sunday Dinner

Last night we were torn between going out to eat or staying in, we opted to stay in. It was cold and dreary out all day and neither one of us wanted to venture out. Neither one of us had any idea what to fix for dinner either. Maybe something simple? But what did we have on hand? Looking through the fridge and freezer, we found some frozen chicken breasts and some nice zucchini. Ok, good start but now what to do with it.

Out came the Land of Plenty Cookbook by Fucshia Dunlop. I flipped it open to the index and found one recipe for Zucchini Slivers with Garlic (chao nan gua si). A fairly simple recipe. Slice and sliver the zucchini, salt it to draw out some of the water, then stir fry some garlic in a little oil, toss in the zucchini. Voila! You're done. Biscuit Boy added a shake or two of hot pepper flakes to add a little kick to it.

The chicken proved to be a little more challenging. Not to cook...rather which recipe to try. After reading several aloud to Biscuit Boy, we settled on this one: Chicken Slices in Sichuan Pepper and Sesame Oil Sauce (jiao ma ji pian). This one takes cooked, cooled chicken sliced that is covered with a sauce. The sauce is sichuan pepper corns soaked in hot water and drained. They are mixed with sliced green onion and a little salt then processed into a paste. Mix that with a little soy sauce and some sesame oil and pour over the chicken. Yum!

Add a little rice and we had ourselves dinner in less than 30 minutes. Biscuit pup (a.k.a. carbo-hound) got a little rice but really wanted some of the chicken. Sorry little dog, too spicy for ya. (next time I'll put some aside before I add the peppers just for you).

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Friday, April 22, 2005

The (finger)Tip of the Iceberg

Well, well, seems that police have arrested the woman who said she found a piece of a finger in her Wendy's Chili. An article on has more of the developing details. Who wants to make a wager on where that finger came from? Here are your choices:

A. The dead Aunt,

B. The Aunt that recently died, or

C. Who the hell cares, it just down right creepy!

It will be very interesting to see how this unfolds. Wendy's should be suing her for all the bad publicity this has caused them. I've never been a fan of Wendy's chili ever since I worked there while in college but geez.......

So place your bets.....and stay tuned.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Gnocchi with Shrimp and Asparagus

After the big beef dinner the other night, I wanted seafood. And salad.

I took care of the salad craving at lunch. Mom and I stopped at Macaroni Grill after we spent the morning shopping. We each had a Caesar salad and split a little Pizza Margherita. But I still wanted fish or seafood and I still needed to plan dinner. I saw a trip to the fish market in my near future.

I stopped by the fish market after I took mom to the airport (she flew in on Saturday to spend a few days with us). I strolled past the cases of whole fish and filets. They looked good but I felt lazy and didn't want to fuss with fish bones. Hmm... what about scallops? They looked big and plump. But no, what caught my eye was some shrimp. Nice little shrimp (40 count). I got a pound of the little buggers and drove home.

Ok, so I have shrimp. But how can we fix it? Earlier today, I picked up some gnocchi at Trader Joe's. Shrimp and gnocchi sounded ok but not all that exciting. I called Biscuit Boy at work to let him know I got shrimp. After a few minutes of negotiation, we struck upon a plan for dinner. Gnocchi with shrimp and asparagus. I felt a little bit of drool in the corner of my mouth. Dinner would be good, very good.

While I peeled and deveined shrimp, Biscuit Boy sauteed some garlic on a little olive oil. Once the oil was nicely scented, he removed the garlic and took the skillet off the heat. Meanwhile he steamed about 8 stalks of asparagus, cooled them slightly, sliced them into 1 inch pieces and set them aside. Next up was the gnocchi. They were boiled for 2 minutes, drained and set aside. He reheated the garlic infused olive oil, tossed in the shrimp and cooked them until just done. Then he tossed in the asparagus, gnocchi and a few shakes of red pepper flakes. Finally he tossed in some grated Parmesan cheese, gave it all a quick toss and spooned it into a serving bowl.

Did I mention that I thought dinner would be very good? Well, I was was amazing! Even Biscuit Pup liked it. She got hold of a shrimp that jumped ship as Biscuit Boy was spooning it into the serving bowl. She then sat glued to my side all during dinner giving me that 'I haven't eaten in days' look. By the time dinner was over, she had another shrimp and a gnocchi. She's a very happy little doggie.....and we're pretty content ourselves.

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Sunday, April 17, 2005

By a nose

Biscuit Boy got a new camera. He took this one of Biscuit Pup and I just had to put it on here. I think it's sooooo cute!


Love me Tender

Mom's in town and we promised her an asparagus dinner. Our original intent was to go out to one of the restaurants in town with Spargelgest menus. But that all changed when Biscuit Boy took mom to the Asian market. As they were surveying the delectable variety of fresh veggies, they spied it...... fresh plump asparagus. It was just sitting there....whispering to them "Take me home". So they did. And they took a second bundle just for good measure.

Biscuit Boy also found a gem in the meat case.....Hanging Tenders. This cut of meat is also called the Onglet, Butcher's Tender or Butler's Tender. Cook's Thesaurus had this to say about this cut of beef:
hanger steak = hanging tender = butcher's steak = butcher's tenderloin = onglet Notes: This is the part of the diaphragm that hangs between the last rib and the loin. It's often ground in hamburger (or butchers just take it home), but some people claim that its grainy texture and intense flavor make it a first-rate steak (if marinated first). It's better known in France than in the United States, so you'll probably have to ask your butcher to set one aside for you.

And at $1.99/lb it was a steal. He picked out three of them. Tonight we will eat at home........

When he got home Biscuit Boy trimmed up all three tenders and put two in the freezer. We saved two small pieces that were too marbled for us but perfect for Biscuit Pup. She's one lucky little dog.......

We were pretty lucky too. Our dinner was wonderful. Biscuit Boy tossed the trimmed asparagus with some olive oil then spread them out on a cookie sheet. Then he sprinkled them with some kosher salt and black and white sesame seeds and broiled them until just tender. We cut some small new red potatoes in half, tossed them with olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary. They were roasted in the oven. And the meat was was lightly salted, placed in our trusty Lodge cast iron grill pan, seared on all sides and popped in the oven until the internal temperature reached 140. After we let it rest for about 10 minutes, it was sliced and piled on our plates with the asparagus and potatoes. A nice red wine completed the meal. Mom and I couldn't finish even though it was sooooo good.

For dessert we had a cup of coffee and some Tiramisu gelato from Trader Joe's. Tomorrow we will repent for our indulgence but tonight we just want to sit here and rub our bellies.

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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Pork Tenderloin Dinner

I found these lovely pork tenderloins on sale last weekend at the grocery store, threw 'em in my cart and contemplated what to do with them. I found my inspiration a few days later at Trader Joe's. As I was walking through the store I found a tube of polenta. Ok, that sounds nummy but what else? Then I spied prosciutto. Hmmmm .... what if I wrapped a few slices it around the tenderloin after I had seasoned it. I guess I still had prosciutto on my mind from the latest Paper Chef contest and it really sounded good so into the cart it went with the polenta.

I took out my mortar and pestle and ground together some dried rosemary (that I had recently dried myself), a couple of cloves of garlic, salt and pepper. Once it was mixed together, I dumped it on top of the tenderloins and added a little olive oil and tossed things around so the meat was coated. Then I wrapped a few pieces of the prosciutto around each tenderloin and popped it in a 375 degree oven (uncovered). I don't remember how long it took to cook because I used a meat thermometer. I have one that has a probe that you can stick into the meat with a coil that gets attached to a timer. You can set timer to go off after a certain amount of time or when the meat reaches a certain temperature. I absolutely love it and it's never done us wrong.

But back to dinner. While the meat was cooking, I washed and sliced 8 ounces of mushrooms in half. Melted a little butter in a skillet and sauteed some garlic for about 3 minutes, added the mushrooms and cooked about 5 minutes longer, stirring the mushrooms around as needed. Then I added about 1 cup of beef stock, 1 tsp. of balsamic vinegar and 2 tsp. of sugar. I brought it to a boil then turned it down to simmer, partially covered it and let the liquid cook down to about half of what it was. When the meat was done, I took it out of the oven
and let it rest. While it was resting, I sliced some polenta, seasoned it with a little salt and pepper, and cooked it in a little olive oil just til it was heated through.

It was pretty tasty but next time I would do a few things differently. I would use low sodium beef stock as the mushrooms were a bit salty. And I would make fresh polenta rather than use the pre-made stuff I got at Trader Joe's. The meat was fine just the way it was. In fact, we're having leftovers tonight. Yummmm. The picture below shows the plated meal before we dug in.

And on another note, my mom is coming to visit this weekend. Last minute cheap flight sorta deal. Biscuit Boy and I talked about where we could take her out to eat and he came up with a brilliant idea. My mom absolutely loves asparagus and right now it's in season and a few restaurants in town are having special Sparglefest menus (aka asparagus fest). Mom rarely gets to eat asparagus because my dad really hates it so whenever she visits this time of year, we load her up with enough to last her a while. Hopefully I'll remember to bring the camera to dinner and take some pics of the meal and write about all the yummy details. Stay tuned.......

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Finger Pointing

Looks like Wendy’s may be off the hook for the finger-chili incident. Several news stories have come out saying that police are investigating the woman who claims she found the severed finger in her bowl of chili last month. It seems she’s got a history of filing lawsuits against restaurants.

So the question is, if the finger didn’t come from someone involved in any product used to make the chili, then where did it come from? A story on
CNN said “Ken Bono, a family friend who lives at the home, said officers searched freezers, a picnic cooler in the back yard and the belongings of an aunt who used to live at the house. San Jose police dismissed rumors that the finger might have belonged to Ayala's late aunt.” EEWWWWW!

Neighbors were overheard saying that her aunt always had good taste. (Just kidding)

But seriously, what kind of demented person could conceivably think up such a plot!? And this woman has children. What kind of example does she make? A bad one, a really sick and twisted bad one.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Can we all say "Moo"? Dinner at Ray's the Steaks

Last night we met some friends of ours for dinner at Ray's the Steaks. This has to be the best steak I have eaten, ever. We first went to Ray's last May for a friend's birthday and have been hooked since. The owner/chef, Michael Landrum ages and butchers the beef himself. He offers the usual rib eyes, sirloins and filets as well as some cuts like hanger steaks, flat irons, and entrecote. And for those who aren't beef eaters he offers three fish entree's: Salmon (blackened, Cajun or just plain grilled), Cajun shrimp or scallops.

So let's take a trip through a meal at Ray's. After you are seated, someone will come by and give you a menu and a wine list (a five page, small font wine list). A small dish of pan roasted Cajun spiced cashews arrive as your water glass is being filled. After you drink order is taken, a small plate of the most delicious rosemary and thyme bread comes out. It's almost like a foccacia only a little bit thicker and denser.
Then your dinner order is taken. Time to sit back, catch up with good friends and sip some wine.

Then the
pièce de résistance arrives accompanied by little square cast iron dishes filled with creamed spinach and creamy mashed potatoes. We usually order a side order of sauteed mushrooms too. The table usually gets really quiet about this point. A waiter or host comes around and refills your wine glass as you grunt your thanks, words take too much effort when you're elbow deep in a plate of food this good.

Last night, Biscuit Boy and I split a Caesar salad and decided to do something a little different. He ordered a steak and I got the scallops. When they arrived, we shared and created our own version of surf 'n' turf. Now you may think why would I order scallops when I've raved so much about the beef. Well, I'll tell you......
These were scallops to die for. Seven big plump sea scallops, pan fried with Cajun spices to the precise point of being just done. Soft, rich and absolutely delicious. Biscuit Boy got the Blue Devil, a 14 ounce sirloin cooked with chipotle diablo sauce and served with blue cheese, grilled onions and sauteed garlic. The picture above has some of the steak, grilled onions, a few scallops and a bit of the mashed potatoes and spinach. We were so excited about our food, we almost forgot to take a picture of it. The picture at the end of the post is a close up of the steak and scallops. Try not to drool on your keyboard......

For the more adverturous there is the Cowboy Cut, a whopping 28 ounce, bone-in sirloin. This thing is huge (and comes with it's own cardiologist). We've seen this bad boy being served twice. Once to a t-shirt clad guy who did some serious damage to it and another time to a nice petite woman tuck into one with much gusto.

When you're done, any leftovers are boxed up with some fresh mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. If you have the room, there are a good deal of desserts to choose from like fresh strawberries and cream and key lime pie.

To end your dining pleasure, a small cup of hot cocoa is served during the colder months. It has to be the richest stuff ever. I think the only ingredients are chocolate and cream. And in the warmer months, a little plate of fudge or chocolate is served.

Then it's time to get up and waddle to the car, scratch your belly, moo contentedly and think about when you can go again.

Last year Ray's was named by Zagat's as the best steak place in the DC area. It beat out the likes of Ruth's Chris and Mortons. And for the price, you won't find any place that comes close to it. Dinner with a bottle of wine, an appetizer and two steaks (with the complimentary side dishes) may set you back $100 or less. Yummm....we'll be back.

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Sunday, April 03, 2005

Paper Chef #5

Ok......I find a new blog, Tomatilla! and he is doing something called Paper Chef. Hmmm....sounds interesting. I read the rules and decide to give it a try. It works like this: On the first Friday of the month, four ingredients are chose (by Tomatilla). You have to use these four ingredients (and any others you like) to create a dish, write about it and submit your entry by noon the following Monday. It's then judged and the winner is award the title of "Paper Chef" for the rest of the month. You also get a nifty little icon for your blog.

The ingredients this month are prosciutto, green garlic, sherry vinegar, and goat cheese. I could immediately think of several things I could do with everything but the vinegar. I haven't used vinegar that much so it left me scratching my head for a while. Then it hit something like pickle the green garlic. A little light bulb flickered on in me wee noggin.

When I told Biscuit Boy about it, he started thinking up a recipe of his own. (Don't tell him but I think I like his better than mine). Below are both are entries.

Biscuit Girl's entry:
Proscuitto and Goat Cheese Roll Up Appetizers
Take a stalk of green garlic and dice it. Mix it with half a cup of sherry vinegar and let it soak for 2 hours, then drain.
Mix the soaked garlic with 8 ounces of soft goat cheese. Spread a thin layer of the cheese mixture on a slice of prosciutto and roll up. Repeat with remaining cheese and prosciutto. Arrange rolls on a plate and garnish with freshly minced green garlic. Serve.

Here is Biscuit Boy's entry:
Goat Cheese Dip with Asparagus/Prosciutto Spears
Take 8 ounces of soft goat cheese and place it in a sauce pan with 2 ounces each of sherry vinegar and soy sauce. Melt over low heat. Once melted, set aside and keep warm.
While the cheese is melting, steam asparagus until crisp-tender. Wrap each spear with a slice of prosciutto.
Put the warm goat cheese dip in a small ramekin and set on the center of a serving platter. Arrange the wrapped spears around the ramekin and serve. To eat, dip a spear in the cheese and enjoy.