You Gonna Eat All That?

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

My Photo
Location: Virginia, United States

(Biscuit Girl)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Rice Pudding

So I get a call at work on Thursday from my dad to say he found a dirt cheap flight to DC from Knoxville and wanted to fly up. Sure! His favorite thing to do up here is go to Irish pubs with us and drink Smithwick's which he can't get back home. He first tasted Smithwick's on one of his many trips to Ireland so a few years ago when he found out that the DC area would be getting this beloved beer he's been flying up to once or twice a year to see us and get his fill of his favorite Irish beer.

We also take him out for dinner and have found a place he really likes, Ray's the Steaks. And what's not to like about Ray's? I also get to have fun in the kitchen fixing a dish or two of his favorite foods. This time I fixed rice pudding. I found a recipe on the Saveur website. This one took Rice pudding to a new level by taking the cooked pudding and putting it in a baking dish with caramelized sugar in the bottom then baking it. But when I tasted the rice pudding as it cooled, I thought it tasted good enough to stop right there. Maybe next time, I'll go the next step but for now, we'll just enjoy this as it is.

Rice Pudding (adapted from Saveur)
1/8 cup dark rum
3 cups half and half
1/2 cup arborio rice (I used a generous 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup plus 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs, separated

Combine milk, rice, 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until rice absorbs all the liquid (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
(This is where I stopped the recipe)

Pour 1/2 cup sugar into a skillet (shake so the sugar spreads evenly), and place over medium-high heat. Cook, without stirring, until sugar begins to melt, about 2 minutes, then stir with a wooden spoon until golden and just beginning to foam, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully pour into an 8" baking dish. Working quickly, before caramel sets, tilt to coat the bottom and sides of the baking dish.

Preheat the oven to 375. Stir egg yolks and rum into the rice. Beat egg whites until foamy. Slowly add 1/2 tbsp. sugar, beat until soft peaks form and fold into the rice mixture. Transfer to the caramelized pan, set pan in a shallow pan of water and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool slightly in pan, then turn out onto a platter. Serve.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Bebo Trattoria - Revisited

I wanted to get some pictures of the food at Bebo and we had the opportunity to do so tonight. I arrived around 6:30, found a seat at the bar and ordered a glass of wine while I waited for Jim. It was a Merlot but I found it to be thin and not as tasty as ones I've had in the past. I much prefer the Barbera Camanati (?) featured on the wine list.

When Jim arrived, we ordered two items off the bar menu (little plates) and one appetizer from the dinner menu.
First was the Fried Saffron Risotto Balls. Four to an order, these were crunchy on the outside and golden brown. Cut one in half and you find the deep saffron risotto, tender, creamy and rich. Yum. Using the Biscuit Scale (1 to 4 biscuits) this dish was a solid 3 biscuits.

The next little dish was a frittata that I forgot to write down, but I remember it has sweet onions and cheese. It was eggy as a frittata should be with the sweet onions being the second most dominant flavor. It was ok but not a favortite. Biscuit rating: 2.5

The appetizer from the dinner menu was the raw veal dish we thoroughly enjoyed a few nights ago. It's called Carne Cruda all'Albese. And it was a spectacular as it was on Friday night. Paper thin veal covered with mushrooms, parmesan cheese and celery tops. The it has an olive oil and lemon dressing drizzled over it. Delish! Biscuit rating: 4 biscuits

Since the place wasn't so crowded, we decided to stick around and try an entree each.

I got the risotto of the day which was a four cheese risotto. I should have stirred it up before I took a picture of it as the top began to crust over. And when I did stir it up, the flavor wafted up and was outrageous. I dug in right away and loved it. Rich, smooth and just a touch al dente (unlike the crunchy undercooked risotto I got at Restaurant Eve a couple of months ago). Jim kept sneaking forkfuls of it which I was fine with since I knew I couldn't finish it all by myself. In fact, even with his help, I still took about a quarter of it home.......lunch tomorrow! Biscuit rating: 3.5 biscuits.

Jim ordered Linguine con Vongole- a flat spaghetti with a sauce of clams and garlic. What a light refreshing dish! Simple yet tasty. I even ate a clam (which is probably only the second one I've ever eaten). We managed to finish this dish. Biscuit rating: 3.5 biscuits.
To add a little veg to our meal, we ordered the Broccoli Rabe as a side dish.

With no room for dessert, even though they tempted us as we saw many leaving the kitchen, we decided to call it a night.

One word on the service, it's still got a few kinks to work out. First off our bartender was great. He was professional and friendly and when our dinner order took longer than expected he was gracious and apologetic. We didn't mind as we were enjoying our wine and a nice quiet evening. There still seems to be some disconnect between the servers and the kitchen but it was far better than it was on Friday. They're working so hard at getting things right. And the food is just too damn good not to go back.
Before we left, I was able to snap a quick shot into the kitchen and got Roberto Donna in action.

Labels: ,

Monday, October 23, 2006

Tasty, tasty pizza

This is perhaps one of the best pizzas that Jim makes. And it's a good one to have in the mix when we are craving pizza but don't have any pizza sauce in the house. To make this bad boy, Jim first puts an entire head of garlic in some foil with a drizzle of olive oil and wraps it up. Then he roasts it in the oven at 375 for about 45 minutes or until it's nice and soft. This really mellows out the garlic. While that's in the over he thinly slices some sweet onion, then slowly sweats them in a covered skillet until they just begin to brown. Depending on your stove this can take 20-30 minutes.

In the meantime, the garlic has probably cooled enough to all him to squeeze out all the soft cloves into a small bowl. A quick mash of them and they are set aside.

Once the onions and garlic are done, he chops up some thinly sliced prosciutto and begins to stretch out the pizza dough.

On the dough, in place of tomato sauce, he smears out about half of the garlic. Next he puts on the mozzerella cheese. Then it's topped off with some chopped prosciutto and sweet onions and off to the 485 degree oven (on a pizza stone, of course) for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and just beginning to get golden brown.

We us Trader Joe's pizza dough and find it makes two nice sized pizzas. If we're good, we'll eat one with a salad. If we're bad, we eat both and think....."What salad?"


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Did you come here to see me?

At least that's what she appears to be thinking. Never one to shy away from a lap to sit on or from letting someone pet on her, Sophie does not like the camera. So getting a good shot of her looking right at the camera is hard to come by. But when we get one, it's usually as cute as this.

And to see other cutie pies like this, head over to Sweetnicks tonight for this week's edition of Weekend Dog Blogging.

Coming up next: perhaps the best pizza Jim has ever made.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Bebo Trattoria - review

Went to Bebo last night on it's second night open and the crowds were huge! I don't think they expected quite as many folks. And since it was just there second night, I won't say anything about the service except that even when things started to 'get in the weeds' the servers kept a very professional attitude towards the customers even when you knew they were completely stressed out.

Jim and I were seated at the bar and and our bartender, Stephanie, was wonderful. Our seats also provided us a nice view into the kitchen which was kind of cool. You could see Chef Donna and kitchen staff in action.

Now to the food. It was great. The bar menu offers little plates of tasty morsels like fried calamari with an incredible tomato sauce for dipping. We could have just eaten the sauce on it's own and the calamari was so tender it just melted in your mouth.

We also had the fried zucchini. They were cut into little matchstick pieces and very lightly coated then fried just until they became tender. They were nice but could have used a little salt.

Also from the bar menu was a stewed eggplant with a sweet and sour tomato sauce. This dish is served cold and had a wonderful balance of tangy acidity from the tomato with a bite of the sweet and sour. Very nice. Next time I'm going to get some bread to eat with this.

Last from the bar menu was the housemade sausage with green sauce. A little coil of sausage topped with a deep bright green sauce and a taste that left us wanting more.

We got one appetizer from the dinner menu and all I can say is ......oh my god....... Thinly sliced (and I mean thin) of raw veal topped with an olive oil sauce with sliced mushrooms, fresh Parmesan shavings and celery tops. As they say in the south, it was smack your mama good. This was our absolute favorite dish of the night and will ordered again and again and again.

We contemplated whether or not to try another small dish but decided to call it a night. We were pleasantly full. We will defiantly be back to Bebo. Even with the hectic frenzy of the evening, you could tell the place was a keeper and that once things calm down, we just might become regulars if nothing else than for that veal. And we'll bring the camera.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Happy Birthday to me

Today is my birthday.....I'm at the age where I'm considering to start counting backwards. But to compensate for my feeling old, Jim fixed me a wonderful dinner. I had a doctor's appointment this afternoon (just an allergy shot) and stopped by Slavin's and Son's which is within spitting distance from the doctor's office. After looking at several tempting types of fish, I decided to get scallops. I'm a sucker for a good scallop and these looked really good and I knew Jim would do them justice.

And that he did. After he sauteed some shallots and garlic, he added some white wine and capers then let it cook down. Then he tossed in a few bits of saffron to give it that beautiful color. Add in a quick sautee of brussels sprouts and some homemade oven fries and we had dinner. The scallops were so sweet and tender that they just melted in your mouth. Sophie gave me her best hungry look and I gave her a bites of everything. Yes, our dog even ate a brussels sprout. Even she knows good eats when she smells them.

And on Friday, we're going to try to get into Bebo, Chef Roberto Donna's new place in Crystal City. His other place, Galileo is in a building that is under renovation so he's opening Bebo while Galileo is closed. If we get in, I'll definately let you all know how it is.

Labels: ,

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Weekend Dog Blogging

Cate from Sweetnicks in on a much needed vacation this week so Weekend Dog Blogging is being temporarily hosted at Dispensing Happiness this weekend.

This is our Sophie in one of her favorite's lap. Together they were enjoyed watching the University of Tennessee football game. They were especially happy when UT won!


Saturday, October 07, 2006

Corduroy - Wine Dinner

As an early birthday present for moi, we went to a wine dinner Wednesday night at Corduroy. We thoroughly enjoyed it. Three hours of delectable food and great wine pairings left us very full, very satisfied and looking forward to doing it again. The wines were from the Languedoc and Bordeaux regions of France. The Wineries were mostly small production with some as little as 600 cases per year, and some were only three acres in size. But their passion for wine was as big as any of the large producers. Looking back, I should have taken notes about the wines as I don't recall specifically what we liked about each of them....and we did like all of them. During the course of the evening we were told that we could find these wines at Ace Beverage on New Mexico Ace in DC.

Chef Tom Power put together the menu with just about a week's notice but you never would have known. The hors d'oeures course consisted of three items.

First up was a Red Tide Oyster shooter - This bugger was hard to photograph. Nestled in the bottom of a wide brimmed shot glass, the oyster gently floated in a tomato based liquid. I kindly passed on the oyster as it's one of the few things I just don't like. Jim said they were very tasty. I'll take his word on it.

The second hors d'oeuvres was a Rillette of Sardine. I like this one very much and thought it was the best pairing with the wine for that course.

Somehow we never got to try the last hors d'oeuvres, Scallops with Fresh Japanese Wasabi. I saw the other tables try them and they looked great.

The wine that was served with this course was
Chateau de la Negly, La Brisse Marine Blanc, 2004 . A very nice white wine that had just the right amount of acidity to balance the oily texture of the sardine.

Our first course was my favorite. Confit of duck with Frisee and Chantrelle Mushrooms.
(Sorry no picture, we we too busy making yummy noises while eating). One word can describe this dish, exquisite. I like duck but admit it's not my favorite of the fowl family. However, this preparation could change my mind. The meat simply fell off the bone and was juicy and so full of flavor. The skin was very crispy as well as tasty and I don't think that anyone at our table left anything but the bone on their plates. The guest speaker even commented that this was perhaps the best duck confit he has ever eaten and confit at this level would be found in 2 or 3 star Michelin restaurants in France. The wine pairing for this dish was Chateau de la Negly, La Cote Rouge, 2003.

Niman Ranch pork belly with Tarbais Beans and Meaux Mustard Sauce was the second course. I had been curious about this dish since the pork belly appeared on the regular menu at Corduroy a couple of months ago. I've had pork belly one time before at a Chinese restaurant and found it be a decadent and tasty meat. I knew if anyplace could do it justice, it would be Corduroy but I had been hesitant to get the entree sized portion on our last two visits. Tonight's portion was just right. Enough to give you a taste and leaving you wanting more. The pork belly just melted in your mouth. Jim commented that this was not your mother's pork and beans. We enjoyed a glass of Chateau de la Negly, La Falaise Rouge, 2003 with this dish and was probably my favorite of the wines we enjoyed that night.

The third course was Jim's favorite. Braised Beef Cheek with Celeriac. Having had these before at Corduroy, he was really looking forward to trying them again. Tender and rich, this is not something you will see at many restaurants but if you do, get it. Think of a well marbled pot roast crossed with the flavor of sirloin. It has the texture of a pot roast in that it pulls apart easily with a fork and the rich beefy flavor you find with sirloins. It was paired with two wines: Chateau Gree Larogue ,Bordeaux Superior, 2001 and Chateau Valmengaux , Bordeaux Superior, 2003. Jim said he liked the Chateau Gree Larogue the best of all the wines that night.

A selection of cheeses was our final course (or so we thought). Again I wished I had taken notes because 5+ glasses of wine and three hours later, I was getting close to a food induced coma. But it was a perfect way to end the meal.

But there was more.... Out came sorbet. I think it was black cherry but not sure. If I find out for sure, I'll update this post. It was so smooth and creamy and made me make a mental note to consider it for dessert next time we eat at Corduroy.

We waddled out at 10:30, 3 1/2 hours after we began eating....full and very happy.

Labels: ,

Monday, October 02, 2006

Trying to keep up (and not doing such a good job)

I know, I know........I've been really lax lately about posting but I had high hopes to jump right back in after vacation. However, all that changed the second day I was back.

For one thing, I got a sinus infection, yuck. Nasty airplane air does it to me almost everytime I fly. And secondly, I get this phone call from my supervisor in our Administrative office. She tells me that they (Administration) are sending my assistant manager (a.k.a. my right arm) to another library branch for
SIX WEEKS! *gulp* This other library had been very shorthanded manager-wise for months and by sending my assistant manager over, they hope to alleviate the strain on the other managers and also have him help train new staff over there.

In a way, he and I knew this might happen but hoped it wouldn't. But we never thought it would be for this long especially since my branch in the smallest management-wise and by not having him here, it basically cut my Information management staff in half. So for the past two weeks, he and I have been busily going over everything he does and refreshing my memory on how to do some stuff as I'll be doing it by myself for a while.

Then to top it all off, he caught a nasty cold last week so as he starts his six week sentence, I mean temporary assignment at the other library, he is coughing and sneezing and feels blah.
And this is why I haven't been up to snuff with my posts. I really, really miss it but haven't had the energy to do it. But I promise to try.

For example, this Wednesday, we're going to a wine dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Corduroy. It's sort of an early birthday gift from Jim. I plan on bringing the camera and getting some nice pics of the meal. The menu looks like this:

- Scallop with Fresh Japanese Wasabi,
Rilliette of Sardine,
Sunset Beach Oyster Shooter,

Chateau de la Negly La Brisse Marine Blanc 2004

- Confit of Duck with Tarbais Beans,
Chateau de la Negly La Cote Rouge 2003

- Niman Ranch Pork Belly with Meaux Mustard Sauce,
Chateau de la Negly La Falaise Rouge 2003

- Braised Beef Cheek with Celeriac,

Chateau Gree Larogue ,
Bordeaux Superior 2001
Chateau Valmengaux , Bordeaux Superior 2003

- Selection of Cheeses

YUM! So stayed tuned.