Monday, June 27, 2011

Healthy Eating, Worldwide

Well guys, we've been busy planning and running around, with not much time for cooking or dining, so in the meantime, I'll leave you with this: 10 food guides from around the world, some weirdly similar to the old food pyramid and the new food "plate," and some, well, just weird.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Dinner tonight: Cucumber Gazpacho

So, I actually made cucumber gazpacho several weeks ago, when it started to get really, DC-style hot here. I thought it would be nice and refreshing. In fact, it was just gross. Really. Epic fail. Granted, this was the first CL all-out fail, so I can't be too upset, but still. I was kind of mad that I wasted my delicious breakfast Greek yogurt on it. It just tasted like super-garlicky yogurt soup. NOT nice and refreshing.

Perhaps, maybe, possibly, this could be saved with double or triple the number of cucumbers (I already one-and-a-halved it and that didn't work) and half the yogurt. And some extra seasoning. Or maybe, perchance, it would have been better if I had actually made the shrimp relish that went along with it. I, for one, am wasting no more of my precious breakfast staple on it to find out.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Rustico: Summer deliciousness

If you only eat one pizza this summer (and really, we all know NO ONE does that), make it Rustico's fried green tomato pizza. Holy weird pizza toppings, it is AMAZING. In fact, it almost, almost makes up for the fact that they took my duck, brie, and cracklin' pizza off the menu. And it is most definitely my new fav pizza. Seriously, it's amazing. Fried green tomatoes that rival the ones at Ris, some sliced squash, bitter greens, and a bit of myer lemon. A little bit of fresh cheese as well, although very minimalist on both the cheese and sauce sides. But seriously, amazing. Rereading this description, it doesn't sound all that great, so you'll really just have to see for yourself. It's particularly good paired with a glass of the Horton Viognier, which, although from Virginia, clean, refreshing, and delicious.
Gogogogogo....just save some for me. :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

La Caraquena

Let me begin by saying that La Caraquena is, essentially, food truck food in a sit-down setting. No veggies really, lots of fried stuff, carbs and meats. That said, it is GLORIOUS AND AMAZING food truck food.

We started with an order of fried yucca, which came paired with a mayo dipping sauce, some pico, and some hot salsa verde. The yucca were perfect--crispy on the outside, not too greasy, really well-seasoned and flavorful. As P said, "if Super Pollo's yucca is a big mac, this is Ray's Hell-burger!"

We next shared two arepas--one we ordered fried with scrambled eggs, onions, tomatoes and bell peppers. The first bite was kind of underwhelming, but after that it was somehow amazing! Moist, fluffy eggs, again well-seasoned, on a crispy, dense corn cake. The other arepa, the was J.P.'s favorite, which we ordered grilled (although honestly, I couldn't tell the difference in the preparation). Holy delicious beef. This was clearly a really cheap cut of meat, but it was so flavorful you almost didn't mind the extra chewing it took. It must have been marinated in garlic for like, a year. You must get this if you go.

Finally, we shared a shredded beef bowl, the one with the fried egg. This beef was much higher quality and had a little actually reminded me of a Venezuelan equivalent of bi bim bop. My only gripe was that the yolk was a little over-cooked (although still a little oozy).

Other surprises: the wines were GREAT! With a very short list and weird, novice-type descriptions, we didn't expect much, but both of our glasses were really phenomenal. Especially at $7 a glass. Also, the owner was there and chatted us up for a bit. Not only was he very friendly, he actually offered to turn down the A/C when he saw I had put a sweater on. Observant and a total doll.

Don't let the motel parking lot scare you. Your bravery will be well-rewarded! (x-posted to

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dinner tonight: Chicken Larb

This week we had chicken larb for dinner. I know it sounds kind of gross, but it was actually pretty good! I used pre-ground turkey breast (this is important--regular ground turkey is just about as fatty and calorie-heavy as beef) in place of the chicken, because the thought of grinding meat in my blender really grossed me out. Other than that, cooked as written, using savoy cabbage like they did in the picture. The prep was REALLY easy when you use pre-ground meat.

We had our larb with cut green beans, from frozen (sometimes...okay, usually...I'm lazy!) and coriander brown rice: toasted 1/3 tsp ground coriander briefly in the bottom of the pot, then added water and salt, prepared as directed and mixed in some cilantro at the end.

Overall, pretty solid meal. The calorie stats are amazing low, and we were both full afterwards. P didn't even need dessert! He wasn't a big fan of the cabbage leaves, though. I had leftovers sans leaves (just put the chicken over the rice), which was easier to eat at work but not nearly as authentic or fun. :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Brgr Shack

Brgr Shack is furnished with Ikea. This actually makes a lot of sense, because it's just like Ikea: the primary things it sells are fine, but not top-notch; the other random accessory stuff is great.

Case in point: the almost-double-fried sweet potato fries were deLISH, and a generous serving for two people to share. The mustard-cranberry-type sauce they offer was really yummy too. It's nice to have the option of white, wheat, or pumpernickel bun. Also, the manager is super-friendly!

The burger themselves, however, are pretty ordinary. I do appreciate the use of grass-fed beef, and they're a nice size (bigger than Good Stuff, small than Rays). But the burgers were just fine, almost like something we could have made at home. Which come to think of it, kind of describes Ikea furniture too. :)
(x-posted to

Friday, June 3, 2011

Dinner tonight: Salt-Roasted Shrimp with Lemon-Honey Dipping Sauce and Sichuan Green Beans

We (okay, I) were feeling really adventurous this week, so we had shrimps with their heads on! I cooked these suckers in all their antennae-y, eyebally glory using CL's salt-roasted shrimp with lemon-honey dipping sauce.

I simply rinsed the shrimp off in cold water and cooked according to directions. The shrimp took about 8 minutes (vice 5) to cook, but were SO easy to make. The sauce I made with lime instead of lemon, and no scallions or ground red pepper--the former I didn't have on hand, the latter I didn't use because our side veg was spicy.

Speaking of the side veg, I paired the shrimp with Sichuan green beans; didn't bother cutting the beans, used balsamic, onions instead of shallots (apparently I was a really distracted grocery shopper and didn't buy like half the things I needed!), regular soy sauce (and so omitted the salt). Also paired with short-grain brown rice, simply prepared with chicken broth in place of water.

I thought everything was really yummy. Lots of flavors, but didn't compete and paired together nicely. The shrimp were fun to eat, although somehow our efforts to get anything out of the heads was unfruitful (sad). Also, the tray of salt that I cooked them on looked like a little shrimp graveyard afterwards...eyeballs and antennae everywhere! Kind of gross, but also kind of funny. If you think gross things are funny.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dinner tonight: Triple-Mustard Salmon

We started this week off to a healthy, fresh start, perfect prep for swimsuit season! I made F&W's triple-mustard salmon, with some really beautiful "first run of the season" salmon. I was going to buy the wild Alaskan, but the HT fishmonger (who is a doll and I totally heart--but not like that, guys, I'm an engaged woman!) didn't like the look of it. He sold me this fish instead, which was also wild but was $20/lb, for the Alaskan sale price of $7/lb! Bestill my cheap little Jewish heart. :)

I didn't have toasted wheat germ (seriously, does everyone who gets F&W shop at Dean and Deluca?), so I used breadcrumbs instead. Other than that, cooked as is. However, since I threw out all my nasty used cancerous non-stick pans, I cooked the fish in a regular one. And consequently (wait for it...) the mustardy stuff stuck to the pan, rather than the fish. Hence the ugly, ugly picture you see here. Despite it's ugliness, though, I thought it was pretty good! A little tangy, I would maybe replace the Dijon with whole grain mustard. P was less enthused...he didn't like the mushy texture of the mustard coating. So I suppose you will have to cook this and judge for yourself.

Paired with simple steamed organic broccoli (also on sale!) and take-and-bake wheat dinner rolls.