September 6, 2010

Domku Cafe in DC

I went to Domku Cafe with my boyfriend over the weekend to try out this Scandinavian restaurant in the Petworth area of DC. It was kind of a disappointment, altho the mixed reviews I'd read prepared me. To start we had the Nordic fish plate and mushroom and barley soup.

For zee main course I had a plate of 6 mushroom and sauerkraut pierogies, one of which was just an empty noodle.

And my bf had two other appetizers, the Georgian meatballsand Pigs in a Blanket, with sausage instead of hot dogs.

This place doesn't provide great value, and my pierogies (see earlier post) were much better. Domku should give you the choice of boiled or sauteed pierogies, and you should be able to mix the different types instead of being forced to have 6 of the same type of pierogi. The fish plate was pretty good, but some of the smoked salmon was so chewy it was inedible. I'm glad we had the gift certificate, and we both agreed we probably wouldn't go back.

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Light salads on a beautiful summer evening

Fresh baguette, tomato salad with EVOO, basil, salt, and white bean salad with EVOO, lemon juice, basil and salt.
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August 25, 2010

Chicken cutlets: a retro meal

A little egg (no salmonella), some Italian-flavored breadcrumbs, a squeeze of lemon on top - yum. Plain white rice and a salad dressed with oil, balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of salt. So easy, so good.
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August 20, 2010

Sirloin kebabs and roasted potatoes

On a whim I picked these kebabs up from Harris Teeter. An easy and yummy dinner!
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August 1, 2010

Pizzaiolo Cafe - Where's the manager when you need one?

On a whim today I decided to join some friends at the Pizzaiolo Cafe on Fern in Alexandria, just off Quaker Lane where the Lindsay Cadillac used to be. In fact, if you're not careful, you might miss the Pizzaiolo sign altogether since the Cadillac sign is still there. I arrived to find 3 friends sitting in front of empty plates - 2 of them had enjoyed and eaten what was in front of them, and the other 1 had eaten the toast and eggs she had ordered, but was still waiting for the breakfast potatoes. I could talk about how this place needed to use Italian spellcheck before they printed their menus (including the coffee menu up above the kitchen). I could talk about how my pizza was served to me at the table in a box.
But what I really want to write about is the fact that this place desperately needs a good manager. Or as I suspect may be the case, just a manager. But seriously, you cannot open a restaurant and have no manager, or someone who knows nothing about managing a restaurant, and then expect that everything will run smoothly. It won't. And yes, Mr. or Ms. Manager - it is your job to monitor the staff working there, and to teach them if they don't know what they're doing. The restaurant is not going to run itself. Well, except maybe into the ground. The fact is, someone needs to be there - yes, all the time - to monitor what is going on and keep things well-oiled.

On the plus side: the pizza was pretty good - I ordered the Neapolitan - and the waiter, if a little on the casual side, both in appearance and manner, was darn cute, and very friendly.

July 31, 2010

Fresh Fruit Salad

Cell phone camera doesn't do it justice. Fresh strawberries, blueberries, oranges, and peaches. Yum!

April 4, 2010

Easter Pierogies

In the spirit of my Polish heritage I decided that this would be the year I would learn how to make pierogies. From scratch. I don't really know if pierogies are typical Polish Easter food, but I remember my grandmother used to make them for Eastertime. Martha Stewart featured a great how-to article on pierogies in her April magazine, and also did a step-by-step demonstration on her tv show last week. I plan to get my grandmother's recipe next, but figured I would start with Martha's since it was right under my nose, and since with the tv show I could literally watch her do it. I halved the recipe she had in the magazine, and made the dough, stirring it with a wooden spoon as I added the flour. Once I started kneading it, it required a lot more flour to get it to stop sticking to my hands and the counter. But eventually it became one lovely ball of dough.
I had cooked the cabbage the day before, squeezing out all the excess water. I don't have a meat grinder like Martha suggests, so I used a small hand blender to chop the cabbage. I added 4 oz cream cheese (remember, I halved her recipe), 2 T melted butter and salt and pepper.

After letting the dough sit for an hour, I rolled it out pretty thinly.Using a glass, I cut what I thought were 3-inch circles into the dough. These pierogies ended up a little smaller than I imagined, and I didn't stuff much filling in this first batch. I decided to try a slightly larger glass for the next batch, and I think it did the trick.

This dough is actually pretty amazing and stretchy. I realized that you can stuff a lot of filling in one small circle of dough, and stretch the dough around it to close. Batch by batch I dropped the little delicate dumplings into a pot of salted boiling water, and waited 2-3 minutes after they rose to the top before pulling them out. As per Martha's suggestion (or rather, her mother's suggestion) I melted butter and put a little on the platter before plating the dumplings, and then poured some melted butter on top of them too. I have a bunch left over for tomorrow, and I'm going to try sauteing them in a pan, like my grandmother used to do. Boiled and buttered is very tasty, but a little crispy brown goodness never hurt anyone either. I'm so glad this was a success, and I'm looking forward to making them again soon, this time with mashed potato filling, with mushroom filling, and with a sauerkraut filling, as opposed to the "sweet cabbage" filling I did this time. Pierogies are DE-lish!

April 3, 2010

Saturday breakfast

Okay, so maybe daily blogging was a bit ambitious. I am still gung-ho about making fresh food and trying to do my part to help in this Food Revolution that our country so desperately needs. This morning I decided to take a break from my usual oatmeal, and instead I cooked some bacon and hash brown potatoes with green peppers and onions. I recently discovered frozen hash brown potatoes (basically julienned potato matchsticks - is that redundant?) after watching Paula Deen make a quiche with a hash brown potato crust. They are so amazing and versatile. I know, Jamie Oliver would probably want me to start with fresh potatoes and cut them up into matchsticks, but I'm not quite there... yet. I sauteed chopped onions in a little olive oil, then added one chopped green pepper, and then added the potatoes and a little salt. I let them brown on the bottom, flipped them, then sprinkled the top with chili powder and paprika. This was a recipe taken from Williams Sonoma's Breakfast cookbook. It calls for red and green peppers but I only had green. It was actually pretty delicious. And a little bacon now and then is a good thing. Please excuse the small piece of bacon in the picture - I almost forgot to photograph the end result.

March 30, 2010

A Daily Fresh Creation

In the spirit of the Food Revolution, I'm aiming to create at least one fresh dish each day. Today it is a hearty grains salad. This was made from the hearty grains mix I bought at Trader Joe's. I cooked it according to the package, substituting EVOO for butter, and then added chopped green and red pepper (sweet), slivered almonds, dried cranberries, and a zucchini that I chopped, brushed with EVOO and broiled. The dressing is EVOO, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Jamie Oliver appeared today on the Rachel Ray show, and demonstrated the "evolution" of a salad. You can start with just a couple ingredients, and then by adding layer upon layer, you end up with several different possibilities for a healthy salad. The tomato salad Rachel showed us went from just tomatoes and basil to a protein-rich pasta dish with white beans and tuna. Here are recipes for his evolution potato salad and his evolution cucumber salad.

Food Revolution - Pass it on!

I've been a long time gone, but I'm back and ready to move into my next foray into the food world. I just signed Jamie Oliver's petition to promote the American Food Revolution, and you should too! Jamie just won the 2010 TED prize for his mission to create "a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity."
I plan to learn recipes from his new book, Food Revolution, and teach them to friends and possibly start up a cooking group in my community to spread the word about how easy, fun, affordable (compared to eating out) and healthy it is to cook at home. Please take a moment to sign the petition and to read more about Jamie's wish.