Friday, October 17, 2008

Pickling talk and back to CSA

After a 2-week hiatus, it's back to our CSA share tomorrow morning. I'm also recovering from being sick this week (flu-bronchitis-upper respiratory crap that caused me to lose my voice and my energy) and decided to attend a pickling talk at the D.C. historical society tomorrow morning, put on by Ed Bruske, past president of D.C. Urban Gardeners.

Saturday, October 18
10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Urban Gardening Series
Not Your Grandmother's Canning
Historical Society of Washington, DC
801 K St. NW at Mt. Vernon Square
Admission: Free

Here is his blog, The Slow Cook -- if you're curious about pickles (kimchee, Indian cauliflower pickles, eggplant pickle, etc) and can't make his talk, then check out his blog, since he posted many of the recipes that he's been working on in preparation for the talk.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sick day: Scrambled egg and rice

Home sick from work today (aches, chills, feverish, tired, etc). Trying to rest up and get better before we head to the Outer Banks for Columbus Day weekend. This afternoon, after waking up from a long nap, I decided that rice and a scrambled egg sounded good for dinner, so I put a pot of brown rice on while I did other things, and when the rice was done, quickly scrambled an egg in peanut oil in the wok and topped the rice with it, finishing with a drizzle of sesame oil. Yum.

Here's how I did the egg:

one egg
peanut or other oil for frying
A generous teaspoon of minced fresh ginger root
dash of soy sauce
freshly ground black pepper
sesame oil, to finish
(I didn't have scallions but would have added some if I did, for color and flavor)

Heat the wok on medium heat (if you want softer curds, like I did), adding about a teaspoon or a little more of oil. Meanwhile, mix up the egg in a small bowl, adding a bit of water (couple Tablespoons?) to thin it out, and a splash of soy sauce. When oil is heated, add ginger and stir-fry until fragrant. Add egg and swirl around wok pan to coat (trying to get as much volume out of the egg as possible). After a few seconds, stir to develop curds. Turn off heat just before egg curds are set to let them finish.

Put desired amount of rice in a bowl and top with scrambled egg, a bit of sesame oil, and freshly ground black pepper. Serves one convalescent (or just hungry person).

Friday, September 26, 2008


Thanks, Ipso Crafto, for including me on your blogroll! Publicity is always welcome. Perhaps I'm a little late in my gratitude, but better late than never, right?

p.s. I'm planning a visit down your way tomorrow, not to sound creepy or anything, but there it is

Plug: Crafty Bastards annual craft fair in Adams Morgan

This might be a first: A non-food or language-related blog post from the Culinary Linguist!

Here's a plug to come to the fifth annual Crafty Bastards arts and crafts fair this Sunday! I go every year, and this year am going to be volunteering (since I live in the neighborhood, I'm working the early morning set-up shift from 5-10 am).

It's always fun to browse and get ideas. I don't tend to buy much, because half the time I'm thinking "hey, I could do that" (even if I never end up doing it...). This year I might attend one of the workshops, if I'm not too sleepy!

Here are a couple of my favorite vendors from years past:
Art School Dropout (I'm a sucker for brightly colored plastic jewelry)
gregmetal (I bought my sister's Christmas present here last year)

Fall arrives, and with it an update

Fall has arrived in the District, the temperatures feel like they've plummeted 20 degrees since last week. This month has been packed with my new job on weekdays and various fun social things that come up on the weekends in-between.

Although we've both been busy, we've managed to squeeze in some good cooking and eating in-between. Some highlights: lots and lots of tasty, garlicky and lemony bean dip for snacking, coconut curry shrimp over rice noodles (a last minute Plan B when we had to scrap our plan to eat goat curry leftovers), Italian pea soup, and eggplant and cauliflower curry with couscous.

A couple weeks ago our friend J. packed up and left DC to take a job in California. Although we were sad to see him go, the upside of this development is that we inherited his houseplants (including a basil and sage plant) and his CSA share, from Star Hollow Farms. So that's one more that I can cross off of my "to-do" list (along with "take out a community garden plot," since that's not going to happen anytime soon)!

The great thing about this share is that it works like a debit account, and so you don't have to commit to getting a box every week, they just take money out of your share account every time you order a box. It's very convenient for us as well, since Star Hollow Farms has a stand at the Adams Morgan farmer's market every Saturday morning at 18th and Columbia, which takes a matter of minutes for us to walk to from home.

Here is a breakdown of what we received in our first box last week ($15 for a small box):
1 huge head of cauliflower
1 cantaloupe
at least 2 pounds (I never weighed them) of green beans, the same variety my parents grew this summer in Minnesota
1 beautiful sweet red pepper
1 head of garlic
1 red onion
a box of concord grapes

Considering that our box featured produce that we wouldn't normally buy in the store (grapes, melon) mainly because it's usually too expensive for what it's worth, we estimated that this is a pretty good value.

Here's what we made with our produce:
-the aforementioned cauliflower and eggplant curry, with some cut-up beans added at the end of cooking time so that they were still a little crisp
-steamed beans dressed with a little balsamic and olive oil and eaten at room temp in lunches
-stir-fried beans and red pepper
-the garlic went into a pasta sauce I made last night with collards and tomato and served over shells
-melon and grapes for breakfast accompaniments and as a dessert on several occasions

Star Hollow Farms also has an online farmer's market on their website worth checking out if you aren't interested in getting CSA or they aren't open for adding new members.

Soup update: Italian pea soup (made with a hambone) for this week. Will have to figure out what to make next week.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

NYC Labor day weekend: Food highlights

M and I went up to NYC for the three-day weekend, here are some food highlights:

*chicken rice, our first stop after getting off the bus

*B & H Vegetarian restaurant (dairy restaurant; the link shows a picture of one of their sandwiches, showcasing the awesome bread)

*pimento olive schmear on marble rye bagel at Absolute bagels (eaten on the grounds of nearby St. John the Divine). All of their spreads (savory and sweet) looked really fresh and were generously loaded with ingredients. My schmear came with chunks of red and yellow bell pepper in addition to the green olive slices.

*bibim gooksu (cold spicy noodles with a fried egg) at Momofuku noodle bar; toasted sesame horchata to drink and a swirl of blueberry and smoked peach soft-serve for dessert.

And, last but not least: Everything that we ate in Flushing's Chinatown. We did good this time; last year, in our exuberance at being in a place where we could get the stuff we missed from living in China, we loaded up on too many heavy things. This time we chose wisely and the results were very satisfying (I'm being a dork, but I have to proudly proclaim that I ordered everything on this list in Mandarin, which I guess may have been implied...).:

*Peking duck buns, .75 cents apiece, in buns similar to those we had in David Chang's pork buns at Momofuku, from Corner 28 (“旺角”in characters) at 40-28 Main Street,

and, from the same streetside window,

*gaicheungti - I discovered the characters for an approximation of gaicheungti, one of my favorite snacks that Gram used to make for me: 虾仁肠粉. It's basically a chewy roll made of a rice flour batter. Hers are steamed; this was fried in a thin cake on a griddle. They asked me whether I wanted 1) egg and 2) scallions added, and I said 'yes' to both. In retrospect, I don't think the egg was necessary.

*Hong Kong-style milk tea 港试奶茶

*the Best: Boiled dumplings at one of the stalls in the underground mall that I found out about from reading the Flushing thread on Chowhound (the link leads to an update as well as a link to the original thread). These were 韭菜三鲜 - Chinese chives with beef, pork, and shrimp, $3 a dozen. Seriously, I had not had boiled dumplings (水饺)this good since I was living in Shanghai six years ago.

*yang rou chuan 羊肉串 (barbecued lamb skewers) from a street cart, one apiece.

All these cost us a little over $10 total. All environmental and other potentially nail-biting concerns aside, it's pretty satisfying to procure so much tasty food so cheaply (and in my second language, no less).

Back in D.C., I have decided that this fall, when I will be starting teaching, will be soup season because soup is easy and usually quick to make, cheap, and healthy. My first contribution to this effort, made earlier tonight, was a barley and mushroom soup that was deemed "hearty" and "satisfying" by M. It was inspired by the thick soup that we had at B&H Vegetarian.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New job, new haunt

M's brother left on Sunday, and I've started in on orienting and preparing for my new job this week. With all this activity and changes, I have found solace in a newish restaurant which is happily located not far from my new job: Open City. I'm currently updating from the restaurant, in between bites of my dinner (the special for today: Asian chicken slaw. Not the type of thing I normally order, but I've been kind of overdoing it on the red meat and cheese lately).

Open City is the latest in the Tryst restaurant group (circa 2005), which also includes the Diner. I love Tryst, with its huge cups of coffee and bagel and lox plate, but I am growing equally if not more fond of Open City, and quickly. This is the third time I've been here this week, and the second time to grab a coffee on the way to my new school! I like that they have good beer on tap, and that they also feature wines on tap, something that I have never tried (does it even make much of a difference, like beer? I am intrigued). They also boast more extensive and varied food offerings than Tryst, including the huge but fresh-tasting and light salad that I am currently consuming, pizzas, mussels, steak, and a selection of hot and cold sandwiches, resulting in a hybrid of its two predecessors. The restaurant features two patios, one covered and one open, and an interesting selection of music: Currently 99 luftballoons, though the other afternoon they were playing the Neverending Story theme song, which I appreciated.

As time passes, I might have some criticisms to offer (my biggest complaint about Tryst is the noise, followed by frequent lack of seating), but for now, Open City gets a glowing review from me for providing a comfortable place to de-stress in this transitional time in my life. The happy fact that their food and beer are also good is just icing.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

"Lazy" Sunday

A recap of my Sunday cooking:

-poached salmon (it took 5 minutes to prepare!) on butter lettuce with some buttered rye bread on the side. The leftovers will probably find their way into some kind of salmon salad spread for M's lunch (I kind of overcooked it, unfortunately, but it was still tasty)
-fried up a batch of Hungarian hots like my grandpa used to do (peppers in oil, great with eggs or to dress up spaghetti that's already been sauced)
-Huge batch of pasta sauce: tomato sauce base (with garlic and onions) with eggplant, zucchini, green bell pepper, capers, lemon zest, chopped cured black olives, lots of fresh basil and flat-leaf parsley

I have to say that lunch was one of the most satisfying parts of my day. Dinner was also very good - the peppers tasted really good with everything.

My Omnivore's Hundred

Mid-August already! Since my last post I've been to Minnesota and back for a lovely family visit (and lots of good eating). Back here in D.C. it hasn't been as humid as I was expecting but in spite of this I don't have a lot of food adventures to report.

However, today I happened to check out Chocolate and Zucchini for the first time in months, and came upon The Omnivore's Hundred, originally posted on the British blog Very Good Taste on August 13, 2008 (penned by blog co-author Andrew Wheeler). This is an arbitrary list of 100 items that the author thinks every "good" omnivore should try at least once. I thought it sounded like fun so I gave it a try and discovered that there are 31 that I haven't tried. Here's my list and key. It was fun perusing the list; there are several that I have enjoyed often.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Improvised rice noodle salad

Overall it's been a good day for home cooked food. Breakfast was kind of a variation on Eggs Benedict (well, any kind of poached-egg-on-English muffin combo): English muffin, split and toasted, topped with a slice of tomato, then a poached egg, and finished with a covering of chive cream sauce with a little cheddar cheese added (and black pepper).

For lunch I decided to make a rice noodle salad with more Panko chicken, since noodles are quick and we've run out of short-grain rice...

Panko chicken thighs (with basil): I just pounded out chicken thighs, coated each in an egg-and-water mixture, stuck basil leaves on each piece, then flour with salt and pepper, and finally a layer of panko, and shallow-fried in oil, about 4 minutes on a side (until golden brown and cooked through).

rice noodle salad:

-rice noodles, boiled, drained and rinsed to cool

-dressing: fish sauce, soy, grated ginger, a little rice vinegar, juice of half a lime, chopped bird's eye chiles (1-2 would probably be plenty). Amounts to taste, depending on how many people you're serving. Mix well to combine.

chopped fresh herbs, about a tablespoon each: basil, mint, cilantro

-salad: about a cup of beansprouts; one baby bokchoy, chopped

To serve: layer the vegetables on a large plate. Add the noodles. Top with sliced chicken (one breast or thigh per person). Sprinkle herbs over the entire salad and pour the dressing over, making sure the noodles get coated. Dig in.

I was kind of sweating it out over the chiles, but hey, it cooled me down!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Best cold cure

Nothing much on the food front, which is why I haven't been writing in a little while. Since it's been so hot I've mostly been making quick things with leftovers, like quinoa and bean salads. On Sunday I made some panko chicken and we ate it sliced on top of salads.

I'm getting ready to travel again, this time home to Minnesota for a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, M got sick over the weekend (a bad cold) and it appears that I have come down with something too (surprise, surprise). Woke up with a sore throat and a congested feeling. Hopefully I'll feel better before I have to get on the plane.

Last night I was still feeling pretty good, and I made some Thai-style soup noodles as food medicine for M (and preventive medicine for me, I guess that didn't work so well...). Making spicy soup noodles for colds is something that I learned from my dad, who lived in Thailand for three years when he was in the Army back in the early 70's: if you're sick with some kind of a cold, sweat it out over a bowl of hot (both spicy and temperature-wise) noodle soup. I loaded ours up with chopped birds-eye chiles (I think I put in at least 12) and added fresh lime juice to the coconut-and-chicken broth. I also threw in some chopped bok choy and bean sprouts, and the "base" for the soup contained grated ginger, some shrimp paste stuff that we got at the Vietnamese market on Park (I think it's Park; it's the same street the Giant is on), just off of 14th, and one finely chopped stalk of lemon grass. Served it with tomato slices (to warm up in the broth), cilantro, shredded bok choy leaves, and extra lime, chiles and bean sprouts.

We were prepared; M grabbed a roll of tissue before we sat down to deal with the inevitable sniffling and sweating. Maybe it sounds kind of gross, but it's very satisfying. M said he felt better afterwards, although to be honest he said he wasn't sure *how* much it helped with his congestion (maybe "best" cold cure is a little misleading?). Even if it's just psychological, it's still very tasty. I had a large bowl of the leftovers for lunch today.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Uyghur Cultural Day

I'm going to Congressional Uyghur Cultural Day tonight with M. Looking forward to 羊肉串!(lamb kabobs). If there are not, I will be disappointed...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Beer x 3

Not many microbrews in Japan to our knowledge. Here are three that we tried while we were there, from two breweries. One was enjoyed on the train, while the latter two were enjoyed in a Nakano park on a cloudy weekday morning (after 10 but before noon. we're bad news). It was very enjoyable sitting in the park, sipping our beer. While we were sitting there, an older man in a dark blue yukata came out, sat on a park bench a couple benches down to our right, and started smoking.
A few minutes later, he was accosted by another man, fairly fashionably dressed in a hat and suit, who started berating him for smoking (M. was translating for me; he determined that they already knew each other because the younger man was addressing the older man with "umae" which would have been rude if the two didn't already know each other well). Overall, we liked all three of the beers, though I recall that we liked the Pale Ale from Ginkakogen brewery the best. I remember that one of them tasted kind of like Hoegaarden (I'm pretty sure it was the first one pictured). If you're in Tokyo, you can find them at the Natural Lawson. I'm not sure where else they can be found. I've also included links to websites for the breweries (in Japanese, of course).

Ginkakogen beer: The pale ale was a little better.

Yona Yona: from Yo-Ho brewing company in Karuizawa, Nakano

Fish eggs fish eggs

While I was in Japan, I had a delicious dish at a cafe in Shimoda: tarako (タラコ)spaghetti. It's really simple, just spaghetti fried in a sauce of butter and soy sauce with cod roe, and often garnished with slivers of nori (dried seaweed). Usually we would have roe as a filling in onigiri (rice balls) for breakfast. It's the most delicious Japanese-Italian dish I can think of.

The other week I picked up a container of mentaiko (明太子/めんたいこ), marinated pollock roe, from Daruma grocery in Bethesda. Last night M. used it to make a version of roe spaghetti, adding green onions. We ate outside on the deck (the air surprisingly thin). Next time we want to try it with the spicy version of mentaiko, karashi-mentaiko. I read here that pasta is a good way to use cheap mentaiko, although the stuff we used had a very clean flavor and would probably be good in onigiri as well.

The more I think about it, the more I think that it wouldn't seem that strange to an Italian from a coastal area of Italy. Even the addition of seaweed might not be so weird. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a similar dish enjoyed there. At the moment I'm too lazy to look into this, but am filing it away.

Monday, July 14, 2008

My cold noodle fusion

When summer hits D.C. I always struggle to find good hot-weather options for cooking. Last summer it was salads, including one that I posted about on here involving apples and sesame seeds. This summer it's turning out to be some version of cold noodles, with a Japanese-Chinese fusiony flavor. The base is always pretty much the same, although last night I threw in some peanut butter and made them into peanut noodles. Since I am growing some herbs on our deck this year, they inevitably end up as a chiffonade garnish on top. Although I have made other noodle recipes of a similar type in the past, I started on this kick partially after being inspired by one of Heidi's posts on 101Cookbooks: Lazy day peanut noodle salad. Here's my take on it. Feel free to top with whatever combination of chopped veggies you have handy, either stir-fried or raw. M had the leftovers for lunch today, a combination of raw veggies with a stir-fry from lunch yesterday. I like to use the thin Chinese wheat noodles that I grew up with in lo mein, but any other thin, long noodle would work, including spaghetti or soba, which Heidi uses.

In individual bowls, mix the sauce ingredients until smooth (what I have listed here are amounts per serving):
approx. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
approx. 1 tablespoon mirin
approx. 1 teaspoon sesame oil
1-2 teaspoons rice vinegar
freshly grated ginger root, about 1 teaspoon
freshly cracked ground pepper
sesame seeds, to taste
a little shake of red pepper flakes

this is the base, and then optionally, you can add either:
a generous shake of oyster sauce
or, a heaping spoonful of peanut butter, crunchy or smooth (I used crunchy)

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to the boil and prepare the toppings. These are just some suggestions:

thinly sliced sweet red pepper
cubed cucumber
chopped green cabbage
thinly sliced raw bok choy leaves and chopped stalks

Fried tofu, if you have it.

thinly sliced green onion
fresh basil leaves, in chiffonade
finely chopped fresh parsley

And this is what makes it, for me:
yuzu (or other) togarashi (Japanese hot pepper), shaken over top of the whole bowl.

When water comes to a boil, add the noodles, approximately the equivalent of a bundle of incense for two people (a handful about an inch and a quarter across? I'm not very good at eyeballing lengths...I just figure, if you have more noodles-to-sauce than you'd like, just add more sauce ingredients after you've mixed the first time, and mix again!). When noodles are cooked, drain, then toss with sauce in individual bowls, top with veggies followed by garnishes followed by togarashi, grab some chopsticks, and enjoy. Makes great leftovers.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

An attempt to update and Domku, finally

It's been a busy summer. Here I thought I'd be able to update more with school being out... June was basically weddings and traveling -- we spent two weeks in Japan and I did a lot of good eating there, though I'm not sure how much of it will end up in this blog. I kept daily food notes, though, so it's all there waiting to be documented more fully. Back in D.C. I've been trying to take advantage of my work-from-home situation this summer to do some more cooking, and have tried to fit in the farmer's market weekly. The heat has kind of limited my options, but some of the highlights have been: a ground beef-eggplant-chickpea stew of sorts in tomato sauce over orzo; a zucchini and lime soup; beet and fennel salad (all three in the same meal, incidentally); stuffed grape leaves made with fresh grape leaves from the Adams Morgan farmer's market; sweet potato tacos with dill-and-green onion sour cream (a collaboration with my friend A.); kale sauteed with soy sauce and sesame seeds, and most recently, tsubu-an (Japanese chunky red bean jam). We had the tsubu-an over thick buttered toast for breakfast, something that I tried for the first time while we were in Maebashi, Gunma prefecture and loved. I also found another market for Japanese staples in a pinch; it's in Bethesda, so a little far, but still more convenient than going out to the Asian mega-groceries in the Arlington area: Daruma grocery, 6931 Arlington Rd. Bethesda, Md 20814 (301)654-8832. They have a little cafe in addition to the grocery store; things are a little spendy on the grocery side but again, good in a pinch. I also enjoyed muddling through a mostly-Japanese conversation with one of the store owners (very friendly). In terms of new restaurants we've tried, M. and I splurged for our second wedding anniversary dinner and went to the Tabard Inn restaurant. I had a goat ragu with homemade orecchiette pasta, and he had duck with swiss chard. For starters we tried the homemade charcuterie plate, a specialty of the house; all very good.

With that brief summary, onward and upward...

Monday, May 19, 2008

China Star in Fairfax

Hello again! It's been that school's over I have more time to update this thing.

This weekend we were out house- and dog-sitting in Northern Virginia. M looked up a Sichuan place that looked promising (via Tyler Cowen among other reviews and reviewers): China Star in Fairfax:

This was the first time in a long while (ever since Sichuan Douhua on Aurora in Seattle) that I felt like I was back in China. The food wasn't quite spicy enough for our tastes, but the familiar flavors (especially the familiar numbness of Sichuan peppercorns, or huajiao) were definitely present. We ordered crispy duck with a (spicy) dipping sauce from the Weekly Specials section at the front of the menu, lamb hotpot (not soup but the slices of lamb that comes in its own sizzling hot dish), a mala rabbit appetizer and one of the stir-fried vegetables of the day (spinach, with numerous slices of nearly-raw garlic).

I would definitely recommend this place--but either go if you or a friend know how to read and speak at least a little Chinese (enough to decipher the Chinese language menu, called the "Sichuan Food Menu" on the webpage)or if you feel comfortable asking the waitstaff to explain and translate the Chinese specials for you. There is a complete English language menu at the back of the menu but it's totally separate from the Chinese language menu (and nothing particularly interesting).

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Indoor Herb Garden, check!

Went to the National Cathedral this afternoon with some friends and toured around the garden (most of which was dormant, but there were some buds). On the way out, stopped by their greenhouse and purchased one small basil and one small rosemary plant to grow indoors.

That's one off my list!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Happy New Year!

Broccoli fried rice
Serves 1 hungry grad student

1 cup broccoli florets
2 slices marinated tofu, cubed (about an ounce?) (this tofu had been marinating in a mixture of soy, sesame oil, minced ginger, garlic, and rice vinegar for over 24 hours)
1 green onion, sliced and divided into top and bottom
leftover rice (cold is best), approx. 2 cups?
1 egg
sesame seeds

sriracha (affectionately known as "cock sauce") and nam pla (commonly known as "fish sauce") for seasoning

Equipment requirements: Gas range (sorry, I am a stickler for gas, just not the same otherwise), good ol' seasoned wok pan

1. Heat a little veg oil in a wok pan over high heat (okay, about a Tbsp). When oil is hot, toss in sliced onion bottoms and tofu. Stir-fry until tofu is crisp. Add broccoli and a little of the tofu marinade. Cover wok with lid, lower heat slightly and steam for 1-2 minutes until broccoli turns color and starts to soften.
2. Turn heat up to high again, add rice, stir to break up chunks (this takes a little practice), until rice is uniformly separated and all white bits are incorporated. If you like your rice a little crispy, kind of mash it down flat and let it cook for a minute or so, then continue to stir. Season with sriracha and fish sauce, if desired.
3. When rice has reached desired doneness, crack egg in and mix it in, stirring until egg is cooked. Add reserved green onion top and sesame seeds to taste. Plop into a bowl and enjoy.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Quick Pita in Georgetown

Well, I've started what I anticipate to be an extremely busy semester (we'll see how posting goes...). Today I was on campus getting work done, and around 6:30 wanted something to eat. Since I don't live around Georgetown I'm not that familiar with all of the good deals around campus (with the exception of a few frequented spots). Since I wanted to take as short a break as possible, but was in the mood for a kebab or somesuch, I opted to go to Quick Pita instead of our favorite, Moby Dick's. I had heard of the place before but it had taken one (aborted) trip to the restaurant to convince me that it was worth trying. The name along is more evocative of Subway-esque sandwiches than of cheap and tasty Middle Eastern food of Moby Dick's ilk.

Upon entering, the fact that the take-out menu had cedar trees dotting the "i's" in "Quick Pita" and that I overheard the staff speaking in Arabic and French signaled the Lebanese character of the place.

My friend V, a devotee of Quick Pita ("I've tried everything on the menu"), had recommended that I get the "okra with rice," and I decided to try it (even though I was tempted by the cheaper gyro or kifta kebab), and ordered a yogurt drink to wash it down. Turns out that it was named in a similar fashion to NYC's infamous street food classic "Chicken Rice" (as I understand Long Islanders refer to it as). "Okra with rice" turned out to be a stew containing chunks of boneless lamb and little baby okra in a tangy tomato-based gravy. Overall, it was a very satisfying meal (and I opted to not read about conversational style in order to focus on eating!) and affordable, at $7.95. Even though the dish was not like anything I'd had at Moby Dick, I couldn't help comparing the rice (about the same, only sans butter pat and saffron) and the bread (a little stale and not worth finishing).

To sum up: They're open until 3am on weekdays and 4:30am on weekends, the staff is really friendly, and it's both closer to campus and cheaper than Moby Dick's. Quibbles about the bread aside, I suspect I will be eating more than a few meals at Quick Pita in the months ahead.

Quick Pita: 1210 Potomac in Georgetown, just off of M street (on the north side).

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Winter salad idea

A simple, Moroccan-esque salad for the winter. I ate this alongside a thick slice of veggie frittata for dinner last night.

1-2 carrots, peeled (if large winter carrots) and grated
currants, to taste (raisins would also work just fine)

about a Tablespoon of lemon juice
olive oil
cayenne pepper (just a pinch)
about a teaspoon of honey
freshly ground black pepper

toss in a bowl, chill, and serve (the flavors mingle better if chilled first).

To try: add chopped walnuts.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Homemade sausage

Happy New Year! I'm back in Washington state for the holiday. Today I made venison sausage with my father-in-law (a mixture of pork shoulder and deer meat from his hunting trip to eastern Montana this past November).

Now I get to check "make my own sausage" off of my food to-do list...

Pictures to come...


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