Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chaos in Minutes...

Move over Rachel Ray... you may have 30 minute meals but I can beat that!
Sometimes I am amazed with how fast I can whip up a meal. Really. Those people who say they have no time to cook... Who are you? and Would you pay me to teach you how? Seriously, I need a job.

I had a spontaneous dinner date last night with about 15 minutes to prepare. Nothing like a game of "Make Do With What You Got"-- good thing I have good things in the K St. Kitchen. Upon arrival I had made an Asian Salad and Tempeh with Peanut Sauce. If given more time and flexibility of ingredients I would have served the tempeh over spinach with scallions on top. But hey, I will save that for a 20 minute meal episode...

Peanut Thai Tempeh
1 package 3 Grain Tempeh
1 Tomato Crushed
1/8 cup of Soy Sauce
3 Tablespoons Vinager
1/2 Teaspoon of Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 cup Peanut Butter
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 Tablespoons EVOO

Brown Tempeh in 2tbsp EVOO and then set aside. Crush tomato and add in saute pan with 2tbsp of EVOO. Add soy sauce, vinager, red pepper and salt. Simmer. Add peanut butter and tempeh and toss. Serve warm with crushed peanuts.

The salad, I must admit was a replay from Monday's picnic so see that recipe--- no judgement, I told you I was playing "Make Do With What You Have".

A little chaos, some quick cooking and a lot of great conversation... sometimes that is all a gal needs, especially on a Tuesday night. Well, that and really great mix playing in the background. . .

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Soapbox on Boxes...

I do not like boxes.
I do not like food that comes from a box. Period. If it comes in a box it can sit on a shelf. If it can sit on a shelf without decomposing then what does it do in your body? One time I purchased cupcakes (they came in a small box, mind you) from the grocery. I was going to shellac them for a window display. As I am telling the gal at the counter this she explains that if I just leave them out they will solidify without rotting. I did it. It worked. I used to think that I had thighs... now I am wondering if they are misplaced, trans-fat cupcakes from my childhood.

I also do not like the boxes people try to place you in. People constantly do it--- admit it, you do it too! You know little about someone so you try to categorize the things you know and label them. I get it... but most of the time the analysis is all wrong and very incomplete. I am a product of my experiences and am very complicated, folks. Life is not so black and white. Or square. Well, unless you are in my bathroom.

My words of wisdom for the week: Cook fresh things and think gray. Just steer clear of cooking items that are gray... that scares me!

PS- I do like boxes that are wrapped with ribbon, boxes filled with shoes and the brown cardboard box that my sweet dog came home in, circa 2003. See, I told you... I am complicated and you can try, my friend, but you cannot label that.

Is Salad Prep Cooking?

For this gal, in the heat of the summer, in her little shoe box kitchen -- I say, YES!

In preparation for last night's Screen on the Green* I prepared a little picnic--- Chaos in the City style. Packed my cute little back pack you found three tupperware filled with summer salads, rice crackers and a wonderful chive and garlic cheese, two spoons and a water bottle filled with Famage Wine.

My three yummy salads including the quinoa dish from last week, an Asian Salad and Chickpea Chutney Salad. Fresh, light and lots of flavors. My favorite picnic food.

Asian Salad
(mix all ingredients and chill)
1/4 cup chopped Snow Peas, raw

1/4 cup chopped Green Beans, raw
1/4 cup chopped Red Cabbage, raw
1/8 cup chopped Cashews
1 small chopped Cucumber
Teaspoon Sesame Oil
Teaspoon Greek Yogurt
Squeeze of Lime Juice
Pinch of chopped Dried Hot Peppers

Chickpea Chutney Salad
(mix all ingredients and chill)
1 Can Chickpeas
1/2 Green Pepper Chopped
1/2 Red Pepper Chopped
3 Scallions Chopped
1 Clove Minced Garlic
1/8 Cup Crumbled Feta
2 Teaspoons Good Olive Oil
4 Teaspoons Red Wine Vinager

. . . maybe next week there will be warmer food, cooler weather and less thunder.

(Screen on Green: movies played on a big screen on The National Mall on Mondays from July 20 through August 10, starts around 8:30 p.m.)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Oh Mercy, Mercy Me. . .

Did you know that a beer can be a double, or triple or I think even quadruple (I could be exaggerating this one)? I may not be cooking but I am learning so much from my DC beer loving friend...

This Friday we were enjoying the roof top deck at Marvin* when I had my first triple Belgium beer. As it was explained to me, when a triple, the brewster starts with three times the ‘normal’ amount of malt in her brew kettle, he starts with more starches, he has more sugars after boiling and will end up with more alcohol after fermentation. All I can tell you is that the flavor was bold, I liked it and I probably should have stopped there!

*As a music lover I also loved Marvin--- located in the U St. District and themed after the late, great and talented Marvin Gaye. A seductive as his tunes, the inside is dimly lit with dark wood and the rooftop patio had the same feel with candles, velvet curtains and painted brick adorned with mirrors. The food is deemed amazing but we had already eaten. A very cool scene... possibly my favorite place (thus far) for a Friday evening out...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Surprise... It's Quinoa

Yes, it is back. I know, "Hello, old friend."
There was a time that I was making so much quinoa that every morning or night we were having some sort of "Quinoa Surprise"... kind of like I thought I was on the Food Network show where the chefs are given one ingredient to make 9 things... yeah, I am up for that challenge if the ingredient is quinoa. I think I may have even create a quinoa dessert. Poor Scott.

Thanks to an old friend, I am bringing it back for my 1st cooked meal. The thing I love about this grain is that it has more protein than most meats and surprise, you can make it taste like anything you want.

For dinner tonight I gave it a taste of Italy and did as the Italians do --- actually cooked, the grains at least. Baby steps back to the old (but improved) me...

Caprese Quinoa Salad
1 cup quinoa cooked in 2 cups water
1/2 cup shredded basil
3/4 chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup mozzerella, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon baslamic vinager

Serve chilled. It's that easy and very healthy. I chased my down with a lot of water and ibuprophen after a very challenging yoga class... I may be a little (or possibly a lot) sore tomorrow... or right now, it is officially morning.

Perfect for most vegetarians but I will warn you that when cooking for someone new you may want to stay away from this grain---1) sometimes the texture throws off a meat and potatoes type of person and 2) Since it is high protein and fiber it sometimes upsets the digestive track.
Yeah, lesson learned...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ode to the Bloody Mary. . .

So, I have gotten a few emails in response to my Beer vs. Bloody Mary entry...
1- By ordering a Bloody Mary, I was not in anyway saying it was more refined... that is just my choice of beverage. It was merely an observation to Sunday morning drink specials

2- Sorry, beer lovers, based on my responses most people feel that Bloody Marys and Mimosas are more appropriate due to the nutritional value of the drink. Again, we all have our opinions.
Today in the Washington Post there was a great adaption on a Bloody Mary recipe I wanted to share that not only is deemed "a health drink" but also a cure all for a morning after over indulging. Again, like opinions, we all have had one (hangovers).

1 serving
Created by Wayne Curtis of the Atlantic and John Myers of the Grill Room in Portland, Maine;adapted from "Stir Your Soul: Tales of the Cocktail Recipe Book" and vodka added by Chaos!


2 1/2 ounces tomato juice

1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 ounce vodka

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon finely chopped onion

3 thin crosswise-cut slices hot chili pepper, such as jalapeno

1 dash Worcestershire sauce



Fill a highball glass with ice.

Combine the three juices, vodka, honey, onion, pepper slices, Worcestershire sauce and salt to taste in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously, then pour (strained) into the glass.

*PS- I am cooking tonight so stay tuned for a Chaos made and tried recipe. I know... sounds more like an urban legend*

Monday, July 20, 2009

Living with a double standard...

As my friend I attended brunch at Belga Cafe (near the Eastern Market) we had an interesting discussion.

Why is it perfectly acceptable to have champagne or vodka before noon but not beer? Do we live in a world of alcohol double standard? Is a good Belgium beer any less refined that a Bloody Mary with celery foam? As she looked at the list of over 100 choices she decided no ...

To accompany my refined BM, I had a great savory waffle with roasted tomatoes and goat cheese. I keep dreaming about another... with maybe a bit more goat cheese. If I were making at home I would use the following recipe and serve with an herb salad.

Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Waffles
1/2 cup sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, minced
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup goat cheese
¼ cup chopped, soaked roasted tomatoes

Sift flour and salt together, set aside. Beat eggs, milk, garlic and oil. Add goat cheese and beat until smooth. Combine with flour and cook using waffle iron.

If I wanted, I could get all of these ingredients in the Eastern Market district... with the freshest produce and herbs to the hybrid cheese options and the amazing meat counter--- I may just be in love with this city.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Kitchen unpacked but still no cooking...

Good news
- everything fit in the K Street Kitchen.
Bad news- have not turned on a stove.

I am by myself so I am snacking not eating meals. SORRY. I am however supporting my
local Trader Joe's! Favorites include: 3 Buck Chuck, Edamame Hummus, Sesame Soy Rice Crisp, and Goat Milk Cheddar. YUM! Tonight I was able to entertain on $11. Seriously. Thanks, Joe!

I promise, I will cook on demand. Someone needs and app for a dinner party--- I am there. Someone wants to come for dinner---there. Someone is having birthday, baby or leave their life celebration---there. Until then, it may be me, TJ and a little chaos.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dear K Street Kitchen,

Can you handle all of this stuff?
Really? Seriously.
I am on my way with my Kitchen Aid, Blender, Food Processor, Emulsion Blender, Cappachino Maker and much, much more.
See you soon,
Ms. Chaos

Monday, July 6, 2009

You don't know what you could have had until you go?!

Now that I am moving Scott wants to remodel the kitchen. Looks like if our house does not sale by August 1st (Going Once, Going Twice, Sold to a Very Lucky Owner??!!! Anyone? Please?!) he will stay put and remodel my little, tiny kitchen where I have slaved over the stove in solitude with no cabinet space, little counter space and no view of the rest of the house for the last five years... Seriously? That's okay. I have always said that working under such minimal conditions in my kitchen and my life has taught this gal a thing or two... about cooking, budgeting and about marketing on a shoe string.

What I have made in my shoebox kitchen this week?
1- Iced Coffee
2- Hot Coffee
3- Conversation--- some pleasant, some not so pleasant

I promise, more chicken again soon...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Things I Learned Yesterday During Chaos in My Kitchen... and House

1- Do not clean refrigerator with oven cleaner. Can result in chemical burns. True Story.

2- If one needs a moving truck and three pick up trucks to move their stuff from storage that is probably, definitely, too much stuff. I hate stuff. Period.

3- No matter how calm someone tries to stay amidst the chaos... things still get a little chaotic. Human nature.