Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pecan Stacey Shortcake

Yesterday for I made Pecan Shortbread Strawberry Shortcake an intern lunch. Until recently I have never encountered people that hesitated trying my food.  I ask you, should I have a complex?  

In previous jobs and at my business, my colleagues and staff begged me to cook.  They would remind me of their birthday to ensure a cake, one that fit their very specific preferences of course!  On Saturdays at Encore we had Soup&Salad Saturday--- even people that were not working came in to eat and share recipes. And now, my friends, I get slight hesitation. 

Though there was initial pause, I made everyone a bowl (I am a little stubborn and I used real butter folks!)  I believe that the votes are in--- Epic likes Pecan Stacey Shortbread!  The recipe borrowed from my friend Jacob was only altered slightly to be a little more healthy.  Hopefully this tasty dessert will lead a more Stacey Cook/Bake friendly workplace.  Only time will tell...

Pecan Stacey Shortcake
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsp cold unsalted butter, but into cubes
2/3 chopped toasted pecans (or walnuts, almonds - whatever nut you want to use)
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream

Preheat over to 375 - spray a baking sheet.  Combine flour, sugar, backing powder, nuts, and salt in a bowl. Use a pastry blender (or fingertips) to work the butter into the dry ingredients until you have a crumbly, coarse meal with some pieces of butter still showing.

Add the cream in a slow steady stream wile continuing to blend - you may not need all the cream (though I have) - the dough should be moisten but still have a few loose crumbs

You are suppose to roll out the dough and cut - who has time for that - Paula Dean doesn't even do it for her biscuits. I just scoop them as big or small as I want onto the pan. Brush with cream and sprinkle with sugar

2 pints strawberries, washed, and cut up
1/8 cup honey

For Whip Cream
1 cup heavy (whipping cream)

cinnamon to taste
1 Tbsp sugar

Mix on low and then gradually increase speed as cream gets foamy and form peaks.
All can be made the day before - biscuits need to be completely cool before storing the.

Served on an Epic blue plate, I believe this dessert was not only well made and tasty, it was branded perfectly for my workplace.  

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pad Thai, People I Missed (and Pate)

This week's post is brought to you by the letter P.

Last night I made Pad Thai... in my pad on K.  With G.  Who I have missed more than I thought I would.  It is interesting how someone that was not a part of your life 9 months ago can leave a void when they are gone for 4 days... especially when the 4 days have been frosted with chaos with a dash of crazy.

The Pad Thai was flavorful and so was the conversation and the tunes.   Sprinkled with broccoli,  shitake, garlic, good humor and Mumford and Sons--- some of the dinner, conversation and music lingered over into today. 

K Pad ThaiRice Noodles
4 tablespoons Rice Vinegar

2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
4 tablespoons Peanut Butter
4 tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 tablespoons of Olive Oil
Dash red pepper flakes
Garlic, 2 cloves
Crushed cashews

Cook the rice noodles and move to the side.  Saute cashews, broccoli, shitakes with garlic and sesame oil.  In another pan add peanut butter, vinegar, soy and tomato paste.  Add water to thin.  Add sauteed veggies and noodles.  Serve with chopped scallions, basil and cashew.  Best eaten with crisp white wine. 

My Pad Thai is a little different, much like everything I do.  It is more a cross between peanut noodles and traditional Pad Thai

(Conversation centered around music, Nashville and a weekend check-in.  Mumford and Sons can be downloaded at iTunes--- a special thanks for L and another G for turning me onto them.)

And to follow the P movement and my need for alitterations to be in threes, recently I have been into Pate.  Yes, pate.  Specifically Salami Pate from Brabo or Country Pate from Grape and Bean---both in Old Town, or the OT as I call it.  It is not vegan, vegetarian or healthy but it does intrigue me.  Look for recipes coming soon from me and my colleague KC as we experiment with this new culinary delight. 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Tale of Various Farmers, a Sheep, a Goat, a Cow and One Happy Gal

Sometimes it is the most simple things in life that make you smile. 
For instance, after a very challenging week all it took was cheese to make this gal feel normal again.   Cheese and an afternoon spent with someone that makes me laugh like no other.  These two things made my Saturday afternoon  a little less gloomy, a little less grim and and a lot more gratifying.
After a late lunch at my favorite West End spot, Founding Farmers, where I ate amazing Fried Green Tomatoes, we headed to check out a semi-new cheese shop in PennQuarter, CowGirlCreamery. The creamery has a history in California but the DC retail space is fairly recent.  It is beautiful!  Stocked full of gourmet food and artisinial cheeses... this is a very Stacey place. 

When you enter the back of the space there are various employees sampling just about anything you want.  They are very knowledgable about the product and extremely friendly. 
We sampled an aged goat cheese, a nutty cowsmilk cheese and an amazing sheeps' cheese called "Lamb Chopper."  I also sampled a soft cheese that was compressed with herbs by the cheese maker's wife. It was as artistic as it was tasty... apparently she spends hours on each wheel. 

This place is also filled with other non-cheese goodies, including olives and pickled treats, a small selection of cured meats, wine and a surprisingly large selection of craft beers.  There are also some nice wine glasses, cheese knives and cutting boards, and some magazines and books for folks looking to expand their knowledge of cheese and cheese culture.

When I was reading YELP reviews on gal wrote, "I wish I could live at the CowGirl Creamery."  I had to laugh, as a cheese lover I could relate but I just wish I lived closer by. Regardless of my neighborhood, I will make sure to make my way to Penn Quarter SOON to re- visit this wonderful den of dairy. 

Try it for yourself at 919 F St. NW (between N 10th St & N 9th St

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

She Ate, He Ate but were they both really "eating"?

Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. 

This morning I read an article in Newsweek while riding the Metro that says, "Women connect food to their hearts. For men, it's a different organ." Surprise, surprise.  We are different, yeah, yeah.    Another case of he says tomato, she hears avocado. 

She Ate, He Ate explores food inspired memoirs and the differences in those written by men and women.  It explains that women write about food as a substitute for love, while men write about food as a way to brag about sex. "I was sad then I made brisket and felt better."  As an emotional cook, I could not help but to relate.

I had to laugh when I read, "According to celebrity chef Mario Batali, 'There's two ways to make someone happy—both are by putting something in them.' "  I immediately went into The Office (even though I am not a loyal watcher) mode and heard, "That's what she says."

I must be the last foodie in the world to hear of blog inspired book about to be released called Cook to Bang: The Lay Cook's Guide to Getting Laid, by Spencer Walker that proves this theory.  His blog has this incredible list of recipes that in one way or another are supposed to turn your late night into a "I made eggs for breakfast". There are great one liners such as-- "Tap that Ass-paragus." Crass or not, I think it's hilarious!

I have to admit that I see cooking as more poetic and a more creative task but am happy that no matter if you are male or female, from venus or mars, we are all putting a metaphorical spin on my favorite two past times:  cooking and eating.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

5 Things that Make this Foodie Happy

It is Wednesday and I am happy to report that I have already been delighted at least 5 times, culinarily (tm sdp) speaking.

Just a few of the things that have made me happy, thus far:

1. One Falafel Pita from Zorkafor's SandVeg.
I have walked by this place 400+ times less than one block from my office and never stopped. This week I did. Delightful service, delightful food, delightful price. Plus they had an entire bar of veggies and sauces you could add. 

2. A Dozen Muffins Eaten By My Intern.
I made super healthy, Stacey style buckwheat, bran carrot zucchini nut muffins for the office.  No one would eat them.  No one but Bobby.  Good ole' Bobby (Bert or Bob). And he has eaten all of them.  He may just feel obligated but I secretly think he really likes them.  Either way it makes me happy (but concerned for his digestive track).

3. Bacon Wrapped Scallops. 
Served with horseradish dip.  At a party with free wine.  Eaten while meeting great new gals.
Done. Done. and, Done! 

4. Cherry Chocolate Chip Soy Ice Cream.
Last night my Minnesotian BeFri made me buy it.  And the Mango Soy Icecream.  And watch Reality Bites for the second time in three days.  I have a love/hate relationship with her (says the gal still snacking on the frozen treat, thinking of Ethan Hawke).

My colleague sent this to me, hours ago.  I am inspired to make many, many things.  Tonight.  Instead of doing all the things I should do.  Love it.  Love her. Love procrastination. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ode to Annie Kays...

Located in the previous zip code was my favorite health food store. At Annie Kays, I would purchase all kind of things, daily when it was across my business, including Chunks of Energy (previously blogged about circa summer '09). Here in my new zip code I am surrounded by health food stores/nice grocery stores but none that carry my favorite, chocolate-like variety of this product. 

On Sunday, reminiscing about my dear friend Paula and her carob coated treats I created my own. 

Finally, FINALLY!! I have constructed a recipe that is so close to the real thing I feel like I am standing on Main Street across from my old business, leaving what was formerly known as the Coffee Mill with something-like-an old friend, (probably after an amazing yoga class at Omkarra), before heading up the hill to a little cottage house located in 24141.  For a brief moment I go there... a little reminiscent and a little sad.  Minutes later, circa reality, I was back to the present and realizing that I love my Chaotic Kitchen on K, my homemade energy bars and my new life filled with many new people, places and things.  I am glad I can re-create memories with food but on a daily basis I am more and more sure that some things are better left in the past...

The recipe, tm sdp, is as follows.

Chunks of Energy 20037 Style
¼ cup coconut
1/8 cup almond butter
¼ cup fig
1/8 cup dried cranberries
¼ cup carob chips
¼ cup walnuts crushed
1/8 cup quinoa*, not cooked

Melt carob chips and almond butter, stir the in the remaining items.  Place in casserole dish about 1 inch thick and refrigerate.  Cut into  1 inch chunks.  Keep refrigerated. *The quinoa adds added protein and amazing crunch... kind of like a healthy nestle crunch! 

Learn it. Love it.  Spread it like the gospel (to health foodies, of course).

Friday, April 16, 2010

From Novice to Natural

Last Saturday I was invited to a dinner party that was not only entertaining but also educational and interactive.  The host taught the guests to make sushi and as he fluttered around socializing, sushi virgins created what we would later eat for dinner.  Since I have made lots of sushi (and I am a doer and slight control freak) you would have thought I would have been more of a help but instead I sat on the sidelines (of the bar) and watched my new friend Adam go from timid to (Sushi) tyrant.  In one hour he created our meal, developed a new skill and provided lots of entertainment.

Sushi Making in Through the Eyes of a Novice
As a sushi novice, making my first roll was quite intimidating. This might be rooted in the fact that the only people I have ever seen making sushi were Japanese chefs; usually wearing an official-looking happi robe or apron with a matching Samurai-inspired headband. Looking so authentic and focused, I always felt that I should have to apprentice with one for years, learning important “wax on, wax off” techniques, before I should be allowed to pick up a bottle of rice vinegar.

Encouraged by my friends, sans apron or headband, I took to the bamboo rolling mat and added the sticky rice to the seaweed sushi wrap. Being a perfectionist, applying an even, thin layer of rice to the wrap proved to be the most difficult part of the process. But after a few tries, the technique came to me as if Japanese ancestors were guiding my rice paddle; well, wooden spoon to be exact.

Once the rice was down, it was as simple as adding my ingredients of choice and rolling the sushi. My favorite combination was a more standard salmon, avocado and red pepper mix, but I was introduced to a tasty avocado, apple and pear combo that was a hit with my vegetarian friends.

I noticed that regardless what the roll looked like to start, once it was cut it into pieces; they all looked as if a sushi master had been making them to order. Honestly, I was so impressed with myself that I appointed myself “Sushi-Sous Chef” and rolled the night away!

In one evening, I went from someone who just recently started to love sushi to someone who can make it on my own with relative confidence. Now all I need is a headband and a set of Ginsu knives and I will be unstoppable!

Thanks Adam for your amazing rolls, entertainment and a re-count of the evening!  KN- Thanks for being a delightful host and engaging us in such a fun evening. 

(See below as Adam takes us through the rice,
the rolling and cutting the right way.)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Turkish Delight...

Once upon a time, circa Good Friday I discovered a new culinary attraction.In Georgetown, across from Dean and Deluca, is my new favorite fast casual DC Restaurant, MorsoExpress. Clean and contemporary d├ęcor matches the fresh and flavorful food they serve.  Customers can make their own wraps, salads and flat bread including selections such as kebab, Fatoush salad and a Turkish brick oven flatbread swiss chard, herbs & goat cheese.
On that very good Friday, I had an amazing pistachio lamb wrap with tabbouleh salad that I am still dreaming about (seriously, last Tuesday and this Wednesday night).  The owners are adorable, savvy business men that pride themselves on using fresh ingredients (including grass fed beef and lamb), great customer service in a welcoming environment.  I cannot wait for the parent restaurant to open.  Morso, which is slated to open at the corner of Potomac and M streets in September, will be a Mediterranean spot serving small plates with a modern Turkish influence.  
 Visit Morso Express at  3277B M Street NW 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Vegan Experiment. Part 1 – Flirting

It all began 1 month ago, in a whirlwind of brain activity and an email to a friend (an inspiring foodie you may know). I checked in with my gal pal Stacey and asked “Do you think I’m crazy to go vegan?” That week I had been inspired by an episode of Oprah and a recently released book by an animal-loving vegan celebrity. My curiosity and my impulsive personality exploded and I purchased a couple cookbooks* to “research” the vegan lifestyle.
The announcement of my vegan experiment came as a shock to some. This decision was after only a few days of research and and contemplation. It was an easy decision. I have spent years as a diet-obsessed food lover (this equates to a guilt-ridden food lover). As a recovering low-carb dieter I am now perplexed at how one eats carbs (albeit whole grains) and doesn’t gain weight. But recently I began feeling a disconnect from my body and the food I put in it. I needed a change. This was the change I needed.

*The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone
Not pictured: Vegonomicon. The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz ; Terry Hope Romero

Up Next - Bringing the diet home to meet the family.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Curry Veggie Salad

This weekend has been full of spice, flavor and color...  from the food that I ate, to the items I purchased and most of all the people that I shared my time.  

For the grand finale on Sunday evening I prepared a salad that was reflective of this weekend's theme. 

Curry Veggie Salad
1 red potato thinly sliced
1 zucchini thinly sliced
 1/2 onion thinly sliced
1/2 cup kale, ribboned
1 garlic clove minced
1 tablespoon curry
2 tablespoons coconut milk
Salt and pepper

Saute the veggies in EVOO but allow them to remain firm.  Add in spices and coconut milk with 2 teaspoons of water.  Remove from heat and toss.  Best served cold.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Locavores and Love...

My weekly Whole Foods bill for produce, coupled by my Farmer's Market cash is WAY more than $8.  I know I am a words person and often am challenged with math but I think I have this right: by joining this co-op you get a weekly crate of goods for a monthly fee of $30.  AND, you have choices.  AND, it is fresh and local and organic.  AND, you are helping these farmers with their food movement.  Done, done and done! I love the concept and the thought of a weekly delivery. 

For the month of April you even test drive it for free.

This is what a weekly crate looks like. Umm... DEFINITELY more than $8, just saying! 

In addition to produce they offer herbs, free-range eggs and milk.  Also,  you can even give them scraps for composting (one of the things I miss as a city gal). To all things local, all things fresh, all things food--- Happy 40th Earth Day Week! 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Porta Pops, Pop Rocks and Personal Confessions...

Last Wednesday was filled with many surprises. 

It all started with a sing-a-long,  a halt at Thomas Circle, followed by an event at Vastu with amazing treats, add in an off-color comment and finally a phone call confession that later made me question my judgment in others. 

The story is not the beginning or the end.  It is the food.  In the laws of story telling we know the muddle is the heart, and like most of my stories, the heart was in the food.   The food offered creative surprises all night long.  The mini potpies... the fondant tin foil and my two favorite Ps---- porta-pops (trade marked sdp) and poprock pieces (trade marked sdp).   

To follow the lollipop trend that has come and is on its way out was portabella mushrooms on a stick with corn pops on top---- AMAZING!  But the kicker, not photographed, was a chocolate truffle that offered a surprise as you savored the inside... a party in your mouth.  Yes, my friends... this treat was baked with Pop Rocks in the center.  PopRocks... the signature candy of my childhood, there covered in dark chocolate.  It took me to an amazing place. 

All DC events have great food and the wine always flows but no food has surprised me like the food I had last Wednesday.  It was creative, fun and quite tasty.  And the best part was that it surprised me almost as much as the phone call that ended my day.  The call and the confession and the email that follow is another story... a story best saved for the book. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

FONT YOU Cherry Blossoms!

Oh the cherry blossoms... the cherry blossoms that I was so excited for... the cherry blossoms that I could not wait to see... the damn cherry blossoms have turned me something-like-a synical, tourist hating Washingtonian. 
The people... the people are EVERYWHERE.  On the sidewalks, lined up in fours.  On the metro, taking pictures and spilling koolaid.  Crossing at the wrong time at crosswalks, maps spread open.  I know, I know--- it is "our nations capitol" and someone told me as a resident it is our job to share.  But why, WHY???? I ask must you all come this week.  In crowds.  With your families.  ALL of your family.  Or schools? In cars.  Cars that keep you at a circle for an hour?  WHY?

I have decided that when the Cherry Blossom loving tourists come to town and get their map there should be an addendum to their "Guide to DC" that says:
1. When on sidewalks please file in a single line.  64% of Washingtonians are pedestrians. We are in a hurry. You are on vacation.  We are not.

2. Stay to right when riding escalators.  The left is for the passers.  See last three sentences of tip 1. 

3. Use elevator ettiquette when using metro.  People out.  People in.  Do not let your kids jump around.  Do not bring liquids that they can spill on people on their way to work.  Again, see tip 1.

4. Enjoy the city, and the blossoms and ignore the over worked, hot, cranky Washingtonians like me. But still see tip 1, for best results. 

*FONT you:  Is all caps font in email, a loud voice, the ultimate TYPOGRAPHICAL middle finger. Trade Marked Stacey Price, used by all Epic Media Relations Staff, circa Spring 2010. 

Monday, April 5, 2010

A little more chaos... coming soon!

Once upon a time, circa July 2009, I met a gal that is two pinches creative, one pinch chaotic with ZERO chicken.  She has joined in my philosophies, my days and my kitchen and as of this month she joins us at Chaos&Chicken!  

As a vegan, she will be cooking up a little kale, a little kebab (veggie only) and good karma in the days to come

Welcome, my dear friend and fellow foodie: Very Vegan!