Taste of The Nation

February 26th, 2011 by adam

It’s almost that time of year again.  Time for Taste of The Nation DC.  We bought our tickets, have you?  We really enjoyed ourselves last year and hope to see you there again this year.  Ticket are $95 for general admission and are partially tax deductible.

Proof - White Anchovy and Olive Canapé

By Weight…

January 4th, 2011 by adam

So what if I told you there was a way to make your recipies more accurate and more consistent, while saving time and money?  How you ask?  Use a scale and weight your ingredients.

I was happy to find the post entitled Kitchen-Scale Manifesto.  I have long been bewildered that most recipe ingredients – including those in cookbooks – aren’t listed in weight, but rather volume or other inprecise measurements such as 1 cup of flour, 1 medium onion.  Cooking isn’t about just following a recipe.  It’s about using a recipe as inspiration and working with the ingredients and technique to cook a dish until its what you want – until its done.  However, maybe part of the reason folks find such a need to tweak recipes is because the measurements of the ingredients in those recipes are so inprecise that its unlikely they’re actually recreating the dish cooked by the origional author.  And what if you finally perfect a dish, how do you accurately record the results in a recipe with imprecise measuring tools.

As the Kitchen-Scale Manifesto notes:

“Kosher salt takes up twice the volume of regular salt, and so people will either put in double, or half the amount they need.”

and

“The amount of flour in a cup can vary as much as 25% depending on how it is packed.”

So what to do?  Weight you ingredients and rewrite your recipes in weight.  The Manifesto is a great read that will certainly make you a convert to using a scale for almost all your measurements, and also contains a good discussion on scales, weighing, and converting existing recipes to weight.

Having owned a kitcken scale for many years, in addition to the benefit of more accuracy, there are also many more benefits as well:

  • Recipes will be more accurate, allowing precise recording and sharing.
  • Dishes can be recreated with more consistancy.
  • Measuring ingredeitns is quciker.  Just tare the scale, add the ingredient, tare again, and repeat.  Much quicker then finding a measureing cup.   Much less cleanup too (and less water, and soap, and time).

While the Kitchen-Scale Manefesto does recommend against using volume to weight conversion charts (just read the post and you’ll understand), there are charts and search tools available to find estimates for common foods by weight.

So Just Weight It!

-Adam

Restaurant Snapview: Oyamel

August 19th, 2010 by adam

I really enjoyed Oyamel.  However, I’m going to let the pictures do the talking.  Or just go try it yourself :)

Oyamel

Like its Spanish counterpart Jaleo, Oyamel serves mostly small dishes - Mexican dishes

Oyamel

Grapefruit soda - quite refreshing

Oyamel

Homemade salsa and chips

Oyamel

Black beans, cheese, creme fraiche, olive oil, corn tortillas

Oyamel

Mole fries

Oyamel

Pork tacos w/ fried pork skin

Oyamel

Beef tongue tacos

Oyamel

Churros with chocolate dipping sauce

Oyamel

Grasshopper taco

Oyamel

Squash blossom drink

-Adam

Oyamel on Urbanspoon

Cowgirl Creamery

August 12th, 2010 by adam

Located in DC’s Penn Quarter, Cowgirl Creamery is the lone outpost of the 3 Cowgirl stores, the other two being in happy cow California. Jenn, my lovely sister-in-law and fellow food lover, was nice enough to get me a Cowgirl Creamery cheese box and gift certificate last year for Christmas. And while I love cheese, I took me until July to get around to stopping by their DC location. However, I did managed to emojy their awesome Mt Tam triple cream while picnicing in Sonoma, CA in June.

Cowgirl’s DC location is much more then a sales location for their half dozen or so self produced cheeses. Cowgirl offers dozens of cheeses in addition to their own and complementary accompaniments such as beer, wine, bread, dried meats, bread, books, and gifts. After entering and passing the front counter and retail seciton, we headed to the back where the cheeses are displayed – some in cooled cases, some stacked in wheels and wedges. A nice fromager noticed us looking around and helped us sample a few cheeses. We were looking for a nice mix of flavors and textures. After sampling a few cheeses and ogling at the homemade Crème fraiche, we chose three – a goat, a sheep, and a cow. The cow’s milk was Cowgirl’s St Pat – a creamy texture but somewhat pungent flavor from its nettle coating. and somewhat. The sheep’s milk was Dante by the Wisconsin Sheep Dairy Cooperative, a somewhat dry nutty cheese with crystallization like a good Parmesan cheese. The goat’s milk was Cana de Cabra, with a texture and flavor similar to our favorite Humbolt Fog, but without some of the complex flavor. We also grabbed a few baguettes and some fruit compote. A few nights later, we enjoyed our cheese with a bottle if wine from our CA trip last June. So good, so good, so good…

Cowgril Creamery

Cowgirl from the street

Cowgril Creamery

Our three cheeses in the cheese box

Cowgril Creamery

Cowgirl's St Pat

-Adam

Restaurant Review: Brewers Art

August 11th, 2010 by adam

What better to do on a Friday night after a long day at work then go to a brewery?

We first heard about Brewer’s Art from one of Val’s coworkers who told us we had to try the Resurrection Beer, or Res as he said the regulars call it.  He was pretty excited when talking about it (and he said the food was good too), so we had to go.  Going against traffic, we snaked our way to Baltimore’s Mt. Vernon neighborhood, home of Brewer’s Art.  Located between a street of townhouses, we entered on the middle floor to a humming bar with a few chairs and sofas in addition to the bar.  Next to the bar, there’s a doorway that leads to the dining room or a stair case the leads to a downstairs bar and first come first serve seating area.   Both the upstairs and downstairs bars have a bar menu, while the restaurant serves a more extensive menu.  The downstairs was dimly lit and had lots of nooks and crannies with tables hidden here and there.  A cool vibe, but all full.  We headed back upstairs and snagged two seats at the bar – where better to see what was going on.

I sat right in front of the beer taps, adorned with some interesting pulls, including a pitch fork, cross, and the top of a trophy with a woman bowling for the Wit Trash – love the name!  We ordered two Res which were poured into goblets.  They beer was very good, as were the others we tried as the night progressed.  We also ordered some food to go along.  We started with the Country Ham Flatbread, a delicious combination of smoky ham, mascarpone cheese, bourbon soaked cherries, honey, and mustard seeds.  Next we split two entires.  An American Kobe, aioli, pickled onion, and pepper jack pita AND  the Brewer’s Art Cheeseburger, complete with Vermont sharp cheddar and rosemary garlic fries, both of which were excellent.  We sat at the bar for a while, talking about this and that, and people watching.  We bought a 6 pack of Res on the way out.  We’ll be back!

Brewer's Art

Goblet of Resurrection Beer

Brewer's Art

Crazy pulls on the beer taps...

Brewer's Art

Beer List

Brewer's Art

Flatbread

Brewer's Art

Cheeseburger

Brewer's Art

Pita

-Adam

Brewer's Art on Urbanspoon

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