Smorgasbord

August 20, 2009 at 10:49 AM (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Well since my last post on Saturday, a smattering of things relevant to this blog have happened (hence the post title.)  Tuesday I made a delicious, EASY and cheap dish that yields plenty of leftovers for the rest of the week.  It’s a dish that my mom used to make all the time, bow tie pasta with spicy Italian sausage.  I like my food with spice, you can obviously use whatever heat sausage you’d like.  Hell use Turkey sausage if you so please, that also works in this dish.  Now none of this is homemade, although one day when I have time I’ll include a recipe for homemade Vodka Sauce, but its something I wanted to include for those cooking on a budget (because honestly, who isn’t these days.)  In total this meal will run less than $10 and will make enough for a week’s worth of pasta.

This is so simple, all you need is a 16 oz roll of Hot Jimmy Dean Sausage ($3.99), a 16 oz box of Farfalle bow tie pasta which you can find for $1-2, and a bottle of Classico Vodka Sauce which usually runs about $3-4.

– In a frying pan, cook the sausage through while breaking down with a fork.

– While sausage is cooking, boil water, cook pasta

– When the sausage is done, drain the grease by putting a paper towel over the plate you will put the sausage on, dab the top with another towel

– When the pasta is done and drained, place it back into the bowl, keep stove on low, pour vodka sauce on top let the sauce heat up as you mix it over the pasta

– Lastly, add the sausage, mix it in with the pasta and sauce and, voila! You’re done!

It’s that simple.

Now, because this WOULD happen to me, after I made a week’s worth of lunch or dinner with this dish, my schedule completely filled up with business lunches and dinners with friends to catch up before my vacation next week.  In DC, August is the time of year to do these things.  Congress is out, it’s too damn hot for tourists, and everyone takes their vacation, so it’s a great time to take advantage of the usually busy restaurants in the city.  This is exactly what 3 of my colleagues and myself did yesterday.  We decided our lunch would be at Kinkead’s, An American Bistro.

This restaurant is right in the Foggy Bottom Shopping Center on the GWU Campus (my grad school Alma mater!)  It’s an American bistro with a heavy seafood influence (twist my arm.)  Now, I had been running late from being called into a senior staff meeting, which is weird because I’m no where near senior level management…anyways!  I showed up desperately looking for a strong drink to calm my nerves, and settled with the Red Zin they serve by the glass.  I was so frazzled I didn’t even ask what it was, but it was quite delicious.  My colleagues all went with the crabcakes which they said were phenomenal and I went with the Cashew and Coconut crusted Cod with Brazilian Style Chile Coconut Milk Sauce with Shrimp, Yucca, Lime and Cilantro, it was as amazing as it sounds.  I would definitely recommend Kinkead’s although I still think the Oceanaire has some of the best seafood in the city.

Since I had some catching up to do at dinner time as well, my friend and I decided to FINALLY try the Good Stuff Eatery on 3rd and Penn, SE.  For those of you who watch Top Chef, this is the burger and salad joint Spike from Season 4 opened.  Now from what I had heard, the burgers are good, not quite as good as Five Guys, but what keeps you coming back there instead of Five Guys are the milkshakes.  I wholeheartedly agree.  The burgers were so good, I went with the Good Stuff Melt that had Muenster and Cheddar cheese, sauteed mushrooms and caramelized onions with the Good Stuff sauce and a plain vanilla milkshake.  My friend went with the Coletti’s Smokehouse which has applewood bacon,sharp Vermont cheddar, fried Vidalia onion rings with
Chipotle BBQ sauce and a Toasted Marshmallow shake, their number one seller.  The milkshakes were the best we’ve ever had.  Hands down, if you’re ever craving a milkshake, go to Good Stuff.  They’re also known for the Milky Way shake… that one’s next on the list!

This trip was fitting as last night was the premier of Top Chef Season 6 which takes place is Las Vegas!!!  Now, it’s as just a shock to me as it was my mother that I LOVE Las Vegas and hosting a show like Top Chef there is a great idea.  It’s a hot spot for foodies and celebrity chefs.  Without getting into a complete synopsis of the show, they’re already throwing out more twists and turns than ever.  Fitting in Sin City.  The first quickfire challenge was a relay challenge and I love those.  Watching Preeti (who I honeslty could not tell if she was a guy or a girl for the first 10 minutes) try to shuck clams was embarassing.  Seriously, how did you make it on this show.

The winning relay team then had to challenge each other with a dish that included the food that was their leg of the relay.  Girl from Philthadelphia won. Ugh.  Anyways, the elimination challenge was great, they had to base a dish over a vice of theirs.  Some chefs got very creative, especially the winner, Kevin whose dish was based on his procrastination.  He switched the food that was supposed to be slow cooked to fast, and the fast cooking food to slow.  He wowed the judges and I wanted to scratch his beard and make him do a little Leprachaun dance.  While Kevin’s dish was awesome and I really do enjoy watching him, I’m totally rooting for Michael Isabella!

Michael Isabella1

Yeap! That’s my guy.  And you wanna know why?!  He’s the Head Chef of Zaytinya, one of my top 5 favorite restaurants in Washington, DC.  It’s one of Jose Andres’ 5 restaurants in the area and is a Lebanese and Mediterranean Tapas place.  My best friend and I go there all the time to sit outside, enjoy a bottle of Cypriot wine, eat pita bread (and other delectable dishes) and play “who has the better deal.”  Yes, each couple that walks by, we say, out loud, which of the two is getting the better deal.  Try it sometime. Oh, and there can be a draw, but there seldom is.  Anywho!  Michael did really well the first episode, I think he can make it pretty far.  He does have to step it up a little bit if he wants to be a finalist.  Whip out that braised lamb with almond pasta, goat cheese, and roasted red peppers.  If the judges find it as orgasmic as I do, he wins.  At the end, Tattoo Neck (yeap you can guarantee they’ll all have nicknames by the end of this season) has to “pack up her knives and go.”

tattooneck

Thank God, I couldn’t even remember what she looked like or what she cooked because I was too busy staring at her tattoo neck and gagging over her peach- sized earring holes…

Alright, now that I’ve written a small dissertation about my week in food, I’ll let you all go.  Until then sicuro viaggi and bon appetit!

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Fat Kids for Life!

August 15, 2009 at 7:08 PM (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

So it’s a beautiful Saturday here in the District, and by beautiful, I mean the humidity is only about 70% on top of 87 degree weather…  Seriously, for August it’s quite a treat, instead of being hot as Hell, literally as hot as Hell, it’s rull mild.  Anyways!  Here I am in the delicious little kitchen preparing to make the Avocado Goat Cheese Dip compliments of Paula Deen.  Sometimes I wonder what sort of drugs she’s on or if it’s the overload of bacon, mayo and butter…

Loews Lincoln Square

…if its drugs, someone please tell me where she gets them.  I could cook like that too… but seriously, I can’t take my eyes away from this woman, she makes me want to hug a Southerner, and that’s not something I want to do often.  Regardless of drugs, or just the butter and mayonnaise, the woman makes me want to put all my jewelry on and run my fingers through ground meat.  I’m not doing that today though.  Today is something nice and simple (and guaranteed to be delicious) as I am preparing just a small dish before a Ladie’s Night at my friend’s house.  Alright here we go:

To start, make sure you’ve got a medium sized bowl, nothing you’d make a big salad in, something a little smaller than that, you’ll be transfering it to a serving dish anyways.  You’ll also need an electric mixer.  Now for the recipe:

  • 3 ripe avocados, peeled pitted and cut into chunks
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more, if needed
  • 3 tablespoons lime juise
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 ounces goat cheese

Directions

In a bowl combine avocados, garlic, cumin and salt. Use an electric hand mixer to mix ingredients together. Add lime juice, cream cheese and goat cheese pulsing until smooth and blended well. Add a bit more salt, if necessary.

**tip!  Since Avocado turns brown quickly, I suggest making this dish right before you expect to eat it.  Also, this recipe makes quite a bit of this so either plan on making it for a larger party, or to have immediately the next day.  You could also cut each measurement in half…

Man, this is amazing.  Now I’m a HUGE goat cheese fan.  If there’s something on a menu at a restaurant that involves goat cheese (and doesn’t have olives) chances are, I’ll get it.  I have also been on a HUGE avocado kick this summer so this is the perfect remedy.  Now, with this you should serve pita chips.  You can make your own by cutting up pita bread, heating the oven to 350 degrees, and baking until lightly toasted and cripsy.  I prefer to buy Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips, you cannot lose with them!  They add that last pinch of salt you’re looking for with this dip.

Alright kids!  I’m off to Anna’s for Avocado Goat Cheese Dip, Salmon and of course WINE! (and lots of it.)  I’ll include a picture for the next post to let you know how it came out!  Enjoy your nights, thanks for visiting and until next time, sicuro viaggi and bon appetit!

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Bonjour and Buonjourno!

August 13, 2009 at 1:26 PM (Uncategorized) ()

Hello my fantabulous readers (all 2 of you), and welcome to my new blog; “Perhaps Fritalian.”  I have been going back and forth about starting a blog for a while now, but until recently I just never knew what I wanted to write about.  For those of you who know me, I am heavily involved in politics, but seeing as politics is my job, that’s the LAST thing I wanted this blog to be about.

That’s when I started brainstorming about other things I’m passionate about that I know I could spend hours talking (or writing) about, and those included five things, music, movies, travel, wine and food.  Now I’d be lying if I said the movie Julie and Julia didn’t jog my brain a little bit, but I promise, I will not be doing the same.  Instead, this blog is for the everyday food and wine lover.

Since this first post is introductory (and boring, I know, I promise I’ll get snarkier as I get used to this) let me tell you a little bit about myself.  I am a 50/50 mix of Cajun French and Italian (hence the Fritalian).  That mix can be summed up in one word; feisty!  I’m hot headed when it comes to debating, I love my food with a lot of kick, and I loves me some red wine.  I have been living in the beautiful city of Washington, DC for the past 6 years and consider myself a bit of a foodie.  Thanks to Open Table, I have experienced some of the best restaurants the District has to offer.

I come from a family that always ate dinner together.  Being a very athletic household, this was sometimes a challenge between practices, meets, games, etc, but we seemed to make it work.  Dinner was also almost always homemade.  Both my parents are incredible cooks, namely my father, an Italian New Yorker who could win the Food Network’s “Chopped” if they gave them pork, jelly beans, cumin and cauliflower.  I blame him for my obsession and ability to watch the Food Network for hours on end, unless Rachael Ray is on, I swear when she says “EVOO”… sorry I just puked… anyways!

Cooking, and more so eating, is something I absolutely love, but until recently, didn’t and couldn’t afford to make the lavish dishes I wanted to.  When I, or my roommate do cook, I enjoy having my iHome nearby blasting my favorite tunes.  Now, I’m not going to get into what my favorite tunes are because there are just too many, but my taste ranges from Classic Rock (my all time favorite genre) to Bluegrass to Rap to Motown.  I know, it’s everywhere, but I love it all, and it makes cooking even more enjoyable for me.

So! Now that I’ve given a little bit of a background, I hope you all come back as I begin to develop this site that will be devoted to my love of food and wine!  I’ll be sharing recipes and restaurant reviews, along with tangents about music, Lost, Top Chef, and I’m sure a range of other things, make sense? Of course!  It’s a blog, nothing has to make sense.

I plan for my next entry to be Saturday as I prepare an Avocado/Goat Cheese spread (compliments of my girl Paula Deen).  Until then, sicuro viaggi and bon appetit!

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