Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Highline RxR

Fun Fact:  Crystal City's food and bar scene is extremely disappointing.  Filled with chain restaurants (read: Chili's and others), and monstrous concrete buildings there is nothing unique or community-oriented about this section of Arlington.  I know there is a Business Development initiative designed to try to work on this challenge, but honestly the place is set up for tourists.

However, noticeable changes are underway, starting with a new restaurant in town -- Highline R&R.

Simple and industrial, with a focus on a good beer selection, this restaurant is everything that I love in a bar.  Casual and comfortable (sneakers allowed), open air (HUGE windows) and eclectic (potted herbs on the bar tables lining the windows).

The food is okay, but I think with some attention, they could do much more.  The wings and kettle cooked chips were good, but nothing to write home about.  They need a little flair to make them stand out and complement the beer menu.

The disappointment was the bacon nuts.  They had SO MUCH potential.  And then, they under-delivered.  Way too savory and no balance with a spice or a sweet flavor.  REVISE. 

Despite the missteps with the food, I still love this place given the beer menu and atmosphere.  It is a welcome change to a stale Crystal City and, with some fine tuning with the menu, could truly be great.

   Highline RxR on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Spiced Nuts

In the spirit of the Super Bowl (which this year,  I have no interest in as I dislike both teams...), here is a super tasty appetizer recipe for spiced nuts.  A little bit sweet and a little bit spicy, these are great to pair with cheese and wine.  In fact, if I start snacking on them, I feel COMPELLED to pour a glass of wine.  True story.

They are  easy to make and are ready in 15 minutes TOTAL so everyone wins (just in time to pour another glass of wine).

1 cup pecans
1 cup almonds
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pistachios (without the shells) (or cashews)
1 teaspoon of coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of butter
1/4 cup of water
1/2 cup of brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put all the nuts in a bowl.  Add salt, pepper, cumin and cayenne pepper.  Stir until blended.

2.  In a small pot, combine butter, water and brown sugar.  Heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves.  Pour sauce over nuts.  Stir until all the nuts are coated with sauce.

3.  Spread nuts on a deep baking tray, lined with foil and coated with cooking spray.  Cook in oven for 15 minutes until roasted.

4.  Remove from oven and cool. 

5.  Break apart nuts and keep in a zip lock bag to have on hand when need to serve with wine!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Spicy Soba Noodles

Easy weeknight dinners that can double as lunch are a great time saver.  The trick is to find something that actually tastes good the next day, and that can be a real challenge.  Most food looses its luster by day two.  But this spicy soba noodle salad breaks the mold. 

Fresh and feisty, by day two the seasonings in the sauce taste even better.  And, the ingredients hold their "snap" so there is no love lost overnight.  Admittedly, this is a bit spicy so if you want to tone down, cut the jalapeno in half. 

2 peppers, sliced thin
3 green onions, sliced into rounds
1/4 head of cabbage
1/2 pound of cooked chicken, shredded
1/4 cup of cilantro
1 wrapping of soba noodles (in the package there are three separate groups, use one! about 258 grams)
5 tablespoons of peanut butter
5 tablespoons of water
5 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of ginger
1/2 a jalapeno (with seeds)
1/4 cup of peanuts

1.  Slice all the vegetables - peppers, onions, cilantro and cabbage.  Shred chicken.

2.  Cook soba noodles according to directions.  Drain and cool.

3.  Combine peanut butter through jalapeno in a blender to combine.  After well blended, add peanuts and quickly pulse for a chunky-like texture.

4.  In a large bowl, combine veggies and noodles.  Add in sauce to coat.  Serve immediately or refrigerate for a salad later!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Spiced Butternut Squash Gratin

Winter vegetables are the best - and when they are roasted, it really brings out their flavor.  Roasted pumpkin, butternut squash, turnips, spaghetti squash, it's hard to decide where to start.  

Here's a delicious recipe for roasted butternut squash with a hint of spice, balanced with leeks and goat cheese in a rich gratin.  This is perfect for a main dish if you are vegetarian (with a crunchy side salad), or a clever new side dish for Sunday supper (give your green beans a break!). 

1 butternut squash (about 3 lbs)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper
1.5 teaspoons of cumin
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
2 leeks
2 tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup of hazelnuts
6 oz of goat cheese
1 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream

1.  Peel, seed and dice the butternut squash into cubes.  Heat the oven to 375.

2.  Put the butternut squash in a large bowl.  Combine with olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper and coriander.  Mix until the squash is covered with the spices and oil. 

3.  Spread butternut squash cubes on a foil covered tray and roast in the oven for 40 - 45 minutes until fork tender.

4.  While the squash is cooking, slice the leeks (white and light green parts). 

5.   In a sauté pan, heat butter over medium heat, add the leeks and sauté for 10 minutes.

6.  Grease a baking dish with butter.  Put the leeks on the bottom of the dish, and add roasted butternut squash.  Slice rounds of goat cheese and scatter in the dish.  Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts.  Pour the heavy cream over top.  Place back in oven (still at 375). 

7.  Cook until bubbly and cheese is melting, for about 45 minutes.  Serve immediately!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Who Needs Winter When We've Got... CEVICHE!

Well, it's been a long time friends.  I admittedly disappeared off the face of the blogger earth but I have returned.  I know you were worried, but fear not!  I have some great new recipes for 2015 and some fun ideas to connect people and food together.  But I'll save all that for a later time.  Now to the important stuff.  CEVICHE. 

It may be winter, but a nice dish of ceviche is fresh and crisp dish to brighten your dreary day.  And, it's healthy with all kinds of good protein and vegetables.  What's that?  You're on a juice cleanse?  Oh, well throw this baby in the blender and add some kale then (maybe not, your choice really).  So it might not be juice but it's still tasty and healthy.  Cheers to a New Year!

1 pound of scallops
8 limes
1/2 yellow pepper
2 tomatoes
4 green onions
2 stalks of celery
1.5 tbl of olive oil
1 tsp of ground pepper
1 jalapeno
1/4 cup of cilantro
1 avocado

1.  Cut scallops in quarters and place in a bowl.  Squeeze in juice from all 8 limes until scallops are submerged in the juice.  Let sit in refrigerator overnight until they are "cooked" and no longer opaque. 

2.  Dice tomatoes, yellow pepper, green onions, celery and cilantro. 

3.  Drain half the lime juice from the scallops and add the vegetables.  Stir and then add diced jalapeno, pepper and oil.  Set back in the refrigerator to chill and allow flavors to blend for 6 - 8 hours.

4.  Serve in a small dish with sliced avocados.  Enjoy!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Pasta Carbonara

I love Sunday night dinner.  There is something comforting and simple about sitting around with family on a relaxing evening to signal the end to a fun weekend and the start of a new week.  My go to dish on Sunday nights is roasted chicken, but I do mix it up with other seasonal dishes for some variety -- like pasta carbonara.  Bacon and pasta with a rich sauce, what's not to love (push those ideas of calories out of your head right this minute, they are distracting!).

Here is the recipe - I've added some of my favorite ingredients like tomatoes and wine to balance out the richness of the dish.  Enjoy with some bread and wine!

4-6 slices of thick bacon
1 lb of pasta
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, diced
1 cup of sliced cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup of dry white wine
4 eggs
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons of fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons of shredded parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

1.  Cook pasta until al dente.  I highly suggest using fresh pasta if can get your hands on it.  It makes the world of difference.

2.  Coarsely chop bacon and cook in a skillet over medium high heat until slightly crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon. 

3.  Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat and add chopped onions to the skillet.  Cook until tender (6-8 minutes).  Add garlic and cook for another minute until tender.  Add tomatoes and wine, cook for two more minutes.

4.  Meanwhile, whisk eggs and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese in a bowl.

5.  While the pasta is still warm, add the egg and cheese mixture to the pasta. 

6.  Then add the bacon and tomato and onion mixture to the pasta.  Season with salt and pepper.

7.  Spoon pasta into shallow bowls, sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese and parsley.  Serve immediately.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Tales from the Inside

Perrr....fect.  I snagged the computer while Mommy is making dinner/folding clothes/cleaning and Daddy is looking at his awesome phone.  Daddy is so lucky and cool. 

Anyway, while I have some alone time here with you, I wanted to share a little secret.  Come closer.  Closer... okay.  Listen.

This food blogging thing is a sham. 
Seriously.  She makes all that good food, posts pictures up on the internet/face page or whatever, and eats it with Daddy. Everyone oohss and awwws (looks so tasty!) but this is what WE, her own children, get. 

Yup.  Your eyes aren't playing tricks on you.  Chicken nuggets and broccoli.   And no, there is no fancy sauce on the broccoli (cheese might be good for a change) and the nuggets are NOT made-from-scratch.  This is what really happens inside a food bloggers home for dinner. 

I took a picture for proof, while Mommy smiled, quietly getting excited about my future potential as a food blogger or even, a chef.  Ha! I fooled her, it's all part of a larger plan to build the case about the poor quality of service here at home.  I'm starting with nutrition.

So there it is, the TRUTH from the inside.  Don't worry, I'll survive here.  I score good over at grandmom's and generally, sneak this terrible excuse for food to the four-legged fur ball.  He owes me something good one day, like tunneling me out of here so I can escape and get some real food.  Like delicious McDonalds.