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Charm City Cookbooking January 2009: A Platter of Figs

January 29, 2010 at 12:00 am | Posted in Cookbooks, Dessert, Dinner | 2 Comments

Alayne hosted this month and what a good choice she made! David Tanis has some real good simple recipes in this cookbook and its very nice how he arranges them into menus. He picked up that habit working at Chez Panisse in Berkeley and it was great to see how he uses simple local ingredients to make amazing food. I read a biography of Chez Panisse two summers ago and I just loved that book. Alice Waters is a genius and we all have her to thank for starting the eat local and organic movement!

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Here is a shot of one of the mocktails that we made for our evening. Since I am trying to lose weight and two other ladies can’t drink for health reasons- going alcohol free was a welcome change to our cookbook club evening. Alayne’s creative drink used these dried hibiscus flowers! They were so creepy/awesome looking! Now go over to the Cookbook club blog and check out some pictures and a recipe!

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Daring Baker’s Challenge January: Nanaimo Bars

January 27, 2010 at 12:00 am | Posted in Daring Bakers, Dessert | 13 Comments

Well when I read the name of these babies, I had no idea what that corresponded to! But actually, they are a hot mess of chocolate, graham cracker and sugar! Laurita loved them and everyone seem to enjoy their serving when I doled it out on Saturday to some of my buddies. But I really thought the middle layer was too sweet. It was really cool making my own graham crackers- I didn’t do it gluten free though because the cost of buying those different flours swayed me away and I have two sacks of whole wheat flour in my pantry that I had yet to touch- so whole wheat it was!!!

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Laurita took that lovely picture of the bar. I was being lazy and didn’t feel like getting up from the dinner table and wow shes such a good photographer! She is starting her student teaching this week so I hope that this dessert will help calm her after her new long days. Welcome to the real world sister bear!!

I love making layered desserts- seems so much fancier and interesting to me! I substituted more almonds and marshmallow bits for the coconut part of the bottom layer since I detest it so much! And I thought that was a good substitution.

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and www.nanaimo.ca. Check out some more pictures below and the recipe!

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Snacking on Apple Chips

January 22, 2010 at 9:00 am | Posted in Dessert | 10 Comments

Apple chips. YUMMM. I have loved apple chips for as long as I can remember! You know- these kind. I distinctly remember asking for those right after I got my braces off when I was 14 or so. They are just so sweet and crunchy and so satisfying. So now on to my cooking attempts to make those babies… You might have read that I am currently on a drastic healthy lifestyle change. I am trying to work out for at least an hour every day and trying to incorporate as many fruits and vegetables into my diet as possible. Trying to stay away from carbs for the most part and definitely trying to stop snacking after I eat dinner. This motivation has come from the fact that I am in my cousin’s wedding in June and am sick of not fitting into half of my pairs of pants! And I would really like to get back to running, and to do that I need to improve the strength of my post ACL surgery quadricep muscle. I can’t wait until I get to my goal weight ( watch out! my pre college weight!) because then I can go anywhere and get whatever I feel like and it won’t pack on the pounds because I am going to keep up this exercise (and maybe then I’ll be ready to be a buff bride myself! (no pressure Neddy, no pressure at all :-P)!

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In an attempt to make treats for myself I went thinking about different fruits and how to make them into an interesting dessert. Because I have this awesome mandoline (thank you Ned!) that I received for my birthday last year, it is incredibly easier to accomplish these apple chips! They turned out very crispy and pretty flavorful due to the spices I laid up on them. They aren’t as sweet as the Seneca version, but that’s okay. Here’s to being 20% of the way there and to having delicious low calorie things to snack on! Go check out the recipe below…

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Beneficent Birches

January 20, 2010 at 10:00 am | Posted in Dinner, Entertainment | 8 Comments

On Saturday night before the very depressing Ravens football game, we (meaning I) decided that Ned and the crew would chow down at Birches before we headed to the Canton square! This idea came from positive recommendations from Bobby my cousin! He loves this place because of the great beer selection (read – Resurrection!), the great crab dip and awesome burger menu. I liked the relaxed atmosphere and sweet tunes (Decemberists and Counting Crows!), the bartender was relatively friendly and the food was just very good.

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Victor, Megan and Luke got the burger choice, Ned got a buffalo chicken sandwich and I got the huge ceasar salad! Everyone chose different awesome beers and I stuck to agua, but surprisingly got some tea at the end of our visit! Who gets tea at a bar?? Well me. πŸ˜€ Check out some pictures and our grub below!

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Going Ad-hoc at Home for the First Time

January 18, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Posted in Dinner | 15 Comments

Ned was uuuuuber excited to receive this cookbook for Christmas. It is so popular I think it still may be on backorder! Thomas Keller is a genius and this is a really good cookbook to have around. So this dish consisted of chicken thighs, green olives and fennel and a really nice broth/sauce! The chicken thigh is such an underutilized part of the bird in my opinion. Ned went to Whole Foods to get a pack of them with skin on. We are going to try to get a significant percentage of the meat we buy from Whole Foods from now on, because we really want to do our part in supporting the ethical and classically natural way of raising meat. But we’ll still be sticking to Wegmans for everything else!

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So this chicken broth/sauce made in this recipe was just exquisite! TK really knows how to develop solid flavor in such a short amount of time and this recipe was the perfect way to use my new Le Creuset that I purchased with gift cards (Thank you Auntie Martha and Mrs.W!!!) After recopying the recipe below I am delighted to see how simple TK’s language is in the recipes. It really speaks to the true nature of ad-hoc: relaxed and at home for your loved ones. Now go check out this recipe!

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Hungrily Hunting the Hill….

January 14, 2010 at 12:00 am | Posted in Dinner | 2 Comments

Hi Food Blogger World, This is Laura (Elizabeth’s sis) guest blogging for the first time. I went downtown Saturday with some art school friends to Federal Hill. We were planning on going to go to Dangerously Delicious Pie’s … But they are closed til the 15th. We kept walking and I called my foodie sister who advised me to go to Spoons on Cross St and they said the kitchen was closed, it was only 4:00! Anyhow, we got advice from the guys in the shop who told us to head down the block to a place called Metropolitan. We started down the street but were stopped cold in our tracks. CREPES! Who doesn’t love a crepe? This was a very good find.

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The name of the place is Ruben’s Crepe’s. His crepe shop was unique and had a large array of fillings for his crepes. My friend Kat enjoyed a nutella, strawberries and bananas crepe. Kris had a egg, apple, swiss, cracked pepper and bacon crepe. Pio had an ham, apple, spinach, meunster cheese crepe. I had the NEW one Salsa-Verde, Beans, cheese, chorizo. This was tasty but very hot. For the time of day (between lunch and dinner) I should have got something sweeter. Overall a good bite to eat in the cold weather. This was a small and cozy space and is reasonably priced- $1.00 for coffee and $6.00 – $ 9.00 for the crepes. The fillings are generous and the shop has only been open for a WEEK but he had nice tables and a relaxed atmosphere. Go for the jump to see the menu!

Continue Reading Hungrily Hunting the Hill…….

Getting chilly in DC!

January 12, 2010 at 12:00 am | Posted in Dinner | 9 Comments

So indeed we were verrrrry chilly in DC on Friday night. Probably 20 and windy! Very difficult to walk happily around town! So in addition to being chilly on Friday, we ate chili!! Perfect for the cold and it was definitely a fun highlight to our evening. One of our favorite One World Cafe bartenders is Chris and he happens to be in a band called the Fishnet Stalkers. He was opening for the Upper Crust at the Black Cat. We needed to get some grub before we went to the concert, so I went searching on google maps and what did I spot only three blocks away?? Ben’s Chili Bowl!! I recognized this place from Tony Bourdain’s visit and hearing about President Obama’s love for this establishment

This place was hustling and bustling around 7pm on Friday night, slightly less crazy than when we walked by again on our way home from the concert! About 15 people in line and the booths and counter seats were full. They only take cash, so I was glad to have some moola leftover from Christmas presents! Ned knew he wanted the Half smokey dog and I had my sights on vegetarian chili (from my early perusing on the web..). When I saw those delicious hot dogs roasting on the griddle I knew I had to have one, but just one! The half smokey is a half pork/ half beef smoked sausage, homemade on site! They top it with onions, mustard and their famous chili. Check out my blurry iphone pictures below!

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My new lunch and appetizer go to: Hummus!

January 10, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Posted in Appetizer, Dinner | 6 Comments

At the snowpocalypse party 2009 one of Ned’s labmates brought a nice tray of cucumbers, carrots, snowpeas and broccoli and paired it with her homemade hummus! I tried this hummus and was so wowed! Typically, I love buying the sabra pine nut hummus, but for five bucks for a nice sized tub, I realized there had to be a cheaper way! And a way to exercise my culinary creativity!

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I went searching in Elise’s site and found her basic recipe. She uses alot of tahini (which I reasoned to be pretty high in calories for my purposes…) so I halved it and replaced that with water!

Continue Reading My new lunch and appetizer go to: Hummus!…

Cut the cake… And have a muffin??

January 4, 2010 at 10:00 pm | Posted in Dinner | 7 Comments

So around Christmastime, our whole family was sitting around talking about Bob and Jen’s wedding and how much fun it’s going to be! But the one thing that will not be fun (watch out here comes vanity) is if we are all heffers in the wedding photos! Since my surgery, I’ve gained weight and about half of our family is not so skinny either, so we decided we need to gang up together and get this done in the next 5 months for our health and for our vanity. πŸ˜› So the weight loss ideas started flying and what resulted is pure genius! We started a google spreadsheet to document everyone’s weightloss (hell of a way to keep myself honest!) and we started a blog named Cut the Cake. Wedding appropriate and funny, right?? So the blog has been around since the day after Christmas and I really think its succeeding in its purpose! Everyone is posting their healthy food choices, exercise accomplishments, setbacks and random funny things (heres looking at you Auntie!). I really look forward to keeping up with it over these next five months.

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So anyways, I had to incorporate some sort of food thing into this Cut the Cake post, so here is my latest baked good and hopefully will be the last for awhile! Bobby hosted an awesome New Year’s Eve party and I wanted to bring something delicious and so I decided on breakfast. I went straight to my new happy reading addiction- Baked and found this recipe. It’s pretty healthy I think- and since when I ate one on New Years Day and a couple of mornings since then, I have wished that there was more sugar in it- so it must be lacking those evil calories! (sugar is not evil actually. I really wish I could stray away from that kind of speak like ‘I was so “good” today because I didn’t have sweets…’ Rather I would like to think -‘I was so healthy today and made healthy food choices.’) The muffin crumb on these babies was perfect and the texture contrast between the mushy bluberries and crunchy sliced almonds was nice. I don’t really think I could taste any overwhelming orange flavor though. Wonder if doubling the orange zest would help with that. And I wish there was some fun buttery sugar crumbs on top…..(3rd person now) but seriously healthy minded Elizabeth- you know its not necessary!!! Check out the recipe below!

Continue Reading Cut the cake… And have a muffin??…

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