Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bacon & Egg Purse Soup: Crepe-Wrapped Bacon Meatballs in a Star Anise and Ginger-Scented Broth

When the creative and talented Natasha of 5 Star Foodie Culinary Adventures invited me to join the 5 Star Makeover cooking group she and Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! were forming, I was totally on board.  I love to put my thinking cap on in the kitchen, after all, and the group's first directive - come up with a gourmet interpretation of the classic bacon and eggs combo - is both playful and challenging. Good stuff!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Savory Caprese Sundae with Ciliegine di Mozzarella, Tomato Spheres, Powderized Olive Oil and Basil Dust for the International Incident Sundae Party

International Incident Sundae Party

Confession: I haven't had a sundae since I was about 8 years old. It was at a Friendly's, right down from the Orange Julius and the Earring Tree, in a gross mall in the town where I grew up. It was vanilla, chocolate, and peanut butter ice cream loaded with pounds of sticky, messy sauce and topped with about a pound of Reese's Pieces.  I maybe got 1/3 of the way through it all, and promptly got sick. 

So when I found out that this month's International Incident Party - hosted as always by the lovely and talented Penny aka Jeroxie of Addictive and Consuming - had a sundaes theme, I wasn't exactly beset with great ideas. Not, that is, until I got to thinking about how I've been wanting to try my hand at modernist cuisine. (Or, if you prefer,  "molecular gastronomy," though I am learning that this is a somewhat contested/contentious  term.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Green Beans with Pancetta for French Fridays with Dorie

If you've read my last couple of French Fridays with Dorie posts, you might have started to get the idea that I'm some sort of cranky, complain-y curmudgeon. But nothing could be further from the truth, I assure you! I just call it like it see it. And happily, the way I see it this week is all positivity, rainbows,  and kittens.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Spinach Kofta with Eggplant Puree: It's a Tropical Asian Valentine's Party!

Rather than throw my blogging hat into  the ring with all the lovely pink and red heart-shaped puffs, poofs, cookies, pastries, and confections out there, I have instead joined forces with the lovely and talented Maya of Foodiva's Kitchen and Penny aka Jeroxie of Addictive and Consuming to bring you a Tropical Asian Valentine's Extravaganza. 

What, you've never heard of celebrating Valentine's day with some cute little kofta?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Moroccan Carrot & Fennel Slaw (my un-French Friday offering)

Today is another French Friday with Dorie, and that means I was supposed to have made and posted her orange and almond tart from Around my French Table. But the thing is, I just couldn't face making another dessert. I know, I know - I may be the only XX chromosome creature on the planet who doesn't get all that excited about sweets, but there you have it. And so close to Valentine's Day - it's positively un-American of me! (In my defense, I recently had to taste about 20 gourmet chocolates for work, and I am sick to death of sugar. Cue sad violins.)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Juicy Lamb & Purple Potato Shepherd's Pie with a Blackberry Demi Glace

The Dr. Seuss-ian purple mashed potato topping you see here consists of extras from the Basque potato tortilla that I made for last week's French Fridays with Dorie.  I first got a bee in my bonnet to make a shepherd's pie because Claudia from What's Cooking? recently made an Italian-style version of the dish, which got my tummy rumbling.  I also just happened to have eight braised lamb shoulder chops sitting around.

But why, you ask, when it's just Poppa Trix and me, would I ever need to make such an obscene amount of lamb all at once?  Why, indeed!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Basque (Purple) Potato Tortilla for French Fridays with Dorie

I hope you won't be disappointed that I have no ever-so-slightly off color  story or amusing anecdote for you to go along with the recipe like I did last week. No, I am afraid that this week's French Fridays with Dorie post is a relatively tame affair. But then, tameness goes along thematically with the dish itself, in my opinion.

I'm not saying that the Basque potato tortilla wasn't good. It was ... fine. Luckily I didn't follow the recipe to the letter, but instead went ahead and put in some leftover rosemary and thyme and dusted the top with some sweet paprika or I think it really would have been impossibly bland. Oh, and I used purple potatoes, as you can see. That didn't really affect the flavor but I thought they were a fun and colorful touch, don't you?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Grace Garden: Chinese Cuisine Prepared by a Master Chef

You may have noticed that we take birthdays pretty seriously around Casa de Trix. Remember how I recreated a Viennese heuriger feast for Poppa Trix, complete with  gnocchi baked in pumpkin cream and liptauer cheese? And made him a boatload of red velvet cupcakes?  Well, that was just on his actual birthday. The night before, for a surprise, I took him to Grace Garden, a place we had both been wanting to try for some time..

Going into it, I knew this would not be a typical romantic birthday meal.  It's located in a run down strip of storefronts in a pretty rough D.C. suburb. (In fact, we later found out that the same night we were there,  a pizza delivery driver was shot nearby - a fairly common occurrence. Gulp.) At first glance, Grace Garden looks like just another crappy Americanized Chinese takeout. But have a closer look, and you'll notice something a little different: Hanging on the walls of this Zagat-rated hole-in-the-wall are well-deserved awards, newspaper and magazine articles, and glowing reviews. And yet hardly anyone around here seems to know about the place. But now you will - and if you are ever in the area, you must, must, must check this place out.