Over Memorial Day weekend, my friends and I were supposed to go to the Graham rooftop bar in Georgetown. However, since it was overcast, dreary, and all around miserable weather on Saturday we unfortunately didn’t make it to the swanky new bar. But lucky for me, Washingtonian Magazine is hosting a “Best of DC” kick- off happy hour at the Graham on June 19. Every year, Washingtonian hosts a huge party at the National Building Museum that showcases the best that Washington DC has to offer. No need to buy a ticket for the kick-off happy hour, they just ask that you make a charitable donation that will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Cocktails, charity and a rooftop happy hour? Yeah, I think I can handle that.
For a friend’s birthday, my best friend (aka my partner in crime) and I decided to bake him some homemade goodies. I turned to the most obvious person for inspiration, Martha Stewart, and was instantly drawn to this particular recipe, like a moth to a flame. I am one of those really strange people who doesn’t enjoy frosting; I find it super sugary and usually gives me cotton mouth, so I try and avoid it all costs. I feel like it overwhelms the cake and overpowers the palate. But for some reason put that frosting inside the cupcake and I can’t get enough (I know it makes absolute no sense). I used this recipe and it was surprisingly, easy. I didn’t have enough regular sized cupcake tins so I made some miniature versions of this sweet treat, which I had for breakfast on quite a few occasions. That’s healthy, right?
Recently I have been itching to head back down to NOLA , I know why would you want to go to NOLA now the weather is terrible during the summer! But I’ve been craving beignets, hurricanes (the drink not the weather) and the nightlife. If you ask anyone who has been to NOLA for Mardi Gras they will tell you it’s the best and worst time they have ever had. Best time because you can drink in the streets and anything goes. Worst because you do nothing but party for days on end (that is if you are doing it correctly) and you liver/body hates you. Lucky for there are people in the DC area who share my love for New Orleans, so this weekend I will be heading out to Bayou bakery and picking up some beignets. While in NOLA I waited in line for an hour and 1/2 to get beignets from the legendary Cafe du Monde of course I sipped cocktails the whole time I was line, which made the experience actually bearable, so the bar is set pretty high (maybe impossibly so).
With the current heat wave, I have been craving light and refreshing dinners. that are quick to assemble (b/c with this heat I feel so unmotivated to cook like julia child.) Here is my favorite dish to make sea food pasta salad:
Sea Food Pasta Salad
Yellow bell peppers
In a wok saute your vegetables in olive oil, garlic and salt. Then remove these and place into a bowl, then cook the scallops in olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Cook until the scallops are browned. Then combine all ingredients and mix in some champange vinaigrette, olive oil and salt to taste and your done.
Anyone who knows me knows, that I LOVE croissants. There isn’t a time during the day that I couldn’t go for one (seriously, I’m surprised I don’t weigh 2,000 lbs). So one of my favorite treats to make are fraises et du pain fromage à la crème.
Fraises et du pain fromage à la crème.
Puff Pastry -thawed
2 cups of Strawberries hauled and quartered (this varies depending on how many croissants you are making)
1/4 cup of Sugar
1/2 a Lemon for juicing
1/4 teaspoon of Vanilla
1/2 cup of Cream Cheese
1 Egg yolk + 1/4 teaspoon of water for an egg wash
Sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 400 .Combine the hauled and quartered strawberries with the sugar and lemon juice and set aside. In an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and vanilla until combined. (I use store bought puffy pastry when Im in a rush or tired.) I divide each puffy pastry sheet into 4 sections. Then I slather the dough with the cream cheese mixture and top it off with the sugared strawberries. Then roll the sections so the tapered side is facing downward. Then wash each one with an egg yolk wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 8-10 minutes (put them on the middle rack) until golden brown.
1 cup of risotto
3 cups of chicken broth
1/2 onion minced (depends on your preference)
4 mushrooms sliced and quartered
Lightly coat the bottom of the pot with olive oil, then add the minced onions and cook for about 4-5 minutes, but don’t brown the onions. Then add the mushrooms and sauté (until they all have turned a light brown color). Then add the risotto and throughly mix. Then add 1 cup of the chicken broth and allow it to completely absorb before adding the next cup (cook the risotto with the lid off) and occasionally stir so that the risotto doesn’t stick to the bottom of your pot (but don’t mix too often otherwise you will be left with a mushy mess). Once all 3 cups of chicken broth have been absorbed and you have a thicker rice looking consistency, your risotto is done.
Lamb Chop Recipe
4 cloves of garlic
2 pinches of coarse salt
Dash of pepper
Dash of rosemary
First marinate the chops in LOTS of garlic, salt, pepper and rosemary ( this depends on the amount of meat you are cooking) so just eyeball it, let that marinate for about 30-45 mins. Then set the oven to high broil and cook about 10 minutes on each side ( it should be medium/ rare, make sure you watch b/c if you over cook it will be hard as a rock/ dry…yuck). So deviate from your chicken routine and make some lamb…. its whats for dinner.
As spring is upon so is baby shower/ bridal shower season, if you are one of the lucky (screwed) few that are hosting one of these shindigs might I suggest investing in some fondant. We hosted a baby shower for one of my cousins this past fall and I was responsible for making cupcakes and cookies for her party. Her theme was dinosaur, so I decided to create some dino inspired cupcakes and cookies. I made red velvet* and carrot cake* cupcakes that I covered with green buttercream frosting and the icing on the cake were these little dinosaurs that I made of fondant (that I used as cake toppers). I used this tutorial to create my first cupcake topper, the T-Rex. The rest of his dino friends I free handed and used photos of dinosaurs as inspiration ( mind you, my toppers aren’t all biologically accurate). I bought pre-made fondant (Wilson’s Brand), an exacto knife, clear vanilla extract and paint brushes from Michael’s. I used crisco to smooth all the wrinkles and folds within the fondant. I made these little critters about a week before the party so I stored them on a cookie sheet and in tupperware within my refrigerator, so that they would maintain their soft and dough like consistency. I suggest only taking out a small amount of fondant to work with at a time so that it doesn’t dry out.
I used apple cider vinger instead of white vinger while making the red velvet cupcakes*
The carrot cake recipe is a family secret, so if I told you I would have to kill ya*
These fondant cupcake toppers were cute little addition and made her cupcakes more personal
Normally I have a hard time eating anything green and leafy unless its a salad, but I force myself to eat spinach (b/c it has a ton of anti-oxidants etc). Eating spinach is my feeble attempt at counter-acting all the bad things I put in my body (alcohol and big macs).
Spinach souffle is my favorite way to incorporate spinach into my diet. This recipe is fairly easy and will make everyone think you are a cooking pro! This is the recipe I used, but I skipped the cream of tartar. One really important tip is that once you put the souffle in the oven don’t open the oven door! Otherwise you will end up with a deflated/ droopy/ dry souffle ( aka it will resemble Joan Rivers face in between face lifts)