Tuesday, 29 March 2011 | 6 comments

Flatbread crostini with cipollini onions & chèvre

The chemistry of cooking always amazes me, but nowhere is it better exemplified than when I cook with onions. Something about using heat and maybe a little oil to begin to break down the sugars in this lowly little allium brings people wandering into the kitchen, saying things like, “Smells good, what are you making?” Even though all you’re doing is sautéeing an onion.

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Saturday, 26 March 2011 | 6 comments

Cherry blossom breakfast

DC’s Cherry Blossom Festival starts today. Tourists descend en masse on the Potomac tidal basin, where the Thomas Jefferson memorial is ringed by an astonishing display of delicate pinks and whites. It’s striking. There are so many blossoms that all the natural light seems to be filtered through a pink lens, casting a rosy glow. I recommend going on a weekday morning or evening, when the crowds are fewer and the air is stiller.

Louise and I braved the crowds last year with our mother, who drove in from Michigan just for the event. It was hectic, but still beautiful, and L snapped some gorgeous pictures.

You don’t have to be downtown to see the cherry blossoms, though. The District is peppered with cherry trees, and my morning commute has become increasingly beautiful over the past week as the local park unfolded itself into spring. But this year, the advent of the cherry blossoms is tinged with tragedy. How can you look at graceful sprays of sakura and not think of Japan?
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Tuesday, 22 March 2011 | 32 comments

Red cabbage two ways: Purple pesto + warm wheat berry salad

Poor cabbage. What’d it ever do to you? Yet except for maybe turnips or brussels sprouts (which don’t really count because they’re like mini-cabbages), cabbages are among the most hated of vegetables. Sure, it’s had a few moments. But mostly, I find myself attempting to stand up for my cruciferous friends, only to realize that no one is listening.

A few weeks ago, Ben, Chuck and a friend of ours were at a local hole-in-the-wall Salvadoran restaurant for lunch. They make a mean pupusa, but probably my favorite item from this place is what is relegated to a side dish (a garnish, really)–a vinegar-y cabbage slaw (? salad? I’m not sure what to call it) that’s topped with a swirl of chili sauce. It’s tangy and bright; cool and crisp. I have to try and keep myself from drinking the spicy dregs at the bottom of the humble paper tray that it’s served in.

As we sat down to eat that day, I ate that special slaw first. I was sorry when it was gone. Ben, probably noticing how morose I was, handed his to me, untouched. And in that moment I realized something: he must not like cabbage. How did I not know that?
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Sunday, 20 March 2011 | 6 comments

Socca (Chickpea flour pancake)

I may have said this already, but I am so ready for some bright spring produce. I’m feeling a bit weary of pastas and root vegetables and other winter dry-goods-based dinners. A little fresh color on my plate would go a long way right now, I think.

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Tuesday, 15 March 2011 | 11 comments

Breton buckwheat cakes

This is the first (but certainly not last) time on this blog I will profess a love for Paris. I know, I know: another food-lover who adores Paris. Yawwwn. But I don’t care. I’ve been there exactly once, during a semester abroad in Spain. Everyone tried to convince me I would be disappointed— that the City of Light was actually the City of Dirty Streets and Mean People. But it wasn’t. There were perfect croissants, well-coiffed women who seemed to have dabbed on Chanel No. 5 before breezing about town, street musicians, and beautiful buildings. Men walked home from work with baguettes under their arms, for heaven’s sake. Paris was everything it was supposed to be.

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