May 2008


The modest container garden continues to shock and amaze us! Mike and I enjoyed our first home grown produce of the season last night, straight from our itsy bitsy strawberry patch.

I’ve always been under the impression that strawberry plants need plenty of ground cover to produce any fruit. We  just picked these up on a lark to see how they’d do. Now that I can see how the strawberries took to the full sun on our deck, I wish we’d planted even more.  I doubt this year’s harvest will produce anything more than the occassional snack, but it’s fun to see them grow and ripen.

I have a lot of day dreams about a home with a yard. Right now we live on Capitol Hill in DC and we have a nice little deck, big enough for to have some friends over for a casual dinner and containers that can support herbs, fruit and flowers. We’re lucky to have it and try to take advantage of it as much as possible. Still… I yearn for a big backyard where I can really take advantage of the DC climate and grow some gorgeous things. I’m always telling Mike “One day, when we have a yard we’ll plant….” fill in the blank. My promises have ranged from peach trees to apple trees to a full blown vegetable garden (hmm, all things we can eat. Coincidence?). This day dream now includes a strawberry patch. Nothing huge, just enough to make a couple of daiquiris for friends. (more…)

The Washington Post recently published an article on a foodie trip to New York.  It wasn’t the list of nosher highlights I’d hoped to read, but one journalist’s weekend trip to New York and where/when he ate. I mean, really? How do I land a gig this cushy? 

Career jealousy aside, the article mentioned two specific things Mike and I want to do on our next weekend to DC’s cool cousin: a foodie walking tour and, specifically, a trip to The Pickle Guys.  Imagine it: an entire shop dedicated to nothing but pickles! Half sours, horseradish pickels, sweet gherkins… plus an unending array of olives, peppers and pickeled tomatoes. My salt tooth is going into overdrive just imagining it. (more…)

Ramps after cleaning and trimmingOn a recent trip to the Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market, we were thrilled to see that one of the vendors was offering ramps.  Ever since we picked up a copy of the recently re-issued “Think Like a Chef” by Tom Colicchio, I have been waiting for spring to roll around to try them.  In the book, Colicchio describes ramps as “wild leeks, harvested only in the spring, and I prefer them for the reason I prefer wild varieties of almost everything: they taste liike the cultivated variety, only more so.”  These cousins of the onion combine the best notes of onion and garlic flavors and aromas, and we felt like we just had to give them a try. 

So we shelled out the $5 asking price for a small bunch of lightly purpled stems with broad, flat leaves and we took them home, eager to put them to use as a component in one of Chef Tom’s “trilogies” – combinations of three ingredients whose flavors, textures and seasonality make them natural partners.  In the case of ramps, Colicchio pairs them with asparagus and morels, two more harbingers of spring whose earthy, woodsy flavors go well together.  For our dinner, we decided to use some red snapper filets in a dish that sautees the fish in a beurre fondue with a ragout made from the trilogy.

But I cannot tell a lie – we weren’t about to drop $15-$20 on a small carton of fresh morels.  We used reconstituted dried morels, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.  The flavor was there, and the fact that the recipe had us cooking the morels until soft meant that their initial texture was irrelevant.

Details on prep, including what the hell beurre fondue is, after the jump. (more…)

USATODAY.com’s recent post on a food guide to Montreal got me thinking about our first trip to our Northern friend.

It was September of 2006, our first anniversary and the salad days, so to speak, of our burgeoning food obsession.  The weather was cool but not cold, alternately shifting from overcast to drizzly to rainy.  Mike was undeterred. On a previous trip he stumbled upon a fromagerie adjacent to the Jean-Talon farmers market and come rain or high winds, he was going to take me to try it out. (Mike, for those who don’t know him, is a bit of a cheesehead.) (more…)

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