This past Monday night I volunteered at the DC Taste of the Nation
at the National Building Museum in DC. Some of the best chefs and restaurants from the DC Metro Area came out to this tasting event to help raise money to end childhood hunger in America. This event is part of Share Our Strength
and it was awesome because 100% of the proceeds go directly to the cause. I had an amazing time! I tasted a beef panini from Top Chef runner-up Mike Isabella – he’s opening up his new restaurant in DC in May called Graffiato
. I will definitely be checking that out because the beef panini was outstanding and also because his infamous pepperoni sauce that was on the season finale is rumoured to be on his menu. Yum! Brian Voltaggio, also a Top Chef runner-up (to his bro Michael) was there with his Frederick, MD restaurant team Volt
. He was making liquid nitrogen lavendar ice cream. What? Yes, it was very cool to watch him make it. I snuck a few pics too.
Some other amazing samples I had were Creme Caramel and Foie Gras Croquettes from Michel Richard’s restaurant Citronelle. I had beef shoulder from Trummer’s on Main. YUM! I love Trummer’s on Main – we’ve been there before, and I’ve had their pork shoulder. It’s amazing, and I just love their style of cooking; it’s comfort food that uses the freshest and most local ingredients. I had sea salt gelato from DolceZZa. It was amazing and was truly the real deal (sometimes “gelato” in the U.S. is not always representative of Italian gelato). DolceZZa makes fresh batches of gelato every morning using local, seasonal ingredients. Take a look at what kinds of gelato they’re offering at their store right now: Grapefruit Campari, Ricotta Cardamom, Lime Cilantro, Kiwi, Honey Tangerine, etc. Uhh YUM!!!! Will definitely be stopping there soon.
Another memorable thing I tried was a beef tongue grilled cheese sandwhich. Yes, you heard me correctly… beef tongue. It was amazing! It was so tender and flavorful, not to mention it was smothered with gruyere cheese. All in all, it was a fabulous night. I bid on a dinner and wine pairing to a restaurant in Old Town that I’ve been meaning to try for a long time called Vermilion. I sampled some incredible food and most importantly, they raised a lot of money for a great cause!!!
Since I did not have the culinary gusto on Tuesday night to prepare some beef tongue or liquid nitrogen ice cream, I decided to make cavatelli with eggs and bacon – one of our favorite comfort foods. This is a simple and comforting recipe from Lidia Bastianich. It’s delicious and hails from the Province of Molise where my great-grandparents are from. Enjoy!
- 1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more for the pasta pot
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 slices of thick-cut bacon
- 2 large eggs, 2 egg whites
- 1 bag fresh cavatelli (I buy mine frozen)
- 2 cups Parmesan Cheese
- Fresh ground pepper to season
Fill a stock pot with salted water and bring to a boil.
In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon for 5 minutes or until it’s crisp and caramelized. Remove the bacon and allow to drain over paper towels. Once the bacon is cool, chop into small pieces and set aside.
Beat the eggs and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl until well blended.
When the water is at a rolling boil, drop in the cavatelli and return the water to a boil. Cook for 4 -5 minutes or until it floats to the top. Remove from the water and place in the skillet.
Over medium heat, toss the cavatelli with the bacon pieces. Pour the beaten eggs over the pasta, stirring and scraping the egg from the sides and bottom of the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes or just until the egg is lightly cooked and scrambled into the cavatelli.
Remove skillet from the heat, and toss the cheese over the pasta and eggs, mixing to combine.
Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and serve immediately.
For our birthdays this year, my hubby’s grandparents sent us some Omaha Steaks. We’ve received these tasty steaks before and absolutely love them! Since my hubby and I both love Mexican food, we decided to grill our filet mignons and make steak tacos with them. I had a mango that was starting to go soft as well, so I decided to make fresh mango salsa. This mango salsa is especially delicious for any grilled meats including fish and pork. This meal was incredible and so easy to prepare – it was the perfect way to end a great weekend!
Do you have a favorite salsa that you like to make? Do share!
- 4 filet mignons
- sea salt and pepper to season
- 1 green pepper, cut into strips
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 mango, peeled and diced
- 1/2 red onion, finely diced
- 1 jalapeno, finely diced
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- sea salt and pepper to season
- Whole wheat tortillas
- Monterrey Jack cheese for sprinkling
- Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.
- Season both sides of filet mignons with salt and pepper and place on top of hot grill pan. Cook steaks on each side for 4 minutes or until desired doneness and set aside.
- Add pepper and onions to grill pan and allow to grill until soft, about 5 minutes.
- In a small bow, mix mango, red onion, jalapeno and cilantro. Add lime juice and mix to combine. Season with cumin, sea salt, and pepper.
- After allowing cooked steaks to sit, slice into thin pieces.
- Assemble tortillas with steak, onions, and peppers and top with mango salsa and shredded cheese.
My aunt M gave us some fresh ginger last weekend, and I knew right away that I was going to make some sort of curry. I tend to use the same flavor combinations in my everyday cooking (olive oil, garlic, onions, red pepper flakes, more garlic, etc.), so I decided to switch things up a bit. Since I had a can of Trader Joe’s lite coconut milk as well as some brand new Trader Joe’s curry powder, I decided the perfect dish to make would be a slow cooked peanut chicken curry. I’ve talked to you guys before about how difficult it can be for me to come home after a long day and find the motivation to cook a fabulous dinner.
My slow cooker is one of my best friends in the kitchen. I prepare everything the night before and the next morning, I can just throw everything in my slow cooker and dash to work. I used chicken thighs because I like their flavor better than chicken breasts. I always get chicken thighs with the bone-in and then just cut the skin off to make them healthier. I browned the chicken thighs for a few minutes as well as the carrots, onions, celery, garlic and fresh ginger. I placed all of that in one large tupperware container and let sit in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, I dumped that into the bottom of my slow cooker and added the fresh snap peas on top. I then whisked the curry powder, chicken stock, and peanut butter until smooth. I added that on top of everything. In a separate bowl, I whisked the coconut milk and the corn starch and added that in last. I allowed to cook on low for 8 hours. I love my slow cooker because I have a timer, so I can set that for however many hours or minutes I want and after it cooks for the allotted time, it turns the heat to warm. Since I’m gone for 11 hours every day, this works well for me because when I get home the meal is still warm, and all I have to do is prepare the rice.
What are your favorite slow cooker meals? Please share! I’m always looking for new slow cooker recipes to try!
- 3 tbsp canola oil
- 6-8 chicken thighs (I take the skin off, but keep the bone in)
- 2 carrots, finely diced
- 2 celery stalks, finely diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup snow peas
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups Jasmine rice
- 1/3 cup fresh snap peas for garnish
- In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken thighs and cook for several minutes until brown. Remove from pan and set aside.
- In the same skillet, add the carrots, celery, and onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the fresh ginger and garlic and cook an additional 1 minute.
- Place chicken thighs on the bottom of your slow cooker and place carrots, celery, onions, ginger, and garlic on top. Add the snow peas.
- In a separate bowl, add the chicken stock, curry powder, peanut butter, salt, and pepper and whisk until smooth. Add to the slow cooker.
- In another bowl, add the cornstarch to the coconut milk and whisk until smooth. Add to the slow cooker.
- Cook for 6 hours on low or until curry has thickened and chicken is cooked.
- In a small saucepan, cook Jasmine rice according to directions.
- Serve chicken curry over rice.
- Sprinkle fresh snap peas over curry for some added crunch.
*Adapted from William Sonoma Chicken