Thursday, June 26, 2008

I bought a slow cooker! Let's eat pulled pork!

My online shopping habit sometimes gets me into trouble. This time it got me more kitchen tools to experiment with! My new crock pot and hand blender will likely be the subject of the next several posts.

Summer isn't a time when you think of using a slow cooker because you might associate it with hearty stews etc. But a quick internet search of "slow cooker" and "summer recipes" had me drooling over pulled pork sandwiches. Pickles almost always make a sandwich better and the Cubans have it down with this one.

So last night I sauteed up:
1 onion - chopped
1 big shallot - chopped
6 crushed cloves of garlic
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp peppercorns

Then I added:
1/2 big can of diced tomatoes
some squirts of Worchestershire sauce
some squirts of soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
a dash or two of dried thyme

This I let cool and then poured in 1/4 cup cider vinegar because when it is cooler it apparently is less stinky?

The marinade was then poured over top this lovely hunk o' pork (~2.5-3 lbs) and I let it sit in the ceramic part of the crock pot in the fridge over night.

Then in the a.m. I plugged the piggy in and set it on low. Went to work, but then became paranoid about leaving a small appliance on while I was not home, so I came home at lunch to check on the status. Since I live 2 minutes from work it wasn't a great hardship and it was already smelling awesome even though no one had been slaving over a hot stove all morning!

Then I came home, and after 10 hours in the crock pot I had THIS! Well, that is, after I hauled it out of the crock pot and deconstructed it with two forks.

Grilled up some whole wheat hamburgesa buns, chopped up some kosher pickles, slathered on some mustard and voila! Soooooo tender! Apparently the leftovers are also yummy if frozen into single serving sizes and then warmed up in the microwave later!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

b.good = oh so good

Walking down Newbury street always makes me hungry. It must be seeing all those girls with big huge sunglasses and unhealthy body mass indices (and I mean underweight bordering on anorexic/amenorrheic/osteopenic -- you know the ones I mean, the ones that say, "like" and "ohhhh myyyy gawwwd" so much that it sounds like a vocal tic).

So where better to ensure that I don't go without grub than a healthier "fast food" establishment like b.good. It's a local chain, so sorry all my Canadian friends, but you'll have to come visit me to try it:

Thing is I'm not sure that you could call this fast food because it so yummy and so sans greasiness. This brings up the debate that we had a Christmas this year in Minneapolis re: what constitute "Fast Food". Our consensus was that it had to involve French Fries (or Freedom Fries as people in Boston prefer to call them) and obviously the rapidity of the service is key. So by that definition, b.good qualifies, but when you see what I ate, you may think that it gets disqualified.

So I had a very mildly flavored water that I think is also a local thing. Refreshing, but barely a hint of lemon, so not for those who like the sugary beverage. Tasted like someone had squirted a tiny wedge of lemon into it and that's good enough for me.

Then we shared the Sesame-Ginger Chicken salad which was so fresh and so crunchy. Jicama is my new favourite salad ingredient!

We also shared a Chipotle Chicken Sandwich which was a bit fruity tasting. We concluded that this must be the caramelized onions, but maybe someone can set me straight on this?

Tasty tasty. And fueled me up for more dodging of those stick figures shopping the high-end stores.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ekiben - Korean/Japanese in Bethesda MD

My last day in Bethesda I was feeling faint/cranky and it was HOT so I decided to grab a bite to eat before dragging my bags from the hotel into D.C.. I always know that when I start to feel worried or start to feel like hyperventilating, the most likely reason is due to hunger. My learned self soothing technique is through food. I also thought it would be a good idea since there were several fires in the Metro due to power failures that morning. Who knows... I could have been trapped in the subway with nothing to eat! Imagine languishing in the underground with no sustenance. Although you can't eat or drink on the Metro in D.C. so the point is moot.

I stopped at Ekiben, which was right across the street from my hotel. I had been there for take-out earlier in the week but ate Japanese, so I thought I'd try the Korean as I had read that it was even better.

At lunch (which is defined as from noon to 4 pm) they have lunch specials and 1$ sushi, so I couldn't resist having some sushi as an appetizer. I was the only one in there since it was way past noon and it came out really fast.

The BiBimBap was very fresh -- crunchy vegetables and tasty meat and eggs. It was really big so I overindulged and then had to sit for awhile during the expansion phase. The sushi appetizer was okay, with pieces that were a little small, but also fresh.

I asked for an itemized receipt since I was going to claim the expenses and I think I caused them to break their cash register. It took two employees to fix it and I admire their patience!

Here is also a picture of what I had eaten earlier in the week. Not as yummy as the Korean food, so I think if I was in the area again I would stick with the Korean side of the menu.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Passage to India

I learned while at my conference that Bethesda, MD is the city with the highest restaurants per capita in the US. The restaurants that I did try were really showing me something including this place, "Passage to India".

Here is the website:

The owners seemed to be there and all the staff very helpful. They were quick to accommodate our request for separate checks as we were all semi-strangers eating together because we were all attending the same conference. The menu is organized by region, which is cool because I don't think I've been to an Indian restaurant where there was so much selection. I was disappointed that there was no paneer on the menu, but I guess that didn't fall into any of the regions?

I had an appetizer that I had never heard of before:

An exotic combination of puffed rice, cilantro, vermicelli, dates and tamarind

This salad was very tasty with lots of fresh flavours.

Followed by:

Chicken with raw mango preserve and pickle spices

And because I am a pickle freak I also ordered a side of pickles. Which was good because they were xxxxxtra spicy!

One of my dining companions had the sampler:
The following Khazanas (treasures) are a selection of our best sellers presented to you on a silver platter. You will be served an assortment of appetizers, followed by an array of entrees accompanied with saffron rice, lentils, raita and topped off by a dessert.
SAMUDRI KHAZANA – Seafood assortments

Overall, a yumtastic experience and I would definitely go back if in the area again!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Burger Joint - Bethesda, MD

I am forced to eat out for a whole week since I am doing a work thing at the NIH and staying in a hotel that has a mini-fridge and a microwave on the 4th floor, but it seems weird to cook when you don't have any actual utensils.

I walked around the corner from my hotel and found this place called "The Burger Joint" and noticed that on their menu they have a burger called "The Greek" that was featured on an episode of "Throwdown with Bobby Flay". Here is the front of the menu.

I ended up ordering a veggie burger made with brown rice, black beans, oats and molasses. It was mighty tasty, but suffered from the fate of many veggie burgers in that it was very crumbly. I wanted the sweet potato fries, but unfortunately someone in front of me claimed the last box which I guess means that they are pretty fresh. So I settled for regular fries which I saved in the mini-fridge and have been eating soggy and cold as late night snacks.

All in all, a good experience and I'll have to go back to try "The Greek" - it has fresh lamb, tzatziki, mint and feta. Refreshing!

Another nice feature was their biodegradable take out bag made from corn. I'm not sure that this is technically a better way to make a bag, as I've heard it takes more energy? Not really sure about that though. Anyone have any idea?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Robyn - Konichiwa Bitches

Konichiwa B*****s

I am learning how to speak Japanese from a friend that moved into my building 9 months ago from Japan. She is the cutest thing and very enthusiastic to practice her English and help me learn her language. I'm really excited because this means she might also teach me how to cook Japanese food! She loves to cook because she thinks the US portion sizes are way too big and also it is not customary to tip in Japan for any service, so she thinks that is a bit weird.

Since starting my lessons, I realized that there is a song out by the very Euro, Robyn, called "Konichiwa B*****s". Okay, come on admit it... you remember her song from the mid 90s "Show Me Love". So let me see if I can include her youtube video of the song below. Oops it ended up above, don't know how to change that.

Anyway... I just want to let Robyn know that she spelled "Konichiwa" wrong in the title -- it should be "Konnichiwa". Also, having pediatrician experience I can't say that I've ever "hammered a toe", although the phenomenon of "hammer toe" does exist and I am a sufferer of this rather unsightly and annoying condition. I really don't know what my new Japanese friend would think of this. I think I'll ask her this afternoon...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Shrimp, Veggies and Soba Buckwheat Noodles

This is what Eric likes to call the "Christmas colour stir-fry" although I admit it looks more Christmas-y when it is on a bed of rice, since rice looks more like snow than brown soba noodles. Well, I guess it could be snow that was in a high traffic, salt and sand area.

Here is the raw shrimp peeled and mixed up with some lime juice, vegetable oil, jalapenos, minced ginger and garlic and fresh ground pepper.

Next you chop up some veggies. Here we have a selection of red and green bell peppers, edamame (frozen, so I boiled em' a bit first) and shallots. I finally used my last shallot from the ridiculous peapod delivery mishap, so maybe my next meals will be less shallot-y.

Then you boil the water and dump in some nice bunches of soba noodles. They cook real fast, so be careful or else you will get a mushy brown lump. I like to drain them and run them under cold water. They are still yummy cold.

Fry up yer shrimps with some hoisin sauce, dump in the veggies and voila!

Tastee offerings!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Doctor! My pee is red!!

A common complaint of a new beet eater is that soon after beet ingestion, the urine turns a shade of red that can be mistaken as blood. Not to worry! It's just the red pigment of the beets and not another urinary tract infection or kidney stone. So continue to enjoy the lovely beet salad shown below. Oh yes, and the same phenomenon can occur in the poop.

Sauteed Beet Green Salad with Roasted Beets (oh yeah and some chicken apple sausage too!)

I like to wash my beets the day of purchase because they typically come with a lot of grit that I don't like setting up abode in my fridge.

I clip off the greens above where they join onto the beet because then they won't bleed as much when they are being cooked which causes a lot of loss of the red pigment (anthocyanins) which are purported to have lots of those trendy antioxidant properties.

Then I drizzle the beets with oil, sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper and roast covered in foil at 400 deg. Celsius for ~ 1 hour or until they are pierced easily with a fork. The beets are much easier to peel when cool, so I usually do that the next day in the prep phase for the salad.

The greens, I usually steam the same night and then sautee in olive oil, garlic and shallots the next day before making the salad.

Here is said salad with a side of chicken apple sausage. This is a Germany type meal that my man friend enjoys very much. Yum!