Archive for July, 2010

The August DC Food Blogger Happy Hour will be at TenPenh next Wednesday.  Be there!  But RSVP here.


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Pickles ‘n’ Press

I was featured in today’s Express Night Out in an article about home pickling!  If you’ve come here looking for advice on pickling, why not check out my posts on pickles, which have links to recipes and resources.  Be sure to read the comments on these various posts – a lot of people have shared helpful stories about how to pickle, where to get supplies, etc.  Good luck!

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DC Food Cart Fans: Go Take This Survey

I love food trucks.  I work near the great food cart corridor between Farragut North and Franklin Park, so with some regularity  I patronize Carlos’s burrito cart, the competing Korean carts of Vermont Avenue, the Sauca Truck, Curbside Cupcakes, the SweetFlow Mobile, and so on.  DC’s got a pretty good scene, although I long for the day when District Taco actually makes it into the district, or when Kogi decides to open up an East Coast operation.  And I still don’t understand why nobody has started an Ethiopian food truck.  DC is the capital of Ethiopian food in the United States, but they’re all sit-down restaurants; the mobile version needs to happen.

The DC government has an online survey right now gauging public opinion on the variety, quality, and usage of DC’s food carts (and other street vendors).  As Matt Yglesias and others have pointed out, the success of food trucks in DC has as much to do with rules and regulations as with consumer demand.   Whether you’re already a fan, or think the scene needs improvement, go take the survey now.

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I went for a hike with a fellow foraging enthusiast earlier today, hoping to find the last of the wineberries (alas, all gone), and also on the lookout for chanterelle mushrooms.  According to local mushroom enthusiasts, chanterelle season has begun around here.  Back home in the Pacific Northwest chanterelles come on later in the fall, but I guess things are on a different schedule here.

Anyway, we came across a little stand of mushrooms that were the right color and the right general shape.  I had just finished saying how nothing looks like a chanterelle except a chanterelle, but these mushrooms kinda blew that theory.  They were sort of like chanterelles, but with thinner stems, and the gills were true, as opposed to the false gills chanterelles have.  So I sent this picture to the experts at MAWDC, and it turns out these are probably gerronema strombodes.  The internet tells me these are not edible!  Maybe not super poisonous, but definitely not chanterelles.  Alas.

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Well then.  After a few weeks of heat and  drought, now the flood.  Water is literally leaking into my bedroom right now through the crack in the fire escape door.  The storm is also bad news for those of us who wanted to go see the outdoor screening of Buena Vista Social Club tonight.  But it’s very good news for my garden.  Having multiple days of soaking rain is going to fatten up my carrots and beets and onions, make my basil succulent and green, and probably bring on a good second crop of beans.  And while it’ll cause a lot of splitting in my tomatoes now, it’ll mean more fat tomatoes later.  So on balance I’m pro-rain.  And I do love a big, bright, loud thunderstorm!

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The Best Bread, Fresh or Stale

In this city, everything’s polarized.  You’re a Republican or a Democrat.  You’re a partisan of one jumbo slice spot or another.  And since there are two bakeries at the Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market, most people choose their favorite and stick with it, especially since the lines are long at both.  There’s Atwater’s, and there’s Bonaparte.  The former does classic American cookies and whole grain breads and stuff like that, and the latter is the epitome of a French bakery: pain au chocolat, almond croissants, various quiches… and my favorite bread in the world.

I used to get their multi-grain sandwich loaf, but then I tried their country white bread.  It’s SO good.  I never get anything else now.  It’s crusty, but not too crusty.  Tender, but with just enough chew, and a really pleasant flavor.  I love to just eat a big slice of it with some Kerrygold butter (see Jenna’s recent butter post for more on that subject).

But it’s rare that I can finish a whole loaf all by myself before the end starts to go stale, so I have a bag in the freeze into which I throw all my stale slices of this fabulous bread.  When enough have built up, I’ll either make lots of slices of French toast, a big batch of stuffing, or a delicious breakfast strata.  Strata is a savory bread pudding, very eggy and creamy and delicious.  I made one this weekend with a nice thick ribbon of sauteed onions and Swiss chard, topped with a little aged Gruyere.

The bread is so flavorful that I don’t even use cream in the custard mixture, just eggs and 2% milk.  I want all that nutty, tangy bread flavor to shine through.  Plus with a whole bunch of Swiss chard melted down into mix, it’s decently healthy as far as egg dishes go.

Thanks, Bonaparte!

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