Tuesday, July 27, 2010

banh mi throwdown

Monday night was the notorious banh mi throwdown at Cafe Gutenberg. If you live in RVA but missed the hype, check out here and here. In short, Patrick of Boka Truck claimed to have the best banh mi and was challenged RVAFoodie, aka Jason, who found a competitor to take on Boka Truck. Cafe Gutenberg's chefs Jen and Garrett agreed to both put their skills to the test and host the event and Jason pulled together a full event that included official judging and audience taste-testing of a pork banh mi and vegan banh mi. The decision of the judges? Both were delicious but Cafe Gutenberg won both categories. I agreed with the judges- Gutenberg's pork banh mi had better balance and their vegan option actually made me want to eat tofu (though Boka was at a serious disadvantage trying to get me to eat mushrooms, sorry.)

The best part of the event was just bringing so many people together. The crowd of 50-some people were packed together, trying to see the demonstration from the chefs and grabbing sandwiches to try. I made new friends by sharing napkins with strangers and stealing bites of sandwiches from people I had just met.

The event also benefited to great charities- Chefs Move to Schools and Lunch Boxes 4 Life; both organizations promote healthy foods in schools.

Judges (left to right):
Robey Martin of Style Weekly, An Mekong of Mekong,
Chef Ellie Basch of Savor and Jason of RVAFoodie

Cafe Gutenberg's vegan tofu banh mi

Boka Truck's pork banh mi

Patrick, of Boka Truck fame, passing out sandwiches

The competitors: Garret, Jen, Patrick

Surprise ending:
Cupcakes from Pearl Cupcakes for Jason's birthday

I tried to include links and photos of all the wonderful people and businesses that contributed to this amazing event, but somehow I can't seem to find my pictures of the macaroons from Petites Bouchees! They were my first ever and the texture of the macaroons was much lighter and crunchier than I imagined without actually being hard. Thanks to all who contributed, I had a great time and this type of event is what makes Richmond such a vibrant city!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

domestic bliss

Saturday I picked up 30 pounds of peaches (for $25!) for my roommate and I to can. We spent about 4 hours in the kitchen yesterday and managed to make 6 quarts of Canned Peaches in light syrup, 8 pints of Peach Barbecue Sauce which will work more as a marinade because we didn't dice the peaches as finely as we should have, and Blackberry Peach Jam which was the most expensive with $10 of blackberries making 2.5 pints of jam. Luckily it is delicious. We canned 2 pints and put the rest in a half pint jar in the fridge to eat now.

We ran out of steam and pint jars (and wanted to save the small amount of peaches left for eating fresh) so didn't make the peach salsa we planned or the peach pie we were supposed to have after dinner. Instead, our other roommate ordered us pizza to thank us for our work preparing the household for the long winter ahead.

Sorry I don't have any pictures to share of the process, it was too hot and busy in the kitchen to be thinking about taking photos!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

summer risotto

I just realized that despite risotto being one of my more-commonly made dishes after basic pasta and stir-fry, I've never posted more than just a quick pic of those delicious meals. So here goes!

More love for my CSA in this post, as all the vegetables I used came from Victory Farms. Tuesday was a break from the hot, hot days we've been having and when I arrived home from the North of the James Market, I decided to make risotto. It was even a little rainy/stormy out so a comfort meal was called for. I had picked up squash, chinese eggplant, basil and zucchini. I sliced them all up and started the rice. My recipe below is imprecise, but it's the sort of thing you should just make up as you go. You can use more or less veggies depending on how hearty you want to make the dish.

[Chinese eggplant. Cut into disks.]

[Chinese eggplant, zucchini, squash]

2.5 cup arborio rice
1 cup white wine
2-3 cups chicken broth*
1-3 cups water*
3 cups veggies
.5 cup basil
1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
olive oil
Parmesan cheese (optional)

* The rough ratio is 2 cups liquid to 1 cup rice, so just have enough on hand. I start off measuring it in 1 cup at a time then just pour in more as needed. Keep the ratio in your head as you start off and soon you'll just do it by sight.

In a big pot, heat olive oil and saute onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Add carrots and rice. After 1 minute, add cup of white wine. As that liquid is absorbed add broth than water one cup or less at a time. Stir frequently. After 2-3 cups of liquid has been absorbed, add the rest of the veggies. Stir frequently. Once rice is cooked (it will be slightly sticking to each other and will have expanded greatly) stir in the basil. Remove from heat, sprinkle lightly with Parmesan cheese if desired.

[End product. Leftovers]

The inspiration I had for this risotto was one I had recently at Azizia's (post on their pizza to come soon!) It was an appetizer and was listed as "risotto with fresh herbs." It had no vegetables at all and a strong taste of licorice- perhaps from fennel and anise. I liked it though it tasted completely different from any risotto I had made or tried elsewhere. My friend did not care for it at all, due to her dislike of licorice flavor. I wanted a more subtle herb flavor and a heartier dish and created this. I loved it when I first ate it, despite none of the vegetables being my favorites. I've heard risotto doesn't reheat well but this one was the first time I really agreed with that assessment. So enjoy this dish but don't double it for later!

i'd eat peaches every day

Every summer I'm reminded of how amazing peaches are. I always forget about them when thinking about my favorite fruit- I think of raspberries, watermelon, but always forget the peaches. Thanks to my CSA (shout out to Victory Farms) I was able to get 20 lbs of Henley's Orchard's peaches. The plan was to can them, but instead in the past few days my roommates and I have been devouring the box. Luckily, we've put in an order for 30lbs this week (only $25!)

I've managed to bake the past two nights, last night a peach galette and today a cobbler/crumble. I don't think I had ever, ever made a crust before but not having to pre-bake it I was feeling pretty confident. I had found the recipe before, probably linked by The Kitchn but I can't remember. But I tried to basically follow it, though I accidently used half the butter and had to go back and combine the rest when the dough wouldn't form. I also used vanilla instead of almond flavoring, since I'm not a fan of almond. I maximized the peach coverage, so my sides weren't folded up as pretty.




Tonight, my peach cobbler is in the oven! I used this recipe from Orangette, with these adaptions from The Kitchn, except I used a deeper Pyrex baking dish so I could use 10 peaches instead of 5 so that hopefully I can have leftovers for breakfast!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

National Ice Cream Day

According to Poppytalk, it's National Ice Cream Day. I have yet to indulge in ice cream (yet!) today but I did snap a few pics yesterday in Fredericksburg at Carl's Ice Cream. At Carl's the custard-y ice 'creme' is sold in chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. I had the chocolate and it was rich, not too heavy and had a distinct chocolate syrup flavor. Delicious! The prices fit the retro building and the serving sizes, while also from a pre-super-size-me time, are fair for the price. Plus the cashiers wear old-fashioned ice cream parlor hats and the service is crazy fast. Next time you pass through Fredericksburg, check out this local institution.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

patriotic dress

July 3: Military-inspired for a day at the farm

July 3 evening

July 4

I recycled a lot of accessories throughout the weekend- same sandals, vintage purse from Rumors the whole week and same thrifted bracelets the second two days and same belt twice. This week was particularly heavy on vintage/thrift items and less so on my own designs.

July 3 day: Shorts [JCrew], t-shirt [Hanes], vintage gold bracelet, vintage belt from the Junior League

July 3 evening: Skirt worn as dress, vintage and gifted from college roomie, vintage belt
You can't see the details super well* but there is a thin tan line on the belt that matches the tan inside the nautical ropes of the red and blue bracelets, which goes with the tan purse. Ah, the coordinating!

July 4: Skirt [Tulle], tank top [Target], necklace [me!], Junior League belt and nautical bracelets

*How do so many bloggers have wonderful pictures of themselves? Friends who take the pictures? Tripods? Having someone take pictures of my clothes or taking them myself in public is so awkward for me, but maybe it's just something I should work on.

favorite things

Kartell + Moschino+ ballet flats + 100% recyclable

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

weekend review: independence day

A pictoral history of my Fourth-of-July Eve and the grand day itself. The first few were taken via camera phone (insert Beyonce's Videophone here) so are fuzzy but the first is so cute and the second two so badass that I couldn't resist.

July 3: The Farm

[That's right- I learned to shoot a gun. Both a pistol and hunting rifle. Don't mess with me.]

July 4: DC

[Cupcakes like the ones I meant to make...]

[Thifting! I only bought the box... and a few things I'll share later.]

[My accidentally patriotic fro-yo]

[The End]

Thursday, July 1, 2010

blt salad with extra bacon

I usually don't use recipes to make salad, but when I saw the BLT Salad with Bacon Dressing from TheKitchn.com I knew I had to make it right. Of course, in the end my friend and I used a few substitutions. You can find the original recipe here. We used honey and white vinegar instead of brown sugar and cider vinegar and while it was delicious, try the original way. (We may have used twice as much bacon per person. This I do recommend.) Plus, the tomatoes, basil and lettuce were all from my CSA.

little charlotte's a big girl now

Charlotte, my hometown from middle school on and a city that wishes it was Atlanta, recently had a coup. The Bechtler family donated their extensive art collection to the city, creating the new Bechtler Museum. The family's collection of modern art is amazing, collected by the extended family. Currently around 10% of the collection is on display, the museum will rotate the collection every six months. I look forward to return visits to see the rest. Luckily, I won't miss the current collection when it's gone- for my birthday, my parents gave me the catalog of the collection!

In addition to the art, the architecture is also amazing. The slim four-story building, attached to others in the Wells-Fargo Cultural Center, was designed by Mario Botta. His use of terra cotta contrasts with the stark interior and some of my favorite pictures are how the outside/inside/art intertwine. In addition, the space is connected to the performance space next door and interacts with other parts of the cultural campus.

[Vive Moi (Long Live Me); Niki De Saint Phalle]

[Untitled (Water Buffalo); Jean Tinguely]

[Garden Sculpture (Model for Meridian); Barbara Hepworth]

[view from second story balcony, in]

I didn't get to take pictures of my favorite floor- the fourth floor is full of beautiful paintings, but a few of my very favorites are on the website. If you find yourself in Charlotte, this is the must see museum in town (other than the Nascar museum, of course!)