Archive for May, 2012

SoundBites: Music, Food and Change

Soundbites DC Central Kitchen Cooking Channel

Soundbites - DC Central Kitchen's food and music festival for change.

The choices you make, from the food you eat to the music you listen to, can make powerful societal change,” says Robert Egger, Founder and President of DC Central Kitchen. Scores of food and music enthusiasts gathered at the infamous 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. to affirm this idea on Sunday afternoon, enjoying tasty bites, live music and sunshine while making a difference in their community at Soundbites.

Now in its third year, Soundbites is DC Central Kitchen’s annual street fair-style food and music celebration to bring awareness to its cause. Since its founding in 1989, DC Central Kitchen has provided over 25 million meals to low-income and at-risk community members. In addition, the Kitchen offers culinary job training program for unemployed men and women who want to replace homelessness, addiction and incarceration with new careers and changed lives. And that’s just the beginning: celebrating everything the DC Central Kitchen does is what Soundbites is all about.

Passionate festival foodies engulfed the 9:30 Club and spilled out onto V St. NW.

Spike Mendelsohn at Soundbites

Celeb-chef Spike Mendelsohn of GoodStuff Eatery works the crowd at the Mixology Madness Cocktail Competition.

Get the best bites and simple recipes to try at home (including P.J. Clarke’s Signature Slider Recipe and Delia’s perfect Mini Chicken Souvlaki) after the jump:

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Meatless Monday: Risotto con Radicchio e Vino Rosso

radicchio risotto recipe

David Rocco's risotto gets its color and flavor from red wine and purple-colored radicchio.

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

There aren’t many vegetables I don’t like, but among the few I’m averse to is radicchio. Unwelcome leaves floating in a salad get flicked to the side and when I get the inevitable head of radicchio in my CSA share, I head to the swap box to see if I can trade it up. But it turns out that I just don’t like raw radicchio. I ordered a pasta dish at a restaurant recently that I did not realize included radicchio (if I’d known, I would have avoided the dish). The radicchio was sauteed with garlic, lemon and hot pepper flakes and with tossed broccoli rabe and homemade pasta. I loved it cooked this way. So I’ve amended the radicchio clause on the food rules I keep in my head to “I don’t eat raw radicchio.”

But now that I know I like cooked radicchio, I’m all over it. Radicchio, sometimes called Italian chicory, is known for its bitter flavor, but when you cook the purple leaves, the flavor totally mellows. You can grill radicchio or saute it and serve it with pasta. David Rocco uses radicchio in his creamy risotto recipe with similarly-hued red wine for a rare dish where the color matches the flavor; both are equally lovely.

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Cookbook Giveaway: Food Network Magazine 1,000 Easy Recipes

Celebrate Memorial Day with great hot dogs, like this classic Chicago Dogs from Food Network Magazine 1,000 Easy Recipes.

For busy cooks, Food Network Magazine’s second cookbook, Food Network Magazine 1,000 Easy Recipes: Super Fun Food for Every Day, is packed with quick and easy recipes and ideas. For weeknight dinners plus any occasion, from Sunday brunch to Memorial Day cookouts, you’re sure to find the perfect dishes. And you’ll never run out of ideas for how to top nachos, toss salads, mix dips, build better burgers and more.

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How to Make Croquetas

Croquetas Recipe

No visit to a Cuban bakery is complete without sampling the croquetas – freshly made and sprinkled with lime juice if possible. A deep fried blend of béchamel sauce and ham, chicken or salt cod, these savory treats hold their own among the teeming trays of glazed guava pastries, sugary cakes, and airy meringues that fill the glass cases. Tucked into a pressed Cubano for lunch, the added crunch transforms the classic sandwich into an unforgettable croqueta preparada.

Made at home, all kinds of leftovers and stewed dishes can be added to the blank-slate of white sauce before it’s scooped, rolled and breaded. A little cumbersome at first, they can be prepped well ahead of time then fried just before serving. There are no limits to what goes into a good croqueta but here are a few guidelines to get started.

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Blame DrawSomething

Best of DrawSomething Food Pictures

A confession of our obsessions:

  • Food
  • Our phones
  • DrawSomething
  • Drawing food pictures on our phones

We’ll admit it: We’re guilty of staring at our tiny phone screens and sketching a potato for a total stranger who may or may not be in Kansas or wearing pants.

Blame DrawSomething.

For the not-yet-obsessed, DrawSomething is a Pictionary-esque app that lets users (either random strangers or actual friends if you have them) swap sketches and guess the object. Sure, sometimes you’re trying to draw Tupac or a unicycle, but often a foodie-word comes up and those are the best to guess.

So we hunted and gathered the most delightful examples of food digital-doodles. Warning: this might get you addicted to DrawSomething. Or give you hamburger cravings.

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Tips for Making Cocktails at Home, From Top Bartenders

Traditional wood swizzle stick

Traditional wood swizzle stick. From Tales of the Cocktail 2011, New Orleans, LA

Every year, the cream of the bartending crop descends on New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail, a weeklong series of events and seminars on everything related to crafting the perfect libation.

It’s not only a showcase for newly released spirits (like a delightful chai tea liquor) or how to perform age-old mixing techniques (such as how to “swizzle”) but it’s also a chance for those behind the bar to share their expertise for making exceptional cocktails. If you’re interested in attending, Tales of the Cocktail 2012 is happening July 25-29.

Here are their Top 5 Tips for making your next cocktail party a rousing success …

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Lemon-Lime Mousse

Lemon-Lime Mousse Recipe

This mousse reminds me of a super light key lime pie filling. It is tangy and just a touch sweet. The mousse is equally as tasty made with just lemons or limes, but I thought the combination gave it a more complex flavor, that tastes like fragrant key limes. The strawberries lend a perfect balance of flavor and texture to the summery dessert.

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Thirsty Thursday: You Drank My Battleship

Battleship Drinking Game

Battleship Bar Game, by Mauricio (Tony) Harion

It’s more than just alliteration; it’s a statement, a proclamation that Thursdays are when the weekend should really start. Kicking it off right is the key, and what better way than with a cocktail that not only takes the edge off, but tastes good too. A hard thing to disagree with, we know. Drink up, get down and go to sleep happy.

With Peter Berg’s new movie Battleship hitting the box office this weekend, it’s only natural to harbor a bit of nostalgia. If your childhood was anything like mine, you likely spent hours deliberating over imaginary missiles, simultaneously guessing the location of their respective targets. But while talk of the new Battleship movie has many longing for the old, faithful board game, it’s also inspired a new, alcoholic appropriation. Never mind my battleship(s), you just sunk my liver!

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Cookbook Giveaway: Hello, Jell-O!

The Classic Rainbow Mold from Hello, Jello! is a tasty work of art. Photograph by Angie Cao.

Make this the summer you re-discover Jell-O (What could be more fun?) with the help of blogger and Jell-O Mold Mistress Victoria Belanger and her new cookbook, Hello, Jell-O!:50+ Inventive Recipes for Gelatin Treats and Jiggly Sweets. With creative flavor combinations, the addition of cream or fresh fruit, layered effects and sometimes a little alcohol, Victoria has successfully reinvented the nostalgic Jell-O of your childhood into dinner party/get-together fare that’s sure to impress.

Victoria begins Hello, Jell-O! with some essential tips and techniques, and then divides the book into styles of Jell-O molds, from “Creamy and Dreamy” and “Boozy Molds” to “Seasonal Holiday Molds.” There’s a Jell-O recipe for every occasion, and your next grill out or summer bash is the perfect place to start.

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Happy National Cherry Cobbler Day

Cherry-Pineapple Cobbler Recipe

May 17 is National Cherry Cobbler Day, and we’re celebrating with a Cherry-Pineapple Cobbler. The recipe is courtesy of Pastry Chef Hugo Reyes from BR Guest Hospitality. This sweet and tart dessert will be featured at several BR Guest restaurants around New York City — including Blue Fin, Prime House, Wildwood BBQ and Atlantic Grill Lincoln Center. But in case you can’t make it in for a scoop, we’ve got the recipe below.

Buttermilk is the key ingredient in Hugo’s recipe: It complements and balances the tart flavor of the pineapple and cherries, and ultimately it leads to a fluffier biscuit. We also got three tips from Chef Hugo for making cobblers at home.

3 Tips for Better Cobblers

1. Choose fruit that’s in season, local and perfectly ripe for your cobbler.

2. The fruit should be bubbling and the biscuit crust baked through when the dish is ready. To make sure, insert a knife in the biscuit. If it comes out clean, the cobbler is done.

3. Don’t forget the ice cream! Cobblers are best served warm with heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream (or any flavor of your choice).

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