Posts Tagged ‘delicious’

Maqluba, hummus, falafel, baba ghanoush, baklava…

Yum. My professors rock, that’s all I have to say.

So last night being our final exam block for my Theories & Methods of Nonviolence class, our professors had us over to one of their homes to hand in our final papers and enjoy some fine home cooking. The professor whose home it was, was born in Palestine, so the food was mostly of that Mediterranean variety. It was all so delicious and it was a really cute night. And I took pictures this time because the food was just presented so wonderfully and tasted so great.

This is maqluba. It is basically a rice casserole and in this picture it is the one with chicken and cauliflower I believe. But the vegetarian one that I ate had eggplant and tomato. It was divine. And they flip it over so it’s like one of those upside-down pineapple cakes, only, it’s a casserole.

Salad.

HOMEMADE hummus and baba ghanoush. Which tastes infinitely better than out of a tub at the grocery store and now that I have a food processor and more time on my hands I can’t wait to make my own.

Falafel! I’ve only had falafel once before this, in Brisbane. It’s really popular in Australia for whatever reason…and my professor’s was awesome.

SO much good food.

PISTACHIO BAKLAVA. ‘Nuff said.

Oh, I also tried Arabic coffee. Not a fan. It’s really thick and gritty-like! Anyone ever tried it?

I think the best part of the meal is that it was so made-with-love tasting. It felt like being home for a holiday or something, and not just because we were out in Suburbia (which was totally weird, to see a vast backyard and homes so far apart from each other…) but because he and his wife cooked it all for us. They even set out ziploc bags after and made us take as much as we could home for leftovers. How awesome is that?

I went into this class knowing next to nothing about international relations and conflict resolution and all of that, but I still found it to be really interesting. It was way over my head in terms of being able to contribute to class discussion in a room full of many people who have actually been to the countries and seen things first-hand. But, I did get to learn a lot of new stuff and it was good to be out of my element.

All in all, if you’re an AU student and looking for an elective to take, I’d go for this class. Plus, there’s an awesome dinner at the end. =)

Thank Earth for the beautiful weather this weekend.

This weekend was fun. Friday night I went out with friends and celebrated my birthday. Got to see people who I haven’t been able to see all semester due to jam-packed schedules. It was a good time.

Then Sunday, quite the contrary to the forecasted weather, the sun came out! In fact, it never even drizzled until about 10pm when I was finally arriving home at the end of the night. Which was awesome. So the plans for Sunday went off without a hitch and I was able to make it to the Climate Rally on the mall, hosted by Earth Day Network, and the BBQ my professor threw at Gangplank Marina in southwest D.C.

I had one major complaint about the rally, other than the fact that they didn’t follow their schedule remotely. Which was that they had basically no vegetarian options at the event. Not that I planned to get food there, but it still irritated me. I tweeted about this, and had a lot of people agreeing it was pretty ridiculous. Be the change you want to see in the world, people. It was great to see bands like Passion Pit though. And Jimmy Cliff. Didn’t stay for The Roots but I bet they were great too.

Afterward, we went to the marina for the BBQ. It was really funny and indicative of the “type” of people in my class, but I would say more than half of us were vegetarians. There were plenty of veggie burgers and smart dogs to go around =)  Not to mention all the other delicious goodies that I didn’t really photograph because I’m still getting used to being  “that girl” that takes pictures of all the food (don’t mind doing this in front of friends and family but since I didn’t really know everyone that well…) I think Brad was particularly shocked by the vegetarianism because in Australia, “vego’s” aren’t nearly as common as they are here. They aren’t unheard of, but it’s still seen as a bit weird if you don’t eat meat. But BBQ’s, now those are as Aussie as it gets. So Brad manned the grill much of the time.

I also met Sarah, sister-in-law of Katie from Health for the Whole Self! I love the small world we live in.

The following pictures show the houseboat Eve lives on (the BBQ was on the marina’s “party boat”). She was recently interviewed by Politico about her “green lifestyle.” She’s kind of a big deal. But in all seriousness, she openly confesses that she does all of this stuff not just because she’s is an environmental goddess, as the article paints her as, but because they allow her to live frugally (houseboats are less expensive to live on than a waterfront house on land) and live “lazily” (why would she want to continuously have to refill the boat’s water tank when she could just take shorter showers?)

Worm composting! Yeah, we’re a bunch of eco-dorks. Whatevs.

Look how puffy/tired my eyes look. Totally exhausted from the eco-weekend. Oh also, Brad leaves to explore his next adventure in America/Canada tomorrow. Everyone wish him luck on his journey! I’m jealous. I want to travel…

Before I head off to work on my 8-pg paper on non-violence that I have yet to begin…I wanted to say something.

I guess the one thing that gets on my nerves slightly about Earth Day is the general rhetoric surrounding it. It’s not really about saving the Earth. The Earth isn’t going anywhere. However, certain species are dying and are being threatened, including the human species. The environmental movement should be encompass all people and be about changing our behaviors so that we pollute less, emit less CO2 and contribute less to global warming, sustain our soil nutrition, water, and bio-diversity, and all of the things that contribute to our survival, as humans. In a sense, it’s not really about saving the Earth, it’s about saving ourselves. Or rather, it’s about saving our children and grandchildren. I don’t know if that message would hit home harder for people or not though. And when it comes down it, maybe it’s just an argument over semantics. But I figured I would make that point here and now.

When it comes down to it, in my opinion (there are others who disagree), “saving the planet” is primarily a selfish endeavor. And isn’t that what nature is largely about after all? Survival of the fittest? What do you think? I’m not saying it’s bad to think of it in this sense, I am just saying it could maybe help us to frame the movement in a new way.

I have a few more entries coming up before the end of the semester, one of which is about the importance of our individual responsibilities/possibilities as a species evolving to live in a world where technology exists in harmony with nature, instead of pitted against it. I have written it already for another class, but it’s a bit long so I am going to parse it down so my message isn’t lost.

And, I’m off! Good luck with finals to those who are students and have a great week to everyone else, catch you on the flip side.

Review: Blue Ridge in Glover Park

Wow. So much blog-worthy stuff happening right now. Not sure where to start.

Let’s start with dinner, obviously. So as I mentioned, Joe and I tried out this Blue Ridge place in Glover Park. It was surprisingly empty, I thought, for a Sunday night. But hey, I guess we’re in a recession. I support people’s decision to eat at home. It in no way reflected poor food, because the food ended up being delicious(!). There was one minor hiccup. No wait, two. First was that we discovered that the menu had no seafood on it (except for oysters—which I have had an aversion to ever since that Mr. Bean episode where he…eh, just watch.) It was strange because the online menu had calamari, catfish, salmon pate, bluefish, lobster (all with the sustainable seal of approval *wink*). So me, being the difficult pescatarian that I am, felt like a huge pain in the you-know-what asking our server, basically, “What’s up with that?” She told me something about it being Sunday and they are trying to push the Prixe Fixe to which I basically responded, “No roast beef for me, lady, gimmee some seafood.” And then she said, “But we do have two artic char tonight, served over a bed of lentils…” to which I said, “Perfect!” Being picky will get you everywhere.

We ordered the sweet potato fritters for an appetizer. Holy grassfed cow, they tasted somethin’ magical. Joe ordered the steak which I totally knew he would, and then told me as he was eating how grainfed steak tastes better. I guess I’m not a meat-eater so I wouldn’t really know, but from what I read, eating meat from a cow that’s only ever eaten grass versus one whose gotten real fatty off of corn and grain feed, is like eating two different animals. In terms of taste. I would imagine that grassfed cows taste more like kangaroo or ostrich or something really lean like that. Point is, grassfed beef will give you lots of omega-3’s and less saturated fat and cholesterol which don’t seem to be high on Joe’s priority list. Oh well! Anyhow I will say that my arctic char was cooked perfectly (I’d never had arctic char before, very similar to salmon), the lentils were amazing and really flavorful, and the portions were generous.

So, I’m going to put these pictures up and pretend they aren’t giant blurs that break my photographer heart. Next time I’m not going to feel bad bringing my external flash.


Sweet potato fritters

Arctic char.

OK this is comical. and a steak, I swear.

  • Taste: I mean… A.
  • Atmosphere: Which brings me to the second hiccup of the night, which was when we were done and basically about to leave, when our friend, who I will refer to as Mr. Monsanto, started peepin’ around the corner a few tables away. (We were outside!) You see, Mr. Monsanto was a rat–and while I’m sure that has nothing to do with the food/hygiene of the place, I can’t not dock points for a rat in the eating area. Although I will say I see rats outside of restaurants in this city a lot. Last time it was outside Open City in AdMo. Blech. So, B-. I’m feeling generous.
  • Value: I consider any place that has a cheese/charcuterie menu to be in the fancy realm, and their prices seemed very fair despite this. So, A-.
  • Sustainability: Oooh yeah. Grassfed beef? Arctic char that wins for “Best Choice” from Seafood Watch? A+

All in all, an A-. Which is pretty darn good for me having to finagle our server in order to not eat meat for dinner and having Mr. Monsanto join us at the end. =]

Veggie soup success and my plan for eliminating food waste

I realized last week that I have been spending too much on food. And mostly, I have been buying more food than I need. Which is ridiculous and basically the antithesis of everything I stand for. So I am cutting that out. I am going to try this week to, instead of promising myself that I will make my lunch every night, just do it now, on Sunday, when I have time. That way it’s all set to go. I even got my matzo crackers all broken up for my snacks to bring. And no, those aren’t sliced up apples, that would be gross, they’re dried apple slices. Anyhow, my sandwiches are made (hopefully they won’t get soggy–talk about food waste FAIL) Whatever I actually don’t mind a PB&J that’s been hanging in the fridge a couple days. SPEAKING OF WHICH did everyone see that article about the woman who kept the Happy Meal and a year went by and it still hadn’t changed at all??! GROSS.)

So this is pretty much what I eat for lunch and snacks in a week. Plus all meals Wednesday when I’m gone all day. Does it look like a lot? Doesn’t look like much variety. But there’s lots of veggies in the soup.

Speaking of which, let’s talk about that.

Hi my name’s Kelly and I am a food photog n00b! (Wipe the sides clean next time, der!)

Anyhow it came out well. I served it over some brown rice since I never ended up adding potatoes and have lots of rice to use up. It was very very good. Even on a warm day. Seems odd to cook soup on a hot day but this worked.

Must be off now. Getting dinner with fellow blogger extraordinaire Joe. He’s pretending he wants me to try this restaurant Blue Ridge just because he knows I am into sustainable seafood and all that. But really, he subconsciously wants to be a local foodie himself. I will have him converted soon enough.

D.C. Chillin’: Enjoying a gorgeous day while the veggie soup cooks

So today I got a wee bit sidetracked with things like….enjoying the beautiful weather outside.

But I managed to throw some ingredients together to make some veggie soup.

Here’s what went in…

This is about how much I put in of each.

I mean, what do you think, do I use too much garlic? I asked the same thing last time though and then I could barely taste it! I sauteed it this time to perhaps bring out more flavor…?

So here is everything that went into the slow-cooker, on low:

  • A wee bit (rest of can left over) of crushed tomatoes aka tomato sauce
  • Veggie broth, whole box
  • Beans
  • Garlic, sauteed
  • Carrots, three, not cooked
  • Onion, one, sauteed
  • Mushrooms, sauteed
  • Parsley, oregano, basil, salt, pepper
  • Once the veggies are near done I am going to add chopped up potatoes. Apparently those should only take 1-2 hours. Didn’t end up adding potatoes. Fine without!

That’s all cookin’ up now. Cheated and took the top off (don’t do this if you are on a time constraint, slows the cooking down) and anyway I tasted it and it’s good 😉

So today, Jen, Charlie, Tom and I walked down to get lunch at this little deli. I got a grilled veggie “hero.” It was OK. Then we got coffee at Politics and Prose and Jen and I invented the Best Game Ever. It basically started when I picked up/pretended to be reading this book to be funny because Jen isn’t a foodie like me and she gets so overwhelmed (annoyed) by my constantly talking about it. And then she picked up this book to be ironic. Get it? Anyway, it was really funny, and we continued to play that game for about 20 more rounds. Talk about acting like you’re in high school again. Must be the weather! I love it.

Then Jen, Charlie, Mike and I went for a cruise.

D.C. chillin’.

I’ve sort of neglected the homework/dealing with life today in order to enjoy this weather. Tomorrow will be less blogging, more work. Right now it’s go for a run (or maybe just lift at the gym?) and then out for an Eaglet’s birthday.

Happy Saturday! =)

Chili #1: Finished product

And, through the magic of the Internet….ta da!

It came out well. I think next time I’d love to have something green in there like green pepper or broccoli. It was really tomato-y too. I actually ended up adding the rest of the beans (slow cooker faux pas?) because once it cooked down it lost some thickness. But I was relieved that everything cooked evenly, was afraid the cauliflower was going to get mushy. I wonder if roasting the veggies beforehand next time would make it even tastier…

Reasons why this dish rocks nutritionally:

  • all vegetarian, which means you avoid the bad fats that come with a meat-filled meal, and it has been proven that even if you are an omnivore, replacing traditionally meaty meals with vegetarian ones is a great way to up your vegetable intake and improve your diet
  • paired with rice, provides all your essential amino acids and offers a complete protein, so you can’t even say you are missing out on that from the meat
  • the carrots offer beta-carotene, aka vitamin A (though not as much as an uncooked carrot)
  • the cauliflower and kidney beans pack lots of fiber to fill you up so you don’t crave unhealthy foods after your meal
  • the tomatoes pack lycopene, which has been linked with reduced incidence of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and macular degeneration
  • I’m estimating one serving to be about 250 calories + 1 cup of rice = about 450 calories, a good-sized lunch or dinner

Basically it’s super healthy and super filling. And really not all that expensive. I think I spent about $7.50 on these ingredients (plus a few cents for the spices if we’re really being nit-picky). I will get about 5 meals out of it, making each meal $1.60. Take that, McDonald’s. And sure beats the crap out of that expensive $8/lb salad bar at Whole Foods.

Yay for not having to pack a lunch the rest of this week! =)

Slow cookin’!: There’s no such thing as too much garlic.

Experiment #1…

I like my slow cooker, because you can see what is going on through the clear top, but the sides aren’t clear. Some slow cookers are totally clear, which I think would be weird. It’s like, hello, TMI about what’s going on in my slow cooker. Anyhow. I guess that is why most aren’t clear. I’m really reaching to try to boost my slow cooker‘s confidence, because he’s had this inferiority complex ever since my sister made the comment about how you can’t call a slow cooker a “crock pot” unless it’s really a Crock Pot. Apparently it is like calling a box of CVS tissues a box of Kleenex. GEEZ. (By the way, WTF—that link says this is $2.99 currently? I paid $20 for mine. I am upset. Calling Best Buy today.)

I think I may soon wish I had spent a few extra bucks and gotten one larger. This one’s only 3 quarts. But oh well, I am still in the experimenting stage. Which brings me to an important point about me: I like to cook, but I don’t really love to follow recipes (except when it comes to baking, because baking is more of a science, in my opinion, while cooking is an art).This is out of character for me, because generally I am a follow-the-plan type of person. With cooking, no. In fact, if there’s a scientific reason behind cooking a certain dish, I tend to shy away.

onions & two giant cloves of garlic

However, I have to follow recipes quite a bit at my baby-sitting job, which is good because it gives me more exposure to cooking different things, but bad in a sense because I sometimes screw up when I think I can make my way around the rules. For example, last week while making beef stew, the recipe said to brown up the chunks of beef with bacon (no, I don’t eat what I cook there!) in shifts. Well, I did the shifts part, but only with the beef, so in the second batch everything started sticking more than usual, because the bacon was supposed to provide the fat to prevent that—had I followed the recipe correctly. So! I also apparently have no idea how to cook fresh brussel sprouts and that the outer layer and stem needs to be removed beforehand. Haha–you cook and you learn.

PS(A): Speaking of baby-sitting, if anyone college-aged here is going to be looking for work come May, and you like kids and hanging out by the pool and cooking and shopping at Whole Foods and playing soccer with 7-year-olds—I may have the job for you! Email me for more details. I need to find a replacement for me come that time, assuming I have found something more ‘career-orientated.’ And if anyone is looking to hire me for that ‘career-orientated something,’ just click on that “drop me a line” link above.

What I am slow-cooking today uses what I know about what goes into chili, aka: chili powder,  cumin, tomatoes, beans — and then adding a healthy twist (more veggies, no meat).

Yesterday I went to the farmers market and got all kinds of stuff, some of which went into the slow cooker today.

..

I got…

  • Cremini mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Carrots
  • Honey crisp apples
  • Big bottle of olive oil that cost more than my slow cooker

At the Giant, I got a whole bunch of beans and canned tomatoes/tomato sauce (which aren’t in season locally), and a bunch of spices, since I had none.

Then this is what I threw in the crock pot, which is cooking at the moment:

  • big can of organic crushed tomatoes (20 oz.)
  • half of a big can of light kidney beans (so about 20 oz. again)
  • smallish onion, cut into smallish chunks *L
  • 2 carrots, sliced up like a 1/4 inch thick *L
  • a couple handfuls of cauliflower florets
  • the biggest “clove” of garlic you’ve ever seen in your life–I thought it was a bulb! Threw the whole thing in anyways, and did a piss-poor job of mincing, it’ll be fine though. *L
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. cocoa-chili powder (I bought the cocoa blend because I couldn’t find straight up regular chili powder and I was tired of searching. Hope it’s not too cocoa-y!)

*L = Local

So I am going to let that get happy in the hot tub for about 8 hours, should be ready by 6 or 7pm. Will let you know how it turns out! Smells garlicy but I guess there’s no such thing as too much garlic!