Food Matters Project #41: Kumquat & Orange Sorbet

As the temperatures are warming up, we are all wanting desserts that are cold and refreshing.  Thankfully, my new friend Meg, of Fledgling Foodie, reminded us of this with this weeks Food Matters Project!  From Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook, Meg chose the Chocolate Tofu Ice Cream recipe.  Check out her post here.  Also, take a peek a what other Food Matters Project participants did here.

Kumquat & Orange Sorbet: Kumquat

I took the route of a frozen dessert…but I diverged a bit with a fruity one, rather than chocolate.  A couple of weeks ago I was reading a DC bloggers post about kumquat sorbet.  I’ve never had kumquats before, but the photo’s made it look so delicious.  So I blame Nik, of A Brown Table, for the fact that I didn’t follow Mark Bittman’s recipe.

I’ve been reading Nik’s blog for quite some time- he’s so inspiring by telling stories how he came to choose various recipes, reasons behind particular ingredients, and his amazing photos.  I think I pin most of his recipes on my Pinterest page since they all look so delicious.

Although I have never had a kumquat, I decided to try making this recipe.  I did buy extra kumquats to snack on, and figured it would be a great way to taste this new fruit.  They are sour (more than lemons), a little bitter, and somewhat sweet- definitely something I’ve never tasted before.  To add a little more sweetness, I did add freshly squeezed orange juice.

And now that the sorbet is almost gone, I’m trying to think of other frozen desserts for the summer months.  Any recommendations?  We’ve previously made a Pear Sorbet and Rum Raisin Ice Cream.

Kumquat & Orange Sorbet

Kumquat & Orange Sorbet
Adapted from: A Brown Table

Boiling the kumquats takes out the bitterness from the fruit, I highly recommend doing this. 

12 oz kumquats
6 cups water (to boil kumquats)
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 inch ginger, peeled
juice of 1 orange

Rinse the kumquats, cut the ends of each fruit- discarding the cut pieces.  Then cut each fruit in half, and pick out the seeds.  Add the kumquats to a medium saucepan, and cover with 2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, then discard the water and repeat this process 2 more times.  Once you’ve repeated this process, drain the kumquats and puree them in a food processor.

In a medium saucepan combine 2 cups of water with sugar and ginger.  Continue to stir until the sugar water is boiling.  Once it boils, take out the ginger and pour the sugar water mixture into a bowl, add in the kumquat puree and orange juice.  Place that bowl into a large one, which has ice and cold water in it.  Keep the liquid in the ice bath for at least 30 minutes, or until the mixture is cold.

Then pass the mixture through a sieve, making sure to squeeze out as much juice out of the pulp as you can.  Chill this mixture for about 20 minutes in the freezer.  Then once it’s cold, follow your ice cream maker instructions to prepare the sorbet.  The sorbet will be done once it’s frozen and has a milky orange-yellow color.  Scoop the sorbet into a freezer-proof container, and freeze for a couple of hours before serving.

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Green Apple

As summer is creeping back in, we’re looking for easier dinners.  You know, one’s that don’t require tons of steps, or a million dishes.  We want something that has lots of flavor, but is simple and tasty.   And since it’s still that transition between spring and summer, we figured it’s not overly hot just yet, and turning on an oven is doable.

One beautiful Sunday afternoon, as we were wanting a lighter dinner- so we threw together some bacon and brussels sprouts.  We paired it up with a focaccia bread, and we had an easy meal.  I had made the dough from scratch earlier in the day, but you can always use a fresh baguette, or make something else.

What’s everyone’s preference for summer meals?  Would love to hear some new ideas!

Balsamic Brussel Sprouts with Bacon & Green Apple

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Green Apple
Fifth Floor Kitchen original

1 lb bacon
1 1/2 lb brussels sprouts
1 green apple, cored & chopped into 1 inch cubes
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
1-3 tsp Balsamic Vinegar

Cook the bacon strips in a hot skillet until they are crispy.  Allow the bacon to cool, then chop into smaller pieces.

Preheat the oven to 420ºF.

Then on a cookie sheet, spread out the brussels sprouts, cooked bacon, apple, salt, pepper, red pepper.  Over everything pour the cooled bacon fat.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the brussels sprouts are cooked to your liking (shorter time, they will cruchier).

Once the brussels sprouts are out out of the oven, divide it up on plates.  Then sprinkle a little (about a tsp) of balsamic over each plate.

Nashville: Lockeland Table

As I mentioned in many blog posts, I spent a weekend in Nashville a couple of weeks ago.  It was a girls weekend trip planned last June to run the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon.  Although we had pretty horrible weather for the trip, I was glad to experience Nashville’s delicious food!

Whenever I travel to new places, I like to have a good grasp on the city: popular bars, good restaurants, the streets that you need to walk on, or the beautiful parks.  This time around I wasn’t as prepared as I wanted to be.  But with the amount of rain falling on the city, I was just fine with exploring the great food and music.

Nashville 1

There are many bars such as this one on Broadway, filled with local beers, live music, and an entertaining crowd.  Don’t worry, that was a box the girls and I definitely checked off- but we also wanted to try delicious food!

My friend Becky, who resides in Boston and is a new blogger, and I flew into Nashville on Thursday before everyone else.  Back in the January issue of Food & Wine, we noticed Top 10 Plates of Nashville.  After browsing the menus and reviews, we chose Lockeland Table as our Thursday girly date night location.

Nashville: Lockland Table

Lockeland Table opened in August of 2012, so it’s a fairly new restaurant- but I couldn’t tell that by the excellent service and delicious dishes.  The building used to be a small grocery store, and Chef Hal Holden-Bache and General Manager Cara Graham wanted to keep some of the historical details- the original phone number, the 30-foot rafters, and they even replicated a similar sign that once hung in the original store.  The ambiance is relaxing and intimate, with a wood-fire oven as the centerpiece of the room, a repurposed original stamped-tin ceiling, and the recovered barn wood decorating the space.

The restaurant is situated in the East Nashville residential district, a couple of miles away from the bars and music halls.  We took a cab ride from the Sheraton, where we were staying, and it was about $10- definitely worth the trip!  Per website recommendation “reservations are highly recommended”, we had made one about 2 months ago!

Nashville: Lockland Table 2

The menu is local, with purveyors for produce and meat given credit on the menu, and seasonally inspired, which makes it hard to choose your dish- but that’s a good problem to have!  The low-carbon footprint extends to the bar, with just American vodkas, local bourbon and whiskey, as well as Tennessee beers such as Yazoo, Fat Bottom and Jackalope.  There are a couple of exceptions, the bar does have scotch and international wines.

Nashville: Lockland Table 3

Chicken Liver Pâté in a Jar: Benton’s bacon fat, grilled Tuscan bread, and smoked peach preserves

The pâté is served in a small mason jar, with the layer of bacon fat on top.  The liver was smooth and velvety.  The thick-cut grilled toasts are perfect for the spread, and the overturned lid holds the smoky preserves.

Nashville: Lockland Table 4

Cox Farms Roasted Bone Marrow: grilled Tuscan bread, Italian parsley, pickled red onion salad

The pickled onion isn’t just there for decoration, it’s to add to the dish.  Interestingly enough, it is pickled by Holden-Bache’s mom, his friends, and himself from his garden!  Rubbing the marrow on the crisp toast, and sprinkling with parsley and pickled onions, was dazzling and finger-licking delicious!  The straight-forward presentation fit the ambiance of Lockeland Table.

Nashville: Lockland Table 5

Carolina Mountain Trout with Honey Bourbon Glaze: spring hash, lemon spring cream, crispy prosciutto

Although the trout is always on the menu, the sides depend on the season- the start of spring is vivid with the fresh green peas, light cream and dill.  The trout was perfectly seared with a crispy skin, not overwhelmingly heavy, but still full of flavor.

Nashville: Lockland Table 6

Steak and Frites with Roasted Tomato Aioli: Hereford hanger steak with balsamic, cipollini butter, arugula

The steak was cooked just as I asked, medium rare.  Seared, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.  The aioli was balanced, rich and savory- great to spread on the steak, or to dip your fries into!

We were too full for dessert- but the sweet ricotta doughnuts and the rhubarb strusel cake did catch my eye.  I think this just means we have to visit Nashville for another (sunny) weekend!

Food Matters Project #40: Spicy Grapefruit Scallops with Arugula

Apologies for the little delay here with our Food Matters Project post! We’ve been focusing on house projects: adding a screen door, a composter for the backyard, and we also made a new batch of beer. It was a productive and relaxing weekend- those are the best (best of both worlds). And during some down time, we made this weeks dish!

This week’s host is Camilla, of Culinary Adventures with Camilla. Check our her version: Shrimp-Grapefruit Stirfry with Fennel. This was a great recipe from the Food Matters Cookbook, something I probably would not have chosen, but now I’m glad I tried this flavor profile. Take a peek what other Food Matters Project participants did here.

When my parents were visiting us a couple of weekends ago we were talking about scallops. The first time my parents met Sam, we took them to Zaytinya- a José Andrés restaurant, specializing in Turkish, Greek and Lebanese dishes. When my parents were choosing their orders, Sam insisted that they try the scallops with a yogurt-dill sauce and sugar snap peas. My Dad was a bit hesitant at first, but did order this dish- and he loved it. He loved it so much, that while my parents were visiting, my Dad mentioned that those were the best scallops he every had- nothing has compared in the last 3 years!

Since that conversation, we’ve been craving scallops and decided to swap the shrimp for them in this recipe. There are a few changes as well- no fennel, it’s not my favorite, and we added more heat. And rather than serving it over rice, per Mark Bittman’s suggestion, we opted for a salad option, and served it over a bed of arugula.

Spicy Grapefruit Scallops with Arugula

Spicy Grapefruit Scallops with Arugula
Adapted from: Food Matters Cookbook (page 449)
Servings: 2

Since Sam was in charge of this dish, it was a bit spicy with 2 habañeros. We recognize that not everyone has that kind of a pallet. Instead, I would recommend one of the following choices: 1) using only 1 habañero; 2) using jalapeño(s)- you can even deseed them; or 3) using regular peppers, red would show up beautifully in this. Feel free to serve this over pasta or rice.

3 tbsp olive oil
2 habañeros, finely chopped
1 tbsp minced ginger
3 green onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp soy sauce
juice of 1 lime
2 grapefruits, peeled, segmented and chopped (juice included)
1 lb fresh scallops
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Coat a pan in olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Add the habañero, ginger, green onions, and garlic. Allow them all the sweat for about 2 minutes. Then add the soy sauce, lime juice, and grapefruit- sauté for an additional 3 minutes. Finally, add the scallops and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté for approximately 3 minutes on each side. Then remove from heat, serve scallops and sauce over a bed of arugula.

Monthly Review: April 2013

I feel like April went by in a flash, where did it go?  Fortunately, it looks like spring is (finally) upon DC, and I’m looking forward to some warmer weather!  Check out what photos I have capture on my iPhone this month!

Interested what we did in the past?
2013: January February March
2012: May June July August November December

Monthly Review: April 2013 1

After running the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon in DC, I needed some new shoes.  For running apparel, one of the best places to go in DC (or Virginia) is Pacers.  After trying out a bunch I chose these Mizuno‘s- they’re probably a little flashier than I prefer, but fantastic to run in!  What races are others running?  Any favorites one’s you’ve done before?

While training for a full or half marathon it’s important to get some delicious food, here are some suggestions for great fueling: Garlic Hummus, Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, Fall Granola, Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Casserole.

Monthly Review: April 2013 2

Spring days are the best for exploring new neighborhoods and restaurants.  Which is exactly what we did when we stopped by Union Market’s Rappahannock Oyster Bar- check out what we ate in our blog post recap!  I also mentioned Union Market in the March review, see what I got then!

Monthly Review: April 2013 3

I had a great Sunday night dinner party with some DC bloggers (Anne, Ericka, Sarah, Sarah, Amy).  Sarah, of Why Food Works, wanted to spread the word about her new business in DC, and we got to see how her dinner parties work.  Definitely check out the post-  Why Food Works: A Dinner Party, and call Sarah to book a fun Friday night activity!

Monthly Review: April 2013 4

This month was busy for our new house, we had a housewarming with our friends, a brunch housewarming with Sam’s family, and both of our families came to check out the new digs!  It was a little hard to choose recipes for people to snack and nibble on (so many choices)!  Here are some links to what we made for our visitors: Herbed Almonds, Cream Cheese and Arugula Baguette Bites, Mediterranean Turkey Balls with Herbed Yogurt Sauce, Creamy Ranch Dressing, Lemon Bars, lox and cream cheese, Smokey Quiche, No-Bake Coconut “Cheesecake”, vegetables, fruit.  What are your favorite go-to ideas when you host parties?

Monthly Review: April 2013 5

Thanks to some expert advice from Emily, we tried making a pizza on the grill!  So delicious- would anyone be interested in a post on how to do it?  What are your favorite pizzas?  Some of our creations include: Apple & Smoked Cheese on Whole Wheat and Mushroom & Broccoli Pizza.  The one in the photo above is actually a “clean out your fridge” pizza.

Monthly Review: April 2013 6

When my parents were visiting DC, we took a day trip to Annapolis.  As we wandered through the cute city, we stumbled upon Seasons.  It’s an olive oil and vinegar taproom- a way to sample delicious oils and vinegars.  After trying out some, we each bough a couple to try out in our salads!

Monthly Review: April 2013 7

Coincidentally, salads have been taking over our Food Matters Project posts!  But they are all so delicious!  Check out the Bulgur Wheat Mango Salad with Avocado (above) or the Spinach Cobb Salad with Caper-Anchovy Vinaigrette.  Or see what other recipes we’ve made from the Food Matters Project.

Monthly Review: April 2013 8

I went to Nashville, Tennessee this past weekend to run the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon.  Thanks to a great Food & Wine article and from Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil, we got some great food recommendations.  I’ll be doing a post about the delicious meals soon.

Monthly Review: April 2013 9

Lastly, while at the expo- we got to hear Kara Goucher speak and take a photo with her!  It was really exciting for all of us.  The girls running weekend turned out great, even though we had some crummy weather.  Thanks for an awesome time: Becky, Beth, Cassie, Katie, Katie, Lianne, and Sarah!  (two of these ladies are bloggers, so definitely check their blogs out for more Nashville fun)