Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Dim Sum Sunday - Pasta

Java's Sunday Supper
Gnocchi di Patate with Chicken Livers and Mushrooms
The (nearly obscured, sorry) gnocchi in this dish is topped with a lovely caramelized "ragout" of livers, mushrooms, shallots, sage and thyme...
Shamu's Sunday Supper
This Sunday I went with old favorite recipe, Rigatoni with a Sauce of Lamb and Pine Nuts. Lisa Yockelson, a writer with many cookbooks under her belt, contributed this recipe to the Washington Post food section back in 1995. Ms. Yockelson is best known for her baking cookbooks but with this recipe she proved that she's not just a baker. I love this pasta recipe for it's bold flavors. The flavor of lamb is distinctive by itself but pairing it up with the feta and toasted pine nuts is not for the faint of tongue. The only change I've made is the choice of pasta, using the radiatori but frankly any pasta with ridges that can hold a chunky sauce will work. I find it to be a hearty and deeply satisfying dish.

Shamu's Bonus Dessert courtesy of the Java Junkie
After we had posted our dinner pictures, I asked Java this question - If she were making dessert for my Sunday pasta supper, what would it be? "Let me check my pantry" was her reply. A couple of hours later, this lovely coconut chocolate chip semifreddo arrived!

Next weeks theme: Tofu

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Food Porn Extrordinaire

Stephen Hamilton is the artist responsible for the photography that graced the walls of the Top Chef contestant's living space. We hope to have an interview with him soon, but in the meantime, we invite you to check out his portfolio. You won't be disappointed!

(Our thanks to Judith at Stephen Hamilton Photography for the stunning photo!)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Next Sunday's theme is...


Photo courtesy of "Life In Italy"

Sunday, March 22, 2009

DimSum Sunday - Shellfishalicious!!

Java's Sunday Supper
I wanted to do something simple and rustic this week; with shellfish as the main ingredient, my first thought was shrimp. The fish section of the market had some nice mussels, so I grabbed some of those as well, and headed home. Sadly, I made a poor decision on my way - I stopped for a bottle of wine. When I arrived at home, I found my poor little mussels had smothered in their paper wrapper. A return trip to the store and a latte later, I started my supper...

This is a two pan dish - one for the pasta and one for the "sauce". There really isn't a recipe per se. It's kind of a theme and variation on cioppino, with a "whatever fits" attitude. This particular version consists simply of olive oil, three cloves of garlic, half of a shallot, two hot Italian sausages, a small can of San Marzano tomatoes and some dry white wine. Once the sausage, garlic and shallot were lightly browned in the olive oil, I added the tomatoes and white wine and brought the mixture to a simmer. I then tossed in a pound of mussels and a few torn basil leaves. When the mussels began to open, I added a half a pound of shrimp, some more torn basil leaves, and Italian parsley. This was served over linguine, drizzled with more oil, and accompanied by some crusty rosemary bread and the wine that was left. The process works well with most any shellfish (I've used clams, crab, scallops and lobster tails in the past) as well as firm white fish. Easy peasy, and delicious!

Shamu's Sunday Supper
When you grow up on the Maryland side of the Washington DC metro area, you learn quickly to appreciate the Blue Crab. I cut my snarky baby teeth on the state slogan, Maryland is for Crabs (developed soon after neighboring Virginia came up with the lame Virginia is for Lovers slogan). But Blue Crab is not readily available in my neck of the prairie so I decided to see what the Asian market had in the way of crustaceans this weekend. Having recently returned from a trip to Seattle and enjoyed a wide variety of crustaceans, I was going through a bit of a withdrawal. Imagine my happiness at seeing fresh Dungeness Crab. While my fat selection was icing down in a cooler I pointed my little car home.

My recipe this week had more to do with the weather than anything else. Spring is slowly easing winter from the prairie. Buds are starting to pop and birds are yanking twigs from my gutter to make their nests. The grill itch hit me hard. Grilled Dungeness it would be. I started out with Emeril Lagasse's recipe for grilled crab but adapted it for my own tastes. Which meant bypassing the red pepper flakes, using lime instead of lemon, cilantro instead of parsley and addition of some incredible shellfish stock I made with crab shells to the grilling butter. This recipe is incredibly simple. Grill your cooked and cleaned crab on a piece of aluminum foil swimming in the butter sauce.

This is some serious crab flavor. The grilling adds an amazing smoky depth to the sweetness of the crab. But be forewarned, this is a level 5 messy meal. Cracking crabs is never for the fussy but crabs grilled in a garlic butter sauce? Wear a shirt that's already stained and have plenty of paper towels on hand but by all means, get your Crab on.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

It's Almost Time!

For another Dim Sum Sunday. Show us your Shellfish and Crustaceans and we'll show you ours.

Next Sunday's theme: "Pasta"

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Beannachtam Ná Fhéile Pádraig

Céad míle fáilte romhat! Today is Saint Patrick's Day. For me, of course, it's all about the food. This year, we're honoring the American side of Irish American, bowing to the mostly American tradition of corned beef and cabbage, which is virtually unknown in Ireland (though bacon and cabbage is a popular dish). There will definitely be creamy, buttery champ with scallions, which is Irish all the way!
You won't find green beer at my house...that "tradition" alledgedly began in Canada. My preferred pint is Guinness (but Beamish and Murphy's are also in the running).Mr. Junkie's palate requires something a little lighter, so there are a couple of bottles of Harp Lager stashed away...with any luck, it will be just enough to hold my German gent until Ocktoberfest!

We wish you all Beannachtam Ná Fhéile Pádraig! (Happy St. Patrick's Day!) May you always have a clean shirt, a clear conscience, and enough coins in your pocket to buy a pint!

Please celebrate safely! Slán agus beannacht leat!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Dimsum Sunday faves...

Although the first "Dimsum Sunday" got off to a slow start, there were two entrants that really put not only their cooking skills, but their hearts into the challenge...check out their entire Dimsum Sunday posts at:

Buzzkill's Buzzkill

29 Black Street

Thanks for participating, and props to you both!!

For those who weren't able to participate, we hope you'll join us next week - the theme is "Shellfish and Crustaceans".

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dim Sum Sunday A Chicken in Every Pot

Chicken & Dumplings

Dim Sum Sunday - A chicken in every pot.

Chicken pot pie is one of my favorite Sunday suppers. I like the fact that even when it's "dressed up", it's still comfort food. This is my own recipe. It takes a little time, but it's definitely worth it - just ask Mr. Junkie, who snagged his and ran before the "photo shoot"! (I've posted the recipe in the comments section for anyone who's interested.)

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Tomorrow's Dim Sum Sunday theme is "A chicken in every pot..."

Next week's theme is "Shellfish & Crustaceans"

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

You're ALL invited...

...To "Dim Sum Sunday"!

Is your Sunday dinner delectable? Daring? Succulent? Shareable? If it's any or all of those things, or even something completely different, we'd like to invite you to participate in "Dim Sum Sunday" - a weekly food meme. Each week, a theme will be given. The participants will use the theme (from the literal to the avant-garde) when creating their Sunday suppers the following week. Then, just take a picture or two of the meal, and tell us all about it. Does it have to be home cooking? Not necessarily - you can go out, eat in, or even go to a friends house...as long as your post reflects the theme in original (you don't have to be a professional photographer) pictures of your dinner, and personal stories (and recipes and how-tos if you choose...)!

We'll give you a while to marinate...Sunday, March 15th should do the trick! The first theme is "A Chicken In Every Pot". Be sure to come here and leave a comment that links back to your blog to let us know your post is up!

Coffee as art?