Category: chocolate

DC Foodie Events List

D.C. has a ton of things going on all the time. The challenges I have when faced with limitless activities are to :1) find them, 2) remember them, and 3) afford them. Is a food-oriented bucket list called a trough? Here are some items on my DC list:

  • Volt Restaurant – Table 21 is an exclusive chef’s table with 21 courses for $121, alcohol pairings not included. This restaurant gained notoriety through Top Chef a few years ago. You get a take-home menu. Here’s a local suggestion on how to get a reservation.  
  • Pizzeria Paradiso – One of my favorite good vibe, great beer selections and just-right size food. They do a few beer pairing dinners a year, and damn it, I want to go! Looks like I just missed one for $65 with Troeg’s brews at their Georgetown location. I like Dupont better anyway.  
  • Cochon 555 – I just learned about this, and the 2012 event was held last weekend. Their motto: ‘5 Chefs, 5 Pigs, 5 Winemakers.’ All pig parts, prepared every way. Yeahh, but it’s also $125 per ticket for a four-hour event.
  • 100 Bowls of Compassion – This is the annual fundraising event for Miriam’s Kitchen, a group I’ve volunteered with off and on for several years. Through volunteering I’ve also gotten to work the event and access the 100 silent auction ‘bowls’ created by local artists, and the 5-star cuisine. Looks like it’s May 10, 2012, and tickets start at $275.
  • Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival – I’ve been invited to this at the National Harbor. I love all 3 of these items, and it falls over my birthday weekend, so I might just have to make it a priority. With tickets between $35 – $85, and opportunities to volunteer, this may work out nicely. (Musings: lots of pork on this list. Hmmm…)
  • Brew at the Zoo – Yep, pretty much like it sounds. The National Zoo hosts a beer sampling party, alongside the orangutans and prairie dogs. Scheduled for July 12, but no ticket prices listed yet. I like their holiday lights and their Boo at the Zoo activities too.
  • PX (Speakeasy) – I’ve heard rumor of this place, but haven’t yet talked with anyone who’s been. Who doesn’t want to get dolled up and sip a specialty from a mixologist under the cover of a secret password? Thursday night I am going to the WW Club, which is supposed to be a speakeasy style club, for a special event. Tickets: $10. Now, what to wear?!
  • Cowgirl Creamery – Okay, so I don’t even care what I do there, but I love the concept and the products. Looks like they have tours at least.

I’m also a fan of Free In DC – their website consistently has a good mix of theatre, arts, talks, presentations, popular and off the beaten path ideas for free or almost free activities about town.

Bigger, Faster, Better Chocolate Chip Cookies

Okay, so they’re actually not cookies per se, but bars. Chocolate chip cookie bars. I discovered the recipe through a glance at the classic Nestle Tollhouse recipe. I was feeling  lazy and craving something melty-chocolatey.

The "Before" Photo -raw cookie dough smooshed into a greased 9x13 pan

To achieve this easy success of gooey goodness, follow the Tollhouse recipe. But three secret family tips:

1) Add in a handful of uncooked oats,
2) Use a 50/50 blend of semisweet and dark cocoa chips, and
3) Toss in 1/2 cup of pecans.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes and check with the toothpick test. Let it cool 15 minutes or so before delving in, to ensure the chocolate chips set. In two rounds, I’ve found the edges get a bit overdone, which may be a plus in your book, depending on your flavor preferences. With any luck, your birthday boy will enjoy it as much as mine. May I recommend a glass fo whiskey on the rocks to accompany this fine dessert?

Happy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar Birthday!

Flourless Chocolate Cake + Birthday Cake Martini

I am part of a small group of ladies that started as a book club, devolved into a drinking club, then re-emerged as a brunching club. Though we sometimes try new restaurants, typically we take turns cooking at each other’s places. We love to cook, you see. And pop bottles of bubbly.

We had much to celebrate, including a promotion, a job interview, world traveling, and several resolutions focused on mindful, healthful eating.Our luscious menu included:

  • Avocado toasts – with hummus and roasted red peppers rather than tomatoes
  • Sugar snap peas, carrots and baked pita chips with hummus and yogurt dips
  • Cranberry hazelnut crackers smeared with some lovely soft, pale salty cheese whose name escapes me
  • A spin on this asparagus with poached eggs recipe – using a sautéed veggie medley of asparagus, baby bella mushrooms, broccoli, red bell pepper, garlic salt, olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar under the poached eggs.
  • Mixed greens salad with Nigella’s recipe for moonblush tomatoes (first time to try ’em!)
  • Birthday Cake Martinis – made with 100% cranberry juice, which I wouldn’t recommend – go with the juice cocktail instead. Also, I dipped the rims in honey before dipping them in sugar sprinkles. At some point we stopped mixing drinks and just drank the champagne instead.

Fudge: the stuff of legends

Someday, SOMEDAY I will pick up the correct kind of canned milk: sweetened condensed for pumpkin, evaporated for fudge. Yesterday was not that day. But despite my lack of literacy, I managed to make it work. In case you’re ever in the same bind, here’s a kick butt fudge recipe:

7 oz. jar marshmallow fluff

Fudge with pecan pieces

3 cups white sugar
8 oz. ghiradelli dark chocolate chips
5 oz. nestle semisweet chocolate chips
4 oz. sweetened, condensed milk
2 oz. almond milk
1.5 sticks of butter (salted, of course)
1/2 cup chipped pecans
1 tsp. vanilla

Line a 9×13 pan with foil or butter it down. Melt the sugar, butter and milks in a saucepan over medium heat. I recommend a nonstick pan. Stirring almost constantly, bring the mixture to a boil for 4 minutes – or until the sugar mixture starts to turn a bit golden. Stir constantly. Remove from heat. Add in chocolate and marshmallow fluff, stirring until smooth. Drop in pecans and vanilla. Yep, stir. Spread quickly into pan and let sit for approximately 2 hours to cool. Or until you can’t resist a nibble. Viola!