Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cream of Crab Soup

Seafood foodies --

A couple of nights ago I was really craving a thick, hearty soup.  So I decided to craft my own cream of crab, being a Maryland native and all.  My measurements may not be exact, but add each one to your liking!


1 1/2 sticks butter
3/4 cup flour
1 quart half and half
1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)
2 cups chicken stock
1 can (16 oz) canned crab meat
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. Old Bay
2 tsp. curry powder
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (more if you're like me)
Salt and pepper

Melt butter over medium high heat and add flour to create a roux.  Whisk for two minutes.  Add half and half, milk, and chicken stock and bring to a simmer.  Stir in bay leaf, Old Bay, and curry powder.  Add crab meat and bring back up to a simmer.  Finish with Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to taste.  Top with a sprinkle of Old Bay.  Serve with fresh veggies or bread.  Voila!  Enjoy :)


"Yum!"  -Meghan O'Neil

*foodie love

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Light Horse -- Alexandria, VA

VA Foodies --

I work in Old Town, VA and live in Frederick, MD....quite the commute I know.  But I have the pleasure of working in a place buzzing with new restaurants and current food trends.  Last week I decided to stroll down the street and check out a place I hadn't tried before.  I went with The Light Horse

Featuring upscale American classic pub food and daily specials, The Light Horse is a quiet atmosphere for a relaxing evening after work.  

I started with a glass of pinot noir and asked for our server's recommendations. First I tried the Nuts and Berries salad -- peppery arugula, shallots, radishes, candied pecans, strawberries and pecan crusted goat cheese (yum!), finished with a raspberry vinaigrette. I love any combination of arugula and goat cheese, so this salad was perfect for me.  The pepperiness of the lettuce, and the creamy tartness of the goat cheese and berries is my favorite combination of textures and flavors.  Great start to the meal.

Second, going with the server's recommendation, I had the pork tenderloin.  I really must thank our server for this recommendation because it was absolutely incredible.  The plate was beautifully stacked with a cheddar risotto cake on the bottom, sauteed spinach with garlic,shallots, and butter in the middle, and the pork on top -- blackened and topped with a sweet onion jam.  The pork was beautifully cooked to a juicy medium and the poblano cream and basil oil surrounding the plate was to die for.  The poblano cream had so much flavor -- smoky and rich -- and really enhanced the pork.  I grew up eating McCutcheon's apple butter on my pork, so the sweet onion jam brought me back with the sweetness and gave me something new with the tang and texture of the onion.  The risotto cake was crispy and rich, with a cheesy finish, and the spinach was tender and garlicy...delicious.  I would highly recommend this dish, and thank our server for recommending it to me!

Being a sucker for anything carb loaded and cheesy, I also ordered a side of the mac and cheese.  Keeping with the rest of the meal, it did not disappoint.  Consisting of a melted gooeyness of cheddar, monterey jack, and gruyere cheeses, it was topped with crispy fried basil and played a symphony of sweet, pungent, and creamy on my tastebuds.  Having written this, I find cheese to be one of the hardest flavors to describe....
We finished with the chef's homemade pecan pie topped with creme fraiche. My date and I both found it interesting that the pecans were ground, but we loved it.  The creme fraiche was tangy and airy, nice change from the traditional vanilla ice cream.  

All in all, it was a great meal that I would highly recommend if taking a trip to Old Town...

“Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” -James Beard

*foodie love

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Zola -- Washington, DC

DC Foodies --

Restaurant week is upon us! Last week being the official week, and these next couple being the extended weeks. I picked wisely this year and decided to make my first stop at Zola on F street. Located right next to the Spy Museum, the restaurant invites guests in with a hip, modern decor. I met my friend and we started off the night with a phenomenal drink called the blue sting. It was a rum drink with fresh blueberries, apples, mint, honey, cranberry juice, soda water....etc. It was so crisp and refreshing, we easily downed two each.

After some delicious house bread, we were served a yummy amuse bouche of a toasted pita point, hummus and a roasted red pepper coulis. Very flavorful, and vegetarian friendly for my friend -- major points :) Definitely whet our appetites.

I was very pleased to find out that Zola was offering their entire menu for restaurant week, but it did seem a little hectic. I started with the veal sweet breads chop salad, with hard boiled quail egg, saint andre cheese, and a apricot-mustard vinaigrette. Sounded promising -- but actually lacked flavor. I found the whole dish needing salt and pepper, and expected more acid from the dressing. Still, crispy sweetbreads were delicious.

My friend started with the cheese and mushroom fondutta, served with crusty bread. Although I love mostly everything, mushrooms have always been a sore spot for me. I did try the morel and the flavor was amazing. The cheese was kept hot and my friend described it as rich and fresh, almost a meal in itself, with a variety of hearty mushrooms -- she would definitely get it again.

My second course was a seafood hotpot with a quinoa salad. Unfortunately our entrees came out when we were only halfway through our appetizers, but we quickly finished them up, anxious to move on to course two. The hotpot came recommended by our server and I can see why. This dish was phenomenal. Filled with perfectly cooked, melt in my mouth salmon, meaty shrimp (maybe slightly overcooked but still delicious), clams, mussels, and scallops. The broth was the star, with fresh crushed tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, basil, etc. So flavorful I think I could have eaten anything soaked in that sauce. The quinoa salad was also heavenly. With crisp sweet corn, fresh tomatoes and bits of asparagus, I ate it up in seconds. The bread was also the perfect utensil to sop up all that left over broth.

I ended my meal with a pear crisp. Warm and crunchy, with spiced ice cream and a dried pear chip, it was very good. I was looking for a lighter dessert on the menu, but most were very rich and heavy.

Overall, the meal was pretty good. I have heard a lot of great things about Zola and will definitely be back to try it again.

“A well-run restaurant is like a winning baseball team. It makes the most of every crew member's talent and takes advantage of every split-second opportunity to speed up service."

*foodie love

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Scully's Ocean Side Cafe -- Dewey Beach, DE

Beach foodies!

The best local fare I've had at the beach, that doesn't involve seafood, has to go to Scully's in Dewey Beach! I wandered in to recuperate after a day of fun at The Starboard and was greeted by Sharon Roy, owner with her husband Ben. After asking what the best thing on the menu was, I was given high recommendations about the bison sliders and sweet potato fries. Their local bison slider's from Colvine Bison Farms on Rte. 16 were absolutely to die for.

The meat is marinated to perfection and served by itself on a warm, fresh bun. I added a little mustard and ketchup but the bison would have been amazing just on its own. I couldn't get over how much flavor was in the meat, and how lean and tender it was. Bison is known to be healthier than beef, but you would never know with the punch of flavor they packed.

I could have easily eaten about six or thirty of these but I wanted to save room for the sweet potato fries, which were also highly recommended. They were hand cut and perfectly crispy with the sweet and salty flavor that I love. I was definitely surprised about this hidden gem that I found while wandering around for a snack, but I'm glad I found it.

If you're looking for a bison treat similar to Scully's check out Gunpowder Bison & Trading Co.

Remember: "The belly rules the mind."


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mussels with Bacon-Garlic White Wine Sauce

Foodie Fiends!

I made these mussels for my family one summer night and they worshiped me for weeks. It is very easy, but layers bold flavors into a wonderful broth for sopping with crusty french bread.


2 lbs fresh or frozen mussels with shells
2 ounces olive oil (enough to lightly cover bottom of pot)
4 strips thick-cut bacon (whatever you have in the fridge is fine)
10 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots
2 leeks, chopped
3/4 bottle dry white wine
Touch of Heavy Cream
Crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
Salt and Pepper
1 Baguette

Heat olive oil in large pot. Once hot, brown bacon until almost fully cooked. Add leeks, garlic, and shallot and heat until "sweating." Add mussels and allow to steam for 2-3 minutes with lid on. Add wine, reduce to a simmer, and steam with the lid on for 5-7 minutes, or until the mussels have opened. Discard any mussels that do not open. Finish with a touch of cream, to taste, crumbled Gorgonzola and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Toast baguette if preferred for "soppage", and enjoy!

Remember: "One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating." ~Luciano Pavarotti

*foodie love

Acadiana -- Washington, DC

Hi Foodie Fanatics :)

This week kicks off my favorite week of the year, DC Restaurant Week!! I had the pleasure of joining a friend at Acadiana in the Chinatown area for dinner on Tuesday, and it was quite a treat!

The evening started with lovely choices for their restaurant week menu, including ANY entree on the menu. After ordering a very reasonably priced bottle of French red wine, we received complimentary biscuits, accompanied by a spicy pepper-butter. It reminded me of when I worked in the restaurant biz and used to dip my bread in butter mixed with sambal olek :) These biscuits were to die for, and I could have easily eaten about 8 to 30, so thank goodness they only brought 2!

Our meal started with an appetizer of soups, my friend having the turtle soup -- a beef broth based soup with succulent pieces of turtle (although I am a terp, I sucked it up and tried it) and vegetables. Having never tried turtle before I can tell you that it was delicious, tender, and resembled crab mixed with pork, or crabork as we named it haha. A little gamey, but very tender and sweet. My soup was a corn and crab chowder, very delicious. Cream based with a serious kick to it! I loved every bite of the jumbo lump crab meat and the sweet corn.

Our main courses were recommended by our excellent server and lived up to her promised hype. I had the duck with dirty rice, collard greens, and a cane syrup pepper jelly glaze. The duck was huge! It took up the entire plate and was deliciously succulent and crispy. I am a big fan of crispy duck skin and Acadiana has perfected it. The collard greens were tangy and salty with bits of bacon mixed in. I also tried my friend's BBQ shrimp, cooked perfectly and very meaty. I even persuaded him to suck the heads with me :) I'm telling you it's the best part!

For dessert we both tried their warm vanilla bread pudding. It was just like my mom's homemade bread pudding, but "glamified" with a cookie cutter presentation warm and delicious with praline ice cream to go with it.

Chef Jeff Tunks really brings the New Orleans flavor to life with his menu, and it is apparent in his rich and complex flavors - the roux, the rémoulades, the bisques, and the étouffées for which the region is known and savored.

I have heard lots about Acadiana over the years, and was glad I was finally able to make it in. It is a wonderful dining experience and the food was amazing. It is always packed during restaurant week so keep you ears open for DCs winter restaurant week or make reservations today!

Remember: "Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity." ~Voltaire

*foodie love

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Jalapeno Sausages with Giardiniera Relish

Dinner tonight -- 10 minutes!

I love bold flavors -- mustard, pickles, vinegar, artichokes, olives, sausage... so tonight was my bold flavors night.

1 package natural casing jalapeno chicken sausage
3-4 ounces pickled giardiniera (pickled cauliflower, carrots, celery, olives)
Vegetable Oil
Salt and Pepper
Spicy brown mustard

Heat a skillet with vegetable oil until "spitting" hot. Place chicken sausages in for 7-9 minutes. Place giardiniera in a food processor or just finely chop and add a tablespoon of the liquid in the jar. Pulse until relish consistency, add salt and pepper to taste. Split sausage down the middle, add mustard and relish. Enjoy!