Tag Archives: pie

Thanksgiving Eats

Turkey Time

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving and adjusted back to life in the grind today. I had all of week plus today off and was pretty happy with the food I consumed over the break. I got home last Monday, and my dad suggested we go to McDonald’s to get some McRibs. Knowing my parents, such a request was pretty shocking. I declined, and he suggested driving up to Edison so I could try some new Chinese restaurants. The first two we tried were closed so we found ourselves in heaven H Mart. Spacious, clean, reasonably priced and delicious food court options. We got a seafood pancake, a bowl of noodle soup, and some Korean fried chicken. Then, we shopped for lobsters and abalone for a late dinner.

On Tuesday my dad got KFC for lunch. My reality is seriously taking a U-turn. Maybe it was a little Thanksgiving warm up? The mashed potatoes and chicken were as I remembered, but the biscuits weren’t as big or fluffy. Recipe change? Sad face.

On Wednesday, the cooking began after some take out Chinese for lunch. I got started on baking treats for in house snacking, friends and neighbors. First up were Chocolate Chunk Cookies based off Tollhouse Cookies without the walnuts and chunks instead of chips. Next were the office favorite, Cookies n Cream Cupcakes, which friends also enjoyed However, they didn’t get them until 2-3 days after so they dried out a bit in the fridge. Finally, Thanksgiving desserts included Pumpkin Cheesecake and Apple Pie.

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Cookies N Cream Cupcakes

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Apple Pie

The big day included waffles for brunch with a blackberry topping and fresh blackberries and bananas.

Thanksgiving Brunch

For the big meal, we had a 12 lbs. turkey brined and rubbed with sage, kosher salt and a little rosemary along with a half lemon and cinnamon stick in the cavity. Gravy was made using a roux, chicken stock and soy sauce. This was the most successful gravy I’ve made to date in terms of universal appeal, color, texture and taste. I did feel guilty about cutting out the pan drippings, since I had so much to do. Green bean casserole, dressing, sage and rosemary biscuits, sweet potato mash and spaghetti squash with cranberries rounded out the meal. The green bean casserole was the first time I made it completely from scratch, and while it looked sexy, the fried onions still didn’t measure up to French’s. The dressing was still inferior to Stove Top, but I’m still confident that someday I will have a recipe that will be better. The spaghetti squash was a new addition this year and was inspired by a meal at Oceanarie the week before Thanksgiving. The strands from the squash are pretty cool. When my dad asked if I cut the squash into the strands, I was pretty tempted to say yes. Overall, my dad said it was the best Thanksgiving meal to date that I’ve made, so my constant need for approval was satisfied for the time being.

Sage and Rosemary Biscuits

Spaghetti Squash with Cranberries

Green Bean Casserole

The Spread

Coma on a Plate

On Friday night, I met up with a few friends for burgers at 25 Burgers and had a Bull’s Eye Burger with sweet potato fries. The burger itself was pretty messy and greasy, but it’s the best burger within a 15 minute drive from my house. The onion strings and patty were the highlights, while the bun was lacking. The fries were decent, but the portion was rather small. Overall the burger, fries, and drink were a little over $12.

BBQ Burgers Don’t Know How to Disappoint

The next day, I ate at Shanghai Bun and got some sauteed pork and vegetables with Shanghai noodles, and my friend got chicken and mustard green soup. For dinner, I hung out with a few of my sister’s friends and went to the Olive Garden for the first time. The place was pretty empty when we arrived, but was packed by the time we left. I was definitely surprised with the decor and ambiance, since I always though the commercials were so corny. However, the prices were also higher than I imagined. I was thinking most entrees would be $8-15, but the range was more like $12-$20. The seating was interesting, with wheels on all four legs sliding in every direction. The bread sticks were on the salty side, but you can’t go wrong with unlimited warm bread. For my entree, I got braised short ribs. I’m not 100% confident that it didn’t come out of a bag, but the tenderness of the meat was still enjoyable. Overall, the meal was better than I expected, but at $28 with tax and tip, I’d rather spend my dining out money elsewhere.

If Only Plate of Food Grew on Trees

Healthy Can Taste Good

The Most Perfectly Shaped Breadsticks I’ve Ever Seen in my Life

Braised Short Ribs

Pi Day: Momofuku’s Crack Pie

Happy Pi Day Everyone!

This is the first year I will be celebrating Pi Day by making pie. When polled by a few of my co-workers, whether they would prefer Key Lime Pie or Momofuku’s Crack Pie, they amazingly never heard of Momofuku or Crack Pie. I’ve got my work cut out and decided to try making the crack pie. I originally thought that the crack pie was a gooey, chocolate pie or some sort, but on further investigation, it was a custard type pie with a ton of egg yolks, butter and sugar in a cookie crust. One plus is that the recipe yields 2, 10 inch pies, though the pie ends up rather flat.

Cookie for Crust
2/3 cup plus 1 tbsp flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick softened butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar
3 tbsp sugar
1 egg
1 cup rolled oats

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate large bowl or stand mixer, cream butter with sugar. Once light and fluffy, add egg into butter mixture. Once incorporated, slowly beat in flour mixture. Once fully combined stir in oats. Spread on a cookie sheet and baked 20 minutes. Let cool to touch and crumble into a bowl.

Crumbled cookie crust
1/2 stick of butter
1 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt

Combine ingredients into a food processor and pulse until evenly combined and blended. The mixture should hold together when clumped between fingers. Divide in 2 separate 10 inch pie tins and flatten along the bottom and sides. Set aside.

Pie Filling That’s Really Healthy When It’s Opposite Day

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus 3 tbsp light brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tsp milk powder
2 sticks butter melted
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 egg yolks
2 prepared crusts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. in a large bowl, whisk sugar, brown sugar, salt and milk powder. Whisk in melted butter followed by heavy cream and vanilla. Gently whisk in egg yolks, being careful not to add too much air. Divide filling even in pie shells. Bake Pies one at a time for 15 minutes and then reduce heat to 325 degrees for 10 minutes or until filling is slightly jiggly and golden brown. Remove and cool on rack. Transfer to refrigerator until well chilled. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Momofuku Crack Pie Sans Powdered Sugar

If you have cholesterol problems, think hard before you eat this. Seriously… I’ve decided not to QA this pie until I bring it into the office tomorrow. Fingers crossed that it turns out good and that I make Christina Tosi proud.

The Washington DC Farewell Tour Part 2

Part 1

On Thursday, I had my goodbye happy hour at PF Chang’s after one of the office standbys Lia’s looked like there was dinner service in the bar area. This also happened to be my first time at PF Chang’s, and I was glad to finally give upscale Chinese American food a try. With a couple of bottles of PBR and PF Chang’s signature chicken lettuce wraps, I was able to go home to a blacked out, cold apartment full and warm. I am personally a fan of Cheesecake Factory and PF Chang’s earned some points in my booked as the Asian equivalent.

After my last day at work, I had dinner with a friend and former co-worker at The General Store. This also helped me knock off my last coupon. The General Store certainly lived up to the term “hole in the wall,” though “hole in the middle of the woods” would also be accurate. At one point I was accused of directing my friends in to the middle of the woods to kill her. Opps? The restaurant was a converted post office and was featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives like Comet Ping Pong, but was able to deliver on a good meal. We both ordered the Fried Chicken Dinner with Mac n Cheese. The meal also came with two pieces of cornbread. We followed with a large slice of Lemon Chess Pie. One thing to keep in mind is that the fried chicken is first fried and then baked, so it may not be as hot. The pie was easily the star of the meal. If you have a car and want a mini-adventure to the suburbs, I would give The General Store a shot.

Fried Chicken Dinner and Lemon Chess Pie from The General Store

Saturday was originally suppose to be move out day, but now that I had an extra day to pack, I decided to hit up Bethesda at some places I never got the chance to visit. For lunch, I had a Double Double (sandwich with two kinds of meat and cole slaw) at Uptown Deli. Given that this was a new Jewish deli, I selected pastrami and brisket. Both were good though I wish the pastrami would have been cut thicker and the brisket more tender. However, Uptown deli was a huge upgrade over the now gone Morty’s Deli two Red Line stops away.

For dinner, I hit up Hinata Sushi Carry Out. Hinata is a small (really small) Japanese grocery store with 3 aisles less than 10 feet long with a Sushi counter in the back. One convenient note is that they sell sushi grade fish by the pound, which I felt bad for not being able to utilize sooner although $40/lbs of fish doesn’t really help you save even if you are eating at home. The sushi was somewhat disappointing, though rolls were under $5. I would recommend ordering one of the preset sushi platters rather than ordering a la carte. In addition, I was able to pick up a couple of Japanese snacks like Almond Pocky and a Lychee drink.

Sushi from Hinata and Brunch at Cafe Deluxe

Ironically, my final meal in the DC area was brunch (with women) at Cafe Deluxe. Although this was my suggestion due to the fact that my parents would be arriving around lunch. We each ordered the Deluxe breakfast that came with scrambled eggs, bacon, home fries, and a biscuit. The breakfast was good, but the eggs and home fries lacked any seasoning, so a couple dashes of salt were required, but overall a great meal to fuel me for the move.

I think that for as much as I knocked DC, I’ll still look back with enough good memories. The food culture has grown for the better in the last 2.5 years with the addition of Obama and Sam Kass, an influx of celebrity chef restaurants, burger/cupcake/frozen yogurt/food truck boom mixed with DC’s own staples (Ethiopian, soul food, Ben’s Chili Bowl, steakhouses) and local chefs (Michel Richard, Michael Landrum). I hope that I won’t be missing out on too much of the action, but I am eager to get reacquainted with the best of New England. So good bye DC, it’s been real, but you still have a ways to go before you’re among the elite dining cities.

The Washington DC Farewell Tour Part 1

This afternoon, I departed the Washington DC metro area back home to NJ before I ship up to Boston next weekend. While I was sad leaving a lot of people behind, I sure as hell enjoyed the dining farewell tour (mostly dictated by my remaining Groupons). I ate at the Morrison Clark Inn, Sticky Rice, Dangerously Delicious Pies, Kinkead’s, Comet Ping Pong, Zentan, Meskerem, PF Chang’s, The General Store, Uptown Deli, Hinata Sushi Carryout and Cafe Deluxe.

Morrison Clark Inn was hoppin’, and by that I mean for the 40+ crowd. I was definitely feeling out of place. There was only one other table with a younger couple. The food was decent, but pricey, so the value was lacking. The Striped Bass with Tarragon Fennel, Potato Risotto, and Butter Nut Coulis was rich and comforting. The crispy skin on the offering a nice salty contrast to the risotto and coulis swimming in butter.

I’ve decided that Sticky Rice should be seen less as a restaurant and more of bar with inventive food. Purists would cry foul at a lot of the special house rolls, but a lot of the items on the menu would make a great bar snack or meal. The atmosphere far outweighs the food. Dangerously Delicious Pies was located nearby Sticky Rice so I thought it’d be nice to finally get around to try a slice. A whole pie runs about $30 here so I was hesitant to invest in an entire pie when I’ve seen them at the nearby farmers’ market. I tried the Baltimore Bomb, which includes melted sandwich cookies that’s mixed into a vanilla chess pie. I liked what I was tasting, but I’ve had better pie at a lower cost.

Sticky Scallops and Samurai Shrimp

During my farewell tour, DC restaurant week and Bethesda-Chevy Chase restaurant week decided to try and mess up my financials, but I was strong enough to show restraint and only dined once at Kinkead’s for the RW menu. I had the Grilled Squid with Tomato Fondue, Pesto and Creamy Polenta for an appetizer (good), Crusted Hake with Mushroom Duxelle, Potato Gnocchi and Porcini Cream (excellent), and Strawberry Almond Cake with Lemon Bavarian and Strawberry Sauce (excellent). I’m extremely excited for Sibling Rivalry in Boston.

Grilled Squid with Tomato Fondue, Pesto and Creamy Polenta

Crusted Hake with Mushroom Duxelle, Potato Gnocchi and Porcini Cream

Strawberry Almond Cake with Lemon Bavarian and Strawberry Sauce

Comet Ping Pong left a lot to be desired. the toppings were bare on The Smokey (smokey mushrooms, smokey mozzarella, smokey bacon, melted onions, and garlic) and Yalie (clams, garlic, melted onions, thyme, Parmesan, lemon) suffered from a soggy crust. The wings and meatball apps were also not up to par. The restaurant’s food seems to suffer as a result of focusing on the bar and atmosphere rather than execution in the kitchen.

Zentan met my expectations as Susar Lee’s performance on Top Chef Masters drove me to make a trip out to Logan Circle. The sushi chef recommended the Escolar Crudo (excellent) and I ordered the half serving of the Singapore Slaw (excellent). The Carmelized Black Cod was good, but small and pricey ($26 for 4 2 bite piece s of fish). Paying $4 for a bowl of jasmine rice was highway robbery as well.

Meserkem was my first time trying Ethiopian food and it was quite disappointing, we ordered a beef and vegetarian (cabbage, potato, carrot) Sambussa both good (because they are fried) and a sampler (Meskerem Messob) of a few dishes (bland, luke warm). Next time I’m having Ethiopian food, it’s going to have to be with a seasoned expert.