Dish Up! - My Week 15 in Review

This is Dish Up! - My Week in Review, a weekly look at my food-obsessed life. It's been a super busy few days, but I've been loving it. I did a photo shoot with the southern-fusion restaurant, Saison in Jackson ward and helped shoot a wedding for the first time. Although I didn't know the couple, I was completely caught up in their special day (I may or may not have gotten a little teary-eyed).   

Saison has gained a reputation for it's amazing hand-crafted cocktails.

Saison has gained a reputation for it's amazing hand-crafted cocktails.

Sea scallops with peas and carrots are on Saison's spring menu

Sea scallops with peas and carrots are on Saison's spring menu

My mom always has green onions and succulents on her window sill.

My mom always has green onions and succulents on her window sill.

My best friend's mom made us a beautiful Japanese lunch of chirashi sushi with pickled salmon.

My best friend's mom made us a beautiful Japanese lunch of chirashi sushi with pickled salmon.

Our sushi lunch was followed by a sukiyaki dinner - a beef hotpot filled with udon noodles, tofu, and vegetables. This dish always enjoyed communally, which makes it taste even better.  

Our sushi lunch was followed by a sukiyaki dinner - a beef hotpot filled with udon noodles, tofu, and vegetables. This dish always enjoyed communally, which makes it taste even better.  

I helped my friend Stephanie, from Stephanie Fox Photography, shoot a woodsy wedding. 

I helped my friend Stephanie, from Stephanie Fox Photography, shoot a woodsy wedding. 

Naturally, I gravitated toward the cake.

Naturally, I gravitated toward the cake.

My boyfriend made crab-stuffed flounder with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce for a weeknight dinner. 

My boyfriend made crab-stuffed flounder with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce for a weeknight dinner. 

Hanging out with my brother and his dog

Homemade Truffle Mozzarella

Making cheese has been on my culinary bucket list for a long time, and the complex world of cheese-making begins with mozzarella. I understood the basics: heat milk with rennet to separate the liquid whey from the solid curd, the part that makes up mozzarella. While the process is simple, I was intimidated - sometimes the most basic dishes are the easiest to screw up!

Biding my time I made constant excuses like, "I need to order special ingredients online" or "It'll cost a ton and I don’t have the time"... as I idly shopped online for non-essentials. But none were valid justifications and I knew it. So when my boyfriend recently gifted me a cheese-making kit, the excuses ran dry, and I realized it was time to face my irrational fear.  

To my delight the cheese came together with ease, with the most demanding part involving the close monitoring of temperature. In just 30 minutes I was dropping soft, warm balls of mozzarella into cool water to help them set. I proudly served my creation with roasted grape tomatoes, thin slices of salami, and a drizzle of good olive oil. This simple recipe yields mozzarella that easily rivals the finest restaurants. The cheese tasted incredibly fresh and satisfyingly rich. 

NOTE: The art and science of cheese-making ranges from easy to complex. There are many fresh cheeses that you can make that are almost fool-proof. And if you enjoy that process, the rabbit hole is deep. There’s a whole world of knowledge out there if you are interested and here’s a good place to start.    

Homemade Truffle Mozzarella

(Adapted from the Hobby Hill Farm cheese kit)

Yields 1 pound of cheese

Special Equipment:

  • Large heavy bottom pot, which can fit a gallon of milk 
  • Thermometer (can measure 40 - 214 degrees F)
  • Fine mesh strainer

Special Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons citric acid diluted in 1 cup cold water
  • 1/4 rennet tablet or 1/4 teaspoon liquid rennet

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 1 tsp truffle salt (purchased from Whole Food's bulk section) or any non-iodized salt

Instructions:

Add milk to the pot and place thermometer in the milk to monitor the temperature. Heat gently over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until the milk is 55 degrees. While stirring add the citric solution to the milk. Continue to stir constantly and heat the milk to 90 degrees.

Remove the pot from the heat and add the rennet. Stir gently for about 30 seconds and let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes.

At this point the curd and whey will be separated. The whey will be a clear, yellowish color and the curd will be small loose chunks.

Place the pot back on the heat and warm until it reached 105 degrees. Again, be sure to stir gently and constantly. Remove from the heat and stir for another 2-5 minutes.

Scoop out the curds with a fine mesh strainer and squeeze out as much whey as possible. Place the curds in a glass microwavable dish. 

Microwave on high for 1 minutes. This melts the curds and removes excess liquid. Pour off the excess liquid and knead the cheese with a wooden spoon for about 1-2 minutes to redistribute the heat. Microwave again on high for 35 seconds. Add salt and knead for another 1-2 minutes. Microwave, one last time, for 35 seconds and knead for 1-2 minutes. Form the cheese into little balls, stretching the cheese and pinching at the bottom of the ball. Place the balls in a bowl of cold water to cool down.

Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in an air tight container for up to 4 days. 

Dish Up! - My Week 14 in Review

This is Dish Up! - My Week in Review, a weekly roundup of pictures from my everyday life. I had a busy week of eating out with groups of people who love food. I had an Ethiopian lunch with the 'Grub Club' at work and ate at Tanglewood Ordinary with a group of fellow food bloggers.  

This is the injera, Ethiopian bread, from Addis Ethiopian Restaurant on 17th street. 

This is the injera, Ethiopian bread, from Addis Ethiopian Restaurant on 17th street. 

This past January, one of my co-workers started a 'Grub Club' with the purpose of getting a group of adventurous eaters together to try different cuisines. This month we ate at Addis Ethiopian Restaurant. The owner prepared a buffet of 5-6 different dishes for our group to try.  It was a great way for us to sample a wide range of Ethiopian food. Everything was delicious. 

This past January, one of my co-workers started a 'Grub Club' with the purpose of getting a group of adventurous eaters together to try different cuisines. This month we ate at Addis Ethiopian Restaurant. The owner prepared a buffet of 5-6 different dishes for our group to try.  It was a great way for us to sample a wide range of Ethiopian food. Everything was delicious. 

I'll never tire of blue-green eggs from the farmers market.

I'll never tire of blue-green eggs from the farmers market.

I finally got around to trying My Noodle & Bar, located in the basement of an apartment building on the 1600 block of Monument Ave. The food was good but nothing out of the ordinary.  

I finally got around to trying My Noodle & Bar, located in the basement of an apartment building on the 1600 block of Monument Ave. The food was good but nothing out of the ordinary.  

I had the Phucket Noodle ($8.50 at lunch, $10.50 at dinner), stir-fried flat rice noodle with red pepper, tomato, pineapple, green onion and fresh basil leaves. 

I had the Phucket Noodle ($8.50 at lunch, $10.50 at dinner), stir-fried flat rice noodle with red pepper, tomato, pineapple, green onion and fresh basil leaves. 

The Robert E. Lee monument

The Robert E. Lee monument

I was enchanted by the display of sea bass and snapper at Whole Foods. One of these days I'll get around to cooking a whole fish.  

I was enchanted by the display of sea bass and snapper at Whole Foods. One of these days I'll get around to cooking a whole fish.  

Antlers and Christmas lights adorned the entrance to Tanglewood Ordinary, Richmond's best kept secret for real country cooking. 

Antlers and Christmas lights adorned the entrance to Tanglewood Ordinary, Richmond's best kept secret for real country cooking. 

If you want the classic southern experience, head over to Tanglewood Ordinary on River Road (It's about a 30 minute drive west of the city). This is a family style restaurant where you pay a set price ($20 per person) and you get all you can eat. Our table was covered with bowls of fried chicken, roast beef, country ham, mashed potatoes, stewed tomatoes, green beens, creamed corn, black eyed peas, cole slaw, and biscuits/corn bread. You also get your choice of dessert; I had apple cobbler a la mode. Everything was exactly what it should be - buttery, rich, and comforting. 

If you want the classic southern experience, head over to Tanglewood Ordinary on River Road (It's about a 30 minute drive west of the city). This is a family style restaurant where you pay a set price ($20 per person) and you get all you can eat. Our table was covered with bowls of fried chicken, roast beef, country ham, mashed potatoes, stewed tomatoes, green beens, creamed corn, black eyed peas, cole slaw, and biscuits/corn bread. You also get your choice of dessert; I had apple cobbler a la mode. Everything was exactly what it should be - buttery, rich, and comforting. 

I finished off the week with happy hour at Viceroy!

I finished off the week with happy hour at Viceroy!

Korean-Style Steak Tartare (Yukhoe)

Rare steak was recently the topic of lively conversation with some fellow food bloggers. A few in our group expressed their love for not just rare steak but totally raw meat. One blogger said she used to sneak nibbles of uncooked ground beef from the fridge when she was a kid.

This conversation got me thinking about eating raw animal protein. I love uncooked seafood, especially scallops, oysters, and various types of sashimi. Raw fish has a cleaner, more subtle flavor and a delicate texture that I enjoy. 

But I’ve only eaten raw beef a handful of times and I can’t say I was totally sold. However, I’m a strong advocate of trying unfamiliar foods multiple times before writing them off. Sometimes it’s just the idea of a food that turns us off more than the actual taste. 

I decided to take the bull by the horns and make steak tartare at home. Although tartare is commonly known as a European dish, Koreans also have a traditional preparation. Korean tartare is seasoned with all the usual suspects: garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, and sugar. It's topped with pine nuts and served with julienned Asian pear.

To my surprise, I loved the finished dish. The raw beef was similar to raw fish in that it had a more subtle flavor than its cooked counterpart. The seasonings gave the dish a sophisticated feel – meaning it didn’t feel like a pile of chopped meat on a plate. 

My boyfriend, on the other hand, approached the food with extreme skepticism and was appalled by the large forkfuls of tartare I was eating. He took a couple tiny bites and called it quits. I was proud of him for being so open to trying something new. Raw beef can be intimidating but with an open mind and safe preparation it can certainly be a delicious addition to your food repertoire.  

NOTE: You should take caution when eating raw meat since it could carry e.coli, among other surface bacteria. Be sure to purchase grass-fed or organic meat from a reputable source. Harmful bacteria are often spread because of mass food production and factory farming, so whenever possible buy local.  Here are some tips on eating raw meat safely.

Korean Steak Tartar (Yukhoe)

Ingredients: 

  • 1 large Asian Pear
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 10 ounces lean beef (I used top round roast)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoons Chinese black vinegar (you can also use balsamic vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper

Instructions:

Put 2 tablespoons of sugar and about 4 cups of water in a large bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Peel the Asian pear and julienne. Place the pear in the sugar water. This will prevent the pear from browning once it's removed from the water.

Slice the beef into very thin strips (1 inch X 1/8 inch). In a medium bowl, stir together the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, chopped garlic, grated ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, black vinegar, and pepper. Add chopped beef to the sauce and mix well.  

Drain the Asian pear. Serve the steak tartare over a bed of pear.  Garnish with pine nuts.  I had some baby spinach in the fridge, so I added a few leaves for garnish as well.  Enjoy!     

Dish Up! - My Week 13 in Review

This is Dish Up! - My Week in Review, a weekly look at my food-obsessed life. It's been an eventful few weeks, with the highlight being that this blog was nominated for 'Best New Blog' in Saveur magazine's 5th annual 'Best Food Blog Awards'. I've been reading Saveur since I was a pimple-faced teen and was in total shock when I found out my blog was selected as a finalist. I'm humbled to be included among the other beautiful blogs in the category: Bottom of the Pot, Hortus Cuisine, My Blue and White Kitchen, and Two Red Bowls. If you would like to vote for this blog, here's how:

  • Go to Saveur's Best Food Blog Awards page.
  • Scroll down to the 'Best New Blog' category located toward the bottom of the page
  • Vote for Broad Appetite. You will need to register with the site, but it should only take a minute.

Thank you so much for your support. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming - pictures from this week. 

Tommy and I finally checked out Lunch, the teeny-tiny restaurant in Scott's Addition. 

Tommy and I finally checked out Lunch, the teeny-tiny restaurant in Scott's Addition. 

Tommy ordered the 'Train Wreck' - buttermilk biscuits topped with house-made sausage, eggs, American cheese, and breakfast gravy. It was served with home fries and was $8.50. Everything was huge and hearty. 

Tommy ordered the 'Train Wreck' - buttermilk biscuits topped with house-made sausage, eggs, American cheese, and breakfast gravy. It was served with home fries and was $8.50. Everything was huge and hearty. 

I love peering into kitchens. This particular kitchen belongs to the vegetarian restaurant, Ipanema Cafe.  

I love peering into kitchens. This particular kitchen belongs to the vegetarian restaurant, Ipanema Cafe.  

I attended the Vegan Dish Crawl - think bar crawl, only with food instead of drinks. I made some new friends and ate some amazing vegan food. One of the spots on the crawl was Strange Matter where we ate vegan reubens.

I attended the Vegan Dish Crawl - think bar crawl, only with food instead of drinks. I made some new friends and ate some amazing vegan food. One of the spots on the crawl was Strange Matter where we ate vegan reubens.

We also had vegan Ethiopian wraps from Nile Restaurant. One wrap was filled with chickpeas, tomatoes, and organic greens, and the other contained curried lentils and collard greens.

We also had vegan Ethiopian wraps from Nile Restaurant. One wrap was filled with chickpeas, tomatoes, and organic greens, and the other contained curried lentils and collard greens.

Ipanema's vegan offerings - daikon radish cakes, farinata, and fried risotto balls.

Ipanema's vegan offerings - daikon radish cakes, farinata, and fried risotto balls.

My pups got new outfits.

My pups got new outfits.

Forest and Sammie are chilling on their favorite radiator.

Forest and Sammie are chilling on their favorite radiator.

I did some recipe testing.

I did some recipe testing.

I also made banoffee (banana + toffee) pie for the 4th week in a row. You can find the recipe here.

I also made banoffee (banana + toffee) pie for the 4th week in a row. You can find the recipe here.