Posts Tagged ‘Red Meat’

Red Meat: Jason Lage

Posted by Warren Rojas / Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Having done the whole catering to the resort crowd thing, chef Jason Lage has decided to slow things down a bit:

(Image: Anastasia Chernyavsky)

He’s continuing the farm-to-fork mission he helped nurture at On the Potomac but is doing so in a much more intimate, countrified bistro–menu runs the gamut from familiar soup and sandwich combos to fanciful quiches and gourmet liver and onions send-ups–of his own design.

WR: Salt. Pepper. What other spices/herbs could you not live without?

JL: Basil, rosemary, cinnamon and nutmeg

WR: What’s the very first dish you ever mastered? How long did it take? Do you still make it today?

JL: My grandmother’s chicken soup. Still make it quite often.

WR: What seasonal ingredient(s) get your creative juices flowing?

JL: Corn, tomatoes, morels and asparagus

WR: My latest cookbook obsession is …

JL: Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine by René Redzepi

WR: What’s the most challenging dish you’ve ever attempted? Would you make it again?

JL: Charlie Trotter’s Braised Tripe. It is very tedious to clean and is very labor intensive and time consuming. The whole process takes four days. Yes would make it again, not often.

WR: If I could the spend the day working alongside any local chef, I’d love to collaborate with …

JL: Jeffrey Buben. When at the stove he is hands down one of the best chefs on the East Coast. A lot of DC chefs owe their career to Jeff.

WR: What’s the easiest/quickest–but still wholly satisfying–meal you make for yourself?

JL: A simple grilled cheese with gruyere and bacon [or] Papaya King hot dogs (a friend brings them down from NYC often) on New England-style rolls

WR: In the next six months you won’t want to miss my …

JL: Short smoked Georges Bank scallops with creamy corn, Quarter Branch Farm tomatoes and basil from our garden.

WR: It’s quitting time. I’m pouring myself …

JL: A Kalik. Nothing quenches your thirst after cooking on a hot line like an ice cold beer.

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We can’t imagine manipulating tripe for more than a few minutes, much less 96 hours. Kudos on your patience, chef.

Come back next Tuesday for another helping of Red Meat.

–Warren



Red Meat: Alex Reyes

Posted by Warren Rojas / Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Where there’s smoke there’s … barbecue? Chef Alex Reyes certainly hopes so:

(Image: Stacey Viera)

The Spanish toque has been working his magic behind the scenes of the Harry’s chainlet for some time now. He recently accepted a new challenge in launching Harry’s Smokehouse, a casual concept accentuating the pleasures of slow-smoked, expertly grilled proteins and other summer favorites.

WR: Salt. Pepper. What other spices/herbs could you not live without?

AR: Pimenton (Spanish paprika), saffron, chili flakes, cardamom, thyme, parsley, basil and bay leaves.

WR: What’s the very first dish you ever mastered? How long did it take? Do you still make it today?

AR: My grandma’s Spanish tortilla! It took me a while but I did. I still make it for my family when I go to the farmer’s market to get some local eggs and spuds!

WR: What seasonal ingredient(s) get your creative juices flowing?

AR: Rhubarb in the spring, tomatoes and corn in the summer, celeriac in the fall and squashes in the winter.

WR: My latest cookbook obsession is …

AR: Ferran Adria’s “Modern Gastronomy” and also his [AUTHOR IS ACTUALLY LISA ABEND] new book “The Sorcerer’s Apprentices“. The book reveals secrets and stories inside Adria’s restaurant “El Bulli” and also narrates about the training of the apprentices of one of the world’s top restaurants.

WR: What’s the most challenging dish you’ve ever attempted? Would you make it again?

AR: Traditional American BBQ. It is not just about smoking meats … it’s an art! I still have a lot to master but I’m having so much fun in the process.

WR: If I could the spend the day working alongside any local chef, I’d love to collaborate with …

AR: Jose Andrés. He is great chef and talented restaurateur.

WR: What’s the easiest/quickest–but still wholly satisfying–meal you make for yourself?

AR: Pan con tomate y jamon Serrano (Bread with tomato and Serrano ham) this is an ideal snack anytime of the day!! You simply toast or grill the bread (baguette) then smear it with ripe tomatoes and drizzle the bread with Spanish extra-virgin olive oil (I prefer sol de la Mancha) and little sprinkle of fleur de sel. Top it with the Serrano ham and enjoy!

WR: In the next six months you won’t want to miss my …

AR: Harry’s restaurant group new concepts/restaurants!!

WR: It’s quitting time. I’m pouring myself …

AR: A glass of a Spaniard [sic] wine.
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Chef, we, too, continue working on our signature barbecuing techniques. Enjoy the journey.

Come back next Tuesday for another helping of Red Meat.

–Warren



Red Meat: Duane Keller

Posted by Warren Rojas / Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Need a hand in the kitchen? Duane Keller is happy to oblige:

(Image: Jason Hornick)

Since we’ve known him, the journeyman chef has lent his carefully honed talents to: D.C.’s white table cloth scene, a corporate stunner in National Harbor, an exurban golf club and a fledgling Irish pub. These days, you’ll find him behind the burners at Boxwoods in Fairfax, George Mason University‘s bid for a slice of the fine-dining pie.

WR: Salt. Pepper. What other spices/herbs could you not live without?

DK: Virginia watercress, fresh tarragon, chives, fresh dill, sea salt, fresh basil, whole nutmeg, ginger, fennel seed, curry powder, garam masala, crushed red pepper flakes, lavender, smoked Spanish paprika, fresh bay leaves, habanero powder, vanilla beans, wasabi, fresh rosemary and garlic.

WR: What’s the very first dish you ever mastered?

DK: At an early age, via pontoon plane, we would fly into our cabin on Canoe Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada. No roads led to this lake and the pickerel were a challenge to pull in. To prepare the meal it took everything from luring, catching, cleaning, seasoning, starting the fire and understanding the heat of the fire and cast iron pan. Not an easy task for a 10 year old.

WR: How long did it take?

DK: By my second summer on the lake I understood the concept but it took me three summers to master cooking the pickerel.

WR: Do you still make it today?

DK: Anytime I can get back home to Saskatoon you’ll find me on Canoe Lake … even ice fishing in the winter.

WR: What seasonal ingredient(s) get your creative juices flowing?

DK: It’s a great time here in Virginia for local sorrel, arugula, morels, shad roe, Chesapeake rockfish, spinach and squash.

WR: My latest cookbook obsession is …

DK: A Day at El Bulli – Ferran Adria

WR: What’s the most challenging dish you’ve ever attempted? Would you make it again?

DK: 5-foot-high Croquembouche, under a time constraint. Absolutely. A fun holiday feature for many to enjoy.

WR: If I could the spend the day working alongside any local chef, I’d love to collaborate with …

DK: Patrick O’Connell – Inn of Little Washington

WR: What’s the easiest/quickest–but still wholly satisfying–meal you make for yourself?

DK: My wife, Jen, is a fabulous cook so I usually leave the home cooking for her. When she’s out of town I will whip up….

Spring or Summer—gets better the deeper into summer—I’m enjoying BLT’s and a scoop of fresh local crab salad on it:

1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
4 ounces “Choptank River” crabmeat (leftover from a Sunday on the deck)
Salt, pepper and Old Bay (to taste)
Millers Potato bread, lightly toasted
Romaine lettuce hearts
Heirloom tomatoes, sliced thick and seasoned with sea salt
Applewood-smoked bacon (preferably Neuskes), cooked crisp

Preparation
In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, pepper and Old Bay until combined.

Gently fold in crab meat.

Top toasted potato bread with lettuce, crab salad, bacon and tomato slices.

Fall or Winter: Bolognese with Pappardelle (I make a batch and then portion up for many enjoyments):

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 pound ground pancetta, cut small dice or ground
1 pound ground sirloin
1 pound ground pork
1 onion, cut into small dice
1 carrot, cut into small dice
2 celery stalks, cut into small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
Salt and ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon thyme leaves, removed from stem and chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 cups Pearmund Cellars Meritage or other good red wine
3 cups beef stock
1/2 teaspoon (a pinch or two) crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pound pappardelle pasta
1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preparation
Heat sauce pan over medium heat.

Add olive oil and meats and brown well. Add vegetables and garlic and cook until soft.

Deglaze pan with Meritage or other good red. Add remaining ingredients, reserving the Parmigiano-Reggiano, and simmer for an hour.

Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano when done.

Pair up with pasta, fresh Italian bread and a glass of good red.

WR: In the next six months you won’t want to miss …

DK: Boxwood’s Sustainable Summer and Fall Menus 2011

WR: It’s quitting time. I’m pouring myself …

DK: A Leffe Blonde

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Chef, we are totally adding your CBLT to our summer snacking toolbox.

Come back next Tuesday for another helping of Red Meat.

–Warren



Red Meat: Bonita Woods

Posted by Warren Rojas / Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

You’d think being a real life superhero would entitle one to kick calorie-counting to the curb:

(Image: Ursy Potter)

But health and wellness advocate Bonita Woods fights all her nutrition-related battles while keeping a finely-trained eye on every bit of fuel she supplies the marvelous engine known as the human body. And she’s hoping to right the many dietary wrongs collectively weighing us down by instructing the next generation on how to eat better NOW.

WR: Salt. Pepper. What other spices/herbs could you not live without?

BW: Salt is a flavor enhancer if used in small quantity during the cooking process. A little bit goes a long way in helping the other flavors and aromas bloom and meld. If you taste the salt as a separate element, you have used too much. I use salt very sparingly and combine with acids (wine, reduced or raw vinegar, citrus juices) to achieve a softer effect on the taste buds. LOVE pepper in all forms! Personally, I enjoy working with fresh herbs. I will add Thai basil to chocolate cake, and pineapple basil and sage to my steak marinade, lavender to cookies, rosemary and lemon zest to the base portion of a cupcake. I have a bunch of Victorian cookbooks that feed this herb frenzy.

WR: What’s the very first dish you ever mastered? How long did it take? Do you still make it today?

BW: On my 5th birthday (with my mother’s “help”) I made lasagna with pan steamed asparagus in the ricotta layer and a side of steamed artichoke with lemon aioli. I had planned this menu for ages and was so proud. This is still one of my favorite meals!

WR: What seasonal ingredient(s) get your creative juices flowing?

BW: I spent much of my youth on farms, so the growing and hunting process is the beginning of the recipe for me. My herb garden is a magical story book that I read all summer long… but nothing gets me going like apples! I could write for days on end about all the apple recipes running through my head.

WR: My latest cookbook obsession is …

BW: My first and constant loves are Julia Child and Fannie Farmer. My two current favorites are Chez Jacques (elegant, classic and well explained with inspirational photos!) and Prevention’s Flat Belly Diet. Hmmm … How can I combine the two?

WR: What’s the most challenging dish you’ve ever attempted? Would you make it again?

BW: I made a tiered wedding cake that was a mountain with a river, meadows and over 500 fondant flowers. What a blast! My biggest challenge is in crafting healthful meals that taste like classic cuisine, so these days I am more food science oriented. I love doing that!

WR: If I could the spend the day working alongside any local chef, I’d love to collaborate with …

BW: I am very lucky in that I get to do just that on a regular basis. My all time favorite local chef is David Hagedorn. His meals are wonderful, flavorful and aromatic stories with hidden surprises and plot twists. He is the first chef I met to include whimsy and humor to make his beautiful food even better.

WR: What’s the easiest/quickest–but still wholly satisfying–meal you make for yourself?

BW: My uber-healthful stovetop fritatta takes less than 5 minutes, tastes great and gives me enduring energy for hours. I have the recipe and a video clip on my website.

WR: In the next six months you won’t want to miss my …

BW: We are kicking off the Muffintop Project, geared towards teaching children that living healthfully can be fun. It is our goal to make this program accessible to every child in the US (or the world?) as soon as possible. Our Kids Help Kids program has just started. We are helping food banks keep in stock with healthful and kid friendly food.

WR: It’s quitting time. I’m pouring myself …

BW: Wish I could join you! Instead, I am off to a yoga class.

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Saving the future one frittata-filled tortilla at a time. Kudos to you, chef.

Come back next Tuesday for another helping of Red Meat.

–Warren



Red Meat: Jay Jenc

Posted by Warren Rojas / Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Don’t let Jay Jenc’s shy-boy act fool you:

(Image: Peter Nicoll)

The well-seasoned chef–and occasional rock band frontman (give it up for Jumpin Jupiter!)–led kitchens all over the D.C.- Metro area (Cafe Saint-Ex, Iota, Willard Intercontinental) before becoming the resident barbecue wrangler at the always free from Westover Market.

WR: Salt. Pepper. What other spices/herbs could you not live without?

JJ: Garlic, fresh or granulated. Sage, cumin, thyme, parsley, fresh basil. Chili powders such as cayanne [SIC], hungarian paprika, ancho, etc. are a must.

WR: What’s the very first dish you ever mastered? How long did it take? Do you still make it today?

JJ: Pancakes! I can’t remember when I “mastered” them, but I started the prototypes at age 7 or 8 years old. Oh yea, I definitely still make them. Endless varieties…

WR: What seasonal ingredient(s) get your creative juices flowing?

JJ: Well, seasons change, so it’s green peas and pea shoots in the spring, tomatoes in the summer, venison and rockfish in the fall and gourds in the winter.

WR: My latest cookbook obsession is …

JJ: I’ve gotta go south here, namely Creole, with a little low-country in there too.

WR: What’s the most challenging dish you’ve ever attempted? Would you make it again?

JJ: Not a dish, but an art: sausages. Even with my longtime friend and neighbor Jamie Stachowski working side by side on the stuff for years, there is still a lot for me to learn in order to get it just right. Oh, and pommes souffle.

WR: If I could the spend the day working alongside any local chef, I’d love to collaborate with …

JJ: Barry Koslow. We don’t ever hang out or do anything together, but he’s a great guy that I’ve known for years and whose work and career I’ve followed for quite a while.

WR: What’s the easiest/quickest–but still wholly satisfying–meal you make for yourself?

JJ: It starts with a big ol’ plate of steamed or sauteed spinach, a flash of well seasoned tomato or tomato sauce and some good Greek feta, not that really salty stuff. It goes on from there sometimes depending on what’s hanging around…

WR: In the next six months you won’t want to miss my …

JJ: BBQ events at the Westover Market! First Friday and second Saturday of every month! Pulled pork is the constant crowd pleaser. Randomly featured other offerings include beef brisket, smoked pork ribs, split smoked chicken and artisan brats and kielbasa sandwiches.

WR: It’s quitting time. I’m pouring myself …

JJ: Abita root beer knocks me for a loop these days. Alcohol makes me do dumb stuff … but that’s another story.

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Smoked pork ribs and kielbasa sandwiches sound like the perfect summer eats. Can’t wait to try yours.

Come back next Tuesday for another helping of Red Meat.

–Warren



Red Meat: Danielle Turchetti

Posted by Warren Rojas / Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Executive chef Danielle Turchetti must be hot:

Attractiveness aside, I was actually referring to the natural consequence of his working in front of Tagolio‘s pie-charring, coal-fired oven. Not that he’s any stranger to raised temperatures–the man is a red pepper flake aficionado (fratello!).

WR: Salt. Pepper. What other spices/herbs could you not live without?

DT: Garlic and pepperoncino (red pepper flakes). Because in Italy these two ingredient [SIC] are quintessential to all flavor profiles in most recipes.

WR: What’s the very first dish you ever mastered? How long did it take? Do you still make it today?

DT: During my apprentice years, the first food I successfully mastered was burrata cheese. It took me several weeks as it requires repetitions and, yes I still use and it is on Tagolio menu.

WR: What seasonal ingredient(s) get your creative juices flowing?

DT: Spring time is, to me, the most exciting time of the year. My favorite ingredients are many, however, I get excited to cook with fresh young artichokes and zucchini blossoms.

WR: My latest cookbook obsession is …

DT: From my friend Fabio Trabocchi – Cucina of Le Marche

WR: What’s the most challenging dish you’ve ever attempted? Would you make it again?

DT: Ricotta gnocchi with Swiss chard and black truffles

WR: If I could the spend the day working alongside any local chef, I’d love to collaborate with …

DT: Fabio Trabocchi

WR: What’s the easiest/quickest–but still wholly satisfying–meal you make for yourself?

DT: Spaghetti with cherry tomatoes, capers, garlic, basil and extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
½ cup capers
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt to taste (beware not to salt before tasting as capers are already salty)
½ pound spaghetti
10 whole fresh basil leaves
½ cup parmigiano-reggiano

Heat olive and add sliced garlic, capers and halved cherry tomatoes with a pinch of salt. Cook for 4 or 5 minutes.

Add the pasta cooked al dente (8-10 minutes, maximum) and fresh basil leaves.

Serve immediately with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

WR: In the next six months you won’t want to miss my …

DT: Homemade spaghetti “chittara” with spring vegetables and baked ricotta cheese.

WR: It’s quitting time. I’m pouring myself …

DT: A nice strong espresso with a splash of Sambuca Romana,

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House-made burrata and fresh zucchini blossoms? Chef, you are speaking our language.

Come back next Tuesday for another helping of Red Meat.

–Warren



Red Meat: Bryan Crosswhite

Posted by Warren Rojas / Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Chef Bryan Crosswhite wants everyone to fall as hard for his beloved Cajun cuisine as he has:

(Image: The Cajun Experience)

What began as a passion project housed in a ramshackle hut in Leesburg has grown into a personal quest for world domination. Crosswhite’s latest ambitions include opening additional locations in D.C. (Capitol Hill) as well as outposts both near (NYC, Boston) and far (Europe, Middle East).

WR: Salt. Pepper. What other spices/herbs could you not live without?

BC: Cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder

WR: What’s the very first dish you ever mastered? How long did it take? Do you still make it today?

BC: Crawfish etouffee. It took me about a week to perfect it and then about 45 minutes to cook. We currently have it on all our menu’s at our restaurants. It is the top seller for 2011.

WR: What seasonal ingredient(s) get your creative juices flowing?

BC: Live crawfish! We boil them, pinch the tails and suck the heads.

WR: My latest cookbook obsession is …

BC: Chef John Folse – The Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cuisine

WR: What’s the most challenging dish you’ve ever attempted? Would you make it again?

BC: Maqluba from Iraq. It was tough because I couldn’t read Arabic. Yes I will cook [it] again.

WR: If I could the spend the day working alongside any local chef, I’d love to collaborate with …

BC: Michel Richard

WR: What’s the easiest/quickest–but still wholly satisfying–meal you make for yourself?

BC: French toast stuffed with chocolate and strawberries.

10 1-inch slices French bread
6 to 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups milk
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup melted butter

Cut a pocket in the center of each slice of bread and stuff 2-3 tablespoons of chips into the created pocket.

Place slices into a buttered 9X13 pan.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.

Pour the mixture over the top of the sandwiches.

After about 20 minutes, turn the slices over, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the liquid is absorbed, at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Remove the dish from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking.

Drizzle melted butter over the tops of the slices and bake in a preheated 425° oven until golden brown and set, about 30 minutes.

WR: In the next six months you won’t want to miss my …

BC: Vermilion Parish Filet: filet blackened with peppercorn crust, topped with fresh crabmeat with etouffee sauce on top.

WR: It’s quitting time. I’m pouring myself …

BC: Water (trying to lose weight)

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Your stuffed French toast sounds amazing, chef. But the etouffee-topped, blackened filet has this hired mouth craving dinner more than breakfast.

Come back next Tuesday for another helping of Red Meat.

–Warren



Red Meat: Katie Reineberg

Posted by Warren Rojas / Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Working with kids can lead to utter chaos. Cookology chef Katie Reineberg feasts on such challenges:

(Image: Eliana Lima Campos)

The chef/culinary instructor devotes most of her time to helping little hands get better acquainted with the food they’ll inevitably lift to their mouths–a vital lesson given the clarion call for heightened nutritional awareness currently dominating the media landscape.

WR: Salt. Pepper. What other spices/herbs could you not live without?

KR: Garlic. I literally put it in everything. Always go with fresh garlic, never buy the stuff in the jar, it has little flavor and a lot of unnecessary preservatives.

I also used to develop recipes for a fresh herb company, so I like cooking with fresh herbs: basil, sage and chives are my favorite. Dried herbs, though, are definitely more economical and often preferred because they can withstand higher heat and longer cooking. If I had to pick a favorite I’d go with dried thyme because for me it most closely resembles the flavor of fresh.

WR: What’s the very first dish you ever mastered? How long did it take? Do you still make it today?

KR: I have been cooking at home since I was a kid and one year I decided I was going to make Christmas dinner for my mom’s entire family (12 people seemed like a lot more back then). I found a recipe for Filet de Boeuf Wellington and knowing that the men in the family are “meat and potatoes” kind of guys, it was an obvious choice. My grandmother and I bought all of the ingredients and early afternoon on Christmas day the whole family settled downstairs while I started to cook.

Let’s just say by the time I managed to clean the silver skin off the tenderloin, chop and cook the mushroom duxelle, wrap my head around what foie gras REALLY was, and stuff it all in puff pastry, it was at least 9:30 p.m. before we all sat down to dinner. My efforts did pay off though, and I still make Beef Wellington for family holidays.

WR: What seasonal ingredient(s) get your creative juices flowing?

KR: I am really big on cooking seasonally because the honestly the food just tastes better. Right now it’s all about berries, asparagus, and fresh herbs. In the summer I can’t get enough sweet corn and tomatoes. I love everything about the fall—the colors, the weather, and especially the food; I work apples and butternut squash into soups, salads, stuffings and whatever else I can. Any sort of roasted root vegetable—parsnips, beets and sweet potatoes—are the perfect winter comfort food.

WR: My latest cookbook obsession is …

KR: “Happy in the Kitchen” by chef Michel Richard. It is not a new book, but it is elevated food presented in a way that the everyday home cook could easily recreate. I have tried almost every recipe in the 300-something pages, and I love that he talks about the importance of each ingredient and keeps things simple, which is not typical of “modern” gastronomy.

WR: What’s the most challenging dish you’ve ever attempted? Would you make it again?

KR: When I was in culinary school I tried to make my own chicken liver pate for a garde manger practical exam and it was awful (and by awful, I mean inedible). I haven’t tried again, but I think I’d give it another shot.

WR: If I could the spend the day working alongside any local chef, I’d love to collaborate with …

KR: I am pretty lucky in that I get to work with an amazing executive chef, Brad Spates, every day at Cookology. He is a great mentor. But if I had the chance, I’d love to work with Spike Mendelsohn on his involvement with Michelle Obama’s program “Let’s Move“, a healthy food initiative for kids in the Northern Virginia/DC area.

WR: What’s the easiest/quickest–but still wholly satisfying–meal you make for yourself?

KR: There’s nothing better than a big bowl of fresh pasta. And it is quick, easy and healthy if you use the right ingredients. I make fresh whole wheat pasta dough in large batches then keep it in the freezer so I always have it on hand to quickly roll out. Or if I’m really in a rush, I just cook a box of dried. The following is one of my favorite sauce recipes—it is called “Pomodori al Forno” which roughly translates to “tomatoes from the oven.” It is a baked cherry tomato sauce that is so simple but really flavorful. Buon appetito!

Pomodori al Forno

2 pints cherry tomatoes, cut in half
7-8 cloves garlic, smashed
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.

Spread mixture out into an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes (you want the tomatoes to burst and the garlic to caramelize).

Transfer the entire pan (with oil) to a large bowl and toss with cooked pasta, the fresh herbs and half of the Parmesan cheese. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

To serve, top with remaining Parmesan and spoonfuls of the ricotta cheese. Serve warm.

WR: In the next six months you won’t want to miss …

KR: Summer camps for kids at Cookology. It is so great to work with kids in the kitchen, exposing them to new ingredients, getting them to try foods from all different cuisines, and teaching them hands-on cooking and baking techniques. Check out the website for upcoming camp schedules kicking off June 20 and running through Labor Day!

WR: It’s quitting time. I’m pouring myself …

KR: A big glass (or two) of red wine—something full bodied, spicy, with red fruit. With warm bread and cheese.

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The kids’ cooking camp sounds infinitely more useful than the endless dodgeball games we endured at summer REC. Thanks for helping to mold a more delicious future, chef.

Come back next Tuesday for another helping of Red Meat.

–Warren



Red Meat: Eric Reid

Posted by Warren Rojas / Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Turns out you really can’t keep a good chef down. Take hometown hero Eric Reid:

(Image: Meaghan Gay)

Mere months after being forced to abandon his own restaurant, the publicly lauded Del Merei Grille, Reid was hired to help newcomer Del Ray Pizzeria woo back local diners after a particularly rocky start. He’s since learned to love the subtleties of Italian cuisine–though, rumor has it, DMG regulars have cajoled him into trotting out his signature frickles from time to time.

WR: Salt. Pepper. What other spices/herbs could you not live without?

ER: Thyme and parsley. Fresh thyme adds such a nice earthiness flavor to the dishes and now that I’m doing this Italian thing, I like the way the parsley adds a vibrant green to the entrees.

WR: What’s the very first dish you ever mastered? How long did it take? Do you still make it today?

ER: The first dish that I mastered? Hard to say, I don’t think you can ever really master a dish. I will say that I make shrimp and grits very well. It’s currently not on the menu at the pizzeria.

WR: What seasonal ingredient(s) get your creative juices flowing?

ER: Tomatoes. I love to make jams, chutneys, sauces, salads and preserves. Endless options with tomatoes.

WR: My latest cookbook obsession is …

ER: Magazines–they don’t even have to be food related. Any magazine that has a recipe or a new restaurant for me to read about.

WR: What’s the most challenging dish you’ve ever attempted? Would you make it again?

ER: Beef Wellington. This was on our Valentine’s Day menu at Del Merei one year. I thought I had the temps perfect only to find out after baking them off every one of them was blown away. I had to throw together another batch immediately. It was a bit of a nightmare with everything else going on.

WR: If I could the spend the day working alongside any local chef, I’d love to collaborate with …

ER: Brian Hooyenga. He was the chef at Evening Star when I was there. I would love to work the line one more night with him.

WR: What’s the easiest/quickest–but still wholly satisfying–meal you make for yourself?

ER: Fajitas. Thinly sliced NY strip, little cumin, little chili powder, salt and pepper. Sautee with some onions and peppers, get some sour cream and cheddar, a couple flour tortillas and hot sauce. You’re good to go.

WR: In the next six months you won’t want to miss my …

ER: Next project. I’d like to keep it in Del Ray; just need to find the location.

WR: It’s quitting time. I’m pouring myself …

ER: A Dogfish [head] and a grandma [resto-speak for Grand Marnier]

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Tomato jams are a personal favorite, chef. Methinks we’ll be seeing each other real soon…

Come back next Tuesday for another helping of Red Meat.

–Warren



Red Meat: Kyong Yi

Posted by Warren Rojas / Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Crazy about crepes? Kyong Yi knows the feeling:

(Image: Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association)

The classically trained chef has been making mouths happy with her savory and sweet crepe creations for several years now down in Old Town Alexandria. She also boasts an impressive collection of imported French ciders–a constant distraction that threatens to turn sneak-a-peek lunches into afternoon-spanning visits.

WR: Salt. Pepper. What other spices/herbs could you not live without?

KY: Basil and hot red peppers.

WR: What’s the very first dish you ever mastered? How long did it take? Do you still make it today?

KY: Korean noodles tossed with kimchi and soy sauce. I used to make it for my father when I was growing up. I have not made it in couple of years.

WR: What seasonal ingredient(s) get your creative juices flowing?

KY: Tomatoes

WR: My latest cookbook obsession is …

KY: Soups!

WR: What’s the most challenging dish you’ve ever attempted? Would you make it again?

KY: French macaroons. It’s a simple recipe but technique is so strict and too much chemistry. Yes, I love making it. It’s a challenge every time.

WR: If I could the spend the day working alongside any local chef, I’d love to collaborate with …

KY: Mark Furstenberg. Would love to learn how to bake breads with him.

WR: What’s the easiest/quickest–but still wholly satisfying–meal you make for yourself?

KY: Spaghetti with fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil, crushed red pepper flakes and olive oil.

WR: In the next six months you won’t want to miss my …

KY: Fontaine Crepe cart in Old Town Alexandria at Market Square

WR: It’s quitting time. I’m pouring myself …

KY: Glass of water–there is nothing better at the end of the evening.

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Good luck with the food cart, chef. Though I think you’ll find the rolling crepe competition has gotten pretty fierce …

Come back next Tuesday for another helping of Red Meat.

–Warren



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