Interesting Food Event – DC Embassy Chef Challenge

I came across another great food event in the DC area that is being held on Wednesday, May 24.  I can’t think of anything better than tasting food and beverages from around the world prepared by the Embassy Chefs.  Check it out – sounds like a great night to explore different cultures and foods.

http://www.eventsdcembassychefchallenge.com/

below are details from their press statement:

Events DC Embassy Chef Challenge 

Sample food and drinks from all corners of the world on Wednesday, May 24

The 2017 Events DC Embassy Chef Challenge will highlight dishes and flavors from all around the world. Embassy chefs will gather on Wednesday, May 24 in the Atrium of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, where they will show off their skills and compete for the People’s Choice and Judge’s Choice awards.

Taste traditional dishes from cultures both common and impossible to find in greater Washington. Samples will include salmon ceviche and merquén mussels provided by Chef Guillermo Muñoz of Chile. Haitian cuisine will be represented at the event by Chef Cynthia Verna, who will be cooking up a full spread of creole chicken, yellow basmati rice served with pigeon peas, Roma tomatoes and coconut milk; and a beet and carrot salad dressed with homemade lime dressing. Representing the Embassy of Barbados, Chef Damien Leach will offer a unique spin on tropical fish – a pina colada mahi mahi filet.

Chef Red Garcia of the Philippines will be defending his title with a dish that uses a classic wrapping method called binalot – which is a way of wrapping foods with banana leaves, derived from the word ballot, which means “to wrap.” He will have a variety of foods to wrap such as rice, meat, fish, eggs and pickled vegetables. Dishes like kottu roti from the Embassy of Sri Lanka may be new to American diners and guests will have a chance to taste the dish and speak with the embassy’s culinary team about how it is prepared. Chef Anuradha Wijesinghe explains kottu roti as being made with godhamba roti, vegetables, egg or meat and spices.

Embassies will also be offering different native cocktails, beer, and wine to be sampled throughout the evening. Singapore will be serving up the famous Singapore Sling, while the Embassy of Bolivia will have a selection of Bolivian wines for patrons to try. Have you ever tasted wines from Azerbaijan? Well, now you can, as the embassy will be offering a variety of both red and white wines from their emerging high altitude growing regions.

Fingerling Potato Picnic Salad

With Memorial Day around the corner, it is time to start thinking about picnics.  I have a fondness for picnics ever since I meet my husband and when we were dating we picnicked almost every weekend.  I wish I could tell you that that has continued, we still love to picnic, however, not as frequent as we would like.  But I still call eating on our porch, picnicking!  Anyway, this Fingerling Potato Picnic Salad is perfect to take along.  I know many do not like mayonnaise based dressings, this salad is topped with an herb sour cream dressing.   Fingerling Potato Picnic Salad is especially good served at room temperature.  Do not hesitate to add any other raw vegetables you might have on hand.  With the farmers’ markets opening, be on the lookout for farm fresh potatoes and vegetables. 

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Fingerling Potato Picnic Salad

Ingredients

  • 24 ounces fingerling potato medley, various colors
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro

Instructions

  1. Cut potatoes into 1/2 inch segments.  Add to a medium saucepan, cover with water, add one tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar.  Bring to a boil over high heat reduce heat, cover and cook until fork tender  15 - 18 minutes.  Drain potatoes and place in a shallow bowl, mix with 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar.  Cool to room temperature.  In a small bowl mix together mustard remaining 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, olive oil and chives.  Add cucumber and cilantro to the potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss with dressing.  Mix well.  Serve at room temperature or refrigerate.  Bring to room temperature prior to serving.

 

Cheese Wafers

When we lived in Texas, cheese wafers were extremely popular snacks.  I think they are perfect with a glass of wine or add Cheese Wafers to any cheese and fruit tray.  Making Cheese Wafers is similar to making slice and bake cookies. I often divide the dough; bake one now and freeze the other cheese log to bake at a later date.  The sharp cheddar and Parmesan cheese are just the perfect combination.  I like to add a bit of cayenne pepper, you can certainly adjust the amount if you like a cracker with spice.  These are best if stored in an airtight container.

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Cheese Wafers

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups flour

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until you have a smooth dough.  Turn dough out  onto 2 sheets of plastic wrap.  Form into two logs approximately 1 inch in diameter.  Refrigerate logs for 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Slice the logs into 1/4 inch slices.  Place on baking sheet and bake 30 minutes or until they begin to brown around the edges.  Cool.  Store in airtight container.  You can freeze the logs, just place in refrigerator to thaw overnight, slice and bake.

  

Frozen Key Lime Pie

Frozen Key Lime Pie is the perfect make ahead summer dessert.  This past week, I was traveling out of town and the night I was returning, we were going to a dinner and I was bringing dessert.  I remember my mom had a frozen pie recipe in her recipe card box and thought that would be the perfect pie to make.  This pie recipe is so easy, the only cooking involved is baking the graham cracker crust prior to filling the pie.  I also added a whipped cream topping.  Make it now, freeze for later and just bring out of the freezer thirty minutes prior to serving.  I will also admit that due to time constraints, I used bottled key lime juice and the results were delicious.  There are some shortcuts that just make life easy and bottled 100 percent key lime juice works great in this recipe.

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Frozen Key Lime Pie

Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1 9 inch graham cracker crust
  • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated lime peel
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream, whipped
  • thin slices of lime, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Prepare graham cracker crust.  In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese at medium speed until smooth.  Slowly add sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, key lime juice; blend until smooth.  Fold in lime peel.  Pour into prepared graham cracker crust.  Freeze. for 2 hours.  In a medium bowl, whip whipping cream until stiff peaks form, remove pie from the freezer, top with whipped cream.  Return to freezer and freeze until firm.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Remove from freezer 30 minutes prior to serving.  Top with lime slices, if desired.  

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Graham Cracker Crust

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients until blended.  Press into a 9-inch pie plate.  Bake 6 - 8 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool prior to filling.

Interesting Food Event – ZooFari: Dine for Wildlife at Smithsonian’s National Zoo

This is my first post in my new category titled EVENTS.  Since my recognition by Southern Living this year as one of their favorite food bloggers of 2017, I have had many opportunities to attend various culinary events.  Under EVENTS. I will be sharing interesting culinary events that I find and think that you too might be interested in attending. 

Text on a white background: "The best place in town to get a bite. Zoofari. Sponsored by Geico" and a crocodile

If you are in the Washington, DC area on Thursday, May 18th, you might want to consider heading to the National Zoo.  This is a premier culinary event and I am drooling just reading the list of restaurants and vintners attending,

Throughout the evening, guests will enjoy:

  • Complimentary food tastings from more than 100 of Washington, D.C.’s top restaurants
  • Cocktail tastings with seasonal and gourmet ingredients crafted by celebrity bartenders and popular mixologists
  • Animal encounters along Olmsted walk where guests can learn more about some of the Zoo’s most popular residents
  • After-hours access to the Small Mammal House, the Great Ape House and the Reptile Discovery Center
  • An exciting LIVE auction with animal-themed items and exclusive getaways
  • Complimentary craft cocktails, beer, wine, soft drinks and water
  • Live entertainment and other fun activities

Check out their website – this looks like a terrific event and a great cause!

https://nationalzoo.si.edu/events/zoofari

 

Chipotle Grilled Wings

On a recent trip to Fayetteville, NC we had dinner at a terrific bar/restaurant called Mac’s Speed Shop.  Their wings were hands down the best wings I have ever had.  They smoked their wings and tossed them in a wonderful chipotle sauce.  The thought of those wings made me think of grilling wings and then tossing them with a BBQ sauce with a hint of chipotles.  These wings are truly finger lickin’ good. Did you know the key to grilling wings is to have them touch each other while grilling to keep them moist and to turn them every 6-8 minutes.  It takes about 35-40 minutes for the wings to be crispy on the outside and fall-off the bone tender.  Serve them with your favorite blue cheese dressing or ranch dressing.  Keep plenty of napkins handy – you will need them!

 

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Chipotle Grilled Wings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken wings, cut
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1//4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook wings over medium heat on the grill, turn every 6 - 8 minutes for approx. 35 minutes or until crispy and meat is falling off the bone.  When grilling, the wings should be touching each other as they cook to keep them moist.  While the wings are grilling, combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl.  Remove wings from grill when finished cooking, place in bowl with sauce and toss until all are coated.  Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing on the side.

 

Vegetable Topped Baked Grouper

I sometimes arrive in the grocery store, head to the seafood department and stand there with a blank stare on my face.  What should I try now?  I lately have an ongoing love/hate affair with some types of seafood.  I used to bake salmon weekly, now I don’t think I have baked salmon for over three months.  Recently, halibut and sea bass are some of my favorites, however, after selecting grouper fillets and making Vegetable Topped Baked Grouper, I think I have a new favorite from the seafood department!

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Vegetable Topped Grouper

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds grouper fillets
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 red onion, cut into thin slices
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup white wine

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Oil a baking dish.  Squeeze lemon juice over fillets in baking dish.  Top fillets with onion, green pepper, and tomato.  Top with crumbled feta cheese.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with Italian seasoning.  Pour wine into baking dish.  Bake fillets for 15 - 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily.  Broil fish at high setting for a few minutes after baking until the cheese is browned.  

 

Grilled Chicken with Basil Butter

Oh let me count the many ways to grill chicken and the many recipes you will find.  One recipe search and you will find hundreds for grilled chicken breasts with every imaginable marinade or topping.  I think the key to a perfectly grilled boneless skinless chicken breast is to not overcook the chicken, so it is moist and delicious.  I have been topping grilled chicken with basil butter for years.  This is not a recipe that takes a rocket scientist to figure out!   Salt and pepper the chicken, grill over medium temperature turning frequently and top with a large dollop of basil butter.  Simple and spectacular.  

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Grilled Chicken with Basil Butter

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Instructions

  1. Combine butter, basil and garlic salt; divide in half and set aside.  Salt and pepper chicken breasts.  Grill over medium heat turning frequently until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees, approx. 20  minutes. Each time you turn the chicken, top with a small teaspoon of basil butter.  When finished cooking, remove chicken to a platter and top each breast with a dollop from the remaining 1/2 of basil butter.  Serve

Strawberry Basil Ice Pops

One of my favorite things to eat when I visit Atlanta, GA is finding a King of Pops stand and having one of their ice pops.  They are not the ice pops you remember as a child in vivid colors and artificial flavors.  Their pops have extremely unique flavors.  One of my favorites is their sea salt chocolate, it is just delicious and really makes your mouth dance!  With the warm weather on the horizon, I thought this year I would try creating a few unique recipes to share and see how I do creating interesting flavors.  I think I have hit a home run with this combination; strawberries, basil and cream.   There are so many great ice pop molds on the market you can make ice pops in any shape you desire from rockets, cylinders and fruit shapes.  These Strawberry Basil Ice Pops would also be terrific made in a smaller mold and placed in a champagne glass and topped with champagne or prosecco.

 

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Strawberry Basil Ice Pops

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces hulled strawberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3-4 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 pinch kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Combine all of the above ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.  Pour into 6 - 3 oz. ice pop molds. Place in freezer and freeze for two hours, insert ice pop sticks in the center of each pop.  Freeze until solid.  Remove from mold and wrap in plastic wrap or in individual resealable bags.  Return to freezer and freeze for an addition 6 - 8 hours.  Serve.

    Freezing the pops for a second time in the plastic wrap will create a firm and icy pop.


Blueberry Crumb Cake

I keep finding blueberry recipes in my recipe stash from my mom.  If there is any time of year perfect for blueberry recipes, I think spring is the one. It also helps that almost every produce department is running a sale on blueberries this time of year.  Blueberry Crumb Cake is quick and easy to assemble cake;  perfect for breakfast with coffee, tea or as a dessert.   

 

 

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Blueberry Crumb Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • Crumb Topping
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour one 9 inch square baking pan.

    Combine Flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.  Cream butter and sugar.  Add egg and milk, beat until smooth.  Add flour mixture (reserve 1/4 cup) and beat until well combined.  Toss the blueberries with the remaining 1/4 cup flour mixture and fold into the batter.  To prepare topping, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon, cut in butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle over cake batter in pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 40 - 45 minutes.