Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Market Lunch Dilemma: Blue Bucks or the Brick?

The Brick from Market Lunch, Eastern Market

Though it's in new, temporary quarters thanks to the Eastern Market fire, the breakfast dilemma at the Capitol Hill institution Market Lunch remains the same: Blueberry buckwheat pancakes or the Brick? The huge, fluffy pancakes are a buttery delight--plus, you get to hear the cashier yell "Bluuuuue BUCKS" to the line cooks. However, the Brick is an unparalleled breakfast sandwich--a homemade biscuit houses your choice of meat (bacon, sausage or ham), cheese, eggs and the piece de resistance, fried potatoes.

Market Lunch Redux

Same Menu, Same Dilemma: Bluebucks or Brick?

On Saturday morning, the Market Lunch line is long, and the boys ahead of us were hungry enough to order both the pancakes and the Brick. J and I adhered to one Brick for each of us, he with sausage, me with bacon. It provided plenty of fuel for our walk back down the Mall (and then some).

Know before you go: Market Lunch doesn't do breakfast on Sunday, and stops serving breakfast items around noon on Saturdays.

Market Lunch (inside Eastern Market's temporary location)
7th Street & North Carolina Avenue, SE
Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Strawberry Banana Pudding Pie

Strawberry Banana Pudding Pie in the Making

So, a few months ago, I had of meeting Katie Lee Joel at a food charity event. I was about to ask her what it was like to be Billy Joel's daughter, but then the reporter next to me asked about her HUSBAND, Billy Joel. Oops. His daughter, Alexa Ray Joel, is a mere four years younger than her stepmother, so you can't blame me for being confused.

Anyway, at this event I enough to get a free copy of Joel's new cookbook, The Comfort Table. No disrespect to Mrs. Joel's Southern heritage, but this vanity project looks straight out of the Hamptons, not straight out of West Virginia, her home state. The one recipe that caught my eye was a banana pudding pie. I added strawberries, and nixed the extra layer of vanilla wafers in the pie itself. While the pudding was a bit runny, it was quite delicious, though I doubt the slim Katie has eaten too many slices of such a decadent dessert.

Banana Strawberry Vanilla Pudding Pie

45 vanilla wafers
3/4 stick butter, melted
1 batch of vanilla pudding (try Mark Bittman's recipe)
2 bananas, sliced
1/2 pint strawberries, sliced
3/4 c. cream
scant 1/4 c. sugar (or less, depending on your sweet tooth)

Preheat oven to 350. Pulse the vanilla wafers in your food processor until crumbly. Slowly add in the melted butter and pulse until well-mixed.

Press vanilla wafer crumbs into a greased pie pan. Bake for about 10-15 minutes. Cool.

When crust is cool, place a layer of bananas and strawberries in the crust. Top with a thick layer of the pudding. Place another layer of bananas and strawberries on top, then the rest of the pudding (you may have some extra). Place in the fridge to chill for at least two hours. Meanwhile, whip the cream with the sugar until you have stiff peaks. When ready to serve the pie, top with a layer of whipped cream.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Open-Faced Asparagus Spring Onion Sandwich

Open Faced Asparagus Sandwich

I tried to stay local through the winter, stopping at the Morningside Heights farmers' market on Thursday afternoons, but a girl can only eat so many apples. The pickings were slim December through March, and I rarely had the time to trek down to the larger New York market at Union Square.

Foggy Bottom Farmers' Market Bounty

I have no excuses now--summer's bounty has begun, and on Wednesday nights the Foggy Bottom market in DC is right in front of the Metro station I use to get home. The market is small, but covers all the bases. A couple veggie stands, a dairy/egg stand, a pork and beef guy, plus a bread gal. Last week in less than 10 minutes, I pulled together the ingredients for a full meal at the market, forcing my seatmates on the Metro to bathe in the smell of my fresh garlic the whole way home.

Open Faced Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Spring Onion Sandwich

Last week I caught the last of the asparagus, fat, crisp tips perfect for roasting. I drizzled them with olive oil and garlic, and tucked them in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes. As they cooked, I sauteed some sweet, purple spring onions and some baby summer squash. I toasted some walnut-whole wheat-cumin bread, spread it with fresh goat cheese, topped it with the onions and squash, then the tender asparagus spears. I finished the whole open faced delight with one non-local ingredient--lemon juice. Even in summer, the Mid-Atlantic can't quite catch up with California's riches.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

And Now From Our Nation's Capital

Friends--this summer Erin's Kitchen will come to you from Washington, DC, where I'll be working until mid-August. I lived in this sweltering city when I first graduated from college, and have fond memories of Saturday mornings at Eastern Market, cheap lunch at Ben's Chili Bowl, and my first-ever mussels at Bistro du Coin.

However, more often than not I'll be eating in--J must stay in New York for work, and paying two rents requires beans-and-rice-style belt-tightening. I'll still visit the Big Apple every other weekend, so you can expect reports from both the Union Square and Foggy Bottom farmers' markets on a regular basis. I've added some DC foodbloggers to my links on the left. If you have any favorites to recommend, please let me know!

Eat the Tail, Suck the Head

A Whole Mess of Crawfish
To eat your crawfish, you twist at the middle, breaking the head from the tail. Squeeze the head and suck out the fat, then peel the tail a bit, hold the end, twist and pull out the meat and eat. See? Simple.

The weather gods have been remarkably kind to J and I this week. Tuesday night we scored tickets to Hamlet in Central Park, and though the sky was black and wet just an hour before the show began, the rain stopped about 10 minutes into the show. Similarly, gray clouds and a depressing weather report nearly kept us off the bus to Crawfish Fest down in Sussex County New Jersey yesterday. However, J's Louisiana-bred friend Geoff was determined to get his crawfish fill and we decided to cross our fingers and go. Though the raindrops got bigger the closer we got to the festival, by the time the bus doors opened, the drops disappeared and we even got a bit of a sunburn as the day progressed.

It's hard to beat a day in the sun with friends, drinking beer, listening to live music, and eating spicy Cajun food. Though as we rolled into our apartment around 9 pm last night, J and I agreed we perhaps overdid it--in addition to a whole mess of crawfish, between the two of us we ate a crawfish sausage, crawfish bread, onion rings, beignets, mint chip ice cream, and the piece de resistance--a jalepeno stuffed honest-to-god alligator sausage on a stick. Hoo-boy.

Fortunately, it's a well known fact that just like iceberg lettuce, boiled crawfish are calorie neutral. You see, you burn as many calories snapping and peeling and sucking as you consume. So it's all good. But trust me, I never want to see another alligator sausage.