Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Field Trip

Zengo Restaurant: Chinatown, Washington D.C.

This stylish fusion restaurant, located right in the middle of the hubbub of Chinatown in our nation’s capitol, may take some effort to visit and dine.  The Mixed Stew crew recently stopped by Zengo to sample its “Bottomless Brunch,” that’s served on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 am – 2:30 pm.  What makes it so special?  The brunch menu consists of “little plates” or tapas of several Asian/ Hispanic fusion dishes.  We tried the Beef Short Rib Hash, Achiote-Hoisin Pork Arapas, Peking Duck Chilaquiles, Bacon & Scrambled Egg Steamed Buns.  The flat price is $35.00 per person.  (Otherwise, each menu item costs $ 5.00 ala carte.)  The price includes free flowing drinks, such as Bloody Mary, Sake Sangria, or Mimosa.  Zengo recommends that you make reservations in advance.  This restaurant is great for extra special occasions so come well-dressed to enjoy an elegant but hip atmosphere. 

781 Seventh Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Neighborhood: Chinatown

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Mixed Stew Crew hopes y'all have a Happy Turkey Day!  GOBBLE!  GOBBLE!  GOBBLE!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wednesday’s Helping: Suggestions for Turnips

A real root veggie to eat raw

The turnip is one of a handful of root veggies that can be eaten raw.  We suggest using turnips as a substitute for radishes and rutabagas in recipes.  Turnips possess a slightly bitter or peppery flavor with a natural crunch, too.  Pickled turnips are popular in Middle Eastern cooking where people serve it with falafel or kabob sandwiches.  This veggie’s qualities make it ideal for fresh salads.  If you make our turnip slaw, add it to your favorite meaty sandwich, burger, or sloppy joe sandwich.       

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tuesday’s Cupful: What are Turnips?

A root that’s crisp

Yes, this root vegetable has some refreshing bite in its texture.   Turnips embody the root of a flowering plant and belong to the biological family: Brassicaceae.  The plant, related to the mustard family, originated in Asia and spread westward.  Look for a bulbous-round shape with white, red, and purple surfaces in healthy specimens.  The leaves, stems, or greens (aka turnip greens) of this plant are also edible and can be used as like leafy kale, mustard greens, or collard greens.  Expect a slightly bitter but refreshing taste in raw turnips, which are great for different salads.  The Mixed Stew crew likens them to radishes.  Turnips are rich in Vitamin C, which helps strengthen the immune system and fight heart disease.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Turnip Coleslaw

A crunchy veggie slaw

Turnips are the focus in this yummy coleslaw that calls for no cabbage.  Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

1 medium-sized bowl
Plastic wrap
1 wooden spoon
3-4 turnips (purple and white), grated
1 tbspn green onion, sliced small
½ cup rice wine vinegar (aka mirin)
2 tbspns sugar
Several drops sesame oil
1 teaspoon kimchi base
Pinch of salt

Preparation and Directions:

Combine all ingredients in medium-sized bowl.  Toss well then cover with plastic wrap.  Chill in fridge for at least 1 hour then serve.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Field Trip

El Agave Mexican Restaurant: Catonsville, Md.

The Mixed Stew crew likes this Mexican restaurant.  Patrons are greeted by a warm atmosphere upon entering ElAgave.  We started with the Ceviche ($ 11.95) and Raul’s Jalapenos ($ 6.50).  The jalapeno peppers come stuffed with melted Chapala asadero cheese that’s infused with smoked chipotle sauce.   We also tried the Chili Verde ($ 12.95), Tres Amigos ($ 10.95) and Carnitas ($ 12.95). Every meal comes with refried beans and Mexican Rice.   Tres Amigos consists of three different enchiladas that are stuffed with chicken, pork, and poblano peppers.  Meanwhile, the Chili Verde is classic with tender pork braised in green tomatillo sauce. The texture and flavor are as if it's been slow cooked for hours.  We suggest the Carnitas if you like crispy-fried pork that’s well-marinated.  El Agave also features traditional margaritas.  Enjoy the Tres Leches Cake ($ 5.50), too.

1016 Ingleside Ave
CatonsvilleMD 21228
(410) 788-1430

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thursday’s Side Dish: Turkey Hill Pumpkin Ice Cream

A holiday fave whipped into ice cream

Yes, we had to pick up a tub of this special ice cream once it caught our eyes in our grocer’s freezer.   Turkey Hill brand Pumpkin Pie ice cream is worth the premium price.  The folks at Turkey Hill folded a ribbon of graham crackers into sweet pumpkin flavored ice cream.  Even better – the graham crackers are laced with ground cinnamon.  Every scoop is two deserts in one creamy, classic, and frozen treat.  The Mixed Stew paid $6.00 for two tubs at Giant supermarket as part of a special weekend sale.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wednesday’s Helping: Dressing up these meaty bites

Taking things in different directions

Remember that you can make this dish using ground turkey or even chicken if red meat is not for you.  The drenching in flour, an additional step, helps lock in the natural juices so expect tasty results with extra yum in every bite.  We suggest adding a sprinkling of paprika, cayenne pepper, or even chili powder if you want to spice things up.  Some dried oregano, thyme, or sage will also add a flavor kick.  Meanwhile, serve these meatballs with some mint jelly for a classy touch.       

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tuesday’s Cupful: Background on Spanish Meatballs

Inspired by a Tapas staple

Look for several variations of this dish among Spanish tapas favorites.  They’re also known as Albondigas.  Spaniards like the ease popping them into their mouths at Madrid area tapas bars.  In fact, diners usually nibble on these meatballs using toothpicks.  Historically, bar owners compiled their patrons’ tabs by counting the number of discarded toothpicks.  Some recipes call for a tomato based sauce spiked with wine while others call for a cream sauce with crushed almonds.  We improvised and made a brown gravy sauce with sliced mushrooms.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Spanish Meatballs w/ Mushrooms

Comfort food from Spain

Biting into these meatballs is a real pleaser for anyone who likes lamb.  Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

1 large skillet w/ lid
1 large mixing bowl
1 metal baking sheet
3 tablespoons cooking oil
Wax paper
1 yellow onion, chopped small
1 plate
3 garlic toes, minced
1 lb ground lamb
1 lb ground beef
1 whole egg
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 slices toast, chopped small cubes
Pinch of salt and pepper

Cooking and Directions:

Combine ground meat, onion, garlic, bread, salt, and pepper in mixing bowl.  Mix ingredients well.  Form small (roughly ½ inch) meatballs until all of mixture is done.  Set meatballs aside on baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Place all-purpose flour on plate.  Lightly coat meatballs with dusting of flour and set aside.

Heat pan on medium-high heat.  Add cooking oil.  Brown meatballs in skillet until cooked.  Remove done meatballs to baking sheet as needed.  Once all meatballs have cooked, add mushrooms to pan.  The mushrooms should pick up flavors from the bits and drippings left behind by the meatballs.  Return meatballs to pan and stir well.  The meatballs are now ready to serve.   

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Field Trip

Lighthouse Tofu & BBQ: Ellicott City, Md.

Yes, by now, our faithful readers that we’re big lovers of Korean Cuisine.  That’s one of several reasons why we recommend The Lighthouse Tofu & BBQ.  What sets this joint apart from the others?  Patrons can order from several dinner combos.  These meals include spicy soups laden with meaty Korean BBQ dishes.  The soups come in mushroom, tofu, or beef depending on your tastes.  Also, diners can choose between jae gui (aka pork gui), bulgolgi, and chicken gui.  The combo meals range in price between $12.99 and $17.99.  Expect a yummy selection of banchan dishes with every visit, too.  The restaurant can also take large dinner parties. 

9380 Baltimore National Pike
Ste 105

Ellicott CityMD 21042

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thursday’s Side Dish: Open Nature Cherry & Dark Chocolate Bars

Bits of richness in granola bars

Biting into these granola bars will definitely quench most chocolate lovers’ cravings.  OPEN NATURE brand Cherry & Dark Chocolate flavored granola bars are simple treats bits of dark chocolate goodness.  Substitute these bars for the usual sugar laden candy bar or traditional chocolate bar.  There are 7 different and real grains in their recipe.  The all-natural sweeteners include honey, brown rice syrup, and molasses.  One might call them “gourmet” granola bars.  Meanwhile, the peanuts, almonds, and cashews account for the additional crunch.  These bars are available for just under $5.00 at Safeway stores.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wednesday's Helping: More Seasonings and Spice

Spicier the better

Go ahead and substitute pork shoulder for pork country ribs, pork belly, or even pork hocks.  If you’re not a pork lover, we suggest using seafood, such as shrimp, squid, or even crab.  Also, look for frozen seafood mix in a pinch.  A vegetarian kimchi stew can be made with hardy greens, such as baby bok choy, napa cabbage, and sliced eggplant.  Remember that a little goes a long way when it comes to kimchi sauce.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tuesday’s Cupful: Background on Kimchi Pork Stew

Hot and satisfying goulash

What inspired this dish?  The Mixed Stew crew had thoughts of Kimchi jjigae, which is a rich stew-like offering that’s often served at many Korean restaurants.  Our stew, in fact, calls for fewer ingredients so it’s simpler to make and prepare at home.   You may be familiar with regular Kimchi, that’s usually served cold, so enjoying the same flavors and spices in a hot temperature dish may throw first timers for a loop.       

Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday's Bread Bowl: Kimchi Pork Stew

A peppery stew

We like this pork stew for its very spicy kick thanks to the addition of spicy kimchi sauce.  Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

1 wooden spoon
1 large stock pot w/ lid
3 tablespoons cooking oil
½ yellow onion, chopped small
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 ½ lbs pork shoulder, cut into chunks
½ cup kimchi sauce (aka kimchi base)
1 ½ cup water
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cooking and Directions:

Heat pot on medium-high heat.  Add oil, salt, pepper, onion and garlic.  Sautee ingredients until onion turn translucent.  Add pork pieces to the pot.  Let pork brown for 5 – 8 minutes.  Turn pieces.  Add water and cover with lid.  Let ingredients reach slow simmer then lower heat to medium-low.  The ingredients should braise for 20 – 25 minutes.  Next, mix kimchi sauce into the ingredients then cover with lid.  The ingredients should braise for another 20 minutes or until the meat reaches the desired tenderness that fits your taste.  Then it’s ready to serve.      

Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday's Last Spoonful: Roast Pork Wrapped in Banana Leaves

The Mixed Stew Crew is serving up some oldies but goodies this week.  Let these older recipes sooth your tastebuds.  We will be back on November 11, 2013 with more food dishes.

Post originally from September 13, 2010.

A special gift from the islands

This method of preparing, seasoning, and roasting pork is Pacific-island inspired. We recommend using a pork shoulder since the roasted meat ends up being juicy and flavorful. The banana leaves help lock in the natural flavors and seasons the roasted pork with a slight green tea taste. Meanwhile, slow roasting the wrapped pork over hot charcoal ensures a tender meat consistency. Here is our rendition:

What you will need:

3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 (7-8lbs) pork shoulder roast
2 large banana leaves
1 tablespoon coarse Hawaiian red salt, sea salt or kosher salt
½ tablespoon cracked peppercorn
1 sharp knife
1 barbecue pit with lid
5lbs hot charcoal

Cooking and Preparation:

Score the skin side of the pork roast (roughly ¼ to ½ inch deep) with a crisscross pattern. Coat and season pork with garlic, salt, and black pepper. Lay out banana leaves on top of each other and place seasoned pork roast at the end of one side. Carefully fold and roll the pork shoulder inside the banana leaves. There should be no exposed sides of the pork shoulder. Next, place wrapped roast on barbecue grill and cover with lid. Try to maintain a steady temperature near 300 degrees. If it drops below that for a bit, add more hot coals to the fire and let the temperature rise for at least 20 minutes or so. For example, we found the temperature dropped to 250 so we added coals to let the pit reach a temperature of 375 and remain that hot for about 20 minutes. The roast should be left alone for 3 ½ hours to 4 hours, if you keep the temperature around 300 consistently, longer if you let it drop below that for a significant period of time without making up for it. We haven't worried about overcooking pork roast this way. The wrap keeps moisture in. Finally, remove done roast from barbecue grill and let is rest for at least 15-20 minutes before serving.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thursday's Side Dish: Old Bay Shrimp Scampi with Couscous

The Mixed Stew Crew is serving up some oldies but goodies this week.  Let these older recipes sooth your tastebuds.  We will be back on November 11, 2013 with more food dishes.

Post originally from Sep 27, 2010.

Something old, something new

We spiced up this seafood dish with some Old Bay seafood seasoning and fresh parsley. The shrimp combines with rich melted butter and Old Bay’s spiciness. It all goes well atop a serving of couscous. Here is our recipe:

What you will need:

1 wooden spoon
1 fry pan
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
4 garlic cloves, diced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
12 oz couscous, seasoned and cooked
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1 ½ lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup chicken stock
Pinch of salt

Cooking and Directions:

Heat up fry pan on medium high heat. Add olive oil, ½ of garlic, and salt. Throw down shrimp and let them cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Next add butter, lemon juice, left over garlic, Old Bay, and chicken stock to pan. Let shrimp braise for another 5 minutes before adding fresh parsley, stirring, and removing pan from heat. Serve immediately with seasoned and cooked couscous.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wednesday's Helping: Nutella Cookies

Sweet gourmet cookies

The Mixed Stew Crew is serving up some oldies but goodies this week.  Let these older recipes sooth your tastebuds.  We will be back on November 11, 2013 with more food dishes.

Post originally from March 25, 2013.

These easy cookies can be made in a pinch.  The mix of hazelnut and chocolate flavors comes together in a biscuit-like cookie.  Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

 1 metal baking sheet

1 cutting board

1 food processor

2 whole eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

½ cup chocolate chips

1 cup nutella spread

2 sheets parchment paper

Pinch of salt

Cooking & Directions:

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.  Combine all ingredients (besides chocolate chips) in food processor.  Pulse for 2 -3 minutes until well mixed.  Place dough on cutting board and continue to knead for another 3 minutes.  Next, portion out dough into small round balls of dough that measure roughly ½ inch to 1 inch in diameter.  Cover and line metal baking sheet with parchment paper.  Position 6 dough balls on parchment paper and press down in middle.  These will become the cookies.  Sprinkle chocolate chips on cookies.  Bake cookies in oven for 12 to 15 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Let cool before eating.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tuesday's Cupful: Raisin Swirl Grilled Cheese

The Mixed Stew Crew is serving up some oldies but goodies this week.  Let these older recipes sooth your tastebuds.  We will be back on November 11, 2013 with more food 

Post originally from Nov 08, 2010

Sweet and salty sandwich delight

Here’s another complex sandwich that’s tasty. Switch out the American cheese and replace the whole wheat or bland white bread with two sweet slices of the Pepperidge Farm raisin cinnamon swirl loaf that’s available at most major supermarkets. This bread is well worth the extra dimes at $3.49 for a 16 oz loaf. The added raisins and cinnamon make for a tangy and sweet combo in every bite. The toasted bread’s sweetness really enhances the usually mild sharpness of the melted Swiss cheese. Here’s our recipe:

What you will need:

1 cutting board
 2 slices of Pepperidge Farm Raisin Cinnamon Loaf
1 spatula
1 cast iron skillet or non-stick frying pan
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 slices Swiss cheese

Cooking and Preparation:

Heat pan on medium-high setting. Place slices of Swiss cheese between two bread slices and set aside. Take butter and throw in pan. Spread melted butter with spatula to evenly coat pan’s surface. Carefully position the built sandwich in frying pan. Let the sandwich brown for 2-3 minutes on both sides. Serve immediately. Wanna make it extra hearty? Try adding a slice of ham between the pieces of bread before heating.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday's Bread Bowl: Oxtails And Beans

The Mixed Stew Crew is serving up some oldies but goodies this week.  Let these older recipes sooth your tastebuds.  We will be back on November 11, 2013 with more food 

Post originally from Jun 22, 2009

Bean Stew, get it while it’s hot

This is not soup. A steamy bowl of bean stew means comfort food (with added fiber). Oxtails make it rustic. It’s definitely a hearty family dinner. Enjoy.

What you will need:

1 large stock pot with lid
1 long wooden spoon
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves chopped fine
1 large yellow onion chopped fine
1 lb package pinto beans
1lb large head bok choy or napa cabbage, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 cup carrots, cut into large 1/2-inch chunks
2 lbs beef oxtails
5 cups water
Pinch of salt and pepper

Cooking and Directions:

Start pot off on medium high heat with vegetable oil. When hot, add chopped garlic and onion. Sauté them until they are almost translucent. Place oxtail pieces in pot and let them sit for a few minutes until browning occurs. Add water and pinto beans. Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste. Bring pot to a rapid boil and reduce heat to medium or medium low. Cover pot. Let the meat and beans simmer for at least one hour. Stir the pot occasionally. After an hour, add carrots. Leave on low heat for another 45 minutes to an hour so that the large cubes and beans can cook. Throw in the bok choy (or cabbage) during the last 30 minutes of cooking. The oxtails will be tender. Serve it up hot and yummy.