Monthly Archives: January 2012

Italian Hot Chocolate and Affogato

Sorry the picture is dark! I forgot my camera so we had to rely on Caroline's Blackberry 🙂

My absolute favorite thing about winter (read: anytime) is curling up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate. I love a steaming hot cup of thick, rich hot chocolate–which a lot of people find surprising considering I’m not the biggest chocolate person. That being said, I refuse to make my hot chocolate with anything but milk. None of that gross watery stuff for me, please!

While studying abroad, my friends and I discovered the joys of European hot chocolate. Now, the hot chocolate that we’re used to normally involves some cocoa powder, maybe a little chopped chocolate, and some sugar and salt. Good flavor, but about the consistency of a mocha. European hot chocolate? It’s like molten chocolate lava. No, seriously. The stuff is so thick and rich; it easily coats the back of a spoon. And churros. And pretty much everything else you can get your hands on and dip in there. It’s like fondue, but better. Yeah. I said that.

Anyway, Caroline’s and my favorite place to go for gelato and hot chocolate in Florence was this little shop called Vestri on the Borgo degli Albizi. Their gelato was always fresh and was also incredibly cheap (euro 1,70 for two scoops? I’ll take it!). But the best part about any gelato shop in Italy is the fact that you can get an affogato. What, you ask is an affogato? Well, friends, it’s a scoop of gelato or sorbet, topped with a giant ladle of hot chocolate or, in some cases, espresso. Needless to say, it’s heaven in the cup, and the variety of flavors you get as the gelato slowly melts into the hot chocolate is unbelievable.

Anyway, Caroline and I decided to recreate this treat last week when we made dinner at her house. We added some blackberries and used strawberry sorbet for a berry kick in our affogati. I hope this recipe warms you up as much as it did us! Happy eating!

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Restaurant Review: Pie Sisters

Picture property of Pie Sisters

So, as many of you know, cupcakes have been a “thing” in D.C. for quite some time. A whole slew of highly successful little bakeshops popped up following the unbelievable success of Georgetown Cupcake (think DC Cupcakes on TLC). Well, it seems as though another set of sisters is trying to start a whole new craze in the District but, instead of pillowy cupcakes, they are using personal pies to lure in customers!

Pie Sisters features a variety of sweet and savory cupcakes, and I’ve been dying to check this place out ever since I heard that it was opening. Located at the end of the Key Bridge in Georgetown, Pie Sisters boasts quite the array of pies. They have a number of cream pies (banana, coconut, chocolate, vanilla), plus your standard fruit pies (cherry, apple pecan praline, pumpkin, lemon meringue, key lime, etc.) in “cuppie” and large sizes. You can either get a small, “cuppie” pie (size of a cupcake) or a slice from a bigger sweet pie. They also offer 7- and 9-inch whole pies if you order 24 hours in advance. I was really impressed by their pies. They were not too sweet and had a great, flaky crust. I plan on picking up a few in the coming weeks as treat for my friends at school!

"Cuppies"--Picture property of Pie Sisters

While their sweet pies were delicious (I tried the apple, and my friend Jocelyn tried the coconut cream), what I really adored was their chicken pot pie. They only had two savory pies when Joss and I went (a chili pie and a chicken pot pie), but we both adore chicken pot pie and each had to get a cuppie. Personally, I wanted the chicken pot pie to be a wee bit bigger (mostly because it was so delicious!), but I’m also certain I wouldn’t have had room for dessert otherwise. That being said, you probably need 2 pies for a substantial meal. Actually, what would be amazing is if they started to offer a side salad to accompany your savory pie…just a thought.

My fellow taste tester, Jocelyn!

Anyway, Pie Sisters is pretty great. Jocelyn and I absolutely loved the ambiance and kind of wanted to move into the place. I mean, what’s better than exposed brick, fresh flowers, and shelves full of warm pie?!

Sorry for the blurry pics. I relied on my camera phone, and, well, let's just say my phone isn't "smart."

It was also really refreshing to see two of the sisters at the shop, baking pies and making sure that everyone was being helped. And the staff working the counter was cheerful and personable. So, if you are ever in the area, be sure to stop by Pie Sisters! This is one trend that I am more than happy to support.

Also, if anyone is feeling generous, I would like a ginormous clock for my apartment next year. K. Awesome. Thanks.

**Please note that our reviews are not sponsored. We just blog about places we’ve tried and things we love.**

Simple Food: Greens & Eggs

We have snow! We have snow! All right, I admit it. We have a mere sprinkling, but it’s still SOMETHING. I was starting to think that the District would go an entire season without some snow that sticks! Needless to say, the streets and Metro are a mess whenever we get a dusting in D.C. so I am happily sticking around my apartment today and avoiding the cold and wet outdoors.

Breakfast and brunch are by far my favorite meals. I sometimes think that I could live off of pancakes, french toast, and biscuits. But that doesn’t exactly make for the the healthiest diet and, sometimes, you just don’t want all those carbs. As of late, I’ve been favoring brunches that mix my favorite elements of breakfast with my other favorite food group–vegetables. Today’s recipe is one that I make whenever I have a bit of time to cook, and I’m craving something fresh tasting. The sweetness of the vegetables pairs perfectly with just a tiny shaving of parmesan cheese and a runny egg. Very few things top egg yolk for a dressing/sauce, and this breakfast is a combination of simple flavors that I simply love.

Happy eating! Enjoy the snow 🙂

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Pan Seared Scallops

Every so often, I get a craving. Unfortunately, a law student budget isn’t exactly the friendliest thing for my cravings, most of which involve fine red wines, a fancy dessert, expensive mushrooms, and tender cuts of steak. One food I’ve been craving like mad lately has been scallops. Buttery and bite-sized, it’s hard to beat the flavor of a properly cooked, simply dressed scallop. My craving wasn’t helped this past weekend when I chose to watch a repeat of America’s Test Kitchen and discovered that they were making scallops too!

America’s Test Kitchen might be my favorite cooking show. Chris Kimball is awkward and hilarious, and the test chefs always produce a stellar product. I have yet to try one of their recipes and dislike it. It’s also educational. For example, I learned that there are two kinds of scallops (wet and dry). Wet scallops have been treated with a chemical to make them retain water (and thus increase their weight on the market), whereas untreated, dry scallops retain more of their natural flavor. They are more pink than their “wet” cousins, and produce little water when microwaved for 15 seconds on a paper towel (Yeah, I had to try the test. It’s awesome). Obviously, the dry variety tend to be more expensive, but you can easily camouflage the flavor of the chemical in wet scallops. Simply soak them for half an hour in a mixture of 1 quart water, mixed with 2 oz of fresh lemon juice and a hearty pinch of salt.

What I loved most about this recipe was how simple it was. It really lets the buttery flavor of the scallops shine through. Hope this satisfies any of your seafood cravings. Happy Eating!

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Spanish Eggplant

Sooooo it’s been awhile. It seems as though Christmas was just yesterday, and I has only recently posted about tomatoes. Turns out, time flies–especially when one’s mother chooses to indulge one’s Indian food cravings and one then lacks motivation at the start of the new semester. Last week was a low point in my cooking world. There was Trader Joe’s tomato soup, pasta with sauteed veggies, and, my personal favorite, eating an entire grilled zucchini and some onions for dinner. Pitiful? I think yes.

BUT I’ve resolved to change that. One of my resolutions is to vary my diet this year. I often find myself using the same old seasonings out of habit, and I think my repertoire needs a revamp. The first thing I decided to tackle? Eggplant. I usually just wind up grilling or broiling eggplant, then either smothering it in some tomato sauce and sprinkling with some cheese or tossing it with some cumin and onions. While eggplant parm is lovely, you can only eat it so many times.

One of my favorite new places for lunch by the law school is Roti–a Mediterranean take on a Chipotle-style restaurant. You pick whether you want a plate or sandwich, choose your meat, and then–my favorite part–select your veggie toppings. They have a red cabbage slaw to die for and their Spanish eggplant is a must any time I go. So imagine my delight when I realized that Roti features the recipe for Spanish eggplant on its site! This dish is warm and flavorful. It’s full of delicious vegetables and it can be served warm or at room temperature. I also love how colorful it is. If you’re looking for a new take on eggplant, this is it! Happy Eating!

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