The Pub by Wegmans

Wegmans is already heaven on earth.  And now they have another element…a full restaurant.  I’m not just talking their fancy salad bar or the locations where you sit at the counters and can order and be served.  No, it’s The Pub by Wegmans.  There are only a few of these in the country.  A couple friends and I had to check it out the other day.  While doing some research on the website we noticed they use OpenTable.  We decided to make a reservation just because we could.  It was a good thing we decided to.  This place was packed — and we went at noon on a Monday (granted it was a federal holiday)!  Had we not done so, we not have gotten a table.

IMG_4797[1]

The three of us split a half pitcher of sangria to start while looking over the menu.  It wasn’t that exciting of a drink.  For the first course we decided to split their White Bean Hummus Platter; Italian Classics Cannellini Beans, roasted garlic, Toscano olive oil, topped with truffle spread; served with roasted baby peppers, mini cucumbers and rosemary fontinella cheese flatbread (and got some non-cheese laden stuff).

IMG_4801[1]

These were non-bell peppers and were so good.  Since they were roasted they were nice and warm.  They also made sticks out of the cukes vs just simple slices. Very tasty!

All of us opted to get the same thing as a main course — Portobello ‘Steak’ — balsamic-marinated roasted portobello mushroom topped with artichoke hearts, roasted red pepper and fresh mozzarella, accompanied by bulgur wheat and arugula salads. I went cheeseless, my friends took it on.

IMG_4803[1]

A nice balance of flavors all around.  Had to eat every bite.

There were also some Tuscan Fries brought to the table, which were fries accented with rosemary, sage, Italian parsley and garlic.  I don’t even like fries and had to help eat them.

IMG_4804[1]

We also each had a glass of wine — so nice with the logo on there.

IMG_4806[1]

This was such a fun lunch.  Delicious all around.  Great shopping afterwards, too.

 

 

Saffron Fish Stew

Even before this crazy snow started falling (so last week), I was searching for soup.  It was actually while needing to sit on the couch for several hours watching football.  So a recipe I came across to check out was Bon Appetit/Epicurious’s Saffron Fish Stew with White Beans.  I love getting something with that sharp color of saffron (and you can find it for a great price at Trader Joe’s).  When I came across this recipe it has so many of my favorite herbs.  Anything with seafood is wonderful!

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup pre-chopped onion
1 teaspoon ground fennel (love it!)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander (heaven)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 thyme sprig
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh orange rind
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups clam juice
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 pound flounder fillet, cut into (2-inch) pieces (for this I just threw in a bunch of stuff from my freezer — some white fish, scallops, langoustine tails.  I also had a bag of mixed stuff from TJ’s that I’ll use next time)
1 (14-ounce) can great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
Fresh thyme leaves

IMG_4788[1]

Preparation

1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, fennel, coriander, garlic, and thyme sprig; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in rind and saffron; add water, clam juice, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in salt, fish, and beans; cook 5 minutes. Top with thyme leaves.

IMG_4791[1]

This was so quick to make!  Served it with some rosemary bread (can’t take credit for making that).  Delicious.

The Urban Winery

There is a relatively new wine place in Silver Spring, MD that I finally checked recently — The Urban Winery.  They serve their own wine, local wine and a few other wines.

IMG_4766[1]

Went on a Friday night and it was pretty quiet (maybe 10 people there).  Was a bit surprised at that.  Several wine options on the menu and opted for a flights of the house-made wines.  They limit what you can get, unfortunately, in their flights.  So I finally opted for their un-oaked Chard and two reds (Syrah and Philotimo).

It took about 15 minutes to get our wine.  The Chard was half decent.  The Syrah was ok at the start but after a sip or two it really just tasted like grape juice.  The Philotimo tasted like dirt.

As we were tasting the wine, we ordered some food.  Flatbreads were on happy hour special for $4.  Sure!  A simple pizza-like dish.  We requested it with no mozzarella, just feta because of the lactose intolerance.  It took over 25 minutes to get this simple dish.  Ok.

IMG_4768[1]

My friend and I finished our first (not great) wine and opted for a second round and more food, too.  I opted for a glass of Hungarian red and my friend got a local wine.

We also ordered a mezze platter and the avocado toast.  At this point there were about 6 people in the restaurant.  It took over 45 minutes to get our food, which didn’t seem normal since it was not really a cooked meal.  Another problem, once the food came out, the avocado toast had cheese on it after the waitress knew I was lactose intolerant.  So, had to be returned.  It took another 15 minuted to get the proper order, which is just guac spread on bread.

IMG_4772[1]

IMG_4773[1]

If you can’t tell, I’m not overly impressed with this place.  Long wait, high prices, not great wine, bad service.  Not going back.

Ginger Cubed/Power of 3 Biscotti

Technology is great…but sometimes you can’t type the proper stuff.  The title of the blog should read Ginger3 Biscotti.  Ok, I feel so relieved now this is coming across better!  This biscotti has three types of ginger is why that 3 is so important.  Anyway…biscotti is one of my favorite things to bake because it can be made with no dairy, so those of us who are lactose intolerant/lactards can enjoy it!  I hadn’t made this ‘flavor’ recently so had to break it out.

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated (I have found some great stuff jarred stuff at the Asian market that is handy to just have on hand)
1/3 cup crystallized ginger, chopped (Trader’s Joes or Whole Foods bulk)
1 cup pecans, chopped

IMG_4764[1]

Directions:

-Preheat the oven to 375. Blend the flour, sugar, ground ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt briefly with an electric mixer (I love my KitchenAid).

-Blend in the egg, vanilla, fresh and crystallized ginger. Finally add the nuts, and might need some water, too. Blend until dough is good texture to put into logs.

-Grease a large baking sheet (oh silpat, I love you). Divide the dough in half and roll each half into a log. Transfer the logs to the baking sheet, leaving space between the logs.

-Bake until the logs are firm to the touch, about 30 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and reduce the temperature to 325. Wearing an oven mitt to hold the logs in place, use a serrated knife (pizza cutters actually work a heck of a lot better) to cut them crosswise on the diagonal into 1/2-3/4″ thick cookies.

-Lay the cookies on one side and return the baking sheet to the oven. Bake until the biscotti are crisp, 5 to 10 minutes. Cool the biscotti on racks and store in an airtight container.

**at this point I actually just turn the oven off and let them stay in the oven until I’m ready to eat them.  I also put them on a rack on the cookie sheet so they get the heat on both sides during the second bake.

IMG_4776[1]

I have been making these for years and love them.  Can never go wrong with biscotti, from dunking them in coffee to wine to just munching on them for snacks.

Ratat-oooo-ille

Was in the mood for something hot and veggie-y and for some reason ratatouille came to mind.  Hadn’t made it for awhile and couldn’t find a recipe on hand, so what else to do than google it?  Came across a recipe on Bon Appetit that received many stars.

Ingredients

1 onion, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 tablespoons olive oil
a 3/4-pound eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 small zucchini, scrubbed, quartered lengthwise, and cut into thin slices
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3/4 pound small ripe tomatoes, chopped coarse (about 1 1/4 cups)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded fresh basil leaves (totally forgot to grab this so had to use dry)

IMG_4741[1].JPG
Preparation

In a large skillet cook the onion and the garlic in 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and heat it over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking.

Add the eggplant and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until the eggplant is softened. Stir in the zucchini and the bell pepper and cook the mixture over the moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes and cook the mixture, stirring occassionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the oregano, the thyme, the coriander, the fennel seeds, the salt, and pepper to taste and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the basil and combine the mixture well.

The ratatouille may be made 1 day in advance, kept covered and chilled, and reheated before serving.

IMG_4746[1]

I added some extra tomatoes (had some canned ones that were easy to throw in).  I also added plenty of extra garlic, which never hurts.  This recipe hit the spot!  The first time I had it, it was enjoyed with some roast chicken and delicious french bread at my friend’s place.

Barcelona (DC)

Finally made it to a Barcelona Wine Bar in DC.  They have several locations and I hit the one in Cathedral Heights.

IMG_4714[1]

I was going to have wine, of course, but when reading the menu I was lured to the sangria.  At this time of year they make it with lavendar, sage and rosemary.  That…tasted…so…good.

The venue is tapas-styles, so small plates with many cheeses and charcuterie.  After much glancing at the menu, with many choices of sheep and goat cheese, we opted for the Cabra Romero, which is goat’s milk crusted in rosemary and the drunken goat, which has had it’s share of wine.

Also went with some Hand-Sliced Jamon Mangalica, which is cured Hungarian pig and a Catalan sausage (I believe).  They bring this all out with some amazing bread.

IMG_4718[1]

I can’t believe it has taken me so long to get to this place.  I can’t wait to go back and try more of their food and wine.  They also have locations on 14th St. and in Reston.

Green Vegetable Soup

Cold weather, new soup.  Went for one I saw in Cooking Light — Green Vegetable Soup.

 Ingredients

3/4 cup uncooked orzo
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced leeks (about 2) (used frozen ones from Trader Joe’s)
1 cup thinly sliced celery (didn’t use this because I didn’t feel like getting a whole head of celery)
1 tablespoon minced garlic, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 1/4 cups unsalted chicken stock
1 cup water
3 thyme sprigs (went for dry)
1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1/4 pound) (used frozen ones from Trader Joe’s)
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups baby spinach leaves, divided (used frozen ones from Trader Joe’s)
1/4 cup basil leaves
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

IMG_4681[1]

Preparation

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

2. While pasta cooks, heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add leeks, celery, 2 teaspoons garlic, and salt; sauté 5 minutes. Add stock, 1 cup water, and thyme. Cover; bring to a boil. Add peas and beans, and simmer, uncovered, 4 minutes. Discard thyme. Stir in pasta and 1 cup spinach.

3. Place 1 cup spinach, basil, cheese, rind, juice, 1 teaspoon garlic, and 2 teaspoons oil in a food processor; process until smooth. Divide soup among 4 bowls; top with pesto. (I didn’t make this part).

IMG_4683[1]

This stuff was ok.  I think there was way too much orzo in there.  Nothing to write home about.  It was missing a lot of flavor, thought that could be because I didn’t make the pesto.  I’m not keeping the recipe.