life via instagram july

Why hello! After a lovely 4th of July at the beach with my family, I’m back in DC and trying to survive the heat.  There’s nothing like showing property in 98 degree heat and humidity.  Uf.

What have you been doing?  Any good vacations coming up?

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rise

Rise Bakery, located at 2409 18th St, NW in Adams Morgan, is a gluten-free bakery.  This is monumental news in my gluten free world.  A couple of months ago, my husband popped by there and grabbed a few things: a bag of bagels, a loaf of bread, a banana nut muffin and a cinnamon roll.  They were delicious and I was so exited. Good gluten free bread and pastries are hard to find.

I had an appointment today in Adams Morgan so I popped by the bakery. I grabbed a chocolate croissant and a cherry-ginger scone. I was not disappointed!  Is the croissant light and flakey like a regular croissant?  Nope but it’s pretty close in taste. I ate it in 3.2 seconds.
crossant

The cherry-ginger sconce was also yummy. Out of everything I’ve sampled, I’ve liked the croissant, banana nut muffin and the cinnamon roll the best.  Their bread is also tasty. If you’re gluten free, Rise Bakery should be on your list of places to try in DC.

sconce

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life via instagram

My trip to LA over President’s Day weekend was a ton of fun. The only downside: the weather! The weekend we were there, LA had a “monster storm” and it rained like crazy two out of the five days we were visiting.  Figures.  They’ve had a drought for four years but the weekend we visit, it’s a deluge.

We spent a couple days in Pasadena with my Aunt and Uncle then moved onto LA. While in Pasadena, we ate at wonderful restaurants and visited the Norton Simon Museum.  The museum was incredible and had a mix of old Masters and modern art.  I found a new artist that I like: Sam Francis.  I’d never heard of him but I LOVED the “Basel Mural 2”. I wish I could recreate it.

On Saturday, we met up with more family but on the Angotti side.  We spent the day with them at the LA Natural History Museum and then checked out their neighborhood in Hollywood.  It was cute! California has an interesting mix of housing styles and I enjoyed gawking.  Always a real estate agent.

We stayed at Santa Monica pier at the Shore Hotel for the rest of our visit. A few of my DC friends have absconded to LA and live in Venice Beach.  Santa Monica was the perfect location between Hollywood and Venice.  Saturday and Sunday we spent hanging out in Santa Monica and Venice.  Saturday evening we ate at Michael’s (which was seriously amazing) and Sunday we had brunch at Scopa. Venice was adorable and I loved all the shops on Abbot Kinney Rd.

Although we managed to pack a lot of visiting and wandering while we were there, there’s still neighborhoods that I want to explore.  Next visit!

 

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white bean soup

Yesterday’s rainy, cold weather made me long for a bowl of soup.  A couple weekends ago, I whipped up this white bean, kale and sausage soup.  It was hearty and delicious.  Enjoy!

KALE, SAUSAGE, & WHITE BEAN SOUP

Ingredients:

1 lb spicy italian sausage (I used turkey sausage)
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped (I use a mini cusinart to chop the onion, garlic, carrots, & celery)
1 garlic clove finely minced
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrot
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 can white beans
5 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
4 cups roughly chopped kale (I just do 4 big handfuls)

In a large pot or dutch oven, sauté the sausage until browned and cooked through, breaking into small chunks.  Remove sausage from pan and let drain on a paper towel lined plate. Discard all but one tablespoon of oil.  Sauté the onion in the remaining oil for 4-5 minutes until translucent.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook about 1 minute.  Add the celery and carrots and sauté until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.  Season with bay leaf, thyme, salt & pepper.  Stir white beans into pan.  Cook for 3 minutes, stir, then cook another 3 minutes.  Add the chicken stock and 2 cups of water to the pan, then bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and add in cooked sausage and the kale.  Simmer for 20 minutes or until the kale is soft.

 

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tart

I made this tart for Thanksgiving and it was delicious. I also made it for my Dirty Santa party and the girls loved it.  It’s salty and sweet which is one of my favorite dessert combos. It’s also gluten free but you’d never know it.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Pistachio Tart

Ingredients:

Crust:
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 ½ cups almond flour
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
¼ tsp salt
2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup

Ganache:
1 cup full fat coconut milk
12 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping:
½ cup shelled and salted pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In food processor, pulse together almond flour, salt and shredded coconut until finely ground. Mix together coconut oil and maple syrup and add to almond flour mixture. Pulse until coarse crumbs form.

Transfer into greased 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom {or minis like we used}. Evenly press dough in bottom and up sides of pan to form the crust. Bake in center of oven rack for about 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool on wire rack.

Place chopped chocolate into large mixing bowl. In small saucepan, bring coconut milk to a boil. Pour hot coconut milk over chocolate and stir until smooth and creamy. Mix in vanilla extract.
Pour chocolate into tart shell. Lightly sprinkle toasted pistachio nuts and toasted coconut for garnish. Chill for at least one hour or until set and enjoy!

adapted from recipe on Apartment34.com

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lamb-lentil-stew

Sundays are the end of my work week and I love a bowl of something delicious when I’m finished for the day.  Last weekend, I made this lamb and lentil soup and it was a hit. Enjoy!

FOR THE SOUP
1/2 cup diced onion
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 medium carrots, scrubbed well and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 cup canned no-salt-added crushed tomatoes, with their juice
8 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup packed chopped fresh parsley

FOR THE MEATBALLS
12 ounces ground lamb
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 large egg
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 cup plain dried panko, Japanese bread crumbs (I used gluten free bread crumbs)
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil

FOR SERVING
1/2 cup packed finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

 

For the soup:

Warm the olive oil in a large stockpot over low heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, then add half of the rosemary and half of the thyme, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook for 1 minute. Add the carrots and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the lentils and the tomatoes with their juices, stirring until all the ingredients in the pot are coated. Increase the heat to high, add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and add the remaining rosemary and remaining thyme and the parsley. Partially cover and cook for 45 minutes.

For the meatballs: Meanwhile, line a plate with paper towels.

Combine the ground lamb, garlic, rosemary, thyme, egg, cheese, panko and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Use your clean hands to mix the ingredients and form them into about 30 small meatballs.

Pre heat the oven to 425.  Prepare a cookie sheet and place 30 meatballs on the cookie sheet. Once the oven is ready, bake the meatballs for 8 minutes. (I line my with aluminum foil to make clean up easy.)

After the soup has cooked for 45 minutes, add the meatballs. Cover and cook for 30 to 45 minutes or until the lentils and carrots are tender and the meatballs are cooked through. Taste, and add more salt and/or pepper as needed. If the soup tastes weak, uncover and cook over medium heat for 10 more minutes.

Ladle the soup into mugs or bowls, sprinkle with either or both the parsley and Parmigiano-Reggiano, and serve.

recipe adapted from the Washington Post

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vietn-rice-soup

Last week, DC was grey and rainy which is perfect soup weather. When I saw this recipe in Bon Appétit’s October issue, I immediately decided to try it.  It was exactly as described: “a [flavorful] porridge-y, comforting soup”. Yum!

Ingredients

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 4×4 piece of dried combo
1 2″ piece ginger, peeled and crushed
3 star anise pods
1 2″ cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup glutinous (sticky) rice or sushi rice, rinsed
1 Tbsp or more fish sauce
1 tsp palm or light brown sugar
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup thinly sliced white onion

Preparation

Bring chicken, comb, ginger, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, stock and 2 cups of water to a simmer in a large pot over medium heat.  Reduce heat to maintain a lower simmer and cook until chicken is tender.  Transfer chicken to a plate.

Strain broth through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl.  Discard solids. Return broth to pot and add rice, fish sauce, and palm sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook until rice is very tender, 18-20 minutes. Shred chicken and return to pot.  Season soup with more fish sauce.

Divide soup among bowls; top with scallion, jalapeño, cilantro and onion.  (as you can see, I only went for the cilantro.  my husband added pickled jalapeños, cilantro and scallion to his but it disappeared before I was able to take a photo!)

recipe via Bon Appétit

 

 

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haikan

Haikan, the latest ramen joint from the Daikaya folks, has finally opened at 805 V St, NW in Shaw/U St.  It’s been open around two weeks and my husband has already been twice. It’s going to be his local spot and his reviews are favorable. Which means it’s amazing.  He’s a tough critic.  It’s open for lunch (right now) Friday-Sunday from 12-3 and for dinner 5-10:30.

ramenThis is the Shoyu ramen with extra noodles and corn.  There’s not 2 pictures because unfortunately, there’s no gluten free ramen at Haikan.  I know I can’t expect every restaurant to offer a gluten free options but I’m bummed.  I love ramen.  The dinner menu has a few offerings I could enjoy but it looks like Haikan is not going to be a regular haunt for me. However, that shouldn’t stop you from checking it out!

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broccoli salad

This salad seems simple but the layers of crunchy vegetables, the heat from the fresno chile and the refreshing flavor of mint makes it complex.  I’ve been making this non-stop since I discovered the recipe in Bon Appétit.  The original recipe has cracked farro but I’m gluten free these days (not by choice, trust me) so I subbed rice.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup cooked and cooled jasmine rice
Kosher salt
1 large egg yolk
3 drained oil-packed anchovy fillets
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, peeled, divided
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 head of broccoli, stem peeled and trimmed, very thinly sliced lengthwise on a mandoline
1 Persian cucumber, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 Fresno chiles, thinly sliced
1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 cup mint leaves
5 radishes, thinly sliced
2 ounces young Pecorino, shaved

PREPARATION

Blend egg yolk, anchovies, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, mustard, and 1 garlic clove in a blender to combine. With motor running, gradually stream in vegetable oil and 4 Tbsp. olive oil and blend until dressing is emulsified and creamy, then add oregano. Season dressing with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss broccoli and remaining 2 Tbsp. of olive oil.  Add cucumber, chile, sun-dried tomatoes and rice.  Drizzle with 1/4 cup of dressing and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper and add more dressing if desired.  Add mint and toss again.

Serve salad topped with radishes and Pecorino.

 

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breakfast-bites

Spring has sprung and the season for guests is upon us.  I love when friends and family visit because it’s an opportunity to make something new.  Last weekend, I made breakfast bites with sriracha, eggs, bacon and hash browns.  This recipe has been making the rounds on the internet and I first saw it on Designlovefest.  I adapted mine to the tastes of my guests who like things spicy.  Enjoy!

ingredients:
• 8 eggs
• 1/2 package of hash browns
• 1/2 lb of bacon cooked and chopped
• 3 tablespoons pepper jack cheese
• salt and pepper to taste
• sriracha
• half a cup shredded manchego cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. I used a muffin tin to make these. Generously coat with cooking spray.  In a medium sized bowl, mix the shredded manchego cheese with the hash browns. Fill the muffin tins with the shredded potato mixture and create craters with your fingers. Place the muffin tin in the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

In a large bowl, whisk the 8 eggs together with finely chopped bacon, salt and pepper and pepper jack cheese.  Once the hash brown cups have finished baking, add egg mixture.  Place a dollop of sriracha in the center of each “muffin”. Continue to bake 10-15 minutes or until eggs have fully cooked.

Cool for 5 minutes before removing from the muffin tin.  Add another dollop of sriracha as garnish then serve.

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miami-sailboatsAfter finally getting back to the US, my husband and I were stuck in Miami for four days.  I know..my life is full of hardship. While DC was being buried in snow, I was strolling around Miami enjoying more sand and sun.

standard-pool

I used the Hotel Tonight app to book us at The Standard. I loved the pool and the spa but the room was tiny and loud. Most of the time, you’re in Miami for sun and fun so tiny and loud doesn’t matter. Since we were stuck, it didn’t go over as well.  Would I stay there again?  Yes. Would my husband?  Absolutely not.

miami-palm-treesThe last day we were in Miami, it was 75 and sunny and we spent the day at The Standard pool. When we arrived, it was 50.  50 equals freezing in Miami and it definitely wasn’t beach or pool weather. On Monday, we spent the day exploring Miami’s Design District.  We saw a lot of great street art and explored the Design District’s high end clothing and furniture shops.

Miami’s food scene continues to evolve and we had a lot of good meals.  We had kick ass Cuban food at Las Olas. It’s a dive but there’s always a line of locals. The pulled pork and plantains were amazing and it was my favorite meal of our visit. We also ate at the Market at Edition, Milos, Sardinia Enoteca, Salumeria 104, and Yardbird. Not one of these meals was bad and I highly recommend any of these places.

Overall, Miami wasn’t a bad place to get stuck for a couple of days. However, I was happy to get back to DC.  Snow aside, it’s always nice to come home.

 

 

 

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smores cookies

smores-cookiesLast night, I hosted a Dirty Santa party for a few of my friends.  We had a spirited gift exchange (these ladies aren’t afraid to steal a present!) and enjoyed a hearty chicken, white bean and green chili stew.  The highlight of these gatherings is always the dessert. This time I made a flourless chocolate cookie with a gooey marshmallow on top. It tastes exactly like a smore and they are divine.  Enjoy!

smores cookies

ingredients

3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp espresso powder
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
18 large marshmallows
1 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (optional)

instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa. Stir in the cornstarch, espresso powder, salt and cinnamon until well combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg whites and egg until light in color and completely scrambled. Stir into the dry ingredients until combined. At first it will seem like there isn’t enough liquid – keep stirring and folding together until a thick batter forms. Stir in the vanilla and fold in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter in heaping tablespoons – it will be gloppy – onto a silpat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet, about 2-inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes, until the cookies begin to puff and crackle, then top each cookie with a marshmallow, and continue baking for another 4-6 minutes, until the marshmallows have puffed/melted and the cookies are set around the edges.

Remove from the oven and let cool and firm up on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped chocolate, if using. Transfer to baking racks to cool completely. Serve warm (and gooey)! These cookies are best eaten the day of, and will dry out quickly – Keep in an air-tight container.

recipe via style me pretty home

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