Posts tagged ‘Washington’

August 26, 2014

Union Market, Washington, DC

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If I lived in DC I’d go to Union Market once a week and stock up on stuff and eat, a lot. During our 4 day stay in the capital city, we were lucky enough to have our hip, cool cousin show us around a bit. On our last day we ventured over to the Union Market. I was told it was a must see before we left the city. Kind of like an indoor Brooklyn Flea without the vintage wares, Union Market was uber cool and full of delicious bits to see and enjoy.

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Here’s a little look at what was inside…

The Righteous Cheese people. Isn’t this the coolest sign ever?! They had a wonderful assortment of artisanal cheeses. Check out their site to see why they’re Righteous. They offer gift baskets and cheese trays and they also have a cheese blog and newsletter. Hail to the cheese people!!!

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Bountiful fresh produce and flowers, and the most unbelievable breads. I was kicking myself that I didn’t buy a few loaves of these rustic beauties to bring home. Low carb, no carb, blah blah blah – this is not the place. Just look at that bread! Nom nom nom!

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It was a split decision on where to have lunch. Alan and I opted for bagels & lox from Buffalo Bergen and our daughter picked a muffaletta from Red Apron. Buffalo & Bergen had a New York City old-fashioned soda shop feel. I had to try their rhubarb soda and Alan had a real vanilla cream soda. I assume this is how they made them in the “old days,” with heavy cream… back when folks weren’t calorie conscious and enjoyed the finer things in life with reckless abandon. It was delicious!

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The Red Apron is a hot spot in DC these days. Looking for killer charcuterie? They have it! Check out the muffaletta. Perfectly crispy bread, gooey with cheese, chopped olives and Red Apron’s own meats. I stole a bite and it was great.

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There was a small stand with a wonderful assortment of spices. I regret leaving without some new spices more than the miss on picking up some bread. They had lots of unusual blends. The Za’atar caught my eye, I love this Middle Eastern mix. I generally make it myself (here’s link to my recipe), but theirs looked awesome! I liked how most of the spices were in these little plastic bags. I fill my spice jars at home and the little bags make for easy storing of extras. If you’re looking for a great way organize your spices, here’s my trick.

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Desserts! We picked up a couple of cupcakes to go from Curbside Cupcakes… delicious! Look at the pretty sweets from Curbside below. Unfortunately, as often happens with foods I want to photograph, the cupcakes were eaten before I could snap a picture. There was also a fancy chocolate vendor and of course, gelato from Dolcezza Gelato. I picked dark chocolate and pistachio, yum.

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One of the things that I love about these city style markets are the giftables. Each vendor sells something unique and personal that is perfect to give as a special gift. I always love all the packaging, too. In addition, they had a knife vendor selling all kinds of cutlery and they also did professional knife sharpening. Very cool.

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I see another trip to Washington in my future and next time I will be prepared with a cooler and my reusable shopping bags in hand. Minus the humidity, Washington is such a great city. The Union Market is like a hipster style market in the middle of our nation’s capital. When we were leaving, they were setting up for a beer festival outside. Really? I need to live here. Awesome!

August 15, 2012

French Onion Soup a la Julia

Happy 100th Birthday Julia!

Last summer we visited The National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.  I was thrilled to find they have a permanent exhibit of Julia Child’s kitchen. Donated by Julia herself in 2001, the exhibit features her actual kitchen including her six-burner Garland range, a wall of her copper cookware, even her kitchen table.  It brought back so many memories of watching her show with my parents. Julia was the quintessential culinary goddess. Never will we have a chef with such unparalleled enthusiasm in the kitchen. To quote, “The best way to execute French cooking is to get good and loaded and whack the hell out of a chicken. Bon appétit.” I wonder if food TV would be the same today if there wasn’t a Julia…

Julia’s Kitchen at The National Museum of American History

If there was one recipe that compelled me to buy my own copy of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, it would be her French Onion Soup. I could have borrowed my mother’s worn copy with all of my childhood crayon scribbles, drip marks and stains but I needed my own copy. I remember sitting with my mother while she cooked when I was very little. She’d ask me if I wanted to help her in the kitchen – I’d say yes and then proceed to color in her cookbooks. Mastering was the book she was always using, so alas, it got the most abuse from me. I’ve adapted this recipe from the Master herself.

French Onion Soup à la Julia

If you have ever carmelized onions, you know that to do it right takes at least 30-45 minutes. I hate to see a recipe that says carmelizing onions takes only 15 minutes. It’s not possible! To make this soup, you’ll need patience and at least two hours to reach full deliciousness.

INGREDIENTS (Makes a lot of soup, I guess 6-8 servings)

  • 7 medium/large yellow onions, halved and sliced (not too thin) into 1/2 moons (about 12 cups)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 10 cups beef stock
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 4 tbsp cognac
  • 2 cups shredded swiss cheese (who knew you were suppose to use Swiss?)
  • Parmesan for sprinkling
  • Garlic croutes

Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat and add the butter and oil. Once the butter is melted, add the onions and cook, covered over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring periodically. I know it seems like a lot of onions, but they shrink down to nothing.

Uncover and sprinkle with the sugar and salt. Raise heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently for about 30-40 minutes until evenly golden. You don’t want the onions to burn, so watch your heat.

Sprinkle with the flour and stir continuously for a couple of minutes. Pour in the stock and wine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, partially covered for 30 minutes longer. You can skim off any foam that forms on the top of the soup as you go. Add the cognac, stir and taste for reseasoning – viola! It’s done!

Garlic Croutes

HOW TO MAKE GARLIC CROUTES

  • 1 baguette, hearty slices
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lay slices of baguette in a single layer on a sheet pan. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until crisp. Remove from the oven and rub each slice lightly with the halved garlic clove, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.

PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

Ladle the soup into oven safe bowls. Float a croute in each bowl, top with shredded swiss cheese and sprinkle with parmesan. Place bowls under the broiler (watching carefully) for a quick minute or two until the cheese becomes bubbly. Enjoy!

BEYOND AMAZING FRENCH ONION SOUP!

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