Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ravens Virtual Food Drive

As the Ravens and their fans celebrate an exciting season, the Maryland Food Bank is offering yet another reason to join the winning team.
“The Baltimore Ravens are once again helping to end hunger in Maryland,” said Deborah Flateman, CEO of the Maryland Food Bank. “Not only are they hosting a food drive at their Nov. 20 game, they’re also sponsoring an online (or virtual) food drive that offers healthy food choices at great prices. Additionally, each Ravens food drive donor who donates $10 worth of food or more will be entered into a raffle with the chance to win two tickets to see the Ravens play the Colts in December. We can’t think of a better win for purple fans who are also champions for the hungry.”
A partial list at some of the food items donors can provide include
  • Twenty-four, 15 oz. cans of green beans for $11.16
  • Twenty-four, five oz. cans of tuna packed in water for $29.65
  • Twenty-four, 15 oz. cans of carrots for $8.75
  • Twenty-four, four oz. cans of peaches for $8.00
  • Twenty-four, 15 oz. cans of whole white potatoes for $10.95
A recent study found that more than 460,000 Marylanders are food-insecure or hungry. Forty-five percent of them do not qualify for any type of federal food assistance programs because their incomes are deemed “too high.”
“The Maryland Food Bank recognizes that even though Maryland is wealthy compared to other states, the cost of living is high and, more people are hungry than ever before. Even though we provided more than 18 million meals last year— the hunger gap continues to widen. We have more work to do and we need your help,” said Flateman.
The Ravens Virtual Food Drive may be found at The drive ends Monday, Nov. 21 at which time a winner of the raffle will be chosen.

Posted by theminx on

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tequila Mockingbird

Ocean City, Maryland, is hardly a foodie destination, and we're ok with that. Most trips, we end up eating pretty decent pizza at Lombardi's, tender ribs from J.R.'s, and terrific sushi at Yokozuna. If we're there more than three nights, another restaurant has to enter the rotation, and occasionally it's Tequila Mockingbird. Every time we go there, I think it's a terrific idea, and every time we leave I think, "why did I eat that?"

Not that the food is bad. It's not bad. It's just...bland. But that doesn't seem to keep anyone away. Seems like every time we've eaten there, there's been a small hoard of people at the front of the restaurant, waiting for a table. I don't really get it.

Ok, maybe I get going there for a margarita and some chips and salsa, which always seem freshly made. The chips were warm and un-greasy, and completely unsalted on our most recent visit. (That's fine - I prefer my tortilla chips unsalted.) The salsa also seemed underseasoned, but otherwise had the standard mix of tomatoes, onions, and cilantro.

After perusing the pun-heavy menu, which is divided into sections like "Chimi Chimi Bang Bang," "Gone with the Taco," and "Love American Style," you know, the usual suspects (see what I did there?), I ordered the "Tijuana Triple," a typical Tex-Mex platter of excess including a mini shrimp quesadilla, a chicken hard taco, and a cheese enchilada, plus arroz verde and refried beans. Pretty standard fare that can be made at home quite easily, with or without the help of Old El Paso. How could it go wrong? Well, not wrong, per se. Just horribly...uninteresting. The chunks of chicken breast in the taco were not only boneless and skinless but also completely devoid of seasoning and flavor. They were also slightly tough, but that was expected. Topping the meat were some unseasoned bits of tomato and onion and shredded lettuce. More of this bland vegetation topped the cheese enchilada, which was orange goo wrapped in a corn tortilla. The enchilada sauce had slopped off to the side and was killing the crispness of the quesadilla, which was filled with - you guessed it - more of the tomato/onion blandness. The small shrimps hiding in the cheese were pretty tasty though, adding a modicum of flavor to an otherwise snooze-worthy plate that also included underseasoned arroz verde and gummy refried beans.

After eating as much as I could stomach, I went back to the chips and salsa. After the blandness of my dinner, I could detect that the salsa *did* have seasoning - maybe a bit of vinegar. Perhaps even salt.

Mr Minx fared much better. He wisely ordered beef as the filling for his chimichanga, and found it to be nicely seasoned with a bit of cumin and other spices. It was actually flavorful. Unfortunately, it came with the same boring beans and rice, and more completely unnecessary tomato/onion/shredded iceberg.

My camera phone sadly doesn't have a flash. My dish came out blurry,
but that's fine - it looked like a mess anyway.
We washed down our food with glasses of sangria, which tasted heavily of cinnamon. It reminded me of the Korean persimmon- and cinnamon-flavored dessert beverage, sujung gwa. I probably should have ordered a margarita. was edible. Everything seemed fresh, and it was fine for folks who don't like spicy or flavorful food, I suppose. Really quite a let-down after eating some really good Mexican chow at Miguel's recently. I did notice that we were possibly the youngest customers in the dining room, and that might have been the reason for the "taco night at the nursing home" quality of the meal. But then the place has a captive audience, as do the rest of OC's restaurants that don't seem to try very hard.

Sadly, eating at Tequila Mockingbird gave me this thought: Ocean City could use a Chili's.

Tequila Mockingbird
12919 Coastal Hwy
Ocean City, MD 21842
(410) 250-4424

Tequila Mockingbird on Urbanspoon

Posted by theminx on

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Healthy" Lasagna

Mr Minx and I recently spent a long weekend in Ocean City, Maryland. If you've ever been there, you know it's not exactly a gourmet haven, what with the preponderance of pizza joints and bars, many of which were closed in the off-season. We didn't want to cook our dinners on the two-burner cooktop in our room (I don't know how anyone can stand to cook with electric on a regular basis) or eat only salads when we went out, so we didn't end up consuming a whole lot of vegetables. Unless, of course, you consider french fries a vegetable. Or salsa.

Back in Baltimore, I went a little crazy in Wegman's produce department. And the fresh whole wheat pasta sheets called to me - veggie lasagna seemed like a good way to have a nice dinner and get our greens, too. Rather than going whole-hog with cheese and cream and all that good stuff, I made a very low-fat bechamel and used part-skim cheese. Honestly, we didn't miss the fat at all.

"Healthy" Spinach Lasagna

Spinach Filling
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek, rinsed well and chopped
1/2 lb mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 lbs frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
salt, pepper, and nutmeg

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add leek and mushrooms and a pinch of salt and sauté until leeks are tender and mushrooms have given up all of their liquid, about 15 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Add spinach, and season with salt, pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg to taste.

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1.5 cups 1% milk
salt, pepper, and nutmeg
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and add flour, stirring well, until flour is completely incorporated. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 2-3 minutes, to cook flour. Slowly whisk in milk. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Once sauce has thickened, stir in salt, pepper, nutmeg, and grated cheese. Set aside.

To assemble lasagna:
1 12.5 oz package fresh whole wheat lasagna sheets, cooked according to package directions and drained
1 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Preheat oven to 400F.

Spread 2 tablespoons of bechamel on the bottom of a 9" square baking dish. Top with a lasagna sheet, trimming excess from long end and adding it to fill the gap on the short side. Spread on more bechamel, then add several tablespoons of spinach filling and a sprinkling of both mozzarella cheese and walnuts. Continue layering in this manner until all of the spinach filling is used up. Top with a final layer of pasta, bechamel, and mozzarella.

Bake until top is bubbly and brown, 20-30 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Note: I think this dish could go Greek very nicely if some fresh mint is added to the spinach filling and feta cheese is used in place of most or all of the mozzarella.

Posted by theminx on

Monday, October 24, 2011


When Mr Minx and I go to Ocean City, we always make a point to stop at Yokozuna for some terrific sushi. Despite its location in the somewhat cheesy Gold Coast Mall, Yokozuna is an oasis away from the Boardwalk fries, greasy pizza, and drunken teenagers that make up much of the OC experience. An especially nice touch is the faux-shoji screen treatment on the windows, which completely blocks the view of any ugly-shorts tourists in Big Pecker t-shirts buying hermit crabs in the mall.

We usually start out with bowls of miso soup and go on to sushi, but this time we also tried the okonomiyaki, a pancake with vegetables and seafood. It was full of shrimp and shredded cabbage, plus a nice dose of fresh ginger, and topped with a mayonnaise sauce and bonito flakes. The texture was somewhere between a pancake and an omelette, and completely delicious. More, please.

We also enjoyed some very fresh nigiri sushi with salmon, "white tuna" (escolar), and tuna, plus two rolls: the "Princess Di" (Avocado, tamago & sushi rice, wrapped in soy paper, lightly fried & topped with shrimp tempura, orange tobiko & spicy mayo); and a special of the evening called the "Skydiver" with soft shell crab, avocado, eel, and scallions. The former was rather like a spring roll, and served quite warm. The latter was very rich, and the soft eel and crisp soft shell made for an interesting play of textures.

While we have always found all of the seafood to be impeccably fresh and delicious, not to be missed is the chocolate Kahlua cake, served warm with whipped cream and fresh fruit. It's especially tasty with a scoop of green tea ice cream.

Yokozuna Restaurant
11403 Coastal Hwy
Ocean City, MD 21842
(410) 524-7412

Yokozuna Restaurant on Urbanspoon
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Flashback Friday 10.21.11

This post was originally published on June 5, 2007.

Frittering Away the Time

After making drunken noodles over the weekend, I had about 6 ounces of crabmeat left over. I had originally thought a crab salad would be a good idea, then realized it would not be enough for two people. Remembering a shrimp cocktail I once had in London that was an odd combination of shrimp, corn kernels, and a close relative of Thousand Island dressing, I thought that adding some corn to the crab salad might work to bulk it up. But then something in the recesses of my mind whispered "fritters" to me. More accurately, it said, "placki."
Growing up in a Polish household, I ate a helluva lot of placki (pronounced "plotsky") in my day, mostly potato, but sometimes corn. Once in a while Grandma felt adventurous and made asparagus placki, using that nasty metallic-tasting mush from a can. (That was the only asparagus I was familiar with, so at the time it wasn't so weird. And the placki were actually pretty good.) Why wouldn't corn and crab placki work?

I did a brief search of the Web and found that the two ingredients seemed to be made for each other, as there were dozens of fritter recipes. I borrowed heavily from a couple of them to create these:

Corn, Crab, and Coriander Fritters
1 cup corn kernels, thawed and well-drained if frozen
6 oz crab meat
3 scallions, white and green parts chopped fine
3 tblsp cilantro, chopped fine
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
Salt & pepper to taste
oil or nonstick cooking spray

Whisk together eggs, flour, baking powder, and milk until smooth. Add remaining ingredients except crab and oil and mix well. Fold in crabmeat. Set batter aside for about half an hour to rest.

I used a pancake griddle sprayed with Pam, but you can use a skillet with oil, if you prefer. Dollop the batter on and spread slightly with back of spoon to form approximately 4" flat rounds. Cook until browned on bottom, then flip to brown other side, pressing down with spatula to flatten more, if necessary. As they become cooked, transfer fritters to a plate and keep warm by covering with aluminum foil.

Serve hot with Sriracha, sweet soy, or plain. Garnish with additional chopped cilantro and scallions, if desired.

Makes 12 fritters.

Posted by theminx on

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Choice Bites 10.20.11

Playboy's got a new interview with Anthony Bourdain in which he discusses Haiti, celebrity chefs, and makes some interesting insinuations about Ronald McDonald.To save you the trouble of rifling through pages of T&A, it's also online.

Eater has another interesting interview with Christina Tosi, of Momofuku Milk Bar. Her first cookbook is coming out next week, and I, for one, am interested in getting my hands on a copy.

Guy Fieri - nice guy, or douchebag? I've always gone with the latter, and after reading this article, I stand by my opinion.

Serious Eats is a site I check literally every day. It's full of good food-related stuff. And just in time for Halloween, they have an article on pumpkin-carving. Props also to their chat board, which is full of ordinary people talking food. No elitist super-food-snobs there. ...well, not many.

Hopefully it will soon be cool enough to eat soup on a daily basis. Here are eight delicious-sounding recipes from super-chef Marcus Samuelsson. I particularly want to try the carrot with star anise.'s short-lived food section seems to have disappeared, but Francis Lam is still cranking out some interesting stuff for Gilt Taste.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Kitchen of India

Most Indian restaurants in the area serve extremely rich, cream-laden food that we find ourselves craving only once or twice a year. After a disappointing meal with abysmal service at India Palace in Cockeysville, and a worse one at Café Spice when it was still in Towson, we pretty much swore off dining in Indian restaurants altogether. For a few years, we got our Indian fix via delivery from the little joint just south of Northern Parkway that started out as Yeti, morphed into B'More and is now Mikie's. But this week we ventured out to try Kitchen of India, at my brother's suggestion.

Located on Joppa Road near Perring Parkway, Kitchen of India is in the space once occupied by the Nepali/Indian Mount Everest. The new restaurant features pretty much all of the typical dishes, but also has a few Bangladeshi offerings. And goat, which I can't say I've seen on any menus here in Baltimore before. It seemed like a good choice for a rainy Wednesday night dinner.

After perusing the menu, we decided we wanted to sample their tandoori dishes, and rather than ordering the "mixed tandoori platter" appetizer, I requested the "tandoori mixed grill" entrée which offered chicken tikka, shrimp, fish, seekh kabab, & tandoori chicken. I even made sure to order it by number in case the waitress didn't understand. Unfortunately, I also said, "we'd like it served first, as an appetizer." Apparently all she heard was "tandoori appetizer" and that's what we got - a meagre selection of dry chicken pieces, a few chunks of nicely spiced seekh kabab, and a few dry shrimp among a plethora of lightly cooked green bell pepper and onion. Feh.

My brother went for his usual chicken tikka masala, his gauge for restaurant quality much like Mr Minx's usual kung pao chicken order in a Chinese restaurant. In other words - if they like this particular dish, they're likely to enjoy others, should they venture to try something completely different.

That's a pretty good way to describe Kitchen of India's tikka masala - completely different. Used to a rich tomato-tinged cream sauce, we were all pleasantly surprised to receive a dish of chicken chunks sauced in what tasted, to me, suspiciously of pumpkin. Regardless of what comprised the sauce, the flavors were quite nice, with a bit of heat.

Mr Minx tried the goat curry and received a dish of tender chunks of goat meat bathed in a sauce redolent of cloves.

I'm a big okra fan so couldn't pass up the bhindi masala, a dry fry of okra with browned onions. It had a rich, buttery flavor and was smashing with basmati rice.

With our meal we had cups of tea - what must have been the world's strongest chai. It was practically espresso. The black tea flavor was much more prominent than were the spices, and while rich with cream, the drink needed several sugars to cut the tannin. When we were finished eating, the waitress removed Mr Minx's half-full cup by mistake, leaving my brother's empty one behind. I suggested he ask for a fresh cup, but he demurred. I secretly think he was relieved he didn't have to finish the first one.

So...Kitchen of India is a mixed bag. The goat, okra, and chicken entrées were all quite good, as was the accompanying basmati rice and the naan we ordered. The service was a little shaky though. Not only did the order get mixed up and the tea removed early, but also the check was placed on the table while my brother was still eating. But...what we ate was interesting enough that we'd go back for more.

Kitchen of India
1842 E Joppa Rd
Parkville, MD 21234
(410) 663-6880

Kitchen of India on Urbanspoon

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Foodie Book Review - The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken

The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken: A Search for Food and Family
Laura Schenone

The desire to reinstate an old family tradition of making ravioli for Christmas, something her immigrant grandmother, Adalgiza, did faithfully for years, takes author Laura Schenone from suburban New Jersey to Italy and back again. Several times. Not satisfied with the family recipe, which had a nontraditional raw meat component and the very American addition of Philadelphia Brand cream cheese, Ms Schenone decided she needed to know the true Italian recipe, what it must have been before her family reached these shores. Through her journey, in addition to picking up lots of experience in ravioli-making, Schenone comes to realizations about both herself and her family. While well-written and interesting, particularly the parts about learning technique in Genoa, there are parts of the tale involving her family (a holy roller sister, drama with some of her father's relatives) that don't seem to further her story and were a bit TMI-ish for me.

The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken is a bittersweet tale that, overall, was quite enjoyable. But then I love reading books about food and the people who eat it. While my tastes usually run to chef bios or tales involving Asia and its many cuisines, I felt a connection to Ms Schenone and her story. I envy her, that she had such a large family and relatives who were willing to share the food knowledge that had been passed down to them from their immigrant ancestors. My own maternal family was pretty small - just my grandparents, three aunts and an uncle, and three cousins. As far as I know, only the three cousins are still around, but we are estranged for reasons that I could not begin to explain (as I don't know them myself). I was too young to think to watch Grandma cook when she was still active in the kitchen, and once I had an interest in food, it was too late. In any case, my grandmother's recipes are long gone, with no one around to help me recreate them.

And since I have few of my own familial recipes to share, allow me to share one from someone else's background. While Schenone was in Italy, she encountered a type of stamped pasta called corzetti. As I read about it, I realized I had purchased a bag at Eataly the last time I was in New York. The classic saucing for this pasta is a type of loose pesto made with fresh herbs, olive oil, and pine nuts, and it was a delicious way to use up the last few herbs that were still growing in our porch garden. And much easier than making ravioli from scratch. :)

Corzetti with Fresh Herbs

8 ounces of corzetti pasta (or bowties, or similar flattened shape)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 minced shallot
2 cloves minced garlic
4 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1 cup, loosely packed, chopped herbs (parsley, basil, mint)
salt and pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a sauté pan and cook shallot and garlic very slowly over low heat until the oil is infused with flavor and the vegetables begin to brown slightly. Add pine nuts and herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. When corzetti are done, remove them from the pot of cooking water with a slotted spoon and place them into the sauté pan. Toss with sauce. If they seem a little dry, add a tiny bit of the pasta cooking water.

Serve with lots of grated Parmesan cheese.

Posted by theminx on

Monday, October 17, 2011

Woodberry Kitchen

Like Cindy Wolf's Charleston, Spike Gjerde's Woodberry Kitchen is touted by both local food press and foodies alike. When I read such effusive praise, I'm always very skeptical, especially since we weren't at all impressed by the one visit we paid to Charleston. We had managed to avoid dining at Woodberry Kitchen for almost four years, but thought maybe it was high time to give in to the hype.

One of the main reasons we've never eaten at Woodberry Kitchen is that every time we check the online menu, we're not tempted by any of the offerings. They all sound so boring and plain and homey. If we want chicken and dumplings or a pork chop, we're perfectly capable of doing that in our own kitchen. And if we do go out and pay $28 for chicken and biscuits, well, the thing better be singing and dancing, I don't care how local/sustainable/free range/spoon fed it is. As it happened, Mr Minx and I were looking for a place in which to celebrate our 11th anniversary. A glance at Woodberry Kitchen's online menu revealed some items we might actually be into trying, so I made a reservation. Unfortunately, by the time October 7th rolled around, the menu was once more full of ho-hum selections. We went anyway.

The restaurant itself is set in one of the many old mill buildings that line the Jones Falls in the Hampden area of Baltimore City. With exposed brick, wooden tables, and plaid-clad servers, the place tries hard to evoke a feeling of modern rusticity. Kind of like the joints run by the bearded, pickle-making hipsters in Brooklyn who have already become a modern stereotype mocked by food critics. There's nothing else quite like Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore, though, so we've fallen for the image.

Not us, however.

If there's a bad table to be had in a restaurant, it's almost guaranteed that Mr Minx and I will get it. Maybe our preference to dine early gets us labeled as middle-aged or elderly rubes who won't appreciate the place and don't deserve a quieter or less-trafficked table. At Woodberry Kitchen, we clearly got the worst table in the house - a tiny one on the second floor, next to the service counter, where we were treated to the sight of servers slicing bread and packing up leftovers for two-and-one-half hours. Over my right shoulder, I could see particulate matter in the air coming from the fryers and the wood oven beneath us, and I knew that when we left the restaurant we'd be reeking of food odors. Immediately to our right, in our peripheral vision, was a line of round paper lantern-style light fixtures suspended from the ceiling. As the evening grew darker, these lights grew to have the effect of a bare lightbulb suspended from a basement ceiling. And strangely, as it got darker outside, the lights dimmed more and more until eventually we were sitting in the shadows.

It took us a while to decide what to eat. Between the stink of the fryers and the din of the music, I was irritated. Eventually, though, we were able to select a few items that seemed interesting. Because we expected small portions, we ordered both a flatbread and the "butcher's board" for starters, along with an order of wood-roasted okra.

The okra came out first. It was not a dish to convert okra-haters, those pussies who whine about the vegetable's delightfully mucilaginous texture. To me, it's more creamy than slimy, and what's more, okra tastes wonderful. WK's okra was still crisp and crunchy, with flavorful spots of char here and there, and made a good start to our meal.

Wood-roasted Richfield heirloom okra, pickled fish peppers
Soon afterward, we received the "foraged" mushroom flatbread. I don't know if the foraging was done in the wild or at the farmer's market, but the pizza-like creation was sublime. The crust was perfect - thin and chewy, the mushrooms nice and roasty, and the cabbage surprising. Forget Woodberry Kitchen - Spike Gjerde needs to open a pizza parlor. Looking down onto all of the many flatbreads arrayed on tables below our perch is all the evidence I need to declare Spike's Pizza a rousing success. (One party of six monopolized a table for about as long as we did. They ordered one dish of popcorn, some cheese and crackers, and five out of six "entrees" were $15 flatbreads. I think our dinner for two cost more than theirs.)

 Foraged mushrooms, savoy cabbage, onion, goat's cheese
With the flatbread came the WK Butcher's Board, a long plank topped with an arrangement of cured meat products. While a nice presentation, the board was longer than the table was wide, so part of it hung out over the edge of the table. The portion was generous, probably better for a party of four to share than a party of two. All of the meats were quite tasty, and I especially enjoyed the head cheese and the air-dried beef, which had a flavor reminiscent of pepperoni. The house-made pretzel sticks and pickles were also quite good.

 WK Butcher's Board - cured pork neck, black ham, pork belly, air-dried beef,
pretzels, head cheese, apricot jam, pickles, brown mustard, and assorted crackery things
Considering that the flatbread and Butcher's Board were so large, I'm rather surprised that our server didn't say anything when we also ordered entrées. Considering how long it took for our entrées to arrive, we probably could have cancelled the order. (Guess they had to kill the cow.)

I ate less than half of my Kitchen Burger and about three of the fries because I wanted to save room for dessert. The burger was fine, I suppose. Cooked perfectly to medium, the meat was juicy, but like most beef these days, it didn't taste particularly beefy. I loved the squishy sesame seed-topped bun though, which was toasted and buttered. The fries were also very good - crisp outside and soft within, like fries should be.

Kitchen Burger - house-ground chuck, lettuce, onion & pickles, fries/ raw cheddar
Mr Minx ordered steak because he was hungry and was surprised at both the generous amount of vegetables and the small amount of steak on the plate. The steak was tender, with a nicely seasoned crust, but the aggressively spicy padron pepper sauce underneath everything killed the flavor of the meat, which didn't have much of the expected "nutty" or "buttery" qualities customary to dry-aged beef.

 Liberty Delight dry-aged tavern steak - fried potatoes, green beans, tomato, padron pepper sauce
We also shared a side dish of underseasoned, slightly sandy chard.

For dessert, Mr Minx went for the C.M.P., an item touted as the "best thing he ever ate," by Charm City Cakes' Duff Goldman. The bruléed marshmallow sauce on the top was a nice touch, but it made me fear for my dental work. The hubby, on the other hand, loved it.

C.M.P.  - malt ice cream, chocolate sauce, marshmallow fluff, wet peanuts
I had a sundae as well, the "Big Whoop," consisting of pumpkin ice cream layered with a pumpkin whoopie pie, candied pecans, and bourbon caramel. I expect whoopie pies to be soft, but this one had a bit of a crunchy crust. Crunchier still were the candied pecans, both of which lent nice contrast to the melty ice cream. I loved it. (No picture, because by the time dessert arrived, it was so dark on the 2nd floor, the only parts of the sundae visible in the photos I took were the bright blobs of ice cream.)

So while the faux-rustic surroundings, poor lighting, and incredible din were less-than-pleasing to us, I have to admit that the food was pretty darn good. Hype-worthy? Maybe not. But Woodberry Kitchen is certainly busy enough not to need my opinion one way or the other to be successful. Just ask Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff, who scored a much better table than we did.

Woodberry Kitchen
2010 Clipper Park Rd
Baltimore, MD 21211
(410) 464-8000

Woodberry Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Posted by theminx on

Friday, October 14, 2011

Flashback Friday 10.14.2011

This post is from August 21st, 2008

Doggie Bags

After reading Elizabeth Large's blog post about doggie bags today, I thought I'd make my own post on the subject.

I don't understand why some people are embarrassed to take their leftovers home. Why? They are paid for and would otherwise be thrown away. I think that's very wasteful.

Now, if all you leave behind is three french fries and some discarded iceberg lettuce from your burger, ok. But if you have a pile of fries left - take them home! They make great home fries. I chop them up and put them in a sauté pan with some chopped onion. The fries are greasy, so there's really no need to add additional oil. I add spices (cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, nigella seeds) and sometimes sesame seeds, and cook on low heat until everything gets dark and crispy. Much better than the usually-lousy hash browns one gets in a restaurant (or "hash whites" as my Dad referred to them after a recent Grand Slam breakfast at Denny's).

There's always extra Chinese food to be brought home, particularly when we order enough to feed an army. We've even brought home extra dim sum dumplings. After a couple of days in the fridge, everything gets plopped into the same pan to create a new dish - General Tso's Hunan lamb, perhaps - and our rice cooker is employed for the starch.

A trip to the diner offers lots of leftover possibilities. After one eats the salad or soup and two veg, how is there room for that strip steak and the stuffed shrimp? There isn't, so the protein often ends up in a styrofoam box, to be turned into a salad topping or pasta sauce ingredient later in the week.

I think the biggest leftover haul I was ever responsible for happened in Orlando, after dinner at Emeril's. I wanted to try *everything* on that menu - appetizer, soup, salad, entree, AND dessert. (Once upon a time, I was a HUGE Emeril fan, but that's a whole other story.) So my friend LaRaine and I did. This was 9 years ago now, but I do remember us ordering the calamari with olive salad and one other appetizer, the three nut-crusted goat cheese salad with Andouille sausage dressing, the tomato stacked salad, a bowl each of turtle soup and gumbo, the "study of duck" that had foie gras, duck breast, and confit, and half a roast chicken with southern cooked greens. We ate the salads and soups and a couple of bites of the appetizers and entrees and took the rest to our condo. One day we warmed up some food for lunch, and another day had the leftovers for dinner. I put the confit in the freezer to take to my then-fiancé, Mr Minx, who I know loved duck and had never tasted confit. We packed it in a cooler full of ice for the two-day drive home, and I'm happy to say it survived the trip and another few days in our home freezer before I could get it to my sweetie.

So what do you do with your leftover restaurant food?

Posted by theminx on

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Don't Forget the VOLT ink Early Release Party!

On Tuesday, October 18th, Top Chefs Bryan and Michael Voltaggio will be hosting an early release party for their book, VOLT ink.: Recipes, Stories, Brothers, at Harry Grove Stadium in Frederick. There will be concession food provided by the Voltaggios, music by The Regal Beagles Yacht Rock Club Band and Blatant 80s, and a FACKA double header (adult co-ed kickball). Tickets are $8 for adults; children 12 and under can attend for free. For tickets, click here.

And don't forget to enter the Minxeats contest, if you haven't already! The winner gets an autographed copy of VOLT ink!

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More Crazy Keyword Activity

It's quite amusing how some folks stumble onto Minxeats. I posted some of my search engine keyword activity back in May, and it seems like it's gotten worse since then.

For example:
"cat football funny"
"wrestling boner"
"tasteful cleavage"
"rottweiler pumpkin"
"shrimp poop"
and perhaps the most frightening of all: "Marcel Vigneron naked." No, wait, that would be "Melissa D'Arabian photo."

I also get more than my fair share hits for "Savannah Guthrie hot." Who is Savannah Guthrie?

Minxeats is the number 1 result for "Aaron McCargo Jr runaway son" and for "caribbean Branzino Cieno dish taste." I'm not all that sure if I've eaten branzino, so I don't know why I'm so high on the list. (All Top Chef is #2 in that same category.) We're also number 1 on Google Latvia for "work for food network."

Why are people still wondering "is Fabio Viviani married?" They would be better off wondering why he's sold out and shilling for Domino's.

Another query that led people to Minxeats was "how many percent Italian is Caroline Manzo?" Here's my answer: who cares? Seriously, if you care, you need to stop watching so much television.

Read food blogs instead. :)

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Leftover Flank Steak

Marinated and broiled flank steak is a versatile leftover. Rarely will I rewarm it and serve it in its original form; more likely, it will end up in pasta sauce, on pizza, or in tacos. We had a small piece of steak left over from last week's Korean-esque sandwiches and I decided to use it in sandwiches once again, this time changing up the bread and other fillings.

Lightly toasted flatbread formed the base, with sautéed mushrooms supporting the small bit of meat. A chopped pineapple relish, herb salad, and spicy mayonnaise added sweet and savory elements.

Leftover Flank Steak Sandwiches

Pineapple Relish
1 cup diced pineapple
1 tablespoon finely minced scallion
1 teaspoon Korean red pepper flakes, or ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon agave syrup or honey
pinch each salt and pepper

Spicy Mayo
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha
2 Peppadew peppers, finely chopped

olive oil
about 2 cups sliced mushrooms
3 scallions, cut in about 1" pieces
pinch salt

Assorted chopped herbs - basil, cilantro, mint
1/2 - 3/4 lb leftover flank steak, sliced thinly
2 flatbreads

To make Pineapple relish: mix all ingredients in a bowl, set aside
To make spicy mayo: ditto
To make mushrooms: heat a bit of olive oil in a saute pan and cook mushrooms and scallions until mushrooms release their juices and begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Salt to taste and set aside.
To assemble sandwich: lightly toast flatbreads. Cut in half. Spread insides with mayo. Top with mushrooms, steak, relish, and herbs. Cover with other half of bread and eat like a sandwich. Alternately, you can put toppings on both halves and eat open-faced.

Serves 2.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Pumpkin Waffles

Last weekend was positively cold and the weather was a perfect excuse to break out the waffle iron and make some pumpkin-flavored waffles. I noticed that we had several apples in the crisper, some of which were starting to look elderly, so whipped up some apple compote with which to top the waffles.

The apples are so sweet and juicy, there's really no need for extra syrup, but you can certainly add some (and butter) if you wish!

Pumpkin Waffles with Apple Compote

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk

Combine dry ingredients. In a large bowl, combine melted butter and pumpkin, stir in eggs, then milk. Add dry ingredients and mix until well combined, but still a bit lumpy. Cook in a waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions.

Makes 10-12 waffles.

Apple compote:
1 tablespoon butter
3 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

Melt butter in a saucepan, add apples and sugar. Cook over medium-low heat until apples soften and sugar and butter thicken into a sauce, about 15 minutes. Stir in cardamom. Serve over waffles.

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Friday, October 07, 2011

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Today marks the 11th anniversary of the marriage of Mr Minx and theminx, so we're taking the day off to celebrate. Dinner at Woodberry Kitchen tonight!

Nut and Bolt rings by Kiley Granberg.

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Thursday, October 06, 2011

October Events - and a Giveaway

Foodie events going on in and around Baltimore this month. If you make it to the bottom of the post, you'll find details on a very cool giveaway.

RA Sushi brings back ONEHOPE:
In support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, RA Sushi Bar Restaurant in Harbor East will be offering a wine and sushi special to benefit the National Breast Cancer Foundation® (NBCF). From Saturday, Oct. 1 to Monday, Oct. 31, RA Sushi will donate 100 percent of the profits from the sale of the ONEHOPE Wine and Pink Roll combination to the Foundation. For more information, visit RA Sushi online at

Baltimore Beer Week
Starts today and runs through the 16th. There are several events during the course of the "week," including an Oktoberfest celebration at the Timonium Fairgrounds on the 8th and the Chesapeake Real Ale Festival at the Pratt Street Ale House on the 15th. For more information, go to

Gino Marchetti and Friends at Gino's
Meet former Baltimore Colts Gino Marchetti, Artie Donovan, Jim Mutscheller, and Tony Lenhart! They'll be on hand Sunday, October 9th, at the new Gino's at 8600 LaSalle Rd (corner of Joppa and LaSalle Rds.) in Towson, from 11-3 to sign autographs and memorabilia.

Taste of the Nation
On October 15th, Baltimore is participating in Taste of the Nation for the very first time. All proceeds go to end child hunger in the US. Tickets are available for purchase by calling 1-877-26-TASTE or visiting

VOLT ink
On Tuesday, October 18th, Top Chefs Bryan and Michael Voltaggio will be hosting an early release party for their book, VOLT ink.: Recipes, Stories, Brothers, at Harry Grove Stadium in Frederick. There will be concession food provided by the Voltaggios, music by The Regal Beagles Yacht Rock Club Band and Blatant 80s, and a FACKA double header (adult co-ed kickball). Tickets are $8 for adults; children 12 and under can attend for free. For tickets, click here.

Speaking of Volt ink...Minxeats has one AUTOGRAPHED copy of the Voltaggio Brothers brand-spanking-new cookbook to GIVE AWAY to one lucky Minxeats reader. All you need to do is to leave a comment on this post. One winner will be chosen by random drawing.

Of course there are rules:
  • The winner will be contacted via e-mail, so make sure to include a valid e-mail address in your comment. If I can't contact you, you can't win.
  • Winners must be US residents and over 18 years of age.
  • Contest ends Tuesday, October 18th, at midnight.
  • The odds of winning are dependent on the number of entries received.
Good luck!

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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

A Little Korean, A Little Not

One day last week, I lunched on something that was billed as "Korean BBQ tacos." With that description, I hoped to chomp down on some toothsome beef that was both spicy and sweet and seasoned with garlic and sesame oil. Imagine my disappointment when instead I ended up with a mouthful of pot-roast-like meat seasoned with a ton of thyme. (I hate when that happens. The thyme part. I think thyme - especially dried thyme - when used in excess, tastes like something that would be better used to clean floors.) Turns out that the person who assembled my lunch used the wrong beef and the tacos weren't supposed to taste so bizarre. Still - a huge disappointment that left me wiping my tongue in disgust.

I made up for the experience by making Korean-style food at home over the weekend. Rather than duplicating the taco idea, I made a sandwich with marinated flank steak topped with vegetables including a Korean spinach salad known as sigumchi namul (a popular banchan dish), and a spicy mayonnaise.

After a couple of bites, Mr Minx said, "this is one of those things that tastes so good, you just want to keep eating more and more." Words I looove to hear. And I gotta admit - it was damn good. The meat was garlicky, sweet, and sesame-y, just like Korean short ribs, aka kalbi. The assortment of veggies added a variety of textures, and the mayo added some heat. While I'm not a huge fan the bizarre hair-like texture of sprouts, I felt they added a nice earthy flavor to the sandwich. If you don't like them, feel free to leave them out; ditto for the pepperjack cheese.

Korean-style Flank Steak Sandwich

Flank Steak
1/2 cup light soy
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon kochukaru (Korean red chile flakes)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 bunch scallions, root end removed, chopped into 2" sections
1 1.5 lb flank steak

Place flank steak in a zip-top plastic bag and add the remaining ingredients. Marinate for at least one hour up to overnight. (The longer, the better!)

Preheat broiler and move oven rack to the highest position. Place the marinated steak and scallions on a foil-covered shallow baking pan and broil for 3-4 minutes on one side. Flip steak and broil for an additional 3 minutes or until desired doneness. (Use a digital thermometer to access internal temperature. Ideally, 130-140 is medium-rare). Allow meat to rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes before slicing thinly on a diagonal against the grain.

Sigumchi Namul
1/2 lb fresh spinach
1.5 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon vinegar
black pepper

Blanch spinach in rapidly boiling water for 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl of ice water to retain the green color. When cooled, carefully squeeze out all of the water. Chop the spinach coarsely and mix with the remaining ingredients.

Spicy Mayonnaise
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (I like Kewpie)
2 teaspoons gochujang
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger

Mix together in a small bowl.

Zucchini Pickles
1 lb small zucchini, peeled and cut into coins
1 tablespoon agave syrup
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
large pinch of kosher salt

Mix everything in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate a couple of hours before using.

To assemble sandwiches:
Radish sprouts
thinly sliced pepperjack cheese
baguettes or crisp-crusted hoagie rolls

Split roll horizontally. Spread both sides with mayo. Top with broiled scallions, sprouts, steak slices, cheese, spinach, and zucchini. Serve with your favorite chips. (I used Garden of Eatin' Sesame Blues, figuring the sesame accent would work well with the sesame in the sandwich.)

Makes 4-6 sandwiches, depending on how generous you are with the toppings. There will be zucchini pickles left over - refrigerate, and enjoy them within the week.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Fumetto #17 - Sugar Ho

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