Looking Forward to Winter Recipes

It’s Sunday night and I’m looking forward to what I’m going to cook this week! Since the temperatures have dropped and look like they’re officially going to stay there, I’m looking forward to make some winter-y meals.

Photo Credit Shutterbean – Tuscan Ribollita

Chopped Apple Salad with Toasted Walnuts, Blue Cheese and Pomegranate Vinaigrette: I made this for book club a few weeks ago, and although I generally feel that cold lettuce leaves do not make a meal, I really liked the rich flavors in this salad. It helped to make the dressing from scratch (although I eliminated the pomegranate) – can’t go wrong when you do that. And of course, I added plenty of extra blue cheese!

Quick and Easy Tofu with Ramen Noodles: I like this method of cooking tofu (searing it without the trouble of pressing and marinating it beforehand), and of course I’m going to love anything with noodles. Hey, my half-marathon might be over, but I’m still going to carb-load. How else will I stay warm in winter?!

Red Quinoa Salad with Spicy Lime Vinaigrette: I love lime, I love spicy food, and I love quinoa. This salad looks like it has some great cold weather ingredients (pumpkin, etc.) and some unique flavor combinations.

Tuscan Ribollita: Shutterbean is one of my favorite food blogs. It’s the first one I started reading with any regularity, and the recipes that she posts are realistic yet comforting and gorgeous all at the same time. I think N and I made this Ribollita soup recipe a few years ago – when we didn’t have a big soup pot so we had to make the recipe in two small saucepans. I now have a huge soup pot and look forward to making this rich, almost stew-like soup again. Yummy Italian flavors, served warm, with a big hunk of bread and hearty, healthy ingredients? Can’t go wrong.

What are you making as the weather changes?

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October Recap – Pottery, Happy Hours, and Music

Hey there! It’s a Sunday night here in Arlington, which is the perfect time to reflect on this weekend and the past few weeks. It’s been a whirlwind. Here we goooo!

  • Last week, M and I painted pottery at All Fired Up in Cleveland Park. My handiwork is shown below. If you haven’t been to All Fired Up, check it out! For some reason I’m always inspired to go in the fall. The studio is cozy, never too crowded, and they let you BYOB any night of the week and just hang out.

Arlington Darling | my pottery teardrop bowl

  • When we went to pick up the pottery the following week, oh but what a coincidence…Pulpo was having its half-price wine night a few doors down! Not only is this an amazing deal that lasts all night, but their regular happy hour isn’t a bad deal either. The small plates are, well, small, but delicious – and the bartender on shift on Wednesdays is a total sweetheart (case in point: he poured M an extra half a glass of beer because he noticed that I still had wine left and thought M should have something to drink while he waited for “the lil’ lady” to finish. Cuteness).
  • The next night, I tried Duke’s Grocery with N. They have a small and adorable converted rowhouse in Dupont with craft beers and craft sandwiches described on chalkboard menus. N got the bahn mi and reported that it was delicious, and I got the snapper tacos which were perfectly proportioned and perfectly cooked. Mostly, I enjoyed the casual vibe (they didn’t bat an eye that we were loaded down with bags and I had obviously just come from running). They have lunch, too – but no takeout apparently.
  • Thennn (tired, yet?) the next night I enjoyed happy hour with an old friend from college at an old standby, Ping Pong Dim Sum. Ya’ll know all about this place since I’ve written about it before, but the new twist which I had to share is that they’ve updated their specialty cocktail menu to include a chocolate & tobacco old fashioned (picture below) and a honeysuckle margarita. Yum.Arlington Darling | chocolate and tobacco old-fashioned

Okay, I know I’m throwing a lot at you, so hang in there, it’ll be worth it I promise – and I’m almost done!

  • The next adventure was breakfast at Buffalo & Bergen in Union Market. Although this place promises amazing drinks, I’ve only ever had the bagels. I’m extremely passionate about good bagels (coughbornandraisedinNewJerseyobvicough) and these are just OK, but they really hit the spot when you’ve just biked a few miles and are hungry in the morning and need fuel to tackle the rest of the market. I like their everything bagel with cream cheese – classic. And next time I vow to sample B&B’s knishes and report back.
  • And last but not least, M and I caught a show at Hill Country BBQ on Saturday night. The 19th Street Band was playing, and we had a blast watching them! They did mostly country music covers, but the singing and instrument-playing was top notch. The place was packed! Plus, it was free. Definitely going to visit Hill Country for music again soon.

Whew :). Hope you enjoyed the recap and will forgive me for my prolonged absence. More to come soon on bunny rabbits, lavender farms, cooking, and brewing beer in the country – in other words, fall adventures continue!

Recipe: Grandma JJ’s Apple Crisp

One of my favorite things to do in high school was to go on long drives with my best friend JJ. We’d meander up the highway to the north for 20 or 30 miles, only turning around when we realized what time it was or when we reached the part where the highway went to a two-lane road (naturally, this was back when I first got my driver’s license and gas was less than $2 a gallon…). In the fall, the foliage we saw on our drives in northern NJ was gorgeous – all shades of red, orange, and yellow mixed with the vibrant evergreens.

After one of these fall drives, JJ and I went to her Grandma’s house and made apple crisp. Perfect thing to do with all the fresh-picked apples, right? A tradition was born. This is JJ’s Grandma’s recipe, and it is so good, so easy, and so dependable that I have adopted it as my signature fall dish for parties, potlucks, and for bringing to the office and buttering up coworkers. Thanks to Grandma JJ for encapsulating fall in this classic dessert!

Mocafe chai apple crisp

Image from Mocafe.wordpress.com

Ingredients:
4 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ cup water
1/3 cup cold, salted butter, plus additional for greasing the baking dish
1 cup white granulated sugar
¾ cup sifted all-purpose flour

To Make:
1. Preheat oven to 350 and butter a 10”x6”x2” baking dish.
2. Add the apples to the dish.
3. Add the water on top of the apples.
4. Sprinkle the apples evenly with the cinnamon and salt.
5. Rub together the sifted flour, sugar, and the butter (it helps if you cut the butter into small cubes). It should have a crumbly texture.
6. Drop flour/sugar/butter topping evenly over apples.
7. Bake 40 minutes, or until topping starts to brown, uncovered at 350.

I think this dessert tastes the most delicious in the fall, after being out in the crisp air – and preferably baked with fresh-picked apples! But in reality, it is great all year round. I’ve served it warm, room temperature, and cold, and I can’t say that I have a favorite way! Vanilla ice cream would be sinful on top. Normally I’d suggest potential alterations or additions for a recipe, but with this one my recommendation is: don’t mess with perfection (you know who you are).

Much love to Grandma JJ for the delicious food and the love (real name has been changed to protect the innocent :)).

Enjoy!

If you’re pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down (if you know what I mean…), head on over to some of my other great recipes!
Simple Whipped Feta
Superbowl Recipe Roundup
Apple-Cheddar Quesadillas
Three-Ingredient Cocoa Pumpkin Brownies

Pictures from Ricketts Glen

Arlington Darling | Ricketts Glen 1

This weekend I went hiking and camping in Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania. It was totally worth the long drive (4.5 hours) and near-freezing temperatures (low of 39). The fall leaves were gorgeous, we saw over 22 waterfalls, we made fabulous new friends, and we learned to appreciate the ridiculous country songs that one finds on the radio in the middle of nowhere :).

Here are some of the pictures from our hike:

Arlington Darling | Ricketts Glen 2

Arlington Darling | Ricketts Glen 3

Arlington Darling | Ricketts Glen 4

Arlington Darling | Ricketts Glen 5

Recap of Charlottesville Part II – It’s Finally Fall

Happy Monday! I’m fresh from another weekend in Charlottesville. This time, it was finally fall. Unfortunately the foliage hasn’t quite caught up to the weather yet (or maybe it won’t be as good this year? I may have heard that somewhere). So our drive down Route 29 wasn’t as scenic as I would have hoped. But the weather was perfect.

I did some shopping in Charlottesville to prepare for the changing seasons – I bought a textured orange sweater from Loft, an Abercrombie flannel shirt (finally!) from a consignment shop, and a caramel pecan pie candle from Yankee Candle. It is comical how fall-focused my shopping was. And the candle smells amazing – I highly recommend this scent. The saleslady totally got me, too – I was going to buy the medium one and then she says, “for $3 more you can get the large candle and have 60 additional burning hours!” And I was like, “sold!” LOL.

And of course, aside from the shopping I enjoyed yummy food: this time we ate at an off-the-beaten-path bar called Black Market Moto Saloon (very veg-friendly) and had Bodo’s Bagels (a Charlottesville tradition). And, for my fellow W&M alumni: Charlottesville has a Cheese Shop “cousin” called Take It Away – they have house dressing and all of the same sandwiches as the Williamsburg Cheese Shop. My mind was blown. Of course I got bread ends!!! Of course. LT and I enjoyed them (and by enjoyed, I mean we ate the whole bag in one sitting) while sitting on the UVA lawn. Heaven.

No wonder I love Charlottesville: great weather, great food, and most of all, great people. Thanks to LV for another amazing weekend at my new home-away-from home :).