• Advertise with Borderstan!


Tag Archive | "Alejandra Owens"

Borderstan Food Bites: Alejandra Owens


From Ashley Lusk. Check out her blog, Metropoetrylis. Find her on Twitter @arlusk or email her at ashley[AT]borderstan.com.

Author’s Note: At Borderstan.com you’ll always get food news from writers who actually eat in our neighborhood. They know where to find the newest rooftop bars, the brunch with unlimited Mimosas, and the best vegetarian options in the city. That’s why we’re giving you a chance to get to know the writers who bring you the best eats Borderstan has to offer. So, grab your fork and take a seat at our table.

•  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •

"Alejandra Owens"

Alejandra Owens is Borderstan’s food editor. (Courtesy Alejandra Owens)

Alejandra Owens is the Food & Drink Editor for Borderstan and a founding member. She resides in Dupont Circle and writes her own food blog, One Bite at a Time.

What’s the best resto in DC? Why?

Owens: Fiola, because not only is the food consistently phenomenal, the hospitality is too. Whether I’m in for happy hour, lunch at the bar or a formal dinner, Fiola seems to make me feel equally welcome.

Describe your food writing style; what kind of story are you looking to tell?

Owens: No matter what story I am telling, my goal is to stick with my own authentic voice. If readers have ever met me, they’ll know I write how I speak. I don’t mince words, I try to throw in a healthy dose of perspective and I’m always trying to tap into the feelings behind whatever I’m writing or talking about.

Which food writers are inspiring you right now? Who do you look to for food news?

Owens: Francis Lam and Chris Shott are among my favorite folks to read. Both for their style and their perspective. They both seem to write exactly how they speak, making reading them an exercise in getting to know them, too. They challenge the average food story and attempt to address how a topic impacts the food culture around them.

What is your version of comfort food?

Owens: Hands down, my mom’s tacos.

What is the cooking tool you can’t live without?

Owens: I can’t live without the wooden spoon my mom gave me when I moved out of the house. It’s a simple little thing, and I’m sure to her it was a total throw away, but it always reminds me of cooking and baking with her, so it’s become an heirloom of sorts.

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories.

Posted in Food & DrinkComments Off

Jamba Juice Opens In South Dupont Circle


"Venus-Jamba_Collage"

Jamba Juice opened a new location in Dupont Circle with tennis star Venus Williams on hand at the 19th Street store. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Alejandra Owens. You can find her at her food blog, One Bite At A Time. Alejandra also writes for City Eats DC, a Food Network site, where you can book dinner reservations. Follow her on Twitter at @frijolita and email her at alejandra[AT]borderstan.com.

The opening event in Dupont even featured Venus Williams, who is not only a tennis celebrity but also an entrepreneur. Williams and Jamba Juice created a partnership that brought the smoothie chain to the District. Williams said that her partnership with Jamba Juice is an extension of her commitment in the fight against obesity and to promote a healthy active lifestyle.

Jamba Juice holds a special place in my heart. See, there was a location of this smoothie chain not far from my Phoenix, Arizona, high school. Young, rebellious students that we were, sneaking off campus a little bit early to extend our off-campus lunch time was our singular goal most days. The coordination efforts began early — 1st period even. Someone with a car that day would be identified, another would distract the parking lot monitor, then we would all lobby and jockey for a position in said car. Most days we got out of the high school parking lot just fine, other days we were glumly told to turn around and wait until our lunch hour allowed.

So when I heard Jamba Juice was opening a franchise here in DC, something tugged at my heart strings. It was like I was 16-years -old all over again, speeding out of the parking lot listening to a recently released “She Bangs” by Ricky Martin (what? we were young… and stupid… or something). The franchise has expanded their menu offerings substantially since my Ricky Martin days — offering smoothies, yes, but also probiotic drinks, flatbread sandwiches, teas, oatmeal and parfaits.

While I don’t get a hankering for smoothies the way I used to, I may just be seen sneaking off “campus” at lunch time heading toward the red line to nab a classic “Mango-A-Go-Go.” The new location is at 1333 19th Street NW.

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories.

Posted in Food & DrinkComments Off

Grilled Corn: Frijolita’s Way


"Corn"

Enjoy corn during the season. (Alejandra Owens)

From Alejandra Owens. You can find her at her food blog, One Bite At A Time. Alejandra also writes for City Eats DC, a Food Network site, where you can book dinner reservations. Follow her on Twitter at @frijolita and email her at alejandra[AT]borderstan.com.

I should start off by saying, I am not the biggest corn fan. It’s seriously in season at the markets right now and a quick skim of all the food blogs shows an abundance of recipes for corn chowder or corn and bean salads or worse…cornbread with corn actually in it. The horror! Nope. I don’t don’t go gaga over the stuff, but for two preparations: popped or grilled. Today, I’m here to share with you my grilled corn recipe, which really is no secret to Paula Deen lovers and those from the South.

Be prepared for mess, or ask, as I did, a dinner companion to “help.” Which is to say, you sprinkle or splarge the ingredients on the corn while they do the spreading or rotating.

Step One: Place one cleaned ear of corn in the middle of a piece of aluminum foil large enough to completely wrap around it.

Step Two: Splarge (a very technical term) 1-2 tablespoons of mayo (yes, I said mayo) onto the corn and evenly spread it over the whole ear of corn.

Step Three: Sprinkle Cholula dry seasoning evenly all over the ear of corn. Sprinkle finely grated parmesan all over the ear of corn, completely coating it in cheese. Feelin’ like something spicy? Add a few dashes of Tabasco sauce!

Step Four: You’ll probably want to wash your hands at this point…then wrap it all up in the foil and place on a hot grill (300-350 degrees) for 15 minutes or so.

Step Five: Unwrap corn and devour.

I mean really, how can this be bad? It can’t. And I’m not even a huge fan of mayo as a condiment! Basically whenever I make this grilled corn I become fixated on it, unable to speak or eat anything else until I’ve consumed the entire ear. True story. The stuff is addictive.

Make a few ears for your BBQ this week and let me know what you think!

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories.

Posted in Food & DrinkComments Off

Jello: Classic Americana Plus a Recipe from Nigella


From Alejandra Owens. You can find her at her food blog, One Bite At A Time. Alejandra also writes for City Eats DC, a Food Network site, where you can book dinner reservations. Follow her on Twitter at @frijolita and email her at alejandra[AT]borderstan.com.

This post originally ran on July 2, 2010.

"Jello Cake for 4th of July"

Yes, there is jello in this cake, beneath the 4th of July fruit decoration. (ubikiberry on Flickr)

Note from Matt Rhoades: I am a child of rural Illinois: I know jello. Sometimes I still like to eat it. I just do. You can put most any sort of fruit, vegetable or nut in it on it or around it. It can be a salad or a desert or both simultaneously. Jello comes in many colors and flavors and can be topped with a plethora of toppings including mayonnaise and whipped cream. Cakes are made with jello. At my request, Alejandra Owens prepared this wonderful post on jello, jello-based recipes and their vital importance in 4th of July holiday food.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

I’m from Arizona and I’m half Mexican-American to boot. So I didn’t really grow up with a lot of Americana from the kitchen. For the 4th of July, there was potato salad, BBQ chicken and maybe, if I was lucky, a fruit salad.

But when I moved to the East Coast, I had a lot of friends who spoke of American Flag Jello molds and red, white and blue trifles. This is completely elusive to me. Who spends five hours making an American flag out of Jello?! No. I’m not kidding. That recipe says it takes 5 hours to make. I assume with all that Jello setting, it would take some time.

Of Jello and Flag Cakes

I mean, even Ina Garten of Hampton-based fame has a flag cake recipe! I’ve heard of some other crazy “America recipes” as I guess you could call them, but I’m wondering: What’s the nuttiest flag-inspired food you’ve seen? Will you be making something like this yourself?

Nigella Lawson’s Gin and Tonic Jelly

This weekend, I’d say, if you’re going to do something with Jell-O, you know what I’d recommend? Make Nigella Lawson’s Gin and Tonic Jelly. I haven’t tried it yet—but, oh, I plan on it. And, yes, I see the irony in making a 4th of July recipe from a British food writer.

This is as close to Jello-anything as I’m going to get and I appreciate the thin veil of sophistication that protects me from essentially saying, I want you to make this giant Jello shot. Serve it at your BBQ and watch your family members get tipsy.

After all, it’s a Nigella recipe. So not only can we be sure it will taste good, but we’ll all look extra sexy eating it too. I’ll warn you now, Nigella’s recipe is all in metric measurements. Even in her cookbook it’s like that. So don’t get on me about it in the comments. If you’d like to offer your conversion services, then we can talk!

Have a wonderful holiday, folks!

Gin and Tonic Jelly

Ingredients

  • 300ml plus 50ml water
  • 300g caster sugar
  • zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 400ml tonic water (not slimline!)
  • 250ml gin
  • 25g/15 sheets of leaf gelatine
  • 2 punnets white currants or 3 to 4 punnets raspberries, optional
  • 1 teaspoon icing sugar if using raspberries
  • 1ÂĽ litre jelly mold, lightly greased with almond or vegetable oil

Preparation

  1. Put the water and sugar into a wide, thick-bottomed saucepan and bring to the boil. Let boil for 5 minutes, take off the heat, add the lemon zest and leave to steep for 15 minutes. Strain into a measuring jug, then add the lemon juice, the tonic water and the gin; you should have reached the 1,200 ml mark; if not, add more tonic water, gin or lemon juice to taste.
  2. Soak the gelatine leaves in a dish of cold water for 5 minutes to soften. Meanwhile, put 50 ml of water into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, squeeze out the gelatine leaves and whisk them in. Pour some of the gin and lemon syrup mixture into the saucepan and then pour everything back into the jug. Pour into the mold and, when cold, put in the fridge to set. This should take about 6 hours.
  3. When you are ready to unmold, half-fill a sink with warm water and stand the jelly mold in it for 30 seconds or so. Clamp a big flat plate over the jelly and invert to unmold, shaking it as you do so. If it doesn’t work, stand it in the warm water for another half-minute or so and try again. If you’ve used a dome mold, surround the jelly with white currants (Sainsbury’s sells them in summer, as do many greengrocers’), or fill the hole with them if you’ve used a ring mold. Raspberries are just as good, but dust these with icing sugar — it sounds poncey, but it makes the pale-jade glimmer of the jelly and the otherwise-too-vibrant red of the fruit come together on the plate. The white currants should be left to glimmer, opal-like, without interference.

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories.

Posted in Food & DrinkComments (4)

Alejandra’s Weekend Market Tips: Cherries!


From Alejandra Owens. You can find her at her food blog, One Bite At A Time. Alejandra also writes for City Eats DC, a Food Network site, where you can book dinner reservations. Follow her on Twitter at @frijolita and email her at alejandra[AT]borderstan.com.

"Cherries at the Farmers Market"

Just waiting to be made into Cherry Almond Cake. (Alejandra Owens)

Cherries are, by far, my favorite summer fruit. Mostly because they’re a fruit that doubles as interactive sport. Uncouth as it may be, I’m a pro cherry pit spitter. Slam dunks into trash cans, spot on target practice with unwitting victims (usually our dogs back at home)…I say screw it with that pseudo-sexual cherry stem tying shit and go right for the pit spitting.

But I also enjoy cherries and their robust flavor for baking. Last summer I had procured, per usual, too many pints of cherries and had to do something with them. (Why am I always baking at the last possible ripened minute?) After watching some Cooking Chanel, I decided to play around with one of my favorite cherry pairings, almonds, and a cake a recipe that seemed nice enough, but really dull.

The result was my cherry almond cake. It was moist, fluffy and had a nice crumb to it. It’s a perfect breakfast cake or light dessert, you need only brave the pain of pitting all the cherries because this particular cake is so damn easy to pull together!

What will you be making with cherries this season? Anyone making ice creams sans an ice cream maker lately? I’d love some tips and recipes if you’d like to share!

Cherry Almond Cake

Inspired by Laura Calder’s Angel Cakeand the cherry almond scones at Dolcezza in Dupont Circle.

  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1-1 1/2c pitted, rough chopped cherries (very rough, cut each half in half)
  • 1/4c ground almonds, 1 tbsp sliced almonds
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease and line a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Beat the whites to stiff peaks in a bowl. Beat in the yolks, one by one. Continuing to beat, add the sugar and vanilla, and finally the flour. You should have a very high, moussy batter. Gently fold in the cherries and ground almonds.
  3. Pour the batter into the pan and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake until golden on top, risen high, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let the cake cool 15 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan and let cool completely. Transfer the cake to a serving platter.
  4. Serve with whipped cream, creme fraiche, parfait, or ice cream. Ideally I would have eaten this, I mean, served this, with creme fraiche…but it was just me. And I didn’t have time to make creme fraiche. I wanted to eat it all. Now. But for you guys, who might take this to a party, serve it with creme fraiche!

Get an RSS Feed for the F&E Section, or an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories.

Posted in Food & DrinkComments (1)

Herb, Everyone’s New Best Friend


From Alejandra Owens. You can find her at her food blog, One Bite At A Time. Alejandra also writes for City Eats DC, a Food Network site, where you can book dinner reservations. Follow her on Twitter at @frijolita and email her at alejandra[AT]borderstan.com.

It’s no secret that rosemary can amp up your chicken or that cilantro transforms tomatoes and onions from vegetable salad to salsa. But did you know that herbs can zsush up your salad or even a cocktail? They’re so much more than you thought, and I promise you, fresh is WAY better than the dried stuff you’re buying in plastic bottles at the grocery store.

While I usually give you a list of recipes to try out with an ingredient, this time I’m gonna drop a kitchen basics bomb on you. Some of the most simple things to do with herbs are the best — highlighting the subtlety of their flavors and complimenting the flavors or textures around them. My top list of herbs to buy at the market include:

"Borderstan" "Herbs"

Herbs at the farmers markets. (Alejandra Owens)

  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Lemon thyme
  • Tarragon
  • Oregano
  • Mint
  • Dill
  • Chives
  • Basil/Purple Basil
  • Cilantro

And the best things to do with them?

  • Tear, smash or roll herbs in your palms then add them to a bowl of salad greens and give them a good toss with a light dressing.
  • Bundle a variety of herbs, no matter which ones, with a bit of string or twine and throw them into a pot of soup, a braise, or with a roast/chicken.
  • Smash or roll herbs in your palm and put them in a bottle of olive oil for a flavorful infusion.
  • Finely chop any herb you like, stir into softened butter, reshape into a log using parchment paper and you have compound butter.
  • Finely chop any herb and mix it with a soft, spreadable cheese like goat cheese or quark for an infused spread.
  • Roughly chop a few herbs and throw them into a basic marinade for grilling meats

Bam! I just gave you about 9,847,598,734 different dishes or things you can do with all the herbs that are out in force at the markets right now! Seriously, don’t be afraid to pick up a bundle of herbs at the market and just throw them in with something.

While, yes, some herbs traditionally pair well with certain things, there’s no hard and fast rule that applies to pairing herbs with proteins or dips or anything like that. Just go with the flow and give it a try, maybe cilantro with some shredded cucumbers and yogurt would make a fabulous dip!

Like reading Borderstan’s Food & Drink stories? Get an RSS Feed for the F&E Section, or an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories.

Posted in Food & DrinkComments Off

Things I’m Afraid To Tell You: Food Blogger Edition


From Creative Comforts

From Alejandra Owens. You can find her at her food blog, One Bite At A Time. Alejandra also writes for City Eats DC, a Food Network site, where you can book dinner reservations. Follow her on Twitter at @frijolita and email her at alejandra[AT]borderstan.com.

I love Twitter. Yesterday as I was perusing my feed I noticed that fellow blogger buddies Jenn of Dear Heart and Nikki Rappaport of Cupcakes for Breakfast were tweeting about the hashtag #thingsimafraidtotellyou. After clicking through on a number of the posts these folks were talking about I learned about this, sometimes heart wrenching, movement.

Basically, it was born of style and design bloggers saying, “Hey! We like to keep it all positive and pretty on our blogs and social media, but life isn’t always positive and pretty…and it’s okay.” And so, they began sharing things that they might have been afraid to share in the past. Deep secrets, things they thought they’d be judged for, things they only tell their closest friends…and things that are just silly!

I appreciate raw honesty. Because if you’re thinking it, there’s probably someone else in the world thinking it too. Also, I’ve always been that person in the room that says what everyone else is thinking but is too afraid to say.

I think it’s important to note here that I’m not doing this for sympathy, affirmation or some kind of narcissistic drive for compliments. The idea is more that – in this idyllic world, where everything is Instagram’d, organic, local and all that hoo-hah, things aren’t perfect and it’s okay. But more importantly, you are definitely not the only one noticing that things are less than perfect.

A quick story to exemplify what I’m getting at. I was recently at a food event with one of my favorite food bloggers. We were chatting about how busy we’d been recently – between life and work and trying to work out and get some of that coveted quiet time, cooking beautiful meals isn’t always a priority. She commented on her favorite cereal, and how sometimes that’s what’s for dinner and it’s exactly what she needs. I retorted, “You should post that on your blog! I wonder what your readers would think!” The truth is, you’ll never see a post about the nights food bloggers eat ice cream, cheese and crackers or a huge bowl of cereal. Because that’s not what a food blog is. But you know what a huge bowl of cereal for dinner is? Life.

What are some things you’d be afraid to share with your friends? To see my full list of Things I’m Afraid To Tell You, check out the full post over on my blog.

Like reading Borderstan’s Food & Drink stories? Get an RSS Feed for the F&E Section, or an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories.

Posted in Food & DrinkComments (1)

Farmers Market: Produce Domination


"Strawberries and asparagus" "Borderstan"

Look for strawberries and asparagus at the markets. (Luis Gomez Photos and Alejandra Owens)

From Alejandra Owens. You can find her at her food blog, One Bite At A Time. Alejandra also writes for City Eats DC, a Food Network site, where you can book dinner reservations. Follow her on Twitter at @frijolita and email her at alejandra[AT]borderstan.com.

I never thought I’d say produce could be a bully, but asparagus and strawberries continue to completely dominate the markets! Not that you won’t see other things out there, but strawberries and asparagus are kinda the stars of the show right now. So I thought I’d take this opportunity to remind you of a couple great recipe round ups we already did AND share a cool tip.

First, we shared six irresistible strawberry recipes – including a cocktail from Todd Thrasher!

Then we gave you five recipes that showcased asparagus in all its green glory.

And now for the tip, which had not even crossed my mind. Today’s tip comes from Robin Schuster, our fearless leader over at the 14th & U Street farmers market:

“… today I want to remind you: never throw away the ends of the asparagus because they make great soup.  In fact, every single asparagus stalk you buy is a two fer.  And the less tender third or half of the stalk makes very flavorful soup.”

Well, duh! How could I have not thought of that! Truth be told, asparagus is prone to creating plenty of waste…and I always have a little memorial for it in my head when I toss it out. No mas! Thanks, Robin, for making me less wasteful but also giving me an excuse to eat even more asparagus while it’s in season!

Do you have a question for me about the markets? Some odd produce? Or maybe a cooking question? Just email me at alejandra[AT]borderstan.com and I’ll answer them in next week’s column! (Oh! And share your best cooking tips too!)

Like reading Borderstan’s Food & Drink stories? Get an RSS Feed for the F&E Section, or an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories.

Posted in Food & DrinkComments Off

Hank’s Oyster Bar Hosts Troegs Beer Dinner


From Alejandra Owens. You can find her at her food blog, One Bite At A Time. Alejandra also writes for City Eats DC, a Food Network site, where you can book dinner reservations. Follow her on Twitter at @frijolita and email her at alejandra[AT]borderstan.com.

"Hanks Oyster Bar" Borderstan" "Q Street NW"

Hank's Oyster Bar at 1624 Q Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

I don’t usually attend fixed-menu, special event dinners but when this menu landed in my inbox I paused for serious consideration.

Hank’s Oyster Bar is a neighborhood favorite of mine. And as we know, I am a huge fan of their braised short ribs. Next Monday, May 21, Hanks’ Q Street location will be hosting a dinner with Troegs Brewing Company — meaning every delicious, mouth-watering course will be paired with a refreshing craft beer. So here’s what you get: five courses paired with five beers for $70 per person (tax and gratuity not included).

Bonus: you’ll be dining in The Yacht Room, another excuse to enjoy the recently expanded space at Hanks.

Like I said, fixed-menu dinners don’t usually strike my fancy, but a few items that caught my eye included a fried oyster salad, bleu cheese whoopie pie with fig jam and, of course, the molasses braised short ribs.

Reservations for this event are highly recommended. Call (202) 462-HANK (4265) to secure a spot. 

Like reading Borderstan’s Food & Drink stories? Get an RSS Feed for the F&E Section, or an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories.

Posted in Food & DrinkComments Off

In Abundance: Asparagus


From Alejandra Owens. You can find her at her food blog, One Bite At A Time. Alejandra also writes for City Eats DC, a Food Network site, where you can book dinner reservations. Follow her on Twitter at @frijolita and email her at alejandra[AT]borderstan.com.

asparagus

Look for asparagus at the markets. (Alejandra Owens)

Dear lord! I finally get to hit up the 14 & U Farmers Market this weekend! And I have my two girls in town so I get to show them the glory that is a brownie cookie sandwich from Whisked!.

Even still, what I’m here to talk about this week is: asparagus. Firm and crunchy, they smell and taste like spring.

And stinky pee be damned, I consume the stuff in great quantities when they’re in season! From what I can tell, the green sticks are going for about $4/lb at the markets right now — and if you’re cooking for more than one person you’ll likely need two bunches — so budget and plan your market trip accordingly.

Before I give you five wonderful recipes to try, I’m going to arm you with an essential tip: how to properly trim asparagus. If you’re lazy and don’t want to click through to the tip, here it goes:

“… take the end of the asparagus between your thumb and forefinger and bend until it breaks.”

Oh *snap* (ha! I couldn’t resist!) that was easy. Now, what to make with all that asparagus you’re going to procure this weekend.

What’s your favorite asparagus recipe? OR, maybe I should ask: what restaurant has your favorite asparagus dish?

Happy eating, Borderstanis! Don’t forget, you can always ask me questions on Twitterabout the markets, food, cooking and more!

Like reading Borderstan’s Food & Drink stories? Get an RSS Feed for the F&E Section, or an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories.

Posted in Food & DrinkComments (1)