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by Borderstan.com August 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm 0

From Luis Gomez. Catch his photos at One Photograph A Day. Follow him on Twitter @LuisGomezPhotos or email him at luis[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.

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

"food"

Ashley Lusk is one of Borderstan’s food writers. (Courtesy Ashley Lusk)

Ashley Lusk is a food writer for Borderstan.

What’s the best restaurant in DC? Why?

Lusk: The best restaurants in DC are the ones that are owned by people who live here. If you’re in the mood for good, humble American-style food, you can’t beat Open City in Woodley Park. But, if you’ve got some cash in your pocket and want a solid dining experience, head over to Cashion’s Eat Place in Adams Morgan. Not only will you get an aesthetically beautiful meal, it will be one you won’t soon forget.

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

Lusk: Every meal has a story and some of my favorite interviews or recommendations find a way at getting to the heart of food. The best blogs and cookbooks convey the story of what it took to get the food to the table–the burned pie crust, or the laughter at spilled flour. I love that. One of my favorite stories for Borderstan was an interview with Chef Edam McQuaid and Chef Alex Vallcorba; when we met they described their love of the perfect pizza dough…you can taste that love in the food.

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

Lusk: I’m loyal to a few food writers who dominate my Google reader and they are largely female writers: Deb at Smitten Kitchen, Ree Drummond at The Pioneer Woman, and vegetarian bloggers Alex and Sonia at A Couple Cooks. I live and die by FoodGawker. I love looking at food that I could actually make and feed to friends.

What is your version of comfort food?

Lusk: I became pescetarian two years ago and so many of the foods I associated with comfort — fried chicken, pork chops, bacon — were off the table. Today, my cravings fall more towards hearty pasta, white bean soup and this ridiculously good tofu dish from Veggie Belly. But, if you’re not of the vegetarian variety, you can’t go wrong making my mom’s signature dish: Melt In Your Mouth Chicken Pot Pie. You’re welcome for that one.

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

Lusk: How anyone ever got any cooking done without a spatula is beyond me.

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by Borderstan.com June 12, 2013 at 11:00 am 0

From Scott Leibowitz. Find Scott on Twitter @Lebodome, email him at [email protected].

"Sandwich"

Get your perfect sandwich. (Ashley Lusk)

Hey, Borderstan! We are taking an unscheduled break from my usual sports/dude-ish banter to discuss something that is very near and dear to my heart. If you have lived in this city for more than a week, then you will be able to relate to the subject.

Sometimes it’s a lunch necessity, other times it’s a midday thing where you know it will help bring you from the depths of too much coffee. A food credited to royalty has become the standard bearer for the common man, and it’s creation is what’s been on my mind most recently. I am talking about sandwiches, more specifically the construction and ease of obtaining one.

Yes, I know I am not a food blogger. Borderstan is full of much better and more qualified people for debating taste, texture and overall awesomeness. But, when I think of a sandwich, the first words that come to mind are efficiency and ease. I don’t like to be in a new place and not know within an hour of being there where the nearest sandwich shop is located.

Growing up in New Jersey, there was a bodega or local shop on every other corner, so a “sub” was never far away and everyone knew how to order. However, it was not until I was standing in the Bethesda Bagel line watching a clueless couple of blond hair and boat shoes figure out what goes on a bagel with lox (cream cheese, tomato, onion, scallions) that I realized not everyone has the confidence and smoothness to order a sandwich, and this is a problem.

I understand that the customer is always right and no one wants to be pressured into something they don’t want. But as you may not realize, everyone around you is on the move and not ready to sink into your world of hesitation and doubts. So, the next time you want that fat sandwich to rock your lunch world, here are some helpful thoughts.

What Kind of Menu Is It?

There are three types of menus. The set menu, where you pick a style and that’s what you get (Taylors/JJ’s Cheesesteak). The free-for-all, a grocery store condensed so you always get what you want (Subway/Potbellys). Last, the hybrid has a set menu but there is wiggle room for additions (So’s Your Mom and Dupont Market at 18th and S Streets NW, some personal favorites). The more you know what you are getting into, the better prepared you will be.

Know Thyself

Have a go-to sandwich order. I am not saying that every time you walk into a place you have to get the same thing. I am just encouraging you to be prepared for those crazy lunch hour rushes. Some people have extensive zombie apocalypse plans; I have emergency sandwich ordering details.

Make It Personal/Know Your Hour

Don’t be that guy/gal who orders four sandwiches for the group (call that in in advance and pick it up). Also, when you are getting yourself a sandwich and its the crazy lunch hour, be aware of it and everyone’s lives will be easier.

If I had full control of the world, I would make every sandwich place like Wawa with a computerized ordering system with the hoagies coming out in the order they were taken in. Until that happens, I ask that in a city as on the go as ours you stand ready to order, as well as scarf down, a footlong down with pride. Good luck!

This column first ran August 8, 2012.

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by Borderstan.com April 12, 2013 at 1:00 pm 0

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

"ScratchDC"

ScratchDC is expanding its service area. (Ashley Lusk)

ScratchDC — a local company that plans, measures and delivers organic and locally-sourced ingredients for a home cooked meal — is expanding its services to include Georgetown, Glover Park, Arlington and Alexandria starting Monday, April 15.

To celebrate the expansion, scratchDC is throwing a customer appreciation happy hour and celebration in Saturday, April 14, from 4 to 7 pm at Ulah Bistro (1214 U Street NW). The party will include appetizers, hors d’oeuvres and happy hour drink specials. There’s also talk of some free giveaways and other prizes.

For more information on the event, contact Ryan Hansan at hi[AT]scratchDC.com.

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by Borderstan.com March 7, 2013 at 9:00 am 0

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

Delicious (

Delicious healthy meals to get going. (Courtesy Power Supply)

Imagine if you left the gym — sweaty, exhausted, and hungry — with a bag of delicious prepared meals? Enter Power Supply, a new food delivery system for serious Paleo eaters (or, let’s just face it, people who are hungry for healthy options).

I caught up with Robert Morton, committed Crossfiter/Paleo eater, and partner of Power Supply. Morton lost 35 pounds on the Paleo diet, combined with regular Crossfit exercise, and was inspired to help others stay dedicated to healthy eating habits.

If you’re familiar with the Paleo diet, you know that it eliminates processed food, including grains, dairy, sugar and preservatives, from the diet and instead relies heavily on lean protein (meat and fish), fruits and vegetables and healthy fats like nuts, avocados and olive oil.

The Power Supply mission is to build healthy, accessible meals and they’ve charted benchmark and baseline standards to help users understand where their food falls. The Power Supply website is full of ideas for rounding out the rest of the week’s meals.

How it Works

  • Place your order using the My Power Supply website: Meals can be ordered for lunch, dinner or both, and can be ordered in three or five day quantities. Prices range from $35 for three day’s worth of lunch meals, to $119 for five day’s worth of lunch and dinner meals. Check out this week’s menu. The program is highly customizable — you can alert the team to permanent substitutions for ingredients you eat, order two of the same meal, or leave a meal off your menu if you think it’s not for you.
  • Power Supply delivers meals on Monday and Thursday to Crossfit gyms across DC, Maryland and Virginia: You pick your meals up post-workout. In Borderstan, you can pick up your Power Supply order from CrossFit Praxis (2217 14th Street NW) and BETA Academy (1353 Florida Avenue NW).

Eat Up

Power Supply meals are delivered in a bento box-type container and they are ready to eat, or nearly so after a short microwave. Power Supply is working to make the nutrition facts accessible, but for now each box comes with a label describing all of the ingredients in the meal.

Participants can give a starred review on the meal and feedback on changes instantly using a QR code on the top of each box. The meals are tasty, but if you aren’t acclimated to the ingredient substitutions of the Paleo diet, it may take some getting used to.

I tested a grilled steak salad with apple chutney and found the steak to be tender and the horseradish sauce an interesting variation from the usual salad suspects.

Power Supply, like Scratch, is based on convenience (or really just anyone with a busy lifestyle). The pick-up process is easy and I think most people would find it particularity helpful to have a post-workout meal ready when you leave the gym. For a review of Power Supply from a Paleo food blogger, check out Florida Girl in DC.

Disclaimer: Power Supply graciously provided the author with a sample meal, gratis, so she could test the product before this story.

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by Borderstan.com January 8, 2013 at 2:00 pm 1 Comment

"Bake"

Baking for babies: You need a cake. (Courtesy Dan and Will Neville-Rehbehn )

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

Dan and Will Neville-Rehbehn are ready to become parents.

They met in 2009, just as Will was considering a move back to his native Salt Lake City. Food is an integral part of their relationship–they had their first date at Firefly, they hold dinner parties for friends, they explore restaurants, find dishes they like, then rush home to recreate them. Will is cooking his way through an entire Momofuku cookbook.

In 2010 they were engaged, and in 2011 they held a wedding and reception at the Park Hyatt, planned around a family style dinner from Blue Duck Tavern and featuring a cake from none other than Momofuku. The dinner was “socially engineered” so that strangers would get to know each other while passing food around the table. Guests left with a homemade apple pie in a jar made by Will and his mom.

“[We] use food and cooking as a way to bring people we love together to celebrate,” said Will. “Our entire relationship has been based around food as the catalyst for bringing people together.”

Last year Dan and Will began to discuss the startling reality of how two young professionals, given the logistics, legal issues and science for LGBT families, could become parents.

First came the discussion of their options: adoption or IVF and surrogacy (for the record, Dan and Will are moving in the direction of the latter). And then the moment of facing the costs for agencies, medical costs, lawyers.

When friends and family learned of their plans, they immediately began to ask how they could help.

“It’s hard to admit you need that kind of help, especially as something fundamental as staring a family,” said Will. “Accepting donations was something I was having a hard time doing.”

Will and Dan began a “spending lock-down” and accepted some help from family, but conversations with good friends and mentors turned into insistence that they be allowed to help shoulder the burden.

“It started off as a joke,” said Will, “sure, we’ll have a bake sale. I cook for the people I adore and I bake for the people I care about. This is how I express love.” It could be a “tangible form of gratitude.”

So on New Year’s Day, the couple found the courage to launch Will’s Bake Sale, a site where family and friends can purchase homemade baked goods from Will and Dan, while also making a donation to their baby fund.

The response has been overwhelming. The couple are receiving support from more than family and friends, they are connecting with people who simply want to share encouragement.

Since they both already work full-time jobs, for Will and Dan, the bake sale isn’t a business. Once an order is placed, you can expect to receive your baked goods within a three- to four-week window. Will said he will try to meet the requests of friends who ask for their treat on special occasions, like a birthday cake he made this weekend. He’s also discovering new recipes to meet the dietary needs of vegan and gluten free friends.

Will’s favorite treat on the site is the Margarita Layer Cake, a homemade combination of crunchy, creamy, sweet, salty flavors. You can even buy pottery bakeware from Will’s mom–she makes the pie plates and Will fills them with pie.

“Not to brag, but it’s pretty damn good.”

For now, Dan and Will are looking at starting the surrogacy and IVF process in the next few months, thanks to the help of family, friends and some delicious baked goods.

“These little ways food works its way into your life, reminding you of people you love, it’s humbling. It’s been an amazing way to move our dreams forward.”

And that’s just icing on the cake.

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by Borderstan.com January 7, 2013 at 4:00 pm 1 Comment

resolutions

Borderstan Resolutions: What are yours? (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. Email her at alejandra[AT]borderstan.com and follow her on Twitter at @frijolita.

New Year’s resolutions, the year’s first, great conflict. To make them, not to make them. Scoff at them, secretly envy the temporary discipline of our peers. Personally, I think the nature of resolutions is best captured by Mark Twain:

“Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever. We shall also reflect pleasantly upon how we did the same old thing last year about this time. However, go in, community. New Year’s is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls, and humbug resolutions, and we wish you to enjoy it with a looseness suited to the greatness of the occasion.” (via The Paris Review)

So in the nature of getting into the “looseness suited to the greatness of the occasion,” we thought we’d share our resolutions for 2013, may you help keep us accountable and participate in public shaming when we fail!

Health, Our Old Friend

  • I will exercise everyday. That is my resolution. – Luis Gomez
  • I’m giving myself three months to “get right” again. Get back into good habits like cooking at home, moving more, reading, writing — things I know make me happy! – Alejandra Owens
  • Fewer happy hours (of the non-coffee kind), read the books I have bought over the last few years, write down my family’s traditional Indian recipes! – Aparna Krishnamoorthy

Home Cooking, Revived

  • I’m resolved to making home cooked meals more frequent and extraordinary. – Jonathan Riethmeier

Relationships & Creativity

  • My resolution is to send a hand-written piece of mail out to somebody different every week. – Namita Koppa
  • I made a DC-to-do-list of 10 places/things in DC I haven’t seen or done yet and would like to get to. – Laetitia Brock
  • I love mail, so writing hand-written notes is one of my resolutions too. – Ashley Lusk
  • My resolution is to start a creative writing journal and set aside time biweekly to actually sit by myself and do it! – Chelsea Rinnig

Live That Life! 

  • I have lots of little resolutions. One is as simple as getting the mail everyday. Yup, it’s time to be an adult. – Rachel Nania
  • I try not to make resolutions, but I am going to try to take more risks this year, and also would like to learn how to make fancy cocktails at home. – Katie Andriulli

So, Borderstanis, what are your New Years resolutions?

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by Borderstan.com December 31, 2012 at 10:00 am 0

"hangover"

The simple option for curing your hangover: scrambled eggs and beer at home or at a local diner. (Ashley Lusk)

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

Let’s be real, people.

On New Year’s Day you’re not trying to pull out your best smoked prosciutto and cheese for the people who had an “accidental sleepover” at your place.

That’s okay: we here at Borderstan don’t judge, and that’s why we have collected a series of easy recipes that will help you replace all those nutrients you lost while you were chugging celebratory champagne.

Hair of the dog. Ever wonder about that term? If all else fails for your hangover,  there is always the beer or Bloody Mary option.

Keeping-it-Classy: Spinach and Cheese Strata

This dish is for the host who had the wherewithal to prepare for the next day before pre-gaming began. Thisstrata from Epicurious can “marinate” in the fridge for up to 24 hours prior to baking.

  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1½ cups finely chopped onion (1 large)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 8 cups cubed (1 inch) French or Italian bread (½ lb)
  • 6 ounces coarsely grated Gruyère (2 cups)
  • 2 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 cup)
  • 2¾ cups milk
  • 9 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Directions

  1. Squeeze handfuls of spinach to remove as much liquid as possible, then finely chop.
  2. Cook onion in butter in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in spinach, then remove from heat.
  3. Spread one third of bread cubes in a buttered 3-quart gratin dish or other shallow ceramic baking dish and top evenly with one third of spinach mixture. Sprinkle with one third of each cheese. Repeat layering twice (ending with cheeses).
  4. Whisk together milk, eggs, mustard, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a large bowl and pour evenly over strata. Chill strata, covered with plastic wrap, at least 8 hours (for bread to absorb custard).
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Let strata stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
  6. Bake strata, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
  7. Note: Strata can be chilled up to 1 day. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking.

What, exactly, causes a hangover? “Hypoglycemia, dehydration, acetaldehyde intoxication, and glutamine rebound are all theorized causes of hangover symptoms.” – Wikipedia

One for the Team: Hangover Pizza

Even though this hangover pizza from iVillage is simple enough already, we suggest taking it a step closer to simplicity by replacing the homemade pizza dough with that of the Pillsbury variety.

  • 1 can of pizza dough
  • 1 cup baby arugula 10 ounces Robiola cheese, rind removed, at room temperature (or combine 5 ounces of fresh mozzarella and 5 ounces of smoked mozzarella and 2 tablespoons of Pecorino Romano), all grated
  • 4 eggs
  • Sea salt and ground pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of white truffle oil, or a drizzle of your favorite flavored oil

Directions

  1. Open pizza dough and spread on a large sheet of parchment paper; dust with flour. Roll out dough into a 10- to 12-inch rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough all over. Slide pizza along with paper onto hot baking sheet. Bake according to directions on can until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Push down dough using back of spoon. Cook another 3 minutes.
  2. Remove pizza and spread or sprinkle cheese, salt and freshly ground pepper. Top with arugula. Carefully crack 4 eggs on top of pizza. Put pie back in the oven until eggs are cooked, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with truffle oil. Cut into squares and serve hot.

No More Snoozing: Drunken Noodles

This is really for the person who isn’t hung over at all, but wants to nurse her bum friends back to health so that she can get them out of her house. What’s more ironic than this drunken noodles recipe from Epicurious?

  • 2 14-ounce packages of ¼-inch-wide flat rice noodles*
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 12 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Thai chiles*
  • 1½ pounds ground chicken
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • ¼ cup black soy sauce*
  • ¼ cup Golden Mountain sauce* or light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 large plum tomatoes, each cut into 6 wedges
  • 4 Anaheim chiles or Italian frying peppers, or 2 green bell peppers (about 12 ounces total), cut into strips
  • ½ cup fresh Thai basil leaves* or regular basil leaves

Directions

  1. Cook noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring frequently. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and Thai chiles; sauté 30 seconds. Add chicken and next 4 ingredients and sauté until chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add noodles, tomatoes, and Anaheim chiles; toss to coat. Transfer to large platter, sprinkle with basil leaves, and serve.
  3. *Available in the Asian foods section or produce section of some supermarkets, and at Southeast Asian and some Asian markets.

Hair of the Dog that Bit You: Hangover Smoothie

The only thing less appealing than putting more liquids down your gullet is the thought of putting anything solid down there instead. Buck up, champs, this hangover smoothie from Free People will have you feeling better soon.

  • One handful (approximately 1 cup) of washed spinach
  • 4 leaves of washed dinosaur kale
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup of soy milk
  • 4 to 5 drops of liquid B12
  • ¾ cup of chopped ice

Directions

  • Blend all ingredients until smooth.

This story was originally posted on December 29, 2011. But seeing as how tonight is New Year’s Eve and a lot of you will be partying, we thought you might like to read it again. 

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by Borderstan.com December 26, 2012 at 10:00 am 0

"business"

The top business story in 2012 was one of a series (most by Tome Hay) on Hank’s Oyster Bar’s ongoing dispute with a group of neighbors and its interactions with the DC Government. (Luis Gomez Photos)

It’s that time again… a look back before we start 2013. Like last December, we will provide you with a list of the most-read stories on Borderstan by category. Today are the Top 10 from the Business section.

The web is forever, so they say. Posted stories continue to get hits a long time after originally going up on the site. As a result, some of the most-read stories for the year were sometimes published the year before — especially if they were published late the year before (not the case with any on the following list).

Top 10 Borderstan Business Stories of 2012

These lifestyle stories were Top 10 most read last year on Borderstan.com.

  1. Hank’s Forced to Shut Half of Patio; Owner Seeks Community Support (Borderstan)
  2. Plans Unveiled for the Louis at 14th/U; Will Remake Famous Corner (Gomez and Rhoades)
  3. BakeHouse’s Business Plan: Do Everything Really Well (Ashley Lusk)
  4. Owner Christopher Torres Explains Reincarnations’ Closure (Maggie Barron)
  5. Atlantic Plumbing: 375 Units and 25,000 Square Feet of Retail Space (Rachel Nania)
  6. 14th Street: Reincarnations Furnishings Closing (Luis Gomez)
  7. Mila Clothing: Zoning Variance For 14th and U Street Property? (Tom Hay)
  8. DC Noodles Closing for 1 Year; Stem Boutique Closing Doors July 1 (Luis Gomez)
  9. New Dupont Development on 17th and O Starting Construction Soon (Rachel Nania)
  10. No Hotel for 13th and U, Project Will Be Residential Says JBG  (Tom Hay)

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by Borderstan.com December 18, 2012 at 10:00 am 0

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

"grief"

No recipes for grief. (Luis Gomez Photos)

On Friday, after a day of watching Twitter feeds and broadcast news unravel the details of the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I felt sick.

I picked at lunch, ate half an apple and nursed a cup of tea. That afternoon a general sense of grief hovered as the catered appetizers at our work holiday party went largely untouched.

In times like these when we and others mourn, I want nothing more than to nourish the rawness inside us with food. The great tragedy is that in these moments food is only a necessity. Here are some tips to consider when providing food for the grieving:

  1. Keep it easy. Avoid spicy or complicated flavors; make a meal that is simple and nutritious.
  2. Frozen is best. Because food is often far from the mind of those in mourning, consider creating a meal that can be frozen. Always use dishes that may be disposed of later by relatives.
  3. Call it in. The first few days after a death, families are often flooded with food. Consider offering to pick up the check for a delivery order later in the week.
  4. Avoid painful memories. Was the departed loved one responsible for the broccoli casserole at family reunions? Make something else.
  5. Celebrate life. After welcoming those paying their respects, a quiet meal can often be appreciated by those in mourning.Offer to take the family or friend out for a special meal celebrating the life of the loved one.

Simple Recipes That Can Be Frozen

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by Borderstan.com November 21, 2012 at 9:00 am 1,094 0

"quiche"

Roasted Sweet Potato, Caramelized Onion,and Blue Cheese Quiche. (Ashley Lusk)

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

This year, my father’s relatives decided that instead of facing the double food coma that accompanies two family dinners, we would hold a Thanksgiving breakfast.

This new tradition presented a perplexing challenge, however, for, once again, the matriarchs of our family will own the bacon, eggs and hash, leaving this city girl to deliver the exotic goods.

This weekend I road-tested this Roasted Sweet Potato Quiche and found it to be a worthy addition to our family brunch. There is a little time involved with the initial preparation, but once the quiche goes into the oven you can sit back and watch your cousins attempt to sneak mimosas.

Roasted Sweet Potato, Caramelized Onion and Blue Cheese Quiche

Adapted from Naturally Ella

  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook time: 55 minutes
  • Serves: This recipe serves 81-10 people or 5 hungry adults.

Ingredients

  • 1 deep-dish pie crust
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2 large onions
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½-1 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 5 eggs
  • 2½ cups milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • pinch nutmeg

Instructions

  1. You could make your own crust if you’ve got the time, but Sandra Dee made this quiche by using a pre-made deep-dish piecrust.  Remove the crust from the package and gently poke the entire crust with a fork (this will keep your crust from bubbling). Parbake the crust for 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees, just until the crust gets a little brown color. Remove from oven and set aside on a baking tray.
  2. To caramelize onions, slice onions into an even ¼ inch slice and heat a medium pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium low heat. Start cooking onions, stirring occasionally. After onions have cooked for 15-20 minutes, add salt. Continue to let cook, letting more time go by before you stir the onions (I go for about 10-15 minute increments.) Continue to cook and stir onions until golden, soft, and cooked down- usually 60-75 minutes. Set aside.
  3. To prepare sweet potatoes, peel and cut into ¼ inch slices. Toss with one tablespoon of olive oil and place on a covered baking tray. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft and begin to brown. The crust, onions, and sweet potatoes can be done all at the same time.
  4. Reduce or preheat oven to 375˚.
  5. Once these three elements are ready, layer the sweet potatoes in the bottom of the crust. Sprinkle caramelized onions and blue cheese on top. Finally, whisk eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg together. Pour over filling ingredients.
    Note: At this point you can cover the quiche, place in the refrigerator, and let sit for up to day before baking. My crust was soggy the next day, but still baked a beautiful golden brown.
  6. To bake, carefully transfer quiche to the oven. Bake for 45-55 minutes until the filling domes up and barely jiggles. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

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by Borderstan.com November 5, 2012 at 12:00 pm 0

"Election"

Election night: Where will you be raising a glass? (Luis Gomez Photos)

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

After this election, we will all need a good drink, and luckily Borderstan has you covered. Check out these bars and drink specials in and around the neighborhood.

Where to Go on Election Night in the Neighborhood

  • Election Drink and Dinner Specials at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe, 1517 Connecticut Avenue NW. Start with “The Split Ticket,” which includes Obama Family Chili & Mitt’s Birthday Favorite Meat Loaf Cake. Then grab a drink: pick up a Red State: with Wolf Blass Brut champagne, Sorbetto Strawberry liqueur and strawberry purée; or a Blue State: Wolf Blass Brut champagne, Broker’s gin, blue curacao; simple syrup, and lemon juice.
  • Human Rights Campaign at Eatonville, 2121 14th Street NW. Head over to Eatonville where the Human Rights Campaign will have a watch party to support LGBT and allied political candidates. A $5 to $10 donation gets you a thank-you gift, in addition to a cash bar access and food available for purchase. RSVP at the HRC Facebook Page.
  • All Night Happy Hour Menu at Policy, 904 14th Street NW. The fun begins at 5 pm when Policy offers their happy hour menu for the rest of the night, with $5 food and drinks and special election-themed cocktails. As part of this Policy Media Room event they’ll also be showing the CNN election coverage on three TVs–most importantly, with sound. Wolf Blitzer drinking game, anyone?
  • Open Bar Rules at Local 16, 1602 U Street NW. Head to Local 16 to check out live coverage of the 2012 Presidential Election and lay down an Andrew Jackson ($20) for the open bar from 8 until 11 pm. Drown your sorrows or your joys after the announcement of the winning candidate with D.J. OMG. Tickets can be purchased in advance.
  • Eat, Drink and Listen at Busboys and Poets, 2021 14th Street NW. Head to any Busboys and Poets location to watch the election coverage on their big screen TVs, where they’ll have the coverage commentary on throughout the restaurant.
  • Free Drinks and Food at Darlington House, 1610 20th Street NW. It’s an election night party from 7 until 8 pm at Darlington House with complimentary cocktails and bar food.
  • Live Coverage and an Open Bar at Tropicalia, 2001 14th Street NW. Tropicalia will show election coverage on two projector screens and have a $20 open bar from 8 until 11 pm. Tickets are available for purchase online.
  • Music and Politics at Cobalt, 1639 R Street NW. D.J. Jason Royce will be on-hand to pump up an election results-crazed crowd. See details on the event’s Facebook page.

Election Night Specials Just Outside the Neighborhood

  • The Blaguard, 2003 18th Street NW. On Tuesday you can snark it up The Blaguard where a tall boy and rye is just $6.
  • Mellow Mushroom, 2436 18th Street NW. Head to Mellow Mushroom in Adams Morgan to predict which candidate the swing states will vote for, and you just might win a $50 bar tab. In addition to trivia starting at 8 pm, you and three friends can check in on Facebook to get a free pitcher of beer.
  • A 13-Hour Happy Hour at Capitol City Brewing Company, 1100 New York Avenue NW. Capitol City Brewing will host an all-day happy hour with happy hour priced appetizers and drinks.

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by Borderstan.com October 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm 2 Comments

"Scratch"

Hansan’s inspiration for creating Scratch aligns with most busy urbanites that want to cook amazing meals, but don’t have time for the many steps. (Ashley Lusk)

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

As a food writer, I make a lot more oatmeal and cereal dinners than you would think. That’s why I was pretty excited to try a meal from Scratch DC, “fresh, locally sourced, organic ingredients that are chopped, measured, marinated and packed with an easy-to-follow recipe and delivered right to your door.”

My Scratch order arrived at the door promptly at my desired delivery time of 6 pm, handled by the owner himself, Ryan Hansan. Ryan, a resident of Columbia Heights, told me he makes between 20 and 25 deliveries like these everyday, but the process of getting the meal to the door starts much earlier. Ryan and a prep chef meet at a commercial kitchen at National Harbor each morning to prepare the ingredients for that day’s dish.

That night my “bundle” held eight scallops, sliced chorizo and snap peas, in addition to measured oil, butter, salt and pepper. It also had mashed avocado, chopped tomatoes and onions, and half a lemon, plus two balls of cookie dough.

Hansan’s inspiration for creating Scratch aligns with most busy urbanites that want to cook amazing meals, but don’t have time for the many steps.

“There’s research, a trip to the grocery store, you buy all this stuff, but then it goes bad. Like parsley [or] spices you only use once. There has to be a better way to do that,” he says.

The ingredients in each bundle are locally sourced and organic when possible.

“We tell you where the stuff comes from,” says Hansan. “We work with Lancaster Farm Cooperative, Tuscarora Grower’s Cooperative; if it’s not in season or locally viable, we get it from Albert’s Organics. Our meats come from Fell’s Point Meats in Maryland and our chicken comes from Murray’s Chicken.”

The instructions for the meal were incredibly simple and so I decided to time how long it took me to make the dinner. From out of the box, to on the plate — 14 minutes, and it was delicious.

“I was confident that the recipes would be good, but people have been really, really enjoying it. 80% of people who have ordered once are ordering again,” says Hansan.

For two hearty servings, the meals range from $21 to $26. Each week Hansan tries to offer a pasta bundle and a vegetarian bundle, and proteins on the other nights. The recipes are inspired by his mom’s cookbooks and have been tested to perfection. Although he isn’t regularly repeating recipes, he says he’s been asked to bring back the Chicken Tiki Masala.

I asked Hansan about his business philosophy and he said, “Treat the customer right, give them a good meal, save time for them and they’ll come back and want to do it again.”

Sign me up.

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by Borderstan.com September 18, 2012 at 12:00 pm 1,129 0

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

"Pickle Jar"

Sarah Gordon and Sheila Fain The women behind Gordy’s. (Courtesy Gordy’s)

It’s really hard not to dig Gordy’s Pickle Jar. After all, it’s owned and operated by two kick-ass Borderstan women, and they make pickles using local sustainable ingredients. Even Esquire agrees.

The small batch artisanal pickling company (read: limited, so go pick up a jar immediately) began in October 2011, and is named after co-owner Sarah Gordon’s dad, with whom she shares a mutual love of pickles. Along with co-owner Sheila Fain, they produce four varieties of pickles in a community kitchen on 9th &V St.

  • Signature sweet chips are bread and butter pickles with hints of garlic and ginger;
  • Hot Chili  Spears includes a spiked brine with chili peppers;
  • Thai basil jalapeño pickle are brined in spices that balance the heat, including peppercorn and fennel;
  • Sweet pepper relish a savory relish of cucumbers, peppers and onion, pickled together in their signature sweet brine.

“We love pickling because it allows us to preserve the season. We take a vegetable that’s currently in season and enjoy it year round,” said Sheila.

While the 16 oz jars of pickled products may cost a little more at $10 per jar, you’re getting organic cucumbers prepared using a pickling process that helps preserve the natural crunch of the vegetable. And you’re supporting two local women who have self-financed their own business.

“You make incredible personal sacrifices, work around the clock. It’s about growing carefully, even if that means growing a little slowly,” said Fain.

You can pick up Gordy’s Pickle products online and at more than forty retail locations across the country, including Whole Foods, Smucker Farms, Cork and Seasonal Pantry in our neighborhood. If you would like to meet the owners, head over to the Fresh Farm Market in Penn Quarter on Thursdays.

Oh, and their next pickled project? Okra. Just try and beat me to their booth.

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by Borderstan.com August 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm 1,264 0

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

Coffee. Coffee. Wine. That’s pretty much the schedule of drinks in most of my days. But the guys at Capital Kombucha have given me a pretty good reason to add tea to that list.

"Kombucha"

Three members of the Capital Kombucha team, from left: co-founder Andreas Schneider, Dan Bae and John Lee. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that that was first created more than 2,000 years ago, according to Capital Kombucha co-founder Andreas Schneider. The drink’s ingredients include brewed tea, Kombucha culture, sugar and handmade flavors.

Schneider says most of the sugar is evaporated in the fermenting process, and that what’s left are the antioxidants associated with tea and a distinct probiotic quality (read: your intestinal tract will love you).

Schneider, along with his friends John Lee and Dan Lieberman, began to bottle Kombucha seriously in February of this year. The three met last fall as classmates in the George Washington University MBA program, which they will complete next year. Today, they bottle and prepare Kombucha locally from a commercial kitchen on Georgia Avenue, using ingredients from DC Central Kitchen’s Nutrition Lab to craft their hand-prepared flavors.

So what does Kombucha taste like? Imagine a tart fruit drink that is lighter than juice, but sweeter than water. A bottle of Capital Kombucha will set you back around $3.50, but the flavors are interesting enough to give it a try; they include Mango Chile, Basil Lemongrass, Mint Lime and Peach.

Today, you can buy bottles of their Kombucha  in stores across DC, including Seasonal Pantry, Yola, Smucker Farms, Buddha B yoga, Bourbon Coffee and Sticky Fingers Bakery.

Schneider says their drinks pair well with smoothies and cocktails. He recommends testing out the two recipes below.

Capital Kombucha Bellini

Ingredients

  • 1 Raspberry
  • 2 Ounces chilled Peach Capital Kombucha
  • 3 Ounces chilled prosecco or champagne

Preparation

  1. In a champagne flute, lightly muddle raspberries before adding kombucha.
  2. Slowly pour over prosecco or champagne, stir and serve.

Booch Berry Mojito

Ingredients

  • 5 blueberries OR raspberries
  • 4 mint leaves
  • 2 oz. Mint Lime Capital Kombucha
  • 2 oz. white rum
  • ½ oz lime juice
  • ½ oz simple syrup *
  • ½ oz soda water
  • Ice (crushed or cubed)

Preparation

  1. Add mint leaves, blueberries/raspberries, lime juice and simple syrup to a glass. Muddle ingredients firmly for 30 seconds (berries should be crushed).
  2. Add 2 oz. Mint Lime Capital Kombucha and 2 oz. white rum to the glass and mix with a spoon.
  3. Add ice and ½ oz of soda water.
  4. To really impress the guests garnish the glass by sliding one mint sprig or raw sugar cane into the glass.

* Simple syrup is equal parts sugar and water, then heated to dissolve. To make a simple syrup, bring 16 oz. of water to a boil, add 16 oz. of sugar, turn off heat, stir until dissolved. Allow syrup to cool before pouring.

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by Borderstan.com August 8, 2012 at 10:00 am 1 Comment

From Scott Leibowitz. Find Scott on Twitter @Lebodome.

"Sandwich"

Taylor Gourmet. (Ashley Lusk)

Hey Borderstan! We are taking an unscheduled break from my usual sports/dude-ish banter to discuss something that is very near and dear to my heart. If you have lived in this city for more than a week, then you will be able to relate to the subject.

Sometimes it’s a lunch necessity, other times it’s a midday thing where you know it will help bring you from the depths of more coffee. A food credited to royalty has become the standard bearer for the common man, and it’s creation is what’s been on my mind most recently. I am talking about sandwiches, more specifically the construction and ease of obtaining one.

Yes, I know I am not a food blogger. Borderstan is full of much better and more qualified people for debating taste, texture and overall awesomeness. But, when I think of a sandwich, the first words that come to mind are efficiency and ease. I don’t like to be in a new place and not know within an hour of being there where the nearest sandwich shop is located.

Growing up in New Jersey, there is a bodega or local shop on every other corner so a “sub” is never far away and everyone knows how to order. However, it was not until I was standing in the Bethesda Bagel line watching a clueless couple of blond hair and boat shoes figure out what goes on a bagel with lox (cream cheese, tomato, onion, scallions) that I realized not everyone has the confidence and smoothness to order a sandwich, and this is a problem.

I understand that the customer is always right and no one wants to be pressured into something they don’t want. But as you may not realize, everyone around you is on the move and not ready to sink into your world of hesitation and doubts. So the next time you want that fat sandwich to rock your lunch world, here are some helpful thoughts.

What kind of menu is it? There are three types of menus. The set menu, where you pick a style and that’s what you get (Taylors). The free-for-all, a grocery store condensed so you always get what you want (Subway/Potbellys). Last, the hybrid has a set menu but there is wiggle room for additions (So’s Your Mom & Dupont Market at 18th and S Streets NW, some personal favorites). The more you know what you are getting into, the better prepared you will be.

Know Thyself. Have a go-to sandwich order. I am not saying that every time you walk into a place you have to get the same thing. I am just encouraging you to be prepared for those crazy lunch hour rushes. Some people have extensive zombie apocalypse plans; I have emergency sandwich ordering details.

Make It Personal/Know Your Hour. Don’t be that guy/gal who orders four sandwiches for the group (call that in in advance and pick it up). Also, when you are getting yourself a sandwich and its the crazy lunch hour, be aware of it and everyone’s lives will be easier.

If I had full control of the world, I would make every sandwich place like Wawa with a computerized ordering system with the hoagies coming out in the order they were taken in. Until that happens, I ask that in a city as on the go as ours you stand ready to order, as well as scarf down, a footlong down with pride. Good luck!

Are You Ready for Some FOOTBALL!

Next post, NFL/Redskins preview. Sign up for your fantasy football leagues now.

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