Gan Bei!

"The Persian Princess" by Tanya Zouev

“The Persian Princess” by Tanya Zouev on The Cook Who Knew Nothing

Welcome to the weekend my Foodie Nation!!!! Mine started yesterday but I have a feeling yours did not so this one is for all you harder working people that have to figure out how to look busy on Fridays to the point where you just end up exhausting yourselves.

I was browsing about the grandness of the internet (stuck to the GASTROporn this time) and found a lovely post about martinis. And they all looked just so yummy and appropriate for the heat that’s going on in the outdoor areas. So check them out! (You click on the pretty photo above. Just as usual.)

Erotic Sandwich Photos Too Hot for University Internet To Handle

Bahn Mi

“Bahn Mi” from… somewhere on the internet…

As you all can tell, I have no problem throwing the word “porn” around. Porn, porn, porn. And then of course I break out in the the chorus for “The Internet is for Porn” from Avenue Q. The first time I did that I was in a philosophy of religion class and someone said that a metaphor for God could be the internet and one of my back row Honors buddies pointed out that 90% percent of the internet is used for porn. I wrote my class journal for that week on how we think of God in human terms and since the majority of humans have pornographic thoughts regularly it made sense that we would just ignore that when trying to make ourselves look like photocopies of God. And who knows… maybe God does think about porn. It wouldn’t be anything like ours, I’m sure, but still… worth a really awkward thought.

It’s in the 90’s today and that makes me sad. And I had to wake up super early to try once again to convince the DMV that I am in fact a state resident who should be allowed to get an ID card. I had so carefully gotten together all my documentation together to go in and get it earlier this week and they let me do everything but get the card itself until I bring in another proof of residency. I got a sunburn standing outside the MVA at 8am only to be told that the additional documents I had brought in didn’t count but that I was allowed to print off other bank/credit card statements and use those. So I’m going to try and go back later today and have told my boss that afterwards I will be working from home because its just too much hassle to go back and forth and back and forth and really I’ll I’m doing today is reading this book for next year and coming up with questions all them new students will have to suffer through. It’s a good book and I find it fascinating but I already know that the new crop of freshies are most likely to complain at me about how it’s more than 160 characters (or however long messages are these days).

But since I was up so early and now have like the biggest pile of dead trees with all possible bank/card statements the MVA might accept from me all printed out I’m hungry. And I know I still have Bahn Mi materials in the fridge. I was going to share a lovely post once about about the wonders of bahn mi and how you should be eating them but then I can across a serious problem… The university’s firewall…

I swear this thing block anything and everything of any remote possible interest to the majority of humanity. The word “wine” shows up on a page? BLOCKED! Any reference to sexual relations of any kind? BLOCKED (Yep, even some news articles)! Bahn mi…. BLOCKED for Mature/Adult Themes of a Sexual Nature.

It makes me want to laugh and cry all at the same time.

So there it is folks, somewhere in the post attached to the photo above is something so horrifyingly sexy that I can’t even open it on campus. It looks rally delicious… MUST BE A SIN!

Oh and look! A little bird has landed outside my office window and is trying to make friends with my Batman and Catwoman Lego figures… Since the internet seems to be off-limits I guess I’ll go play with Legos now.

Business. Serious Business.

Foodie Nation…. you know I’ve got my struggles with the Bean Juice. I wake up in the morning and I almost automatically just make coffee even if I know I shouldn’t be having any. But even with all my cravings I still won’t lower myself to a bad cup of coffee. I have some serious limits there.

During our Mother’s Day lunch a few weeks ago I had carefully made the coffee in the french press and set it on the counter to steep when one of my cousins (whom I love dearly) decided that playing with the plunger bit looked like fun and just started pumping it up and down. There’s were actual gasps from the company and I shouted across the room for her to cease and desist immediately… which she didn’t do. When the horror had ended and she had gotten the talk from someone, I was in too much shock to tell from who, we asked her “What were you thinking?! Why would you do that?!”. Her response was “It was fun…”


Now my dad tells me I’m not allowed to be picky and all “uppity” about my coffee because I’m just not and he’s wrong. He also commits some pretty horrifying offenses against the art of making coffee and it drives me nuts. He comes from a land where coffee is ground into a superfine powder and steeped directly in the cup it is to be drunk from. The “silt” settles to the bottom of the cup and all is well. I have had some pretty awful tasting Indonesian coffee. It tasted burnt and bitter and in one case it was sour… SOUR. I’m not saying there aren’t people who don’t think that’s just the epitome of food engineering but I’m gonna just put my hand up and say “Thanks…. But no thanks.”

The photo above comes from “The Biggest Coffee Brewing Mistakes Slideshow” on The Daily Meal and the slideshow covers the basics. If you are concerned that you might be making your coffee wrong I highly suggest you check it out. I’ve been lax in some of my coffee bean keeping methods but lately with the workplace being what it is and my need to retreat into the safety of the Dreamtime more than is medically advisable I’ve been polishing off a Costco sized bag of Mayorga’s Cafe Cubano pretty quickly. Not in a week but fast enough that I’m not losing much on the flavor by the time it’s ready to go and buy a new one. Also, I’m pretty sure this particular coffee is magic and can easily replace several prescription drugs.  Mayorga coffe: migraine and anti-depressant in one delicious cup!

Drink up me Foodies! There’s is a full day of pillaging ahead…

Photo from Desde my Ventana

French Toast Heaven Has Been Found!

Founding Farmers - Rockville

Founding Farmers – Rockville: Also known fondly as, that place where the food is amazing and yes we can definitely go back there. (Follow link to restaurant website)

Ranting about good food is just a built in part of my nature at this point. And I’m sure I’ve ranted about Founding Farmers before because I’ve been there several times and taken people there from out of town because, well, it’s impressive and I like making sure that visitors to DC remember it fondly, especially as a foodie capitol (which it most definitely is in my book).

Also, I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that my parents aren’t big fans of going out to eat. Why? Because they are sure to tell me every time I go out that they think it’s a waste. Although, usually it’s my dad saying that and my mom wonders out loud why she doesn’t ever get to go out somewhere nice… And I feel bad sometimes because they don’t do stuff like that mostly because they’re busy paying for our house and (yes we only have one) car. Oh, and have I mentioned that my little brother is rather expensive on the upkeep costs? He’s still young enough that being supported is acceptable but still. Children are expensive.

But with my dad gone and my mom pulling all-nighters to get this work done for Yemen she hasn’t been in much of a mood to cook so if we’re at home I’ve been doing it or we’ve been eating up leftovers. And on Sunday we had to do a bit of driving to get my brother to a competition and my mom decided that we would be eating out that day. So we arranged to stop at Founding Farmers at their Rockville location (near my Gma’s house) on the way back home.

Can I hear a “Best Idea EVER!”, please? I had, as of Sunday, never actually made it to any Founding Farmers (or sister restaurants) before  for brunch. I had tried twice before but due to some flooding–or inclement weather or some such nonsense out of their control–they had always ended up closing and so no brunch for me. Until Sunday…

Having been to their DC restaurant several times before I new the majority of the regular menu and was glad that one of the few times I’d managed to get a parent to one of my favorite restaurants that they had a really good vegetarian selection. We also had another friend with us for the weekend who happened to be vegetarian as well so that worked out nicely. And I don’t eat a lot of meat and if I do rarely for brunch because I like waffles and stuff and meat and waffles is a line I’m not really ready to cross and I doubt I ever will. Eggs, sure. But that’s about it. My brother on the other hand, has completely gone off the deep end and embraced his caveman roots and does eat rather a lot more meat than the rest of us.

We started with the basics, their lovely bread with various dips and “smears” and fried green tomatoes (because those are one of the key arguments I had used to get my mom to go there in the first place. If you think I like fried green tomatoes… Guess who taught me to like them…? Actually it was my Gpa but it’s my mom’s dad and it’s all flows down the generations nicely like that).

I’m not going to go into all sorts of details about what everyone ordered because that would be annoying. I am, however, going to discuss what I ordered because I’ve become hyper aware that I’ve just been eating sub-par french toast for an incredibly long time and now I feel the need to right this wrong.

I ordered this:

Stuffed New Orleans Style French Toast

Vanilla Pastry Cream

  • Original – 8
  • Lillian’s Blueberry Compote- 10 {<– with this}
  • Bananas Foster – 10

and I’m pretty sure I will never again be able to eat regular plain french toast ever again. For those of you who don’t know, vanilla pastry cream is very similar to what they fill eclairs with. In fact I think it is what they fill eclairs with in theory but this was even better. It was very similar to a homemade custard with vanilla bean (as opposed to that smooth gelatin-y stuff you find in a Boston Cream doughnut).

Now, I know I won’t be able to properly recreate this without some serious time and effort and possible some kitchen equipment that I don’t yet own. But progress is still possible. For instance I just looked up a compote recipe and this is the only one with a decent pictures. It is on pancakes which makes me sad because… well they are pancakes, but not sad enough to prevent me from sharing.

Blueberry Pancakes with Blueberry Compote

“Blueberry Pancakes with Blueberry Compote” from KitchenDaily

And here’s a video for making a pastry cream that I think looks about right: Pastry Cream Recipe from Joy the Baker.

So we’re working towards something similar at least. Now to figure out how to make the bread (which is really more like fluffy cake) into the  right shape and get the cream inside…. That will take more work but I’m sure a combination in the right quantities and some creative eating can get me close enough to say that I’m on the right track.


In the Land of the Sober

Bee's Knees

“Bee’s Knees” from Food & Wine

I don’t quite remember when it was that I first learned about this drink. But I was probably around 15 because I definitely remember being in a resort in Zambia at Victoria Falls when I was 16 and trying to order one and having just the worst luck because no one knew what I was talking about. Back in high school I had big dreams of becoming the very first SDA bartender. My mother very quickly squashed that plan by telling me that I could be a Christian bartender but I was getting a little too specific with the SDA thing and that it was just never going to happen. Later, in college, I learned that some of the church founders spoke out against ice cream because the process of sugar and milk melting in the stomach made alcohol. And that’s just ridiculous but goes to show why my mother was right and I decided that I should really look into some other religious options. It’s not a surprise that I had a lot of fun in chemistry lab that year.

I don’t often post drinks or alcoholic or bacon-based content because every time I do I can just feel my mom feeling disappointed in her child rearing skills in my head. But this week I think I’m in proper order. There are few things at work that make me want to just set up a bar at the front desk and tell everyone “Drinks are on me!” at lunch time but that just wouldn’t go over very well and I don’t have any of the ingredients at home because it’s hard to justify a truly full and comprehensive liquor cabinet with–you know–that mother thing. So my goal this weekend is to try and figure out a way to fulfill my youthful dream of sitting in a proper bar where the bartenders not only know what I’m talking about but who will appreciate the fine art of booze. Because I’m feeling a little parched here and all we’ve got is water and whatever caffeine I manage to sneak in. That’s right. Caffeine is decreed bad, too. We’re a bit loose on that one around here but at some of our sister institutions I’ve got family that have said their job was on the line because of potential “substance abuse”. And that’s just stupid…

Eat More Lunches!

Asaltado Vegetariano (Sitr-Fried Vegetable Sandwich)

“Asaltado Vegetariano (Sitr-Fried Vegetable Sandwich)” from Saveur

With school out for the summer and me being the only one that still has to come to campus I’m pretty much on my own for lunches. Usually it’s a much more communal effort to get everyone a packed lunch in the morning but now it’s just me and that means I’m so much less willing to put forth a lot of effort. But food is important and lunch is especially so in my book. After trying to get students through final exams, worrying about the next batch of students on the way in the fall, and only recently getting over the horrible illness of doom that had me practically strapping a box of tissues and a bag of cough drops to my hips for easy access… Well I let a few things get away from me and I gained a few pounds so it’s back to the routine and restarting the fencing training and hopefully the swimming circuit for the rest of the summer to make sure I don’t let the situation get the better of me. And, since having recently eaten and what I do behind closed doors with my earphones on isn’t exactly conducive, I can’t eat dinner until afterwards so lunch is important. I’m sure there are rules about all this stuff but since when have I ever followed the rules knowingly? So sandwiches and salads are on the menu along with my homemade bottles of chilled karkadé(which I talk more about in my previous post “Bug Juice“).