Ripple Effect

Checked out this new place (to me) in Cleveland Park (a DC neighborhood, if you’re not from around here) last night and it was quite nice!  From cocktails to wine to menu, you can’t get bored.  The name — Ripple, hence the name of the post.  Side note, there are quite a few meanings of Ripple Effect.  Check them out of you want some good conversations pieces to either draw people in or get them away during upcoming holiday parties.

IMG_2350

They have quite the cocktail, wine and beer selection and after watching the bartender add some type of liquid to a glass from ‘something’ that looked like it could have been a funky whipped cream container, I come to find out they make their own juices and soda and have these cool, funky pressurized, carbonated container, vessel things.  Good terminology on my side, right?  The key point was that I had to try something.  After some debate, I opted for the Herbivores Delight — chamomile vodka, grapefruit-thyme soda.  The sage leaf on top brought it all in!

IMG_2339

Now, jumping forward awhile, while the bartender was prepping that, the folks next to me were trying some wine.  They had a taste so I had to inquire.  I had a sip as well.  That was my pre-planned round 2!  When I see wines I’ve not tasted, bring it on.  I have now added to my shopping list Donkey and Goat 2012 Carignane from Mendocino.  Of course when you go to the website you find it’s Limited Edition, but hey, it’s just new a new winery to explore!

IMG_2341

Food-wise, for some reason I flipped to the cheese menu and saw they offer sheep’s milk cheese, aka lactose free!  Opted for the ossau iraty.  Also ordered some prosicutto and olives.  They serve the cheese and meat on a nice board and complement it with house-made mustard and honey. Then, they throw their bread crisps in there. Ahhh….heaven.

 

menu_fixed

IMG_2347

IMG_2349(had already eaten most of these)

IMG_2346

So, if you’re in DC, check this place out.  And this was just part of the menu.  So much more to explore!

Brussels Sprouts Test

One of my contributions to Thanksgiving dinner is a brussels sprouts dish. So when I was attending a party last night, I took that as a test-run for a recipe I’d been eyeing.  I was from a recent issue of Bon Appetit — Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Chanterelles.  It looked simple yet complex so it had to be made!

Ingredients are pretty basic (and I of course made some substitutions):

1½ pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved — they didn’t have any (whole ones) at the store so I grabbed the shaved ones at Trader Joe’s
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces thick-cut bacon, sliced crosswise ¼” thick — went with prosciutto
12 ounces chanterelles or crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, halved or quartered if large — baby bellas at TJ’s, oh yeah
1 large shallot, chopped
4 cloves garlic thinly sliced
2 tablespoons dry Sherry — white wine because I had it
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

IMG_2257

The recipe, as named, aims to have the brussels sprouts grilled but I didn’t have the option.  So went with the alternative…5-8 minutes in a skillet over medium high heat.  You take them out when done then cook the bacon (or prosciutto here) until crisp, then remove.

IMG_2259

Throw the mushrooms in there, cook for a few minutes, the get the shallot and garlic going, t00.IMG_2260

Throw everything else in there, stir, salivate, taste, stir, taste some more to be sure everybody will be just as happy as you.  Oh, then I guess share/serve.  Great option for Turkey Day!

IMG_2261

U.S. Open the Wine

The title just makes me think of Jeopardy! with the great ‘Before and After’ category.  I can never get those right.  But in this case, the scenario was nailed right on the head!

Last Sunday, golf!  Annual U.S. Open on Father’s Day.  If you can’t be at the event watching or playing (hit the course for 9 holes on Saturday), what better to do than watch at home while enjoying some good wine and food?  Got together with my vino-loving friends to spend countless hours watching those little white balls fly through the air, go into the water, hit the high grass or sink into that hole.

The beverage menu for the day started with some nice Prosecco.  After that, we opened my contribution to the day.  It was from a winery I visited while in Sonoma last year.  Small little place with huge flavor in what they produce — Scribe.  We enjoyed the 2008 Syrah.  And these guy put some tough-to-remove wax on the top of the bottles (1/4″ thick or so) — darn that was tough to open, but made the wine taste even better.

Picture 020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To pair with my wine I opted to bring non-normal snacks…not just some quick dips, etc.  I was craving some asparagus so opted for Roasted Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus.  Just lightly coat the asparagus with olive oil, wrap each piece with prosciutto then place under the broiler for about 3 minutes, remove quickly, turn, then continue roasting until crisp.  Voila, delicious!  Can serve hot or cold.  Ok, remembered to take a picture when there was one left.

Picture 017

Then also made some Sauteed Mushrooms with Asian Flair and Persian Cucumbers.  Just cut some mini Portobellos into cubes and tossed them with soy sauce, fish sauce and sesame oil.  Put them in a pan on the stove and sauteed them for a bit and the sauce got a thick.  Put some sesame seeds in there for flair.  Good!!!  Then took some of those little Persian Cukes and cut them into decent thickness slices and tossed with lemon juice and salt and served on the side.

Picture 019Picture 018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And back to wine we go.  Next one my friends pulled out was an amazing Pinot Noir from Picture 021OR — Ken Wright Cellars.  A great way to finish the wine.

 

Now end of the Open-wise, my favorite didn’t win, but there is always next year.  Cheers, par, or whatever suits you best.

Manchego Madness!

I was debating what to do for dinner last night and had a craving for the one cheese I can eat — Manchego!  Then, what to do with it?  My creativity got going on my way to the store, yes Trader Joe’s, I came up with two ideas:

-Manchego Nachos, aka Manche-chos

-Manchego Popcorn

When discussing these options with the as-eager-food-lovers at TJ’s, all of decided both had to be tested.

Manchego

For the ‘chos, I wanted to start out simple – nothing but cheese!  I used the blue corn tortilla chips as they nicely contrast the color of the Manchego and used the microplane grater/zester to finely grate the cheese to adorn the chips with the lactose-free treasure.  Since I was making a small bit, I just threw the chips in the toaster oven — perfect for small bits of nachos!

For the popcorn, I used my microwave popper and when done, tossed the popcorn with more finely grated cheese, S&P.

To complement these, I served them with some prosciutto and grape tomatoes.

 

Result

Ok, a picture doesn’t do it that much justice.  They were pretty good.  The cheese doesn’t look as pretty as expected, but it was a unique taste.  The prosciutto would taste very nice under the melted cheese!!

For the popcorn, the cheese melted just a bit and it was a nice addition.

I would give this 7.5 out of 10 stars, especially for a first try.  With 2.5 to go until perfection, that definitely means more testing is in order!  Darn.

 

 

Testing…7,8,9…Fail

I was at a horse race yesterday that required tailgating which means bringing/cooking great food.  I wanted to make something creative, so during the week starting thinking about some new dish I could make.  Out of nowhere I thought of combining these ingredients:

Pic 009
-cauliflower
-prosciutto
-caraway seeds
-shallots
-garlic

 

 

Pic 011Pic 014I opted to blanch the cauliflower then toast the caraway seeds.  Next step was making a mouth-watering aroma spread around my apartment by sauteing the shallots and garlic.  After that I added the caraway seeds and the prosciutto that I’d cut into 1/2″ pieces to the pan.  Sauteed everything for a few minutes then added the cauliflower and some S&P.

Pic 015

End result, hmmm, not what I was hoping for or expecting.  It wasn’t bad, but absolutely nothing to write home about.  After tasting and tasting it more, I kept trying to figure out what I was truly hoping for.

 

 

Pic 016

I still took it to the tailgate and nobody complained about it, but did not rave about it.  And there was more than enough left. There was a large amount of other better stuff to eat (that I also leaned towards).

I was hoping it would taste better today.  Not so much.  I’m just picking the prosciutto out and enjoying that.  If anybody has suggestions, would love them.  But, I think this was just a good attempt and trial and error.