Sunday, November 16, 2014

Citrus Chicken with Cilantro-Lime Quinoa

I spent the past week in Pittsburgh where I ate my way around the various food spots in Oakland, but I'll cover that in my next post. The real reason I was in Pittsburgh was to be supportive to my family following my mother's breast cancer surgery. Everything went well with the procedure and the prognosis is excellent.

My mother spent most of the week in the hospital and between the pain meds and the effects of coming back from anesthesia, food was the farthest thing from her mind. But we knew that once she got home, it would be important for her to keep her strength up. I wanted to be sure that I helped out in one of the best ways I know how--cooking something she could not only eat, but perhaps even enjoy. So once my mother was discharged, I hit the grocery store, scoured the latest issue of Cooking Light, and found something mild in flavor and high in protein to cook.

This may not be the most exciting food to look at (though with my parents' large plates, everything looked uber sophisticated and petite) but my mother ate every last bite. This was the first meal she had that didn't consist of  bananas and bread, so I consider it mission accomplished. If you know someone with a sensitive stomach and/or recovering from surgery, this is a good option.

The sauce didn't glaze as I expected it to, making it more runny than expected, but the flavors were solid. I served the chicken and quinoa with coriander carrots.

Citrus Chicken with Cilantro-Lime Quinoa (serves 4)

  • 1 3/4 cups chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp. grated lime rind, divided
  • 3/8 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 4 (6-oz.) skinless boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 TB lime juice
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 TB butter

Combine 1 1/4 cups chicken stock and quinoa in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed. Stir in cilantro, 1/2 tsp. rind, and 1/8 tsp. salt.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. Sprinkle chicken with remaining salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan, cook 5 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan.

Add remaining 1/2 cup stock to pain; cook for 1 minute and scrape pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in remaining 1/2 tsp. ring, orange juice, lime juice, and honey; simmer 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in butter. Return chicken to pan; turn to coat. Serve chicken with quinoa.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Thai Green Curry with Shrimp and Kale

Like most people I know in DC, I have a weakness for great Asian takeout. I'm fortunate that there are a good number of places for Thai and Vietnamese in my neighborhood, and a new Laotian restaurant is going in right around the corner from my condo.

Not only do I like to order from any number of these places, I like to make my own Asian takeout. Because I cook with Asian flavors a lot, I usually have a stockpile of the ingredients necessary to whip up a dish pretty easily. As mentioned in previous blog posts, my neighborhood CSA presents me with a regular opportunity to support Pennsylvania farmers, while enjoying great seasonal vegetables. This week's offering included baby kale so this recipe was a no brainer.

Thai Green Curry with Shrimp and Kale (serves 4)

  • 6 oz. dried rice noodles
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 TB chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 TB chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 TB Thai green curry paste
  • 1 1/4 cups matchstick-cut carrots
  • 1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 13.5 oz. can light coconut milk
  • 6 cups chopped kale
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 lb. peeled and deveined medium shrimp
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp. grated lime rind
  • 1 1/2 tsp. lime juice


Cook rice noodles according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent sticking. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add green onions,garlic, and ginger. Saute 1 minute. Stir in curry paste, saute for 30 seconds. Add carrots, chicken stock, and coconut milk, stirring well to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

Fold in kale, sprinkle with salt. Cook 3 minutes or until the kale is wilted. Add shrimp and cook 3 minutes or until the shrimp is cooked through. Remove from heat, top with cilantro, lime rind and juice. Serve over the rice noodles. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Celebration of Good Things - Food Recap

Back in September, I had a "celebration of good things." I wanted to achieve a few things with this rooftop party.

1) To celebrate good news I had recently received. From a good prognosis for my mom, good test results for myself, and just having life look pretty good, I felt it was a good excuse to throw a party.

2) To thank all the great friends I have here in DC who have been so supportive in the past year.

3) To have an excuse to make a ton of food to celebrate and be thankful for the above.

I made a lot of dishes that I promised I would post the links for the recipes. They are all dishes that I have made previously on this blog, many of which have become staples for me when having friends over for food.

And in case you're wondering why I chose to use this photo of me attempting a selfie with a less than happy llama at Machu Picchu? My answer is simply...why not? The picture always makes me smile, and hopefully it will do the same for you.

Here's the recipe rundown. I should give a quick shout out to my friend Nick Evans at, since three of the recipes below are courtesy of his awesome blog.

Sticky Wings - I love this sweet and spicy rub on wings. I'm tempted to use this on bone-in chicken this winter.

Chickpea Orzo Salad - This is a great side dish for a picnic, and I often make it for weekday lunches.

Three Bean Avocado Salad - This works wonderfully as a summertime side dish, especially if you have access to a grill to char the corn, but it could easily be made without smoky, grilly access.

Peach Tomatillo Salsa - Love. This. If you're into canning, this would be a great recipe to try.

Tomato Jam - You should also can this.

Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies - I make these cookies all the damn time and they never disappoint.

So while you shouldn't try to take a selfie with a pissed off llama, you should follow my lead in trying any number of these recipes soon.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

We have officially reached soup season. There is a chill in the air, great root vegetables at the farmers' markets, and I'm looking to do some advanced winter food prep. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy soups in the moment, but I like them even better the next day once all the flavors have had a chance to blend together. And I also like to freeze at least half of each batch of soup. This makes for great lunches far superior to any jarred variety.

I've made Thai soup before, but this was my first one to feature lemongrass and bok choy. I wasn't able to find fresh egg noodles, so I opted to use rice noodles. I think any type of thin noodle will work well in this soup.

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup (serves 4)


  • 12-16 oz. fresh egg noodles (or enough fresh or dried noodles for 2-3 portions)
  • 6 cups good-quality chicken stock
  • 1-2 stalks fresh lemongrass, minced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 lb. chicken breast or thigh, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 3-4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal or ginger, shredded
  • 1 red chili, sliced, or substitute 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili or cayenne pepper
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 TB. oyster sauce
  • 1/2 TB brown sugar
  • 2 TB fish sauce
  • 2-3 cups bok choy, chopped
  • Coriander to season 
  • Optional: 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice


Prepare the noodles according to instructions on package. Drain and rinse through with cold water to keep from sticking. Set aside.

Bring stock to a boil in a large soup pot. Add the prepared lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and the chicken. Boil over medium-high heat 3-4 minutes.

Reduce to medium heat and add the garlic, galangal/ginger, chili, and carrot. Simmer 2-3 more minutes.

While soup is simmering, add the oyster sauce and fish sauce as well as 1/2 TB sugar.

If your bok choy is the large variety, add only the thick white stalk pieces now (the green leaves take only seconds to cook, so reserve those for later). Continue simmering the soup 2-3 more minutes.

Lastly, add the leafy greens of the bok choy. Stir and simmer 30 seconds.

Reduce heat to low. Add the coconut milk, stirring well to incorporate.

To ensure a good balance, taste test for saltiness. Add more fish sauce if not salty enough. If too salty or sweet for your taste, add 1 Tbsp. lime or lemon juice. If too spicy, add more coconut milk. If too sour, add another 1/2 TB sugar.

To put the soup together, mound a generous amount of the cooked noodles in each bowl. Ladle over the hot soup and top with fresh coriander.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sweet and Spicy Citrus Tilapia

Tilapia is the type of fish that by itself, doesn't really have a lot of flavor. It will take on the flavor of the seasoning you place on it, and is a really nice accompanying fish to more dominant ingredients. If you're not into fishy fish, it really is a good option. Or if you're trying to get picky eaters on board with increasing their weekly fish intake.

This dish is a pretty basic marinade and if you're looking for something quick, mildly flavored and simple, it's a good fit. But for me, I need a bit more oomph. Give this light recipe a shot and you be the judge. I served it with a side of squash and zucchini from the farmer's market.

Sweet and Spicy Citrus Tilapia (serves 4)

  • 4 (6-oz.) tilapia filets
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3 TB lime juice
  • 1 TB brown sugar
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • cooking spray
Arrange fish in a single layer in a shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Combine orange juice and next 9 ingredients (through garlic); pour over fish. Let stand 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat broiler and prep your side dish.

Sprinkle fish with paprika; broil 15 minutes. Serve.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fettuccine Alfredo with Asparagus

I am finally back in the kitchen and committed to cooking regularly again, not only to provide myself with tasty lunches to take to work, but also to get a grip on relying too readily on picking up something to go on my way home from work.

As I mentioned in recent posts, I've been traveling a good bit and this has put me not only behind on cooking, but also far behind on my magazine perusals for new recipes. I follow a few blogs for recipes as well as my monthly Cooking Light subscription but it had been weeks since I'd given any of those a look. So this first recipe as I find my way back to cooking again is a simple, light version of fettuccine alfredo, which relies on a lighter cream sauce and the addition of vegetables to flesh out the flavor. This was quite good and relatively guilt-free.

Fettuccine Alfredo with Asparagus (serves 3-4)


  • 8 oz. uncooked fettuccine
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. fresh asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper, divided
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon rind
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1 TB vodka or water
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 oz. 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup fat-free milk
  • 1.5 oz. grated Parmesan cheese, about 6 TB
  • 1 TB chopped fresh chives  

  • Directions:

    Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain in a colander over a bowl. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water. I find the best way to do this is to position a bowl directly below the colander.

    Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add asparagus, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; sauté 6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove from heat. Add rind and juice; toss. Keep warm.

    Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add vodka and garlic; cook 1 minute. Add cream cheese, stirring until smooth. Stir in milk, Parmesan cheese, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Be sure to stir this consistently at a steady temperature to avoid clumping. Stir in reserved pasta water, pasta, and asparagus; toss to coat noodles.

    Sprinkle with chives and serve. I enjoyed this with a fresh tomato salad.

    Monday, October 13, 2014

    When did it become mid-October? A September San Diego Recap

    As I wrote in my last entry, I have been doing a fair amount of traveling and eating out, both locally and in other parts of the country. In September I took a trip to San Diego to visit a friend, who knew that he needed to bring it when it came to good food recommendations. Between him and others I knew out on the left coast, I was not disappointed.

    Some time has passed and my memory isn't what it used to be, so what I can tell you about San Diego is this. 1) The fish is ridiculous. Fish tacos. Sushi. You name it,it is truly better there than anywhere I've eaten on the east coast. 2) I will eat brussel sprouts when they are cooked well. It helps when there is bacon and cheese involved, but I've eaten them before that way and never enjoyed them as much as I did at the place I ate them in San Diego.

    So here's a quick run down of the places I'd recommend you check out when you're in San Diego as well as some food porn to whet your appetite.

    South Beach Bar & Grille - This place was recommended by several people for their tacos (pictured in the second photo on the right). I had the mahi mahi and the lobster and just two of these bad boys were enough to fill me up and washed down with a great beer. This is located in Ocean Beach closer to where I was staying and not far from beach. 

    Harney Sushi - Hands down some of the best sushi I've ever had. Granted, I have yet to travel to Japan...but if you find yourself in San Diego, head over to the Old City and check this place out. Fabio was a great sushi chef and his recommendations were spot on. From salmon belly to sweet shrimp to the famed tater tot roll, we ate through a ridiculous amount of sushi. Not to mention the edamame sampler and chilled bottle of sake. Go here and get there early, because there's usually a wait.

    Bo-Beau Kitchen Bar -  This French restaurant boasts a great cocktail and wine list and what I can consider a small miracle in the preparation of brussel sprouts that I not only ate, but enjoyed. AND they gave me the recipe on how to make them. They were expertly cooked with pancetta, parmesan, and balsamic...and while I enjoyed many other dishes that night,these are the ones that stuck with me. And one of these days, I'll attempt to cook them.

    So if you find yourself out on the left coast, check out any one of these spots for a quick bite and if you're like me, so many bites that you'll pass out from a food coma shortly thereafter. Guilty as charged.

    Monday, September 22, 2014

    September...Where in the World is Katie...San Diego, for one.

    I have been a bad food blogger. I've been doing a lot of time eating, not a lot of time cooking, and absolutely no time blogging. A lot of this is because I've been busy traveling. A trip to the left coast here, a trip to the boonies of Maryland's been easy to forget to blog regularly. Plus it didn't help that my computer decided to stop working a few weeks. But I've fixed the computer problem and by the time October rolls around, I'll be back to regular time in my own kitchen. And I'd like to get back to my roots of how this whole blog cooking one new dish each week. But until then, I'm far past due on blogging about all the great food I've eaten over my last few weeks bopping around. So over the next two weeks, I'm going to do just that.

    Here is my run down on places I've eaten in the greater D.C. area over the last few weeks. I'll follow this blog up with a rundown of the awesome food in San Diego and seeing as I'm heading to NYC this weekend, I'm sure I'll be writing about that as well. :)

    Washington, DC

    Little Serow: This awesome Dupont Circle restaurant serves a 7-course, prix-fixe, spicy Thai food menu that changes weekly (with some recurring the spare ribs.) They don't take reservations, so be prepared to wait in line. This was my second place to this great spot and it continues to impress.

    Ambar: It's rare to find an Eastern European restaurant in this area. Being someone whose heritage comes from that region, I grew up on occasional specialties from my grandmother's kitchen. Most of these were cookies, but she did make the occasional stuffed cabbage. I wasn't a fan of it at the time, being a picky eater as a child, but I tried it here and it was great. Also highly recommend the kebab.


    Family Meal: Top Chef is one of the few cooking shows I've watch religiously since it debuted on Bravo many years ago. Several seasons ago, the Voltaggio brothers were pitted against each other. I'm lucky enough to live in an area that boasts several Top Chef alums. For this meal, I traveled up to Frederick, MD for a great breakfast. Just look at that hash pictured above. Awesome stuff. If you can't score a reservation at Volt, give Family Meal a try.

    The Helmand: This Baltimore mainstay serves great Afghan food. The family also has a restaurant in Boston and over the course of the weekend, two people commented on how its one of the better restaurants in Baltimore. So after a trip to a Red Sox/Orioles game, we popped in for a quick dinner. If you ever go, get the pumpkin with yogurt. And ask to add the ground beef. Heaven in an appetizer.

    Sunday, August 31, 2014

    Grilled Peach Salad

    Peaches for you, peaches for me.  Truly, at this time of year the farmers' markets are overrun with tomatoes and peaches. I am a big fan of incorporating fruit in a salad. It pairs well with a variety of soft cheeses as well, so I've often used pears or peaches stuffed with goat cheese and then wrapped in prosciutto as an appetizer. But this will be a salad version which incorporates a nice, honey, sticky balsamic to top it off.

    While softer peaches are a bit more prevalent at this time, you'll want to try and find a firmer peach for the grill (or in my case, grill pan.)

    Grilled Peach Salad (serves 4)


  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 
  • 2 TB honey
  • 3 peaches, pitted and each cut into 6 wedges
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 TB extravirgin olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Dash of kosher salt
  • 10 cups trimmed arugula
  • 2 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 TB crumbled goat cheese

  • Directions:

    Bring vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer until vinegar is reduced to 2 tablespoons (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in honey. Cool to room temperature.

    Prepare grill to high heat. I used a grill pan because sadly (tear) I have no grill. Place peach wedges on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 30 seconds on each side or until grill marks appear but peaches are still firm. Remove from grill; set aside.

    Combine oil, pepper, and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add arugula, tossing gently to coat. Arrange arugula mixture on a platter. Top with peach wedges and prosciutto. Drizzle with balsamic glaze; sprinkle with cheese. 

    Saturday, August 23, 2014

    When Farmers' Markets' Give you Tomatoes...You Make Jam!

    There are a few cooking principles that I try to live by.

    1) Buy and eat produce when it's in season. It's far better, often cheaper, and that's how it really should be done.

    2) If you took the time to make something once, and it was so good it was worth repeating, you should do that.

    3) And when you make something in a large quantity, you should share the wealth. And freeze what's left.

    This rainy Saturday, I decided to do just that. Tomatoes are in abundance right now and not only do I have a few dinner events this week to look forward to, but I also wanted to plan ahead and make something that I could freeze for a party I'm throwing in September.

    So I decided to resurrect my tomato jam recipe that I'd been waiting for the right weekend to make. You can find my original post with the recipe here. It's time intensive, but the end result is worth it. I will be serving on melba toast with chevre cheese for today's BBQ and other upcoming festivities. So if you have the time and a ton of tomatoes, make this soon! And if you have canning equipment...I'm jealous. But use it. This would be a great jam to have on hand for the holiday season.

    So that's my jam. My sloooooooow jam. :)

    Monday, August 18, 2014

    Cheering on Nick Evans...and his Apricot Habanero Wings!

    Last week, my friend Nick of fame competed on NBC's Food Fighters. A group of us who all knew Nick when he was in DC got together to cheer him on. Each of us made one of his recipes to share. I made the brown butter oatmeal dark chocolate chip cookies that I make on the regular for my officemates. And anyone who is so lucky to snag one. We also did a beer tasting of a dozen New Belgium beers. The tasting aspect was done in fairly quick succession during commercial breaks.

    And to keep things interesting, Nick wasn't the only one competing for a little dough. We set up bets on various rounds as to the outcome...and I lost horribly. But Nick was truly the big winner in our book. Despite losing the first two rounds (he was robbed!) he walked away with $70,000. He beat some of the top chefs out there and we couldn't be more proud. It was really cool to see how far he's come in doing something he truly enjoys. And not everyone can say they've had a "Little Nicky"-style devil graphic made of them.

    Our amazing host, Scott, made two of the dishes that Nick competed with on the show. Interestingly enough these were the two dishes that he didn't win money on: the chorizo and sweet potato tacos and the apricot habanero wings. In tonight's post, I'm sharing that wing recipe. Just in time for football season. If you're a fan of sweet paired with a bit of spice, or orange chicken, this may be the wing for you!

    Apricot Habanero Wings


    • 2 pounds chicken wings
    • 1/2 onion, grated
    • 2 TB unsalted butter                  
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 3-4 habanero peppers, seeded and minced
    • 2 TB soy sauce                  
    • 1 tsp. paprika
    • 1/2 cup apricot jam
    • 1/4 cup water
    • Salt and pepper
    • Blue cheese
    • Scallions, chopped


    Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil a large baking pan and place wings, skin-side up on the oiled pan. Season well with salt and pepper.

    Bake wings for 25 minutes at 400 degrees. Turn pan 180 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes. Keep wings skin-side up the entire time for baking.

    While wings bake, add butter to a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add grated onion and minced garlic with a pinch of salt. Cook until veggies are soft, about 4 minutes.

    Remove stems and seeds from habaneros. Wear plastic gloves to avoid disaster...because these bad boys are hot! Mince habaneros very finely. If you don’t use gloves, wash your hands well immediately after handling the peppers.

    Add habaneros to saucepan along with apricot filling, soy sauce, water, and paprika. Bring sauce to a simmer and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Keep sauce warm, but if it’s done way before your wings, take it off the heat and then reheat before you serve so the sauce doesn’t get too thick.

    When wings are done, remove them from pan and add them to a large bowl. Toss with apricot sauce.

    Serve wings immediately garnished with lots of fresh scallion greens and blue cheese dressing.

    Sunday, August 10, 2014

    Food Porn: Chicken and Waffles

    Up until a few years ago, I had never heard of the concept of eating fried chicken with waffles for breakfast. These two very different food items didn't make all that much sense together. Fried chicken for dinner? Sure! Pair it with some biscuits and mashed potatoes? Even better. But paired with waffles for breakfast? That just seemed downright odd. But was someone who often struggles on what to order at brunch, this dish is the best of both worlds. I like a little sweet with my salt, and this combination hits it dead on.

    There are a bunch of places that serve this dish on their menu, but I recently tried out the Spit Chicken with Waffles at Kapnos for a friend's birthday brunch. Instead of deep frying the chicken, it was cooked on a spit giving it a crispy, flavorful skin but without all the breading that typically comes with this dish. The smoky maple syrup over the waffles topped this off and definitely gave the dish the right mix of sugar and spice and everything nice. If you want to try this flavor profile without all the fried-goodness, this is a great option for you? Otherwise, check out the chicken waffles at Founding Farmers or Birch and Barley. Or any of the awesome Soul Food restaurants in the DC area. Florida Avenue Grill anyone?

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

    Orzo with Chickpea Salad

    Summertime in DC means countless of opportunities to picnic outdoors. From the Sunday drum circles in the park near my condo to the outdoor movie nights throughout the city, I regularly have picnic food on the brain. A few weeks back I went to the first Screen on the Green of the season. This annual tradition features four weeks of free movie classics on the National Mall. This year's offering included The Karate Kid, so it was a no brainer that I would attend for some Wax On/Wax Off action.

    We had beautiful weather for it and I decided to make one of my favorite picnic side salads, an orzo with chickpea dish. I've posted about this dish before when I first started this blog, but it's so nice I'll post twice. This holds up really well in the heat and makes for a great lunch for work as well. So the next time you are asked to bring a side for a picnic outdoors, consider making this!

    Orzo with Chickpea Salad (serves 4)

    • 1 cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
    • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
    • 1/2 cup (2 oz) crumbled feta cheese
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
    • 1 (19-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
    • 3 TB fresh lemon juice
    • 1 1/2 TB extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 TB cold water
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. bottled minced garlic 

    Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and rinse with cold water.

    Combine pasta, onions, cheese, dill, and chickpeas in a large bowl, tossing gently to combine.

    Combine juice and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over pasta mixture; toss gently to coat.

    Friday, August 1, 2014

    Snap Pea and Pork Stir-Fry

    Over the past few posts, I've walked you through several pulled pork recipes from my friend Nick's cookbook: Love Your Leftovers. You can find the core pulled pork recipe in my post from last week.

    I had frozen about a half pound of the pulled pork when I initially cooked it a few weeks back. I decided it was time to make one more dish with the leftovers and I must say this was my favorite of the dishes I've made from the book so far. Perhaps it's because I love a good stir fry, or because it was the first time I utilized pork in this way in a stir fry, but this was awesome. I cut the recipe in half and got three meals out of it, but I'm including the recipe for four below.

    I enjoyed this while sitting on my roof deck and skimming through some issues of Cooking Light that have been piling up during my busy summer. I'll be back to cooking dishes from other sources next week, but you better believe I'll be revisiting Nick's book and blog again soon. Because I just can't quit you, Nick Evans.

    Snap Pea and Pork Stir-Fry (serves 4)

    • 1 bunch of thin asparagus
    • 1 3-inch piece fresh ginger
    • 2 large shallots
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 1 lb. (about 3 cups) chopped pulled pork
    • Kosher salt
    • 2 cups sugar snap peas
    • 3 TB vegetable oil
    • 1 red bell pepper, diced
    • Cooked rice for serving
    Stir-Fry Sauce:
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 2 TB rice wine vinegar
    • 2 TB fish sauce
    • 1 TB brown sugar
    • 1 tsp. cornstarch
    • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes


    Whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce and set aside for later.

    Cut off hard ends from asparagus and chop into 1-inch long pieces.

    Mince the garlic, shallots and garlic finely and set aside.

    If there is liquid in the pulled pork (if you cooked this fresh), drain off as much as possible. You'll want the pork to be relatively dry to start. For the recently thawed pork that I used, this was not an issue.

    Bring a large pot of water to boil and season well with kosher salt. Once boiling, add the asparagus and snap peas and cook for 1 minute. Drain and rinse vegetables under cold water to stop the cooking.

    Heat a large wok over high heat. Once hot, add oil followed by pork. Cook pork over high heat until it starts to turn crispy, about 5 minutes.

    Add diced red peppers and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.

    Add garlic, shallot, and ginger to wok and cook for another minute, stirring constantly to ensure ingredients don't burn.

    Add the sauce to the pan and toss to combine. Let sauce reduce for about 30 seconds.

    Finally add blanched vegetables and toss to combine. Serve stir-fry immediately over rice.

    Sunday, July 27, 2014

    Carnitas Tacos

    As I mentioned last week, I've been working through the pulled pork chapter of my friend Nick's cookbook: Love Your Leftovers. You can find the core pulled pork recipe in my post from last week, but for this post, I'll write about one of the many suggested recipes in his book. It uses the slow cooker pulled pork in a new way. I hope to take some of the frozen pulled pork out of my freezer and make a third recipe later this week. Because as far as I'm concerned, a week without pork products is a sad one!

    Carnitas Tacos (makes 8 tacos)


    • 1 lb. shredded pork (approximately 3 cups)
    • 3 TB unsalted butter, melted
    • 16 (6-inch) corn tortillas (or 8 flour tortillas, whatever is your preference)
    • 2 avocados, mashed
    • 4 radishes, sliced thing
    • Fresh cilantro
    • 1 lime, juice only
    Quick Pickled Red Onion
    • 1 red onion
    • 1 large lime, juice only
    • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

    To make pickled onions, peel the onion and slice it first in half and then into thin slivers. Add to a bowl and toss with lime juice and salt. Let sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the carnitas.

    Add shredded pork to baking dish. Try to spread out pork so it is in a thin layer and covering the entire pan. Drizzle pork with melted butter.

    Bake until the shredded pork becomes crispy on top, approximately 10-12 minutes.

    Meanwhile, prepare your other toppings.

    If you have a gas range, and you like your tortillas a little toasted, you can do so my placing the them directly over the gas flame over medium heat. Let them cook until they are lightly charred, about 10 seconds per side.

    To make the tacos, use two toasted corn tortillas per taco. Smear tortillas with some mashed avocado and then pile on the pork, followed by the radishes, cilantro and pickled red onions. Finish off with a little squeeze of lime juice.

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

    An Ode to Nick Evans (plus a slow cooker pork recipe!)

    Earlier this year, I celebrated 10 years living in DC. I've met a lot of amazing people along the way, through a variety of activities. Back when I first moved here, I played in an Adult Kickball League for a few years and while my kickball playing days are long since gone, the friendships I made during those first few years in DC are still very much alive and well. As a foodie, a blogger, and an amateur cook, I am so pleased to call Nick Evans one of these friends.

    This guy started a blog several years ago when he was still living in DC. In fact, the blog probably started around the time this photo was taken. Surprisingly enough, I don't have many photos with Nick that I feel are fit to print, but this Halloween party shot from around 2008 always makes me smile. In case it isn't clear, Nick is swine flu and his wife Betsy was avian flu. I am merely a beloved character from a popular 80s Jim Henson show in awe of their awesome creativity. But back to the important stuff...the food! So Nick's blog has grown over the years (check it out at and it has turned into an amazing resource for recipes and other food-related information. It's often a go-to place for me to find recipes and I often post many of those to this blog.

    But Nick couldn't just be a successful blogger. He had to publish a cookbook too. Love Your Leftovers is his creation, and I was lucky enough to test some recipes as part of the cookbook development process. I tested out a few of the recipes in the salmon chapter, and will admit that his basic oven roasted salmon recipe has become a staple in my kitchen. The cookbook shows you how to love your leftovers, offering up 14 basic recipes from flank steak to potatoes, and then presents countless ways to reinvent the leftovers into new dishes. For those of us who get bored eating the same dishes more than two days in a row, this book is an excellent resource.

    I recently made two recipes from his pulled pork chapter. Below is his recipe for slow cooker pork butt. Later this week I'll post one of his leftover recipes for this dish.

    But before I get to that recipe...there's MORE! After conquering the food blogosphere and publishing a cookbook, Nick is going to be on TV! Nick will be competing on Food Fighters on NBC. The show airs on Tuesday nights and premiered yesterday. Nick's night to shine is August 12th and you better believe I'll be tuned in. You should too!

    But now, it's time for some pork butt!!

    Slow Cooker Pork Butt (makes 6 pounds of pulled invite some friends!)

    • 8 lbs pork butt (aka shoulder)
    • 1 large onion, grated
    • 1 12-oz. beer (preferably lager)
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 6 oz. can of tomato paste
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 1 large cinnamon stick
    • 2 TB paprika (I used smoked)
    • 1 TB chili powder
    • 1 TB kosher salt
    • 1 TB black pepper

    Cut pork butt into four or five large pieces so it fits nicely in your slow cooker. Cut off any large pieces of fat.

    Mix together all the other ingredients in the slow cooker so they are well combined. Add pork pieces to the liquid, cover, and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

    Remove pork pieces and let them cool for a few minutes. Pour liquid into a bowl.

    Shred pork pieces using two forks. Try to remove any huge pieces of fat, if possible. Once you have completed shredding, return the pork to the slow cooker.

    Pour cooking liquid back into slow cooker in 1-cup increments until the pork is moist, but not too soupy.

    Keep the pulled pork warm while serving. Serve with barbecue sauce on toasted buns. And save the rest for leftovers that you'll love!

    Thursday, July 17, 2014

    Parties with Food Themes

    I am a firm believer that a good theme party is only as good as its food. Of course, a great theme helps, but if you just half-heartedly throw a bunch of party food out there, it can be disappointing to your guests. I've hosted or attended various theme parties in the past that had great food. From Oscars parties to Super Bowl parties, there is an expectation to bring it with appropriate munchies.

    I had the great pleasure of attending a World Cup party this past weekend. I had received the invite several weeks ago once the matches had started. The concept was that they would make food from the two remaining competitors. So in addition to rooting for teams that I wanted to win solely on their attractive competitors (yep, that was one of my judging criteria), I was also cheering for good food!

    As we all know now, Germany beat Argentina to win in extra time. But all the food put out by Elisa and Doug were winners in my book. And all homemade. For Germany we had homemade pretzels, bratwursts on the grill, potato salad, and bee sting cake. For Argentina, we had steak with chimichurri sauce, vegetable empanadas, and alfajores. I think overall I preferred the German food, however, these alfajores were to die for.

    The moral of the story is that everyone wins at a theme party with great food. Now it's really time for me to get back in the kitchen, so I'll be back to sharing recipes next week!

    Sunday, July 13, 2014

    Travel Food Porn: Peru (3 of 3)

    Following my brief stint in Peru, I headed north to Cusco for a few days to experience Incan ruins, cultural festivals and parades galore, llamas around every corner, and a different type of Peruvian cuisine.

    Of course I saw the illustrious Machu Picchu...truly a magical place. I did not end up hiking the larger mountain behind the ruins shown on the right (Huyana Pichu) but I sure ate like I had!

    The cuisine in this area errs on the side of hearty and also included an animal that I find adorable and obsessed over everywhere I saw them: the alpaca. There was no way I was going to eat one of these adorable beings. I took enough selfies and other llama/alpaca pictures that I couldn't bear the thought of eating one of their siblings.

    I arrived in Cusco armed with some recommendations not only of foods to try, but of places to eat. I had met a new friend in Lima who provided some great recommendations. I only managed to get to one of those places, but it was definitely worth the trip to have one of the specialty dishes of that region: Aji de Gallina.

    I had tried this dish a few months before my trip, while on a date with a Peruvian who took me to a place in Adams Morgan that he said would be the closest I'd find to authentic Peruvian cuisine in DC. Besides all those chicken places, but those are a whole other ballgame.

    The restaurant in Cusco where I ate Aji de Gallina was a bit more sophisticated than the place I ate in Adams Morgan (no shocker there), and the presentation of the food was a direct reflection. However, the flavor profile and consistency was spot on.

    Calle del Medio, had a great view of the Plaza and served a variety of pisco drinks. But I was most impressed with their version of this dish. Aji de Gallina is chicken with potatoes and rice. As if that wasn't enough starch, there is bread in the sauce. Rich and beautifully presented, it was the best Peruvian-style dish I had while in Cusco. A very hearty stew, it fit well with the brisk, winter air I experience in Cusco in June.

    In addition to recs from a new friend, I also had a coworker who had recently hiked the Inca trail and had passed through Cusco just a few weeks earlier. Ironically enough, she recommended a great burger place (the irony being that she's a vegetarian).

    The place was called Papacho's, which is a Gaston Acurio concept. One of the more celebrated Peruvian chefs, he had a few restaurants in Lima that I could not get into, but I was happy to check out this burger place. I know, I know...why was electing to get a burger while in Peru? Even I, the eternal foodie traveler sometimes craves something a little like home. However, knowing that this was a restaurant owned by a top chef, it wouldn't just be any burger place. And I was right.

    The meat burgers they served at this restaurant were veal burgers and beyond tender. I elected to a burger with blue cheese, fried onion, bacon,'s the kicker...elderberry ketchup. This was served along with sweet potato fries. As you can see, this was a beast of a burger. I only ate half of this monster, namely because a dessert on the menu caught my eye and I very much needed to leave room for this dessert. Not to mention the fact that this was the meal I ate after having hiked around Machu Picchu starting at 5 a.m. that day so I was exhausted and this, including the pisco sour I drank, was enough to knock me completely on my ass.

    But I digress...I need to talk about this dessert. I love caramel. It may be one of my favorite sweet things out there. I like it in ice cream and mixed in brownies. I loved the plastic wrapped hard caramels that my Grandma always kept around her house. So when I saw that my new favorite South American cookie, the alfajore, was included in an ice cream sundae topped in caramel, I had to bite.  So much caramel and dairy. I was already full but I accepted the challenge. I'm not sure where this sweet tooth I developed during my trip came from, but I definitely found myself leaving room for South American desserts on the regular.

    Speaking of sweettooths, which I have never claimed to have, I have claimed a salt tooth. I can't get enough salty food (much to the detriment of my blood pressure). So I'll end my Food Porn: Peru edition posts on a high note. I visited salt pans while in Salinas, Peru and it was by far one of the more beautiful things I've seen while traveling. And I say that not just because I love salt...and I got to bring some of it home with me. As you can see on the right, they are definitely a sight!

    All this blogging about my travels sure has made me hungry. I guess it's time to get back in the kitchen! ;)

    Friday, July 11, 2014

    Travel Food Porn: Peru (Part 2 of 3)

    Earlier this week, I wrote about two of the best meals I had while in Lima. I was only in the city for three days, but having great food was definitely one of my major goals in visiting Lima. Hell, that's usually the case for anywhere I travel. So I wanted to make every meal count. This blog serves as a cautionary tale on going by TripAdvisor reviews, but no has a happy ending.

    I had wanted to check out Central, one of the top restaurants in Lima but when inquiring for a reservation, I was informed they were already booked through the end of the month. This comes as no surprise given the prestige of the chef, but I was hopeful that I'd be able to successfully eat there at some point since I was there mid-week. When my friend Dan and I headed out for food, it was a bit early to check out Central so we pulled up TripAdvisor and found fairly solid reviews for a restaurant not far from the hotel. So we went. For some reason, we elected to only order a ceviche and an octopus dish, hoping that we could pop in to Central later. Am I ever glad we didn't elect to eat a large meal at this place. This horrific display of octopus bathed in olive sauce was so unappetizing, I couldn't even bring myself to have a bite. The look on my friend Dan's face after sampling it proved my instincts were right, but not so were the writers on TripAdvisor. I hate to put ugly food on here, but really, it needs to be seen. Food not only needs to taste good, it needs to look remotely appetizing.

    So after that debacle, we headed over to Central where we were able to enjoy some cocktails at the bar, chat with some locals (well Dan did, I just pretended to understand with my limited Spanish skills), and I even gained some restaurant recs for my trip to Cusco (which came in handy!). After a solid hour or two at the bar, we were able to get a seat for dinner and the meal far made up for the horror that was our experience earlier that evening.

    The food at Central was rich and delightful. We started off with fresh breads, including one that contained coca (just able everything down there does). We followed that up with sweetbreads. I know what sweetbreads are and I willingly ate them here. However it always makes me think of a story (the person who said this shall remain nameless) of a friend who when reading sweetbreads on a menu thought that it meant something like a donut. I can see how someone could make that mistake, but it's pretty funny nonetheless.

    I followed up with a suckling pig with potatoes (surprise surprise) and a caramel based sauce (shown above). I don't recall what Dan ordered but I do recall that the facial expressions following this meal were far improved from our last experience.

    We finished our meal with a lovely dessert that had a fruit that Dan was a big fan of from his childhood. The dessert was light and fluffy and beautifully presented. The texture of the pinkish substance that resembled ice cream reminded me of the chalky "Astronaut Ice Cream" I tried in elementary school.

    So if you find yourself heading to Lima, I can offer this advice. 1) Take the recommendations on TripAdvisor with a grain of salt. 2) Visit Central. And if you can't get a reservation, try your luck and drink at the bar for a bit. You might not remember all the intimate details of the meal, but the mixologist there was an artist.

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014

    Travel Food Porn: Peru (Part 1 of 3)

    Part of the delay in me finally writing about the food in Peru is that I ate so damn much of it. I think I was still going through some sort of potato-less shock when I got back to the States and couldn't quite comprehend the thought of revisiting all the starchy wonderfulness that I encountered during the second half of my trip. So I'm exercising some portion control and writing this in three parts.

    I was only in Lima for three nights, but I was advised by many that I would fall in love with the food scene in this city. That the main reason to visit Lima was to eat. Having now been there, I would agree with this sentiment.

    The first part of my Lima write-up will cover my favorite two meals in the city, in addition to the chocolate making class I took. These three experiences are quite disparate from each other, but all stories worth telling.

    Let's start with the cheapest meal I had in Lima and how something so wonderfully simple can be so good. On my way to my chocolate-making class, after a failed attempt at doing tandem paragliding off the coastline shown above, I realized that I wanted to have a good meal prior to consuming a lot of chocolate. Because it's vacation. And that's how I roll.

    I was actually quite hungry considering I hadn't eaten that morning for fear of losing it while jumping off a cliff. So since that was not in the cards, I settled for a heavy lunch. I found a little hole in the wall on my way to the class and ordered the papas with huancaina sauce for my appetizer followed by the Peruvian classic, lomo saltado, shown at the right.

    My 8-year-old self, who would have survived on potatoes and starches alone if I was allowed, was thrilled beyond belief that people eat like this on the regular. A starch appetizer, followed by meat paired with potatoes and rice. This is the Peruvian take on stir fry and something I will definitely try to replicate this winter. It seems pretty easy and it will allow me to improve on my steak cooking abilities (something that I don't always excel at.) I blame the lack of a good grill.

    Following this heavy lunch, I continued on to my chocolate making class at the Museo de Choco. I received this recommendation from a friend who had taken the same class during his recent trip to Peru. Knowing that I like to do these types of activities when traveling, I appreciated the recommendation.

    While it was interesting to learn more about the chocolate making process, I didn't feel this was as hands-on as I typically seek out in a cooking class. We did ground some cocoa beans and make hot chocolate, but the true chocolate making was more of an observational process of the big machines doing their thing to mix all the ingredients. Then we were provided with chocolate that was ready to be placed in molds. Don't get me wrong, it was good chocolate, but perhaps I should have taken something a bit more hands-on.

    Now on to my other favorite meal in Lima. I read about Rafael in my Lonely Planet Guide and had heard great things about this little spot that if you blinked, you'd miss, on a quiet side street in Miraflores. I had tried to get reservations at some of the other hotspots (including Central, which I'll cover in Part 2 of this blog series) but had limited success.

    I was able to get a cozy spot for one in this restaurant, which boasted a well stocked bar and great ambiance. This great "mood lighting" made it a bit hard to take proper pictures of the meal, but I did copy down the descriptions. I opted to have two of their appetizers and a dessert, so that I could try as much food as my little stomach could handle that day.

    A fellow foodie that I met during a city tour earlier that day had recommended that I get the tuna tataki as one of my dishes. The dish, shown above, was a yellow fin tuna tataki with yuzu, kiuri, avocado, and salmon caviar. The fish was so fresh and the flavors just melded together in your mouth. I chose to eat this as slowly as possible, thinking that my next dish would pale in comparison. Wrong. It was just as good. Seafood really is wonderful in Lima. My second dish was a shrimp tempura with akishiso sauce, cucumber, mango, avocado and cashew nut salad. Unfortunately the lighting wasn't on my side to capture how pretty the dish was, but trust me, it was just as good as the tataki.

    I closed my meal with the crispy churros with smoky Nutella sauce, decadent truffle-Nutella tart, and raspberry sorbet, shown at the right. Let's just say I am not a dessert person but I was in heaven with just about every dessert I had in South America. None were overly sweet, but complex in their own way. A wonderful way to end a great meal.

    If you find yourself in Lima, I highly recommend checking out Rafael. It's a great date spot, or a place for one single foodie to eat her little heart out.

    Wednesday, July 2, 2014

    Travel Food Porn: Ecuador (Part 2)...On the Hunt for the Pig

    Before traveling to South America, like any good eater, I did research on what I'd be dining on during my time there. There were some general themes. Ceviche. Potatoes. Pork. More Potatoes. Guinea Pig.

    Me: "Umm...what? Surely you don't mean the household pet?"

    Lonely Planet: "Yes, and they are delicious!"

    Me: "Hmmm..."

    I asked about it once I arrived in Ecuador. I was told the following:

    Native Son: "Oh no...the guinea pigs down here aren't like the household pet variety. They are wild. And bigger. No worries. Taste like chicken!"

    I wasn't completely convinced they wouldn't look exactly like I pictured them. The good thing was I never had one as a pet. The bad thing was I was informed that most places that serve them in South America serve them whole, face staring back at you and everything. I had flashbacks of my brother ordering the whole lobster as a child during one of our beach trips and the face staring back at him completely ruined any grand ideas to eat lobster that night.

    I was first greeted with a creepy photo/painting of a small child eating a guinea pig at a restaurant on our way back from a tour during my first day in Quito. I stared at the image (shown above) and once it was clear that it was in fact a guinea pig, I started to wonder if it truly helped or hurt the situation.

    The next day, during a trip to the Equator line, there were some guinea pigs hanging out in a little hut area. I know it was part of the hokey tourist attraction, but they truly were just like the household pet. My friend Michael vowed we would definitely eat some before we left Ecuador for our respective post-wedding excursions. I don't have a photo of those guinea pigs, but this fun pic of Michael, Megan and myself straddling the equator.

    Time was running out in Ecuador and so I found myself dining in an Ecuadorian food restaurant with Michael and other new friends from the wedding. Granted, it wasn't the most authentic, down and dirty of places (no guinea pigs roasting on a fire pit in the front), but they did serve guinea pigs by the half or the whole, and our dining companions were game. We opted to get the half (which half we got remained a mystery until the food was delivered) so that we could dine on other foods there as well. Probably the best ceviche I had in South America I ate at this restaurant.

    But now for what you've all been waiting for. The illustrious guinea pig. It's pretty clear from this picture which half we got. We all split the pig, as it were, and the verdict was decent.

    We all felt it tasted a bit like a gamey dark meat chicken. They cooked it crispy, which cut down on some of the grease I was expecting. I found it better than expected, but not necessarily something that I was game to go eat again.

    And perhaps it was the "exotic" appeal, but most restaurants that I saw serving it jacked up the price a bit. So needless to say, they were totally cater to us folks. And we took the bait, but so glad we did. Because adventurous eating is what I'm all about when I travel. Next stop? Peru!


    Sunday, June 29, 2014

    Travel Food Porn: Ecuador (Part 1)...No Rubber Chicken to be had at this Wedding!

    After a month-long hiatus from blogging, I'm finally ready to delve back in to all the food talkin', and bloggin', and sharin' great recipes. As I mentioned in my last post, pre-break, I was set to travel to Ecuador and Peru for two weeks. I had been told that I would fall in the love with the food there. And for the most part, I did. I can't simply write about the food of this region in just one post, so I'm going to split it into several posts.

    My first post I dedicate to the reason I went on this trip in the first place...Beth and Renato, who got married in Quito, Ecuador. I've been calling this one of the most redonkulous weddings I've ever been to, and with good reason. While I could go on and on about the beautiful bride and groom, the gracious hosts on both sides of the aisle, and the amazing music (no less a pop/rap star performance AND fireworks!?!?), this blog is about food, and there is plenty to write about the food at this wedding. Though I could probably summarize it in three simple words: No Rubber Chicken.

    The setting for this wedding was simply beautiful. Quito is a lovely city, and the wedding reception was held about 30 minutes outside of the city in a very picturesque backdrop. The party started with a cocktail reception with all sorts of great appetizers around 2 p.m. I was too busy enjoying my champagne cocktails to properly take photos of the food...but there were shrimps, and caviar, and all sorts of great nibbles.

    Following a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, it was time to eat the main meal. This lunch was served around 3:30 p.m. Even though we had been promised snack foods later (including a 10 p.m. quinoa soup which seemed odd at the time, but turned out to be a delight), I felt it was important to savor as much as I could of this great meal. Because we'd been warned that this wedding reception was a marathon, not a sprint. And if the Americans were to survive the Latin American drinking traditions, we'd have to line our stomachs first. Challenge accepted!

    If you don't know the couple, Beth is Chinese-American and Renato's family is from Ecuador. What was so cool about this wedding was that they infused both types of cuisines into the meal. The first course was Chinese dim sum with three types of sauces. It was served in the traditional style and included a variety of flavors, none of which I could quite identify, but each unique in their own way. This was followed by a sorbet served in a beautiful ice cup that was infused with flower petals. Simply gorgeous.

    The main dish included langostinos, in other words, very large shrimps with a shitake mushroom sauce; duck breast with a hoisin sauce, and two sides which included a grain pilaf of sorts and a vegetable medley. These two dishes were served tableside and I still regret not taking just one additional shrimp. I've been to a lot of weddings, but I've never had a main dish that was this flavorful, unique and tasty. No Rubber Chicken indeed.

    The dessert course continued the tradition I had been seeing in fine dining in Ecuador where there are three dessert options, one of which is always served in a shooter. These included a mango mousse, a green tea crème brulee, and a passion fruit ice cream truffle sprinkled with raw cocoa. Amazing.

    But the food didn't stop there. There was a great coffee and chocolate bar, stocked with truffles and chocolate covered espresso beans, and all sorts of other tasty treats to keep the party going. And it sure did...all the way to 2 a.m.

    Well done, Liu, well done.