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The Food Almanac: Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Food Almanac: Wednesday, February 20, 2013


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Today's Flavor
Many websites claim that today is National Cherry Pie Day. The problem with this is that cherries are totally out of season right now, and we must make any cherry pie with canned cherries, resulting in a cloyingly oversweet dessert. Remember when you could get a cherry pie at McDonald's and places of that ilk? Just apple now, I think (although I'm behind on my research on fast-food fried pies.)

Great Moments In Grocery Shopping
The square-bottomed paper bag was invented by Luther Crowell of Cape Cod, who spent his spare time folding paper and attempting to make things out of it. He got a patent for his bag--which was universal in grocery stores until the plastic sack took over--in 1867. But on this day in 1872 Crowell patented the machine that made them easily and cheaply.

Beer Through History
The Yuengling Brewery opened in Pottsville, Pennsylvania on this date in 1829. It's still in business, the oldest American brewery that can make that claim. I guess that makes them a bit older than Dixie. It continued operation during Prohibition by making a nasty drink called "near-beer."

Inventions For Better Eating
A toothpick manufacturing machine was invented on this day in 1872, by two guys, J.P. Cooley and Silas Noble. One of them did the round toothpicks and the other flat. The best toothpicks are made of alder wood. Ask the next very expensive restaurant you dine in whether they have alder toothpicks. Then tell them that they should. Let's see how long this takes to make it into the national food magazines. Most of the toothpicks made in America, by the way, are made in Maine.

Annals Of Wine Marketing
The first wine auction that we know about took place in London on this date in 1673. Amazingly, a bottle of Phelps Insignia went for almost $2,000. No, it didn't. The wine being auctioned was entirely in barrels, and was sold as a bulk commodity.

Gourmet Gazetteer
Bing is thirty-five miles south of Missoula, Montana, in the westernmost part of that state. The Bitterroot River flattens a ten-mile wide, north-south, high valley filled with farms. Bing began as a station on a Northern Pacific Railroad branch line, now abandoned. It's now a headquarters for several of the farms. No evidence of Bing cherry farms can be seen. The nearest restaurants are three and a half miles away in Victor. The Flying Pig Bar and Grill sounds good.

Edible Dictionary
Bing cherry, n.--The most common variety of fresh cherry in America is a large fruit as cherries go, dark red to almost black. It's a cultivar of the North American wild cherry, created in Oregon in 1875. It's named for a Chinese orchardist named Ah Bing. In some stories, he's the person who raised the hybrid. It has a large stone that must be removed, but the cherry is so popular that machines do that now. Bing cherries are perfect for desserts like cherries jubilee or Black Forest cake.

Dining In The Movies
Today is the birthday of Sidney Poitier, whose first big movie was Guess Who's Coming To Dinner? in 1967. It's about the problems the older generation had when their children started hanging around with people of other racial backgrounds.

Words To Eat By
"The majority of those who put together collections of verses or epigrams resemble those who eat cherries or oysters: they begin by choosing the best and end by eating everything."--Nicolas Chamfort, an eminently quotable author from the mid-1700s.


Chocolate Cream Pie (with sweetened condensed milk)

This has become my favorite "go to" chocolate pie. As soon as I saw that this used sweetened condensed milk I knew that I had to give it a try. I expected it to be very sweet but it's not. It's just the perfect amount of chocolate and sweetness. What I love about this recipe is that it's just so easy and fairly inexpensive to make. You just use cocoa. no expensive chocolate, no chopping chocolate etc. You can use a store bought pie shell and just bake it according to the directions or use your own recipe. I think next time I make this I will make a graham cracker crust. Think it would be great with this pie.

This has been a tough winter for me so far. This past month I have caught bug after bug and now to top it all off it looks like I may have torn a tendon in my left shoulder. At least it's the left and not the right. Going in for an MRI tomorrow and I am one claustrophobic person. I work in a hospital so I know the techs that will be doing this so I am hoping that keeps my anxiety in check. we'll see. I just plan on bringing a cd and listening to it and closing my eyes BEFORE I get in the machine and keeping them buggers shut until it's over. Wish me luck!

1 2/3 cups water
3 tablespoons cornstarch (I used 4)
5 tablespoons cocoa (I used 5 very rounded)
1 (14 ounce) can eagle brand sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (9 inch) baked pastry shell

Mix water and cornstarch and cocoa until smooth.
Sir in Eagle Brand milk and egg yolks.
Cook until thick in saucepan stirring constantly.
Stir in 2 tablespoons butter.
Add vanilla. (Mixture might be very lumpy - keep stirring and this will eventually become smooth)
Pour into baked pie shell. Place plastic wrap evenly over entire surface of pie and let cool. Place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
Serve with whipped cream, if desired.


Lemon, Carrot and Dates Pickle


The sun has started playing peekaboo as the winter bids its final goodbyes. The grey and gloomy clouds are giving way to bright cherry sun only to return with cold breezy winds by evenings. That's also how my life has been in the last year. Like a sweet and sour pickle.




All across India, pickle is often a necessary condiment with daily food. Whether it's for perking up usual fare or to aid digestion, homemade pickles are often found lurking in fridge, counter top or sunbathing in veranda. Since the sun is around a lot more right now, it's perfect timing to make some pickle with last of winter produce. Whether you bite into the citrus lemon, the crunchy carrot or the lusciously soft and sweet date, each is a treasure in spicy vinegary syrup.

This particular pickle is not limited to winter and is made all year round in our house. But during winters, winter vegetables like carrot or turnips make a great addition.


The Food Almanac: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - Recipes

When KitchenAid asked me to try out their 5-speed hand blender, I said yes, please! I love the fact that it can do the job of several appliances, which is important for tiny New York kitchens where counter space and storage is a precious commodity. Since the hand blender purees, whisks, chops and more, I wanted to put its multiple uses to the test with the best and most delicious way I could think of: a milkshake.

With the blade attachment, I made a chocolate banana shake. It was great for keeping an eye on the consistency and getting those bananas smashed up. I used the whisk attachment to quickly whip cream, and I crushed a heath bar with the chopper attachment. The blender is easy to handle and served all of its purposes well. I'm looking forward to using it for soups, smoothies and sauces but maybe just one more milkshake first.

Chocolate Banana Milkshake

1 1/2 cups vanilla ice cream
3/4 cup of milk
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 banana, sliced
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
whipped cream, optional
candy bar, optional

Combine ice cream, milk, cocoa, banana and vanilla with hand blender until combined and smooth. Top with whipped cream and crushed bits of your favorite candy bar.


The Food Almanac: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - Recipes

Feeds 2 adults 1 toddler with leftovers

Growing up in the south in America, Sundays were about two things: church followed by a big Sunday dinner. Usually that dinner consisted of a mountain of fried chicken with mashed potatoes, slow-cooked green beans and cornbread or (my favorite) pot roast with a big helping of rice and gravy.

While looking for inspiration for this recipe, I concluded that pot roast's most important feature, its sauce, is usually made one of two ways: thin and meaty like a proper gravy or thick and creamy like a good stew base. I've gone for the second option--the gravy is thick with cream of mushroom soup, slightly earthy and certainly moreish.

The next day, with all that leftover pot roast, we forked the shredded beef onto bread for the best warm leftover sandwiches I've had in a while. This one is definitely a family favorite I think we'll be having it once a month.


Winter Classes. Beginning in Feb. 20 at Art at the Center, 2804 Sherwood Hall Lane. Children ages 6-10 can participate. Register at www.artatthecenter.org or 703-201-1250.

Occupied City: Life in Civil War Alexandria Exhibition. At The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street. Open daily through September, this exhibit traces life in Alexandria following Virginia’s decision to secede from the Union in May 1861. See how Robert E. Lee’s hometown was transformed literally overnight from a prosperous commercial port into a supply, hospital, and transportation center for the Union Army, and find out why Alexandria became a destination for African Americans seeking freedom. Explore the experiences of Alexandrians and others who lived here during this tumultuous time, through their own words, as well as in period photographs and collections items. The Lyceum is open Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, from 1-5 p.m. Suggested admission is $2. Visit www.alexandriahistory.org or call 703-746-4994.

Art Exhibit. Alexandria artist Francis Seeger will display “People” in the Athenaeum Gallery, 201 Prince St. through Feb. 24. Free. Features a number of the artist’s larger figural paintings. Often appearing to be waiting for time to pass or expressing a touch of boredom, Seeger’s subjects are captured with vibrant palette. Visit www.nvfaa.org or 703-548-0035.

Life in Civil War Alexandria Exhibition. Daily exhibit traces life in Alexandria following Virginia's decision to secede from the Union in May 1861. Through September at The Lyceum, Alexandria's History Museum, 201 South Washington St. Open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Suggested admission $2. Visit www.alexandriahistory.org or call 703-746-4994.

Tavern Toddlers. Mondays, 10:30 a.m.-noon. Mondays through the end of April. Designed for walkers through 36 months and their caregivers. Tavern Toddlers features a weekly open playtime in Gadsby’s historic ballroom. Gadsby’s Tavern Museum is located at 134 North Royal St. Call 703-746-4242 or visit www.gadsbystavern.org.

Thursday/Feb. 21

Art Focus Group. 7:30-9 p.m. Collage - build on children's natural instinct for collecting by creating something new out of scraps and bits and pieces. We will also explore extending collage into paper architecture. Classes are $25 each or $200 for the 10 class series. A school or group of teachers can share the registration for the full series. At 2804 Sherwood Hall Lane. Call 703-201-1250.

Creative Writing Session. 1 p.m. at Hollin Hall Senior Center, 1500 Shenandoah Road. Get the creative juices flowing with the help of Camilla Clocker and Julie Ellis. Free, open to the public. 703-765-4573.

Performance. 7:30 p.m. at Burgundy Farm Country Day School, 3700 Burgundy Road. Hear the 6th graders perform “Burgundy on Broadway: Dreams and Magic,” a musical revue that includes music from “Harry Potter” to “Oklahoma!” There will be a puppet show, spoken narration, clarinet performance and more. $5/door $1/child.

Friday/Feb. 22

Bill Kirchen & Too Much Fun And Wayne 'The Train' Hancock. 7:30 p.m. $29.50. The Birchmere Music Hall is located at 3701 Mount Vernon Ave. Visit www.birchmere.com or call 703-549-7500.

Music Performance. 8 p.m. at The Lyceum, 201 S. Washington St. The United States Air Force Band will play music for the clarinet. Free. Visit www.usafband.af.mil or 202-767-5658.

Performance. 7:30 p.m. at Burgundy Farm Country Day School, 3700 Burgundy Road. Hear the 6th graders perform “Burgundy on Broadway: Dreams and Magic,” a musical revue that includes music from “Harry Potter” to “Oklahoma!” There will be a puppet show, spoken narration, clarinet performance and more. $5/door $1/child.

Theater Production. 8 p.m. at Port City Playhouse, 1819 N. Quaker Lane. See “The Drawer Boy.” $18/adult $16/student, senior $14/groups of 10 or more.

Performance. 10:30 a.m. at Downtown Baptist Church, 212 S. Washington St. See “The Young Spectaculars and the Front Yard Adventure.” $8/person and can be purchased at www.artsonthehorizon.org or at the door.

Birthday Symposium. 1-4 p.m. at George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive. Hear three talks on “George Washington and Religion: Private Man and Public Issues.” Free. 703-683-2007.

Birthday Concert and Gala. 6 p.m. at George Washington Masonic National Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive. Celebrate George Washington’s birthday with music and more. $100/person, reservations must be made by Feb. 18. http://gwmemorial.org/birthday-celebration-2013.php to buy a ticket.

Book Signing and Recipe Swap. 7 p.m. at Hooray For Books!, 1555 King Street. Mary Ellen Taylor will sign copies of her book “The Union Street Bakery,” which is set in Old Town Alexandria. Free.Call 703-548-4092 or visit www.hooray4books.com.

Feb. 22 through March 9

Theater Production. Port City Playhouse's third production of the 2012-13 season “The Drawer Boy” by Michael Healey, directed by Jennifer Lyman opens on Friday, Feb. 22. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays, Feb. 22-23 March 1-2 and 8-9 and Tuesday, March 5 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, March 2 and 9 at 2 p.m. Port City Playhouse performs at 1819 N. Quaker Lane.

Saturday/Feb. 23

Harmony Sweepstakes 2013 'Mid Atlantic Regional.' 7:30 p.m. $29.50. Visit www.harmony-sweepstakes.com/. The Birchmere Music Hall is located at 3701 Mount Vernon Ave. Visit www.birchmere.com or call 703-549-7500.

Closing Reception. 3-5 p.m. See work by local artists Pamela Underhill and Rusty Lynn at The Gallery at Convergence, 1801 N. Quaker Lane. Free. Visit www.Convergenceccf.net.

Free Wedding Open House. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Kimpton’s Monaco Alexandria. Couples can browse the ballroom, courtyard, guest rooms and suites. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres will be served. There will be wedding vendors present, raffles and more. Visit www.monaco-alexandria.com or RSVP to Allison Manning at [email protected]

Author Signing Event. 1-4 p.m. at Books A Million, 6230-I N. Kings Highway. S.E. Simpson will sign copies of her book “Ginger and the Bully.” Free.

Theater Production. 8 p.m. at Port City Playhouse, 1819 N. Quaker Lane. See “The Drawer Boy.” $18/adult $16/student, senior $14/groups of 10 or more.

Performance. 10 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. at Downtown Baptist Church, 212 S. Washington St. See “The Young Spectaculars and the Front Yard Adventure.” $8/person and can be purchased at www.artsonthehorizon.org or at the door.

Sunday/Feb. 24

Annual Jury Information Session. 2-3 p.m. in Studio 31 at the Torpedo Factory, 105 N. Union St. Visual artists who are interested in joining the Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association can get more information. Free. Visit www.torpedofactory.org.

Film Day. 2 p.m. at Beatley Library, 5005 Duke St. Watch “The Color Purple” in honor of African-American History Month. Free. Visit www.alexandria.lib.va.us or 703-746-1702.

African Drumming Workshop. 2-3:30 p.m. at Mount Vernon Unitarian Church, 1909 Windmill Lane. Susan Berning leads the interactive rhythms. Bring own drum, bell or shaker, or ask to borrow one. $5/person or $15/family. Contact Susan Berning at 443-761-0165 or [email protected]

Through Feb. 24

Exhibit. "Dot and Dash" art exhibit at Del Ray Artisans gallery from Feb. 1-24. Getting back to the basics: dot and dash. Artists deconstruct their individualized art-making processes to interpret the theme in their unique styles, showcasing two- and three-dimensional work that is painterly, graphic, realistic, and abstract. Del Ray Artisans gallery, 2704 Mount Vernon Ave. www.TheDelRayArtisans.org.

Monday/Feb. 25

Performance. 10:30 a.m. at Downtown Baptist Church, 212 S. Washington St. See “The Young Spectaculars and the Front Yard Adventure.” $8/person and can be purchased at www.artsonthehorizon.org or at the door.

Feb. 26 through April 28

Exhibit. “Artistic Duo IV” will be on exhibit at Green Spring Horticultural Center Gallery, 4603 Green Spring Road. Works by watercolor artist Carolyn Grossé and photographer Stephen Gawarecki are featured in a joint show. Paintings range from realistic to abstract photographs include his window series and moody landscapes. Free. Visit www.greenspring.org or 703-642-5173.

Wednesday/Feb. 27

Black History Month Event. 7:30 p.m. at Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall, 3001 N. Beauregard St. Features Kathy Harty Gray Dancers, poetry readings by students and faculty, music by the NOVA Jazz Band and more. Free, but donations requested. Parking is $6. 703-845-6097.

Thursday/Feb. 28

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. 7:30 p.m. $45. Visit www.nittygritty.com. The Birchmere Music Hall is located at 3701 Mount Vernon Ave. Visit www.birchmere.com or call 703-549-7500.

Author Series. 7-8:30 p.m. at Charles Beatley Library, 5005 Duke St. In honor of Black History Month, Bob O’Connor will speak about his book “The U.S. Colored Troops at Andersonville Prison.” Free. Visit www.alexandria.lib.va.us or call 703-746-1702.

Networking Fun. 6-9 p.m. at the Carlyle Club, 411 John Carlyle St. Hosted by New Hope Housing’s Young Professionals Board and IMPACT Marketing & Events. Features cocktails, music and more. $20 online or $25 at the door. E-mail Michelle Jannazo at [email protected] or 703-799-2292 ext. 11.

Information Talk. 6-7:30 p.m. at Sherwood Hall Library. Students and parents can gain insight into the importance of promoting financial literacy at an early age. Daryl Mackey, author of “Teamesteem is the Key to a Teen’s Financial Dreams” will lead the forum. Copies of his book will be given out to the first 25 teens to arrive. 703-980-3510 for questions.

Gala Benefit. 7-10 p.m. at Virtue Feed and Grain, 106 S. Union St. The fourth annual CAC Gala benefits the Center for Alexandria’s Children. Features a silent auction, mini raffle, buffet and more. Tickets start at $150 and available at http://2013cacgala.eventbrite.com or by contacting the Center at 703-746-6008. For more information about the Center, go to www.centerforalexandriaschildren.org.

Performance. 10:30 a.m. at Downtown Baptist Church, 212 S. Washington St. See “The Young Spectaculars and the Front Yard Adventure.” $8/person and can be purchased at www.artsonthehorizon.org or at the door.

Through Feb. 28

Highlights at Mount Vernon Estate. In observance of Black History Month, Mount Vernon highlights the lives and contributions of the slaves who built and operated the plantation home of George and Martha Washington. Throughout the month, a daily Slave Life at Mount Vernon tour explores the lives and contributions of the slaves who lived at Mount Vernon. Black History Month activities are included in regular Estate admission: adults, $17 children ages 6-11, $8 and children under 5 are admitted free.

“Dance Your Heart Out” Campaign. Metropolitan Fine Arts Center of Alexandria and Fairfax Station is offering unlimited adult dance and mind/body classes throughout February for a special price of $110. And MFAC will donate 10 percent of all “Dance Your Heart Out class fees to the American Heart Association. Schedules can be viewed at www.metrofinearts.com. 703-339-0444.

Art Exhibit. See “Shades of Gray” at Printmakers Inc., in the Torpedo Factory, 105 N. Union St. Free. Visit www.torpedofactory.org.

Feb. 28 through April 7

Art Exhibit. See “Process: Photography” at The Athenaeum, 201 Prince St. Features established and emerging talent displaying a wide variety of picture taking devices ranging from large print to electron microscopy. Over 15 types of equipment are represented. Free. Visit www.nvfaa.org for more.

Friday/March 1

Theater Production. 8 p.m. at Port City Playhouse, 1819 N. Quaker Lane. See “The Drawer Boy.” $18/adult $16/student, senior $14/groups of 10 or more.

Performance. 10:30 a.m. at Downtown Baptist Church, 212 S. Washington St. See “The Young Spectaculars and the Front Yard Adventure.” $8/person and can be purchased at www.artsonthehorizon.org or at the door.

Friday-Sunday/Mar. 1-3

The Bacon Brothers. 7:30 p.m. At the Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave. $39.50. Visit http://baconbros.com. The Birchmere Music Hall is located at 3701 Mount Vernon Ave. Visit www.birchmere.com or call 703-549-7500.

March 1 through March 6

Artwork Due. Target Gallery’s March Fundraiser exhibition will accept artwork at the gallery at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union St. Visit www.torpedofactory.org or 703-838-4565.

March 1 through March 31

Needlework Exhibit. Exhibit is at Historic Woodlawn Museum, 9000 Richmond Highway. There is a fee. Visit http://woodlawn1805.org.

Saturday/March 2

Celebrate Alexandria: 25 Years with Music and the Maestro. 6 p.m. at Westin Hotel, 400 Courthouse Square. Kim Allen Kluge, musical director of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra will be honored. There will be a reception, silent and live auction, dinner, dancing and more. Individual tickets are $200. For reservations and information, contact Margherita Woods at 703-960-7994, [email protected], or Jane Ring at 703-548-745, [email protected]

Virginia Grand Military Band. 7:30 p.m. Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall, NVCC, Alexandria Campus, 3001 N. Beauregard St. Hear works by Sousa, Grainger, Gilbert & Sullivan. Adults $15 band directors and students free. Parking $6.-cash only, vehicles displaying handicapped tags park free. Visit www.vgmb.com or 703 426-4777.

Music. Focus Music presents Slaid Cleaves with special guest Ruut at 7 p.m. at St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church. $20/general $18/advance at www.focusmusic.org.

Theater Production. 2 p.m. or 8 p.m. at Port City Playhouse, 1819 N. Quaker Lane. See “The Drawer Boy.” $18/adult $16/student, senior $14/groups of 10 or more.

Performance. 10 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. at Downtown Baptist Church, 212 S. Washington St. See “The Young Spectaculars and the Front Yard Adventure.” $8/person and can be purchased at www.artsonthehorizon.org or at the door.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Starts at 12:30 p.m. at the corner of King Street and Alfred St. Grand Marshal is Bryan “Bugsy” Watson, owner of Bugsy’s Pizza Restaurant and Sports Bar. There will also be a Classic Car Show at 10 a.m. at Pitt Street. Visit www.ballyshaners.org for more information about the day’s events.

Sunday/March 3

Choral Evensong. 5 p.m. at Christ Church Episcopal, 118 N. Washington St. Listen to a service of evening prayer with choral music. All are welcome. Visit www.historicchristchurch.org or 703-549-1450.

Film Day. 2 p.m. at Beatley Library, 5005 Duke St. Watch “Remember the Titans,” about T.C. Williams High School and its newly desegregated football team, in honor of African-American History Month. Free. Visit www.alexandria.lib.va.us or 703-746-1702.

Opening Reception. 4-6 p.m. at The Athenaeum, 201 Prince St. Meet some of the creators of the “Process: Photography.” Features established and emerging talent displaying a wide variety of picture taking devices ranging from large print to electron microscopy. Over 15 types of equipment are represented. Free. Visit www.nvfaa.org for more.

Closing Reception. 2-4 p.m. meet the creators of “Student/Faculty Exhibit” at The Art League in the Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union St. Browse through paintings, drawings, ceramics, jewelry, and more. Visit www.theartleague.org or 703-683-1780.

Friends of Dyke Marsh. 2 p.m. at Huntley Meadows Park Visitor Center, 3701 Lockheed Blvd. Learn about snakes, skinks, salamanders, geckos, frogs, alligators and more. Free. Visit www.fodm.org or 703-768-2525.

Through March 3

Art Exhibit. See “Fabricated: An Exhibition of Wearable Art” at Target Galley in the Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union St. Visit www.torpedofactory.org/target for more on the exhibit.

Student/Faculty Exhibit. The Art League in the Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union St., presents paintings, drawings, ceramics, jewelry, and more. Visit www.theartleague.org or 703-683-1780.

Monday/March 4

Performance. 10:30 a.m. at Downtown Baptist Church, 212 S. Washington St. See “The Young Spectaculars and the Front Yard Adventure.” $8/person and can be purchased at www.artsonthehorizon.org or at the door.

Dinner Meeting. 6:30 p.m. at American Legion Post 24 Hall, 400 Cameron St. $25/person. William Connery will discuss his book “Civil War Northern Virginia 1861.” Visit www.leecamp.org or RSVP 703-217-7871.

Tuesday/March 5

Theater Production. 8 p.m. at Port City Playhouse, 1819 N. Quaker Lane. See “The Drawer Boy.” $18/adult $16/student, senior $14/groups of 10 or more.

Thursday/March 7

Art Focus Group. 7:30-9 p.m. Weaving and textile arts — we will look at ways to bring textile arts into the classroom or home studio with a specific focus on recycled fibers. Classes are $25 each or $200 for the 10 class series. A school or group of teachers can share the registration for the full series. At 2804 Sherwood Hall Lane. Call 703-201-1250.

Performance. 10:30 a.m. at Downtown Baptist Church, 212 S. Washington St. See “The Young Spectaculars and the Front Yard Adventure.” $8/person and can be purchased at www.artsonthehorizon.org or at the door.

Friday/March 8

Performance. Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hunt perform “Nancy & Beth” at 7:30 p.m. in the Music Hall at the Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave. $29.50. Visit www.birchmere.com or 703-549-7500.

Mardi Growl Gala. 7-10 p.m. at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 600 Dulany St. Enjoy music by a N’awlins jazz band, silent auction, raffle, beverages and more. $85/single $150/pair of tickets. All proceeds benefit the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria. Visit www.alexandriaAnimals.org/MardiGrowl for more.

Theater Production. 8 p.m. at Port City Playhouse, 1819 N. Quaker Lane. See “The Drawer Boy.” $18/adult $16/student, senior $14/groups of 10 or more.

Performance. 10:30 a.m. at Downtown Baptist Church, 212 S. Washington St. See “The Young Spectaculars and the Front Yard Adventure.” $8/person and can be purchased at www.artsonthehorizon.org or at the door.

Classical Potpourri. 7:30 p.m. at The Lyceum, 201 S. Washington St. Hear works by Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and more. $15/advance or $20/door. Buy online at InstantSeats.com.

Saturday/March 9

Music Performance. 8 p.m. at The Lyceum, 201 S. Washington St. The United States Air Force Band will play music for the woodwind quintet. Free. Visit http://www.usafband.af.mil/ for more.

Theater Production. 2 p.m. or 8 p.m. at Port City Playhouse, 1819 N. Quaker Lane. See “The Drawer Boy.” $18/adult $16/student, senior $14/groups of 10 or more.

Performance. 10 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. at Downtown Baptist Church, 212 S. Washington St. See “The Young Spectaculars and the Front Yard Adventure.” $8/person and can be purchased at www.artsonthehorizon.org or at the door.

Power Art. 3 p.m. at Del Ray Artisans, 2704 Mount Vernon Ave. Features nationally touring art quilts. Power Suits curator Cyndi Souder will speak and display additional pieces from the collection. Call 703-838-4827 or visit www.thedelrayartisans.org.

March 9 through March 17

Art Exhibit. March Fundraiser exhibit at Target Gallery, Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union St. Free. Visit www.torpedofactory.org or 703-838-4565.

Power of Mixed Media Workshop. 1-5 p.m. at Del Ray Artisans, 2704 Mount Vernon Ave. Join Judy Guia of Artistic Artifacts to make a "power art necklace" using vintage, recycled materials. $55 (includes kit). Register by March 6 at www.TheDelRayArtisans.org/art-necklace.

Tuesday/March 12

Music. George Thorogood & the Destroyers perform in the Flex Stage at The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., at 7:30 p.m. $45. Visit www.birchmere.com or 703-549-7500.

Thursday/March 14

Toast to Fashion. 6:30-10 p.m. at Belle Haven Country Club. Enjoy a fashion show, marketplace, raffle and more. Benefits the Campagna Center. Visit www.campagnacenter.org to purchase tickets.

Friday/March 15

Art Party. 7-10 p.m. at Target Gallery in the Torpedo Factory, 105 N. Union St. Get a discount on artwork, enjoy prizes, music, games, wings and more. Visit www.torpedofactory.org for more.

The Average White Band. 7:30 p.m. $35. Visit www.averagewhiteband.com. The Birchmere Music Hall is located at 3701 Mount Vernon Ave. Visit www.birchmere.com or call 703-549-7500.

Saturday/March 16

Conversations and Stories. 2:30 p.m. at The Athenaeum, 201 Prince St. Local artist/storyteller Sushmita Mazumdar will read from her books and more. $20/includes tea and cookies.

Andrew Jackson Birthday Gala Dinner and Fundraiser. 6:30 p.m. at George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive. Features a catered dinner, auction and more. $20/person which will go to one of three scholarship funds. Visit www.andrewjackson120.org for more.

Poetry and Book-Making Workshop. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Del Ray Artisans, 2704 Mount Vernon Ave., lead by artists Stacy Rauch and D.J. Gaskin. Create a journal and personal poems. $75 (includes supplies). Register by March 8 www.TheDelRayArtisans.org/bookmaking.

Sunday/March 17

Watch Awards 2013. 7 p.m. in the Music Hall at the Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave. $15. Visit www.birchmere.com or 703-549-7500. Visit www.washingtontheater.org for nominees.

African Drumming Workshop. 2-3:30 p.m. at Mount Vernon Unitarian Church, 1909 Windmill Lane. Susan Berning leads the interactive rhythms. Bring own drum, bell or shaker, or ask to borrow one. $5/person or $15/family. Contact Susan Berning at 443-761-0165 or [email protected]

Through March 17

Theater Performance. “Ladies Swing the Blues,” a world premiere by Thomas W. Jones II and William Knowles at Metrostage, 1201 N. Royal St. Explore the jazz folklore, mythologies and backstage stories of the ’40s and ’50s with four legendary jazz divas as they gather to commemorate the passing of jazz legend Charlie Parker. Performances are Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets $50 (students $25). For tickets call 800-494-8497 or visit www.metrostage.org, Groups/Info 703-548-9044. Fully accessible, free parking.

Art Exhibit. See Matthew D. Kiehl’s “Craft and Character: Wasteland” at the Schlesinger Center Margaret W & Joseph L. Fisher Gallery. See an exploration of pen and ink on paper. Free.


Mrs. Michaels Cooks!

I tried your recipe for Whole Hog Potato Salad a few weeks ago. I have tried several recipes for this potato salad and they never were quite right. Not bad but just not right. Your recipe is the one that I have put in my favorites because it is wonderful!! Thank you for sharing! Tiara Robinson, Greenbrier, Arkansas

Whole Hog just opened a store here in South Jersey and you're right! One of the best potato salads I've had! I'm not a fan of mustard in mine, either. I will be trying your recipe!

This comment has been removed by the author.

They're about a mile from where I live in Collingswood. They were very impressed with our knowledge of the Memphis Mud Island BBQ contests they've won until I told them we are all originally from Little Rock. I haven't yet tried their potato salad. I'll have to fix that.

I made this and often. I usually double and think i made too much. The bowl is always cleaned. MMMMMMMMM


The Food Almanac: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - Recipes

My cookie baking history started with these peanut cookies. Back then I had months to spare before the start to my Uni years, so I got the chance to explore the baking world a little. Peanut cookies topped my to-try list then simply because of the two huge peanut fans I had always had at home - my parents. Apart from the hike in electricity bill over the months that I suddenly got so into baking, dad (my biggest fan then) obviously had no complains with the little enthusiasm kicking in me, despite it being a short-lived one lol. He was the first to peek into the kitchen and check on me (or rather the menu for the day to be exact lol) while I was busy whisking, mixing and baking away. Needless to say he was always the first to have a try at my baked stuff as soon as they were out and ready.

Since then I had had a couple more experiences with the peanut cookies. Each time was itself an experiment with different recipes that I could get hold of - my aunt's, the cookbook's and others online. I had been the good baker - making these from scratch, sweating over roasting and especially skinning the raw peanuts I had also been the mediocre baker where I started my production line straight with a batch of readily roasted peanuts lol.

You probably will have to try both versions to taste for yourself if they really do differ and especially if the extra time and effort needed to make them from scratch is indeed justified. I personally do think that there's always a little extra and something great with those made from scratch that somehow are missing from those readily roasted ones. But having said that, oh yes I would do it the easy way still at times. Well this is exactly one of the times lol. Honestly I wasn't that keen with airing them in the yard in this freezing cold weather. But if you have got enough time and patience (and a good weather lol) to spare for the day, by all means do try it the good baker way. It will be a really rewarding experience!

  • Dry fry the peanuts in a wok over a medium heat. Keep the stir frying motion going to make sure that the peanuts have a fair chance to get in contact with the hot wok at all time. The cue to stop is when the fragrance of the peanuts is apparent and the skins start turning dark (some a little burnt and some with the skins start flaking off naturally even) revealing nuts with a darker hue within.
  • Transfer the nuts into a large colander. You can use the huge round plastic food cover - the "tudung saji" (my favorite lol). That always gives me the best surface area to work with. Plus the holes are big enough for the removed skins to pass through easily retaining just the nuts.
  • Move outdoor. We need a little wind here (and some fresh air for you too lol). To get the skins off, you will need some rubbing in between the peanuts. But with them still hot from the wok, press and rub them against the colander with a spatula. You can switch to working with hands once they have cooled down enough. With the skins so dry and flaky from the dry frying, they should come out rather easily.
  • Shake and toss them high every now and then to allow the wind to blow off any skins removed. And to remove those skins nested at the bottom - pour the peanuts carefully and slowly into another huge colander from a distance high up while the wind works its way in blowing the skins away. Repeat until you have most of the skins off.

This recipe is one adapted from the recipe by Wendy at Table For 2. or More. Wendy noted in her post that the relatively large amount of sugar in her recipe is essential in binding the dough together well. But knowing well the sweet tooth I have in me and how it can only tolerate that limited amount of sugar, I had chosen to lessen the amount of sugar used still. In turn, I added a bit more oil to get the dough to the right texture. Halving her recipe, I made about 155 pieces of cookies in total. Not only do these peanut cookies taste so peanuty and smell all so fragrant, they actually melt in your mouth!

Peanut Cookies 花生饼

Adapted from Table For 2. or More
Makes about 155 peanuts

500g roasted peanuts
500g all-purpose flour
400g sugar
a pinch of salt
250ml cooking oil
1 egg, beaten for glazing
1/4 cup roasted peanut halves for garnishing

1. Grind the peanuts in a food processor. Depending on your personal preference, you can have them ground smooth and real fine or you can have them coarsely pulsed leaving a little nutty texture in it.

2. Mix the sugar, ground peanuts, flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir until well combined.

3. Drizzle in about 2/3 of the cooking oil and knead together the content using hand. When they have started to come together, drizzle in more oil (a little at a time). Keep the kneading going until the mixture forms a dough that does not stick to fingers when touched. Test by picking up a small amount of the dough and try shaping it into a ball. If it doesn't crumble as it gets shaped, the dough is ready. Add in a little more oil and knead for a while more otherwise.

4. Get the rolling started! Roll the dough into marble-sized balls. And there goes again my OCD kicking in. Working in the manner of a production line, I have them weighed at 10g each in batches before rolling them away. Arrange them on a baking sheet lined with the parchment paper. Be sure to leave a little space in between them.

5. Lightly press in one half of a peanut right in the center of each piece of shaped dough.
6. Using a silicone brush, glaze each of them with the beaten egg, neat and thorough. Too much and the overflowing egg wash will end up getting the cookie stuck to the baking sheet making its removal difficult too little and they just won't look as pretty when they are out of the oven later.
7. Bake in the preheated oven at 350°F for about 12 minutes, until they turn golden brown.


Nigella Lawson

Lawson, whose cookbooks and Food Network shows have made her a household name around the world, talks about her new cookbook, a love letter to the pleasures of cooking and eating the Italian way.

Location: Street: The Union League Club City: Chicago, Province: Illinois Country: United States (added from IndieBound) &hellip (more)

Nigella Lawson is the author of bestselling books, How to Eat, How to Be a Domestic Goddess, Nigella Bites, Forever Summer and Feast, which, together with several successful TV series, have made hers a household name around the world. She is a contributor to the New York Times and lives in London with her family. (added from Random House) &hellip (more)

Nigella Lawson is the author of bestselling books, How to Eat, How to Be a Domestic Goddess, Nigella Bites, Forever Summer and Feast, which, together with several successful TV series, have made hers a household name around the world. She is a contributor to the New York Times and lives in London with her family. (added from Random House) &hellip (more)

Nigella Lawson is the author of bestselling books, How to Eat, How to Be a Domestic Goddess, Nigella Bites, Forever Summer and Feast, which, together with several successful TV series, have made hers a household name around the world. She is a contributor to the New York Times and lives in London with her family. (added from Random House) &hellip (more)

Bestselling author and food celebrity "domestic goddess" Nigella Lawson presents Nigella's Italy: Easy Italian-Inspired Recipes ($35.00), her first Italian cookbook. Featuring 120 simple, fast recipes, from pasta to dessert, and beautiful full-color photographs that celebrates the ease, straightforwardness, and authenticity of Italian cuisine, this cookbook will inspire readers to bring the spirit of Italy into the kitchen without needing to source inaccessible ingredients or totally restock the pantry

Nigella Lawson is the bestselling author of eight cookbooks, including Nigella Kitchen, Nigella Express,and Nigella Bites, which together with her television shows on the Food Network and her iPhone apps have made her a household name around the world. She is also a contributor to The Oxford Companion to Italian Literature. Nigella lives in London with her family. (MDGentleReader) &hellip (more)

Nigella Lawson is the author of bestselling books, How to Eat, How to Be a Domestic Goddess, Nigella Bites, Forever Summer and Feast, which, together with several successful TV series, have made hers a household name around the world. She is a contributor to the New York Times and lives in London with her family. (added from Random House) &hellip (more)

Author Event Nigella Lawson, iconic English cookery expert and co-host of The Taste, talks to Mario Batali about her new cookbook, Nigellissima.Signing to follow. (added from Barnes & Noble)

Nigella Lawson promotes Nigella Christmas: Food, Family, Friends, and Festivities.

6:00 PM Reception, 7:00 PM Program Join the Atlanta History Center for a special evening with Nigella Lawson as she shares recipes and tips from her latest book Nigella Christmas. Christmas is a time of family and friends, tradition and treats. But let’s face it: the pressure to feed and entertain can dim the sparkle of the season. That’s where Nigella steps in. Embracing the practical realities of the season, her new cookbook offers delicious, easy-to-follow recipes and reassuring advice for planning and entertaining. Nigella Christmas is guaranteed to bring you comfort and joy. Nigella Lawson is the bestselling author of Nigella Express, Feast, Forever Summer, Nigella Bites, How to Be a Domestic Goddess, and How to Eat, which have sold more than six million copies worldwide. She has hosted television shows including Food Network’s Nigella Feasts and Nigella Express, Style Network’s Forever Summer with Nigella, and E! Entertainment Television’s Nigella Bites. Nigella lives in London with her husband and children. Sample appetizers and signature cocktails featured in Nigella Christmas will be part of this fun evening. Admission is $40 for members and $45 for nonmembers. Reservations are required seating is limited. Ticket includes an autographed copy of Nigella Christmas. To purchase tickets, please call (404) 814-4150. (jasbro) &hellip (more)

Author: Nigella Lawson , Nigella Lawson's bestselling books, How to Eat, How to be a Domestic Goddess, Nigella Bites and Forever Summer, together with her TV programs, have made her a household name all over the world. She writes occasionally for various publications and is a regular contributor to the New York Times. Title: Nigella Christmas: Food Family Friends Festivities, $35.00 Hardcover, ISBN 9781401323363, On Sale Date: October 1, 2009 This luscious book includes everything from Christmas cakes and puddings to exciting and inspiring variations for traditional turkey, ginger-baked ham, and even a vegetarian Christmas feast. More than 100 photos provide inspiration and information in equal measure. What: “A CONVERSATION WITH NIGELLA LAWSON.” Nigella Lawson will be in conversation with Vivien Jennings and talk about Nigella's new book, her life, her work and answer audience questions. Autographed copies of Nigella's New Book purchased from Rainy Day Books and/or on our Website can be Picked Up at our Author Event. Copies of Nigella's other Books can be purchased from Rainy Day Books and/or on our Website. When: Monday, December 7, 2009, 7:00 PM Where: Unity Temple On The Country Club Plaza, Sanctuary, 707 W. 47th Street, Kansas City, MO 64112. Admission Package: (Click on the ADD TO SHOPPING CART button) next to the book jacket below.
$35.00 plus Tax, includes from Rainy Day Books, One (1) Stamped Ticket, One (1) Guest Ticket (if needed) and One (1) Autographed Copy of NIGELLA CHRISTMAS (Hardcover). Please specify your need for One (1) Stamped Ticket and One (1) Guest Ticket (if needed) in the Notes field of your Online Order. If you choose Option 1 for In-Store Pick-Up, then you can specify At-Event Pick-Up in the Notes field of your Online Order. Thank you. Book Orders can be shipped worldwide. All Author Event Book Sales are Final and Non-Returnable. (booksense) &hellip (more)


Tara's Go-To Recipes

I will post a few recipes that I have recently made in my Deep Covered Baker. If you do not have a Deep Covered Baker they may be hard to duplicate any other way which is why I will share them here.

Chicken Bruschetta Pasta
I did not invent this recipe nor am I claiming it as my own. But I do feel that it is delicious and healthy enough that I would be selfish not to share it.

Ingredients
1 box of spaghetti
3 - 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
fresh basil
garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
3 plum tomatoes
Parmesan cheese

  • Break spaghetti in half and place in Deep Covered Baker (DCB)
  • Cover with chicken stock
  • Place lid on DCB and microwave 8 minutes
  • After the 8 minutes give it a good stir and microwave another 8 minutes
  • Cut up tomatoes and place them in the Manual Food Processor (MFP) and pump
  • Using the Garlic Press, mince 2 cloves into the MFP and pump again
  • Cut up basil and place in the MFP and again pump then add the 1/3 cup olive oil and pump away. Ta-Da! You just made your own pasta sauce. It is so easy that our 4-year old daughter made ours.

  • Pour your sauce on top of the spaghettit and mix it in. Throw in a meat of your choice like grilled chicken, shrimp, or smoked sausage (we had grilled chicken in ours).

Wasn't that an easy one? Took 16 minutes to make a delicious, healthy, home-cooked meal for our family of 5. How many times have you been able to say that?

29 Minute Chicken
Again this one is not my recipe but I use it all the time. I never knew cooking a full size chicken could be so easy.

Ingredients
Whole Chicken (3-4lb)
1 Tablespoon Olive oil
Rub or seasoning of your choice

  • Clean all of the guts out of the chicken and feel free to make grossed out noises like I did when I had to do it. Rinse chicken with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Place chicken in DCB, you can tie its legs together if you want but I am honestly too lazy for that kinda thing.
  • Spread the oil on the chicken with a Silicone Basting Brush then cover with your favorite rub or seasoning.

  • Place the DCB in the microwave UNCOVERED and cook for 28 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees. And that's it! Ta-Da!

Impossibly Easy Breakfast Cassole
We have tried numerous breakfast casserole recipes over the years and it seemed like most of them were just tasteless. I really enjoy this one and so do Shae and the kids so it's a keeper. This one is originally a Betty Crocker recipe, I just switched it up Pampered Chef style. :)

Ingredients
2 packages breakfast sausage (we are a Jimmy Dean house)
1 medium bell pepper (we prefer red)
1 medium onion
3 cups frozen hashbrowns
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup Bisquick
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 eggs

  • Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease the inside of your DCB. Chop up your onion and bell pepper with the Food Chopper
  • Cook the sausage onion and bell pepper in skillet until done drain
  • Stir together the sausage mixture, the hashbrowns and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese into the DCB
  • Stir Bisquick, milk, pepper, and eggs, until blended. Pour into the DCB.
  • Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes and sprinkle with remaining cheese
  • Cool 5 minutes.

So hopefully these DCB recipes will get you all pumped into trying them at your house or maybe getting a Deep Covered Baker of your very own. I am absolutely in love with mine. If people enjoy reading this post I may take a day and post some dessert recipes for the Deep Covered Baker that I also know.



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