Sunday Dish: Steak and Chocolate

Sundays are always the time of week, where it’s more of a day for resting and enjoying fellowship with loved ones and friends.  This week, my boyfriend came over to the apartment and took the helms of the kitchen to cook some steaks, while I threw some fries on a baking sheet with garlic, rosemary, and olive oil.  For dessert, I made some brownies (using a recipe from “The Joy of Cooking“). These brownies were complimented by some vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, and a special sauce using Great Lakes Brewing Company’s (Ohio) Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. Now, before you talk about how porter is more of a winter beer, the chocolate hints definitely brought out the flavor of the brownies. This is one of my favorite Great Lakes beers, because it can be used in marinades, as well as a compliment to desserts.

Steak with Pan Sauce

2 Ribeye steaks, seasoned with salt and freshly cracked pepper

In a pan over medium heat, cook the steaks until medium.  Remove the steaks from heat.  Keep the juices in the pan, add 1/4 c. of half and half, 1 1/2 oz. of Makers Mark Whiskey, and some freshly cracked pepper.  Heat this mixture up and serve over steaks.

With the steaks, I served pommes frites.  Basically, I cheated and bought some already prepared with the garlic, olive oil, and rosemary.  However, you can make your own by buying red potatoes and slicing them up into wedges.  Toss the wedges with olive oil, minced garlic, and rosemary sprigs.  Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.

Brownies Cockaigne (Adapted from “The Joy of Cooking“)

1 stick unsalted butter

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and chocolate.  Cool completely before using.

4 large eggs

1/4 tsp. salt

In a mixer, beat the eggs and salt until light and foamy.

2 c. sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Add sugar and vanilla to the egg mixture.  Beat until mixture thickens significantly, then add cooled chocolate mixture.  Beat until thoroughly mixed.

Remove bowl from mixer.  Now add 1 c. of flour to the mixture, stir with wooden spoon until combined.   Add the mixture to a 13 x 9 pan lined with foil.  Make sure the foil is greased so the brownies are easy to remove.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Edmund Fitzgerald Glaze

1 tsp. Milk

1/2 c. Powdered Sugar (10 X)

2 tsp. Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Edmund Fitzgerald Porter

In a small bowl, whisk all three ingredients together until a thick glaze is created.  Spoon glaze over warm brownies and vanilla ice cream for a brownie sundae.

Sunday Dish: Panzanella

It has been hot here in the D.C. area recently.  With the stifling temperatures and high humidity, the last place I want to be is in a overheated kitchen.  However, I have been wanting to try two new recipes (one from “The Joy of Cooking” and the other from 17 and Baking), so off to the kitchen I went…thank goodness for air conditioning.

While I baked a batch of Blueberry Coconut Cream Scones that 17 and Baking featured in an earlier post, my main focus was on making Panzanella.  Panzanella is a bread salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, and other fresh vegetables.  It is a refreshing main course that does not have meat as the star taste.  If you want to serve this with a steak, knock yourself out.  However, this salad is good enough on its own.  With crunchy bread as the star, a wonderfully seasoned vinaigrette, and fresh vegetables, I paired this with Williamsburg Winery’s Susan Constant Red, which is a light red with smooth flavors of plum and black currant.

Panzanella (Adapted from “The Joy of Cooking”)

Ingredients:

1 loaf Ciabatta bread (Italian bread works well too), chopped into 1-inch cubes

Vinaigrette:

1/3 c. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

1/3 c. Red Wine Vinegar

1 Shallot, minced

3 tbsp. Lemon Juice

3 tbsp. minced parsley

1 tsp. minced garlic

First, bake the bread cubes in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.  While the bread is baking, whisk together in a small bowl all of the vinaigrette ingredients together.

Take the bread cubes out of the oven to cool.  While the bread cubes are cooling, begin chopping the following vegetables:

2 cucumbers, peeled and seeded (cut into 1/2 inch cubes)

3 Roma Tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 medium onion (red or yellow, which is what I used), cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/3 c. pitted kalamata olives, halved

1/3 c. torn basil leaves

In a large salad bowl, place the bread cubes in the bowl, then place all of the chopped vegetables (cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, olives, and basil leaves) in the bowl, and toss with vinaigrette dressing.  Add parmesan shavings to the bowl before serving.

Wine recommendations for this dish:

I would recommend a light red wine with this dish.  Of course, you could always pair a Chardonnay or a Pinot Grigio with this dish as well.  The other red wine I would suggest is Chrysalis Vineyards (Va.) Sarah’s Patio Red or Rubiana.

Restaurant Review: Thai Chili

I love Thai food. It’s one of the “Krystle” food groups. Today, my colleague and I went to lunch at one of our favorite Thai restaurants in the Verizon Center area, Thai Chili. Located in the Gallery Place center, this restaurant offers some of the best Pad Thai in the area.

I had the Pad Thai with chicken. The chicken tasted like it was overcooked, but the peanut curry sauce made up for the loss. With a hint of lime, the sauce had a great flavor. The noodles were tender and the vegetables in the dish had just the amount of crispness. While many places limit portions, their lunch portion was very generous.

My colleague had requested the Thai Curry Tofu. The lunch portion was also very generous and provided the right amount of heat. The tofu was extra firm and the vegetables looked fresh. There were no complaints with the taste of the dish.

While my favorite Thai restaurant is Tara Thai, I have to say a close third (second is Sakoontra in Fairfax) is Thai Chili. If you are craving Thai and live/work/or visit D.C., stop by and you will not be disappointed.

Deadliest Catch Night: Pizza and Good Wine

Tonight was one of the most saddest episodes of The Deadliest Catch as Captain Phil Harris died.  While the episode made me cry, I decided to host a party featuring some yummy food.  No, it was not seafood that was the star of the show (that was last night’s dish and the featured star of a post for the weekend), but it was freshly made pizza with some awesome ingredients.  This pizza was made with three different kinds of cheeses (mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan reggiano), two different meats (sopressata and bresiola), marinated artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, and fresh sweet basil.

Alongside of the pizza, a friend brought a bottle of Summerfield Merlot (California) and my boyfriend brought two bottles of Rogue Northwestern Ale. While I did not particularly care for the bitterness of the ale, I did enjoy the Merlot (even though, my boyfriend also brought a bottle of Fabbioli Cellars (Va.) Chambourcin).  The Merlot was very smooth tasting and complemented the pizza with its sweet, jammy hints.  With hints of black currant and raspberry, this Merlot also worked with the chocolate we had for dessert.

While this was an emotional episode of The Deadliest Catch, the pizza received rave reviews.  My boyfriend even mentioned that it was better than the two area pizza joints nearby.

Krystle’s “Kitchen Sink” Pizza

1 package of prepared pizza dough (you can find this dough at Wegmans or any speciality grocer)

1/2 c. pizza sauce (I used marinara with burgundy wine)

2 c. mozzarella-provolone cheese blend (you can buy this pre-shredded at a grocer)

1 c. parmesan-reggiano cheese

4 tbsp. sweet basil, chopped finely

1/2 c. marinated artichoke hearts, chopped

1/4 c. sun dried tomatoes, chopped

1/4 c. sopressata, chopped

1/4 c. bresiola, chopped

Preheat the oven, according to package directions.  Grease pizza pan with non-stick cooking spray or extra virgin olive oil. Spread the dough to fit the pan and pour on the sauce (spreading evenly).

Then, layer in this order:

meats

cheese

artichokes

cheese

sun dried tomatoes

cheese

basil

Bake for the amount of time on the package directions.  I cooked the pizza for 18 minutes.  After pizza is done, remove from oven and cool for five minutes before slicing.

Serves 8.

Additional wine recommendations with the “Kitchen Sink” pizza:

Fabbioli Cellars (Va.) Chambourcin

Barboursville (Va.) Merlot

First Colony (Va.) Cabernet Franc

Columbia Crest (Wash.) Cab Sauv./Merlot blend

Yellow Tail (Australia) Merlot

Barefoot (Calif.) Cabernet Sauvignon

Restaurant Review: The Burger Joint

The Burger Joint in Arlington might strike some as the usual hamburger establishment. After one of their burgers, your opinion will soon change. Using quality ingredients, The Burger Joint offers a wide variety of hamburgers and other sandwiches, in addition to homemade milkshakes and fries.

The Burger and The Greek Burger

“The Burger” might be an original hamburger. However, The Burger Joint allows the natural flavors of the meat to stand out. Using all-natural grain fed beef, “The Burger” can be supplemented with their famous Mojo Sauce, in addition to cheese, applewood smoked bacon, and your typical thoroughfare condiments. My boyfriend had this burger, and he remarked at how fresh everything tasted.

Their turkey burger was one of the best burgers I have had in a long time. I do not each a lot of red meat, but this burger did not disappoint. Using ground turkey, The Burger Joint also added in gorgonzola cheese and portobella mushrooms into the mix to create a juicy sandwich. Just like “The Burger,” you have the same choice of condiments and extras. I chose to have mine with the mojo sauce, lettuce and tomato. The Greek Burger is also good, as the meat mixture had lamb along with the ground beef. Additionally, this burger was loaded with feta cheese, tomatoes, and a tzatziki sauce. Another delicious choice that can be cooked to your specifications.

Their fries are also fresh, and just like other burger establishments in the area, they offered seasonings of rosemary, sea salt, garlic, and parmesan. The Gold Standard are the fries that I ordered. However, they offer Sweet Potato fries (The Orange Standard) and Asparagus Fries (The Green Standard).

If you are a milkshake aficionado like I am, then you will love The Burger Joint’s milkshakes.  Thick and creamy, they come in a variety of traditional flavors, including double chocolate, vanilla bean, strawberry, and a flavor of the month.  For the month of June, the flavor was Key Lime Pie.  Key Lime Pie had the graham cracker crust bits with a lime garnish.  This shake actually tasted like a slice of the namesake dessert.  The month of July pays homage to Peach.  Another delicious shake made with peach ice cream, fresh peach bits, and graham cracker crumbs.

All together, this is one of the best burger joints that I have visited. If you are in Arlington (they also have locations in Alexandria and Bethesda, Md.), it is well worth the visit.