i just can’t get enough goat cheese & pesto!

Some foods are just made for each other:  Peanut butter and jelly.  Chips and salsa.  Goat cheese and pesto!  This heavenly combo won me over in pizza form on Saturday night.  This morning, the memory was lingering so strongly that I decided my usual bagel with cream cheese just wouldn’t do.  (Sometimes when I find a food combo I love, I become a serial eater.)

First, the pizzas.  I had been intrigued by a recipe in Food & Wine Magazine’s Quick From Scratch Italian Cookbook (can also be found here).  We made some adaptations though.  Chris and I don’t like eggplant, so we used portabella mushrooms instead.  We also added some chopped onions and pizza sauce, because I don’t know about you, but when I’m really in the mood for pizza, a sauce-less one just will not make the cut.  Finally, whenever we’ve been making pizzas lately, we use garlic-and-herb pizza dough from Trader Joe’s.  It adds a lot of party to a pizza.

We are unfortunately between pizza stones right now, so we used a quiche dish (actually turns out beautiful results!) and a 9 x 9 pan.

Pizzas in the Oven

By the way, Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest newsletter was on homemade pizza.  I think the main things I took from it were: 1) Don’t use too much sauce, and 2) I really want a wood-burning oven someday.

Trader Joe’s was our source for wine again.  A Lazy Bones 2009 Cabernet Franc from Paso Robles (very cheap, as usual).  Chris has been loving Cabernet Francs lately.  Though this one was from CA, it is a very popular grape in VA wines.  He read to me from The Wine Bible that Cabernet Francs usually have pepper and violet aromas.  I’ve never noticed the violet aspect, but the pepper definitely always stands out to me.

Goat Cheese, Portabella, & Pesto Pizza with Cabernet Franc

Finally, my Memorial Day brunch meal.  It felt like such an elegant way to start a day-off.  Basically, I toasted a plain bagel very lightly.  Then I brushed it with olive oil, adding freshly ground sea salt and black pepper.  Then came globs of goat cheese, drizzles of pesto, and some chopped sweet red peppers.  I popped it all back in the toaster oven for a few more minutes, and the meal turned out AMAZING.

Goat Cheese, Pesto, & Red Pepper Bagel

Also, I highly recommend making your own pesto.  It is SO easy, and SO worth it!  I always use a recipe out of a vegetarian cookbook I have, but it is similar to this.  You can refrigerate the pesto for up to a week, and freeze it for even longer!

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asparagus tortellini + new zealand sauvignon blanc.

I always know I’ve fallen in love with a meal/food idea/type of wine/etc when I can’t stop thinking about it, and start feverishly finding out how to recreate it… or at least somehow have it again!  The asparagus sauce on my red snapper at Kinkead’s Thursday night was SO divine, it made me think back to the other delicious asparagus experiences of my life… asparagus soup at Teatro Golodoni during Restaurant Week two years ago… “asparagus three ways” at Citronelle the night Chris and I got engaged…

So yesterday I started searching the internet for an asparagus sauce recipe to use with pasta.  Amazingly, this was not easy to find, and I began to wonder if pasta with asparagus sauce was a strange idea?  I eventually found this yummy recipe from The Cooking Photographer.  I set to work and followed the ingredients and instructions pretty exactly.  I probably used more than a pinch of red pepper flakes (which gave it a really nice spicy element), and I also used cheese tortellini instead of ravioli.  The result was very nice!

Cheese Tortellini in Asparagus Cream Sauce with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

Cheese Tortellini in Asparagus Cream Sauce

The wine was a 2010 Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand (around $10 at Trader Joe’s).  It had all of the nice lime and citrus flavors that I remembered from the one I had at Kinkead’s.  I really like the asparagus and Sauvignon Blanc combo.  I’m not an expert though, so I searched the Internet for affirmation.  Apparently, asparagus is quite a challenge to pair with wine!  It felt good to see “crisp, and refreshing wines like Sauvignon Blanc” on the list though.  The cashier at TJ’s said her opinion was that New Zealand is the place for SB, and after two nights in a row of enjoying it… I may have to agree!

memorial day weekend shopping.

We were planning to go to New Orleans this weekend (which would have been so fun!), but ended up deciding to stay here for a few reasons.  We have hardly any plans at the moment… might be kind of nice!  I think I’ll get to cook a lot over the next few days, and I’m very excited.  I just made a stop by Trader Joe’s in Falls Church, and ended up with three very full and heavy bags of groceries!  I can’t wait until TJ’s comes to Clarendon, by the way.

I did want to share the iPhone app I use for storing recipes and making grocery lists… I have found ZipList to be very helpful.  It is very intuitive with helping you create your shopping list, and it also does a good job of organizing recipes you find online.  It even includes a great database for finding new recipes!  It’s not a perfect app, and there are some other things I wish it would do, but it is very good.

top 100 restaurants: kinkead’s

Chris and I are trying to go to all of the Washingtonian’s Top 100 Restaurants. It’s a slow goal, but we are making progress! Last night, we tried out Kinkead’s, a seafood restaurant near the Foggy Bottom metro. We used Village Vines (they emailed us a free $10 credit) to get 30% off our final bill… always a good option for the more pricey restaurants.

It was a funny environment. Loved the live piano-playing! Kinkead’s seems to be the place where the rich, elderly people of DC go. Chris and I enjoyed people-watching, and gathered a lot of info by eavesdropping on nearby conversations! There was a family a few tables away, representing a few generations, where one older man seemed to know the waiter very well. To the right of our table, an elderly couple barely spoke as they ate, but laughed loudly at a joke the waiter told about how people are always on their cellphones these days. To the left, a couple (probably in their 30s) dined with their parents; it was apparently the first time both sets of parents were meeting each other. We were hoping for a proposal! Maybe it happened after we left.

This is Kinkead's logo - on everything at the restaurant!

Anyway, Chris ordered the Alaskan Halibut with Crab Imperial, Scallion Spoon Bread, Sweet Potato Puree, and Mustard Cream Sauce. I can’t find the exact name of what I ordered, but it was Red Snapper with Asparagus, and some sort of asparagus cream sauce (which I MUST learn how to make!). The portions were perfect, and the meals were divine!

The Alaskan Halibut - Chris' meal.

The Red Snapper - my meal.

For wine, we each ordered a different glass. Chris got a yummy red blend, and I chose a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. I need to branch out more into white wines… I truly loved this one! Dryer, and oh so full of citrus flavors!

We really enjoyed our time at Kinkead’s, but I’m not sure if we’ll rush to go back (maybe if we’re living around here and rich when we’re in our 70’s!). The meals were delicious though, and we felt very refined as we ate.

hello world!

Here is the first post, meant to break the ice of the white space on this page! I’m not sure where this blog will go, but I hope it will be fun for all of us. There is so much to learn, so much to explore, and so much to eat/drink! Have a wonderful day, and I’ll continue on here soon…