It Ain’t Just Southern


Editor’s Note: Westcoast and I (gansie!) have been making the rounds to all of the hott spots in DC this season. Of course I’m talking about the farmers’ markets. We’ve visited three locations (Silver Spring, H Street–with sightings of Belmontmedina and Mr. and Mrs. Joe Hoya–and Bloomingdale) and we have many left to scope out. Here’s Westcoast‘s most current inspiration from a market find. And please let us know where we should get our next seasonal fix.

You finally get something out of me…probably two years after gansie and I first discussed…so you know it must be tasty.

I chose okra (and wasn’t the first to do so here on ES).  I almost couldn’t help it.  Gansie and I were at the Bloomingdale Farmers Market, there was a lone section of okra staring at me. I hadn’t really done much work with it, and it seemed like a challenge.  When I picked it up I think gansie lost the ability to speak for a few seconds.

Okra is perhaps one of the most misunderstood vegetables (well, it’s a fruit, technically) around.  It is noted for its extremely slimy, gummy or mushy texture in food that is poorly prepared (read: if you are from the North, you probably think it is just one of those silly Southern things like deep fried pickles; if you are from the South, you ate fried okra at some point in your life with varying extreme reactions.)  It is native to Africa and if you check out its cross-section, it’s in the shape of a pentagon.

There’s only one dish I have ever had with okra that really made me see its potential: bhindi (okra) masala.  I scoured the internet for recipes, took a field trip to an Indian grocery (and nearly lost the liquid from my empty stomach as I saw a whole lamb, legs and all, being hacked up at the butcher) and ended up with something that was pretty phenomenal.

Intense recipe post jump –

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Meatless Mondays Mantra


I’m a fairly lazy person. I hate working out. I’m never on-the-go. I sometimes even like to sit while I cook. Well, there’s one challenge that I’m up for: Eating Down the Fridge.

WaPo food blogger Kim O’Donnel is forcing us to face our massive pantries and ice boxes and actually eat what’s already in our kitchen. She rounded up foodies from across the country to take part in not buying any food for a week, making do with what’s on hand. It’s an exercise in economic and culinary restraint. Actually, in culinary creativity – you can’t run out and buy that avocado, you have to figure out what to use instead.

She asked me to guest blog in her virtual space, A Mighty Appetite. Here’s my contribution to Eating Down the Fridge.

Emptying the Fridge on Meatless Monday [WaPo, A Mighty Appetite]

Oh, and the Meatless Monday reference – KOD advocates for one meatless day of the week. I’m in agreement.

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Ramping Up for a Season of Gush


Picture me with my arms stretched out, my fingers in jazz-hands positioning, and gushing about lily pad perfect bibb lettuce, three feet tall scallion stalks and a fresh loaf of spelt bread. It’s farmers’ market season, boys, girls and those who identify otherwise.

It’s ON.

It’s so on that I actually openly gush to the vendors. When I’m stammering half out loud, half to my market friend westcoast and, and well, if there three halves, half in my head, about how I’m just so very excited to be outside, browsing fresh produce and even fresher mozzarella cheese. How is it possible that the creamy white pillows resting in water can be called the same name as the shredded, plastic bag dwelling yellow cheese? Tell me, because fucks if I know. Or the cheese producer that I asked as I closed my eyes and let his version of motz float down my throat.

My first visit to the Silver Spring market yielded my first go at ramps. They are part of the onion family, look more like scallions than regular onions, but are tiny and leafy and expensive. Of course westcoast and I bought three bundles. After the market he came over and we scrambled together sauteed ramps in my newly purchased European-style butter, and scrambled in farm fresh eggs and feta. And I think chives too. I don’t know. After my high from the market my hangover took over and the details of the cooking are sketchy.

But I still had a bundle of ramps left a week later, and with wilting on its way, I had to act quick…

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Just One More Bite


There’s a tough balance during tasting menus. You know there’s a LOT of food coming your way and you want to be able to try everything. Not be too full by course three. So you try not to finish every plate. Leave a few bites. Make it to dessert, by way of a few cocktails and glasses of wine.

Well, not this dish. At a recent dinner for food writers and bloggers, 1905 showed off its new brunch menu plus a few additions to its dinner menu. The above: Pan roasted shrimp with espelette, served over creamy coconut crab rice. OH the rice. Creamy and soft and nothing like the dried out brown rice I make at home. Will absolutely try adding some coconut milk to my next rice dish. Or I’ll just have to make it back to 1905.

Photo: Dakota Fine/byt

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Los Frijoles Y El Arroz Sólo


Editors Note: I’ll just be honest. BS is on spring break with his girl Alex and I’m in charge of keeping ES afloat. So don’t be shocked when every other post is from a contributor. If you’d like to guest blog on ES this week, the spotlight is yours. Send me an email if you’re up for some snarky food writing –

Here’s Belmontmedia. You can find more of her writing on Mostly Cabbages.

Also, you’ll see why I admire Belmont so much. Her definition of cheating is amazingly broad.

So I’ve been trying to make my own lunch.  I work downtown, and let’s face it, the lunch options are not great.  There’s only so many Potbelly sandwiches one can consume before going completely crazy.  Also, I’d like to think that whatever I made for dinner (like the poop/puke soup) was so good, I’d like to revel in its deliciousness for another 12 hours and have it for lunch.  Sometimes, however, it just doesn’t work.

With that in mind I sent gansie the following e-mail:

from: belmontmedina
to: ganise
date: Thu, March 5, 2009 at 2:24 PM
subject: I feel like SUCH a fraud

So I got home at like 10 last night after working late, going to this zipcar thing, and going to the gym and I was STARVING.  So I went out and grabbed a burger at Ulah.

As a result of last night, I didn’t get up in enough time to make lunch this morning, so I remembered I had some leftover rice (from lentils) and grabbed a can of black beans out of the cupboard.

So I am literally eating beans and rice for lunch.  Beans.  Rice.  No onion, no garlic, no peppers, no nothing.  (I did find S&P and butter in the office cabinets though).


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