Butter-Poached Lobster Rolls

butter-poached lobster rolls // sweetsonian

butter-poached lobster rolls // sweetsonian

You guys — lobster tails were on sale at Whole Foods last week (tipped by Shaeda) so naturally, we went a little crazy. I picked up a few tails, and was pretty set on making some butter-poached lobster rolls.

My first lobster roll wasn’t too long ago — as a kid, I wasn’t always the biggest fan of lobster. I didn’t dislike lobster, but I did (and for the most part, still do) feel that lobster was unnecessarily expensive. It’s good, but it’s not as good as say, a fantastically prepared steak.

butter-poached lobster rolls // sweetsonian

I haven’t had many opportunities to chow down on seafood this summer (less sailing, few trips to the north east), but we made sure to get back on track with homemade lobster rolls. The butter-poaching process gives you an even more tender meat, and I’m personally a bigger fan of the hot lobster roll, the simpler, less-mayo-y version that leaves you with chunks of meat, tossed in melted butter, chives, and salt and pepper.

If you luck out at Whole Foods and find lobster tails for $5.99, get some, and give yourself a real piece of summer :)

butter-poached lobster rolls // sweetsonian

butter-poached lobster rolls // sweetsonian

Oh Emma Thompson. You get me every time.

butter-poached lobster rolls // sweetsonian

butter-poached lobster rolls // sweetsonian

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Butter-poached lobster rolls (makes 2), after the jump. Continue reading “Butter-Poached Lobster Rolls”

DC Faves: Hank’s Oyster Bar

hank's oyster bar, dupont // sweetsonian

hank's oyster bar, dupont // sweetsonian

The first time I ever went to Hank’s Oyster Bar was just a few days after I moved into my apartment, which is about 100 feet from Hank’s, we called in a last minute, late night reservation, and pretty much ordered half of the menu for three people. We did collectively drink a few bottles of champagne that night, so I don’t remember much about that first meal (other than every moment of it being delicious), but it set the stage for my regular stop for drinks and sometimes dinner. I love the marble bar in the front room — it serves as a great starting point for date night, since I could continue elsewhere if the date was good, or retreat to my apartment if the date was bad — and the windows in the main room open up when the weather is nice, so it’s more like an open-air restaurant.

Last week, I was having drinks in the upstairs bar, hidden away, and we ordered the squash blossoms as a snack to accompany our whorishly dirty martinis — they were served stuffed with goat cheese, on top of watermelon cubes, arugula, and radishes.

Over the weekend, Rachel came to visit, so we opted for an easy stroll around the corner for a farewell dinner before she flew off to California again (rude). We lucked out with a table on the coveted patio as dusk hit, so I snapped a few photos while I still had an ounce of light. I saw someone walk by with a plate of squash blossoms from just a few days before, and salivated.

Pictured above is Megan’s punch, a light and refreshing alcoholic citrus punch, served in a tea cup. I’d drink 8 billion of those if I had the time, money, and tolerance. And below is the Hanky Panky cocktail, which is a mix of citrus vodka, housemade Limoncello and a splash of sparkling wine.

Overall, it’s one of my favorite casual date spots, whether you’re deciding if it’s worth a third date or you’re meeting a long-time bestie to vent about work drama over martinis. If you can get a seat on the patio on a crisp summer night, well, that’s my favorite. Have your choice of menus here.

hank's oyster bar, dupont // sweetsonian

hank's oyster bar, dupont // sweetsonian

Some people think it’s weird to order non-seafood at a seafood restaurant, but after years of working at a seafood restaurant, that’s just silly. I settled in with some spectacular molasses-braised shortribs, chilled beets, and fresh coleslaw. Other dishes below.

Fried oyster po’ boy }

hank's oyster bar, dupont // sweetsonian

Thai coconut mussels with coconut milk, ginger, and lobster stock }

hank's oyster bar, dupont // sweetsonian

Sauteéd softshell crab with local vegetables }

hank's oyster bar, dupont // sweetsonian

Crab and Artichoke Green Salad

Crab and artichoke green salad // sweetsonian

Crab and artichoke green salad // sweetsonian

When the weather gets warm, I get food lazy. As in, I’m too lazy to actually cook, and end up just throwing together meals I can eat raw — salads, carrots and hummus, fruit… you know. And it’s okay, because the produce tastes better in these warmer months, anyway. I’m just waiting for it to get really hot, because the only good part about heat and humidity is the tomato season.

And when summer hits, you start hearing everyone talking about adventuring for some crab meat — in this part of the U.S., that means getting your hands covered in Old Bay and picking away at some Maryland Blue Crab.

My first foray into crab-eating was when I waited tables — at that seafood restaurant in Southern California, that I’ve written about so much. I know pretty much everything there is to know about seafood because of that job, and I’m generally grateful for that.

At the restaurant, we had live dungeness crabs, but in most of the salads, like around most of the U.S., we used canned jumbo lump crab meat, caught and packaged in the South Pacific (not so glamorous, but just say “South Pacific” and everything sounds better).

Now that I live so close to Maryland, pickin’ at crab is a cherished summer activity, perhaps after a beautiful day sailing or floating on a donut-shaped inner tube at the shark tooth capital of the world. If you have access to fresh jumbo lump crab meat at your grocery store, it will taste slightly less briny and will only be slightly more expensive — but otherwise, canned jumbo lump crab meat works a-okay.

The tartness from the lemon makes this salad perfect for a hot day, provided you’ve just pulled the ingredients out of the fridge. I, in fact, ate one for dinner one night, and jarred another to take to work the next day. The flavors held up perfectly.

Crab and artichoke green salad // sweetsonian

Crab and artichoke green salad // sweetsonian

Crab and artichoke green salad // sweetsonian

 

Crab and Artichoke Green Salad, derived from the Fast Diet Cookbook

Ingredients:

1 can artichoke hearts
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
3.5 oz.  lump crab meat
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced chives
salt and pepper
1.5 teaspoons olive oil
3.5 oz (ish) arugula or mixed greens

Instructions: 

First, remove and drain both the crab meat and artichokes from their respective cans. While they’re draining, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, zest, salt, pepper and minced garlic in a small bowl.  Slice the artichokes, if you prefer.

Toss the greens, chives, artichokes, and crab meat with the dressing. Serve with fresh shavings of parmesan cheese.

Italian Tuna Salad

italian tuna salad // sweetsonian

italian tuna salad // sweetsonian

It’s been a lazy couple of weeks, I’ll admit. With the government shut down, I have little to do when it comes to deadlines, and even less motivation to “get ahead” on design work.

Luckily, I work for a results driven team that can balance taking advantage of the needed breather while still being productive. Wednesday, we spent the day in Alexandria at our developers’ offices, testing our website’s almost-ready mobile responsive designs. It was nice to find myself in a design firm office — free soda, coffee and snacks in a fabulous kitchen! And, they have catered lunches once or twice each week. It’s such a step up from my government job, where we have to pay for our own water service. We don’t even have a kitchen. It kinda sucks.

So, I find myself washing the mixing bowl I use for my lunch salads in the bathroom. We make do.

italian tuna salad // sweetsonian

italian tuna salad // sweetsonian

italian tuna salad // sweetsonian

italian tuna salad // sweetsonian

italian tuna salad // sweetsonian

Despite the lazy weather and lazy week, I’ve found myself pretty darn busy after the work day ends. Be it happy hours or dates or underground Thai restaurants that take you on “heat journeys” (as my supper club companions would describe) — these intimate rendezvous are what a perfect fall is made of.

Weeks ago, Emily (roommate and resident birthday girl) came home with basically a case of this amazing canned tuna — once cooked, and all canned right on the boats they’re caught on, somewhere near Moro Bay, California. It’s not your typical canned tuna, so if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on some, I highly recommend it.

We’ve been on a bring-your-lunch-to-work team effort, so this Italian tuna salad was on our to-do list a week or so ago. It packs perfectly in jars, and doesn’t have a scent that permeates the entire office, which verifies that premium quality that the brand boasts.

italian tuna salad // sweetsonian

italian tuna salad // sweetsonian

italian tuna salad // sweetsonian

Anyway, it may be a rainy weekend in DC, so you’ll find me snuggled up with a Norwegian sweater, an entire French press of coffee, and a copy of The Fault in Our Stars. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect weekend.

italian tuna salad // sweetsonian

italian tuna salad // sweetsonian

Italian Tuna Salad, from Food Network

4 sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 red onion, minced
1 (12-ounce) can solid white albacore tuna in water, drained
1 rib celery, chopped
1/4 cup pitted nicoise olives
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Suggested serving: whole grain breads or bountiful greens

 

Drain and chop your sun dried tomatoes before transferring them into a medium bowl. Then, after mincing your red onion, soak the pieces in cold water for 10 minutes — this will mellow the flavor. Drain the onions, pat dry, and add to the bowl with the tomatoes.

Drain your tuna, and break it into large chunks using a fork. Toss with the celery, olives, and capers. Drizzle with olive oil, lemon zest and juice, and basil, tossing again. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with cold greens or hot bread.

One Day in Oslo

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Well, friends. I’m writing from a train that’s crossing the Norwegian countryside, where I’ve also learned SO much about European geography. I’m embarrassingly bad at geography everywhere (even in the states, as exhibited by a few terrible mistakes I’ve made on maps at work), but I had trouble mixing up where Norway and Sweden were on the map.

BUT — where I lack skills in geography, I make up for in anal retentiveness for following the blue dot on my iPhone whenever I am in a moving vehicle that I’m not in charge of driving. So, after the first two hours on this train, I realized that Sweden is actually east of Norway, and the only thing immediately west of Norway is the ocean. And… we were on a train headed west, because that’s where Bergen is.

I was telling everyone in the states that I was heading north.

I’m embarrassed enough to admit that to myself. I need to work on my geography. It didn’t help that I was so incredibly overbooked with work for the past three weeks that I had to stay 30 minutes later than planned in my office, missing two buses to the airport (but saving just enough time for a slice of pizza, strictly against the health regiment I’ve been desperately attempting to make routine).

You know you need a vacation when you literally run away from your office. And this is coming from someone who loves her work so much that sixty-hour work weeks are the norm. And I do not hate my life (most of the time).

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Anyway, this pretty Norwegian is showing me the best and brightest of Norway this week. After a red-eye flight to Brussels and wishing I spoke French, I landed in Oslo Friday evening. Silje brought me to her house, and we made a simple Norwegian summer dish called reker (pronounced reh-keer, simply Norwegian for “shrimp”). Recipe below, if you’d like to make your own version at home.

Since I was rather jet lagged, it felt like 3 PM for me when it was actually pretty late at night in Oslo. It didn’t help that the sun was still shining brightly at 10 PM. So we drank wine, caught up, and watched Scandal until we fell asleep. We woke up yesterday morning to a torrential thunderstorm, which we watched from an enclosed balcony. Then, we walked all over the city, had a long coffee and wine break at a waterfront restaurant, and then toured a new modern art museum. The creepy smile statue was by far the least weird thing in that museum (it was a graphic Cindy Sherman exhibit).

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We’ll be exploring Bergen for a few days — many of the people I met in Oslo said Bergen would easily be one of the most beautiful places in the world if I’m lucky enough to catch it on a sunny day.

So, we’ll see. In the meantime, enjoy the photos from my first day in Oslo, and the recipe below.

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Reker — a simple Scandinavian summer dish, serves 2

~1 lb. cooked shrimp
1 or 2 whole lemons, sliced into wedges
Fresh sprigs of dill
Generously thick slices of bread, toasted or untoasted
Selections of mayonnaise – we opted to be healthy, so we chose the light version
1 large bowl for discarding shrimp heads and shells

In Norway, there’s only really a month or two of warm weather, so eating outside is a special occasion. While peeling shrimp might not seem like your favorite thing to do, it was nice to sit outside with Silje and peel shrimp together.

Remove the shrimp heads and peel the shells, discarding the waste in a large bowl.

Spread a healthy serving of mayonnaise onto your slice of bread, and then arrange the shrimp on top. Garnish with a few sprigs of dill, and squeeze the juice of a couple wedges of lemon over the whole thing.

Eat with your hands like an open sandwich, or use a knife and fork if you prefer to stay clean. It can get messy.

I guess it really depends on how hungry you are.

Green Herb Shrimp with Summer Squash Quinoa

shrimp1

Oh, to be a freelancer again.

That extended vacation from Google was quite nice. But… it’s 1:40 am and I still feel like I have a ton of work to do.

Cooking store-bought zucchini isn’t anything like cooking summer squash from the garden, so this definitely brought back some great memories from the house on Capitol Hill. It feels like it’s been ages.

I have a deadline in the morning, but Adriana (the bestie from middle/high school now roommate) and I have a date with Caroline Wright’s Twenty Dollar Twenty-Minute Meals tomorrow. So I need to make sure I have a couple of free hours in the evening to cook a proper dinner!

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So, all that being said, I’m going to refrain from writing a full post tonight. I have a playlist and a fun twist on my own personal comfort food in store for you this week. No more of this letting-weeks-without-blogging escape my grasps.

And hopefully, you’re getting more sleep than I am this week!

I know, I know what you’re thinking. I chose this life. Womp, womp. I did. And I love/hate it (mostly love).

Until tomorrow, you have this: Sara Forte’s shrimp with herbed quinoa. Her book called for cous cous, but I only had quinoa. So we made it work.

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Green Herb Shrimp with Summer Squash Quinoa, derived from the Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook Continue reading “Green Herb Shrimp with Summer Squash Quinoa”