raspberry meringue roulade

roulade 3I’m not big on desserts but make me something with meringue and I will gobble it up. We tend to serve lots of meringue based desserts at our dinner parties. It’s easy to make and you can find all the ingredients in your pantry – egg whites, sugar, vanilla, heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar. Sometimes we also add in cornstarch and vinegar depending on the recipe.

Growing up, I only knew meringues to be used in two desserts – lemon meringue pie and baked alaskas, which we almost never had.¬†In my house, we were served fresh fruit after meals. Then I met Kevin. Let’s just say he has a separate stomach for desserts! ūüėČ I thank him for introducing me to all sorts of delicious sweets¬†and treats that I otherwise would not have tried like Christmas trifle, pavlova, vanilla slice napoleons, stewed apple with victoria sponge drizzled with¬†creme anglaise, eton mess and meringue roulade. Ah meringue roulade, how delicious you are! (more…)

Italian afternoons with family

affettati misti

Over the weekend my brother invited us over to Ocean City to spend the day with his family – swimming, eating and taking in the … rain! The weather wasn’t the best, but when you’re with good company, it doesn’t really matter. We got in some waves, lounged by the pool,¬†walked the boardwalk, ate loads of crabs and made new memories, especially with my nephews. Those cute little guys are growing up so fast!¬†The other day I thought¬†to myself ‘how weird would it be¬†when they’re old enough to drink.’ Can you imagine? ‘Wanna¬†grab a beer uncle Kevin?’ WHAT?!?! ūüėČ I’m getting carried away, they’re only in elementary school!!! HAHA.

To thank them for their hospitality, we invited them over for lunch.¬†I had originally planned to make 3 pasta dishes, but Kevin suggested we do some meats, salad and pasta instead. Good call Kevin, but I couldn’t let him have the last word. So to compromise, I made a meat plate, a salad, and TWO pastas! We opened a really nice bottle of Amarone wine and enjoyed a lovely¬†Italian themed lunch. Good food, great company and fabulous wine. That’s how we do it! ūüėÄ (more…)

bun bo hue… vietnamese noodle soup

bun bo hue dinner

When you think of Vietnamese cuisine what comes to mind? Pho? Bahn Mi? For me, the first thing I think of is Bun Bo Hue.¬†Have you ever tried it? It’s a rice vermicelli noodle¬†(Bun)¬†soup with a lemongrass beef (Bo) broth. It’s spicy, sweet, salty and sour all at the same time. So good!

I first tried this dish with my sis-in-law’s sister at An Loi in Columbia, MD. She has a particular way of eating this dish that has rubbed off on our entire family – Bun Bo Hue with a side of tomato rice and sliced onions. She would alternate spoonfuls of noodles with spoonfuls of tomato rice dunked in the broth a la Korean gook bop¬†(gook bop literally means¬†soup rice, you put rice inside the soup and eat it together). I’ve even got Kevin eating¬†this way. The only time I don’t order the side of tomato rice is when I’m trying to watch my weight or diet, but really who am I kidding? If I’m trying to watch my weight or diet, what am I doing eating noodle soup in the first place?!?!? HAHA. ūüėČ (more…)

shabu shabu (how my family makes it)

shabu shabu table

Every summer when all of us are in town, we head over to my mom’s house for a Shabu Shabu feast. It’s become sort of a family tradition. This year, Kevin and I volunteered to host the meal at our house. Shabu Shabu or Hot Pot is so simple to make. All you need is a good broth and the rest, you cook at the table as you eat. If you haven’t had hot pot before you are missing out.¬†It’s kind of like Korean BBQ in that you cook it at the dinner table. But instead of a grill, you cook your food¬†in a bubbling boiling stock. You place raw ingredients like meat, fish, shrimp, vegetables into the broth and once they’re cooked you can take it out, dip it in sauce and eat right away. (more…)

cinghiale osteria…che buono!

I absolutely adore Cinghiale in Baltimore’s Harbor East.¬†Whenever we have something to celebrate, I find myself booking a table at the osteria. Even when we don’t have¬†anything¬†to celebrate, we’re there. Sometimes we go just to share a plate of cured meats and wine at the bar. We used to dine¬†there quite often, but these days we only treat ourselves once a month and because there’s an abundance of¬†new restaurants in the city, we like to switch it up and try other places as well. BUT recently, we received some good news and I knew I wanted to celebrate over a delicious meal at Cinghiale. The chef at Cinghiale uses seasonal local produce in the menu and I always enjoy trying out the different combinations like¬†prosciutto with local peaches. It’s my favorite fine dining restaurant in the city, but don’t let the words fine dining intimidate you from checking it out. (more…)

spring onion pasta with breadcrumbs

plating sp pasta 1

What a beautiful day!¬†Today as soon as my alarm went off I jumped out of bed, went downstairs, opened all the windows then put on the kettle. Kevin asked ‘Who are you and what did you do with my wife?’ HAHA. Maybe I’ll even go for a light jog around the neighborhood…that’ll give Kevin an even bigger shock! Most of you will be reading this thinking…isn’t it normal to wake up when the alarm goes off? Of course it is! I just like to set my alarm a half hour early and hit snooze a few times, that’s all ūüėČ

We’ve been eating pretty heavy lately, thought I’d make something light for lunch today (and the fabulous weather makes me crave a summery pasta). I should really learn to balance my meals. I doubt a light herby pasta will negate the 8 plates of Chinese food, jerk chicken and Korean braised short ribs we had over the¬†past few days! But maybe if I keep telling myself it does…it actually will! ūüėČ

I usually make light¬†herby pastas to accompany fish, but it’s just as delicious served on its own.¬†Like spaghetti aglio olio peperoncino, when I can’t decide what to eat, I make spring onion spaghetti. It’s easy¬†peasy and really hits the spot. We also had some leftover baguette so I whizzed it up in the food processor and made ‘pan grattato’ or breadcrumbs. (more…)

grace garden…best chinese in the area?

braised pork belly

Do you have a favorite Chinese restaurant? I had 2 until last week, now I have 3! My go-to places are Peking Gourmet Inn in Falls Church, VA and Full Key Restaurant in Wheaton, MD. There was a time when driving the distance to Virginia, DC and Montgomery County¬†was not a big deal, but these days I like to stick closer to home and explore the charm of Baltimore. Don’t get me wrong, I still like going down there, but you can find many of the same shops in Howard County and Baltimore now. That said, there is no place like Peking Gourmet Inn and Full Key around here! So to me, as long as they keep serving up their delicious menu, it’ll always be worth the drive down (please let there be no traffic on 295/95!). It¬†would be nice if there was a good authentic Chinese restaurant closer to home. What? There is? Grace Garden in Odenton you say? Thanks Kat and HowChow! A new restaurant to add to my go-to list. (more…)

lisbeth eats… Portland (part 3 – food carts)

Nong's Khao Man Gai

We’ve thought about opening a food truck in Baltimore, but with my driving skills, it’s better off I stay as far away from any vehicle bigger than a Toyota Camry. Not that I’m a bad driver, I’m a SAFE driver – I’d say most people would trust me to chauffeur around their grannies and babies. I take that as a compliment even if most people don’t. HAHA. I don’t know why I get made fun of for driving at speed limit and with both hands on the wheel. ūüėČ I remember a few years ago, I was driving behind my brother (this was before everyone had GPS or SATNAVs in their cars) and he calls me and says ‘Where are you?!?!?! We’ve been at the restaurant waiting for you for over an hour.’ har har har very funny ‘Oh Stop it, you know I’m right behind you, I don’t drive that slow!’

So anyway, goodbye food truck idea in Baltimore! You know where I’d fit in perfectly though? Portland! They have a huge food cart culture (food carts are smaller than food trucks) and Oregonians drive pretty slow, like me ūüėÄ There are more than 600 food carts in Portland – street food lovers’ paradise! You don’t have to constantly check twitter to see where your favorite food truck would be parked today. In Portland, there¬†are¬†designated blocks for clusters of food carts called ‘pods’ that they can call home. It’s like Baltimore’s gathering but everyday! (more…)

lisbeth eats… Portland (part 2 – thai)

mee krob lat na

A few weeks ago, I saw an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown. In this particular episode, he was traveling around Northern Thailand with Chef Andy Ricker, ‘the white guy who cooks awesome Thai food.’ After the episode, Kevin and I knew we had to eat at Pok Pok when we went to Portland. Turns out he owns quite a few establishments on the same street, SE Division St. – Pok Pok, Whiskey Soda Lounge, and Sen Yai. Yea, we went to all of them…and you know what? He seriously does cook awesome Thai food! I should call this post lisbeth eats… Thailand ūüėČ

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lisbeth eats… Portland (part 1 – doughnuts)

Kevin and I just got back this morning from our long weekend in Portland, OR. Have you guys been? It’s a lovely city – lots of good food, coffee, beer, cocktails, bridges (so many bridges!!!) and great weather!¬†I didn’t know much about Portland before our trip and planned out our days and more importantly our meals each morning by ear, asking people along the way for recommendations. All I knew was everyone was telling us to go to Voodoo Doughnut and Pok Pok.¬†Ever the good listener,¬†as soon as we checked-in we headed straight for doughnuts and coffee then walked over a bridge for some delicious Thai cuisine. By the way, why are there so many Thai restaurants in Portland? I don’t remember seeing¬†a single Chinese takeaway over there, everything was Thai!

voodoo donuts (more…)