fangirl, on charleston grit

Chef Austin Fausett, Pastry Chef Reggie Abalos, and Sommelier Di

White Grape Gazpacho, Smoked Grape Jam, Black Garlic Chips, Raw onions, White Muscatel grapes, and Silver Queen Corn by Chef Austin Faucett at Trummer’s on Main in Clifton, VA; photo courtesy of SimoneINK

My latest post on Charleston Grit highlights two chefs with Southern roots who have been named Rising Star Chefs in the DC/MD/VA area. I’m dying to try out Rose’s Luxury. Can I ask for the hubby to stand out in the freezing cold to snag a table in the freezing cold dead of winter as my birthday gift in February?  Hint?

In any event, check out the post here.

sponsored post: cocozia

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Cocozia, the makers of 100% organic coconut water, contacted me recently and asked if I’d like to review their product. Little did they know that we’re coconut fanatics over here. We put coconut milk in our rice. In Thailand, I fell in love with a coconut ice cream that I still have dreams about. From fruit salad to actual salad, we love coconut in just about everything.

Therefore, it goes without saying that when it comes to coconut water, we’ve got pretty good background knowledge about it. Back when we lived in Malaysia, I used to stop at roadside vendors with mounds of young green coconuts piled beside their stalls and nestled in coolers. I’d stop the car, run out, and once they saw me coming they’d whip out their machete, hack one open on the spot and poke a straw into the top and shove a long metal spoon inside. On a hot tropical day, nothing could beat some ice cold coconut juice, followed by the joyous task of scraping out the bits of springy young coconut flesh off the walls of the inside of the coconut. I’d let each sliver of coconut flesh slink down my throat, congratulating myself on a well-played pit stop.

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with leftovers, make strawberry cake

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What happens when you have 13 people staying in your house for Thanksgiving, all of whom use Thanksgiving as the reason to cook and eat to their heart’s content? Well, besides a nonstop gorge-fest of amazing food for five straight days, we also have leftovers for days.

As a result of the two-week feasting, I definitely have a food coma hangover. I can’t possibly look at another melt-y, marshmallow-y scoop of sweet potatoes, or crisped cornbread stuffing roasted in duck fat, or deep-fried turkey leg. My dad’s chestnut braised pork belly, on the other hand — well, I could never get sick of that.

Nevertheless, we’ve been re-purposing all sorts of leftovers since Thanksgiving. Cranberry relish with fish. Turkey into sandwiches. Stuffing with fried rice (hey, it was late, and I was tired). Then I remembered over the summer I started using our squidgy strawberries for this really easy weekday strawberry cake from Martha Stewart.

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bakery magic over on nova

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Cutting open a saltena (a Bolivian pastry filled with potatoes, hard boiled egg, chicken, tomatoes and onion) is messy but delicious business

The fine folks at Northern Virginia Magazine just published my write-up of Bakery, Bread & Grill, a Pan-American (mostly of the Latin part, with a little bit of good ol’ ‘Murica mixed in) bakery. Pictured above is the glorious cutting ceremony of one of their saltenas. I really love it when other cultures wrap up delicious meats and vegetables into dough and bake or fry it. It’s an under appreciated art in American cuisine, reserved mostly for these god-forsaken molten cheese hockey pucks, which in my mind are the culinary equivalent of wearing the same sweatpants every day and owning 40 cats (a.k.a., giving up; a. k. a., when I’m old and decrepit).

In any event, check out my writeup here.