What to do this Ghoulish weekend in DC – (October 30 – November 1)

It is Halloween weekend.  I usually list the culinary events in the DC area, but we are going to go through the best Halloween events today.  I love Halloween.  You get to dress up as someone else and party.  If you are running a little behind and need a costume idea check out the following food related costumes over at Serious Eats.  I think the wheaties box and the deviled egg are the best.

Markoff’s Haunted Forest

Markoffs is Maryland’s original and greatest Halloween event. There is so much going on that you’re sure to soil yourself! Choose from 2 terrifying trails and while you wait, indulge in a dozen other spine tingling events from zip-lines to ghost hunts. The Markoffs have been freaking patrons out for the past 17 years, and every year it gets a little crazier!

Time: They open at Dusk.

Location: Calleva Farm: 19120 Martinsburg Rd. Dickerson, MD 20842

http://www.markoffshauntedforest.com/

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And I am Back…With Butternut Squash Pizza

Sorry to everyone for being gone the last couple of days. I appreciate all of your thinking of me. On a side note – Guess who doesn’t have to stand in line for a swine flu shot, Yep me!!! I got the antibodies the hard way. 48 hours with a 102+ temperature. However, I am back. I have come with pizza. Not any pizza, a roasted butternut squash pizza. Savory and Sweet it was the perfect comeback recipe.

Butternut Squash Pizza
Butternut Squash Pizza

Roasted Butternut Squash, Onions, Fresh Mozzarella and Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese.

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Brewing Beer

Last week I met up with my friend from college Justin.  He invited me to go and brew beer over at Shenandoah Brewery.  Basically it is a brew your own beer brewery.  They had 8-10 steam kettles and a ton of recipes.  We decided to Hellesfest.  Basically it is a 9% alcohol Ocktoberfest Lager.  Pretty potent stuff.  We did the brewing, but still have to wait 9-12 weeks for it to ferment.  The brewing process was really simple and only took about 2 1/2 hours.

The finished beer in the fermenting barrel.
The finished beer in the fermenting barrel.

The first step was to bring the steam kettle up to a boil.

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Mushroom Stroganoff

I hate to say it, but I am a huge fan of Noodles & Company. My favorite dish is the Mushroom Stroganoff. So today I wanted to try to recreate it. So I went to the store and picked up 2 lbs of mushrooms. Luckily I had a huge pan as I totally underestimated how many mushrooms were in 2 lbs.

Mushroom Stroganoff
Mushroom Stroganoff

Served over Egg Noodles with a little freshly grated Parmesan cheese, this was a great meal.

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Book Review: Tips Cooks Love

Tips cooks love
Tips cooks love
The other day I received this book in the mail.  The concept of the book was intriguing.  Written by the culinary minds at Sur La Table with Rick Rodgers, Tips Cooks Love is a quick manual for home cooks.  It contains over 500 tips, techniques and short cuts that will make you a better cook.

This book is filled with tips and tricks to ease your time in the kitchen. Have you ever wondered how to bake even cake layers, how to perfectly roast a turkey, or the difference between the grades of meat. This book answers those questions and more. This book is organized alphabetically for quick reference. You are cooking eggs, turn to E and there is everything that you need to know. Fried, poached, hard boiled and even the difference between white and brown eggs.

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What to do this weekend in DC – (October 23-25)

Every week I pick out the best culinary and social events happening on the weekends in the DC area. I choose the fun, exciting and enlightening events. This week is no different. You can go to a brewery festival or entertain your mouth with a menu full of bacon.  I have added a little picture to the post.  Tucker and I were visited the other day by a preying mantis.  Kind of weird, but a really cool picture.

I guess he wanted some grilled scallops
I guess he wanted some grilled scallops

Piazza d’Italia 2009 – Friday and Saturday (Oct. 23-24)

National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is bringing the best of Italy to Washington, D.C., for “Piazza d’Italia,” a two-day exhibition at the Hilton Washington.

At Piazza d’Italia, exhibitors will be given the opportunity to introduce their products and services to our faithful gathering of Italian and Italian American gala attendees from across the U.S. and Italy, distinguished guests, dignitaries and — as the Piazza is an open event — a large gathering of residents from the greater Washington, D.C. area. The convention and gala attract more than 3,000 guests including importers, distributors, travel agents and other business leaders. Highlights from this two-day event include:

  • Wine Tastings
  • Food Tastings
  • Appearances by Celebrity Guests
  • Cooking Demonstrations
  • Musical Performances
  • and much more.

Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

http://www.niaf.org/events/2009/piazza/index.asp

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Grilled Scallops

So I went to the store today and they had a deal on Sea Scallops.  They were 8.99 a pound.  A steal if you ask me.  So I picked up 10 scallops for dinner.  I wanted to try something a little different so I made a BBQ sauce for them out of Hoisin Sauce and Orange Juice.

Grilled Scallops
Grilled Scallops

Served over a pile of couscous this was a great meal.

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Rex’s Lemonade AKA King’s Lemonade

I can’t believe it is Wednesday already.  The hangover from the weekend just past and now it is cocktail Wednesday.  This week I am featuring my favorite drink.  Rex’s Lemonade.  It is a take on Lynchburg Lemonade but it uses the most regal brand of whiskey, Crown.  The name itself exudes royal acclaim.  So lets get to drinking.

Rex's Lemonade
Rex's Lemonade

Topped with not one but two cherries emphasizes the royal nature of this drink.

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Pickled Beets

Yesterday I pickled peppers that were brought to me by Mike and Stephanie. In the bag of goodies there were also some nice looking beets. Once again the quantity delivered was more than I could possibly eat, so I pickled them. Pickled beets are a tradition at almost every major dinner so I figured I should try to make some. I will let you know in 3 weeks how they turned out.

Pickled beets
Pickled beets

Using cider vinegar instead of a harsher tasting distilled white vinegar will give these beets a nice smooth flavor.

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Pickled Hot Peppers

The other day my friends Mike and Stephanie dropped off about 4 pounds of hot peppers.  Their garden was a lot more fruitful than mine.  I only got about 40 hot peppers all year.  I had no idea how to use 4 pounds of hot peppers before they went bad.  Then I remembered a book that I reviewed earlier this year, The Joy of Pickling.  Yep I was gonna pull a page out of a fairy tale and pickle peppers.

Pickled Peppers
Pickled Peppers

Pickling is rather easy to do.

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