Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Little Italy starring Andrea Scalici

Sausage and Sage Butter Sauce
Welcome to Food Films, a web series to show simple ways to make delicious meals. We take our experience at the French Culinary Institute to create dishes that can be made at home. With menus for every budget, skill level, and schedule, you’re bound to find something you enjoy! To watch this video in High Quality, play the video then click the upward arrow located at the bottom right hand corner of the video screen (under the YouTube logo), and Select "HQ" for High Quality.

Serves 6
2 cups of spicy sausage, sliced on bias

8-10 tbsp butter

12 sage leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

Microwave sausage for 3-5 minutes until par cooked and easy to slice on bias. Meanwhile, on medium-high heat, melt butter in a large pan until foam subsides and the butter starts to brown. Add in the whole sage leaves and sausage and continue to heat together to incorporate flavors. Add pasta into pan to coat or pour over hot pasta in dish. Use about ½ of a small box of your favorite pasta or make fresh pasta.

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Inauguration Eats

by Brandon Johnson

On January 20, 2009, 4 million appetites will be in D.C. to join in the inauguration festivities. And after eating in Washington for 20+ years, I’ve found restaurants that will satisfy any spoon from the melting pot. Here is a guide to inauguration through eclectic food havens native to the Capital:

Bus Boys and Poets (American)
If you’re hungry for artichoke pizza or mushroom and blue cheese burgers with a side of substance, travel to Bus Boys and Poets. As a neighbor to D.C.’s popular restaurant and lounge filled U St, Bus Boys and Poets is a conscience rarity. They balance politics, poetry, and succulent food (and they have a bookstore)! The environment is much like an vibrant living room; filled with art and a variety of sofas. You will see people on laptops, first dates, poetry being recited and groups of friends watching political debates on the flat screens. Bus Boys and Poets is an artistic meeting place that literally provides food for thought.

La Tomate (Light Italian)
This quaint neighborhood Italian treasure seats about 25 tables and is a great place for drinks, and pasta. La Tomate perfects their Caesar salad and, interestingly enough, their Long Island Iced Tea (clearly not Italian). It is smooth and not too hard with a refreshing taste – the way it ought to be. The drinks are to be followed by the two best items on the menu, the seafood pastas. The Trenette Nere “La Tomate” has squid ink pasta, which complements the plump shrimp, shitake mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes it comes with to make it taste even more vibrant. The Fettuccine all’Adriatico is no contest, with a smoky tomato and white wine sauce that blankets the fettuccini, mussels, clams, and shrimp. La Tomate gives you a lighter side of Italy in Washington’s sophisticated and romantic Dupont circle.

Napoleon (French)
Napoleon Bistro and Lounge is hidden on the corner of Adams Morgan, but it remains popular because of its savior faire. They know just how to combine exceptional cuisine with a party. Don’t get me wrong, the two sections are not together, actually the "foodies" (upstairs) would not notice the "clubbies" (downstairs) and vice versa (though they should). The perfectly seasoned escargot, tender lamb chops, and fresh mussels are exquisite, and the club with its eclectic music, baroque décor, and fashionable socialites, is sophisticated yet unpretentious. Napoleon Bistro and Lounge is where D.C.’s chic come to eat well and have fun. They also specialize in champagne cocktails. Talk about a celebration!

Mendocino Grill (Californian)
Look it’s California on M St., in D.C.! Alice Waters would be proud to see this fresh seasonal menu. With fitting cuisine for inauguration’s winter weather, you can choose from the Snake River Farms' wagyu bistro steak, swiss chard, rissolée potatoes, carrots with beef jus, or South Carolina quail, cornbread, pancetta and pecan stuffing, with sweet potato puree and salmis sauce, you can't go wrong. Just make sure you don’t get so full that you cant enjoy the rest of the entertainment that neighbors this California gem in the heart of Georgetown.

Mei Wah (Chinese)
This is the best Chinese food in the area and the Washington Post agrees. Mei Wah is a causal bi-level restaurant, located on the way in to the fashion-filled Georgetown. With healthy portions and decent prices, Mei Wah serves everything from Sliced Pork in Plum Sauce, to General Tso’s Chicken, to Mongolian Lamb, to my favorite Hunan Shrimp with delicate vegetables and a light sauce. If you’re looking to get away from all the madness, you can find refuge and remarkable cuisine here, located on a peaceful corner of M St. And if you were lucky enough to score a hotel during inauguration, they deliver!

Mei n Yu (Eclectic)
Lit by Moroccan lanterns and filled with Turkish tints, Mei N Yu continues to be recognized for its wondrous atmosphere. Inspired by Moroccan and Asian design, Mei N Yu is a restaurant and lounge for D.C.'s stylish and sociable crowd. Located in the middle of Georgetown, this restaurant is appreciated for its eclectic environment and melodies. The bar is especially popular not only for it's extravagant wine, list but for its tunes as well. The DJ booth is located in front of a huge Buddha sculpture and people relax on plush pillows to enjoy music and martinis. The menu at Mei N Yu includes Dim Sum, juicy steak kabobs, and a multitude cultural tapas. Mei N Yu is an artistic fusion of food, design and socializing, perfect to unwind after inauguration activities for a true feel of the city.

Filomena (Hearty Italian)
Perfect for a cold night, Filomena is known for their hearty Italian cuisine, famous patrons, and fresh pasta (which you can see being made by little old Italian ladies in the restaurant). They also specialize in over-the-top charming decorations. Valentines Day transforms the space into a romantic scene where hearts and life-size cupids float above your Chicken Parmesan. I can imagine election day will inspire extra enormous décor to accompany your Gnocchi della Mamma. If that’s not enough, Filomena just won the 2008 City’s Best Italian award, for the third consecutive year. Filomena is the perfect restaurant to brighten your celebratory spirit, and appetite for traditional Italian cooking; and who knows, you may even see Bill and Hillary sitting next to you.

Etete (Ethiopian)
Love to eat with your hands? Etete is an extension of the energetic and smart lounges, restaurants and clubs that pack U St. for blocks. The injera, a soft dough pancake used in place of utensils, is covered with an abundance of flavors. The vegetarian Misir Wot - pureed split red lentil are simmered in berbere sauce, and the Tibs - prime beef sauteed with onion, tomato, garlic and jalapeno, is a filling feast for two. You can sit upstairs for a more intimate vibe or people-watch from the window seats downstairs. Most importantly, when you dine at Etete, the experience is not only in the fragrant food but also the way in which you eat it.

Lauriol Plaza (Mexican)
Ahhh, the smell of fajitas, margaritas and affordable prices… Lauriol is an ideal place to bring a big group of friends, pre or post inauguration. Lauriol is the Washingtonian gathering place for delicioso food and big portions. With a no reservation policy, patrons wait at the bar with sangrias, mojitos and warm chips with homemade salsa for their name to be called. You’ve never seen faces light up like when their name is called to sit down because you know your steak, shrimp or chicken fajitas (all under $14) will be cooked perfectly and your seafood soup with scallops, shrimp and mussels will the spot on. This three level restaurant is a place to get away from tourists and mingle with the D.C. crowd over succulent Mexican-inspired cuisine.

Sam and Harry’s (American Steak and Seafood House)
When only a big, fat, juicy steak will do, go to Sam and Harry’s, located adjacent to a popular strip of bars and fancy clubs just off M Street. S&H is made up of everything a steakhouse should be, with rich dark wooden booths, an elegant wine list, old horn and piano dominated jazz music, and six varieties of steaks with illustrious seafood compliments. The prime-aged Delmonico is a 22 oz. bone-in rib steak and can be enhanced with their entrée accompaniments. Or simply try the Surf and Turf; a 2 oz jumbo lump crab cake and a 4 oz filet medallion with sauce béarnaise and lemon herb tartar.So if you want to get all dolled up in the celebratory spirit of a new President and hang out in an atmosphere with the soul of a 70’s steakhouse, Sam and Harry’s is your place.
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When Harlem Came to Paris Menu

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Remembering 2008 Through Food

by Andrea Scalici

Beware of the Tomato!/Jalapeno...Whatever it is:
In June of last year we started to notice all the tomatoes going missing from our supermarket shelves. How was I to make my favorite summer Caprese Salad? Well, it turns out there was a scare somewhere about something to do with tomatoes and I would have to settle for the cherry variety for way too long. Of course the hype, which stemmed from the influence of the spinach outbreak in 2006, was over the top but better safe than sorry right!... right? Turns out millions of farming dollars were lost in the U.S. and the sources were contaminated jalapeno and serrano peppers exported from Mexico. Talk about a mixed salad. Tomatoes got the blame for the largest salmonella outbreak in over a decade
, sickening more than 1,400 people in 43 states, including New York. So how do we know if we are afflicted? Most infected people suffer fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps starting 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness tends to last four to seven days. Beware! But never stop eating fresh produce.

The Return of Coffee:
2008 was the year of the little guy, including independent, neighborhood coffee shops getting all the hype. This went hand in hand with new studies out in June that suggested coffee is good for us! Sweet relief! The study was the largest of its kind to date, exploring coffee drinkers against such diseases as cancer and heart disease. And guess what? Coffee drinkers live longer.
"Coffee seemed to have no impact on cancer one way or the other. But it did have a big effect on heart disease - the leading killer for both men and women. Two or three cups a day cut the chances of dying from heart disease by 25 percent. Four or five cups a day cut it by 34 percent." So go out and support your local barista without the guilt...
For more details, visit the article online at

Obama Eats:
We will always remember 2008 as the year we were introduced to our new president, Barak Obama in a historic election win back in November. We were also introduced to some very important information about him including of course, his favorite foods. This started with a 60 Minutes interview featuring the Obama family making tuna salad (tuna, Grey Poupon, mayo, and chopped gherkins) and ended with questioning Obama's right-hand-man Reggie Love. And, like a good candidate, his answers remained pretty much the same. Comfort foods! Water over soda, and good ol' healthy vegetables...There was also this telling quote in response to his daughter's claim that he only makes chili:
"The truth is, before I met Michelle I did quite a bit of cooking. I had an Indian roommate for a while, so I learned how to make Indian food. I grew up in Hawaii where there's a lot of Asian influence, so I learned how to cook Chinese food...also, the stuff I make is a little too spicy for these guys." It's no wonder we have such faith in him; he has a global yet down to earth palate!

Favorite Food to Cook... Chili
Has Been Known to Enjoy... Shrimp & Grits
Not Fond of... British Food
Favorite Restaurant... Italian Fiesta Pizzeria in Hyde Park, Chicago
His vices?... Handmade milk chocolates from Fran’s Chocolates in Seattle and Nicorette gum

Palin Syrah:
On the other side of the ticket was an interesting little ditty. During all the 2008 campaign stats and trends, one bar in San Fransisco had it's own to watch. According to local wine guru in that area Amy Monroe, "Republican VP pick Sarah Palin might not be fond of San Francisco, but one San Francisco wine bar is fond of Palin Syrah. Or rather, it was. 'It was our best selling wine before the announcement,' said Chris Tavelli, owner of Yield Wine Bar, which has offered Palin Syrah, a certified organic wine from Chile, by the glass since July. But after John McCain tagged Sarah Palin as his running mate, sales of the wine with the conservative's inverted name plummeted—not surprising in famously liberal San Francisco."
Serious Eats tell us that "the Palin label is inexpensive (about $13 a bottle), organic, and Chilean."

The Dawn of Healthier Eating:
Along with the changing coffee image is a seemingly healthier eating trend that began developing in 2008 and will move us into the new year. With publications like In Defense of Foods by Michael Pollen enlightening us, we are concentrating more of whole grains, fruits and vegetables rather than calorie counting for overall health. This is further proved by the ban on trans fat that started in NYC in 2007 and moved to other parts of the country in '08 including Boston, Philly and the whole state of California! Though I must admit it has been a little helpful seeing just how many calories make up what I am eating at the chain restaurants required to post that information. A New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene survey even states there is growing evidence that New Yorker's have changed their eating habits in the six months since that new law went into effect this year.
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Good Fare. 5 Quarters.

by Scott Mermelstein

I always considered myself old-fashioned when it came to dollar foods; I liked it cheap, quick, and full of hormones. Sure it made me feel guilty (and a little sick), but hey, it was All-American. With the recession in full swing and the market prices booming, it is time to help out mom-and-pop, to fight big brother, and to do it all on pocket change. In that vein, here are five choices for five quarters:
2 Bros. 

Pizza: 32 St Marks Place, New York, NY 10003 (212) 777-0600

In this bustling East Village neighborhood lived two brothers who sold pizza. Like pizza? Got a Dollar? Here’s your place. Not the best (as we New Yorkers know, "the best" is a subjective assertion), but it's certainly above average. The crust is slightly doughy, topped nicely by sauce that has tang and a hit of garlic, plus a little grease, lots of cheese. Though you can stay and hang, it is better when reheated at 400°F, directly on the oven rack. The large slice then took on a crispier crust, made me yearn for a beer, and ponder how wonderfully costless life could be.

Tasty Dumpling: 52 Mulberry Street, New York, NY 10013 (212) 349-0070

Due to the rising costs of flour, these delicious Tasty Dumplings are now $1.25. Still, the Cabbage & Pork Fried Dumplings are delectable, thick skinned, and moist. Just indulge on the sauce to make up for the price hike (chili, hot, and vinegar sauces at each table). Also check out the Golden Pancake for a $1. It’s a fried scallion delight, thick like focaccia bread, airy, interspersed with chives and onions, topped with sesame seeds, and particularly wonderful. Drinks are also economically priced at a buck a piece.

Guss’ Pickles: 87 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002 (212)-334-3616

Guss’ Pickles has been a Mecca (or sidewalk stand) for New Yorkers since its opening in 1910. Once a thriving pickle district, the old location had been rocked by controversy. There really isn’t much to say except its enchanting, salty, snappy, and referred to as a wicked sour pickle. Two for a buck, but that most likely that won’t satiate, so spend two, and put that refrigerator to good use.

Piece of Chicken: 362 West 45th Street, New York, NY, 10036 (212)-582-5973

This place makes KFC look like, well, a piece of chicken. With dollar in hand, walk up to the store front, little more than a kitchen, walk through the teller ropes, give your order, which is written down on a note pad, pay, and then receive your goods. It’s sort of like a drug deal, so prepare your game face. But when you walk out, it is oh so good. A large piece of chicken, non-greasy, crisp, seasoned, and down-home just like your momma made (if you were southern).

Fay Da Bakery Corp: 83 Mott Street, New York, NY 10013 (212)-219-0778

At Fay Da Bakery Corp the dollar gets stretched to the max. In the mood for a giant almond cookie? maybe a roast pork bun? chocolate cake? taro roll? and on goes the list... It is all delicious, fresh, and, most importantly, under a dollar. Have a seat and try the coconut cream bun, in itself worth the stroll down to China Town. The tea is more expensive so bring your own (or so others did), just not your camera (“No Photos!”) unless of course you came for the side-eye.
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Hunger Strike

by Chad Fraley

The fascinating question of what makes us hungry is a question that usually gets a resolution but no answer. It’s a phenomenon that is built into us. Sometimes we do it to ourselves with a certain amount of Friday and Saturday night activities such as partying, but naturally hunger occurs by physiological influences, such as the obvious empty stomach. Other symptoms of hunger are gastric contractions, absence of nutrients in the small intestines and GI hormones.

Endorphins (the brains pleasure chemicals) are triggered by the smell, sight, or taste of food and enhanced by the desire of delicious foods. Smell, sight, and taste are examples of Sensory Influences which make you begin a meal. The taste of the food usually deciphers whether or not you finish a meal. Once the awareness of hunger is present, and the meal has begun, the Cognitive Influences take shape. These could be time of day, presence of others, or type of food, or even the cost, possibly free food, which is always the best. The savory glands do their job of sending signals to the brain, which release the endorphins telling us this is good and we are happy and eating.

Postingestive Influences are the reaction of food entering the stomach and GI tract. Food in the stomach triggers stretch receptors and causes the feeling of being full. Once this process has started, nutrients have entered the small intestines and releases hormones signaling gastric emptying. Postabsorptive Influences are the result of nutrients entering the blood stream. These influences signal the brain through nerves and hormones about availability, use, and storage the nutrients. As nutrients are used and stored as well as burned as energy, hunger will develop again and start the whole cycle over causing us to feel hungry.

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Sweet Health

by Rebekah Peppler

As I sat down to write this article, in the weeks after a positively gluttonous holiday season, my mind immediately went to the conventional basis of low-fat desserts: fresh fruit. But I’m a pastry-arts student for a reason, I imbibe hedonistic sweets on a daily basis. A piece of fruit – as my mother has heard in various incarnations – is not dessert.

It wasn’t until I opened up Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts by Alice Medrich, a woman whose name has become synonymous with rich chocolate desserts through her groundbreaking chocolate shop Cocolat, in Berkeley, California.
She was the first to introduce America to the luxurious cream-laden French truffle, and her philosophy on dessert noticeably reflects my own: “a little bit of something very good is more satisfying than a large portion of something mediocre.”

Medrich, who has written many award-winning dessert cookbooks (few of which can be considered low-fat in nature) won the James Beard Awards “Cookbook of the Year” for Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts in 1994. Most captivating, and admirable, is that Medrich never aims to make desserts that emphasize their low-fat nature. In fact, she strives to make the point that the dessert's lower fat and calorie content is merely an afterthought. In the process, she creates rich, beautiful desserts that just so happen to be better for your waistline.

So, I shunned the fruit bowl once again and set out to discover Medrich’s figure-friendly chocolate creations. Paging through her book, past the “Fallen Chocolate Souffle Torte,” and “Chocolate Haystack,” I came to a mouthwatering halt at “Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles.” When my eyes scanned to the nutritional information, I was shocked to read that each contained only 47 calories. A low-fat chocolate truffle promising all the lusciousness of the pure-chocolate and cream truffle that made Medrich famous in the first place? Sign me up.
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Recipes on a Budget

Recipes by Megan Moore
Sauteed Vegetable Frittata
9 eggs, whisked
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, deseeded and diced
2 roasted potatoes, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup of grated Cheddar
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat an 8 inch non-stick skillet and add 3 teaspoons olive oil, add the vegetables and sautee until caramelized.
Add the cheese to the whisked egg and season to taste.
Add the egg mixture to the hot skillet. Put the skillet in the preheated oven and bake until slightly puffed and golden. This is a delicious way to use up any leftover vegetables. Feel free to improvise with any combination of cheeses and various vegetables. A delicious meal for under six dollars.

Orecchiette with Broccoli, Cannellini, and Parmigiano Reggiano

1 box of dried orecchiette
1 head of broccoli, separated into florets and steamed in salted water until tender
1 can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Red pepper Flakes
Olive Oil

Bring an 8 quart stockpot full of water to a rolling boil. Add salt.
Boil the pasta until it is al dente, according to the package directions. Barilla is an excellent brand that I usually use.
Drain the pasta and toss with olive oil, broccoli, cheese, and season with red pepper flakes, salt and fresh ground pepper. Tip into a heated bowl and serve family style.
Teriyaki Chicken Wings

2 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks
1/2 Cup of low sodium soy sauce
1/2 Cup honey
2 limes, juiced

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Whisk together all of the liquid ingredients and pour over the chicken. Marinate for two hours. Spread the chicken onto a foil lined cookie sheet (as the chicken cooks it forms a very sticky, yet delectable glaze).  Cook for about twenty minutes. Season if needed and serve with snap peas and rice.
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