• DSC03700

    A Southern Dinner Party

    Living in Washington, D.C. can lead to a bit of an identity crisis – invariably when someone asks me where I am from I answer Boston immediately and then clarify that I live in DC.  However, next year will mark … Continue reading

  • DSC04079

    Burrata Pasta and Cooking Local

    I am still on the no to low cook march – DC is hitting historic heat levels and I know most of the rest of the country is too.  So why not do as little cooking as possible and take … Continue reading

  • DSC03875

    Farro Puttanesca

    All summer long I feel like I am looking for fresh salads that can multi purpose – as a side to grilled chicken one night for dinner, leftovers for lunch, eaten at room temp for a picnic, easy for a … Continue reading

  • DSC03934

    Ice Cream Pie with Blueberry Sauce

    You never know what will inspire a new dish – this time it was realizing that I had bought way too many graham crackers for smores, forgetting that its 1000 degrees in DC in the summer.  Last thing I have … Continue reading

  • DSC02591

    ACC’s DC – Which DC Brewery is Right for You?

    It’s a rough life when you have to “drag” your friends and husband along as you work your way through brewery after brewery, in the name of blog research.  I do it all for you people.  Seriously, this was a … Continue reading

  • DSC03961

    Fennel Slaw

    No cook dishes are key for steamy DC summers and this slaw makes the perfect side for just about any meal.  It is great with fried chicken, grilled steak, piled on pulled pork sandwiches, or as a raw accompaniment to … Continue reading

  • 20160716_102643.jpg

    ACC Travels – A Massachusetts Round Up

    Sorry to be away for so long but A Capitol Contessa is back and better than ever!  Most of my time away from the blog was spent in my lovely home state of Massachusetts where the food just keeps getting … Continue reading

  • DSC03919

    Pasta Primavera

    Spiralizing veggies is all the rage these days.  Pinterest is just loaded with zoodle recipes (zucchini noodles) and I get it – good for people trying to cut back on carbs or who are gluten free.  However, no one is … Continue reading

  • dsc03900

    A Nautical BBQ

    The 4th of July is the perfect time to hang outside with friend and family, especially if you have a great deck like we do.  We are really lucky to have a view of fireworks from ours so usually we … Continue reading

  • DSC03889

    Thyme for Vodka Lemonade

    I am taking next week off for a little R&R but wanted to leave you all with some great ideas for the 4th of July.  We usually go see the Nationals play in the morning and then have people over … Continue reading

A Southern Dinner Party

Living in Washington, D.C. can lead to a bit of an identity crisis – invariably when someone asks me where I am from I answer Boston immediately and then clarify that I live in DC.  However, next year will mark the year I have actually lived longer below the Mason Dixon line then I ever lived in New England.  Most Southerners will tell you that absolutely does NOT make me Southern and that’s ok by me.  I am going to try and continue my mix of the best of both worlds – reading my Southern Living magazine on my front porch with some iced tea wearing my Red Sox hat.  One thing that I have always admired and tried to emulate though is the Southern hostess’s way of making people feel welcome and comfortable even if it’s 100 degrees outside.  I am learning that the key is making sure that the food isn’t too formal, that you make as much as possible in advance and that you lean heavily on comfort foods.  That perfectly fits my entertaining mode so I threw together this Southern dinner party so we could beat the heat and catch up with friends.  Southern summers are so hot that going out to dinner actually becomes a chore, where as this delicious meal is made mostly in advance and with the help of a slow cooker that won’t heat up your house.  And who doesn’t love a party where you eat corn nuts out of a silver bowl???  Southern entertaining at it’s best.

DSC03702

Bacon Goat Cheese Jalapeno Poppers

These bite size appetizers are insane.  Spicy, salty, sweet, cheesy, crunchy, meaty.  It leaves nothing out and none will be left behind.  I served these with a bowl of corn nuts and that was it for the first course – dinner is pretty hearty so don’t front load the first course.  A great selection of craft beers or a crisp sauvignon blanc would be a good pairing for these bites.

Mississippi Roast

When you read this recipe you are either going to think it sounds like the best thing ever invented or totally disgusting.  The first group is correct.  This large beef roast is cooked in a slow cooker with basically ranch dressing for over 6 hours to become meltingly tender and delicious.  This recipe has been around for a long time but to those of us outside of Mississippi it took the New York Times of all publications to bring it back in vouge.  It really is incredible and not at all greasy.  If you have leftovers they would make for an amazing sandwich.  Make sure to have extra pepperoncini on hand to serve alongside the roast.

DSC03703

Smashed Red Potatoes with Creme Fraiche

Mashed potatoes seemed like a natural side for the roast but this version by Country Living actually makes for a lighter and brighter side perfectly contrasting the meat.  The addition of lemon peel while cooking the potatoes and using creme fraiche instead of a ton of butter and cream makes this one of my go to potato dishes.

DSC03708

Parmesan Mini Zucchini 

This quick cooking side was featured in its own post in June and has been shown a lot of love since.  Any roasted or even grilled vegetable would make a great side here but I like the simplicity and the fast that all you need is a broiler rather than a 400 degree oven.

DSC03706

Individual Peach Crumbles

It wouldn’t be a Southern party without a little bourbon and the use of a cast iron skillet!  These single serve peach crumbles are so good and can be made way in advance.  Once dinner is over move every one to the living room or a porch if you have one for an after dinner drink and pop these in the oven.  People will love that they each have their own dessert and the sweet peaches are the perfect note to end the night on.

DSC03731

Burrata Pasta and Cooking Local

I am still on the no to low cook march – DC is hitting historic heat levels and I know most of the rest of the country is too.  So why not do as little cooking as possible and take advantage of nice summer tomatoes?  This pasta dish I came up with last month when I was in Boston cooking for my mom.  We had found some beautiful cherry tomatoes at Allendale Farm, an urban farm that was one of my favorite places growing up and even more so now as an adult who cooks.  Then I grabbed some fresh pasta at Boston Public Market flavored with parsley and garlic.  Last but not least we had some super creamy burrata from Russo’s in Watertown, MA in the fridge.  If you have never had burrata you need to run out and get some – its like mozzarella and cream had a baby and it just oozes and runs yummy cheesy goodness everywhere.

DSC04069

Delicious on its own, I thought burrata could actually stand in and make its own sauce since it’s so creamy.  Inspiration struck and it delivered a delicious pasta dinner where all you have to do is boil water.  I replicated it back in DC and it proved one of my fundamental cooking rules – if you are going simple, you have to use the highest quality ingredients.  I made this dish using grocery store tomatoes and cheese on dried pasta – NOT the same.  It was still good, don’t get me wrong, but please if you make this please do run down good ingredients.  It reaffirmed that spending a little more and frequenting local purveyors really does make all the difference.  I will have to make this again soon using the best ingredients DC has to offer and see if it stacks up to the Boston version.  So remember – cook local!

Burrata Pasta (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:   local summer ingredients
Special Equipment:  none

  • 1 pint of local cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • splash of red wine vinegar
  • pinch of sugar
  • splash of olive oil
  • 1 pound fresh pasta (or dried if that’s all you have)
  • 2 small or one large ball of burrata (approximately 8 ounces) at room temperature
  • a couple of sprigs of basil
  • pinch of red pepper flakes

In a bowl toss the halved cherry tomatoes with the crushed garlic, red wine vinegar, sugar, olive oil and some salt and pepper.  You can do this right before you boil the water or leave it out for several hours – the more time you leave it the more the flavors will combine and the more juices the tomatoes will give off.

DSC04065

Boil a pot of water and cook the pasta – if it’s fresh pasta that should only take a couple of minutes, dried takes longer but just follow the instructions on the box (short cut pasta is best here).  Drain the pasta and add to a large serving bowl.  With clean hands, rip up the burrata over the pasta letting any cream or small pieces fall into the bowl.  Once its all ripped up toss the pasta with the burrata.  Add the tomatoes and any juices accumulated and toss again.  Season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.  Cut ribbons of basil and top the pasta.

DSC04072

Burrata Pasta

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Print

Special Equipment:  none

  • 1 pint of local cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • splash of red wine vinegar
  • pinch of sugar
  • splash of olive oil
  • 1 pound fresh pasta (or dried if that’s all you have)
  • 2 small or one large ball of burrata (approximately 8 ounces) at room temperature
  • a couple of sprigs of basil
  • pinch of red pepper flakes

In a bowl toss the halved cherry tomatoes with the crushed garlic, red wine vinegar, sugar, olive oil and some salt and pepper.  You can do this right before you boil the water or leave it out for several hours – the more time you leave it the more the flavors will combine and the more juices the tomatoes will give off.  Boil a pot of water and cook the pasta – if it’s fresh pasta that should only take a couple of minutes, dried takes longer but just follow the instructions on the box (short cut pasta is best here).  Drain the pasta and add to a large serving bowl.  With clean hands, rip up the burrata over the pasta letting any cream or small pieces fall into the bowl.  Once its all ripped up toss the pasta with the burrata.  Add the tomatoes and any juices accumulated and toss again.  Season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.  Cut ribbons of basil and top the pasta.

 

Farro Puttanesca

All summer long I feel like I am looking for fresh salads that can multi purpose – as a side to grilled chicken one night for dinner, leftovers for lunch, eaten at room temp for a picnic, easy for a potluck…the list goes on.  Grain salads are great for this because even the sturdiest of greens will wilt under dressing and heat, and they are more satisfying if eaten on their own as a vegetarian meal.  Farro is my favorite grain by far – it’s Italian so of course yummy, it is also good for you and very easy to cook.  I featured it before in this salad and got rave reviews from readers.  This one is even better for summer months as it doesn’t require any oven usage, a must in my DC kitchen.  Puttanesca is an Italian sauce that is usually served over pasta (though makes a terrific topper for fish or chicken as well).  Rumor has it that ladies of the night used to make this tangy pungent sauce and put it out to attract customers.  I always like a saucy story to go with my food but have no idea if that’s where the name came from.  What I do know is that the mixture of salty olives, tangy capers, sweet onions, briny anchovies and juicy tomatoes make for a perfect summer salad.

DSC03871

Farro Puttanesca (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  picnic must haves
Special Equipment:  none

  • 1 cup farro
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, grated or minced
  • 1 tablespoon rinsed capers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste or 1 anchovy (yes you can omit but trust me, keep it in)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • parsley

In a pot cook the farro in boiling salted water (like pasta) for about 20 minutes until tender, drain.  Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes.  Add the capers, kalamata olives, tomatoes,.anchovy paste, and thyme and cook for 4 minutes more for the flavors to combine.

DSC03873

Add the wine and turn to medium high and cook for another couple of minutes until the wine cooks out.  Add the drained farro into the pan, toss all together and serve with chopped parsley on top.  Can be served hot, room temperature or stored in the fridge for several days.

DSC03877

Farro Puttanesca

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 25 minutes
  • Print

Special Equipment:  none

  • 1 cup farro
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, grated or minced
  • 1 tablespoon rinsed capers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste or 1 anchovy (yes you can omit but trust me, keep it in)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • parsley

In a pot cook the farro in boiling salted water (like pasta) for about 20 minutes until tender, drain.  Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes.  Add the capers, kalamata olives, tomatoes,.anchovy paste, and thyme and cook for 4 minutes more for the flavors to combine.  Add the wine and turn to medium high and cook for another couple of minutes until the wine cooks out.  Add the drained farro into the pan, toss all together and serve with chopped parsley on top.  Can be served hot, room temperature or stored in the fridge for several days.

Ice Cream Pie with Blueberry Sauce

You never know what will inspire a new dish – this time it was realizing that I had bought way too many graham crackers for smores, forgetting that its 1000 degrees in DC in the summer.  Last thing I have wanted to do it post up in front of our fire pit.  So I decided to turn these babies into a crust.  Usually I do this for cheesecake but that also meant more work and more time in the oven so I went even more low tech and filled it with ice cream.  And so was the creation of the ice cream pie.

DSC03922

I used vanilla ice cream because we had some in our freezer but you could really use any flavor of ice cream you fancy.  The blueberry sauce is also really adaptable, use any kind of berries you would like, frozen or fresh.  Basically what I am saying is you have zero excuse not to run out and make this immediately!

Ice Cream Pie with Blueberry Sauce (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  graham crackers plus ice cream = pantry cleanout dessert
Special Equipment:  food processor, 8 to 9 inch pie pan

  • 1 1/2 graham cracker crumbs (pulse the graham crackers in the food processor to make the crumbs – it will be approximately 12 crackers five or take)
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 pints of vanilla ice cream
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  In a bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs with the butter, sugar and punch of salt.  It will have the texture of wet sand.  Press the mixture into your pie pan.  I like to use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the crust in evenly – you want to make sure the whole pan is covered and that the thickness is pretty even.

DSC03927

Bake for 10 minutes and then cool.  While the crust is cooling, take out the ice cream and let soften.  Once the crust is completely cool, spread the softened ice cream into the crust, filling the “pie.”  It’s ok if the ice cream is pretty soft, it’s going right back in the freezer.

DSC03930

Once the pie is filled, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 2 hours, or up to two days.  To make the sauce, combine the blueberries, sugar, water and cornstarch in a saucepan over medium high.

DSC03931

Bring to a boil and then decrease the heat to medium.  Let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the berries have broken down and the sauce has thickened.  Off the heat stir in the lemon juice.  Let the sauce cool and then serve with the pie (or you can store the sauce in the fridge for several days).  Take the pie out of the freezer 5 minutes before you want to serve it so it’s easier to cut.

Ice Cream Pie with Blueberry Sauce

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 2 1/2 hours (with freezing time)
  • Print

Special Equipment:  food processor, 8 to 9 inch pie pan

  • 1 1/2 graham cracker crumbs (pulse the graham crackers in the food processor to make the crumbs – it will be approximately 12 crackers five or take)
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 pints of vanilla ice cream
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  In a bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs with the butter, sugar and punch of salt.  It will have the texture of wet sand.  Press the mixture into your pie pan.  I like to use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the crust in evenly – you want to make sure the whole pan is covered and that the thickness is pretty even.  Bake for 10 minutes and then cool.  While the crust is cooling, take out the ice cream and let soften.  Once the crust is completely cool, spread the softened ice cream into the crust, filling the “pie.”  It’s ok if the ice cream is pretty soft, it’s going right back in the freezer.  Once the pie is filled, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 2 hours, or up to two days.  To make the sauce, combine the blueberries, sugar, water and cornstarch in a saucepan over medium high.  Bring to a boil and then decrease the heat to medium.  Let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the berries have broken down and the sauce has thickened.  Off the heat stir in the lemon juice.  Let the sauce cool and then serve with the pie (or you can store the sauce in the fridge for several days).  Take the pie out of the freezer 5 minutes before you want to serve it so it’s easier to cut.

ACC’s DC – Which DC Brewery is Right for You?

It’s a rough life when you have to “drag” your friends and husband along as you work your way through brewery after brewery, in the name of blog research.  I do it all for you people.  Seriously, this was a really fun post to put together and thanks to my loved ones for drinking a lot of local beer with me.  I kept putting off posting this because every time I was ready to, another media outlet issued another DC brewery round up.  However, I realized that just general info about a brewery isn’t all that helpful.  Most of them are in remote areas and also very crowded so knowing what to expect before you go can really make or break an experience.  So I thought about what I would want to know – obviously location but also what food is there, what beers should I drink and what kind of atmosphere does the brewery offer.  I didn’t hit all of the breweries in the District or the surrounding areas but hopefully this will give you a good start when you think about spending a weekend afternoon testing out beer.  Oh and don’t worry – research has already begun on distilleries!

3 Stars Brewing Co. – 6400 Chillum Place NW

DSC03805

Best for:  Really getting a sense of the DC brewing scene in a bar like setting.  Recently 3 Stars built this awesome tasting room/barn thing in the middle of their brewery for tastings which is really nice (especially in the summer when the AC is on full blast in the tasting room).  These folks are serious about their beer and there are usually beers on draft here you can’t find anywhere else.  There is even a homebrew shop attached the to brewery so you can get inspired and go home and make your own beer.

DSC03810

Food Sitch:  They have food trucks outside on Saturdays and you can bring in your own food – a pretty comfortable place to eat if you wanted to bring a spread.

Favorite Beer:  Lets go Peppercorn Saison!  This beer is delicious and also really easy to find outside the brewery (Costco even sells it in large format bottles).  However, make sure to try one of their barrel aged beers or the ones with fresh ingredients like citrus peel when you are there, you aren’t likely to find it at your local bar.

Tours:  Free tours are held on Saturday @ 2:00 and 3:00pm.  They are first come first serve.

DSC03814

ACC’s Takeaway:  This brewery requires a serious Uber commitment unless you happen to live near Fort Totten, but its worth it.  The new tasting room is pretty spacious and there are also picnic tables and corn hole out in the rest of the brewery space so enough elbow room for everyone.  They are making some of the best beers in DC and are committed to showing you a good time.  And since you made it all the way out there head on over to my next stop…

Hellbender Brewing Company – 5788 2nd Street NE

img_20160529_160643.jpg

Best for:  A quick visit following your trip to 3 Stars or if you are rolling with a large group.  There are large circular tables where people can congregate and it’s not as busy as most breweries.

Food Sitch:  There wasn’t a food truck posted when we visited but if you follow them on Twitter or Facebook they announce when one will be there.  They have Route 11 Chips for sale and I have to say, the crab chips are the perfect pairing to a lot of their beers.

Favorite Beer:  North X Northeast Coffee Stout – this is very coffee forward so I could probably only do one but it’s well balanced and I like that it’s brewed with Compass Coffee, a local DC roaster.

Tours:  Free tours are held on Saturday @ 2:00, 3:00, 4:00 and 5pm.  They are first come first serve.

ACC’s Takeaway:  This place is pretty under the radar – actually it’s pretty hard to find and is no frills but that is what makes it fun.  Not sure I would head all the way out there just to visit but given its proximity to 3 Stars (we walked and it took 5 minutes) it’s worth stopping by.

DSC03831

Atlas Brew Works – 2052 West Virginia Ave NE Suite 102

Best for:  Growler fills or gettin sloppy.  Lots of day drinkers here playing cornhole and getting pretty smashed.  If you are looking for a party scene this is it.

Food Sitch:  There is usually a food truck out front – when we were there it was pretty awful pizza one but they rotate.  You can also bring in food from the outside but this is not a ‘have a nice picnic while sipping a beer’ kind of place.  Stash some chips in your bag if you really think you are going to need a snack.

Favorite Beer:  Hands down the Rowdy, a hop forward rye ale.  I almost always order this when I see it on a menu and it makes for a great growler fill.

20160521_171726.jpg

Tours:  Free tours are held on Saturday @2:00, 4:00 and 6:00pm.  They are first come first serve.

ACC’s Takeaway:  Honestly I did not like my experience at Atlas.  I had been drinking their beers for a while but they took the whole industrial scene a bit too far.  I can drink beer among kegs standing on a cement floor with the best of them but this place was just plain dirty and with a gross smell that even hops couldn’t cover up.  They have recently opened a new tasting room where you can order a drink, do a tasting or have a growler filled which I think will really improve the experience here.  Problem being that this place was SLAMMED when it didn’t have the nice tap room so I suspect that place will be at capacity pretty much all the time.

Right Proper Brewing Company – 920 Girard Street NE (brew pub @ 624 T Street NW)

DSC02578

Best for:  Beer nerds that want to be close to the action.  Right Proper has a proper bar with the tanks in full view – you cannot get much fresher than that!  These guys are not afraid of trying some wacky combos with silly names, so its good for small groups (around 4 people) to spend some time comparing all the different beers on tap.

Food Sitch:  The time we visited there was a Southern food truck parked right out front.  The nice thing is at the brewing facility in NE you can also bring in outside food and several people had picnic baskets with them (some pretty impressive spreads actually).  We opted to hit up Menomale, an awesome pizza place around the corner from Right Proper, first and then go have beers.  If you wanted to combine the two, order a pizza to go and bring it over.  The brewpub in NW has a full menu with lots of good bar food options (and suggested beer pairings) as well as a pretty solid cheese list.

DSC02584

Favorite Beers:  The brewing facility has 12 taps going at once and when we were there our favorites was White Bicycles, a witbier, and the Haxan, a robust porter.  Pretty much at the opposite ends of the spectrum taste wise but that gives you a sense about how eclectic their selection is.  I also liked the Lubitsch, a smoked beer, but my fellow tasters all hated it!

Tours:  Free tours are on Saturdays and Sundays @ 2:00, 4:00, and 6:00pm (only in the brewing facility).  They are first come, first serve.

DSC02589

ACC’s Takeaway:  I had already been to the brew pub several times before the production facility opened up.  It really does all come down to personal taste but at a place like Right Proper really behooves you to do a flight so you end up tasting beers outside of your comfort zone.  You never know what you might like.

DC Brau – 3178-B Bladensburg Road NE

Best for:  Weeknight pit stops or gathering with a small group.  The tasting room at DC Brau is pretty small but like most breweries you can spill into any open space in the warehouse.  Lots of folks use this place like their own personal fresh beer store, stopping in for growler fills on the way home from work, and I may just become one of those people…

Food Sitch:  One or two food trucks are always outside.  Special bonus – Harper Macaw, DC’s own chocolate factory is night next to DC Brau so you could load up on chocolate before drinking.

Favorite Beers:  On the Wings of Armageddon is my current favorite but be careful.  That 9.2% ABV will sneak up on you!

Tours:  Free tours are held on Saturday @ 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00pm.  They are first come first serve and very popular.

ACC’s Takeaway:  DC Brau is great – one of the first breweries in DC that has been around long enough to lose some of their growing pains but also still true to DC and the beer lovers that live here.  In appreciation they often so specials for people who live in NE DC (woot woot) and Friday is half priced pint nights.  A special place that would be great to take people for their first DC brewery experience.

 

 

Fennel Slaw

No cook dishes are key for steamy DC summers and this slaw makes the perfect side for just about any meal.  It is great with fried chicken, grilled steak, piled on pulled pork sandwiches, or as a raw accompaniment to grilled veggies.  I subbed in thinly sliced fennel for the typical cabbage for this slaw because it provides more flavor and snap to the dish.  I LOVE fennel, raw and cooked, but I know a lot of people still aren’t super familiar with it.

DSC03940

This prehistoric looking bulb can be intimidating but its really easy to break down and almost all of it is edible.  The stalks can be a little woody so for a raw salad like this I toss them but if you were going to cook the fennel you can slice them up just like the bulb.  The fronds are delicious and are great to reserve and sprinkle on top of any finished fennel dish.

So first cut off the stalks, saving them for another use or for the fronds.  Then slice off the bottom, which is tough, and toss.  Cut the bulb through the middle until you have two halves.  There is a core that is also tough so for a raw dish it should be cut out (if it’s being cooked down you can leave in the core).  Cut along the edge of the core and it pops right out.  Then slice or dice away!  For this slaw I used a mandoline because it’s much quicker than using a knife, but if you don’t have one just make sure to try and get thin, consistent slices.  I have a relatively cheap mandoline that I like because it doesn’t take up a lot of drawer space and is dishwasher friendly.  This one also gets very good reviews – what you want to make sure is that it has a hand guard and at least a couple of thicknesses you can choose from.  Now that you are a fennel cutting expert you should make this and this.  I will be serving this up for the rest of the summer or at least while it’s still 90 plus!!

Fennel Slaw (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  no cook dishes
Special Equipment:  a sharp knife or a mandoline

  • 1 large fennel bulb (or 2 small), cored and sliced thinly (fronds reserved)
  • 1 fresno chili, sliced thinly
  • 2 scallions, light green and white parts, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (I use light)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (I also use light here)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of honey

In a large bowl toss the fennel, chili and scallions together.  In a small bowl whisk the dressing together – the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, and honey.

DSC03954

Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Start by adding half the dressing to the slaw, combine and then continue to add until dressed to your liking (I used 90% of the dressing and it was “lightly dressed.”)  Serve right away or store in the fridge overnight.  Bring to room temperature and sprinkle with chopped fennel fronds before serving.

Fennel slaw

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Print

Special Equipment:  a sharp knife or a mandoline

  • 1 large fennel bulb (or 2 small), cored and sliced thinly (fronds reserved)
  • 1 fresno chili, sliced thinly
  • 2 scallions, light green and white parts, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (I use light)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (I also use light here)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of honey

In a large bowl toss the fennel, chili and scallions together.  In a small bowl whisk the dressing together – the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, and honey.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Start by adding half the dressing to the slaw, combine and then continue to add until dressed to your liking (I used 90% of the dressing and it was “lightly dressed.”)  Serve right away or store in the fridge overnight.  Bring to room temperature and sprinkle with chopped fennel fronds before serving.

ACC Travels – A Massachusetts Round Up

Sorry to be away for so long but A Capitol Contessa is back and better than ever!  Most of my time away from the blog was spent in my lovely home state of Massachusetts where the food just keeps getting better and better.  I basically set out to give myself mercury poisoning, eating seafood at pretty much every meal I could get.  There just isn’t anything like a freshly shucked oyster right off the truck from Maine or perfectly cooked cod right out of the sea.  Lots of family commitments kept me from doing a true post on any one of the cities or towns I visited but I wanted to share the highlights for all of you travelling to MA this summer or for folks that are local.  Stops in Dennis on Cape Cod, Newburyport on the North Shore and of course Boston, have me itching to get back home more often.

Dennis, MA

photo of the Ocean House Restaurant interior with an ocean view

The Ocean House – 425 Old Wharf Road – Seriously one of the more beautiful restaurants I have ever eaten in.  Waterfront dining isn’t that hard to find on the Cape but fine dining is – I truly love the variety of clam shacks and oyster bars  but if you want a nice night out it can be hard to find.  The Ocean House is white table cloths, a serious wine list and beautifully done food but it’s not so fussy that you stop feeling like you are on vacation.  I had some insane lobster ravioli there that must have had about a pound of lobster both inside and on top of the pasta.  Delicious!  Pro tip: order their espresso martini with dessert.

20160702_145609.jpg

Skipper Chowder House – 152 South Shore Drive – I consider myself a bit of a clam chowder connoisseur and I would have to put the chowder at Skippers at least in the top 5 ever, if not number 1.  Creamy, clamy, and chunky, it was everything I want in a chowder and more.  The fried clam plate is also pretty terrific but be warned it’s a LOT of food!  Skippers is a typical Cape style place right across from the beach with a good local craft beer selection on tap and a cute top floor bar.  Get the chowder and you wont be disappointed.

Newburyport, MA

20160713_122119.jpg

Brine – 25 State Street – Brine is just what the doctor ordered for the seaside town of Newburyport.  As much as I have always loved visiting, it was certainly lacking in upscale dining.  Brine serves up carefully selected oysters and refined seafood dishes as well as chops for meat loving patrons.  Definitely start with some oysters which are all expertly shucked by the staff (on Thursdays there is a buck a shuck deal).  I love all the attention to detail at this place like house made ketchup and inventive plating.

Joppa Fine Foods – 50 Water Street – Stores like this make me a kid in a candy shop…where my version of candy is high quality olive oils, artisinal salumi and a collection of flavored salts!  Joppa is a great store to buy local and handmade food ingredients and ideal for putting together a slamming picnic.  They have prepared foods, a to die for cheese counter and delicious wine to throw into your basket.

Boston, MA

20160716_145449.jpg

Saltie Girl – 281 Dartmouth Street – If I could design a restaurant (ooooh I can dream) it would be Saltie Girl.  Everything about this place is PERFECT.  The beautiful fish scale tiles on the bar, the jute wrapped columns, the iced buckets attached to each table to keep wine crisp – I loved ALL OF IT.  I took so many pictures it was starting to get obnoxious so I will only share a handful but please get yourself over to this place.

It is quite small and is first come first serve with seating at the bar and at several booths.  However, the staff is so gracious and accommodating that its worth the wait (a nice glass of rose doesn’t hurt either).

20160716_154156.jpg

The Saltie in Saltie Girl refers to a large selection they have of tinned seafood.  If you think opening a can of sardines doesn’t constitute creating a meal think again.  These are not just any canned fish – these are the best of the best imported from around the world, that are served with carefully selected accompaniments.  The really knowledgeable staff will walk you through that menu, the raw bar and any other questions you may have.  Want something hot and more substantial?  Why not lobster and waffles or a really amazing looking burger?  All meals end with an adorable check presentation and an awesome haute version of a wetnap (excuse the video quality – my sister in law and I were a bottle of vino deep at this point).

Last but not least I have to give a shout out to the Boston Public Market – this place isn’t new and isn’t new to me but during my visit they finally transitioned to being open 7 days a week.  Also every time I go there are more and more vendors open so if you haven’t been since it first opened I highly recommend you stop in again.  You all know how much time I spend in Union Market back in DC – well this is the Boston version and I hate to say it…but I prefer it!

About_9

Lots of food stands to buy food right on the spot mixed with terrific grocers and other food artisans to get super fresh ingredients from all over New England.  I stopped in and bought fresh parsley and garlic pasta at Nella Pasta, a beautiful bouquet of wildflowers for my mom at Stow Greenhouses, some local beer at Hopsters Alley and of course a small cone of moose tracks at Crescent Ridge as a snack.  The perfect way to spend an afternoon in Boston.  Hope all of you living in the Bay State or those heading there get to try some of these spots.  GO SOX!

 

1 2 24
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 483 other followers

%d bloggers like this: