Friday, June 29, 2007

"Easy Blac" Instead of Easy Mac

The cooking funk sort of continues but we managed to pull something off. Tonight's dinner was thrown together rather quickly but it turned out to be really delicious and tasty. We had very little groceries in the house which necessitated a trip to the grocery store if we were going to have dinner in tonight.

Johnnycakes wanted a garden burger and I suggested black bean burgers instead. I picked up the frozen Morningstar spicy black bean burgers and some Portugese Onion rolls at Shoppers Food Wharehouse and some other fixins and we were on our way.

I microwaved a huge sweetpotato for us to split while Johnnycakes grilled the black bean burgers, red onion and red pepper. We each had our own style when it came to assembling the burgers. In addition to cheddar cheese and the grilled veggies, I topped mine with lettuce, tomato, sour cream, salsa and a bit of lime juice. Johnnycakes went more traditional with an LTM.

We each enjoyed our burgers and sweet potatoes tremendously despite differing styles. That's how Friday night dinners should be: healthy, cheap and convenient!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

G and M's Classic Crab Cake

I just got back from dinner where I ate the best crab cake in town and in Baltimore, that's saying a lot! Any locals may have already guessed that I ate dinner at G and M Restaurant and Lounge. Nothing beats their golden lumpy crab cakes w/ a little tarter sauce. Mmmmm....

I didn't take any photos because I was lost in conversation with a former coworker but I think the website is self explanatory. Check it out! Ialso borrowed the above photo from their helpful website.

I ordered the single crab cake platter for $16.95 which included a small garden salad w/ blue cheese dressing, a baked potato, cole slaw and a delicious lump crab cake. The giant dinner rolls were a little lackluster so I only ate a small portion of the fluffy bread. I managed to take a little home for Johnnycakes to enjoy as well.

I promise to start posting a little more about my cooking and less about our dining out soon! We are in a bit of a funk in the kitchen but I an starting to devise an Independence Day Cookout menu so there should be plenty to share next week.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sweet and Sour Surprise

I don't know how we pulled it off but Johnnycakes and I came up with a creative dinner tonight despite zero forethought or planning.

I usually plan the meals but completely spaced out thanks to my foggy post vacation brain. I forgot to pull meat out of the freezer and didn 't even think about it until lunch time. Luckily Johnnycakes thought ahead and pulled out some drumsticks to defrost.

When I got home, Johnnycakes was in the mood for "hot wings" style chicken but I was able to deter him from the idea since we didn't have any blue cheese dressing or really any clue how to make the sauce. Instead, we opted for Sweet and Sour Drumsticks. Here is a recipe for the sauce.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

1 TBSP. Sesame Oil

2 TBSP. Apple Cider Vinegar

2 TBSP. Brown Sugar

1TBSP. Ketchup

1 TBSP. Soy Sauce

1/2 TBSP. Minced Ginger

1 Carrot shredded

1/4 cup Red Pepper, chopped

2 TBSP. scallions, chopped

Heat all ingredients over low heat for 10 minutes until thickened and vegetables are soft.

We basted the grilled chicken with this delightful and easy sweet and sour sauce. We rounded out the meal with some broccoli spears and Chinese cellophane noodles that have been in our pantry for an eternity.

Oddly and surprisingly enough, this was a tasty dinner! I couldn't have predicted this thrown -together sweet and sour Asian-influenced dinner, hence the surprise. The sauce might go well with pork as well...

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Home-Cooked Meal

Johnnycakes and I are home from the beach. I really don't have much to say about the food we ate at the beach this time accept that we were pretty much gluttons. We are feeling pretty relaxed after 4 long days at the beach.

In an effort to not feel totally disorganized when we go back to work tomorrow, we stopped at the Whole Foods grocery store in Annapolis on our way home from the beach. We needed the essentials; bread, milk, eggs, etc. Plus since Shoppers Food Warehouse is really our only convenient grocery store option during the week, we were excited to try a different and fancy store.

We didn't go too crazy but we did pick up some fancy Ravens Brew Coffee in the Resurrection blend which reminded us of our honeymoon ( and some Silk Light Chocolate Soy Milk which our grocery store has stopped carrying.

I wanted to eat light for dinner since we have been eating like pigs for the past four days and was leaning towards sushi. Johnnycakes wasn't on the same wavelength and wanted steak.

Whole Foods has an excellent prepared foods selection and we decided on Cajun Ribeye steaks that only required us to throw them on the grill and cook to our liking. Johnnycakes also had way more energy than I did because when we got home he carved a whole in a Vidalia onion and filled the center with vegetable broth, cooking wine and parmesan cheese. He wrapped it in foil and roasted it whole. I mustered the energy to chop a yellow squash into "coins" and shred some carrots for grilling. I tossed the veggies in fresh thyme from our "herb garden" and olive oil.

Before we knew it, we had a very delicious and semi-healthy dinner on our first evening home from the beach. It was a little late by the time we ate. The clock read nearly 9 p.m. but it was nice to inject some normalcy back into our lives after four relaxing days at the beach.

Now I have to put some of those tips in SELF Dishes to the test and try and shed some lbs and redeem myself after all the vacation indulgence!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Summer Reading

We are headed to the beach this weekend and we all know that you need something interesting to read while lazing around on the beach. Self Magazine is one of my favorite publications and I've been a subscriber for some time now. Last year, the publisher produced it's first "SELF Dishes" issue which features a variety of healthy recipes and tips. I was super excited to grab the second issue when it came out earlier this month since it only comes once out annually.

I've been so busy lately that I've had the magazine for over a week and have barely opened the cover. I'm very excited to read about all the healthy alternatives to standard recipes, diet tips and interviews.

I'll definitely be reading this one cover to cover during our long beach weekend. I'm sure I'll need some healthy diet tips and recipes after splurging all weekend at the beach ( see I'll be sure to fill you in:)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

La Bandeja

Tonight's dinner evolved into a mini feast without too much prior planning or thinking. When I was photographing the delicious spread, a phrase came to mind that Johnncake's Mom uses. Johnnycakes family is Colombian and they call a large platter a "bandeja". I hope the Spanish is correct.

We are heading to the beach again tomorrow for four days (just in case you are wondering why the blog is silent) and are trying to get eat things that might spoil before we go. Tonight's dinner was comprised of many things we had in the fridge.

The platter, or bandeja, contained sirloin steak marinated in a cumin, garlic, paprika rub topped with sauteed mushrooms and onions, tejadas (fresh sliced plantains), garlic and onion black beans and fresh garden salad topped with a raspberry vinaigrette.

We made this dinner very quickly after a grueling 45 minute jog to Fort McHenry. Johnnycakes took control of the pre-rubbed steak, and mushrooms and onions while I prepared the black beans and onions, garden salad and the tejadas were a team effort.
The result? A "muy delicioso" variety platter, or bandeja, that featured a lot of Latin influenced flavors. What a feast!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Asian Chicken Delight

Tonight's dinner was a Johnnycakes creation so I can't go into too much detail. He made this healthy and delicious dinner while I was at the gym. All I did was defrost the chicken and put the brown rice in the rice cooker and press the ON button.

Johnnycakes pounded three chicken breast until slightly flattened and softened. He then marinated the chicken breast in 1/4 cup soy , 1 TBSP. minced fresh ginger, 1 TBSP. garlic, 1 TBSP. peanut butter. 1 TBSP. sesame oil, and 2 TBSP. chopped scallions. 20 minutes on the grill and we had a delicious and moist chicken dinner. We grabbed the broccoli spears straight out of the freezer microwaved them for a few minutes and had perfectly tender yet crisp broccoli on the side.
Tonight's dinner was nothing fancy but it was tasty and full of Asian flavors thanks to a little extra soy sauce on the broccoli and brown rice.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Bacon-Wrapped Scallops

I was looking for something quick to make for a last-minute cookout with neighbors and I didn't want to stop at the grocery store. Instead, I stopped into the Cross Street Market on my way home and the selection there can be a bit limited. I decided on the scallops from the local fish monger and cut bacon from the butcher. I'd never gotten bacon that way before and it was kind of neat to get it wrapped in the butcher paper.

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

1 lb. Jumbo Scallops (about 8)

1/2 lb. cut bacon

1/2 cup of white wine

1/4 cup melted butter

2 TBSP. chopped scallions

salt and pepper

Rinse the scallops in cold water. Marinate the scallops in the wine, melted butter, chopped scallions and salt and pepper for 30 minutes. Microwave 4 strips of bacon at a time for about a minute each until partially cooked. When the bacon cools slightly, wrap a strip of bacon around each scallop and fasten with a wet toothpick to hold in place. Pour the marinade back on the bacon wrapped scallops and soak until ready to cook. Grill or bake at a medium heat for 10 minutes on each side to make bacon crispy.

Here's a look at some of the other goodies we had on the grill tonight. The cookout included italian sausage, italian seasoned chicken breast, asparagus, yellow squash and baked beans. Dessert was strawberry shortcake. Johnnycakes are hoping to have more summer cookouts with friends and neighbors throughout the summer.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

South Baltimore Restaurant Review: Beach Bums Cafe and Deli

Johnnycakes and I got to try a "not so new"and "not even so new to us" but "new" restaurant in Federal Hill today. We had a delicious lunch at Beach Bums Cafe and Deli at 1038 Light Street.

We had been to Beach Bums many times over the past few years for their yummy ice cream and shakes after dinner or just for a treat. They usually have some interesting ice cream flavors such as fried ice cream and chocolate gold. More recently, we had noticed a sandwich board on the sidewalk or signs in the window advertising various sandwich varieties but we had never had much inclination to try the food. The concept of food at the ice cream shop just didn't "click" with us.

We started to hear some positive feedback about the food at Beach Bums and their extensive menu and large portions. Today seemed like the perfect day to try a new lunch spot after a morning spent at the gym and laying poolside.

The little storefront is small and awkward inside, particularly because of the ice cream display case but the decor is cute and definitely has the beach feel to it. Additional seating in the back takes care of any overflow issues in the small dining area in the front.

We were surprised at the extent of the menu. They have a huge variety of sandwiches that range from turkey clubs, shrimp salad submarines, veggie sandwiches, lunch meat combos, chicken sandwiches, Reuben's and Rachel's. To make things a little more interesting, most of the sandwiches have a cute little name attached which may or may not provide a description of the actual food, such as the veggie "Bahama Cooler", ham and cheese "Swisster Twisster" or BBQ chicken "Texas Twister".

I ordered the "Pigs on the Wing" which I was a huge serving of chicken salad made with almonds and bacon topped with tomato on wheat toast. The portions were daunting but it was so tasty I had to restrain myself to only eat the half. Johnnycakes didn't go for one with a cute name but ordered a delicious tuna salad submarine with a huge serving of bacon on top. His election to have hots on the sub made it extra spicy and gave it a very unique flavor. I liked it so much that I'm going to have to try it with hots next time. Each sandwich was served in a basket with potato chips. A drink cooler has a nice variety of not so common drinks. A diet soda drinker, I was delighted to find a Dr. Browns diet cream soda.

The service was very quick and friendly despite a steady influx of customers. To put it simply and in the words of a young guy who walked in with his friend "Damn, I guess we're not the only ones on to this place anymore".

Prices ranged from around $5.00 to $9.00 depending on the item but I think the huge portions make up for any extra cost. Our bill, with drinks and tax, came to $15.96

I think Beach Bums popularity will only continue to grow, especially since the good food and large menu selection makes you want to come back for more. I want to try the Turkey Breast Rachel next time with coleslaw and 1000 island dressing.

We'll definitely be back to Beach Bums Cafe and Deli to try other dishes and for some creamy ice cream. Lucky for us, the photo above shows the leftovers we have waiting for us in the fridge!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Blackened Honey Pork

Despite a time crunch and some pressing domestic duties, we managed to crank out a nutritious and delicious dinner in Couple of Cooks style.

We enjoyed a crispy and sweet pork tenderloin, grilled yellow squash and zucchini and baked potatoes topped with a store bought guacamole sauce. Oh, and don't let me forget a garden salad as an appetizer with carrots, cucumbers, beets, croutons and Kraft Asian Sesame dressing (It's really good!).

Pork Tenderloin Marinade

2 TBSP. honey

2 TBSP. Dijon Mustard

1 tsp. thyme

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

salt and pepper

1/2 TBSP. Olive Oil

Coat the tenderloin with the marinade and refrigerate for at least a half hour before grilling.

Johnnycakes deserves all the credit for tonight's feast. All I did was cook two mini Russet potatoes in the microwave until soft. He accidentally let the pork get a little crispy because he was talking to some neighbors while the meat and squash were on the grill. Before he knew it, the tenderloin was charred and blackened on one side. It didn't matter thought because we both thought the smoky, crispy, charred flavor enhanced the sweetness from the honey marinade. We seasoned the cooked meat with some salt and it was extra tasty.

The veggies were pretty straightforward. I had extra guacamole sauce from the taco dip I made on Sunday and thought it might be fun to try on the the potato. It was a good idea because it gave it a little extra zip and it's always fun to try something new!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Happy Birthday to Butters!

Today is my 28th Birthday! My thoughtful friends helped me celebrate on Sunday with this delicious chocolate peanut butter ice cream (!) cake from Coldstone Creamery. The cake was pure decadence! The cake was a total surprise to me because we were all gathered to celebrate another birthday.
Our friend was celebrating her 3oth birthday. In style, I might add. This beautiful delight from Coldstone Creamery was a red velvet cake with a graham cracker crust topped with strawberry and vanilla ice cream.

These cakes were fabulous and very pretty to look at! I highly recommend the cakes from Coldstone Creamery. As many of us know, their ice cream ain't bad either! Yum....

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Stuffed Cheeseburger Pitas

Tonight's dinner was a variation on a classic. We grilled cheeseburgers and stuffed them in pita bread.

I had set out the ground beef (Laura's Lean ground beef, 96% fat free) to defrost this morning with the intention of making spaghetti with Bolognese sauce. When I got home from work, Johnnycakes had a different idea.

Still excited about the new grill, Johnnycakes wanted to make cheeseburgers. We didn't have any hamburger buns but we did, however, have frozen pitas in the freezer. We were both open to the idea of cheeseburgers and so we set out to make a tasty dinner minus traditional hamburger buns.

The mushrooms I had planned to use in the spaghetti sauce were soon combined with chopped onions and wrapped in foil and grilled along side the formed cheeseburger patties. We had some leftover sliced black olives and decided to finely chop them and combine them in the hamburger patty with some ketchup and spices. The olives helped to keep the burgers moist and add a special flavor after cooking.

In true Couple of Cooks fashion, Johnnycakes really took the lead on tonight's dinner by grilling the burgers and topping them with reduced fat cheddar cheese. He also chopped the "fixins" to stuff in the pitas such as lettuce, tomato and the grilled mushroom and onions. He was both the brains and brawn behind tonight's dinner.

The final step was only to top the tasty burgers with mayo, ketchup and mustard which are the standard toppings for cheeseburgers. Pickles completed this classic all-American summertime dish.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Lemon Chicken with Lots of Veggie Sides

Tonight's dinner was definitely a nutritionist dream. Our plates were loaded with veggies thanks to the preparation I did on Saturday and some fresh items we had in the fridge.

We had a small garden salad with romaine lettuce, carrots, tomato slices, cucumber slices and topped with beets and a store bought low fat raspberry vinaigrette dressing. In addition, we ate beet greens soaked in lemon juice and olive oil, which I topped the chicken with. On top of all these vegetables, we also served mashed turnips. I added some low fat Swiss cheese to the mashed turnips to make them a bit more appealing. This was the first time either Johnnycakes or myself ever had turnips so butter, milk, salt and a little cheese was a welcome addition.

We also prepared a delicious lemon chicken breast. I pounded the chicken with a meat tenderizer to flatten the meat and poke holes in it for the lemon flavor to seep in. I marinated three chicken breast for an hour in the juice of one fresh lemon, some lemon pepper seasoning, two sprigs of fresh rosemary and salt and pepper. Johnnycakes grilled them in the backyard on our new grill until fully cooked.

The meat was soft and flavorful thanks to the little extra time we took pounding and flattening the meat. The veggies were a welcome treat and very filling. We both couldn't finish our entire meals and we felt great and healthy after all the vegetables. I also loved the way all the colors looked together on the plate.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Pretty Picture

I thought this made a pretty picture because of all the colors. This taco dip was definitely not a culinary masterpiece or even much to write home about but I liked the way the red, yellow and black looked together.

Taco Dip

15 oz. can of refried beans

12 oz. guacamole sauce (real guac would be much better)

12 oz. sour cream mixed with 2 TBSP. of taco seasoning

8 0z. salsa

16 oz. shredded 4 cheese shredded Mexican cheese

2 Roma tomatoes, chopped

4 oz. can of black olives

Layer in order listed above. Serve with tortilla or corn chips.

This was a variation of a couple of different taco dips I make. I sort of improvised based on what I had available. I made this for a birthday party and it's always popular.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

A Veggie Explosion

I had a little extra time on my hands today and I had a ton of fresh veggies in the fridge from my trip to the Farmers Market last weekend. I hadn't had much time to do much with them yet so I decided to cook them up this afternoon while I had a few minutes to kill.

What did I prepare? Beets, beet greens and turnips.

I recently discovered beets. Johnnycakes always liked them and would load up on them at the salad bar but I always shyed away from them. My friend told me how she liked to boil them at home and that they were healthy so I decided to give them a try last summer. I am a new fan! They are so tasty, especially with salt and vinegar. I like to boil them and then peel the skin off while Johnnycakes prefers to roast them in the oven. Since I was in charge today, I boiled them. It really is a messy job to boil beets because everything, including the water, your hands, knife, cutting board and stove top get red juice on them one way or another. That sort of inspired my "Veggie Explosion" title because everything had a pink tint to it after I was done.

I had never prepared beet greens before but I had heard of them. All I did was throw them in a big pot with salt water and boiled them until soft. I then covered them in lemon juice and olive oil and have them chilling in the fridge.

I have also never prepared turnips. In fact, I don't know if I've even eaten them before but they look so pretty with that hint of purple to them. I figured I'd mash them with lots of salt, milk and butter in case I don't like them. It's sort of hard to not like something with that combination. I chopped them into fours and then microwaved them in salt water until they were soft (about 18 minutes). They gave off a pungent smell while they were cooking. When they soft, I mashed them up. I gave them a taste test and they weren't bad! They definitely have a distinct taste and are a little bitter.

I haven't really eaten any of my dishes yet and plan to incorporate them into meals in the next few days. My taste test of each dish leads me to believe that my veggie explosion was sucessful but I'll let you know for sure. In other words, you haven't seen the last of these side dishes!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Carne Asada Ensalada

Tonight's dinner was fabulous. We had plenty of the homemade cilantro-lime dressing left over from our Wednesday night mid-week party and wanted to incorporate it into another meal since it was so delicious. A quick look in our well-stocked freezer and the choice was obvious: Carne Asada! We had some frozen sirloin steaks that we had picked up at the grocery store last Sunday for @$9.00 for four steaks. Neither of us had ever tried to make Carne Asada before but we know that we sure love to eat it!

Cilantro-Lime Dressing

Yields about 3/4 cup

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, stemmed

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 cup of olive oil

1/2 tsp. of cumin

1 tsp. sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Blend in a blender or food processer and chill for at least an hour.

We marinated the steaks in about a 1/4 cup of the dressing overnight. Dinner was easy! We grilled the steaks directly on the grill along with sliced red onion and green pepper for about 15 minutes. We also toasted corn tortillas on the grill for a few minutes.

We served the dish with the corn tortilla as a base with delicious fresh mixed salad topped with sliced carne asada, grilled peppers and onions and some the remaining Cilantro-Lime dressing. We also split an ear of corn for an extra treat!

Wow! Tonight's dinner was delicious and healthy!

On a side note, I read that in San Diego they serve this dish over french fries and topped with cheese and sour cream. Now that sounds good! Maybe next time....

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Party Time!

Last night, Johnnycakes and I hosted a mini neighborhood pot luck party at our house. Everyone pitched in a bit and we had an amazing dinner with food, drinks and fun! We threw this party together very quickly when a bunch of us neighbors decided on Tuesday night it would be a good idea to cook out with our new grill. With some haphazard planning, everyone volunteered to perform a task to round out the meal.

Last night, everyone brought something to eat or drink and it was party time! There were even a few surprises since everyone was worried there wouldn't be enough food.

The Menu:

  • Homemade guacamole
  • Chips and salsa
  • Garden salad with homemade lime-cilantro dressing
  • Beef Shish Kabobs w/ pineapple, peppers and onions
  • Brats
  • Corn on the cob
  • Spanish rice w/ peppers, tomatos and onions
  • Homemade garlic mashed potatoes
  • Fruit salad
  • A storebought apple crumb pie
  • Homemade Margaritas

As you can see, there was plenty of food! Now that we know we can pull one of these off without a hitch, we plan to throw more parties.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

GIADA Rules!

As you may have read, Johnnycakes and are both big fans of the Food Network and I love Giada De Laurentiis in particular. My family is Italian and I have a growing appreciation for Italian cooking and cuisine. I am always watching Everyday Italian on the Food Network to see what she will make next!

Tonight, Johnnycakes and I prepare her Balsamic Chicken Drummettes recipe for a second time. I think the second time was a charm because the drumsticks were picture perfect and tasty to boot.

Here is a link to the recipe on the Food Network.

We used our Couple of Cooks teamwork to prepare tonight's dinner. I marinated the meat in the balsamic vinegar, honey, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic mixture for an hour while I also prepared homemade mashed potatoes.

Homemade mashed potatoes are super easy and I don't think they take too much time. I prefer the red potatoes because you don't have to peel them but they weren't on sale at the grocery store this week so I picked up a 5lb. of Russett potatoes instead. I peeled the potatoes (about 6 medium potatoes), chopped them in to bite size pieces and put them in a deep microwaveable covered bowl in salt water. I microwave them for 18 minutes and then hand mash them with 2 TBSP. Smart Balance, 1/2 cup of sour cream and 1/2 a cup of milk. They take next to no time and they are just like Mom used to make.

Johhnycakes sliced yellow squash and zucchini lengthwise, sprayed them with canola oil and grilled them right on the grill next to the Balsamic Chicken Drummettes.

A little garnishing and our meal was ready to be served!

Tonight's dinner was a real success. The chicken was sweet and sticky, the potatoes creamy and just plain good and the veggies were nutritious and tender.

Thanks Giada for the great chicken recipe!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Pork with a Knife and Fork

An evening thunderstorm almost derailed our plans to cookout but the skies cleared and dinner was back on. Tonight's dinner was mainly a Johnnycakes effort and I must applaud him on a tasty meal.

We bought four monster pork chops at the grocery store last night night and put two into the freezer for another night. We marinated the other two pork chops in our Baltimore City Farmers Market "Nicks Rub", a blend of barbecue spices, overnight. The cuts were pretty fatty which made them extra juicy and tender. We cut the chops up into bite size morsels with our fork and knives, hence the title of this post and dug in. We soaked fresh asparagus in an olive oil, lemon zest and garlic blend and Johnnycakes assembled little "rafts" using skewers to keep the asparagus together while cooking on grill. A can of baked beans and we had a balanced meal! The highlight was homemade barbecue that our neighbor Dave made yesterday. It was sweet and tangy and it was great on top of the juicy pork.

Nothing too fancy but a balanced meal, nonetheless!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

South Baltimore Restaurant Review: SoHo Eatery

SoHo Eatery has been open at 1504 Light Street for a few months but Johnnycakes and I tried it for the first time last night. We still had not made it to the grocery store and had pretty much emptied the fridge and freezer of potential dinner items. We wanted to try something new and didn't want to go too far so SoHo Eatery was a perfect solution. We tend to not eat out that often but our grocery situation had grown quite dire.

SoHo Eatery specializes in Korean and Japanese cuisine and also has a rather extensive sushi menu. We had received their menu in the mail a couple of times and had a sneak peak at their offerings prior to going. The menu is actually quite diverse and a little quirky. In addition to a traditional Korean section, the menu features a variety of teriyaki dishes, fruit smoothies, salads featuring fruit and tofu and wraps! The menu also includes a "late night" portion with mozzarella sticks and french fries and a coffee and espresso items. We learned when we got there that they do not actually offer the coffee items or many of the "late night" menu items because of a lack of demand.

The decor is quite eccentric and fun! This small restaurant only has three tables for two, sushi bar seating for two and a small counter top with two stools. Two psychedelic style arm chairs are a notable feature at the window side two-top. A fish tank with tiny fish also keeps you occupied while waiting for your food. We decided to order the food "to-go" because it was getting late and why not enjoy the food in the comfort of our own home.

Johnnycakes knew before we got there he wanted the Bulgogi, a traditional Korean BBQ style beef dish, that we had made at home many times. At least we thought we were making Bulgogi all that time, but it turns out our version and the SoHo Eatery shared few common features. He also ordered miso soup for a starter and gyoza (dumplings) to start. Each main dish came with three sides and rice. He ordered the Chapchae (glass noodles with mixed vegetables) and sauteed mixed vegetables. I can't seem to remember what his other side was.

I was very undecided about what I wanted to eat but ended up ordering a beef teriyaki combo, with sauteed kale, a vegetable pancake and Kong Namul (Korean style seasoned bean sprouts).

We got the food home and immediately dug in. I was expecting steamed gyoza but they were fried. They definitely delicious because we ate all six of them but I would have preferred steamed gyoza. I also wasn't crazy about the dipping sauce. The beef teriyaki was absolutely delicious! I highly recommend this dish to everyone. The beef was actually three skewers stuffed high with tender, well-seasoned and spicy beef that melted in your mouth. The vegetable pancake was very colorful and very satisfying in a pancake sort of way. The sauteed vegetables were delicious as well. Johnnycakes was not crazy about the Bulgogi, probably because it was so different from the dish we make which is very spicy and has a lot of tofu in it. (Don't worry! I'm sure our version will make it on this blog one day.) We expected it to have a lot more spice and flavor but unfortunately, it was rather bland. The Chapchae, however, were very spicy, and had an unusual texture. The item was still quite tasty.

Overall, we really enjoyed our first experience at the SoHo Eatery despite a few items we were not crazy about. I will definitely order the beef teriyaki and vegetable pancake again. The sushi menu looks quite extensive and diverse. Another added benefit was the cost! All the items we mentioned above only costs us $21.40 and we still have plenty of leftovers in the fridge.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Shrimp, Hon

Johnnycakes and I made a traditional and classic Baltimore dish; Steamed Shrimp! I think it's called peel and eat shrimp in some places but I usually just call it steamed shrimp. In Baltimore, we season the shrimp with good old fashioned Old Bay seasoning. I follow the recipe right off the Old Bay can because why mess with a good thing?

Here is the recipe right off the McCormick website


1/2 cup vinegar

1 tablespoon OLD BAY SEASONING

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup water

1 pound shrimp.
In saucepan, combine first 4 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Add shrimp, stir gently. Cover; steam until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, remove shells and vein on back.

Now, as you can see from the picture. There are onions on the plate as well. I like to steam the shrimp with onions for extra flavor. My family never ate onions with the shrimp while I was growing up but I learned about it while I worked at a seafood restaurant in high school and college. Apparently, it's quite common in the Baltimore region. You also have to dip them in cocktail sauce for the full effect!

On a side note, I picked up the shrimp for $11.95 at the Cross Street Market on the way home. As you can see, they are fairly large. I think they are 18-21 count but I can't recall off the top of my head.

This was the perfect dish for a Friday night. It was easy and delicious!