A Christmas feast for two

Since D and I aren’t going to be together for the holidays (he’s going to Nashville, I’m going back to Southern California), we decided to celebrate Christmas on the Sunday before we left each other. We fantasized about a sumptuous feast on Gchat in the days ahead — a roasted bird, a Christmas trifle and a decadent gratin of potatoes — and then worked to make it a reality on the big day.

A Christmas Feast for Two:

  • Gouda, crackers, chili jam (which we ate with beer while preparing our meal)
  • Roasted chicken stuffed with lemon, garlic and herbs
  • Green beans and cherry tomatoes tossed with homemade Parmesan-balsamic dressing
  • Gratin of sweet potatoes
  • Raspberry cream trifle (and a glass of Champagne)

D was nervous that I would be stressed out in the kitchen, but I promised him that this meal would be pretty easy to make. Once we got everything in the oven and the trifle chilling in the fridge, we watched The Santa Clause (yes, the one with Tim Allen), stopping once every 20 minutes to baste and rotate the chicken. By the time we were done with the movie, we had a beautiful bird waiting for us to eat.

Roasted Lemon Chicken:

1 free range bird, about 4-5 lbs
1 head of garlic, sliced in half
1 lemon, sliced in half
a handful of savory herbs — sage, parsley, thyme, rosemary
salt and pepper
olive oil
kitchen twine

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Clean the bird inside and outside and pat dry. Season the cavity with liberal amounts of salt and pepper. Stuff the inside of the bird with lemon, garlic and herbs. Truss with kitchen twine. Season the outside liberally with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Stick in the oven for about an hour and a half. Rotate and baste every 20 minutes. Let it rest for 10 minutes, cut away the kitchen twine. Reserve the pan grease and use a gravy separator to skim off the fat.

Gratin of sweet potatoes

3 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced very thinly (1/4 inch)
heavy cream
salt and pepper

Toss sweet potatoes with liberal amounts of salt and pepper. Arrange neatly in a baking dish. Add enough cream until you can see it peeking through the top layer (not over the layer, that’s too much!). Dot the top with little pats of butter (however much you like — I would say eight pats).

Green beans and tomatoes with Parmesan-balsamic dressing:

1 lb green beans, cut into 2 1/2 inch pieces
1 container cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 c olive oil
3/4 c balsamic vinegar
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
salt, pepper
1 tbs mustard

Cook the green beans in boiling water. Drain well and toss with tomatoes. Whisk together the remaining ingredients and toss with the veggies. You may not need all of the dressing so use caution.

Raspberry and cream trifle

1 container raspberries
Marsala wine
1 package vanilla pudding
whipped cream
1 pound cake

Get four wine glasses. Cut up the pound cake into slices, then cut them in half. Dip in a bit of Marsala wine, then put one or two slices at the bottom of each wine glass. Add a dollop of whipped cream and another of pudding next. Then a few raspberries. Repeat until filled. Chill for about 3 hours before serving.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Knockoff Version Of Founding Farmers’ Roasted Chicken Salad

Courtesy of Everyday Food Magazine. The chicken salad I modeled my recipe after!

This one is dedicated to my cousin Rudy. She ordered the roasted chicken salad at Founding Farmers recently, and I was absolutely inspired by its sweet, tangy and peppery flavors.

I decided to recreate it on a whim after stumbling across a similar recipe in Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine. Instead of using dried blueberries and golden beets, I replaced the sweetness with dried apricots. But there’s also a nice, nutty crunch from the toasted almonds and a verdant aroma from the fresh basil.

Like the Founding Farmers’ dish, I assembled the plate just the same: I laid out a bunch of leaves (spinach in my case, but you can use spicy arugula or buttery lettuce), topped it with a giant heaping portion of chicken salad and gently rested a crispy wedge of French bread against it. It was a beautiful sight to behold, and I didn’t want to break into it — but it was too good to resist.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

My Cousin Felisha’s Los Angeles Blog, Wish You Were Here*, Makes Me Wish I Was There!

(c) Felisha Eugenio, Wish You Were Here*

My cousin Felisha is a pre-med student at Cal State Long Beach in sunny Southern California. She still lives at home, but thanks to a car and an adventurous spirit, she’s able to get away and drive to cute little cafes, boutiques and restaurants in the area when she’s not studying.

She just started a blog, Wish You Were Here*, which captures all her eating, traveling and shopping escapades in the Los Angeles, Orange County and the SoCal region. She’s a fantastic photographer, so if her vibrant photos of the L.A. skyline, plates of Mexican food and ocean views don’t beckon you to the Golden State, I don’t know what will.

I still don’t know how to navigate through Tumblr for the life of me, but hopefully you’ll be better at figuring that out.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Banh Mi-Inspired Hot Dogs And A Hot Dog Topping Contest

(c) Claire O'Neill

For our Memorial Day weekend barbecue, my friends and I decided to throw a surprisingly organized hot dog topping contest. It was incredibly democratic; everyone cooked in batches, making enough samples for each voter to try. Each contestant took the contest very seriously, some planning and prepping for days in advance, others reaching a stroke of genius seconds before presenting their dish (Barrett!).

We ate a lot of dogs. Claire made a beautiful Welsh rarebit-inspired hot dog, which had a lovely, bitter beer-cheese sauce and a garnish of caramelized onions and potato chips; Lori roasted corn for a sweet, buttery accoutrement along with scallions and sour cream; Becky topped her hot dog with a Spanish creation she learned from a recent trip; Darren got back to his roots and fried up some pickled okra and stirred together a spicy remoulade for his dog; and Andy somehow got away with topping his hot dog with bacon, peanut butter, Nutella and bananas.

Banh-mi inspired hot dog. (c) Claire O'Neill

I made a banh mi-inspired hot dog (pictured above). It was fairly easy to transition the Vietnamese po’ boy sandwich to hot dogs, since the basic flavor profiles (spiced meat and bread) were already there. Since a lot of the ingredients were just veggies and stuff, I made sure that the homemade elements — carrot pickles and sweet and sour sauce — were top notch. Other than that, it’s really a matter of assembly.


4 grilled hot dogs
4 grilled buns
1/4 red onion, sliced very thinly
4 sprigs fresh cilantro
4 scallions, chopped finely
sliced cucumbers
bean sprouts
carrot pickles (see recipe below)
sweet and sour sauce (see recipe below)


1 large carrot, chopped into matchsticks (tedious, I know — but don’t cheat and use shredded carrot. Not the same!)
rice wine vinegar
white vinegar
2 tbs sugar
lukewarm water

In a bowl, sprinkle a generous amount of salt and sugar onto the carrots and knead gently with your hands until you’ve wrung out a bit of the liquid, about three minutes. The carrots should be flexible enough not to break in half by the time you’ve been through with it. Rinse off with water and pat dry; place into a bowl. Pour in equal parts rice wine vinegar, white vinegar and water over the carrots until it covers them. Add in a sprinkling of salt and sugar, give it a stir, and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.

Sweet and Sour Sauce:

2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp minced Thai chili pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbs Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp chili oil

OK, I know it’s a lot of shit, but trust that it tastes good. You could really come up with your own concoction of this, just as long as it’s sweet and sour, and somehow combines fish sauce and chili. Stir this together and store in an airtight container.


Slather mayonnaise on one side of the bun and the sweet chili sauce on the other. Layer on the cucumbers and bean sprouts neatly next to the dogs. Top with drained carrot pickles, cilantro and scallions.


Filed under Uncategorized

A Dinner Party For Steve

We pulled the table out to the garden

It’s amazing to think that I’ve had this blog long enough for readers to get to know the friends, family and characters in my life. So you’ll understand that when my friend Steve came to visit the District from Boston last weekend, I had to do something special.

I used to document Steve’s cooking mishaps and triumphs on The Grand International when we dormed together in college. And even three years after graduation, we still call each other to talk about food among other things, even if it’s just to say that we’ve been eating the same old pasta salad or baked chicken three weeks straight out of laziness.

We planned a menu based on the late spring season: broiled mustard and brown sugar-glazed salmon, a goat cheese tart with spring onions and thyme from my roommate’s window garden, a warm green bean and fresh tomato salad with balsamic vinaigrette, ciabatta bread with Irish butter and a homemade ice cream cake with a crust of vanilla wafers dipped in Marsala wine.

Take a look at the food:

Claire made a homemade tart shell; Andrew kneaded the dough and baked it

The finished plate.

Leave a comment

Filed under Washington D.C.

If You Live In DC, Come To The Zine’s Launch Party Next Thursday, Or Else…

You are runcibally invited to the official launch party for The Runcible Spoon’s SECOND ISSUE at the Marion Street Garden, Thursday, June 3 from 6-9PM (a new community garden).

Come meet our team of local food bloggers and food lovers, eat snacks, mingle with members of the community and most importantly, check out our new issue!

The flier is attached, but if you’re interested in RSVPing the old-fashioned way, here’s our Facebook event.

Leave a comment

Filed under Washington D.C.

The Runcible Spoon Issue 2 Available NOW. And We Have A Facebook Page

Cover of the newest issue

The new issue of The Runcible Spoon is now available online. We’ve jam-packed our Spring/Summer zine with all the stories fit to print. Kalee tells us how to make our own hot sauce. Jason lets us in on a little secret called cheese spread. Andrew gets the dirt on the beer expert from the ChurchKey…and WAY more other stuffs (trust us, we used a size 7 font).

This weekend, the team and I will be distributing 400 issues to the following neighborhoods:

Dupont Circle
Adams Morgan
U Street
Eastern Market
Woodley Park restau
Columbia Heights
Logan Circle

And we’ve also succumbed to the Devil. We’ve started a Facebook page. Sorry, gods of Print.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized, Washington D.C.