Monday, January 31, 2011

Instead of the same box of chocolates, how about a Chocolate Facial for Valentine's Day?

Photo by Emily Clack
Chocolate Facial and Massage is February’s Featured Spa Package available for a limited time at all Spa @ Equinox  locations including the new Bethesda, Maryland and Tysons Corner, Virginia locations. Chocolate stands out from the pack by offering additional benefits, especially when lavished on the skin. 

Super Bowl Party Planning

The Super Bowl is right around the corner.  Get your favorite party dishes ready to go for the Super Bowl!

If you are inviting friends over to watch the game, make sure you have good food.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Oxtail, Root Vegetable & Barley Soup

Oxtail, Root Vegetable & Barley Soup : Liven up your typical vegetable soup with some yummy oxtails! While National Soup Month is coming to an end, it doesn't mean our love for a hearty, nutrient packed meal needs to be thrown to the trash! Here is one more recipe to add to a food lover's little black book. (And, not to mention, another tasty way to warm up from the frightful weather outside).

4lbs oxtails, cut into 3”pieces
3tbsp olive oil
2tbsp butter
1 c red wine
10c. chicken stock
2c. barley
1/2c. onions, small dice
2c. turnips, peeled & cut into 1” cubes
2c. carrot, peeled & cut into 1” pieces
2c. celery, cut into 1” pieces
1 bay leaf
2tbsp cornstarch
4tbsp red wine

1. Pat dry the oxtails, season with salt & pepper.
2 .In a large heavy bottomed pot coated with oil, add oxtail pieces in batches when the oil is hot, cook until browned on both sides for 4-5 minutes, (don't overcrowd)
3.Remove meat from pan & set aside.
4. Remove any excess oil from pan, return to stove top over medium heat.
5. Deglaze pan with 1c red wine, reduce by half scraping up any bits.
6. Add the chicken stock and the oxtail’s, bring to a boil then lower heat to a gentle simmer covered for 3- 3 1/2 hours, until tender and the meat is falling off the bone.
7. Remove the oxtails from the broth, place on a plate until cool enough to handle, separate the meat from the bones, cut into bite size pieces. (Discard the bones, refrigerate the meat and broth until later).

1. De-fatten: scrape off the fat and discard. .
2.. Melt butter over medium heat in a medium pot.
3. Add the root vegetables (carrots, celery, onions & turnips) season with salt and pepper, stirring constantly for 5 minutes.
4. Add barley, bay leaf & the reserved broth. Bring to a boil, simmer over low heat until the barley has bloomed but is still tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in the oxtail meat, taste and season with salt & pepper if needed.
5. Make a slurry using the 4tbsp red wine and cornstarch, mix together to make a smooth paste. 6. Slowly pour into soup to thicken slightly for 2 minutes, ladle into bowls.

Enjoy and stay warm!

Thank you again to our Capital Cooking show Sponsors!!

Production costs add up and so does equipment and food for the shows. Capital Cooking is lucky enough to receive contributions from:

Shenandoah Growers
360 Vodka
Catch that Cupcake
Toute Sweets
Sunland Peanut Butter
Miss Jenny's Pickles
Cointreau Noir
BGR, The Burger Joint

Book Review: One-Pot Dishes for Every Season

Initial Thoughts:
  • Photos:  I'm big on photos and this book didn't have many.
  • Recipes:  I like the fact that the book uses seasonal ingredients and they are easily made in one-pot.
  • Size:  Smaller book with 192 pages

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yamas Mediterranean Grill

The word "Yamas" means "to good health" in Greek and the small, but cozy taverna located in Bethesda stands true behind its name. Owner Tony Alexis explained to me that he opened the restaurant with his wife, Kelly, with the intention of providing local, fresh, and organic food that is both delicious and reasonably priced. Alexis, who moved to the U.S. from Greece at age ten, spoke about the simplicity and quality of Mediterranean cuisine. Being a father, Alexis's goal is to feed his family the best possible ingredients and now he is sharing that with Bethesda--after all, why settle for anything less?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Capital Cooking Quick Clip: Chocolate Covered Cherry

We had the best time on Saturday filming 10 Capital Cooking Quick Clips for TBD and two full episodes.  Long day (9 a.m.-9 p.m.)!!  On one of our Capital Cooking Quick Clips, I make my famous Chocolate Covered Cherry Cocktail.  It is the perfect dessert.  Thank you to our sponsor 360 Vodka360 Vodka is absolutely delicious!! 

Starting in February, Capital Cooking with Lauren DeSantis is expanding distribution to TBD TV in DC.  You'll be able to catch all of the best Capital Cooking episodes every Saturday and Sunday.  Throughout the week, TBD TV will play some Capital Cooking Quick Clips to give you an inside look at the show. 
Special thanks to our Capital Cooking team:  Nick Szpara, Bim Mamber, Mike Sahl, Diana Blass, Kathryn Ruleman, Emily Clack, Kristen Finn, Tammy Hargrove and Corey Then.

More about the new Quick Clips and filming with photos coming soon.

Makes 3 cocktails
Start by removing the pits from 12 black cherries.  Muddle 4 cherries into each glass and top with ice cubes. Put 3 shots of 360 Chocolate, 1 shot of 360 Vanilla, 1 shot of 360  Bing Cherry, 1 shot of cream,
1 teaspoon Wholesome Sweetner's Organic Raw Blue Agave Nectar,
into your shaker full of ice and give it a good shake. Strain into each glass.  Stir to mix in the cherries.  This is best served in lieu of a dessert.  We made these when our friends from Spilled Milk made us a tasty meal.  Do you have any fun cocktail recipes that taste like dessert to share?  I'd love to hear about them.

Glasses from Sagaform

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Capital Cooking Films More Shows

Photo with Larry Calvert of Toute Sweets (snapshot on set from his camera)
We had the best time yesterday filming 10 Capital Cooking Quick Clips for TBD and two full episodes.  Long day (9 a.m.-9 p.m.)!!  On one of our Capital Cooking Quick Clips, Larry Calvert, owner of Toute Sweets, showed us how to make some fabulous cookies for Valentine's day.  Larry showed us some amazing decorating tips and you'll be able to catch the clip next month on TBD TV.  Larry makes all sorts of custom cookies including edible images.  He was nice enough to bring some by with the Capital Cooking logo.  So cool!  Thanks Larry!

Friday, January 21, 2011

2010 Capital Cooking Re-cap

We are so excited about Capital Cooking in 2011, but wanted to take a moment to remember all of the wonderful events in 2010.

2010 was a busy year for Capital Cooking!  We did lots of filming and even released the Capital Cooking Cookbook.  We expanded our food reviews and ate at:  Redline Gastrolounge, Hudson Restaurant and Lounge, Bond 45, Buddha Bar, BGR, ICI Urban Bistro, Carmine's, SEI, Ristorante Piccolo, Peacock Cafe, Ted's Bulletin, Mie N Yu, Cafe du Parc, Panas, We, the Pizza, Taberna del Alabardero, Seasons, Assaggi Mozzarella Bar, and 1789, to name a few.  We showed off some recipes from the Capital Cooking Cookbook on W-USA 9, Great Day St. Louis and the CW's DC on Heels.  We presented at trade shows throughout the East coast.  We are looking forward to a taste of heaven in 2011!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pre-production: Recipe Development for Fresh Mint Truffles and the Thin-Mintini

I've been so excited to work with Shenandoah Growers to make Fresh Mint Truffles and a Thin-Mintini.  I finalized the recipes this weekend and they are delicious!  For the truffles, I infused the cream with the fresh mint to give them the perfect amount of minty flavor.  Then I added some Mint Chocolate Bailey's and I rolled them in crumbled thin mint cookies.  Wait until you taste them!  You'll see the whole recipe after we film this weekend.

For the Thin-Mintini, I finally got it just right.  I infused 360 Chocolate Vodka with fresh mint for a few days.  Then I mixed it with Mint Chocolate Bailey's and rimmed the glass with crumbled thin mint cookies.  The results:  Girl Scout Cookie in a glass.

Both of these recipes will be perfect for Valentine's Day Treats.  Recipes and show coming next month.

Special thanks to our episode sponsors, Shenandoah Growers, Bailey's, 360 Vodka, Catch that Cupcake, and Cointreau Noir.

Also, not only will you be able to catch this upcoming episode on the Dish Network, starting this month, you'll be able to see all of the Capital Cooking episodes on TBD TV (Channel 8) on Comcast, Verizon FIOS, RCN, Cox and more.  We'll be airing every Saturday and Sunday.  More details coming soon!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cava Grill opened in Bethesda

Photo by Emily Clack
Initial Thoughts:
  • Design:  Sleek and inviting.  Reclaimed wood benches. 
  • Food:  Delicious fast-casual.  Fresh ingredients and pitas with roasted lamb.  I loved the dips with pita chips. 
  • Drinks:  They offer a limited selection of beer and wine.
  • Price:  Cheap, around $6 for a pita
  • Would I go back?  Yes.

Don't miss out on a $20 gift card to Amazon for only $10!

Click here to get yours today.  The gift card does not expire so you can buy one of your favorite cookbooks or anything else you need.  50% Amazon is awesome!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Living Social and Target Sign Leases with Douglas Development

Douglas Development just announced that both Living Social and Target have signed leases for Douglas Development-owned properties in Washington, DC’s Chinatown. The quickly expanding DC-based online coupon website Living Social will occupy 12,500 square feet at 718 Seventh Street, NW.  Around the corner, Target will occupy 5,500 square feet in the new class A trophy building at 1155 F Street, NW.

Review: Smith Commons

Photo by Emily Clack
Initial Thoughts
  • Design:  Charming exposed brick.  The restaurant is huge.  3 floors of space.
  • Food:  Comforting American Dishes
  • Drinks: The wine list offers 60 carefully selected choices, which the wine director can pair with any of Chef Frederik’s dishes. We got to taste a pairing with all of or dishes.  Handcrafted cocktails are also quite tasty.  Beer guru, Miles Gray has assembled a diverse selection to make Smith Commons the District’s newest destination for craft beers from all over the world.  Nearly 40 permanent and seasonal selections are served on tap and in bottles from breweries across the United States, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Scotland and Italy.  I especially liked the Ommegang Witte paired with my Sea Bass.
  • Price:  Moderate.  Average dinner check about $30-40 per person
  • Would I go back?  Yes.  I'd love to stop by in the summer.

Friday, January 14, 2011

National Soup Month: Winter Chick Peas, Crunchy Stuffed Sage Leaves, Quail Egg Brioche, Ligurian Black Olives Caviar

Recipe and Photo by Chef Enzo Fargione of ELISIR Restaurant

For The Soup

1 ½ lbs dry chick peas left in cold water for 2 days
1 White onion finely sliced
Less then ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 oz Pancetta cut in one piece
2 Bay leaves
3 Chopped sage leaves
½ Gallon of excellent chicken stock
1 full tea spoon of minced garlic
Salt and ground white pepper

California Tortilla's New Korean BBQ Taco

Free tacos, a refreshing cocktail, and a complimentary gift bag - t'was the debut of California Tortilla's Korean BBQ Taco. A quick-casual, Mexican restaurant, California Tortilla is the place for can’t-find-them-anywhere else burritos, bursting quesadillas, and big fresh salads.

The Korean BBQ Taco is the latest addition to the menu. Made with California Tortilla’s signature marinated steak, an authentic Korean BBQ sauce, kimchi slaw, fresh salsa, toasted sesame seeds and chopped scallions, the taco has the perfect amount of spice to kick-start your taste-buds. And, priced at $5.99, who can resist this appetizing delight for a quick lunch or dinner.

For a fast-food restaurant, I was happily surprised by the fresh taste of the sharp ingredients. It was perfectly warmed and exploding with flavor. The only suggestion I have is a different variety to the type of tortilla offered (whole wheat, spinach wrap).

Visit a California Tortilla near you and get the taste of the west-coast without the costly flight.
Check out the website for all of the scoop.
Thank you Jeff Mindell for the great pictures!! For more pictures, visit :

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Spotlight: Mark Bucher, owner of BGR

Photo by Emily Clack
Find out a little bit more about Mark Bucher, owner of BGR.  Mark Bucher has founded more than five successful growth companies.  He takes the idea that it simply “couldn’t be done” and does it. Being a naturally creative thinker, his passion is to create something from nothing. Mark recently, developed the idea and subsequently opened the highly acclaimed BGR the Burger Joint.  Mark also has over eight years prior experience as a top-rated radio personality in the DC area. Mark coaches 2 youth sports teams, is an active member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO).  Mark is going to be a special guest on our Burgers and Shakes episode later this month.  We're so excited!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Filming Fun: Sweet Endings

Photo by Emily Clack
We've been taking a filming break to promote the Capital Cooking Cookbook.  The break ends later this month when we begin filming two new episodes.  We are gearing up for Burgers and Shakes and Sweet Endings.  One of our new assistant producers, Diana Blass, is helping with Sweet Endings.  We are so excited to work with Shenandoah Growers to make Fresh Mint Truffles and a Thin-Mintini.  I'll also be showing you how to make a Chocolate Covered Cherry Cocktail.  We'll do some dessert pairings with Cointreau Noir.  Catch that Cupcake will join us to demonstrate one of their favorite recipes.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Capital Cooking Cookbook for only $20 through the end of January!

Get the Capital Cooking Cookbook for only $20 from now until the end of January  by using this code:  5KCP7TEC. 

Get ready for the Super Bowl with my Meatballs in a Red Wine Sauce and Angus Beef Mini-Burgers.  You could whip up some of my Comforting Baked Potato Soup for the crowd.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Deals For Meals Week : January 10-16

Start your new year off right by participating in“Deals for Meals Week”. Visit , a social buying site , and 10% of each purchase towards a bar/restaurant in D.C. will directly support Food & Friends. In return, the non-profit organization, Food & Friends, will provide nutritional counseling and groceries to more than 2,800 people living with HIV and AIDS.

Through its socially conscious mission, Deals for Deeds provides exclusive discounts for its customers, while at the same time donates a portion of purchases to non-profit organizations. Deals for Meals is one of the many themed weeks brought to you by Deals For Deeds. Other partnerships included a health and fitness focus called Back On My Feet Week.

This week's deals include:
  • Monday
    • Napoleon Bistro and Lounge
      • $20 for $40 to spend at Napoleon Bistro and Lounge
  • Tuesday
    • Nage Restaurant
      • $20 for $40 to spend at Nage Restaurant
  • Wednesday
    • Hello Cupcake
      • $19 for 1 dozen cupcakes from Hello Cupcake (42% off)
  • Thursday
    • Langston Bar and Grille
      • $25 for $50 to spend at Langston Bar and Grille
  • Friday
    • Two Leaves and a Bud
      • $20 for $30 to spend at

Deals For Deeds is truly a wonderful organization with a great mission. Participate in Deals for Meals Week - January 10-16 - and provide a taste of happiness for someone who needs it the most. Visit today!

National Soup Month: Butternut Squash Soup with Crumbled Goat Cheese

Another delicious recipe in celebration of National Soup Month from Chef Olivier.
Butternut squash soup with crumbled goat cheese

Sunday, January 9, 2011

National Soup Month: Cream of Pumpkin Soup

Photo and recipe contributed by Janet Sobel (JDS) of DCFüd (
"The original version of this recipe was given to me by my friend, Wendy, at one of our many girls’ potluck dinners.  We all love anything pumpkin, so this soup was perfect for us.  I made a few modifications to make the recipe a little healthier, but you can hardly tell the difference!"

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Recipe: Slow-Cooked Beef Stew

So I woke up and saw the snow and my husband reminded me that we had some London Broil in the freezer.  I thought, hmmmmm..., beef stew would be so good today.  So I started looking through some of my cookbooks that I've been waiting to review and found The Best of Clean Eating.  The photos are absolutely beautiful.  I turned to page 126 and found Slow-Cooker Chestnut Stew.  I've adapted it a bit because I didn't have any chestnuts around the house and I decided to cook it in the oven rather than the slow-cooker.  It is cooking right now and the aromas filling the condo are wonderful.

Friday, January 7, 2011

National Soup Month: Roasted sweet potato and carrot soup with pumpkin seeds

Photo by Olga Berman
In celebration of January's National Soup Month, Olga has shared her favorite soup recipe.  Sounds really yummy!

Roasted sweet potato and carrot soup with pumpkin seeds
By:  Olga Berman of Mango and Tomato

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

National Whipped Cream Day

Make yourself some whipped cream today to top on a dessert or to enjoy by itself.  I love it on top of warm desserts so it starts to melt.  Plan your flavors based on what you are topping.

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Using an electric mixer whip cream until it forms soft peaks.

For flavors add 1 teaspoon of vanilla or triple sec or almond extract or bourbon... or any other flavor you desire.

Don't miss the 10th Annual Sugar and Champagne Affair

Ellen Gray and I at another one of her fabulous events.  Photo by Emily Clack

The 10th Annual Sugar and Champagne Affair will take place on February 1, 2011 at The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C.  This year’s event will treat attendees to confections and savory entrees from Marcel's, Restaurant Eve, The Source, Bastille, Kushi, Cuba Libré, Trummer’s on Main and Zentan, among many other area restaurants, along with samplings from several of the City’s gourmet food trucks, including Red Hook Lobster, DC Slices, Capmac and DC Empanadas.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Comfort Food Time

It is that time of year where it is time to cozy up and eat something comforting. From the upcoming Superbowl parties to Potluck night, we are all craving some comfort food classics.

For an appetizer try my Meatballs in a Red Wine Sauce.
or Fried Green Tomatoes

For a main dish try my Creamy Chicken Potpie.
Comforting Baked Potato Soup with Chives
Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes
Shepherd's Pie

For dessert, how about my St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake.

What is your favorite comfort food?
Photo by Emily Clack

Event: Food Blogger Happy Hour this Wednesday Night

I won't be able to make it, but you should join the Food Blogger Happy Hour this Wednesday at Lyon Hall.  Happy New Year!