via Kickstarter

Thanks to Rebecca for passing on this great Kickstarter:

“Foxes At Work
A Little Red Fox Comic Cookbook


A cookbook with gourmet comfort food recipes from the menu of Little Red Fox! Plus, silly all-age comic strips set in a bustling cafe.

We’re back! And this time we’re bringing Little Red Fox to YOU!

When we announced the closure of Little Red Fox – our beloved neighborhood cafe and bakery in Washington, DC – we never could have anticipated the outpouring of love and support from our community… or the incredible number of requests for recipes! Now, we’re putting together all your favorite Little Red Fox recipes into a home-cook friendly format, and we need your help to make this happen!

What will be in it? 60+ of your favorite Little Red Fox recipes, including: Read More


Photo by ny273

“Dear PoPville,

I’d love to have recommendations for how to make a good homemade pizza. I fail every time. I’m not looking for anything fancy, just your standard pepperoni pizza. This past weekend I bought TJ’s dough, sauce and Toscana cheese and the cheese didn’t melt all the way despite leaving it in for like 15 mins more than recommended and the dough tasted rubbery! I’d love to know where people are buying their dough/cheese and any tips or tricks for making a good crust.”


Nik Sharma is a local DC-based food blogger who writes a brown table. His recipes try to keep the emphasis on simplicity and try to adapt Indian and other international cuisines. Nik’s work has been featured in the Huffington Post Taste, The Kitchn and Honest Cooking Magazine.

If you have a recipe from PoPville please send an email to princeofpetworth(at)Gmail and include recipe in the subject line.

Chocolate brownies make a great treat for the holiday season and this version is not only delicious but also simple. I’ve modified and adapted this brownie recipe from Alice Medrich’s Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts. This is also my new favorite holiday dessert that I’ve made for myself and for others as gifts.What makes these brownies special are two things, the browned butter flavor and the delicious red wine. Each of these ingredients flavor the brownie and improve the taste of the cocoa. By browning the butter the brownies get a smooth and wonderful taste that I would describe as somewhere between a light butterscotch to nutty flavor, if that makes any sense.

I used a Malbec for the red wine since it is a bit robust and intense in flavor but even a good quality Shiraz would be great here. To make your life easier and less messy, I recommend either buying pre-chopped walnuts or putting the shelled walnuts in a bag and then pounding them a little a rolling pin to coarsely chop them. Eventually most of the walnuts will get sliced once you cut your baked brownies into bite-sized squares. These brownies have a light and thin crust but also have a soft and creamy smooth interior. Enjoy immediately or store them in airtight container until needed!

Ingredients after the jump. Read More


Claire writes the delicious food blog Sel et Sucre and is gonna share a bit of her magic with PoPville.

base: pineapple, secondary: ginger, citrus: lime, sweetener: simple syrup

I already post recipes on Sel et Sucre so here I’m going to focus on giving you formulas instead of recipes.  What’s the difference?  Recipes lay out exactly what to do for one particular version of one particular dish.  Formulas, on the other hand, explain the general underlying principles and patterns so that you can easily come up with your own recipes.  I like formulas; they’re what turn cooking from a chore into an enjoyable experience.

In honor of the recent heatwaves, I’m going to write a little about agua frescas.  The perfect refreshment on these blazingly hot days.  Often strangely neon in color, these “fresh waters” are essentially diluted juices, with enough sweet and tart flavor to keep you wanting more.  As someone with a compulsive need to provide guests with sustenance as soon as they step in the door (an inherited trait – thanks, Dad!), I love having a pitcher of agua fresca around.  Handing a guest a glass (or jar, as it often goes in my house) filled with this magical elixir on a hot summer afternoon is sure to elicit praise and thanks.

base: Thai basil, secondary + citrus: lime, sweetener: simple syrup

So, let’s get on with it – what’s the formula?

First, start with a base flavor, usually fruit, such as pineapple, melon, or cucumber (yes, cucumbers are a fruit).  Less commonly used but still okay fruits include strawberries and peaches.  I wouldn’t recommend using bananas (instead, slice and freeze those, and create another favorite of mine – which I call a “banana milkshake” – by blending with milk, honey, and cinnamon) or tomatoes (although, like cucumbers, they are technically a fruit).

Next, pick a secondary flavor, usually herbs or spices.  I like to use whichever herb is reaching critical capacity in my garden.  Basil, mint, and rosemary are great options.  Ginger is also really good, or you can even toss in a chili pepper.

Then, add a little citrus.  Preferably fresh-squeezed (and tossing in a little zest won’t hurt).  I typically go with lime, but lemon is also a good option.  Orange juice often works, but be careful – sweeter base flavors really need the tartness of lemon or lime to balance them.

Last, choose a sweetener.  I most frequently use simple syrup (stir together equal parts sugar and water over low heat in a saucepan until dissolved), but plain sugar, honey, or agave syrup should all also work.

Now that you have all your ingredients, use a blender or immersion blender (one of my favorite kitchen tools) to puree until smooth.  You may need an extra couple splashes of water in order to blend.  Don’t forget one of the most important steps – taste it!  Then, adjust your ingredients and re-blend as needed, keeping in mind that you want a strong flavor here as you will be diluting it down the line.

Take the resulting mash, and strain through a cheesecloth-lined strainer.  This is what makes the resulting drink a refreshing, hydrating agua fresca instead of a smoothie.

You can store this concentrated syrup in the refrigerator for a week or two until ready to use.  When you’re ready for a nice drink, mix with still or sparkling water (usually you’ll want about twice as much water as syrup, but it’s easy to adjust to taste), and serve!

You don’t have to follow this formula to a tee.  Feel free to use a herb as your base flavor, omit the sweetener for a healthier version (works especially well with sweeter fruits like strawberries), or otherwise adapt this formula as you see fit.  I have a Thai basil lime agua fresca recipe posted on my site, for example, that uses Thai basil as the base flavor and a hefty amount of lime as both the secondary flavor and citrus.  Don’t be afraid to get creative!  Soon you’ll be ready for the next heatwave.


Vivi Mazarakis is the author of Forking DC. You can read her previous columns here.

Recreating Rasika’s Palak Chaat

One of my favorite dishes at Rasika is the palak chaat (fried spinach). It’s so simple and yet so addicting. The problem is that sometimes I need a palak chaat fix (damn it!), but I can’t always get into Rasika when I want to because of the restaurant’s popularity. Recently, in an act of defiance, I thought: “Hmmph, who needs Rasika?? I can make this myself.”

I turned to the web and my friend Google. I found several different recipes that called for various degrees of complexity. I decided to skip those that called for lightly dusting the spinach with flour and went for the more straightforward “drop plain spinach in hot oil” method. Below is my recipe for recreating this popular dish, which draws ingredients and techniques from several of the recipes I found. I must admit it came out pretty close to Rasika’s version. It’s good enough to satiate your craving when you just can’t get to the real thing. However, the truth is that frying spinach is a little tricky. It must be absolutely dry before dropping it in hot oil. Even with dry spinach, there is a significant amount of oil splatter because the oil is reacting to spinach’s naturally high water content. The process, even with my extreme caution, resulted in a few oil burns on the inside of my wrist. I think using a deep fryer is preferable because it does a better job containing oil splatter than a pan or Dutch oven.

Continues after the jump. Read More


Vivi Mazarakis is the author of Forking DC. You can read her previous columns here.

Valentine’s Day Dinner Recipes: Save your energy for after dinner

It’s that time of year. Valentine’s Day is less than a week away. If you haven’t made reservations already, what were you thinking??? Not to worry. You can always stay in and cook for that special someone. I know that cooking can be stressful for some, especially if you’re in a new relationship, have never cooked for your significant other before, or are unsure about your prowess in the . . . kitchen.

I’ve put together a stress free Italian-themed meal that will address all the major concerns: it’s easy; it’s light, but satisfying; and it ends with a hit of espresso to keep your energy levels up.

Start with an antipasti platter. There is no one recipe for this. Usually, it includes cheese, cured meats, and extras like vegetables, olives, and/or nuts. When I put a platter together, I like to choose two cheeses – one that is soft and gooey (e.g., brie) and one that is harder (e.g., manchego). I add two cured meats like salami and prosciutto. Instead of serving the prosciutto in a nice heaping mound, try this alternative: lightly dress some arugula with salt, olive oil and balsamic vinegar (note: I would use a 3-to-1 oil-to-vinegar ratio). Wrap a slice of prosciutto around a bite-size bunch of arugula and secure it with a toothpick. Make a little extra dressing to drizzle over the finished bundles. Finish off the platter with some crackers and olives or marinated artichoke hearts.

For the main course and dessert, I suggest shrimp scampi and affogato (recipes after the jump). Some of you may think that shrimp scampi is boring, but I love its simplicity and the contrast between the heat of the red pepper flakes and the brightness of the lemon and fresh parsley. Affogato, which literally means drowned in Italian, is simply hot espresso poured over ice cream or gelato and topped with whipped cream.

Full recipes after the jump. Read More


Vivi Mazarakis is the author of Forking DC. You can read her previous columns here.

Pork and Ramen Noodles

This recipe was inspired by my recent trip to the Atlas District’s Toki Underground, a Taiwanese noodle and dumpling shop inspired by Japanese ramen houses. (Read my review of Toki here). Ever since slurping noodles there last weekend, I just couldn’t stop thinking about the Hakata Classic (ramen with pork loin). So, I turned to one of my favorite chefs, “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto, and his book “The New Art of Japanese Cooking” to feed my obsession. Sitting on my couch, I leafed through the colorful images of Chef Morimoto’s beautifully plated food looking for a recipe I could try.

I will admit that many of Morimoto’s recipes are a bit intimidating. They call for either complicated cooking techniques or many exotic ingredients that most local grocery stores don’t sell, or don’t sell for a reasonable price. (Yes, I’m referring to the grocery store commonly referred to as “Whole Paycheck,” with whom I have a love-hate relationship.)

When I came across Morimoto’s Za Jan Noodles recipe, I thought: bingo! It would satiate my craving for both noodles and pork, and it seemed relatively easy to prepare. Below is my slightly modified version of this recipe. For vegetarians, swap out the pork with tofu and skip the egg. Tofu is a great substitute since it will soak up the flavor-packed sauce.

Most of the ingredients can be found at your local grocery store. As for the red miso, you can find it and any other Asian specialty items at one of my favorite stores in DC – Hana Japanese Market at the corner of 17th & U St. NW. This place is a real gem and the owners are nice and very helpful. As for the sake, you’ll find that many liquor stores these days carry it. For example, you can find it at the liquor store across the street from Hana or De Vinos, a great wine store in Adams Morgan. Otherwise, cooking rice wine, which you can find at any grocery store, will work just fine.

Continues after the jump. Read More


Vivi Mazarakis is the author of Forking DC. You can read her previous columns here.

Born and raised in Texas, it wasn’t until I left the Lone Star State that I realized that some people make their chili with beans. Texas chili doesn’t bother with beans. Beans are for the weak. Texas chili is all beef. (Sorry, vegetarians.) When I was a kid, I remember looking forward to Go Texan Day (yes, that’s a real thing), and not because my mom insisted that I try to “fit in” by wearing a cowgirl outfit. I looked forward to the chili cook-off that was often a part of the Go Texan Day festivities. I didn’t compete in the cook-off. . . unless by competing one meant trying more cook-off entries than anyone else at school. I’ve always loved me some chili.

People take their chili recipes seriously in Texas. Dare I say that chili cook-off competitors don’t consider it real chili unless the recipe calls for two or more complex spice “dumps” during the several hour-long cooking process. Having just concluded some serious family/holiday time in my home state, I find it all too proper to offer you my own chili recipe. My recipe is simple, but still rich in flavor. Whether it’s because you’ve never had Texas-style chili or because you want to take a break from your go-to chili recipe, I hope you try this recipe out for yourself. I made it for my family on Christmas Eve as a fitting prelude to the Greek-themed Christmas dinner we were to have the next day. Everyone loved it.

Continues after the jump. Read More


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