December 25, 2010

Mercury Calculator

We don't cook fish for a long time because concerning the mercury contamination.

Here I found a good and useful mercury calculator, maybe a good reference for the future use.

I read an article saying that there are 4 types of fish that should be on the list to avoid due to mercury levels. These include: shark, king mackerel, swordfish and tilefish. And FDA has released guideline that no more than 12 oz of low mercury fish should be consumed weekly.
Ummm, they are good references too.

December 24, 2010

Potato Leek Soup for Christmas Dinner

Ha, it's my 4th Christmas after coming to USA.

And this year I decided to cook potato leek soup for our Christmas Dinner.

I knew this soup when we visited Williamsburg second time. We tried to have lunch at one of the taverns but can't make it because we didn't want to wait for 40 minutes in cold weather.

I always like leek base soup, so I was very happy to find this wonderful recipe on line.

I've got to say, this is the soup that may needs a lot of technology. I used my food processor for slicing potatoes and then later the hand blender to puree a bit the soup.

And the result was wonderful. Hubby kept praising it every minute when eating it. I'm happy that we had a warm and creamy holiday soup for this Christmas.

And at night finally finally I finished watching the masterpiece movie of Christmas: It's a wonderful life. I fell asleep every time while watching it in the previous years.

April 1, 2010

2010 D.C. Cherry Blossom

This year Cherry Blossom, I go with friends in weekday, one day after peak blossom. We join the ranger walk and then have a sandwich lunch beneath the cherry trees. Here are some photos to share:

March 16, 2010

A nice walk in Georgetown

Since we want to take the chance to visit Dumbarton Oaks Park on Sunday because it's the last free admission day, I want to check on Georgetown cupcake to some free cakes. Then it will make our Sun. totally FREE. Such a beautiful and wonderful word. :P

OK, so we really did get 2 free cupcakes to taste and then we bought 2 different flavors. Gosh, these cupcakes though don't look gorgeous but are really great. I can't stop eating when I started. hahaha

Dumbarton Oaks Park is amazing. We visited the museum, music room and the garden. Very quiet afternoon walk and it's poetic. :)

March 13, 2010

How nice to see you again, Angela

Wow, what a busy weekend we had. First of all, I was so thrilled to meet Angela again in D.C. That is our 5th meet after we knew each other in 2005, on Thanksgiving in Providence. Then we met in Boston, D.C., Taipei before 2010.

She is really a very sweet girl and I adore her a lot. Can't believe that it's been four and half years and she graduated from law school and I married and moved to D.C. Also finally I introduced husband to her and they had pleasant chat in Tabard Inn where we met for breakfast.

We all love Tabard Inn and its fried donuts. Unbelievably good. Hope Angela will move to D.C. so that we'll have more chance to get together. But before that, let's get connected in facebook. I'm glad that she asked for my account and now we can keep updated our lives with each other.

We planned to go to Dumbarton Oaks Park but it is open from 2pm~5pm. She can't make it with her flight schedule, so we went to National Museum of American History to see Michelle Obama's dress in First Ladies Exhibit. Since it started on 3/10, we saw crowds in this first Sat and hence can't take close look but just browse some dresses that we like most. I think I will need to return to read in details later.

Then, time to say goodbye. I hope and believe we'll have another meet again in D.C. :)

March 8, 2010

A day in Baltimore

This weekend is such a non-stop one for us. After running all the errands that we had to, we drove to Baltimore. Finally paid a visit to Fort McHenry where I've been wanting to see the birth place of American National Anthem. However, we only spent 20 minutes there because it closes at 4:45pm on Sat. You need to pay fee to enter the Fort, so we will leave that for next time visit.

Although I had been to Baltimore several times but I never visited the east part of downtown where you can see a lot of restaurants and art/gallery/antique shops there. Some recession signs we saw in there and the real estate price is amazingly good.

When we were close to the house of husband's coworker, I saw this very old building which caught my attention. I don't know what is the business inside but I love to see the colors in the dawn. Therefore I asked husband to take some photos for me there.

We spent a great night party with some nice people. They all don't like Avatar and Comcast which I found amazing. :D Surely a lot of politic critics in the party as well as music and good drinks and food.

I really enjoyed it and hope there will be lots of parties to come. hahahaha

February 23, 2010

Seafood Okra Gumbo

I think I know how to cook gumbo because my friend Ally taught me before and I did cook several times. However, after visiting New Orleans, the gumbo is still different than the home made taste. So here I post the recipe of seafood okra gumbo from Gumbo House.

2 pounds fresh or frozen shrimp, head on about 40-50 count per pound
2 small blue crabs, fresh or frozen
3 quarts water 2 Tablespoons cooking oil
1 quart fresh or frozen okra, sliced into _" rounds
2/3 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
1 16oz. can chopped tomatoes
2 bayleaves
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)

Peel and de-vein the shrimp, and set aside, covered in the refrigerator. Rinse the shrimp shells and heads, place in a non-reactive stock pot along with 2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 - 45 minutes to make a stock. Strain, discard the shells and heads and set the stock aside. Meanwhile, wash the crabs well under running water, place in a non-reactive pot with 1 quart of water, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes. Strain, reserving stock and crabs. When the crabs are cool enough to handle, snap both claws off then break the body in half. Set aside.

In a heavy bottomed skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil , add the okra and saute over medium high heat for about 10 - 15 minutes or until all the "ropiness" is gone. This step may take a little longer if fresh okra is used. Frozen vegetables are usually plunged into boiling water and blanched before freezing, so they are partially cooked.

Place the _ cup oil in a large (8 quart) heavy bottomed non-reactive Dutch oven type pot. Add the flour and, over a medium high fire, make a dark brown roux as described on page10. As soon as the proper color is achieved, add the onions, bell pepper, celery and garlic and saute, stirring occasionally until tender. During this process, allow the vegetables to stick to the bottom of the pan a bit, then scrape the bottom with a metal spoon or spatula. This allows some of the natural sugars in the onions to caramelize, rendering great depth of flavor.

When the seasoning vegetables are tender add the tomatoes, bay leaves and the three peppers and a little salt. Cook for about 10 minutes, repeating the stick and scrape process with the tomatoes. Add the sauteed okra and cook for 10 more minutes.

Add the crab stock and half of the shrimp stock to the pot. Stirring constantly, bring the pot to a boil. Lower the heat a bit, partially cover and simmer for thirty minutes, stirring occasionally. If the gumbo appears too thick, add more stock to adjust. Add salt to taste and adjust the pepper if desired. Add the broken crabs and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the peeled shrimp, return to a boil and simmer until the shrimp are firm and pink, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from heat.

As is the case with most gumbos, this dish is best prepared either early in the day it is to be served, or even the day before, thereby allowing time for the flavors to marry. When reheating, stir often and be careful to avoid overcooking the shrimp.

Serve in large bowls over steamed rice. This recipe will yield about six entrees or ten to twelve appetizers.