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The Bayou Bakery chef shares his recipe for “Dat-O-Lanterns.” By Anna Spiegel
David Guas’s Dat-O-Lanterns. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

One of the favorite sweets at Bayou Bakery is chef David Guas’s “Dat-O,” an oversize, house-made take on an Oreo that has been on the menu since the Louisiana-style cafe opened. We asked Guas to create a Halloween riff on the sandwich cookie, perfect for parties of all ages or for doling out on the big night.

There’s really no trick to this Halloween treat, which can be made up to four days in advance and sealed at room temperature in an airtight container. To create a “Dat-O-Lantern,” Guas uses a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter, which you can find in the seasonal section of many markets and gourmet shops. Pro tip: If assembling the cookies gets messy at the end, try creating a makeshift pastry bag with a Ziploc (just spoon in the orange filling and then snip off one corner), and pipe the sweet stuff along the borders and into the center before gently topping the frosting with a second cookie.

This way to cookie goodness.

Posted at 03:40 PM/ET, 10/18/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Forget the LITs you drank in college. This recipe makes a case for the much-maligned booze bomb. By Anna Spiegel

It's blue, it's powerful, it's delicious: Rachel Sergi's Long Island iced tea. Photograph courtesy of Rachel Sergi.

The Long Island Iced Tea may bring back (hazy) memories of college, but there’s no reason this booze bomb should be relegated to sophomore year. Just ask Jack Rose Dining Saloon cocktail guru and documented LIT aficionado Rachel Sergi.

“I absolutely love them,” says Sergi, whose friend and fellow bartending superstar Gina Chersevani is also a fan. “I love iced tea to begin with, and me and Gina work hard on making cocktails all the time. But every once in a while, we want something that just tastes easy. It’s either a Long Island done properly or nothing.”

Sergi’s advice on being certain that a given bar is an LIT-safe space? “Ask if they have sour mix on the gun.” If the answer is yes, you should probably steer clear. Better yet, whip up your own version at home with Sergi’s recipe, which doesn’t stray too far from the common potent mix of vodka, gin, rum, tequila, a sour element, and Coca-Cola. Instead of bottled sour mix, Sergi uses fresh lemon juice and citrusy Bols Blue Curaçao, and swaps out the Coke float for an easy-to-make cola syrup. The best news for your end-of-summer bash: You can brew a big batch in advance (keeping the syrup on the side) and mix to order or let guests pour their own. It should go without saying, this is one powerful concoction—consume accordingly.

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Posted at 12:15 PM/ET, 09/07/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Bourbon Steak’s upgrade on this frat-house favorite makes for a great picnic trick. By Anna Spiegel

Vodka-infused watermelon at the Lounge at Bourbon Steak. Photograph courtesy of Bourbon Steak.

It’s not likely to show up on the bar menu any time soon, but ask nicely while reserving your table--and at least three days in advance--and Bourbon Steak bartenders might be able to prepare slices of vodka-filled watermelon for you and your dining companions, says head bartender Duane Sylvestre. Sylvestre and his fellow head bartender Jamie MacBain recently served a more refined version of this frat-house favorite during a cocktail class at the bar, and we thought it would make a great centerpiece for a Fourth of July picnic. It works like this: You poke small holes in the melon, allowing its juices to drain, and vodka fills in the liquid space. It takes about three days to fully infuse the fruit—the best way to do it is in the fridge, but if space is an issue, cover your project with foil or plastic wrap and keep it stored in a cool space.

One final word of warning from Sylvestre: “Sometimes the melon tastes like there’s no booze in it at all, until you take a step. Have no more than two slices, and drink water, water, water, with your watermelon.”

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Posted at 11:55 AM/ET, 06/29/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
A simple mixed-berry dessert that’s easy enough for a midweek picnic.
By Anna Spiegel

Red Truck's mixed-berry cobbler. Photographs courtesy of Brian Noyes.

We’re big fans of the desserts owner Brian Noyes turns out at the Red Truck Bakery in Warrenton, Virginia. A day trip to the old Esso station where Noyes bakes fresh pies and moonshine cake is always worth the drive, but seeing as Independence Day falls on a Wednesday this year (lame) we asked him for a quick but delicious cobbler recipe you can make at home.

“My grandmother in North Carolina was always whipping up a dessert with fruit from her garden and whatever was on hand in her pantry,” says Noyes. “I use her rolling pin and mixing bowl in my bakery, and continue her tradition with cobblers every summer.”

There are no real tricks to the dessert—you just need sweet, ripe berries from the market and eight friends to share it with.

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Posted at 02:00 PM/ET, 06/28/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Chef Marc Vidal shares the simple steps for recreating one of his restaurant’s most popular snacks. By Anna Spiegel
Boqueria's pan con tomate. Photograph courtesy of Boqueria.

Need a signature summer party dish? The versatile Spanish classic pan con tomate—which can be eaten all day, from breakfast into the wee hours—is a cinch to prepare, requiring only ripe, meaty tomatoes, a fresh baguette, and good-quality olive oil.

We’ve been addicted to chef Marc Vidal’s version at Boqueria since the tapas spot opened in March, especially alongside some chilled sangria. Vidal serves marinated olives with the dish but says you can dress it up further with slices of cured meats like chorizo or jamón Serrano, or Spanish cheeses such as Manchego. Your guests can layer them atop the tomàquet spread for a richer snack.

Boqueria’s Pan con Tomate

Serves 10

Ingredients

1 classic French baguette, cut in half lengthwise and each half cut in half on a bias

2 tablespoons tomàquet (recipe below)

1 tablespoon Valderama olive oil or other high-quality olive oil

Pinch Maldon salt or other flaky finishing salt

1 tablespoon marinated olives, such as Amanida cocktail olives, for garnish

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Posted at 09:40 AM/ET, 06/21/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Just in time for Father’s Day, a guide to re-creating some of the tastiest grilled meats around. By Anna Spiegel
The first step to re-creating Honey Pig’s tender beef barbecue? Let the meat marinate overnight. Photograph courtesy of Honey Pig.

How we’d love to replicate the entire Honey Pig experience at home—meat sizzling on tabletop grills, flowing Soju, big-name chefs getting buzzy at neighboring tables, bathroom dance music. The stripped-down Korean barbecue joints in Annandale, Ellicott City, and Centreville are favorite stops for industry types, the late-night karaoke crowd, and local families who come to feast on flavorful meats like this tender steak marinated in a pungent mix of soy, garlic, sesame, and chili, from owner Mickey Lee.

For optimal tenderness and flavor, Lee suggests starting a day ahead and allowing the steak to marinate overnight before tossing it on a hot grill. Look for “flanken”-cut short ribs—long, thin slices cut across the bone—at global markets including H-Mart and El Grande International Supermarket (6901 Hechinger Dr., Springfield, 703-256-5201), where you can also pick up fresh-made banchan (side dishes) such as kimchi and spiced radishes. In a pinch, sliced rib eye, available at Whole Foods, will do, too. And don’t be afraid to play fast and loose with accompaniments. “A bowl of white rice is great and simple,” says Lee. “Korean beef goes with just about everything, so feel free to be flexible with your side dishes.”

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Posted at 11:50 AM/ET, 06/14/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, a classic recipe from pastry chef Susan Wallace. By Anna Spiegel

BlackSalt's soda bread is the perfect thing to bake for a St. Patty's party.

BlackSalt is known for its fresh fish, but pastry chef Susan Wallace’s Irish soda bread—studded with golden raisins and walnuts—is also pretty great. We scored the recipe so you can bake it up on St. Patrick’s day. (Having a party? Try this tasty Irish whiskey cocktail, too.)

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Posted at 05:07 PM/ET, 03/14/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Just in time for Super Bowl weekend, a classic recipe from the local chain. By Jessica Voelker

Liz Taylor loved Clyde's chili, and so will you.

Ah, the Super Bowl. We all watch it, but some of us are really just in it for the food. If you’ve invited anyone in the latter group to your Super Bowl party (and trust us, you have, even if you don’t know it yet), you’re going to need to do more than just empty a bag of Ripples into a bowl and call it a day. Here’s what we suggest: make chili. It’s easy to prepare ahead of time and very difficult to mess up, particularly if you have a tried-and-true recipe. To help you find one, we took to Twitter last week and asked our followers for favorite versions at Washington restaurants. Chief among the picks: the chili at local chain Clyde’s. You’ll find the recipe after the jump, but first, a fun fact: According to the Clyde’s Restaurant Group, Elizabeth Taylor loved this chili so much, she had it shipped to her by the gallon.

Have a recipe you’d like sniffed out? Tweet us your request with the hashtag #RecipeSleuth.

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Posted at 05:18 PM/ET, 01/31/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Every baker has his or her own recipe for chocolate-chip cookies, but this one yields one of our favorite comfort-food sweets. By Kate Nerenberg, Anna Spiegel

Watershed's great chocolate-chip cookies. Photograph by Scott Suchman

At Watershed, the new seafood-centric restaurant from Equinox co-owners Todd and Ellen Gray, one of the best dishes is also one of the most simple: the chocolate-chip cookies. The baked-to-order rounds, which are slightly thick but still soft, come with a cold glass of milk for dipping—straight-up childhood comfort food.

Pastry chef Tom Wellings, who worked briefly at Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, says he based the recipe on one he used at the Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner when he cooked at the now-closed Maestro in that hotel. Adding milk chocolate—in addition to the more-bitter Valrhona chocolate—"gives the cookies a little extra gooey texture," Wellings says. To add another flavor dimension, Wellings recommends sprinkling some sea salt on the cookies right before baking. Other tips for replicating his dessert: Be careful not to over-mix the dough, and know your oven—if it's hotter on one side, be sure to rotate the tray halfway through baking. His preference is a "light golden-brown color and a chewy center." Based on our experience with those cookies, we'd go with his advice.

Have a recipe you'd like sniffed out? E-mail recipesleuth@washingtonian.com. 

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Posted at 01:29 PM/ET, 07/06/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
Now that it's grilling season, it's time to break out the cole slaw recipes. Can't decide between vinegar and mayo? Try this version, which uses both. By Anna Spiegel

Photograph by Emma Patti

Sometimes the simplest preparations make the best dishes. Michael Hartzer, chef of the new Jack Rose in Adams Morgan, experimented with several kinds of cole slaw before the booze-focused restaurant opened a few weeks ago. After testing versions with purple cabbage and fresh herbs, he settled on a straightforward yet surefire formula with crunchy savoy cabbage, a rich olive-oil-based mayo, and hint of oregano. It makes a light side dish for grilled meats, such as Jack Rose's Baltimore-style pit-beef sandwich (available on the roof-deck menu).

For a more dressed-up slaw, Hartzer says to improvise with such ingredients as thin-sliced shallot or red onion for crunch, or fresh mint and basil for summery flavor. But given how easy Hartzer's version is, it's tempting to stick with the original.

Have a recipe you'd like sniffed out? E-mail recipesleuth@washingtonian.com.

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Posted at 12:01 PM/ET, 06/30/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()