Monthly Archives: July 2010

Summer picnic: Top Chef DC style

This week’s episode of Top Chef DC had the cheftestants baking pies and grilling picnic food for Capital Hill interns, while they played badminton, croquet, and lounged on George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate. (I want to picnic and play lawn games at Mt. Vernon! Right now. It’s gorgeous outside!)

I also want to see more of pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini, who was guest judge for the Quickfire Pie-Baking Challenge. Not sure I was all that excited about the upcoming Top Chef: Just Desserts until this dark haired, tattooed chef (who has a book titled “Dessert Fourplay”) came into my life. Um, yeah, he is super hot. He was also a good judge. I particularly appreciated his comment to Amanda when she said she was not a pastry chef. He responded, “I think it’s kind of a cop-out to say you’re not a pastry chef. My grandmother’s not a pastry chef either, and she can make a pie.” (In the end, it was Kenny who finally came through with a win with his bananas foster pie. I like Kenny.)

For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs prepared picnic food. It was interesting that most of their menus did not go in the direction of the Great American Picnic. A lot of the dishes were heavily Asian-influenced. And, the winning dish was Arnold‘s Lebanese-inspired lamb with lemongrass.

Arnold’s winning dish: Sesame Lamb Meatball, Tabouli Salad, Gazpacho

For the Top Chef Drink Pairing: given the picnic-y setting, lawn games and warm climate, it is hard to choose something other than beer. (Except that the distillery at Mount Vernon is now making a Rye Whiskey!) Considering the Mediterranean flavors of Arnold’s dish, Goldstar Beer from Israel could be an option (remember this funny advertisement?). Or, you could have the Great American Lager to go with the Great-but-not-so-American-Picnic.

posted by Ms. S&C

Daiquiris with Tom

Anyone who knows Miss Mojito is well aware of her particular obsession with a certain Washington Post food critic. My sister introduced me to Tom Sietsema about 10 years ago, and ever since then I just can’t get enough of his writing. His thoughtful critiques are backed up by a truly excellent and imaginative writing style. Most days at noon find me sitting at my desk with my lunch, reading Tom’s reviews, travel stories or online chats. Like I said, something of an obsession.

So when Tom (we’re on a first-name basis, he just doesn’t know it) started coming out with a series of short videos, my spirits soared. Topics range from “what’s in Tom’s fridge” to easy dessert recipes. But recently, his video series touched on a subject near and dear to our hearts: the cocktail.

Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema has a series of videos on the WaPo website. Check out episode 9 where he shows how to make his favorite summer cocktail, a Hemingway Daiquiri.

Tom’s video about the Hemingway Daiquiri was certainly well timed. It’s a drink that I find irresistible when the weather turns hot and steamy. Check out how our fave food critic prepares his.

The history of the Hemingway Daiquiri has been debated every which way possible, but I’m not so much concerned with its origins as its flavor. Tart and a bit sweet, it’s the ultimate in refreshment.

The Hemingway Daiquiri
Serves one.

  • Juice from 1/2 a lime
  • 1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
  • 3/4 ounce grapefruit juice
  • 1 1/2 ounces white rum

Add ingredients to cocktail shaker and shake well. Serve in chilled cocktail glasses, straight up. Enjoy!

Bonus Tip: This is one cocktail that can stand up well to being prepared a couple of hours in advance, if need be. Moreover, if you prepare a humongous batch and have some leftovers (a highly unlikely scenario), it stores well in a jar in the fridge for a couple of days. I love love LOVE to come home from work to a cold Hemingway Daiquiri waiting for me! I highly recommend you do the same!

Posted by Miss Mojito.