Archive | June, 2013

ate it … family meal

As I mentioned in a previous post one of my friends posted a mouth-watering picture on Instagram a few months ago from a restaurant in Frederick, Maryland. Immediately I asked her where she was dining and started planning a time to go for myself. Fast forward to last weekend, a quick drive up interstate 70 and we were finally at Family Meal. You might remember Bryan Voltaggio from season 6 of Top Chef, or you might not, regardless this is his third restaurant in Maryland and the first one that we have tried. All three are in Frederick, just an hours drive from Baltimore. Easy enough to get to but a bit further than we normally drive for a meal. When I saw that there was not only fried chicken but pimento cheese, milkshakes, and chocolate earl grey doughnuts I knew it was going to be worth the drive.

We started with milkshakes. What, they are a drink, you are supposed to order them like you would iced tea. I got chocolate, it came with a toasted marshmallow on top which I thought was a really nice departure from the standard whipped cream. The husband, lucky him, got an adult shake. Strawberry and rhubarb, it was amazing. I might have had a sip, or two. Not too sweet, not to tart, just perfect. Made with rhubarb liqueur, strawberries and topped with a toasted marshmallow. Definitely something that I hope to replicate when I can drink again.

Family Meal Chocolate Milk Shake | K Flick StudioLook at that, who doesn’t want that? And think of all that good calcium that the baby is getting. In the background you can see the chicken pot pie fritters.

Family Meal Chicken Pot Pie Fritters | K Flick StudioThese were our favorite part of the meal. Our waiter said that they make the chicken pot pie base, freeze it, wrap the frozen balls in pie dough and fry them. The inside was the perfect bite of warm, creamy, hearty, chicken pot pie. The outside was crispy and crunchy. Every fritter had a large chunk of tender chicken in it, and no potatoes in site. I really dislike potatoes. 

Not being from the south, and growing up with parents who were more interested in camembert than cheddar cheese, I was never exposed to pimento cheese until five short years ago. Subsequently I have become a fan. Realizing early on that not all pimento cheeses were made equal and have been very choosy about where I eat said pimento cheese.

Family Meal Pimento Cheese | K Flick StudioFamily Meal’s pimento cheese is served with a bacon sorghum jam drizzled on top and accompanied by sausage, pickles, and some homemade crackers. The pimento cheese was amazing! So good. The little nuggets of bacon on top were a nice accompaniment. The husband and I were both a little confused by how to eat this dish. We have only had pimento cheese as a dip, or served on something. So trying to figure out how to dip the sausage into the cheese and get it to our mouths was a bit challenging. We had the same problems with the pickled vegetables that were served with it. There was a great assortment of cauliflower, okra, and rashes all pickled beautifully, but again not great for scooping.

I think we just felt weird about eating pimento cheese with our silverware. You know how there are just some foods, like dips, that really you only feel okay eating with your hands. Crab dip would be a good example. Okay to load up a piece of bread with what is essentially warm cream cheese, and sour cream, but it’s a little gross to just shovel a spoon of it into your mouth. The husband of course would disagree. I often times say that he has no food morals.

So I broke down and ate with my silverware. Loading up my fork with a mixture of pickled vegetable and pimento cheese. It tasted amazing, and I quickly devoured the leftovers with some Toll House crackers when we got home.

Family Meal Chicken Basket | K Flick Studio Family Meal Fried Chicken | K Flick StudioThe fried chicken came in this amazing yellow ceramic chicken. It was fantastic. The cheesy buttermilk biscuits were light and flavorful. And the hot sauce, oh the hot sauce. It was so, so, so, good. I might have asked for it to go when I wrapped up what was left of my meal. Our waiter said that they might be selling it soon so I need to keep my eye out for that.

Family Meal Burger | K Flick StudioThe husband got a burger. He was hungry and panicked, and assumed that it would be a really awesome burger. He said it was fine. Just a burger, and wished that he had taken a bit more time to choose another main. We also split some fries, the highlight of which were the dipping sauces, especially the tomato chutney. We could not get enough of it, so good. We asked for it to go and our waiter was stunned. Apparently we are the only people in the whole history of the restaurant who have ever liked said sauce. I think that is a little unrealistic, but for those who are strictly ketchup and fries people I can see where they might be a bit out of their element. We loved it, I want them to bottle it, I would put it on everything. For real, it was that good.

Family Meal French Fries | K Flick StudioWe might have over ordered, like by a lot, but figured we should try what we want since we had made the drive. It’s not like we were going to go back the next weekend and try something else. So we packed up our leftovers and had some for dinner and some for lunch the next day. All in all we had a good meal, a nice day together, and a fun place to take friends back to.

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homestead … nursery

K Flick Studio Nursery In full disclosure this picture is a few weeks old. The nursery is now finished and just waiting for a tenant, still a few weeks to go. Our dog, Porter, has decided that he loves the room and would be quite happy to have it for himself. Every morning he gets up, stretches and makes his way into the room for his morning nap.

The nursery used to be our guest room which has now been moved to the adjacent bedroom along with our office space. Not my favorite layout. I would love to offer our guest a place to stay that didn’t have all my stuff hanging out in the corner. Alas, we live in a row house in Baltimore city so it is what it is. So back to the nursery. When we painted a few years ago we knew that it would eventually become a nursery and decided that the gender of a possible child shouldn’t effect what we wanted to do in the room. So three walls are a deep, glossy navy, and the focus wall is coral and gold chevron. Some people have been shocked that we have left the wall since we are having a boy, but in all honesty before we knew the gender I only had plans for a boys room.

I will be sharing the finished room soon, but wanted to give you a little snippet before the big reveal.

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getaway … antiquing in Fredrick, Maryland

As our due date is approaching I am trying to make more time for the husband and myself to do things that are nice to do. Not just projects that we need to do. Sure those projects need to get done, but the big stuff has been checked off. Now I am trying to focus on us as a couple and the freedom that we will not again have for quite some time. We plan on trying to keep our lives as close to what they are as possible, all current parents may laugh here, but know that a lot is going to change and that is much easier said than done.

A long time ago one of my friends posted a mouth-watering Instagram from a restaurant in Frederick, Maryland. Since then it has been on my places to go for the day, you know, when I actually remember that I have that list. We tried to make the trip a few weeks ago but it didn’t work out, and with limited weekends left I decided this was the weekend.

I started researching other things to do in Frederick but all that I came up with was Civil War related activities. Those we can definitely do when we have a child, so I said pass. Katie told me about an antiques sale that she was going to in that area and I said great! I am sure that there are a ton of things to do in Frederick that are not Civil War related, if you know of some please let me know. 

So off we went. I found some great things, but only came home with one item. A GIANT enamel tray. I have a thing for blue and white enamel, it could be a problem. I am trying to deal with it. The tray was just so big, and perfect, and I knew it would be great on our coffee table. I washed it and set it out last night. Perhaps it is a little larger than I thought. I’m trying to make it work…

And here are a few other things that caught my eye but I left for someone else, so generous I know.

Metal Basket Lights These vintage metal basket light looked so lovely hanging in the barn. They are not unusual to see now, but I liked that the sizes and styles of baskets were mixed for this display. Also a really quick and easy project to change a room, and when you are tired of it you have a great storage bin.

Paper Whale Tale BannerNot vintage to be sure, but this whale tail counting paper garland was adorable. Sadly I have no space or need for it.

Children's Metal Truck A few years ago when my friend Melissa got married she collected vintage metal trucks to use for her centerpieces. I was lucky enough to help arrange them with flowers and immediately decided that I needed trucks in my life too. I collected a few but have never really found a great place for them in our house. But now that we are going to have a little boy in the house it seems like I should start collecting again. Rust if okay for children right?

Industrial Cart TableLoved this industrial table. It would make a lovely coffee table, a bit high for the standard measurement ratio, but sometimes that’s fine.

Children's Wheelbarrow And then there was this amazing blue metal children’s wheelbarrow. I thought of ton’s of things to do with it, but alas in the end decided that I really didn’t need it. Boo.

Vintage Softballs There were also all these great softballs. I have been on the hunt for really good vintage baseballs for the nursery and when Katie told me about these I was really excited. On closer inspection I realized just how much larger a soft ball is than a baseball and decided to pass. Also, earlier in the week, when I was putting the finishing touches on the nursery a baseball fell and hit my foot, it hurt. Those things pack a punch when dropped. It was then that it began to dawn on me that they might not be the best thing in a child’s room. But to heck with that. They are there for now and I will remove them when the little guy becomes active. My mom rolls her eyes here. 

Vintage Lace DressThe last item that caught my attention was this lace dress. I am not usually a vintage clothing shopper but admire people who are. It is just not a talent that I have. Anyhoo, I saw this dress and thought that it would make a lovely wedding dress. Sure it would need some alterations, but I really think it could be something quite special.

Later this week I will share details of our meal, the whole reason we went to Frederick, and boy are they good.

Have a great day!

 

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cook it … sticky buns

Sticky Buns Round TwoWell dear friends I am now 100% sure that white whole wheat flour has no place here on earth. Or at least not in my kitchen. Yesterday I re-made the sticky buns that were such a failure on Sunday and they are ah-mazing! For real, amazing! It was all I could do not to eat half the pan for dinner last night.

Sticky BunSeriously, these are so good, and fairly easy to make, they just take a little forward thought. Admittedly something I am not good at when it comes to cooking. When I want something I want it. How am I supposed to know that I want something 24 hours ahead of time?

Fortunately these only take a few hours to prepare so sometimes that is doable. The recipe is originally from Donna Hay but I have adapted it a bit to suit my taste.

ridiculously ah-mazing sticky buns

dough

1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

2/3 cup lukewarm milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

sticky glaze

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup brown sugar

6 tablespoons butter

filling

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

For the dough…

1. place the milk, yeast, and vanilla in a bowl, mix to combine and set aside for about 5 minutes while the yeast does its thing.

2. add flour, sugar, salt, eggs, melted butter and yeast mixture to a stand mixture fitted with a dough hook.

3. mixing the ingredients slowly at first. as they incorporate increase speed to high and beat for 8 minutes. the dough should form a ball like shape, and begin to pull away from the sides of the bowl. be sure to hold onto your mixer or it will shimmy right off the counter as the dough becomes more solid.

4. place the dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. set in a warm place for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size. our microwave is mounted above our stove and has a work light option that warms up the inside of the microwave. i have found this to be the best place in my kitchen for things to rise.

5. to make the sticky glaze place the maple syrup, brown sugar, and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. stirring as the sugars and butter all melt together. boil for 2-3 minutes.

6. grease a 10 x 14 baking dish and pour in the sticky glaze to coat the bottom. set aside.

7. for the filling cream the butter, sugar and cinnamon on high scraping down the sides as needed. beat for about 5 minutes, or until mixture is pale.

8. tear two pieces of parchment paper about 25-26 inches long.

9. place one down on the counter and turn the dough onto it. place the second sheet of parchment paper on top of the dough and begin to roll it out. i use my hands a bit to flatten it out before the rolling-pin was helpful. roll dough until it is about 24″ by 9″.

10. remove the top sheet of parchment and spread the filling over the dough leaving a 1/2″ border.

11. preheat the oven to 350°F

12. begin rolling up the dough using the 24″ length. you should end up with a nice long snake like piece of rolled dough. using a knife, cut the length in half. you will want to get 6 buns out of each section.

13. cut your buns and one by one place them in the baking dish. you should end up with 4 rows of 3 buns each. but if you don’t that is fine too, they will still taste great.

14. bake for 20 minutes then cover with a piece of aluminum foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes. i like to rotate the baking dish at this point to ensure even cooking.

15. once removed from the oven let sit for 5-10 minutes and then turn out onto parchment paper, a cutting board, or whatever you like.

16. dive in and enjoy! these are SO good right out of the oven. you will need a cold glass of milk, or coffee to accompany these sweet sticky buns.

I hope that some of you are able to try these this weekend, if so let me know how it went. Also, if anyone is interested in 5 pounds of white whole wheat flour I have some for you!

These did not get sent to work with the husband.

Have a great weekend!

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ate it … chouquette

When we were in St. Louis at the beginning of the month my Mom could hardly contain her excitement when she took us to Chouquette. A French patisserie that opened in the Tower Grove neighborhood just a block north of the Botanical Gardens last February. Elegantly designed with sparing sophistication Chouquette is a treat for your eyes and taste buds alike.

Entrance at Chouquette

I enjoyed a lovely petit déjeuner consisting of 1. caramelized onion, fig and bacon tartlet in puff party, 2. pain au chocolat, 3. lemon bar with salted shortbread and meringue and a latte. Yes, that is three things that I ate for breakfast, it’s fine, it’s for the baby right?

Pastries at Chouquette

Seating at ChouquetteThe mixture of old wooden pews, modernist tables and chairs creates a casual seating area. Perfect for an afternoon with your girlfriends, a quick business meeting, or just a nice afternoon alone. Be sure to look up, the ceiling is gorgeous, and in great condition.

Ceiling at ChouquetteI gobbled down my first two courses so quickly I failed to take any photos, there is always next time right! The desserts were so stunning that I made sure to take a moment before diving in to capture the miniature works of art that we were about to enjoy.

Lemon Bar at ChouquetteI have been craving lemon my whole pregnancy, it is really a bit ridiculous, averaging between one and two lemons a day, I just can’t get enough. So this lemon custard meringue was just what I wanted. Nice and tart, and with tiny sugared lemon pieces atop the meringue.

Green Tea Dessert at ChouquetteMom, a lover of all things asian got the green tea sponge cake. She loved it.

Banana Bombe at ChouquetteThe husband got the banana bombe. Generally he does not like chocolate and fruit, I know how can you not like chocolate and fruit? Ridiculous. The bombe looked so good to him he decided that he could make and exception and he was glad he did. Very rich and full of flavor it was right up his alley.

On Saturday afternoons Chouquette serves high tea, one of my favorite things in life. When I was little my mom would take me to high tea for special occasions and I loved it. I can’t wait to visit St. Louis again to go with my mom, and add another memory of high tea with her.

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cook it … sticky buns

Yesterday I set about making sticky buns for the first time. I was really excited, the husband was really excited, our dinner guest were really excited, possibly even neighbors were excited. We did some errands in the morning and stopped at the grocery on the way home to pick up some flour. We were almost out, and needed a few other items for dinner. We popped into the baking aisle, I pointed at the bag of flour that I wanted and asked the husband to get it. Seriously, why does the flour and sugar have to be on the bottom shelf? It is not awesome when you are 9 months pregnant. We check out, get home, unpack the groceries and we have a lovely bag of white whole wheat flour, shucks. The husband mentions that he grew up eating baked goods with this flour and it would be fine. So I think, why not, it will be healthier, how bad can it be?

Sticky Buns with Fork

BAD… They looked so beautiful at every stage of the cooking process. The dough rise went well, the filling looked perfect, all the little individual buns were perfectly nestled in the baking dish. I was so excited. I pulled them out of the oven and knew right away this was a mistake. They cooled, I flipped them out of the dish, put one on a plate and took a bite. My fears realized, I brought the plate up to the husband in the nursery who was busy working on a project, more on that soon. He took a bite and agreed, no good.

I have this rule about food. Some foods are only good made the way they were intended. They cannot be made healthy, or made from substitute ingredients. Foods made with white flour say doughnuts, funnel cake, and sticky buns, should never be made healthy with whole wheat flour. Yes folks, once I had the sad experience of eating a whole wheat funnel cake, why I ask you, why? Obviously I make exceptions to this rule for allergies, and legitimate health reasons, I am not a monster.

I suggested that the husband could take the sticky buns into work with him. He immediately howled, “I can’t bring those into work.” Amazing, they were that bad. Our dinner guest were nice enough to try one. They decided that they were definitely not good, but they were edible, just rather earthy. So, today they went to work with the husband. By mid morning I was informed that all the sticky buns had indeed been eaten and that a few co-workers thought I was a GREAT cook. I fear for their taste buds, but thank them for their kindness.

So my friends, I went back to the grocery this morning and bought a new bag of unbleached white flour. I will re-attempt the sticky buns this week and give you an update.

Have a great day!

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