It’s Waffle Day! So Here’s My Top Chef DC (Grilled) Fried Chicken with Waffles

25 Aug

So my pre-Waffle Day attempt to make a grilled version of Top Chef DC Andrea’s buttermilk fried chicken with pecan cheddar waffles (episode 7, lobbyist law quickfire challenge) for a group of friends last night didn’t go so well. The gravy came out doughy (my fault probably because I’m not a gravy maker), but it didn’t have enough maple flavor to me as written, so I added more so that it would go more with the waffles. The waffles were delicious, I followed the recipe, although I substituted mild yellow cheddar cheese. Wrapping them in tinfoil kept the waffles hot and made the cheese I sprinkled on top of them all nice and melty as I went on the roof to grill the chicken. The biggest flaw was definitely my attempt at the grilled fried chicken. I’m not sure if the grill wasn’t oiled enough for breaded chicken, it was too hot,  or the pieces should have been bigger, but they wound up sticking and burning on the grill. Glad a girlfriend brought hot dogs! Since it was a fail, (and my friends were hungry : ), I didn’t take pictures. I don’t plan on giving up though! The combo seems too tasty to pass up.



2 cups flour

3 eggs

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup granulated sugar

Chopped pecans

Grated white cheddar (I used packaged shredded yellow cheddar)

Non-stick spray, as needed

Salt, to taste

Fried Chicken

1 chicken breast

1 cup flour

1 cup buttermilk

2 tsp sriracha (or other spicy red sauce)

2 tbl fresh chopped chives

2 tsp onion powder

2 tsp garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste


2 oz butter

2 oz flour

1 cup chicken stock (I used canned low-sodium chicken broth)

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 tbl maple syrup (I used about 3)

Salt and pepper to taste


For the Waffle Batter:

1. Whisk together flour, eggs, baking powder, and sugar.

2. Spray waffle iron with non-stick spray and pour in batter and sprinkle in pecans and cheese. Pour more batter over top and follow waffle iron procedure.

For the (Grilled) Fried Chicken:

1. Soak chicken in buttermilk, sriracha, and chives. Mix together flour, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Remove chicken from buttermilk mixture and coat in flour mixture.

2. Spray grill with non-stick grill spray. Grill chicken until done (170 temp), check and flip as needed.  (I think I had the chicken on too high, I used 350 degrees, probably needs to be lower and cook longer).

For the Gravy:

1. Heat together butter and flour to make roux. Whisk in chicken stock, cream, and syrup. Simmer to gravy consistency. Season with salt and pepper.


Review of the Taste of Mount Vernon Triangle

22 Aug

The taste was $15 in advance, $20 at the door this Saturday for the Taste of Mount Vernon Triangle, a restaurant crawl of triangle eateries: Buddha Bar, Kushi, Busboys and Poets, Taylor Gourmet, Harry’s Soul Cafe, Papa John’s, and soon-to-be Mandu.  Other than Buddha Bar, which did a great job, I think a $20 dollar fee was on the pricey side for what we got.  The whole experience was a bit disappointing actually.  It would have been nice if the restaurants had used the opportunity to show off and seek our business.

Buddha Bar

We were told to start here first, but I really wish we had wound up here last.    The staff was inviting and friendly, and we were presented with several options, including the Massachusetts Avenue roll, a salmon roll wrapped in cucumber, beef satay, tuna sashimi on a fried wonton, and a white sangria.


The biggest disappointment was Kushi, for sure.  The staff basically ignored us and we were presented with a pre-packaged rice wrap with plum inside.  Wow. Coming there after Buddha Bar, it was obvious which one was the winner.

Busboys and Poets

I didn’t bother taking a picture of the non-alcoholic pomegranate lemonade we were served at the bar.  It was salty and tart.  We didn’t stay for long.

Taylor Gourmet

We had two choices of sandwiches – turkey and italian.  The italian was tasty, I would definitely go back for that sandwich, but the turkey was a bit skimpy.  We noshed on them at a table outside.


Mandu hasn’t moved into the triangle yet, but they had a stand outside their new location.  We each got one seafood cake.  It wasn’t hot, and was a bit greasy, but it was tasty, even if we didn’t know what seafood was in it.  And  I appreciated that they participated.

Henry’s Soul Cafe

We were each given a small tart-sized sweet potato pie.  The pie filling was tasty as usual.  But it wasn’t exactly a great deal.  But since I love Henry’s, I can’t say anything else.

Papa John’s

They had several boxes of pizza to choose from.   It was cold, but we took multiple pieces and warmed them at home.  Not much else to say, I like Papa John’s pizza, and I was happy to have something to eat at that point!

So my overall summary: I hope that if they do this next year that the participating restaurants do more.  As a fellow Triangler, and someone who enjoys the food and drinks of Kushi and Busboys and Poets, I was a bit embarrassed by the poor showing by some; and I was glad friends couldn’t make it.  But I’m looking forward to going to Buddha Bar soon.

Top Chef DC Inspired English Pea Puree and Salmon

10 Aug

Inspired by the recent infamous “pea puree” episode I made my own version for us less experienced busy chefs and with ingredients that are easy to get.   I used orzo as a substitute for black forbidden rice, and didn’t marinate the salmon overnight.  I am a terrible plater, but I promise it is delicious!

This is a recipe for two:


1 package salmon

Salt and pepper to taste

Salmon marinade:

1 tbsp champagne or balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp low fat maple syrup

1 tsp olive oil

A couple drops of worcestershire sauce

Orzo soaked in fennel broth:

1 box orzo

1 can low sodium chicken broth

1-2 shallots (optional)

1 tsp olive oil

Fennel and pear salad:

1/2 bulb fennel

Pear balsamic or balsamic vinegar

2 pears

1 red onion

Pea puree:

English peas (1 bag frozen)

1 pint low-fat or regular cream


Slice one half of the fennel, the pears, and red onion.  Add a touch of balsamic or pear balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.  Soak overnight if you have time.

Warm up chicken broth.  Add ½ of the sliced fennel bulb. In a separate pan, sauté shallots until translucent (optional).  Add fresh parsley or rosemary (optional). Add orzo and olive oil and cook slowly.  Cooking the orzo slowly will allow it to absorb the flavor of the fennel.

Blanch peas in boiling salt water for one minute; shock in ice water.  Warm cream and reduce by half.  Combine cream and peas in a food processor and puree until smooth.

Mix together marinade ingredients and cover salmon.  Grill salmon.  Add fresh or dried parsley or rosemary or garlic (optional).

Plate and enjoy!

And beware of cat! Who knew they liked pea puree too?

The Gobble Dog

14 Jun

Another possibility for my Fourth of July hot dog grilling menu, the “Gobble Dog.” 

So here’s the recipe I plan on creating to make this:

Turkey Hot Dogs

Topped with:

Stuffing (Stouffer’s stovetop stuffing with some chopped celery and onions added)

Cranberry sauce (I don’t think I will find cranberries, so I will use the canned kind with some orange zest added)

Corn meal mush (cornmeal, water, salt, fried with fat free cooking spray)

Biscuits (instead of hot dog buns, likely use the Pillsbury all you do is pop them in the oven kind)

The recipe shown also has a “honey yam sauce.”  I’m not sure it’s needed for my purposes here, but if I have time, I will try to create a sweet sauce for the side with mashed sweet potatoes, low calorie maple syrup, I can’t believe it’s not butter, brown sugar, honey, and cinammon, maybe some molasses thrown in there too.  

Hmm, would adding mashed potatoes or gravy work…?

Will post pictures after I make it on the Fourth!

True Blood themed grilling menu

13 Jun

How could I have forgotten to mention the season premiere of True Blood tonight in my first post? I’ve been so busy thinking about hot dogs that I almost forgot about my thoughts about my True Blood menu tonight! I can’t wait to see the new season and whether they introduce Alcide this season, and to find out what Sookie really “is.”

So to go with the vampire theme, here’s a realistic (i.e., easy and inexpensive) grilling menu: bloody mary grilled chicken with grilled balsamic tomatoes and rouge summer salad.

Bloody Mary Grilled Chicken


2 skinless chicken breasts


4 ounces V-8, tomato juice, or bloody mary mix

1 ounce vodka

1 tsp worcestershire sauce

1/2-2 tsp tabasco sauce (amount depending on taste)

A couple squeezes or drops of lemon or lime juice or both

1 tsp green olive juice (optional)

1 pinch celery salt (optional)

Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder to taste

Mix ingredients and pour into a plastic sandwich bag with the chicken to marinade. Grill chicken.

I love having multiple choices for sauces and toppings, so what I like to do is marinate meats in different sandwich bags with different marinades. So here are some variations for this marinade recipe:

Russian Mary

recipe same as above

1 ounce plain yogurt

Bloody Bull Grilled Chicken

recipe same as above

1 tsp horseradish

Bloody Mariner Grilled Chicken

recipe same as above

1 ounce clam juice

Wasabi Bloody Mary

recipe same as above

1/2-2 tsp wasabi (according to taste)

Bloody Maria Grilled Chicken

Substitute tequila for vodka

Grilled Balsamic Tomatoes

2 large beefsteak tomatoes

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup grated or sprinkled low fat parmesan cheese

Sprinkle of basil, oregano, and thyme or italian seasoning

Salt and pepper to taste

Slice tomatoes in half and make some shallow cuts in the inside of each tomato with a knife so the ingredients will seep in.  Mix ingredients together and add to the top of the tomato. Place tomato in tinfoil, leave top exposed.  Grill tomato (10-20 minutes, depending on taste, just make sure to remove before the top burns).

Rouge Summer Salad


Lettuce or prepackaged salad mix

Tomatoes (I like grape tomatoes, but any will do)

1 (or more) red bell peppers, sliced

1/2 can beets

1 cup strawberries, sliced

1 cup dried cranberries

Walnuts (to taste)

3 tsp red wine or raspberry vinegar

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (optional)

A couple squeezes or drops of lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Crumbled goat or feta cheese

Combine ingredients in a decorative salad bowl.  Sprinkle crumbed cheese on top.

Easy Fourth of July hot dog topping recipes

13 Jun

I’m excited about planning my first Fourth of July party and coming up with fun grilling recipes.  Since there will be a lot of people coming, I’ve decided to keep it simple (and keep the costs down) with burgers and hot dogs, but provide a fun menu of topping choices. My inspiration today came from watching the Man vs Food marathon and seeing Adam Richman eat what looked like a delicious sonoran hot dog in Tuscon (I have the toppings recipe below). Here’s what I have so far for fun (and not hard to find or expensive) toppings for hot dogs:

Columbian hot dog

Hot dogs

Topped with:

Pineapple (chunks or pineapple salsa)

Ham (pictures have it in pieces, but thinking of wrapping the hot dog with a slice)




Chopped onion

Crushed potato chips

Reuben hot dog

Hot dogs

Topped with:


Swiss cheese

Russian or Thousand Island dressing

Buffalo hot dog

Hot dogs

Topped with:

Wing sauce

Blue cheese dressing

(Celery strips?)

Tuscan Sonoran dog

Hot dogs

Topped with:

Jalapenos (or jalapeno sauce)

Bacon (pieces or wrapped in bacon)

Mayonnaise (to squirt it on top, mix with lemon juice or water to thin out and put in sandwich bag with corner cut off to squeeze)




Pinto beans

Chopped onions

Shredded cheddar cheese (or cotijo cheese if you can find it)

Grilled chili pepper on the side (optional)

Fenway park

Hot dogs

Topped with:



Salad dog

Hot dogs

Topped with:

Lettuce (maybe grilled?)


Blue cheese dressing

Mexican hot dog

Hot dogs

Topped with:


Sour cream


Monterey jack cheese

(Guacamole? Avocado? )

BLT dog

Hot dogs

Topped with:




Picnic hot dog

Hot dogs

Topped with:

Cole slaw

Barbecue sauce

(Potato salad?)

The New Yorker

Hot dogs

Topped with:

Schmere of mustard


The Coney Island (aka Detroit dog)

(I have to admit, as a former New Yorker I had first assumed this was referring to a hot dog recipe from the Coney Island amusement park rather than a recipe from a restaurant of the same name in Michigan)

Hot dogs

Topped with:

Chili (“Flint” chili is thicker, “Detroit” chili is soupier with more cumin)


Shredded cheese (to make a cheese coney dog)

Yellow onions

Pizza dog

Tomato sauce

Mozzarella cheese

Green peppers (optional)

Mushrooms (optional)

Black olives (optional)

Chicago dog

Hot dogs

Topped with:

Celery salt


Sweet pickle relish



Banana peppers

Dill pickle spear (tucked in side of bun)

Black and Blue Dog (Hilton Head’s Dog Harbour)

Hot dogs

Topped with:

Blue cheese crumbles


Sour cream

Harbour sauce:




Blue cheese