Archive: Discoveries

A New Wok State of Mind

Last month while traipsing through San Francisco, I bought my very first wok -- well, my very first authentic wok, the real deal from China. My new wok getting a proper seasoning. (Kim O'Donnel) The idea of a new wok had been marinating in my brain for some time, inspired by Chinese cooking authority Grace Young. But it wasn't until I walked into Tane (call me "Octane") Chan's Wok shop in San Francisco, that I was faced with a do-it-now-or-you'll-regret-it moment. Fifteen bucks and a few minutes later, I became the proud owner of a flat-bottomed, cast-iron wok (carbon-steel is the other variety), with an enamel exterior coating. Yesterday, I unwrapped my newly arrived kitchen baby and brought her into my world. But before I could even consider cooking, I needed to give her a good scrubbing, to remove factory grime and any residual metal powder. This is one of...

By Kim ODonnel | September 7, 2006; 02:26 PM ET | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

Alluring Dragon Fruit

Always on the lookout for enticing fruity finds, the dragon fruit caught my eye this week. I was in line for a bubble tea in Eden Center when I saw this bright round object resembling a pink spiky mango. Though the price tag for the one pound fruit was $8, I was willing to pay for the joys of discovering a new edible treat. Dragon Fruit. (Erin Hartigan) Thang loy, pitaya or strawberry pear, they come from Central and South America, along with Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and China....

By Erin | July 26, 2006; 01:49 PM ET | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

Using Your Senses

Ah, the weekend. At last, some time to catch up with ourselves, break out of autopilot work mode and use our physical senses (remember those?) to appreciate what's around us. SIP Hightail it to Ashburn, Va., this weekend for the ninth annual Old Dominion Beer Festival, where more than 100 beers from 50-plus mid-Atlantic breweries will be on tap. May I suggest a leisurely pace with those suds, perhaps with an intermittent snack and plenty of water to keep things hydrated? If the answer is no to beer, what about wine instead? From store tastings to vineyard tours, here's how to get your grape groove on in Washington. LOOK One of the new arrivals at local farmer's markets this week is summer squash -- yellow, zucchini and pattypan. If you don't know what I'm talking about, look for a vegetable that resembles a miniature space ship, sort of round, with...

By Kim ODonnel | June 23, 2006; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Name That Fruit

This is Guy Smiley, with another episode of "Name That Fruit, " the only quiz show in the history of the world to tackle the mysteries of the supermarket produce aisle. Our first contestant is Rayburn Wycliffe, who's known in his home town of Bentonville, Ark., for his way with pineapple upside-down cake. (Buttermilk is the secret, so I'm told.) The first question is a real stumper, but here goes: Name a fruit native to Mexico Central America that looks like a cross between a pinecone and a corn cob but tastes like a cross between a banana and pineapple? And here's a helpful hint: It's got a SCARY name. Thirty seconds to answer, Rayburn, and you will be the owner of a BRAND NEW Viking range! The weird fruit that is the Monstera. (Kim O'Donnel) (Rayburn Wycliffe knits his eyebrows as he scours the depths of his memory bank,...

By Kim ODonnel | June 21, 2006; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Meet Me at the World Bank Cafe

While doing errands on Saturday afternoon, I noticed something different about the northwestern corner of 21st Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. From across the street, I could make out the words "Pangea Market" on an orange awning, but assuming it was just another quick-stop deli kind of place, I didn't plan to walk in. A quick peek in the window proved me wrong; whatever this Pangea Market was, it was far from ordinary. Part boutique, part café and part global education center, the market, formally Pangea Artisan Market & Cafe, is a collaboration between the World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC) and World Craft & Café Inc., a fledgling Springfield, Va., company owned by two Nepalese immigrants. Open since May, Pangea is showcasing products from 40-plus artisans in 30 countries around the world, says store owner Sunil Shrestha, who oversees retail operations with his brother, Deepak. In addition to home...

By Kim ODonnel | June 20, 2006; 09:34 AM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Party Plates With a Conscience

Ever think about how much waste we create over food and drink every time we organize a summer cookout, picnic or other outdoor gathering? I hate to be an environmental downer, but it's time we get hip to all the debris we leave behind after our fun-loving feasts. Two companies have taken on the challenge, offering a new take on disposable plates and cutlery that work in tandem with the environment rather landfills....

By Kim ODonnel | June 1, 2006; 11:45 AM ET | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Caviar Dreams

When cooks think of kitchen toys, usually it's a zippy new appliance or cool gadget that makes life easier. But what if that toy were an ingredient? Recently, I was introduced to flavored whitefish roe, a newfangled product in the gourmet world. Sushi eaters may know it as tobiko - the tiny red or orange eggs of flying fish, tucked inside a California roll or topping sashimi. Infused whitefish roe from Tsar Nicoulai. In this case, it's American whitefish caught from the cold waters of the Great Lakes, then infused with tongue popping flavors, wasabi and ginger among them. Tsar Nicoulai (TN), a San Francisco-based boutique operation better known for its dynamite American (and sustainably-aquafarmed to boot!) caviar offerings, has taken the lead on this cool new trend that's got me all fired up....

By Kim ODonnel | June 1, 2006; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

 

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