Georgetown Gem

Salmon with Spinach, Ricotta and Sundried Tomatoes over Quinoa Pilaf November 14, 2012

Filed under: Food,Recipes — kekirkpatz @ 10:20 am

GG’s Thoughts: This recipe will quickly be added to my rotation of “Tried & True” recipes. It was my first time cooking quinoa, and I must say, it is a very delicious grain. I couldn’t believe how much I like the texture, and the flavors of this particular recipe could easily be paired with any number of proteins. I actually think I’m going to make this exact quinoa recipe tonight and chop up some of my leftover roasted chicken from Sunday to throw in so I have lunch tomorrow and Friday! (As a note, I halved the recipe for the Salmon but kept the Quinoa Pilaf as a full recipe. We had big salmon fillets so I ended up with half of mine left, but only a little bit of quinoa left… it was that good!)



Salmon with Spinach, Ricotta and Sundried Tomatoes over Quinoa Pilaf (Original Recipe from Self. Picture by GG.)

2 packages (10 oz each) frozen spinach, thawed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup minced shallots

2 teaspoons minced garlic

5 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

1/2 cup part-skim ricotta

4 skinless salmon fillets (6 oz each), rinsed and patted dry


Heat oven to 350°. Squeeze spinach of all excess liquid. Set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute more. Add spinach, tomatoes, salt, pepper flakes and pepper; cook, stirring, 2 minutes more. Remove from heat; let cool about 15 minutes. Add ricotta; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Pack about 1/2 cup spinach mixture on top of each fillet, matching the shape of the fillet. Place fillets on a rimmed baking sheet or in a glass baking dish; bake until cooked through, 15 minutes.


Quinoa Pilaf (Original recipe from Self)

1/2 cup quinoa

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 large onion, chopped

2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown, 2 minutes

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped


Bring quinoa and broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low; cover; simmer until quinoa absorbs liquid, about 15 minutes. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to brown, about 6 minutes. When quinoa is done, fluff with a fork and transfer to a serving bowl. Stir in onion, pine nuts and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.


Meals This Week October 8, 2012

Filed under: Food,Recipes — kekirkpatz @ 11:35 am

I haven’t had a chance to download the picture of my attempt at making the Roasted Cilantro, Lime and Chili Chickpeas, but I can tell you now that it did not turn out well AT ALL. I should have trusted my instinct instead of sticking to the recipe exactly, but with new recipes, and especially new ingredients that I’ve only used to make hummus, I wanted to test their method first. I will post the results this week. In the meantime, below is what I’m planning for us to cook this week. M and I are leaving Thursday night for Denver, so it’s a short week that I wanted to fill with healthy meals before we indulge this weekend on good food and beer!


Monday: Tilapia with Escarole & Lemon Pepper Oil (Emeril’s Recipe via

Picture of Tilapia with Escarole and Lemon-Pepper Oil Recipe


Tuesday: Lemon Basil Chicken with a Veggie (Image and Recipe via

Grilled Lemon Basil Chicken at


Wednesday: Garlic Roasted Salmon and Brussel Sprouts (Image and Recipe via

Garlic Roasted Salmon & Brussels Sprouts Recipe


Roasted Cilantro, Lime and Chili Chickpeas October 6, 2012

Filed under: Food,Recipes — kekirkpatz @ 10:00 am

Football season is everyone’s favorite season right? Especially for foodies that love to have an excuse to make interesting snacks for those Saturday and Sunday football parties. Aka: me. This weekend I’m trying out a recipe that caught my eye right away on Pinterest. I love hummus, but I’m trying to cut down on chips/pita bread (and I’m allergic to carrots/celery – I KNOW). So this is a healthy alternative that keeps with my theme of cilantro, lime and chili this week. I’ll check back in on Monday to let you know how everything I cooked this weekend tasted, share my own (crappy iPhone) photos and share any tweaks I made.



Roasted Chickpeas: Recipe and gorgeous photo from The Lovely Cupboard


Weekend Meals October 5, 2012

Filed under: Food,Recipes — kekirkpatz @ 2:00 pm

This weekend my parents will be in town for (hopefully) the Oriole’s playoff game on Sunday at Camden Yards! They first have to beat the Texas Rangers tonight… it’s going to be a good battle! I’m not sure how much time we’re going to have in the house this weekend, but if we do, this is what I would like to cook :


Low-Carb Chili (Original recipe and picture from

I’ve made this before and it’s great. Even before moving to a lower carb diet I didn’t like beans in my chili. This eliminates that and cuts down on the tomato while incorporating more vegetables. The comments associated with this recipe also have a lot of good ideas to add/subtract from the recipe to make it your own. (And I definitely do not use canned mushrooms – ew!)

Low Carb Chili. Photo by Mr. Sandman


1 quart water
2 lbs ground beef
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, mashed {Minced mine and used way more than 2 cloves.}
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
3 bay leaves
1 (4 ounce) can mushrooms (drained)
3/4 cup chopped green pepper

Brown meat and drain off fat. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then simmer 3 hours. {Simple, right? I did mine in a slow cooker all day while I was at work and it turned out great.}


Garlic Chicken & Roasted Broccolini October 2, 2012

Filed under: Food,Recipes — kekirkpatz @ 3:28 pm
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GG’s Thoughts: M and I love anything garlic, so if a recipe calls for a full head of garlic, we’re all in. This recipe has just enough ingredients that I feel like we’re cooking something special, but not too many that I feel we’re going to be spending an hour in the kitchen. I feel kind of silly posting a recipe for a roasted vegetable because we make them all of the time, but it’s good to have a reminder of the vegetables we love on this blog. (Original chicken recipe from Eating Well Magazine. Picture is GG’s.)


Garlic Chicken for Two

1 head garlic, cloves separated

4 chicken drumsticks (about 1 1/4 pounds), skin removed, trimmed

1/4 teaspoon salt, divided

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons white wine

1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or scallion greens


1. Lightly smash garlic cloves with the side of a large knife to loosen the skins. Peel; cut the large ones in half. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.

2. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Remove to a plate with a slotted spoon.

3. Add the chicken to the pan and cook until browned on one side, about 4 minutes. Turn it over and return the garlic to the pan. Add wine and cook for 1 minute.

4. Whisk broth, mustard, flour and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Add the mixture to the pan; bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a lively simmer. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through and the garlic is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve the chicken with the sauce, sprinkled with chives (or scallion greens).


Roasted Broccolini

1 bunch of broccolini

1 large garlic clove

Extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper


1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Wash and trim the broccolini and spread onto a baking sheet lined with foil.

4. Drizzle the broccolini with extra-virgin olive oil (about 1 tbsp) and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Roast broccolini for 10-12 minutes until the tops begin to brown and the stem is soft enough to stick a fork in easily.


Skillet Lasagna August 3, 2011

Filed under: Cookbooks,Food,Recipes — kekirkpatz @ 8:30 pm
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This is the last time I will apologize for a lack of posts. I need to allow myself to take a break if work is crazy, or even life. And both have been crazy as of late. Let’s just say there may be a post soon about a brand new abode… 🙂

While I am dealing with this all, I figured a couple recipe posts were in order. I made meals last week, so I’ll be posting those, along with my comments, over the next couple of days. Sadly, I do not have the camera or photography knowledge that other food bloggers do, so I will post these with whatever photos I can find online. I hope you can just trust my words and perhaps even try the recipe yourself without *gasp* having ever seen what the stylized finished product *should* look like. All of these recipes are from the authors of Cooks Illustrated, either from the cookbook The Best 30-Minute Recipe or The Best Slow and Easy Recipes. These are amazing cookbooks, and I’m sure you’ll hear more and more about them as I continue to cook. (Did I mention I  might have a new kitchen soon? With granite and a refrigerator with a freezer on the bottom? No? I didn’t think I’d ruined that surprise…whew.)

Skillet Lasagna 

For the jarred tomato sauce, we like marinara, but you can use whatever type you like. Any brand of curly-edged lasagna noodles will work here, but do not use no-boil lasagna noodles. If the pasta is especially dry and shattery, you may need to add extra water to the skillet while the pasta cooks. If you can’t find meatloaf mix, use 1/2 pound 85 percent lean ground beef and 1/2 pound ground pork. LIke it spicy? Increase the amount of red pepper flakes up to 1 teaspoon. To make things go even quicker, you can replace the mozzarella and Parmesan with 3/4 cup of shredded Italian cheese blend. 

1 pound meatloaf mix (see note)

2 garlic cloves

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salt and ground black pepper

6 ounces curly-edged lasagna noodles (8 noodles broken into 2 inch pieces)

1 (26 ounce) jar tomato sauce, such as marinara (about 3 cups)

2 cups water

1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded (see note)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (see note)

3/4 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

1/4 cup minced fresh basil

Making the minutes count: 

Mince the garlic and measure out the pasta while the meat cooks.

  1. Cook and Drain Meat: Cook meat in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat, breaking it into pieces with wooden spoon, until fat renders, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain meat and return it to skillet.
  2. Saute Aromatics: Stir in garlic, pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Simmer Lasagna Noodles: Sprinkle broken noodles into skillet, then pour in tomato sauce and water over top. Cover and cook, stirring often and adjusting heat as needed to maintain vigorous simmer, until noodles are tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Add cheese: Off heat, stir in half of mozzarella and half of Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Dot heaping tablespoons of ricotta over noodles, then sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and let stand off heat until cheeses melt, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with basil before serving.
GG’s Thoughts: 
I loved this dish. It really was as simple as it sounds, and all in one skillet. The cheese at the end adds a great flavor, but the real genius is in how the meat and noodles are cooked together with the garlic. I could honestly believe it had baked in the oven for an hour instead of in a skillet for 20 minutes. I wish I had more comments, but I wouldn’t change a thing about the recipe and I would certainly make it again.
(Recipe courtesy of The Best 30-Minute Recipe, 2006) 

who i am (today) July 25, 2011

Filed under: Food — kekirkpatz @ 3:17 pm

Today I am a 24 year old girl (woman?) who loves to cook. I think about food everyday, all day. I wonder what my dinner is going to taste like. I do not, however, ever wonder what I will have for dinner. I love to plan my meals out and only make one trip to the grocery store a week if possible. Trader Joe’s is my Sunday go-to for almost everything – fresh veggies, stranger-than-Safeway-has ingredients, and of course wine. Their meat, in my opinion, is overpriced; most of it is organic, and while I’m health conscious, I cannot afford only organic meats at this point in my life. I choose to shop at Harris Teeter or the fish market for all of my meat needs… until I win the lottery, of course. I love to fill up my basket knowing that later that week I will make something wonderfully tasty. I will stand at my 2 foot long counter (I am not kidding) and chop red bell peppers, onions, and lots (and lots) of garlic. I will slice meat in the perfect lengths and pour exactly one tablespoon of oil (I read we Americans are using too much oil in our cooking – who knew?) to begin the stir-fry. I’ll read the recipe over and over, but use my best judgement to tell when everything is cooked perfectly.

This to me is the most exciting part of the day. If I could, I would spend every day with the Crock-Pot on with a beef stew simmering inside, while a chicken is roasting in the oven, and  sauteing garlic while the pasta boils for a delicious sauce. (I hate washing dishes and doing laundry though, so I’m hopeless as a housewife if that’s where you think this post is going.) To me, cooking is an expression of love (how many times have you heard that?) – but more of a love for food than those I’m cooking for. What? Can’t I be honest? Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing a smile come to M’s face when I know he really enjoys a meal. But 99% of the time he’s there cooking with me, so it’s not always about me cooking for him. It’s about a relationship with food – from the ground, to the markets, to my refrigerator, and then to my (coffee) table. I can create anything. (Eh… with the right tools, budget, know-how… you get the picture.)

Today I am a girl (woman? I must decide at some point…) with a highly sophisticated palate, only excluding a few items from my diet: avocados, peaches, almonds, cabbage, raw carrots and apples, cherries, strawberries, soy beans… the list goes on. Wait, that doesn’t mean I have a sophisticated palate? Hogwash…

All kidding aside, I actually have food allergies to all those items listed above and more. It’s called an Oral Allergy Syndrome, and mine specifically relates to Oak and Birch pollens that keep me inside all spring with a box of tissues and 90-day supply of Allegra-D. Basically, I eat any of those foods and my mouth and throat start to itch like bug bites I can’t quite get to with my tongue. It can also spread down into my chest so that my breathing becomes more shallow; death of course is possible, but not probable, if I get Benadryll or an epi pen in me relatively soon after eating those foods. I tell you all this because it has limited me as to what I can eat. So have my taste buds, considering I’m not allergic to but just don’t like things such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce (but I love spinach!). I try to push myself to find new foods I didn’t know I liked, and to re-try foods I previously thought I didn’t like. That’s how I came to actually enjoy onions (sweet, regular and red!), and how I can now tolerate tomatoes if cooked down and I don’t get a hunk of one in sauce… don’t even try to give me a raw one with salt though. Ick!

I try to vary my diet and cook real food – food that isn’t styled like it could be in a magazine and photographed with a $5,000 camera. My pictures may be grainy, and I may have eaten half of the dish before I remember to take a picture, but I hope that any recipes I write about are inspiring to someone who sometimes has a lot of time to cook, someone who sometimes doesn’t, and someone who doesn’t care how long it takes as long as it tastes good. I am all of these people rolled into one – I sometimes pick ambitious meals because they look too good not to cook. And I sometimes pick 30-Minute meals because I really don’t have more than 45 minutes to an hour to cook. (Come on, you know they take longer than 30 minutes)

Today, I am a beginner cook that loves food more than anything else. Tomorrow I could be something different, but hey, I’ll always need to eat, so why not start here?