Georgetown Gem

Garlic-Herb Marinated Salmon with Slow-Roasted Chili-Lime Cauliflower October 3, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — kekirkpatz @ 8:00 pm

GG’s Thoughts: I paired this recipe together because I didn’t want to waste any cilantro; I had no idea how well they would go together! I love recipes that come together quickly, and even though the cauliflower slow-roasts for over an hour, it’s something I threw together when I first walked in and was able to enjoy by the time M got home. Both parts have so much flavor but compliment each other… Not to mention you’re not buying an entire bunch of cilantro just for one recipe. {I’m also going to use the cilantro for a snack later this weekend, so I’ll probably end up using the entire bunch!}


Garlic-Herb Marinated Salmon (Original Recipe from All Recipes. Picture by GG)

4 salmon fillets {I used only 2 salmon fillets but kept everything the same except how much onion power and red pepper flakes I put on the salmon while in the baking dish.}

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons white sugar

2 tablespoons chopped green onions

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro


Season fillets with salt and pepper, onion powder, and red pepper flakes. Set aside in a baking dish. In a medium bowl, mix together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, balsamic vinegar, sugar, green onions, and cilantro. Pour marinade over salmon; cover, and refrigerate overnight, or at least 6 hours. {I marinated mine over night this time and it’s much better than just marinating for a smaller amount of time. I also flipped mine in the morning so it marinated evenly.} Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Arrange salmon on a broiling sheet. Place in a preheated oven, and bake for 5 minutes. Increase heat to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C), turn fillets, and broil 5 minutes more. {If cooking with the cauliflower, only slow roast the cauliflower for an hour, and then increase the temperature to 350 degrees. Cook the salmon for 10-18 minutes until done to your likeness while the cauliflower continues to finish cooking.}


Slow-Roasted Chili Lime Cauliflower (Original recipe from REM Cooks.)

1 large head Cauliflower

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp Red New Mexico Chile Powder (substitute Ancho Chile Powder if you don’t have Red New Mexico) {I didn’t have either of these so I did about 2.5 tsps of regular chili powder and then 1/2 tsp of an Indian chili powder that is a bit spicier. Cayenne would probably work as well.}

1/2 tsp crushed dried Red Chile {I used Red Pepper Flakes}

1 tsp Cumin seeds toasted and ground {I used regular ground Cumin… Toasting and grinding? No thank you.}

4 Tbsp Olive Oil

1/4 cup Cilantro leaves, chopped

1/2 Lime, juiced

Salt to taste


Preheat oven to 325 F. Separate the florets from the Cauliflower.  Put them in a bowl with the garlic, chile powder, crushed chile, cumin, salt & olive oil and toss gently to mix together and coat well. Spread the seasoned Cauliflower in a shallow roasting pan. Roast 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until tender, stirring occasionally. When done remove from oven, squeeze lime juice over top, and sprinkle with cilantro. {I needed the half of a lime plus a little more on the side to cut down on the heat. But then again, I am a wimp when it comes to spicy food!}


Asian Glazed Drumsticks & Baked Zucchini Sticks with Lemon-Garlic Dipping Sauce

Filed under: Uncategorized — kekirkpatz @ 8:09 am

GG’s Thoughts: I always feel drumsticks should be dripping with sauce so you can dip them back in as you eat through the skin into the actual meat part of the drumstick. This sauce is thick and flavorful, especially if you let it thicken as long as the directions say to. The zucchini fries, on the other hand, left much to be desired. I really want to like these zucchini fries, especially because we no longer eat regular fries or potatoes on a normal night. Gina’s recipe recommends marinara sauce to dip them in, but I like something with a little more tang, so I whipped up the dipping sauce to hopefully make me like them more. This is the second time I have tried making these, this time with a few tweaks, but they still are so soft and mushy I just can’t keep trying. Luckily, we know we really like the dipping sauce, as simple as it is, so it will have many other uses with different vegetables in meals to come.


Asian Glazed Drumsticks (Original recipe from SkinnyTaste.)

8 medium chicken drumsticks, skin removed {I didn’t remove the skins}

olive oil spray

1 cup water

1 tbsp Sriracha hot sauce (more or less to taste)

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup soy sauce

4 tsp agave nectar (or sugar)

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp ginger, grated

2 tbsp chives or scallions, chopped

1 tsp sesame seeds
1. In a heavy large saucepan, brown chicken on high for 3-4 minutes with a little spray oil.

2. Add water, balsamic, soy sauce, agave, garlic, ginger, hot sauce and cook on high until liquid comes to a boil. {I combined this all into a measuring cup as I measured out the ingredients so I could quickly dump everything into the pan at once.}

3. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for about 20 minutes.

4. Remove cover and bring heat to high, allowing sauce to reduce down, about 8-10 minutes, until it becomes a thick glaze, turning chicken occasionally. (Keep an eye on glaze, you don’t want it to burn when it start becoming thick)

5. Transfer chicken to a platter and pour glaze on top. Top with chives and sesame seeds and serve.


Zucchini Sticks with Lemon-Garlic Dipping Sauce 


Baked Zucchini Sticks  (Original Recipe from Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes.)

3 medium zucchini sliced into 3″ x 1/2″ sticks

1 large egg white

1/3 cup seasoned whole wheat bread crumbs

2 tbsp grated Pecorino Romano cheese

cooking spray

1/4 tsp garlic powder


fresh pepper
In a small bowl, beat egg whites and season with salt and pepper. In a Ziplock bag,place breadcrumbs, garlic powder and cheese and shake well. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray and set aside. Dip zucchini sticks into eggs then into bread crumb and cheese mixture, a few at a time and shake to coat. Place the breaded zucchini in a single layer and spray more cooking spray on top. Bake at 425° for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.


Lemon-Garlic Dipping Sauce

1 garlic glove

1 lemon

1 cup of mayonnaise


Mince the garlic clove and add to the cup of mayonnaise.  Squeeze half of the lemon into the bowl, and then add a bit of zest (1/2 tsp or so) to the mixture. Season with pepper if desired, but it shouldn’t need any salt. Adjust seasonings to taste.


Garlic Chicken & Roasted Broccolini October 2, 2012

Filed under: Food,Recipes — kekirkpatz @ 3:28 pm
Tags: , , ,

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.


Tonight’s Dinner August 16, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — kekirkpatz @ 4:06 pm

Tonight’s dinner is all about leftovers! I planned the meals this week around needing to use up a full 1.5 cups of lemon basil pesto. I also wanted to make sure we were sticking to as many low carb meals as possible before the beach, and were able to eat everything we made before heading out of town.

Baked Pesto Chicken {Kayln’s Kitchen}

Baked Pesto Chicken

Broccoli & Cauliflower Casserole  {McCormick Website}


Pancetta Risotto December 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — kekirkpatz @ 9:00 am

First, this is not a cheap meal, but it is easy. (We spent $14 on pancetta, but we had 2 meals each out of it and rice and broth basically cost nothing.) We stayed in this past weekend (well, we shopped all weekend but stayed in at night) and decided we would treat ourselves by cooking something we’d never tried before with an ingredient we also don’t use very much instead of venturing out. I’m so glad we learned how to make a risotto because it really is not the scary beast I thought it would be. So many recipes say you have to heat the broth and the ladle it bit by bit while stirring constantly for 15-20 minutes. That’s absurd! This risotto did not require that and it was every bit as delicious as ones I’ve had in restaurants. Also, a side note: We bought our pancetta from Harris Teeter in pre-diced packages. Later on in the weekend I found a wine/cheese shop that also sells meats and it was actually cheaper there by a couple dollars, so make sure you check the grocery store and local places to compare prices if you’re on a tight budget or just frugal (cheap?), like me.

The recipe is from Fabio who was on one of the few seasons of Top Chef that I watched. I didn’t really like him on the show, but this video is actually pretty funny. M found this and sent it to me and basically demanded (nicely) that we make it soon. I’m so glad he did. Make this for someone special in your life, or just because you want to experiment with new ingredients!

Easy Pancetta Risotto

Yields 4 servings

8 oz. pancetta, diced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Pinch of pepper
4 handfuls, approximately 1 ½ – 2 cups risotto
2 quarts chicken stock (forgot it said stock and used broth we already had on hand)
1 Tbsp. butter
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
1 ea. lemon, zested


In a large sauce pot, render the pancetta in olive oil until crisp and golden brown. Remove 3 large Tbsp. of pancetta and reserve for garnish.

Add to pot 2 cups of Risotto and toss with pancetta and oil so that the rice absorbs the fat (1 minute).

Add enough chicken stock to cover rice and let come to a simmer.

As the stock is absorbed, stir in more stock while the rice is cooking, enough to just cover the rice. You will add the stock about 3 times. (We actually ended up doing this 4-5 times.)

Taste the rice to see if it is cooked, then mix in butter and parmesan cheese.

To serve, garnish with reserved pancetta, chopped parsley, and lemon zest.

(Recipe from Chow Ciao, Shine Recipes. Picture is mine, along with edits in parentheses.)


New Apartment December 20, 2011

Filed under: Moving — kekirkpatz @ 9:23 am
Tags: ,

I mentioned (a long time ago) that we were moving to a new apartment. That move happened the weekend of September 17th, so we’ve been our new place almost 3 months at this point. I am absolutely in love with it. We’re in Arlington in a part called Ballston. We knew we wanted to be in Arlington because it’s really where we feel the young crowd is in Northern Virginia. Before moving we made a list of things we had to have, and things that were on our wishlist. Some of these are “duh” things, but you’d be surprised what we ran into along the way.

Must Haves:

  1. Air conditioning (not a unit in a window)
  2. Close to a metro (within a mile walking)
  3. Outdoor space, preferably a balcony
  4. Washer/dryer in the unit
  5. Not a studio, but a one bedroom/one bath
  6. Dishwasher
  7. Closet space
  8. Some kind of storage – either a storage unit or a garage
  9. Over 700 square feet
  10. Budget: All in (utilities, cable, rent, etc.) had to be under $2000 a month


  1. Nice kitchen that opened up to the living room
  2. Not in a high rise
  3. Amenities (pool/gym, etc.)
  4. Lots of windows
  5. More than one parking space or good street parking
  6. Near bars/shops/things we could do

Thinking about what we ended up with, I’m surprised how many places we saw that only had one or two of these things. Seriously, we saw some AWFUL places. We almost made a bid on a place that was just too small for us because we got so frustrated. We also actually made a bid on a place that was awesome, but we ultimately lost to another person. I’m so glad we lost it (though at the time I was freaking out that we would never find a place we loved) because we ended up with something so much better. M moved in with me in my tiny basement apartment August 8th. We were looking for a place for over a month. To say I was stressed… let’s not even go there.

And now, I can say it was all worth it. So well worth it. Our new place has every single thing on the Must Have list. Every. Single. One. That’s amazing to me. Because I’m crazy, and I want to document this for my future self, I’m going to talk about all the great things in our new apartment.

Must Haves:

  1. Air conditioning (not a unit in a window) – We have great air conditioning/heat (I could never control my own air at my last apartment. This is a freedom I will never again give up!) and it helps that we have awesome plantation shutters that keep the cold or hot air out of our apartment so even during the winter/summer we can leave the heat/air off during the day and only turn it on when we get home. Talk about savings.
  2. Close to a metro (within a mile walking) – We are on the other side of the Ballston mall, a block away. So to get to the metro it takes about 10-12 minutes walking, and we’ve already used it so much that I’m so glad I was convinced this was a necessity and we picked the right area.
  3. Outdoor space, preferably a balcony – We didn’t get the balcony that we both really thought we wanted, but we did get a fenced in yard. Our entire apartment building allows dogs (there are only 3 right now out of 14 units, and we cannot hear any barking at all unless the really hyper one, Cona, is out running in the yard), so we have an awesome grassy area and very social neighbors that hang out outside when the weather’s nice. It’s great to have a safe place to relax outside.
  4. Washer/dryer in the unit – We one-uped the washer/dryer request in that we have a washer/dryer in the unit that is apartment sized, and then a full size (FREE!) washer/dryer on our floor (there are only 4 units per floor and only 3 floors because it’s a garden style apartment, so it’s usually not in use at all).
  5. Not a studio, but a one bedroom/one bath – one BIG bedroom and a smaller, 50’s style (you know, awful mint green tile with a black border) bathroom. But the floor has been updated to large white tiles that are very pretty and the shower has a curved shower rod that makes you feel like you’re in a much bigger shower than you are, which I love.
  6. Dishwasher – The dishwasher we have is the best one I’ve ever used (sorry Mom!) It is a life saver and I would never ever move into a place that didn’t have one!
  7. Closet space – We have three closets in this place and it’s amazing how much space we have. My closet is in the bedroom and is very well organized – two great racks for my shirts/pants, and a taller rack for dresses. I couldn’t fit my shoes though, so those are on a hanging rack in our storage closet. The storage closet is in the living room and is HUGE. We were able to sign up for Costco memberships and store toilet paper/paper towels/chicken stock, etc. in it, as well as all of our coats, household repair/cleaning stuff, and extra bins with decorations and blankets. M’s closet is in the hallway right outside our bedroom, and he can easily fit all of his clothes and shoes in it. It also has shelving on the right that holds all of our towels/sheets, etc. which is very convenient.
  8. Some kind of storage – either a storage unit or a garage. – This storage was important because I have a bed and M has a bed… and we were only using one. But why get rid of a good bed (not just because something could happen between us, but if we ever get a 2 bedroom place, we’ll need that extra bed). So many places we looked at didn’t have any kind of storage, and a storage unit would cost us an extra $100-ish a month. This place has a one car garage that is amazing – it has wood palates to keep our stuff off the ground in case it rains and plenty of room for more storage bins. The previous renters also built a hanging system in the top of the garage that allows us to hang beach chairs, M’s golf clubs, our fishing stuff, and coolers. It’s amazing how we didn’t even think where we were going to put all this stuff and somehow this all magically fell into our laps.
  9. Over 700 square feet – our place is 850 square feet, and we use every single foot of it. It’s large, but not huge, and we’ve found that it gives us both enough breathing room. I also got to buy the sectional couch I wanted because we have the room for it. Here’s hoping we will be able to continue to use this couch in other big spaces!
  10. Budget: All in (utilities, cable, rent, etc.) had to be under $2000 a month – We are just under this. Once we have the TV and couch paid off (we were able to buy both right after we moved in because they have no interest for a year… yes, we’re those people paying it off instead of saving it all up) all of our monthly costs will go down and we’ll be well within our budget.


  1. Nice kitchen that opened up to the living room – This is the one thing that didn’t happen, but as you can see I can’t say I regret it that much because we have such an amazing place. We have a galley kitchen beside the living room with an eat-in space as well. It’s so big though, it shouldn’t be described as a galley kitchen. It’s also fully upgraded – granite counters, gas stove, HUGE refrigerator, garbage disposal, built-in wine rack, built-in spice shelves and plenty of cabinets. I bought a TV during Black Friday on the cheap from Best Buy (actually my brother stood out there and got me and my parents TVs and himself a Garmin. Oh to have the energy of a 17 year old again). It was meant to go on the counter but it didn’t fit, which was actually a blessing in disguise. Instead we got a wall mount and it works out even better. I’m so happy because now I won’t miss any big plays if I’m in the kitchen, and it’s nice to have something to watch while we’re cooking.
  2. Not in a high rise – As I’ve said our apartment is garden style, so it’s only 3 floors and we’re on the 3rd (no one above us!) We live right beside a high rise, and I’m so glad not to have to deal with those elevator rides. Speaking of elevators, we don’t have one. Trust me, moving day is something we just don’t recall anymore because it was that horrible. Just ask my friend B who helped us. But now I love it because there’s no waiting and we get at least a little bit of exercise every day. Bringing in groceries is still a pain, but my parents have to deal with that in their house too, so it’s just a small sacrifice.
  3. Amenities (pool/gym, etc.) – There are no amenities in this place. The first place we placed a bid on had a pool and we really thought that was important. M had a pool at his first apartment and would spend some time there. But really, this is city living and we shouldn’t except big luxuries. The tradeoffs were worth it.
  4. Lots of windows – As I mentioned, we have plantation shutters that are on all the windows in the apartment, and there are a lot of them. We don’t have direct sunlight because of the direction we face, but at least we get light in the apartment, so I’m not complaining too much.
  5. More than one parking space or good street parking – We have a garage, as I’ve mentioned, so we have one spot taken care of. There have been nights where I have had to drive around to find a spot, but if anything it’s a block walk to get to my car. I had to deal with this at my last place, and it’s worth not having to pay an extra $150-200 a month to have another parking spot. Sure it’s annoying sometimes, but it’s the city.
  6. Near bars/shops/things we could do – We are in walkable distance of anything we want really. We’re on the same block as the grocery store, there are bars/restaurants within a mile radius, my nail salon is less than a mile away, the metro is a couple blocks over… we have it all without being in a highrise in the middle of it all. So I can live my quiet home life but go out when I want.

This was a long post, but I wanted to document this all for myself so that hopefully when we buy a house I can remember to keep things in perspective. This move was also a good life lesson that good things can come to those who patiently wait for them. Not to say we didn’t need to do all the leg work we did, but I’m so glad we passed on the many apartments we toured that were “okay” but not “great” and we waited for the right one for us.


M’s Meatballs December 8, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — kekirkpatz @ 3:03 pm

Dirty sounding title, no? First, I am horrible at keeping my word when it comes to blogs. Moving on, and secondly, I had to publish this recipe because these meatballs are to die for. I also created a sauce to go with it, but I wasn’t absolutely in love with it, so for now I would suggest making your own with a Cook’s Illustrated recipe (which is what I’m going to adapt mine from) or just use a good jar of sauce that you already know you like. I am not a tomato lover (more like a hater) but I do think that a sauce to soak these babies in is necessary, so even I dealt with it just to have this deliciously created dish. M has always bragged that he made the best meatballs, and I believed him but didn’t, in that way that girlfriends/boyfriends usually just nod and say, “Right, of course you were great at softball in high school… I can tell by how much you work out now!” You know. That sort of way.

And he proved me wrong.

(Apologies for the crappy iPhone photos. One day we will invest in a nice camera.)

M’s Meatballs

1 lb pork

1lb beef

2 cups Italian breadcrumbs

¾ cup parmesan cheese

¾ cup fresh chopped parsley

2 eggs

7 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp red pepper flakes


Mix all of the above in a large bowl with your hands.

Form large meatballs and place on a baking sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350o.

Remove from oven and finish cooking in a pot of simmering tomato sauce for 1 hour. Garnish with fresh parsley and grated Parmesan cheese.


GG’s Thoughts: This makes a lot of meatballs, and 2-3 meatballs is all you need to fill you up with some spaghetti underneath. We made the full recipe, which had 19 meatballs. We cooked 10 in a crockpot for 5 hours on low in the sauce (after baking the night before like the directions above say). The other 9 we put into a freezer bag and froze raw. My thought is that 2 days before we want them I’ll take them out and thaw them. The next night I’ll bake them for 30 minutes, cool, and then store in the refrigerator like we did this time. Then we can either eat them that night after cooking for an hour, or cook the next day in a crockpot like we did this time. This is such a good, wholesome meal that was easy to prepare and filled us up quickly.