Tomatoes and watermelon—perfect on their own


Cross-posted from

What’s with tomatoes and watermelon this year? I have seen them side by side at local farmers markets, of course, having both come into season recently. But in an odd development, I started to see them together in recipes, too.

At first, I noticed the usual myriad recipes for watermelon-feta salad sometimes included halved cherry tomatoes. Then came the watermelon gazpacho. Then, as if that weren’t enough, watermelon bloody Marys have now poured into the fray, celery sticks and all.

While I cheer combinations like chipotle and chocolate or peaches and basil, I just can’t get into this one. Continue reading


Eggrolls, tummy bulge, and the food revolution


Eggrolls and tummy bulge. Those were the concerns of Cornell University researches in a study released last year in the journal Obesity, but the research–and the discussion about it–may have fallen short.

The study tracked the habits of people with various body mass indexes (BMIs) at a Chinese buffet, and found several differences in the actions of people with high and low BMIs. All good and helpful, I say.

Then this week, David Zinczenko, co-author of the hit Eat This, Not That! book series, turned the findings into a guide to the habits of people who qualified as obese versus their daintier lo mein-slurping counterparts. The top two Zinczenko singles out:

  • They use larger plates. When offered two plate sizes, 98.6 percent of those with the highest BMIs took the larger of the two plates to the buffet. A bigger plate tricks your eye into thinking you’re not eating as much, and stuffing more food onto your plate — and into your mouth. Use a smaller plate, get a smaller belly.
  • They eat while looking at food. 41.7 percent of those with high BMIs took seats that overlooked the buffet, instead of sitting in a booth or facing in a different direction. The site of food tends to make our minds think we have more work to do, eating-wise. Keep your food stored in the fridge or the pantry, not out on the countertops. Continue reading

WHAT-flavored vodka?



If you live in D.C., you’ve likely wandered by it dozens of times. It’s the regal stone and brick building perched on the hill overlooking the intersection of Connecticut and Florida Avenues. The red neon sign simply says:



From the outside, it’s hard to discern what it’s called or differentiate it from the myriad other Dupont eating and drinking establishments that line Connecticut Ave. Inside, it’s Russia House, and there’s no mistaking that.

The walls of the restaurant and lounge part of the building (the one we care about here) sport beveled-frame mirrors, elegant candle holders, and lots of red. Imagine an atmosphere coming just this side of a parody of a Ruskie dining room, and there you have it. If you head down the spiral staircase, you can catch another fun decor note–the teal-and-brass motif bathroom. Continue reading

The Relocation Diet

The Relocation Diet — it’s simple, it’s sad, it’s full of revelation.  A meal that makes me feel full at the end usually begins with a cast iron pan and lots of canola oil. I plunk it down, heat it up, and hunt for something to fry. Or I start with a brilliant idea–sweet potato croquettes! A garlic, white wine, and wilted mache pasta topping!–and find that this idea leads me back to the pan and oil.

Now I’m living on the lean, mean Passover edition of the kind of eating that must accompany a move. All my implements for heating and slicing and simmering are packed away, and there’s no room on the counter or the stove if some of them were recovered. I’m down to matzah with hummus and stuffed grape leaves, or leftover charoset and a hard boiled egg. It doesn’t sound too shabby, but I always finish unsatisfied. I’ll sometimes think of something I’d like to make with the ingredients in the fridge, and then realize some essential element is missing or would take too long to find and unwrap and rinse, and then decide where it should go in the empty cabinets. So I hold back.

This is probably the closest I’ve come to being on a Diet. (Vegetarianism doesn’t count, for a number of reasons). This diet thing sucks, as most readers probably know. It sucks and I’m sorry that people go through this.

Mt. Pleasant Woman Denied Down Time, Forced to Remove “Lunch Hour” From Her Vocabulary

This is what the headlines should read right about now. I haven’t had a normal weekend for quite some time. Last weekend I was at the Mid-Atlantic Multisport Triathlon Boot Camp (which my friend wrote about on her new blog) and this weekend was a major paper-writing and cooking endeavor. My Braisin’ Greens menu of saag paneer, jasmine rice, sesame-ginger stir fry, garlic broccoli, multigrain bread, and walnut-currant scones sent me to a record four food stores/markets (don’t ask!)

There’s something refreshing and restorative about coming home from the Saturday night bar run or party to stove top popcorn, red wine, and SNL. Last night, I managed to catch the last few minutes of the show before conking out for 7.5 hours and then getting up to shop and cook for the next 10. While I cook most of the day many Sundays, somehow today was more exhausting, and I blame the lack of down time in my life.

I’m determined to start training for a triathlon, and plan to do the Deaf-REACH Signs of Spring 5K next weekend. According to my calculations, that means even less down time.

I think the only way to do this is to stop taking lunch hours. Ten minutes is all you really need to eat, and those ten minutes might as well be spent in front of a computer screen. Take a bite, chew and type a sentence, repeat. The rest of the hour is then freed up for any number of things, including but not limited to swimming, biking, running, and napping.