A Day at L’Academie de Cuisine

Earlier this year I spent the day at L’Academie de Cuisine, a professional culinary and pastry arts school just outside of D.C. in Maryland. The school needed new photos for their website, and invited me to spend the day at their campus shooting a few different culinary classes, pastry classes, and a cooking competition (similar to Chopped) that took place among their Phase 2 students. These students are in the advanced kitchen training portion of their education, and it was pretty incredible to watch them work their way around the kitchen.

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More photos are over at the L’Academie website!

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Pollo Guisado and a Rum Spritzer

Trying new foods and eating my way through a new city or country is hands down, my favorite way to travel. You can learn so much about a culture through their food, and there’s nothing better than having a local show you their favorite bbq spot or watering hole as you navigate a new place.

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 It’s hard to believe it (especially with the current temperatures in DC), but we were visiting the Caribbean just a few days ago on the Carnival Breeze. As a food lover, I was so excited to explore all of the offerings both on and off the boat, especially since I’ve never been on a cruise before. In researching some of the cuisine that we’d encounter at our ports prior to sailing, the Dominican Republic stood out to me. I’d been there a few years ago, and fell in love with the friendly people and the incredibly delicious food. Our final stop on the cruise was in the Dominican Republic, allowing us to try some more of the local food there, including some incredible chicken and fish dishes cooked right on the beach (take me back!).

To pay homage to some of the great food we tried on the trip, we opted to try our hand at pollo guisado, a chicken dish that is very popular in the Dominican Republic. Until you make your way to the island yourself, this tasty chicken dish plus a recipe for a cocktail to go along with will have to do!

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POLLO GUISADO
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients:

-2 lbs. of chicken thighs (skin on and bone in)
– 2 limes, freshly squeezed
– 1 teaspoon of oregano
– 1 small onion, chopped
– 2 stalks celery, chopped
– 3 cloves of minced garlic
– 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
– 1 teaspoon of sugar
– 4 small tomatoes, chopped
– 2 bell peppers, sliced
– 1 jalapeno, diced with seeds removed
– 15­-20 green olives
– 1 cup (8 oz.) of tomato sauce
– cilantro for garnish
– 1 teaspoon of salt
– 1⁄2 teaspoon of pepper

Directions:

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  1. Squeeze the juice of both limes over the chicken thighs in a large bowl
  2. Mix together the chicken, oregano, onion, celery, salt, pepper and garlic. Marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator
  3. Heat oil in a large pot and add in the sugar, browning it slightly over medium­-high heat. Be careful not to burn it!
  4. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for just under an hour on each side until browned
  5. Add 1⁄4 cup of water. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally
  6. Add onion, celery, tomatoes, bell peppers, olives, jalapeno and garlic. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are cooked through, about 5 minutes
  7. Add the tomato sauce and half a cup of water, simmer over low heat for 30-­45 minutes to let the liquid reduce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Plate each piece of chicken with some fresh cooked rice and top with cilantro

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CITRUS RUM SPRITZER

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Ingredients

– 1 oz. freshly squeezed orange juice
– 1 oz. freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
– 2 oz. dark rum
– 1⁄2 oz. simple syrup
– 2 oz. seltzer water

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Directions:

  1. Combine the grapefruit juice, orange juice, rum and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for at least 15 seconds
  2. Pour liquid into a glass and top with seltzer water

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This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over.

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Glen’s Garden Market

Here are a few shots from a recent shoot with Glen’s Garden Market. If you live in DC and haven’t been, it’s worth checking out immediately. These photos were taken at their Dupont Circle location, but they’ve just opened a second one in Shaw which is a convenient 7 minutes from my apartment (!!!). The food is all fresh + local, beers at always $4, and the market stocks every amazing local food product imaginable.

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Noma’s Saturday Night Projects

I have so much more to share about my trip to Noma earlier this summer, but I wanted to start with one of my favorite parts, their Saturday Night Projects. After a meal that I will truly never forget, we were lucky enough to be invited back to observe the kitchen’s Saturday Night Projects. On most Saturday nights at Noma after a long week, a few of the chefs prepare a dish to put up for discussion and critique by their fellow chefs. The result is Saturday Night projects, a way for the chefs of Noma to exhibit and challenge their own creativity. Watching these chefs work was nothing short of incredible, and I feel so fortunate that I got to be there to experience it and take a few photos.

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Drink Good, Do Good

This post was created in partnership with Naked Juice. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Today I wanted to share a little bit more about a cause that really means a lot to me. I am lucky enough to live in an area with plenty of grocery stores and markets around, but that isn’t the reality for nearly 300,000 other people who live in the same city as me. It’s staggering to think that this lack of access to healthy foods and produce is prevalent so close to home, but food deserts are a reality all across the U.S.

It’s easy to take for granted (I know I do) how simple it is for a lot of us to access healthy food which is why I am really honored and excited to spread more awareness about these food deserts. I’ve teamed up with Naked Juice and Wholesome Wave on their #drinkgooddogood campaign. For every photo you post with a fruit or veggie, 10 pounds (that’s a LOT) of produce gets donated to Wholesome Wave, a non-profit dedicated to eradicating food deserts in communities across the U.S. It’s amazing that we can make such an impact nowadays just by using social media and sharing photos. Just snap a photo, and tag a friend to do the same (the Gather Tumblr has lots of fun inspiration). Let’s make this happen together.

In honor of #drinkgooddogood, I thought I’d share one of my favorite, super-simple summertime recipes that incorporates a lot of fresh and healthy ingredients. This salad uses lots of great summer produce so it’s perfect for this time of year. Enjoy!

Summer Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette 

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Salad:
-2-3 hand fulls of lettuce
-8-10 strawberries (sliced)
-2 tbsp. grated sharp cheddar
-1/2 cup of crushed pecans

Dressing:
-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
-1/3 cup olive oil
-1 tablespoon honey
-Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:
1) Chop your lettuce into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl.
2) Cut your strawberries into small flat slices, lengthwise. Optional: add in some slice cherry tomatoes or pears depending on the season.
3) Grate your choice of sharp cheddar cheese.
4) For the dressing, place all the dressing ingredients into a bowl and whisk together until well incorporated, making sure no honey is sticking to the bottom.
5) Place a portion of the salad mixture onto a plate and drizzle with the honey-balsamic vinaigrette. Finish by topping with the cheese of your choice. Simple and easy!

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