Dating and Food

katie cooking

I’ve seen it all. My friends always joke that I need to start a journal of all the interesting males I’ve encountered during my 11-year dating career. I wish that I started one years ago because I tend to press the delete button on anything that causes me grief. It’s a shame because I’m sure there are a lot of funny stories and writing material that I’ve put in a mental vault. It’s been a series of ups and downs, laughs and strange moments, and most importantly- lessons learned. You might be wondering why I’m talking about failed relationships on a food blog. It sounds funny, but I can very vividly associate food with certain phases in my dating history.

The Disappearing Man

DC is quite possibly the worst city on earth for dating. You see, it tends to be a transient city and when people are here they are usually focused on one thing—getting ahead. You have the stereotypical Hill staffer, The Georgetown frat boy, or the “I’m too busy” type TRIPLE A attorney. Oh and then sometimes you have a wildcard (don’t get me started on that one). I’ve given them all a chance. Success rate? Zero.

So the first recipe I’d like to share is called the Kiss of Death a’la Shrimp Scampi. This recipe alone has caused three DC men to vanish into thin air. The main ingredient is cyanide. Just kidding. In all honesty though, I am the toughest critic of my own recipes and I consider this one to be excellent. It’s the kind of dish that I make for company or when I want to impress someone.  So how could it be that it caused three gents to run away and never speak to me again? Who knows, maybe I had parsley in my teeth. I promise you this recipe is amazing. Just maybe think twice before making it for that special someone.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb linguini ($1.50)
  • 4 tbs butter ($.50)
  • 4 tbs olive oil ($.20)
  • 2 shallots, minced ($.50)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced ($.25)
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined ($7.00)
  • Juice of 1 lemon ($1.00)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 C dry white wine ($2.00)
  • 1/4 C chopped parsley ($.25)

Total: $13.20

Instructions

Bring water to boil and cook linguini. While pasta is cooking, melt 2 tbs of butter and 2 tbs olive oil. Cook shallots, garlic and red pepper flakes about 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper-seasoned shrimp and cook until pink. Remove from pan and set aside. Add wine, lemon juice and tbs butter and tbs olive oil. Bring to a boil then simmer 2 minutes. Add shrimp and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add in cooked linguini then serve, with grated parmesan if desired.

Cheese Therapy

Rejection. We’ve all been there and it sucks. Everyone handles it differently and clings to different coping mechanisms- exercising, talking WAY too much about it, sleeping, drinking, and not eating. Well for me, it’s cooking an excess amount of food. For myself. I don’t necessarily cook anything in particular when I have the blues, but I can remember the time I made two trays of Mac and Cheese from scratch for little ‘ol me. I didn’t eat it in one sitting but over the course of seven days. And after those seven days guess what? I was over it! The guy that is. This is comfort food at its finest, ladies.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz box macaroni ($1.50)
  • 4 tbs butter ($.50)
  • 4 tbs flour ($.05)
  • 1 C milk ($1.00)
  • 1 C cream ($1.00)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 C cheddar cheese, shredded ($3.00)
  • 1/2 C breadcrumbs, buttered ($1.00)

Total: $8.05

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cook and drain macaroni ; set aside. In a large saucepan melt butter. Add flour mixed with salt and pepper, whisk until well blended. Pour milk and cream in gradually, stirring constantly. Bring to boiling point and boil 2 minutes (stirring constantly). Reduce heat and cook (stirring constantly) for 8 minutes. Add shredded cheddar little by little and simmer an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese melts. Add macaroni to the saucepan and toss to coat with the cheese sauce. Transfer macaroni to a buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake 18 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Instructions

Silent Salad

So one time I offered to make dinner for my 3-week boyfriend before we went out to see Jersey Boys in DC. Now, typically when you go to shows you dress up a little. At least that’s what I always thought. I actually really liked this boy so I broke out one of my go-to date dresses and I even made the extra effort to get my hair blown out. Now when this fellow knocks on my door I look in the peep hole and couldn’t believe my left eye. I really wish I had a picture, but let me just give you a mental image: slicked back hair, Wrangler jeans and white sneakers. Now here’s the worst part:  a black MOCK NECK, Long-sleeved, moisture wicking Underarmor turtleneck! Like the kind of shirt football players wear under their jerseys. WTF? Are we like going on a run?

So anyway, I made one of my favorites: Caribbean Cobb Salad but as we sat at the dinner table I didn’t know what to do. Instead of being a nice person and letting the wardrobe choice slide, I said something like “you have something to change into right?” And then I took it a step further and asked if he got dressed in the dark. Apparently this really offended him. Not one word was uttered during the rest of the meal and maybe three or four the rest of the night. Needless to say we did not continue our relationship. Sigh.

Ingredients

  • 2 Chicken Breasts ($3.50)
  • 1 Tbs Jerk Chicken Seasoning ($.10)
  • 1 Head Bibb Lettuce, chopped ($2.00)
  • 1 Head Romaine Lettuce, chopped ($2.00)
  • 1/2 Cup Pine Nuts ($1.00)
  • 1 Mango – Cut in chunks ($1.00)
  • 1 Avocado – Diced ($2.00)
  • 1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes ($2.00)
  • 1 Can Hearts of Palm – Cut into 1″ pieces ($1.50)
  • 3/4 Cup Blue Cheese Crumbles ($1.50)
  • Citrus Vinaigrette or Balsamic ($.40)

Total: $17.00

Instructions

Grill chicken, combine all ingredients and serve.

Mexican Aficionados

This post would be incomplete without a throwback. My college boyfriend, who will undoubtedly read this, has an obsession with Mexican food. I will never forget our first date. He picked me up (didn’t come to door, just beeped the horn) and I opened the passenger car door in horror. The horn beep was one thing but his outfit crossed the line. Not to sound completely judgmental but I asked him what on EARTH he was wearing. The poor kid had on a teal horizontal striped polo (two sizes too small), brown and red plaid shorts and Nike sneakers. After two hours of primping, trying on every outfit I own and hoping to be whisked away by prince charming…let’s just say I was a bit let down. So anyway, he made a solid comeback by taking me to the BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANT ON THE PLANET, Las Margaritas in Gainesville, FL. I really hope that place still exists.

Over the course of our 2.5-year …ok maybe 3-year relationship we visit Las Margs at least 50 times. Not joking. The place was putting a dent in our college student wallets, so we started cooking and making fajitas on the reg. He manned the beef, peppers and onions while I did all the rest. This of course included my all-time famous guacamole. As corny as it sounds, there’s not one time I pull out my molcajete and don’t think of him. Funny how you can associate avocados with a person huh? Back then I was dealing with the connoisseur of all things Mexican so I can assure this recipe has been tested and approved.

Ingredients

  • Two ripe avocados ($4.00)
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped ($.50)
  • 1/4 C chopped white onion ($.25)
  • 2 tbs chopped cilantro ($.10)
  • Juice of 1 lime ($.40)
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder ($.03)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced ($.10)

Total: $5.38

Instructions

Seed both avocados and remove the edible part, cut into chunks before scooping it out. Add all other ingredients, mix in molcajete or use a bowl and mash with the back of a fork to desired consistency.

Poorlittlerichcook Launch Party

spread

I love to entertain and I obviously love to cook. Combine the two and I’m happier than a pig in mud. Given the fact I started this blog recently I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to host a launch party and introduce my recipes to a live audience. I mentioned the idea to my friend Steve, a fellow chef, and within minutes we were party planning (on a yacht of all places, pinch me). We decided on upscale Mexican– flank steak fajitas, shrimp and avocado ceviche, guacamole from scratch, and black bean and corn salad. Don’t worry we didn’t forget the booze. I made my fresh, key lime margaritas with agave nectar and sauvignon blanc sangria.

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My apartment was eliminated because it’s 900 square feet and I have an incredibly angry downstairs neighbor. Whenever I decide to move out of this place I am throwing an all-night rager just to spite him. And buying pogo sticks for all my guests. Anyway, Steve’s house is definitely bigger than mine but with the guest list growing, we were in need of a much bigger space.  Luckily, Steve’s friend Chip graciously agreed to let us use his beautiful Georgetown home for our guests and let me tell you, this place was made for entertaining. Soaring ceilings, atrium that leads to an outdoor patio, rooftop deck, the list goes on. Totally chic and sophisticated, yet still has that warm and historic Georgetown feel.

I’m definitely a planner. Everything has to be organized, the menu has to be perfect, guest list finalized and the food prepped ahead of time. Planning a party for a large amount of people is all about the time leading up to the event. I would have an absolute panic attack if I did all my grocery shopping the day of and didn’t prep my food until the doorbell rang. As a hostess, it’s best to be calm, cool and collected when your guests arrive so that you don’t look like a chicken with your head cut off. Wellllllll…we ended up getting a late start. We made the mistake of buying frozen shrimp that were not peeled or de-veined–do you know how long it takes to peel and devein 4 pounds of shrimp? I delegated that task along with some others– like juicing 8 oranges, 8 limes and 8 lemons. Oh and seeding and chopping tomatoes (thanks Gordon).

Here's me trying to look calm
Here’s me trying to look calm

Luckily most guests arrived fashionably late, about an hour after we told them to come. Phew! I put out some apps, tortilla chips and of course the sangria to keep everyone happy while we started the fajitas. When the party really started hoppin’ the meat was just about ready to come off the grill and the onions and peppers were done– perfect timing. We ended up having a great turnout, about 50 guests, and everyone seemed very pleased with the food. Hooray! Success. I can’t wait to try this again. Below you can find all my recipes (ceviche was from a previous post that you can find here) Oh and don’t worry, I scaled all the recipes down from 50 to 4 servings.

Flank Steak Fajitas

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pound flank steak ($8.00)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil ($2.00)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce ($.10)
  • 1 garlic clove ($.02)
  • 2 scallions, cut in 1/2 ($.05)
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice ($.05)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes ($.05)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin ($.05)
  • 1.5 tablespoons brown sugar ($.03)
  • Salt and Pepper to season steak
  • 2 bell peppers (green or orange) and 1 large white onion, cut into strips
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (for the peppers and onions)

Total: $10.35

Trim fat from flank steak and season generously with salt and pepper. Combine the rest of the ingredients in pyrex baking dish large enough for the steak. Marinate steak for 6-8 hours in refrigerator. Pull steak out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you are ready to grill. Grill on medium-high heat until steak reaches desired temperature.

While you’re grilling the steak start your peppers and onions in cast iron skillet with vegetable oil. They will take about 12 minutes to cook. Put steak on a platter and let it REST at least 10 minutes. Carve steak against the grain and serve with sauteed peppers and onions on flour tortillas. Top with your favorites– cheese, sour cream, salsa, guac, etc.

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Guacamole

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe avocados (cut them in half, pop out the seed and scoop out the green part) ($3.50)
  • Juice of 1 lime ($.20)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin ($.05)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper ($.05)
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced finely ($.25)
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced finely ($.10)
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced($.50)
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped ($.10)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced ($.05)

Total: $4.80

Instructions

Mash avocado with the black of fork, squeeze lime juice over avocado and combine all ingredients. Mash to your desired consistency– I like to keep mine a bit chunky. Pro-tip: Keep the seed in the bowl you are serving in while it’s in the fridge. Also cover tightly with saran wrap. This will keep the guac from browning before you serve! Remove the seed when ready to dig in and serve with tortilla chips.

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Black Bean and Corn Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 oz) can Rotel tomatoes & chilies ($1.00)
  • 1 (8 oz) can yellow corn ($.85)
  • 1/2 (8 oz) can black beans ($.85)
  • 1/2 (4 oz) can green chilies ($1.00)
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion ($.50)
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • chili powder, to taste
  • cumin, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro ($.50)
  • Juice of 1 lime ($.20)
Total: $4.90
Instructions
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stir and refrigerate for 1 hour. Yes, it’s that easy.
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White Sangria

sangria
Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup hot water (free)
  • 1/2 cup sugar ($.20)
  • 750 ml Sauvignon Blanc ($3.99– use the cheap stuff)
  • 3/4 cup brandy ($6.00)
  • 1 lime, sliced into rounds ($.20)
  • 1 orange, sliced into rounds ($.50)
  • 1/2 pineapple cut into chunks ($2.00)
  • 2 cups club soda ($1.00)
  • 1 cup raspberries ($2.00)

Total: $15.89

Instructions

In large pitcher or other container combine the hot water and sugar. Stir with a whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add in the wine, brandy, lime, orange and pineapple. Put in the fridge at least 3 hours. Before serving, add in 2 cups of club soda and raspberries.

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Key Lime Margaritas

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup fresh Key lime juice (I use Nellie and Joe’s) ($.50)
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar ($.25)
  • 3 tablespoons silver tequila ($.50)
  • 1 tablespoon Triple Sec ($.20)

Total: $1.45

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in shaker and shake vigorously with ice. Serve on the rocks with salt on the rim.

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