THE WAY newcomers tell it, you'd think Washington has nothing better to eat than political plums and scrapings from the pork barrel.
Such is the fate of a stateless capital city, where the crab cakes are attributed to Maryland, the ham biscuits to Virginia, and everyone came from somewhere else -- or goes somewhere else on the weekends.
But just because Washington does not peddle its native dishes on the streets like pretzels or commercialize them in harvest festivals (what city, after all, has a harvest of anything but honey locust pods?), that doesn't mean the District has no cuisine. We've just kept it quieter than most, and let each administration take it home to nationalize it.
Take the Big Mac, for instance. Washingtonians were eating Hot Shoppes Mighty Mo's long before the first arch was gilded. And the only thing that was different about them was that they were better. If it isn't true, as used to be rumored, that the Toll House Cookie was named after Mrs. K's Toll House rather than the New England one, at least Crab Norfolk was invented by a Washingtonian for Washingtonians.
It is only myth that Washington was a sleepy provincial Southern town with nothing to eat but biscuits until the new wave of international restaurants hit in the last 10 years. La Salle du Bois was serving memorable (or at least well-remembered) French food when nouvelle cuisine was only a gleam in Paul Bocuse's mother's eye. And the old Genghis Khan restaurant had mee krob on its menu before anybody knew of Thailand except through "The King and I."
Once upon a time Washington had a real a waterfront with family-run restaurants that served families. A multi-administration Washingtonian will recall Hall's; when a family came for Sunday dinner, a cup of homemade vegetable soup was served to small children even before the parents had a chance to examine the menu, just to keep toddlers happy and nourished. Anyway, the grown-ups already knew to order the clams casino.
And the Kennedy Center, believe it or not, was not always there. Before it, there was the Heurich Brewery (which later became an interim home for Arena Stage), whose yeasty aromas competed with the popovers at the Watergate Inn, only after many years replaced by a more infamous Watergate.
Every longtime Washingtonian has his or her own memories, for Washington even then -- or perhaps more then -- was dotted with neighborhood restaurants. Ask about the '50s or earlier, and black Washingtonians will tell of Harrison's and Thurston's, the elegant dining places run by and for blacks in those segregated days. There was also the Hollywood. And there is still the Florida Avenue Grill.
Journalists depended on the D.C. Diner, which served steak and eggs even at 2 a.m. after the bars had closed. And then there was the bar near the old Post building which charged 10 cents more for drinks on Sunday to help defray legal costs, since at the time it was illegal to serve drinks on Sunday (as it was illegal to drink while standing).
Washington's sweet tooth was legendary; its legacy shows in the Velati caramels now sold at Woodward and Lothrop's since the F-Street candy shop was buried in urban renewal. Avignone Freres' historic chocolates and ices are still sold on their original site, though this grande dame of Columbia Road has seen the neighborhood shrink and revive as she has stood. Sweets not only ended a meal, but began it, as Washington's most peculiar culinary tradition somehow was -- and is -- to begin a seafood dinner with rum buns drenched in a confectioners' sugar glaze.
Gifford's, of course, headed straight for the suburbs, in 1938 when the suburbs were hardly there. Its hot fudge and Swiss chocolate sauces remain a secret more than ever as Gifford's experiments with franchising nationwide. So Bob Gifford will say no more than that his fudge contains milk, cream, sugar and cocoa, and that his father "got or stole" the recipe from a Pennsylvania Dutch candymaker. The question, as Gifford's perches on the edge of expansion, is how crucial to the recipe is the faded aqua paint on the walls or the drone of the cooling unit as the fudge is poured into little pitchers to serve with a dish of French vanilla ice cream.
Gifford's might remain silent on its recipes, but others have been willing to speak out for the record. Here, then, are the fruits of some intense culinary archaeology, the recipes for Washington's classics, those long gone and those still around, plus a couple that you are likely to remember as classics if you stay put for a few more administrations.
Before expressways and beltways, Sunday dinner on the waterfront was a major excursion. At the end of the ride came the impossible decision -- Hogate's or the Flagship? Those were the days when waterfront dining was a quiet business, before your name was shouted over the loudspeaker when your table was ready. And if memory serves, those waterfront restaurants gave Washington good cause to be considered a seafood town. What those who knew the Flagship from childhood remember, however, was the rum buns; only on Washington's waterfront were we allowed to start dinner with what might elsewhere be considered dessert.
FLAGSHIP RUM BUNS (Makes 18) 1 cup scalded milk 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup shortening 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 yeast cake or 1 tablespoon dry yeast 1 egg, beaten 1 1/2 teaspoons rum extract 3 1/2 cups sifted flour 2 tablespoons melted butter 1/4 cup chopped raisins
For the icing: 1 cup confectioners' sugar 2 tablespoons hot water 1 teaspoon rum extract
Pour scalded milk over 1/4 cup sugar, shortening and salt. Cool to lukewarm and add yeast. Beat until smooth. Add beaten egg and rum extract. Add half the flour and beat until smooth. Add remaining flour and mix until smooth. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 3 hours. Roll dough in strips, each 12 inches long, 4 inches wide and 1/2-inch thick. Brush top with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup sugar and raisins. Roll up, starting from the long side and pulling dough out at edges to keep it uniform. It should be 15 inches long when rolled.
Cut rolls in crosswise slices 3/4-inch thick. Place in 3-inch greased muffin pans. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. As soon as rolls are removed from oven, brush with icing. Rolls should be served hot with icing dripping from them.
To make the icing, combine confectioners' sugar, water and rum extract until smooth.
Old-timers may have forgotten the name Stephenson's, but they remember the pie boxes, large black-and-white checkerboards. And they remember the coconut custard pie, somehow more eggy and delicate than any tasted since. Frank Clements of Crusty Pie Co. used to work at Stephenson's--which, until recently, was still providing pies from a kitchen stove to a few friends and at least one office lunchroom--and he retained the recipe though the bakery no longer exists.
STEPHENSON COCONUT CUSTARD PIE (Makes 1 pie) 1 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cornstarch 4 eggs 3 cups milk 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup coconut 1 deep 9-inch or 10-inch pie crust, uncooked
Combine sugar, salt and cornstarch. Beat eggs and add to dry ingredients. Beat in milk and vanilla. Sprinkle coconut over bottom of pie crust, then pour in the egg mixture. Bake 1 hour at 400 degrees, or reduce oven to 350 degrees if top is browning before the bottom crust has cooked thoroughly.
Some remember the original O'Donnell's, at 12th and E Streets NW, as Washington's first big seafood restaurant. But most have forgotten it as the originator of Crab Norfolk, which Tom O'Donnell dreamed up on a fishing trip in Norfolk, where he and his buddies caught a mess of crabs, then saute'ed them and dressed them with tarragon vinegar. The current O'Donnell's in Bethesda still uses Tom's old recipe, but just about everybody else has gussied it up with paprika, lemon, wine, whatever. And nowadays the crab is often passed by altogether in favor of shrimp or lobster.
O'DONNELL'S CRAB NORFOLK (2 servings) 4 ounces (1 stick) butter 1 pound backfin lump crab meat Tarragon vinegar
In a skillet, heat butter until melted slightly. Add crab meat. Heat until crab meat just starts to turn brown, stirring constantly, but making sure not to break up the lumps. When crab meat just starts to turn brown, sprinkle with tarragon vinegar. Serve immediately while still sizzling.
Duke Zeibert's was many things to many people--a deli, a steakhouse, a cronies' bar. And Mel Krupin's is Duke's to many people. It is also the former site of Paul Young's, which grew out of Mama Young's wonderful old-world-style Romanian Inn. This Duke's-Mel's-Young's connection can be all neatly tied in one dish, sweet-and-sour stuffed cabbage.
DUKE'S AND MEL'S STUFFED CABBAGE HUNGARIAN-STYLE (6 servings) 1 cup white rice, uncooked 3 pounds ground beef 1 medium onion, diced Sour salt (citric acid crystals), pepper and celery salt to taste 1 egg 1 large green cabbage
Sauce: 1/2 pound butter 1 medium onion, diced 1 quart water 1 cup sauerkraut 1 cup raisins 1/2 teaspoon vinegar 2 tablespoons brown sugar 1 teaspoon sour salt (citric acid crystals) 8-ounce can tomato puree
Cook rice in water for 20 minutes. Add ground beef, diced onion, salt, pepper, celery salt and egg to the cooked rice and mix thoroughly.
Bring water to boil in a large pot. Cut out the core of the cabbage and cook for 15 minutes. Cool and remove large leaves. Reserve inner leaves. Place a portion of meat mixture on each inner leaf and roll into envelopes, tucking in the edges to hold tight. Place in baking pan seam-side down and cook at 375 degrees for 1 1/4 hours.
Chop any leftover cabbage. Melt butter in pan and saute' onion and cabbage for 10 minutes. Add water, sauerkraut, raisins, vinegar, brown sugar, sour salt and the tomato pure'e. Bring to a boil and simmer on low heat for 1 1/2 hours, stirring frequently.
To serve, heat cabbage in oven until brown. Pour sauce over and serve.
The Golden Temple of Conscious Cookery taught Washington that vegetarian food could be elegant food. And that it could be so popular as to have people waiting in line to sit at a quiet booth under a glassed-in waterfall and drink Yogi Tea or eat salad with -- who would have dreamed of using such a thing? -- alfalfa sprouts. Even occasional vegetarians had a favorite entree -- Mushroom Meadow or Avocado Sat Nam Special. But everybody favored the Lemon-Tahini salad dressing. These recipes, which taste like the good not-so-old-days on Connecticut Avenue, are from The Golden Temple Vegetarian Cookbook by Yogi Bhajan.
GOLDEN TEMPLE YOGI TEA (Makes 1 cup)
This recipe is meant to be more than just a beverage; Yogi Bhajan recommends it as a blood purifier as well. And he warns to make at least four cups at a time, for some unexplained reason. Measurements can vary according to your taste, but Bhajan warns against using too many cloves or too much cinnamon. 1 1/4 cups water 3 whole cloves 4 whole green cardamom pods, cracked 4 whole black peppercorns 1/2 stick cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon black tea (preferably jasmine) 1/2 cup milk 2 slices fresh ginger root (optional)
Bring water to a boil and add cloves, cardamom, peppercorns and cinnamon. Cover, continue boiling for 10 to 15 minutes, then add the black tea. Let it sit for a minute or two. Add milk and ginger; return to a boil, being careful not to let it boil over. When it reaches a boil, remove immediately from the heat. Strain and serve with honey to taste.
When making large quantities of Yogi Tea, you will not need to use as many spices per cup as above.
GOLDEN TEMPLE LEMON--TAHINI DRESSING (Makes 3 cups) 1 cup olive oil 1 cup sesame or safflower oil 6 to 7 tablespoons lemon juice 1/4 cup or less tamari (soy sauce) 1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste) 1/4 green pepper, chopped 1 rib celery, chopped 1/4 onion, chopped Dash of pepper
Combine all ingredients in blender until smooth. Serve over green salads or as a dip for raw vegetables.
From a single stand 55 years ago, Hot Shoppes grew to an elaborate social system in the '50s and '60s. Whether your neighborhood Hot Shoppe was Connecticut and Albemarle, Georgia and Alaska, Langley Park--wherever--you cruised around it in unending circles on Friday night, preferably with a different girl or guy after each few rounds. When you finally went inside, you shared an order of D.C.'s best onion rings, or maybe french fries, along with a root beer. If it was a real date, you might splurge on hot fudge ice cream cake; a dinner date would include a Mighty Mo. But Sundays you went with your family. And then you started with thick, creamy chicken soup which was full of thin rings of noodle as well as chunks of chicken. The Mighty Mo and hot fudge ice cream cake were pretty self-evident: two hamburger patties, 1 slice American cheese, russian dressing, lettuce, pickles and three layers of grilled sesame roll for the former; ice cream, yellow layer cake and Johnston's hot fudge (yep, that's what they used) for the latter. But here is the original recipe for the beginning of an authentic '50s-style Washington Sunday supper.
HOT SHOPPES' CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP (12 servings)
For the stock: 3-pound chicken 3 quarts water 3 sprigs parsley, chopped 2 ribs celery, chopped 1 yellow onion, chopped 1 carrot, peeled and chopped Pinch of thyme 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns 1 bay leaf 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
For assembly: 10 cups chicken stock (see above) 13 tablespoons reserved chicken fat from soup 1 cup flour 3/4 cup small ring noodles 1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken, cooked and diced
To prepare the stock, place chicken and water in a large pot. Add all stock ingredients and bring to a fast boil. Reduce to a simmer, skim and cook, partly covered, for about 2 hours. Remove and save all fat as it forms on the surface of the stock. Allow to cool for use in soup recipe.
When stock is done, remove the chicken to cool. Remove skin and meat from the bone and dice chicken into 1/4-inch pieces.
Remove and discard vegetables and strain stock through cheesecloth to remove spices and particles.
To assemble, divide the stock into two pots--one with 8 cups of the stock and the second with the remaining 2 cups. Heat the first stock.
Place chicken fat in a skillet and add flour slowly, stirring constantly over low heat to make a roux. Heat until flour is cooked, but do not brown. Add the roux gradually to the heating stock. Whip with a wire whisk until blended smooth. Continue heating on low heat.
Cook noodles in the pot with the 2 cups stock until just tender, but not limp. Add diced chicken to the first stock. Add noodles and the second stock to the first stock. Stir gently to prevent noodles from breaking up. Adjust for seasoning and serve.
There was a time when "The Exorcist" was the rage, as a sandwich as well as a movie. And "Close Encounters of The Third Kind" has had its heyday. But though Patty Hearst may have been in and out of the limelight in recent years, the Booeymonger's sandwich named after her has stood the test of time. Actually, the Booeymonger reports its Steak Special as the biggest seller, but they'll never make a movie of it.
THE BOOEYMONGER PATTY HEARST (Makes 1 sandwich) Russian dressing made with ketchup, mayonnaise and relish 1 toasted english muffin 4 ounces turkey breast 3 strips cooked bacon 2 slices provolone cheese
Spread russian dressing on both sides of the toasted english muffin. Put 2 ounces of turkey breast, 1 1/2 strips of bacon and slice of provolone cheese on each muffin. Slide halves under broiler until cheese melts.
Washington had rarely seen a specialty restaurant before Barbara Witt opened The Big Cheese in Georgetown in 1973. Nor had it often seen such an inventive and eclectic menu, even if limited at first almost entirely to cheese dishes. Two fried cheese dishes, Tre Kokker--borrowed from a restaurant of that name in Oslo--and Pohani Sir--replicated from a day in the kitchen of a Zagreb restaurant called Fat Martin's--became the signature dishes of The Big Cheese, always on the menu and always best sellers. When the restaurant closed this past year, Washingtonians began to drive to the Baltimore branch, as they announced, for their "Kokker fix." Originally Tre Kokker was a main dish, but the restaurant began to offer it as an appetizer because people complained that they had to have Tre Kokker when they ate at The Big Cheese, but they never got to try anything new.
THE BIG CHEESE TRE KOKKER (Norwegian Cheese Fritters) (Makes about 16 fritters) 1 cup beer, room temperature 1 cup flour 2 8-ounce rounds young camembert, cut into eighths Vegetable oil, for deep frying
Whisk together beer and flour until smooth. Cut young camembert in small chunks, leaving fresh white rind intact. Using tongs, dip cheese in batter, being certain to coat completely. Deep fry in vegetable oil at 375 degrees until fritters are golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels and serve with preserved lingonberries or a not-too-sweet fruit preserve of your choice. The Big Cheese used strawberry preserves. Other cheeses besides camembert can be used; in fact, camembert is the hardest to work with. The biggest problems in making this dish, which is difficult, are keeping the fat hot enough, having it deep enough and coating the cheese well enough to keep it from running out of the batter as it cooks.
THE BIG CHEESE POHANI SIR (Yugoslavian Fried Cheese) 8 ounces imported gruyere 1 cup fresh bread crumbs, lightly toasted 2 eggs, well beaten Vegetable oil for deep frying
Cut imported gruye re cheese into half-inch-thick triangles. Bread twice in egg and fine bread crumbs. Deep-fry in vegetable oil at 375 degrees until cheese "pillows" bob to the surface and show a golden casing. Drain well and serve immediately with a thin homemade mayonnaise drizzled over the top, sprinkle with plump capers and garnish with sauteed cherry tomatoes.
Bag ladies and bankers. That's the range that Sholl's cafeterias have always served. Once when one of the most expensive French restaurants insisted it could not manage to serve fresh green beans, Sholl's was found to be dishing them up--at perhaps 25 cents a serving. Some of the city's best pies, probably its best puddings and custards, maybe its largest selection of fresh vegetables and plain homestyle meats and fish--fresh fish, that is--have characterized Sholl's daily selections with prices about as low as they can get. While liver and onions remains the most popular main dish at Sholl's, its crab cakes have a long and strong following. Heretofore it has remained a mystery how they can be so bready and starchy, yet still be so good. Here is the solution to that mystery.
SHOLL'S CAFETERIA CRAB CAKES (Makes 12) 8 slices white bread 1 pound backfin crab meat 1 2/3 cups milk 4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) butter 3/4 cup flour Salt and pepper to taste 1 teaspoon dry mustard 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce Bread crumbs Oil for frying
Trim crusts from bread and dice into cubes. In a large bowl, combine crab meat with bread pieces. Set aside.
Place milk in a saucepan and heat over a low flame. While milk is heating, melt butter in a skillet and gradually add flour, whisking constantly until it forms a smooth, thick paste. Add hot milk to flour paste and whisk constantly until smooth. Remove from heat; add salt, pepper, mustard and worcestershire sauce and stir. Pour sauce over crab meat and bread mixture. Mix carefully to avoid breaking up crab meat lumps.
Form into 12 patties and roll in bread crumbs. Heat oil in a skillet and deep fry until golden brown.
Sam Weinberg came from Europe by way of Argentina and introduced Washington to great challahs, rye breads, pumpernickels and the like, which he started making at 4 o'clock every morning using a starter of yesterday's dough. But nobody dared leave Sam's Argentine Bakery without buying an empanada, unless they were sold out. Sam moved to Israel and his faithfuls still mourn the loss. But here, from Primitiva Mendoza, who worked in his bakery for five years, is his recipe for empanadas.
SAM'S ARGENTINE BAKERY EMPANADAS (Makes about 30)
Dough: 6 to 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 pound butter, softened 3 cups cold water
Filling: 2 pounds coarsely chopped ground beef 1 1/2 pounds chopped onions 1 bunch parsley, chopped 4 cloves garlic, chopped 2 tablespoons butter 2 cups tomato sauce 1/2 pound raisins 6 hard-cooked eggs, cut into eighths 1/2 pound green olives, chopped Salt to taste 3/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste 2 eggs beaten with 2 teaspoons water
To make dough, mix flour, salt and butter. Add water and mix well. Knead until smooth, adding enough flour to make a smooth, soft dough. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
To make filling: Saute' beef, onions, garlic and parsley in butter for 15 minutes. Add tomato sauce and simmer for 1/2 hour. Let cool. Add raisins, chopped eggs and olives. Season with salt and cayenne to taste. It should be quite peppery. Set aside.
Roll dough to 1/8-inch thick. Cut into circles 5 inches in diameter. Fill each with about 1/3 cup of the filling mixture. Moisten edges with egg wash and fold in half to form crescents. Pinch edges closed and brush tops with more egg wash. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Note: These taste more tomatoey than we remember Sam's, though they are nevertheless delicious. For old times' sake you can cut the amount to tomato sauce if you wish.
From 1947, when the Peking restaurant opened on Connecticut Avenue, to 1955, there were so few Chinese restaurants in Washington that the U.S. Court of Appeals saw fit to grant the restaurant exclusive rights to the name Peking. Thus the newer Peking Palace had to be content calling itself the Yenching Palace. Also at question was the soup that made Peking--or this Peking--famous, O O Soup. It, too, was granted exclusive residence at the Peking restaurant. Here is the recipe as it was published at that time; it remains, to our knowledge, Washington's only legally protected soup.
PEKING O O SOUP (Serves 3 to 4) 4 cups chicken broth 3/4 cup lean pork, finely shredded 4 squares bean curd (tofu) 1/2 cup crab meat (optional) 2 eggs or 2 egg whites Scant teaspoon cornstarch 1 teaspoon soy sauce 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese sesame oil Scallions, chopped, for garnish
Bring chicken broth to a boil. In the meantime, in a hot skillet, lightly saute' pork. Add pork to chicken broth. Cut bean curd into long, thin shreds. Add to broth, along with optional crab meat. Beat eggs and stir into broth. (For a lighter mixture, use only whites of eggs.) Combine soy sauce with cornstarch and stir into soup. Add sesame oil. Serve, garnishing each bowl with scallions.
Ice cream sandwiches have been around for a long time, but it took a Washington lawyer to mush the chocolate cookies and ice cream together and gain national prominence and innumerable imitators for Oreo Ice Cream. As for the recipe, it's hardly a big deal, but here it is:
BOB'S OREO ICE CREAM (Makes about 1 gallon) 1 gallon vanilla ice cream, purchased or homemade 12 ounces Oreo cookies
In a blender or food processor, crush Oreo cookies briefly until they are reduced to small pieces but not to crumbs. Stir cookies, little by little, into softened ice cream and let freeze until hard.
Many a Howard University medical student could not have made it through the course without the Florida Avenue Grill's grits and pork chops to start the morning. And the taxi drivers of the city are fueled on this diner's corn bread and ribs. If you want to know the appeal of this D.C. landmark, you can start with the fact that its recipe for potato salad--made with five pounds of potatoes--was intended to serve six people. Ophelia Jones has been making it "just like I would make it at home" for the past 10 years, 20 pounds of potatoes a day; even then, she says, in summertime there is never enough.
FLORIDA AVENUE GRILL POTATO SALAD (6 to 15 servings) 5 pounds large white potatoes 6 eggs, hard-cooked, diced 2 onions, diced 1 1/2 to 2 cups sweet diced pickle 1 pint mayonnaise 3 teaspoons dry mustard 3 stalks celery 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon pepper 1 tablespoon sugar
Peel potatoes and dice. Boil in salted water. Drain. Mix in remaining ingredients and refrigerate.
Back in the '40s and '50s, when teen-age boys paid the check if they took teen-age girls out on the town, the Cavalier pizza parlour on 14th Street was not only cheap and filling, it served the most unusual--and many said the best--pizza in town. The cynical insisted it was made with American cheese; in any case, one of its secrets was that it dripped, oozed and leaked cheese, the thickest layering of cheese one ever saw. In 1961, the Cavalier moved to Rockville, and later was sold to be renamed Gentleman Jim's. The secret recipe was part of the package. And though it contains not one shred of American cheese, here it is.
CAVALIER-GENTLEMAN JIM'S PIZZA (Enough for 1 pizza) 1 2/3 garlic heads, peeled and minced 3 1/2 cups whole tomatoes 2 1/2 teaspoons oregano Pinch dried red pepper Pinch black pepper 2 tablespoons sugar* Salt, to taste 4/5 ounce (weighed) cornstarch mixed with 4 tablespoons water 10 parts grated swiss to 1 part sardo cheese (substitute parmesan for sardo)
Dough: 1 package yeast 1/2 cup warm water 1/4 teaspoon sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 cup flour
Mix garlic, tomatoes, oregano, red pepper, black pepper, sugar and salt together in large pot. Bring to simmer and let cook for 40 minutes. Turn off heat. Add cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly, breaking up tomatoes at same time.
In the meantime, make pizza dough by combining all ingredients. Use extra flour as necessary to knead into a smooth ball. Coat with olive oil and let it rise until it doubles, about 45 minutes. Punch down and let rise again. Grease 10-by-15-inch pan. Roll out dough and fit into pan. Let rise a third time. Put pizza on lowest rack of oven at 500 degrees for 3 minutes. Remove from oven top with sauce and cheese, return to 400-degree oven on lowest rack. Bake until cheese is bubbly and brown, about 10 minutes.
*Note: Upon testing, we found this to be a very sweet sauce. The sugar may easily be cut to 1 tablespoon.
Hot Diggity Dog combined an old Georgetown gas station with new-fangled nitrate-free hot dogs and topped them with the most unlikely things, then named them after people such as Julia Child. But whichever hot-dog concoction one chose, one always ended with owner Jason Wolin's Apple Pan Dowdy.
HOT DIGGITY DOG APPLE PAN DOWDY (Makes 20 pieces) 12 apples, peeled, cored and quartered Juice of 1 lemon 2 cups water 2 cups sour cream 1 cup yogurt 3 cups sugar 2 tablespoons pumpkin-pie spice 3 cups whole-wheat pastry flour 1/2 pound butter
As apples are peeled and cored, place them in the water and lemon juice to keep from browning. Butter 12-by-18 inch baking pan. Beat together sour cream, yogurt and 1 cup sugar. Drain apples and place in baking pan. Cover apples with sour cream mixture and toss to mix well. Sprinkle with spice.
Melt butter and mix in 2 cups sugar with flour. Cover apples with mixture and bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour, 15 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream.
It was about a decade too soon, Georgetown's Potomack restaurant, which specialized in early American cooking. Now, nine years after its 1973 closing, regional American food is sweeping the country. So it is time to recreate peanut soup.
POTOMACK PEANUT SOUP (4 servings) 2 stalks celery, finely chopped 1 medium onion, finely chopped 4 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons flour 1 cup smooth peanut butter 3 cups or more chicken stock 1 teaspoon sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup whole peanuts Sippits (recipe below)
Saute celery and onion in butter. Add 2 tablespoons flour and blend, cooking for few moments without letting the flour brown. Add 1/3 cup peanut butter. Blend with a whisk. Stir in 1 cup stock. Repeat with another 1/3 cup peanut butter and 1 cup stock, then stir in the rest of the peanut butter and remaining 1 cup stock. Add salt, sugar, celery and onion. Thin with additional stock if too thick. Wrap whole peanuts in napkin and crush with a rolling pin. Add to soup and serve.
Serve with sippits. To make them, trim crusts from slices of white bread and halve diagonally. Fry until golden in vegetable oil and drain on a paper towel.
Crab fever has even hit Washington's Frenchmen. In fact, Robert Greault, owner-chef of Le Bagatelle, won a crab-cooking olympics contest with his crab imperial, which any native Washingtonian would have been proud to invent.
LE BAGATELLE CRAB IMPERIAL (4 as appetizer, 2 as main dish) 1 tablespoon chopped shallots 2 tablespoons diced green pepper (broiled and skinned) 2 tablespoons butter 1 pound jumbo lump crab meat 1 tablespoon brandy or cognac 1 1/2 cups fish veloute' (recipe below) Salt and pepper to taste Dash worcestershire sauce Juice of 1 lemon 4 egg yolks 4 tablespoons whipped cream
Saute' shallots and pepper in saucepan with butter. Add crab meat and cook for 2 minutes. Add brandy and simmer for 1 minute. Add fish veloute' and cook for 1 minute just until it boils. Add salt, pepper, lemon juice and worcestershire sauce to taste. Remove pan from fire and add egg yolks and whipped cream. Place entire mixture in shell and brown slightly under broiler.
To make veloute' melt 2 tablespoons butter in small saucepan, blend in 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour stirring constantly. Gradually add 1 cup fish or chicken stock, stirring constantly, until it thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add pepper.
A stronghold of good food in the Washington area has been Bethesda's Farm Women's Co-op. One can't exactly give a recipe for raising a full-flavored chicken or growing a crisp apple, but along with excellent homegrown foods the co-op has sold good old-fashioned (and some new-fashioned) home-kitchen foods. One of the most successful purveyors in all the co-op's years was Berliner's Farm Stand, where Mitch and Linda Berliner displayed Pennsylvania Dutch cheeses, produce, quiches and a changing array of main dishes and desserts. The favorite of the Berliners themselves was this Brandy Butter Apple Peach Tart, which, depending on the season, could be made with pears, nectarines or all apples with equal success.
BERLINER BRANDY BUTTER APPLE PEACH TART (6 to 8 servings) 1 1/4 cups sifted flour 1 teaspoon sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 stick sweet butter 1 egg yolk 2 tablespoons calvados (substitute other brandy) 3 tart apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths 2 peaches, cut in eighths (substitute pears, nectarines or use all apples) 1/2 cup currants Crumb topping (recipe follows)
Sift dry ingredients together. Blend in butter. Add calvados and egg yolk. Do not overblend. Press into a 9-inch cake pan with removable bottom. Cover bottom and sides with dough. Combine apples and peaches and fill cake generously. Sprinkle with currants. Cover with crumb topping. Bake in 350-degree oven for approximately 45 minutes or until fruit is fork-tender but still maintains its shape.
To make crumb topping: Blend together 3/4 cup maple sugar (substitute brown sugar), 1 1/2 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons sweet butter and 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
Yes, Washington has had real delis in its day. The original Hofberg's once set the standard. And even downtown you could find a good homemade blintz, in the old Rich's, which was an art deco outpost of Jewish-style food until 1973. Seymour Rich has moved through several locations since the first Rich's, and recently opened his newest version in Chevy Chase. The blintz recipe stays the same, though for home use we have omitted the "egg color" that he uses to give them a golden cast.
RICH'S CHEESE BLINTZES (Makes about 15) Blintz wrappers: 3 eggs 1 to 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 cup water Pinch salt
Filling: 1 1/2 pounds dry pot cheese 1 egg 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar 1 tablespoon cracker meal 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 tablespoon butter
Whisk together eggs, flour, water and salt. On a lightly greased crepe pan drop enough batter to cover bottom of pan. Cook on one side and remove to platter. Repeat with remaining batter.
Mix filling ingredients together. Fill individual wrappers and roll up, tucking in sides as you go. (It should look like a cigar when finished.)
Melt butter in a large frying pan. Fry blintzes on both sides until browned. Serve with sour cream and strawberries.
Sometimes a dish may be identified with a place even though the locals wouldn't know it if they tripped over it. Thus Senate Bean Soup is more famous outside the city than within, and rarely emerges from under the Capitol dome. Still, in case you have out-of-town visitors, here it is:
SENATE BEAN SOUP (8 servings) 2 pounds navy beans 1 1/2 pounds smoked ham hocks 1 medium onion, diced 1 tablespoon butter Salt and pepper, to taste
Wash beans and run through hot water until until they are white again. Put in pot with 4 quarts of hot water. Add ham hocks, boil slowly approximately 3 hours, covered. Braise onion in butter and when light brown, add to bean soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then serve. Do not add salt until ready to serve as this toughens the beans.