the times, they are a changin’

Two months ago today, I received a call asking if I could interview for a job in a city 500 miles away. Even though everything fell into place – my boyfriend received a job offer in the same city just before I received my job offer, we had a temporary place to stay, we found an apartment, we found someone to rent the condo in Cambridge – life has been pretty hectic. My last day at my previous job was one month ago, and we left for Washington, DC shortly thereafter.

I’m very excited about my new job. It’s a big change from my previous life as a medicinal chemist, which is exactly what I was looking for. My days in a chemistry lab are over, and now my kitchen lab is my only lab.

So I’m adjusting to a new city, but more importantly, I’m adjusting to a smaller apartment with a smaller kitchen, which is equipped with an electric range *sigh*. We are very lucky to live near a great Whole Foods (with a fabulous beer selection!) but I’m looking for other places to restock my kitchen. I was very lucky to have lived within walking distance of Formaggio Kitchen, and Savenor’s wasn’t much further away. Yes, there is Cowgirl Creamery here, but their cheese selection is not as extensive as Formaggio Kitchen’s. I think I owe Balducci’s another visit, and of course I need to explore my own neighborhood a bit more. I know Chinatown no longer exists as I knew it, and it seems that many other ethnic groceries are a bit further afield as well. So if any DC area (DMV?) residents are reading this, I would love to hear your recommendations for any food-related stores I should visit!

In the meantime, here are a few things that I’ve been up to in the kitchen:

  • framboise cranberry sauce – I used Dogfish Head Fort. Dogfish is one of my favorite breweries, and now that Delaware is a short drive away I see a visit in my future! There’s no way I could drink a bottle of Fort myself – it’s 18% ABV! – but there was some beer left for me to enjoy while I cooked the sauce.

  • Upside-Down Cranberry Cake – I used twice the cranberries and spread it out over two cake pans. I like a heavier fruit-to-cake ratio so this worked out much better for me than the original.

  • Chickpea and spinach stew – In our packing and unpacking, I discovered two issues of Food and Wine magazine from 2005 which I had saved for their great articles about Spain. I combined two recipes, chickpea and spinach stew and one with chorizo. I used a chicken chorizo, and I used hot paprika instead of sweet, which didn’t make it through the move. It was easy, delicious, and hearty, and if you substitute canned diced tomatoes for a fresh tomato, the recipe features ingredients which I always keep on hand.

  • I made my first batch of beer! We brewed it in Cambridge and bottled it up just in time for the move! I’ll definitely have a separate post about it, especially since we’ll be doing another batch shortly, I suspect.

  • Spent grain pancakes, made shortly after the beer was brewed. The recipe needs work but I will give it another go. As you can see from the photo, I should have ground the grains a bit more. I’m hoping that the new, larger food processor I invested in will aid in this. I anticipate baking some bread using the spent grain as well.

And of course, I cooked a lot of my old favorites. If there’s anything that will make you feel better about a life change, it’s comfort food.