Tag Archives: pasta

Dinner with Scratch DC

I had the most delicious dinner last week and it was courtesy of Scratch DC and my kitchen!  Scratch DC is latest in culinary innovation and my latest obsession!  Just think, delicious affordable dinners made easy! Scratch DC delivers, right to your front door, prepped, measured, and mixed meals that are ready for cooking and they provide easy to follow cooking instructions (that also have a sense of humor).  I apologize for always repeating myself, but I am no chef and my least favorite part about cooking is the prep work and Scratch takes care of all of that for you!  Everything you need is included in the box, in small perfectly measured containers with pre-chopped ingredients.  And that isn’t even the best part!  The best part is that the meal was BEYOND delicious–perfectly seasoned with perfect portions!

I also interviewed Ryan Hansan the ingenius founder of Scratch DC.  So scroll for some mouth watering pictures of my home cooked Chicken Marsala dinner and for an inspiring interview with Ryan.

Special Delivery

Special Delivery

Ryan Hansan, founder of Scratch DC

Ryan Hansan, founder of Scratch DC

Delicious prepped dinner ingredients

Delicious prepped dinner ingredients

Everything you need for a delicious dinner!

Everything you need for a delicious dinner!

Studying the recipe

Studying the (super easy to follow) instructions

Spicing the chicken

Spicing the chicken

Adding the mushrooms!

Adding the mushrooms!

marinating the mushrooms

marinating the mushrooms

Spicy

All the spices needed for a perfectly seasoned meal

Flavor party

Flavor party

Dinner is almost ready and doesn't it look good

Dinner is almost ready and doesn’t it look good

The most delicious chicken marsala EVER

The most delicious chicken marsala EVER

The amazing finished product! Beyond delish!

The amazing finished product!

The perfect finishing touch

The perfect finishing touch

And now for the interview!

Tell me about Scratch DC.

We make amazing meals easy.  Each day we create bundles of fresh, locally sourced organic ingredients that are chopped, measured, marinated, packed with an amazing recipe and delivered to you door ready to cook – saving you the time, money and food so often wasted when making an amazing meal at home.  We’re still very much in our infancy, having launched in the last week of August, 2012, but we’re growing very quickly!

What is your culinary background?

Besides that I REALLY like to eat, I have no professional training other than growing up watching my mothers wizardry in the kitchen.

What inspired you to start Scratch DC?

I was frustrated.  As a busy young professional, with a rather unpredictable and social schedule it was difficult to make a good meal.  I tried to go to the grocery store once a week, but when I did, I rarely had a meal in mind.  So, when I wanted to cook something other than easy mac I’d have to look up a recipe, trek back to the store and buy a ton of ingredients that I’d only use a fraction of… (spices, herbs, etc).  It was a huge waste of time, money and food and I just thought there must be a better way!

Why DC?

I was born and raised in Northern Virginia then came to school for college.  Haven’t left the city yet! (Hail to the Redskins!)

What is your specialty?

My specialty is making people realize that they can make the best food they’ve ever tasted in their own kitchens.

If you could cook a meal with any chef who would it be and what would you cook?

I would cook the suckling pig entree from Komi with Alton Brown so he could tell me all about the science of the meal… that would be the highlight of my life.

How do you decide what the Scratch weekly menu will be?

In any given week we try to have something to please every palate.  We usually have a vegetarian dish, some seafood, some pasta and a protein.  Each week we test 2-3 recipes.  To make it on the menu they have to be relatively easy, relatively quick, able to be cooked with common kitchen equipment, and above all – incredibly delicious.  If it meets our criteria, and our taste test, we have a round or two of tweaking and then its on to the menu!

What tips do you have for an inexperienced chef?

Go to www.scratchDC.com.

What tips do you have for people starting their own business?

Find a problem that you’re passionate about and try to solve it.

What are your hopes, dreams, and goals for Scratch DC?

They’re big and bold.  There are a lot of bizarre things going on in the food industry that I feel like we can improve.  There are disconnects and waste everywhere you turn.  I hope that we can create a scalable product that will efficiently benefit multiple levels of the industry – from the local farmer to the first time cook to the new parents looking for a time saving way to eat the best meals of their lives.  A retail location is in the works and we hope that’s just the beginning.

Want to know more about Scratch DC?  Visit its site and definitely check out the “How It Works” video (it’s pretty hysterical)

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Tying the Knot–Dinner and Drinks

This past weekend I hosted an engagement party for my bestie.  It’s kind of crazy to think that I have known these ladies since we were 12 years old and I feel truly lucky to have such incredible people in my life!  People that make me laugh harder than I have ever laughed before, people that understand how I feel without me having to say anything, and people that will always be by my side.  And by my side they were–we cooked the entire meal together minus the guest of honor, of course.  

The evening was full of laughter, drinks, and delicious food.  We customized the menu to the future bride’s particular tastes and I must say it was quite a success.  I have recently started to enjoy cooking and am definitely still a beginner, so trust me when I say each dish is very do-able and delicious!  Hope you enjoy the recipes as much as we did!

Sparkling White Wine Sangria

Sparkling White Wine Sangria with Vodka Infused Fruit Skewers

Very Dry Chardonnay

Vodka

Sparkling Water

Ginger Ale

Strawberries

Apples

Grapes

Pineapple 

The proportions depend on how strong you want the Sangria to be and the size of your pitcher.  For me, each batch consisted of two bottles of wine, a cup(ish) of Ginger Ale, and a splash of Sparkling Water.  I chopped all of the fruit into bite sized pieces and then soaked the fruit in vodka for a couple of hours before adding it to the Sangria.  As the evening went on we also added a little vodka directly to the mix.  I also froze the grapes and used those instead of ice.

Baked Brie Bites

Sliced Brie

Baked Brie Bites

Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

Brie (1/2 a wedge)

Jam (choose your favorite flavor) 

This dish was so easy!  Preheat  the oven to 375 degrees.  Unroll the crescent rolls.  Cut the cheese into large bite sizes, spread the jam over the inner center of the rolls, place the cubed slices of brie in the center of each unrolled crescent roll, then roll it up.  Cook in the oven for 12-14 minutes or until deliciously melted. 

Watermelon Avocado Salad

Salad Skewers

Watermelon

Avocado

Feta

Tomato

Grapefruit

Balsamic

Vinaigrette

Olive Oil

Salt 

Pepper 

The theme of the evening was “tying the knot” and we put most of the dishes on bamboo skewers with knots on the end.  This salad was one of the skewered dishes, but can easily be served sans skewer.  Chop all ingredients into large squares and add balsamic vinaigrette, olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste.

Fig and Brussels Sprout Rigatoni

Brussels Sprouts and Fig Rigatoni

Rigatoni Pasta (1 box)

Brussels Sprouts (1 ½ pounds)

Figs (6-8 figs)

Yellow Onion (half)

Fontina Cheese (6 ounces)

Milk

Garlic

Salt

Pepper

Olive Oil 

Boil the water/make the pasta (make sure to salt the water before adding the pasta and cook the pasta slightly al dente because the pasta will cook more in the oven).  Sauté the Brussels Sprouts and onion in a little oil and add garlic, salt and pepper to taste.  Grate the Fontina Cheese.  Once the pasta is made, drain water and return pasta to the pot then add the grated cheese, figs, sautéed onions and Brussels sprouts, and a splash of milk to the pot. Mix ingredients (keep heat on a low level—this will make the mixing easier).  Once ingredients are mixed place them in a baking pan and into the oven that has been preheated to 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. 

Shrimp and Chicken Skewers

Fresh Veggies for the Skewers

Leftovers from the Main Course

Shrimp Skewers

Shrimp

Chicken

Red Pepper

Zucchini

Squash

Tomato

Pineapple

Salt 

Pepper

Garlic 

First, make sure to soak the skewers in water for at least 45 minutes before cooking.  Cut the ingredients into equal pieces–this will insure that they cook evenly.  Rub whatever spice combo you would like onto the skewers.  Mine were seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, basil, and rosemary. The shrimp will cook within 10ish minutes so cut shrimp accompaniments into smaller pieces.  The chicken will cook in 15ish minutes.  Warning: it is really easy to overcook kabobs so keep a close eye on them! 

Strawberries and Cheesecake with Graham Cracker Crumble

Strawberries Stuffed with Cheesecake mid Graham Cracker Crumble

Fresh Strawberries

Cream Cheese

Powdered Sugar

Vanilla

Graham Crackers 

Cut the tops off the strawberries and slightly hollow strawberries (if you want more filling hollow more).  I promise this process isn’t as painful as it sounds.  Mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar (sweeten to taste), and a teeny splash of vanilla together–this can be done by hand, but your arms might get a little tired.  Put the graham crackers into a bag, smash them up then pour crushed remains onto a plate.  Fill the strawberries with the cheesecake filling then dip the cheesecake end into the crushed graham crackers. 

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Slightly Melted Ice Cream Sandwiches

Cookie Dough (we didn’t have enough time to make homemade cookies so we went with Pillsbury cookie dough and it was delish)

Vanilla Ice Cream

Semi Sweet Mini Chocolate Chips 

Bake the cookies and let them cool COMPLETELY.  Once they have cooled, sandwich the ice cream between two cookies and put in the freezer. 


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