Dear Megabus: Your wifi sucks.
Sorry all! The plan was totally to have a new post on Saturday, but due to Megabus being Megasuck, I didn’t really get the chance. Two 3 hour bus rides, 0 hours of wifi. I’m not a happy camper.
But despite the bus 'n stuff (which really wasn't all that bad; I got really good at Mahjong!), I had the best weekend ever! (I say that a lot, but I always mean it.)
The expo was an all around pretty cool experience! I got to see my idol (Giada DeLaurentis, obvi) and her hot red pants conduct a cooking demo, then sampled lots of cheese and just under 50 million different dips, olive oils and spice mixes, etc. Needless to say by the end of the day I was pretty full and my sodium intake was up there.
The cooking demo wasn’t actually Giada cooking (she used audience volunteers), which was slightly disappointing (only disappointing because I wasn't up on stage). But there was a highly inappropriate and rambling audience Q&A session, which was pretty damn entertaining and that totally made up for it. Overall, the vendor part of the expo was just endless samplings of dips, spice mixes, hot sauces, and cheeses, which was really exciting at first, but I feel bad for the booths towards the back of the floor (dipping tiny pieces of bread or pretzels into things gets old..). I wished they focused a little more on actual cook/bake ware. And where were all the artisanal breads?
There are definitely a lot of people out there with some tasty and forward thinking products though! Some things that I loved: Nantucket Pasta Goddess (gluten-free pasta, that's actually really good), Bola Granola, Larry's Beans (Fair-Trad organic coffee), and Peanut Butter & Company (which actually I just discovered is for sale at Wegs!).
Take home lessons: cheese is good, don’t try to earn a living selling spice mixes/dips (it’s a flooded market, to say the least), people are curious about Giada’s weight, artisanal salts are really expensive and just taste like kosher salt, make sure there will actually be a book-signing before you go and drag your food processor to a cooking demo, and the DC Convention Center is really large.
Ooh! And! Saturday night, we grabbed some pizza at Mellow Mushroom, a circus themed pizza joint, which was honestly delicious. Pesto, tomatoes, mushrooms, jalapenos and spinach topped our perfectly soft and doughy wheat crust (which I didn’t even notice until I started pulling it apart at the end; I pick at my food, sorry if you don’t) pizza and it was glorious. SERIOUSLY PHILADELPHIA WHY DO YOU HAVE TO SUCK SO HARD AT MAKING PIZZA!? I’m moving to DC for the pizza, fo’ sho.
Caramelized Onion Hummus with Pita Chips
For the hummus:
1/4 c caramelized onions
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 clove garlic, split in half
1/4 c well-stirred tahini (sesame paste, available near the peanut butter in the natural foods aisle)
Juice of 1 lemon
Pinch of salt
In a microwave-safe container, microwave chickpeas for 30 seconds (this step is not necessary, but it makes for a fluffier consistency).
Combine onions, chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, salt and a light drizzle of EVOO in the bowl of a food processor. Process on low for 30 seconds. The dip will be dry and thick, so add a tbsp of water. Scrape down the sides, then process for another 30 seconds. Continue to alternate this for another minute, adding water as needed to moisten, until hummus has reached a consistency that is easy to work with, but not too watered down. Process for an additional 3-4 minutes to fully purree.
For the pita chips:
4-5 whole wheat pita loaves (Wegman’s bread are the absolute best I’ve tried)
1-2 tbsp EVOO
1 tbsp Zatar seasoning
¼ tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the pitas into wedges, pulling apart the triangles at all of the edge so they are 2 separate pieces. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Lay the pita triangles out on the sheet.
Using a basting brush, dab each chip with a bit of EVOO and sprinkle with a light dusting of Zatar seasoning. Sprinkle salt over all the chips evenly.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, or until crispy.