As many of you know, I recently relocated myself and whatever semblance of a life I had to our nation's capitol (yes, I'm from the US, so that's Washington, DC). While many people in a new place find themselves lacking acquaintances, thanks to a large alumni population, I actually have more friends in one place her than anywhere else in the country. That said, sharing a school does not necessarily equate with shared interests. My challenge - besides finding housing and a job - has been to reach beyond college ties and find niches within the DC metro community with shared passions and pursuits.
I have approached this a few ways: volunteering at my yoga studio gets me my zen/flexible/athletic crowd; working at the farmers market gets me my down-to-earth, produce-loving crew; hanging out with Stanford peeps get me some intellectually stimulation (and school-spirit); but I was still missing a group of people who truly understood my food blogging tendencies. Now I've found a way to fill that niche: the DC Food Blogger Community!
Tonight I went to my first DC Food Blogger happy hour at Northside Social in Arlington. Very cute little cafe/wine bar, slightly pricier but worth the splurge (root beer for me...). Of course the main draw was the people. Unlike in Seattle, where there is a huge food blogging community but very little in-person interaction, all the food bloggers in the DC area apparently know each other. It is so fantastic to bring this pastime out of cyber-world, going back to what it is all about - cooking and eating ... in real life. Well, I enjoyed myself immensely and, needless to say, stayed much later than intended.
You're probably thinking, "ok, so if this is what you were going to write about, why on Earth tantalize us with photos of pears and kale?" Well, after prying myself away from the dwindling contingent of foodies, I couldn't very well retire for the evening without making myself dinner of sorts. This is one of my favorite autumn fall-backs (like daylight savings this weekend...haha).
Caramelized Pear and Kale Salad (feed two as a side dish, or one hungry veg)
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 small pear, sliced
1/2 bunch of kale, coarsely chopped (would probably be good with lacinato or curly red)
splash of olive oil
1 tbs white balsamic vinegar (from TJ's, slightly less acidic than your standard balsamic)
small handful toasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
1. Heat oil in a skillet, add onions, and saute until they start to become translucent.
2. Add sliced pears and continue to saute, letting the pear's sugars start to caramelize.
3. Throw in the kale stems (if you are not averse to them), and splash with the balsamic.
4. Finally, toss the kale leaves and less simmer for a few minutes, turning every now and then. Don't cook too long, just long enough so leaves become a little tender and are bright green.
5. Unload into a bowl. Top with some sunflower seeds. Enjoy! Simple as that!
Now I will leave you with a happy stomach and a warm-fuzzy feeling. I still miss a lot about Seattle, but I think living in DC for a while be quite an exciting little adventure!