I hope you don’t mind

2012, so far it’s been a pretty meaningful year. I started an actual business, I turned 25, moved in with a boy, and became a blogger (not in that particular order). I think … (sigh), I think I’ve got to make one more big change before 2013 roles around.

It’s been coming for a little while, but something my Dad said very recently struck a chord. It had something to do with keeping momentum when you can feel you’re moving in a good direction.

This business that I’m growing, Taste Frederick, is truly the materialization of what I wanted this blog to be when I started. I love telling people about Frederick, talking about food, and sharing everything relating to both. Talking to complete strangers about what to check out in Frederick is actually how I met Rob :-). I cannot begin to express how lucky I feel now that I get to do this in a more official capacity.

I am starting to feel however that I am spreading the goods a little thin. Taste Frederick has a blog of its own and I feel that by continuing to share everything food and Frederick related here, the new business is missing out. It’s like two kids vying for my attention. I think I have come up with a solution however, and this is what I hope you don’t mind.

I’m going to retire FoodandFrederick.com, or at least migrate it into the Taste Frederick Food Tours blog. (Sheese, that was hard to type.) Everything I’ve ever posted about Frederick’s restaurants/food scene will be moving over there. All of my own recipes and silly nonsense posts will be moving somewhere else new and exciting.

I have been sitting on another domain name for almost 2 years, bysarahrae.com. (Yes I hoard them ;-)) This will be where you can find me on the web from now on. Again I sincerely hope you don’t mind. By: Sarah Rae will be a little more than just a food blog though, it’s going to get a little more personal up in there. I promise however, that it will continue to be a good time.

So in a nutshell all things Frederick can now be found at www.tastefrederickfoodtours.com/blog (and Facebook & Twitter).

All things Sarah (including my own kitchen adventures) can be found at www.bysarahrae.com (and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest). There will be recipes, photos, small business talk and everything else my heart has ever desired.

I have loved LOVED creating this space and cannot believe how much it has helped me do in really just the past 10 months. Thank you so much for reading & I really hope to continue to see you around the web.

**The eventual plan is to delete this blog and direct the domain to the new one, so if even if you’re looking for anything “Food & Frederick,” you’ll still be directed to the right place :-)**

Truffled Sweet Potato Poutine

A few weekends ago I finally added some white truffle oil to my collection and the first thing I wanted to make was sweet potato truffle fries. However I was struck with a bit of inspiration and instead used my craving as the base for a delicious “brinner.” (If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know what’s coming.)

Sweet Potato Truffle Fries

Poutine is a traditionally Canadian dish. It’s french fries served with cheese curds and gravy. I’ve seen breakfast/brunch versions done with the addition of an egg and that served as my jumping off point.

Rob and I love this super easy recipe for pulled pork (we used it to make nine pounds worth for a recent party) and I figured this dish could use a meat since my taste testers included some dudes.

Once all of the ingredients are done, it’s best to set up some sort of assembly line so you can quickly and easily get the fried eggs off the stove while the yolks are still perfectly runny.

Truffled Sweet Potato Poutine (serves 4-6)

Crock pot pulled pork & juices for gravy
2-3 sweet potatoes (yams) cut into french-fry sized pieces. Tutorial here.
Olive Oil
Standard Salt & Pepper
Truffle Oil
Truffle Salt
Sweet Potatoes cut up for fries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spread out your sweet potato fries on a baking sheet in a single layer (you may need more than one baking sheet for this.)

Drizzle the sweet potato fries in a bit of olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper

Place the baking sheet(s) in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes (tossing halfway through) or until the edges of the sweet potato fries are crisp. Some may even get a little dark and that’s OK.

While the potatoes are roasting you can make the gravy.

Gravy reducing on the stove

Once the potatoes, gravy and pork are all prepped. You can begin to cook the eggs.

For these bowls I went with fried eggs over-easy. There’s just something so satisfying about breaking open the yolk.

To assemble each bowl start with a small pile of sweet potato fries and lightly drizzle with truffle oil (very lightly) and sprinkle with a little truffle salt). Next, top the truffled sweet potato fries with pulled pork and gravy and finish with an over-easy egg.

Truffled Sweet Potato Poutine Bowl

It may not be the most photogenic of meals, but for whatever it lacked in beauty it certainly made up for it in taste and savoriness. I also don’t think this bowl would be the same if there weren’t sweet potato fries at the bottom of it.

Frederick’s Food Bloggers Meet & Dine at AYSE Meze

This past Saturday evening, some of the foodies of Frederick got a chance to meet and enjoy a taste of the new AYSE Meze. It was high time Frederick’s growing community of food bloggers/people who blog about food met and this dinner was hopefully the first of many similar events. It’s always nice to talk about all things blogging with some kindred spirits (and sit at a table where everyone’s cool with waiting the extra few minutes to snap the requisite pictures of the food.)

Becky of Becky Cooks and Tara of Lace and Grace have their recaps up already and the other bloggers who were able to make it to this inaugural meet-up included Liza of (a)Musing Foodie, Shannon of Shannon Morgan Creative  and Karen of 365 Frederick.

Pronounced EYE-sha, AYSE Meze is named after the late mother of one of the owners as well as their focus on meze cuisine (small plates). Their menu features items from Greek, Turkish and Lebanese Cuisine.

Drinks were of course the first order of business, several of us were feeling a red wine so we did the economical thing and ordered a bottle. Others tried some white wine and a pomegranate fizz.

Drinks on the table at AYZE Meze

We were all so busy chatting it took us a bit to order anything besides our beverages, but when we did we figured the dip and cheese sampler platters were a great way for us all to taste a little of everything.

AYZE Meze dip sampler

The spread included all 6 available dips,
Muhammara – red pepper, walnuts, pomegranate molasses
Babaganoush – eggplant, tahini, lemon, garlic
Hummus – chick pea, garlic, tahini, olive oil, lemon
Pasa Ezmesi – feta, yogurt, biber, jalapeno, parsley
Gemlik Zeytin – black olives, pepper paste, feta, garlic
Tzatziki – cucumber, yogurt, garlic, dill, mint

AYZE Meze Cheese Sampler Appetizer

The cheese (peynir) sampler included,
Bulgarian Feta with olive oil, watermelon, jalapeno and mint
Grilled Haloumi with cyprus tomato jam, marcona almonds and sumac
Manouri with calmynra figs, honey, walnuts and sherry vinegar gel
Sigara Borekgi – phyllo wrapped feta and goat cheese with apricot spoon sweet

We were also very intrigued when another dinner party had a waiter light fire to a pan of cheese and clearly had to order some for ourselves.

AYZE Meze Saganaki Cheese

It’s called Saganaki and it’s kasseri cheese flamed with mezteca brandy and lemon … they also yell “Opa!” when igniting the flame.

When it was time to move past appetizers we were offered some very good suggestions by our server. I ultimately decided on the xtemia which is (huge) sea scallops served over sweet potato, fennel and a mint-mustard butter.

AYZE Meze Sea Scallops

There are no entree sized potions available on the menu as everything is offered as small plates (very similar to tapas). Another one I was able to snap a photo of was the kibbeh, beef and lamb bulgar fritters with pine nuts, golden raisins and and labneh (a type of cheese).

AYZE Meze Beef and Lamb Fritters

Dessert was skipped by no one. Among the table everyone ordered either the flowerless chocolate cake (cikolata kestane pastasi), turkish delights (lokum) or the coconut yogurt cake (yogurt tatlisi).

AYZE Meze Flowerless Chocolate Cake Dessert

AYSE Meze Coconut Yogurt Cake Dessert

Overall I was personally very pleased with the food and based on the fact that the restaurant was full when we left, I’d say others are coming to the came conclusion. As with any new restaurant there are some growing pains to work out, but I’m looking forward to returning to sample more.