Monday, March 21, 2011

Weekend Roundup

This weekend held perfect examples of cool things going on in Howard County.  The first is a fairly shameless plug - I taught my monthly cooking class at Williams-Sonoma.  We featured a recipe by Sarah Johannes, Sous Chef to Wolfgang Puck.  The recipe was for Chinese barbecue ribs; we used short ribs for the first batch, which yielded a lot of meat, and I whipped up a batch of the barbecue sauce (typical ingredients like ketchup and dark corn syrup, plus soy, hoisin, and sriracha sauces, as well as garlic, ginger, and scallions).  The sauce was a success, but it got me thinking about a couple of things:

1.  Using caramelized shallots to give sweetness and reduce the amount of corn syrup;
2.  Using red wine vinegar to balance the sugar element;
3.  Using more heat, such as mincing Szechuan peppers and letting them cook up with the garlic, ginger, and scallions.  For this, I think you could use the Garlic Zoom and mince the ginger and the peppers at the same time.

As I told the attendees, I am pretty much incapable of following a recipe exactly.  I did my best to stick to the recipe - after all, I am not a famous Sous Chef! - but I think that these additions might add new depth to the dish.

We had about six people at the class, but once the smell of ribs wafted into the mall, we had a lot more people in the store!

The next cool HoCo event is also somewhat personal.  Abiding Savior Lutheran Church has invited me back to teach a Liturgical Dance class, and we had our first meeting yesterday.  It's great to be working with these enthusiastic young women, and I am really looking forward to our first performance on Palm Sunday, to the song, "Landslide."  I don't know how common Liturgical Dance is, so I think it's pretty neat that ASLC is doing this again.

On to the other events.  My mother, my fiance, and I attended the first in the World Music Series in the Other Barn in Oakland Mills.  We were lucky enough to be able to listen to Kwame Ansah and Fritete Afro-Beat, a group of fabulously talented, passionate, and playful musicians.   They had more drums than I could count or name, and it was truly cool to listen to music that I didn't really know anything about.  I am excited to hear further concerts in OM.  The established Jazz Series is a pleasure, and I think the World Music Series is going to be a hit.

After the concert, we adjourned to the Second Chance Saloon next door.  To sum up the Second Chance is somewhat difficult - for example, they keep up the decorations for every holiday year-round, which manages to be quirky and charming, and you might think that there's something of the "dive" feeling because it is a very casual and low-key place.  However, the food is consistently good (I was really wowed by their authentic beef stew for St. Patrick's Day) and they have large beer selection that both maintains old favorites and switches in (what will soon be) new favorites.  I had Flying Dog's seasonal, Garde Dog, which was sweet and malty and didn't have any overt heaviness.  I was also happy to hear that they had Boh on tap, though I didn't indulge in that particular pleasure.  Our server, Kevin, was friendly and relaxed as always.  I will definitely be heading back for one of their many daily specials.   

All in all, a great weekend in HoCo.  Now, on to the week...

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