Monday, March 25, 2013
If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen these collages, so you already know I had quite a tasty weekend. We started Saturday morning, meeting some friends at Union Square Donuts, the hottest donut shop in town, with a chocolate chipotle (good chocolate flavor, medium chipotle burn), a dulce de leche cinnamon bun (could use a bit more gooey-ness) and a maple bacon (mapley frosting, crispy bacon...this is a perfect donut).
That afternoon I headed into Boston for a Boston Foodie Tour and I had an absolute blast. We started with lobster pizza at Scampo, and (along with a few other stops that I didn't get good photos of) worked our way through Georgetown Cupcakes, Bon Me's deviled tea egg, Turner Fisheries' surprisingly light clam chowder and ended at the Mandarin Oriental for this "strawberry shortcake" dessert that I am still thinking about (what are those little strawberry jello bead thingies?!)
Sunday Adam and I got on the green line (yes, that's how famous this sandwich has become) and went into Brookline Village for Cutty's Super Cluckin' Sunday - they're not usually open on Sundays but sometimes they open up to serve this one fried chicken sandwich (no other sandwiches, just this one, epic sandwich) - and they just stay open until they run out of chicken. It was really amazing - hot, juicy chicken, honey mustard with a serious dijon bite, cheddar cheese, mayo, iceberg on a sesame brioche bun. It was a fitting end to my weekend of outstanding food.
I did some cooking this weekend, too, and I'll be back in a day or two with soup. Did you guys have any noteworthy snacks this weekend?
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
I made a batch of this bark a while back and it is long gone. However, given that it is SNOWING AGAIN (grrrrrrrr) I might have to go home tonight and replenish my supply... you know, so I can switch it up and eat my feelings in chocolate instead of popcorn.
Toast 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat. Toast 3 tablespoons sesame seeds in the same manner. Melt 8 ounces dark chocolate (30 second bursts in the microwave, stirring between), spread it on a parchment-lined sheet pan and sprinkle the seeds, plus 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt (I like Maldon), evenly on top. Let it set (or shove it in the fridge to speed it up), then break it into pieces. So easy, so tasty, and it feels fairly virtuous since you're basically eating bird seed. Thanks for the idea, Bon Appetit!
Friday, March 15, 2013
Anybody else get a total kick out of the first robin they see every spring? Maybe it's because I grew up further north (they're only gone for a couple of months here), but I always enjoy it. This year I got a picture! Hi, bird. Welcome back.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
It takes kind of a lot for me to be amazed by something that happens in the kitchen. I mean, I've studied cooking, I've watched a lot of Good Eats, and I work at a culinary school, so I get that pitas puff in the heat of the oven, corn pops when it gets too hot and proteins caramelize to make many things tastier. This doesn't mean I'm hard to impress (really!) just that few things really feel magical to me anymore.
I've made fresh, no-rennet cheeses plenty of times - ricotta, paneer, things of that nature. But making mozzarella feels like magic. Milky, delicious magic. You start with a pot of milk, turn it into milky jello, and then after a couple of quick trips in the microwave, you can roll it into a ball. A ball of CHEESE!
I followed the directions from Animal Vegetable Miracle pretty much to the letter (except I cut the recipe in half, so I used shorter bursts in the microwave.) We ate this blob yesterday, under some of last summer's slow roasted tomatoes, a flurry of salt and pepper, and a drizzle of good olive oil and condimento balsamico. I wish I had added more salt while I was making the cheese. I also wish I had left it with a little more moisture (experienced cheesemakers: could I use a little less rennet for a more tender cheese?).
Apologies for crappy iPhone photos, but do know that I'll be making this again VERY soon. Roasted tomatoes, while delicious, are entirely different from fresh, and I'm happy to have time to perfect my mozzarella technique before tomato season rolls around again.
Sunday, March 10, 2013
We are big popcorn eaters in this house. Occasionally, on particularly lazy weekend days when breakfast isn't until 10 and lunch happens at 3 (ahem, yesterday...) popcorn is dinner. We pop it on the stove top in a special popcorn pot with a hand-crank handle that keeps the kernels moving (a lot like this one).
Usually we season it with melted butter, salt and pepper. Sometimes we toast jalapeno flakes and grind them up and use that, occasionally other herbs or spices (pro tip: smoked paprika makes popcorn taste a lot like bacon). Yesterday we used sriracha, which was surprisingly sweet and spicy. Two of my favorite things in one snack! I think it's going in the regular rotation.
serves 2, or 1 if you're really into popcorn
adapted from Food52, one of my recent favorite sites for inspiration
1/2 cup popcorn kernels, popped on the stovetop or in an air popper*
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon sriracha
1 teaspoon kosher salt
several grinds black pepper
To pop corn on the stovetop, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a pot with a tight fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add the popcorn and put on the lid. When you hear it start popping, shake the whole pot every few seconds to redistribute. When the popping slows, check your corn. It's probably done.
Melt the butter and sriracha together in the microwave, sprinkle the salt and pepper over the popped corn, then pour the sriracha butter over. Put the lid back on and shake it like crazy to distribute the seasoning. We do the seasoning/shaking in a big plastic bowl with a lid, and then we just take off the lid and eat.
*I don't have an air popper, but if you've got one, just follow the directions, I guess?
Saturday, March 9, 2013
Walking around in the sunshine today, we came across this face that somebody drew on a tree. Yeah, that's how I feel about winter, too. It was QUITE windy during yesterdays storm - steps we shoveled yesterday were covered in drifts this morning, trees and signposts wore little jackets of white until the sun hit them and then they melted into streams and rivers flowing down the street. Oh, New England. Your weather is so bizarre.
But this morning the sun is out, my mood is much improved, and my thoughts have turned to garden plants. I made my Johnny's order this morning. Woo!
Friday, March 8, 2013
So it's snowing again. I can't even tell you how profoundly unamused I am by this fact. Here's my walk to work this morning:
Note the lack of shoveling. I genuinely wished I had a pair of snow shoes. We're supposed to have dinner tonight with one of Adam's cousins, who is allegedly flying in around 4. It's 11 now and it's still coming down hard, so we'll see. I was perusing some old draft posts and saw these photos from last year's spring treat* CSA share and I thought I'd share them in case you, too, wanted to remember what spring/summer looks like.
First spring treat share: onions, spinach, potatoes, cabbage, eggs, lettuce mix and parsley. Some silly fool put a cabbage in the swap box, and I traded a jar of jam for it since I have a lot of jam.
Spring treat share: green garlic, harukei turnips, popcorn, Four Star Farms cornmeal, eggs, chili flakes, spinach and tea.
Spring treat share: spinach, eggs, sunchokes, radishes, chives, shallots, scallions, asparagus and Sidehill Farm Yogurt.
Final spring treat share: two heads of lettuce, white russian kale, bok choy, radishes, lettuce mix, eggs and an entire quart (!) of strawberries.
First summer share: radishes, spinach, butterhead lettuce, swiss chard and garlic scapes (woo!).
*Our CSA share is with Kitchen Garden Farm in Sunderland, MA; in past years we've purchased a "spring treat share" as well as the summer and early fall shares. This year they switched it up to a summer and a winter share, and we've been enjoying excellent produce from them all winter long - onions, garlic, winter squash, lots of sweet and regular potatoes, herbs and greens. Pickups are every two weeks until June, but alas, I don't get to do the picking up - we're signed up for a downtown pickup near where Adam works, and I work too far away and too late on Wednesdays. I'm hoping to be able to photograph some of our shares again this summer, but often my very kind husband has already put them away by the time I get home... and I'm lazy. If you're looking for a CSA with pickup options in Boston and various parts of Cambridge, I strongly encourage you to check out The Kitchen Garden - the produce is great and they are excellent communicators. And it's almost spring! Please?
Thursday, March 7, 2013
So, here's the deal: I didn't actually do all 30 things on my 30x30 list. I did a lot, though! Almost twenty things before February 7, 2013, aka my 30th birthday.
1. I made turkey breakfast sausage - well, turkey sausage that we ate at breakfast, but it was technically turkey chorizo. Lots of paprika and chili powder. Quite delicious.
2. I made croissants for our annual New Year's Day brunch.
3. I brewed some ginger beer.
4. I made some duck prosciutto using this recipe.
5. We ate the duck prosciutto while we watched The Godfather Trilogy with some friends.
6. I taught a class on pickling and preserving.
7. I went back to Europe.
8. I completed Project 365, though as of this writing I still have a few photos to edit and upload to complete that set.
9. I cleaned up my Google Reader.
10. I read 30 books. Possibly my favorite part of this whole project.
11. I purged my cookbook collection (and sold a bunch of them at Harvard Bookstore before donating the rest).
12. I got a hamper for our bedroom.
13. I cleaned out under the guest bed.
14. I cleaned out a big trunk full of crap in our basement.
15. I condensed and organized our DVD collection.
16. I switched to using homemade, natural cleaning products.
17. I got curtains for the living room.
18. I did two chinups in a row.
19. I didn't run a 10k in under an hour, but I did complete a half marathon, so I'm calling it done.
There are still things on the list that I want to do, so I'm just segueing the whole project into a Mighty Life List, that is, a list of goals and ideas for leading a more awesome life. It seems likely that the list will never be finished, and that's ok. The point is to do more awesome things. You can find the work-in-progress list right here, and there's a new tab at the top of the page, too. So ANYWAY, let's get back to business as usual around here, huh?
Photo is from a recent snowstorm, but not the one we are currently experiencing. That one left some pretty fluffy white stuff, this one is leaving nothing but sleet and slush. I tell you what I am ready for the sun to come back.