Tuesday, April 29, 2008

New foods and old favorites

It is raining here in Boston, but it's not that terrible. You know why? Because it's muggy. Oh yes, muggy and humid and nasty but that means IT'S NOT WINTER ANYMORE. It actually feels like spring! My hair looks like a frizzy ball of fluff, but it's April! Weee!

Alas, the Boston Farmers' markets do not open up until May, but that is not stopping me from eating as much asparagus and springy vegetation as possible. Last week I made that dissappointing chicken thing, but the roasted asparagus and grape tomatoes alongside it were tasty. Then there was Tammi LaFever's Amazing Pasta Salad this weekend - twice. And last night I made my first bowl of quinoa (more on that in a second) and tossed some asparagus on top. For dessert: strawberries with Fage Yogurt and honey. It was a yummy night.

Since it was raining and the Whole Foods is closer to my house, I decided to take a break from my new further-away-but-cheaper-regular-grocery-store habit and splurge at the smaller and more expensive but tastier organicorporate spot. I wandered about with my list, making sure we had eggs for the banana bread I was going to make with three forgotten and overripe beauties I noticed that morning and when I made my way over to the bulk food section, there was only one empty bin.... of the quinoa I was determined to try that night! Curses. A helpful and friendly employee showed me the boxed quinoa three aisles over, and I am so glad I got it in a box, beacuse the instructions were key - one part tiny little grains to two parts water, bring to a boil, simmer for 15 minutes or until they become spirals. Love it. Christy was like, um, spirals? How will you know? I had no idea, until I took the lid off the pot 15 minutes later and... they were little spirals. So cool! And so tasty. They were like little buttery slightly crunchy and a little slippery, and I wanted to eat the whole pot. Instead, I took more inspiration from Heidi at 101 cookbooks and added some pan fried potatoes, asparagus, toasted walnuts and sauteed onions and garlic. I topped it with a little leftover lemon/mustard vinaigrette and a soft boiled egg. And goat cheese. Can you even imagine the awesomeness? I can't wait for lunch today.

PS. I promise I will do the following by the end of this week:

1. Remember to take pictures of my food and
2. Figure out how to post them

Friday, April 25, 2008

Cuchi Cuchi Cool

Dinner on Wednesday was very interesting. Cuchi cuchi is all super art deco looking inside (stained glass and overwrought light fixtures), and their cocktail menu is separated into pre-prohibition and post-prohibition drinks, and then some newer mixed drinks... a little overwhelming, but I ended up with a perfectly serviceable mojito. The waitstaff is dressed flapper style and it's all very strange, but pretty in a McKenzie Child sort of way. The service was sort of slow but whatever, we weren't in a hurry.

We had five "small plates." Cuchi Cuchi's website states about one million times that they are NOT a tapas bar. But it's tapas style food - small plates for sharing, organized by what's in them with a note about the country of origin. I think we were supposed to get bread and eggplant dip before the food came out, but the service was a little inconsistent and it came out with our first two plates. Here are said plates in the order we got them:

1. Seafood filled avocado - You can't really go wrong with avocado, though the various bits of seafood were a tiny bit overcooked/chewy. I like the concept and I might try it at home.... though I think I liked this one more than Adam did. Good job, Guatemala.

2. An Asian salad - This was mostly just julienned veggies with peanut ginger sesame dressing - neither one of us were blown away by this one, and it was a little too strongly flavored. I drank a lot of water while eating it.

3. The "Cuban Cigar"- A very tasty short rib wrapped in empanada dough and served with really good black beans. The dough was light and flaky, the rib cooked perfectly and the beans savory and delicious. Yum.

4. Duck a l'orange crepes - This one came in second; it was a great mix of sweet and savory. Served with a grain salad of some sort.

5. Fried artichoke hearts- the piece de la resistance from Italy, filled with gorgonzola and basil and served with a buttery sauce of pistachios and olives. Oh. Sweet. Mama. I had to ask Adam to repeat his story because I stopped paying attention as soon as I put the first bite in my mouth. I would go back there just for these.

Since the portions are small (in a good way), we had room for dessert, which rarely happens to me. We ordered the cheesecake, because the menu note was so good - still in the mood for something small, rich, and beautiful? Hee hee... yes. The standout of the tiny little (again, in a good way) cheesecake was the lemon curd around the edges. The cheesecake itself was just ok. The tiramisu was served in a martini glass, was a little heavy on the whipped cream.mascarpone and light on the lady fingers, and had way too much cinnamon on top... we actually scraped a lot off. I don't think I'd order it again.

In general, I get the impression that this place thinks it is really cool. It is, that's for sure, but it's not in any way understated; decor, costumed waitstaff and strong food included. Adam made a comment at one point that it would be a good place for a fancy girl's night outting, and I think that about sums it up.

Cuchi Cuchi
Dinner nightly5:30 - 11
Bar until 12:30
Closed Sunday
795 Main Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
Tel: 617.864.2929

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

So. I made Jamie Oliver's Dad's "Superb Chicken." I'm underwhelmed. I thought the mushrooms were tasty, yes, and of course puff pastry makes anything better (hooray butter!) but in the end... it's still just a baked chicken breast. Ok, perhaps I underseasoned the shrooms, but the sauce was actually too potent for my tastes. It felt like overcompensating. And I should have wrapped the pastry with the extra edge under the chicken, not on top (I thought it might look pretty?). Maybe I should avoid things that rely on sauce? I'm not usually into them. My roommates enjoyed this, but it certainly isn't my favorite thing I've ever made. I also roasted some asparagus and grape tomatoes that were good (recipe from Eating Well), but I didn't even use the dressing I made to go with them... that'll probably go on a salad later this week.

Sorry for the bummer-y tone of this email. Lots of things are changing, and while I'm ready for the changes (very ready), it's still a growth process, and I'm having a hard time shaking off something silly. In other (good) news, I'm going to the Sox game with Christy tonight! Yess!

Friday, April 18, 2008


Christy can finally chew again after a week of wisdom tooth removal recovery, so last night we celebrated with burgers at Joshua Tree in Allston.

The strange part was when we walked in, the host asked us if we wanted to see the game. Now, if you've ever been to Joshua Tree in Allston, you know that there is nowhere in that place where you can't see the game. The tv screens are ginormous and everywhere. Anyway, although we did watch both games (Bruins won, Sox won, good night all around...) we were there for burgers. Courtney and I both got the "Californian" and Christy got the basic "Patriot." Apparently something becomes Californian if an avocado gets anywhere near it, and that is a-ok by me. Yum. Christy's basic cheeseburger "The Patriot" was satisfying as well. I think the highlight of the meal was the sweet potato fry option - I always feel better eating fries if they're made out of such a healthy starch, and it helps that they taste so darn good.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Have we passed the peak hot cereal season?

The other day before I left for work, Court was making some oatmeal in the microwave that smelled so good I could hardly stand it. I still don't know which one that was, but in a later discussion she mentioned that Kashi makes some good oatmeals as well. [For the record we are talking about instant oatmeals. I leave too ding dang early to make *real* oatmeal in the morning... in fact I usually have breakfast at work.]

Anyway, the other day at Whole Foods I bought Kashi GO LEAN Instant Hot Cereal. I just tried it for the first time and I must say I am not impressed. I definitely added too much water, but I also added raisins, and those were the best part. I realize that it's not oatmeal if it has 7 grains and not just oats, but it really just tastes like dusty "health food." I like health and I like food, but I think you know what I mean. I'll probably bring the box to work and keep it as a backup breakfast for those crazy busy days, and I'll use less water next time. Maybe then I'll like it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

You vote what you eat?

Really interesting article on microtargeting of voters based on food choices in the NYT today. I'm having a liberal identity crisis now that I know Republicans prefer Chick-Fil-A.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hello, spring?

Today I had a half day from work so I got to peace out at 1 (yessss) but didn't have anywhere to be until 3:30! We've had hints of spring in the air lately and today was no exception - I wandered to Downtown Crossing and into DSW (strike one) and then across the park (so. many. cute. dogs.) and down Boylston to Filene's Basement (which is on the second floor, go figure)

Here is something about me: I'm a terrible shopper. I get overwhelmed easily, so I have to be in the perfect mood to shop in stores of this nature, what with their willy nilly sales racks and crazy bargain hunting grandmas. Today I was in the right frame of mind, and I tried a LOT of stuff on... and then I left with one Red Sox cap and one athletic type zippy jacket thingy. I went to Marshalls (strike two) and to Borders where I resisted a number of books, but I'm not going to call that a strike, because good for me!

Aside: why do I feel guilty buying myself books? Maybe because I'm moving in July and don't want to carry them...?

Ok, but strike three came at my local Whole Foods when they were out of stock of the Fage 2% with honey that I just noticed I really like. Sad. Instead I went home and ate half a bag of WF Soy Crispettes which is fine because they're made of soy, so they must be good for me. I also made sure to break them in half so the calories would fall out. Right.

I eventually scrounged up some leftovers for dinner in front of American Idol (Yay David Cook! Boo Kristy Lee Cook!) and I have to stop using the word scrounge. Monday night I made a cous-cous based version of this recipe from Heidi at 101 cookbooks. I think the reason I like her so much is that she puts together things I wouldn't have considered. Asparagus + walnuts + hard boiled eggs = yum? Who knew? I had some Han's All Natural chicken sausage in the fridge that I sauteed up and added to the mix, and it was a very satisfying dinner. I have the same for lunch today, yay!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Fage Yogurt

I know I'm eons behind the times, but I just tried this for the first time (2%, with honey). As much as I like the tiny pots of Stoneyfield Farm that come in handy four-packs of my two favorite flavors, I might not go back. And how can you beat a product that has it's pronunciation clearly indicated on its label?

Oh, garbanzo beans!

Perhaps I am cheating, using an email to a friend as my first post, but by way of getting started, here it is.

Sunday I woke right up at 8 with nothing on my mind but chickpeas. Yes, garbanzos. Do you know how much I love i ceci? I eat them at least 6 days a week in one form or another, and I have recently discovered the shocking difference between dried & soaked overnight vs. canned. I'm into beans in general, actually... and I recently ordered $35 worth of heirloom variety beans from an independent farm in California. (I'm still a little embarrassed about this, but looking oh-so-forward to their arrival.)

Ok, tangent over. I woke up at 8 on Sunday, leapt out of bed, and ran to the kitchen to start my chick peas a-soaking. They need about 8 hours and I had neglected to think of Sunday's dinner on Saturday, as there was a boy and a baseball game distracting me. Anyway, I did go back to bed after I put the beans in a pot, and the rest of the day was fair to middlin'. Took a walk, drank some coffee. Adam got a call around noon and had to go into work (ugh) so it was just us girls in front of the What Not to Wear marathon. But on our walk, we stopped at Trader Joe's and the at Whole Foods in search of semolina flour so I could make... (waaait for it!) pasta from scratch! Admittedly it was not the egg pasta one envisions when 'homemade pasta' is mentioned, but it was orecchiette, the little semolina based ear-shaped (orecchio = ear, -ette = little) beauties. They turned out a little chewy because I followed the directions in Gourmet over my own instincts, so they were too big to dry in an hour, but they were tasty and I made them myself. My roommates liked them, and I had no need for my backup box of dried orecchiette. Alas, my camera battery pooped out on me so I didn't get any pictures, but it was a fun way to spend an afternoon/evening, and it didn't take as long as some of my previous Sunday cooking adventures, so we managed to eat before 9:45!

Index of Recipes

Cold Brewed Coffee
Sour Cherry Liqueur
Bitters Spritzer

Chipotle and Cheese Souffle Muffins
Doughnut Muffins
Savory French Toast
Apple Spice Cake
Maple Coconut Granola
Jam Filled Buttermilk Biscuits
Blueberry Pop Tarts
Citrus Salad

Pizza Dough
Banana Bread
Dill Bread
Olive Oil Dough
Savory Cilantro Cake
Buttermilk Biscuits
Black Pepper Brioche Burger Buns

Appetizers and Snacks
Bacon Wrapped Dates
Eggplant and Feta Triangles
Guacamole, my way
Swiss Chard Potstickers
Gooseberry Mini Tarts (also known as Strawberry Tomatoes)
Rosemary Cracker Bread
Spicy and Sweet Nuts
Kale Chips
Baked Cheddar Olives 
Classic Tomato Bruschetta

Pizza Dough
Olive Oil Dough
Fancy Pants Pizza (with goat cheese, walnuts, and cranberries)
Leftovers Pizza (with roasted root veg and goat cheese)
Sosh Pizza (with pears, walnuts, cambozola and arugula)

Vegetarian Mains and Sides
Fancy Pants Pizza
Crispy Tofu
Zucchini Tart
Zucchini and Ricotta Pie
Kathy Frontino's Potato Salad
Eggplant and Polenta Stacks
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Yellow Eye Bean Salad
Broccoli Rabe with Beans
Chana Punjabi (Indian Chickpea Stew)
Cabbage and Crispy Five Spice Tofu
Big Bowl of Greens (Spinach + Potato)
Seared Radicchio with Parmesan
Sweet Potato Latkes
Potato and Green Chile Stew 
Curried Parsnips with Yogurt and Chutney
Broccoli and Potato Stir Fry with Lentils
Cheesy Polenta with Skillet Roasted Mushrooms
Eggs in Purgatory
Baked Beans with Honey and Dill
Summer Vegetable Gratin
Mom's Broiled Zucchini
Summer Vegetable Gratin
Shaved Zucchini Salad with Parmesan and Pine Nuts
Corn Sauteed with Herbs
Five Spice Eggplant with Spicy Cabbage
Tofu and Tomato Stir Fry
Sesame Bok Choy

Rice and Pasta
Blue Cheese Risotto
Pasta with Chicken Sausage, Tomatoes and Ricotta
Orzo Salad, Tabouli Style
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Peanut Sesame Noodles
Savory Squash and Sage Pasta
Pasta with Sausage, Peppers and Marjoram
Pasta alla Crazy Bastard
Spring Pasta with Asparagus, Lettuce, Pea Shoots and Prosciutto
Fresh Pasta with Fava Beans, Spring Onions and Pecorino
Wild Mushroom Pasta
Pasta with Parsley Sauce and Cauliflower
Pasta with Asparagus, Bresaola, and Smoked Gouda
Tagliatelle with Brussels Sprouts, Walnuts and Gorgonzola

Salads and Soups
Coconut Split Pea Soup
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Soup
Basic Veggie Soup
Sweet Potato Soup
Bright Pink Salad
Summer Salad
Cranberry Bean, Kale and Pasta Soup
Potato and Green Chile Stew
Warm Lentil Salad with Spinach and Blue Cheese
Spicy Green Slaw with Kohlrabi and Cabbage
Greek Salad
Simple Gazpacho
Celery and Potato Soup with Tarragon Yogurt Swirl

Fish and Shellfish
Lemon Risotto with Shrimp
Spicy Shrimp Ramen
Salmon Roasted in Butter and Marjoram
Pasta with Mussels, Beans, and Greens
Oven Poached Fish in Olive Oil
Shrimp Gumbo
Fish with Sage Crumbs
Spring Salmon with Peas and Asparagus

Meat and Poultry
Monday Meatloaf
Cassoulet with Beans and Sausage
Kristen's Chili
Fig and Mint Meatballs with Anchovy Tomato Sauce
Flank Steak with Potato and Artichoke Hash and Aleppo Aioli
Turkey Meatball Banh Mi 
Fried Chickpeas with Sausage and Spinach
Bacon Wrapped, Cheese Filled, Campfire Grilled Hot Dogs
Lamb Burgers with Walnut Sauce

Cakes, Cookies and Desserts
Lemon Yogurt Cake
Simple Meringues
Peach Crisp
Pecan Pie Cookies
Dimply Plum Cake
Key Lime Cheesecake
Sour Cream Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze
Chocolate Hazelnut Crinkle Cookies
Candied Orange Peel (Orangettes)
Irish Coffee Crunchies
Coffee Chocolate Cake with Mocha Mascarpone Frosting
White Chocolate Cupcakes with Candied Kumquats
Brown Butter Raspberry Tart
Red Currant Cakes
Chocolate Orange Brownies
Sage Ice Cream
Peach Crumb Cake

Tammi's Pickles
Slow-Roasted Tomatoes
DIY Vanilla Extract
Pear, Port and Thyme Conserve
Parsley and Pepita Pesto
Chili Garlic Hot Sauce
Momofuku's Soy Pickled Shiitakes

Saturday, April 12, 2008

About Hungry Bruno

Hungry Bruno is written by me, Adrienne. Bruno is my last name; Hungry is my state of being. And by that I mean I'm hungry for adventures in the kitchen-which is an admittedly cheesy but apt turn of phrase-and also that I eat a lot of snacks.

The physical Hungry Bruno Kitchen has been located in three (count 'em THREE!) suburbs of Boston since its inception in the spring of 2008. The first was a large, bright space in Brighton with an electric range, an Ikea kitchen island, and three roommates. The second was an eensy-weensy-teeny little spot in Southie with one roommate, almost no counter space, and a door leading up to a roof deck with a killer view of the city. Its current incarnation is an enormous (well, Boston apartment enormous) room in Somerville with elephant-gray tiles halfway up the walls, more cabinets than I know how to handle, and one roommate aka boyfriend fiance (!), Adam, who only occasionally lets me help wash dishes.

So, about the food. The recipes on Hungry Bruno are vegetable-heavy, because that's how I eat - mostly veggies, not a ton of meat, though it does show up here on occasion. We like to make things from scratch here, and I am a little terrified of non-food items masquerading as actual-food foods. I try to shop at the farmers' markets while they're open (which in Boston means early June - Thanksgiving). I like dessert, but I like dinner better. You will not see watermelon on this blog (shudder). Things I like very much include apples, cheese, fried eggs with hot sauce, hummus, and leafy greens.

Other points of interest:

Index of Recipes. Organized by category

My Flickr stream. Sneak peeks of upcoming deliciousness (while we're on the topic, please don't steal my photographs - send an email and ask me first if you want to use them)

My Twitter stream. Follow @hungrybruno if you're into daily minutiae

Links. Looking for something else to read? Here's my google reader list in handy linky format.

Email. Send love notes, party invitations, and questions to talktohungry AT gmail DOT com

Oh, and finally - thank you for asking but I don't want to review your product, especially if it's a four calorie cookie or protein water. (WTF is IN that stuff?) No need to send it over because I won't talk about it here.

Hungry Bruno Links

Boston Local Food Blogs

Food Blogs from Boston-based writers.

Cake and Commerce
Cave Cibum
Cooking Gourmet
Dinner Love
Erin Cooks
Eyes Wide Stomach
Food for Living
Food on the Food
Gourmet, All the Way
Healthy and Sane
Kate Flaim, Girl Reporter
La Tartine Gourmande
Public Radio Kitchen
Sweet Amandine
Tales of the Basil Queen
The Perfect Pantry
Tri to Cook
We are Not Martha

Food Preservation
Food Blogs about canning and preserving food

Feed Me Like You Mean It
Doris and Jilly Cook
Lelo in Nopo
Food in Jars

Food Blogs
I read a LOT of blogs. These are most of them.
64 Square Foot Kitchen
Adventures in the Kitchen
Alexandra's Kitchen
The Amateur Gourmet
Aritsan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
Baker's Banter
Chez Pim
Chocolate & Zucchini
Closet Cooking
Dine and Dish
Dorie Greenspan
Food Loves Writing
Homesick Texan
In Jennie's Kitchen
Justcook NYC
Kalyn's Kitchen
Kitchen Parade
Leite's Culinaria
Michael Laiskonis
Not Derby Pie
Pinch My Salt
Pithy and Cleaver
Roots and Grubs
Sassy Radish
She Simmers
Simply Recipes
The Skinny Gourmet
Steamy Kitchen
The Closet Chef
The Food in my Beard
The Second Pancake
Under the High Chair
Use Real Butter
Vanilla Garlic
White on Rice Couple
Will Write for Food

Blogs and Websites Not (Always) About Food
These blogs are not about food. Well, not all the time. But sometimes they are.

A Chicken in Every Granny Cart
Pr*tty Sh*tty
The Uniform Project
Leda's Urban Homestead
A Way to Garden
Missed Connections
Daisy Owl
A Softer World
Tomato Nation
Adrienne Crezo
Brazen Careerist
What Could Happen?