Tag Archives: life

Ginger Cornmeal Biscotti

3 Mar

Cornmeal and ginger biscotti

You’ve got your coffee…but what about a little something to go along with it on this Monday? I’m opting for some of these tasty biscotti that I conjured up a few weeks ago.

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The main ingredients are candied ginger chunks, cornmeal and chocolate. I show you how to make your own candied ginger here.) There’s also orange zest, almonds and anise seed. It’s a pretty flavorful treat that is super easy to make. Bring some with you for catching up with a friend or to your office to share with coworkers. The mix of flavors within will leave your cohorts in awe of your supreme baking abilities (which you may or may not have…but let’s just let them think you do either way).

For the full recipe and some more photos, head over to my recipe at Eat Boutique.

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Extra-Dirty Martini.

20 Jan

MartiniOr would that be a Filthy Martini? Either way, I enjoy these. 

There was a period of time, somewhere around my early-to-mid twenties, when I would only drink dirty martinis. My affinity for this libation arose after a friend of mine introduced me to a properly made “extra dirty” martini. I will forever be thankful to him for making my acquaintance with this cocktail and the olives that accompany it.

Martini

Martini

Whenever I travel to northern New England, I always make time to stop in to my favorite place for drinks and comfort food. Located in Eaton Center, NH, this pub is a little nook tucked away at the back of an 1880s boarding school – now turned into an inn at Crystal Lake. 

MartiniThis place will always – always – have the best dirty martini I have come across in my travels. The gathering room is called the Palmer House Pub. It is where the locals gather while the tourists and leaf peepers/skiers dine in the attached restaurant….Finding a bartender who can make this with the correct proportions of vodka to vermouth to olive brine is not as common as I would like it to be. There is one place, however, that I can always count on.

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Martini

To read on, follow the link for the full post at EatBoutique.com

EHChocolatier.

21 Nov

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I know I still have to update my reupholstery project progress. Until then, here’s a post and some photos I did for Eat Boutique. It features the amazing creations of EHChocolatier out of Somerville, Mass. You’ll be able to experience them in person at this year’s Eat Boutique Holiday Market in Boston in about two weeks!

I have heard great things about EHChocolatier for quite some time now, but had yet to experience their products first hand. It took me a while, but now I understand why everyone who enjoys quality chocolate is so excited by this maker.

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The assortment of bonbons and confections available from this Somerville, MA operation are as appealing to the mouth as they are to the eye. Just one glance at any of the products offered by EHChocolatier, and you can tell you are in for a rewarding experience.

These chocolates are made with love, which gives each of them a unique glow one can see and taste. When discussing the business with Elaine Hsieh, cofounder of EHChocolatier, I inquired about her favorite product to produce and/or consume. Her response -“ Egads, that’s a difficult question to answer!”  – sums up the product line and its appeal. She went on to say that “All of our products are especially delicious when they’re still a little warm and just made.  I never tire of making ganaches and watching them come together through all the different stages while I’m stirring along.  It’s a thing of beauty and it never gets old.” Her passion clearly carries over to the final products.

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Find out more about the Eat Boutique Holiday Market and EHChocolatier by using this link!

Upholstery Class: Week One.

25 Sep

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After wanting to take an upholstery class for a while, I finally was able to get in and sign up before all of the spots were filled in this 9 person learning experience. I also purchased a spot for my husband, as he is also interested in learning how to restore furniture appropriately. 

I found this chair on Craigslist for $48 and it was exactly what I had in mind. It was an antique and had character in its bones, which I suppose were my only criteria. Upon starting  to take this apart, tack by tack by tack, it became clear that this chair had originally been crafted with great care. The instructor noticed this as well, and commented on the hand sewn details of the interior, the hog hair filling, the burlap crown on the inside of the cushion filled with more hog hair, and the different sized tacks used for differing details.

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Another interesting part which I loved about the chair, as did the instructors, was the backrest of the chair. The fabric had been sewn, tacked and held in place with handmade buttons in an intricate way which would have taken great skill and talent to accomplish. It may not show in the photo below, but it is quite impressive in the flesh (fabric?).

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The underside of the chair was dusty and dried out, and was easy to take apart. With each tear and pull, more dust floated out and I was able to get a clearer view of the springs.

 

By the end of the three hour class, I had removed EVERY tack, which was one of the most meditative and relaxing things I have done in a long while. There was something so satisfying about pulling and picking out each individual spike. The only thing left intact is the fabric and hog hair on the front of the backrest. This is to preserve the uniqueness of the chair, and replicate it when reupholstering it.

I will update my progress here as the weeks go on. Now to decide on a fabric….

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes. And Cheese. And Bread.

8 Sep

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We had already made a tasty dish this week utilizing a pint of tomatoes from our CSA box from Saltbox Farm in Concord. There was still another pint waiting around the kitchen, nearly a week later, with not much inspiration to be found for it.

 I was flipping through Jennifer Perillo’s book Homemade with Love for dinner ideas and found a simple recipe for slow-roasted tomatoes. I headed into the kitchen, grabbed the tomatoes  and sliced them up. After following her simple instructions, I had a warm dish of late summer perfection to devour.

While the tomatoes were roasting in the oven, I ran out to the store for bread, apples, pears and fig jam. Oh – and cheese – Herve Mons Morbier; Emmi Gruyere Reserve; and Les 3 Comtois Comte. The tomatoes have definitely won out as the favorite cheese and bread compliment this evening. I am surprisingly full with nearly half of the cheese still remaining – quite an oddity in my presence.

The recipe, courtesy of Homemade with Love:

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 sprigs fresh lemon thyme, chopped

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Add everything to an 8-inch square baking dish and toss. Adjust seasonings to taste. Bake until tomatoes are slightly collapsed and tender, about an hour. Enjoy warm or store in fridge for up to two weeks.

Strawberry, Leek & Goat Cheese Quesadilla.

28 Aug

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I sometimes forget how a few simple ingredients can come together to make a dish that truly stands out. This is one of those recipes, and I would like to thank Sara Forte for bringing this to my attention in her cookbook of delights, The Sprouted Kitchen – a tastier take on whole foods.

I try and utilize fresh ingredients which haven’t traveled too far as often as I can. This recipe called for fresh strawberries, and there are plenty of berries around this time of year. Another main component of this unusual (amazing!) take on a quesadilla is goat cheese, which is another locally produced item that is fairly easy to find. Pair those with leeks, mozzarella and brown rice tortillas, and you’ve got the makings of a memorable treat.

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Leeks and strawberries and goat cheese? Yes, they do work together. Each of these ingredients has its own distinct flavor characteristic which manage to meld together in such a way that you are left wondering why you haven’t ever put these together all at once before. (It may also lead to run-on sentences.) I’ve had similar flavor combinations in the past and called on those examples to tell myself that this would be amazing. It was, and much more than I was hoping for. Are you feeling reassured yet?

For more, head over to the rest of my post at EatBoutique.com

Rainbows and bunnies, for real.

17 Jun

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I made it home from work right before the skies opened up and an hour or so long thunderstorm rolled through. When the thunder stopped and the storm eventually fell apart, the skies cleared from west to east as the sun began to set, casting a rainbow over the Boston skyline. 

I first noticed it out of my living room window.A clearly defined double rainbow making its way through the trees and roofs. (I thought it was “rooves”, but no. It’s not. That’s hooves, apparently.) At the same time, the humidity in the air broke, and I had no choice but to wander outdoors to follow it further.

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On my way to find a bigger slice of rainbow, I ended up having conversations with strangers on three separate occasions, something which rarely happens in Boston – and to have it occur three times in twenty minutes? Crazy (and welcomed). I also saw a brown rabbit and a twenty-something year old dude standing three feet away from it taking pictures of it eating. That doesn’t happen much here either.

I arrived at my vantage point about 10 minutes after leaving my house. Here are some shots I took with my phone of the Boston skyline, on what I have dubbed Boston Day (because the date is 6/17, and also, our area code).

As I turned to leave, I looked at the sky to the west. It was missing the rainbow, but had the sunset, and was equally as awesome.

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Clementine (Orange…) Pistachio Muffins.

10 Jun

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I was lucky enough to get a copy of Jennifer Perillo’s new cookbook Homemade with Love, featuring recipes from her blog In Jennie’s Kitchen. I chose to write up a review of one of the many difficult to choose from recipes, but ended up going with the delicious Clementine and Pistachio Muffin recipe. Not only was it fun to make, it was a joy to photograph. Here’s part of my post from Eat Boutique:

As soon as I unwrapped Homemade with Love, the newly released cookbook from Jennifer Perillo, I knew this was going to become one of my favorite cookbooks. Yes, I was absolutely judging this book by its cover, and I happened to be completely correct about it.

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Reading Jennifer’s story of how she came to her current place in life, the lines between cookbook and the start of a really great novel became slightly intertwined. I was not familiar with Jennifer’s blog or her story, but know now that I will be a reoccurring visitor to In Jennie’s Kitchen.

Homemade with Love could double as an owner’s manual for the self-sufficient kitchen. Providing both a list of must have pantry items, as well as recipes for easy-to-make basics – you’ll be off to making truly homemade meals and treats right away….

 

To read more about my experience with this amazing recipe, as well as recipe for it, I urge you to go to read the rest of my post here. And also, be sure to check out Jennie’s blog if you have not done so already!

Homemade Caraway Seed Mustard.

6 Jun

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Maybe it just occurs in my kitchen, but I’ve noticed a small collection of condiments rapidly taking hold over the shelves on my  fridge door. Horseradish, chutney, peanut sauce, relish, and mustard – just to name a few of the residents. Looking more closely within the mustard neighborhood, I decided it might be time to try creating my own mustard. It’s really quite a simple process, and the customization opportunities are only limited by what you can come up with in your head.

I searched through my spice rack to see if any inspiration would develop, and then I came upon the caraway seeds. I added the seeds to a traditional mustard recipe and what developed was a spicy mustard with a rye bread familiarity. This would be perfect for both creating a filling reuben or for something more simple, such as dipping fresh baked pretzels.

Giving the flavors a day to settle in gave this mustard a completely different vibe. It went from a subtle tangy kick to an all out spicy attack on my taste buds, which I must say I enjoyed wholeheartedly. The level of heat you prefer can be negotiated. If you want a spread that is less spicy, do not grind the mustard seed too finely. The more you grind the seed, the spicier your mustard will become…

For my recipe, head over to Eat Boutique!

Nepenthe.

31 May

One of my favorite experiences this year took place in Big Sur on the Pacific Coast Highway in California. Joey and I started out in LA and drove up to San Francisco, staying with friends and their cats, as well as a few nights at inns and hotels.BIG SUR

We made the stop at the recommendation of a trusted advisor. She suggested we stop in at Nepenthe when we reached Big Sur. We arrived and pulled off the road into the parking lot and luckily found a spot as soon as we entered. (I may have just made my own spot, same thing.) This place was packed with people taking the same drive we were, following the advice of their friends as well, I assume.

The wait for a table overlooking the cliffs of mountains meeting up with the sandy shore was about an hour. An hour wait in the middle of nowhere, it seemed so wrong, but we decided to hang out. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made this year.

I enjoyed a beer and a burger while sitting on the edge of a cliff looking out into the sky, the sea and the trees.

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Nepenthe, which I believe takes its name from an ancient drug known to cure grief and sorrow, is accurately named. Looking out into the horizon, one could not feel anything but awe. There is something about this stretch of road and wilderness which energizes and soothes deep into the soul. Clearly, I highly recommend this stop if you ever make this drive yourself.

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Sometimes I’m busy…

30 May

Sometimes two months goes by and I’m all like “Didn’t I just update my blog last week?”. No. That was 10 weeks ago.

Since then, I’ve turned another year older. Driven the Pacific Coast Highway from LA to San Francisco. Saw President Obama’s motorcade. Purchased a second car. Built a fence out of wooden pallets. And I’ve started running again.

I’ve been enjoying the warmer New England weather and the outdoors in general. The flowers are starting to bloom and there is life in the backyard again. One of my favorites, the columbine, is a simple flower that has welcomely taken root throughout my yard, and its seed pods make it super easy to spread to new spots.

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While out for a walk a few nights ago, Joey and I came across this wooden rocking chair sitting next to someone’s trash barrels ready to be destroyed. We headed straight home, got in the car and claimed ownership. It’s rock solid, for real.

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In addition to the rocking chair, I’ve added some new plantings over this past weekend, including the pink lupines below. They fit nicely in the border under the birch tree clump that I planted last year.

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I’ve been working on some food related posts which will I’ll be sharing in the near future…but I guess I have been busy, just not blogging. And I miss it. And I’ll be back more often.

Valentine’s Day Granita.

13 Feb

I was asked to come up with a Valentine’s Day dessert recipe with honey as the star ingredient for my friends over at True Food Movement. I chose to make this refreshing granita to close out the most love-filled day of the year with a sweet and cleansing frozen treat. The recipe uses honey and a sparkling rosé Labrusco….yum!

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The recipe is featured in True Food Movement’s first e-cookbook Honey for my HunnyIt puts some of the best recipes using honey together in one place, and I suggest you go on over and take a look.

What are you doing to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Making anything special??

Anise Sugar & Thyme Cornbread

1 Feb

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Cornbread is always a pleasing and filling addition to any meal it accompanies. This cornbread is no different. It’s filled with fresh thyme and sweet anise sugar – adding a unique element to an already tasty side. 

I came up with this recipe while working on my latest post for Eat Boutique. If you want to make this to warm you up in the middle of winter, head over to read about my Cast Iron Skillet Herbed Cornbread.

Hot Spiked Cherry Spiced Apple Cider

29 Dec

GTT-4I love a hot winter weather drink of the adult persuasion. Cold and/or snowy nights are the best for snuggling up with with a steamy mug of something – hot  chocolate, coffee, tea, etc. Now, I don’t have anything against those guys, they are great for early mornings and tame nights. What I’m talking about specifically here is a drink that holds its own whether you are sitting on your couch watching The Walking Dead or hanging with friends and taking a to-go drink to walk through the falling snow.

THIS drink. It is THAT drink.

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Normally, I’ll take a well-made  hot toddy to get my through a cold night or chilled Saturday afternoon. But this cupful of steamy cocktail fun is just a little more edgier than its counterparts are. It adds a bit more color into an otherwise subdued category of winter refreshment.

I first had a rendition of this in Provincetown at the beginning of December after coming in from the freezing rain while walking the streets shopping for Christmas gifts. Chilled to the bone from the winds blowing off the Atlantic, I was looking for something to heat me from the inside out.

Hot apple cider with cherry flavored rum. I saw it on the menu and initially passed on it, ordering the regular spiked cider. My husband on the other hand ordered the cherry cider thing. When the drinks arrived I had a sip of his, and insisted we swap drinks right then and there. He did not fight me, as for some reason he was not as in love with it as I was.

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It tasted like melted down Luden’s cherry cough drops poured into hot spiced apple cider. It was warm and soothing – a liquid winter candy clearly made by unicorns and elves who live in the woods high-up in the mountains of, most likely, Vermont. (Yes, that is the description I am going with.)

When trying to reconstruct this at home, I thought best to add in some other flavors as well. A pinch of cardamom, a cinnamon stick, whole cloves and a few drops of orange bitters. (I’m still debating on whether or not to include actual Luden’s cough drops.) You could also put in one of these homemade bourbon soaked cherries.

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This is a sweet, but not overpowering mixture that hits many of the right notes. Your tastebuds are likely to agree.

Warning: These go down fast, tasting like candy and all. Use that knowledge as you see fit. Continue reading

Cranberry-Orange Anise Pecan Christmas Cake

24 Dec

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Sometimes you have an idea in your head of what you are going to bake. You have the recipe in front of you. There are pictures. It’s all quite simple to follow, really. And then…your simple change of making a bundt cake instead of two loaves throws a wrench into the ENTIRE recipe…because you’ve poured the batter into the cake pan and it’s already baking. That’s when you (I) realized that the crumble top that gets BAKED on TOP of the cake cannot happen now. Time to reassess.

It’s also the afternoon of Christmas Eve…and this is a dessert for, oh, three hours from now.

So, first thing that pops in to my head is a simple icing for the top. I then took the pecans I had remaining and toasted them with brown sugar and, get this, toasted anise spice sugar! It’s perfect for my Italian family, who are all obsessed with anything anise flavored. Continue reading

Last-minute Christmas to-do list… (Now with added hypens!)

23 Dec

 

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Are you totally waiting until the very last minute to do EVERYTHING? Yeah, me too. That was not the plan though (it never is). Although I was able to knockout the remainder of my Christmas shopping yesterday, I still have to go out and brave society at Christmas time in the stores because I forgot to get a Yankee Swap gift. I also have to…

  • Drink coffee
  • Go to the grocery store for ingredients
  • Figure out what ingredients are needed before going to the grocery store
  • Make food things: antipasto, cheddar & walnut stuffed mushrooms, desserts, etc
  • Figure out what “desserts” and “etc” will be made, then revisit ingredient list
  • Drink Coffee
  • Pick-up 2 pounds of tuna sashimi from Turner’s (a holiday tradition for about 7 years now)
  • Make place cards for the table
  • Finish wrapping gifts (with the help of the pug of course)
  • Make a cup of my favorite new winter cocktail and post it here ASAP!

Okay…so maybe it’s not all THAT much, (maybe it is?!)  but it’s not like I can sit around and watch holiday movies and the 10 episodes of Parking Wars I have DVR’d. Not yet anyway…

Hopefully you’ve got your stuff together a little bit more than I have.

Chestnut Stuffed Mushrooms (and holiday gift ideas!)

11 Dec

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My most recent post for Eat Boutique focuses on using chestnuts as the main ingredient in a filling and seasonally mouth-watering stuffed mushroom. 

Over the past few weeks the air in New England has been changing. It’s a familiar feel that brings an open-arm embrace to sweaters and hooded sweatshirts while at the same time an outstretched grasp hoping to cling to a few more days of warm weather. Fireplaces begin to smoke and the scent of burning wood while working out in the yard brings about a certain hunger. Thoughts of consuming recipes composed of  heartier elements than most that I have eaten over the past few months begin to invade my cravings.

The seasonal changes of fall bring about the recollection of roasting chestnuts in the fireplace while growing up. The uniquely brown nuts marked with an “X” pattern would line the outer tiles of the fireplace hearth, slowly roasting until their aroma filled the room. My family would eat them together as soon as they were cool enough to peel, but we had never used them in a recipe.

Chestnut-5Recently, while consulting with my hunger, I sensed that these hard-shelled delights might work well in a stuffed mushroom. I combined the fresh chestnuts with local leeks and hand-picked apples from a local orchard, then added some Manchego cheese to round out the flavors…

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To read more and to get the recipe, head on over to Eat Boutique! While you’re there, check out the gift boxes and individual items in the shop! I had the chance to sample (and purchase!) many of the items available at the Eat Boutique Holiday Market in Boston this past Sunday. The items and packages you will find easily make perfect gifts for someone on your list (or treat yourself!). 

My favorites include the Mexican Chocolate Almonds from Q’s Nuts (made right in my neighborhood!), Donovan’s Cellar Ginger Spiced Beets and for someone special, the Joy the Baker Gift Box which comes with Sweet Brook Farm Maple Syrup,  Sweet Revolution Caramels and a 14-oz bag of Marge Granola – oh, and a signed copy of Joy Wilson‘s cook book!

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December!

9 Dec

I have not forgotten about this blog. I have just been slammed by so much life lately! All good. We will continue with our regularly scheduled progamming shortly…

Until then, here are some holiday mercury glass decorations on my table….

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A picture of the albino squirrel who lives near me and came to visit this morning…

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And a shot from taking a friend on a “The Town” tour through Boston, because that’s what she really wanted to do…

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A real blog post will be forthcoming in the near future. That’s the plan at least…

A new endeavor…

22 Oct

I am excited to announce that my first post writing and photographing for Eat Boutique, an online magazine and market,  is up! I truly admire the aesthetics and ideas behind what they have accomplished, and I am honored to be a part of it, in whatever small way I am able.  I urge you to go check out eveything they have put together over the past several years.

Below is an excerpt from my first contribution on how to make a delicious and filling veggie taco (Hint: Fried Green Tomatoes).

“Being a carnivore married to a vegetarian can sometimes be a challenging adventure. Over the past ten years I have been enlisted as a vegetarian-by-default at many a meal. During this time, however, I have grown to appreciate plant-based foods in ways that still surprise me. Using vegetables in unexpected places to fill the void in a meatless marriage has become a skill I am still honing, but there are those moments when a vegetable dish leaves me completely satiated.

Vegetarian tacos have been a recurring presence in my kitchen and typically involve a frozen meat substitute defrosted and flavored with a taco seasoning packet – and a lot of cheese. This dish, however, has none of the previously mentioned vegetarian taco curses. Using the leftover green tomatoes gathered from my garden right before the first frost settled in, I refocused the vegetarian taco into an exciting, fresh and multi-layered delight.”

Click here to read the rest of this post and to view images of how beautiful this dish is….

Peanut Sauce Blue Cheese Burger & Friend.

24 Sep

I was craving a bunch of things to eat this evening when I got in from work. I decided to put them all onto burgers and combine the goodness into some seriously flavorful bites. 

I found my favorite peanut sauce at the store the other day and have been dying to put it on something, anything, since I picked it up. I also wanted cheese. I haven’t had any since Saturday. This is a huge deal. 

Instead of dipping the cheese into the peanut sauce and satisfying my desires while at the same time ignoring thousands of years of evolution, I thought it might be nice to be civilized and eat a proper meal. Hence my burger idea. 

I mixed the meat with some garlic, fresh herbs, salt and pepper and grilled. Then took two routes.

Burger One: Apple (fresh picked at the orchard yesterday!) and Brie.

Burger Two: Blue Cheese (Bleu d’Auvergne), Onion, Peanut Sauce. 

I started out eating the peanut sauce burger first. Then switched to the brie and apple. There was some intense flavor action going on between the two as they fought for dominance over my tastebuds. They kind of complimented each other though. And I am happily satiated because of it.  

Stitch by KMIDesign – Cambridge, MA

9 Sep

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Here’s a post about one of my favorite Massachusetts designers Kate Maloney Interiors (written/photographed by my favorite person!). Check out Kate’s storefront, Stitch, in Cambridge, Ma and see all of the uniquely awesome items she’s picked up to pass on to you!

Originally posted on Joe And Sometimes (y):

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Ever look at a shelter magazine or blog and see spaces that look frigid and sterile? You sit and wonder, “Does someone actually live there? Ok, clearly these people don’t have kids or pets or personalities.”  Well if that is your impression of what high-end interior design looks like, look again.

Cambridge based Kate Maloney Interiors creates gorgeous spaces that are meant to be lived in by the whole family.  Kate and her team infuse each project with a quirky mix of pattern, color and texture.  Though usually not one for labels,  Kate’s style could possibly be coined as, “Cantabridgian Chic” or perhaps “Boho Modern.” Whatever the label you come up with, each home is always a great balance of the old and new; creating spaces that are timeless, stylish and always functional.

Established in 2003, Kate’s design office recently expanded to include a new retail venture called Stitch. “After…

View original 167 more words

Bantam Cider Company

8 Sep

Thirsty? Check out Bantam Cider Company from Massachusetts. A local company using nearby orchards to make their deliciously flavorful cider. I wrote a bit about them, here’s an excerpt:

 The company chose their name because “the word bantam means small and mighty. When we were looking for a name, we wanted something that was a metaphor for our home market of Boston and at the same time, would embody our company – which is a small cider company in a sea of very large beverage brands.” explains Michelle da Silva of Bantam.

Bantam Cider Company’s first endeavor is a cider they have named “Wunderkind”. The name is in honor of one of the greatest modern adventurers, Amelia Earhart, who just happens to have local ties as well.

At the moment, Bantam is concentrating their energy on creating a variety of ciders. The company hopes to focus on cider in a way that people begin to reshape the way they experience it. Bantam has been experimenting with several new ideas, including a heavier farmhouse style cider and one with some accents of other fruits and spices…

…With autumn fast approaching, Bantam Cider Company will be starting up production again in late September/early October. At that time, apples fresh from central and western Massachusetts vineyards will be pressed for sweet cider. Bantam then adds yeast and ferments the cider in stainless steel tanks. Once ready, the cider is then blended to create the final product.

You can read the rest at the Boston Local Food Festival blog!

Boston Local Food Festival

11 Aug

On Sunday October 7th, 2012, the Rose Kennedy Greenway will host the 3rd annual Boston Local Food Festival. The festival is a celebration of local food, local farms, local businesses and more. There will be plenty of music, samples and activities all day long. In addition, there will also the the Local Craft Brew fest on October 5th featuring some of the best local breweries around!

I am excited to be blogging for this event, getting to know some of the sponsors and participants while at the same time sharing information with you all! The first company I got to know a bit better was Olivia’s Organics. You can my article about them on the Boston Local Food Festival blog.

Stay tuned for more with some of the festivals sponsors and participants!

Fast And Easy Falafel Lentil Loaf.

9 Jul

Yeah, this recipe does have a lot of letter “L’s” in it. Rest assured, they will all stand for “love” once  you taste this dish. This has been a staple dinner recipe in my home for quite a while, for a few reasons:

  1. It’s simple to make.
  2. It’s inexpensive.
  3. There are always leftovers to enjoy the next day.
  4. It’s healthy.
  5. It’s filling.

The ingredients are most likely things you’ll have around your kitchen anyway. I always check to make sure I have the basic components (canned lentils, jarred roasted red peppers, falafel mix) in the pantry at all times.

It’s really great on those nights when reality hits. Those times you barely got yourself home from work and somehow forgot that you still need food before the evening is through. (It’s also really great on those nights when you plan ahead for it, too.)

Basically, you throw the seven ingredients in a bowl. Form that mixture into a loaf and put it in the oven. Wait a short while and dinner is served! It’s not hard. It’s super easy food for times when life is hard/annoying/too fast. 

How To Make:

(serves up to 4)

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 6 ounces falafel mix
  • 1 can lentils, rinsed
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 cups of chopped baby spinach
  • 1 12-ounce(ish) jar roasted red peppers, cut to 1/2″ pieces. Reserve 2 Tbs. of liquid from jar.
  • 2 eggs
Recipe:
 
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, including the 2 tbs of liquid from pepper jar. Mix well.
 
Form into a loaf on baking sheet with aluminum foil or other non-stick layer.
 
Bake in preheated oven set at 375° for 35-40 minutes. 
 
Eat on its own, or combine with a fresh vegetable or other side dish. This also goes really great with this easy to make peanut sauce recipe!


Make a Gooseberry Smoothie.

7 Jul

For some reason, this past week has seen me and smoothies having a serious love affair. I’ve been loading them with strawberries and kale and raspberries and blueberries and anything else I could find fresh. When the produce available at my local grocery store wasn’t cutting it, I ventured on over to my local farmers’ market. There were plenty of vegetables and fruit to choose from. Looking around, I was drawn in by the large, oddly shaped gooseberries. They look like a grape, but at the same time, not at all. 

I remember tasting one last year and enjoying it, but didn’t buy any at the time. They are often used for baking and are featured in pies and other desserts. They are also used to make beverages such as wine and tea. And smoothies.

 

Now, I wasn’t quite sure what to combine with the gooseberries, but something told me mango. So I did that. And some fresh blueberries. And honey. I added in some frozen peach slices as well for temperature control (I also used some frozen vanilla yogurt for this). A splash of vanilla flavored almond milk to round out the liquid portion and…

It was pretty darn refreshing! And apparently also very energizing, as after having one I went on a six mile walk. For real. 

Recipe…

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of whole gooseberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 3 frozen peach slices
  • 1/2 mango, cut up
  • 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 3/4 cup frozen vanilla yogurt
  • 2 Tbs raw honey

To make:

Add all of the ingredients into a blender. Turn the blender on. Mix into a smoothie. Drink. (I know. It’s incredibly hard to make.)

Will make about 2 cups worth of liquid smoothie goodness.

The Benefits Of Local Raw Honey.

19 Jun

Okay. So maybe I took a break from this blog. It wasn’t that we weren’t getting along…things just got busy. You know how it goes. Out of nowhere you become occupied with everything at once and before you know it, five weeks have gone by without any contact. It’s okay. We’ve reconnected, and we’re still pals. 

Here’s an article of mine published today on the True Food Movement website. I talk about the benefits of local honey and the downfalls of all that other stuff claiming to be honey you find on grocery store shelves.

Here’s a look…

 …A list of contaminants found in store-bought honey can be obtained by doing a quick internet search, but suffice to say, you don’t want antibiotics or lead with your cup of tea. Those are ingredients that were found in one quarter of Asian honey inspected in 2009, the kind most commonly found in your grocery aisle.

For that reason alone, local honey is the superior choice, but there are plenty more. When you purchase regionally-produced honey, you support your local economy while also creating a greater community for yourself and your neighbors…

Go read the rest at True Food Movement!

Radio Flyer Herb Garden.

9 May

I found this old Radio Flyer wagon while driving down the street one day. Someone had put it out with the weekly trash to be picked up and destroyed. I couldn’t have that. I love old things too much, and my car had plenty of room to fit it.

The wagon has sat in my basement for a good three years, holding random boxes of tools and supplies in the workroom. However, this weekend while in New Hampshire I found a great little nursery with tons of annuals, perennials, vegetables and herbs. Each pot of herbs and veggies only cost $2.99. I couldn’t resist buying some.

Last year I had a couple of potted herbs sitting on the patio. This year, I now have a few more to add. I wanted them in one central location, out of the way, but easy to access for cooking. I saw the old wagon in the basement and decided it would be repurposed as the home of the herb garden.

It’s in a spot that gets a decent amount of sun, but with the wagon, I can easily move it to other parts of the patio if I think the herbs could benefit from even more sun. Once the herbs start to really grow, they should fill the wagon in nicely.

What did I plant?

  • Basil (a must-have for any garden)
  • Cilantro (for taco night and guacamole)
  • Pineapple Mint (for Mojitos to accompany whatever I use cilantro for)
  • Oregano (basic herb, but great fresh flavor)
  • Lavender (for cookies, butter, homemade cleaning products, etc)
  • Thyme (This survived the mild winter we had and never really lost leaves from last year’s growing season)

I ended up placing an extra solar yard light I had into one of the potted herb plants. It will add a little more to the evening atmosphere of the yard and patio. I also had some room to place a small watering can in the wagon as well, so that I can use the rain water it captures to hydrate the plants when they need it. Another thing to note…I drilled a few holes into the bottom of the wagon to drain any excess rain water. This will prevent your herbs from being overwatered if there are holes in the bottom of the pots that are used.

And I also was able to finally fill the raised garden bed I built last year (Post: How To Build A Raised Garden Bed). I’m looking forward to filling that with vegetables and updating their progress here.

How To Cook Fiddleheads.

7 May

Years ago while in college, I worked part time at a local Whole Foods. In that time, I learned a surprising amount about produce. I did not know there were so many edible items that grew from the earth. Fiddleheads, I believe, fit into that grouping.

I have to say, upon first glance, they can look as though someone made a mistake and inadvertently stocked the shelf with an imported species of centipede. That is not the case however. Besides, you want them to look all curled up and tight like they are hiding from you. That’s how you know they are safe to eat. (Once they lose the tight curl, they can make you sick.)

Now that I’ve scared you off from ever making these at home by comparing them to bugs and telling you they will make you ill, let me tell you about how I made them (and ate them!) in my kitchen.

Fiddleheads before cleaning

First, like I stated above, be sure the fiddleheads you are cooking with are tightly curled. Next, you will want to cut off the very tips of what is left of the stem. They tend to brown a little while hanging around at the produce section (think of it as a tan!). Chop it off, it makes for better aesthetics.

Once you’ve cut off the ends, wash the fiddleheads in a bowl of cold water. Get rid of any orange-brown leaves and/or dirt. I’d do this about three times, or until the water you’re draining out doesn’t have a lot of pieces floating around in it. After they are rinsed, you should boil them for about 10 minutes in water.

Add the fiddleheads, garlic, salt and butter in a pan and sauté until done to your liking. Plate, add some lemon on top and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • Fiddleheads
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 tbs. butter
  • salt to taste
  • lemon

To make:

Cut and clean the fiddleheads as mentioned above.

Boil cleaned fiddleheads in a pot of water for about 10 minutes. Next, strain from water and add into pan/skillet with garlic, salt and butter. (I’m sure adding bacon here wouldn’t be a bad idea either…)

Sauté until done. Enjoy with your meal by adding on some fresh squeezed lemon juice!

Easy To Make (and eat) Peanut Sauce.

30 Apr

As a teenager, I spent most of my free time hanging around Harvard Square in Cambridge. You could find me either sitting in “the Pit” with friends or browsing about the stores at The Garage for music, apparel and random accessories to add to my wardrobe.

You could also find me at the Thai restaurant around the corner. I don’t remember the name of it (but they definitely knew me and my friends’ names). It has long since closed. But I know that is where my love of peanut sauce began. And my taste buds will forever be thankful.

I will admit to putting peanut sauce on anything that is edible. Pasta. Cheese (with or without crackers). Vegetables. Chicken. Hamburgers. Rice. It really does work with (almost) anything. Even on ice cream? I’ve never tried, but I can totally see it working out for you. Continue reading

Happy Record Store Day!

21 Apr



                                            A snapshot of part of my collection

Today is record store day. A day to go out and support all of the small independent record shops around your town. I have to say, it’s been a while since I’ve actually gone out and purchased some vinyl. Ever since Record Hog in Cambridge closed, I just haven’t really found a shop that I loved to hang out at browsing as much as that one. There was always someone I knew looking around for records. And the cats! How awesome were those cats? I do have that shop to thank for a good majority of my collection though, and am thankful to have had it around as long as it was.

So, in no particular order, here are a few gems I can remember buying at record stores over the years that when I found them gave me the feeling only good music can:

  • The Gravel Pit – “Standing in My Way” and “Something’s Growing Inside”
  • There’s a DYKE in the Pit feat. Bikini Kill, Tribe 8, Lucy Stoners and 7 Year Bitch
  • Bonfire Madigan – Backseat Buoy
  • Elastica – The Bitch Don’t Work
  • Sleater-Kinney – Get Up 7″; One More Hour 7″
  • this is fort apache. feat. Dinosaur Jr., the Lemonheads, Juliana Hatfield, Buffalo Tom, Radiohead, Come and Throwing Muses.
  • …and everything nice 7″ featuring Babes in Toyland, Hole, STP and L7.
  • Tuscadero – Mt. Pleasant/Nancy Drew; Angel in a half shirt; Mark Robinson remixes
  • Letters to Cleo  - Anchor single
  • bis / Heavenly – split 7″
  • Ze Malibu Kids – Sound It Out

And here are some I remember buying at shows (better than any other means because usually the artist is directly selling you their music = best way to support music ever):

  • Rilo Kiley – The Execution of All Things (signed “bikini kill ! <3 jenny lewis”)
  • Wild Flag – Glass Tambourine/Future Crimes 7″ (signed by all members)
  • Land of Talk – Speak to Me Bones / Death by Fire 7″ (last copy left)
  • Tilly and the Wall – Sad Sad Song (#301 of 1000)
  • Aly Spaltro (Lady Lamb the Beekeeper) – Sunday Shoes

And yes, there is the internet. And yes, you probably can find the album you want with a few types and clicks. But is that as fulfilling as discovering an album you’ve been longing for stuffed in between dozens of other albums? Of course not. And you’re less likely to stumble across an artist or band you’ve heard in passing or have long forgotten about when you’re looking for one specific title online.

Was I longing for a copy of The Waitresses Wasn’t Tomorrow Wonderful? Not entirely.  Did I need to buy Boom Boom Boom Bingo by Scruffy the Cat? Of course I didn’t. Was my goal for the day to head out and find Saving Grace by Throwing Muses? I don’t think it was. Am I stoked to have purchased full albums by The Cars, Blondie, ’til Tuesday and The Del Fuegos all for just $4.00? Hell yes.

My point? My music collection grew and grew thanks in part to all the records, compact discs and cassette tapes I happened to come across while out browsing music at my local music shops. You should go do that too. Yeah, Amazon and iTunes may be convenient and direct, but go take a couple of hours and spend it sorting through stacks of music. What you find will most likely excite and educate you far more than clicking once to confirm your purchase with Apple.

(This post was originally published on April 16, 2011)

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