Saturday, March 31, 2012

religious experience

For Sanne's birthday on Wednesday, 9 of us gathered at Blue Ginger in Wellesly for some Asian-inspired tapas and cocktails. To say it was good is an understatement, the biggest of the year. Because it was, quite possibly the best meal most of us had had all year. Talking about it now, it's still difficult to decide on a favorite dish. Please, if you are within driving/walking/public transit distance, GO TO BLUE GINGER.

Not wanting to miss and key ingredients, I've copied and pasted from the menu everything we tried. Take a gander...

Thai Coconut Martini: Cilantro & chili infused vodka, Coco Lopez & lime ~ creamy, spicy, delicious.
Between the 9 of us, we had about 4 of these... and were still talking about it the following day. Have any of you ever had a spicy cocktail? What a delight.

Blue Ginger Gimlet: Russian Standard Vodka, fresh lime, house made ginger syrup & a splash of sweet & sour
This was really tasty and classic.

we also tried:
Blood Orange Honey Smash: Makers Mark, Blood Orange, pomegranate purée “Smashed“ with our House made Honey Syrup – a winter delight

Seared Scallops and Bacon-Scented Risotto Cake with Fennel Cream and Endive-Orange Salad
Holy. Crow. I'm not sure what they meant by bacon "scented". Did they seal it in a room full of bacon? spray it with bacon perfume? Whatever they did, this Eau du Bacon inspired me to conquer my fears and tackle rissoto.

we also tried:
Goat Cheese-Mushroom Rangoon, Watercress-Beet Salad with Horseradish Vinaigrette
Mouth-wateringly good. It had sort of a truffle-y taste to it. And the sauce was so rich.

Hawaiian Bigeye Tuna Poke* with Crispy Sushi Rice Cake & Peppercress-Tosaka Salad
I could have eaten 9 more of these (and of everything else, if we're being honest here...)

we also tried:
Braised Shortrib and Manchego Grilled Cheese with Thai Tomato Soup
grilled cheese and tomato soup is, in my humble opinion, the food of the gods. This Asian-twist on an American classic was really good. Manchego and ribs dipped ion a spicy soup... yum.

Garlic Black Pepper Shrimp with Edamame Sticky Rice and Pea Tendril Salad


Blue Ginger Charcuterie Plate: Duck Prosciutto, Foie Gras Torchon and Beef Cheek Terrine
Honestly, I've never tried duck anything before, and this things has duck two times, so obviously I'm trying it. It was reeeally good. Especially that little pate disc of duck butter.

the perfect bite

I take it back: this is my favorite thing in all the land

Bittersweet Chocolate CakeCardamom Ice Cream, Spiced Sugar Wafer and Chocolate Ganache
There are no words. I mean, just, yeah.

birthday hobbs

birthday cake:
Sesame Macadamia Caramel Nut TartToasted Coconut Ice Cream, Housemade Hot Fudge and Goslings Rum Caramel Bananas


I'll get this one...

Happy Birthday, Sanne! So glad you were born!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

good times, great oldies

This past weekend, I got to spend some quality time with a few of my wackiest oldest friends! 

Thursday night, we met up at Shannon & Russ's for a bottle of wine and some cheese from Cardullo's. Afterward, Jordan, Trinity and I headed out for dinner and ended up at Sacco's for bowling, pizza and beers. We ordered the special, which was a pear, arugula pizza with a white cheese sauce and a mushroom, goat cheese and peppers. They were so good...

...and a nice compliment to our beertinis (its a Boston thing... that we invented). Some other things happened after that, but I'll just leave you with a photo of the beertinis...

its just beer

On Saturday, I took Trinity, Jordan and Andrew to my favorite breakfast spot, Uncommon Grounds for some eggs benedict and a short stack.

 (clockwise, from top left: salmon, crab cake, spinach & feta)
It was a crazy fun, unexpected weekend, one that I desperately needed.

I spent most of my calories on lunch today, so for a light dinner, I made a tuna salad. Instead of preparing it the traditional way with globs of mayo, I opted for a few healthier add-ins. I mixed in some whole grain mustard, a little horseradish, s+p and chopped tomatoes. Then I scooped it onto a bed of arugula and drizzled a little oil and balsamic vinegar over it. Deee-licious.

I can't wait to eat the rest tomorrow on a sandwich.

Finally, I have some sad and happy news. The sad news is, after three years in Boston, I have decided it's time to move on. It's been an incredible three years, and I am so, so sad to go. But it's time. The good news is, I'm headed back to Florida. Back to my family and friends, back to non-rocky, warm-water beaches and back to teaching. I am so excited.

This should mean exciting things for FeDish! I've learned a lot about food and cooking over the past three experimental years, and it will be fun to apply my Boston-influence to the way we cook down south. I'm also really excited to cook for my Florida people.

So, needless to say, there is a lot of partying to be done between now and then. Sanne's birthday is tomorrow (and its restaurant week!), and this weekend, I'm getting my favorite Indians together for some cooking and dancing! Stay tuned!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

turkey, two ways

My friend Madaline introduced me to the most delicious thing, Picadillo. It's ground beef, black beans, peas sauteed in mojo sauce and yellow rice. You're supposed to make a humongous pan of it and eat it for days afterward, and it gets more and more delicious with every passing day. I was thinking about picadillo tonight on my way home from class. But, for the very first time in my entire life, I am sort of... counting calories. So I decided to make a healthier version of this dish. Truth be told, I've been wanting to do this since the nutrition episode of The Biggest Loser, about a month or so ago. But I literally have not cooked anything that would constitute "health food" since then so...

I started with ground turkey. I put aside enough to make one patty, for another dish, which I'll tell you about shortly, and threw the rest into a lightly sprayed pan. No butter, no oil. Also, I decided to forgo the mojo sauce. First of all, I haven't seen any since I moved to Massachusetts. Secondly, I thought I could season it in a more health-conscious way. So I used lemon juice, chopped cilantro, garlic, a little chili powder, and pepper (no salt!). I didn't have any onion, otherwise I would have thrown a little of that in. But it still turned out awesome.

accidental effects

I decided to save my picadillo for lunch the following day. For dinner, I mixed a little of my chopped garlic, cilantro, pepper and balsalmic vinegar into a small turkey patty. I sprayed my pan again and cooked the patty until medium. When it looked almost finished, I sprinkled a little cheddar cheese on top. I served it sans bun (just like Bob Harper likes it) on a bed of arugula and tomato slice, with a little dab of whole grain mustard and a side of red wine (for the heart).

I'm really happy with the way my turkey dinner (and lunch) turned out, and even happier that I saved myself like, 700 calories by skipping the butter, oil, salt, beef, bun, rice, etc. Here are some more healthy substitutions for you. Are there any missing from this list that you use?


Monday, March 19, 2012

top o' the mornin'!

I rarely leave my house on March 17th. I despise crowds. I am not Irish. If you watched 30 Rock this past week, my opinions about this holiday are pretty much in line with Liz Lemon's.  I never celebrate Saint Patrick's Day.

So when, at 1pm, I found myself on the train headed downtown, you could have knocked me with a shaleighleigh stick. I'm glad I did, though. There was lots of Irish magic to be had. Starting with...

the view over Kendall/MIT

... learning to tie a double Windsor (I can already tie a single...)

double Windsor all the way...

...and listening to some bagpipes.

Scotland, representing

I hit a couple o' bars with some friends, and after a couple of beers, I felt I had met my St. Patrick's Day quota and headed home to meet Kasia for dinner and a movie. She had never seen one of my favorites, Stranger Than Fiction. 

So we whipped up a simple pasta with seared scallops, and salad w goat cheese and cherry tomatoes.

Halfway through the movie, we were both craving baked goods. Could have something to do with Maggie Gyllenhaal's character's scene describing all the treats she made? So we took a break to make some of the best chocolate chip cookies.

A very pleasant 17th of March if I do say so myself.

What did you do for St. Paddy's?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

turning a new [cabbage] leaf

I'm trying to remember the last time I ate a brussels sprout, and I can't. Its been at least 15 years, and I  didn't like them. So imagine my surprise when all week long, I kept coming across recipes featuring these nasty little cabbages, and wasn't repulsed. I was curious.

I don't like not liking foods. I pride myself on being open to new experiences and foods; not being a picky eater. That's when I decided to face my childhood aversion to these shrunken-head-looking vegetables

I had to do a little research, because I not only hadn't the foggiest idea what to do with them, but I wanted my first experience with them in over a decade to be the most pleasant one possible.

So, I washed and quartered about 2lbs (not all for me, of course, there was a dinner party...), and sauteed them in olive oil and butter. I added some red pepper flakes as seen in this recipe, and some diced chorizo, for a kick.

I thought a side salad would be a little too much green, so Elizabeth put together a caprese salad.

flowers from Kasia <3

And Kasia took care of the fish. I bought some salmon, which we baked for about 6-8 minutes at 400 degrees. Then, she covered it in a sauce of 1/4c whole grain mustard, 2T olive oil and minced chives and broiled it for another 10 minutes or so, until the fish was done and the mustard mixture made a nice crust.

And Ann's mother sent some baked egg pastries and kingfish coquettes, which were ahh-mazing.

Made complete by a delicious Savignon Blanc, crusty french bread for soaking soak up all the remnants, loud music and old friends.

...and new friends.

After dinner, while I baked mocha brownies (boxed, don't judge), Kasia whipped up that gorgeous ganache from last weekend. After what seemed like an eternity, the brownies were ready, so we topped them with the ganache, let it set for a bit and then scarfed them down with some espresso. I don't think I need to tell you that this was the most delicious thing I have eaten since last Saturday.

Oh, and the brussels sprouts... I liked them a lot. I might even make them again. So there. I bested you, sprouts!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go eat a brownie for breakfast, and I'd like to see one of you try to stop me.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I... declare... Party Food Wednesday!

Wednesday is one of my favorite days for a few reasons. #1 It's really quite at work, I can work in peace, in jeans. #2 I have no other commitments. No class, tutoring, church. It's my night off. And now, #3 I am hereby declaring that the first Wednesday of every month to heretofore be known as Party Food Wednesday! Yippee! Hooray!

Since I decided this after I stopped at the store, tonight's PFW isn't that exciting in that you've seen it all before. But hopefully you will get as pumped up about this as I am, and spend the next 30 days thinking up some amazing recipe ideas to share for next time.

Happy Party Food Wednesday!


Sunday, March 4, 2012

leftovers Sunday

Tonight, I looked at my leftover spinach and heavy cream in the refrigerator and immediately thought of this recipe that I had seen months ago.

I knew I didn't have enough to make a substantial serving, so I added some sauteed shallots to the mix, and it turned out pretty good!

isn't that a pretty green?

There seemed to be a lot of steps in this recipe, but I think the main point was to get rid of all the water and replace it with cream, butter and flour.

Which I am more than okay with. I topped it with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs, baked it at 375 for about 15 minutes and ate it before I could snap one last picture.

Hope you're having a good Doomsday Sunday!


undead inspiration

My friend Kasia and I somehow started talking about Interview with a Vampire last weekend, specifically, how badly Kasia wanted to watch the movie. I told her that I owned it and she declared that the following Saturday would be dinner and a movie at my house, research paper be damned!

I decided this movie night needed a theme, and tonight's dinner would revolve around the dessert. Here is Kasia making the ganache...

After that was finished, we put it in the refrigerator to set, and Elizabeth served us some wine with raspberries.

of course
The second course was a spinach and arugula salad with bleu cheese, pecans, and a blood orange vinaigrette. I whisked together some of the orange juice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and a little honey. I always forget about salads when I'm planning a meal. Making my own dressing is something that I want to do more of, though. This one turned out really good.

The next dish was supposed to be bone marrow, but I couldn't find any. :( So we went with scallops. We sauteed those in some butter and white wine. 

I wish this picture was scratch and sniff

I couldn't help but notice you admiring my new all-clad frying pans... nice, right?

When they finished cooking, I added a little more wine to the pan, scraped up the crusty bits and made a nice little sauce for the scallops.

So, that was dinner. Not exactly Vampire-y, more of a subtle nod. But delicious, nonetheless.

On to dessert...

With the ganache set, we started on the cake. Kasia heated a cup of butter and 8oz semi-sweet chocolate in a double boiler. Meanwhile, Elizabeth mixed 4 eggs, 4 egg whites, 1/2c flour, 1/2c sugar and a teaspoon of almond extract.

Once the chocolate mixture is room temperature, Kasia folded it into the egg mixture.

And poured it into 4 buttered and sugared ramekins.

THEN, we scooped out little ganache balls and carefully put them in the middle of the cake mixture. Do you see where this is going?

There was a little batter leftover, so we filled an extra ramekin, and baked them for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Next came the raspberry sauce, aka vampirizing the cakes. I smushed a little less then a pint of raspberries through a sieve.

To that, we added ~2T of sugar and 1 1/2T liquor.

Finally, the cakes came out of the oven. I topped them  with a little powdered sugar, a couple of raspberries and some blood vampire sauce raspberry liquor.

a proud moment

These molten chocolate cakes are probably the most delicious things I've ever tasted, let alone baked in my own kitchen. Kasia, Elizabeth and I decided that this should probably become a regular occurrence. 

What movie/food theme should we do next? Do you want to come? What has been your proudest cooking moment thus far?