Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sunday, February 26, 2012

arts and eats

Since my youngest sister Katie couldn't come for Thanksgiving this past year, she decided to book a trip during the three-day weekend this month. Her friend (and mine) Ansley had never been to Boston before, she she decided to come too. So we had ourselves an ol' fashioned girls' weekend! As you can imagine, there was some shopping, cooking, giggling and pillow fights.

Okay, no pillow fights. I took a half day on Friday and met them for lunch in Harvard Square. Then we did some shopping on Newbury Street, got some cupcakes at SWEET, and got ready for dinner...

lunch at Tory Row

karat cake, red velvet, mocha mint chip

We had dinner at Russell House. I think its safe to say that RH is my favorite restaurant. Their cocktails are great, and just try beat $1 oysters. Just try.

The next day, we decided to check out the MFA. I hadn't been in a really long time, and Ansley is a former art kid like myself. First of all, I didn't realize that BU students got free admission all the time. Secondly, I was super impressed with the MFA. I've always enjoyed going, but this visit was especially phenomenal. The drawing exhibits are always a favorite of mine, and this weekend was no exception. Also, their collection of contemporary pieces is nice too. I'd say maybe even better than the ICA? Can I say that? We were there for 2 1/2 hours, and I'm planning on going again very soon. Aaaand, Alex Katz, who is one of my favorite contemporary painters has an exhibit coming at the end of April. Mark your calendars!


I'm a little obsessed with German Expressionism at the moment...


We worked up quite an appetite looking at all that art, and KT specifically requested fish and chips. So we headed to the Barking Crab on the harbor for a big ol' plate o fried seafoods.

We started out with a crab bisque, which I will be replicating sometime in the future. It even came with baby grilled cheeses...


fried: oysters, shrimps, cod

After lunch, we thought, how about one more museum? and walked over to the ICA. By that time it was already closed, so we headed home and crashed. 

The next day we had a big breakfast at The Uncommon Ground in Watertown. It's one of my favorite places to take out of town guests. May I recommend the lemon ricotta pancakes or the eggs benedict...

We went back to the ICA for a little while and then to the North End for some canolis, which I suppose is a requirement of Boston tourists. We decided on the way home to go see a movie and ended up at the Artist, which was pretty good. Then we went home and made some calzones to go with our canolis. The first one had tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, pepperoni...

The second had spinach, onion, and leftover Jimmy Dean from breakfast.

All in all, the weekend was a tasty and cultural delight.


Sunday, February 12, 2012


{egg in a hole}

{parsley salad}

{caramelized onion, cherry tomato, parmesan pizza}

{escarole art}

{frothy drink perfected}

{breakfast classics}

{soup redux}


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

a rockin Wednesday night...

Now that a new semester is upon me, Wednesday is my new free day. Therefore, Wednesday is my new favorite day. It's early enough in the week that I can rationalize not doing any reading for class yet, or lesson planning. I can just come home, catch up on my tv shows, and cook some dinner in peace. So throughout today, I was looking for dinner ideas for tonight. For some reason, everything just sounded kind of... boring. I even looked up Madame Julia Child's boeuf bourgignon. Still, I was uninspired. I decided to just go to the grocery store and let something jump out at me.

I was perusing the meats at Star when it happened. Bone marrows. That's when I realized I knew exactly what I wanted to eat for dinner: party food! Sanne looked slightly apprehensive at first glance at the raw bones I excitedly shoved up in her facial, but she had an appetizer-type recipe she'd been wanting to try as well. And so the scene was set: Wednesday night tapas it is!

Just before Christmas, my friend Elizabeth and I were feeling brave one night at Russell House (a favorite Harvard Square haunt), and decided to try the roasted marrow together. It was amazing! Someone I know referred to it as "meat butter" (was that you, Whitney?), and I would have to agree. It's like buttuh, y'all. Fo real. So anyway, I saw it on the shelf, and it's super cheap! This package had four ~2" thick bones, for $2.60. AND it had a $1.50 coupon on it! E and I had spent something like $10 for one bone! I'm sold. No matter that I hadn't the slightest clue what to do with it...

After a quick google, I sprinkled the marrow with some sea salt, minced garlic and chopped parsley, and roasted it in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, I made some white truffle mushroom bruschetta, and Sanne made bacon-wrapped jalapenos stuffed with blueberry goat cheese.

Yeah, I know. And we're both single. Go figure.

The mushroom bruschetta was pretty simple. I chopped a package of white button mushrooms and sauteed them in some olive oil, a splash of white wine and about a teaspoon of white truffle oil. I added lemon zest, minced garlic, parsley, and some shredded parmesan cheese. I covered it and let it simmer for about 10 minutes or so.

While this was happening, Sanne was making her own magic on the opposite counter. She sliced and de-seeded some jalapeno peppers, smeared their insides with a blueberry-goat cheese from Trader's, and wrapped them with bacon.

She roasted/broiled some and grilled a few. Both ways were incredible, fyi.

Here's the marrow...
I guess if you've never had it before, or are easily sketched out by foods, these pictures might not be too appetizing. But to quote Love Actually: to me, they are [beautiful].

We also got some marinated olives (my fave) and a blue cheese, which turned out to be one of the best I've tasted. Blue cheeses tend to be a little too strong or pungent for my taste, but this one was perfect. It went especially well with the Chardonnay I bought from Eileen at Cardullo's awhile back.

they look like little volcanoes
cheese knife from KT, dish from an antique store outside Yonkers 
meat butter!


We didn't eat all four bones, and we have no dogs, so I'm making beef stock from the rest. I'll let y'all know how that goes. How was your hump day? Have you ever tried bone marrow? What are your thoughts on the subject?

If you're still unconvinced about eating the marrow of bones, check out these sites:
and this one is really good:  http://www.thehungrymouse.com/2010/02/17/roasted-marrow-bones/
I wish I had seen it earlier, I definitely would have made her parsley salad to go with. Next time...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

hunk-o hunk-o meltin' cheese

I've been having blogger's guilt about not cooking, so I stopped by the store on my way home from class to pick up something for dinner. I made this Tuscan bean & escarole soup a couple years ago and it turned out to be a big hit. But that was before we started this food blogging project, so I thought I'd make it again tonight and share it with you all...

I love this soup because a) there are very few ingredients and b) it includes a big ol' hunk o' cheese which, lets face it, is the bomb-diggety.

First, sauté a couple cloves of chopped garlic in a couple tablespoons of olive oil. I chopped a little too much, but it's okay. I have plans for that later...

After about 15-30 seconds of that, add about a pound of escarole. Once I couldn't find escarole and substituted something else (kale, maybe?) and it wasn't very good. I would definitely use escarole.

 Then, add 4c chicken stock (I used half canned-- half homemade), a can of drained, rinsed cannelini beans, and some salt and pepper.

Finally, toss in a big ol' hunk o' parmesan cheese and let simmer, covered for some minutes. Giada says 5, I probably let in sit a little longer while I grilled the bread.

Oh yeah, I grilled the bread. This weekend, I had this amazing salad that had all kinds of grilled seafood on top-- scallops, calamari, shrimp. But the best part was the grilled bread! I was thinking about it tonight at the grocery store, and decided it would go perfectly with my tuscan soup. So, I used the rest of the chopped garlic and, after smashing it with the side of my knife, sautéed it in some oil on my grill pan. Then, I just doused both sides of the bread with more olive oil and grilled for a few minutes on each side.


I had this for lunch the following day, and it was even better. As all day-old-soup is. Day old bread, not so much. Anyway, the escarole had turned it this funny color, and it ends up looking like that slop that Charlie Bucket's family eats for every meal ("...cabbage water again?!"). It aint fancy, but trust me, it's delicious.

It isn't very cold this winter, but I still have been craving soups lately. I keep thinking about this one, and a Minorcan clam chowder we used to order at the Lighthouse Restaurant in St. Augustine when we were little. Have any of you ever made that? What soups do you like to cook when the weather outside is frightful?