Thursday, August 25, 2011

Plum Clafoutis - Difficult to Say, Easy to Make!

For the past couple of CSA weeks we have been getting a handful of small, sweet plums.  Since we had a bunch, I wanted to do something more than just eat them plain, so I started flipping through cookbooks until I found a recipe for Plum Clafoutis.  While I had never heard of it before, the picture in Joanne Chang's Flour cookbook looked delicious, and the all ingredients were something I had on hand - reason enough!

Plum Clafoutis
Traditionally, clafoutis is made with black cherries, but obviously you can use just about any fruit.  The batter is said to be more like a pancake or a flan-like consistency, so I was curious to see the final product.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sonsie - a Back Bay Go-To

Two weekends ago my brother and his girlfriend came to town - her first time in Boston.  Needless to say we were under some pressure to show her a good time and what an amazing city Boston is!  After a delicious late dinner at Tico, we woke up the next morning ready to explore.  First up: a Duck Tour starting and returning at the Pru.  When the tour wrapped up, we were ready for some food!

Being in the Back Bay, there are so many good places to go.  We decided on Sonsie for a number of reasons - first and foremost, great food, but also this is the restaurant where Nick and I are having our rehearsal dinner.  Nick still hadn't seen the space so we figured better late than never!  Lucky for us, the four of us walked right in and were seated in the cafe area up front.

After getting a lovely tour of the downstairs private wine room, we were ready to eat.  My brother was so ready that he ordered some calamari before we even had time to really look at the drink menu!

The calamari is flash fried with zucchini strings, lemon aioli and fried parsley.  It was the perfect, tasty, crunchy food to satisfy us!

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Heathlier Eggplant Parmesan..

More CSA fun!  Another item we've received a lot of recently is eggplant.  Wanting to do something a bit traditional but on the lighter side, Nick found a healthier eggplant Parmesan recipe online that came from Shape magazine

Farm Fresh Eggplant
I have always loved eggplant, but somehow when I make it at home it never quite tastes right.  Turns out, there is a method to preparing eggplant properly that I NEVER knew! 

All sliced up
Before you actually start cooking the eggplant, you need to slice is up nicely, put it in a bowl with a bunch of salt and let it sit for about 20 to 30 minutes to take out all the bitterness.  The salt pulls out the moisture, so doing this in a colander in the sink will help.  Once its done sitting, dry the slices off with a paper towel and wipe off some of the salt if you like.  

Friday, August 19, 2011

Frikandel - Another great type of Belgian street food at Saus!

I recently received my first invitation as a Boston Food Blogger!  Needless to say I was more than excited for the invite itself, but also when I saw that I was going to Saus to sample some of their new Frikandel's I couldn't say no!  On my previous visit to Saus, I could not say enough amazing things about their french fries, waffles and poutine.  I mean, the poutine got the approval of two Canadians, which is about as high praise as there is!

While Saus has always had a great menu, people began asking for more substantial food.  In response to this Saus is starting to offer frikandel, which keeps in line with their Belgian street food theme.  Frikandel is like a combination burger/sausage that is typically from processed meat.  However, Saus came up with a method to make the meat fresh, cooking it on a griddle and then deep frying it - quite the combination if you ask me!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Fireplace in Coolidge Corner

Last Friday a couple of co-workers and I decided we had worked hard enough that morning and deserved a bit of a treat.  Since one of them actually had a coupon to Fireplace Restaurant that was set to expire the next week we decided to REALLY treat ourselves to lunch and enjoy the perfect weather.  So, off we went from Brookline Village to Coolidge Corner - really just a hop skip and a jump away.  While there is outdoor seating, we did not realize that until it was a bit too late.  In line with the name of the restaurant, there is a fireplace in the bar area and an open kitchen that creates a really warm environment that still is sleek and contemporary.

Before our lunch arrived, our server brought us fresh-out-the-oven bread that was nice and warm, and the perfect way to start off the meal.  The bread was so soft and wonderful, with just a bit of crust to sink your teeth into.  Since it's so warm, the butter melts straight away - each bite is perfect. 

The Bread

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Darryl's Corner Bar and Kitchen and a walk through the Christian Science Center

A while ago (as in early spring) we bought a gift certificate for Darryl's Corner Bar and Kitchen, and like the Mumbai Chopstix coupon it seemed like we had forever before having to use it, but once again the expiration date was upon us and we had to get eating!  So, two weekends ago on Friday night we headed over for dinner at about 7:30 PM.  When we arrived, the bar was packed but there were a few available tables for those wanting to walk-in.  I am sure they have more than a few people dropping by because the live jazz music is really impressive and completely fills the restaurant for everyone's enjoyment.  One thing to note, though: if you get a table during peak time (Thursday through Saturday after 7:00pm) you automatically get charged $3 per person as a cover charge for the entertainment.  It's worth the extra cost, but be warned!    

We were seated straight away at a bit of an awkward table - we were sandwiched between two other two-tops and there was no way to get out on either side without disturbing separate parties to our left or right.  However, once we settled in, we ordered some drinks, sat back an enjoyed the live music.  While Nick had a beer, I was too tempted by the cocktail list and ordered the Roxbury Raz - Tito's Vodka, Raspberry liqueur, triple sec and fresh lime.  This was a great fruity drink that wasn't too sweet, with plenty of lime to cut the sugar. 

Roxbury Raz

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Kohlrabi Fritters

As I've mentioned before, we have been getting a lot kohlrabi in our CSA, and coming up with new and interesting things to do with this odd veggie is tough to do!  After our fresh mozzarella and roasted kohlrabi crostinis, thinking of something else took a little researching. 

Nick ended up finding a recipe from A Hungry Bear for kohlrabi fritters, which totally looked worth trying.  To begin, Nick collected the following ingredients:
  • 1 Kohlrabi
  • 1 onion
  • 1 egg
  • some breadcrumbs (a couple of tablespoons)
  • garlic powder
  • 1 green onion
  • olive oil
To begin, Nick peeled and grated the kohlrabi using a cheese grater.  You need to be sure to squeeze all the water out of the grated kohlrabi so that it is good and dry.  Otherwise, it will be tough to form a nice patty.  There was a surprising amount of liquid in this one bulb!

all grated
Next he chopped up the red onion finely that we got from the CSA that week (love these!).

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mumbai Chopstix

Awhile back I bought a coupon for Mumbai Chopstix, but it was one of the few that had a later expiration date.  Suddenly the end of August was approaching, so we headed out on a Friday night to see what Indian-Chinese cuisine was all about.  When we arrived, we were seated straight away, even without a reservation.  The restaurant is a bit narrow but they are able to fit a number of tables into the space, which is vibrantly decorated with Asian and Indian influences.

Right after we sat down we were brought a small Asian noodle salad with a variety of sauces for the meal.  The sauces included a sweet and sour, a soy sauce, and a spicy chili sauce.  The noodles were a nice little start to the meal, especially considering I was pretty hungry!


Friday, August 12, 2011

Playing Tourist in Your Own City - Beacon Hill

One thing I have loved about this summer is actually being in Boston during the weekends.  Last year both Nick and I were off each weekend heading to weddings, showers and bachelor(ette) parties - all of which were so much fun but left us with little time to enjoy the city!  While we have done a lot of fun things - Chihuly, SOWA, 4th of July, and the North End, etc. - sometimes I forget that you don't really need to travel too far to see so much if you think to look around.

Lyme Street
On Saturday mornings when I am stumbling out a bit earlier than I would like to bring Holly to the park, I generally space out.  But I finally started to look around at all the window boxes not two feet from my apartment and couldn't stop staring at them.  After many times thinking I needed to remember my camera, I finally did!  So there I was one Saturday morning, out with all the tourists, marching up and down the streets of Beacon Hill taking pictures of the window boxes!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Brunch on the water at Aragosta - Battery Wharf

A couple of weekends ago one of my good friends, C, was going to be coming into town for a brief visit.  After L worked out the logistical and timing issues, I was put in charge of finding the location.  Since it was going to be a nice day and I had to head to Charlestown later that day I thought it was a good opportunity to try out Aragosta Bar and Bistro at the Fairmont Battery Wharf, which has a lovely outdoor eating area.  I met up with C right as I arrived and the host quickly seated us outside, which was nicely protected from the hot sun and perfectly situated on the water.  While we waited for L to arrive we enjoyed a cup (or pitcher) of coffee and looked over the menu. 

A spot of coffee

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fresh Red Currant Scones

For a couple of weeks we received fresh red currants in our CSA and short of mixing it with some vodka (which, of course I did!) I was not really sure what to do with them since most recipes call for dried ones.  However, Nick did some digging and found a recipe from a blog on gardening.  So, on a recent Saturday morning I was treated to fresh scones - not a bad deal!

Fresh out of the oven!
To be honest, I was not even sure what the berries were - they looked like the poisonous ones on the bushes in the woods.  The second time we got them I thought it was time to put the gorgeous berries to some good use. 

Fresh Currants

Monday, August 8, 2011

Forum - New addition to Boylston St.

Nick and I had reservations to go to 94 Mass Ave during their "renovation" with two other couples, so when we got a call cancelling those plans my friend S immediately made reservations at Forum, a brand new restaurant in the old Vox Populi space.  We happened to be going on one of those really hot and humid summer evenings, so needless to say, Nick and I were really happy to walk into the air conditioned comfort of a completely transformed space.  The first floor looks totally different from what Vox was: you can actually move fluidly along the bar and not run into those annoying poles because now they are contained within the bar!  The downstairs area is great for grabbing a drink and catching up.  There are a few tables down there, both high and low, but we were sat upstairs (which was also completely transformed.) 

Source - Forum

Friday, August 5, 2011

Kowloon - a Route 1 Institution

This year, rather than just doing the Whim Dinner for Nick's birthday, we also went with our friends A & A to a Route 1 institution - Kowloon Restaurant.

This is a place that you cannot possibly miss as you pass it heading up north, and while it looks completely crazy on the outside, you HAVE to go in because it gets even better.  As we were seated we were asked whether we would like to sit in the lagoon room, the pirate ship room or a booth.  Since we figured we would take a walk to see the lagoon and the pirate ship, we opted for the booth in the shocking pink and purple greenhouse area. 

Since this was a special occasion we could not leave without this special monkey "glass" that also doubles as a piggy bank!  I mean, what more do you need!  The sugary drink on the inside wasn't bad either - a bit like we should have been on the beach somewhere.

Monkey Glass!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mercadito - Mexican, Chicago Style!

A couple of weekends ago I went to Chicago to visit one of my very best friends who is also my Lady of Honor (much better sounding than Matron of Honor)!  The point of the weekend involved very little Chicago exploring and more catching up.  However, when you go to Chicago, one of the big decisions is where to eat, since there are so many delicious places to try! 

Before I even arrived, C had made reservations for us at Mercadito, a great Mexican restaurant in the downtown area of Chicago with some of her friends.  When we arrived we were welcomed into a really unique atmosphere where you just knew you were going to have a fun time - good music with a bright, fun decor!

We sat at a high-top table and immediately began reviewing the delicious drink menu.  The first cocktail to arrive literally was made with fire.  Not only that, the fire was actually within an inverted lime, so basically the lime skin was containing the fire.  When it was placed on the table, the server stirred with fire into the drink and put it out.  Quite the presentation, that is for sure! 

Big Nose Goes to Mexico - Herradura blanco, tequila reposado, dark rum, guava, orgeat and FIRE!
I ordered Misty's Sleeve, a drink with some spice and a big kick to it (which may have had something to do with the Serrano chili!)  I seem to be into those recently.  Again this is a great drink but with all that spice, I really could only handle one.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

49 Social - New addition to Temple St. - Downtown

Recently I was looking for a good location to grab some drinks with friends, both from Boston and visiting from NYC.  After debating a bit, I thought 49 Social would be a good place to try - I was really curious to see if and how the new restaurant changed the old Ivy space.

Off we went on a Tuesday night, and lucky for us there was plenty of room for us to grab a table in the bar area.  Turns out not much has changed - the space is just a bit brighter on the inside with the addition of a marble bar top and matching marble table tops.  I was pretty happy with this, since I always thought the Ivy was a great place to go.  We had the bartender serving us and she was more than willing to make us custom drinks based upon what we liked, which were tasty!   

For food, we decided to split a few of the bar menu options, which included a number of really great sounding flatbreads that would be great for sharing.  The first was the pear and prosciutto flatbread. 

Pear and Prosciutto flatbread with Gorgonzola cheese, arugula, and balsamic glaze

Monday, August 1, 2011

Swiss Chard!

This week we had Swiss chard in our CSA, another veggie I am not really familiar with, and yet another reason we originally wanted to get the CSA.  Using Epicurious I tried to figure out what sounded good and practical to make for a weekday meal when I stumbled upon a delicious side dish recipe with Swiss chard, raisins and toasted almonds.

 The Necessities...
  • 1/2 large onion, sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick (1 cup)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
  • 2 pounds Swiss chard, center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped almonds with skins
To begin, I heated some olive oil in a large saute pan and tossed in my sliced onion.  This onion was another fantastic red onion from the CSA that is more like a red onion/scallion hybrid, but is delicious and pretty to cook with!  With the onion I tossed in the salt and allowed it to cooked until it softened, where I then added the paprika.

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