Sunday, May 31, 2015

Choose Your Own Adventure

Hello my friends!

Sorry for the lack of updates, it's been a busy week.

I am here to tell you about my fantastic, food-filled, and fun weekend (<3 alliterations). 

Friday night was book club with my circle of friends from college. Yes, we actually do read books and talk about them...for five minutes. But I made mini skewers of watermelon, prosciutto, mozzarella, and basil with balsamic based on this recipe from Skinnytaste. They weren't bad, definitely a bit of a risk. I wish I took a picture of the beautiful spread our host, Sara, had for us. Once again, I fail as a food blogger.

On Saturday, I made waffles adapted from this Coconut Yogurt Waffles recipe. The recipe is meant to be gluten-free and dairy-free but I used whole wheat pastry flour and coconut Greek yogurt. I am a rebel. These were SO good! They were filling and dense yet crispy on the outside. A perfect combo. Served with bacon.

My husband "artistically" arranged this for the picture
Saturday night was a birthday celebration for my dear friend Robbie at La Brasa in Somerville. The inside of the restaurant was funky. Industrial but rustic at the same time. Really cool. Since there were 6 of us, we sat at a nice large table meant for sharing. The concept of the menu was a bit confusing for 6 people. There were snacks, appetizers, small plates, sides, mains, and sharing mains essentially. It was hard to figure out exactly how much food we needed but we managed. First up was amazing bread, a cheese plate, Iberico Ham, and toasts. Some of the guys had grilled oysters.

After that, we got served our sides and anything else that we had ordered.

This Mexican Fried Rice was AWESOME. We also had tacos and those were really, really good too.

Beets and Polenta above. I love polenta but I am not a huge beet fan. This tasted good but couldn't fully get past the flavor of the beets but for someone who does like beets, this side would be great.

These were brussel sprouts with an aioli, also really good.

We ordered a table-side meat cart. This was a pot roast that was sliced to your specifications on the cart and then a chimichurri and red wine au jus was added.

This was seriously melt in your mouth and some of the best beef I've ever had. The chimichurri was so fresh!

We obviously had to have dessert. Troy's (on the right) birthday is also coming up so the birthday boys got candles in their desserts.

My husband and I both got the dulche de leche flan which luckily was small and light. 

The food was amazing, the drinks were great, and the atmosphere was fun. We didn't have the best waiter which dampened the experience a bit. But it just gave us something to laugh about/make fun of. The waiter kept saying it was a "choose your own adventure" experience.

Today was my sisters' birthday celebration at my parents' house. Adam, my sister's boyfriend, busted out this traditional Portuguese clay cooking vessel in the shape of a pig.

He used smoke sausage that he bought from a Portuguese shop near him in Bristol, RI. He filled the inside of the piggy with Everclear and lit it on fire to cook the sausage.

It tasted amazingggg.

And grandma somehow ended up with rum??

My family also enjoyed steamers before the main meal.

For dinner we had (more) sausage and steak tips with pasta salad and onions and peppers.

I promise I put more onions and peppers on this thing. For some reason,
I took the picture before I finished topping it
We ended the night with red velvet birthday cake from our favorite bakery in Bridgewater, The Cake in a Box.

Good thing I made gazpacho for lunch tomorrow after eating all of this.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Fajitas and Ritas

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend! I can't believe the long weekend is almost over but it was certainly a fun-filled one.

Friday night, my husband and I saw Pitch Perfect 2. Yes, he actually willingly attended with me and it was hilarious. 

We went over to my parents' house on Saturday for some Fajitas and Ritas. Tim was working during the day so my mom picked me up and we went to lunch at The Plate. I've talked about this place a million times on here but it's AMAZING. They should probably pay me for the amount of business I draw in for them from this blog. Just kidding. This was the first time trying out the lunch menu actually. I had the Chickpea Falafel burger and my mom had the Prosciutto & Mozzarella sandwich. After that, her and I went back to my parents' house to hang out before dinner. 

My parents' dog, Keiko

We prepped a pitcher of margaritas which turned out to be more of an adventure than we thought. 

Basically, the recipe called for Triple Sec, Cointreau, Tequila, and lime juice and also had the addition of watermelon pieces. We made the recipe which supposedly served 4 and decided that was not enough for 4 people so we tripled the recipe. Maybe that was our mistake? Also, there was an extra alcohol in comparison to traditional margaritas. Nevertheless, they ended up being EXTREMELY strong but hey, I'm not one to shy away from alcohol so I still drank it. 

We had a lovely spread that included delicious marinated flank steak, grilled onions and peppers, corn, salsa, guacamole, rice, sour cream, cheese and tortillas. Absolutely perfect.

Also, food blogging is not glamorous.

You can see the addition of the melon balls in the pitcher and the subtraction of some of the drink.

For a cookout at my friend Jess's apartment on Sunday night, I made this awesome Caramelized Onion Greek Yogurt Dip from How Sweet Eats. It was a more sophisticated and sweet french onion drip. I had some leftover and added it to my mashed red potatoes tonight. Clever, right? That was a great combo. 

There is nothing super exciting on par for the week but maybe I will find something great to talk about on here as to not bore you all. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Deep Thoughts

The other day, I was trying to pinpoint where my food obsession started. Growing up, I would bake occasionally and maybe make some scrambled eggs. The was the extend of my cooking. My mother nearly always made a homemade dinner and my father is known for his big breakfasts. I did watch the Food Network when I was younger but I was also picky too and not really willing to try new things. I didn't even eat pasta. I know. My husband didn't either. We say it was fate when we met because we were the only two people in the world who didn't like pasta. I digress.

I chose to study abroad in Italy during the spring semester of my Junior year in college (2008). I distinctly remember forcing myself to eat ziti in my college's cafeteria knowing I would need to like it before I go. I know, I know, I'm crazy. Little did I realize, Italy was the best place in the world for amazing food.

I studied in a small city called Perugia which is halfway between Florence and Rome smack dab in the middle of Italy in Umbria. I learned to foodshop the "Italian way" by going to the teeny, tiny grocery store a few times per week. I remember realizing just how fresh the food was there in comparison to the US. I was appalled when my ball of mozzarella only lasted two days before going moldy. I learned that Italians do not drink coffee on the go and iced coffee does not really exist. I learned that Italians take the time to really enjoy their meals. Some meals I attended lasted 4-5 hours with multiple courses yet I didn't feel disgusting. I was forced to learn how to cook for myself with limited resources. I traveled to other countries and learned other food cultures. 

But I think where it really started was a Food and Culture class that I took as part of the curriculum in Perugia. We had a German professor who was so passionate about food and teaching us about food. We visited a cafe and did a wine tasting. I wrote a report on Kosher food. I visited an "agriturismo" which was basically a farmhouse that was also made for vacationing. All food is made right there. Here we watched Italian women make pasta (that we ate later), saw how olive oil was made, and drank wine from the vineyard. This is where my slow descent/ascent (whichever way you look at it) began in my love affair with food.

Since then, I have become more and more interested in food. I went through the Weight Watchers phase and ate lots of low-fat, highly processed things. But as the real food revolution kicked in a couple of years ago, I am much more mindful of what exactly I am putting into my body. I chose to cook and make my own food so I have control over the ingredients. If something is processed (granola bars, crackers, cereal, etc.), I choose ones with minimal ingredients. I feel that having the life skill of being able to cook for myself and others is really important. I love the transformation that a few ingredients can become whether it is flour, butter, and sugar for cookies or ground beef, beans, and tomatoes for a chili. It is amazing what heat and spices can do. I am interested in new techniques and love to travel to get inspiration on new foods. I am FAR less picky now (hello, pasta) and the same goes with my husband. I see food as a means that brings people together and my cooking is how I show love for others. 

I hope through this blog, I can inspire others to feel the same way about food. I know, it seems so corny. But that is what I want. 

Monday, May 18, 2015


Yesterday, my husband and I decided to be Boston tourists. Kinda.

We took the T into the city with no real destination except to walk around the Faneuil Hall area. Tourist central. The weather was gorgeous, sunny and warm with a nice breeze.

We got off at the Park St. stop and headed over Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market where it was plenty crowded.

We decide never go into Boston A. when it's nice out and B. during the day. It is always bad weather or at night. We really got to appreciate the beautiful greenery and buildings around the city like don't normally get to.

We then walked by the area near the aquarium then stumbled upon a restaurant called Warehouse Bar & Grille for lunch. They were still serving brunch so obviously we had to eat there. It had a cool, industrial vibe and we were able to sit outside. 

I had a Breakfast Mojito (Blueberry Pancake Liquor with lime juice and mint and Tim had the "Raven" with maple bacon vodka, muddled cherries and oranges, and and whiskey aged bitters.

Then the food.

I had the Green Omelette which had avocado, spinach, feta, asparagus and a side of mixed greens.

Tim had the Eggs Benedict

We split a side of Sweet Potato tots that came with ketchup and some kind of sweet, cinnamon-y, amazing dipping sauce.

The little basket just made them all the more delicious.

We then wondered down to the Newbury St. area and ended up at Rattlesnake Bar & Grille. We knew that there was a rooftop bar but had never been on it (we had eaten there a few times). The roof ttop bar area was...meh. 

But our drinks (Cranberry Jalapeno Margarita and Pineapple Sage Margarita) were perfect while sitting outside.

We split chips with different kinds of salsas and guacamole

After snack time, we walked back to the T via the Common which was packed and full of amazing people-watching.

Once we got home, I decided to do a "Sunday Cook-up."

Coconut Butter Granola from How Sweet Eats.

And unpictured hummus. Sorry.

Dinner was Eggplant and Lemon Risotto which was from Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty. This cookbook is full of amazing vegetable recipes inspired by his restaurants in London. I originally was very intimidated by the cookbook when I first got it a few years ago but now I feel ready enough to tackle it. 

Risotto is a bit of a labor of love in that you cook the aromatics and veggies, add the rice and cook, then ladle-ful by ladle-ful, add stock and stir until absorbed. You do this over and over again with 3 cups of the stock. The rice becomes creamy (with no cream!) after about a half hour of doing this routine. You also have to use Arborio rice which becomes creamy due to its high starch content.

It also called for a bit of wine. Now, I hate opening up a full bottle of wine for 1/2 cup. Yes, I know I could drink it but I don't always want to. So I buy these instead:

Baby bottles of wine. Perfect for the small portions you need for cooking. Or college students.

Buon Appetito!

Sunday, May 17, 2015


To start this post, I just want to give a thank you to all of those who read my blog out there! I appreciate the support and love hearing when you are inspired by a post. 

It seems like as the warmer weather approaches, the weekends are getting busier and busier (even the weekdays). Which, no complaints at all. Especially after a long winter of not being able to do anything. Often times, this means more blog material! 

On Thursday night, I made these Chocolate-Dipped Coffee Kisses for my sister-in-law, Sarah. She was hosting a bridal shower as the maid of honor/only bridesmaid and needed some help with the food. 

They were good! I cooked them at 225 degrees Farenheit for an hour and a half then left them in the oven overnight. This makes sure that the meringues are crunchy by drying them out. I also read that is difficult to make these when it is humid out so luckily it was not. I obviously had to taste-test at least one of them to make sure they were edible.

Yes, that is a cow spatula.

The meringues had a coffee flavor and the next morning I melted dark chocolate and dipped them in. Mocha flavored!

I joked to Sarah and my mother-in-law that they looked more like poops than kisses but hey, at least they tasted good right? Actually, they look like peeps too.

Saturday morning was rise and shine for a 5K in Abington. The best part was that we were sponsored by a local bar and was able to go back to the bar to have beers and a free buffet.

So we ate and drank all of the calories we burned (and them some, I'm sure).

Later that night, we went to the movies with our friends Ashley, Shawn, Kate, and Brian. We met at La Scala in Randolph for dinner. La Scala is a very well-known Italian restaurant in the South Shore area but I had only been once before.  

I got the Chicken Bona Boca which was chicken stuffed with prosciutto and cheese and had a marsala and mushroom sauce.

My husband had the Shrimp Exquisito which was fried shrimp sauteed in butter, brandy, and marsala wine. 

For dessert, we had "off menu" (a.k.a. we just really wanted them and asked if they could be made) Espresso Martinis. Ashley double-fisted a martini and a hot espresso. Crazy. A couple of others had non-liquid desserts, too. Our plan was to go see the Avengers but it wasn't playing until after 10 and it was about 8 at this time. We killed the remaining time at a Bertuccis next to the movie theater by drinking more. Because we didn't drink enough during the day (they all also ran the 5K).

More weekend updates to come!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Accidentally Plated

I accidentally ended up with Plated this week!

My husband says "accidentally" but it truly was an accident. I was experimenting to see if I could get the first-time user discount (as a second-time user). It didn't work, lesson to all. And somehow I ended up with an order of three meals at my doorstep. I swear I never even hit submit! Nonetheless, it was a happy accident.

In the spirit of keeping Cinco de Mayo alive (just kidding), this recipe was Steak Fajitas with Peppers, Onions, and Cholula Guacamole.

The serving was huge as it came with 3 fajitas per person. I also decided to add some Chili-Lime Roasted Carrots on the side. My own recipe. I just took 6 carrots and halved them. I tossed them with lime olive oil, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and garlic powder. In a 425 oven, I roasted them for about 20-25 minutes.

The combination of the cool and creamy guac mixed with the tender steak and sweet red peppers and onions was a really good combination.

Eat on, folks.