Monday, April 26, 2010

Beer and Bacon Fest 2010

I really like food festivals, but am leery of them when they ticket price is reasonable, because generally this equals long lines.  I went to a Phantom Gourmet food fest once, that was in this giant grey blob of a warehouse (someone else had bought a group of us tickets) and let me tell you there were thousands of people at this event and the lines to taste anything were about an hour long.  I'll go buy a whole pizza at upper crust instead of waiting in a mile long long for a sample, thanks.  This is one of the reasons The Taste of the South End works so well, ticket price is a little higher, so you don't have lines, and the food is above and beyond.  But who doesn't love Bacon and the south end, so 4 of us gave it a try! 

When we first arrive, before it started, the line was so massive to get in I kind of thought we were going to have to skip this and go over to Rocca or Gaslight for a meal! But come to find out they just had not let people in yet and this was the reason for the long line.  We waited for a little bit before we go in, which wasn't bad.  The crowd was mostly 20 something hipsters I would say, and people that love pig obviously!  There were a lot of pig themed t-shirts here!

We finally got inside and headed straight for the beer.  But then I threw my cup out, I was only concerned with bacon.  The first thing we had was a cupcake topped with bacon from South End Buttery. It was very yummy! 

Then we had scallops from Turner Fisheries which was also good.  But what we tried third was really awesome.  It was pork belly and it was from a restaurant I've never even heard of - Stoddard's! But now will have to try! 

Next we had a fried oyster from Rialto.  I don't like had candied bacon from Rocca which was excellent! Next to Rocca was B Good and they were serving a bacon chocolate milkshake, which was literally to die for.  I am going to try and replicate this at home! It was so perfectly chocolaty and had little pieces of salty bacon swirling about!

One of the other things I loved was a sort of dumpling kind of dough thing with candied maple bacon glaze on it filled with egg, bacon and cheese and it was INCREDIBLE.  I had two! I loved loved loved loved it. It was from Atwood's.... I didn't even take a picture, it went in my mouth too fast!

The Franklin Cafe was serving a tiny little pretzel like thing with bacon and mustard.  I liked that you could just pop it in your mouth, but I wasn't crazy about it.  It seemed over cooked to me.  Next we had cheesecake that had bacon and chicken and other stuff in it, and I had one bite and threw it away.  Sorry.  I did not like it one bit.  I would have liked it if were the regular sweet kind with bacon bits I think.  Bacon seems to work well with sweet! 

We stopped at The Myers and Chang table were they had like a bacon sandwich which had a good flavor to it.

Next I wandered over to get the bacon wrapped date, but they were out! I love dates :( So we grabbed some bacon laced Chex mix instead which was pretty good.  Then we headed over to Gaslight's table were they were serving begets.

Someone was serving what looked like a great brownie and bourbon sundae but I just couldn't put another thing like that in my mouth.   My stomach was done! What a great event!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Coconut Cake

I really love coconut.  I love it in all forms: it's original form.  Last year I went to the Dominican republic and a man sliced open a coconut off a tree for with me a machete, and it has that sort of buttery texture to it that nothing else really has.  I love it in candy.  I love it in drinks.  I love it in cakes.  I like the way it feels and the way that it smells.  A few weeks ago someone I follow on Twitter had mentioned she made The Barefoot Contenssa's Coconut Cake.  I am not a baker.  I don't like to measure.  I love to cook because if you can taste, you can cook.  There is no science to it, it is an art.  Baking is a science.  Oddly enough I have a degree in biology, but still I do not like to bake, haha.  I always end up screwing it up.  But I love coconut (and Ina) enough to try her recipe.  

RECIPE ---> coconut cake

I changed a few things.  I used buttermilk instead of whole milk and I did not add almond extract, because I don't like nut flavor.  

First you cream the sugar and the butter, as seen above.  Then you add the wet ingredients and they dry ingredients back and forth

Then you have the final mix

Then you put it in the oven and in the mean time you make the cream cheese frosting

When the cake come out it looks like this:

Let it cool before you put the frosting on

This cake was amazing.  I've been having it for breakfast and little nibbles during the day for the past several days now. 

Go make it!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around....

I like to make things with glob of sugar as much as I do with globs of butter...I found this super easy recipe that got really great reviews for something called Hokey Pokey.  Basically it's sugar, dark corn syrup, and baking soda.  How much easier could it get!

First you mix the sugar and the corn syrup:

You then melt it over medium heat until it reaches 300 degrees:

You take it off the heat and very quickly whisk in baking soda, which changes the consistency quite rapidly of this and it quickly becomes taffy like! So quickly pour it into a dish of some kind!

Then it turns to taffy and then it turns really hard and crunchy. 

Okay, now this recipe had really good reviews and I am not sure if all of the 20 people that liked this recipe were high or what, but it was literally one of the top 10 worst things I've ever put in my mouth! When it was taffy it was ok, it just tasted like sugar, but once it turned hard, it tasted like baking soda! Who wants to eat baking soda?! It was gross.  I took one bite and threw the whole thing out....But it's so easy maybe you should try it and report back to me what you think!

Cornbread & Chicken & Broth! Oh my!

I had a desire a few days ago to make homemade cornbread and a roasted chicken.  I should have attempted to make baked beans too, but alas I didn't.  (I love those.)  And both turned out really nicely.  I have never made cornbread before.  I used this recipe: Cornbread

It's really so easy.  First you mix the dry ingredients together:

Then add the wet ingredients:

Put in the oven and presto chango:

When I roast a chicken I generally drizzle EVO all over it, sprinkle some salt and pepper and chopped garlic over it, and cut a few pieces of butter and lay it on top.  For this chicken I did the same but cut a lemon in half and put it inside the chicken, with a few cloves of garlic too.  And I put some fresh thyme on it and inside of it.  I cook it for around 1.5 hrs at 425 and then let it rest for 20 minutes (with foil over it.)  And it comes out as juicy as can be!

After we ate the chicken, I then took the carcus and put it in a pot of water and added an onion, lots of salt and some pepper to make a chicken broth.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Everyone loves a sale!

Sale Time on Sparkle and Metal! click on Sale!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Crab Spaghetti

I really enjoy quick and easy things that I can throw together to make a meal.  I had a dish at Union (in the South End of Boston) last year during restaurant week, and I thought it was just so easy and light so I decided to try and replicate it at home.  


lump crab meat
cherry tomatoes
thin spaghetti
a splash of lemon juice
a splash of white wine
a splash of olive oil

Put as much crab as your heart desired into a saute pan with about 2 gloves of garlic chopped up and a half of stick of butter, with a splash of white wine and a splash of lemon juice and a splash of good olive oil.  

Add salt and pepper to taste, as well as more lemon juice, garlic or butter.  This recipe really calls for the use of your own taste buds! Let it cook until it's nice and warm and sizzling.  In the mean time boil some thin spaghetti, and cut up some cherry tomatoes.  

Take the cooked spaghetti and toss with the tomatoes.  Add the crab, along with everything in the pan (i.e all that butter) And viola!


So I know how to crochet with yarn and with wire, but I am learning how to crochet with beads and string - the final product is so awesome, but IT IS HARD! I need to finish this for Wednesday (it is my homework) yikes!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lemon Square

I really love all things lemon.  I love the taste, the smell, everything! And this means I love lemon squares, but I have never made them before.  A blog that I follow Lilly Ella posted a recipe to lemon squares last week, and yesterday I made them! I am going to copy and condense her recipe but please click the link above to visit her blog and her recipe.

2 cups flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 tbsp flour
1 tsp finely grated lemon peel
3/4 cup juice of lemon
1/4 cup of milk
powdered sugar for garnish

Heat oven to 350°.  In a large bowl mix flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Cut in butter using a pastry blender until it looks like coarse crumbs.

Press the dough mixture firmly into the pan and bake 18 minutes (don’t overcook).

Grate a lemon for your zest

In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs, mix in sugar, flour, cream, lemon peel and lemon juice.  I squeezed 4 lemons and used fresh lemon juice, and NOT the artificial kind.  I just like to use fresh things when I can and it was really easy to do.  

Pour filling over hot crust and bake 18 minutes until center is set. It won’t look much different but will turn from a liquid to solid consistency.

Cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and chill in the fridge until cold, sift powdered sugar on top before serving. Enjoy!

These were super yummy and the crust was delicious!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Inspiration Board

I set up a new inspiration board in my office/work area.  I really really like it! I am forever tearing out pictures from magazines that have colors or clothes or jewelry that triggers something in me and I needed a place to post them.  

Awesome Things

Cutting boards that tell you what to cut on them so you do not cross contaminate! For years I have been cutting raw meat and then fruits and veggies on the same board (I mean after they have been washed, I'm not dumb).  But still YUCK! These have little animals or veggies/fruit pictures on them so you never risk getting salmonella from a strawberry again....

I got these at Bed, Bath and Beyond. 

Awesome Things

My new Mario Batali mixing bowls I got off Rue La La for like half price. 


Turner Fisheries

Turner Fisheries in Boston's Back Bay was my favorite table at the Taste of the South End, so I started to follow them on twitter shortly after that event and participated in a free lunch for two contest they had.  I never really win anything, but I won! So Laura and I went for lunch on Thursday.  The look of Turner reminds me of Legal Seafood a lot, especially the one in the theater district.  It feels like your typical large seafood restaurant in a hotel.  But with that said I thought it was really nice.  And they had a little section where they had all the windows open so it almost felt like you were sitting outside, and you could people watch very nicely from here.  

I think that lunch is new here.  They had a really nice lunch mention with a lot of different options, but where is the lobster bisque!? There are two soups I will always order if they are on the menu, french onion and lobster bisque and they did not have any here! We were torn at what we wanted to get, we went back and forth for awhile, but we decided on their "express lunch" where you pick a soup, an entree, and a dessert.  I really love things like this! But part of me did really want a big salad with lobster or ahi tuna on it.  I chose chowder, lobster sliders (which came with fries) and creme brulee.  I LOVED how this was presented! 

The chowder was really nice and creamy - the consistency I thought was just right.  The lobster sliders were decent.  I thought it was lacking something, but I am not sure what.  Maybe just a little more flavor in the lobster meat - some mayo, or some lemon or something.  But they were the perfect size for lunch and the fries were really crispy and good.  My creme brulee was amazing.  It had a great flavor to it and had three nice fresh berries on top! This is a perfect little platter for lunch.  

I would definitely come back here for lunch especially! But put some lobster bisque on the menu pleaseeeeee!

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I really love to make mussels but really just for the sauce to dip lots of french bread into.  I made mussels last night, and basically I throw this stuff into a saucepan and that's it.  I don't really measure, but I will try to guess:


1/2 stick of butter
cup of white wine
3 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons of sugar
pinch of saffron
a few crushed tomatoes (from a can)
just for fun I added some pea shoots


Max Attack

Max is like really allergic to grass - he had an allergy test done a few years ago - but he loves to roll in the grass.  And I just find the act pretty funny, even though to an average normal person it probably is not.  But when I watch him do this daily when we are not in the city I laugh every time.  Here is it playing out!

All done!