Sunday, April 26, 2015

Provincetown Adventure

Today, we spent the day on an impromptu (well, kind of. We had the idea of going here earlier in the week) trip down to Provincetown. 

We did our usual Sunday morning run with the run club we belong to followed by our (now usual) trip to The Plate in Milton for breakfast. I got their yogurt and granola, my husband got their BBC Egg Sandwich which had an egg, bacon, arugula, and a BBQ-type sauce. Really good. After that it was off to P-town for the day.

Provincetown, for those that don't know, is on the very tip of Cape Cod. If your picture an arm flexing towards you, it is your fist. It was just under 2 hours to get there and since it is off-season, there was no ridiculous Cape traffic to contend with. The weather turned out to be perfect. In the low 50's but the sun felt hot so it seemed much warmer. Fine with me.

Once we parked, we spent over an hour and a half walking around going in and out of the cute stores and people-watching. Then we got hungry, obviously. We walked by the famed Lobster Pot on our quest for food.

Anthony Bourdain got his culinary career started here and he recently went back on an episode of Parts Unknown. 

A lot of the restaurants/stores weren't open for the season yet but enough were open to enjoy the day. We settled on a place called the Squealing Pig which was more of a pub with a great beer and food selection. For an appetizer, we went with fried calamari.

The coating had some kind of spice and there was a marinara-type, cold sauce served on the side. It was REALLY good. I washed it down with a local beer, Leisure Time Lager by Jack's Abby. The beer was light and citrusy, perfect for this kind of day.

I ordered their Pig Style BLT (it was necessary since I was eating at a place called the Squealing Pig).

My husband had a craving for Portuguese fried dough and sure enough, there was a Portuguese bakery just down the street. Convenient. 

I got a Bolas de Berlim which was a custard-filled donut, essentially.

My husband got his much-anticipated fried dough.

We also bought a loaf of Portuguese Sweet Bread which I made into french toast for dinner tonight. Amazing, let me tell you.

On the way home, we stopped at Truro Vineyards. Wine time.

For $10, we tried 10 kinds of wine which was all of the wines they had available for sampling. Well, it is 5 kinds per person but we opted for team tasting. The most bang for your buck. We have this method perfected.

It also included the tasting of their rum called South Hollow Spirits. Their sugarcane is from Florida but they make the rum on-site. They currently have an amber rum and a spiced rum. 

The grounds were beautiful. They will be really pretty in a few weeks when things actually start growing

After the wine tasting (and some needed coffees) we headed home back to the city. It was nice to do a mini getaway for the day. Back to reality tomorrow.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Personal Hawaiian Pizzas with Bacon Fat Caramelized Pineapples

Oh em gee this was good.

Yup, pineapple and bacon. Oh and the pineapple is caramelized in bacon fat. And the best part is that this is a very easy meal for a weeknight. This pizza plus a side salad of spinach and blood orange with a blood orange vinaigrette clocked in at just under 600 calories. Indulgent but not that bad! Sweet, salty, and cheesy. What more could you want out of life? Recipe at the end of the post.

Additionally, I had 3 um, aged, bananas lying around. It's weird because I usually buy about 4-5 bananas each week and they are always gone. Apparently I didn't eat many bananas and had some leftover. This called for banana bread.

Coffee Cake Banana Bread more specifically. I had this recipe put aside in Dropbox within my recipes and it looked to be the best one that I had saved. Also, it is gluten-free and Paleo (I guess accidentally). But I got to share it with my dear, gluten-free coworker Kristen which is always a plus. 

It was so moist! I would maybe add a bit more coconut flour to cut down on the moistness slightly (only because each piece didn't hold together super well) but the cinnamon and butter topping was amazing with the moist, banana base. Mysteriously, much of it is almost gone. And I've only had 2 pieces and given 1 away. Hmmm....

Personal Hawaiian Pizzas with Bacon Fat Caramelized Pineapples
Serves: 2

2 large pita pockets, naan(s?), or flatbreads
3 oz cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup diced pineapple
4 slices bacon
1/2 cup canned plain tomato sauce
1 tbsp sweet chili sauce

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cook the bacon over medium heat in a pan until nearly crispy. Set bacon aside but keep the fat in the pan. While still hot, turn up the heat to medium-high and add in the diced pineapple. Cook until pineapple is caramelized. Drain the pineapple and put aside.
  3. Mix together the tomato sauce and sweet chili sauce. Spread evenly over each pita. Then spread the grated cheese over the sauce.
  4. Chop up the bacon into smaller pieces and put onto pizza. Add the pineapple on top.
  5. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes. I put the pitas right onto the oven rack but feel free to use a sheet pan or pizza stone.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool for 1 minute to let the cheese set.
  7. Enjoy!
  8. And seriously, make this your own. Add more cheese. Use less sauce. Use BBQ sauce instead of sweet chili sauce. Cook up more bacon. Eat both pitas yourself.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Sunday Dinner

So this is how my Sunday started. Boom. Breakfast instead of going for a run. In our defense, we had to clean as we had guests coming over later and I needed to prep some food in advance. 

I made up my own brekkie sandwich with random refrigerator leftovers. I discovered this really great bread from a health store in Quincy from Nashoba Brook Bakery located in Concord, MA. I struggle with bread as quite often, grocery store bread has lots of random ingredients. But I found this and it's really good, very hearty and nutritious. Then I added onion and fig jam, avocado, bacon, spinach, poached egg, and hot sauce. On the side I made sweet potato "home fries."

Later on was dinner for all. Our friends Pat, Dennis, Shawn, and Ashley came over (with yummy goodies!). I made a buffalo chicken dip and Ashley brought cinnamon blondies which tasted like cinnamon rolls. 

I prepared sirloin steaks with the merlot seasoning from the day before

Additionally, I served two sides that I had gotten from a recent Giada at Home episode.

She made pork with the original meal. I did not make pork. Obviously. But the two sides were Grilled Potato Salad (which got rave reviews) and Peas, Bacon, and Prosecco. Ashley gave me moral support as we cooked and drank beer in the kitchen. 

It was the first time I've served a whole meal to more than like 4 people so I was nervous but survived! My tip to you is make anything in advance that you can and keep it simple. I made the potato salad a couple of hours before because it was able to sit in the fridge. Both the peas and steaks were simple and it was just a matter of cooking them. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Vinegar, Spice, and Everything Nice

I hope everyone had a great weekend. I have lots of food stories to catch you up on over the next couple of days. I guess I would say it was an eventful weekend of food. Food 4 lyfe.

Saturday was absolutely beautiful. It was in the 70s and sunny. A miracle after this winter. My mother and I decided to trek down to Mashpee (on Cape Cod) and walk around Mashpee Commons, a shopping area. I hadn't been in years so neither of us had any idea what was there. It turned out to be a food dork adventure!

We stumbled upon a spice store called Spice Merchants. As I mentioned previously, we both order our spices online so this store was basically heaven.

Spices, spices everywhere!

We took our time looking at everything and taking in the fragrant aromas of the spices and teas. I ended up with this spice mix and also bought dark chocolate with ghost chilis for my husband (and um, extremely spicy).

I actually used this rub on some steaks on Sunday which I will tell you about in an upcoming post. My mother also got some loot from the store too. We walked around a bit more and ended up at Gustare, an oil and vinegar store. I mean, how could this day get any better? Here, you could sample dozens of oils and vinegars. They also had a lot of recipes that you could take home with you.

The woman working in the store was very helpful and friendly as my mother and I took our sweet (haha get it?) time tasting and then deciding on what to get. The best part is that they sell small bottles which is handy as I already own a lot of large bottles of flavored vinegars.

We ended up getting the same oils and vinegars and the woman working in the store gave us a free small bottle of the blood orange oil. So nice!

After that, we had lunch at Siena which was pretty good.

Later on in the day was a surprise birthday event for my friend Mandy. For dinner we had limited time but ended up at Cook in Newton. This place is awesome, My husband and I had been there a couple of times. Unfortunately since we were in such a rush, I only got a picture of my drink. Wamp, wamp.

The drink was really good. It was a Cinnamon Bourbon Negroni with house-infused cinnamon apple bourbon, Aperol, and sweet vermouth. I had a burger for dinner which was yummy. After that, we headed off to the Paint Bar just next door for a night of wine and painting. And obviously we would paint a picture with a wine bottle.

 I hereby leave you with a picture of our pictures.

Friday, April 17, 2015

After Touching Jalapenos, Don't Touch Your Eyes

On Wednesday, I met up with some of my college friends at the Publick House in Brookline. Despite the fact that the lighting wasn't the best to take a picture in and facing immense peer pressure (just kidding), I did snap a photo of my food. They are known for their mac 'n cheese so obviously I had to get it. The cool thing is, you can pick and choose the ingredients to add in. I decided on peas, bacon, and tomatoes. It is served in this cute, little cast iron skillet

Last night's event was a cooking class that my friends Ashley, Cait, and I attended at the Good Life Kitchen in Norwell. The theme was Ladies Night Out: Caribbean Vacation. Amazing, right?

We arrived and quickly learned the place is BYOB. What!? For about 2 seconds we were really sad as we did not know this in advance but the building is connected to a liquor store. Problem solved, 2 bottles of wine later. After that we put on our aprons and name tags and had some cheese and crackers while we waited for the class to start.

We were separated into 2 groups and each had a leading chef. It wasn't a truly hands-on cooking class where we had a station or did a lot of cooking. It was more of a demonstration and the chef would have people volunteer to chop or mix something. But it was informative and just plain fun.

Our side of the room made a Jalapeno Cucumber Salad and a Grilled Pineapple with Macademia Nuts for dessert. 

Look at Cait and her guns juicing

The other side of the room worked on Grilled Coconut Shrimp with Mango Salsa, Jerk Chicken with Lime Creme, and Black Beans and Rice.

Ashely zesting like a pro

Our chef, A.J., actually worked under Ken Oringer of Clio, Toro, and others in Boston and NYC. Pretty cool! As a side note, it's best to use gloves when cutting up jalapeno as once the oils get on your hands, they stick. Then, if you rub your eyes (or other parts of your body), you are in for it. 

Cucumber Jalapeno Salad

Once the food was nearly finished, the chefs collated the dishes and set them out for all of us to enjoy.

It was really good!

The cucumber salad, the mango salsa, and the chicken were my favorites. Everything was enjoyable, though. And it's always good to end with dessert:

It was a really fun night and the tickets were only $55. I definitely recommend it if you enjoy food, eating, and or cooking. They have all kinds of interesting classes on deck including a night about pasta and a night about Greek food.

Happy and content after good food and (several) glasses of wine

Tonight we are laying low and I made a Spring Pasta from Blue Apron. I didn't order Blue Apron but the cool thing is that you can get all of their recipes right off the website. I did make a few changes to the recipe. You gotta work with what you got. 

I used my own homemade fresh pasta that I had frozen, used baby spinach instead of pea tips, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese instead of Pecorino Romano. Other than that, I followed this easy recipe pretty closely. It was perfect for a weeknight and was full of spring flavors.

Do you have any good weekend plans out there? For mine, you will find out when I post next!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Follow Me, Everything Is Alright

Super exciting news! You can now follow my posts via email and also subscribe to my blog! I know that you are all dying to do this.

Last night I did some food prep for the week as I wasn't able to over the weekend. This consisted of making chia pudding, cutting up pineapple, and making greek salad.

How Sweet Eats is one of my favorite blogs and I'm sure I've mentioned this before. I decided to make her Favorite Greek Salad with Homemade Whole Wheat Pita.

It is a wondrous combination of tomato, shallots, cucumbers, and feta. The recipe calls for marinating this in the dressing but I was going to add lettuce to my salad so I kept the dressing separate. The dressing is made of extra virgin olive oil, garlic, oregano, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, honey, dill salt, and pepper. I actually would have liked a little less sweetness so I will cutback on the honey next time. Oh also, confession. I don't like olives so I kept them out of the Greek salad. I know, I know.

With this recipe came homemade pita bread which was relatively easy to make. 

Essentially you make the dough and let it rise. After that, you split it up into 8 pieces, roll them out thinly then cook them on a hot cast iron skillet. They didn't puff up as much as I would have liked. I think I would keep them a tad thicker next time but they tasted good!

Tonight I made turkey chili. The recipe comes from my dear friend Mandy with some tweaks over the years. I added the recipe below if anyone wants to replicate this simple, weeknight meal. It could always sit over the stove or in a slow cooker for hours too if you so choose that direction. Also, feel free to sub ingredients in and out. For example, black beans for kidney beans. You could take out the meat and add in butternut squash. Bacon would be amazing. Or you could make it super spicy or very mild. 

I also made these Honey Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins. They came out great! They would also be good for breakfast so I froze the leftovers. 

Mandy's Famous Turkey Chili
Serves: 5-6

1.3 lb ground turkey
1 tbsp olive oil or canola oil
1 onion, diced
1 pepper (green or red), diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes with Mexican spices
1 can tomato sauce (plain)
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup ketchup
Chili seasoning (see recipe)
1/4-1/2 cup water

Chili Seasoning
Slightly adapted from

5 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp white sugar
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
2 tsp oregano (I used espazote)
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

  1. Heat up oil in a high-bottomed pan or dutch oven and add in ground turkey. Cook until browned and cooked through. Add in the diced peppers and onions and the garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes until softened.
  2. While turkey mixture is cooking, mix together spices for seasoning so they are ready to go.
  3. Add in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, ketchup, kidney beans, and seasoning. Stir together. Add in the water.
  4. Let simmer for a minimum of 10 minutes and a maximum of infinity.
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed (salt? chili powder? hot sauce? lime juice? flour to thicken?).
  6. Add on your favorite toppings (avocado, cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, etc.).
  7. ENJOY

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Weekend Eats

Hello my friends, I hope you had a great weekend. This weekend was full of food and no 3-mile (struggle) run could negate it this morning. 

Yesterday, my husband's work schedule changed so he ended up being around at night. We decided to go out to eat so I utilized my handy-dandy "Restaurants I Want to Visit" list to figure out where to go. I really have a running list, I'm that cool. We landed on Sinclair in Harvard Square. 

Sinclair has a old school feel but modern at the same time. They have both American-style entrees and small plates so we decided on the small plates route. You get to try more things that way!

I had a Hemingway Daiquiri with rum, maraschino liquor, grapefruit, lime, and orange bitters (right). My husband enjoyed a Smoking the Hive with bourbon, mezcal, whiskey, smoked honey, and smoked sea salt (left). It was both smoky and sweet, very unique. Then came the onslaught of amazing small plates:

Duck Tacos

Deviled Eggs with Habanero and Bacon

Squash Fritters with Truffle Mayo and Chile Oil

Poutine with a Poached Egg and Pepper Gravy

All were great. We then decided we just HAD to get two desserts:

Banana Cream Pie in a MASON JAR

Brioche Donut Holes with Berry Jam and Caramel (basically fried dough bites)

After this meal, we decided to venture about a mile off of Harvard Square to a bar called the People's Republik which was said to pay homage to the Russian Communist era. I know most of you are probably like, um why? But on our trip to Toronto in 2013, we went to this awesome vodka bar in the city that had all of this really cool Russian Communist paraphernalia. It was also a very upscale bar. This place was not. It had plenty of interesting Russian decorations and such but it was definitely a dive bar. We got subpar Moscow Mules (not even in the copper mug. Like, really.). Then we went to Plough and Stars just down the street to have a couple of beers. We always think we are Guy Fieri in Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and then fail. But A for effort, we at least try.

Sunday was so warm and beautiful! After our 3 mile run, the husband and I went to The Plate for breakfast. This time I opted for their yogurt with homemade jam and granola. 

Tim got their basic (but amazing) breakfast sandwich

He should be a hand model, right? Also, don't mind our absurd alcohol collection in the background

Then we each got a piece of banana walnut bread

The day was spent at Tim's grandparents' 60th anniversary party. Sixty years, isn't that amazing? After that, we decided to go to Wollaston Beach as it was still nice out and only about 5:00pm

The night ended with pizza laziness and this beer

Up this week is a cooking class with two of my dear friends, Cait and Ashley (of the Moscow Mule persuasion) which I am super excited about!