Sunday, June 28, 2015

Kama, Kama, Chameleon

Sundays come up so quickly which in turn means Monday is just hours away. *Sigh*

I think like 90% of my food projects this weekend involved flour. Obviously that meant it was all over the place but the husband did not comment on finding any afterwards so I say that's a win.

On Thursday night, the husband had two of his friends over to watch the NBA draft (thrilling, really) but it was an excuse to cook for a crowd. I made an Enchilada Casserole from Cooking Light

which was perfect for the boys. It was tortillas layered with enchilada sauce, grass-fed ground beef, and cheese. Man food if you will.  On the side, I served a Tequila Slaw on the side and added some mango to it. 

PS - using a bag of broccoli slaw is a huge help in this situation.

On Friday, we went to one of our favorite haunts in Quincy, the Kama Lounge. This restaurant is extremely underrated. I don't see it really appear anywhere in ads and it never seems busy. The front of the restaurant is a tapas lounge and the back of the restaurant is the Bistro Chi, an Asian restaurant. It is also owned by the Fuji group. They own a bunch of restaurants in Quincy and in Boston.

The cool thing about Kama is you can order off the tapas menus or the Asian menu so you have a lot of choices. They recently updated both their tapas and drink menu. 

I had a Massachusetts Mai Tai that had Bully Boy (made in Boston) rum, almond liquor, and cranberry syrup among other things. Tim had a Drunken Monkey, below.

I am ashamed to admit but we ordered crab rangoon. But it was seriously some of the best we have ever had. They were super crunchy and the inside crab and cream cheese was light and fluffy.

After that we dove into the tapas. This was a Grilled Cheese Caprese with Halloumi cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and mixed greens on crostini with a balsamic glaze.

Then, we had their BBQ Sweet Potato Fries which I HIGHLY recommend and I have had tried to re-create at home. This was on their original menu from when we first moved to Quincy 3 1/2 years ago. There is a BBQ spice rub on the fries which is amazinggg. In the past, there was a dip for the fries which was also great.

On the bottom is another one of our faves from Kama which is Smoked Gouda Fritters. They are crunchy on the outside with a creamy, smoked gouda cheese on the inside. On the top is an apricot honey and underneath is a spicy tomato sauce. It is a great mix of spicy, sweet, and salty all together. 

More to come from the weekend including the mysterious projects involving lots of flour. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Father's Day

I know Father's Day was almost a week ago but hey, better late than never on the update. Obviously Father's Day was centered around food as it usually is with my family. This year was a lobstah dinnah (lobster dinner for all of you non-Bostonians).

I do have a confession to make.

I, Alyssa, do not like lobster.

I know, I am a food blogger and will eat almost anything. But I don't eat lobster in the lobster capital (well close to the lobster capital) of the world. So I had chicken. I am ashamed. I have tried to like it and I have come a long way with seafood in general (which I've never been a fan of) but have not been able to do the lobster thing.

The lobsters had to meet their fate in the pot.

He had some final words before being dropped into the pot.

On the side we had mashed potatoes and zucchini.

And wine, of course.

This was the Blessed Blend from Sakonnet Vineyards in Rhode Island.

My parents even have special lobster plates and tools to deal with the crustaceans. 

Not pictured: My chicken.

I'm sad I didn't get a picture of the dessert but it was a warm Strawberry and Rhubarb Crisp with vanilla ice cream. It was devoured and, thus, no opportunity to capture the moment. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wine Fest

Yet another food festival to blog about! Woohoo!

My mother and I went to the Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate Fest put on by the Coastal Wine Trail at the Westport (MA) Fairgrounds. We came across this event somewhere along the way and thought it would be perfect as we like are obsessed with love all three things.

It was a gorgeous day but most of the festival took place inside of a barn. But other parts were outside! Oh and that truck was a cannoli truck. 

We were handed a glass upon walking in and off we went. The wine stations were set up on the inside loop and the food was set up on the outside loop. It was cool to support local small businesses and wineries.

There wasn't a lot of "full-size food," just lots of bites and samples so we had to slow down on the wine a bit. The cool part is that you could buy the wine at the table, they would give you a card, and you could pick it up later rather than carrying it around the whole time. We went back and forth between the wine and food samples. 
Olive oil tasting

We also planned which foodstuffs we wanted and went back at the end to buy everything up. We are very strategic. After being inside for a while, we ventured out to the outdoor portion which was more wine tasting.

We decided to have some lunch which was brought to you by a company that has a portable copper fire oven to make pizzas!

How cool is that? The pizza was delicious, we split a roasted vegetable pizza.

The area outside was beautiful to sit in so we enjoyed it for a bit.

Wine, wine, wine, and more wine.

Oh and I had to get a picture of this cow

It was really fun! I wish there was more food available but the pizza worked well. We tried a lot of good, local wines. I walked away with a Prosecco called Farmer's Fizz by Westport Rivers and also a Sam Adams Jelly. Yes, you heard that right. It basically tastes like liquified beer. And amazing. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Wrapper's Delight

I am super excited to have good blog material from this weekend! But that also meant the consumption of thousands of calories. Oh well, the sacrifices we make, right?

I don't think I've ever talked about it on the blog but one of my favorite restaurants in Quincy is Fat Cat, located in Quincy center. This place is ALWAYS busy so we avoid it on Friday and Saturday nights and attempt to go during "off hours." It is really small and there can be a 2 hour wait. They have a huge beer list with a large variety of beers ranging from import to local to seasonal. The food is awesome and very reasonably priced. We thought we would give it a shot on Thursday night and we were able to walk in, a miracle!

I started off with a Jack's Abby summer brew called Leisure Time (and local brew to boot, they are based in Framingham!). Tim had a bourbon barrel beer that was really good.

Each meal at Fat Cat starts off with black bean hummus and honey butter with a variety of breads for dipping.

Sorry, it was dark in there. I apologize for the terrible picture. 

Fat Cat serves bar food that is more upscale. Their signature dish is a mac and cheese with options for different mix-ins. I literally get 4 meals from 1 dish, no lie. It is massive. I didn't feel like having mac and cheese so I opted for a Buffalo Chicken Wrap. So good. You can thank my husband for this post's title.


Last night, I went to the Portuguese Festa in Bridgewater! My friend, Ashley, is Portuguese and her family is very active in the local Portuguese community so it was great to her have and her husband show us the ropes.

You buy tickets and then use the tickets to buy food and drinks. Everything was so cheap! It was only $3 for a glass of beer or wine. Ashley and Shawn recommended we get a linguica sandwich so that was our first foodstuff.

I mean, just look at it.

That was polished off with my plastic cup of wine. 

The centerpiece of the festa is a giant firepit in which you can grill your own meat.

The boys skewered the meat...

...while Shawn cooked it for us over the open pit. There was even a contraption to help de-skewer the meat after it is cooked. I wish I had gotten a picture of it.

It was sooo good. Then we just HAD to get malasadas which is Portuguese fried dough.

The weather was perfect and there was a DJ and lots of people in attendance. So much fun! And eating. And drinking.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

It Smells Like a Papa Gino's In Here

Believe it or not, that was a compliment on the below dish from my husband. I guess that is a good smell, right?

I made a simple yet delicious Eggplant Parmesan recipe from Cooking Light. The original recipe called for a side of orzo but instead of buying a box of orzo, I decided to just serve it with a side of whole wheat fusilli I had lying around. One of my ways to cut costs at the grocery store is to use what I have in my pantry by making minor substitutions. You are not tied to what the recipe calls for, work with what you have so there aren't extra random ingredients lying around. 

The eggplant was sliced into 1/2 inch slices. Then, they were dipped into flour, egg, and a mixture of panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and oregano. This breading method is used for chicken, pork, etc. and really allows the breading to stick to the item. I remember the order by thinking about FEB


Dip in that order.

The eggplant was then broiled on each side to a crispy and crunchy finish on the outside, tender on the inside. This was the stage in which the Papa Gino's comment was called in from the living room. 

I added fresh mozzarella to the top of each eggplant round and put them back under the broiler to melt. As this was a quick and easy recipe, I just heated up Trader Joe's Tomato and Basil Marinara Sauce to serve along with sauteeing a side of kale with coconut oil, chicken stock, salt, pepper, nutmeg, garlic powder, and apple cider vinegar.

Two thumbs up for this recipe!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tomayto, Tomahto

As you saw from my previous post, I spent some time at the SOWA Market in Boston on Sunday. One of the things I got was a couple of heirloom tomatoes. I mean, they are just so fun (and funny) looking and always taste fresh. Each tomato has a unique taste too.

Aren't they beautiful?? I especially liked the one on the right, it is pretty funky looking. So the big question was, what to make with them?

Well, as to not keep you in suspense I planned on making enchiladas using the sauce recipe from the Roasted Pork and Caramelized Pineapple Enchiladas and figured I could use the tomatoes in a salsa. The sauce recipe is as follows:

Chipotle Enchilada Sauce
Serves: 4-6
Credit: How Sweet Eats

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
1 2/3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
15 ounces tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Whisk in the flour and cook until it is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk together, bringing the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 more minutes before using. Taste and season additionally if needed. I like to make this while the pork is roasting. If it becomes too thick right before using, just whisk in a little stock.

Inspired by this particular recipe, I decided to make a meatless enchilada by replacing the pork with pre-roasted (a.k.a. leftover) sweet potatoes and black beans. I did keep the pineapple. I caramelized the pineapple in a saute pan then added the potatoes and black beans. I added a little bit of chicken stock, a teeny bit of adobo sauce, salt, pepper, and lime juice and let it cook all together. I turned off the heat then added some cream cheese and grated cheddar into the mix. I rolled up the mix into tortillas and topped with the enchilada sauce and more grated cheddar. I baked it at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Wah-lah. Since you are on the edge of your seat to find out what I did with the heirlooms, here you go. With the heirlooms, I made a tomato and avocado salsa by combing the heirlooms, avocado, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, salt, and pepper and slightly crushed it in the process of mixing it together. 

So fresh on top of the enchiladas. Devoured.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sweet and SOWA

Sorry guys. I know its been a while. That means you get an extra special post!

Let's see, let's see, what food events have occurred in the past few days?

Thursday: I randomly took the day off from work and as the hubby was also off, we decided to go to brunch at the Farmer's Daughter in Easton. I had been dying to go here but know it is really busy at typical days/hours (like Saturday and Sunday mornings). It is truly farm-to-table in that they source from many local farms and companies for their products. HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS PLACE.

First off, we loved the decor.

And obviously we had to order cocktails at 11:30 in the morning. I got their mimosa cocktail with a cucumber-melon infused vodka and fresh-squeezed orange juice. Tim got the Wake Up Call with espresso vodka, espresso, coconut milk, and maple syrup. It's as good as you think it would be.

And the food. Oh the food. It was very difficult to pick especially since we had the option of both the breakfast and lunch menus. But we did opt for the breakfast menu. I got the Green Eggs & Ham All Grown Up which was a fried egg, prosciutto, pesto, and tomato on a butter croissant with a side salad. Um yeah. Amazing. I also got a side of crispy smashed potatoes. 

Tim got the Huevos Rancheros.

Needless to say, we will definitely be coming back.

Friday night: I made grilled pork chops with my own apricot glaze and this recipe for Braised Radishes with Shallots & Bacon. It was definitely a new way to try radishes and it made them sweet and tender.

I mean, radishes braised in bacon fat makes everything ok.

Then the hubby and I played some intense mini-golf. We take mini-golf very seriously and each game is a competition. And we ended up tying. Haha.

Saturday: I attended a baby shower for one of my college friends, Sara, and had a lovely time. The weather was great. We headed over to our friends Mandy and Robbie's house for small cookout (with just us) later on in the day. They marinated steaks and chicken thighs and also made a salad with their new spiralizer. Mandy made delicious "table-side" guacamole and mango salsa. But sadly, I forgot to take pictures. The only picture I got was a half-eaten Banoffee Pie that I made from an Oh She Glows recipe.

Sorry. But it tasted good. The "whipped cream" was made from coconut milk and the crust is a combination of almonds and oats. In the middle is a "toffee" made from medjool dates and almond butter. Really great alternative to a heavy and sweet pie with natural ingredients and no refined sugars.

Today was a productive but fun Sunday. After going to Craig's Cafe for a cheap (but really good) breakfast, the husband and I did our grocery shopping for the week then headed to the SOWA market. This is a really fun, outdoors-y thing to do on Sundays in the city. SOWA is South of Washington Street in Boston and is an artsy area I guess you could say. There are lots of small galleries and art stores. They now have a vintage market, open market, farmer's market, AND food trucks! 

There is so much to see, eat, and buy. The open market is full of people who make amazing things. Great for any gift ideas...or shopping for yourself. Each year the market gets bigger and bigger.

We could spends hours and lots of money there.

But we restrained ourselves today and only ended up with a Father's Day present for Tim's dad and heirloom tomatoes for us.

Oh and lunch at the food trucks.

We ended up at the Kim Kim BBQ truck which was Korean barbeque.

The line was on the long side but worth the wait. Lots of people-watching to be had. I got the tacos with spicy pork and kimchee fried rice.

Tim got a burrito with spicy pork. It hit the spot. Then we decided it was acceptable to get donuts at the Union Square Donuts tent. These things are BOMB. I got one with a strawberry glaze and Tim's was a bourbon salted caramel. 

Tim is an aspiring hand model
We walked off the donuts by wandering around the Pope John Paul II Park in Dorchester/Quincy which we always see from the highway and wanted to check it out. 

Now, time to get ready for the upcoming week. Goodbye weekend.