Sunday, December 30, 2007

aneka rasa & cuchi cuchi

Tony took me out to a Malaysian restaurant that he enjoyed with his band mates one night called Aneka Rasa. It's a cute place and the food was so good! He had their mango shrimp dish which he thoroughly enjoyed (although they need to do a better job on deveining their shrimp - yucky picture just popped into my head), and I had the Wonton Mee soup. I have to say it was probably the best noodle soup I've ever had!

Since they don't have a liquor license, we decided to seek out a different place for a drink and ended up going to Cuchi Cuchi in Central Square. We sat at the bar and shared one of their French Banana Bread Extravaganza desserts.

Oh my. Let's just say rich. And so delicious! Went really well with my lemon drop martini. :)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

brownie thins, take 2 ...

I'm just editing to add (eta) a note regarding the brownie thins recipe I posted a little while ago. Since posting that recipe I think I've made them about ten times (seriously peeps) and since then I've also changed to just using parchment paper to line the baking sheet instead of gettin' messy with melted butter (or 'butt-ah' if yah from Bah-ston). It makes for such an easier clean up! Also, don't try using a larger ice cream scooper thingie for these - the smallest one is the best size for them because the larger ones get undercooked.

jae's cafe and grill ~ williamstown, ma

We went out for lunch on Christmas Eve with Tony's mom, brother, sister-in-law, and his sister-in-law's mother and decided to check out the new Jae's Cafe and Grill that recently opened up. There are a couple of Jae's restaurants here in Boston but we've never tried them yet (definitely will after this experience!).

Marina and I were really craving sushi so of course, that's what we ordered. I got the Spider roll with soft shelled crab, avocado, cucumber, spicy mayo and tobiko and it was really yummy. I also really liked the spicy tuna roll, and so did Tony.

Tony's brother had the duck fried rice, Marina's mom had the coconut shrimp (totally think I'll order that next time - they looked so good!), and his mom got the mango chicken which he said was excellent (after eating her leftovers the next day). So, I think it's safe to say we'll try to venture over to one of his locations in Boston sometime soon.

I know this is weird but we all noticed the ceiling inside the restaurant. Kind of cool with the doors hanging off the ceiling like that.

And we got loose tea that came in these cute (but hot!) teapots.

Of course, forgot to take the picture before putting a piece of sushi in my mouth ...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

new tavern in porter square

Okay, so not exactly how new it is but we've never been there before. We stopped in for a drink one night after dinner at Christopher's and ended up ordering this from their dessert menu.

Pure sin is all I can say.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

celebrating 8 & 1

To celebrate our eighth year together and our first year of being engaged, Tony surprised me by having me meet him downtown after I got off work on Friday, November 30th. Our "anniversary" date is usually celebrated on December 1st each year but he had a gig that night; and then we got engaged on December 3rd last year but a Nor'Easter was supposedly on its way to us that day so we opted to going out on a Friday night.

So I met him at South Station in downtown and we walked over to the ICA. I don't think I had ever really gone to a contemporary art museum before, so this was quite a different experience. Different as in interesting. Unique. Very interesting. We were more taken by the giganomous elevator that was like a whole building's floor moving with glass surrounding you all around, and the cool architecture of the building. What was funner than anything else was seeing my friend, Aja, who I totally forgot manages the gift shop there!

Anyway, I totally shot these pics illegally (shhh, don't tell anyone!). The first one illustrates the wide open spaces inside the museum. The second one is of a stunning chandelier that I just couldn't resist capturing. And then the third one is of this aerial sky camera that some dude created (it was featured in Make magazine) Fricken genius! I would LOVE to have a camera that you could take bird's-eye-view photos with ... BUT ... I don't think I'd ever have the patience to build this contraption the way this guy did. Sheer genius.

Afterwards, we caught a cab to a restaurant called Radius. Wow! Talk about a stunning restaurant! We felt a little underdressed as we walked in because a lot of the men were wearing suits and ties, but the hostess assured us that we were okay. They seated us right away even though we were a little early for our reservation, and our waitress was super super nice. It's a French restaurant and the atmosphere is kind of low-lit and posh, but still comfortable.

We ordered the Confit Pork Belly to share as an appetizer because it just sounded so darn good (how can you go wrong with pig fat?! Sorry, Jill, if you're reading this!). There are people that walk around handing out warm, round, little bread rolls throughout the course of the night and so we enjoyed those while waiting for our food to come. With our glasses of Bordeaux of course. :)

Shortly after we had ordered our food, the waitress brought out a small complimentary appetizer for each of us from the chef. Unfortunately, it had jalapeno peppers on top so I couldn't eat it. It was really good (according to Tony), so I swapped our dishes and now it looked like I had eaten the whole thing up while he let his sit there. Funny thing was that when the waitress - who, by the way, had a beautifully strong English accent - came back to ur table, she saw his little plate was full and asked him, "Did you not fancy that, sir?" I explained that I was allergic to the peppers on top and couldn't eat it, which confused her since my little plate was empty. Then Tony had to chime in that he had eaten all of mine and was going to devour his. But then she was still confused and tried to take his little plate away until he grabbed it and almost bit her hand off (ha ha ha -- totally exaggerating here but you get the point ...). And then she realized what had happened and said that there were jalapeno peppers in our appetizer dish, so she was going to run and tell the chef not to put them inside for my sake. So totally sweet of her, even though seriously? I never would've thought that they'd put jalapeno peppers on something like Confit Pork Belly when they listed bok choy, manila clams, mussels, cilantro and coconut nage as the other ingredients. But then again, I'm no cook!

A couple of minutes later, she came back to our table with two bowls and explained that the chef wanted one of us to experience the dish as it was truly meant to be eaten with the jalapeno pepper garnish, so he made up two smaller portions for us. Of course, mine didn't have the pepper on it, and just the whole idea of him being so accomodating nearly made me cry! And I tell you, after one little teensy bite of this dish, I was nearly melting! It was THAT good. Man, I could've eaten ten more servings of it. The flavor! Mmmmm!

Okay, you can totally picture us sopping up the yummy pork fat flavor with the bread rolls right about now. And butter. Sinful.

So, on to the entrees. Tony ordered the Seared Day Boat Scallops which were served with delicata squash, roasted cauliflower, autumn olive sauce and szechuan peppercorn. De-lish! And I ordered the Mediterranean Sea Bass which was served with a garlic-parsley sauce, braised mushrooms and cippolini, escargots, swiss chard and port reduction.

Yes, I said this place was French. Escargots. Snails.

I seriously, seriously don't remember eating snails. Errr. If I did, they were so fricken good I didn't care what they were! Seriously. I think I thought they were the mushrooms.

Anyway. So yummy. So rich. So good. So would go back for another really special occasion type of celebrating. So would eat snails again if they tasted that good.

But ...

(there's always a but!)

The one thing that was a leeeeetle bit disappointing was their dessert menu. Most of the stuff had nuts on or in them. And then there was creme brulee which didn't entice either of us. Aw shucks. Ya can't have them all, right?

So when the waitress came back and asked us if we wanted dessert, we lied and said that we were too stuffed to eat dessert. (If you're that waitress and you're reading this now - we didn't really mean to lie but we couldn't think of any other nice way to say, "Lay off the nuts!" in relation to the dessert options!)

Anywho - she brings us the bill and a small plate of mini desserts - six of them! Like little yummy parcels of chocolate and goodness. Tony ate both of the ones with the raspberries on top plus one of the coconut macaroons. And then I inhaled (somehow) two pieces of dark chocolate something something and the other coconut macaroon. Point: empty plate. Second point: we obviously weren't that full. LOL

But there was a little comment card included with the bill so I made a note and suggested that they didn't have so many desserts with nuts on or in them. And that I was extremely gracious for the chef accomodating my pepper allergies.

And to end it all, we trekked home in the freezing cold together. :)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

shopping for turkey day

I don't really know why I decided to go to Whole Foods to buy the stuff for our Thanksgiving meal since I don't go there regularly. But anyway, I went there in search of a light turkey (less than 8 lbs - impossible) and came across this huge, expensive one in the turkey section. Insane how much people will pay for turkey!

Anyway, before that, I asked someone that I thought worked in the produce department if they had any brussel sprouts. After being taken to the baking aisle and then asking the guy again if he knew that I had asked for brussel sprouts, he led me back to the produce section to a woman. She didn't know what I was talking about so she got a real dude that worked in the produce section. After I asked him where the brussel sprouts were, he - probably laughing in his head thinking I was a total moron - led me to this giganomous display at the front of the produce section that I obviously (read: stupidly) did not see. Wow. I have to say that that is a brussel sprout lovers' dream of a display. You get to pick your own! Woo hoo!

turkey day 2007

This was our first Thanksgiving without family. Our friend, Renee, came over and joined us for the holiday. I couldn't find a small turkey by the time that we had decided to cook at home, so I opted for 3 stuffed turkey breasts which turned out to be way too much (total of 9 pounds -- oops!)!! One was stuffed with cranberry pecan stuffing, one had an herb and butter stuffing (we actually didn't even carve into that one!), and then one had a blue cheese and asparagus stuffing. They were from Whole Foods and I think we did a pretty good job of roasting them. I made a sweet potato casserole, biscuits, and brussel sprouts for sides and then we had chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Oh and I made us some cinnamon rolls for breakfast this morning (from scratch!). It was a low-key, relaxed, and fun time. Afterwards, Renee and I did some crafting while Tony passed out on the couch.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

makin' whoopie

PIES that is ... ya sickos! ;-P

I found this recipe in a recent issue of the Rachael Ray Magazine and decided to make a couple of batches for Liz & Ben's Halloween party. They turned out to be AMAZING. Seriously good and not bad for my first attempt at whoopie. Pies. Pies, people!


  • 1-1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, 1 stick melted, ½ stick softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree (not the pumpkin pie filling that already comes spiced)
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon plus 2 pinches salt
  • 1-2/3 cups flour
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, chilled
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, 1 teaspoon vanilla, the baking powder, the baking soda and ¾ teaspoon salt. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour.

  3. Using an ice cream scoop, drop 12 generous mounds of batter, spaced evenly, onto each baking sheet. Bake until springy to the touch, about 11 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

  4. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, cream the softened butter with the cream cheese. Add the confectioners’ sugar and the remaining 2 pinches of salt and ½ teaspoon of vanilla. Mix on low speed until blended, then beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

  5. Spread the flat side of ½ the cakes with the cream cheese frosting. Top each with another cake.

Unfortunately, I found out the hard way that the allspice included in the pumpkin pie spice is not just the combination of other spices that one would think composes allspice. It's actually a fricken pepper. Who would've thunk it? Alas, another pretty bad allergic reaction surfaced which caused me to leave Liz & Ben's totally awesome Halloween party early. Blah.

On a more positive note (hey, anything's more positive than an allergic reaction!), Tony loves these. Renee loves these. I think Kate, Teeru, Jen, and Brian love these too. So if you're looking for something relatively simple to put together for your next shindig, I'd say go for these and share the yumminess. :)

ole, ole!

We went to this great Mexican restaurant called Ole in Inman Square the other night with some friends. They have such good food there and the best sangria!! They'll make the guacamole at your table, too. So much fun and so much good food! This is what one half of our table looked like ...

... and this is what the other side looked like. Funny enough, the guys all got the same chile relleno dish! I got the fried shrimp tacos and pork tacos as usual. Man oh man, we left soooo incredibly stuffed and slightly tipsy from three pitchers of the sangria. :-)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

met bar & grill in natick, ma

Last weekend, Tony and I went down to the Natick Collection (read: mall) to do some shopping. Then our tummies starting growling. And of course, it was so much easier to stay inside a warm and cozy mall than venture out into the cold New England air in search of the Melting Pot restaurant that I wanted to check out. So we ended up getting burgers at the Met Grill & Bar. Yummy burgers, I might add.

This was our second time at this restaurant. (Yes, I really do like Nordstrom.) Last time, we sat at the bar and watched the Pats game. This time, we sat at the back of the restaurant and it was quite cozy. They have a regular menu with grilled items, and then they have the burger menu. You basically pick your meat (beef, turkey, veggie, and they even have Kobe beef) and then whatever else you want on top from all sorts of shee-shee things. Hey. I like shee-shee things on my burger. Ahem.

Anyway, I went bunless again this time (stupid sesame seeds I can't eat on a bun) and this time it just came on the plate as is which was a tad disappointing because last time it was served in a little bowl on top of a yummy arugula salad. Oh well. And yes, they did forget the sauteed mushrooms. Oh and they forgot Tony's cheese. Okay, well, so we're still debating whether they forgot these things or if our waitress forgot to tell them. Anywho.

They were good. Good, juicy, tasty, burgers. I had Manchego cheese on mine this time with a garlic aioli on the side. Yum-o as Ms. Ray would say. But the best part of the whole meal?

The fricken onion rings! Man-oh-man! These are sooooo good! They are super thin pieces of onion fried in such a yummy batter. We got the 50/50 basket of rings and sweets (sweet potatoes) and I have to say the sweets are a very close second.

So overall, would we go there again? Of course. It's a nice restaurant, great burgers, and they serve a really good Carmenere wine from Chile.

Monday, November 12, 2007

stack o' goodness

I made these tonight after finding the recipe in the December 2007 issue of Bon Appetit magazine. They're called "Brownie Thins" and the recipe is from a book called "Homemade in a Hurry" by Andrew Schloss. I tried to get a copy of it at Borders today but they said you have to order it. Oh well. Christmas is coming. :)

A couple of things to note: the original recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract and - well kiddos, we all know that this chica is allergic to nuts - so I just doubled up on the vanilla extract and used 1/2 teaspoon total. It also suggested putting chopped pistachios on top (which sounds really yummy) but we know where that suggestion went. [insert sound of toilet flushing here]

Before I go on with the recipe, I think I should also explain that -- if, let's say, you end up getting the book and later read the "real" directions, you notice that I skipped a couple of [rather complicated seeming] steps -- I used an ice cream scoop to put the batter onto the baking pans. Seriously, his method sounded way too difficult and I love using these different sized ice cream scoops (a very handy gift from our stepmom) for all sorts of recipes because it just takes the guess work out of exact proportions, etc. I think they sell them at places like Williams-Sonoma and Crate & Barrel.

  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (see my notes above)
  • pinch of salt (I used sea salt - is that bad?)


  1. Position rack in the lowest third of your oven; preheat it to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter 2 baking sheets. (You might want to read my comments/see the photo below.)
  3. Place the butter pieces and chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium-high power until almost completely melted, about 1 minute. (You may have to do it again for like 15 second intervals until it's melted.) Whisk until smooth.
  4. Add sugar and egg; whisk until smooth, about a minute.
  5. Add flour, vanilla, and salt; stir just to blend.
  6. Let batter stand 10 minutes. (At this point, the batter seemed really runny, so it's important to let it sit in the bowl for the 10 minutes. It thickened up like pudding. Cool.)
  7. Okay, so here's where I skipped around his fancy dance of getting the batter onto the baking pans -- basically, I used the ice cream scoop and just skimmed batter off the top of the surface, then plopped it onto the pans. Very simple.
  8. Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, until slightly darker at edges and firm in the center, about 7 minutes.
  9. Cool on sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely. (Note: they come out rather cakey and so it helps to clean the spatula off after transferring three cookies so that you don't mess up the edges.)
  10. Have designated taste tester grade your performance. :)

Oh so good!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

happy sunday morning

So you know, I can't cook all the time. In those rare instances, we like to go out and sample local places for good eats. :) This morning, we drove out to Boston and went to the Fort Point Channel location of Flour Bakery. It's the larger version of Joanne Chang's bakeries - the one that was on the Food Network's "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" sticky bun challenge (where she kicked his ass might I mention!).

Anytime we go to a bakery, it never fails: Tony gets something sweet, and I get something savory. It's just how our taste buds work I guess. So today, it was no different. He indulged in a yummy maple oat nut scone while I savored a cheddar and scallion scone.

Flour is more known for Joanne's sticky buns. Unfortunately, we've never gotten to the bakery in time to try one yet. Plus, they have nuts in them so I'd either have to just take Tony's word, or keep a stock of Prednisone in my pocket while I take a bite. (God, I hope my allergist is not reading this.)

Anyway, I think we both liked this location better than the one in South Boston, even though it was jam packed with loud little babies and kids (the Boston Children's Museum is nearby). It just smells so darn good in there (they do yummy sandwiches too) and the space is very lofty yet cozy. Afterwards, we checked out these condos around the corner and dreamed about being able to come early enough one day to try one of the sticky buns.

Definitely want to bring our parents here the next time any of them are in town for a visit.

lemony shrimp pasta

Lemon Shrimp Pasta + Broccolini

Since I can't indulge in red tomato sauces anymore (poo!), I have to stick with an olive oil alternative. To change it up once in a while, I add some lemon juice.

  • 1 lb box of fettuccine noodles
  • 1 lb of jumbo, easy-peel shrimp
  • 1 bunch of broccolini
  • 1 clove of elephant garlic (or 2-3 cloves of regular garlic)
  • olive oil
  • grated romano cheese
  • lemon juice (either fresh squeezed from one lemon, or a few squirts of the concentrated stuff - it's all the same)


  1. Start boiling a lot of water in a pot for your pasta.
  2. Rinse and devein the shrimp. Set aside to dry.
  3. Cut off about 1/2 an inch off the bottom of the broccolini stalks, then rinse them under cold water. Set aside to dry.
  4. Add some salt to your pasta water, then add the noodles. Cook them to al dente texture.
  5. Slice the garlic into thin disks. In a pan that you can cover with a lid, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Carefully add the garlic being careful not to splash yourself with oil.
  6. With the pan's lid in your left hand (or non-dominant hand) and the broccolini in your right hand, quickly add the broccolini to the oil and cover immediately with the lid. It's going to crackle and splash oil like you can only imagine (but it's okay!).
  7. Shake the pan a little bit and after about 2 minutes (when the sizzling dies down), take a pair of tongs and turn them over. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, then shut the heat off and keep the lid on.
  8. In another pan, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle the shrimp with salt and pepper, then add to the pan in a single layer being careful not to get hit with hot oil.
  9. Cook for about 3 minutes, then turn them over using a spatula. Sprinkle with a little bit of lemon juice and cook for another 2 minutes. Then shut the heat off and set aside.
  10. Drain your pasta and return the pasta to the pot. Add some lemon juice and a couple of drizzles of olive oil. Stir to coat the noodles well, then add the shrimp to the pot. Add some more black pepper to taste.
  11. Serve in a big bowl topped with some of the broccolini. Garnish with some grated romano cheese.
(Who knew typing up a recipe could make a person so hungry!?!?!)

roasted cod + veggies

Roasted Cod, Cauliflower, and Potatoes

This is such an easy dish to prepare and it's oh-so-yummy!

  • 1 lb. of cod fillet
  • 1 bunch of cauliflower
  • 12-15 small red potatoes
  • 2 cloves of elephant garlic (or 4-6 cloves of regular garlic)
  • lots of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh basil (optional)
  • grated romano cheese (as a garnish)
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Cut up the bunch of cauliflower but not too small. Rinse under cold water, then set aside to dry (or dry with a paper towel). Cut the potatoes in half.
  3. Place the cauliflower and potatoes cut side up on a large baking tray with sides. Drizzle with lots of olive oil, then sprinkle on some salt and pepper.
  4. Put the tray in the oven and roast for about 40 minutes.
  5. Flip all the vegetables over so that the cut side is now down, then put back into the oven for another 20 minutes.
  6. Remove tray and spread vegetables to the sides of the pan creating a big hole in the middle.
  7. Place the cod fillet in the middle, sprinkle with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Put back into the oven and cook for 10 minutes.
  8. Flip the fillet over (you may want to toss some of the vegetables around if they look like they might be crisping up too quickly). Add some freshly chopped basil (dried basil is fine too), then roast for an additional 5 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and serve right away. Sprinkle some grated romano cheese on top for an extra little kick.
I've also made this with other vegetables like butternut squash and brussel sprouts. Enjoy!


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