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!
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
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
- Preheat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. :)
... 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
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
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?)
- Position rack in the lowest third of your oven; preheat it to 350 degrees.
- Butter 2 baking sheets. (You might want to read my comments/see the photo below.)
- 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.
- Add sugar and egg; whisk until smooth, about a minute.
- Add flour, vanilla, and salt; stir just to blend.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, until slightly darker at edges and firm in the center, about 7 minutes.
- 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.)
- Have designated taste tester grade your performance. :)
Sunday, November 11, 2007
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.
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)
- Start boiling a lot of water in a pot for your pasta.
- Rinse and devein the shrimp. Set aside to dry.
- Cut off about 1/2 an inch off the bottom of the broccolini stalks, then rinse them under cold water. Set aside to dry.
- Add some salt to your pasta water, then add the noodles. Cook them to al dente texture.
- 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.
- 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!).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve in a big bowl topped with some of the broccolini. Garnish with some grated romano cheese.
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)
- Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.
- 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.
- 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.
- Put the tray in the oven and roast for about 40 minutes.
- Flip all the vegetables over so that the cut side is now down, then put back into the oven for another 20 minutes.
- Remove tray and spread vegetables to the sides of the pan creating a big hole in the middle.
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove from the oven and serve right away. Sprinkle some grated romano cheese on top for an extra little kick.