Monday, May 31, 2010

lemon rosemary punch

My friend and I enjoyed these lovely lemon rosemary punch drinks at City Girl Cafe on Saturday afternoon. It was so refreshing on a day where it was nearly 80 degrees outside. I'm not sure of the exact recipe though ... they were made with prosecco, sweet vermouth, rosemary, lemon, and simple sugar syrup. Delicious.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

layered blueberry cake

I saw a recipe/article in a recent issue of the Rachael Ray magazine where the woman baked a cake in a large jelly roll pan so that it was really thin and only took about 15 minutes to bake. I decided to give it a try and brought it to work for a picnic lunch at work on Friday. I was a bit skeptical about the recipe because it only called for 1/2 a cup of flour and that just seemed way too low to me. Instead, I went with a cake recipe from the How to Cook Everything cookbook by Mark Bittman (you all know how much I heart this cookbook!) and I think it turned out great. Super easy to put together and the flavors are so refreshing for warm and sunny summer days.

Ingredients for the cake:

2 cups of flour
2 -1/4 tsps baking powder
4 eggs
1-1/4 sticks of butter (room temperature)
1 cup of sugar
¼ tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cups of milk
½ tsp salt
1 pint of blueberries

Directions for the cake:

Beat the butter and sugar for a couple of minutes until it’s smooth, then add the eggs one at a time. Add the sugar, extracts, salt, and baking powder and mix well. Then alternate adding the flour and milk until it’s all blended together well. Add ½ of the blueberries, then pour it out into a buttered and floured jelly roll pan (I put a sheet of parchment paper on top of the pan which made it much easier to clean up later).

My batter didn’t reach all of the edges which was fine because I ended up trimming the edges anyway when I cut out the rectangles, and it made for good snacking. Hee hee. Oh and bake it in a 350 oven for 15-18 minutes (I started with 15 minutes but it wasn’t quite brown enough on top). Let it cool in the pan for a few minutes, and then cut it into rectangles. Transfer the rectangles to a cooling rack and let them completely cool before icing.

Icing ingredients:

1 – 8 oz. package of cream cheese (room temperature)
½ cup of prepared lemon curd (I like the Dickinson’s brand)
½ cup of sugar


Blend all three ingredients until smooth. Then spread the love.

I stored the cake in my cake carrier with the lid on in the refrigerator overnight, and then let it thaw out to room temperature before we cut into it at lunch time (around 12:30 pm). The cake stayed nice and moist that way vs. the piece that I made for my husband that I put in the fridge without anything covering it. The cake got tougher overnight, but it was still yummy.

I can see using this technique of layering with different fillings in the future for other fun cake ideas. It really is pretty quick to put together from start to finish. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

stone hearth pizza

I recently became a Boston Citysearch dictator and joined the ranks of other foodies, bloggers, and contributors in the Boston metro area who also enjoy writing about dining experiences. I finally got over the anxiety of writing and posting my first list last week. I decided to write about my five favorite restaurants to get pizza made without red sauce (food allergy woe). As a result, I was able to join nine other dictators for a "pizzapalooza" at Stone Hearth Pizza in Cambridge.

I didn't really know what to expect at the event and I thought that it would be the type of thing where each person could order whatever they wanted from the menu. Instead, Michael the chef, gave us a bunch of things from their menu to sample in a family style setting. They brought out huge plates of their parmesan flatbread appetizer which were taller than our heads (and super yummy)! We also got to try their poppers which are stuffed meatballs, the marinated olives, gazpacho, whipped ricotta, a tomato and avocado soup, and pickled seasonal ramps.

They poured different beers for us to try throughout dinner too. I felt kind of bad since I'm not a beer drinker, but I did try the Original Sin Cider that they poured first because I used to love drinking cider before I realized I was allergic to apples. They poured Pretty Things Jack D'Or (interesting story behind how each label is created), Cisco's Bailey's Blonde Ale, and Allagash Curieux.

They also let us try their Caesar salad (wonderfully light dressing), arugula and Portobello salad, and a seasonal one served on top of asparagus spears and turnips.

I ended up making a special request with Michael for a non-tomato pizza and he was super gracious in accomodating my order. I got a junior size (8") pizza with fontina cheese, Yukon gold potatoes, and proscuitto. It was very good and I really liked the thin pizza crust.

It was great being able to meet so many other people who share my interest in food, and to learn about Stone Hearth's story. The restaurant supports family farming and serves the best possible organic food sourced from over 30 New England farms. It was really cute because they gave each of us a little basil plant to take home that night. I definitely want to take my husband back there some night!

Another dictator's blog post from the same night here (with even better photos of all the food and beer!).

Stone Hearth Pizza
1782 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA

(they also have locations in Belmont, MA and Needham, MA)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

green street grill

We recently had dinner with a couple of friends at the Green Street Grill in Cambridge. It's a great place for drinks and apps at the bar because it has a nice atmosphere and a good menu selection. During this visit we sat upstairs in the dining area.

One friend and I had the special that night: gnocchi with mushrooms ($24) (I forgot what kind she said they were). The neat thing is that they seared the gnocchi in a pan so that it was slightly crispy on the outside, which added a little bit of a crunchy texture. The mushrooms were teeny and delicious. The sauce was made with white wine, lemon, and cream and went really well with my glass of Arinto (Pires, Casa Santos Lima, Portugal, $7). I sopped up the sauce with the complimentary bread - it was that good!

My husband had the skirt steak dish ($24) which was served on top of asparagus and then topped with a bread salsa. He enjoyed it especially (I think) because they did a nice job of keeping the meat medium rare.

One of our friends had a couple of items from the starter menu as a meal. She had the asparagus salad ($8, I think) and the charcuterie of the day which was a pork pate ($5, I think).

We ended up sharing the tres leches dessert ($7) which was extremely good. I don't think I've ever had tres leches before so I don't really have anything to compare it to, but the cake was extremely moist and so nicely sweetened. And how can you go wrong with toasted coconut on anything, right?! I might have to do one of these by myself next time. :)

We don't usually make it out to the Central Square area of Cambridge that often, but it's nice to know that this is a great place to stop at if we are nearby and in search of a good food and good drinks.


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