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Showing posts from 2010

Honeycomb Candy (or depending: Burnt Sugar Candy)

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Have you ever had a Crunchie? I love them and it is utterly pornographic to watch me eat one as I am one of those people who tries to eat it from the middle without getting the chocolate coating involved. 
Alas, Crunchies are mostly unavailable in the good old you-ess-of-ay. So when you want one, you have to make it yourself. 
Which turns out to be pretty fracking easy akshully. 
Take a very large pan. And by large pan, I mean one that is bigger than what you think.

I used the maslin pan.
Combine honey, sugar, Karo syrup, and a little water in the pan and heat it up.  (I went with the recipe found here: Candy with a Crunch - Honeycomb Candy from the Seattlest via the Kitchn)

Let it boil

And boil (it mixes itself!)


Until it is boiling furiously. And then watch it until it turns light amber.
Ok so this is where I stopped taking photos because once the sugar starts to turn color, the distance between light amber and burnt was abouthisclose.

I pulled the pan from the heat and added the baking soda, …

Doughboy Donuts

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OMG I love donuts. It is ridiculous how much I love donuts.

I brought donuts to the office today, under the Happy Holidays Clause, and am really hoping I donut embarrass myself by eating them all.

These are from Doughboy in Southie. The Evil Twin raves to me just about everyday how awesome Doughboy is and so I figured I would give it a shot. Plus the people who work there are ridiculously nice. Like normal nice, regular nice, which makes the morning MUCH better.



My vote: sugar raised. Serious YUM.

Aaaaaaand the winner is:

JILL!

Whoo hoo! You are going to LOVE this book!

(shoot me an email with your address and I will get it right out to you!)

Don't forget - tomorrow is the last day to enter.

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Seriously, you are going to LOVE this book.

One of the little mysteries of life.

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How come the first cup of coffee always tastes SO DANG GOOD but each subsequent cup doesn't?

And those single cup brewers don't do it for me either, so it's not because the coffee sits around disconsolately oxidizing.

I guess I just need a bigger mug.


COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY: Not Your Mother's ?????? (Updated)

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(Editor Update: So the Sales & Marketing Director just put the kibosh on promoting the book as it technically is not supposed to be released until January. So I will just adjust this to a SURPRISE giveway (*wink*wink*) to keep this post alive. If you don't win this "mystery" title this time, I hope you will all pre-order the title over at Amazon. Thank you and sorry for the confusion!)

I am ridiculously excited about this book - a) because I love books, and b) this is one of those books where you go from recipe to recipe, eager to make the next one immediately, and c) the author (Faith Durand) happens to be a lovely, down-to-earth person who has created a very nice cookbook that is a perfect blend of normal everyday food with just the right amount of fancy. It's a necessary antidote to the Ad Hoc at Home type titles that collect dust ton my bookshelf for most of the year.

How lovely does Beans Baked with Caramelized Onions, Corn, and Cheese sound on a chilly day …

Thanksgiving Food Derby - 2010

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To the person who invented stretchy pants, I give thanks to YOU.



Mennonite Cheese Bread for the stuffing.
Blanched pearl onions ready for peeling. 
Onion and garlic puree. I cooked onions and garlic for ages, slowly, before pureeing it and mixing it with grated cheese to make the sauce for the pearl onions.  

 Instead of pumpkin pie, I made pumpkin flan. It was pretty and pretty delicious. 
Apple Pie.  I love apple pie. 
Stuffing.  I could literally eat stuffing EVERY day. This is turkey sausage, apple, cranberry, and sage.

Infrared turkey cooker. No oil, no nothing but heat.
As you can see it came out looking good. It was also the juiciest turkey I ever cooked.

The Thanksgiving Table with my crafty centerpiece. This is my folks house. I am MUCH messier.
Shredded raw squash with vinaigrette & dried cranberries. I wanted to like it, but frankly it was a little odd. 

The Big Sit Down. If you look carefully you can see the other dishes I made. Namely the shredded Brussels sprouts with mustard which was …

A few of the things I give Thanks for, in random order.

1. Water: On demand. Out of multiple taps. Hot and/or cold. CLEAN and mostly potable. Seriously, this is NOT a worldwide luxury and year after year I am grateful to have it. 
2. Shelter: Yeah, maybe I am in the middle of a tediously slow renovation, but how awesome is it to not be living in a tent, or under a bridge? Pretty fricking AWESOME!
3. Food: I am never hungry. This is a huge luxury in my life and I am grateful beyond measure that I do not feel hunger pangs daily, or ever.
4. Family & Friends: They like me! They really like me! And this year I got a bruthah so all in all I am happy with where things stand in this department. 
5. Work: I love my job and feel lucky to have one that I like so much in these difficult economic times. 
6. The Showtunes-NASCAR fantasy league: I was invited to join this 3 years ago and saw as a way to see if I could change my opinions about things or if this old dog had learned all the tricks she was going learn. Previously my opinion was that this Nor…

Shush, this is our little secret....

a) This year there was no Turkey Shoot. No Grandpa = No Turkey Shoot. I just could not do Turkey Shoot without the oldest gizzard of all. I miss him and this only makes me miss him more. But we still got ourselves a gorgeous big ole birdy from Diemand Farm because they really do have the best birds, thanks to Dad for picking it up.

and

b) This year there was no insane excel spreadsheet for the Thanksgiving shopping list. I simply went shopping for everything last night and bought stuff that looked good. I have a couple of recipe ideas and basically I am winging it. More or less. At the very least we'll have turkey and gravy and pie. You know what else? I am not even stressed out about it. If I totally f*ck it all up then we're going to have pizza and beer. With a side of turkey and gravy and pie. No sweat, no problem.

But keep this between us. No one else needs to know.

Sunlight in a bottle

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My Greek friends from downstairs are awesome.

Not only are they some of the nicest people in the restaurant business, but they are also incredibly kind and generous.

In the year that I have been working in this building, I have been the happy recipient of many delicious Greek treats - spanakopita, galaktoboureko, Easter bread that my family devoured in seconds. Always a little something that is mouthwatering and which makes my whole day.

Today I hit the jackpot with a bottle of olive oil. Pressed for the family and shipped over from Greece in a giant container, it is pungent and delicious, and I have a precious bottle of it. It tastes the way I imagine sunlight must taste on a hot, dry summer day when the sun is long in the sky and the soporific buzzing of bees is the only sound in the olive grove.

*sigh*




(not the most glamourous bottle, but I have the perfect container at home)

You say poutine, I say fries and fricking GRAVY! Yah!!

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Last night I met up with the lovely Pam of Cave Cibum for a second go at the Gallows.

The reason I say second go is because the first time I went to the Gallows I was completely sh*t-faced. So much so that I couldn't recall if I liked it or not, and that is saying something when fries and gravy are involved. But hey, a bottle of Goslings with your best friend will do that.

Also, I kind of have this prejudice against new South End eateries. My god they can be totally pretentious when they want to be and frankly the Gallows does seem to be hideously pretentious on the surface. The reclaimed barn wood interior, the faintly steampunk decor, the hip lightbulbs.... *eye roll* where are we? Brooklyn? Give me a break.

Well as it turns out I am the one who should have given the Gallows a break. True, the decor grates on my design sensibilities - only because I feel like it has been done, done, and over done. I mean, the big amber ball lamps in the bar area could have come from Linda Mae…

So what did YOU have for breakfast today???

Great Monday in the morning! This is the kind of buffet you don't usually see in the city.


I think this is the very same bird that my Mom caught checking out my sister's little puppy.

We all had a big laugh at the idea of Mom trying to explain what happened to little Coco. Not so funny now.

That bird sure enjoyed the breast of pigeon it caught for itself this morning. Shortly after I made this clip, it flew away with the rest of the chest cavity in its claws.

RAWWWWWR!!!!! Now THAT is the way to bring nature to the masses!

If you don't know where your petard is, you are probably hanging by it....

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I am not at all surprised that Don Otto's has gone out of business.


When they first opened I was looking forward to a place within walking distance that carried local produce. I went in exactly once and never went again. 
The guy behind the counter was really rude and tried to get me to buy the whole 5 pound piece of turkey when all I wanted was enough for one. He said that I had asked for a piece of turkey and if I didn't take the whole piece then he'd be stuck trying to sell the rest of it. He then banged the smaller piece on to the scale, and basically let it be known that I was really just being an annoying customer. I also bought a shallot that turned out to be shriveled up inside and some greens that wilted and got soggy on the 15 minute walk home. 
Thirty dollars later (yes, the most expensive turkey I have ever bought and I still regret not just literally running away from the whole situation) I walked home wondering how exactly I let myself get suckered into buying s…

Oh yeah, I scored BIG!

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Sometimes you just have to brag about a particularly fantastic find.  Unfortunately for me, no one in my immediate circle shares in my total thrillation with this particular item, so I am taking it to the masses.

Looky what I found!!:



A MASLIN PAN!!!
Hmmm, doesn't seem so exciting huh! But what if I told you I got it for a twenty. Brand new, twenty bucks. 
Oh yeaaahhhhh!
Usually these pans can run between $50 and $100 so finding one (new! in box!) was fricking thrilling I tell you.
No more scorched caramelly jam for me thanks. 

Happy Birthday GPP!!

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My dear old Grand-Pa-Pa passed away around this time last year and today would have been his 95th....., no, 96th birthday.

I think.

I am really bad at math and also at remembering dates.

He really wanted to live to see 100. I am not sure why exactly 100 was his goal, but I suppose after 85 your goals start to change. Yep, so 100 - he bought the book and everything. He was on track!

But then last spring and summer he had some health issues and the first thing to go was the 5pm martini. Bad move Gramps. I think that the alcohol was keeping him in a state of pickle. Take away the preservative and *phhhft!* he just shriveled up like a Wicked Witch in a rainstorm.

All joking aside, for all his faults and fabulousnesses I miss the old gizzard tremendously. He was a pretty alright guy and I plan to have a VERY large martini in his honor today.

Who is with me?


Cluck Cluck!

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This weekend I made the roast chicken from Simon Hopkinson's book Roast Chicken and Other Recipes.


I picked this book up during my annual schlep to the New England Mobile Book Fair and while at first I liked it mostly for the lovely pages (ooh shiny paper! ooh pretty illustrations!) I have to confess that I cooked NOTHING out of it until now.

Whoops.

The roast chicken was fantastic. And not just because it came from Diemand Farm. Slathering the birdy with lots of butter, a squeeze of lemon, and a smashed garlic clove is so simple that it almost seems TOO simple to be so delicious, but it really was the best roast chicken I've had in a very long time.

Now I am thinking to try my hand at the chicken cooked in vinegar recipe.

It's interesting to me how I just have to cook one recipe from a book to know whether or not I will ever use it again.

Photos later. Maybe.

Gobble Gobble

Great googly-moogly! I am a bad, bad, blogger! Bad!
Eh, oh well. Sometimes being bad feels pretty good.... I digress.
It is almost turkey bird eating time, although from the displays that having been popping up all over town like union stickers you'd think retailers had forsaken Thanksgiving as the insensitive white man's holiday that, kind of, it is. I suspect however that the more likely scenario is that Thanksgiving doesn't rake in the dough quite like Christmas and its attendant pressie-giving pressures.
Personally I cannot handle Christmas displays before Thanksgiving. It's like having a martini with dinner, not before. Somethings just have to be savored in their appropriate sequence. I cannot get into my visions of sugarplums until I have first blasted at a turkey with ye olde blunderbuss.
As is often the case, someone else has put this conundrum into words better than I ever could - Jim at Suldog has written about this for a few years now (I think... last year for s…

Kitchen antics

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Other than popcorn, which I make REALLY well, I haven't cooked for myself much lately. This is mostly due to the fact that I am crawling through the slowest renovation in history.

I get home and change into my joint compound crusted jeans and work for a few hours each night and most weekends. The last thing I want to do is cook. Let's just say that after popcorn, crackers are the second staple of my current diet.

The other thing is that at some point the kitchen will also be renovated so I've got all my pots and pans in boxes and anyway the place is in no state to entertain.

On the nights I literally cannot do anything construction related, I do something fun. Like painting the kitchen chairs bright red (not so fun in the end) and the kitchen table a calming blue (yay the color came out better than I thought!).  This set came from a house my parents had when I was little. I remember that my Meme came from France and brought an orange oil cloth to cover it. On the underside…

Gobble! Gobble!

Aside from Columbus Day marking the beginning of the demise of the Native American nation as we know it (thanks for the land! sorry about the smallpox!), this weekend is Time to Order The Turkey Weekend!!!

Whoo hoooo!!!!

Every year I get disproportionately excited about ordering a giant dead bird that tastes DELICIOUS!!!

Diemand Farm, I am talking about YOU!!

What I say I eat versus what I in fact eat.

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I would like to think that I am the kind of gal who likes to eat steamed veg, baked fish, and plenty of fresh fruit, as a lifestyle choice.

But the truth is I am more likely to have chowder, tea, and a KitKat for lunch. Like I did today. And probably having popcorn for dinner last night wasn't the ideal healthy dinner, but it was freaking delicious.

*sigh*

I am not likely to ever be a skinny minny, although on the bright side I am not terribly likely to ever be cranky from hunger pangs!

Ah well.... Oooh here are some pretty pictures I took on my walk to and from work yesterday to distract you...






I eat here.

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Quite possibly Maria, Nick, and Jose at the Hidden Kitchen are the nicest people in the food business.

And it is worth the trip for the chicken parm alone.

Win it on a Wednesday

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If you go over to the Harvard Common Press blog (HCP Dishes) and check out the most recent post for BBQ week, you can leave a comment for a chance to win a BBQ cookbook.

I know that we are going into the cooler months and maybe BBQ isn't the first thing on your mind, but frankly BBQ is a great way to warm up the house in the winter. I've often made a very slow cooked BBQ recipe that I got from a neighbor when I first moved in that I will occasionally make on the weekends and let me tell you there is NOTHING better in this world than a slow cooked BBQ on a cold and snowy winter day.

You can even cook it overnight with a pot of beans. Ooh delicious!! I am still struggling with the fact that I won't have another beach weekend for a few months but this train of thought is giving me something to look forward to!

Delicious North End dinner - made at home!

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After wandering around the Local Food Fest on Saturday with Tammy, we wandered over to the North End where our last stop - after Bova's, Polcari's, and gelato - was DePasquale's on Cross Street.

I just could not resist the insistent tug of the ravioli and wound up going home with two kinds: roasted garlic, and mushroom. I also picked up a pint of their ragu alla bolognese and chunk of cheese for grating.

Most of the time I don't love bolognese, usually it's far to wet and tomatoey for my tastes, and made with hamburger. The stuff I got at DePasquale's was just right - dry, meaty, and delicious.

Much to the horror of Italians everywhere I am sure, I had it over the garlic raviolis last night for dinner and  it was so good. So, SO good.



I guess that means mushroom raviolis are on tap for tonight!

Shazaamrag: What REALLY makes me bats

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Ok you know what, I can live with the folks who pay for the $10 truffled fries, and the $15 aperitif, and the Uggs, and the Longchamp bags, and the pale pink manicures because sometimes that is me, sad but true.

But what I cannot handle are the ladies who wear Hunter wellington boots. I have never ever wanted to smack someone so silly for conspicuous consumption so badly in my life as I do when I see a woman sporting a pair of Hunters.

If you don't know about Hunters, let me tell you that they are very expensive rubber boots.


A pair of green wellies with the Hunter tag will set you back about $100 unless they are knock offs. And just so that everyone knows that you are wearing Hunters you have to wear them with your pants tucked in just so or you have to wear a skirt. But to look reasonably ok with tucked in pants, you have to make sure they are form fitting and frankly who wants to wear a skirt on a day you have to wear wellies?

These are the kind of boot that tall, blonde, actres…