Boston Local Food Festival 2011

3 Oct

This past weekend I attended the Boston Local Food Festival in Fort Point, in front of the Children’s Museum. It brought hundreds of vendors and people together that have a love for good, local food.

I wasn’t sure how we were going to be able to navigate through all of the delicious vendors, but we decided that if we saw something that we really liked we would go for it. Luckily, almost everything was under $5 which made stuffing your belly with delicious foods affordable.

A couple of local farms came out and were selling some of their farm fresh fruits and veggies so it was like a farmer’s market!

The first place we headed over to was Sportello, and they were giving out some amazing pork belly sandwiches on homemade focaccia bread. Let’s just say it was a great start to the afternoon.

Next up we headed over to Batch Ice Cream. Even though we had barely finished out pork belly sandwiches, the minute I saw Salted Caramel Ice Cream, I HAD to grab some. I mean, it could be sold out by the time we got back! Can’t let that happen now can we?

Our portion was HUGE! And it was packed with sweet caramel with a touch of salt. Favorite.

Next up we ventured over to Sofra. They had a ton of delicious sounding and looking delectables, but we went with the unusual sounding pastry pictured above. I can’t even begin to pronounce it, but it was a pastry filled with yogurt and spices. It was definitely not in your face sweet which I actually liked. It was certainly the most interesting item we sampled.

By this time I was veering very close to food coma, so we decided to wash the deliciousness down with some Pumpkin Soda. Yep, you heard me. It tasted like carbonated pumpkin pie. Which is alright with me. This soda was from Maine Root, and they were also selling a maple based soda that looked intriguing as well.

We sampled some other assorted dishes but sadly I didn’t take any pictures. Probably because I ate them so fast they were that good. We tried a garlic full sour pickle as well as the regular pickle from Real Pickles. We nommed on a grass fed burger from Miles Smith Farm. Juicy doesn’t even describe how amazing they are. I drank some delicious chocolate milk from High Lawn Farm. I was told that their eggnog was going to be sold at Whole Foods. Yes I will be picking one up.

Oh, who is that? Could that be Christian and Derrick from Master Chef??????? Why YES, YES IT IS. Christian obviously cleaned himself up and I REALLY wanted to go up to him and ask him if he was a real a$$hole or if he just played one on TV.

KIDDING!

Mostly.

Anyway, I had such a fantastic time eating and discovering new and local foods. If you missed out on this year’s festival, SHAME ON YOU! Can’t wait until next year!

 

 

 

 

 

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Plum Coffee Cake

28 Sep

Has anyone noticed the lack of posts recently? I apologize. I had been fairly good at scheduling posts a week in advance, but being out of town for the last 2 weekends have not helped.

But have no fear!! I have some delicious upcoming posts coming your way. Mostly having to do with the goodies we received in our CSA. I’m so sad that it is almost OCTOBER (where did this month go exactly?) which means our CSA will be coming to a close soon enough. Even though I love Fall, I dislike this part (and the cold) the most.

We’ve been getting a ton of plums in our CSA recently, and I’ve had to find different ways of using them other than mixing them in yogurt (although that is delicious). I decided to use up the weeks worth of plums we got by making a delicious plum coffee cake for a party we went to.

I was pleasantly surprised by how well received it was and how almost an entire sheet pan was consumed in a couple of hours! The crumble did not come out exactly like I wanted (I think I mixed it too much) but everyone still ate it up. We took a couple of leftovers home, but they were quickly devoured by my husband. Thanks for leaving me some 😛

Plum Coffee Cake
As seen on The Kitchn

Ingredients

  • 8-10 small ripe plum
  • 3/4 cup butter – room temperature
  • 1.5 cups light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1.5 cups yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder

Cinnamon Streusel

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour

Glaze

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1-2 cups powdered sugar
Directions
– Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9×13 baking pan. Pit the plums by halving them, discarding the pits, and cutting them in half again. Set aside.
– In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy on medium speed. Add in the eggs one at a time, waiting for the egg to be fully incorporated before adding the next one. Add the vanilla and yogurt and mix until light and fluffy
– In another bowl, sift the nutmeg, flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Reduce the mixer to low and gradually add the flour mixture. Beat until almost smooth.
– Turn the stand mixer off and use a spatula to incorporate the batter. Pour half the batter into the pan and smooth. Stick the plum quarters cut side down into the batter. Pour the remaining half of the batter over the plums and smooth it out.
– In a small bowl mix the melted butter, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon until crumbly (but not wet!) and sprinkle over the plums.
-Bake for about 50-60 minutes or until a knife comes out clean and the top is nicely brown. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before applying glaze.

– Whisk the milk, lemon juice and sugar together until it is a thin but spreadable consistency. Drizzle over cake. Serve warm but not hot.

Reminiscing in Pictures

26 Sep

Around this time Oktoberfest in Munich is coming to a close. Harvard Square has its own Oktoberfest (Oct 2nd if you are interested!) and the hubs and I like to go every year.

When Joe and I were deciding where we wanted to go on our honeymoon, we immediately nixed the traditional tropical island honeymoon destination that is common among most newly married couples. But that just wasn’t us. We took this as a opportunity to travel to a place we had been wanting to go to for quite some time.

Which is why we chose Germany! As BIG beer fans, obviously Germany is like the Mecca of the beer world. The food isn’t too bad either 😉

Needless to say we drank  A LOT of beer.

The area of Germany we honeymooned in was Bavaria, we visited a couple of cities, including Munich, Nuremburg & Bamberg. And despite having to stay in Germany for almost an extra week because of a certain volcano that shall remain unnamed (mostly because I can’t spell or pronounce it) it was everything we were hoping for in a honeymoon.

So why am I talking about this anyway?

Well, I was contacted by the people at Easy Canvas Prints to review their print to canvas service. At first I thought about printing one of my food photos, but then I thought about how we had yet to get around to printing any honeymoon photos! So we decided to print one of our photos from Bamberg that we particularly enjoyed.

I was told that I would be an 8×10 print of anything that I wanted for free. We decided to pay a little extra and get a 10×24 panorama instead.

The website was fairly simple to navigate, however I would recommend NOT using Safari. When I tried uploading my photo, it wouldn’t let me, but when I tried in Firefox I was able to upload everything.

There are a lot of options for your canvas. You can start completely from scratch and use your own photo, or you can select a pre-made one. From then you decide what kind of wrap you want, upload your photo and then decide how you want the sides of your canvas to look like.

Place your order and in about 10 days you’ll get this!

Isn’t it pretty? I was impressed with the quality. We used a very high quality photo and were pleased to see that all the colors came across as they should. What I liked most is that it looks like a painting! And it’s a great reminder of how great our honeymoon was!

Their normal prices are pretty steep however they normally run sales that include a certain percentage off the final price and very often offer free shipping which is great! I would highly recommend checking them out when they have a sale!

Disclaimer: I was provided a free 8×10 canvas print in exchange for a review of their product however all opinions are my own.

Corn Salsa

21 Sep

 

…And just like that I’m into Week 3 of Graduate School.

It feels like only yesterday that I was nervously awaiting my acceptance letter and really committing to changing the path my life was taking.

Right now it feels like life is moving at a million miles an hour. I can already feel the constant exhaustion setting in, trying to jumble the roles of full time student, full time employee, as well as training for a half marathon, continuing my karate practice so I can test for black belt in June, having a husband, feeding said husband (and myself) and finding time to pet my cat. And maybe spending time with friends.

Sleep? Sleep is OVER.RATED.

Want to know what is NOT over rated? Corn. Corn that I continually seem to get in my CSA. Please, more corn. Then it will feel like it is still mid July and NOT almost October.

I made this corn salsa for a 50th birthday party for one of my husband’s uncle. It was creamy and delicious. At one point, I grabbed a tortilla chip and dunked it into the dip, a woman next to me said “That dip is so good!” I responded by saying thank you and she told me she didn’t realize that I had made it and was just commenting on how awesome it was.

So yeah, believe me when I tell you this is pretty awesome. Make this salsa if you are still holding desperately onto summer and still refuse to wear tights even though you have goosebumps covering your legs. Make this salsa if you are a half dazed graduate student that can barely string two sentences together by the end of the day but can still manage to throw lots of ingredients into a bowl and stir. Make this salsa if you like corn. And if you don’t, well, that’s your loss.

Corn Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 15oz can black beans
  • 3 ears of corn, kernels removed
  • 3 medium tomatoes, sliced and chopped
  • 3 scallions, sliced thinly
  • half bunch cilantro, chopped roughly (about 1/2 cups)
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small jalepeno, seeded and chopped
  • 2 slightly under ripe avocados, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
– Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix. Let the salsa marinate for a few hours in the fridge in order for the flavors to meld. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.

Blogger Dinner At Audobon Circle

16 Sep

Last week I had the fantastic opportunity to check out Audubon Circle with a group of amazing bloggers. Audubon Circle is located in the St. Mary’s section of the Brookline/Boston line and I was very excited to try their full menu, as I had only been there one time before with Megan & Kathy and we only sampled the appetizers and beer (they do pitchers! Of GOOD beer!)

For some reason I was not in the mood for any of the beers they had (*Gasp!*) so I went with the acrb tea party – which was tea infused vodka with mint, lemonade & lime. When I get a mixed drink, I always prefer that I DON’T taste the alcohol and this one delivered. I also enjoyed the mint flavor as well.

We decided to go about the menu family style, so we ordered a bunch of appetizers and entrees and shared everything. Like good food bloggers do. I recommended the white bean dip because when I came before, I absolutely devoured this dip. It was smooth and creamy and the accompanying bread was soft and chewy. Yes please.

I’m pretty much never going to say no to a cheese plate, and when this baby landed right in front of me, it was hard to not take it and run. The red pepper jelly that they serve with their cheese plate is A-MAZING. Please, someone give me a vat of that and I am a happy girl. There were 3 cheeses that we tried, one soft, semi soft and hard cheese, which I liked.

I really enjoyed the tomato and burrata salad, served with crispy slices of cucumber, balsamic vinaigrette and some micro greens. Audubon Circle uses fresh, local and in season ingredients as the inspiration for their menu, and the heirloom tomatoes in this salad were full of juiciness and flavor. The creamy burrata was also a nice touch.

Next up was the marinated skirt steak with chimicurri and mango and corn slaw. This was a “meh” in my book. The flavors were nice, but it was a very forgettable dish.

The vegetarian dumplings were also a big hit and had such a pretty presentation. I also enjoyed the sauce that was served alongside the dumplings.

At this point it was time to switch to entrees. the pappardelle bolognese with pecorino romano and garlic toast was my favorite entree of the night. Long flat noodles coated in a delicious bolognese sauce and the garlic toast was covered with LOTS of cheese and was soft and gooey. I forgot to ask if the pasta was made in house, but it certainly tasted like it!

The BBQ shredded chicken with potato salad, house made biscuits and bread and butter pickles was probably my least favorite entree we tried. Not that it wasn’t good, because it was! The biscuits were full of delicious butter flavor, and how can I say no to bread and butter pickles? I can’t. I did not like Audubon Circle’s potato salad. The potatoes were too hard for my liking, I like the potatoes in my salad to be slightly soft, and these were not. The sauce was also not very flavorful.

We also tried the lobster roll, served with chips and slaw. The lobster roll was tasty, but it definitely had more mayo than I personally liked, but the slaw served along side made up for the roll’s shortcomings.

I love me a good ham and cheese sandwich, and Audubon Circle’s version certainly did not disappoint. Made with rosemary ham and muenster cheese, the mustard served on the side made for some nice dipping. I most certainly had seconds of this dish.

Another favorite of mine was the pork schnitzel served with arugula and pickled onion. You can’t really see it in this picture, but the schnitzel was incredibly thin with a perfect brown crust. I was instantly transported back to Germany (well, besides the arugula part). I told the husband about this dish and he was asking me when we were going to visit Audubon Circle.

Another forgettable dish in my book was the salmon served with sweet corn succotash and heirloom tomato. Maybe I’m just over salmon but this dish was pretty mediocre considering I don’t remember much of what it tasted like. I remember liking the succotash, so that’s a plus?


Audubon Circle only has one dessert on its menu, and for good reason, it’s fan-freaking-tastic. Chevre cheesecake with an oreo crumb. In case you’ve forgotten, chevre is goat cheese. And it’s amazing. I’ve never had a goat cheese based cheesecake, but I obviously need to get in the loop, because it is super creamy without being heavy. I hate heavy cheesecakes (I’m looking at YOU Cheesecake Factory!) but this was pretty much the perfect ending to a great meal.

It’s easy to forget Audubon Circle. It’s located in the middle of St. Mary’s and Kenmore, next to a bike shop, but believe me when I say, Audubon Circle is worth the visit!

Audubon Circle Restaurant Bar on Urbanspoon

Disclaimer: Dinner at Audubon Circle was provided to me free of charge. I was not asked to review Audubon Circle, so all opinions stated in this review are my own. 

Eggplant Burgers

14 Sep

One of the many good things that has come from getting a CSA this summer is how much more vegetables that we consume than we used to. It’s very rare that I actually go to Whole Foods and buy any meat anymore, because of the abundance of veggies that we get each week. We usually supplement our veggie meals with some sandwiches, and when we go out to eat we usually have meat, but we’ve unknowingly become almost vegetarian!

I explained this phenomenon to my husband, and he wasn’t quite sure how he felt about it.

But when you are eating deliciousness such as Eggplant Burgers, who needs meat anymore?

When I spotted these on Lizzy’s blog, I knew what I needed to do with the excess of eggplant we had been receiving of late. I clicked over to the inspiration behind Lizzy’s post  to see what kind of ingredients I needed.

I noticed that there actually wasn’t as much eggplant as I was hoping there was, so I adapted it and got rid of the extra beans, and subbed much more eggplant and hoped for the best.

And the verdict?

They were delicious! They definitely had the extra oomf of eggplant that I was craving, and because they are baked, they are super healthy to boot! I served them with a simple tahini sauce and pickles on a seeded bun, and BAM, dinner, is served.

 
Eggplant Burgers

Adapted from The Tolerant Vegan

Ingredients

  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 medium sized eggplants, sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup hummus
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 glove garlic, minced
Directions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray and line the eggplant slices on the pan (you may need to use 2). Brush on olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper onto both sides of the eggplant.
– Bake for 10 minutes on one side, flip over, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Take the eggplant out of the oven and reduce the oven to 400 degrees.
– In a medium skillet, add 2 tsp of olive oil to the pan and cook the shallots and garlic until the shallot softens, about 10-15 minutes.
 – In the bowl of your food processor, combine the shallot mixture, parsley, pine nuts, cumin, red pepper flakes, hummus and eggplant and pulse until the mixture is mostly smooth, about 15-20 pulses.
 – Scoop the mixture into a bowl and with a spatula mix in the panko breadcrumbs. If the mixture appears too loose, add a few more tablespoons of breadcrumbs.
 – Make four large patties and place them on an aluminum or parchment paper lined baking pan. Bake the patties for 45 minutes, turning them over halfway through, until browned.
– Serve on a bun with tahini sauce (recipe below) and your favorite condiments.
Tahini Sauce
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2-3 tbsp tahini (based on your preference)
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix until combined. Add additional lemon or tahini to suit your tastes.

Boston Brunchers at Local 149

12 Sep

I have to admit, I don’t make the trek out to South Boston very often. For some reason I think it is so far away, even though it is a hop skip and a jump away from my work, and a relatively easy bus trip from Copley. But I still have only been to a handful of places in Southie, such as American Provisions, K.O. Catering & Pie, and now, Local 149.

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Boston Brunchers at Local 149 last weekend. From the moment you walk into Local 149, you know that you are in for a special time. I wouldn’t be lying if I told you this was my favorite Boston Brunchers event EVER, and I’m about to tell you why.

First off, I was really digging the decor of Local 149. From the colored seltzer bottles, to the funky paintings, to the high top tables surrounding the bar, I already loved Local 149.

And then they started putting CRAZY stuff on the table.

Yeah. It’s a freaking COCONUT. With a pretty umbrella. And you know what was IN that pretty coconut with the pretty umbrella?

Rum.

Oh, there may have been some coconut water in there, maybe some other stuff, but yeah, there was rum in it. And it was delicious.

I mean, clearly Megan was enjoying it.

Any restaurant that has a good charcuterie plate is a winner in my book. I wish I could tell you the deliciousness that was on this plate, but I can’t. It’s ok though, because it is continuously rotating, so you may not get the same thing each time you go. All I know, is that it was a wonderful start to the many items we were going to try that afternoon.

I’m going to tell you right now that I am not a Bloody Mary fan. Maybe it’s the horseradish. I don’t know. THIS Bloody Mary, on the other hand, was OUT OF THIS WORLD. Is the point of a Bloody Mary that you don’t taste the alcohol? Because it just tasted like sweet tomato goodness. I also swear I tasted oyster or clam juice, and I’m ok with that. I may have drank all of it.

Oysters aren’t considered aphrodisiacs for nothing. These Cotuit Oysters were briny and super fresh. The squeeze of lemon and additional of raspberry puree added a sweet note that again makes Local 149 different. I have a soft spot for Wellfleet Oysters, but these oysters were damn tasty.

Now it was time to get down to business. You really can’t get much more comfort food than chicken and waffles. But when they are made with rosemary butter and caramel sherry syrup and blueberries, comfort food becomes elegant. The chicken had just the right amount of crunch without being greasy, and the delicious syrup melded perfectly into the soft waffle.

Almost everything at Local 149 is made in house. From the pickles, to the bacon, to the sausage. I believe these beauties were a lamb sausage, and they were spectacular. They were served with a delicious house made chili sauce. I like it. I like it a lot.

It was a good thing they gave us so much food, because they also gave us A LOT to drink. Drink #3 if you are keeping count was a Mimosa made with prosecco, freshly squeezed OJ and Pomegranate juice. This was a lovely spin on a mimosa, and I’m pretty sure I will be adding pomegranate juice to all the mimosas I make from now on. I’m just fancy like that.

The next course was on of my (many) favorite. Breakfast pizza. But not just ANY breakfast pizza. A breakfast pizza with quail eggs, baby arugula, cherrywood bacon, and spicy creame fraiche. The added bonus of the different seeds on the edge of the pizza gave it that extra bit of crunch. I had 2 pieces. And I was very close to having 2 more. Put an egg on a pizza and I will be your friend for LIFE. True story.

The next sweet course was one of the most creative plates of the afternoon. Brioche french toast. Soaked in espresso martini. Oh, but it’s crunchy when you bite into it. Yeah, that’s the cinnamon Life cereal that it’s encrusted in.

WHAT?!?!

Yeah, that’s right. I’m pretty sure I’m going to try to recreate this amazingness at home. Crunchy on the outside, moist and soft on the inside. The white chocolate cigarette and whipped cream didn’t hurt. Oh yeah, and the THREE different kinds of bacon that were available to try. Marry me Local 149?

It was about at this time when the bellies of the Boston Brunchers were starting to protest. But we still had 2 more dishes to try. And 2 more drinks. Oh, what is a girl to do. This beauty right here is a peach and mint sangria, and was my favorite drink of the day. It was refreshing, and I loved being able to taste the mint. It was a nice break in between waiting for the food.

Our second to last course was the Lobster MacMuffin with Canadian bacon and cheddar cheese, on a homemade English Muffin. Um, McDonalds? You should be taking copious notes here, because this was a most amazing dish. I’m mesmerized on how TALL the eggs are. HOW DO THEY DO THAT?!?!!?! The eggs were fluffy and moist, with bits of lobster scattered throughout. I decided to skip the potatoes that were served with it.

Our last course was Yorkshire Pudding, with a housemade chicken sausage, homemade gravy and poached eggs. Probably my favorite savory dish of the day (with the breakfast pizza coming close behind). The Yorkshire Pudding was perfect, and slathering on the gravy and eggs and sausage was so amazing, I had 3 bites, even though my stomach was protesting muchly.

Obviously a sweet ending was needed, so we received a small portion of their Five Dollar Milkshake, a chocolate malted milkshake that was so smooth and so chocolatey, I almost asked for seconds. Almost.

I was completely and utterly BLOWN AWAY by the amazingness of Local 149. The service was phenomenal, and you could tell they were excited about the food they were making and serving. There aren’t many places I would go out of my way to go to, but I would most certainly go out of my way to come back to Local 149. You will NOT be disappointed.

Local 149 on Urbanspoon

Disclaimer: Brunch at Local 149 was provided to us at no charge. As always, all opinions are my own and in no way were influenced by the restaurant.

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