Thursday, July 28, 2011

It's Oyster Time

It's that time of year - the time when I crave oysters and champagne every beautiful night. The time of year when I prep myself to try each and every one and savor the tastes of summer. And don't you worry I had some delicious Duxbury Island Creek oysters last night and they were as good as I remembered (from last week!).
This also means its time to prep for September (I know you don't want to hear that word), but this little gathering will make it easier to bear. The annual Island Creek Oyster Festival is back at it and tickets are on sale for the oyster party on the beach. Although the party is September 10, 3-11pm, I suggest you buy your tickets now to secure a spot in the sand and a planned activity once that "S" month hits.

Big Tip: Arrive close to the start and you'll be able to enjoy free samples of some of the best food from local chefs and restaurants in the area

Happy Oystering!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Assembling Does Equal "Cooking"

There's some nights that the thought of washing a pot or pan makes me think twice about cooking. We don't have a dishwasher (which actually isn't so rough - I get my best thinking done while washing dishes) so on long hot days I rethink anything stove top or even grill top.

That combined with the fact that we were low on kitchen ingredient essentials - I turned to another "cooking" tactic I call assembling. Easy, fun and quite tasty! The hero of this meal was our Italian friend prosciutto. Wrappable, stuffable and really just lovable if you ask me.

So on this very lazy, busy night we simply assembled. Starting with a plate of prosciutto, mozzarella balls and basil drizzled with GOOD olive oil, salt and pepper. And a pretty little design.

Then we got crazy and I grilled some peaches (okay so I did use the grill pan for a bit!) to turn them super sweet and wrapped them with prosciutto. We may or may not have been one prosciutto piece short....

And that my friends is a technique I call "assembling" - great for parties, weekend dinners and any day when you just need a dish washing break!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Grilled Cheese (minus the bread)

Who doesn't like a good grilled cheese??? You loved it as a kid and I know you all eat it now. But what if I told you the rules you've lived by since childhood are about to be turned upside down. It's grilled cheese, minus the bread, Greek style.

For our July 4th get together, I knew we needed a couple of surprises to keep our guests tastebuds on their toes. So grilled Halloumi it was - a type of hard Greek cheese. (Around here you can find it Whole Foods, Roche Brothers and even some Stop & Shop locations). Just take the block of cheese and brush some olive oil, salt and pepper on each side. Place it on the grill and patiently wait. I promise there will be no melting through the grates and you don't have to "carefully watch" this grilled cheese. You're looking for those great grill marks on each side (5-6 mins each side depending on thickness) and a softer inside like good ole mozzarella. But the taste, now that will blow you away - salty, gooey and perfect goodness.

You're guests will be more than happy that Grilled Cheese made an appearance, but even happier to know it's got a more adult side!

Perfect picture from 8.ate@eight

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Steam, Dump, Serve

Does anyone else think this has been an extra long week? I'm exhausted just remembering it all! In the midst of all the day-to-day work we had some great food nights, (most of which were supplied by others). Thanks to a very good family friend we were invited to a classic New England Clambake - our first thoughts were "yes, yes, yes we'll be there!"

Real New England Clambakes include all the shellfish you dream of steamed during one single night and placed in front of you on the good ole Boston Globe. I tell you folks it really doesn't get much better than this. Complete with oysters, clams (also known as Steamers), lobsters, potatoes, corn and drinks. It's one of the easier parties to host because you eat on the grass, rarely use a napkin and paper cups are always expected. Yet these nights also turn out to be some of the best with memories and salty fish goodness that linger for a while.

Isn't this a fish-lovers dream?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Simply Grilled Sliders

Happy 4th Everyone. We've had quite a jam-packed, food-filled weekend! I have to thank all our friends and family who came, saw and brought it all (food that is!) - we had an amazing spread, some of which I'll share with everyone later this week. But first on to a meal that makes me feel close to home even when I'm miles away.

Lamb sliders with tsatiki sauce
  • 1 1/4 lb ground lamb
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 of red onion, minced
  • chopped parsley, 1/4 cup
  • dried oregano, coffee scoop size
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 slider buns - preferably brioche
Note: This is a great time for you to try eyeballing herbs and spices - start small and then get a bit more daring!
Thanks for the plate JK!
Place all ingredients (except the buns!) in a bowl and incorporate with your hands just until everything is mixed - don't over obsess with the perfect mix as you don't want to overwork the meat and create tough sliders. Then, simply portion out the meat into 8 sliders, again handling the meat as little as possible. Remember burgers shrink a bit once you grill them so make sure to make them a tad bigger than your buns.

Last but not least, grill, top with tsatiki and enjoy!
It's a taste of family, that reminds me of my brother and I'm sure makes him a little proud too.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Homemade Healthy Food

Health food should be healthy - I find that to be a simple statement, yet hard to accomplish in many of the packaged "health" foods that are available today. One of my pet peeves has to do with those crunchy yummy granola bars. Many of them are too sweet, too processed or too loaded with sugar. That's why I consistently make my own and trust me people LOVE them. If I bake a tray I have to hide a couple just to make sure I get a taste.

Last weekend I tried a a new granola bar recipe from Ina Garten (who I also love!) and it was instant success. The thing about granola bars is that they are super duper simple and you can usually swap many of the ingredients to change it up for every batch. So go ahead and give them a try on this long weekend holiday!


  • 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.
Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.
Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F. 

Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.