Monday, August 22, 2011

For the Love of Food - a Guest Blog Post!

I recently had the opportunity to write a guest blog post for the Culinary Guild of New England, which was an absolute fun and exciting experience. It forced me to test and retest my recipes (never been good at that measurement thing) and also narrow down my passions. The result - Pasta Wednesday, Brought to Life - quick go read it!

Even more exciting was to have the honor to write for the Culinary Guild of New England, which supports and educates all aspects of the culinary world. There's nothing better in my mind! The Guild (which anyone can join) is holding it's opening meeting on September 19th - and trust me, this is just the start of fabulous food events they'll host all year. So enjoy a night out with some great foodies and see what it's all about  - oh and I'll be there of course!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Reinventing the Brown Bag Lunch

My mom used to pack our lunch in elementary school - it was turkey sandwich, grapes, salt-free pretzels and a granola bar. It may sound boring, but to us it was just our normal mom food that was perfect for a mid-day meal. I look back on these lunches and think how lucky we were to have a healthy mom who never bought white bread, didn't use much mayo and really packed a wholesome healthy meal - thanks Mom!

Fast forward about 20 years and things have gotten so crazy that this past month has been a lot of pick-up lunch time meals (if I have time to run out!). I actually love - and used to be known for - bringing my lunch so I'm taking the challenge - the Brown Bag Challenge.

Every weekday in September I pledge to bring my lunch (minus those days I"m traveling, that gets tough!) in hopes of eating a bit healthier, saving a little cash and getting back to what my Mom taught me. Lucky for you I'll share some great lunch time ideas along the way. There may be some days when I'll pack a good old school day lunch, but I"m hoping to give you some new and tasty ideas along the way.
So who's with me???

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Two Weeks of Restaurants

It's back again folks - Restaurant Week Boston Summer 2011 - one of the best deals in town, that really is larger than the city itself. I remember about 5 years ago the list of restaurants only scrolled on one page, the celebration was only one-week long and not many people were talking about this event.

Oh how times have changed - and for the better! For 2 scheduled weeks (Sun-Fri) you can get a 2-course lunch for $15.11, a 3-course lunch for $20.11 or a 3-course dinner for $33.11. The best part is the choice of venues has grown extensively, so much so that it now spans north, south and west of the city. This is the time to try some of those overly delicate dishes that you've been saving for a special occasion. Although the menus are a fixed selection I've always felt all of the choices are the best showcase for each restaurant.

So grab some friends, schedule a date or just go it alone. My only reminder - please, pleas,e please tip the staff as if it were a regular-priced meal - they deserve it!
Happy Eating!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Happy Drink

This week has been very long and I'm a bit tired. Sometimes with a lack of sleep I feel my personality draining, and there might have been a point where I whined last night. But today is a new day and although still a bit sleepy I think a Happy Cup might just do the trick. Sometimes it's less about what's in the cup, on dish or cooking in the pan, but more about the pretty little accessories that get you there. And today I vow to drink out of a happy cup!
I think I'll purchase

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Vegan Style Delicious

I love when people come into your life and it feels like you've known them forever. I also like that this certain someone provides me with a new cooking challenge -tasty vegan dishes that satisfy appetites of any entire crowd (vegans or not).

So I took the traditional pasta salad (which is never exciting) and created a dish that provided that same balance in a whole new light. A little Roasted Veggie Wheatberry Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette - who said vegan wasn't delicious??? Just to clarify from the start, wheatberry is not a fruit but a vegan friendly grain that is strong like pasta, shaped a little like barley and nutty like couscous, oh and utterly delicious.


Prepare wheatberry according to the package and set aside

Cut any veggies you have on hand and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper on a baking sheet. Roast at 425 until they become slightly charred, about 25 minutes

Dressing: Whisk together lemon, GOOD olive oil, salt pepper, champagne vinegar and 1 chopped garlic clove. I added some fresh basil to the dressing at the end too!

Mix the veggies with the wheatberry and add the dressing - taste along the way to make sure you don't  add too much dressing at once.

And the result - satisfying, healthy, vegan delicious dish - challenged conquered!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Making Fresh Work

I'm overly obsessed with the idea of fresh - those farm dinners you see popping up all over and restaurants that change their menus daily to accommodate what's just been picked that morning. However, I also understand the amount of time, money and planning it takes to pull off fresh day after day and night after night. So I applaud any restaurant that can incorporate even a little bit of this fresh idea and make it work.

Scarlet Oak Tavern in Hingham is one of my favs and flew to the top of the list when a) I realized they had outdoor seating, b) that outdoor seating is surrounded by their herb and vegetable garden and c) each week they produce a special "farm 2 fork" menu (which includes dessert!).

One of last weekend's "farm 2 fork" creations
I love how Scarlet Oak took the concept of fresh and not only made it their own but made it work for them. They grow what they can, work with local farmers and produce a mouthwatering taste of fresh. The food is within concept, believable to customers and utterly delicious!