29 December 2010

Snow Ice Cream

Here in New England, we got a Boxing Day Blizzard that lasted from Sunday to Monday. It would have been the perfect opportunity for some Snow Ice Cream...


* 1 gallon snow
* 1 cup white sugar
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* 2 cups milk


1. When it starts to snow, place a large, clean bowl outside to collect the flakes. When full, stir in sugar and vanilla to taste, then stir in just enough milk for the desired consistency. Serve at once.

Here is a video using pretty much the same process from LivingOnADime.com:

15 December 2010

Sweet & Savory Beef Stew in the Crock Pot

I found this recipe via cooks.com. It is a great dish for a chilly fall or winter day. Oddly, it tastes a bit like savory apple pie.... if you can imagine savory apple pie. I added some cranberries and sage to the mix because I had some leftover from Nicole's awesome roasted squash recipe from a while back... a tried and true dish in my opinion.


2 lb boneless beef chuck shoulder roast
1 (40 oz can) sweet potatoes, drained
2 small onions, sliced
2 apples, cored, sliced
1/2 cup beef broth
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 tsp. black pepper, divided
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. cold water

Trim fat from beef and cut into 2-inch pieces. Place beef, sweet potatoes, onions, apples, beef broth, garlic, salt, 1/2 tsp. thyme, 1/2 tsp. pepper in slow cooker. Cover, cook on low for 8-9 hrs.

Transfer beef, sweet potatoes, and apples to platter, keep warm. Let liquid stand 5 minutes. Skim off fat.

In small bowl, combine cornstarch, remaining 1/2 tsp. thyme, 1/4 tsp. pepper, cinnamon, and water, stir into liquid in slow cooker.

Cook 15 minutes or until thickened. Serve sauce with beef, potatoes, and apples.

I don't have pictures because it was not beautiful, but I assure you, it is a very warming, fulfilling dish.

03 December 2010

pink salad

so my latest variation from the signature is what i'm calling the pink salad. the main addition is a small to medium sized beet, peeled and grated just like it was a carrot. the more you toss it, the more pink ends up sneaking into the other ingredients, particularly the feta. shake (of shake & bake fame), was sort of shocked that the beat could be used raw, so maybe this is something other folks would be interested in knowing as well?

i made a fresh one today, but can't seem to find my camera cable and the photos i took on my photo are awful, so you'll have to settle for the photo above, taken at pre-thanks this year. the longer you keep the leftovers, the pinker everything else gets. on the third day, it looked more like japanese pickles than salad really.

same dressing as usual too, although maybe a little more mustard than usual just to combat the extra earthiness of the beat.

01 December 2010

Cashew Chicken in the Crock Pot

The crock pot is my savior sometimes, especially in the cold months. Often, on Sunday night, I'll prepare something to cook for Monday. I just turn it on before I go to work, then when I get home, a hot meal is ready for me, plus enough for a few leftovers. Here is a new recipe I have tried, via Better Homes and Gardens:

* 1 10.75-oz. can condensed golden mushroom soup
* 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
* 1 tsp. ground ginger
* 1-1/2 pounds chicken tenders
* 1 16-oz. pkg. frozen broccoli stir-fry vegetable blend
* 1 4-oz. can (drained weight) sliced mushrooms, drained
* 1/2 cup cashews
* Hot cooked brown rice* (optional)


1. In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker, combine mushroom soup, soy sauce, and ginger. Stir in chicken, stir-fry vegetables, and mushrooms.

2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 4 hours.

3. Stir cashews into chicken mixture. If desired, serve over hot cooked rice. Makes 6 servings.

I ended up using double the mushrooms and fresh ginger. Yum!

24 November 2010

Pumpkin Whoopee Pies

Thanksgiving is a truly madtasty holiday! This year, we were lucky to celebrate a little early with a Pre-Thanks celebration at Dave and Bobby's new pad. I brought my mother-in-law's famous mac & cheese and pumpkin whoopee pies with cream cheese filling. Everything was delicious...

...Especially Bobby's turkey!

Pumpkin Whoopee Pies (from Rachel Ray)
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, 2 sticks melted, 1 stick softened
  • 2 cup packed light brown sugar 
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten 
  • 2 cup canned pure pumpkin puree 
  • 3 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon plus 4 pinches salt 
  • 3 1/3 cups flour 
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, chilled
  • 2 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar until smooth.

Whisk in the eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, 1 teaspoon vanilla, the baking powder, the baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour.

Using an ice cream scoop or tablespoon, drop 12 generous mounds of batter, spaced evenly, onto each baking sheet.

Bake until springy to the touch, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, cream the softened butter with the cream cheese. Add the confectioners' sugar and the remaining 2 pinches salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; mix on low speed until blended, then beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Spread the flat side of 12 cakes with the cream cheese frosting. Top each with another cake.

And enjoy...

17 November 2010

Marilyn Monroe's Stuffing and Other Celebrity Holiday Recipes

Lemondrop.com corralled Marilyn Monroe's stuffing recipe, plus some other celeb's favorite recipes such as Michelle Obama's Apple Cobbler, Christina Hendricks' Spiced Pumpkin Cocktail, and Sandra Lee's Kwanzaa Cake.
I'm excited just to see Marilyn's handwritten recipe, but maybe I'll try some of these out, too!

click to zoom

11 November 2010

Pear Tarte Tatin

After some serious apple picking, where we luckily also got some great bartlett pears, I updated an old recipe of my grandmothers for a tarte tatin (an upside down cake). The result was beautiful and delicious!

Bake at 350 for 30 - 35 min. Cool for 10 min before inverting. Below is the original recipe – I used ½ the brown sugar and about 2/3 the butter in the topping and it was much better. I made a double recipe and did one with pears, and one with apples. Yum!

- Brown sugar layer (ends up being the topping):
o 1/3 c melted butter
o 1 cup packed brown sugar
o 3 medium apples, peeled and sliced
o Directions: Pour butter into ungreased 9 inch baking pan. Sprinkle in ½ of the brown sugar, arrange apples in single layers, add remaining brown sugar

- Cake:
o 3 Tbsp butter, softened
o 2 eggs
o ¾ cup sugar
o 1 cup all purpose flour
o ½ tsp baking soda
o ¾ tsp salt
o ¼ tsp cinnamon
o ½ cup buttermilk
o 3 tbsp sour cream

o Directions: Cream butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time; Combine flour, powder, soda, salt, cinnamon; Add dry to wet ingredients and stir; Spoon batter over brown sugar layer

10 November 2010

Root Vegetable Au Gratin

In my family, Potato Au Gratin is a holiday tradition. I peel the potatoes and my mom throws together this cheesy, creamy, delicious side. Everyone loves it so much, that she usually makes two, one for dinner and one for leftovers.

In the last few weeks, I'd seen a couple of recipes for Root Vegetable Au Gratin and thought, I wonder how my mom's recipe would fair with turnips and rutabagas instead of potatoes. Let me tell you, nothing compares to the original, but this is a close second. If you try this at home, make sure you layer a few sweet potatoes near the top. With the cheese and the bread crumbs, they are simply heaven. This side dish also doubles as a super great vegetarian meal.

Root Vegetable Au Gratin (inspired by Joy of Cooking Creamed Potato Casserole)
Serves 4-6
  • 1 large potato
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large parsnip
  • 1 medium turnip
  • 1 medium rutabaga
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 4 1/2 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 1/2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons panko bread crumbs


Peel vegetables and trim the ends off of the carrot and parsnip. 

Place vegetables in the boiling water and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove vegetables from heat and drain. Place vegetables in the fridge for 5 minutes to cool. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While the vegetables are cooling, melt butter in a small pot over low heat. Add flour and stir until thick and creamy. Add milk and continue stirring until the roux starts to thicken.

Remove vegetables from fridge and slice into small pieces. Layer half of the vegetables alternatively in a 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Pour half of the sauce over the vegetables and top with 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Repeat layering until dish is full. Top with bread crumbs.

Cover and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove cover and bake for another 20 minutes or until vegetables are fork tender and cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.

Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes and serve!

    03 November 2010

    Friendly Zombie Cupcakes


    Have you ever met a vegan zombie? Now you have with these Friendly Vegan Zombie Cupcakes via Laura of Pansy Maiden, vegan superstar member of Boston Handmade! Laura found this recipe on VegWeb, and even though it is a few days after Halloween, Zombies never go out of style:

    1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 cup vegan granulated sugar
    1/4 cup shredded coconut
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 cup water
    1/3 cup oil
    1 tablespoon vanilla
    1 tablespoon white vinegar
    1/2 cup cherry pie filling or "red" jam
    Vanilla Glaze (recipe below)
    powdered sugar


    When you eat these friendly zombies you will find a surprise inside--their fruity brains! Finally, a sweet revenge.

    1. In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, coconut, baking soda, and salt.
    2. In another bowl, combine water, oil, vanilla, and vinegar. Combine wet and dry.
    3. Prepare 12 cupcake liners in a pan. Fill each just under half full with the batter. Spoon into the middle about 2 teaspoons (a small spoonful or so) of the pie filling/jam. Cover with more cake batter until the liner is full, but not overflowing.

    4. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes; start checking after 15 to 20 minutes (my oven is a bit special and my cook times are always a little off). Once the tops are just brown and a toothpick comes out clean, remove from oven and let cool all the way.

    5. Once cooled, make the "Vanilla Glaze" or use your own frosting recipe. Dust with powdered sugar if you want to give them a nice "dusty" face. Then decorate with chocolate chips, dried fruits, nuts, more coconut, or anything else that looks tasty.
    Then you have a friendly zombie cupcake that you can eat the brains of!

    Vanilla Glaze:

    1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon nondairy milk
    1 teaspoon canola oil
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla
    1 cup powdered sugar


    1. In a pan over low heat, warm nondairy milk, oil, and vanilla. Remove from heat.
    2. Add powdered sugar. If you need it thicker, add a bit more powdered sugar.
    3. Pour glaze over cake or other dessert immediately.
    Preparation time: 10 minutes


    28 October 2010

    Champagne is Mad Tasty

    Some people believe that Champagne is just for special occasions, I am not one of those people. But, if you are, here is a reason to celebrate.

    Today is Global Champagne Day! 

    So pop a bottle, pour yourself a glass, and have a little fun. I'm sure you deserve it.

    To find out more about Champagne, click here. For more information on Global Champagne Day, click here.

    27 October 2010

    Grilled Fruit Bruschetta with Sweet Mascarpone

    No matter how you serve them, fruit and cheese make the most wonderful combination. While leafing through the latest issue of Food and Wine magazine, I spotted this "knife and fork dessert" and knew instantly that I had to try it. The simple combination of caramelized fruit, savory peasant bread, and sweet mascarpone cheese made this a delicious fall dish. We don't have space for a grill in our tiny apartment, but my Calphalon Grill Pan did the trick.

    Also posted at A Nesting Experience!

    Grilled Fruit Bruschetta with Sweet Mascarpone (inspired by Michael Glissman in Food and Wine)
    Serves 8
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon dried lavender buds
    • 4 large plums, halved and pitted
    • 4 nectarines, halved and pitted
    • 2 pears, halved and seeds removed
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • salt and pepper
    • 1 cup mascarpone 
    • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
    • 2 teaspoons honey
    • Eight 1-inch-thick slices of peasant bread (make it yourself! recipe to follow)
    • 8 rosemary skewers, most of the leaves stripped off
    1. Put the sugar and lavender in a spice grinder and grind to a powder. 
    2. In a large bowl, combine the lavender sugar with the plums, nectarines, pears, lemon juice, orange zest and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. 
    3. Toss well and season lightly with salt and pepper. 
    4. Let stand for 10 minutes.
    5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the mascarpone cheese and confectioners sugar.
    6. Brush the bread slices on both sides with olive oil.
    7. Thread the fruit onto the rosemary skewers; reserve any juices in the bowl. 
    8. Grill the bread over high heat until lightly charred and crisp, about 30 seconds per side. 
    9. Grill the fruit skewers over moderate heat, basting a few times with the reserved juices, until lightly charred and just tender, about 4 minutes per side.
    10. Spread the honey mascarpone on the grilled bread. 
    11. Slide the fruit off the skewers onto the bread, drizzle some of the juices over the fruit and serve.
    Peasant Bread (by Taste of Home)
    Serves 8
    • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
    • 1 cups warm water (110° to 115°), divided
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoons salt
    • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
    • 1/2 tablespoon butter, melted
    1. Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. 
    2. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar. 
    3. Add the yeast mixture and remaining water; stir until combined. 
    4. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
    5. Stir dough down. 
    6. Place in a greased 1 quart. round casserole dish. 
    7. Brush top with butter. 
    8. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
    9. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes. 
    10. Remove from pan and slice into 1 inch thick slices.

    20 October 2010

    Something Sweet in MA

    Did you know that Massachusetts is home to many a confection such as NECCO, Fluff, and Junior Mints? YES! Junior Mints! Boston.com posted a great slideshow highlighting some of the sweeter things to come out of Massachusetts - view the story here.

    13 October 2010


    Just a few weeks ago, I got married. My husband and I took our honeymoon in Greece. The food was absolutely incredible there, but the best thing that we ate (in my opinion) was tomatokeftedes (tomato balls). I knew as soon as I got home, I was going to have to learn how to make them!

    Tomatokeftedes (recipe from Santorini Recipes)
    • 1 ½ cups tomatoes, finely chopped (dehydrated Cycladic tomatoes, if available)
    • ½ cup spring onions, finely chopped
    • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
    • 2 tablespoon fresh spearmint, finely chopped
    • a pinch of dried crumbled oregano
    • 1 cup plain flour or a little bit more (depending on how juicy the tomatoes are)
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • salt, pepper to taste
    • olive oil for frying
    1. Combine tomatoes, onion and herbs in a bowl.
    2. In a separate bowl, mix together flour and baking powder.
    3. Add flour mixture to tomato mixture a little at a time, stirring constantly until everything is combined into a mixture firm enough to form little balls.
    4. In a medium frying pan, add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan.
    5. Heat oil on medium heat.
    6. Place the tomatokeftedes in the frying pan and cook on each side, until golden.
    7. Remove tomatokeftedes from the pan and place them on paper towel to absorb the extra olive oil.
    8. Serve with lots of tzatziki

    06 October 2010

    Food Fight.

    Food Fight, a short film by Stefan Nadelman, is an abridged history of American-centric war, from World War II to present day, told through the foods of the countries in conflict. Watch as traditional comestibles slug it out for world domination in this chronologically re-enacted smorgasbord of aggression.

    (I reccomend watching it without reading the synopsis and/or checking the cheat sheet before hand... it is fun to try to figure out who is who and check after!)

    29 September 2010

    Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

    Even though it's only September 29, New England has had it's share of brisk fall days. Brisk fall days, always mean comfort food on the menu.

    Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

    adapted from (Pasta Lazio by John Barricelli from Martha Stewart)
    • 4 Tbsp olive oil
    • 2 Boneless, skinless chicken fillets
    • 1 pound pasta
    • 8 ounces sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained, and thinly sliced lengthwise
    • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
    • 1/2 cup white wine
    • 2 Tbsp butter
    • 2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
    • 2 cups of steamed brocolli
    • Salt
    • Black pepper
    1. Preheat a medium size skillet and brush with 2 Tbsp of olive oil.
    2. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper; place and place in the skillet.
    3. Cook, turning once, until cooked through.
    4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
    5. Add pasta and cook according to package directions.
    6. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
    7. Add garlic and cook until softened.
    8. Add tomatoes and cook until heated through.
    9. Add wine and bring to a boil.
    10. Add butter and swirl until melted and well combined.
    11. Remove chicken from grill, cut into strips and add to skillet.
    12. Drain pasta and transfer to a large serving bowl.
    13. Pour chicken mixture and broccoli to pasta and toss to combine.
    14. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

    21 September 2010

    Happy 60th Birthday, Bill Murray!

    Bill Murray turns 60 today. You should celebrate by making him a themed cake and eating it with your friends (and maybe even dressing up as your favorite character from a Bill Murray movie).

    This is an example of a Kingpin themed cake. Bill Murray's bowling ball in the movie is amber-ish and has a rose inside. Available themes are limitless. Try doing an illustration of the inside of a body to represent Osmosis Jones, draw the Bee Keeper's Society logo from Rushmore, or perhaps just make a green confection to represent Slimer from Ghostbusters. Don't forget to mix up some ecto cooler cocktails to wash it down!

    16 September 2010

    From Lifehacker:

    Budweiser, Balsamic Vinegar, and How Expectations Affect Our Views [Psychology]: "

    Budweiser, Balsamic Vinegar, and How Expectations Affect Our Views

    Would you willingly mix balsamic vinegar with your Budweiser? Actually, yes, you would, in certain conditions, explains Professor of Behavioral Economics Dan Ariely in his book Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.

    Photo by seeks2dream.

    The Muddy Charles is one of MIT's two pubs and the place of Ariely's experiment. Students that dropped by were offered two small free samples of beer, one labeled A and the other labeled B. Beer A was regular Budweiser whereas Beer B was a special mix called 'MIT Brew', two drops of balsamic vinegar for each once of beer. After tasting the samples, participants were offered a free large glass of the beer of their choice.

    Most of the participants that knew nothing about the vinegar before tasting the beers chose Beer B, the vinegary beer. But those that were offered more information before the tasting (Beer A was a commercial brew, Beer B had a few drops of balsamic vinegar in it) would wrinkle their nose at the vinegary brew and request Beer A instead. They believed beforehand that Beer B was going to be bad and after tasting it, they actually found it bad.

    Budweiser, Balsamic Vinegar, and How Expectations Affect Our Views

    Now what happens if the presence of vinegar is revealed after tasting the samples instead of before? Can initial sensory perceptions be reshaped with new knowledge or is it too late to change the perceptions once they are established? Photo by jules:stonesoup.

    It turned out that the participants to this new version of the experiment liked Beer B as much as those that knew nothing about the vinegar. Moveover, when asked whether they would like to make the 'MIT Brew' themselves, they were willing to add the right amount of vinegar to their beer. Like the first group, they tasted the vinegary brew blind without any pre-conceived expectations and they actually liked the taste of it so they didn't mind giving it another try.

    What happens is that our brain is always refining and distorting sensory information in order to construct a simpler picture of the world. If our brain has tried to represent everything as accurately as possible, we would be completely paralysed by information. Moreover, it cannot start from scratch at every new situation. Instead, it must build on what it has seen before so we can interact with our environment more decisively and make better sense of our complicated surroundings.

    So next time you make a decision, be realistic—it's 100 percent biased.

    Catherine Granger is a software engineer living in northern California. She created the Manage Your Cellar online wine inventory tool for collectors, edits the Purple Liquid blog, and notes that she very rarely writes about beer.


    15 September 2010

    Neopolitan Cupcakes

    If you know me, you know I love cupcakes. They are my favorite baked good to make. They are my favorite baked good to eat. Delicious.

    Of all the cupcakes in the world, these are my favorite. The concept comes from my favorite cupcake blog, How to Eat a Cupcake. The cupcake recipe is a modified version of Magnolia's cupcakes. The frosting is all Martha Stewart. With their powers combined, this cupcake is out of this world!

    Neapolitan Cupcakes

    Vanilla Batter
    • 3/4 cup self-rising flour
    • 1/2 cup and 2 Tbsps all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup (1 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    Chocolate Batter
    • 3/4 cup self-rising flour
    • 1/2 cup and 2 Tbsps cocoa powder
    • 1/2 cup (1 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake papers.
    3. Start with the vanilla batter.
    4. In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.
    5. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
    6. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
    7. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla.
    8. Repeat steps 4 - 7 with the chocolate batter substituting the all-purpose flour for cocoa powder.
    9. With a batter scoop, spoon one scoop of each vanilla and chocolate batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full.
    10. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
    11. Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes.
    12. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
    Strawberry Frosting
    • 1/2 cup whole frozen strawberries, thawed
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
    • Pinch of coarse salt
    • 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
    • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1. Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed.
    2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy.
    3. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners' sugar; beat until well combined.
    4. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree; mix until just blended.

    08 September 2010

    Porch Crawler Cocktail

    Labor Day may have passed, but summer is not over until September 21, people!!!! When you are a working stiff (teachers not included), you get the luxury of working through the calendar year, so you are not affected by summer vacations.
    Celebrate the last days of summer with a Porch Crawler, via The Bitten Word:

    First, why are they called Porch Crawlers?

    When you head home after the night is over, you have to crawl up your porch steps to get back in the house.

    And what's in them?

    Vodka, beer and lemonade concentrate. That's it.

    Porch Crawlers for a crowd


    * 1 handle of very cold Skyy Vodka
    * 18-pack of light beer (Keystone Ice is recommended)
    * 4 to 8 cans of lemonade concentrate

    Into a large cooler, pour the vodka and beer. Add 4 cans of lemonade concentrate. Stir and taste. Continue adding lemonade concentrade until you're pleased with the taste. Serve over ice.

    If you'd rather serve the drink straight, you can also pre-freeze water in freezer bags, and then drop those bags into the cooler to keep the drink cold.

    Cheers to summer!

    01 September 2010

    Glazed Double-Cut Pork Chops

    I found this recipe a few months ago. I was sitting in my mother-in-law's kitchen, randomly leafing through a Food Network Magazine, listening to family updates, when all of a sudden, wham! The recipe jumped out at me and said, "look at me, I'm awesome."

    Turns out, it was right. The recipe is easy to follow, the pork chops were cooked perfectly, and the Bourbon BBQ sauce was sweet, tangy, and delicious.

    Glazed Double-Cut Pork Chops

    • Kosher salt
    • 2 Tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
    • 1 Tbsp packed dark brown sugar
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 2 double-cut bone-in pork chops
    • 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
    • 3/4 cups ketchup
    • 3/4 cups apple juice
    • 1/2 cup maple syrup
    • 1/4 cup bourbon
    • 1/4 cup prunes
    • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 dash of cayenne pepper
    • 1 tsp Kosher salt
    • 1 1/2 tsps black pepper
    1. Mix 2 tablespoons salt, the black pepper, brown sugar and paprika in a bowl, then rub all over the chops. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours.
    2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the vinegar and brown sugar until dissolved. Add the ketchup, apple juice, syrup, bourbon, prunes, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 30 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender or in a regular blender.
    3. Heat olive oil in a fry pan on medium heat. Place chops in the pan and cook until halfway through, about 15 minutes. Turn the chops and turn heat to low. Cover and cook, 15 to 20 minutes. Uncover and brush the chops on all sides with the prepared sauce, then cover and cook until glazed, about 5 more minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and brush with more sauce. Tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes. Serve with more sauce.

    25 August 2010

    I heart tomatoes.

    I love tomatoes. I think they go well with pretty much everything. Here are some fun tomato recipes for you to try from allrecipes.com:

    Double Tomato Bruschetta
    "A delicious and easy appetizer. The balsamic vinegar gives it a little bite. Dried basil can be substituted but it is best with fresh."

    Avocado Feta Salsa
    "A chunky, savory summer salsa that tastes great with pita or tortilla chips."

    Insalata Caprese
    "It's perfect with fresh loaf of crusty bread. For the best flavor be sure to use fresh whole-milk mozzarella - it puts the packaged varieties to shame. You can find fresh mozzarella in Italian delis, gourmet markets, cheese shops and some grocery stores."

    Poor Man's Caviar
    "A colorful, light, and delicious concoction to serve with tortilla chips or pita bread. Avocados, tomatoes, green onions, black beans, and Mexicorn are combined with red wine vinegar, canola oil, and hot pepper sauce. Always a crowd pleaser! Serve with tortilla chips or pita bread."

    18 August 2010

    Lemon Sangria

    Nothing says summer like Lemonade. Nothing says summer like Sangria. Bam. With their powers combined, I give you Lemon Sangria and a cute picture of Allie enjoying a glass!

    Lemon Sangria
    • 1 bottle dry white wine
    • 2 cups lemonade
    • 1/2 cup limoncello liqueur
    • 2 lemons, cut into wheels
    • 2 oranges cut into wheels
    • 1 bottle semisweet sparkling wine
    1. Combine the wine, lemonade, limoncello, lemons, and oranges in a large glass container and stir well.
    2. Cover and refrigerate for four hours.
    3. Serve over ice; fill glasses half way with the sangria mixture, then top with sparkling wine.
    4. Garnish with a lemon twist.

    11 August 2010

    Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler

    I have been craving Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler. I have never made it so I think I might have to try out this recipe via simplyrecipes.com


    Fruit mixture
    4 1/2 cups rhubarb stalks cut into 1-inch pieces (Trim outside stringy layer of large rhubarb stalks; make sure to trim away any and discard of the leaves which are poisonous; trim ends.)
    1 1/2 cups strawberries, stemmed and sliced
    1/2 cup white sugar
    2 Tablespoons of quick cooking tapioca
    1 teaspoon of grated orange peel

    Cobbler crust
    2 Tbsp white sugar
    1 cup all purpose flour
    1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup butter
    1/4 cup milk
    1 egg, lightly beaten

    Preheat oven to 350°F.

    1 In a bowl, mix the rhubarb and the strawberries with the sugar, tapioca, and orange zest. Let sit to macerate for 30 minutes to an hour.

    2 In a medium bowl, combine 2 Tablespoons of sugar, the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter in with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the milk and egg until just moistened.

    3 Pour fruit into a 2-quart casserole dish. Drop the batter on the fruit. Bake in a 350°F oven for 35 minutes until cobbler crust is golden brown.

    Serves 6. Serve with whipped cream (optional).

    04 August 2010

    Plum, Nectarine, Blackberry Crisp

    So, last week I stopped by Wholefoods to pick up a few things. I'm not sure if I was feeling adventurous or just hungry, but I spotted some golden plums and decided what the hell. Even after a week on the counter, they were still way to tart to eat.

    My solution - bake them into a crisp!

    Plum, Nectarine, Blackberry Crisp

    • 2 nectarines
    • 4 plums
    • 2 cups blackberries
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2/3 cup brown sugar
    • 2/3 cup quick cooking oats
    • 2/3 cup butter, softened
    1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
    2. Butter a 2-quart shallow baking dish.
    3. Slice and pit the plums and nectarines. Toss with the blackberries, granulated sugar, and flour in a bowl.
    4. Transfer the filling to the prepared dish and dot with 2 tablespoons butter.
    5. Stir together flour, brown sugar, cooking oats, and butter.
    6. Spoon handfuls of the crumble mixture on top of the fruit.
    7. Bake until golden and bubbly, 40 to 45 minutes.
    8. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.
    9. Top with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

    03 August 2010

    Suprisingly delicious, waaaay healthy, no mayo TUNA SALAD!

    OMFG, so good. You ever go to the cafeteria at work and have a hard time finding something that is both delicious and healthy? Well, try this! This amazing tuna salad was made with ingredients that were all found at the salad bar in the cafeteria at my work. I know it sounds weird, but try it...SO GOOD!


    chick peas
    shredded carrots
    diced celery
    sunflower seeds
    olive oil
    red wine vinegar

    Mix all ingredients together and stick delicious tuna salad into a pita pocket and enjoy!

    14 July 2010

    Happy Bastille Day!

    Bastille Day is the French national holiday which is celebrated on 14 July each year. It commemorates the 1790 Fête de la Fédération, held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789. Festivities are held on the morning of 14 July, on the Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris in front of the President of the Republic. (thanks wikipedia)

    If you can't make it to the Champs-Élysées this morning, whip up some crepes instead with this easy recipe from allrecipes.com:


    * 2 eggs
    * 1 cup milk
    * 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
    * 1 pinch salt
    * 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil


    1. In a blender combine eggs, milk, flour, salt and oil. Process until smooth. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
    2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and brush with oil. Pour 1/4 cup of crepe batter into pan, tilting to completely coat the surface of the pan. Cook 2 to 5 minutes, turning once, until golden. Repeat with remaining batter.

    This French delicacy is extremely versatile, as it can be filled with virtually anything -- fruits, pudding, mousse for desserts as well as vegetables and meats for dinner. No need to add more oil each time unless the pan begins to stick. Freeze extra crepes for later use.

    If you don't have time for even making crepes... at least grab a croissant at the coffee shop on your way to work!

    Bon Fête Nationale!

    06 July 2010

    Pintley: The Best Way To Discover Beer You'll Love!

    Thanks to Thrillist, I learned about Pintley today. The gist: Rate beers you have a tried, and Pintley will recommend others based on your tastes.

    "From a former consultant who fell in love with German beer culture while studying abroad, Pintley is a Medford-based online community/super-easy service that "helps you drink better beer" by figuring out your tastes and recommending craft brews based on them, essentially operating like the "Pandora of Suds" but without accidentally taking you from DogFish 90 Min IPA to "Right Said Fred". " - Thrillist

    Well I am excited! Maybe I will try a new beer every night to help keep this heat wave in Boston interesting.

    30 June 2010

    get and stay fit!

    check out Bunner's fitness blog here and and latest mad tasty video blog on how to make a quick lean meal here!

    27 June 2010

    an exciting disaster

    Oh readers, let me tell you a tale of two thirds fail. My second Boston Organics delivery was chock full of vegetables I'd never really cooked with before, and I was ready for the challenge. But some challenges remind you that life is full of setbacks, and the important thing is to keep on going.

    So everything started okay. I had some potatoes from a shopping trip that needed to get used up, so I threw them on the boil. I mean the basics of mashed potatoes are pretty easy, right? Boil the potatoes until they're soft, with or without skin, then mash into a bowl with milk/cream, cheese maybe and salt & pepper.

    From the Boston Organics order, I had a bunch of spinach, which I chopped and simmered in olive oil with an orange pepper and some onions. Then I sort of saw the eggplant of the corner of my eye and decided to throw that in. I skinned it, sort of squared it (cut the sides off some it was moderately rectangular), and then cubed it. I had done this for a nut loaf before, and liked the way it looked. But that wasn't where the fail came in -- because I hate dry/rubbery eggplant, I decided I should add some veggie stock to make it juicy. It did that, I guess. But mostly, it just made it taste like soup. The most boring soup you've ever had.

    You may have noticed that I shied away from explaining further about the mashed potato, well, no, that was not the 1/3 win. I also had a beet handy. I've posted my beet salad before -- oh wait! i haven't! i must do that! -- but I wasn't ready for anything quite so sweet. So, yeah, I boiled up a beet and threw it in the mash, which made it this ludicrous pink. It didn't mash as well as the potato, probably need another twenty minutes longer if it would ever get that way. And THEN I ADDED HAZELNUTS. Le sigh. Awful idea. Great with potato salad, but there is nothing great about hard nuts in your mashed potato, because even though you know what's in there, every time you bite down on the nut you just get this idea that the potatoes didn't cook enough. Awful.

    However, the meal was saved by the asparagus. It was beautiful, a great mix between thin and thick, and I copied a recipe Nicole told me over drinks -- brush them with olive oil, salt & pepper, then broil in the oven for 15 mins. I also took the liberty of adding some secret seasoning. I'm not gonna lie, they were AMAZING. Anyone baking asparagus instead of broiling or grilling is a fool. There, I said it.

    Anyway, I look forward to righting the wrongs I inflicted on these innocent vegetables in the future. Thanks for listening.

    24 June 2010

    The whole duck experience. . .

    Venturing out to a restaurant I have had my eye on for sometime now, we ate dinner a few weeks ago at Salt's in Cambridge . While I'd like to say that my desire to dine here came from rave reviews or knowing any chef training with Jody Adams of Rialto is fantastic, the truth is, I came because they have one item I simply cannot pass up: A whole roasted duck for two.

    That's it. A whole roasted duck for two. It comes out on a push cart, nicely browned, stuffed with a calvados, sausage and herb mixture, accompanied by spring onions and roasted heirloom carrots and drizzled in lavendar honey and a rhubarb gastrique. They nicely carve it up and sent the two of us home with enough to make 2 more meals each with duck. and, its only $65. deal.

    Before I get too far, let me take you through the full restaurant experience: its small, dimly lit and somewhat formal. They start you out with the most amazing homemade bread whose bottom has been brushed in butter and dipped in coarse sea salt. followed by an amuse bouche, complimentary of course, of a potato cream soup with bacon foam and chives. We of course ordered an appetizer - which was a poached farm egg nestled in bed of green garlic oat risotto, burgundy escargot, morelle mushrooms surrounded by a gruyere and walnut oil gastrique. Then they brought the duck and asked preference for part, carving it right in front. We were far too stuffed for dessert, but they provided a palate cleanser of homemade cocoa marshmallows and rasberry jam bites. Yum.

    So, you ask, as we walked away from this dinner overly satisified and were feeling a bit guilty at how pleasurable the experience was, what were we to do with all that extra duck? Well, we managed to do a duck salad, mix it in with sprouts and shredded carrots and make into egg rolls, make duck cakes and lastly, indulge over breakfast in this masterpiece:
    Pictured: baby potatoes with left over spring onions, heirloom carrots and wilted spinach, topped with sauteed duck, fried egg and a spritz of hot sauce.

    23 June 2010

    Biscotti with Cranberries and Pistachios

    Biscotti with Cranberries and Pistachios (from Bon Appétit, December 2003)
    • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
    • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
    • ¾ teaspoon salt
    • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
    • ¾ cup sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
    • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon whole aniseed
    • 1 cup dried sweetened cranberries
    • ¾ cup shelled natural unsalted pistachios
    • 6 ounces imported white chocolate, chopped
    1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
    2. Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
    3. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl.
    4. Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl to blend well.
    5. Beat in eggs 1 at a time.
    6. Mix in lemon peel, vanilla, and aniseed.
    7. Beat in flour mixture just until blended.
    8. Stir in cranberries and pistachios (dough will be sticky).
    9. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface.
    10. Gather dough together; divide in half. Roll each half into 15-inch-long log (about 1 1/4 inches wide).
    11. Carefully transfer logs to 1 prepared baking sheet, spacing 3 inches apart.
    12. Bake logs until almost firm to touch but still pale, about 28 minutes.
    13. Cool logs on baking sheet 10 minutes while maintaining oven temperature.
    14. Carefully transfer logs still on parchment to cutting board.
    15. Using serrated knife and gentle sawing motion, cut logs crosswise into generous 1/2-inch-thick slices.
    16. Place slices, 1 cut side down, on remaining 2 prepared sheets.
    17. Bake until firm and pale golden, about 9 minutes per side.
    18. Transfer cookies to racks and cool.
    19. Line another baking sheet with waxed paper.
    20. Stir white chocolate in top of double boiler over barely simmering water just until smooth.
    21. Remove from over water.
    22. Dip 1 end of each cookie into melted chocolate, tilting pan if necessary; shake off excess chocolate.
    23. Place cookies on prepared sheet.
    24. Chill until chocolate is firm, about 30 minutes.

    16 June 2010

    Easy Tomato Soup Spice Cake

    Recently I was looking online for quick and easy dessert recipes. I found one for a spice cake that uses tomato soup instead of oil. Not a bad idea... I am going to give it a try. Here is how to make it, via allrecipes.com:


    * 1 (18.25 ounce) package spice cake mix
    * 1 (10.75 ounce) can Condensed Tomato Soup
    * 1/2 cup water
    * 2 eggs


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and lightly flour two 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pans.
    2. Mix cake mix, soup, water and eggs according to package directions. Pour into prepared pans.
    3. Bake 25 minutes or until done.
    4. Cool on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely.
    5. Fill and frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting.

    05 June 2010

    lettuce on pasta

    This meal felt somewhat controversial. To start with, I'd just received my first box from Boston Organics, and was pleased. Thing is, I may be a vegetarian but I hate lettuce. I didn't want to put it on my no list even though I could just in case the lettuce was the kind of green that'd make me change my mind, but when it arrived I still felt cold. So, I decided to put it on pasta.

    Now I'm not sure where I read this, but someone out there on the great wide web thought that it would be a great idea to tell folks that if they got too much lettuce in their farmshare that they should saute it with olive oil and salt & pepper. So I did. As you can see, it looks like I was stirfrying a salad.

    With the help of time, it began to look more like the sort of pasta topping I'd hoped for. The greens ended up looking like bak choy, and tasting similarly, albeit slightly more bitter. I threw it on gluten-free pasta with baby tomatoes, onions and some pesto and it went down pretty well.


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