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The Freezer, the Single Cook’s Best Friend

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Yup, I’m going to say that I won’t need to cook anything for a while…. I didn’t even know that I could actually get this much in there.

Full Freezer

4 small containers goulash (each serves 2)
4 small containers bolongnese sauce (each serves 2)
5 small containers Coq au vin (each serves 2)
2 large containers tikka-masala base (each serves 4)
1 large container chicken pot pie filling (serves 2 or 3)
1 bag spƤtzle (serves 2)
5 quart bags spanikopita
1 pan manicotti (serves 4)
(above all homemade)

1 package uncooked shrimp
3 packages scallops (x12 each)
2 filet mingon steaks
2 new york strip steaks
3 chicken breasts
4 hamburgers patties
1 package bacon
1 bag chicken tenders from Trader Joes

2 packages lobster ravioli
2 packages naan from Dosa Factory in Central Square
2 Dr. Oetker pizzas (the “emergency pizzas”)
1 package flatbread
1 package hamburger rolls
1 box puff pastry
1 bag french fries
1 package maultashen
1 box spinach
1 box peas
1 bag cranberries
1 container guacamole from Trader Joes (which freezes remarkably well)
1/2 package pinenuts

2 martini glasses
4 trays + half full bucket ice cubes

Yeah, like you needed to know this, right?

Bergamot

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Bergamot is the new restaurant that has opened up in the old EVOO space here in Inman Square (by The Wine & Cheese Cask and Dali). While I was sorry to see EVOO move, they are just down in Kendall Square, so not to worry… it hasn’t shut the doors. Anyway, Bergamot moved in more or less straight away and it’s been getting great reviews. Last night I had the chance to try it out and the reviews are right: it’s definitely one of the better newcomers to the Boston/Cambridge restaurant scene; right up there in my mind with TW Food and Craigie on Main — given Craigie on Main’s prices, Bergamot is downright inexpensive! (Note: Bergamot is in the $25-35 for mains range so still a little in the ‘special occasion’ category; check out the menu)

bergamot_pea-salad

After a great little amuse bouche of local crab meat wrapped in celeriac on a fresh cucumber, I had the pea-greens salad (pea shoots, scaled/shocked english peas, finely diced berkshire ham, pecorino cheese, truffle vinaigrette and the most amazing “fried egg”. I think they must have soft boiled it, carefully pealed it, then rolled it in panko crumbs and flash fried it. The center was still runny like a poached egg and when you cut into it, it combined with the dressing… lovely). My main dish was a lovely cut of halibut on new potatoes, baby carrots and a perfectly caramelized entire thick slice of vidalia onion, with a touch of herb sauce. Really, really excellent and just the right amount of food. All the desserts sounded wonderful but I was good and stayed away (very tempted but that bride’s maid dress fitting is coming up).

And you know a restaurant is good when they have the Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban on the menu. Again, scotch is off limits for me presently, but it is unusual to even see it on the menu.

Pussy Willows

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Every once in a while when you download the images from the Canon, you come up with totally unexpected results. This is a completely unedited picture; no brightness or contrast editing at all. Straight off the camera.

Pussy Willows

When I was up in Marblehead a few weeks ago, someone had some pussy willows in a vase, right next to their very white front door (blue house). I guess the sun was just right — and super bright — behind the vase when I made the photo and so the pussy willows almost seem to strangely glow.

Playing with Shadows, Stones + Leaves, Again

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

While autumn is my favorite time of year to visit the Mt. Auburn Cemetery, spring always hold some surprises, so I ventured over there this morning. There were a lot more people than usual, and I wonder if that has anything to do with the Easter season, or if it was just because it was a sunny (albeit cold) morning. Anyway, here are a few shots from today:

Mt Auburn Cemetery
Mt Auburn Cemetery
Mt Auburn Cemetery
Mt Auburn Cemetery
Mt Auburn Cemetary
Mt Auburn Cemetary
Mt Auburn Cemetary

The rest are up here on Flickr.

Saturday Drive to Marblehead

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

I had to get out of the house this morning, so up I went to Marblehead (35-40 minute drive). I went for a walk from the neck to the lighthouse point and then drove into town. It was very empty, which I guess is to be expected in late March, before the summer crowds arrive. Don’t let the bright sunshine fool you — it was freeeeeeezing and I needed to sit in a coffee shop for a while once in town so that my fingers and nose would warm back up!

Marblehead in March
Marblehead in March
Marblehead in March
Marblehead in March
Marblehead in March

A few more pictures are up on Flickr too

A Wonderful Start to Spring

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

View to the South
View to the South (Boston’s Customs Tower)

View to the North
View to the North (The Old North Church)

Bubbling Beets
Bubbling Beets

Voignier
Yummy Voignier

Salad Craving
Salad Craving on the first Day of Spring

Dinner chez Liz
Dinner Chez Liz

The Hostess with the Mostest
The Hostess with the Mostest

Beer, Beer and More Beer

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Lord Hobo

… You know that your evening will end up in a rather drunken state when…. the first beer of the night is called “Arrogant Bastard“… [grin]

With Jean unfortunately already on a flight back to London (after a lovely day in Portsmouth, NH, where the drinking really already started, I might add), Joe and I headed to a new pub just a few short blocks (4, to be exact) away from my apartment. Lord Hobo just opened a few weeks ago, to acclaim from beer aficionados and with great food reviews as well. This evening was my introduction to it, even though I’d been to the pub in it’s previous incarnation as the B-Side Lounge.

We didn’t intend to drink through the entire beer menu (good thing, too, as the draught menu itself is at least 50 long, bottles another page or so, plus the cocktails… but I digress), but we did sample more than half a dozen each and with the exception of the Allagash piss-water that Joe had at one point, the beer definitely has some quality going. My personal favorite of the night was the Shark Attack; least favorite was the Dead Guy (not often that you can say you drank a Dead Guy and survived a Shark Attack in one evening, eh?) They even served a Munich weissbier that didn’t taste skunked. Overall, I give Lord Hobo a thumbs up.

We didn’t try the food, but it looked good.

For the record, I learned two things on Saturday night: 1. Don’t try to match a British soldier pint for pint because you will end up stumbling home, barely able to remember where you live and 2. It is likely unwise to spend the half the evening discussing one’s love life (or lack there of) with one’s best friend’s fiance. At one point (after I was already three sheets to the wind), he told me that apparently I scare people — in a good way [grin] and at another point, Joe “threatened” to find 10 single men in the bar that would like to sleep with me. Thankfully, he didn’t go round to ask anyone, because can’t say that pimping is looked upon nicely in Cambridge-town. All in good fun and we had a lot of laughs. The only thing missing was Jellybean being there, but we’ll have to go back, because their cocktail menu looked mighty nice as well… lots of drinks with bubbles (scroll down a bit for the cocktails)!

I spent Sunday on the couch watching hockey and nursing a headache. Joe spent it on his way back to London. I hope British Airways treated him kindly.

Spring Knitting Project

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

I tend not to knit in the summer time. Besides the obvious fact that there are so many other cool things to do outdoors in the summer, knitting in the summer tends to get pretty hot on the fingers and sweaty fingers does not for good knitting make. It still being a few months until summer, however, I decided last week to start on a little more ambitious project for myself: a lace-weight 100% baby alpaca yarn cardigan in yes (of course) green. It’s a open edge (meaning, no band on the ends) and I intend to make semi-kimono-like sleeves for it — in other words, loose and flowing. The yarn is super light and it’s been a bit of an effort to work with it because of that (not to mention that I bent a pair of #1 needles already so I went out and bought two new sets in case I do that again; I tend to knit pretty tightly), but so far, so good. I am a little less than half-way up the back piece, so maybe one-sixth (or perhaps more like one-seventh) of the way done in a weeks time.

Spring Knitting Project

I’ve given myself until April 30 to complete, which might be overly ambitious, but we’ll see. My fingers are definitely getting a workout with such fine yarn.

On the Mend

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Sedgwick on the Mend

Sedgwick is slowly getting better. It’s been 5 days now since the dreaded morning and at this point, the wound is healing and we’re simple hit the “this is really annoying” stage. He’s tired of wearing the collar (not that it was ever particularly popular) and most of all, I think that he misses the ability to groom himself and scratch his face. I’ve gotten into the habit of scratching his face for 10 minute intervals every few hours, which seems to appease his need to pull off the collar. Between that and the hot-packing of the wound 4x per day, I am spending a lot of time sitting on the floor next to the pillow-bed I put out for him.

Giving him the drugs has been a pain in the butt as well. I feel really guilty about being so heavy-handed and he, well, he just hates the pills more than anything else. The first few days I tried to be cajoling and explanatory about it (lots of rationing with him, in German, as if he understands that), but the last few days (after he really bit me on Friday), I’ve determined that I really just need to wake him from a deep sleep, push the antibiotics down his throat and hope he doesn’t spit it up again. Every time I do it, I think of the silly Seinfeld episode where Kramer is taking dog pills for his cough.

Cooking Experiments from a New Continent: Moroccan Tagine

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

So, to break out of my usual European-centric cooking route, I decided to try a new recipe that I saw in one of my cooking magazines: a Moroccan Tagine. It turned out really well and the recipe was really simple. This might have to be added to the “regular rotation”. I had it with a Tomato-Lentil Couscous (though I cheated and just used a box for that).

Tagine

Moroccan Lamb* and Chickpea Tagine

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound lamb stew meat*
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons honey
2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup raisins
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas / garbanzo beans
1/2 cup chopped pistachios
Chopped cilantro to garnish

Directions
Heat a large saucepan** over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add meat; saute for 4 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove meat with a slotted spoon. Add onion, salt, cayenne pepper and cumin pan; saute for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; saute for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Return meat to the pan. Stir in tomato paste and honey. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add broth, raisins and chickpeas; bring to a boil.

Reduce medium to low, cover with lid and simmer for 50-60 minutes or until meat is tender, stirring occasionally. Add pistachios and cook for an additional 10 minutes, lid off. Sprinkle with cilantro.

* I don’t eat lamb so I made this recipe with beef and while it might not be authentic, it was great nevertheless.
** Traditionally, this tagine should of course, be made in a tagine. I don’t have a tagine, so I just used my Creuset dutch oven and it worked beautifully.