Category Archives: drink

key lime pineapple citrus martini

Do you ever have that perfect storm when you have random ingredients that you don’t normally have and it suddenly hits you that you can make something fabulous by combining them? Last Sunday afternoon we sitting around taking it easy and enjoying the nice spring weather.  Joseph suggested a drink on the porch, thinking of the bottle of Gremona Gessami Bianco we had picked up the day before.  But I was thinking of the pineapple juice we had.

When I was a kid, I loved pineapple orange banana juice, but almost never got to have it. I had forgotten all about that, but was reminded when I was looking for pineapple juice at the store to use for our Easter ham in pineapple mustard sauce. There was pineapple peach mango juice and pineapple orange banana, and oh man, I wanted to try them. But our fridge was already bursting, so we just got what we had come for.  All this came back to me when Joseph suggested the drink on the porch.

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a weekend of food love

Taza Chocolates

One of things that I really love about Joseph is that we both really enjoy and value food.  It’s not enough just to like food, to like to eat it.  Who doesn’t like to eat?  To be the man that I’ll spend the rest of my life with, he has to really appreciate what went into a dish to make it what it is, he has to celebrate the flavors and the way they work together, and he has to have a curiosity and genuine interest in what makes a dish so special.  It doesn’t hurt to also be an amazing cook who also does a heck of a job washing dishes.  Joseph is all of that, and more.

Valentine's at Taza Chocolate

We spent the weekend before Valentine’s exploring local food treasures including the Danish Pastry House (absolutely incredible pastries), Fastachi (nuts, chocolate, and more), Penzeys Spices, John Dewar & Co. Butchers, and the Spirited Gourmet for a sake tasting.  Then we had a fabulous dinner at Hungry Mother, one of my favorite restaurants in the Boston area, where the highlights were the braised beef tongue appetizer, the french gnocchi (I always have to order their gnocchi), and the outstanding bourbon upside-down cake with butter pecan ice cream.  I can’t stop thinking about that sweet, salty, rich, nutty caramel goodness.  And that was just Saturday.

cacao pod

Sunday, we trooped off to Taza Chocolate for a tour at the factory.  If you aren’t familiar with Taza Chocolate, they’re located in Somerville, MA, just outside Boston and they are the only direct trade, organic, stone ground, bean-to-bar chocolate maker in the country.  You’ll find plenty of chocolatiers in the States, but finding one that buys the cacao beans and does everything else from roasting the beans, to tempering, to making the bars, wrapping them (by hand no less!), and selling them is much more rare.  I knew it was a really cool company, but being there and actually seeing and hearing more about it, well, I’m completely smitten.

Taza Chocolates

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chocolate stout cake

Chocolate Stout Cake

Want something a little more grown up for the Super Bowl than brownies?  How about chocolate stout cake anyone?  Now, this is for the more sophisticated crowd since it does kind of require a fork and plate.  I know, we’re just getting highfalutin over here!

butter, stout, cocoa

But it does seem pretty fitting for a football game, right?  I mean, chocolate and beer!  Now, I admittedly don’t know a whole lot about football, but I certainly think that beer and chocolate make any football game a heck of a lot more interesting.

mixing chocolate stout batter

The sour cream in the cake makes it delightfully moist and the cake isn’t too sweet.  If you’re not a beer person, or even if you are but you’re not a stout person, don’t worry you’ll still be clamoring for more of this cake.  The beer makes the chocolate flavor more intense and brings out a bit of nuttiness. Continue reading


chicken piccata with lemon, capers and artichoke hearts

Chicken Piccata

This is another one of those recipes that I fell in love with before I had even tried it, based solely on the ingredients.  It’s got wine and lemon (two of my favorite things) and they’re accented by briny capers and artichoke hearts.  The chicken gets pounded, making it extra tender and juicy.  In fact, Joseph was doing such a good job pounding it that our landlady, who lives upstairs, called to make sure everything was ok.

dry Riesling and lemon

We’ve made this chicken piccata before and I’ve always loved it, but I’ve never had as much fun making it as I did when we made it this past Sunday night.  That ‘s because when our credit card cash back reward rolled in, we rolled out to Hunt’s Photo and Video and got my new love: the Canon 60mm macro.

zesting lemon

lemon cross-section

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toast the new year with pomegranate-rosemary royale

pomegranate-rosemary royale

Joseph and I drove from Boston to DC for the holidays and decided it would be fun to bring our cat, Snoopy, with us.  After 3 hours of yowling, she finally settled down and slept for the rest of the trip.  Still, it was a long trip and we were thrilled when we finally pulled up to my parents’ place.  Things improved even more when we got inside to find these cocktails and some awesome brie and apple compote toasts waiting for us, courtesy of my sister and brother-in-law.

The pomegranate-rosemary royale is made with a simple syrup infused with rosemary, giving it just a subtle herbal flavor while the pomegranate juice and Champagne make it both sweet and tart.  Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and it’s pretty as can be.  It’s just perfect for ringing in the New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope your year is filled with happiness and good food and drink!

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adam’s margarita

This fantabulous margarita recipe comes from my brother-in-law, Adam.  Since it uses a frozen mix it’s ridiculously easy.  I occasionally feel like I need to look up a recipe to make the whole thing from scratch, but why bother when this one’s so good and so easy? Continue reading


maple-mustard pork tenderloin with caramelized apples

As long as I’ve known my sister (i.e. my whole life), she’s been replete with ideas both good and bad. For example, when we were kids she liked to play “chef” and take random ingredients in the small kitchen at our after school program and “cook” (or rather, mix) them and then serve them to poor saps like me. She and her friends would run around exclaiming about their marvelous creations and I only recently learned that, despite her proud exclamations of her masterpieces, she in fact found them as disgusting as I did.  And it was such a relief! I mean, we’re talking about ketchup, flour, water, sugar, baking soda, and food coloring.  That kind of thing.  Yech.

But she does on occasion have really, really good ideas. Such as Apple Day.  Here’s what it is in her own words: Continue reading


Thomas Keller’s Caramelized Sea Scallops

Joseph insisted that instead of going out for his birthday, he wanted to make a nice meal at home and break open a bottle of wine that we brought back from our honeymoon in Napa last year.  One of the restaurants that we went to on our honeymoon was Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc (French Laundry wasn’t quite in our budget, not to mention it’s really hard to get reservations) and I gave Joseph Keller’s new cookbook, Ad Hoc at Home for Christmas.  Now, Thomas Keller’s cooking at home isn’t quite what we do at home on an average weekday night (I wish).  In fact, we hadn’t made anything from it yet, although Joseph has found the book to have really helpful tips, for example, how long to let meat rest before serving.  I mostly like to look at all the pretty pictures.

Anyway, while many of the recipes are bit more involved, Joseph found a very simple recipe that he wanted to make and oh my goodness, you need to do yourself a favor and try it in your home right away.  It’s very, very simple, and very, very tasty.  A perfectly caramelized scallop is pure perfection – a sweet little treat from the sea. We served them with roasted broccoli and some rice, threw in a cheese course (Camembert that we brought back from the French airport highrollers that we are), all served with Joseph Phelps’ 2007 Sauvignon Blanc. The result was a meal that tasted so good it felt like we’d spent a small fortune at a great restaurant and the cleanup was pretty minimal so we weren’t left with a mess wishing that we had gone out. Continue reading


West Branch Pond

 

west branch pond row boats

moose

So the real reason for our trip to Maine was not the blueberry beer, but to go to West Branch Pond Camps to hang out for 3 1/2 heavenly, relaxing days with my parents, sister, and brother-in-law. This is the kind of place where the most difficult decisions you’ll be faced with are whether you want pancakes or french toast for breakfast and whether you want to go for a hike or go canoeing and take a dip in the pond.  It is a hard life!

dining

 

All meals at WBPC are prepared by the owners at the lodge which was only 100 feet or so from the log cabin we stayed in.  While not all of the food was quite 100% up to my standards (canned green beans?), the rest of the food more than makes up for it.  Really.  It more than makes up for the canned green beans.  Fresh baked bread with every lunch and dinner.  Fresh baked dessert with every lunch and dinner. And just damn good home cooking for the rest of it.  Macaroni and cheese with huge chunks of croutons.  Beautiful roasted cornish hen.  Turkey dinner with the most amazing, rich, creamy mashed potatoes and killer stuffing. And the ribs!  Having been vegetarian for many years, I had never actually had ribs.  The meat practically came off the bone just by looking at it and was smothered in a tangy barbecue sauce.  I was in love.  And while some of the veggies may have come from a can, many of them also come straight out of their garden.  So really, the rest of the food more than made up for the occasional canned veggie. By a long shot.

cornish hen

cream puff

lemon square

Oh, and of course we brought our own wine.  Lots of it.

Sharp Rock

Sharp Rock Synergy


Fisherman’s Catch

We may have just gotten back from our trip to Europe, but we decided it was time for another vacation (if only life could always be like this).  We started our trip to Maine right after work on Thursday and worked our way up to Greenville where we were staying the night before heading to West Branch Pond early the next morning.  We were eager to start the Maine experience and followed glowing Yelp reviews to Fisherman’s Catch in Wells, ME on the way up.  There was a 70 minute wait, but we figured it would be worth it, in part because people people kept telling us just that as they exited the restaurant patting their bellies. A Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale with wild Maine blueberries bobbing about made the wait easy.  The beer itself is tasty, but the berries, which explode with fresh blueberry sweetness and the the subtly fruity ale they’d been soaking in, were the real highlight.

blueberry ale

The meal itself was less satisfying.  So many of the Yelp reviewers raved about the fried clams and the menu alerts readers to the fact that the clams make it into the book 1001 Things to do Before You Die.  Or so I thought…. I found out later that it actually said 1001 Things to do Before You Diet.  I find this considerably less exciting because the first is not limited to food. Regardless, when we ordered the Captains Platter for 2, which was loaded with fried scallops, clams, shrimp, and haddock on top of french fries and hey, why not throw in some rolls because there’s not enough white/yellow food, we found that it pretty much all tasted the same.  Maybe it’s because we don’t eat much fried food?  I don’t know.  It really all just tasted like the batter, which I would say was only so-so.  But maybe it’s just Joseph and me, because everyone else just loved it.  Next time I think I’ll just stick to the lobster.

mountain of fried seafood