Tag Archives: cheese

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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zucchini lemon pasta

There are a few food blogs that I check pretty regularly, but hands down my favorite is Smitten Kitchen.  When I saw this recipe of hers there was no question about whether I was going to make it, it was when.  You see, I love any quick simple pasta that involves lemon.   Oh, and there’s cheese!

When I had already picked up the zucchini for this recipe, my sister sent me a different but similar zucchini pasta recipe.  When I responded that we were once again on the same wavelength, she wrote back that she had seen this recipe and wasn’t going to  make it because she didn’t have a mandoline.  Oh.  Oops, I missed that part.  But it wasn’t going to stop me! I had a fleeting thought that I could just cutting them thicker, but scoffed at the idea. I would do it by hand!  So I painstakingly cut the first zucchini into teeny tiny slivers.  Then Joseph came along and finished the next two double time with his master cutting skills. Continue reading


Fettuccine with Creamy Red Pepper-Feta Sauce

roasted red pepper fettuccini

Joseph and I love to have the ingredients around for this pasta from Ellie Krieger because it’s fast, easy, relatively healthy, and the ingredients keep for a little while so you don’t need to make it right away.  In fact, we got the ingredients before our trip to Europe a few weeks ago and didn’t make it until last night.  I guess if you have to buy parsley, you might need to make it a little sooner.  That’s the beauty of growing your own herbs!  No more finding small packages of overpriced herbs that have slipped and been forgotten under all your other produce in the fridge and spoiled.

Fettuccine with Creamy Red Pepper-Feta Sauce
Adapted from Ellie Krieger

Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 (16-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 cup crumbled feta cheese or a 6-ounce block
1 pound whole-wheat fettuccine
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and garlic until soft, about 10 minutes. Add roasted peppers and saute until heated through. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  2. Place the roasted red pepper mixture in a food processor with the stock and all but 2 tablespoons of the feta. Process until combined and smooth, about 30 seconds.
  3. Cook the  pasta. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.
  4. Toss the pasta with the sauce, adding the pasta water bit by bit if extra moisture is needed.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Divide among pasta bowls and sprinkle with parsley and the remaining feta cheese.