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Sorry this recipe is getting written later than anticipated.  I kept tweaking the instructions, and then I wanted to make sure I had pictures.  (True story, I’ve been posting them on my personal Instagram and then copying them over because I’m too lazy to edit on my computer.)

Breakfast cookies are a thing that I have been obsessed with for the last two months.  You might be thinking that I’m exaggerating but I’m not.  I go to bed happy in the knowledge that there will be cookies for breakfast, and I wake up excited for cookies for breakfast.

Before the cookies came into my life, I was going thorough a phase where I was having cottage cheese with jam on toast.  It’s not a bad breakfast.  But one day, I did a breakdown on the nutritional values, and I was disappointed at how nutritionally deficient my breakfast was.

In my search for a better breakfast, I came across a recipe for vegan breakfast cookies on Once a Month Meals website.  Ever since, they have become a staple recipe.

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 12.40.48 PM

Don’t you want these for breakfast? I bet you do.

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Winter Restaurant Week came to a close yesterday, here in the Boston area.  A couple of my friends have raved about Toscano over the last year, so we went there.  Our menu was:

Primi
Salmone Affumicato
Foley Smoked Salmon – Crostini – Lemon – Caperberries

Rigatoni Toscano
Double Smoked Bacon – Tomato Cream – Herbs

Tagliatelle Porcini
Sautéed Porcini Mushrooms – Herbs

Pasta e Fagioli
Puree of White Bean Soup – Tubettini Pasta

Insalata Cesare
Romaine Hearts – Focaccia Croutons – Classic Dressing

Caprese
Local Fresh Burrata – Beefsteak Tomatoes – Basil

Secondi
Risotto Granchio
Jumbo Lump Crabmeat – Tomato – Shellfish Stock

Pollo Pizzaiola
Oven Roasted Chicken Breast -Pomodoro Sauce – Fresh Mozzarella – Oregano – Patate al Forno

Scaloppini Limone
Sautéed Veal Scaloppini – White Wine – Lemon – Parsley – Patate al Forno

Bistecca alla Griglia
Wood Grilled Sirloin of Beef  – Patate al Forno

Gamberoni al Moscato
Sautéed Shrimp – Leeks – Moscato Wine – Patate al Forno

Salmone Asparagi
Grilled North Atlantic Salmon – Asparagus – Mustard Sauce

Dolce
Tiramisu
Toscano House Specialty “Budino Style”

Torta di Mirtilli
Blueberry – White Chocolate Tart

Gelato e Sorbeto
Del Giorno

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The tagliatelle?  I loved it.  The pasta had a nice bite to it, and it wasn’t too oily.  The mushroom flavor was very good.  It wasn’t an immediate “wow” for one of my table companions.  But the more she ate, the happier she was with her dish.  For half of my table, the favorite starter was the rigatoni.  I tried a bite of it.  The bacon flavor is without question the dominant flavor.  It was very delicious as long as you like your bacon, and maybe I’ll order it next time.  Then again, I love tagliatelle and mushrooms, so I’m hard press to say which of the two I’d pick if I had to.  One of the diners had the white bean soup, and she was happy with it. It had a much more delicate flavor than I was expecting.  I’m not sure I’ll ever order it in the future, but I highly suspect that it’s because I’m pro-pasta at Toscano.

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My state as a grain CSA?

http://www.localgrain.org/about/

Crop examples are:

  • “Red Lammas” hard red winter wheat (heirloom)
  • “Redeemer” winter wheat
  • Oats
  • Spelt
  • Rye
  • Emmer (Known as Farro in Italy)
  • Barley
  • “Nothstine Dent” Corn
  • “Plymouth Flint” Corn
  • Black Turtle Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Winter Rye
  • “Tom Thumb”Popcorn
  • Triticale

WHAT?  I read thekitchn all the time and only noticed this eight months later?  Could I do this?  I’d need a way to get to Natick, seeing as I don’t have a car of my own right now.  Granted, pick up is once a year (or so it seems), but this sounds so amazing.  Spelt?  Emmer?  I want this!

Other reference link:

http://www.thekitchn.com/what-you-should-know-if-youre-thinking-of-getting-a-grain-share-kitchen-tour-205428

Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration.  I got a new cookbook in the mail.  This was one that I was really hoping to get my hands on.

First of all, I feel like I need a backstory.  I have a friend who holds an annual soup swap.  Well, he almost always has one.  A couple of times, he didn’t.  And a couple of times, I couldn’t make it.  But the point is that I have attended an event which required me to prepare 6 quarts of soup.  I don’t remember when I started going, but I was able to find a post on it from 2012.

https://awesomesauceeats.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/soup-swap-2012-cambridge/

Finding recipes that yield 6 quarts is a challenge.  Often times, it means multiplying ingredients, or sometimes making 4 quarts of one flavor and then 2 quarts of another flavor.  So, I was looking forward to getting my hands on The Soup Club Cookbook by Courtney Allison, Tina Carr, Caroline Laskow, Julie Peacock.  (Ok, I might admit that the cover with Weck jars drew me in because I think Weck jars are ridiculously cute.)

All the recipes in the book yield 8 quarts of soup.  Yup, 8 QUARTS.  First impression?  There’s a good mix of flavors and textures.  The chapters are done by “types”: broth, beans, purees, hearty, chilled, fish, and meat.  There’s also a small chapter for salad (in case you’re a soup and salad kind of person) and a chapter for bread (if you preferred combination is soup and bread).  The last chapters are an odd assortment of snack recipes and non-soup recipes (non-soup recipes generally serves 8).

The soups that I really want to make are 1) chickpea, roasted squash, and farro soup, 2) winter minestrone, and 3) mushroom and cashew cream soup.  Amusingly enough, I don’t think the soup swap is happening this year.  So far, I’ve only made the carrot coconut soup because it was really easy to scale it down to about 2.5 quarts.  (I divided everything by 3.)  It’s good.  It was simple to put together too.  However, I’m already tempted to mess around with the recipe to suit my flavor preferences.  (The main flavors were coconut milk, carrots, and ginger.  I’m just tired of coconut milk/ginger and ginger/carrot.)

crappy photographic evidence that soup was worked on

crappy photographic evidence that soup was worked on

To make the other recipes, I’m going to have to scale down again.  Or maybe convince a couple of my friends that we need to cook together and split the soup.  Or, maybe give in and hold a soup club/soup swap event of my own (Ha!  A bit unlikely as I am a lazy hostess) .

Other random comment about the cookbook, I think that people who prefer visuals to text will be happy with it.  It’s not overloaded with pictures, but there are plenty of photos and doodles throughout the book.

 

Disclaimer – I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  I have not been paid for this post.  I just really wanted this book.

The next post I plan to write is a recipe and not a review, if that’s more your thing.  (^_^)

 

Reference links:

http://www.bloggingforbooks.org/

http://www.randomhouse.com/book/231534/the-soup-club-cookbook-by-courtney-allison-tina-carr-caroline-laskow-and-julie-peacock

Last night, instead of NYE dinner at The Red House, we changed things up a bit and went to Harvest.  Both restaurants are in Harvard Square, Cambridge, but they are pretty different.  Harvest is fancier, the portions generally smaller, but still every bit wonderful and delightful.

I adore Harvest, even though I don’t eat there too often.  I’ve never been disappointed by their seasonal menus.  Although, I think my opinion of the restaurant is slightly skewed.  I took a special one-time cooking class with Mary Dumont, who is Harvest’s executive chef.  The class had a bonus appearance by Brian Mercury, who is  Harvest’s executive pastry chef.  They were both lovely people with infectious personalities and an obvious love for what they do.  It’s hard to dislike food created by them.

Last year, I had kicked myself slightly for not doing NYE dinner at Harvest.  The menu sounded amazing.  As such, I had my heart set on NYE dinner this year at Harvest from the get-go.  And it did not disappoint.

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Happy Holidays!

Am I really blogging on Christmas Day?  Yes.  Consider this my present to you.  (^_^)

My semester at night school is over and done with.  I am signed up for more night classes next semester, but I’ve decided to go off track and just take the classes that are of interest to me.  This means that I’m taking my next class at noncredit and hopefully that will afford me more mental space to do things I like, like blogging.

Anyway, I’ve had a cookbook sitting on my table that was sent to me by Blogging For Books.  I’ve been meaning to write about it for what feels like forever.  I just didn’t have the time until now.  Note – I’m not getting compensated for this beyond getting a cookbook for free.  This is my first time using Blogging For Books, and I think I could really like it.  When I logged in, there were about five or so cookbooks that I could chose from to review.  However, only one of them really caught my eye.

About week later, The Kitchen Ecosystem by Eugenia Bone landed in my mailbox.

First impressions?  I love the layout, the look, and the concept of this book.  In general, Eugenia gives you some recipes using a fresh ingredient, like fennel.  Then, she’ll provide a recipe to preserve said ingredient.  For our example, fennel becomes fennel-pistachio compote.  To round out the group of recipes for the ingredient, there are recipes on how to use the preserved product.  So in turn, fennel-pistachio compote becomes paired with egg salad or striped bass.

IMG_20141108_122710~2The chapters are centered around each ingredient.  They are in alphabetical order, starting from apples and finishing with zucchini.  There is also a small chapter on condiments, and a small chapter on how to preserve.  The pictures really complement the book.  The food styling is done so that the dishes look delicious and comforting.   Nothing looks intimidating.

IMG_20141108_122733~2
The only downside to this book is that I don’t think I’ll get to use it very often.  Several of the preservation recipes require pressure canning which I don’t have the equipment for.  Meanwhile, there are some recipes that just aren’t my thing.  There’s a recipe for Fried Ravioli with Grape Must Concentrate.  It’s a traditional Italian Christmas dessert, according to the description.  I’m sure it’s delicious, and I’d be happy to eat it if someone made it for me.  I just don’t see myself ever making it.
IMG_20141108_122750~2Overall, I like this cookbook and plan to use it.  (Hopefully, sooner rather than later.  Cranberry juice recipe, I’m looking at you.)  I will have to do some tweaking for those recipes where I won’t have the preserved components prepared in advanced, but I think that’s ok.

Eugenia Bone has a website that is, I think, a fair representation of her style.  Feel free to check it out, if the book is of any interest to you.

Reference Links:
http://www.bloggingforbooks.org/
http://www.kitchenecosystem.com/

Summer/Fall 2014

Look!  Pictures as promised!

There are probably more pictures I should upload but this is all I remember.

grilled chicken and stewed okra at Kareem's (Watertown, MA)

grilled chicken and stewed okra at Kareem’s (Watertown, MA)

kale2

tuscano kale in my garden

kale1

red kale in my garden

lobster and peach dish  at Kareem's (Watertown, MA)

lobster and peach dish at Kareem’s (Watertown, MA)

Kareem’s is a place in Watertown that serves dinner on the weekends (otherwise, it’s dedicated for catering and cooking classes).  An entree is typically around $25, but the food is fresh and lovely.  Chef Ahmad is very talented.  He also makes delicious desserts.  Expect the menu to rotate with the season.

let's talk about food festival swag

let’s talk about food festival swag

let's talk about food 2014

let’s talk about food 2014

let's talk about food 2014

let’s talk about food 2014.

I meandered through the Let’s Talk About Food festival by myself this year.  It’s not as fun when you’re alone.  It was smaller this year, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.  I found that having two demo locations last year to be overwhelming.  So, I’m glad that there was only one demo location, but the down side is that it meant fewer demos this year.

I had a lot of homework looming over my head that weekend, so I didn’t stick around for too long.

Farmstead board at the Salty Pig

Farmstead board at the Salty Pig

Salty board at the Salty Pig

Salty board at the Salty Pig

I still love the Salty Pig.  I was there on a Saturday with some friends for lunch.  Menu set up is a little different on lunch, than dinner or Sundays.  We ordered sampler boards instead of the normal charcuterie/cheese a la carte.   The Salty Pig board came with (I think):

Porchetta, SP Kitchen, MA Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder, Fennel Pollen, Rosemary
Stracciatella, SP Kitchen, MA Mozzarella Style Pulled Cheese Marinated Olives
N’duja Rillette, SP Kitchen, MA Smoked Pork, Calabrian Chili, Sea Salt

While I think our Farmstead board was:
Manchego de Corcuera, SPA Sheep, Aged 3 Months, Rich & Buttery
Pont L’Evêque, Normandy, FRA Cow, Washed Rind, Soft & Strong
Vermont Wildflower Honey
Marcona Almonds
Stravecchio, Veneto, ITA 
Cow, Aged 12 Months, Sweet & Nutty

I also ate a Broccoli Rabe pizza with Ricotta Salata, Lemon, Garlic, Chili.  No pictures because we devoured it so quickly, but it was delicious.  Definitely different, but no less awesome.  If you ever have a chance to visit the Salty Pig, I highly recommend it.

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