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Monday, December 26, 2011

Pea Puree and Tomato Crostini

My friends Lauren and Matt have a holiday party every year - it's ALWAYS too much fun :) 

This year I wanted to make these Pea Puree and and Tomato crostini. 1) Because it was red and green and festive for the holiday and 2) It is delicious. 

I would know because I stole the recipe from my friend Krista at Lillian and Alice who made them for a get together I had over the summer.



What you will need:

  • 1 10oz bag of frozen peas - defrosted
  • 1 garlic clove peeled
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 day old loaf of french bread
  • More olive oil for brushing
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes - quartered
  • 3/4 cup of pine nuts
  • 1 lemon

If you don't have day old bread take a fresh loaf, slice into 1/2 inch slices and toast in the oven at 300F for 10 minutes.





Toast the pine nuts over a medium low heat until golden brown. I burned mine because I got distracted. I always burn them.

Set them aside.




Quarter the tomatoes. Also set aside.




Place the thawed peas, garlic clove and parmesan cheese in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper.







Pulse to chop then slowly stream in the olive oil until you get the consistency you want.





 Brush each side of the bread with olive oil.






Place on a hot grill pan for 2-3 minutes per side.








Top with the pea puree, tomatoes, and toasted pine nuts. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top when ready to serve.






Some of us at the party :)



Sunday, December 25, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I don't have much to say about this one. Eating a homemade chocolate chip cookie right after it comes out of the oven is pretty sweet.

I made these for my friend Jen and I one Sunday when we were hanging around. They are my best batch yet :)


What you will need:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 12 oz (2 cups) of chocolate chips or chunks
  • Sea Salt




Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.


In an electric mixer (if you have one, otherwise just use a bowl) beat the softened butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until it is creamy.

Add the eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated.

In small batches beat in the flour mixture.

Stir the in the chocolate chips and drop approx. 1 tablespoon "balls" of dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle each cookie with a tiny bit of cracked sea salt. 
   **It sounds crazy but it changes the whole taste of the cookie for the better and brings out all of the flavors.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes until the cookies are golden brown. 

Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Yum. Yum. YUM.




Monday, December 19, 2011

Chinatown Hot Pot through the Hipstamatic lens

My friends and I love going to Hot Pot restaurants but haven't been in a while. The other weekend we finally got our act together and went to Kaze Shabu Shabu in Chinatown. Hot Pot is where a large bowl of broth is heated at the table and various ingredients are cooked in that broth.

I have been playing around with my Hipstamatic app for the iPhone as I took all of these photos with the John S. lens and Ina's 1969 film.

First thing to do is make the plain soy sauce they give you more flavorful! Ingredients typically given are scallions, minced garlic, hot peppers, and a chinese barbecue sauce. Mix them in the soy sauce until you get a combination you like.


Next up...SAKI BOMBS! If you know me you will know I am not a huge beer fan but at Hot Pot I am always down to saki bomb.


Some people get warm saki but we just get it cold because it is going right into cold beer.


There are a few different kinds of broth you can but we always go with the basic miso soup. Here is how it looks when they bring it to the table. There is a burner in the middle of the table and it heats the broth up really fast.


Of course we need an appetizer. We went for the fan fried pork gyoza.


We have tried a few different entrees and our favorite is short ribs. Each entree comes with a plate of vegetables to add to your broth and a choice of rice or noodles. We usually split one entree between two people.


Vegetables cooking away...


The short ribs only take 10 seconds to cook in the broth  because it is sliced so thin.


Udon noodles 





Jaime doing a saki bomb!


YUM!



Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Current Obsession: The Hunger Games Trilogy

There is a group of us at work who are reading the Hunger Games Trilogy. I'm not a big reader but everyone kept telling me how amazing the books were...



...and THEY WERE RIGHT. Ever since I picked up the first book I haven't been able to put them down. I am currently in the last part of the third book, Mockingjay. They are categorized under "Teen/Young Adult" but don't let that fool you. They are good. I was sold by page two. 

The boxed set is available on Amazon but if you have a Nook or Kindle (I have the Nook Simple Touch) the trilogy is available for $17!

Now I only have to wait 98 days, 23 hours and 20 minutes (according to the Hunger Games movie website) until I can see it on the big screen. And I have to say the trailer looks AWESOME!!





One of the girls at work was just gifted the Hunger Games cookbook so a bunch of us decided it would be fun to have a Hunger Games party before the movie came out. I told you I wasn't kidding - we're obsessed.

 Food is such an important part of the books that I think this was a brilliant idea. The recipe names are all based of dishes and foods eaten in the books but all look like the are going to be oh so yummy!


Googling trying to find the cookbook I stumbled upon http://www.fictionalfood.net - a website that has recipes inspired from favorite books. When I saw the adorable Hunger Games sugar cookies I knew I wanted to make them for our party. They have character names and important phrases from the books pressed into the dough.

Photo courtesy of www.fictionalfood.net

The cookie cutters were recently sold at Williams-Sonoma but they currently say "No Longer Available". I am hoping they will bring the set back and until then I'll be on the hunt for an alternative! Let me know if you find any.



Come on? So adorable!! They can be used for many different occasions. Bring 'em back Williams and Sonoma.



Now to complete my obsession with the Hunger Games...China Glaze's nail polish set inspired by the book. I was already in the midst of a nail polish craze trying all different colors and developing an intense love for all things Essie. Now I have 12 new colors that I absolutely love AND they're in direct reference to my favorite books? yay :)

Thanks to Jaime for sending me this link earlier today!



Each color is based off the 12 districts in the book and what their specialty was.


Luxe and Lush – District 1 (Luxury)
Stone Cold – District 2 (Masonry)
Riveting – District 3 (Technology)
Hook and Line – District 4 (Fishing)
Electrify – District 5 (Power)
Fast Track – District 6 (Transportation)
Mahogany Magic – District 7 (Lumber)
Dress Me Up – District 8 (Textiles)
Harvest Moon – District 9 (Grain)
Foie Gras – District 10 (Livestock)
Agro – District 11 (Agriculture)
Smoke and Ashes – District 12 (Mining)


So that's it. If you like the Hunger Games feel free to leave a comment. I always love talking about it :) If you haven't read it go grab a copy and let me know what you think!



Saturday, December 10, 2011

Trade



My friends and I have wanted to try Trade on the corner of Atlantic Ave and Congress St. for a while now. This past Thursday we finally found the time! 

Another friend of mine was there on a Monday and told me the place was packed and that I should make a reservation. Clearly I forgot to do that.

I called Trade around 4pm in the afternoon and they were already booked up until 9:15pm and do not have a waiting list. We decided to go anyway with hopes of getting seats at the bar (which we did) and we were lucky because the place was packed! If you want to go for a sit down meal or have a large party make a reservation in advance!

Here are a few snapshots of our view from the bar area. I love the large hanging lights and they have an awesome pizza oven! Sorry for the grainy texture but I took all the pics on my iPhone.





First up on my list of things to get: WINE! I went with the Gotham City Cabernet. I knew I loved Trade as soon as I got my drink because they pour LARGE glasses of wine! You probably can't tell here since I had already drank more than half of my glass by this point...whoops.


For an appetizer we had Fried dough with parmesan, prosciutto and anchovies. DELICIOUS  The prosciutto was perfectly crispy and the shaved parmesan and garlic and olive oil drizzled on top made the dish for me. 



Our main corse was a Mushroom, figs, and arugula flatbread with gorgonzola, sage pesto and walnuts. Fig and arugula is ones of my favorite pizza toppings so I had to try it on my first meal at Trade. However, the other flatbreads have me intrigued (Mussels, tomato, leeks, with saffron and garlic??) so I will definitely be going back to try some other kinds. 

The flatbread had a really yummy crust - crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They cut the pieces into perfect small rectangles and there are generous portions of the toppings on every piece. The sage pesto was very garlicy so if you don't want garlic breath I would maybe try a different kind. If that doesn't bother you then go for it because it is just so tasty!!


I love brussel sprouts so when I saw them listed under 'Sides' I had to try them out. To my surprise when we were served them they were mini brussel sprouts (adorable!) roasted and served with a Aleppo pepper and nuts mixture that I couldn't stop dipping my flatbread crust in.


So, if you haven't checked out Trade yet it is definitely worth the trip! Maybe I'll see you there sometime :)


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Orzo with Feta and Tomatoes

I went to a friends birthday party the other weekend where we celebrated pot luck style and everyone brought a dish. One of my favorite things to do is to find a recipe and add or make changes to it to make it my own. When thinking about what to make that would feel a lot of people and transport easily this orzo recipe immediately came to mind. I found it a long time ago on the Food Network website.

The greatest thing about it - it can be served both hot or cold and is delicious both ways! 






Recipe adapted from Rachel Ray.

What you will need:

  • 1 lb orzo
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot (diced)
  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes (halved)
  • Large handful of parsley leaves (chopped)
  • 2 cups of feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper 

Boil water and add the orzo. Cook until al dente. Drain and coat the orzo with olive oil to keep it from sticking.

While the orzo is cooking peel and dice the shallot. Cut the grape tomatoes in half and pull the parsley leaves off the stems and chop.


Melt the butter in the same pot that you cooked the orzo over a medium heat. Add the shallot and saute until translucent.

Turn the heat off. Add the feta cheese and the cooked orzo.

Toss with the parsley and tomatoes. Add the lemon juice and season with pepper to taste.