Thursday, March 21, 2013

Simply Gourmet in Southie has a new home!

I am extremely exited to announce that Simply Gourmet in Southie has a new home:

Along with a new home comes a new look:

If you noticed I haven't posted much in the past week and that is because the move was underway. I am really excited about my new domain along with a move from Blogger to Wordpress.

While I'm still learning the ropes over at Wordpress (bear with me) I hope you take a minute to update your bookmarks for Simply Gourmet in Southie. All new posts going forward will live there starting with the next post after this one!

Thank you for following my posts this past year and a half and I look forward to what is to come over on the new site!


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Featured Recipe: Sweet Basil's Seafood Chowder

This is the third, and final, recipe from Chef Dave Becker of Sweet Basil located in Needham, MA. 

Taken right from Stewed, Chef Dave's newest cookbook, today's featured recipe is Seafood Chowder. The great thing about this recipe is you can use whatever type of seafood you prefer! Don't like mussels? No problem, double up on the shrimp.

Get creative and mix and match according to your taste preferences!

Thanks to Chef Dave and the team at Sweet Basil for all of the great information and beautiful photos. It was so fun sharing this information with everyone. Don't hesitate and check out Sweet Basil today - you will be very happy you did :)

Photo Credit: Nina Gallant 

Sweet Basil's Seafood Chowder:

    Serves 4 to 6
    • 1 stick unsalted butter
    • ½ cup flour
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for roasting the clams
    • 2 cups Spanish onions, ¼” dice
    • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
    • ¼ cup celery, minced
    • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
    • 3 cups Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed, ¼” dice
    • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
    • 1 cup sherry
    • 1 ½ quarts Fish Stock (page 93 of Stewed)
    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • ½ pound fresh mussels, scrubbed
    • ½ pound Maine baby shrimp
    • ½ pound squid, tentacles and rings cut
    • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
    • ½ pound whole clams, scrubbed


      • Chopped fresh parsley
      • Chopped fresh basil

      Preheat the oven to 400º.

      In a cast iron skillet, melt the butter over low heat. When the butter melts, slowly whisk in the flour. Allow the roux to cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring continuously, until the mixture turns brown.

      Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, celery, and thyme. Sauté the mixture for 5 minutes or until the ingredients begin to caramelize. Add the potatoes, corn, and sherry. Continue cooking for 1 minute or until the liquid is reduced. Add the Fish Stock, bring to a boil, and then add the boiling soup to the roux, maintaining the medium-high heat. Slowly whisk in the cream, and then add the mussels, shrimp, and squid. Decrease the heat to low and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the mussels open, and remove from the heat. Season to your liking with salt and pepper.

      Meanwhile, arrange the whole clams on a baking sheet, sprinkle with a few pinches of kosher salt and drizzle with a few splashes of olive oil. Roast in the oven until the clamshells open.

      Ladle the soup into bowls, evenly distributing the roasted clams. Garnish with the parsley and basil, and serve.

      Sweet Basil is located at 942 Great Plain Ave., Needham, MA 02492.

      If you are interested in purchasing Chef Dave's newest cookbook, Stewed, or any of his cookbooks, you can find them here:

      Monday, March 11, 2013

      Pinterest Faves: Week of 3/3/13 - 3/9/13

      I am obsessed with this bathing suit. I think I have to splurge and get this for my summer in Newport this year!

      'Penelope' Crochet Overlay One Piece Swimsuit

      I found this pin but it did not lead my to a website. Luckily the directions are simple - put any fabric you choose under a glass frame and use as a tray in your home. This would be really cute on a dresser or bathroom counter!

      Picture frame turned into a tray

      The Copley collection from Hearts On Fire is quickly becoming my favorite and these pave pendants would look great day or night! The hardest part is choosing white gold, yellow gold, or rose. How about all three layered on different length chains?

      With St. Patrick's Day coming up this weekend I have been looking for a good cookie recipe to bring to a party my friends are throwing. Here's to wishful thinking that my cookies will look anywhere near as good as these...

      Shamrock Cookies

      Sticking with the St. Patrick's theme for the end of this post how about a White Russian turned green? This recipe calls for mint extract but you could make it without and just add green food coloring for a perfectly festive drink!

      Green Russian

      Let the Shenanigan's begin!

      I <3 Shenanigan's Tee-Shirt

      Sunday, March 10, 2013

      Penne Carbonara

      I always thought carbonara would be really hard to make but it's actually surprisingly easy.

      When I came across this recipe from Food52 (and realized I had all of the ingredients already in the house) I figured I would give it a try. It came out really good and was almost effortless. I will definitely be making this again! 

      I love when that happens.

      Recipe adapted from Food52 


      • 1 lb penne pasta  **spaghetti would work great too**
      • 1 lb bacon
      • 1 1/4 cup of frozen peas
      • 4 eggs
      • 1 cup fresh grated parmesan
      • salt and pepper

      Boil a large pot of water, salt, and cook the pasta according to the package directions.

      While the pasta is cooking, cut the bacon into small 1/2" pieces. It will be easier if you cut the bacon while it is still cold. Warm a stainless steel skillet over medium heat and cook the bacon until crispy. Stip and break up the bacon pieces using a wooden spoon occasionally while cooking. Drain on a plate covered with a paper towel.

      In a separate bowl mix the eggs, parmesan, and pepper until you get the consistency of thick batter.

      Dump the peas into a microwave safe bowl with a little water. Microwave 3-4 minutes, or until the peas are warm, stirring halfway through.

      When the pasta is done, drain it quickly. Put the pasta back in the pot and pour the egg mixture over. Mix well to cook the egg with the heat from the pasta. Add the bacon and peas. 

      Done and done!

      Tuesday, March 5, 2013

      Pinterest Faves: Week of 2/24/13 - 3/2/13

      March 1st means time to take down the winter decorations and get ready for spring. I want to get some white hydrangeas and keep them in a mason jar on my coffee table. Maybe paint the jar grey/silver?

      Hydrangeas in distressed mason jars

      My sister had a great geo patterned cardigan from Urban Outfitters that they no longer sell :( This is the closest thing I've been able to find to it yet...

      SheInside Geo Tribal Pattern Open Cardigan

      I don't know which of these pretzel bite recipes I want to try to make first?? 

      Pretzel Bites - 3 ways

      These quinoa patties are easy to make and you can use whatever you have on hand to flavor them. If you make a big batch of the mix just keep it in a bowl in the fridge. Form patties to cook as needed throughout the week.

      These would be great over a salad for lunch as well!

      Quinoa Patties

      This pin was kind of a dud because it didn't lead me to the website it was originally from. Luckily it had the recipe in the description.

      I have everything I need to make these already in the house - love when that happens!!

      Pre-heat your oven to 375 F. Open the crescent rolls according to package direction. 

      Spread melted butter on rolls and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Roll up the crescents and bake at 375 F for 11-13 mins. 

      While the crescents are cooking mix 1 1/3 cup of powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons of milk. Spoon the icing over the crescents as soon as they come out of the oven and still hot.

      Friday, March 1, 2013

      Tavern Road Opens in Boston's Fort Point Channel

      There is a new restaurant open in what is being called Boston's "Innovation District".

      Tavern Road, opened Monday, February 25th, is owned by Chef Louis DiBiccari and his brother Michael DiBiccari. Recipes are inspired by family history and the local community and cooked in a large, open kitchen. Design comes from their Uncle Adio DiBiccari, an American master sculptor, who opened an art studio in 1952 on Tavern Road by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. You can also find work from local artists from Fort Point Channel-based artists Project Super Friends

      If you don't know Chef Louie check out Chef Louie Night. Also known as "Iron Chef Nights", guests of these events vote on the ingredients ahead of time. The morning of the event Chef Louie and his crew find what the secret ingredients are and scramble around to come up with anything from one dish to a multi-course menu in only a few hours time. Check out the website to learn more about these events here.

      The menu is "designed to be read in the way it should be consumed" starting your meal with small plates for the table, to shared entrees, and finished with an array of desserts. The menu will rotate seasonally with a few consistent signature dishes year round. 

      Another fun menu feature is "Today's Animal" where each week, Tavern Road spotlights a locally-raised, whole animal. The featured animal will be served in appetizers and entrees to utilize every part they can. 

      Don't worry, Tavern Road has a vegetarian menu as well!

      You can even get food late-night from 11:00pm - 1:00am. A special menu of bar snacks including charcuterie, oysters, panini sandwiches and the Louis burger will be available.

      You know with this type of food you are going to get some amazing drinks. Beverage Director and No. 9 Park Alum Ryan McGrale is hand-crafting seasonal cocktails in small batches. Using locally-sourced spirits he is breaking the cocktail menu into 3 parts (taken straight from their fact sheet):

      1. “Libations” – a gathering of classic cocktail recipes from pre and post-
      prohibition era alongside house-created cocktails from the Tavern Road bar

      2. “Cocktail Flights” – weekly-changing selection of three 1.5oz cocktail samples
      with varying themes (martinis, daiquiris, tiki drinks, aperitifs…)

      3. “Cocktails from Friends” – four times a year this section will feature cocktails
      created and donated to Tavern Road's drink menu, by some of the best in the
      business. Without traveling to San Fransisco or Seattle, you can have that city’s
      top bartender’s creation in front of you at Tavern Road. Contributors represent
      Flatiron Lounge, Clover Club NYC, Death & Co., Jasper’s and many more.

      Beers are hand-picked from craft breweries and served by the bottle (there are no taps) and the wine list is spearheaded by Boston's Second Glass and with at least 50 bottles to choose from.

      If you thought it couldn't get any better you are wrong. I haven't even told you about TR Street Foods yet. 

      TR Street Foods is just that - Chef Louis's version of street food from his travels all over the world. Fast and casual with free Wi-fi and the ability to takeout, the menu will change daily and feature salads, sandwiches, snacks, fresh juices, kebabs, calzones and more. Using locally sourced ingredients of course.

      I know where I will be heading this weekend!

      Tavern Road is located at 343 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02210
      Phone: (617) 790 - 0808

      Open 7 days a week:
      Dinner                                 5:00pm – 11:00pm, seven days a week
      Bar                                     4:30pm – 2:00am, seven days a week
      Late Night                           11:00pm – 12:00am, Sun-Wed
                                               11:00pm – 1:00am, Thurs-Sat

      Total Capacity         120
      Main Dining Room     85
      Bar/High Top           25
      TR Street Foods       10

      Good news: 
      They take OpenTable: Boston Restaurants reservations and there is a parking lot across the street!

      Thursday, February 28, 2013

      Guest Post: "My Dream Spring Break" on La Vie...J'aime

      My friend Jaime asked me to write a guest post for her while she is away on vacation in Miami (jealous!). 

      The topic: "My Dream Spring Break"

      I obviously gave myself and unlimited budget because what dream spring break comes with a budget?!

      Check it out here.

      Wednesday, February 27, 2013

      A Visit to Sweet Cupcakes

      I was recently invited to pop into Sweet and check out some of their new winter flavor cupcakes. Poor me right?

      Sweet has a few Boston locations but I work downtown so during my lunch break I walked over to their 11 School St. location. 

      Their shop is just about the cutest thing I have ever seen! With a prime spot on Boston's famous Freedom Trail, their bright and airy shop draws you in with the smell of freshly baked cupcakes wafting through the air.

      Their cases are full of every flavor of cupcake you could dream up with tons of bright, eye-catching colors. I have got to try the Mocha Mint Chip my next visit!

      How cute are these Celtics and Bruin's cupcakes? They would be a great addition if you were having people over to watch the game!

      If you don't want in indulge in a full size cupcake Sweet offers miniature versions of some of their famous flavors. This is another great option for a party or to bring to an office celebration because it gives you so much variety.

      If you thought the creativity stopped at the mini's you are wrong! Sweet is known to have possibly the best cupcake frosting in Boston and you can taste test for yourself with one of Sweet's frosting shots. Genius!

      Here are a few photos of the rest of their shop including the current flavors and pricing. They even deliver!

      I love the simplicity of their packaging.

      As I mentioned before I was given the new winter flavors to try and not only were they tasty but so beautiful to look at at as well!

      Top row left to right: Blueberry Pancake, Bananas Foster, Macaroon

      Bottom row left to right: Cookie Dough, Hot Cocoa, Key Lime

      While all were really good my absolute favorite had to be the Hot Cocoa. Adorable with the red stirrer sticking out of it and made with a dark chocolate cake, chocolate mousse inside and whipped cream dusted with cocoa.

      The runner up was the Blueberry Pancake which was a buttermilk cake, stuffed with blueberry preserves and topped with maple frosting. It tasted JUST like a blueberry pancake.

      If you are into chocolate chip cookies check out the Cookie Dough cupcake which has a chocolate chip cookie baked right on the bottom of the cupcake. If bananas are your thing grab a Bananas Foster made with vanilla bean cake filled with fresh banana cream and topped with a caramel drizzle and a dusting of cinnamon and sugar.

      Want to tele-port down to Key West in these cold winter months? Take a bite out of the Key Lime cupcake with vanilla cake filled with fresh Key lime filling, topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with crushed graham crackers. Or go coconut with the Macaroon cupcake made of vanilla bean cake with coconut baked right in and a crisp macaroon cookie-like top, dipped in Callebaut chocolate ganache.

      I hope you get a chance to check out one of Sweet's boston locations and try these out for yourself!

      You can find Sweet at these locations:

      Back Bay: 49 Massachusetts Ave.
      Newbury Street: 225 Newbury St.
      Harvard Square: Zero Brattle Street
      Downton: 11 School Street

      Tuesday, February 26, 2013

      TV Diner Platinum Plate Gala

      Last weekend I was lucky enough to score 2 tickets to the TV Diner Platinum Plate Gala. This was an event I have wanted to attend over the past few years so I was really excited to have the opportunity to check it out. I called up my sister and off we went!

      First stop was the bar of course! They had one station for wine and beer and another for cocktails. 

      My sister got white wine while I chose Skyy Blood Orange Vodka with soda water. It was light and refreshing. 

      The event was put on by Tillinger's Hospitality Company.

      One of the major parts of the night was a charity auction for Horizons for Homeless Children where they auctioned off great prizes such as tickets to Boston sporting events as well as luxury booth tickets to see Justin Bieber.

      Horizons for Homeless Children is a fantastic charity that improves the lives of young homeless children in Massachusetts. They help their families succeed by providing high-quality early education, opportunities for play, and comprehensive family support services.

      Billy Costa (one of the  TV Diner hosts) and Matt Siegel of Kiss 108 MC'd the auction which was really cool - we grew up listening to them!

      I would say we tried about a 1/4 of the food offered but that is only because there were SO many great options to choose from we had to narrow it down somehow.

      Our favorite was a hand made pasta with pulled duck and peas from Andiamo. It was so good we are both desperately wanting to take the drive to Newburyport to have dinner there!

      Next was beef sliders from Mooo.... I liked this different take on a slider and the buns on these were so tasty!

      The guys from Turner Fisheries we very busy searing scallops which they served with a vegetable chip and micro greens. The scallop was seared perfectly.

      And here are just a few more images of delicious food...

      Gnocchi bolognese

      Steak skewers with potato

      Tuna Tartare and Chicken and Waffles from Local 149

      Tasty Burger

      The TV Diner Platinum Plate Gala cake

      TV Diner puts on a great event and you could tell everyone who attended was having a great time! I love how enthusiastic the different chefs and restaurants were and the band was great - they had a packed dance floor as soon as the auction ended! 

      I really hope to have the opportunity to attend this event again next year!