Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dinner at Scampo in Boston's Liberty Hotel

Scampo has been on my list of Boston restaurants to visit for some time now.

When I got invited to try out their new winter menu I literally jumped out of my seat at the opportunity! A chance to taste Lydia Shire's Italian-inspired dishes? YES PLEASE.

Before I try a new restaurant I love to read about the chefs background and how they got to the current place in their career. I knew that Lydia was a Boston native, a James Beard Foundation honoree, and very good, personal, friends of Julia Child. However, the more I read about Lydia, the more I was intrigued. 

Working her way from a salad girl to the chef of Boston's Maison Robert, to opening an array of her own successful restaurants, Lydia cooks food straight from the heart. She is now inspiring her son Alex, one of the chef's at Scampo, to give it his all every day on the job. My favorite advice she has given Alex is, "If you don't have a pit in your stomach almost every day, it means you're relaxing too much. You know, how can you stay in that tip-top form, shape, without that little pit in your stomach? I think it's important."

I visited Scampo with Jaime and although the meal was on the restaurant, all of the photographs and opinions are my own. I apologize in advance for some of the pictures being such poor quality but I always feel bad using my flash when people are trying to enjoy their dinner!

The meal started off with a Fava bean puree with basil oil and toasted pine nuts served with house made bread sticks. The Fava beans had a similar taste to pesto and were delicious!

As we chatted with our AMAZING waiter Michael (Seriously, he was amazing!! So friendly and knowledgeable about the menu), we ordered Lydia's famous Lobster Pizza. It was a thin crust, my favorite, with ton's of lobster meat.

One of the selections on the menu was a house made mozzarella bar. This came highly recommended by Michael. We chose to go with the mozzarella with avocado, king crab and mustard oil. This dish was light and refreshing the the pieces of crab meat were huge. 

Another recommendation from Michael was to try a small plate of pasta. Jaime and I chose the 'Spaghetti with Cracklings and Hot Pepper'. It was everything we hoped it would be! Tender spaghetti with crispy pork on top, dusted with red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese.

By the time the main courses came we were already stuffed. But we knew there was no turning back now - it was too good! 

Placed on our table was a veal osso buco with ricotta gnocchi, butter pomodoro and cavolo nero pesto. The meat was so tender it could be cut with a spoon. 

This next picture makes me sad. I'm not sure how I didn't realized it was SO blurry at the time.  #awfuliphonephotographer

If you can't tell through my blurry lens this plate was of a perfectly cooked piece of chilean sea bass over sweet cabbage lobster risotto topped with crisped shaved brussel sprout leaves. 

I don't usually choose sea bass when it's on a menu but I might start now. Light and full of flavor I could eat this every night.

Last, dessert. Somehow there is always room for dessert.

Jaime and I have quite the track record for unbelievable desserts featuring bananas (check out our other two favorite banana desserts here and here). Scampo's winter dessert menu was just launched that day I am happy to say it did not disappoint.

On the left is a banana brown butter tart with fleur de sel caramel, macadamia nut crunch, and coconut ice cream. On the right, Lydia's tiramisu with Tia Maria liqueur and espresso caramel.

Both desserts were extremely tasty but that banana tart was definitely my favorite of the two. How can you ever go wrong with brown butter? You can't. It was unlike any other dessert I have tried thus far and left me wanting to go back to enjoy again.

We visited Scampo on a Tuesday night and let me tell you, it was PACKED! 

While we were enjoying our meal we noticed Lydia standing in the dining room talking with a group of people. Chef's are celebrities to me and I thought it was so cool that she was taking the time to be out in the dining room.

Next thing I know Lydia was walking up to our table. She personally introduced herself to us and spoke with us a little bit about our meal. It was one of my all time coolest culinary moments. IT"S LYDIA SHIRE!!

I can't thank Lydia, Michael, and the team at Scampo enough for such a memorable experience. The experience will not be soon forgotten!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Lighted Up Sesame Chicken Stir-Fry

I love making stir-fry because you can do all your prep-work before hand and then when it comes time to cook you only need 1 pan!

The sauce in this stir-fry has a sweet flavor to it but isn't heavy or thick at all. It could be used on a variety of stir-fry ingredients so be adventurous and switch it up.

Recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats


  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 small chicken breasts, cut into 2″ pieces
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 cups broccoli florets (fresh or frozen)

Rinse the rice and prepare according to package directions. 
While the rice is cooking, combine honey, sesame seeds, soy sauce, and garlic together in a small bowl then set aside. 
In a separate larger bowl, whisk together egg white and cornstarch until smooth. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper then add to egg white mixture and toss to evenly coat.
In a small saucepan, steam broccoli until crisp tender then set aside.
Heat oil in a large wok (or skillet) over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Turn off heat and remove skillet from burner. 
Add prepared sauce and green onions then toss to combine. Stir in broccoli, then scoop mixture into bowls over rice.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pinterest Faves: Week of 1/20/13 - 1/26/13

I love Pinterest and am definitely one of those people who go on it daily. I really try to pin things I will either cook, buy, or go back to for reference - otherwise I would be way too overwhelmed and never look at what I pinned.

Below are some of my favorite pins I've found on Pinterest this past week. 

I hope to try to make posts like this a weekly occurrence but let's be real here...I'm not too consistent on this thing. But I promise I will try :)

I love the colors in this photo


I loved these hooks so much I ended up buying them from the Etsy shop BOLDHOUSE

They came in a set of 2 but I messaged the shop owner and asked if she could make me a custom set of 5 and she did! They are shipping out on Monday and I can't wait to get them. I'm going to hang them on my wall next to my closet to hang my necklaces on. 

I'll try to remember to post a picture when I'm done!

BOLDHOUSE custom feather hooks

I need to do this in my cabinets! And I would love, love, LOVE to have these as my dishes. One day...

30 Tips, Tricks and Organization Ideas

On of my fave color combos...

Mint green and Gold

Is it summer yet? 

Crisp Cucumber Salsa

Follow me on Pinterest to see more of my favorite pins!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

DIY: Nail Polish & House Keys Facelift Project

I've seen the idea to paint keys different colors all over Pinterest. 

When I first moved into my house (5 years ago this April - CRAZY!!) I had keys made at Home Depot. I chose keys that were different colors to distinguish what door they were for but over the years the color wore off. 

This weekend I decided to paint them and they actually came out really good!

From left to right I used:

N.Y.C French White Tip, Essie Tart Deco, Essie Where's My Chauffeur, and Nicole by O.P.I The Next CEO (on the bottom half of all the keys).

I am currently obsessed with turquoise right now and white/gold is one of my favorite go-to color combinations for everything from clothes and jewelry to home decoration.

Am I such a nerd to say I love my newly painted keys?

If you are going to try this out I would suggest putting a piece of tape where you want one color to end and the next color to start to get a nice straight line. Paint one half of the key and let dry. Re-tape on the line and paint the other half of the key.

Let dry overnight and do the same for the other side of the key.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie S'mores Bars

I found this pin on Pinterest and knew I had to make immediately! So as a treat for my roommate and my friend Jaime I whipped these up the other night!

First of all, they are BEYOND easy to make.

Second of all, they are DELICIOUS!

However, next time I make them I will use my own chocolate chip cookie dough I make from scratch :)


  • Graham crackers
  • Chocolate chip cookie dough - either from scratch or buy the pre-made kind from the grocery store
  • Hershey's chocolate bars, broken into pieces
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Baking dish - I used an 8x8 size one and it was perfect!

Pre-heat your oven to 375 F (or whatever the cookie dough package says to bake them at).

Line the bottom of your baking dish with the graham crackers.

Spread the cookie dough over the graham crackers. Bake for 9-11 minutes (or however long the cookie dough package says), or until the cookie becomes golden brown.

Lay the Hershey's bars on top of the cookie.

Top with mini marshmallows and put back in the oven until the marshmallows become browned. I used the broiler for this step and just watched them closely - they can go from browned to burned in a bout 0.5 seconds!

We were too impatient to let them cool so we could cut them into nice bars but they were amazing all warm and melty. 

Serve with your favorite ice cream and prepare to be in heaven!

Friday, January 11, 2013

How to Store Fresh Herbs

I kept buying fresh herbs to only have them go bad in the first day or two. I tried storing them in plastic bags, tupperwear, wrapped in a damp paper towel...nothing worked.

So after doing some research online here is the best option I have found so far:

Fill a glass cup or jar with about one inch of water. Place the herbs in the glass and cover loosely with a plastic ziplock bag. 

I find the herbs last about a week, week and a half max with this method.

Much better than having to waste them and throw in the trash! 

Let me know if you have any herb storage tips :)

Friday, January 4, 2013

West Elm = Motivation to get organized

I have a new obsession with west elm. Every time I am on their site I want to give my house an entire facelift and buy everything from west elm alone.

Since I can't do that I figured new year, I will plan to organize the entire house and update where I can as I go. The list of what needs to be cleaned out, donated, re-arranged, whatever, goes on for what seems like ever. I hate this project. But I will love it so much when its done which will hopefully be before 2014.

The first night I started out with my toiletries. I threw away anything that was almost gone and doesn't get frequent use. Old makeup, lotions that I didn't love, and random crap that ended up in the medicine cabinet. Goodbye. I cut down on the number towels I have as well.

The next night it was the sock drawer, some tanks and a portion of my closet. The night after that old purses and travel bags. Maybe I will actually be able to do this?

What I chose to update in my bedroom was my duvet cover and pillow shams. I purchased the Organic Cotton Pintuck Sea Spray duvet and two king shams from where else...west elm!

I love it so much! It just arrived today and I can't wait to make the swap :)

Whenever I make it to the kitchen part of this project I have my eye on Crafted Dinnerware set for some new dishes. I especially love the over sized mugs - to be used as bowls obviously!

Either a set in all gray...

Or mix and matching looks pretty great too.

Check out west elm for some really great items for your home. I hope you love it as much as I do!