Friday, May 28, 2010

today's equation, children

(warm weather + monday off) x (beers + cookout) = antsy friday afternoon

3 days of burgers, dogs and beers in a cooler.  Can't wait!

Monday, May 24, 2010

... because we are alive and we are in love ...

I spent most of my day yesterday decaffeinated and starving, sitting in the courthouse fulfilling my civic duties and waiting to hear if I was going to be put on the trial of a convicted rapist. When the clerk spoke those four beautiful words, "Jurors, you are released," I let out a huge sigh and then broke into action. I had no mercy, everyone had get out of my way - the sick, the old, the pregnant... they were all just hazy roadblocks on my way to iced coffee. I was throwing punches, kicking people to the ground, and running over bodies on the sidewalk of Cambridge Street on my way to Starbucks. Waiting until mid-afternoon for my caffeine fix makes me very cranky. Molly-Hyde turned into Molly-Jeckyll thanks to a venti unsweetened iced coffee.

(no sick, old, or pregnant people were actually harmed in this Starbucks trip)

With some fuel in my system, I decided to take advantage of the warm afternoon and take in parts of the city I never get to enjoy on a weekday. I walked wherever my little feet took me - through the aptly named Beacon Hill, down Charles Street, over the windy Mass Ave Bridge, into Central Square with all the weirdos and finally ending at Harvard Square. I walked slowly and without an agenda, taking turns when I wanted to take turns and stopping when I saw something that I felt like stopping for. It was a solitary, silent, and peaceful walk that was eventually steered towards Border Cafe by my empty stomach.

I sat outside reading with a cold Negro Modelo and endless tortilla chips & salsa at a shaded table for one. After staring into the distance for minutes or maybe hours thinking empty thoughts of serenity, I glanced down at the page of my book and the words "because we are alive and we are in love" jumped out at me. They were perfect, the words I could never have put together on my own. It's why I felt so happy where I was - simply because I was alive, and in love - with everything around me... the slight breeze, the cold beer, the salty chips. In love with the view of the city street and the blue sky and the stores and shops to the right and left. In love with my life and the people that share it with me.

... and with the taco and enchilada I had coming my way! mmMmm

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

One Word Wednesday


Monday, May 17, 2010

I love cookouts!

A shout-out to Seaman's Catch for throwing the first cookout of the season (well for me at least)!

Here's the spread:

The burgers were soo tasty, way better than the cheeseburger I had for brunch that morning. They had all the fixin's, even sauteed mushrooms and onions!

I love cookouts, especially on sunny Sunday afternoons. The warm weather has the ability to stretch out the hours in a Sunday afternoon, stripping the misery of the fast approaching Monday morning away and replacing it with the peaceful happiness that is being exactly where you want to be, living in that moment and not waiting for the next. Nothing is more relaxing than good company, a few cold beers, and a good old cookout.

I made a really easy appetizer that is almost fool-proof and really yummy, I'll call them spinach & feta bundles.

You'll need:

2 packages of crescent roll dough
1 package of frozen spinach
1 block of feta (14 oz is enough)
1 dollop of sour cream
1 egg
1 medium onion
salt & pepper

Cook the spinach according to the directions on the box, then squeeze dry with paper towels. You'll use a lot - you don't have to get it bone-dry, just dry enough so it's not soaking wet. Finely chop the onion, then saute it until it's translucent. In a big bowl, mix the spinach, feta, egg, sour cream, onion, and salt & pepper. Mix it up well, you might find it easiest to just get in there with your hands... but a spatula will do the trick too.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

The crescent roll dough is already perforated into little triangles. To make each bundle, cut the triangle in half. Put a small scoop of the spinach filling on the center of the mini triangle - a little less than a tablespoon will do - and then fold up the edges. Just work with them to make them stick to eachother so that it looks like a little purse, with no spinach showing (it might poke out after you cook them - that's ok!). You'll have to get the hang of it - just keep pinching away and your last bundle will look much better than your first, I promise.

Then, pop them in the oven for 12 minutes or so, until they're golden brown. Easy easy - and a hit!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Impromptu Pear & Apple Pie

Last week I bought a few pears and apples at the fruit stand but the whole week I just wasn't in a pear or apple mood. I'm in a tropical fruit phase, so I left them untouched all week. If I've learned anything from my Grammie, it's "waste not, want not," so I was feeling very guilty that they were just sitting there on my counter while halfway across the world, a little poverty-stricken child is probably dreaming of slightly bruised pears and apples that are too ripe. So I made myself a pie.

I just happened to have some leftover pie dough from a failed attempt at strawberry pastries...

Side note: Strawberries do NOT taste good by themselves in pie dough, or at least mine didn't. They got very tangy, no matter now much sugar I added. Is there a trick I'm missing? I tried mushed up strawberries and sugar, whole strawberries and sugar, and even made a strawberry jam filling. The strawberry jam was actually really good - later I whipped it with heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract to make strawberry whipped topping for Lauren's lime birthday cupcakes! Yum yum. I wrapped the various forms of strawberries and sugar up in pie dough like little tarts, baked them, but then I couldn't bare to eat them! Mike said he liked them, but I'm convinced it was just to make me happy (very sweet, unlike the pastries).

Anyway, I decided to make an impromptu mini pear and apple pie. So cute right?!

Once you master your pie crust, making scrumptious pies from scratch is really easy! Luckily for me, my mom spent 7 years perfecting her crust and has passed down the recipe. I may not be inheriting a fortune from my parents, but my mom's recipes and cooking lessons are worth more money than anyone could ever inherit. Well I guess that's a slight exaggeration, but that's what rich husbands are for! Just kidding... love you mom!

I'll do a post on pie making another time - this one's just for show! MmmMm

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

One Word Wednesday


Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Lazy Chiquita

An irish girl went to the store
with thoughts of chili and tacos and fajitas galore.
But the avocados were green,
and this day the kitchen just wasn’t her scene.

Round and round in circles she wondered,
“what should I cook for my boyfriend?” she pondered.
“It’s Cinco de Mayo” she thought,
“he needs something Mexican, it must be bought!”

To the frozen foods she rushed,
hoping the crowd left some treats untouched.
To her surprise there were two kinds of burritos,
and tucked back on the shelf - a box of taquitos!

She added chips, salsa and sour cream,
what was missing? Something green!
"JalapeƱos!" she said,
but then just stood there, scratching her head.

Where could those hot peppers be?
Not in aisles 1, or 2, or 3...
Then she saw the little can,
jalapeƱos for her man!

Back to apartment she went,
on the way a text was sent.
"This Mexican fiesta is atypical of me!"
I didn't chop an onion, a pepper, not even a pea!

It was all pre-made, just needed reheating,
giving us time to lounge on our comfortable seating.
On the couch with a beer, not a margartia,
a happy Cinco de Mayo for two by a lazy chaquita.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Monday, May 3, 2010

ole ole ole ole ole ole ole ole feelin hot hot hot hot

I went to school in Arizona for four years (go sundevils, BOO U of A!), so everyone always asks me "Oh my god, did you eat amazing Mexican food all the time? Was it sooo good?" Depending on my mood, I'll either humor them and respond with mirrored enthusiasm, or tell them the truth, "Actually no, I've had better Mexican food in Boston." My experience with Mexican cuisine at ASU consisted mainly of Chipotle and Baja Fresh.

Best Mexican I've ever had? Ole Mexican Grill (Cambridge, Mass).

Ole's Mexican menu isn't your average fiesta salads and fajitas. It's got some staples like black bean soup, quesadillas, tacos, and enchiladas, but it also gives you a taste of Mexico that you won't see at your local tex-mex restaurant. Think roasted duck with poblano sauce, Oaxaca vegetable stew, and carne asada.

This is a Mexican restaurant, so, unless you're pregnant or sober, it's mandatory to start off your meal with a margarita. I prefer mine rocks/no salt while my dad is a rocks/salt kind of guy.
After drinks, it's really time to get down to business, the business of hand-made guacamole. There's a guacamole cart that's wheeled to your table and the avocados are peeled and pitted, the peppers, onions, etc are thrown in, and the ingredients are mashed together right in front of you. Then, you get a mammoth-size bowl and warm tortilla chips ready for you to devour. It's full of fresh, cool avocado flavor and a hint of citrus.

If you're lucky and you're eating with my father, Mr. Appetizer, you're also going to get to try the taquitos. Six itty bitty little rolled and fried tortillas filled with tender shredded chicken and poblano chiles topped with crema, queso fresco, tomatos and lettuce served with a raspberry-chile chipotle dipping sauce. There's only six in an order, so you're not a total glutton if you do guac and taquitos.
Every Monday at Ole is Taco Monday, a special night with an adorable extra menu listing a la carte tacos with a twist. Ole takes it up a notch with flavors influenced by other cuisines, this week it was mostly Indian, Korean, and Thai. Each taco is $3.50, making Monday the best night to try out Ole on a budget (guacamole, two tacos, and some black bean soup will fill you up without braking the bank). I have to be honest, I can't remember the kinds of tacos my mom ordered, but they were so tasty! And aren't they so cute!?
My dad went for the seabass. At times he is a man of few words, so the only feedback I got on his meal was "good." He became a member of the clean plate club, so I'm going to assume he was happy with his meal. It looked beautiful!

My brother and I were boring and went with the enchiladas. I couldn't help myself! I was starving and they are just so good! Not too sloppy and they have braised pork - which is my FAVORITE. I love pork. I play this game with my parents when we go out sometimes. I say "if you're really my dad (or mom) you'll know what I'm going to order." They have to reply "the pork" or else they're not my parents!

It's almost bathing suit season, so there was no dessert for me last night.

Ok, who am I kidding? We were under a time constraint so we couldn't stay for dessert. If we had time, I would have been all over the fried cheesecake. Can you imagine anything better than a cake made out of cream cheese and sugar, deep fried and topped with more sugar and vanilla ice cream?


Peace, Love, and Iced Coffee

The New England weather pulled the same old tricks it does every year this weekend, teasing us all with a couple summery days of blue skies and 85 degree heat that convinces us to pull out the tank tops and flip flops. But of course, overnight the clouds rolled in and the air is so thick with humidity you know the rain is about to break through, complete with expected thunder and lightning throughout the course of the day. But we New Englanders are well conditioned in the patterns of mother nature, we know to take full advantage of the sun and the warmth when it comes!

Before hitting the beach, the pool, or the backyard, the first step is always iced coffee. I'm lucky enough to have a friend whose parents have a beautiful house on Minot Beach in Scituate, Mass, so yesterday I escaped from the city and headed down to the south shore for some sun.

Although I am a long term and enthusiastic supporter of Dunkin' Donuts (from the age of 3 I was asking "MOM, WHEN ARE WE GOING TO DUNKIN' DONUTS?" during the sermons at Sunday mass), I cannot pass up an iced coffee from MaryLou's. Nothing is better than a Girl Scout Cookie flavored iced coffee on a hot day... or a Milky Way... or a Funky Fanabla...

peace, love, and iced coffee

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Cubicle Lunch Revival

Food needs to be delicious! I try my hardest to only eat things that are so good. If I don't like it, I don't eat it.

Case in point: peanut butter sandwiches. I've been off peanut butter sandwiches for about a year now. Sure, they're economical, but I am of the mindset that if I have to suffer though the poverty-stricken days of my mid-twenties, I am not going to put myself through the misery that is a peanut butter sandwich.

Case in point #2: Lean Cuisines. Avid followers of my blogging will remember a post about the issues I have with lean cuisines written in my old blog a few years back. I think I offended a good number of people so I won't repeat myself but let's just say I hate Lean Cuisines and I do not eat them.

And where do we eat 5 days a week? At work.

What do we eat? Crappy lunch food.

I believe a cubicle lunch revival is in demand. Why can't I enjoy my lunch instead of shoving it down my throat with one hand while I attempt to keep working with the other? My first plan of action: heading back to the Marliave!

Not for meat butter or rarebits, but instead to the little cheese shop they have on the first floor. I went over there, got a cheese plate to go, let the cheeseman make my 3 selections for me, and happily returned to my cubicle!

Look, isn't that the cutest cubicle lunch? I even have post-it notes and a company coffee cup in the background!

The Marliave cheese plate gets you three choices of cheese, candied walnuts, fig jam, and a fresh baguette (I added the grapes myself)! It was so delicious and I took my time eating and enjoying. It really makes such a difference when you truly relish your food experience, rather than just filling up the tank.

Plus, there was enough for leftovers that night: