Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Weekend Adventures - Part 2

Waking up to another morning of snow and hearing that we are expecting 6-12' tomorrow night has thrown this Sailing Foodie into a land of deep deep mid-winter blues....  I can't help but dream and hope that soon I will be sharing with you all pics like these:

 Oh summer... I miss you so much! Won't you please hurry back!!!!

Ok, let us continue with the second part of the weekend shall we.....

After a lovely Saturday with the parents tasting all that Rhode Island has to offer in mid-winter produce I headed back to Boston for a Birthday party!!  Not one with streamers and pin the tail on the donkey (although, how much fun would that be!)  

The roommate and I braved the cold night air and made our way to the Woodward at the Ames Hotel in downtown Boston.  The majority of my pictures where extremely dark so I am going to "borrow" pictures from the fabulous Birthday girl herself Bianca.  She arranged a wonderful gathering of people to enjoy a phenomenal meal of small plates in a private room (that is actually all glass so we could see everyone!)

We ate, we drank, we laughed and some even danced!  I cannot think of a better way to welcome Bianca to the Dirty 30 Club!  Thank you so much for including me!
Spare Rib Tortellini that I must recreate some how!!!
Duck Confit Pizza w/ cranberries & goat cheese!
Entrance to the Woodward from the 2nd floor.  Is so SHINY!!!

After a lovely evening and lets face it a busy weekend, I was in no mood to leave the apartment....  The roommate and I showed the apartment a lot of TLC and did a good proper cleaning (took down the xmas tree what?!) Sad but true.   Cleaning made me very hungry so after a quick turkey sandwich I decided to try my hand at baking bread and  beef stew (a Sunday classic in this foodies apt!)

I can say that the Stew was an EPIC success and the bread was a half success/half fail.... (you can't win at everything right?)

I found a recipe online for Asiago bread that sounded amazing!  I think my downfalls for this experiment was using all Whole Wheat Flour and lazy yeast.  The bread ended up being very tasty but never rose.... What should have been a light cheesy loaf was a very dense loaf.  It was still perfect for stew dunking though!  Guess I will have to try again on Sunday :)

My small list of ingredients

heating my milk and butter before adding the yeast....

kneading the dough (a good arm workout!)

Sadly this is how the dough looked at hour 0 and at hour 3 :(

But it baked off nicely (even if I could use it as a dumb bell!)
 Next up was my beef stew made from local beef & veggies from the Farmers Market!
Local beef!

Pre-assembled bag for stew! Genius!

Celery Root, Turnip, Carrots, onions and parsnip (not shown)
I may have forgotten to take a final pic of this masterpiece during all the chaos of the 30lb bread.  But if you view my earlier post you can get all the details of how I make my stews.  This time I used Sam Adams Black Lager as a base. It added the most amazing depth to the stew!  

Ok, so that is my wonderful weekend in 2 posts!  whew I am exhausted!!  However, even with record low temps, more snow and grey days I figured a way to keep a smile on my face....

Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Tasting!  Yippee!  Tonight the roomie and I are off to the brewery to meet the brewmaster and learn all about their newest variety!  Can't wait!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A weekend of adventures - Part 1

This Sailing Foodie had an amazing weekend that took me from a tattoo parlor in Worcester to a farmers market in Rhode Island to a swanky Boston Hot Spot and back to my cozy kitchen! 

For the sake of you my readers I thought I would break this into 2 posts - this first one will go over why this sailor felt the need to go for tattoo #2 and also an amazing morning at the Pawtucket Winters Farmers Market with the parents.

OK so when most people think of sailors they think of a navy officers on leave or the salty fisherman of Gloucester, MA.  Your first thought isn't a 30something city girl who knows the difference between pate and foie gras or has a obsession  love for the Food Network... But alas, perhaps it should be!

Tattoo's are no longer for navy sailors on leave, prison inmates or a Hell's Angel Biker!  Everyone from young college kids to soccer moms to grandparents are getting ink nowadays! And yet my mom you are still asking, "Why Beth, Why?"  Very simple, I LOVE IT and I love what it represents!

I have had some issues with change and self confidence the past few years.  A new job that meant a more challenging career, several apartment moves and generally a change from being a an entry level college kid to someone with the education and experience to manage others was a lot to bite off. 

Over the past six to eight months I have finally come to terms that change is OK, that I am OK and that nothing in life is perfect. It may not seem like a huge revelation to some but to a girl who has always felt the need to present herself appropriately it was a life changing moment.  To be ok going out w/ messy hair or excepting help at work is something that I have never been good at doing.  This is still a work in progress but knowing that its ok to have imperfections was a revelation I wanted to keep close to me.

Thus the tattoo!!  I truly believe that any tattoo is appropriate as long as the person getting the tattoo can stand behind it and know they will still love it in 70 years.  I already have one tattoo that I got just after college with 7 other girlfriends.  It is something that I can look at and know that no matter where they are, we will always be connected.

For this tattoo I wanted something that would represent my career, my new found strength and remind me that change is OK and will always happen. So I chose this design....

First a HUGE thank you to everyone at Miraculous Creations especially my artist Rob Levis for helping me design and create this one of a kind piece of artwork! 

The turtle represents not only my career on the ocean but also strength.  In both Native American and Buddhist cultures the turtle shell represents longetivity and strength. In Japan, the turtle is also the symbol for the God of Sailors.

The Celtic eternal knot is a reminder to me that change is continuous and that my Spirtual Path is also a continuous process.  

I chose to put this on my wrist because I want to be reminded of these messages daily. I love my first tattoo but I have it on my back and rarely see it.  It is for me and no one else, so as much as it pains my mom that her little girl has yet another tattoo I think she is happy that she raised a women who is confident to go out and do what makes her happy (at least that what she said while trying not to look at it! haha)

Ok, wow this is a long post... Sorry... so much to tell.  

On Saturday morning I dragged the rents' down to Pawtucket, RI to peruse their Winters Farmer Market.  I was lucky enough to hear about this from Michelle on her blog,  

I am soooo glad we went!  I was really quite amazed at the diversity of vendors, vegetables, proteins and other local products!  Below is a picture montage of our morning.  I think my parents where over the moon as well to try new vegetables.  The vendors were so helpful as well! Giving tips on cooking times, recipes (specials for the following week!).  If you are in the area I highly suggest swinging by either on Wednesday evenings (4-7) or Saturdays (10-1).

No road trip w/ dad can start without this....

Coins you buy at the start w/ you CC (come in $5 coins) GENIUS!

I left with a cart (my own reusable shopper) full of root veggies, herbs, apples, a few sweets and a enough stew meat to make a wonderful Beef Stew.  
It was a great way to start the weekend! 

Now, to get back to work but check back later for part 2 of the weekend.  Birthday party in town and a lazy Sunday with a baking adventure that was half win/half fail.....

Do you have any tattoos?  Have you done something for you lately that may not be a popular decision but you know is right for you?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Brendon Crocker's Wild Horse Cafe Review

Every day I reverse commute from the city to the North Shore Area of Massachusetts for work.  Before this job I knew very little about the North Shore except for the Salem Witch Trials and that Gloucester had a lot of fishing boats.

I am happy to say that thanks to some uber awesome co-workers and friends I have been exploring this area more and more!  Beverly, Salem, Hamilton, Marblehead & Gloucester have some amazing pubs, deli's, restaurants and markets!  One of my personal favorites which happens to be down the street from our office is "Brendon Crocker's Wild Horse Cafe.

This cafe/tavern has everything you want in a good local pub.  Amazing down to earth comfort food, a beer selection that would make most Craft Beer lovers weep (over 26 styles at any given time!) and an atmosphere that many many places try to create and fail miserably at.

Oh and NACHOS!  Did I mention the nachos? They make a plate of nachos that I dream about!

According to their website they are:

"An eclectic dining experience with antique tables, couches, and overstuffed chairs to relax in while enjoying an evening out. Chef/Owner Brenden Crocker cooks for flavor, not fad, delivering generous portions of the freshest local seafood and finest cuts of meat cooked to perfection at his wood fired grill. Thyme and onion focaccia are baked daily on premise." 

I couldn't agree more!  When you are there you feel like you are in a cozy living room of friends.  The staff is warm and inviting and always willing to recommend a new dish or brew to try.

Yesterday a group of us decided to go out for an after work cocktail and Wild Horse won out on our short list of favorite places to go.  Now I didn't have dinner last night at the Cafe but if I was, I would be sure to order this:

Creamy parmesan polenta, mushrooms and roasted onion relish 
I have had this several times and each time I am transported into a world of comfort food bliss! The contrast from the fall off the bone ribs next to the creamy polenta is enough to make a girl pass out from the sheer bliss!  I know I should order something else, but come on people! How often do you see BEEF Short Ribs on any menu, never mind someplace that does it so right!

We did however split two appetizers:

Apple Sage Beignets  
Honey cider dressing, bacon lardoons and greens 

Tortilla Chips , Jack Cheese, Black Beans, Guacamole, Salsa & Sour Cream
add Chili, Grilled Chicken or Chorizo
$ 4.00 each 

That is right... NACHOS! Oh sweet savory goodness!! Cheese, tomatoes, scallions and guacamole!!!!! They might seem pricey but that order was more than enough for 5 of us! 

For beverages I had a Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale (I am milking all the holiday brews while they are still on tap.....) and an Allagash White Ale.

I highly recommend this Cafe/Tavern!  From great food to delicious drinks and incredible staff the Wild Horse  Cafe is an amazing local spot that you should get to ASAP!!!!

And when you go, (which you will!) Call me!!!  I am already craving their NACHOS (they are that good!!!  I am not kidding!!!!!!)

What is one your favorite local "go-to" restaurants/taverns?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Satisfy the craving! (for red meat!)

A little known fact you may not know about me is my undying love for all things cheeseburgers!
Have you ever seen something more beautiful?!

To me it is one of the most perfect marriage of flavors, textures and the possibilities for combination's is endless!  Don't get me wrong, I love my veggies and crave them often but every now and then a girl just wants a juicy cheeseburger!  I don't eat cheeseburgers all that often for a few reasons.

1. I would be 700 lbs w/ arteries that resemble caramel

2. Burgers make me crave french fries and french fries (all fried food) gives me heartburn.

3. My budget could not sustain the constant need for $8-$20 burgers found throughout Greater Boston (budget is much happier w/ my $.79 Goya Beans purchases!)

However, even with those valid reasons to stay clear of the cheeseburger my heart (metaphorically, not literally! See reason 1 above!) will always love and crave for it!  Yesterday was one of those days when cheeseburgers where the only things I could think about!
(via) I probably looked like this at work!

Since I hadn't had one for a while my brain was running through hundreds of scenarios on how I could satisfy this craving....
  • Go out to a fancy shmancy place for a burger with all the fixins'
  • Stop at a fast food place on the way home and regret it later
  • Alter my commute home to hit Five Guys in Swampscott for good fast food (but still regret it later from intense heart burn)
  • Create my own at home
After some wonderful recommendations on twitter for places with good burgers in the Greater Boston area, I decided that my cholesterol and wallet would appreciate if I made my own at home (thus avoiding french fries )

I stopped by the Meat House in Beverly to pick up some goodies: hand formed beef patties, pineapple salsa, fresh made bread and kettle corn (what! it was $0.99 and it was staring at me I swear!!!)

mmm... beef , salsa & bread!

This salsa is AMAZING! Fresh with a bit of zing but not spicy!
FYI, this salsa may have actually stolen the show! It was fresh, crunchy and refreshing.  The roommate and I already have plans to top fish with it tonight!

Instead of french fries as a side I stuck with the "french" theme but switched up potatoes for French Beans sauteed with onions, sherry wine, grape tomatoes and a sesame ginger seasoning (thanks to my BFB Swag Bag!)
Giant containers of veggies thanks to a Costco run on Sunday....

Sherry that I had on hand (perfect for French Onion Soup or deglazing a pan!)
I quickly sauteed the onion in a bit of olive oil until softened, then I added the sherry to deglaze.  Once the sherry was in I added the beans, seasoning and another splash of sherry to allow the beans to steam a bit in the sherry.

Extreme close up of happy drunk beans!
Right before the beans are done I added a handful of grape tomatoes.  I wanted them to heat through but not so much that they begin to "pop" in the pan.

While the veggies were cooking away I put the burgers on our Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler to grill up.  I like my burgers medium so about 5 minutes on each side.  You want the juices to run clear from the burger.....

When the burger was just about ready, I added a small amount of Gruyere cheese (left over from the Bacon Mac n' Cheese) and a bit of chopped scallion to melt into the cheese!

Once done, I placed this juicy piece of heaven on a slice of fresh cut bread, topped with a heaping amount of salsa and served with beans on the side.  In my excitement I forgot to snap a picture of the final plate (it was that good!)

Moral of the story you ask?  If you are craving something GO FOR IT!!  Everything in moderation and if your body is asking for a juicy burger than I say enjoy!  Now if your body is asking for a cheeseburger 6 days a week with a side of fries and a milkshake than perhaps you need to have a stern discussion with your body.

Otherwise... ENJOY!  Some people eat to live, others live to eat.  I like to think I am the latter group and truly enjoy creating new flavor combination's to keep dinner exciting and new!

What have you been craving lately?