Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mamie Eisenhower's Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Every year around this time, it seems I am given or happen upon this recipe. Supposedly, it is Mamie Eisenhower's very own Pumpkin Chiffon Pie. After reading the ingredients and directions, I decided this year, I would give it a shot. It looked extremely easy and hey, if it was good enough for the President, it's good enough for me. It only took a few minutes to whip up (I confess I used frozen pie-crust) and I let it chill for a few hours before diving in. To my delight it was great! Below is the recipe in case you need something quick and easy for this Thanksgiving or for a Fall dinner.

Mamie Eisenhower's Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

1 env. plain gelatin
4 tbsp. cold water
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup milk
1-1/2 cups canned pumpkin
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. allspice
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 baked 9" Pie Shell


Soak gelatin in water for about 5 minutes. Combine brown sugar, egg yolks, milk, pumpkin, salt and spices in top of double boiler. Cook over boiling water, stirring until thickened. Remove from fire. Add gelatin, stir until thoroughly dissolved. Chill until mixture begins to set. Beat egg whites quite stiff; gradually add sugar while continuing to beat until stiff. Fold the meringue into pumpkin mixture. Pour into baked pie shell and chill until set.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Marilyn Monroe's Stuffing Recipe

The NY Times today published an all but forgotten stuffing recipe from an unlikely cook. Marliyn Monroe. The recipe appears in a new book entitled, "Fragments" about Monroe. The Times adapted it slightly for measurements and it appears here. You can read the full article here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Commonwealth Quality

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources has launched a new program that will help consumers know that their food was grown and packaged in the Commonwealth. Look for this seal on the products you buy and know you are supporting local producers and helping to keep your carbon footprint lower.

For more information, read on: <>.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Geoffrey's opening soon in the Back Bay

A few months ago we went to Geoffrey's in Roslindale. We loved it. So, we were excited to hear that they were going to be opening up a new location in the South End/Back Bay where Laurel used to be.

As we walked by today, carpenters were busily working, and "opening soon" signs were in the windows. We are looking forward to opening day...

Geoffrey's on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Make Your Own Herbs de Provence

It always bothered me that in the U.S. if you wanted herbs de Provence you were going to have to first, spend half a month looking for them and then, after you found them, spend way too much money to buy a small pinch of them. After going to Provence and seeing how cheap the mixes are there, I was even more annoyed. Well, I have found a solution. I decided to make my own. You can buy dried herbs online for relatively cheap. I chose to use and was very happy with the quality (plus they mostly sell organic!). For around 20 dollars (plus shipping) I was able to make over a pound of Herbs de Provence. Williams-Sonoma sells the same thing for 18 dollars an ounce! If I had bought that amount of herbs de Provence at Williams-Sonoma, it would have cost me over $300! Below is the recipe I used to create my mix (most mixes in America include basil but I noticed in France, the majority do not... so I stuck with the traditional mixes I saw):

4 oz Summer Savory
4 oz Marjoram
4 oz Rosemary
4 oz Thyme
1 oz Lavender (you can leave out the lavender if you want as a lot of mixes don't have it but there's something about the scent of lavender that's just "oh-so-Provence")

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Boston Food Market

Let's hope this actually happens. They've been talking about it for a long time. This will be great for Boston!  Read the Boston Globe article here.

image credit: Utile Design via Boston Globe

Read the Boston Globe article here.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Teton Brews

While shopping for beverages here in Idaho, we came across some local microbrews at the grocery store from the Grand Teton Brewing Company and the Snake River Brewery. Our choice was clear. We realized HOW local some of these were when on the way back home, I looked over and saw that the Grand Teton Brewing Company is right up the road from the house!

Apart from the one that says "Alaskan," these beers are crafted very close by in Victor, Idaho or Jackson Hole, WY. As you can see, we got an assortment. They were all very good, but our favorite was the Lost Continent Double IPA, a special brew with three lbs. of hops in every barrel. It was delicious and surprisingly citrusy. 

My two other favorites were the Snake River Lager and the Snake River Pale Ale. The Old Faithful Ale was also noteworthily good. 

Friday, July 9, 2010

Boston Food Truck Festival

Apparently, there is a Food Truck Festival in the works!

Here is a blurb from the Boston Herald

>>Citysearch Boston and SoWa Sundays are trying to corral the Hub’s burgeoning food truck scene into one location next month.They’ve put out the call for food trucks to participate in Boston’s First Annual Food Truck Festival.
The event is scheduled for Aug. 8 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at 500 Harrison Ave., the South End location for the outdoor SoWa bazaar that runs from May to September. <<

Monday, July 5, 2010

Macaron Party

Earlier this year, we had a macaron-making party. It was our first time, and we were a little nervous; but, in the end, we had some fantastic little pastries. It is definitely worth the effort. Here are a few snapshots.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Peek at Menorcan Cuisine

A bit over a week ago I had the opportunity to spend a wonderful weekend in Menorca, one of the Balearic Islands off the East Coast of Spain. Settled at different points by Phoenicians, Arabs, Catalans, French, and English, among other peoples, the island's gastronomy reflects a wonderful mix of cultures and traditions and of course all the wonders the Mediterranean has to offer.

The spiny lobsters that come to the Balearic coasts are renowned as some of the Mediterranean's tastiest, especially those caught between Mallorca and Menorca. Though prepared in a variety of ways, the most famous by far is the Caldereta de Llagosta, a simple but outstanding lobster stew not unlike the French Bouillabaisse. At around 60€ for 500 grams (plenty for two people to split) it is certainly on the pricier end of things, but in my experience totally worth it.
Fornells, a small fishing town on the island's north-central coast is said to be the place to get it, so naturally we enjoyed our stew there at Es Port, a restaurant just along the port.

With seafood on a Mediterranean island you really can't go wrong - grilled razor clams, raw cockles, broiled angler fish, and squid both stuffed and fried were among the delicacies we constantly indulged in. If I were to pick a standout after the caldereta, however, I'd have to say that the garlic prawns from Café Balear on the port of Ciutadella were a cut above, so incredibly flavorful and tender I could have eaten 10 kilo's worth.

Moving onto products from land, perhaps the most well-known product would be Maó cheese, shown here with Sobrassada, a sausage typical of neighboring island Mallorca. The cheese is made from cow's milk and sine 1985 has had its own denominación de origen (guarantee of origin) and is protected by a regulating council. We tried three varieties of it - the younger cheeses are more rich and creamy and perfect with a bit of honey on bread or with black pepper and olive oil - the older, harder variety is more akin to parmesan. Another delicacy further inland would be Menorcan roast suckling pig. Being on the western coast outside of Ciutadella certainly didn't stop us from having this at "Sa Caldareta" down the street. The skin was probably the best pig skin I've ever had - thick as bacon but crispy like a potato chip, certainly my daily serving of fat in one bite, but absolutely mind-blowingly delicious.

Menorca is also known for its sweets, our favorite being "amargos", a wonderful crispy-on-the-outside but chewy-on-the-inside almond-flavored cookie. Other options are carquinyols, little crispy bite-size biscotti, and pastissets, flower-shaped cookies often filled with sweet jelly. Lastly you have ensaïmada, a circular almost phyllo-like pastry whose name comes from the saïm, or pork lard, from which it is made. They come in all different sizes, some as big as 2 feet wide, and can be either sweet or savory, filled with chocolate paste and dusted with powdered sugar, or filled with local pork sausage. We devoured a maybe 20-inch chocolate one in two sittings :-)

Finally, a trip to Menorca is not complete without going through one or two bottles of Xoriguer gin, a local gin unusually produced with wine alcohol. When 18th Century British soldiers arrived along with their taste for gin, they decided to try to make their own using imported juniper berries and alcohol distilled from grapes. The result was a gin unlike any other! The best and most traditional way to drink it is in a cocktail called the pomada - take a hearty dose of xoriguer over ice, then simply add a sparkling lemonade - Fanta will do. Alternatively you could use fresh lemon juice with a bit of soda water and simple syrup. I can't even tell you how many of these I had during my week there - so refreshing and delicious, and perfect when I want something a little different from my summer standby the gin and tonic. Needless to say I will be bringing at least one bottle of this back with me as I've never seen it in the states! We were lucky enough to visit the Xoriguer distillery in Maó and see them make the gin ourselves, not to mention help ourselves to free tasting of all the company's other products, from rose liqueur to Menorcan pastis!

I will most definitely be returning to the Balearic Islands at some point in my life, if not just for the food!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Firenze: Biscotti

A plateful of delicious Italian cookies we just got from Paszkowski in
the Piazza della Repubblica (which has been in Florence since 1846).

The little cantucci are Florence's version of biscotti.

The little bow-tie shaped cocoa shortbreads have inspired us to add
that shape to our repertoire.

Crostini Toscana

In Florence: Crostini with pâté of chicken liver.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

Crema catalana

Which came first? Crema catalana or crème brûlée?

This version of crema catalana from Cuines Santa Caterina in Barcelona
was excellent.

Cochinillo in BCN

Delicious suckling pig with tomato marmelade at Cuines de Santa
Caterina - Baecelona

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Eureka gin!

I've finally been able to find other types of gin (other than London
Dry) and can't wait for a summer gin tasting!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Delicious and easy tuna and goat cheese empanadillas!

I must admit when I first came across this recipe, I was a little apprehensive about tuna and goat cheese going well together, but these empanadillas were absolutely delicious and super easy to make!

1 tablespoon olive oil
5 tablespoons minced onion
6 oz canned tuna, packed in olive oil
4 oz goat cheese
3 oz pimento-stuffed olives, chopped
5 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
3 tablespoons capers, chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste.
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
30 puff pastry discs (can be found in the freezer section with Latin American-type things. You can of course cut out your own discs of about 3 inches from a 16 oz. package of puff pastry)
1 egg, beaten (for the egg wash)

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes or until softened. Remove from the heat and set aside

Using whatever utensil you fancy, mash the tuna (drained, but not to the point of it being dry) with the onion, garlic, goat cheese, olives, pine nuts, capers, paprika, salt, and pepper. I found that with the salt from the olives and capers there was no need for any extra salt (I even reduced the amount of capers to 3 tbsp from 5), but you can certainly pepper it up a bit. Fill the center of each puff pastry disc with around a tablespoon of filling, then fold over and seal the edges with a bit of water. You can also crimp the edges with a fork to give the empanadillas a bit more character. Make a small slit in the top of each empanadilla with a knife, then brush them with the egg wash.

Put in a baking dish or sheet pan at medium heat for around 20 minutes, or until the empanadillas become somewhat golden and crisp-looking. Finally, ¡que aprovechen!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Kriek Lambic

Last year, we took a trip to Amsterdam. I was surprised by how good all the food was. I had never pictured Amsterdam to have such good cuisine. One of my favorite things we had there was a special type of lambic called, "kriek". Kriek lambic is a type of beer made with dark cherries. It's red in color with a nice pink foam on top. Kriek is not really like our flavored beers here (such as pumpkin or blueberry) that lose the taste of the added ingredients after a few sips. Kriek definitely is a distinct lasting taste that is unmistakably cherry. In Amsterdam, Kriek was cheap, a few euros a glass. In Boston, more and more stores carry it with a price tag of about $12. (A bottle can give you about 4 glasses.) Sam Adams now makes their own Kriek Lambic but the most common type you can find around here (Foodies on Washington Street or Wine Emporium on Dartmouth Street carry it) is the traditional imported brand: Brouwerij Lindemans. Delicious and definitely worth trying.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

La Calçotada

Today in Andorra we had the opportunity to experience a calçotada, a popular gastronomical event held around this time where calçots, a type of green onion, are consumed in large quantities. Somewhat milder than onions but looking like thinner versions of leeks, calçots are native to eastern Spain and not really consumed anywhere else.

The tenderness of the long, center is achieved by planting the onion bulbs in trenches and successively increasing the depth of the soil around the stems throughout autumn and winter as they continue to grow. The catalan verb calçar apparently means literally to cover the trunk or bottom of plant with dirt, hence the onion's name calçot

The calçots are barbecued in large quantities over fire, then served - today they were divvied out and wrapped in newspapers. Once you receive your portion of calçots you must peel off the charred outer layer to reach the sweet and tender center. This is then dipped in the typical Catalan romesco sauce made from ground nuts, oil, garlic, and small red bell peppers, among other things. It is very much reminiscent of muhamarra from Arabic/Turkish cuisine. On the side it is typical to grill sausages and bread, both of which we also had today along with some wine.

The eating of the calçot is quite a production and, like with lobsters in the U.S., one is served a bib so as to not make a mess. We even got plastic gloves today. Despite waiting an hour in line (Andorran efficiency at its finest!) I'd say it was definitely worth the wait! Fun little festivals like this are definitely some of my favorite things about living in greater Catalunya.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Butter Chicken

You know we love to cook all kinds of things. A lot of the recipes we share on here can tend to be a little involved; but recently, we got a slow cooker and have been trying to find some good recipes to make in it. It's great, because we can still have a daily home-cooked meal without having a lot of active time in the kitchen every day. Lately, we've been preparing a dish the night before, letting it cook overnight, and then having lunch for the next day! P has done a Italian Meatloaf a few times, and I've made Butter Chicken twice now.

I had the Butter Chicken for lunch today, and everyone in the office commented on how good it smelled. It also tasted great! The recipe for it is below.

Butter Chicken


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1.5 lbs large skinless, boneless chicken breasts and/or thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon curry paste
  • 2 teaspoons tandoori masala
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 15 green cardamom pods (optionally, you can string these together for easy removal)
  • 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk, shaken well before opening (NOT sweetened cream of coconut)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup raisins (either black or golden)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds


  1. Add the cut-up chicken to the slow cooker.
  2. In a separate large skillet, melt the butter and vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the dry spices and let them bloom for a few minutes in the hot fat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in the curry paste and tomato paste until no lumps of tomato paste remain. Next, pour in the coconut milk and use it to deglaze the pan if anything has begun to stick. Season to taste with salt. Pour into the slow cooker with the chicken and stir in the cardamom pods and yogurt.
  3. Cook on High 4 to 6 hours, or on Low 6 to 8 hours until the chicken is tender and the sauce has reduced to your desired consistency. Correct seasoning. Remove and discard the cardamom pods before serving--or at least tell your guests not to eat them! ;-)
  4. Serve with basmati rice or naan/chapati 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Casa Leon Armengol - Andorra's Best Prix Fixe Menu?

When in Western Europe a prix-fixe afternoon menu is not hard to come by - practically every restaurant has one. We've experienced the menus at several Andorran restaurants now, but it's Casa Leon Armengol's lunch menu in the Parish of Ordino that keeps us coming back.
Owned by chef Christophe Grosjean, this 8.95€ menu includes a soup, starter, main course, and dessert. There are three to four options for each course, one of which is the daily special. Naturally it's the daily specials we tend to go for...

When it was still warm out for our first course we were served a wonderful homemade gazpacho, while in the colder winter months the soup of the day might be a delicious white bean or vegetable stew.
For the starter we've never been able to resist the hard-boiled eggs with ham, baked in an earthenware dish and smothered with a béchamel sauce. Though rather simple it's simply exquisite. Other options include a traditional Catalan salad and pasta.

For the main course specials we've had an incredible pork rib confit served with roasted potatoes as well as stewed beef. My favorite is the whole clove of roasted garlic that comes alongside.

For dessert one has the choice of a tarte tatine, a gloriously rich chocolate cake with a creamy sauce, fresh fruit, and another options which escapes me. Needless to say we've gone with the tarte and the cake.

Add another Euro or two for a nice cold beer or a glass of wine and you leave Casa Leon Armengol with a full belly and only 10€ poorer. Though it's a bit of a trek from the capital, and by trek I mean a 20 minute bus ride, this lunch menu keeps us coming back and will certainly be a lunch stop for anyone visiting us in Andorra.

The restaurant also has a webpage, mostly in French

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Creamy Truffled Polenta

We recently participated in a recreational cooking "class" at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. It was fun. We weren't quite sure how it was going to work, but each couple ended up being in charge of one or two dishes (depending on the difficulty or time required) so that all of the dishes would be ready at the correct time (and we could all eat them).

We were put in charge of making polenta—truffled polenta. It was delicious and easy to make.  Below is the recipe. 

Creamy Truffled Polenta

Serves 2-4

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 oz. fresh crimini (or baby bella) mushrooms, sliced
2.5 oz. fresh shiitaki mushrooms: stems discarded, caps sliced
3 cups chicken broth, warmed
3/4 cup dried polenta meal
1 Tbsp truffle oil (or to taste)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup light cream or half & half
salt & pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and garlic and sauté until soft and caramelized. Add chicken broth; bring to a boil. Gradually whisk in polenta, ensuring there are no lumps. Add milk. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and cook until polenta is tender and the mixture is very thick, stirring frequently—about 10 minutes. Stir in truffle oil. Add cream and adjust seasoning. Serve warm. 

The consistency should be that of thick grits or "Cream of Wheat"/farina hot cereal. If you make this dish ahead, it will more than likely thicken more as the corn absorbs more liquid. You can always adjust the consistency to your liking before serving by adding more cream or broth, adjusting the seasoning as well.


By omitting the milk and cream and allowing the polenta to firmly set, you can slice the finished product and grill or fry the slices.

To do this, follow the instructions above, skipping the milk and cream. Transfer the cooked polenta into a greased 8"x8"x2" pan and spread the mixture evenly. Place plastic wrap onto the surface of the polenta to prevent a skin. Refrigerate until set.

Cut into 6 pieces. Brush both sides with oil and grill until warm and slightly charred, about 3 minutes per side. You may also fry the slices in a skillet with oil and butter.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

South End's Sustainable Market Changing Hands

Lionette's Market in the South End will be changing hands. Don Otto's Natural and Organic Market will have a grand opening (according to their website as of today) on 'next Saturday,' which I take to mean Saturday, January 23, 2010. Check out their website for up-to-date info.

The following press release is taken directly from their website.


Don Otto and his family are taking over Lionette's at 577 Tremont St in the South End of Boston. Like James Lionette, our main focus will be to bring Local, Clean & Sustainable Food to people who care about our planet and what goes into their bodies. We will feature the same quality prepared foods made by the same Chefs. In addition to keeping the amazing food and Chefs, we will add a few twists of our own guaranteed to please. We also will be working with the same Small Farms in and around New England to provide our Organic Produce, Dairy products, Clean Meats, Delicious Cheeses, and other Local Products. James Lionette was the first person in the city of Boston to offer Grass Fed Beef and other Naturally Raised Meat & Poultry. Don Otto will carry on this legacy, offering only the highest Quality, Local, Clean, & Sustainable Meats and Poultry in New England. At Don Otto's you be guaranteed "Authentic Food". NO MASS PRODUCED potentially harmful food created for PROFIT rather than PEOPLE.

Don Otto will be taking over Lionette's market in a few days. We will be doing business under the name Lionette's until early February, then we will close on a on a Monday for renovations and hopefully re-open for our Grand Opening on the following Saturday. The exact dates are currently tentative so stay tuned


I am excited.