Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Now is the Winter of Our Discontent (February)

It didn’t stop. February, it snowed. And snowed. And snowed some more.

Then we went on vacation and it snowed there too. (And boy was it cold.)

February, we built fires, we baked cookies and brownies and other things to get you through the latest snow storm. (We drank beer.) It was miserable.


To that end, a few books that were just miserable, each paired with a cookie recipe I do like.

The Book Thief - Chunky Lola Cookies from Flour
One Day - Fudgy Brownies - King Arthur Flour
Loving Frank - Oatmeal Cookies

(I'm not linking to these books. If you feel like you need to find them, you've been warned.)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Heart of Darkness (January)

Oh January! How naïve we were, bundled up as winter did it’s thing, dreaming of spring not so far off, getting excited about a few inches of weekend snow.

January is as good a time as ever for comfort food. It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s hard to imagine that we’ll ever get out of winter and into spring and warmth, but it’s probably going to happen. January was when I had to plan runs around time of day, making sure I could sneak something in before work or maybe in the afternoon before it got dark.

But what did we know… What lay around that curve of the river… Winter. True, deep, dark winter was waiting for us, baiting us, about to spring out and attack us. Two and a half feet of snow. OH. The horror, the horror. Two and a half feet of snow melts eventually, right? We warm up with mac and cheese, or roasted veggies, or soups, and then before we know it, the snow has gone, dirty piles of it sit on the corners, but those melt too, and we emerge, out of the darkness, into spring.

RIGHT??? What the hell, winter?

Just another storm, another snow day, another work out shoveling, another day on the treadmill because you cant go outside.  But this will go away eventually. We’ll get back out of the jungle.


A few ways we coped with the storm:

Whole Grain Macaroni & Cheese

We just put cheese on everything...

Recommended Reading:
Joseph Conrad Heart ofDarkness

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Failure, Relaunch, Resolution

Well guys, I failed, miserably, at keeping up the blog last year. Outside of one month of productive posting, which, WTH?, didn't include any picture or mention of our adventures in Scandinavia and dinner at NoMa (yea we did!) it was a slow year on the blog.

This year I also intend it to be a slow year on the blog, but I intend to post once a month. That shouldn't be that hard, but look what happened last year... That said, it's a manageable goal that wont overwhelm, so I think there are some real possibilities here.

That being said, this blog has been inspired by books from day 1, hence the name, "In the Night Kitchen." This year, with purpose, my resolution-ed monthly posts will be inspired by books too. They will still be about food, and most of the time baking, but I read SO MUCH and I might as well start weaving that in too. That said, the rest of this blog post will have nothing to do with books (or only a little).

Without putting enough thought into it, our yearly February trip was to Scandinavia last year. We spent most of our time in Stockholm, with an overnight in Copenhagen and a stopover in Iceland.

A few things to try in Stockholm. First, this is a Semla. It is all the rage, you must have one. It took us several days to finally sit down and order one. Other pastries, especially those with cardamom are delicious.

Second, fish in tubes. I think Sweden is the biggest consumer of fish in tubes. All kinds of fish, all sizes of tubes. Also, smoked, pickled or dilled fish. If you've been eating pickled herring since childhood, breakfast in Stockholm is fun. If you haven't, there's a first time for everything.

We went to Nybrogatan 38. We kind of stumbled upon it looking for a dinner near our hotel on one of our last evening's in the city. We sat at the bar as the place was super crowded and were started off with this delicious bread basket. The remaining food was also really good - and the drinks were fun - note you can order the Pensatucky.  

This is just a picture of a latte.

And finally, we went to lunch with my friend Alex. Sweden is a very family-centric place, and there were lots of families lunching in this little restaurant. Strollers are left outside, and apparently sad pugs too. This may be my favorite photo from the whole trip.

From Stockholm, we went south to Copenhagen, primarily because we managed to get a reservation at NoMa, but also because flights were cheap and it was easy to get to. Copenhagen was a short trip, but here are some NoMa dinner photos: 


This is a cappuccino. I was confused - is everyone really drinking iced coffee, outside bundled up at cafes and smoking their cigarettes? No. That is a cappuccino in a glass. Aha. Isn't it beautiful though? This was at The Coffee Collective in Torvehallerne - a food market with lots of interesting treats.

Finally, we went through Iceland, and did a short trip, also with good food and interesting sightseeing.  For instance, there are all these boats: 

If you go to Iceland, you should definitely check out Lebowski Bar. The dude abides here. You should also have brunch at The Laundromat, which we did maybe every morning we were there.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sweet Sunday in Chesnut Hill Square

Two Sundays ago (was it that long ago?) I got to hang out with a fun group of Boston Brunchers in Chestnut Hill Square. I was pretty excited when I saw Renee post this event because (a) I miss Sweetgreen and (b) this was the only weekend I was home this summer.

It was a very sweet Sunday, because I got up in the morning and ate a cookie before I went for my run... 

We started out with a walk through Chestnut Hill/Newton from the TrueRunner store. Everyone was able to test out new New Balances (those laces!!) and a TomTom watch. I admittedly had some trouble with the TomTom technology - my watch experience is pretty much just start/stop/lap, so I was a little out of my tech element here.

Our walk helped work up the appetite AND took us past Tom Brady's house. Apparently he and Bill Belichick live next door to each other, which is adorable. 

Post-hike, we trekked across the parking lot to sweetgreen, where Rachel (who was rocking all purple, love it!) had us set up with salads, peach gazpacho and blueberry basil lemonade. I chose the Spicy Sabzi which has organic baby spinach + shredded kale with spicy quinoa, spicy broccoli, carrots, raw beets, basil, sprouts and roasted tofu; topped with a carrot chili vinaigrette and a squeeze of sriracha". Mmm, sriracha. 

This one was spicy, but like most of the sweetgreen salads I've had, tasty and absolutely packed with veggies. 

Sweetgreen launched in a teeny tiny shop just down the block from where I went to grad school, and they have a very cool community focused mission that includes local farmers and local music. And kale. I only wish there was a sweetgreen a little closer to my house.

In keeping with the sweet theme, we walked over to Sweet cupcakes for some sugar and whimsical treats. Note the cupcake ferris wheel. The cupcakes were moist and had a really good balance of frosting to cake. (Which in my world means a lot of frosting.) I tried the lemon and the chocolate, with a preference for the lemon which was very light. Then we started gazing over the flavors (so many flavors) and tried the Honey Blackberry which has local(ish) honey and blackberry jam and the Caramel Macchiato. The Caramel Macchiato I drooled over a little. Then I tasted it and drooled some more - this cupcake mixes caramel, espresso, and a little cinnamon and was a coffee cupcake dream.

I won't lie. I went home and slipped into a sugar coma for a little while... 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Old Bay Crispix Mix

Holy OMG Batman. This Crispix mix is out of control. I always dreamed of making Crispix Mix (yes, really) and never got around to it. I have been eating too much of it for breakfast most days, and since I finally found the spice to end all other spices Old Bay at the grocery, I've been dreaming of making an Old Bay Crispix Mix.
Finally, in honor of March Madness, I got my act together and made this delicious treat. Be very careful with this stuff. In fact, you probably shouldn't share it. No one else appreciates it as much as you do.

Old Bay Crispix Mix - adapted from MD Kitchen

  • Two tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Three tablespoons Old Bay spice mix
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon (about two tablespoons)
  • One stick of butter
  • Eight cups Crispix cereal
  • Two cups Goldfish crackers
  • Two cups unsalted pretzels
  • One cup unsalted peanuts
  • Optional - hot sauce (we don't have any), garlic (mine's sprouted)

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine in Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay, and lemon juice.
  3. Combine Crispix, Goldfish crackers, pretzel twists, and peanuts. Spread out ingredients in two baking sheets or pyrex pans.
  4. Melt butter.
  5. Mix butter with Worcestershire mix and pour over  dry ingredients. Stir gently to coat completely.
  6. Bake in the oven for one hour, stirring every fifteen minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and transfer to cool on baking sheets. Mix will crisp up as it cools.
  8. Eat, as soon as it's ready. Share only if you're feeling really nice today.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Stacked Donuts Pop Up

Boston-based Top Chef competitor Stephanie Cmar has been popping up around Boston on the weekends with her Stacked Donuts. I've heard good things on twitter, blogs, and other internets, so when eventbrite posted that she was doing a pop up in Somerville on Saturday, I added it to my calendar immediately.

I am coping with a running injury, so first I had to waste 30 minutes going back and forth to the gym (and erging - why doesn't that hurt), then I hopped in the car and headed to KITCHENiNC in Union Square.
I was greeted by this colorful sign, reminding me that maybe a running injury isn't so bad if donuts. 

Stephanie had a samoa (the one in front) and ginger-lemongrass donut. I asked what they were but obviously needed one of each. The ginger was my favorite of the two, but that may be a personal preference for ginger-flavored things which seems to exceed that for things with coconut. These were beautifully lick your fingers sticky and light and puffy. I'm not a regular donut eater, but this was a delicious treat.

If you've been in my kitchen, you know I have a serious apron collection. Stephanie was wearing this adorable donut apron. Maybe I should find one covered in pies?

I'm pretty sure that donut is the new cupcake. This I am 100% okay with.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Puritan & Company Brunch with The Boston Brunchers

Last weekend I got to see the Boston Brunchers again, this time at Puritan & Company. I was very excited to get to Puritan & Company for brunch. We've been there for dinner a handful of times and I was always impressed! Chef Will Gilson has an amazing twitter avatar cooks from a traditional New England perspective and has created this charming and busy restaurant in Inman Square.

Below is the brunch and drinks menu. This brunch menu is a little meat heavy but has a few veggie egg dishes and sourdough griddlecakes as well. And the pastries. The pastries...

A cocktail called the concatenation? Excel geek here almost ordered it, except I do not like anise. Darn. Instead I got one of the brunch cocktails, the Park Avenue - along with 3/4 of the table I'd say. This was one strong brunch drink. It's a good thing I didn't get a beer while watching the basketball game right after this or anything. 

Holy pastries Batman! We had a Boston Cream donut, cherry blondies, banana bread, lemon cornmeal muffin, a dulce de leche and coconut danish, and a savory twist with ham and cheese. Wow. Everything here was phenomenal. The blondies were really complex and the texture of the muffin was awesome. The table's favorite was the danish, although I leaned toward banana bread, because banana bread.

Below are a few of the dishes the Brunchers tried:
Steak & Eggs
Broccoli & Cheddar Scramble
Copa Ham Breakfast Sandwich
Corned Beef Hash

Did you notice how beautiful those eggs are? Those are real farm fresh eggs and man are they delicious. I had the broccoli and cheddar scramble, which was all things eggs are supposed to be, and cheesy. I've recently realized that broccoli may be my favorite vegetable, so this was an added plus to the scramble (and we were all a little sad though that the quiche was sold out by the time we arrived).

Puritan & Company is now on my list of brunch recommends, though if you like Parker House rolls, make sure you stop in for dinner too!

Per usual, brunch was provided free to our group, but opinions are my own.