Thursday, November 15, 2012

Halloween Recap

Just before Halloween, I came across this recipe from Bon Appetit for Halloween Peanut Butter and Toffee Bark. Hold on to your insulin guys, this thing is outrageous!

This recipe calls for 2 Heath bars, 3 Butterfingers, 8 Reese's cups, a pound of chocolate chips, Reese's Pieces AND white chocolate. The original also suggests honey roasted peanuts and peanut M+M's. Holy moly you guys. That is an insane amount of chocoalte - just look! 

I couldn't get even that much candy on here. If I make this again, I would stick to one bag of chocolate chips and maybe only 2/3 of the recommended candy. The white chocolate and Reese's Pieces on top are actually quite nice. This would also be great with some pretzel sticks.

In order to avoid gaining 5 pounds in a day, I sent this off to my brother. He's in college and shouldn't have any problem finding people to share with.

 And by sheer coincidence, this is the mug I grabbed on Halloween.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Coconut Banana Bread

Banana bread is one of those things that you'll do crazy things for, like buying green bananas and leaving them out to get overripe and brown while fruit flies start to invade your kitchen.

This banana coconut bread combined one part crazy with one part leftovers. I recently received a crock pot (courtesy of an awesome contest at Kiss My Broccoli) and made a sweet potato and pea curry that left me with 3/4 a cup of coconut milk. I decided I would make banana bread using the coconut milk, so I took to the internets for a recipe. I found one that gave me an idea of the right proportion of coconut milk to flour and then I poked around some more.

This banana bread was so perfect - it had good texture and was sweet (chocolate chips) but not excessive (there's 3/4 cup of brown sugar). If you've never used coconut milk before, shake the can really hard until you hear liquid then shake some more before you open it. The next time I have leftover coconut milk, I realllllly hope there are bananas in the house.

Coconut Banana Bread

3/4 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
2 cups self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of salt
3/4 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional, but really?)

Whisk together coconut milk, brown sugar, eggs, honey and vanilla. And mashed bananas and stir.
In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients - oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the wet and stir until combined. Fold in coconut and chocolate chips.

Pour into a greased 9x5 loaf pan, sprinkle with raw sugar if you have it, and bake at 350 for about an hour and 15 minutes.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Brunching at Foundry on Elm

Wow, so the Boston Brunchers made it back out to the Davis Square neighborhood and went to brunch at Foundry.

Admittedly, this is not my first time at Foundry. It opened right about the time we moved to the Davis area and we go here a lot. As in, my Davis Square go-to. So, apologies is advance for a biased review.  

I've had brunch here before - the first time was the day after our wedding and it was before Foundry got a new chef, so let's toss that from the record. The second time was after an 11 mile run. I nearly fell asleep at the table! But I did have a preview of our starter - these delicious beignets! I'll tell you, they are just as delicious when you aren't willing to eat your own hand. The beignets are dusted in cinnamon sugar (brings back memories of the french toast at Catalyst) and they come with a lemon curd and a chocolate sauce. The nice part about these sauces are that neither is too sweet - the chocolate is a bittersweet and the lemon curd is nice and tart.  Everyone had to hold back on these.... Because.....

Sunday was the launch of Foundry's French country buffet brunch. We all walked over and checked it out. There was so much variety - eggs, breakfast sandwiches, potatoes, little scones and breads. I tried the blueberry cream cheese crepes which were excellent as well as the pain perdu bread pudding - which, you guys, we all raved about! It was lovely and definitely worth going for the buffet if you can't make up your mind at brunch.

Every morning for me starts with coffee, today we added a mimosa.

The vol au vent (bacon, spinach, poached egg, mornay sauce, flakey pastry bowl) and the breakfast flatbreads were the raved about dishes at the table. And, veggies - the vol au vent can be made without bacon.

I had the breakfast sandwich (also without sausage) and apparently was too excited to get a clear picture. Oops! Every time I brunch I debate between the sweet and the eggy. Today I went eggy, which was clearly the right choice based on the aforementioned beignets and pain perdu and crepes... I was pretty happy with my egg sandwich although I could have used some kind of vegetable on this plate.

Like I said, I debate between sweet and eggy, so I was pretty happy that we ordered the dutch baby for the table. It was a perfect sweet end to brunch. It also is served with ice cream, which is a bit much for me in the morning. (Put that on record, I'll never say it again.) The apple and blueberries on top were delicious though.

So... Brunch a Foundry? Will I be back? Resounding yes.
Also, I encourage you to try dinner or head over here for a drink. My favorite gnocchi & squash dish is on the menu and is a great winter dish.

And just in case it wasn't obvious by my raves over this great local spot, brunch was free of charge but my opinions are my own.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Garlicky Swiss Chard

I'm going to do something different and post a veggie recipe tonight.

After going for a run this morning, I took the longest drive ever to get to the Union Square Farmers Market. Seriously, I should never drive through Powderhouse Square on a weekend. Or ever.

I got there with 15 market minutes to spare, but luckily everyone still had plenty of goodies. (Although I may be the only one who still has tomatoes.)

Drumlin Farm had beautiful rain ow chard that I picked up along with broccoli and potatoes. I also got apple's and carrots and met Dan of Dan's Brick Oven Bread. I am a bit of a bread connoisseur (I eat a lot of bread) and Dan's and Mamadou (in Winchester, can be found at farmers markets and Whole Foods Fresh Pond) are my favorites.

Anyway, with this fresh beautiful chard, I made my go to chard recipe. So easy, fast, and yummy. Make sure you wash your greens and stems thoroughly so you don't end up with grit on your plate...

Garlicky Swiss Chard

Heat about 1 T oil and 1 T butter in a pan until butter is melted
Add 2 (more or less depending on how much chard you have and how much garlick you like) cloves chopped garlic and a shark of red pepper flakes, let saute until fragrant
Add swiss chard - I toss the stems, then cut the leaves into ribbons about 3/4 inch wide
And saute until wilted, 5-8 minutes, sprinkle on a little salt while they are cooking

I ate this straight up while waiting for the rest of dinner to cook....

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Catalyst with the Brunchers

On Saturday while I was sitting in the car in the driveway listening to a fascinating episode of This American Life or some other NPR Saturday show, I got a message on twitter from Renee of Boston Brunchers asking if I could join a brunch at Catalyst the next day. Well. Yes! I was bummed I couldn't make it to either brunch in Davis Square, so I was happy to be able to join something on this side of the river.

Catalyst changes their menu weekly, which is awesome, although for me, this week's menu was a little meat heavy. Vegetarians, don't let that deter you (although dieters, maybe you should keep your distance, or at least come with very good restraint), because the other options were fantastic!

 When you walk into Catalyst, you see a nice big space, with a large chunky bar and a cute chicken on the chalkboard. One nice thing about being in Kendall Square is that it's kind of hip and fresh (compared to my usual haunts in Davis) - even the bathrooms were so cool. I snapped a photo of this light fixture that was hanging over the seating area with fireplace by the entrance. From our table we could also see into the kitchen where brunch was being made!

After two nights of beer, I was prepared not to have a cocktail and to just drink as much coffee as possible, but our waitress suggested the seasonal mimosa of the day, which was an apple cider mimosa. I don't think any of the 10 brunchers at the table said no to that. (And it was phenomenal. 110% worth it.)

We started with a plate of ENORMOUS chocolate scones, skillet coffee cake, and spicy maple syrup wings for the table. Seriously, those scones were as big as my head. I admit to being a scone snob, so I'm going to tell you about the coffee cake. I saw it come out of the kitchen to another table and I could tell that this was going to be insane. And it was. There must have been so. much. butter. It had a nice crunchy crust on top, and a good ratio of crust to cake. This would make a nice breakfast on its own. You should definitely come to Catalyst with a table full of sharers.

Last time I was at brunch (post wedding of the year), I got eggs, and I was just plain sad about it. So today I went for my one true love, panko french toast. Admittedly, panko french toast is not my true love, but french toast in general, yes please.

This was no ordinary french toast, you guys. It was a nice crispy sourdough bread, crusted in panko, and I'm pretty sure deep fried, then coated in cinnamon sugar, and served with a dollop of bourbon whipped butter. I'd suggest you share this with your brunch date. I could barely eat through half of it. So crazy good.

My table mate had a delicious looking poached egg. Word on the street too is that the homemade ketchup is outstanding. I can vouch for the honey mustard sauce that came with french fries.

When you're dining here, you notice the theme is this cute little rooster who shows up on everything - including the water for the table!
I had a fabulous time at Catalyst, and it's on the list of Kendall Square restaurants/bars to bring my husband back to. 

And brunch was free of charge & my opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pumpkin Beer Bread (AKA facebook stalking for breakfast)

I came across this recipe on facebook a few weeks ago and I think I've made it about 4 times. There's currently a loaf in the oven, and I have fingers crossed it comes out ok. I accidentally on purpose added the beer to the flour before the pumpkin mixture. Don't do that. (Or maybe do, we haven't seen the outcome yet, but really, probably don't.)

The first time I made this, I thought it was too sweet. Super moist, but sweet. I'm pretty sure I didn't accidentally double the sugar, so I'll recommend using pumpkin from Whole Foods and not the reglar old Libby's brand.
The second time I was annoyed by the sugary sweetness, and upped the whole wheat, cut the sugar by half (?? It was the last of the brown sugar), and added walnuts and chocolate chips. As one would expect, the texture was off, though the flavor was not so bad.
Needless to say, I didn't do that twice, so third time came out quite nicely. Following directions FTW.
And now? Well, we'll see what comes out of the oven in an hour...

Also, I use Brooklyn Brewery's Post Road Pumpkin. It's appealing and not too aggressive for drinking.
As a pumpkin beer, I highly recommend Dogfish's Punkin. And if you like either of those, and don't like to drink candy, you should stay away from Southern Tier. It was the gooiest sweetest beer I've ever had. (Might have worked in this bread though.)

Apparently I don't have any pictures of this bread, so here's a double rainbow.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Well, it seems as if I went the whole summer without any blog posts. 

Here are five highlights:

1. There was a work trip to Hawaii. I learned to surf.

 2. Benson's ice cream. Post beer festival and trip to Ceia Newburyport. 

3. Trip to Montauk/reliving childhood beach days

 4. Famous kitteh is famous, #eastwooding. Followed by weekend in upstate New York.


5. Mass Brewers Fest

Also, my favorite birthday cake, and some words of wisdom.

Anyway, we've hit fall, and I Facebook recipe-stalked this awesome pumpkin beer bread. Many stars, rave reviews all around from the inlaws, and leftover beer to drink!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

In the Night Kitchen

It has been a rough week here In the Night Kitchen. Just a shout out here to Maurice Sendak, the inspiration for this blog name, who passed away today.
His NYT obit is here.
And his appearance on Colbert from a few months ago is here.

The Night Kitchen is still really distressed about MCA. Ugh, world, ugh.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Polish Easter Babka

King Arthur Flour has one of the greatest baking blogs I've found. They are so thorough and have such great descriptions of their recipes. Not just that, but reading the blog is also pretty entertaining. A few days ago they posted a recipe for Polish Babka. I saw that and an Easter sweetbread with eggs and was torn which one to make. Then I remembered that I don't really have the patience for traditional yeast doughs, so I went with the babka.

I followed the recipe pretty much to a T, using some dried cranberries instead of candied fruit and grating in some orange rind as well. I also (1) don't have a bundt pan and (2) couldn't for the life of me find one at the grocery store or Marshall's, so I baked it in a loaf pan. A little less glamorous, and because the bread rose, not successful in soaking with rum syrup on the top and frosting on the bottom, so, frosting went on the top too.

It was sitting on the counter (husband wanted to eat some for breakfast but it hadn't been frosted yet) and I was going to wait until post-run to have a slice (see soaked with rum), but actually waited until we got back from Easter dinner. It's quite lovely.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Bad Blogger, No Photos

Ahhh, so I have been a bad blogger lately and didn't take photos of the cool things I did. For instance, I made pizza dough from scratch, which is pretty much the easiest thing to do, ever. In fact, I made it again last night, and minus the fact that I no longer have a pizza stone, it turned out pretty good.

SB also had a birthday, which was a bit of a failure in celebrating, as there was a bachelor party the weekend before and a  half marathon the weekend after. (Note: are there any 10 milers in Boston?) 
I did make a fancy cake though - marble with mocha frosting. We ate maybe 3 slices, then it lived in the fridge for a few weeks, until I finally tossed it out and made another cake.

 I also made cupcakes. Why? Because one recipe only made one layer of cake, but two recipes made two layers and a dozen cupcakes.

What? Yes. We went out last weekend with a crowd for his birthday, so I made the super easy yellow cake. True story, there is 8 oz of wine in the recipe, and wine is not something we keep in our house. I went for a run Saturday morning (and to pick up a race # for the next day) and walked back in the door with a bottle of wine. SB's response: what are you doing with that?

That cake was so much less fuss than the first cake. Observe: 

I won't bore you anymore, I made chocolate frosting, it didn't turn out right but it frosted better than planned, we celebrated at Red Bones, I had a few beers, then went home so I could race a 5 miler in the morning.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday, brought to you by Carbs (and Science)!

I have been sitting on this recipe for what feels like a long time, but is really just over a week. Recently I saw a post with a recipe for German style soft pretzels. If you have been to Germany, you know that these are amazing. In fact, for some strange reason, all bread on the other side of the Atlantic is amazing. Typical United States bread is just kind of squishy and blah.

I was shocked to learn that the hardest part of making soft-pretzels is actually getting all of the ingredients - specifically, food-grade lye. Yes, that gut reaction you just had? Lye is a poison and a drain cleaner, although when you cook it, that's supposed to neutralize.

The recipe for the dough? Easy, peasy. If you throw it together in the stand mixer, you don't even have to get your hands dirty. Honestly. I probably should invest in bread flour to make these again, but they came out just fine without it. And it's fun. You roll the dough into long strands, kind of like playing with playdough. It's also fast. Door to door (cabinet door? to my mouth door?) was about 2 hours, 90+ minutes of that is spent resting in various places.

But the LYE. It's hard to find, in store. You can order it online (but that felt like it would take too long, even though again I sat on this recipe for like 10 days) and you can ask google where to find it locally. Not a big help, but I did learn that Science can help out.

See, Harold McGee is a food science genius, and he wrote a column in the Times about baking soda vs lye. Essentially, lye is a very strong alkaloid, and baking soda a relatively weak one. But! If you put the baking soda in the oven, some sort of reaction with the heat makes it a stronger alkaloid - strong enough that it gets a pretty good effect on soft pretzels. I have proof!

Without a doubt I will make these again. I'm pretending to plan a March Madness party, so these would make an appearance.

The Horror (Or how I learned to stop listening to people and like the books I read)

I'm going to tell you a secret. Come close, I'll whisper it... For several years, starting senior year of high school, I thought I was a bit thick.

If you know me now, you wouldn't be surprised to hear that I hung with the nerdy crowd in high school. For some reason, my smart kid crowd was far less cool than the classes ahead of us, whose smart kids somehow managed to be smart and drink way more than is advisable for high schoolers. Anyway, the nerdy kids I hung with? I guess they also had the capacity to lower my self-esteem by talking about books. Yes, I'm not kidding. See, we had a pretty extensive reading list for AP English, as I recall 5 or 6 books. (If you google it now, 3 - one of which I read in a sophomore history class.) And I'm a pretty strong reader, but I recall leaving a few of the required selections to the end (I don't know if I even read Othello). One of those was Heart of Darkness. Why I left it until the end?  (1) It kept being hard to find a copy at the library and (2) all of my friends HATED it. They complained about how it was such a dreadful book, and it took 2 weeks to slog through it. If you have any familiarity with Heart of Darkness, you know it's about 75 pages long. So I finally dug my heels in and read it. In two and a half days guys!  Wait. This was not good. Two and a half days? What did I miss? Why did I like this book? Why did I not just like this book, but think it was ah-mazing? Seriously, and everyone else hated it?

I convinced myself I must be missing something. Not just something, a lot of something. Yes, you're reading this correctly. I enjoyed a book that my friends didn't like and I thought that I was just not smart enough to understand it and thus dislike it. I thought maybe I had read it too peripherally, that there was some seriously deep issues in there that I did not get. (There are some seriously deep issues in there. I got that. But maybe some seriously deeper issues?) Who knows. Now combine this weird enjoying Heart of Darkness and feeling like a moron with the fact that I dated an asshole for nearly 18 months in college, whose favorite activity was posing the question "What are you thinking about right now?" every five f*@$ing minutes. And usually, guys, I'm just thinking about what I need to do later in the day, what I want for dinner, or about the movie we were watching. As was often the case in that point in my life, I was thinking about the guy in my calculus class who I had a crush on, and that probably wasn't for sharing. (Maybe it was, but I'm married now, so who knows where things could have gone.) Anyway, I gave myself a solid dose of low self-esteem on the critical reading and thinking about heavy topics day in day out.

So I was really hard on myself for a couple years. Then my roommate went abroad and my new roommate was an English major whose favorite poem was The Love Song of  J. Alfred Prufrock. God bless her. Poetry, I readily admit, I do not get. But I told her about my love-hate relationship with Joseph Conrad, and she eventually convinced me to take a modern British literature course with her, and I realized that while there is a bunch of seriously deep and fucked up shit in Heart of Darkness, it is just a really amazing story. And it's ok to read it, get immersed in it, and finish it in less than three days.


The point of this story is, stop judging yourself against other people. If you like a book, own it. Read it, enjoy it, and be ok with it. If someone judges you because you liked one of the more widely-read turn of the century British novels, you should tell them to fuck off.

A reward if you've made it this far!

My Top Ten Nine Books of All Time (of all time!!!) - in no particular order

From the Mixed of Files of Mrs. Basel E. Frankweiler (E.L. Konigsburg) - This is my favorite children's novel. If you haven't read it, you should.
Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad) - Apocalypse Now was based on this book, if you need another reason.
Special Topics in Calamity Physics (Marisha Pessl) - I am three degress of separation from this author, also, this has nothing to do with physics.
Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) - If you didn't know that Clueless was based on Emma, well... But this is my favorite of Jane Austen's.
The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde) - Vanity or sanity?
A Farewell to Arms (Ernest Hemingway) - It's hard to pick a Hemingway. I know he was a drunk/abuser, but he's still Papa Hemingway. (Shit, is this what people will say baout Chris Brown in 50 years?)
Lolita (Vladimir Nabokov) - Some people don't like Lolita because of the content. Yeah, I kind of understand this. But not really.
My Life in France (Julia Child) - A Julia Child memoir. An amazing one at that.
The God of Small Things (Arundhati Roy) - Another AP English required read. Stop what you're doing and read this...

Why is this 9? I get stuck after 9 and can't decide if it's To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, the Bell Jar, the Secret Garden, Freakonomics......

And also guys? Then I went to grad school, and I came across a group of people like me, who make statistics jokes and understand that if you have the fabulous sense of humor to enjoy Nabokov, then why the heck haven't you read Crime and Punishment. And they're also 100% ok with the fact that right now I am thinking about eating the pretzels I just made, and maybe stealing some of the Easter candy I am planning to send to my brother.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Drinking a [beer], watching the game, true

If you got that reference, then I have this to say... Wazzaaaaaap.

You'll also notice that the beer pictured is most certainly not a bud. It's 'the case of the ipa' from Just Beer in Westport Ma. Just Beer used to be Buzzards Bay Brewing, and we have a few mini tasting glasses with the clever buzzard image on it. This is more bitter than some ipas (oh, is that why I like it?) and has the sort of cloudy taste of non-west coast-style beers. I'd definitely go for this of the other Just Beer offerings, but my favorite local IPA still comes from our super local neighborhood brewers.

If you do get down to Westport, go try some beers at Just Beer then head to Westport Winery for some super dry bubblies! We had Westport for our wedding toast and have friends who are thinking of having their dessert wine at their wedding.

(Also, I am watching the game right now. Big East tournament in full swing. Go Hoyas!)

Monday, March 5, 2012


I spent some time poking around the internet for a "healthy" banana bread recipe. I have raved about the banana bread recipe from Flour, but it's not exactly the type of thing you feel good eating for breakfast (feel good being, good for you, it makes me very happy to eat cake for breakfast).
Over the years I've found several recipes using applesauce or yogurt instead of oil, but it can yield a gummy texture to the loaf of bread, so I was hoping to find a recipe that wasn't going to do that. I poked and poked and came across several which had some good stuff going for them, finally I picked one and modified it to suit.

Here goes:
3.5 mashed bananas
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
dash of allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2-3/4 cup chocolate chips
You know the drill, mix the wet, mix the dry, add the dry to the wet, stir in the nuts and chips. Pour in a pan and bake. (350 for about 45-50 minutes worked quite well. Then again, I think my oven bakes hot, and the loaf did get browner than expected, but who knows.)

This batter felt pretty loose when I threw it together so I crossed my fingers and hoped it would turn out okay. And it did. The texture is not the light fluffy quick bread with mounds of butter and white flour, but it's not gummy either. And there was nice carmelization in the crust from the brown sugar. And there are chocolate chips, so enough said.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Right now you're may be asking yourself, "How did I get here? This is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful wife. These are not my beautiful brownies."

But they can be! These babies are EASY. SB went to bowling with his friends and I had been at a happy hour and didn't feel much like cooking. But I ate dinner and decided I needed to bake. So I made a half batch of the King Arthur Flour fudgy brownies*, augmented with espresso powder. (Ladies, gents, always espresso powder in the brownies, always.) And a few minutes before these were done cooking, threw chopped toasted coconut marshmallows on them.

Yes, toasted coconut marshmallows.

I am lucky enough to know a roller derby power couple in DC. Obitchuary and I used to row together, and her husband is amazing in the kitchen. (I still remember the rosemary shortbread cookies filled with caramel he made for a holiday party several years ago.) What I'm trying to say is, Karen Mary Co. makes a kickass marshmallow. If you can get your hands on the caramel, chocolate, sea salt ones you will be in heaven. If heaven is a pillowy soft marshmallow cloud.

Anyway, this recipe is like those Hostess snowballs, though sadly, without the cream filling.

*I started typing this on my droid. Autocorrect chose fishy instead of fudgy. Lucky I caught that one.