Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cuban Pete

Josh and I have a friend who we adore (Kristina), who has a boyfriend we adore (Matt). Several weekends ago Kristina or Xtina as we very affectionately call her and Matt came over and brought some steak tips to grill. Both of them were walking around calling them crack tips. I was all confused. So I ask Matt, “What cut of the cow is the crack tip?” I am literally laughing at myself as I type this. Xtina’s response is, “Meags, they’re just really good and they’re kind of like crack!” Doh!

So these crack tips come from Idylwilde Farms, which Matt’s family owns. Josh and I had been talking about going over there for months, but never made it. Well, since the crack tips were gone, we geared up for a road trip and headed to Acton. I’m aware that Acton isn’t far, but we’re city dwellers and rarely make it to the burbs!

Before I get into today’s recipe, I must plug this amazing farm stand. We walked into this thing and whoaaa buddy…It was HUGE! They had everything. This place carries meats, every kind of produce you’ve ever wanted, cheeses, nuts, dried fruits, plants, peanut butters, errrrything! I’d also like to commend them on the signs on the produce. We were looking for a hot pepper, hotter than a jalapeno but not as hot as a habanero. Idylwilde Farms puts signs on all of their produce letting you know what it is, but on their hot peppers they label with scoville units! BINGO! So we also picked up these amazingly beautiful strawberries. I was so excited about them because they looked like the ones you pick out of the garden. Not the mammoth steroided out strawberries we get at Stop & Shop. Poor Josh looks at me and says, “But they’re so small.” I quickly explained to him why that’s the best part!

We took home all of our treasures and a few days later were making dinner and I decided we needed a cocktail. Like a fresh one, a seriously yummy one! That’s when the proverbial light bulb went on over my head. We had also picked up mint at Idylwilde. STRAWBERRY MOJITOS!

Cuban Pete - Click!

So here’s the breakdown for 1 drink:

3 whole sprigs worth of mint
*I like a lot of it, so if you want to use 2 feel free it won’t hurt it

4 or 5 of these farm size strawberries, super ripe so they’ll mush easily
*If you’re using normal strawberries, a) I’m sorry and b) Don’t use as many

1/2 Tbsp. sugar

Juice of 1/2 a lime

2 shots silver rum

Splash of club soda

Put the mint, cut up strawberries and sugar in a martini shaker. Smash them all together until the strawberries are more like a puree and the mint leaves are confetti-like. Squeeze in lime juice. Pour in the rum. Fill the shaker with ice. Shake, pour. Then put a little splash of soda on top!

Mint contains good amounts of Vitamin A, C, B12, folic acid, thiamine and riboflavin, as well as, minerals such as, calcium, copper, fluoride, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc. You already know my green theory!

We almost did Miami proud! Salud!

Oh and do yourself a favor and get over to Idylwilde Farms!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

So Much Time and So Little To Do. Wait a Minute. Strike That. Reverse It. -Willy Wonka

Unless you are hiding in a cave with Bilbo Baggins you undoubtedly have evenings where you do not have one spare minute to get yourself fed. Most often on these nights, we, as shamefully busy people, go out and let someone else feed us. Now DO NOT mistake what I’m saying…I laaahooove it when someone else feeds me. However, at the end of a dinner out, what time have you actually saved yourself? Likely you’ve hovered over people sitting at tables in the bar all the while starving to death waiting for a meal that will most likely make you feel guilty or should! Then you get home, plop on the couch because you’re exhausted, stuffed, ill or a combo and the laundry still ain’t doing itself!

So friends, for those of you that can anticipate nights like that, I have the PERFECT remedy!

On my first time meeting my super duper duper duper (mhmm get the point) friends Gregory and Jon they made this killah slaw-like salad that I legit wanted to fill a bathtub full of and swim around in. The best part about this salad is that its sans mayo and therefore, much healthier than that white stuff you get at KFC! AND it tastes better to boot! Imagine tasting the veggies in your cole slaw! The key to this salad is that it has to be made at least a half day before you eat it! So I made it the night before while I was chopping veggies for that night’s dinner. I paired it with some beautiful organic broccoli from my dogma box (thank you Boston Organics). So the night before I left the broccoli, fully in tact, olive oiled it, s&p’d it, threw it in a Ziploc and into the fridge for tomorrow. I did the same with my chicken. Put it in some ***BBQ sauce in a Ziploc and into the fridge.

***Ok, quick tangent. I said, “some BBQ sauce”. However, I must correct my poor description. This is actually THE BBQ sauce. It’s Rudy’s from Rudy’s in Texas. When my brother and sister in law lived in Austin, we went to this place at least once per trip. I will proudly admit there were trips to Austin where 2 stops at Rudy’s were necessary. Anyway, this sauce is the best. It just is what it is. If you are from TX, you know. If you are not, you should just trust me! And special tip, you can order it online. Justin & Chelsy started sending it to us in bulk and now it’s a habit!

Ok back to the dinner. So with everything in plastic in the fridge, we came home from work on one of those have no time nights, fired up the grill, grilled all but the cole slaw and dinner was ready in about 15 minutes! Now how’s that for fast! Noted benefits as I see them 1) Its super fast 2) Its all delish 3) Its pretty healthy…maybe not the sauce, but caaaahm aaahn and last but not least…..drum roll please……IT’S A THOUSAND DEGREES IN NEW ENGLAND AND WE DON’T HAVE AIR CONDITIONING…..NO HEAT ON IN THE HOUSE! WOOOT WOOOT!

So here’s the breakdown:

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
*I cut these in half horizontally to portion control and also to cook it faster
Olive Oil
*Don’t overdue this, you don’t need much

Gregory & Jon’s Health Salad
1/2 medium green cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, shredded
½ green pepper, sliced paper thin in small strips
½ English cuke, sliced paper thin
½ onion, sliced paper thin
a handful of fresh oregano, chopped

¼ c. sugar 
*I used less, but my math skills will not enable me to divide properly
1/8 c. water
¼ c. olive oil
3/8 c. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. salt

So I hand chopped all of these vegetables. BE SMARTER THAN ME! Put all of it individually into a food processor (that’s what Jon does). Mix up the sugar, water, olive oil, vinegar and salt. Pour over salad and toss. Refrigerate overnight.

This stuff was so delish I ate on it leftover for 4 days! And its still good 4 days later! Please, hold your applause!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mele Kalikimaka

Ok, so maybe it’s July and even in chilly New England it’s not Christmas-like. But Mele Kalikimaka anyway! A tropical buzz hit me the other night. No, not a mai tai… Thanks to my fabulous brother and sister in law, I had the great pleasure of vacationing to Maui in September 2008. So I channeled my grass skirt and coconuts for a dinner that brought me right back to the joys that I remember from that trip.

Timon & Pumba - CLICK ME!!!!

On our vacation we went deep sea fishing (my favorite excursion of many) where we caught this gargantuan fish native to Maui called Ono. So that particular boat allows you to take home whatever you catch. (Thank you Maui locals, we truly love you). So anyway…we had this amazing, I don’t know, 5 hour old fish for dinner. Haven’t had that fresh of fish since we were catchin’ dem catfish in the pond with our bare hands back in my redneck days! Anyway, in Maui we grilled this fish and I made a pineapple salsa to top it with. Delish. But soooooo overdone!

So last night in an attempt to recreate a more interesting version of this fabulous meal, I marinated my tilapia in a papaya chipotle pineapple pure marinade with fresh chopped cilantro. I bought the marinade, but its not likely difficult. Purée some fresh papaya, pineapple and canned chipotle. Add some lime juice, rice vinegar, S&P. Maybe some sugar, but if you’re going fresh, leave that out the juice from the fruit is so tasty alone! Because it’s a marinade, proportion won’t matter just make it equal or add more of whatever you like the most. There’s not much citrus in it, so it won’t turn into ceviche….marinate it as long as you need to get yourself together….mix a cocktail, go shopping whateva! So I paired this fruit themed fish dinner with banana and green apple skewers since I was grilling anyway. The key here…..the cinnamon honey I drizzled over the fruit before I grilled it! I wanted to add quinoa to add some extra protein and because I’m southern, I don’t eat without three courses and one of them HAS to resemble a carb. Growing up it was very often white bread and butter if you can imagine that! Diets be gone! Thanks Brendaz!
 So here’s the breakdown:

Earth & Vine Provisions Papaya Chipotle Pineapple Grilling Sauce

2 Bananas
2 Green Apples
Lemon Juice
¼ c. Honey
¼ tsp. Cinnamon


Marinate the tilapia in the marinade and fresh chopped cilantro. I just threw it all in a gallon Ziploc. Incidentally, it should be noted that cilantro is a good source of fiber, iron and disease-fighting phytonutrients! And it’s green, so it must be healthy, right?!

Soak your bamboo skewers for at least 30 minutes. Put one cup water in a bowl with the juice of half a large lemon. Cut the bananas and apples in chunks. Soak the fruit in the lemon water for at least 20 minutes. Start the quinoa as directed on the box.

Sidenote…a recent conversation with a health conscious friend.: 
Him: “Eat quinoa, its really good for you” 
Me: “I don’t know how to cook it.” 
Him: “Uh, read the directions on the box!

Trust me…you can do it too! Meanwhile, mix the honey and cinnamon. I put the mixture in the microwave for about 20 seconds just to make it easy to stir up. Skewer the fruit and drizzle with the cinnamon honey. Get your grill good and hot, spray the side where you’ll cook the fish with Pam Spray. Grill the fish about 4 or 5 minutes on each side with the lid down. The best way to tell if its time to flip is if the grill lets it go. If its sticking, it ain’t ready! Put the skewers on the grill after you flip the fish. Turn the skewers a couple times.

Enjoy! We sure did!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Southern Girl, Livin' in a Foodie World!

A southerner by origin, I am, by the grace of whatever god you may or may not believe in, an eater. I am also a feeder. We feed people down south. Actually, I distinctly remember a friend and co-worker losing her grandmother and when asked by my boss why she was coming in to work that day replied, “Don’t worry, I made her cornbread!” As I said I am a feeder by nature. I grew up eating ridiculously delicious and always three course dinners prepared by my mother who, is acknowledged by all my friends and family, to be the best cook! She’s old school though. Taught by my grandmother who was probably taught by her German mother who was….well you get the point. Females in my family learn from the best just by watching and eating. I’ve spent countless hours of my life watching my grandma roll out and hand cut noodles for broth. These noodles incidentally are flippin’ awesome and the talk of every Montgomery Thanksgiving for decades! That said, I have in my 28 years consuming everything under the sun become someone who seriously enjoys food.

My brother and I making those famed noodles as kids
It must be noted that I grew up eating southern food. I’m not sure how my German ancestry translated into fried chicken, cornbread, black eyed peas and greens, but I believe it’s the combination of historically big eating societies that makes me the eater I am today. I also attribute this to the fact that in my house not eating your dinner was never an option. Dinner was what my mom cooked and you ate it. Period. No PBJs if you weren’t happy with your spinach! And I sincerely believe that my mother cooked some of the staankiest veggies on the planet just to drive home the point! Therefore, I literally eat everything.

You can imagine how moving to the Big City (cough cough wink wink) developed my palette and opened me up to a world of food I had never known! You can’t, however, imagine my excitement to try EVERYTHING! I currently live in Somerville. Right on the edge of some of the finest eating one can hope for these parts! (Thick southern drawl)

I have spent the last 6 years of my life becoming what I consider to be a food adult! I have traveled some and tasted food in some of the best restaurants in the world. De Kas, La Cinq, even our own little Craigie on Main! I have also eaten in places you’d be scared to walk in but left in shear amazement! Some places I’ve loved, some I’ve hated…no…take that back, I’ve never hated a single meal in my entire life. Lets go with favored less!

After really thinking about the wondrous journeys food and eating has taken me on over the course of my life and how it has shaped me into the person I am today; literally and figuratively, I decided it was time for me to share!

This is my blog. I hope not only to get you thinking about how food fits into your life but also what you might eat next!