Thursday, October 31, 2013

Crepe-y Halloween

On my very first night ever in Boston, I ate at a Spanish Tapas place on Newbury Street called Tapeo. I absolutely loved this place! And subsequently took all visiting friends there for the next, oh 3 years?!?! I never go there anymore because apparently we’re on a quest in my house to never eat at the same place twice! I don’t really miss it, but I do miss one of the dishes there. It was a pimiento con camarones. (A roasted red pepper stuffed with shrimp). It had some delicious sauce, but not only do I not really remember what it was, I’m not sure I’d even have the ingredients to make it. However, I wanted to try something with a similar flavor. I've also really wanted to try to make crepes. I feel like making them is a skill that is grossly overlooked when you see them.

So here we go. French crepe meets Spanish tapa!

 Crepe Batter
6 eggs
2/3 cup whole milk
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Coconut spray

Mix first 4 ingredients very well. Spray a thin coat of coconut spray into a 10 inch NON STICK pan on medium-low heat. Drop just a tad under ¼ of a cup into your pan and swirl it around to cover the bottom. It’s going to look thin, it should, it’s a crepe. Cook for a few minutes longer than you think you should (3 min total)  then lift a corner with a spatula. If it’s browned, scoot the crepe to the far of one side, slide your spatula under and flip it! Then heat for another 3 minutes (or until  brown). You can stack them up as you go and heat them back up later.

****Important Note****
Stick with it. You will ruin a few. It will take some time to get the hang of it. I ruined 6 before I got it down.


1 lb large shrimp, diced in ¼” pieces
½ bunch asparagus, diced small
2 roasted red peppers, diced small
1-1.5 Tbsp garlic
Splash white wine
*I used sauvignon blanc
2 Tbsp butter
*I use Kerry Gold its grass fed and it’s Irish, kind of like me!
1 Tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon

In a pan over medium-low heat, sauté butter, olive oil and garlic for about 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Then add asparagus and cook for another 5-7 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until the pieces are just barely pink. Approximately 5 more minutes. Then throw in the wine and sauté for a minute or two. Toss in the roasted red peppers and mix until they are heated through as well. No more than a minute. Juice the lemon over the shrimp mix, with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and start filling your crepes.

To do this, keep your heat low and spoon a smallish amount into the middle. Then wrap them like burritos. I garnished them with some shaved raw asparagus, fresh parsley and a plain ole green salad dressed with lemon juice and olive oil.

It looks absolutely beautiful on a plate and it tasted awesome! You could even add an extra roasted red pepper as the bites with them were the best ones! This wasn't really even close to the dish from Tapeo, but I considered it a valiant victory over a food I've been afraid to try to make (the crepe) and it was sooo delicious. Another thing, this is an incredibly light dinner, so it would also make a terrific brunch or lunch!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Beets N Sweets

Alright, last week I said I’m not really a salad lover. And this week, I am going to blog another salad. Every single time I make a blanket statement like that, I end up doing something completely contrary to my previous statement. Must.Stop.Making.Generalizations.

Some of you know that I run the Relay For Life event in Peabody, MA. If you know anything about me or Peabody, you know that I am an A-Typical Somerville resident, who almost never crosses the river and that I only go to that part of the state for two reasons. First, my beloved Relayers. Second, my friends Steve and Brit. I had a lunch meeting with a volunteer last year and she asked me to pick up salads from this place in Danvers called Prime Roast Beef. I was seriously skeptical, but I did as I was asked. When I went to get them, I ordered myself what now stands as my favorite salad to date! I literally crave this thing every week. This little beauty is called “Beets and Sweets” and I always add steak tips.

So the problem is that I cannot schlep it to Danvers every week for salad. I drive a Prius, but an hour round trip for a salad is extreme! Well, this week I decided to make it myself. How hard could it be? Beets, sweet potatoes, goat cheese, pecans, steak tips, greens, balsamic dressing. Piece of cake! No….piece of steak! Ooooooh, I’ll be here all night folks!

Due to the quality of steak tips that I buy (thank you Matt Napoli, see previous blog re: “crack tips”), I actually enjoyed my salad better than Prime’s! Ha! I win! You can pick up these steak tips “original” flavor at Pemberton Market, Idylwilde Farm, Mann Orchards or directly from them. I’m sure you can get it other places but these are in towns I’m regularly in. DOMS

1/3 sweet potato, cooked, cooled and cut in chunks
1 medium beet, cooked, cooled and cut in chunks
¼ cup pecans, chopped
2-3 Tbsp crumbled goat cheese
2 cups mixed greens
4-6 steak tips

3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼ to 1/3 cup olive oil
Pinch of salt
¼ tsp fresh ground pepper

Basically stack the ingredients in a bowl. You’ll want to grill your steak tips for just a couple minutes on screaming high heat to get a crust, but keep them medium rare. Bake your potato in the microwave for 8 minutes. Cooking beets is easy too. Boil them, skin on until you can pierce through with a fork. Then wrap in paper towel and twist lightly. The skin will separate easily. This couldn’t be easier and it’s really not a salad…it’s a steak and potato.

This salad, if that’s what you want to call it, was so pretty, I texted it to two friends….here are their responses…..

Please try this yourself, you won’t be disappointed!!! I think my friends deserve this salad for their terrific responses. Maybe I’ll make it for them! 


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Salad Guessing Game

I am not a salad eater. I really just don’t super love salads and especially not as a main meal. Don’t get me wrong, I eat one for lunch between 3 and 4 days a week. But I really just do it because it’s a quick thing to pack up and take to work and it’s always going to be healthy. I mean, unless you coat it in ranch dressing, which I don’t. But really, if I’m being honest, I’m more of a bacon girl! That said, I had plans for a quick and easy dinner of grilled chicken and a brussell sprout salad last week. Unfortunately it didn’t make it to my plate for dinner. However, before Josh and I ventured out for an entire day of drinking on Saturday, I decided it was probably a good idea to eat something healthy beforehand. It’s all about balance, right?

I Instagramed (is that a verb?) and Facebooked a pic of the fantastic and uber healthy salad on Saturday at which point my food friends started guessing what was in it! So friends, today I unveil my super simple but very healthy salad from Saturday. I know the suspense has been killing you and I’m very sorry for the long wait! But as my father told me anytime he handed me a bottle of ketchup as a kid, “Good things come to those who wait!”

Roasted hazelnuts have been my new
obsession,they are soooo yummy!
20 or so brussell sprouts
½ a 5oz box Olivia’s Organics Baby Kale, roughly chopped
1 ½ cup roasted hazelnuts
1/3 cup fresh shredded Parmesan

Juice of 2 lemons
1 Tbsp dried basil
Olive oil

I decided on this lemony dressing based on a drink I once had on a night out with Gregory, Jon, Marc and Pam. I omitted the tequila but hey, if you want some tequila in your salad dressing, MORE POWER TO YA!


Cut stems off brussell sprouts and put them in your food processor using the slice blade. Toss together thoroughly with the rest of the salad ingredients. For the dressing, put lemon juice and basil in a shaker or mixing bowl. Add olive oil, tasting as you go. You want the dressing to be acidic but not as thin as lemon juice is. I can’t tell you how much this is because it’s going to depend on the size of your lemons and also how acidic you can handle. But keep a bite, it helps with the cheese. When you've got the acidity right (remember, it just needs to taste good to you, there is no right or wrong answer here) add salt and pepper. Now toss a little bit in at a time until your salad is well coated, but not weighed down. You won't use all of the dressing, but the good news is you'll have some for another salad later! Toss a few extra hazelnuts on top for presentation and serve with just about anything you like.

*Advice from a salad professional* My friend Becca makes legit the best salads in the world! They are maybe my exception to the I Don’t Like Salad rule! And her advice is always mix in the dressing to the whole salad! Don’t put it on top per portion! And in my limited experience, she is right on the money! I listen to Becca, you should too!

Not only is this salad the ultimate of superfoods (kale, Brussels, nuts, paaaahlease!) but it will also keep your friends guessing if you post pictures of it on Facebook!

Enjoy and Salud!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sticky Maple Bacon Balls On Request

Well, I think it’s officially time to call me Big Eater Lazy Blogger! With work transitions and focusing on my workouts, blogging and creative cooking has gotten a bit scarce. But I come today with a food that was suggested by a friend. We all know that I didn’t declare myself a foodie until after I grew and developed my obsession with pork. And by default this makes me a bacon eater, ok ok I’m obsessed with bacon. Knowing that about me, my pal Hannah pretty regularly tags me in bacon photos, recipes and comments through social media. In the past, it hasn’t been clear as to whether it’s because she wants me to cook her bacon goodies, but a few weeks ago, it was more of a “Hey can you cook this for us!” type of tag. What was this delicious goodie? Maple Bacon Sausage Balls. Well friends, that’s the end of the story! Haha, not really but it certainly could be. So with this planned I decided to host a BESB Breakfast for Dinner! I let my guests know what the intentions were and a few days later, Marcy shows up at the gym with some VT Maple Syrup! Awesome! Funny thing was, I had traveled to Montreal the previous weekend and grabbed some syrup myself in VT, I mean, because where else would you get it?

It's kind of hard to see here, but there's
 a definite color differenc
The evening before my dinner, I decided I needed to figure out just exactly what I was working with. So I poured each syrup into a shot glass. Marcy’s was a Grade A from Bixby Farms and mine was a Grade B from Eaton’s Sugarhouse. Well the color in itself was a huge contrast and that’s when I realized maple was a little like wine, so Josh and I had a tasting! It was so interesting. The color of the Grade B was darker than the A. Additionally, the Grade B had a more concentrated sugar and caramel flavor. However, when we tasted them side by side the Grade A was much better. It had a tree flavor that was so cool! Now, my disclaimer is that I’m a southern girl and I may or may not have grown up on the kind made mostly of corn syrup! But it was truly amazing to me just how well you could taste the tree in the syrup Marcy brought me! So obviously that’s what I was going to use. Additionally, Bixby only processes pure maple syrup in their facility and so it made it 100% safe for my girl Jackie, who cannot eat Gluten.

Here’s what I came up with, I hope you enjoy it as much we did!


Serves 6 (If that’s too many, just freeze them for a quick breakfast or dinner later)


2lbs ground pork
2lbs bacon, chopped
½ onion, minced
2 Tbsp allspice
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp dried fennel seed
1/3 cup maple syrup
Salt and Pepper


Mix all ingredients and let sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Roll into golf ball size balls. Bake at 350 degrees for a 30-40 minutes (depending on your oven) and flip halfway through.

We also had a frittata and sweet potato parsnip cakes