Sunday, May 21, 2006

Moosewood Frozen Entrees

Since we don't have the option to cook any more in this apartment, we have been buying frozen meals. I decided to try the new Moosewood Frozen Vegetarian Entrees. I've heard so much about Moosewood and Mollie Katzen but do not yet have a cookbook, so I was intrigued. I have tried three flavors so far and loved all of them! They are much higher quality and much more flavorful than the typical frozen dinner. Plus they are healthy, organic, and not too high in sodium. My favorite one is the Moroccan Stew, with chickpeas, tomatoes, raisins, cabbage, and couscous. I have also enjoyed the Spicy Penne Puttanesca, and the Broccoli & Pasta Parmesan (essentially Alfredo). All were excellent. I highly recommend them for anyone who is in need of a prepared dinner!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Fugakyu

First of all, last night I got seriously ill and was throwing up for several hours. It seemed like food poisoning, so I can only assume that is what it was. The whole time I was thinking, "Food, why hast thou forsaken me?" I looked forward to Figs for so long, and that was the consequence. :(

Today we had a better experience. We went to Fugakyu for a late lunch after graduation (!!!). It was really awesome and typical of Japan, and even had a conveyor-belt sushi bar that was similar to ones we had in restaurants when we lived in Japan. We sat in a little booth. I ordered a sushi/sashimi combo platter that came with miso soup and a salad with miso-ginger dressing. There were two maki rolls - tuna and salmon, and 4 pieces of nigiri - salmon, tuna, and an unidentified other fish. It turns out that I do not like nigiri because the pieces of raw fish are too big for me to handle. It's too mushy and seafoody. But I enjoyed my maki rolls.

My mom and dad both got chicken teriyaki bento boxes that looked yummy. I sampled various pieces of their lunch (tempura, a dumpling, etc) and enjoyed them.

For dessert my mom and I got an apple-filled spring roll with mango puree, strawberry sauce, and homemade vanilla ice cream. It was very delicious. :)

I'm glad we finally got to eat at Fugakyu, but it did not really live up to the hype. Maybe it is because we were there at lunch, or maybe we ordered the wrong things. It was good, it was just not anything spectacular.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Figs

Tonight my family came up from Connecticut and we went out to dinner at Figs, one of Todd English's restaurants on Beacon Hill in Boston. I've been wanting to eat at one of his restaurants for a long time so it was fun to finally go.

We waited about an hour for a table, because the restaurant was really, really tiny. It was also really hot because there was a brick oven in it, but no real ventilation. When we finally sat down though, we got some really good foccaccia and olive oil. Yum yum!

I ordered the Spicy Shrimp Pizza: spicy gulf shrimp with caramelized leeks & tomato sauce. It was good. The shrimp were delicious and super-spicy. I don't know what made them so spicy but it tasted almost like kimchee. Awesome.

My mom ordered the Asparagus Friites: crispy asparagus, arugula & honey mustard aioli. I helped her eat those. They were lightly breaded and crispy. The aioli was amazing and I love arugula so I ate all of that. She also ordered the Boston Bibb & Watercress Salad: toasted walnut dressing & a “shower” of Maytag blue cheese. She loved it. I tasted it even though I hate blue cheese, and was pleasantly surprised when I found it quite tasty. That is a big accomplishment! Good job, Todd English. Excellent.

My dad ordered the Caprese Salad: sliced heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, sliced red onion & parmesan cheese. I tasted this too and it was yummy. The mozzarella cheese was extremely high quality, which was impressive. Sometimes these salads just taste like cheese and tomato, but this was very complex and yummy. For his pizza he rather adventurously ordered the Fig & Prosciutto Pizza: crisp rosemary crust with fig & balsamic jam, prosciutto & gorgonzola cheese. I do not think he enjoyed it very much. He ate it, but kept making odd faces. I'm glad he was adventurous, but it's too bad he didn't like it. My mom liked it. I ate a piece of the crust with some of the jam and thought it was interesting, but I'd never eaten figs before so I didn't know what to expect.

Marc ordered the OLIVER’S Pizza: our version of the traditional tomato sauce, mozzarella & fresh basil, and XX ordered the Bronx Bomber: pepperoni, tomato sauce, mozzarella & fresh basil. They are not very adventurous. They enjoyed their pizzas but did not think they were anything special.

In summary, I am glad to have gone to Figs. I am glad I got to try one of Todd English's restaurants, even if it isn't one of the fancy-schmancy ones. I enjoyed my food. I wish it had been air-conditioned, but that's okay. If I wasn't leaving Boston, I might have gone back some time.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Darwin and Mr. Bartley

Today we went to Cambridge to eat at some places we've been meaning to eat at, while doing other errands.

My choice was Darwin's, a sandwich shop. It was recommended to me awhile ago on Something Awful. We went to the Cambridge St. location. I got a sandwich called the Magnolia, described as:
Hummus, Avocado, Apple, Carrots, Tomato, Sprouts & Honey Mustard
I got it on sourdough bread. The honey-mustard had a very pronounced horseradish flavor that was awesome. The entire sandwich was amazing. I loved it!! I wish I'd gone to Darwin's long ago, because it was delicious.

Other person's choice was Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage, across the street from Harvard. This restaurant has gotten consistently high reviews by every website, every local magazine/newspaper, and everyone who lives in Cambridge. Its draw is that many the burgers are named after current political figures. He got the "This Old House" burger, a 7oz burger with provolone, peppers, and onions. He got it with the sweet potato fries and a raspberry lime rickey (both extremely highly recommended online). I got an order of their 'famous' onion rings, since I had already eaten a sandwich but was hungry from all of our walking around. The fries were terrible, the onion rings were okay, and Cyrus said that the burger was "good, but Fuddruckers' is better." All in all, a disappointment. I would not eat here again.

One other event of note: people in Harvard Square were handing out free cans of Dr. Pepper's new flavor, Berries 'N Cream. It sounded vile but I took it anyway because it was free. It's actually not bad at all. Mine was diet, and it didn't taste diet. I don't know if I would necessarily purchase it for myself since I don't drink much soda, but if given it I would definitely drink it again.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Junior Mint Brownies

Today I made some brownies to use up more of the stuff in the freezer. I found this recipe for minty brownies from Cooking Light (what a surprise). They were extremely easy to make and very yummy. I will make these again.

My changes: didn't have Junior Mints, substituted mint chocolate chips.

Junior Mint Brownies
Cooking spray
1/4 cup butter or stick margarine
32 (about 3 ounces) creamy, small-size mints in pure chocolate (such as Junior Mints)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 large egg
1 large egg white

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Coat bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.
Combine butter and mints in a 2-cup glass measure; microwave at high 30 seconds or until soft. Stir until smooth, and set aside.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine flour, soda, and salt in a bowl. Combine sugar, cocoa, egg, and egg white in a large bowl; beat at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended. Add mint mixture; beat well. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean; cool completely on a wire rack.

Yield: 16 servings

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

For my first round of "Let's eat use up what's in the freezer before we move," I decided to make this pie that I found on the Cooking Light bulletin boards. I already had all the baking materials, a frozen pie crust, and chocolate chips. I also had some peanut butter chips so I tossed those in, too, instead of the walnuts (which I did not have). I also reduced the amount of butter from 3/4 cup to 1/2 cup because that was all I had.

This pie was freaking awesome. It's very rich and yummy. I will definitely make this again sometime. Yum yum yum.

Tollhouse Pie
2 eggs
1/2 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
3/4 c butter, melted and cooled
6 oz chocolate chips
1 c chopped walnuts, optional
1 9-inch unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven to 325. Beat eggs until foamy; beat in flour, sugar, and brown sugar until well-blended. Blend in melted butter. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 325 for 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Cream Cheese Brownies

Today was our last social work class, ever! We had a big party with food and stuff. I made these brownies from Cooking Light. Everyone loved them! I only have two squares left over. I thought they were okay but I was a bit disappointed. They were much too cakey for my taste, and I was a little bit unimpressed by the cream cheese layer. I probably won't make these again, but a lot of people in my class requested the recipe so I'm sure they will make it.

Cream Cheese Brownies
Brownies:
Cooking spray
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (6 3/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Topping:
1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350°.

Coat bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

To prepare batter, place butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Add sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add egg whites and egg, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add cocoa and fat-free milk; beat well (mixture will appear curdled). Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; stir with a whisk. Add to cocoa mixture; beat at low speed just until blended. Spoon batter into prepared pan.

To prepare topping, place cream cheese in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Gradually add cornstarch and remaining ingredients; beat until smooth. Spread evenly over batter. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until set. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

Yield: 3 dozen (I only got 2 dozen out of it)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Cheese and Bean Enchiladas

We have a cheese enchiladas recipe from my mom that we really like, but it only has cheese and onions as the filling. Even though it's tasty, I felt like I needed it to be more substantial - with actual nutritious value, so I kept my eye out for new recipes.

I found this recipe on the Cooking Light bulletin boards. It's similar to the recipe I use now, except...more substantial! Instead of just cheese, it has a bean filling. It was very good. The canned enchilada sauce is what really makes both of the dishes, so it didn't taste too different from the original recipe. I also enjoyed the fact that it cooked in 8 minutes, rather than in 45 minutes. Sweet. It was very quick to put together. I will definitely make this many times in the future.

Cheese and Bean Enchiladas
1 cup chopped onion
1 (16 oz) can of fat free refried beans w/ chiles
2 cups reduced fat Mexican Cheese or sharp cheddar
12 (6 in) corn tortillas
1 (19 oz.0 can enchilada sauce
2 tbsps. low fat sour cream
fresh cilantro (optional, I didn't use)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

* Place onion and beans in a microwave bowl and microwave on HIGH 3 minutes. Stir in 1 ½ cups cheese

* Stack tortillas and wrap in a damp paper towel, microwave for 1 minute or until soft. Pour half of the sauce on the bottom of a 13x9 inch pan; dip both sides of each tortilla. Spoon about ¼ cup bean mixture down center of each tortilla; roll up. Arrange in the baking dish; top w/ remaining sauce and ½ cup cheese.

*Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes or until heated.

* Top w/ sour cream and cilantro.

Yield: 6 servings

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Roasted Corn, Poblano, and Cheddar Pizza

This is one dish I am simply incapable of producing correctly. I've made it twice now, and both times I've seriously messed it up. Mostly what happens is that, for one reason or another, it ends up in a form other than pizza. Today's problem involved the dough. I couldn't find pizza dough, so I bought some breadstick dough instead. Well, the dough wouldn't spread. At all. So I ended up throwing it in a pie plate, prebaking it for a few minutes, and then pouring the topping over it, then baking it. It was still delicious - it always is - but I'm very frustrated. I will give myself one more opportunity to make this right, and if I mess up again then I'm obviously not meant to make it.

But it's really good, so I would like to have it again. :)

My (other) changes: I didn't use the sour cream or cilantro. I didn't think it needed it. And I used jalapenos instead of poblanos, because that was the only kind of chile at the store. It was pretty spicy. I would stick with poblanos next time.

Roasted Fresh Corn, Poblano, and Cheddar Pizza
From Cooking Light

2 poblano chiles
Cooking spray
2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup l% low-fat milk
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 (13.8-ounce) can refrigerated pizza crust dough
2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat broiler.

Place poblano chiles on a foil-lined baking sheet; broil 10 minutes or until blackened and charred, turning occasionally. Place in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel and discard skins, seeds, and stems. Chop peppers.

Lower oven temperature to 425°.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add corn, green onions, and garlic; sauté 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in milk; cook over medium heat 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Cool slightly. Place egg whites, egg, salt, and black pepper in a bowl; stir with a whisk. Stir in poblano peppers, corn mixture, and cheese.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Unroll dough onto parchment paper; pat dough to form a 13 x 8-inch rectangle. Spread corn mixture over dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Fold 1 inch of dough over corn mixture. Bake at 425° for 12 minutes or until set. Serve with sour cream; sprinkle with cilantro.

Makes 6 servings.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Cavatappi with Spinach, Beans, and Asiago

Well, another pfft recipe. This recipe, from a 1997 issue of Cooking Light, was really bland and not very interesting at all. It sounded so yummy :( I will not make it again.

I served it with Giada's Lemon-Parsley Bruschetta, which I've made before and LOVED. We still love it! This time I made it correctly (with olive oil, not butter) and rubbed the fresh-cut garlic directly onto the bread before adding the sauce and it really made a difference. Yum yum!

Here is the pasta recipe.

Cavatappi with Spinach, Beans, and Asiago
8 cups coarsely chopped spinach leaves
4 cups hot cooked cavatappi (about 8 ounces
uncooked spiral-shaped pasta)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1(19-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans -- drained
2 garlic cloves -- crushed (jarred OK!)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Asiago cheese
Fresh ground black pepper (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; toss well. Sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper, if desired.

Yield: 4 servings