Archives for December 2008

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Review: Oceanaire, Boston, MA

by TT December 30th, 2008| Restaurant Reviews
For one of my husband's Christmas gifts, I planned a surprise trip to Boston for a night.  Traveling to our hotel in the early afternoon, we discovered that Oceanaire was right around the corner.  Having been to this restaurant for the kick-off of Restaurant Week in Boston, we were excited to return for a meal.

Arriving at the restaurant at 1:30, it was surprisingly busy for a weekday.  With high ceilings and beautiful decor, Oceanaire was a treat for the eyes.  Unlike many upscale restaurants we have visited, it also offered the benefit of privacy to diners, as tables
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Easy and Elegant Appetizer

by TT December 24th, 2008| Appetizers, Recipes
It's the holiday season again, which translates to entertaining for many people.  As you prepare for an evening of company at your house, you probably are debating what to serve.  Whether you enjoy cooking or not, there are times when everyone wants to reduce the workload, relax, and enjoy the company- myself included.

However, just because I want to create a simple menu, it does not mean that I have to offer food that are less elegant.  What I will do is minimize the ingredients.  Sometimes the simplest of recipes can be very elegant.

An excellent example of this is baked brie. 
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Caramelized Goodness for Monkeys (and People, Too)

by TT December 19th, 2008| Appetizers, Desserts, Recipes, Tapas Monday
As my husband and I adore cheese in almost all forms, we often order cheese plates at restaurants.  Recently, we sampled a cheese tray that had some sort of roasted banana on it.  The banana was served sliced in half lengthwise, still inside its peel.  Presented in this form, it had a wonderfully sweet taste and a creamy yet firm texture.

As I was planning this past Monday's tapas menu, the roasted banana came to mind.  I thought it would accompany some baked brie, strawberries, and melba toast quite nicely.  However, I wasn't sure how I would create my own roasted
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Steak and Wine

by TT December 17th, 2008| Main Dishes, Recipes, Tapas Monday
Typically Mondays are exciting nights at our house for my husband and me, as we have a late dinner of tapas after the kids are in bed.  However, this past Monday was even more exciting as we had power in our home again.  After a nasty ice storm struck late Thursday, we were without power until Monday morning.

It is amazing how much you appreciate power and heat after a few days without them.  So, after cleaning out our refrigerator and freezer Monday morning and letting them return to their correct temperatures, I bought a few necessities:  milk, cream cheese for
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From Scratch Breadsticks

by TT December 11th, 2008| Breads, Recipes
About a year and a half ago, I shared a very easy breadstick recipe.  It is a quick to make recipe that can be made using store bought pizza or bread dough.  However, on a recent cold and rainy day, I forgot to defrost dough to make breadsticks.  And, as it was cold and rainy outside, I didn't want to go to the store to buy bread to accompany homemade chicken soup.  So, I decided to try my hand at making homemade breadsticks.

These breadsticks were fairly different than my other recipe.  Obviously, they took longer to make, about an
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by TT December 10th, 2008| Desserts, Recipes
With two weeks until Christmas Eve, the holiday spirit is in full swing at our house.  Lighted roping decorates our front porch, candles alight our windows, and the tree is decorated and awaiting the arrival of presents underneath it.

At this time of year, I feel a stronger urge to bake and keep the house stocked with treats.  Some of the things I bake are new recipes that are begging to be tried, and others are recipes that have been part of Christmas since I was a young girl.

Chrust is one of those lifelong cookies.  Only made at Christmastime, they were
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PAT Snack

by TT December 9th, 2008| Appetizers, Recipes
On Sundays our family likes to eat munchies and watch football.  Being east coast-based people, the team of interest to most of the family is the Patriots.  However, the interest of the kids lasts about as long as it takes them to eat their fill of snacks.  But they do like eating a meal of snacks, getting to choose one, and helping with the preparation of the meal.

Depending on the number of kids at home that day, we have anywhere from three to six snacks.  To introduce the kids to different munchies (and to minimize repetition), the kids can't
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Pureed Caramelized Squash

by TT December 5th, 2008| Recipes, Side Dishes
When creating our Thanksgiving menu, I tried to consider the likes and dislikes of all four diners.  However, for one of our dishes I felt that the preference of three diners outweighed the dislike of the fourth diner.  And with that decision, I added Pureed Caramelized Squash to the menu.

I felt it was even more necessary to make this squash dish, as our friend Vicki does not prepare winter squash often, as she would be the only member of her household to eat it.  Knowing that my husband and I would enjoy butternut squash also, it seemed worth making. 
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Turkey and Cranberry Ravioli

by TT December 4th, 2008| Main Dishes, Recipes
Our main course for Thanksgiving was something different and delicious.  As with many dishes, there were definite advantages and disadvantages to this dish.

Let's start with the disadvantages to homemade ravioli.  The preparation required for making this dish took a lot longer than putting a turkey into the oven.  Filling and sealing 24 ravioli took a decent amount of time, and that produced enough ravioli to feed only four people.  I can't imagine making this dish for a crowd!  The flavors of turkey and cranberry are present in the ravioli, but if you really want the taste of Thanksgiving dinner, the
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Baby Pears with Goat Cheese

by TT December 3rd, 2008| Appetizers, Recipes
Typically, Thanksgiving dinner has so many dishes and is so filling that appetizers are kept to a minimum.  However, this year we served only three dishes as part of the main course, so heartier hors d'oeurves would not ruin our appetites.

With this in mind, I began to contemplate ideas for our pre-dinner snacks.  We didn't need to consider how to please children ("We would like boxed, frozen mozzarella sticks.") or how to make enough to serve a large crowd.  With those factors tossed aside, I decided to make a fruit-based appetizer.  Though with our celebration taking place in chilly New
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Thanksgiving Review

by TT December 2nd, 2008| Food News
Our Thanksgiving was quite enjoyable.  My husband and I spent the morning cooking and working at a leisurely pace.  Arriving at our friends' house just before noon, we completed the cooking of appetizers immediately, as everyone was hungry.  Both the Spiced Cauliflower and Baby Pears with Goat Cheese were hits.  In fact, my husband thought the pears were the best dish of the day.

After our hors d'oeurves course, we continued work on the dinner dishes and placed the turkey in the oven for the late in the day dinner.  (Note that although we only needed turkey for sandwiches,
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