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Archives for May 2011

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Sweeter Muffins

by TT May 30th, 2011| Breads, Recipes
Our oldest turned fifteen at the end of April.  He wasn't certain if he really wanted a birthday party, but he did think the idea of having a "handful" of friends over would be great.  So, once we agreed upon what a "handful" was (five) and spring track season ended, we planned to have his friends over during Memorial Day weekend.

Feeding a handful of fifteen year old boys, nevermind a thirteen year old sister and her friend, is no small feat.  We went the simple route for dinner: many large pizzas and soda.  In the morning, I debated picking up
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Whim, North Andover, MA

by TT May 26th, 2011| Restaurant News, Summer Restaurants
We are starting our summer series with a brand new restaurant, Whim, which is located at Smolak Farm.  To learn more about this restaurant, we interviewed Michael Smolak, owner of the farmer.

TT: Last summer you had a chef demo series.  How did you decide to integrate that into your farm?

MS: We had been doing farm demos for years as crops came available. At the urging of our customers we took a chance and reached out to restaurants that were actually suggested to us by friends of the farm, such as Edible Boston and others, and we were shocked by
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Summer Restaurants 2011

by TT May 25th, 2011| Restaurant News, Summer Restaurants
Depending on whom you ask, summer has a different starting point.  For some, the summer solstice is considered to be the start.  According to meteorologists, it is June 1st.  For children, it's the day that school is done for the year.*  For others, it's Memorial Day weekend.  Regardless to which date you observe, summer is approaching rapidly.

Summer brings longer days and warmer temperatures.  Even those who work year 'round look forward to a slower pace and weekend cookouts.  Fresh produce is readily available, and lemonade stands can be found in neighborhoods everywhere.  Another reason to look forward to summer
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Rice & Beans, Vegetarian Style

by TT May 23rd, 2011| Main Dishes, Recipes
As I've mentioned previously, our 13 year old daughter has become a vegetarian.  After six months of this lifestyle, she is enjoying it and not missing any of the foods that I thought she would, such as filet mignon or bacon.  What has been helpful to this change is her love of legumes:  garbanzo, kidney, black, pinto- she likes them all.

While I am aware of her enjoyment of beans, it does strike me as funny sometimes.  Last week, my husband was going to be traveling for two nights.  He is not a fan of legumes, which our daughter is quite
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Pampered Chef Measure-All Cup

by TT May 18th, 2011| Equipment Reviews
Mayonnaise, cream cheese, and peanut butter can prove to be daunting while cooking.  When an exact measurement is needed for a recipe, a standard measuring cup isn't very useful.  Sure, you can scoop the desired ingredient into the cup, but then you need to use a spatula to scrape all of it out of the cup.  It becomes a messy, timely activity.

Although Pampered Chef's Measure-All Cup is not a new item, it is a much needed kitchen tool that solves this problem.  With its two-part design, the cook can adjust the cup to measure the exact amount.  Once the
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Benedictine Dip

by TT May 16th, 2011| Appetizers, Recipes
My husband loves watching the Kentucky Derby.  In fact, I think it is one of his favorite sporting events of the year.  Horse racing is a newer to me sport, but enjoyable nonetheless.  We have celebrated this event at home and at the racetrack.  This year, we had a high school track meet to attend that would take a good portion of the day, so we decided to watch the races at home.  A benefit of staying home is the ability to utilize our culinary creativity.

Not having attended the derby itself, I did some research into what typically is served
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Blue on Highland, Needham, MA

by TT May 12th, 2011| Chef Interviews
If you're contemplating a night out at a fine restaurant, perhaps Boston is the destination of choice.  However, if you want to stay away from the traffic and parking delights of that city, why not look to the west?  Just thirty minutes outside, you will find Blue on Highland, located in Needham.  With fewer headaches, and food and atmosphere to rival any Boston restaurant, it is the perfect choice.

I spoke with Chef Peter Tartsinis to learn more about this dining destination.

TT: Your dinner menu has a variety of ethnic dishes, from Thai to Italian to French.  What is your
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Cinnamon Cream Cheese

by TT May 9th, 2011| Recipes, Simple Solutions
All of my children love bagels.  If breakfast needs to be a quick meal or one that's eaten in the car, a bagel with cream cheese is the answer.  If we make homemade bagels or go to a bagel shop, then their individual preferences can be seen.  One likes cream cheese and lox, another wants a sourdough bagel.  For my youngest, he adores cinnamon cream cheese.

It really is the simplest of things to make, but for him it makes his bagel so much better.  While I don't eat many bagels, I can see why the addition of cinnamon makes such
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Tryst Restaurant, Arlington, MA

by TT May 5th, 2011| Chef Interviews
The name of the restaurant itself is intriguing.  Once you add wonderful dining and wine menus, a creative chef, and fabulous atmosphere, you have a restaurant that you must visit.  I spoke with Chef Paul Turano to learn more about this enticing dining destination.

TT: What makes the food at tryst “unpretentious”?

CT: I use ingredients that the everyday cook can recognize. That being said, I try to use them in a unique manner that makes my guest say, "Oh, I didn't know you could do that with that ingredient." I'm always challenged by walking the line between my creative vision
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Mini Mushroom Tarts

by TT May 4th, 2011| Appetizers, Recipes, Tapas Monday
For this week's Tapas Monday I knew that I would be braising short ribs.  Although I could have made a gourmet dinner of short ribs and sides, I wanted to stick with the regular tapas format.  Some roasted broccoli was the second dish to come to mind, so I needed one more dish to round out the menu.  After a weekend of splurging:  carrot cake, espinaca, and a hearty Sunday breakfast, I didn't want anything heavy.

With one meat dish and one veggie dish, it would have been easy to turn to a bread for the third.  However, that would have
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Boston Bakes for Breast Cancer

by TT May 2nd, 2011| Restaurant News
This week many restaurants and bakeries in the Greater Boston area will be participating in 2011 Boston Bakes for Breast Cancer.  In partnership with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston Bakes for Breast Cancer has a sweet goal in mind: sell baked good with profits being given to breast cancer research.

This year over 270 restaurants and bakeries will be participating in this week-long event.  Starting today, May 2nd, and continuing until May 8th, you can know that one hundred percent of the profits from select sweets will be given to research.  Who could resist eating a little treat, especially knowing that
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