Freezing and Cutting Bagels (H&H Bagels in New York City)

>>  Monday, June 29, 2009

H&H Bagels is one of the most famous bagel shops in New York City, if not the world. This bagel shop was founded in 1972 and now churns out over 80,000 bagels a day (all in New York City!). The original location is on the corner of 80th Street and Broadway in the Upper West Side. It's definitely one of our favorites, and we pick some up bagels from New York City every time we go.

A nice way to preserve these bagels for easy access later is to pre-cut the bagels (preferably with a bagel slicer because it's safer!) and then freeze them in freezer bags. You can then take individual bagel slices out from the freezer and toast them in the toaster.

The toasted (previously frozen) bagel is surprisingly good; much better than any supermarket frozen bagel, and arguably better than most bagels you find in Boston. We find that the frozen bagels will last several months in the freezer.
Our favorites are the sesame bagel and the everything bagel. YUM . . .

H & H Bagels on Urbanspoon

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Bouchon Macarons

I received a present from Bryan from his trip in New York! What could be inside that box?

I know Bouchon is a famous bakery cafe opened by Thomas Keller, one of the most famous chefs in America.I excitedly opened the box.Could it be???

Are they French macarons? (not to be confused with the unrelated coconut cookie, the macaroons). I love French macarons! (uhh . . just look at my profile pic) There were three different flavors - vanilla creme, blueberry cheesecake, and caramel. The person who worked at the bakery said they would last 2 days in the refrigerator. Up to this point, they had only sat on an airplane for about an hour. I quickly tasted each one. Mmmmm . . .
Man, were they good. My favorite was the vanilla creme, with the caramel a close second. I had to stop myself from eating all three in one sitting (well, except for the blueberry cheesecake one, which I actually thought was too sweet).

If only I didn't have to go all the way to New York to get these . . . .

Just to let you know - I've made plans with a friend to try making French macarons pretty soon. I'll post the results of that experiment, probably sometime in the next two weeks. Meanwhile, you can enjoy this post from the Cooking of Joy.

Update!  I've made the french macarons!

Bouchon Bakery on Urbanspoon

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Sugar Snap Peas

>>  Saturday, June 27, 2009

Another thing I picked up at the Farmer's Market this past week were sugar snap peas. I really think that sugar snap peas have so much inherent flavor, there's not much that needs to be done for them to taste really good.

In this case, I put the sugar snap peas in a microwave safe container and cooked the snap peas for 1 minute. This was just enough for the snap peas to be lightly steamed yet retain their beautiful bright green color. I also love microwave cooking since it only cooks the food for a little bit, thus preserving nutrients.

I then just sprinkled some sea salt on top. That's it! No oil. Absolutely fat free. It was so simple, yet so delicious. Sometimes, less is more, especially when it comes to fresh farmer's market bounties.

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Sel de La Terre - Natick Collection

>>  Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sel de La Terre is the more casual sister to L'Espalier, one of the best known French restaurants in Boston. Both restaurants recently moved to Back Bay inside the new Mandarin Hotel. There is also an outspost at Natick Collection, where there is plenty of free parking and lots of good shopping as well!

We enjoyed a graduation dinner at Sel de La Terre in Natick a few weeks ago.

I first heard of Sel de La Terre years ago in a Boston Globe article about the best fries in Boston. The article raved about the rosemary fries at Sel de La Terre, and I have wanted to try them ever since.

These rosemary fries are quite good, although I still think the hands down best fries in Boston are from Garden at the Cellar - perhaps it's because theirs are rosemary truffle fries. YUM.

Pictured above: Roasted rack of lamb with artichoke puree, red pepper and a pea risotto cake; black olive caponata (truffle mac & cheese in the background).

Pan roasted Norwegian salmon with fresh spring bean ragout, pea shoots, sun chokes and pancetta; beurre rouge.

Over all, the food was solid, although nothing really wow'ed me. I guess if you are out in the suburbs, this is not a bad choice. In Boston, however, there are so many other choices that I think this place could get lost in the noise.

Sel de la Terre on Urbanspoon

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Taiwanese Meat Sauce over Rice (lo bah png)

>>  Wednesday, June 24, 2009


"Lo bah bng," a meat sauce made of ground pork cooked in soy sauce with shallots and spices, is very classic Taiwanese home cooking. Whenever I have this, I am reminded of the food my mom used to make.

It's surprisingly easy to make - just takes time on the stove.

This recipe is adapted from Homestyle Cooking of Taiwan by members of NATWA

2 dried black mushrooms
5 shallots, minced
1/2 lb ground pork
1 t rice wine
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 cups water
1 t sugar
1/2 t 5-spice powder
6 cups rice (cooked)

Soak the mushrooms in hot water until soft. Meanwhile, mince the shallots. I used a food processor, which made it a lot easier. When mushrooms are soft, slice them into thin pieces.

Add 1 T of vegetable oil to a wok and put on medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add shallots and stir fry for about 1-2 minutes, until they start to brown a lot.

Add mushrooms and ground pork. Stir fry until the pork is cooked. Add rice wine, soy sauce, water, sugar, and 5-spice powder.

Let it simmer for 1 hour.

Ladle out the meat mixture and pour over rice.

There will be a lot of excess liquid. Leave that in the pot. You can optionally mix the meat sauce together with rice as well and garnish with some scallions and red pepper flakes.

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Simple Lemon Ice Cream

>>  Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I received this book for Christmas in December and this is the first time I am using it to actually make something! The author, David Lebovitz, actually has a great blog about food in general. He is currently living in Paris and conducts food tours, book signings, etc. I would love to go on one of these food tours, but they cost over $3500 per person, double occupancy!

Since I had a lot of lemons left (after making the lemon ice cream sandwiches), I decided to make some lemon ice cream from David's book. This ice cream is refreshingly lemony, light, and perfect for a hot summer day. Plus, it's easy to make since it does not involve any eggs or any cooking.

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Miracle of Science

The Miracle of Science is a bar and grille located between Central and Kendall Square in Cambridge. The name seems appropriate considering it is not far from MIT, one of the best known institutes of science and engineering.
Periodic Table (Miracle of Science)
I love the menu - it's basically a modified periodic table that lists out various grill items. My favorite thing to order is the chicken salad (Sc on the period table - $8.75). Wild greens are tossed in a lime cilantro vinaigrette and topped with grilled chicken. The dish is simple and light, but works surprisingly well. The chicken is well seasoned, and I am able to finish the entire salad, which is always nice.
Chicken Salad Miracle of Science
Bryan always orders the Ronie Burger, (Rb) which is a jalapeno burger topped with Montery Jack cheese. It comes with a side of roasted potatoes.
Miracle of Science Ronin Burger
Bryan also ordered a vegetable skewer ($5), which adds vegetables to the meal.
Miracle of Science Vegetable Skewer
I like this place because the food is great, the atmosphere is laid back, and the prices are quite reasonable. Plus, it's a wonderfully nerdy (check out their phone number below!)

It's a great place to stop by for lunch or a casual dinner.

Miracle of Science
321 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
617 868 ATOM
Miracle of Science on Urbanspoon

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Doughnut Peaches

I love these peaches! I think they have a super short season, as I've only seen them around this time of year. They are like peaches, but they are flat (doughnut shaped!) had have a much smaller pit. They are much neater to eat than peaches, since you can pretty much fit your mouth around the entire width of the fruit.

I saw some at Whole Foods Market, but it's likely that they are in many other markets as well.


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Casa Romero

>>  Sunday, June 21, 2009

Casa Romero is a more upscale Mexican restaurant in back bay near the Prudential Center. We love coming here for their Early Bird special, which is an incredible value. As long as you order before 6pm and leave by 7pm, you can enjoy a 3-course prix-fixe menu for only $21.95. Considering that most of the entrees are around $20, this is a great value.

We thought the chips and salsa were OK. My favorite chips are still the ones at Cantina Le Mexicana, which are covered with unique spicy sauce that I've never seen anywhere else before. I personally thought the salsa was a bit salty and lacked depth compared to other salsas I've tried.

Bryan ordered the shrimp flautas as his appetizer. Although he said they were good, he admitted that he liked the flautas at Cantina Le Mexicana better. Hmmm . . I'm seeing a trend here.

I ordered the special of the day: garlic mushroom cream soup, which was very flavorful. I really liked it, and I don't think I've ever had this soup at any other Mexican restaurant before.

Bryan orderted the special for his entree: Stuffed Squid. Juicy, balanced, and flavorful, this dish was well made.

I always get the Grilled Marinated Vegetables Served with a Guajillo Sauce when I come here. They grill the vegetables perfectly. Plus, the dish is light, healthy, and really tasty. The spinach and cheese quesadilla is also good.

Dessert! The best part! I love flan, and this flan did not disappoint. The burnt sugar sauce surrounding the flan was deeply flavorful, and I found myself licking the sauce even after I had finished the flan.
The ice cream was nothing special - ordinary vanilla ice cream with Kahlua on top. It tasted fine, but nothing extraordinary.

Over all, I think Casa Romero is a solid restaurant. It offers some more creative options that you won't typically find in a more casual Mexican restaurant. I'm not sure how I would feel about this meal if I had paid the regular dinner price. In that case, I would possibly just opt to go to Cantina Le Mexicana instead. Nevertheless, if you are in the area, it's worth checking out.

30 Gloucester St
Boston, MA 02115-2509
(617) 536-4341
Casa Romero on Urbanspoon

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Frozen Lemon Ice Cream Sandwiches

I tried this at a friend's house back in February and loved it! Mine is based off of a recipe from the Food & Wine Magazine website with some minor modifications.

- I used 8 oz of creme fraiche

- I used Trader Joe's Brand Butter Waffle Cookies (only $2.59) instead of Jules Destrooper Crisp Butter Wafers, which are closer to $5 a box
. Some people claim that you should accept no substitute, and that the Jules Destrooper wafers are superior. I have not tried comparing the two, so I can't comment on that. However, if you really are serious about making these, you can pick them up in bulk at at $2.64 each, which is a pretty good deal.

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