Archive for the ‘Baked goods’ category

A Saturday in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

September 5, 2011

On Saturday my fiance and I decided to go to Portsmouth, New Hampshire– a supposedly cool city just an hour’s drive from Boston. We got there around noon, walked around for a few minutes and then stopped at the River House for lunch. Although the restaurant’s on the water, we decided to eat inside because it was so hot out. The highlight of the meal was certainly the seafood chowder, which is shown in this picture.

It contained lobster, scallops, shrimp, clams and haddock, and was so so good. I guess that’s no surprise considering it won first place awards at the 2009/2010 Portsmouth Chowder Festival. The above picture also shows my fiance’s tasty lobster roll and hand cut potato chips. I had a lobster Lorraine quiche with a house salad.

Everything was fantastic! And they even gave us a free bowl of chowder (sort of an accident, but we gladly accepted)! After lunch we got some coffee at Breaking New Grounds in Market Square. We vowed to return later in the day (they had tons of delicious-looking pastries and gelato), and we did. Look at these gelato flavor combinations we came up with.

Hazelnut chocolate and strawberry chocolate

It would have been nice to sit outside of the coffee shop and people watch, but alas it was too hot. These photos will give you a feel for Market Square:

We walked around for a while, went shopping and saw some cool things.

A mural

A bridge going up

A fountain

A church

A quaint restaurant nestled in a back alley

Frogs doing yoga

Nice streets like this one

A physic studio

I got a couple of shirts for super-cheap in this consignment shop.

And we discovered a beautiful garden area.

My fiance in the garden area

Me in the garden area

Turns out this area is called Prescott Park. It’s right near an old cemetery, with gravestones dating to the 17th century.

It’s not far from the water either.

On our way back to the car we came across the Oracle House, one of Portsmouth’s oldest homes (circa 1702).

And the Liberty Pole, a flagpole commemorating our freedom from British rule. At this location in 1766 colonists hung a banner reading “Liberty, Property and No Stamp” to protest King George’s Stamp Act (it imposed taxes on newspapers, stationary and documents).

We saw this just before leaving. It pretty much sums up our experience in Portsmouth.

Thank you, Amanda!

July 9, 2011

To thank my fiance and I for helping her edit her book, my friend Amanda sent us lots of goodies from Baltimore Coffee and Tea, a family-owned coffee roasting business in the Baltimore area. She said this is where she buys her coffee. I can’t wait to try all of this out!

These came with an almond biscotti but I already ate it-- yum!

Shaw’s Italian almond macaroons are quite tasty

May 13, 2011

The cookies, which I found in the bakery section of my local Shaw’s, contain almond paste (a mixture of sugar, almond oil, egg whites, and almond slices), one of my favorite food items. They’re the perfect accompaniment to a mid-afternoon coffee!

Some food notes from my brother’s graduation weekend

May 9, 2011

My brother just earned his MBA from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York. After the ceremony on Saturday, we helped ourselves to complimentary finger foods. I especially liked these skewers of sausage bits, green olives, cheddar cheese, and cherry tomatoes. The appetizer is colorful, tasty, and seemingly easy to make.

Here’s the cake my mom bought for my brother.

The cake was made by Connie Decker, the same woman who’s going to make my wedding cake (I mentioned her in this earlier post). I am so happy we’re going with her for the wedding, as the cake was incredibly moist and the filling and frosting were also quite good.

I made dinner yesterday for Mother’s Day. It was so nice walking through the aisles of a grocery store and not having people all around you.

Tops supermarket in Fayetteville, New York

Normally I shop at a Shaw’s in Cambridge, Massachusetts and it’s always so crowded.

Yummy banana bread

May 3, 2011

I made some last night. I didn’t have a regular bread pan so I used this square pan.

The pan worked just fine. Here’s what two of the bread slices looked like.

I got my recipe from the Food Network’s website. It’s really quite easy. You cream together sugar and butter, and then beat in two eggs. In another bowl you mash up three bananas and add milk and cinnamon. In a third bowl you mix together your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt). You add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture, followed by the the dry ingredients. After mixing everything up, you pour the batter into a buttered pan, and bake it for an hour or so.

The recipe calls for a stick of butter, but I only had a half-stick. Surprisingly, the banana bread still tasted great. In the future, I may continue to leave out the extra half-stick of butter.

I’m in Charleston, South Carolina!

March 14, 2011

My fiance and I arrived in Charleston, South Carolina yesterday evening! We are spending five or so days here for vacation. It’s so sunny and warm (high of 75). We left Boston on Saturday morning, and headed toward Connecticut. Connecticut traffic really slowed us down (as a result of this horrific accident), but we eventually made it over the border to Westchester County, New York.

We had lunch in charming Tarrytown, which sits right beside the Hudson River. We chose the Tarry Tavern, a Main Street locale prioritizing locally grown ingredients. I wasn’t that hungry, as I had enjoyed a calzone and yogurt in the car. So I just got some acorn squash soup, which was amazing.

My fiance had a “TT Wagyu” burger that he called “one of the best burgers” he’s ever had (the meal included bacon onion jam, white cheddar, and hand-cut fries).

Before out meals arrived, they served us rolls with butter.

Here are a few photos from Tarrytown:

This phone booth was in someone's front lawn.

The Hudson River is in the distance.

From Tarrytown we headed over the Tappan Zee Bridge.

We drove through some more of New York and New Jersey; then we crossed the Delaware Memorial Bridge to Delaware.

We went through Delaware, Maryland and part of Virginia, before stopping in Ashland, VA. After getting prices from several hotels off the rest stop (including a somewhat sketchy hotel with a glass barrier protecting the concierge), we settled on a Quality Inn. Ruby Tuesday was right across the street, so we went there for dinner.

My fiance had lobster macaroni; he said it was rich and very good.

I had one of their tilapia specials. It included a bruschetta sauce, grilled green beans, and white cheddar mashed potatoes. I must say, Ruby Tuesday has really improved their offerings since I was in high school.

The next morning we stepped outside and it was gorgeous out (about 60 degrees and sunny). We decided to take a picture so we’d remember this moment.

We got back on I-95 and drove until Wilson, North Carolina. There, we stopped at a Cracker Barrel for lunch. We had yet another fabulous meal! My fiance had meatloaf with mashed potatoes, green beans and macaroni and cheese.

I had grilled chicken pieces with green beans and steak fries.

Our meal came with corn muffins and biscuits.

While we were in the car, we played the state license plate game (where you write down the names of all the different state license plates you see).

I fell asleep somewhere in North Carolina. Before I knew it, we were in South Carolina. My fiance and I loved the lush greenery on the side of the road.

We stopped at a McDonald’s for coffee (by the way they reacted to our request you’d think no one drinks coffee in South Carolina), and then got back on the road. Around 7 p.m. we arrived in Charleston. We drove by an industrial part of the city that wasn’t so nice. However, things improved as we got closer to downtown.

I thought we were staying at the Days Inn but my fiance completely surprised me. He had booked a room at The Anchorage Inn, an adorable bed and breakfast on Vendue Range right by the Waterfront Park.

Just so you have an idea of how cool this place is, each day they have a continental breakfast, a 4 p.m. wine and cheese, and an 8 to 11 p.m. sherry. Not bad, huh?

Some random gastronomical musings

March 6, 2011
  • The Flour Bakery + Cafe’s cookbook rocks. I’ve never actually made anything from the book (nor do I own it), but I’ve sampled two desserts from it. One was a chocolate cupcake with white butter frosting, and the other was a lemon square. A friend of ours brought over some of the lemon squares the other night, and I can’t stop thinking about how good they are.

The remaining lemon squares

  • Wegmans rocks. You’ve all heard of this amazing grocery store right? Each year, the Rochester, NY-based supermarket makes Fortune magazine’s list of best places to work. Not to mention the store has an excellent selection of produce, baked goods, meat, and much more. Well this past week, when I was in Syracuse for some wedding planning, my mom made veal and spaghetti with Wegmans’ vodka sauce.

The sauce is unbelievably tasty. Its ingredients include diced tomatoes, tomato puree, diced onions, cream, olive oil, vodka, Romano cheese, roasted garlic, and basil. She mixed the sauce with cooked mushrooms, put the mixture atop spaghetti, and served it with Wegmans-brand veal.

My mom bought some of the Wegmans-brand veal for me to bring back to Boston.

I love how the veal is nice and skinny. My mom basically dipped the veal pieces into an egg and flour mixture; then covered them with breadcrumbs. She cooked the veal in some olive oil for a couple of minutes, put mozzarella on top of the veal pieces, and microwaved them for a minute. So the cheese was nice and melted atop the crispy veal. Oh my gosh I was in heaven eating this meal. It was of restaurant quality (a good restaurant, that is)!

I stopped by the local wine store, looking for a decent boxed wine. As I was reading the back of this one, a lady giving out samples of another wine told me a couple of customers had just recommended this one. So I went with it. It was pretty reasonably priced ($15 for 1.5 liters, which is two bottles-worth), and it is organic/contains no sulfites. I’m no oenophile; I just like a smooth, decent-tasting wine. Well, this one fits the bill. I mean, it’s a little spicier than the wines I’m used to, but by no means is that a negative thing. I would surely purchase this brand of wine again.

Spinach and mushroom pinwheels, pork tenderloin with herbed breadcrumb crust, baked butternut squash, and strawberry blueberry pie

December 31, 2010

Leftover pork

Leftover pie

The dishes listed in this post’s title are just a few of the recipes I’ve recently tried out; they’ve all served me very well! I was invited to a friend’s going away party several weeks ago, and wanted to make a creative appetizer containing some veggies. I stumbled upon this spinach and mushroom pinwheel recipe from allrecipes.com (I really love this site!).

The recipe itself is very easy, though you need to start making the pinwheels several hours before your event. That’s because you need to chill the dough for 3o to 60 minutes, and then chill it for another hour once it’s been covered with the spinach/onion/mushroom/flour/oregano/salt/lemon juice/garlic powder/Parmesan cheese paste, and rolled up.

I made the pork tenderloin, squash and pie for a Christmas dinner. The pork was AMAZING. I was all worried about making a meat dish, since meat can end up too dry or just plain bland. Well, I found this wonderful recipe on epicurious.com.

Basically you buy three pounds-worth of pork tenderloin (typically two tenderloins), trim the exterior fat, and then prepare a breadcrumb mixture. Then, you roll the pork in egg followed by the breadcrumb mixture, brown the outside of the pork in a pan for five minutes, and bake the pork until it reaches 155 degrees Fahrenheit (for me this took about 55 minutes, but I had 3.4 pounds of pork).

The breadcrumb mixture contains crumbs from fresh French bread (I used a blender to make the crumbs), fresh chopped parsley, fresh chopped rosemary, and crumbled bay leaves. Deliciousness! The meat was so tender and tasty.

And the baked butternut squash (from cooks.com) just melted in our mouths (and kind of tasted like candy…in a good way). I chopped up the squash into little squares and covered it with cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, butter, and lemon juice. Then I baked it for about an hour (15 more minutes than the recipe recommends).

The strawberry blueberry pie was sort of my own creation. I based it largely upon this allrecipes.com three berry pie recipe. Because I didn’t have raspberries I added one cup more strawberries and one cup more blueberries. That worked out fabulously. The recipe was sooooo easy. Obviously the blueberries didn’t need to be chopped, and the strawberries only needed to be halved. I mixed them up with some sugar and cornstarch and voila!, the filling was made. I didn’t bother making my own crust so that part was super-easy as well (though I’d love to find a good pie crust recipe one of these days).

I baked the pie for about an hour (with foil over the crust for the first half), and the thing was done.

True Grounds in Somerville’s Ball Square features cute decor, tasty baked goods

December 19, 2010

This weekend I got to know Ball Square better. In addition to dining at Sound Bites Restaurant, I stopped by True Grounds for some coffee and a snack. My café au lait was solid, and my apple cinnamon coffee cake was scrumptious.

My café au lait

My apple cinnamon coffee cake

I adored the restaurant’s decor, including its green and red walls, checkerboard table, and abstract art (it’s for sale). There was also:

A mosaic table

and

Beautiful lights

I got a seat near the window. This was my view:


I can just imagine how warm and cozy I’d feel sitting here as snowflakes fall outside:-).


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