Posted tagged ‘Food’

The best hidden secret in Watertown’s Arsenal Mall…

September 5, 2011

…is definitely Coffee Traders, a family-owned coffee and wrap/sandwich/salad business. Every time I go to the mall or am in the vicinity of the mall, I stop there for a mozzarella and basil wrap.

The mozzarella and basil are always super-fresh, and so are the tomatoes that are also included in the soft pita. I like how the pita is nice and thin, so you don’t feel too full after eating it. You can have them add whatever sauce you’d like (including ranch and blue cheese), but I always go for their staple sauce: olive oil, salt and pepper. Perfecto. Today I introduced my sister to this hidden gem.

I got my usual mozzarella and basil wrap:

And she got a buffalo chicken salad:

She got her salad with ranch dressing (and buffalo sauce of course), and loved it. According to her, it was nice having grilled chicken instead of the usual fried chicken. She felt nice and healthy, which is a big reason why I love this little joint. It’s definitely much healthier than the other eateries in this food court (including Regina Pizzeria, a Mexican place and Burger King). She also liked how the buffalo sauce was less spicy than what she’s accustomed to.

If you can, try to support this business! It’s nice knowing the money goes to a family versus a big corporation. And they have ice cream and a wide variety of coffee drinks.

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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.

I can be pretty low-maintenance when it comes to food

March 6, 2011

I look in my fridge, take out some Tupperware containers, and make up a plate like this:

Triscuit crackers, nicoise olives, cheddar cheese, asparagus, and dried fruit

 

Random act of kindness

October 20, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I attended a Veterans of Foreign Wars dinner with my grandpa and parents. This organization always puts on tasty meals, and it’s a good opportunity for older members to see one another.

My grandfather, who served in Guam in World War II, hadn’t been to this event in a couple of years. He was really glad we brought him (he can’t drive). As far as I was concerned, I was the one benefiting from the delicious food. I ended up sitting next to a woman who had taken her elderly father-in-law to the event. I was impressed because her husband had died 15 years ago, yet she was still maintaining a relationship with his father.

When I asked her about it, she said something like “This is what you do for family.” Later on she mentioned how his other children live in other parts of the country. She said she doesn’t live too far, and has a fair amount of free time. So it makes sense for her to help out. Then she added “I’m doing this for my husband and my mother-in-law (who has also passed away).”

I thought this was pretty touching, and wanted to share.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/mbgrigby/3079356207

Zucchini fritters

May 10, 2010

I love fritters, especially vegetable fritters. I think that my love of fritters developed when I was a youngin attending the LaFayette Apple Festival in upstate New York. Those apple fritters were amazing!

When I was living in France I had the opportunity to try fritters made with various types of vegetables. I vividly remember a friend’s mother serving pumpkin fritters as an appetizer one Sunday lunch. Pumpkin was in season at the time, and she was all excited to serve this dish for the first time.

Recently, I craved zucchini fritters. So I made them. Here’s an easy recipe I found from the Easy French Food website:

You need:

  • 1 pound of zucchini (My two cents: feel free to substitute a vegetable of your choice)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • oil for frying

Here’s what you do:

1. Shred the zucchini with a food processor (I use a handheld shredder because I don’t have a food processor).

2. Put the zucchini in a big mixing bowl.

3. Stir in the eggs, garlic, flour, salt and pepper and mix until blended. Don’t worry if the batter looks runny– it holds together once it is cooked in hot oil.

4. Heat half an inch of oil in a skillet.

5. Drop the batter by the tablespoon into the oil.

6. Cook the batter until it’s browned– three to four minutes per side.

7. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towl.

This makes about 20 fritters. Serve them warm if possible.

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There was a time I wanted to spend the rest of my life in France

February 22, 2010

Me in southern France

There was a time when I was pretty sure I was going to spend the rest of my life in France.

I was largely drawn there for personal reasons, but I also thought I liked life better over there.

My first year over there was sublime– definitely the most stimulating year of my life thus far. Every day was an adventure. What new words would I learn, what new foods would I try, what new people would I meet? What new fashions would I see, what new cities would I visit, what new philosophies would I encounter?

Friday nights I played bridge with elderly French women. Every day I biked several miles to and from my university past palm trees, fountains, and the smell of freshly made baguettes. My host mom made food I had never heard of, but that melted so deliciously in my mouth.

I went on dates, took salsa dancing lessons, and read poems by Paul Verlaine and Charles Baudelaire.

I remember my first time feeling truly comfortable speaking French. I was on a train home from meeting up with my good friend Michelle in Venice. I began speaking with a 40-something-year-old man sitting across from me about I don’t even know what. (more…)

Another indication processed foods are no good

January 25, 2010

Check out this recent article from Reuters about salt content in processed foods.

It really makes me mad to think about how incorporated processed foods are into our culture. It really stinks that people didn’t more seriously question processed foods when they were invented.

Processed foods eventually became such an accepted part of our society that people pretty much took it for granted they were OK. Luckily, in recent years a lot has been written about their negative impact.

I try my best to just each food made from scratch. It’s hard, being busy and all, but I think it’s worth it. If I have no time to cook I’ll just throw together random unprocessed food for lunch, like broccoli, carrots, nuts, yogurt, an apple, and cheese.

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Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/chicagoceli/207850721

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