Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Nothing Screams Summer......

Like Ice cream cones with one of your best friends!

J.P. Licks Strawberry Rhubarb for me
And Chocolate Chip for Kirsten

Perfect end to a lovely summer night!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ingredient Spotlight: Tomatoes

After our lunch at the Clover Food Truck, Michelle and I browsed the Dewey Square Farmers market.  I was on the hunt for some local strawberries, but did not see anything.  Tip #1 when shopping a farmer's market keep an open mind. They might not have *exactly* what you're looking for, but you might be in for a surpirse!

Instead of a pint of bright red strawberries, I saw this gorgeous display of mini-heirloom tomatoes.  Equally sweet, and just as exciting as local berries.

I could tell they were fresh because there skin was smooth and unblemished.  I could tell they were ripe because they were bright and colorful, and they just smelled like a garden.

Many of the tomatoes still had their stems and leaves in tact.  They must have been picked that same morning.

Although I had plans for strawberries with balsamic, these tomatoes stood in just as well in a summer salad.  Sweet and juicy and dressed with aged balsamic they were a perfect stand-in for a refreshing summer dinner.

Have you ever had a surprise or unplanned purchase at a market?  What is your favorite way to use fresh summer tomatoes?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sugar Doll: All about me

I'm back!  Thank you for all of your kind messages and emails.  These things are never easy, but its so nice to know how much support is out there!  Thanks friends!

So, I'm pulled out of my slump because Anne at Your Kind of Salad nominated me for the Sugar Doll Blogger Questionnaire!

Thanks Anne for my first meme nomination!

Here’s the deal- share 10 random fun facts about yourself and pass it along to a blogger you admire and enjoy reading! 

Here goes - 10 random facts about me.

1) I am an only child.  That probably explains a lot.
2) I am Portuguese, but don't ask me if I speak it - I only know curse words and food.  And thank-you!
3) Tortilla chips are my kryptonite.  Especially the kind from a burrito joint like Boca Grande or Anna's...Salty, warm tortilla chips - I could eat them mindlessly until I explode.  Rafe usually has to put them on a high shelf so I can't reach them - otherwise I would go on forever.  If we make tacos, or guac?  I have to buy the smallest bag of chips, or make Rafe take them when he heads back to Hartford.
4) I'm really enjoying the company of the plush egg I received from the Eggland's Best dinner.  I enjoy photographing him (Eggy) in weird or compromising locations.  Here he is in a frying pan....

5) I didn't eat raw tomatoes until I was 20 and my mom fed me a garden tomato
6) I get completely grossed out when little kids have ice cream or frosting all over their faces.  I have literally gagged at J.P. Licks over this me insensitive, but then wipe your kids' face.
7) My best friend went to middle school with Rafe, and they dated briefly.  They were in the 7th grade, so only hand-holding and a couple pecks :)
8) When I met Rafe's father for the first time it was at a dinner at his house.  His sister was talking about some patients she saw during her internship for medical school.  Everyone started trying to one-up each other with gross injury stories - I'm pretty squeamish so I excused myself from the table so I could get some fresh air and I immediately fainted.
9) I had lasik eye surgery when I was 22 - I appear in the commercials for my doctor's office. (readers who live in Western Mass may have seen it)
10) Megan at Delicious Dishing once asked me what condiment I couldn't live without.  I said barbecue sauce without hesitation.

OK, now I get to tag someone to complete the meme!

I pick Katie from Once Upon a Small Boston Kitchen
and Elina from Healthy and Sane

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Time Off

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Foursquare, you've probably noticed that I've been a bit *quiet* for a few days.  I'm currently in Western Mass with family to mourn the passing of my grandmother Irene Fidalgo.

Grandma's passing is bittersweet.  Anyone who has experienced the loss associated with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia will understand the strange progression of the disease.  The grandma I knew from my childhood has been gone for a long while now, though we would sometimes see glimpses of her in our nursing home visits through a gesture, a facial expression or a tone of voice that was familiar.  It is comforting to know however, that the body that once housed such an indelible spirit is now at rest.

She was a mother-hen in every sense of the word, and was incredibly proud of her children and grandchildren.  She never missed an opportunity to show her pride in her family, and sing our praises.  Grandma was old-school, always striving to be proper, she would be horrified if anyone left her home hungry.   She made the best Thanksgiving stuffing in the world.  She taught me to make bread, and not to cross my legs in church.  She always had ice cream, and Hershey's kisses with almonds.

Because of her mark on my food memory, I will continue to think of her when I enter the kitchen to make her recipes.  When she first went into the nursing home, I inherited some of her cookware.  A dozen plain loaf pans - nothing fancy but seasoned with years of Easter fular (Portuguese meat bread), muffin tins - from the summer she went berry picking and we ate our weight in blueberry muffins, and the giant lidded pot that was used to make the double-recipe of Thanksgiving stuffing, because I loved it so much.
Thanks for everything Grandma - You've shaped my life in ways too numerous to count. Love always, Alicia

Friday, July 9, 2010

Flank Steak Fajitas

One Saturday, Rafe and I were talking about grilling for dinner - since its FAR too hot to cook indoors.   We didn't want the usual burgers, and we had eaten chicken the night before....I really wanted an excuse for Rafe to make guacamole - Then all of a sudden inspiration hit.  

Flank Steak.  We would marinate and grill a flank steak.  Use some of the leftover cilantro in the fridge - and then we would put it into fajitas.

Since we were in CT and I loooove exploring new food shopping destinations, Rafe took me to a local market that he swears carries the best meats.  At Hall's Market we bought a giant flank steak. And marinated it in garlic, cilantro, and lime juice.

I sauteed some red and yellow peppers as well as some onion in a cast iron skillet

And then it started to rain....hmm, I guess no grilling.  We acted fast and cooked the steak on the stove in a cast iron grill pan.  I dominated that thing....look at those grill marks!

The key to a tender flank steak is cutting the meat against the grain.  Rafe didn't believe me so I cut him a piece of meat along the grain and he could barely chew it.  Thin slices against the direction of the meat muscles will give you tender results every time.  Let your meat rest and use a SHARP knife.

Then layer onto your warmed tortilla with peppers, onions, and guac and serve!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Clover Food Labs

On a beautiful day in the financial district Michelle of Fun and Fearless in Beantown and I made the trek from work over to Dewey Square to check out the Clover Food Truck for lunch.  The Clover food truck has a mission to re-imagine fast food.  Their vision: local, made to order, organic when possible, incredibly affordable and quick food.

As Michelle and I made our way to the Dewey Square farmer's market we were greeted by a 'school of rock' style rock band.  These were kids, all preteen, rocking out on guitars, drums, and keyboards.  The played Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, and tons of other rock hits.  They were fantastic.

Um, this kid rules.  The sunglasses?

We were grateful for the entertainment because the food truck was bumpin.  Clearly a popular spot for lunchtime, especially on a beautiful summer day.

While we waited, we reviewed the menu.  It is posted on the side of the truck.  Clover also sells breakfast, and I think Michelle and I will have to make several more trips to sample their other lunch items as well as their breakfast offerings....I've heard VERY good things about their breakfast sandwiches.  As you can see, their prices are extremely reasonable. $5 for a pretty hearty sandwich.

Iced tea and brown sugar lemonade?  If that doesn't scream 'Arnold Palmer' I don't know what does.  Clover staff happily obliged my special order!

Michelle and I both ordered the same thing (but I'm eager to go back and try the 'Basil' too).  Soy BLT: Tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo on a whole wheat pita.

This was a great sandwich on a hot day.  The lettuce and tomato were cool and refreshing - and the texture and smokiness of the tempeh really did a great job at mimicking bacon.  I didn't miss the meat and I was completely satisfied.
Soy BLT...nom, nom, nom.

I think these look like two bloggers who are happy with their lunches don't you?  We HAVE to go back soon Michelle!
Rosemary fries and the basil sandwich have both piqued my interest!