Friday, March 30, 2012

Drink This: Blueberry-Pomegranate Fizz

Last week, it was surprisingly warm here in Boston. I wanted to do nothing more but sit outside on our back stairs in the sunshine...preferably drinking a cocktail. On Friday evening, when the weather was just starting to turn a little colder, I made myself said cocktail and enjoyed it outside - which helped tremendously in washing away a long week of work. 

Even though the weather's back to normal March temperatures, I highly suggest you give this drink a try, too (even if you do enjoy it inside with the heat on).

Blueberry-Pomegranate Fizz
Yields: 1 cocktail
Adapted from 
-1 1/2 oz. gin
-3/4 oz. simple syrup
-1/2 oz. lemon juice
-8 frozen blueberries, defrosted
-Ice cubes
-Polar Pomegranate Seltzer

1.) In a tall glass, muddle blueberries in the simple syrup and lemon juice.
2.) Add gin and ice; stir.
3.) Top with seltzer, stir slightly, and serve.

This was one dangerously delicious cocktail. Without being too sugary, it had the perfect blend of tangy and sweet. The carbonation from the seltzer also added a welcome, refreshing taste to the mix. This cocktail will definitely be something I make on a regular basis come spring and summer.

Have you tried any new cocktail recipes lately? Please share!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Power of Pinterest

I'm still trying to figure out Pinterest, but, so far, it has helped me find some delicious recipes. It's been a lot of fun discovering new dishes and "pinning" them for inspiration. This recipe I'm about to share with you is one such Pinterest-inspired dinner.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Goat Cheese, Arugula and Peas
Yields: 4 servings
-4 cups whole wheat penne pasta
-1 cup frozen peas
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-2 handfuls of arugula leaves
-Salt and black pepper, to taste
-Dried parsley 
-Crushed red pepper flakes
-1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
-Lemon juice

1.) In a large saucepan, bring salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
2.) Add peas to boiling pasta water and cook for two more minutes, or until pasta is al dente. 
3.) Drain pasta and peas in a colander, then return to pot. Reduce heat to medium and add olive oil, arugula, salt, black pepper, parsley and crushed red pepper. Toss to combine. 
4.) Add goat cheese and squirt lemon juice over the pasta (about 1 tbsp.). Stir, and serve. 

The end result was a surprisingly light, creamy dish that was fairly nutritious to boot. Z and I both had cold leftovers for lunch the next day, which was just as good - if not better - as the original warm dish. I will definitely be making this dish again when the weather gets warmer (and stays warmer). 

Are you on Pinterest? If so, what do you think of it?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Chocolate Cookies with Mint Chocolate Ganache Frosting

We had a lot of Creme De Menthe Hershey Kisses leftover from St. Paddy's Day...because yes, our candy bowl changes with the holidays. And what else do you do with leftover chocolate besides mix it with cream and butter? 

To make this silky mint chocolate ganache, start by unwrapping and roughly chopping 32 Creme De Menthe Hershey Kisses (it's a lot less labor intensive then it me).

Then, place the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat 3/4 cup whipping cream and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter until just bowling. Remove from heat, pour over chocolate, and let sit for 5 minutes. Then, stir until smooth. Once chocolate mixture has cooled completely, whip until soft and fluffy. 

I have to admit, the Hershey Kisses didn't form the perfect ganache right away. I had to let this sit in the fridge for a good two hours until it became "frosting-like." But, the taste was spot-on, and the texture ended up being silky smooth and wonderfully luxurious.

I spread my mint chocolate ganache on homemade chocolate cookies, using this recipe (sans the white chocolate chips). Z even described these as "the best cookies he's ever had." I'd call that a success!

What do you do with leftover candy?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Drink This: Night Shift Brewing, Inc.

Over the last few weeks, I've attended two Pintley events at The Crimson Lounge and Sunset Grill and Tap. The events were both celebrating the launch of Night Shift Brewing's beers, which are brewed by three guys (Robert Burns, Michael O’Mara and Michael Oxton) in Everett, Mass. (You can read the full story behind the brewers and their beers here). 

Between the two events, I was fortunate enough to try all three of Night Shift Brewing's beers: the Taza StoutBee Tea, and Trifecta. The Bee Tea was delicious - but this post will only be focusing on the stout and the Trifecta.

First up is the Taza Stout (7.0% abv.). The beer is aged on organic roasted cacao nibs from Taza Chocolate, which is based in Somerville. Roasted chicory root and ginger also add a smooth coffee flavor to the mix. This definitely isn't one of the best stouts I've ever had, but I can always appreciate a stout that has a great balance of chocolate and coffee flavors - with local ingredients to boot.


The third beer Night Shift makes is their Trifecta (7.0% abv.), which is a Belgian-style pale ale. I can definitely see myself drinking this outside on a hot summer day - it was refreshing, crisp and wonderfully hoppy, with lively hints of citrus throughout. 

Night Shift Brewing's beers are available on tap at several bars and restaurants in the Boston area, and they're also available in bottles at several liquor stores. For a full list of where to find their beer, click here

Have you tried Night Shift Brewing's beers yet? If so, what's your review?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Simple, Cheap and Nutritious Dinner

I love simple and nutritious dinners like the one I'm about to share with you. Most nights, when I'm home to cook, I'm eager to try out a new, rather elaborate (for me) recipe that's not only tasty, but also blogworthy. Sometimes, though, it's nice to cook something healthy and simple, that's also worth sharing on The EE.

With that being said, here's what I made for dinner earlier this week: Baked Tofu and Roasted Brussels Sprouts. I used this recipe for the tofu, using Stonewall Kitchen's Maple Chipotle Grille Sauce as the marinade instead of the one listed in the original recipe. The end result was "meaty," slightly crispy blocks of tofu with a sweet and smoky flavor.

On the side, I used Ina's recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts. I adore Brussels sprouts, especially of the roasted variety. Per usual, these babies were delicious.

The end result was a well-balanced meal that was super cheap and super simple to prepare. 

What are some of your favorite simple dinners to make at home?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Eat This: Shroom Melt at Sunset Grill & Tap

Portobello mushroom "burgers" are a pretty easy vegetarian dish for restaurants (especially bar/grille-type restaurants) to include on their menu. Sometimes, it feels like a cop-out. Can't the chef come up with anything a little more creative than grilling a portobello and slapping it between two buns? Thankfully, the folks behind Sunset Grill & Tap in Allston decided to get a little more creative.

Meet the Shroom Melt ($8.99): grilled portobello mushrooms tossed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, topped with roasted red peppers, buffalo mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, and a little bit of basil pesto on a toasted ciabatta roll. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

The combination of the salty tomatoes with the thick, melted mozzarella and the meaty, flavorful mushrooms was delicious - not to mention innovative. I really appreciated how Sunset took that small extra step to make the same-old, same-old portobello sandwich just a little bit different (not to mention tastier).

What's something delicious you ate this weekend?

Sunset Grill & Tap on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Guinness Pot Pie

Remember this recipe for pot pie? Well, replace the 1 cup milk and 1 cup vegetable broth with 2 cups Guinness...and you'll get this:

I can sense my Irish ancestors bursting with pride from here.

As you can see in the photo above, the pot pie looks a little soupy, but the Guinness "broth" was actually pleasantly thick. I might try adding just 1 cup of Guinness next time to see how that effects the dish. Either way, this was one hearty, rich pot pie that will make anyone proud to be Irish (or...wish that they were Irish).

How do you feel about St. Patrick's Day? Are you a fan, or could you care less about the "holiday"?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

KRAFT MILKBITE Milk & Granola Bars

Breakfast just got a whole lot easier.  

Kraft Foods has made the genius move to combine real milk and granola in one simple bar - making breakfast on-the-go that much easier. In flavors like Chocolate, Strawberry, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Raisin and Mixed BerryKRAFT MILKBITE Milk & Granola Bars contain as much calcium as an 8 oz. glass of milk.

The folks at Laforce + Stevens were kind enough to send me their Chocolate and Strawberry bars to sample, free of charge. I have to admit, though, that while I was intrigued, I was also a little skeptical. How can these refrigerated, milk-filled bars not have an ingredient list three miles long that's 90% illegible?

After receiving the package and studying the ingredients, however, I was pleasantly surprised. While the ingredient list was a little long, the bars are made up of 99 percent legible and recognizable components (with the exception of "natural flavor" and "calcium phosphate"). To give you an example, here are the first five ingredients in each of the two flavors: Rolled oats, cream (from milk), sugar, skim milk, and inulin (chicory root fiber). The bars also claim to not include any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Not too shabby!

Both the Strawberry and Chocolate MILKBITE bars were also really tasty - not to mention satisfying. With 5 grams of protein each, they are a delicious snack that also has some staying power. While I couldn't eat one for breakfast by itself, the bars do make a nice mid-morning snack with my long-lasting morning iced coffee.

KRAFT MILKBITE Milk & Granola Bars can be found in the refrigerated dairy aisle for a suggested retail price of $3.49.

Have you tried KRAFT MILKBITE Bars yet? If not, will you?

Disclaimer: Although I received these MILKBITE Bars free of charge, the opinions expressed in this post are honest and 100 percent my own.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Three Days, Three Different States

Whew! What a weekend.


Eversave was sponsoring an event at the Georgia Aquarium on Saturday, so I traveled there on Friday. I had a layover in Philly, but made it to Atlanta around 7:30 p.m. Friday night. The event was from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and then my flight back to Boston was a little after 7 p.m. that same evening. It was a fast trip, but a successful one!

But...let me just say that food in Atlanta (and food in airports) is not cheap. Nor are there many vegetarian options, at least in the few places I visited. Here's just some of the gourmet food I ate while traveling:

A delicious, albeit not so healthy, lunch at the Philly airport (portobello flatbread sandwich and fries...and Yuengling, naturally).

And room service at the Marriott in Atlanta (washed down with a Georgia Peach martini). 

Despite the lackluster eats, the Georgia Aquarium was fantastic. Since I was working, I didn't get a chance to explore the entire place (it's huge!), but what I saw was pretty darn awesome. I'd love to go back, for play vs. work. 

Once I got back to Boston, I met some friends for a drink at Cambridge Common, then basically face planted into my bed. After a luxurious 10.5 hours of sleep, I spent the day in the sunshine with Z - biking, playing frisbee, and eventually making our way to Red Bones for dinner and drinks. 

How was your weekend?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Goat Cheese and Pot Pie

This past weekend, I devoted the majority of my time to relaxing, laughing and eating with some of my closest family members. I took few photos of my food and barely looked at my iPhone. It was glorious.

With that being said, I don't have my own photos to share with you in this post, but I can tell you two things I made for two separate family festivities. The first was Martha's Easy Goat Cheese Appetizer for a small gathering at my sister's house on Saturday night.


My revisions: I eliminated the peppercorns and used dried thyme, since that's what I had on hand. I also had some three-pepper goat cheese and plain goat cheese, so I used both in my dip. Here's the adapted recipe.

Easy Goat Cheese Appetizer
Adapted from
-8 to 12 ounces goat cheese (plain or flavored), broken into large chunks
-1 tbsp. olive oil, divided
-1/2 tsp. dried thyme
-Crushed red pepper flakes
-Sliced baguette or crackers, for serving

1.)  Place cheese in a small ovenproof dish; drizzle with half of the olive oil. Baked the goat cheese at 325 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. 
2.) Remove the dish from the oven, drizzle with the remaining olive oil, and garnish with thyme and red pepper flakes. Serve with sliced baguette or crackers. 

This appetizer was insanely easy to make, and it ended up being a huge hit with my family. I mean, let's be honest: how can anyone not like warm goat cheese?

The second dish I made was an entree. Every year, my older sister, myself and two of our cousins offer to make my grandparents dinner. It's our Christmas gift to them, and they (not to mention we) really enjoy it. This year, it was my turn to make the entree. I wanted to make something comforting and flavorful, while still being pleasing to everyone's palate. Thankfully, I stumbled upon this recipe by Aida Mollenkamp.


Vegetarian Pot Pie
Yields: 8 servings
Adapted from
-1 tbsp. olive oil
-1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
-2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
-12 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced
-1 small russet potato, peeled and diced
-1/4 cup whole wheat flour
-1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
-1 cup whole milk
-1 cup frozen green peas
-1 tbsp. dried parsley
-1 egg yolk
-Frozen pie crust, defrosted

1.) Heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a heavy saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and carrots, and cook until just soft and onions are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and potato, season well with salt and black pepper, and stir to coat. Cook, stirring rarely, until mushrooms have let off water and are shrunken, about 6 minutes.
2.) Sprinkle flour over vegetables, stir to coat, and cook until raw flavor is gone, about 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully add broth and milk, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
3.) Remove from heat, add peas and parsley, and stir to coat. Season well with salt and black pepper. Pour filling into an 8 by 8-inch baking dish.
4.) Whisk egg together with 2 teaspoons water and a pinch of salt until evenly mixed. Set aside. Carefully, take defrosted pie dough and place it over filling. Tuck the dough into the edges of the dish. Brush dough with egg wash and cut slits in the top to vent. 
5.) Place on a baking sheet and bake until crust is golden brown and mixture is bubbling, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let sit at least 5 minutes before serving.

Um...let's just say this pot pie came out bomb dot com. Even though I used very few spices, the flavors of the broth, vegetables and buttery crust made this one flavorful and comforting dish. My grandparents also loved the meal, which I served with a simple mesclun green salad and sliced bread. 

It was a wonderful weekend spent with some of my favorite people on planet earth, with some delicious food to boot. I wish every weekend could be like that!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Rudy's Cafe in Teele Square

On Friday night, I discovered strong margaritas and tasty Mexican fare in a hidden location. Nestled away in Teele Square, Rudy's Cafe is one hidden gem worth visiting.

On the exterior, Rudy's is easy to miss. The only sign of life is the neon "Rudy's" sign on one of the windows. Upon walking inside, however, it's apparent that this busy, brightly-colored restaurant is not to be missed.

My cousin and I sat at the bar for a casual meal, which started with complimentary tortilla chips and spicy, fresh salsa. For my first beverage, I went with a Horny Toad margarita ($7.76), made with Sauza Hornitos tequila, Cointreau and fresh lime juice.

Rudy's has a lot of creative margaritas - including my second of the night, the Calientes Margarita ($7.06), made with jalapeno tequila, triple sec and lime juice - but I'm glad I went with the Horny Toad for my first beverage. It was sweet and strong without being overly sour. Just the way I like it!

For my entree, I went with the Spinach Quesadilla ($9.50), which was highly recommended by my cousin. Filled with sauteed fresh spinach, black beans, cheeses, chipotle chilies and feta cheese, this was one uniquely delicious Mexican dish. I loved the combination of the black beans with the spinach and creamy feta. 

The menu describes the tortilla as a "spinach tortilla," but that did not seem to be the case. Regardless, the dish tasted fine as it was. I also ordered a small side of guacamole ($1.75) to go with my quesadilla. Ordering guacamole is always a good decision.

Our bartender/waiter also helped to make our meal that much better. He was charismatic, attentive and enthusiastic. I'll definitely be going back to Rudy's!

What hidden gems have you discovered lately? 

Rudy's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 2, 2012

Drink This: Left Hand Sawtooth Ale, Nitro

Z and I usually do our grocery shopping on Sundays...when everyone else in the world also does their grocery shopping. This past Sunday, we decided to make our grocery shopping experience a little more fun - and had a few beers and nachos at The Asgard in Central Square before trekking over to Trader Joe's.

The first brew I ordered was what I thought was Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro. I only read the words "Left" "Hand" and "Nitro," so I was surprised when a copper-colored ale was placed in front of me. With a thick, creamy head, I was immediately intrigued - and upon first sip, pleasantly surprised.

Left Hand's Sawtooth Ale is a full-bodied, refreshing brew. As a nitro-tap, this ale - with solid flavors of toasted malt and caramel - takes on a creamy, smooth character that's perfect for sipping on a cold winter day. For those of you whole like the texture of a porter but not the typical coffee and chocolate flavors, this beer's for you.

What day of the week do you normally go grocery shopping? Or do you do several small shops throughout the week?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Arugula Pesto Lasagna

Cheese + carbs + pesto = deliciousness.

Earlier this week, Z and I had a bag of arugula that desperately needed to be eaten. I wasn't in the mood for a salad for dinner, so I decided to make some pesto - and then slather said pesto between sheets of pasta. Let's just say it ended up being a very good idea.

Arugula Pesto Lasagna
Yields: 8 servings
Adapted from TLC Cooking
-1 package (16 oz.) partially cooked lasagna noodles
-2 tbsp. olive oil
-1/2 onion, diced
-1 tbsp. minced garlic
-1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
-12 oz. white button mushrooms, sliced
-White cooking wine
-Crushed red pepper flakes
-Salt and black pepper, to taste
-3 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
-1 cup prepared arugula pesto (I omitted the cayenne and used walnuts in place of the pine nuts)
-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-12 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13x9-inch lasagna pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2.) Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook and stir onions until transparent. Add garlic and spinach; cook and stir about three minutes more. Add mushrooms, crushed pepper flakes and cooking wine; cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl.
3.) Add ricotta cheese, pesto, and Parmesan cheese to spinach mixture; mix well.
4.) Layer 5 lasagna noodles, slightly overlapping, in prepared pan. Top with one third of ricotta mixture and one third of mozzarella. Repeat layers twice.
5.) Bake about 30-35 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

This was, by far, one of the best lasagnas I've ever made (not to toot my own horn or anything). The garlic-y, peppery pesto complemented the rich cheeses and sweet onions perfectly. We also have a ton of leftovers - I plan to freeze a few slices so we can have them for dinner or lunches in a few weeks. 

What are some of your favorite meals to make that yield a lot of leftovers?