Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spiced Pistachio Biscotti

It's dangerous living a block away from Cafe Rustica. This adorable bistro-style cafe is one of our favorite places to get breakfast on the weekends. I'm partial to their iced mocha and bagels with cream cheese and tomato slices, but I seriously would eat anything they served me. The guys who work there also rock - and remember my order, which I appreciate.

The last time we visited Cafe Rustica, Z and I admired the jars full of thick biscotti on the counter. We verbally made a pact then and there to make our own biscotti sometime soon. As luck would have it, a few days later I was flipping through an old issue of Cook's Illustrated, and saw a fairly easy recipe for homemade almond biscotti. A pistachio version was also included, so I decided to get into the kitchen and get creative.

Spiced Pistachio Biscotti
Yields: 15 cookies
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated
-1/2 cup shelled pistachios, lightly toasted
-3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1/8 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon garam masala
-1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
-1 large egg, plus 1 white beaten with pinch salt
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
-1/2 teaspoon water
-1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vegetable or canola oil spray

1.) Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease baking sheet and/or line with parchment paper.
2.) Pulse 1/4 cup of pistachios in food processor until coarsely chopped; transfer to a bowl and set aside. Process remaining 1/4 cup pistachios in food processor until finely ground. Pour finely ground pistachios into a bowl. Add flour, baking powder, salt, garam masala, and ginger; stir to combine.
3.) Process the egg in now-empty food processor until lightened in color and almost doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 minutes. Slowly add sugar until thoroughly combined. Add melted butter, water, and vanilla extract and process until combined. 
4.) Transfer egg mixture to medium bowl. Sprinkle half of flour mixture over egg mixture and, using spatula, gently fold until just combined. Add remaining flour mixture and chopped pistachios and gently fold until just combined.
5.) Using floured hands, form the mixture into a 8 by 3-inch rectangle. Spray loaf lightly with oil spray. Gently brush top of loaf with egg white wash. Bake until loaf is golden and just beginning to crack on top, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.
6.) Let loaf cool on baking sheet for 30 minutes. Transfer loaf to cutting board. Using serrated knife, slice loaf on slight bias into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Lay slices, cut side down, about 1/4 inch apart on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Bake until crisp and golden brown on both sides, about 30 minutes, flipping slices halfway through baking. Let cool completely before serving. Biscotti can be stored in airtight container for up to 1 month.

Although the Cook's Illustrated version calls for cardamom, black pepper, ground cloves, and cinnamon, I decided to use garam masala instead. The garam masala I have includes all of those spices anyway, plus cumin and coriander. The kick of exotic spice from the garam masala complemented the pistachios wonderfully. 

I still have some practicing to do when it comes to slicing the biscotti (I also may have overcooked mine by a few minutes - watch them carefully!), but I think my first attempt at making my own was pretty darn successful. The flavor combination in these cookies just can't be beat.

Have you ever made your own biscotti?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Jalapeno Pepper Jack Scones

I very rarely follow someone else's recipe to a T. I almost always tweak it to accommodate ingredients I already have in my kitchen, or to suit my individual tastes. But sometimes, I find a recipe that is just so right that I don't change a thing. These scones are one of those recipes.

Basically, Joy the Baker is a genius - and I highly recommend you try her Jalapeno Pepper Jack Scones this weekend. They're great with eggs for a leisurely brunch, or even served with soup or salad for dinner. Regardless of when you decide to eat them, just be sure to do yourself a favor and bake them. Soon.

Also, thanks to Ina, I now know the secret to flaky, perfect scones: cold butter and very minimal mixing. It works.

What are you looking forward to this weekend?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Brunch at The Fireplace

A few Sundays ago, I met up with the Boston Brunchers at The Fireplace in Brookline for a leisurely brunch. This was my first time dining at The Fireplace, although I had always wanted to check it out. I've always only heard rave reviews about this restaurant. 

Our brunch began with complimentary rolls, that were in the shape of scones. Our waiter didn't give us much information about them, but they were served warm, and tasted delicious. I just think it was a little too much bread to eat before a meal (who am I?).

As a table, we decided to share some of The Fireplace's salads. (Side note: The Fireplace's menu is massive, and they have a wide variety of salads to choose from). The vegetarian salad we tried was the vibrant Beet and Orange Salad ($13).

Served over Boston lettuce, the fresh beets and oranges were tossed with parsnip chips, toasted walnuts, Brebis Blanche sheeps' milk cheese, and a citrus vinaigrette. Although the price is a little more than I'd pay for a salad, this was by far my favorite dish of the morning. Everything was obviously fresh, and each flavor complemented the other beautifully.

For my entree, I ended up going with the Lobster Eggs Benedict ($22).

I only eat fish about 2-3 times a year, and the only time I eat it is when I know it's fresh...so ordering this was my own fault. Unfortunately, the lobster was a tad too chewy and cut up too small for my liking - I like big, fresh chunks of lobster. The eggs were also not perfectly cooked, although the runny yolk was acceptable. Sadly, though, the yolk did not help in making the overly toasted English muffin easier to saw through.

I really enjoyed The Fireplace's bustling yet comfortable atmosphere, and it was wonderful catching up with (and meeting some new!) Boston bloggers. However, I wasn't totally blown away by The Fireplace's food. Perhaps I should give them a try for dinner?

Fireplace on Urbanspoon

As part of my involvement with the Boston Brunchers, this meal was complimentary. The opinions expressed in this post are honest and 100 percent my own.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Shake Shack

Yesterday, I drove 30 minutes and waited in line for 45+ minutes for this:

Yes, I finally went to Shake Shack in Chestnut Hill. What you see pictured above is the 'Shroom Burger ($6.95), a fried portobello mushroom filled with melted muenster and cheddar cheeses, and topped with lettuce, tomato, and ShackSauce (whatever that is).

The burger's size was between a slider and a regular burger, which I appreciated - no one needs to eat eight serving sizes' worth of a fried burger stuffed with cheese. Its smaller size also helped me to appreciate its crispy, non-greasy exterior and the obviously good quality cheese that bursted out with every bite.

I washed my burger down with a ShackMeister Ale ($5), a beer made exclusively for Shake Shack by Brooklyn Brewery (it tastes just like their pale ale).

Surprisingly, your burger doesn't come with fries, so you have to order them separately. I went for a side of the plain fries ($2.70), but you could also get Cheese Fries ($3.70).

The fries were the perfect complement to my cheese-filled burger. The crinkle cut texture reminded me of the mass amounts of French fries I ate throughout my childhood, and every bite was wonderfully salty.

I didn't get a shake or any ice cream, but both of my dining companions ordered Concretes, which are dense frozen custards blended at high speed with mix-ins. They were both big fans, so I definitely plan to order one the next time I visit.

Also, just FYI: if you're not ordering food (just drinks and/or shakes and ice cream), there is a separate express line, so you don't have to wait in the massive line.

Overall, I was a fan of Shake Shack and definitely plan to make the 30-minute trip again in the near future!

Two unrelated notes:

Massachusetts friends: Governor Deval Patrick has asked residents to observe a moment of silence at 2:50 p.m. today, the time the first of the two bombs exploded near the Boston Marathon finish line last week. Bells will ring across the city and state after the minute-long tribute to the victims.

Remember my Sambazon juices and smoothies giveaway? I finally chose a winner (via Random.org): KrysR! Congrats, Krys - please email me at theeconomicaleater@gmail.com to claim your prize within 48 hours.

Shake Shack on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Boozy Chocolate Bread

We could all use a little comfort food these days. Earlier this week, when I had watched a little too much news coverage of the Boston Marathon aftermath, I needed to do something to distract my mind. Work obviously wouldn't do, so I decided to get into the kitchen and start baking.

This bread was then born. I adapted Paula Deen's version slightly, and then whipped up a boozy glaze to drizzle over it once it had cooled (feel free to double my recipe if you want to make two loaves). Because I don't know about you, but when I need a pick-me-up, chocolate and booze are the first two things I crave.

Boozy Chocolate Bread
Yields: 1 loaf
Adapted from FoodNetwork.com 
-Butter, for greasing the pan
-1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
-1 cup granulated sugar
-1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
-3/4 teaspoons baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-3/4 cups vanilla almond milk
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-2 extra-large eggs
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Boozy Glaze:
-1 cup powdered sugar
-Irish cream liqueur 

1.) Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Generously butter a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan.
2.) In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Beat in the milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla at medium-low speed with an electric mixer until combined.
3.) Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove the bread from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.
Boozy Glaze:
1.) In a small bowl, whisk powdered sugar with a few drops each of Irish cream liqueur and whisky. Add enough of each to make the glaze runny, but not too thin (just runny enough to be drizzled over the top of the loaf).
2.) Once the bread has cooled, drizzle with glaze.

[Print this recipe]

This bread turned out moist, not too chocolatey (which I like), and wonderfully boozy (without being too powerful). A few slices of this definitely perked me back up.

P.S. I am going to extend the giveaway for five free Sambazon juices and smoothies to tomorrow (Friday). 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Photo taken by Z.

No words can explain what Boston went through yesterday. This senseless tragedy hit even closer to home for me when I found out several of my dearest loved ones were standing only a few feet from the first explosion. I will be counting my lucky stars forever.

But this isn't about me. This post is in honor of every single person who was directly or indirectly affected by yesterday's horrific Boston Marathon tragedy. This post is also dedicated to those who risked their own lives in order to try and help others. People like them remind me that not all is lost on humankind.

I hope you and yours were also safe yesterday (and everyday, for that matter). Such a heinous crime can only make our great city and its great people that much stronger.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sambazon Superfood Juices and Smoothies + a Giveaway!

When I hear about a food that is "healthy," "vegan," and "gluten-free," I usually think it's also got to be "bland." But that's definitely not the case with a lot of foods and products - Sambazon Superfood Juices and Smoothies included.

Sambazon's products are made with acai berries, an Amazon superfood. Acai is very high in Vitamin C, and the health benefits of acai include heart health, skin health, and digestive health. The founders of Sambazon are surfers who grew up in California, and started their company based on the belief that caring for our own health and happiness is just as important as caring for that of our community and planet.

Sounds like a lot of hippie talk, huh? But trust me: these drinks are good. I tried both the Acai Berry + Chocolate and Acai Berry + Vanilla protein drinks, and both were delicious (and surprisingly filling). I also tried the Acai Blueberry + Pomegranate, which was packed with antioxidants and Vitamin C. All of the drinks I sampled were full of legible ingredients, and Sambazon's juices are made with 100 percent juice.

Sambazon also now has two new superfood smoothies: Chocolate + Almond + Coconut Milk, as well as Supergreens, which includes kale, ginger, and 120 acai berries with no added sugar. 

Want to try Sambazon's healthy, vegan, and gluten-free concoctions for yourself? You're in luck - one lucky EE reader will win FIVE coupons, each good for one FREE 10.5 ounce Sambazon Superfood Juice or Smoothie (that's FIVE FREE smoothies/juices!). To enter, simply comment on this post saying which Sambazon product you'd like to try. For an extra entry, "like" Sambazon on Facebook (please leave a separate comment saying you did so).

I will pick a winner Thursday (4/18) morning. Good luck!

*In return for doing this giveaway, I also received five coupons for five free Sambazon products. As always, the opinions expressed in this post are honest and 100 percent my own.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Gin and Ginger Cocktail

Happy Friday!!

After a week full of wedding planning (we're in the thick of it now) and working (including picking up a new freelance gig - more on that later), I'm ready for a cocktail. Who's with me?

If you haven't noticed yet, I am a fan of gin. I like gin because it jives well with a lot of different flavors, but doesn't knock me on the floor like its good friend vodka does. For this cocktail, my inspiration was ginger ale (Z had bought some for me when I had food poisoning last week), and what better to mix a ginger-flavored soda with than gin?

Gin & Ginger Cocktail
Yields: 2 cocktails
-3 ounces gin
-1.5 ounces cilantro simple syrup
-1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
-2 pinches of ground coriander
-Ice cubes
-Ginger ale

1.) Add gin, cilantro simple syrup, lime juice, and coriander to a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
2.) Place ice cubes into two small cocktail glasses (about 2-3 per glass). Pour gin mixture into each glass, and top off each cocktail with ginger ale.
3.) Stir carefully, then enjoy.

[Print this recipe]

I made this cocktail last week when it was about 60 degrees outside and delightfully sunny. It was the perfect refreshing beverage to end the week and enjoy the long overdue spring weather. I also loved how the coriander added just a hint of something awesome to each sip.

This would be a great cocktail to sip on at a barbecue, or simply while sitting on the couch watching The Real Housewives of Orange County (or am I the only one that does that?). Either way, treat yourself - it's Friday afterall.

What are you up to this weekend? 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Onion and Pepper Quiche

This post is long overdue - I made these quiches for Z's family's Passover celebrations. The recipe is incredibly easy to make (I used this one as my guide), and it was a big hit at the dinner table.

Onion and Pepper Quiche 
Yields: 2 quiches (8-10 servings)
-2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
-1 cup diced yellow onion
-2 bell peppers, cut into strips
-Salt and black pepper
-8 large eggs
-1 1/3 cups half and half
-2/3 cup whole milk
-Salt and black pepper
-1 teaspoon dried oregano
-Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
-2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
-2 frozen deep dish pie crusts

1.) Preheat oven to 325°F.
2.) Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add peppers; season with salt and pepper and sauté until peppers are tender, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to plate; spread out to cool slightly.
3.) Whisk eggs, half and half, milk, salt, pepper, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes together in a large bowl. Stir in 2 cups cheddar cheese and onion and pepper mixture. Pour filling into crust. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese over quiche.
4.) Bake quiche until puffed, golden brown, and just set in center, about 40-45 minutes. Cool 30 minutes. Cut into wedges.

I love making quiches for everything from big family gatherings to an easy and versatile weeknight meal. Quiche is also a great go-to recipe to make if you're cooking for a crowd with a wide range of dietary restrictions (for instance, just omit the crust for the gluten-free folks).

What's your favorite dish to make for a crowd?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The First Printer in Harvard Square

I love when restaurants have a little bit of history (served alongside decent food, of course). 

I hadn't heard of The First Printer until I went to dinner there with some of the Scout Cambridge staff a few months ago - it's definitely a hidden gem tucked away in Harvard Square.

The First Printer is named such because it is located on the site where the first printer, Stephen Daye, lived back in the 1600s. During the year plus of renovations for The First Printer Restaurant, "The First Printer" plaque - which was taken off the building in the 1920s - was found in the basement. The renovations also unveiled the gorgeous mosaic tile floor that you see immediately upon entering the restaurant (that same floor used to be covered by concrete).

I had told my mom all about this restaurant, so last week - when we were shopping for wedding flowers - we decide to stop in there for lunch. We entertained the idea of dining in the restaurant's former-bank-vault-turned-dining area, but instead we opted for a sunny window seat.

Our meal started with a complimentary medley of pickled vegetables.

It was past 12 p.m., so my mom and I each decided to order a glass of wine. I went with a 2010 Italian Pinot Grigio ($9).

The First Printer's chef, Ray Williams, is originally from the South, and the menu options reflect his Southern roots (Scout's publisher is also from the South and mentioned that The First Printer's Fried Chicken and Waffles, $15, are the best she's had up here). Despite the Southern influence in his food, there are still plenty of options for vegetarians - like The Herbivore Burger ($10), which is what I ordered.

The Herbivore Burger is made with four types of mushrooms, and served with a sweet soy and shallot jam and a Sriracha aioli. On the side, I opted for a salad (you could also have fries), which was perfectly dressed and wonderfully seasoned with sea salt. The burger did not stay together very well (at times, the patty crumbled apart), but it was tasty, and I appreciated the innovative toppings.

All in all, I enjoyed another great meal at The First Printer, and I just love the history behind this place. I'm eager to go back to try their brunch menu!

Have you discovered any 'hidden gem' restaurants lately?

First Printer Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 8, 2013

Wedding Tasting Weekend

On Saturday, Z and I headed to Mountain View Grand Resort for our wedding tasting. I was almost just as excited for this day as I am for our wedding day.

Since we did a private tasting (read: all vegetarian), we could only try two entrees as well as several different kinds of cakes. The entrees we tried were the Baked Mushroom Strudel with Balsamic Reduction and Goat Cheese, as well as the Stuffed Eggplant Towers with Ricotta, Parmesan, and Spinach Filling with a Vodka Cream Sauce.

The cakes we sampled were a chocolate cake with orange buttercream; carrot cake with cream cheese icing; and two vanilla cakes, one with vanilla buttercream and one with a cream and fruit filling.

Since a lot of our wedding guests read this blog, I can't disclose which dishes we liked best, but I can tell you the tasting has helped us come to several decisions about our menu!

The best part of the tasting: it was held in Mountain View's stunning wine cellar.

We stayed at Mountain View that evening, but we did leave the premises for a few beers before dinner at Italian Oasis Restaurant & Brewery in Littleton (about 10 minutes away from the resort). Italian Oasis brews their own beer, and each brew we tried was pretty tasty. My favorite was the Cleveland Brown, paired with the casual bar's complimentary salty popcorn.

On Sunday, we checked out of the hotel, had breakfast, and made our way to The Basin for some later winter hiking. It ended up being a gorgeous day to hike, despite parts of the trail being too icy to walk on.

As you can see from the photo above, we washed our hike down with a "Sunday Funday" lunch at Woodstock Inn Station and Brewery. We haven't been to this restaurant in over a year, and they have expanded significantly since our last visit.

We started our meal with an order of Pretzel Logic ($6.95), which were cheese-stuffed soft pretzels served with house maple mustard and a creamy garlic sauce.

Although the "cheese" inside the pretzels was neon orange in color and obviously highly processed, the combination - mixed with beer, especially - somehow worked.

For my entree, I went with the Sweet Potato Ravioli appetizer ($8.99).

The five plump raviolis were swimming in a wonderfully sweet and spicy red pepper cream sauce. My only wish was that I had something to sop up the rest of the sauce with (there was almost too much sauce coating the raviolis).

For beers, I enjoyed a Maple Porter (pictured in the collage above) and a Pig's Ear Brown Ale. The Maple Porter only had a hint of maple flavor, which I liked, and I always enjoy Woodstock's Pig's Ear Brown Ale.

We had a fabulous weekend away in the White Mountains, and it was great crossing a few things off our wedding to-do list!

How was your weekend?

Italian Oasis Restaurant on Urbanspoon Woodstock Inn on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 5, 2013

ArtBar in East Cambridge

Ever since I started blogging, it's been incredible to "meet" so many wonderful people through social media - and to then meet them offline is always an added bonus. So, when a Twitter friend, Amanda, asked if I'd be interested in joining her for drinks and a light dinner at ArtBar earlier this week (Amanda works for the Royal Sonesta Hotel, which ArtBar is located in), I happily said yes.

We decided to sit at the bar, and our bartender John was incredibly gregarious and amusing. The atmosphere at ArtBar is classy and sophisticated, yet comfortable for a not-classy-and-unsophisticated individual like myself.

I decided to order a glass of pinot grigio, and then we ordered a bunch of appetizers to enjoy between the two of us. (ArtBar had just released their new spring menu the day before we dined there).

First up was the Local Cheese Plate ($16), as well as the Burrata with Tomato Jam ($12).

The cheese plate was served with honey, a dried cherry fruit compote, spiced almonds, and crostini. The fresh burrata normally is served with an applewood smoked bacon, but we just asked for no bacon on our's. Both dishes were simple, elegant, and clearly prepared with high quality ingredients.

Another appetizer we tried was the Sweet Potato Tots with Spicy Banana Ketchup ($8)

The sweet potato mixed with the sweet-and-spicy ketchup was an unexpected yet successful combination. I would seriously go back to ArtBar for this appetizer alone.

For my entree, Amanda recommended I get the Spring Vegetable Stew with Beluga Lentils and Polenta Croutons ($18).

While eating this stew, I commented to Amanda that this is the type of meal I could eat everyday for the rest of my life. It was incredibly well-seasoned, the vegetables and lentils were cooked perfectly, and the polenta croutons provided a necessary crunch and heartiness to the dish. 

Although we contemplated skipping dessert thanks to our full stomachs, John encouraged us to try the Cappuccino Fudge Brownie Ice Cream Sandwich with Mascarpone Ice Cream and Kahlua Caramel Sauce ($6). I mean, how can you not order that??

ArtBar's pastry chef is vegan, so she is known for her vegan desserts - but she is also known for her non-vegan desserts, and this ice cream sandwich is proof. For starters, the Kahlua caramel sauce (which bartender John recommends dunking your sandwich in - we drizzled it over the tops of our's) was served in a homemade chocolate cup. The Mascarpone ice cream was surprisingly light and wonderfully creamy, and everything combined with the cappuccino fudge brownie was ideally decadent. I'm not a big dessert person, yet I managed to eat every last bite of this one. 

Overall, we had a fantastic meal at ArtBar. I am eager to return when the weather is warmer to enjoy their outdoor patio, which overlooks the Charles River!

Have you ever been to ArtBar before? If yes, what's your review?

This meal was complimentary, but, as always, the opinions expressed in this post are honest and 100 percent my own. 

Artbar at the Royal Sonesta Hotel on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Chickpea Burgers with Vegan Cilantro Mayonnaise

Normally, vegan versions of dairy or egg products make me a little sad. I totally support vegans and their diets, but for me, the thought of altering perfectly good cheese or eggs (especially) to make them vegan is just downright unfortunate. 

So, when Nasoya contacted me a few weeks ago, asking if I'd try their reformulated vegan mayonnaise products, I was skeptical - yet intrigued. I'm a big fan of Nasoya's products, so I was willing to give these vegan versions of the egg yolk-filled classic a try.

Nasoya sent me a jar of their NayoWhipped as well as a jar of their Nayonaise (they also have Nayonaise Light). All products are 100 percent vegan, are a good source of vitamin B12, and are gluten-free and cholesterol-free. 

If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you probably know that the first thing I look at when reviewing a product is the ingredient list. Illegible and long lists of ingredients do not fly with me. Thankfully, Nasoya's vegan mayonnaises have mostly "normal" ingredients, and the list isn't too long (although, it's much longer than a traditional mayo recipe).

For example, here are the ingredients in NayoWhipped:

Soy milk, expeller pressed soybean oil, vinegar, dried cane syrup, salt, mustard flour, spices, xantham gum, guar gum, sodium alginate, lemon juice concentrate, natural flavors, garlic powder, paprika, turmeric, and vitamin B12.

I'm not sure how all of those ingredients come together to taste like traditional mayonnaise, but the NayoWhipped really does. I ended up using the NayoWhipped as a condiment on my chickpea burgers a few weeks ago, but I added a few extra ingredients to jazz it up a bit. Z said he never would have guessed it was vegan mayonnaise - it really does taste that close to the "regular" version. We were both impressed!

Vegan Cilantro Mayonnaise
Yields: 1/2 cup
-1/3 cup fresh cilantro 
-1/2 cup NayoWhipped
-1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
-Generous squirt lemon juice
-Salt and black pepper, to taste

1.) Pulse above ingredients together in a food processor until well mixed. Pour into a small bowl and cover with saran wrap; place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, to allow flavors to mesh together.
2.) Slather on burger buns and serve with homemade chickpea burgers.

The brightness from the cilantro and lemon juice really added nice flavor to this already-tasty mayo. I really enjoyed how it complemented the spicy chickpea burgers, too. I'm excited to try the Nayonaise in this Tempeh 'Chicken' Salad - if it's anything like the NayoWhipped, I have a feeling no one will be able to tell the difference.

Nasoya's vegan mayonnaises are hitting stores nationwide anyday now, and will retail at approximately $4.69 for a 15-ounce jar, and $6.99 for a 30-ounce jar. The price is a bit steep, but worth it if you're looking for a tasty vegan alternative.

These products were complimentary, but, as always, the opinions expressed in this post are honest and 100 percent my own.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Noteworthy Nibbles

I hope you all had a great weekend! We spent our's in Western Massachusetts Saturday for Z's family's Seder celebrations, and then we headed to Haverhill Sunday morning to have Easter brunch with my family (per tradition). It was a wonderful weekend chocked full of great people, delicious food, and lots of laughter.

Since I'm riding on a positive high this Monday morning (totally opposite from last Monday's mood), I wanted to share with you all some great eats (and drinks) I've had lately. One of my "full-time" writing gigs with Scout magazines has me out and about stuffing my face at a lot of restaurants, so I have been fortunate enough to be eating very well lately.

#1: Fortissimo Coffeehouse in Union Square, Somerville.

Fortissimo is an awesome place to work. The cafe boasts free wi-fi, plenty of outlets, and incredible coffee drinks, and they even accept LevelUp (I first went there because I had a $2 credit to use - LevelUp rocks, by the way). The drink above is a Caramel Macchiato, and it costs around $3-$4. 

#2: A recent writing assignment for Scout Cambridge took me to Harvest in Harvard Square, where a friend and I shared the Smoked Gouda and Lobster Mac n' Cheese ($16) at the bar.

Served with lightly dressed organic greens, this decadent dish of creamy, cheesy goodness was one of the best dishes I've had in quite some time. Chunks of fresh lobster were apparent throughout the dish, and the slight smokiness from the gouda complemented the crustacean wonderfully.

#3: I recently joined a book club, and we met last week at jm Curley to discuss "The Virgin Suicides." There, I ordered the Beer and Cheese Soup ($6).

I was initially afraid this would just taste like a bowl of cheese, but, thankfully, this soup was full of flavor. Made with Ellie’s Brown Ale, Vermont cheddar, and hot sauce, the flavors were very well-balanced, and I loved the kick of spice in each spoonful. 

#4: I finally had the opportunity to check out M3 in Davis Square. A friend and I shared a bunch of bar snacks at...well, the bar. Among them were the Fried Cheese Curds ($5) and housemade Garlic and Dill Pickles ($4)

M3's bar snacks change frequently, but I am pretty positive you won't be disappointed with anything their kitchen creates. The fried cheese curds were coated in a light and crispy batter, and were served with marinara sauce - resulting in them resembling the Southern version of mozzarella sticks. The pickles were addictive, especially when dipped in M3's signature Carolina-style barbecue sauce.

#5: Finally, I highly recommend you all order a Butternut Squash, Ricotta, and Cranberry pizza ($21) from OTTO Pizza right now.

The price tag is a little hefty, but it is worth every dollar. The perfectly crispy, salty crust is smothered in creamy ricotta and whipped butternut squash. A generous amount of dried cranberries adds a great texture and flavor to each slice. We ordered from the Harvard Square location, but OTTO has several other locations in the area as well.

Have you had any particularly good eats recently?

Fortissimo Coffeehouse on Urbanspoon Harvest on Urbanspoon JM Curley on Urbanspoon M3 on Urbanspoon Otto Pizza on Urbanspoon