After a brief hiatus, I’m back to the recap of our trip to Europe that I promised. I just had a sneaking suspicion that you might be more interested in a recipe for the most amazing pumpkin pie ever just days before Thanksgiving. Now I’m back to Europe, so to speak.
After Brussels and Bruges, we headed to Amsterdam where we promptly set out to find rijsttafel. What’s rijsttafel, you ask? Translated, it’s rice table, but what it really means is a table full of small Indonesian samplings. Why we don’t have this in every city in the United States is beyond me. It’s the perfect way to get to try several different dishes ranging in color, level of spiciness, texture, and of course flavor. In short, you get to try a little bit of everything. We had 10 small dishes ranging from chicken satay to lamb curry, to tofu curry, plus a large bowl of rice to share between the two of us and we had no problem polishing it all off.
My absolute favorite of the four things I made for the bridal shower was this punch. For starters, I just love sparkling wine. It doesn’t matter if it’s Champagne with a capital “C” from Champagne, or champagne with a little “c” from New Mexico, or if it’s Cava, Prosecco, red, white, rosé, whatever, I love it. Ok, that’s not to say that there are sparking wines that aren’t good, but for the most part I just love them. Maybe it’s because I was raised in a family that is completely addicted to seltzer water (seriously, we easily went through a 12 pack case of liters in a week) so I’m just a big fan of anything fizzy. Or maybe it’s because the little bubbles bursting on your tongue make the flavors that much more vibrant and exciting.
I found this punch recipe through a friend on Pinterest and I knew that I just had to make it. Sparkling wine and pomegranate juice? Heaven. Luckily for her, I knew this would be the perfect drink for the stock-the-bar shower we were throwing for her and my other friend getting married (who happens to make the most amazing drinks). Incidentally, this friend on Pinterest is the same one who I found the lemon crinkle cookies through, also on Pinterest. I’m afraid that she may be getting the idea that I’ll make her anything that she pins on Pinterest…. so to clarify, Jamie, I will not be making that Tiffany Lamp inspired cake that you pinned. Just for the record. Continue reading
One of things that I really love about Joseph is that we both really enjoy and value food. It’s not enough just to like food, to like to eat it. Who doesn’t like to eat? To be the man that I’ll spend the rest of my life with, he has to really appreciate what went into a dish to make it what it is, he has to celebrate the flavors and the way they work together, and he has to have a curiosity and genuine interest in what makes a dish so special. It doesn’t hurt to also be an amazing cook who also does a heck of a job washing dishes. Joseph is all of that, and more.
We spent the weekend before Valentine’s exploring local food treasures including the Danish Pastry House (absolutely incredible pastries), Fastachi (nuts, chocolate, and more), Penzeys Spices, John Dewar & Co. Butchers, and the Spirited Gourmet for a sake tasting. Then we had a fabulous dinner at Hungry Mother, one of my favorite restaurants in the Boston area, where the highlights were the braised beef tongue appetizer, the french gnocchi (I always have to order their gnocchi), and the outstanding bourbon upside-down cake with butter pecan ice cream. I can’t stop thinking about that sweet, salty, rich, nutty caramel goodness. And that was just Saturday.
Sunday, we trooped off to Taza Chocolate for a tour at the factory. If you aren’t familiar with Taza Chocolate, they’re located in Somerville, MA, just outside Boston and they are the only direct trade, organic, stone ground, bean-to-bar chocolate maker in the country. You’ll find plenty of chocolatiers in the States, but finding one that buys the cacao beans and does everything else from roasting the beans, to tempering, to making the bars, wrapping them (by hand no less!), and selling them is much more rare. I knew it was a really cool company, but being there and actually seeing and hearing more about it, well, I’m completely smitten.
This is another one of those recipes that I fell in love with before I had even tried it, based solely on the ingredients. It’s got wine and lemon (two of my favorite things) and they’re accented by briny capers and artichoke hearts. The chicken gets pounded, making it extra tender and juicy. In fact, Joseph was doing such a good job pounding it that our landlady, who lives upstairs, called to make sure everything was ok.
We’ve made this chicken piccata before and I’ve always loved it, but I’ve never had as much fun making it as I did when we made it this past Sunday night. That ‘s because when our credit card cash back reward rolled in, we rolled out to Hunt’s Photo and Video and got my new love: the Canon 60mm macro.