Fifty Shades of…. Chicken?

A Book Review.

Fifty Shades of Chicken by FL Fowler instructs you how to tie up, rub down, and stuff a chicken…from the point of view of the chicken. With recipes such as Extra-Virgin Breasts, Mustard-Spanked Chicken, Dripping Thighs and Pound Me Tender, this certainly does not read like your grandma’s cookbook.

Oh my... 50 Shades of Chicken

Oh my… 50 Shades of Chicken

This New York Times bestseller is certainly a bit disturbing, so naturally I couldn’t wait to try out one of the recipes. I am a sucker for bacon so I had to try the “Chicken with a Lardon” – roasted chicken covered in bacon with sweet paprika and stuffed with orange. Although I felt I needed to apologize after prepping (or should we say violating) the chicken, it turned out heavenly. The chicken was juicy with only a hint of orange flavor and the bacon was crispy and oh so good.

Chicken with a Lardon

Chicken with a Lardon

We paired the chicken with roasted red pepper quinoa and pan roasted garlic green beans. And a 2010 Alta Gracia Araujo.

mmm...

mmm…

Thanks Selina and Mike for gifting us this book! It was super funny and entertaining and made me look at raw chicken in a whole new way.

Picco

On this rainy, dreary Saturday my boyfriend and I decided to get out of the house and fill our bellies with the best comfort food…pizza. We didn’t have to wander far to get to Picco, a small family-friendly pizza restaurant on Tremont street in the South End. The pizza was pretty tasty and very reasonably priced for the South End, however the service was a bit slow.

After what seemed like forever for our server to get to our table, we ordered two small pizzas. Picco cooks all their pizzas well done (unless you request otherwise) and their crust comes out bubbly and crispy, just how I love it.

The sausage, ricotta & Red onion pizza was pretty scrumptious. I love the creamy taste of ricotta on a pizza, and combined with Picco’s red sauce and fresh cut basil, this pizza is a tasty delight.

Love that bubbly crust! The Sausage, ricotta & red onion pizza.

Love that bubbly crust! The Sausage, ricotta & red onion pizza.

We also ordered the Alsatian pizza with sautéed onions, shallots, garlic, crème fraiche, gruyere and bacon. I thought it was delicious, the thick cut bacon tasted like heaven. I really enjoyed the sweet taste of the sautéed onions, however it was a bit too sweet for my boyfriend, so I would suggest this for sweet pizza lovers only.

Alsatian pizza with with sautéed onions, shallots, garlic, crème fraiche, gruyere and bacon.

Alsatian pizza with with sautéed onions, shallots, garlic, crème fraiche, gruyere and bacon.

Picco is also known for their ice cream, which is made in house. I heard they make the best brownie sundae in Boston, I just wish I wasn’t too stuffed to try it!

In the summer Picco opens it’s patio to diners, which is a great spot for people watching on Tremont street.

Overall, Picco is a delicious no-frills pizza and ice cream joint.

Picco
513 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116

Picco on Urbanspoon

Hot Toddy = Warm Belly

My first day back to work after a week and a half vacation and I get a half snow day! Not necessary after a relaxing week but still very welcome. Curling up on the couch while watching the snow accumulate with a warm beverage in hand is so cozy and comforting. Here is my favorite Hot Toddy Recipe to keep you warm today!

Getting cozy on a snow day!

Getting cozy on a snow day!

Favorite Hot Toddy Recipe:

Heat 2 cups of cider* with ½ tablespoon of mulling spices to almost boiling. Add one shot of boubon, a quick squeeze of lemon, strain the mulling spices and enjoy!!

*I use homemade sparkling cider

Hot and Cold

Hot and Cold


Hot Toddy Ingredients

Hot Toddy Ingredients

‘Tis the Season….for Champagne and Oysters!

The Holiday season is built on traditions.  It is a time for honoring old customs passed down from generation to generation, such as trimming the tree or pictures with Santa.  It is also about creating new traditions with those you love.   One of my favorite new traditions is holiday shopping in Boston, breaking only for champagne and oysters.

Champagne and Oysters

Champagne and Oysters at B&G

Let’s face it, nothing says let’s celebrate like a delicious glass of bubbly.  It is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season (and also the perfect way to make it through throngs of shopping crowds.)

So, 3 years ago my boyfriend and I kicked off our first holiday season together with Christmas shopping and Champagne and Oysters.  It has now become one of my favorite holiday traditions.  This year we went to B&G Oysters, a neighborhood oyster bar on Tremont Street in the South End.

B&G

B&G

We have been to B&G several times and their selection of fresh oysters varies each time we visit.    The food is always very fresh and atmosphere is cozy and pleasant.  And by cozy I do mean small, as are most of the restaurants in the South End.  The kitchen is situated in the middle of the restaurant, so you can easily watch your food be prepared from any seat in the restaurant.  In the summer months they also open their small patio to diners.

We ordered the champagne and two of each type of oysters on the daily menu.  They give you a daily oyster card listing that day’s fresh selections.   We use the card to mark our favorites so we don’t forget, although my favorite oysters are always from Washington State.  They have a hint of watermelon taste that lingers pleasantly on your palate well after you have finished the last one.

Our Favorites

Our Favorites

We also shared the B.L.T. with lobster.  The bacon is thick cut and cooked perfectly, and the lobster is tossed with a light lemon sauce that melded all the delicious tastes perfectly. Even the coleslaw on the side was delicious, not heavy on the mayo, just light and tasty.

BLT with Lobster. Bacon makes everything better :-)

BLT with Lobster. Bacon makes everything better :-)

B & G Oysters
550 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116

B & G Oysters on Urbanspoon

Traditional New England Stuffing

Happy Thanksgiving!

There is nothing like a home cooked Thanksgiving meal, and let’s face it, what’s the turkey without amazing stuffing?  This recipe originated from my great grandmother who ran a traditional New England Inn for many years.  Every Sunday Marie Louise would make turkey dinner for her boarders, sometimes making up to three turkeys a day.  This tried and true recipe has been handed down, generation to generation and has always been a huge hit at Thanksgiving.  It is for a 15 pound turkey and calls for Bell’s seasoning, a New England tradition.  Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ingredients:

9 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup chopped onion (about one medium onion)

4 celery stalks chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

24 slices of cheap white bread (one large loaf) cut into ½ inch cubes

2 cups milk

1 1//2 tablespoon Bell’s Seasoning

½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Melt butter on medium heat in a large pan.  Add the celery, onion and garlic and cook until softened.

Add the Bell’s seasoning, salt , pepper and seasoning to the cubed bread.  Pour the butter mixture over the bread, and slowly add the milk.  Hand-mix until the bread has broken down and the stuffing is a thick consistency.

Remove the organs and rinse the turkey.  Stuff the turkey until full and cook immediately.   If there is extra stuffing put it in a casserole dish and cook 350 degrees for about an hour.

butter, celery, garlic, and onion

butter, celery, garlic, and onion

cubed bread

cubed bread

uncooked stuffing should look something like this...

uncooked stuffing should look something like this…

and stuff that bird!

and stuff that bird!

and let's eat!

let’s eat!

Tequila Sunrises… sans Tequila

Pavement Coffeehouse (Boylston Street location*)

I can see why Pavement Coffeehouse won Best of Boston Coffeehouse in 2012.  They have one of the best lattes in Boston, as long as you don’t mind a long wait and throngs of students.   Their coffee and espresso is roasted by Counter Culture Coffee located in NC. It is smooth and flavorful and it sure gives my Nespresso a run for its money. The only thing that would make it better is if it was roasted locally.

Pavement Latte

Pavement Latte

Pavement also is home to what we have dubbed the ultimate fat-kid breakfast sandwich.   It is the Tequila Sunrise breakfast sandwich and is sinfully delicious.  Egg, cheese, bacon, tomato, red onion and jalapeño cream cheese piled on a freshly baked bagel (I highly recommend the jalapeño bagel.)  Eggs are fluffy, they don’t jip you on the bacon or cheese, and veggies are fresh.  Sooo good, however, unlike the name suggests, this breakfast sandwich is alcohol free.  For all you vegans out there, I hear their vegan tequila sunrise is also pretty tasty.

The Tequila Sunrise Breakfast sandwich

The Tequila Sunrise Breakfast sandwich

Pavement’s laid back atmosphere, cozy hipster décor (think brick walls and plenty of couch-comfy seating), tasty coffee and delicious breakfast sandwiches make them a solid Boston coffeehouse.

Pavement Coffeehouse

1096 Boylston St

Boston, MA 02215

*Pavement Coffeehouse has four locations throughout Boston

 

Pavement Coffee House on Urbanspoon

Tiffin Tea at the Langham Hotel

Afternoon Tea… and Champagne

When one of my girlfriends suggested doing afternoon tea, my first thought was “do I need to buy a fancy hat?”  I was not sure whether to expect girls dressed up in party dresses, or sophisticated ladies in their Sunday best.  There was a healthy mix of both as well as other young professionals (both male and female) also looking to enjoy a relaxing cup of tea.

Afternoon tea and champagne

Afternoon tea and champagne

Tiffin tea is held at The Reserve located in the lobby of the Langham Hotel in downtown.  The atmosphere was sophisticated but not too uptight, like I imagined afternoon tea might be.  We were serenaded with live piano music while enjoying our relaxing ladies afternoon.  Service was attentive and we never felt rushed even though we spent a few hours lazily indulging ourselves on bite sized tea snacks.

Let’s start with the tea.  The server brought a box of various loose tea flavors for us to smell before we ordered.  I went with the Boston Harney & Sons tea, which was infused with cranberry and almond.  It was tasty and not too strong or sweet.

Tea sandwiches and cakes

Tea sandwiches and cakes

For food we ordered the reserve tea menu, which was four tasty courses of bite sized tea snacks and included a glass of Moet & Chandon.   So maybe we should really call it afternoon tea and champagne.  Everything was tasty and fresh, and I was surprisingly full after clearing my plates.  The first course was a deviled egg with caviar.  Next were tea sandwiches, which included an avocado tea sandwich, lobster stuffed profiterole, house smoked salmon on cucumber, and duck confit spread on toast.  Each one was delicious.  Of course there were scones accompanied with Devonshire clotted cream, strawberry jam and lemon curd.  The final course was the desert course which included a berry flavored tea cake, chocolate and toffee dipped strawberry, mini-cake, and cheesecake pop.

Overall, it was fun to feel a little extra classy and sophisticated, but I don’t think it will replace my favorite afternoon tradition of champagne and oysters anytime soon.

“Tiffin at the Langham”

Daily from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The Reserve at The Langham, Boston

250 Franklin Street

Boston, MA 02110

Reserve at the Langham, Boston on Urbanspoon