Saturday, June 30, 2012

Foodie PenPal Reveal -- June

It's finally here!  Today is the June Foodie PenPal reveal hosted by Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean.  I gave you a little bit of information about the program on last month's reveal day, so if you want to know more about it click {here} or head on over to Lindsay's site and check it out!

The Lean Green Bean

This month I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my foodie penpal lives right here in Boston!  Her name is Rachel and she runs a blog called Palate for Life.  Go take a peek and make sure to check out her "What I Ate Wednesday" posts!  They're my favorite.

After a trip to Ozark, my package finally arrived in Boston!  As you can see, Kaston was just as excited about it as I was.  I had to continually slap his hands out of the way so I could snap a few photos.

Rachel works at Whole Foods here in Boston so her package was stuffed full of Whole Foods goodies!  I was pretty excited to see what she included since I mostly do my shopping at Trader Joes.  Always nice to see what's on the other side...

It didn't take Kaston long to sample everything in the box...

First thing I pulled out of the box...Coffee....and Dark Chocolate?  Yes, please.  This is everything I love wrapped into a little bar.  XOXO.

These cookies were also delicious!  I actually don't remember the last time I consumed a store bought cookie but I was thoroughly impressed with these!  Granted you can't go wrong with peanut butter chocolate.

We all know how much I love Mexican flavors.  So to see these three things hiding in the bottom of the box was a lovely surprise.  The salsa is yummy, the queso is extra yummy, and the guacamole is waiting to be made.

I still haven't tried these (due to the overwhelming amount of bars leftover from the tour) BUT I will be getting to them soon.

A new Whole Foods bag!  I actually have the big one just like this so the little guy fit in perfectly with my collection!

And then the card.  This was possibly my favorite part.  Seriously, how adorable is this??

Now it's time for a big THANK YOU to Rachel!  I truly enjoyed receiving your package this month and I can't wait to get together sometime for a little Boston Foodie PenPal reunion!

If you are interested in signing up for the Foodie PenPal program click {here} for the July registration form!  You'll love it!  I promise!

Also if you want to see what I sent my Foodie PenPal this month head on over to Bridget's blog Running Crumbs!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rhubarb Ginger Compote

We've discussed how much I adore farmers markets right?  I think we have.

Not only do I like farmers markets for the very obvious reasons (fresh food, real farms, real know) I also adore going to them because I love talking to the farmers.  These people are passionate about what they do and they love food just as much as I do.  I mean yesterday I had a pretty intense conversation with a cheese and fudge maker about her goats...when does that ever happen inside of a supermarket?  It doesn't.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not being spiteful towards supermarkets here.  They're convenient.  And I go all the time.  I'm just saying...I would rather go to the farmers market.  But who wouldn't?

Yesterday as I roamed through the various tents I was mapping out the desserts I would make in my head.  As I picked up the strawberries and rhubarb my first thought was pie.  Or tarts.  Either way, pretty basic.  Delicious however.  When I got home I realized something disastrous.  I didn't have butter.  What cook/baker doesn't have butter in their refrigerator?  Talk about a derailment of plans.  After that little mishap I obviously had to go in a different direction.  I started looking around the kitchen...grabbed some fresh ginger...grabbed the vanilla beans...and went to work on this...

rhubarb ginger compote...  
with vanilla bean and honey

Makes: Approximately 1 cup + syrup   Prep Time: 3 minutes   Cook Time: 5-7 minutes   Total Time: 10 minutes

{Printable Recipe}

1 lb rhubarb
2 teaspoons fresh ginger
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
optional (for sweetness): honey

Step one: Go to your local farmers market...

And pick up some yummy goods.  I ended up with sour cherries, strawberries, rhubarb, cucumbers, delicious cheese and...

These purdy flowers.  I'm not even a flower loving type girl.  But these are lovely.

Step two: Gather your ingredients.

Step three: Cut the rhubarb into 1/2 inch chunks.

Step four: Grate or mince 2 teaspoons (approximately) of fresh ginger.

Step five: Combine ginger and rhubarb in a medium saucepan.

Step six: Add water and bring to a boil.  Once a boil has been reached, add sugar and the guts of one vanilla bean.

Step seven: Let the mixture cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes until it thickens and is somewhat "stringy".  This is where the "optional" honey comes in.  I did a little taste test (which you should too) decided it was a bit too tart and added a squirt of honey.  Maple syrup would also be yummy.  After taste testing remove from heat and put mixture through a fine mesh strainer to separate the compote from the syrup.  Keep the syrup for future projects...such as a yummy cocktail...recipe coming soon...

Step eight: Put compote in a cute little mason jar.

Step nine: And the syrup in another cute little container.

Step ten: Decide what you want to put this delicious stuff on.  I happened to have some homemade biscuits leftover from breakfast but it would also be good on....scones, toast, olive oil cake, oatmeal, yogurt, ice cream....

Step eleven: Spread compote all over chosen object.

Step twelve: Are "steps" still necessary?

Step whatever: Eat.  Enjoy.  Check back soon for a cocktail recipe for the syrup!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Nothing says summer like a big bowl of gazpacho.

Well, maybe there are some other lazy days by the pool, or barbeque's, or no school, or....

But a big bowl of gazpacho combined with those things?  SUMMER.  Like I mentioned yesterday, I started making gazpacho at the Tea Room approximately 8 years ago (which seems like an incredibly long time ago considering I'm only 21...) and guess what?  I hated it.  I was such a picky eater back then.  Fortunately however, I slipped out of that nasty little phase and now I will eat anything and everything.  Anyways, it took a few years to warm up to this whole gazpacho thing but now?  I love it.

adapted from The Pioneer Woman 

Makes: 8-10 servings   Prep Time: 15 minutes   Cook Time: None!   Total Time: 15 minutes + 1 hour chill time

{Printable Recipe}

2 cloves garlic, minced 
1 large zucchini, diced
1 large cucumber, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 red onion, diced
5-6 roma tomatoes, diced
dash of salt
dash of pepper
32 ounces tomato juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup vinegar -- I used apple cider vinegar but any will do!
2 teaspoons sugar
6 dashes tabasco
optional seasonings: garlic powder, dill, 21 seasoning salute (from trader joes)
optional toppings: cilantro, avocado, sour cream

 Gather your ingredients.

 Chop up all of your veggies.

In a food processor combine half the zucchini, half the tomatoes, half the celery, half the onion, half the cucumber, half the tomato juice, olive oil, vinegar, a dash of salt and pepper, sugar, minced garlic, and tabasco.

 Pulse until all the ingredients are well blended.

Pour the mixture into a large bowl and add the rest of the veggies and tomato juice.

Stir it all together and check the seasonings.  This is where I added some of the optional seasonings listed above.  Garlic powder, dill, and 21 seasoning salute.  Add whatever your taste buds will like!

 Chill for at least an hour before serving.

I topped mine with cilantro and avocado.  A dollop of sour cream would be yummy too.

I also threw some pita on the panini press with a bit of olive oil and poured myself a glass of cucumber mint water to go with the gazpacho.  YUM.

Time to eat!

You can do it like this or....

Like this....Enjoy!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Meal Plan Monday

Psssst....I'm back!

Can you believe it?  Three weeks flew right by and here I am back in Boston.  As some of you know (from reading the tour updates) I had the time of my life but I must say being back home is a welcome change of pace.  I missed my bed and my kitchen dearly.  But mostly my kitchen.  I would sleep in the back of a car as long as I had a wonderful kitchen to spend my days in.  Seems like an interesting choice doesn't it?

Today I have a to-do list that is disgustingly long but I plan to ignore the majority of it, mainly because it's pouring rain outside but also because I plan to be in the kitchen alllllll day.  I used this excuse yesterday as well.  Only I replaced the "it's pouring rain" with "it's sunny and I'm going to the lake".  I love interchangeable excuses.

I had most of the following meals planned out and grocery list ready by the time we hit Boston on Saturday night.  Being in the car for 5000 miles/3 weeks provides ample time to scour recipes and make plans for future meals.  While on the trip, Kaston decided he was going back to being a pescetarian as soon as we returned to Boston and Nick decided to join in on the fun...which sort of put me on the bandwagon.  Why not, right?  So, as you will notice the following meals are sans "land animals".  Enjoy!

Last night I was too excited to get back into my kitchen.  And I got a little ahead of myself on the meal plan for the week.  I made a version of this pasta (with quite a few changes) and it was deeeelicious.  It was so refreshing and a great first home-cooked meal.  Luckily it's so good because it will probably also serve as our second home-cooked meal tonight!
Creamy Pea and Mint Spaghetti 


You either love or hate gazpacho.  There is no in between.  And I'm a person that happens to LOVE it.  How do you feel about it?  We used to make this delicious cold soup every summer at the Tea Room and the chopping process for the amount of soup we made was absurd.  It literally took the entire kitchen/as many hands that could fit into that tiny space.  I'm ashamed to say that I haven't made gazpacho since then.  BUT I had some the other day at a little restaurant outside of Philly and immediately decided I needed to incorporate it back into my summer routine.  I'll probably make it today so the flavors can meld and be absolutely delicious for tomorrow.  YUM.


I haven't had tofu since leaving Boston.  I think I may have mentioned something about making it at home (in Missouri) and received somewhat of a snarl from my mother.  She just doesn't know what she's missing.  This is the first recipe I've come across where the tofu is roasted instead of pan fried and I'm intrigued.  I also love the addition of roasted kale.
Roasted Tofu and Kale with Pine Nuts


I'm hoping by Thursday that this rainy weather Boston is experiencing will subside and we can go outside to grill.  I've yet to try black bean burgers on the grill but it seems easy peasy.
Black Bean Burger


Kale.  Shrimp.  Lentils.  I'm in.  Seriously this looks delicious.  It's been hiding in my Foodgawker favorites for quite sometime and I feel like I've totally been missing out.  I'll definitely give you a full report on this one.
French Lentils with Kale and Shrimp
from Bev Cooks

a few summer treats   
these are just a few things I wouldn't mind being at my next outdoor get together...

Lemon Mousse Tart with Berries

Cherry Hand Pies

Banana Pudding


Nutella Fudge Pops

Strawberry Basil Ice Cream

Don't forget that these pictures are not mine!!  The owners are linked underneath each picture so make sure to go give them some blog love!
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