Posts Tagged ‘food’

New Adventures: 12 of 30 – Learn how to braise a huge delicious monster hunk of beef.

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

I love meat. I’m actually currently on a quest to eat my way through the animal kingdom. I particularly love red meat. Beef. The meat of kings, heros and champions. (Although, I don’t actually have any real proof to back that up…) Unfortunately I suck at cooking beef. I can grill a steak up pretty decently, but Devon doesn’t eat meat other than poultry and fish, so I really don’t have a ton of opportunities to cook up some fileted cow. But oh my christ do I love eating that rich juicy goodness. So it’s been a goal of mine to learn how to braise beef. I love how, if done correctly, it just melts in your mouth, and hell, if I feel so passionate about the deliciousness of braised beef, then learning how to recreate that myself is a very important life skill that I ought to learn.

Luckily my big bro, Seth is a super awesome chef, who is totally experienced at this sort of thing. I provide a kitchen and raw ingredients, and he teaches me how to make magic happen. First things first. You gotta have a huge fricking hunk of meat. We went with a cut of brisket. Brisket is perfect for this type of cooking. Generally pretty tough, but breaks down nicely when braised. Lots of fat (FLAVOR!!!) and one of the most reasonably priced cuts of meat out there (without getting into the freaky-deaky offals).

Season liberally with salt and pepper. Then sear the meat on a super hot nonstick pan until crisp and golden brown on the outsides.

You’ll know that you’re doing it right when you smoke out your kitchen and make the smoke detector in your kitchen start screaching. (FYI: its at this point when your kitchen will start smelling like “OMFG beefy-delicious get-in-my-face-now!!!”)

After the meat is done being seared on both sides, take them off the heat to let them rest. In the same cooking pan start sauteeing a mixture of mirepoix. Then throw in some fresh chopped herbs, like rosemary, parsley, bay leaves, etc…

Then add some red wine and a bunch of of beef stock, and add back in the seared brisket. Pour yourself a glass of wine (because not only is it crucial to the cooking process, but also -hey!- you deserve it!) and pose for a picture.

Bring meat to a low simmer and then throw it in the oven for an hour or 2. Drink more wine. When you take it out of the oven it should look like this:

Take out about half of the liquid, and boil it down in a sauce pan (as shown). Try to reduce it by about half. Let the meat rest, but always keep it in the cooking liquid and veggies, because the beef will get dry out and get tough if its not kept happy in liquid. While you’re boiling down the sauce, you can roast an assortment of root veggies in the oven, and whip up some blue cheese mashed potatoes. You know, easy peasy. And slice up the brisket, slicing against the grain, and of course returning the meat to the cooking liquid to keep it moist and happy.

Put a pile of mashed ‘taters on a plate, top with a few sliced of the braised beef, throw on some roasted root veggies, and sauce liberally with some of the reduced juices, sprinkle some fresh herbs on top and BAM!!! The delicious, delicious result!

I ate so much that night, it was just obscene. But oh man, was this one of the best meals of my life, and now I (and you!) know how to recreate this magical meal of beefy goodness!

You can tell from my hair color (that has changed about 4 times since these pictures), that this all took place a few months ago.  But it’s still winter, and a fantastic time to make a great warm filling meal like this. Thanks to my big bro for just being awesome in general, and also, for being a really super chef, and sharing a few tricks of the trade with me.

12 of 30 completed!

 

New Adventures: 6 of 30 – Drink out of a Fishbowl.

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Alright, so title standing alone, this entry already has a lot of WTF in it. I should state for the record that I’m talking about a touristy alcoholic beverage, not some sort of crazy ass stunt that you’d see on a CKY video, or an episode of Jackass. It’s pretty darn random, but it kind makes sense when you look at the big picture. It begins to balance out Adventure #3 of me not drinking for a month and the idea is something that I’ve been fascinated by for a while.

I have previously proclaimed my love of fro-fro technicolor concoctions. The more plastic do-dads attached to my adult beverage the better. A few years back I came across a super awesome party-fun-times picture of my friend Kay-Shee drinking some kind of booze out of a fish bowl at a place in Miami, and I knew that some day I needed to get all up in that. Unfortunately I had no idea that any place in Boston was awesome enough to serve drinks out of an aquarium. That was until the day that I received word from my Scorpion bowl drinking partner, Andrew, that there was a place along the Boston Harbor waterfront that was only open during the warmer months, but that actually served these mythical beverages. And so, this went on my list of things to do.

1st things 1st. Drinking fishbowl drinks require drinking partners. So I tracked down my friend with possibly the lowest alcohol tolerance out of all of my friends that drink (Brendan) and made plans. We decided to meet up at the Landing on a Thursday afternoon in August. Perfect. Mid-week, mid-day, so the bar wouldn’t be packed, but with enough tourists in the vicinity to make it hilarious for people watching. The Landing is pretty awesome. It’s an open air establishment with an awesome view of the harbor and all the boats arriving & departing. When we went it was pretty low key, with just your typical mid-day bar-going alcoholics & tourists looking for somewhere to cool their barking dogs.


We decide on an aqua-blue colored, vodka based drink called the The Blue Lagoon. When it arrived at our table it was totally color-coordinated to my sunglasses, so I knew that it was a sign that this was all meant to be. Since there were only 2 of us, we were limited to the “Guppy Bowl” size drink, for a minimum of 2 people. It mainly consisted of vodka, blue curacao, raspberry vodka, pineapple juice, more vodka, sprite, and of course more vodka. Once you get past the teeth rotting sweetness, the flavor actually wasn’t too bad. Totally a sugar fest, but I dig that sort of thing once in a while. And the drink actually tricks you because it’s so sweet which confuses you flavor-wise because although it has a boat load of vodka in it, all you can taste is sugar.

Luckily Brendan & I weren’t in any sort of rush. We had a bunch of catching up to do and creeping people watching to take part in & so the Blue Lagoon took us a while to pound. By the time we reached the bottom of the Guppy Bowl, although the bartender offered us a refill, the last thing we wanted to drink was another 32 ounces of sugary alcohol.  That would have been a very poor (pour?) decision, but that afternoon I decided to go the -somewhat- responsible adult route. So we called it a day and stumbled went on our merry way, and I was able to check this off of my list of random stuff to try.

6 of 30 completed.

30 New Adventures Before 30.

Monday, May 9th, 2011

I’m turning 29 later this month. That means I only have a little over 1 year left of being in my carefree 20′s. There are a bunch of things that I want to do while I’m still young and spry. Similarly there are a bunch of things that I think are good things to know how to do in general, and definitely would like to learn them before I hit my 4th decade.

I’ve decided to be like a million other people and make a list of 30 things that I’d like to do, try, learn, or re-try before I hit the big 3. oh. I think it’s totally doable and my list an extended version of a bunch of things that I’d like to do. And I reserve the right to change things out and add to as I see fit. Here we go: (in no particular order)

  1. Purchase & use a hammock in my yard.
  2. Fix my lower back tattoo (finally, after 10 years of saying that I should!)
  3. Get the new tattoo that I’ve been mulling over for over a year. (It’s been a year & I still want it, so I think its time!)
  4. Take part in a beach bonfire.
  5. Go to NASCAR!
  6. Learn how to cook Coq Au Vin.
  7. Learn how to braise a huge delicious monster hunk of beef.
  8. Practice alcohol abstinence for a month.
  9. Shoot arrows at random shit.
  10. Drink out of a fishbowl.
  11. Run a mile. (This body wasn’t built for running, so this should be interesting.)
  12. Run 5K. (This should be doubly interesting.)
  13. Learn how to can something savory. Like pickles. Or tomato sauce.
  14. Go winter surfing in New England.
  15. Go vegetarian for 2 weeks (organic & locally sourced when possible & maybe for a month if I get my act together.)
  16. Watch a sunrise.
  17. Watch the sun set.
  18. Visit a new continent.
  19. Go on a road trip without a destination in mind.
  20. Travel solo internationally.
  21. Learn how to disassemble, clean & reassemble a gun.
  22. Play paintball.
  23. Paint a mural.
  24. Work as an artist’s model.
  25. Model in a Fashion show.
  26. Go fishing.
  27. Learn how to gut and clean a fish.
  28. Go snowboarding. (Not on the bunny slope & without the day ending in a temper tantrum, haha)
  29. Rent a car on my own.
  30. Go skinny dipping!
  31. Read 15 new books.
  32. Go on a bike-riding day trip.
  33. Run away & join the circus…. (This is open for interpretation obviously…)
  34. Go sky diving.

Obviously some of these are contradicting. Like trying to follow a vegetarian diet. And then cooking meat, going fishing & butchering fish… But I’m kinda a walking contradiction in general.

Anything I’m totally missing? Anything that’s a really bad idea? How about you? What do you have on your Adventuresome To-do List?

Vegetable Garden – 2010 – Planning Phase

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010
Thanks Lilley1 from Flickr!

Spring is quickly approaching, and I finally got around to ordering seeds for my garden this year. I’ve decided to go through Johnny’S Selected Seeds, which is a local employee owned company that has pretty reasonable prices. In addition, I used their seeds last year & stuff turned out pretty well, so why not be a repeat customer? :)

This year I’m going with Red Grape Tomatoes, Carrots, Sugar Snap Peas, Zucchini, Collard Greens and Scallions, along with some various herbs, and maybe I’ll pick up some Pepper or Broccoli plants later in the summer. The tomatoes should be interesting, as I’ve never grown those from seed before. Last year I just gaffed some plants from my mom, so hopefully I can figure it out on my own. Also, I’ve never tried scallions before, but how hard can they be? :)

Now all I need to do it get my gardening staff (aka Devon) started on building the 2nd raised bed so I can increase our harvest by double this year!

Restaurant: Post 390

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Devon turned 30 yesterday! A big milestone, I think, but I think that he’s still struggling to come to terms with this traumatic event. Plans for a huge blowout in Las Vegas fell through, so for the time being we’re just having a small dinner with some friends and family at a new hot spot: Post 390 in Boston’s Back Bay.

In addition to my brother working in its kitchen, Post 390 serves delicious food in a laid back, but still hip setting. The space is decorated with lots of brick, wood and leather and there are multiple fireplaces, which I especially enjoy because I’m always freezing. Both times I ate here, I was extremely pleased. Their cuisine is totally accessible for even the pickiest eaters, focusing on American classics with an upscale twist. Everything that I’ve had so far has been super tasty. Their Crab & Spinach dip was especially finger licking good, although I never want to see the nutrition info that dish. But a girl has gotta spoil herself sometimes. Along a similar vein, their freshly made pies are insane. Now, I make a damn fine pie crust, but I dare say that their pastry chef’s recipe may trump mine…. (as much as I hate to admit it!)

If you’re ever in the area, give Post 390 a try. They’re located at 406 Stuart St, Boston, MA 02116.

Brush with Top Fame.

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

So last night I was out drinking at a bar….. Ok, I know some of you think  that you know where this is going…. “Just another one of Emma’s stories which would make her parents proud.” Hear me out. In actuality, I was just out having a post-dinner cocktail with a dear friend, at Eastern Standard (a snazzy &  hip eatery/lounge in Boston’s Kenmore Square, which prides itself on authentic cocktails from the pre-prohibition era.). So we walk in & I snag us a couple of stools at see through glass bar by the door. At that point I notice a strikingly dark, tall and handsome gent standing by the waitress stand & say to myself “Wow, he’s really good looking!”.

Let me stop here and say that I am married to the most amazing man in the world who makes me incredibly happy. Devon is the love of my life. That said, I believe that there’s nothing wrong with admiring some eye candy once in a while.

Back to the “lounge”. So, tall, dark and handsome turns around and notices me, and I give him a big cheezy smile, because I’m a mega dork. He smiles back and at that point I realize that he looks very familiar….. I try to place him… Tall, kinda wild brown hair, big wrist cuff, tight & low slung hipster jeans, in a really cool eatery….. And all of a sudden my mind puts 2 +2 together………

Ok, this picture isn’t the best ever….. But!!!!   It’s fricking Sam Talbot from Top Chef’s Season 2!!!!! During his season of the show, he came in 3rd place (but in my opinion was the most talented out of the entire group). Ok, so most people probably have no idea who he is, but I think I’m a pretty big foodie, in addition to being a majah Top Chef junkie. Season 2 was probably the most enjoyable for me. I never really had the hot’s for Sam during the show, although they always made a big deal about him being “the hot contestant”, but man, I can totally see why now that I saw him in person. He’s no my husband, but he’s almost somewhat close. :)

Anyways. We totally shared a moment, and then I totally had drinks with him (from the other side of the bar). And after he left, our waitress and I recounted how we closely we had come to destabilizing into puddles of ooze. :)

God, I love this town.

New addition in the garden.

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

My sugar snap peas are nearing the end of their growing season and most of the pea plants are dying. We’ve really enjoyed eating them, but since there is no new growth, I decided to rip most of those out and to plant something else that I could harvest by fall. I decided to pick up a few little plants at the local Whole Foods, but was somewhat disappointed by the plant varieties available. Basically I had a choice between various herbs, hot peppers or some Veronica… Luckily I have had Veronica before at a friends house and D & I really enjoyed it. It’s a type of cauliflower that is green and spikey (see above picture)… But it’s much more mild and doesn’t taste like cauliflower… hence Devon actually tolerating it… You can cook it like broccoli or cauliflower or you can eat it raw… Basically,  you can do a TON with it.

So, I bought 2 2×2 trays and planted them where the snap peas were and the Veronica should be ready to harvest in about a month and a half or so… My cherry tomatoes ripening and should be about ready in a couple of weeks, along with my collard greens. The yellow summer squash still has a ways to go, along with my carrots, I think. Herbs are chugging along, but after a serious mishap with one of my container gardens, I’m basically starting over from scratch with my cilantro and nasturtiums.

I’m really excited to have found another vegetable that Devon is excited about again! Go Veronica!

Naughty Fifi!

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Fifi likes to climb onto my veggie garden bed and eat my pea plants! Bad lizard!

Thanks for the photo Devon!

Lots of various pictures from May and June 2009

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

So I just emptied out the old pictures in my camera, and BOY! Do I have a bunch of various photos in there.  We built our master bedroom closet, I looked GOOD, I investigated wild orchids in MA, we went to Brian & Jen’s wedding in New Orleans, I turned 27, I gardened, my iguana looked super cute, and I explored Russell’s Mill Pond and the Chelmsford town forest on my bike…

Pouty face!
Apparently MA has about 10 or so wild varieties of orchids.
Devon very happy to have a plateful of beignets.
My Mardi Gras mask.
Russell's mill pond.

Check out all the pictures here.

Emma’s Favorite Things: Cake Wrecks Blog

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

This is my new favorite blog: Cake Wrecks.  Soooo many disasters. I’m no awesome cake decorator, but man, there are some real gems on that site. I’ve been going through the blog laughing my butt off and freaking Devon out in the process.

From cakewrecks.blogspot.com

From cakewrecks.blogspot.com

Check it out. I guarantee that you’ll find it hillariously delicious.