Create

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Hello, dear readers! Wow, I can’t believe it has been so long since I last posted. I know I’ve promised you again and again that I would be better at this whole blogging thing. Truth is, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. My promise to you is this… when I have something exciting to share, I will do so here. Deal?

Now onto some exciting stuff… The Atelier Workshop, which I had the pleasure of attending in NYC earlier this fall.  I first learned of it through the Instagram feed of Joann Pai of Slice of Pai. I discovered her feed while doing my research for our spring trip to Paris and instantly fell in love with her aesthetic {and her passport stamps}. After confirming I was free the first weekend of October, I signed up and counted down the minutes till the class. I was a little nervous as I’ve never taken a photography class in my life. But, my  little sis’ let me borrow her ‘fancy’ camera so I wouldn’t be the only one in the class with my trusty iPhone 6.

Although there were a few changes to our itinerary, I just had a feeling that this workshop was going to be everything. And I am pleased to say, IT WAS! The other teachers were Gabriel Cabrera, food stylist guru from Vancouver and Jodi Moreno, natural food chef and blogger at What’s Cooking Good Looking. Here they are… the best teachers ever!

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The workshop kicked off at Jodi’s apartment in the Village on Saturday morning. I, of course, was the first to arrive as I was a little nervous, but instantly felt at home when I walked through her door. Of course the breakfast spread was to-die for and her home, beautiful. There were seven additional students, who traveled much farther than Boston {San Francisco + Oklahoma} and they could not have been sweeter.

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The first day we talked quite a bit about light and composition. Two key factors to taking the perfect photo. After an amazing lunch by Jodi, we ventured to the Union Square Farmers Market, where our assignment was to pick some products that inspired us. My partner and I decided on the beautiful radishes and decided to make the traditional french bite of radishes, butter, bread and some sea salt. With a little style direction from Gabriel, I was quite pleased with the finished product.

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Our Sunday session was held at an amazing studio on the Lower West Side/Chinatown. The white walls, white brick, it was a dream. The morning focused on creating your own style. Gabriel and Joann both shared their personal styles and how they developed them over time. Their suggestion – start gathering images that you like and create your brand/vision. I’ll share my inspiration book with you shortly.

Next, it was all about styling a pie. With a few tips on using the ‘fancy’ camera, I was shocked by the difference in quality. Just take a look at the two images below. One taken with my iPhone and one with my sis’ camera.

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Clearly a new ‘fancy’ camera is on my Christmas list.

Here are a few more snaps from the workshop. I hope you like them!

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Not bad for a newbie, right? I can’t wait to see how my skills unfold and all that I’m able to create. Thanks for being part of my journey!

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In the Kitchen

Kitchen

Happy Friday, sweet readers. We’ve made it through another week! And in anticipation of another beautiful weekend ahead of us, I thought I’d share another easy and delicious dish to highlight one of my favorite summer vegetables… tomatoes.

Have a last-minute BBQ to attend? I suggest you make this. I made it for my book club ladies a few weeks back and they all begged for the recipe before they left. I promise, everyone will love it!

Tomato and Cheese Tartlett

Ingredients

  • Frozen pie shell
  • 1 Tbs. whole grain mustard
  • 1 quart cherry tomatoes (quartered)
  • 1 1/4 cups Fontina cheese (shredded)
  • Handful of parsley
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Olive oil/salt + pepper
  • 1 egg/water {for egg wash}

Directions

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Remove frozen pie shell from freezer and brush with 1-2 tablespoons of whole grain mustard. Place a layer of the shredded Fontina cheese over the mustard, followed by a layer of the quartered tomatoes. Repeat this twice and finish with another layer of cheese.

Make an egg wash by whisking together 1 egg with about a tablespoon of water and brush the pie edges with a pastry brush. Place in over and bake for 45 minutes till cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown.

While the tart is baking, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and one peeled clove of garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Transfer the garlic infused olive oil to your mini food processor and add in a handful of parsley and salt/pepper. Pulse until it forms a paste.

As the tart cools, spread this parsley/garlic paste on top.

A special thanks to my Mom for this recipe. As the Office Administrator for Sustainable Nantucket, she works alongside farmers and growers who are working to build  a more locally based, self-reliant food economy on the island. This recipe was shared at one of her events a few years back. I know it will be in my recipe collection for years to come!

Places

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The dining scene in Boston just keeps getting better and better, which makes me a very happy girl. Last Friday, K and I were finally able to score a dinner reservation to Tiger Mama, Tiffani Faison’s second eatery in Boston. And let me tell you. She hit it out of the park with this one {pun intended as it is around the corner from Fenway Park}. I would describe the menu as Tiffani’s love letter to Southeast Asia, a region that she describes on the website as having “some of the most effortlessly brilliant food, the kindest people and the most beautiful sights the world has to offer.”

We started our dining experience with the red snapper crudo with puffed rice {with just the right amount of heat}, followed by the roasted beets, the crispy pork lettuce wraps and finished up with the chicken curry. Every bite was even more exciting than the last. Tiger Mama, like many these days, is adhering to the small plate trend. Our sweet server suggested 2-3 plates per person. We ordered 4 and I think it was just the right amount of food {knowing that we had SoCo ice cream in the freezer helped too}.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the cocktail program, which is quite impressive and the living green wall. It’s amazing. Need a little more info to pull the trigger and make a reservation? Check out this review from the Boston Globe.

Tiger Mama. A welcome addition to the Boston food scene and one I hope will continue to shine for many, many years!

Jubilee

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The Cherry Bombe Jubilee was certainly the bomb! A full day surrounded by incredible women in a beautiful space talking about my favorite thing{s}. A special thank you to Farm & Fable for inviting me to tag along.

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I mean, look at this place. The High Line Hotel. A former Theological Seminary, apple orchard and cathedral all located on the west side of New York City on 10th Avenue. The Gothic brick reminded me of my days at Mount Holyoke. And while we weren’t able to secure a room for the night, I certainly know where I’ll be staying on my next jaunt to NYC.

The event itself began at 10:30 am with a kick-off by two of my favorite Brits Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley: sisters, home cooks, food lovers, health advocates and authors. Their newest cookbook Good + Simple was released in the states on Tuesday. Their fist is one of my favorites. I highly recommend it.

The sisters are full of energy and were the perfect start to the day. They shared their Top 10 list for creating a Good + Simple life:

  1. Follow your bliss.
  2. Dream and dream big.
  3. Grow slow and be ok with saying no.
  4. Get with your gut. Follow your intuition.
  5. Meditate.
  6. Detox your life.
  7. Fight for what you know is right. Love always gets you to where you want to go.
  8. Sleep more.
  9. Work with people greater than you.
  10. Make soup!

Don’t you agree this is a terrific list?!

The day continued with panel discussions on a wide range of topics, from how to be a boss, to farming, to the next wave of chefs in NYC. There were two incredible talks, one by Kat Kinsman on Feeding the Beast {a discussion on mental health issues in the restaurant industry} and one by Mimi Sheraton, the first female food critic for the New York Times discussing how it once was to be a woman in the restaurant business.

I was excited to learn of a late addition to the roster. Padma Lakshmi confirmed last week to do a reading from her new memoir, which I’m almost done with. A full Bo0k Club review will be on the site next week, I promise.

Jubilee concluded on a high note with the one and only Martha Stewart. Her greatest piece of advice “it’s hard to have it all but it’s very important to have as much of it as you can.” She talked about regrets of not having more children, her need to always drive in the front seat and her trick for the perfect scrambled eggs. And that trick will only cost you $5,000. Can you guess what it is?

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As you can imagine, one of the many highlights of the Jubilee was the food itself. Lunch bowls by Dig Inn, snacks created by some incredible female makers {including Amy Chaplin, Anita’s Yogurt, Eric McKenna, Fourt & Twenty Blackbirds, Hot Bread Kitchen, and Yossy Arefi}.

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I can’t wait for #CBJubilee 2017!

Photo credits: Photos 1, 3 and 4 (Cherry Bombe)

 

 

In the Kitchen

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I’ll admit it. I skip breakfast from time to time. But I have a feeling those days are long over now that I have found this simple and easy recipe for Overnight Oats.

I was first introduced to overnight oats about a year ago while staying at a little b&b. I asked the inn keeper for her recipe. When I returned home, I gave the recipe a try and was disappointed. No bueno. Last week, Nectar and Green* included a recipe in their weekly email from Darling Magazine and I had to give it a try. Second time must be a charm as they were delicious and super easy.

Overnight Oats

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cups of oatmeal
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 Tbs. chia seeds (I opted for a little over 1 Tbs.)
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • handful of yellow raisins
  • handful of slivered almonds

Directions

Combine all the ingredients in a glass jar (I used my Wreck .5 L glass jars), stir well and let sit overnight in the refrigerator. Next time, I’m going to add some fresh fruit to the top.

*I met Laurel through my dear friend Abby last year. Laurel is the creative genius behind Nectar and Green, a weekly distributor of small batch almond milk. Not only is her product delicious but the nutritional benefits are impressive. She has pick-up locations throughout the city (we pick up our milk at Urban Grape). Check out her website for more details.

 

 

In the Kitchen

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Is everyone else freezing today?! My goodness, winter certainly has arrived. To help add a bit of warmth to you and your homes, I wanted to share one of my favorite chili recipes. I found the recipe last year on Feed Me Phoebe. I have made it my own by making a few slight modifications. All in, this recipe takes about an hour to make. I promise, it is worth it!

Moroccan Chili with Sweet Potatoes, Chickpeas and Kale

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs. harissa
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes {I always use San Marzano}
  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas {drained and rinsed}
  • 3 cups diced sweet potato
  • 2 cups water
  • bunch of fresh kale
  • 1 lemon

Directions

In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil and saute onions over medium heat until soft. This usually takes about 5 minutes. Push the onions to the side of the pan and add the ground turkey. Cook the meat, breaking apart with a wooden spoon until browned and cook through. The onions will become incorporated as your brown the turkey. Add the garlic, harissa, cumin and sea salt and cook for 1 minute or until the spices have become fragrant.  Pour in the tomatoes {with the juice} and cook for about 15 minutes. Stir frequently and make sure to scrap up all the brown bits at the bottom of the pan. This is where the flavor is!

After the mixture has reduced, add the chickpeas, sweet potato, and kale. For the kale, I usually buy a bunch at the store and just tear the leaves off the stem. I think it works out to be about 3 cups when said and done. Bring chili to a boil, turn the heat to low, and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender and the chili has thickened.

Before serving, add in the juice of 1 lemon. To serve, I add in a little sour cream, grated cheese and finish off with a warm corn tortilla.

Pantry

ILA

Hello from Boston on this rainy afternoon!

Are you still looking for some last minute gift ideas or just need a little something to make you smile today? Look no further than ILA, a wonderful new source for kitchen essentials, brought to you by the creative genius behind Sunday Suppers.

Much is in a name, no? And ILA is derived from Hindu Mythology and a woman whose beauty was irresistible and spirit was gentle, kind and grounded. In Sanskrit, ILA  means earth, beauty and prayer. I may just have a new favorite word!

Each offering is beautifully packaged and sourced from farms, purveyors and artisans around the globe. ILA’s mission is simple: inspire one to gather and feast together. What a delightful notion. I can’t wait to test their olive oil, a little treat for myself this holiday season.

Photo Credit: ILA website

Join

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A few weeks back, I volunteered at the Kendall Square EatUp. In addition to my time, I purchased a raffle box to give to this worthy organization. To my surprise, I won a yearly membership to Dinner Lab. I like to pride myself on being in-the-know about the Boston food scene but somehow, this one escaped me. Dinner Lab is a fascinating concept, which started in New Orleans. The founding team wanted to introduce their hometown to diverse cuisine and bring people together around the dinner table. Membership entitles you to an invite-only dinner, in a unique space (not a restaurant) by chefs who come from some of the world’s best restaurants. Pretty cool, right?

I received my first invite this week for a dinner on December 4th, which sadly I can’t make as we will be en route to NYC for the weekend. Take a look at the chef details below. Looks like I will be missing quite a night.

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I am hopeful the next invite isn’t too far off. I should note that Dinner Lab is available in cities across the country. Traveling for work or planning a weekend getaway, sign up for your destination to find out if a Dinner Lab is available. A worthy culinary experience to join. Happy eating!

In the Kitchen

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I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather these past few weeks and can’t quite seem to kick it. I don’t know why but whenever I’m sick, I lose my appetite, which doesn’t help the whole getting better process. Last night I decided I needed a meal that felt like a big hug. And don’t you just agree that soup does that! I found this flu fighter soup on Pinterest and it has since become by go-to. Feeling under the weather? Give this a try. The broth will instantly make you feel better, I promise!

Flu Fighter Chicken Noodle Soup

For the chicken:

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast tenders
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).
  2. Place chicken tenders in a large baking dish lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil and sprinkle with spices. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes, flipping the chicken at the half way point.
  3. Once cooked, pull into small chunks using two forks and set aside.

For the soup:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 very large onion, finely diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • Big pinch of salt
  • (1) 32 oz containers chicken stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups of pasta noodles (your choice)
  • Juice of 1 lemon, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped
 Directions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed soup pan over a medium flame. Add carrots, celery, and onion, and cook – stirring occasionally – for 8-9 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and salt and cook for another minute before adding the bay leaf, water and chicken stock.
  3. Increase heat to high, bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, stir in noodles, and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.
  4. Stir in cooked chicken, dill, and lemon juice. Taste soup to adjust seasonings.

Bakeries {in Boston}

Boston Bakeries

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for bakeries. Anytime I’m planning a trip to a new place, I do my research to find the best local bakeries. Not only do I have a sweet tooth, but there is just something about a bakery/cafe vibe that captures me. With that, I thought I would share my favorite bakeries in Boston on this #tasytuesday.

We will start in Boston proper and go by neighborhood…

Tatte in Beacon Hill – Located on the corner of Charles and Mount Vernon Street, this is Tatte’s fifth and newest location in Boston {and my personal favorite as it is a short walk from my apartment}. Breakfast is served daily till 11:30 am and favorites include the avocado tartine and the shakshuka, a traditional north african dish. For lunch, the grilled halloumi salad is where it’s at. Tatte’s attention to details make it an instagramers heaven. Just take a look at their feed. And good news, most of their locations have plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.

Flour Bakery + Cafe in Back Bay, South End & Fort Point – Flour Bakery is what dreams are made of. Seriously. A trip to Boston isn’t complete without a visit to one of Joanne Chang’s delightful Flour locations. And good news, they offer breakfast, lunch and dinner. Favorites include their blueberry muffin, vegan chocolate cupcake, smoked turkey sandwich and greek salad. And to quench your thirst, they create a seasonal spritzer and specialty drink. This summer, their lemon-lime aid has been keeping me hydrated. Flour’s Back Bay location has plenty of seating and is also across the street from the Frieda Garcia park so great for kids too.

Canto 6 in Jamaica Plain – This rustic french bakery is the bee’s knees and has a loyal following of JP neighbors. And while it will take a little maneuvering to get to from downtown (Orange line outbound to Forrest Hills, get off at Green Street and walk two blocks towards Washington Street), I promise it is worth the trip. Their seasonal scones are some of the best and their sandwiches are the perfect accompaniment for a walk in the nearby Arboretum. Seating is limited.

Clear Flour Bread in Brookline – Specializing in classic french and italian breads, Clear Flour Bread is my go-to for you guessed it, bread. And while they offer some pastries {a delicious chocolate chip cookie}, there is no seating.

Cambridge Bakeries

Now, let’s cross the Charles…

Hi-Rise Bread Company in Harvard Square & Huron Village – I have my brother Travis to thank for introducing my to Hi-Rise. Similar to Flour, they have an impressive offering of pastries and mouth-watering sandwiches. Sometimes when I need an afternoon pick-me-up, I travel over to their Harvard Square location for a latte and a piece of their sinful vanilla bean loaf cake. It’s so good it was featured in former NYT food critic Amanda Hesser’s book Cooking for Mr. Latte. Their Huron Village location also has an impressive wine offering.

Sofra Bakery + Cafe in Cambridge/Watertown – Sofra is unlike any cafe experience in Boston with influences of Greek, Turkish and Lebanese delights in both decor and offerings. Their meze bar offerings are incredible (beet tzaziki is my favorite) and their chocolate earthquake cookies are just about the best thing I’ve even tried. Seating and parking are limited so I suggest going later in the day after the morning and lunch hour rush.

Forge Bakery in Union Square – When I’m craving a breakfast sandwich, I venture to Forge Bakery. Their simple egg sandwich on a homemade english muffin with avocado and sriracha hits the spot every single time. And in colder months, they make one of the most delicious hot chocolates I’ve ever tasted. Good news… plenty of seating and parking at Forge.

Bagelsaurus in Porter Square – I still remember the first taste of my very first NY bagel. Fifteen years later, no bagel could ever compare. That was until I discovered Bagelsaurus. Owner Mary Ting Hyatt’s bagels are simply the best and her offerings of bagel sandwiches are off-the-charts delicious. Might I suggest the t-rex? Bacon, almond butter, and banana. So good! I suggest greeting the staff at opening (7 am weekdays; 8 am weekends) as they sell-out quickly.

Loyal Nine Cafe in East Cambridge – The newest addition to the bakery scene, Loyal Nine Cafe has the most limited menu but one that is well worth the trip. Their coffee and lattes are served in pottery hand-made by the owner and their breakfast pastries (typically 3-5 to choose from) are delicious. We had the cinnamon roll Sunday morning and were quite happy. There is plenty of seating both indoor and out and since Loyal Nine is relatively new to the bakery scene in Boston, the pace is calm and perfect for a relaxing morning and/or afternoon.

Be sure to follow along with me on Instagram as I go #outandaboutwithmay in Boston and check back tomorrow as I share my favorite shops in this beautiful city of mine!