Sunday, February 24, 2013

I'm Gonna Buttuh Yo Bread

Clear Flour Bakery - Brookline, MA

Going without something so simple for a long time, really makes the experience of returning to it overwhelmingly enjoyable. Buttered toast. Buttered sourdough toast to be exact. After CRASH Bs, I walked out of the arena and straight to Clear Flour Bakery in Brookline. I had heard rave reviews about this place and had walked in once just to smell it. This time, however, I was on a mission for a big hearty loaf of bread that I was to slather with butter. The place was tiny. You could get from one end to the other in 3 steps. Not kidding. It smelled absolutely heavenly, and, might I say, it looked quite picturesque. I ended up going a beautiful loaf of sourdough bread that had that crispy sound to it when you squeezed it (yes, just like in the movie Ratatouille). Once I got home, I toasted that puppy and loaded it with butter with reckless abandon. I could NOT believe what was in my mouth. The bread was just outstanding. Probably the most amazing sourdough bread I've ever had. It was so simple, but so flavorful, especially with warm butter. The loaf was nearly gone in 24 hours. The next day Jimmy and I had made sandwiches with the sourdough bread, pastrami, fontina cheese, roasted red pepper, spinach and a homemade sundried tomato and hummus spread. Lord have mercy.

The Hill Tavern - Boston, MA
Nachos with meat chili

"Nacho Average Run"


     As many know, I was on a quest for nachos post CRASH Bs. After extensive research, I went on what I called "Nacho Average Run" to investigate them all. However, I did not end of going to any of the places the internet world recommended as "Boston's Best Nachos." Instead, I went to The Hill Tavern in Beacon Hill for the post CRASH B party. The Hill Tavern seemed like a pretty classy place, the lights were dim and it had a good feel. The service was bonkers, but I just came for the food. Give me the food and we might just get along.
      It's pretty hard to screw up nachos. Mary,
Antonia, Hayley and I ordered 3 plates, 2 vegetarian and one with meat. Both came with their housemade tortilla chips, salsa, guacamole, jalepenos, and cheese. I was particularly a fan of the nachos with meat chili. Man, the salt from the chips, the cheese, and the meat all together just fit my fancy. The removal of salty things from my diet pre-race made this eating experience just off the charts. While at the Hill Tavern, I also got to sample their buffalo wings and the honey barbecue wings. Both were pretty standard but still tasted phenomenal to my deprived palette. Woah man.
Pure joy
     Naturally, Mary and I were thinking about dessert, but they didn't have anything listed on the menu. Major turn off. James asked our waitress if they had any dessert and she said "Only a brownie with ice cream or apple pie." Umm... what? Only? That sounds amazing! However, girl needs to learn her desserts. We went with the "brownie" and ice cream, but it wasn't a brownie. It was a mini chocolate bunt cake with chocolate syrup inside. It was one of those chocolate lava cakes with a massive scoop of vanilla ice cream. I wasn't even mad. It was absolutely perfect and hit the spot. I just love when you cut into those cakes and the chocolate comes gooing out. Mmmm!

Quinoa Squash Soup - My Kitchen, Cambridge, MA

     I like when I read simple soup recipes like this one that I found on Katrina Runs for Food. I feel like it's hard to follow a recipe for soup. People like different things, and it's easy to modify soup recipes to your liking and not really screw it up. This was the full recipe that Katrina posted on her blog. It's perfect. It's simple and gives you the freedom to modify as well as forces you to learn how to proportion things.

Quinoa Soup
1. Saute some small chopped vegetables, about 2 cups cooked. 
2. Add vegetables to a big pot of simmering broth. 
3. Add 1 cup of quinoa (make sure you rinse the quinoa through a sieve first to get the outer layer of gunk off). 
4. Simmer until quinoa is done, about 20 minutes. 

I really liked this recipe. It's really delicious, and balanced with a ton of veggies, grains and protein (from the quinoa). My recipe included:

1 sliced zucchini
1 sliced yellow squash
1 can garbonzo beans
3 large carrots, chopped
2 small onions, chopped 
1 cup quinoa
Some savory herbs like basil, thyme, marjoram
1 bay leaf
1 tbs olive oil
1 quart vegetable stock
2-4 cups water

Oatmeal Banana Breakfast Muffins - My Kitchen, Cambridge, MA

     I stumbled upon this one at work the other day. Guilty. I found it on Fit and Healthy with Debbie. I don't know who Debbie is, but she has good ideas. I wanted to try these muffins because they seem great for you and because I wanted to use my new food processor my mom got me for Christmas :) Basically like a bowl of oatmeal, just in muffin form. I only made half of her recipe (plus I added cocoa powder) and it made 6 muffins. I figured they'd last me a couple days, but I ate four for breakfast. Shoot.
     Changes I made to her recipe included adding 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder and using 1 tbs of honey instead of 1/2 cup. That just seemed like a lot and I thought a decent amount of sweetness would come from the banana... but I was wrong. They definitely could've been a little sweeter. I'd recommend maybe using 1/4 or so instead. Or maybe add chocolate chips for some sweetness. I wanted to do that, but didn't have any. Oh... ha... and I put blueberries in one.

Oatmeal Banana Breakfast Muffins

1 1/4 cup old fashioned oats (I used an oats, barley, wheat & rye mix)
1 ripe banana
1 egg
1 tbs ground flax seed
1 tbs cocoa powder
1/2 cup plain lowfat greek yogurt
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla
a few pinches of sugar to sprinkle on top

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease muffin tin or line with muffin cups.
2) Put oats into a food processor and pulse for around 20 seconds. 
3) Add the rest of the ingredients and process until everything is mixed.
4) Fill cups 3/4 of the way full and sprinkle a little sugar on top. 
5) Bake 15-20 minutes. Serve warm with butter!

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