Monday, August 25, 2014

Rekindling My Spontaneity

Surfside at the Pavillion at Salisbury Beach - Salisbury, MA
Salisbury Beach

If I was an arcade game...
     One thing I've started to value more this summer is spontaneity. I'd consider myself a very spontaneous person, but I've lost quite a bit of that in the past 3 and a half years since I've been here in Boston. This is undoubtably due to my elite rowing lifestyle and lack of free time. But this summer I've definitely opened things up a bit more and allowed myself to say "This is what I want to do, so I'm going to do it."
     When Zack mentioned the idea of heading up to Salisbury beach for the afternoon, I threw all my other plans to the wind and jumped on board. It was awesome. I had never been to Salisbury beach before, and it was absolutely gorgeous. The beach itself stretched on for miles and included some of the Massachusetts shoreline as well as the New Hampshire shoreline.
Lobster Grilled Chee
          After getting tossed around by some decent sized waves, we decided to check out the "little" town of Salisbury. This cute beach town was packed, and there were tons of things going on. It kind of reminded me a little of the Jersey Shore (at least what I've seen on TV). There was a band playing along the water, tons of little shops, bars, ice cream stands, and arcades. Lots of flashing lights. Lots of noise. But it all fit the fun-in-the-summer bill.
     For dinner, we snagged a table on Surfside's deck that faced the ocean. The deck had an absolutely gorgeous view, was super spacious and had an huge dance floor that must be kickin' at night.
     Being on the water like that always makes me want seafood (as with 95% of the rest of the population)... so seafood it was. To start, we shared the mussels which were in a wine, herb and butter broth. I'd say they were mostly in butter, and I was 100% ok with it. I really liked the way these mussels were prepared because it was so simple. Sometimes it's nice to have mussels bathing in a ton of spices, vegetable based broths, or coconut milk. But other times I like something more simple like this wine and butter because it lets the salty mussel flavor shine though.
     For my meal I went for the lobster grilled cheese. I don't think I had ever seen that on a menu before, so I was definitely gunning for it. First of all, I dug the bread. Why? Because it was just texas toast, slathered in some kind of butter or oil and crisped up on the grill. Since the bread is so thick, it's easier to get the crisp outsides of the bread and maintain a soft interior. The sandwich was basically just huge hunks of delicious lobster meat held in place by melted cheddar. Again, very simple but almost gourmet because... have you ever had a lobster grilled cheese? Didn't think so.


Kelly's Diner - Somerville, MA

     I'll say... this whole weekend was just great. Saturday turned into a beach day, and Sunday I had a ticket to the Mad Decent Block Party with some big names in electronic/trap music such as DJ Snake, Flosstradamus, and Diplo. I had been geeked out of my mind for months. I was going with a bunch of my coworkers, so a few of us met up for breakfast first at Kelly's Diner in Somerville. Kelly's is super cool because it started in 1953 as a two piece dining car in New Castle, Delaware. Now it sits become one of the top diners in New England and has been seen on Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It's one of those diners that looks like a big long toaster from the outside. The walls and the ceilings seem like the same colors they must've been painted the day they opened their doors; a salmon pink and turquoise. 
#2: Two eggs, homefries and Scali toast
     I wasn't outrageously hungry, and didn't want to stuff myself (for once) so I just got their #2 with 2 eggs, homefries and toast. The eggs were... well... eggs. Can't really screw those up. The homefries were cooked until perfectly tender, and there were those few fought over crisp potato pieces that I would've been battling Jimmy for if we were sharing. I also learned something new that day. I opted for the Scali bread when asked which kind of toast I wanted. I had never heard of it before, but apparently it's an italian style braided loaf that's covered in sesame seeds. It was delicious! Admittedly, it was basically a type of white bread with a little bit of a different flavor, perhaps from the sesame seeds. The only downside was the same downside you'll find at 99% of restaurants out there. The "butter" on the toast. I want butter. Not margarine. Not any kind of spread. Just real, plain and simple butter. Still searching.

Such a riot. Note: Not a clue who these girls are in the front. 


Lemon Chia Seed Muffins - My Kitchen, Cambridge, MA

     Well... I'm not quite so sure I've ever failed this much at muffins. Muffins are generally fool proof. They're not difficult. But I apparently think I can alter entire recipes without repercussions. On that note, these little buggers sure were delicious! My main issue here was that I decided to replace the oil with applesauce. Generally you can do this when baking, but I was using paper cups for the muffins rather than a greased muffin pan. So literally all of the bottoms of each muffin had to be cut off and thrown in the trash because there was paper stuck to it. I'd definitely suggest replacing the oil with applesauce as long as you're a) not using paper cups or b) you spray the inside of each paper cup. I think using the applesauce made these muffins very moist. That being said, I wasn't all about the chia seeds. I think I'd rather have the poppy seeds because they provide such a unique flavor. Lasty, I'd like to note that these aren't super sweet, so if you'd like sweeter muffins, feel free to up the sugar addition. 
     From: The Corner Kitchen . Makes 9-12 muffins.

Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil (or 1/2 cup applesauce)
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup lemon Greek yogurt (I used plain yogurt with a little extra lemon juice)
Juice and zest from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
2 tablespoons chia seeds

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Add 9-12 liners to a standard-size muffin tin and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil/applesauce, sugar, yogurt, and lemon juice and zest, until fully combined. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix thoroughly.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two additions, stirring until just combined.
Fold in the chia seeds.
5. Add batter to the muffin liners, filling 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until the muffins are golden on top and a toothpick comes out clean after inserting it into a few muffins.
6. Remove from the oven. Cool and enjoy as soon as possible!

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