Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Temper The Eggs? Nah... Scrambled Is Fine

Mija Cantina and Tequila Bar - Boston, MA

A super grainy photo of my taco salad...
The outdoor dining area
     I absolutely love when friends come visit. Primarily because they're my friends and I get to see them. But also because it gives me an excuse to go out and try new restaurants. Double win. The evening Marissa and Jess arrived, we headed towards Quincy market to find some chow. We didn't have any place in mind, but it was a beautiful night and Mija had a beautiful open dining area ... complete with a view of someone's taco salad. That's what won me over. This place gave off a pretty cool vibe. It was kind of a rustic and rugged but classy kind of cantina. Lots of distressed wooden accents, "candle" lighting, but also slick black leather chairs. Very unique.
     I already had my mind made up, and that taco salad couldn't come soon enough. As most taco salads are, it came in a big fried tortilla, which... admittedly... is always my favorite part (I say that like I order taco salads often. It's a lie. This was probably my second one ever). I got beef in my salad because I say beef trumps all other meats when it comes to Mexican food. It came with the standard romaine lettuce, monterey jack cheese, roasted red peppers, guacamole, roasted corn, and sour cream. It was exactly what I was hoping for. On the lighter side, but still super flavorful. The seasonings on the ground beef were spot on. Not too spicy, but with a little kick. Enough to make the sour cream essential to balance it out if you know what I mean. What wasn't spot on was the roasted red peppers. I'm pretty sure they were rancid. They had that weird fizzy feeling and taste. No bueno.

Hi-Rise Bread Company - Cambridge, MA
Things were happening no-so behind the scenes

     After swimming at Walden Pond one morning, Antonia and I got super amped as we drove by High Rise Bread Company on Concord Ave. I had never seen this location before and was pumped to finally be able to try it... some other day. It was barely 7:30am, and they weren't open yet. Le sign... However, we agreed that someday that week we'd bike over in the morning and try them out. So that's just what we did. It was a lovely morning ride over to that next of the woods (other than the killer hill at the end). The place was hoppin' when we got there. Their kitchen is open, so you can watch all of the workers making the pastries, breads, and all their other goodies. It's cool to be reminded of how much work goes into things like this sometimes. 

Chocolate brioche, cheddar snail, chocolate chunk cookie
     "I'll take one of everything please!" That's not what happened. That's what we wanted to happen.
But instead, we both ordered three things. Here goes... My #1 pick was the cheddar snail. It was basically a plush and soft roll smothered in melted sharp cheddar cheese. The flavor in the cheese was so key. They could've easily gone with a cheap cheese with not nearly the complexity of this one, but they don't mess around. Plus it had started to take on the browned and crisped cheese flavors you get when you cook cheese. Sometimes I cook straight cheese in a pan because it's so good. Like the burnt cheez-its. Give them all to me.
     One of my other picks was their chocolate brioche. I didn't know what a brioche was. Apparently it's a french pastry made with extra eggs and butter. That's what gives it a soft texture, rich insides and a golden crust. This brioche was relatively hallow and had some sort of melted chocolate inside. I really enjoyed the chocolate inside because it was more on the bittersweet side, and was different than the sweeter chocolate that coated the top of the brioche. It was interesting that they decided to take two different approaches to the chocolate filling and icing. I think it gave each bite a little more depth and helped the pastry to not come off as too sweet or rich. 
     My third choice was their chocolate chunk cookie. I was originally going to save it for work. That was a joke. Good try. This cookie was so soft and had huge, rich chocolate chunks in it. It was a goner. 
     Antonia also let me try her pecan scone which was unique and mighty delicious. It was probably the most moist scone I've ever had, and I think I really preferred that. I hate when scones are so crumbly that you feel like you're losing half of it down your shirt and on the ground. The pecan flavor seemed to travel throughout the scone itself and wasn't just in the nuts themselves. Very well done Hi-Rise. 
     As we ate, we realized just how beautiful the whole scene was. The smells of bread, the hum of the mixers and knives on cutting boards, the sun pouring in the windows, flowers on the table, and pastries in our mouths. How does it get any better?


Rhubarb Gelato - My Kitchen, Cambridge, MA

Fresh from the ice cream maker. I was super pumped.
     I did it I did it I did it I did it I did it I did it I did it I did it. I really did it. I got ice cream to set up in my ice cream maker! Ok true, this wasn't technically ice cream, but I got gelato to set up, and it was glorious. I still screwed up the egg in that I still managed to basically make scrambled eggs in milk. Joy. Upon refusing to strain it out like I did last time, I took an immersion blender to it. I do not care. I wanted the stupid eggs in there for a reason unbeknownst to me. I got this recipe from Ilana last year when she posted about it being. I've always been a big fan of rhubarb after years of sucking on the tart stalks in my mom's garden. "You're gonna get a tummy ache if you keep doing that!" She was right. I didn't care. It was bitter sweet. Well... mostly entirely bitter. Less sweet. If you're not super familiar with rhubarb, I may suggest putting a little more sugar in it. I used what the recipe said, and most people that I had sample it gave intense pucker faces because it was so tart. I truthfully didn't think so, but ... I aim to please the masses when it comes to sharing food. 
      Anyway, the recipe for this is super easy to follow. Chill your mix thoroughly before putting it in the ice cream maker. Use rock salt. Enjoy. 

Rhubarb Gelato

8 cups of fresh rhubarb, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 cup milk

1. Chop rhubarb stalks rather finely to avoid strings in the finished gelato. Put the chopped rhubarb and sugar in a pot over medium heat, and cook until the rhubarb is tender and looses all shape - you should have a rhubarb slurry. 

My rhubarb before it got mushy
2. Refrigerate to cool.

3. Whip the egg yolks in a bowl until they are light yellow in color. 

4. In a separate saucepan, heat milk to almost boiling. Pour the hot milk slowly into the egg yolks, while continuing to whip the mixture. 

5. Return this mixture to the saucepan, and heat over low heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens into a custard (should coat a wooden spoon without running off). Refrigerate to cool.

6. Once both components are cool to fridge temp (many hours / overnight), combine both in a blender or food processor to mix them thoroughly and eliminate any remaining fibres in the rhubarb. 

7. Transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze according to your appliance's directions.

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