Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Sweet treat....

Since we are heading back to Utah on Sunday Mr. Lucky and I gathered a bunch of our friends together last night for a dinner then dessert at Sweet, a dessert restaurant in Worcester, MA.

We discovered Sweet a few years ago after having dinner at another restaurant in Worcester.  Since then we have found any excuse to go there.  I would describe it as a Bakery speak-easy.  When you come in the front it is a like most bakeries with cases filled with cupcakes, a coffee bar and a few tables by the windows. Then you go behind the curtain into the "bar".  The lighting is perfect, cool music playing and the smell of sugar and booze surround you.  I love this place!

Sweet locally sources the ingredients for their desserts and serves more locally distilled liquors than you can even imagine exist.  The menu includes desserts you've never seen any place else and a long list of specialty drinks. Chef Alina Eisenhauer has competed on and won several Food Network competition shows including Cupcake Wars and Sweet Genius.  So, she knows her stuff.  And then some! 

Those of us that had been there before definitely recommended the "French Donuts" and Creme Brulee.  The Creme Brulee is perfect, it is served with pastry crisps and fresh berries.  It is so creamy and delicious.  I don't really know what else to say about it, it's just damn good!

 Now, the French Donuts are things of wonder.  They are sweet dough that is filled with chocolate, deep fried and then tossed with sugar.  They are served in an adorable little paper bag and come with a little cup of caramel to dip them in.  These things are heaven!  HEAVEN!  There were six orders of them on our table.  

My friend Chelle order the S'mores.  This was unreal!  This had the usual suspects, cookies, chocolate and marshmallows but times a thousand!  Homemade cookies, homemade marshmallows and your own personal hibachi to melt them on, what can be bad about this????  Nothing, that's what, nothing!

I also need to give a huge round of applause to our server.  We had a table of 11 and asked for 5 separate checks due to some corporate travelers (ahem, Mr. Lucky), we were a little indecisive, we were more than a little loud and she remained friendly, smiley and never once blanched when we asked for yet another glass of water or extra napkins or yet another coffee.  I forgot her name and it was not on our slip but I really hope she knows that we thought she was great!

You really need to try Sweet if you ever in the Worcester area, you won't be disappointed.  Our next visit can't come soon enough. 

Talk with you soon....

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A learning experience....

Sometimes I get a little over-confident in the kitchen.  More often than not it bites me in the butt.  This happened when I was at my Mom's house last week.  I felt like a complete idiot!  Still kinda do but I have made a plan to rework the recipe I created in my head and try again.

I was browsing Pinterest and saw a picture of a Zucchini Lasagna and said "Oh, I can do that!"  I really should have read the recipe.  I would have realized before it was in the oven that zucchini (and summer squash because I didn't have enough zucchini to make the whole thing) gives off a lot of liquid and should be roasted before assembling the lasagna.

Believe me when I tell you that it still tasted delicious but it looked like a plate of slop.   I really wanted this to come out well because I was showing off a little bit for my family.  I also wanted to make something good for them because they were putting up with me for 3 weeks before Mr. Lucky arrived here.  It was the least I could do, right?

I have written notes for this recipe so when I get back to Utah I will be making it again and praying it comes out better.  Here are a few pictures of how it came out.  Warning: It is NOT pretty!

See how liquid-y it was?  I hope that roasting the vegetables first will alleviate that.  Fingers crossed.

Not a very pretty plate.  If I got this at a restaurant I'd flip.  Fortunately, my family is understanding and doesn't really expect a restaurant quality plating experience.  I really can't wait to try this again.

Talk with you soon....

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Good friends, good food, and lots of laughs....

Last night Mr. Lucky organized a group of our friends and some co-workers to go out to dinner at our of our favorite restaurants, Joe's American Bar & Grill.  We went to the location in Franklin, MA.

Joe's is American food done well. The atmosphere is casual with dark wood and navy blue decor.  I don't think I have ever had a bad meal there.  I also don't think I have ever had a bad service experience there either, everyone is always very friendly.

Last night we had a party of nine.  Our friends Cathy, Glenn, Colleen, Sean and Mike and Mr. Lucky's two co-workers.  We had such a great time.  There were ten conversations going on all the time and tons of laughs.  I am sure you know how it gets when old friends get together.

No, my friends are not evil! 

Me and Mr. Lucky.  (I hate my pics taken but I had to prove I am real)
For dinner I had a cup of clam chowder, a burger with cheddar cheese and caramelized onions that came with some really good fries and for dessert a sour cherry crisp with vanilla ice cream.  Everything was delicious.  A good New England Clam Chowder is not something you can get in Utah so I have been getting it everywhere I can while I have been here.  The sour cherry crisp was so, so good!  I had to battle Mr. Lucky for it even though he got his own dessert.  Punk!

We still haven't decided where we are heading tonight but I am sure it will be someplace we can watch the Patriots game!  Go Pats!

Talk with you soon....

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Our favorite places....

One of the things we miss most about Massachusetts is our favorite restaurants.  When we lived here we went out to eat considerably more often than we do in Utah and we had quite a few favorites. 

While we are here in Massachusetts we are trying to go to as many places, that we don't have in Utah, as we can.  Last night we went to La Cantina Italiana in Framingham.  We went there so often before that we had a regular waitress, Carly.  She was so great!  This place has been family owned for many years, serves amazing homemade Italian dishes in a casual, comfortable environment.

We brought Mr. Lucky's co-worker who traveled with him from Utah.  She had only ever had Italian food at chain restaurants.  Man was she in for a surprise!  And it turned out to be a very pleasant surprise.  She left very full, very happy and with leftovers for dinner tonight.

For our appetizer we got Fried Ravioli. They were delicious pillows of fried pasta and cheese goodness.   They were the biggest raviolis I have ever seen!  Seriously!  I am drooling now just thinking about them.

Mr. Lucky and I basically had the same meal; A combo of Chicken Parmigiana, Lasagna and Meatballs (me), Sausage (Mr. Lucky).  Since I always feel a little awkward taking pictures in restaurants this is the only picture I got of our amazing meal.

There was a little cheese on it.
Mr. Lucky's co-worker wanted to try the red sauce and the Alfredo sauce.  She opted for the Chicken Parmigiana and got pasta on the side with the Alfredo sauce.  She most definitely enjoyed it.  She said she had never had such good Italian before. 

For dessert I had the Torta di Luna which is an insanely good flourless chocolate cake served with vanilla ice cream.  I have had this many times before but I think after not having it for over a year made it that much better. 

If you are ever in the Framingham area go to La Cantina.  You will not be disappointed.

Talk with you soon....

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pumpkin Mania....

I have mentioned that I have been home in Massachusetts for a few weeks.  Just before I came home my youngest brother had a stroke, he's only 32. We were all extremely freaked out, still are. The doctor says he'll be just fine but he'll be taking it easy for the next few weeks.  Here are a couple pictures of Johnny, one when he was young and adorable and one from his wedding. 

John is on the right.  It looks like I am pinching him.  I probably am.
John and, his wife, Nancy.  Their wedding was such a great time.

So, because he absolutely loves pumpkin, he's my baby brother and he had a stroke I indulged him and made pumpkin pancakes the day after I made him the pumpkin Rice Krispie treats. When I say that he absolutely loves pumpkin it may be an understatement.  He is rather obsessed. 

For this recipe I combined a few different pancake recipes and made a few of my own tweaks so it is basically my own made up recipe.  Does that even make sense????  Here it is:

We tried to get fancy and use poster board as a backdrop.
1 1/2 cups All purpose flour (I suppose you could use whole wheat but I can't guarantee results)
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1/4 cup Sugar (This amount can be lowered to as little as a few tablespoons depending on your tastes)
1/2 tsp Cinnamon (Pumpkin pie spice could also be used, I just went with what my mom had in her pantry)
3/4 cup Canned Pumpkin (not pie filling although that might actually work too just leave out the cinnamon)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
Butter for cooking the pancakes (or cooking spray since I know at least one person who won't use butter to cook them)

In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients.  In a small bowl whisk together all the wet ingredients until well combined.  Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until just combined.

Heat a skillet or griddle to medium heat and add butter so pancakes won't stick.  Cook on first side until bubbles show, about 2-3 minutes, then flip. Cook on other side for about 2-3 more minutes.

I may have gone a little overboard with the butter.

I definitely used too much butter.

They will be golden around the edges. 

Looking good, right?
Serve them with some warm Maple syrup.  And orange juice.  :-)

I know Johnny loved these and that is all that mattered but I hope that you try them and enjoy them just as much.

Mr. Lucky has arrived in Massachusetts and we're staying in a hotel so that means my next few posts will be more about restaurants and things we're up to rather than cooking. 

Talk with you soon....

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Fall is here....

I have an addiction that, I am sure, many of you may also have.  It's called Pinterest.  You can follow my boards here.  So, because of this addiction I have been finding lots and lots of pumpkin recipes.  To me, pumpkin recipes means the start of Fall. I LOVE Fall.

My brother John loves pumpkin.  Love is actually probably not a strong enough word for how he feels about pumpkin.  He might be slightly obsessed.  This afternoon when I suggested that we make something pumpkin-y he jumped at the chance.  We settled on Pumpkin Rice Krispie treats. 

I didn't have a recipe for this but I figured I could work some pumpkin into the traditional recipe. 

Here is the traditional recipe:

It's true. I didn't use actual Rice Krispies. I used what I had.
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 package (10 oz., about 40) regular marshmallows
  • — OR —
  • 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
To this I added about 2-3 tablespoons of pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling) and a half teaspoon of cinnamon.

1. In large saucepan melt butter, over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until   completely melted. Remove from heat.  I added the pumpkin and cinnamon while the butter was melting.

2. Add Rice Krispies. Stir until well coated.

3. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Best if served the same day.

These tasted delicious but next time we'll add a few more marshmallows because the pumpkin did add a little more moisture.  I think adding a few more marshmallows will give the extra stickiness these needed.  This is a definite make again recipe.

Photography was courtesy of my brother John.  Thanks John!

Talk to you soon....

This will always be home....

 It really is so nice to be home.  I love spending time with my brothers and my parents and most of all my nephews. Here are a few pictures of the boys from their sleepover with Auntie NeeNee (me).

Oliver eating his Goldfish.
Daddy gave Ollie crazy hair.
Aedan being a ham.
Aedan playing dead.
Brothers climbing Nana's tree.
I was also able to spend some time with my niece Mehgan and my BFF Chelle.  We went to Castle Island for dinner and a walk along the water, it is one of my favorite places in Boston.  I have been going there practically since birth.

There is a great clam shack (for lack of a better word) named Sullivan's that has hot dogs, burgers, fries, fried seafood, and the best onion rings I had had in a good long time.  We got a little of everything and shared.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of our dinner.

We had perfect weather, perfect company and a perfect dinner.  Here are some of the pictures from that night.

My girls :) Chelle on the left and Mehgan on the right.

I am planning a few more posts before I head back to Utah in two weeks so stay tuned.

Talk with you soon....