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eG Foodblog: Ninetofive - January in New England


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Diana, I meant to add earlier that I share your early rising habit.  I have to get up at 4:30 a.m. to exercise.  I have an elliptical machine in my basement.  Even though it's in my own home I have to force myself up!  AND, wow on the marathon  running!

Shelby, I'm not an early-riser by nature. Are you?

And I do sprint-distance triathlons, not marathons ... a whole other kettle of fish. I like to mix things up with swimming, biking and running. 26 miles of straight running would kill me.

No, I'm not--not that early anyway. 7-8 in the morning is a perfect time for me. In order to get up at 4:30 I have to go to bed by 9:30 p.m. at the latest. I have to exercise before work, though. I will talk myself out of it by the time I've had such a long day at work.

Triathlons --COOL!

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There's actually a huge Central and South American community in East Boston, Sandy.  I can walk off the T (Blue Line: Maverick station) and get Columbian roast chicken, Peruvian ceviche, lovely Mexican moles.  Of course, there's been a large Brazilian and Portugese population here for some time.  And you're right, we also have a lively Dominican and Jamaican community here in Boston, particularly in Dorchester and JP.

Shows you how much more the place has changed since I last lived there! I remember East Boston as all working-class Italian.

Edited to add: Or is it further up the line in Orient Heights?

Edited by MarketStEl (log)

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There's actually a huge Central and South American community in East Boston, Sandy.  I can walk off the T (Blue Line: Maverick station) and get Columbian roast chicken, Peruvian ceviche, lovely Mexican moles.  Of course, there's been a large Brazilian and Portugese population here for some time.  And you're right, we also have a lively Dominican and Jamaican community here in Boston, particularly in Dorchester and JP.

Shows you how much more the place has changed since I last lived there! I remember East Boston as all working-class Italian.

Edited to add: Or is it further up the line in Orient Heights?

East Boston still has pockets of "working class Italian" (Santarpio's pizza and Rino's being the best versions of Italian-American restaurants), but crowding around Maverick Station and Wood Island, especially are many, many South American restaurants and eateries. I actually use the Orient Heights stop to get to Morrocan in Winthrop. Talk about change!

Eating pizza with a fork and knife is like making love through an interpreter.
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Today's lunch:

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Green leaf lettuce topped with quartered Campari tomatoes, a "bit" of cheese (I'm having a bad day work-wise, so I get extra cheese today), leftover chicken breast from Monday night, and dressed with flaxseed oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh ground pepper, and smoked salt. Another typical lunch around here.

I was upset about some work stuff this a.m., which meant I didn't eat my breakfast as planned. The minutes I get stressed, I stop eating. It's not good, because now I'll be starving later on and more likely to eat stuff I try only to eat in moderation, like sweets, pasta or cheese.

Diana Burrell, freelance writer/author

The Renegade Writer's Query Letters That Rock (Marion Street Press, Nov. 2006)

DianaCooks.com

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I think you should eat some cheese, and I think you should buy it at Formaggio in Cambridge. And with that, I will stop hijacking your blog!

Eating pizza with a fork and knife is like making love through an interpreter.
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You are the first person I've run across in quite some time who refers to Greater Boston's mass transit agency with (1) more than one letter (2) the initials used to refer to it from 1947 to 1964.  You must be a longtime New Englander -- I didn't learn about the "T's" former identity until I read some local transit history and heard that campaign song made famous by the Kingston Trio.

Did Charlie get his CharlieCard™ yet?  Or is he still trapped on the Green Line?  :biggrin:

Yes, indeed I am. In fact, I'm a 13th or 14th generation New Englander on my father's side, descended from four Mayflower passengers -- but fairly new myself to the Boston area. I moved up here from Connecticut in 1996 when I met my husband. And yes, it's MBTA, but I slip with MTA because I used to spend more time in NYC.

I'm still not wholly comfortable in Boston like I am in New York, San Francisco, or London. I can figure out 50 ways to get from Connecticut to downtown Manhattan, but I panic trying to figure out how to get to Logan 30 miles out. (I try to fly out of Manchester, NH instead.)

Not food related, but there ya go.

Diana Burrell, freelance writer/author

The Renegade Writer's Query Letters That Rock (Marion Street Press, Nov. 2006)

DianaCooks.com

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I think you should eat some cheese, and I think you should buy it at Formaggio in Cambridge.  And with that, I will stop hijacking your blog!

Heh, heh, I'm thinking of driving in tomorrow, with an additional pitstop at Hi-Rise Bakery. Damn if the parking around there stinks, though, esp. with the snow.

Diana Burrell, freelance writer/author

The Renegade Writer's Query Letters That Rock (Marion Street Press, Nov. 2006)

DianaCooks.com

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Suggestion...In Julia Child's "The French Chef Cookbook" she discusses the Belgian Endive, and I quote "...shave any discolored bits off the root end, being careful not to loosen the outer leaves"...."you may core a cone-shaped piece out of the root if you wish."

She also suggests blanching for ten minutes in boiling salted water before proceeding to any recipe, to remove some bitterness, particularly with end-of-season endives.

Thank you Ted for those suggestions. I'll revisit endives again later this spring using these (and Abra's) suggestions. I don't like to give up on a veggie until I've exhausted the possibilities.

Diana Burrell, freelance writer/author

The Renegade Writer's Query Letters That Rock (Marion Street Press, Nov. 2006)

DianaCooks.com

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Yes, indeed I am. In fact, I'm a 13th or 14th generation New Englander on my father's side, descended from four Mayflower passengers -- but fairly new myself to the Boston area. I moved up here from Connecticut in 1996 when I met my husband. And yes, it's MBTA, but I slip with MTA because I used to spend more time in NYC.

I'm still not wholly comfortable in Boston like I am in New York, San Francisco, or London. I can figure out 50 ways to get from Connecticut to downtown Manhattan, but I panic trying to figure out how to get to Logan 30 miles out. (I try to fly out of Manchester, NH instead.)

Not food related, but there ya go.

Yay for New Englanders! I'm a John Winthrop descendant, though, no not quite as established as you. :wink:

That salad looks excellent...the smoked salt sounds especially tasty.

ETA: And oh my goodness, do the quail, egg and scallop sound amazing.

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

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Loving the blog. Unlike many of the other posters, I love to see all the snow ONLY because it shows me that other places have as much as we do!

I'm sorry if I missed it, and haven't had a chance to really look through your website (which I will do, as I'm one of those sort-of freelance food writers), but have you contributed to a cookbook?

and smoked salt.

Do you use it for anything else? I just spotted and picked up my first jar at Target and haven't done anything with it other than place a few crystals on my tongue to see if it really did taste smoky (it does!!).

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ninetofive, and Pam R: Whose smoke(d) salt do you use? I've been using the Danish Smoke Salt from Salt Traders. If there's a good, more universal source, I might try it.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Tonight was one of those nights when I didn't have anything planned for dinner. Thus, I treked down to the basement and opened up our chest freezer:

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This is a fairly large freezer, and as you can see, packed to the gills. On top I have several quarts of beef, veal, and chicken stock frozen into 1.5 cup containers, homemade veggie burgers, and red snapper from TJs that'll I use some weekend night for a quick dinner. The green bag holds frozen fruit for my husband's smoothies. Can you see cranberries peeking out from the ice cream cannister? I buy a couple bags during the winter so I have some handy in the summer. I do a lot of recipe development for magazines, so I'm always doing Thanksgiving recipes/testing midsummer. Try finding fresh cranberries in July!

Underneath all this stuff are FoodSaver-sealed pork and veggies from our CSA, plus other meats I've picked up in the past couple months. See the pureed butternut squash poking out there? We got a dozen squash on our last pickup. There's a lot of squash in that there freezer.

To get tonight's dinner, I have to dig around.

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I bought a whole pork shoulder last month from our local butcher and used some of the chilis I'd dried from my garden to create a sauce. (I roughly followed a recipe in Alice Waters' new cookbook.) After some hours of low cooking in a Dutch oven, the shoulder melted into the sauce. There was a huge amount of pulled pork, so I portioned most of it into FoodSaver bags, sealed them and stuck them in the freezer for nights like tonight.

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I :wub: my rice cooker. I cannot for the life of me make good rice on the stovetop.

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Dessert churned while the rice cooked and the pork thawed in the microwave. Once the Foodsaver bag was halfway thawed, I poured it into a pan and cooked over low heat.

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Dinner is served.

Remember I slept in this a.m.? Time to pay the piper. I drove to the gym, jumped on a treadmill, and sweat out the day's frustrations.

Then came home to this:

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The strawberry sour cream ice cream I made yesterday and churned before dinner. Yummy. You'll notice: just 3.1 ounces. :rolleyes:

Diana Burrell, freelance writer/author

The Renegade Writer's Query Letters That Rock (Marion Street Press, Nov. 2006)

DianaCooks.com

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ninetofive, and Pam R:  Whose smoke(d) salt do you use?  I've been using the Danish Smoke Salt from Salt Traders.  If there's a good, more universal source, I might try it.

Smithy, I have two kinds. The one I use on my salads is Bellamessa smoked sea salt flakes. I like this salt because you can rub it between your fingers to break up the crystals over a dish. I think I got this at our local Hannaford, a chain supermarket in the northeast, mostly NE.

The other salt is McCormick smoked flavor sea salt. It comes in a little grinder, and I got it either at Stop & Shop or Hannaford. I don't use it often.

I pulled out all my salts from the pantry and took a picture:

gallery_28661_5601_65896.jpg

I use that Redmond Sea Salt (in the bag over on the left) for my general cooking, versus the Morton iodized salt (that was in my husband's cupboard -- I might only use that stuff to put in hot water for a gargle). I also use the kosher salt a lot -- we probably go through a couple boxes each year. I like to use the Celtic gray salt for baking. I made some flavored salts as well: in the silver lidded jar over on the right is a rosemary salt I've used to season chicken and sprinkle on salads.

Diana Burrell, freelance writer/author

The Renegade Writer's Query Letters That Rock (Marion Street Press, Nov. 2006)

DianaCooks.com

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Thanks for the salt information!

I have to laugh at your freezer photo. Ours looks much the same, right down to the basket, the little round blue-lidded Ziploc™ containers, and the Barnes & Noble (!how's that for coincidence?!) bag holding packages of frozen stuff. I should say that ours DID look much the same until last weekend. My other half objects to opaque shopping bags, even if they do come from B&N, even if they have all the same thing in each bag. He still can't tell what's in an opaque bag. I repackaged those things.

I love the cute little boy face sneaking into the pic!

Edited to improve formatting

Edited by Smithy (log)

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Great to get a glimpse into your food world, Diana! I got an ice cream machine for Christmas and I still don't have your favorite book of 2007 yet (I have all of his others), but after seeing how wonderfully that ice cream turned out...

Edited by bleudauvergne (log)
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Guten tag!

This morning we had a parent/teacher conference at school. Oliver was very excited to come with us because they have a "discovery day" program where they bring out the toys while the parents meet with teachers. Oliver is entering his Jurassic phase -- my stepmother thinks boys go through a truck/car phase, then enter the dinosaur phase, and follow with a sports card phase. Hmmm. I'm betting O skips the sports cards and goes right to a Playstation 3. :hmmm:

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We got an excellent report. His teachers reminded me of a funny story that happened last summer w/ O, and since it's food related, I'll share. We were talking about how O always has an angle. The lead teacher noticed O always ate his two cookies first before turning to his sandwich, veggies, and fruit. One day she says, "You should eat your sandwich first, then eat your cookies." He thought about it for a couple seconds then says, "This is a SANDWICH cookie, so that makes it okay to eat first."

After the conference we all went out for breakfast. We love diner food and got good reports about Comets, a diner-type establishment in a strip mall in Tyngsboro:

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I got the breakfast burrito, hubby ordered a ham/sausage/mushroom/colby cheese omelet, and O got a Belgian waffle with ham.

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Here's where we're really careful about our food. I eat with a lot of people who go, "Oh, this is a treat, so I'm going to pig out." Although we adore big fatty breakfasts, we say instead, "We're only going to eat a small portion of this and bring the rest home for another meal (or two!)." And we eat very, very slowly, so by the end of our portion, we're full, but not FULL.

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My husband can still wear his clothes from college, so he can eat more than I can in a given meal. (I beg him not to wear his college jeans in public though -- they look like something Jon Bon Jovi wore back in the 80s. ETA: no, they look exactly like Marty McFly's jeans. Anyone remember that name?) I'll probably eat the rest of the burrito tomorrow, and to be honest, skip the homefries. Maybe hubby will eat my portion.

Edited by ninetofive (log)

Diana Burrell, freelance writer/author

The Renegade Writer's Query Letters That Rock (Marion Street Press, Nov. 2006)

DianaCooks.com

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ninetofive,

I have a rather silly question - why did you add vodka to the ice cream?

Were you just fooling? :blink:

It was probably to prevent it from freezing rock hard.

Cathrynapple is right. Especially when you have bits of fruit in the ice cream, a small amount of alcohol keeps those bits from freezing. It protects your teeth!

There was only a tablespoon of vodka in roughly a quart of ice cream. I cook with a lot of wine and alcohol. Not that I let my son do shots, but if he asks to taste something -- wine, beer, a bit of infused vodka -- I'll let him take a taste. When he has, he's absolutely disgusted. He does, however, love dishes like boeuf bourguignon, which has a deep, rich winey flavor. My three brothers and I were raised in a home where it was okay to have a glass of wine with dinner when we were teenagers. That may be atypical for American families, I don't know. For me, I never felt alcohol was "forbidden," thus I never saw the appeal of sneaking out to drink with my friends. Nor did my brothers.

Ok, i'm rambling. Sorry.

Diana Burrell, freelance writer/author

The Renegade Writer's Query Letters That Rock (Marion Street Press, Nov. 2006)

DianaCooks.com

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The Renegade Writer Blog

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Thanks for the salt information!

I have to laugh at your freezer photo.  Ours looks much the same, right down to the basket, the little round blue-lidded Ziploc containers, and the Barnes & Noble (!how's that for coincidence?!)  bag holding packages of frozen stuff.  I should say that ours DID look much the same until last weekend.  My other half objects to opaque shopping bags, even if they do come from B&N, even if they have all the same thing in each bag.  He still can't tell what's in an opaque bag.  I repackaged those things. 

I love the cute little boy face sneaking into the pic!

Haa! How coincidental is that???

I've really got to get down there and move things about -- I notice in the pic we have some frost building up on the side. My goal is to have that thing emptied out by April so we can give it a good thaw.

Diana Burrell, freelance writer/author

The Renegade Writer's Query Letters That Rock (Marion Street Press, Nov. 2006)

DianaCooks.com

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The Renegade Writer Blog

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Yay for New Englanders!  I'm a John Winthrop descendant, though, no not quite as established as you. :wink:

Megan, we're probably cousins. Chances are, if you descended from Winthrop, you descend from a couple other pilgrims, too -- their children and grandchildren ended up marrying one another.

I love the family history stuff. Some of my gr-gr-gr grandparents led very interesting lives.

But that's another story ....

Diana Burrell, freelance writer/author

The Renegade Writer's Query Letters That Rock (Marion Street Press, Nov. 2006)

DianaCooks.com

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Great to get a glimpse into your food world, Diana!  I got an ice cream machine for Christmas and I still don't have your favorite book of 2007 yet (I have all of his others), but after seeing how wonderfully that ice cream turned out...

Lucy, you must order it immediately from amazon! The other "ice cream" I like is the strawberry frozen yogurt. I make this a lot in the summer with nonfat Greek-style yogurt. It's so good, that on really hot days I eat it for breakfast.

Diana Burrell, freelance writer/author

The Renegade Writer's Query Letters That Rock (Marion Street Press, Nov. 2006)

DianaCooks.com

My eGullet blog

The Renegade Writer Blog

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