Friday, September 30, 2011

Caramelized Fresh Figs with Honeyed Cream

One of the fascinating benefits to this interwebz we surf (for hours on end) is its power to connect people across the world.  Imagine my surprise (!) to find that there are people out there who, to date, have followed a meandering path similar to mine―meaning, first soprano-ing at music school, and then food bloggery.

Coco of Opera Girl Cooks is one of those people, and I have the pleasure of guest posting on her blog today.   I hope you'll click over to find a story and my recipe for Caramelized Fresh Figs with Honeyed Cream, which we've been enjoying here as summer tiptoes out of Boston.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sichuan Gourmet: A Spicy Cuisine, with Depth of Flavor

What you’ve heard about Sichuan cuisine is true: it can bring the heat.

I’m no stranger to a bit of spice, either in restaurants or in my own cooking (and yes, I’ve eaten many a hot pepper on a double-dog-dare).  But what I love about good Sichuan food, and about Sichuan Gourmet on Beacon Street, is the depth of flavor that’s evident alongside the spice.  Here you’ll find a chorus of tastes—ginger, sesame oil, garlic, chili, and Sichuan peppercorns singing in harmony together, in nuances that reach far beyond the mere marker of “spicy.”

Take the Xiang La Twin Lobster as an example; sure, it might make your tongue tingle, but there’s also notes of a savory blend similar to five-spice powder, and the fruitiness of Sichuan peppercorns.  Or take the Cheng Du Spicy Dumplings, filled with succulent pork, and slippery with a sauce that’s sweet and dark and full of fire.  A mound of crushed raw garlic on top adds a pungent sharpness, for a different kind of spice.
Read the rest of this review at the Brookline Patch...

Friday, September 23, 2011


Sweet Cheese Brioche with blueberries,
orange blossom lemonade,
Sour Cream Donut with cocoa nibs

I have a real yen for small plates.  Tapas, mezze, antipasti, appetizers, you name it.  It's not that I can't make up my mind, or that I get bored with full-size dishes―I just feel the craving to taste as many recipes and flavors as I can.  No stone left unturned, no dish left untasted!

That's why I swooned when I saw the mezze bar at Sofra.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Bites Nearby: Back-to-School Special

Ease back into your studying groove with pizza, subs, wings, and more

Read this review at the Brookline Patch...

Monday, September 12, 2011

crostini with ricotta, honey, and lavender

There aren't a lot of naturally purple foods out there.  Grapes, plums, olives, a few berries, a couple of vegetables, a couple of grains.  Barring kool-aid and that one short-lived purple ketchup, that's pretty much it.  And trust me, I never thought I'd be on here lamenting the lack of purple foods in the world.  But that was before Heidi's bridal shower.

My dear friend Heidi's love of purple verges on obsession.  Purple sheets, purple towels, purple notebooks, a purple potato scrubber.  I'm sure that if she could, she would dye her fiance Bill's beard purple.  So naturally, the theme of her bridal shower was "purple."  

Sunday, September 4, 2011

La Morra: Flavors of Tuscany, from a Wood-Fired Grill

Brookline Village spot delivers some hits, a couple of misses, and one stupendous dessert
La Morra, it seems, is the little restaurant that could, back on its feet now after a kitchen fire in early March closed the place for several months.  The Tuscan-style dishes, particularly those prepared on the restaurant’s wood-fired grill, are an appetizing homage to the time owners Jen and Josh Ziskin spent in Italy, and the chic bar and trendy exposed-brick interior can almost make you forget you’re staring straight out the window at Route 9.

Stop in for a drink and you’ll find a parade of characters at the bar, where the colorful cocktails remind me of little society ladies, each with their own flair.  Tall, slim Violette is a vision in lavender, a mix of Hendrick’s gin and crème de violet draped in a yellow scarf of lemon peel; Ras’rita is a plump and jolly grande dame in a gown of deep pink raspberry and tequila, with thick wedges of lemon and lime plunked on the rim of the glass like two chunky rings of gold and emerald.  She’s loud where Violette is quiet, cloying where Violette is subtle, but they’re both a good time in their own way.
Read the rest of this review at the Brookline Patch...