A Global Gallery of a World of Food

Normally you would see a post about my favorite recipe or restaurant this week but this is something I wanted to switch it up for.
 
Instagramers Gallery. The largest digital photography gallery with a really cool background story. It was started by two Spanish creative professionals, with backgrounds in both tech and art, who wanted to change the world of digital photography and sharing. They launched a trilogy of projects to spread the movement: one being a physical Instagramers Gallery in Miami, two a $1000 daily prize that will be awarded for the most favored pic, and three, a grand prize of $100,000 (the largest photography prize to date) that will be awarded to a lucky individual in the Spring of 2014.
 
Here’s the photo I posted–I’m dreaming it wins (fingers crossed!)
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This is an awesome opportunity for my fellow foodies to flaunt off your fantastic food, whether it’s a meal you cooked or an amazing meal at a restaurant. Share it, you have nothing to lose!
 
It’s so easy to sign up PLUS you have a chance to win some cash (shopping spree anyone?!).

This is the world’s first museum to grow from a social network and to have both digital and physical editions–and you can be a part of it! But until next time, keep eating (and sharing those photos)!

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Not Your Typical Hotdog

Yesterday the weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky. While my trusty phone app told me it was going to rain, the weather gods pulled through and gave us endless amounts of sunshine. My mom and brother came in for the day and I had to take them to Madison Square Eats. It’s only around September 27 to October 25 and it’s amazing.

There are at least 20 different food ‘stalls’ lined in rows with every type of cuisine you could imagine. My mom and I had been once before and knew to make a beeline for our two favorite stalls: Red Hook Lobster and Asia Dog. Red Hook lobster has THE BEST lobster rolls in the world. We both ordered the ‘Maine style lobster roll:’ chunks of fresh Maine lobster salad atop a toasted hot dog bun. The lobster was tender and juicy and the roll was the perfect amount of crisp. Can you say heaven?!

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We devoured those in minutes. Then it was on to Asia Dog. I’m not a huge hotdog fan but when it comes to these I can’t get enough. This isn’t you typical hotdog. Since we couldn’t each just choose one, we opted for two different Asia dogs: the Vinh and the Sidney.

You start with a base (we chose the organic beef hotdog) and then chose toppings. The Vinh is: aioli + pate + cucumbers + pickled carrot and daikon + cilantro + jalapeno. YUM. I never would have guessed these combinations of different flavors would work as a hotdog topping–it sure beats ketchup and mustard. Our second hotdog (the Sidney) was: relish with mango + cucumber + red onion + cilantro + crushed peanuts + fish sauce. Another one for the win, Asia Dog is killing it with the flavor profiles.

If you haven’t been to Madison Square Eats, I recommend you go! Just remember to go on an empty stomach, you’ll want to eat everything there (I’m not kidding). There are so many other stalls I wanted to try but my eyes were bigger than my stomach that day. If anyone has been and has tried any other glorious food, please let me know! I know I’ll be making a trip to the actual Asia Dog restaurant. But until next time, keep eating!

It’s Lobstaaa Time!

Fresh steamed lobsters? Check.  Steamed Jersey corn on the cob? Check. Melted butter for dipping lobster into? Check.  Fresh medley pie for dessert? Check.  Put all those things together and what do you get? An absolutely delicious meal.

I would eat lobster every day if I could BUT if you eat something every single day you’ll start to get sick of it and that would be devastating (it’s happened to some of my family and I’m certainly NOT taking any chances).

This meal reminds me so much of Maine. My grandmother was from there and I have vivid memories of taking a road trip up there eating fresh lobster (literally having just been brought up from their traps in the sea) and picking fresh blueberries from a field. So when my mom suggested lobster the other night for dinner, needless to say I was on board.

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The fact that this meal is super easy too, is another bonus. All you need to do is buy however many lobsters you would like at your local grocery store (and they’ll even steam them for you which saves you a step). Once you have those, you’re all set to go. For the corn simply husk it and put it in a pot large enough so that when you cover them with water and turn the heat to high, they won’t boil over.  Boil then for no longer than 10 minutes. Talk about fast. For the butter, take a stick (or two) and melt them in a measuring cup until creamy. Pour into a dish and voila, melted butter—need I say more? For the pie, if you’re a master chef and can whip up a fresh pie in no time, I commend you. As for me, I prefer to buy mine from a local market. Heat that up in the oven and serve!

Throw some newspaper on your table for an authentic Maine feel (or for an easier cleanup) and dig in. It’s a messy meal—certainly NOT a good date food, I promise you.  This makes for an awesome summer meal you must try! But until next time, keep eating!

I’m in Love With a Flexitarian

I just have to say…Mark Bittman, I love you.

One of my favorite sources to find recipes has to be Mark Bittman’s column in the NY Times. His recipes are simple yet delicious, making it extremely easy to eat good food that’s healthy for you. His most recent recipe (which naturally I had to make) was Pasta alla Norma—and it was to die for.

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For the recipe you’ll need: 1 ½ pounds of eggplant, cut into decent –sized chunks; 1 tbsp. of chopped garlic (I took the easier approach put the garlic through a mincer); 3-4 dried chiles (I left these out but by all means add them if you want a nice kick to your dish); 1 ½ pounds of tomatoes—his recipe calls for fresh but canned work just as well!; 1 teaspoon dried oregano; 1 pound of pasta–I used this amazing big rigatoni from Eataly (my mom and I were calling it “big rig” by the end of the night); ½ cup chopped parsley or basil; and last but not least, ½ cup grated ricotta salata.

Simply cook the eggplant in lots and lots of olive oil (good thing it’s heart healthy!), and season with salt and pepper. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the box. Once the eggplant is nice and brown, remove and sauté the garlic (and chiles if you use them), then add the tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper, and cook until ‘saucy’ (his words not mine).  When the pasta is done, strain and add to the tomato/garlic mixture, top with grated ricotta salata, and there you have it! Pasta alla Norma cooked from scratch. This is a dish that is guaranteed to impress any guest!

If you haven’t seen Mark Bittman’s column in the NY Times, check it out! He takes wonderful ingredients and turns them into a fabulous meal that doesn’t take much time at all. Trust me, his recipes won’t disappoint you. Try some of his recipes and let me know which ones are your favorites—I’d love to blog about them! But until next time, keep eating!

A Shrimp Tale

I’ve found that if you’re looking for an easy, simple dinner, shrimp are your answer.  I personally prefer lighter food in the summer, especially when it’s unbearably hot outside. Tonight’s menu is shrimp: 2 ways. I decided to take a spicy bolder approach with curried shrimp over a pineapple salsa as well as a more classic approach of juicy, crunchy coconut shrimp. Both are easy and utterly delicious.

Let’s start with the curried shrimp served over a tangy, spicy pineapple salsa. For the salsa, you want to take pineapple (I used a cored one just to make it even easier), and chop that into cubes. You then want to seed and mince one jalapeno pepper, coarsely chop up some cilantro, season with a healthy dose of salt and pepper, mix up, and serve. Talk about easy. For the shrimp, all you need to do is defrost about 1 ½ lbs. of shrimp and toss with ¾ teaspoon of curry powder, salt and pepper. Add to a skillet and cook until done. I found this wonderful recipe from a Martha Stewart Everyday Living cookbook (or you can find it at: http://www.marthastewart.com/341234/pineapple-salsa?czone=food%2Fbest-grilling-recipes%2Fmenus-and-more).

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For the coconut shrimp, I relied on Gojee to find a recipe (I had never heard of this app before and let me tell you it’s incredibly helpful—definitely a must to check out). It led me to this awesome recipe for coconut shrimp. It’s quick and easy. I haven’t had coconut shrimp in a while and preparing this reminded me of how much I love them…..this will definitely become a regular meal of mine. For the recipe check out Mehan’s Kitchen at: http://mehanskitchen.blogspot.com/2010/01/coconut-shrimp.html.

Try both these recipes and let me know what you think! You can never go wrong with shrimp when it comes to a light and easy summer meal. If anyone has any other seafood recipes they are willing to share, please do! (And I’d be more than happy to re-post them on my blog!) But until next time, keep eating!

Ode to the Humble Chickpea

Naked Chip Update: I’m home, recently graduated, and am looking for a PR/marketing job in the culinary world…..is anyone out there???

Now that I’m home I have more free time on my hands. Not to mention more pots and pans, an array of spices, more counter space, and more food in general to work with.  My dorm kitchen seems minuscule to my kitchen at home. Oh have I missed this….

Since I have so much free time on my hands, I can exercise my creative license when it comes to food. On the menu today: chickpeas. Chickpeas are somewhat of a miracle food—they are loaded with protein (which is great for your waistline) and even happen to taste delicious.  They are versatile, allowing you to do many things with them. You can season and roast them to make a delicious snack, turn them into hummus, eat them plain, or mix them into a salad.

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I decided to mix them into a salad. Yes Greek salad (I simply love all the flavors as seen in my earlier post It’s All Greek to Me!). You can’t go wrong with a simple Greek salad. It’s light and refreshing and perfect for a hot, humid, summer day—and trust me, living in New Jersey it’s hot and humid EVERY day, so I’m always on the lookout for a good summer salad.  All you do is mix together olive oil, lemon juice, red onion, cucumber, grape tomatoes, feta, chickpeas, olives, parsley, and salt and pepper. It’s as simple as that. What’s so great about it is that you can store it and take it as a quick on-the-go lunch if you’re in a hurry or make a huge batch of it for a party.

If anyone knows of any other great recipes using chickpeas, please don’t hesitate! I would love to know! But until next time, keep eating!

I Love Bond (no, not THAT Bond)

My friend Alexa is the best at picking out awesome restaurants–I owe a lot of the food on this blog to her fabulous finds. For her birthday, a group of us went to Bond, in the Langham Hotel. If you’re ever looking for a place with a elegant, “loungy” vibe, check this place out. The lounge setting fits its menu–smaller dishes for a sophisticated palate.

Bond Restaurant Tuna TartarMy friend and I split this incredibly fresh tuna tartar, a crispy sweet chili and black sesame glazed calamari, and a bread basket that was simply divine–it was served with this Maine butter topped with sea salt–talk about mouthwatering. The flavors that these foods combine could not work more perfectly. And one of my favorite things was that they served their calamari with chopsticks–how cool! We managed to eat everything without taking a breath. I wanted to order EVERY SINGLE THING on the menu (but that would have left me flat broke.) Other menu items included an artisan cheeseboard, smoked pork arancini, spicy lamb meatballs, a BBQ duck flatbread (it was hard to refrain myself from ordering this since all I need to see is the word BBQ and I’m sold), thai basil spring rolls, angus sliders and so much more–sorry for practically naming half the menu, I seem to be hungry as I’m writing this.

Bond Restaurant Calamari

The hotel is easily accessible and the vibe of the restaurant gives you a reason to dress up (and I’m always looking for an excuse to throw a statement necklace and heels on!) If you’re looking for a great place to go with a group of girlfriends or just want a drink and appetizer after work, Bond is a fabulous place for just that. But until next time, keep eating!

Breakfast All Day, Every Day

I never thought I would like leeks as a breakfast food, but boy was I wrong. Brunch has to be one of my favorite meals ever. I could eat breakfast food all day every day (breakfast for dinner is absolutely the best). Having breakfast for dinner almost feels like you’re doing something wrong, since eggs are typically thought of as a morning food, but that’s what makes it so much better.

The weather is finally getting nicer in Boston (HOPEFULLY no more snow….) so my friends and I planned on going out for brunch. The restaurant was in Boston’s South End, an area that is so cute and beautiful that I wish I went there more often. After finally finding a parking spot we walked to this small but absolutely outstanding restaurant: Aquitaine. The decor of the place was classy and elegant and their food was to die for.

The one thing I appreciated was their ‘prix fixe brunch’ menu (because I always love a good bargain–especially when it comes to food). That included a fresh, warm, gooey cinnamon roll, bottomless coffee, orange juice, and an omelette served with breakfast potatoes and toast all for about 10 dollars. Talk about a DEAL. I ordered the mushroom, leek, and Boursin omelette–I practically licked the plate clean! I can proudly say I was a member of the clean plate club today–something I’m never ashamed to admit. There was the perfect amount of mushrooms and leeks to cheese. Everything was cooked to a T. Trust me it’s going to be hard NOT to become a member of the clean plate club.

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I would go back in a heartbeat and honestly probably order the same thing–(hmm maybe a different omelette just to be adventurous). If you ever have a lazy weekend and don’t want to cook for a change, I can’t recommend Aquitaine enough–kudos to my friend for finding it. But until next time, keep eating!

What’s for Dinner? Homemade Pizza

If you’re ever looking for a quick, easy meal, homemade pizza is your savior. Most grocery stores sell pre-made dough (I would love to learn how to make dough but it’s not very practical in a college dorm), and then pick up some cheese and whatever toppings you’re in the mood for and you’re good to go!

My friend and I were craving veggie pizza, so we practically sprinted to Shaw’s to pick up the ingredients (since it was raining and incredibly windy outside). We bought eggplant, red peppers, shredded mozzarella, tomato, and shallots–but if veggies don’t appeal to you, you can add whatever you want (try some pepperoni if you’re a meat lover, or different kinds of cheeses if you simply can’t get enough cheese). Buy any type of sauce–if you want to be adventurous, try a spicy sauce or even a white sauce! One of  the best things about pre-made dough is that it only takes about 15 minutes to cook–which was perfect because we were starving (a video of our food-making process will be in my next post).

And, since the whole purpose of my blog is to ‘spice up my life’ through food, I naturally added a myriad of spices to my pizza. If I tell you all the spices I used, you’d look at me crazy–but it turned out to be delicious. I suggest adding some garlic salt and Italian seasoning for some flavor.

Cooking food is one of the best activities to do on a rainy day and it lets you be creative! So if you ever need a cheap, quick, easy meal, go for the homemade pizza–it’s a crowd pleaser. But until next time, keep eating!

The Joys of Late Night Eating

As my time as a college student is coming to an end, I can proudly say I’ve learned many things. One thing (aside from what I learned in school of course) is that all college kids know how to master the art of eating between the ages of midnight and 5am. These are what we call the ‘prime hours,’–any college student could tell you. These are the times when you’ll want to have some chips or Easy Mac at hand (all that greasy food that I know you’ve bee trying to avoid).

I’m not going to lie, I am strong advocate of late night eating. While everyone says it can be one of the worst things to do for your body (but then again how else would you gain the freshman fifteen that I mentioned in an earlier post?), there is nothing I enjoy doing more than getting back from a night out and immediately stuffing my face with the worst food possible. My food of choice: pizza.

In Boston, you’ll come to find, that one of the most popular places for late night eating is T’Anthony’s (aside from 2am Dominos delivery of course). There’s something about their pizza that makes it so popular–especially within the late night crowd. The combination of the grease, cheese, and crust will satisfy your late night craving instantly. I’m a huge fan of the crust and T’ Anthony’s pizza crust has earned a spot among my favorites.

If you like classier pizza, check out Otto, a pizza place that recently opened up on Commonwealth Ave. in the heart of BU’s campus. And let me tell you, it’s not just your average pizza. One of my personal favorites is the pulled pork and mango pizza–not your typical combination, but it works! It’s on the lighter side, which I appreciate, you might end up finding yourself eating three or four slices in one sitting. If you’re ever in the area and are craving pizza, check out either one of these places! But until next time, keep eating!