8.30.2010

The aftermath of a storm; fried green tomatoes!

Last week Boston endured a couple of wet and very windy days. Possibly of a hint of things to come with the imminent approach of hurricane season. Unfortunately, we suffered a few mishaps in the garden as a result of the wind. PAB was brushing his teeth and staring out the bathroom window, distractedly admiring the ability of the plants to endure such a wind storm. In dramatic fashion, a particularly strong gust lifts up our crappy, plastic table and plunges it, like a guillotine, against the base of two robust tomato plants. Dashing out to the deck, the worst of PAB's fears were confirmed with both plants nearly snapped off at the base. Twenty promising, vibrantly green tomatoes (heirloom yellows) remained attached to plants that were no longer viable. As the rain started to soak through his clothing, a simple idea emerged that seemed like a ray of sunshine poking through the storm and shedding new light on this unfortunate circumstance... Fried Green Tomatoes!!  (In reality, it kept raining for at least another day...)
The impetus for this solution must be credited to ELZ's mother. Upon admiring her tomato plants (one has emerged from between the patio bricks and thrived, the progeny of a previous year's planting), she commented that some wild critters had been stealing all the tomatoes as they started to ripen. Her solution to this theft was to pick them early and make fried green tomatoes. In his ignorance, PAB had inquired about this process and learned of a new way to eat unripened fruit. 
Not nearly ripe?! Eat them anyways!
Mmmm, butter & olive oil....
Greek style salad that paired well with the fried tomatoes
Always willing to help
The basil/mayo spread!

Fried Green Tomatoes!


About four servings
Total time: 45 minutes


Ingredients:
  • 8 slices of hearty bread
  • Handful of lettuce
  • 4 medium green tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 8 slices of bacon
  • 1/3 cup pesto (or 1 cup fresh basil leaves, pureed)
  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon dijon mustard
Directions:
- Cook bacon in a skillet, medium low heat for 10-15 minutes, until crisp
- Meanwhile, slice tomatoes into 1/3 inch thick rounds
- Place 1/4 cup flour in one bowl, beaten eggs in another and the remainder of flour & cornmeal in a third bowl
- Dip both sides of the tomatoes in the flour, then eggs and finally in the flour/cornmeal. Set finished tomatoes on a wire rack to avoid sticking & losing the coating
- Heat cast iron skillet to medium-high with olive oil & 1 tablespoon of butter. Fry each side of the tomatoes for about 2 minutes (until golden brown). Between batches, add the remaining tablespoon of butter. Transfer any finished tomatoes to the wire rack and place in the over ( 200 degrees to keep them warm).
- Mix together the pesto, mayo, lemon juice and mustard to form a spread, season with salt/pepper
- Toast the bread
- Assemble each sandwich with fried tomatoes, lettuce, basil/mayo spread & bacon. Enjoy!
The finished product!
ELZ + PAB's review: Definitely an interesting recipe to make use of unripe tomatoes. Certainly not our favorite way to enjoy this icon of summer, we prefer them red (or yellow). However, this did not stop PAB from consuming a second sandwich. Also, not the healthiest way to enjoy tomatoes! Paired well with the pictured Greek style salad.


Waste not, want not
elz + pab
Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches on Foodista

8.28.2010

lordy, lordy...we found a keeper


Lord Hobo
92 Hampshire Street
Cambridge, MA 02139-1504
(617) 250-8454
Open Weekdays 5pm-1am; Weekends 1pm-1am

WHO: ELZ + PAB, plus friends RBJ + MSR
WHEN: August 2010

Lord Hobo is a great spot for food & drink in Cambridge, located near Central Square.  It is a definitely a bar, but great for catching a meal.  The food is awesome, and there are spacious tables & booths to fit comfortably (you know, like how you want to be close to your friends...but not too close).  Lord Hobo boasts an expansive draft list (40 beers in August 2010), which they update regularly on their website.  Not a beer fan?  Never fear, their wine list & cocktail menu look amazing too.  ELZ has already decided that she would like to try the Cat Wagon (rain red grape hibiscus vodka, clear creek raspberry, lillet blonde, fresh lemon, topped with prosecco) on our next visit.


We really liked this place because the music was not too loud for a Thursday night.  Some bars make it difficult to hold conversations, especially while eating, but not Lord Hobo.  (PAB always yells when he talks, so no real difference for him) We were able to catch up with good friends over good food & good drinks, without a ringing in our ears or sore throat after the fact.  And a note on the food - it is great.  Good apps for sharing, interesting menu choices.

We highly recommend Lord Hobo to anyone interested in checking out a new place in the Cambridge area!  



elz + pab rating: 
We could easily be a regular here
food (for a bar): 8.5 of 10 
drink (awesome beer selection): 9 out of 10 
service (our waiter could have been more attentive): 7 of 10 

Waste not, want not
elz + pab

8.27.2010

PAB's guac is better than your guac, says ELZ


PAB can whip up an amazing guacamole, mostly due to an extended period of cohabitation with JJZ.  Its an amazing leftover that is actually being enjoyed as we type up this blog post...its a yellow-tomato variety with some white corn tortilla chips.  We made this guac the night ELZ's brother came to our place for din.  Even though the guac sat out all throughout dinner & drinks, finally making it to the refrigerator just before bed, it didn't brown over and has made for a perfect morning treat. 
So what's the difference between using yellow & red tomatoes?  Yellow tomatoes are less acidic than red, meaning people with sensitive stomachs can usually tolerate more yellow tomatoes better than red.  Also, because yellow tomatoes are less acidic, they produce a sweeter taste. We had to double up on the peppers to achieve the spicy taste we both love in our guac.
As far as substituting yellow for red, go for it!  Some suggest adding vinegar compensate for the lower acidity level found in yellow tomatoes, which may be required for the overall taste of a certain recipe.  But it can be a no-brainer substitution for things like salads, salsas, pizzas, and sauces. 
PAB's GUACAMOLE



About six servings
Total time: 20 minutes


Ingredients:
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 of a tomato, seeds removed, chopped
  • 1/2 of a small red onion, minced
  • 1 habanero pepper, seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoons of minced cilantro, if you have it
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Juice of one lime
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Directions:
- Place avocados in large bowl, lightly mash with fork
- Add other ingredients
- Mix until all ingredients are well distributed
- Transfer to serving bowl & let sit for 15 minutes so the lime juice can absorb
- Serve or refrigerate for use within a couple hours



ELZ & PAB's review: We probably don't need this section here, because we are obviously both huge fans...but we wanted to keep with our posting theme.  This beats your regular old store-made guac anyday!


Waste not, want not
elz + pab




Guacamole With Yellow Tomatoes on Foodista

8.25.2010

leftover buns? make salmon burgers!

SALMON BURGERS WITH HONEY-MUSTARD-HORSERADISH GLAZE & GRILLED TOMATOES

We had a few extra buns from the lamb burgers and the local farmer's market had us awash in corn & tomatoes. Browsing through a magazine, Food & Wine - June 2010, we found some ideas for the grill. We always love throwing corn on the grill, initially keeping it in the husk allow it to steam for a few minutes. Husking and finishing on the grill will give it a wonderful, smoky flavor. We also enjoy keeping the skin on the salmon and cooking skin side down without flipping. The fat in the skin keeps the fish from drying out and refraining from flipping ensures that the smaller fillets will not fall apart.    

Makes two servings
Total Prep time: 20 minutes
Total Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • Two 4-ounce wild salmon fillets (skin on)
  • 3 tablespoons horseradish
  • 3 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 large heirloom tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • French bread, sliced & buttered
  • Local corn

Directions: 
- Light grill and allow to pre-heat 
- Combine tomatoes with olive oil and balsamic, wrap tightly in foil pouches, place on grill
Who doesn't love fresh tomatoes?!


Prepping the tomatoes for the grill



- 5 minutes after tomatoes went on the grill, add the corn (husks on)
- Combine the glaze (horseradish, dijon & honey) in small bowl
- Rub salmon with vegetable oil, liberally season with salt & pepper
- 5 minutes after corn went on the grill, place fish on (skin side down) and spread half the glaze on top.
- Take off the corn, carefully husk & place back on the grill with the buttered slices of French bread. Keep rotating the corn & bread so it does not char. 
- Once fish has been on the grill for approx 6 minutes, pull everything off.
- Carefully open the foil packets and spoon tomatoes onto grilled bread slices.
- Serve salmon on toasted buns with the remainder of the glaze. Enjoy!  

Prepping the salmon glaze: mustard, mayo, horseradish & honey

All fired up, let's grill

Almost ready: glazed salmon, grilled corn, grilled tomatoes & toast, buns

Fresh grilled corn, delish

Grilled heirloom tomatoes

The AWESOME red wine gifted to us by ELZ's brother, thank you

ELZ + PAB's review: We really enjoyed the salmon sandwiches but were not thrilled with the grilled tomato pouches. This time of year the heirloom tomatoes you can find at the farmer's market are wonderful, cheap ($3/lb!!) and too good for steaming on the grill. The same can be said of the taste & affordability of the corn, but it is delicious on the grill! We really enjoy it slightly charred with just a pinch of salt.  

Waste not, want not
elz + pab

Salmon Burgers With Honey Mustard Horseradish Glaze on Foodista

8.24.2010

loving local: massachusetts farmers market week!


LOVING LOCAL encourages bloggers and readers to donate to the Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Markets. This charitable nonprofit organization helps farmers markets throughout Massachusetts. It fosters farming, nutrition, and social interaction in the Bay State. Please consider a donation to this worthy cause.

Also, check out the host blog, In Our Grandmothers' Kitchens, for daily updates from all the participating bloggers.

Waste not, want not
elz + pab

8.22.2010

lamb burgers with apple relish & creamy chive mayo


We decided to make use of the grill tonight, cooking up some lamb burgers with fresh veggies. ELZ's brother came to town, so we opted for this easy recipe to allow for conversation throughout the cooking process. (We are not yet able to be ready with dinner in advance of our guests arriving, we are working on it.  Kind of. Ok, not really.)
LAMB BURGERS WITH APPLE RELISH & CREAMY CHIVE MAYO


Makes five burgers
Total prep time: 30 minutes
Total cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients for the burgers:
  • 3/4 of a pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • Sesame seed buns
Ingredients for apple relish:
  • 3 green apples, diced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for chive mayo:
  • 1/2 cup of non-fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon each of salt & pepper


Directions:
- Preheat your grill to medium-high.  
- Combine the beef, lamb, rosemary, and salt in a medium bowl, forming into five patties.
- In a small bowl, combine the mayo ingredients.  
- In another medium bowl, combine apple relish ingredients.
- Grill the patties on each side for about four minutes (med rare)
- Toast the buns & spread each one with mayo. 
- Add the burger & top with apple relish. Enjoy!


ELZ & PAB's review:  A modification of an epicurious.com recipe, we substituted ground lamb for the pork, and didn't include the sage or spinach.  A definite success, as there were no leftovers.  As you can see in the last picture, PAB had no issues polishing off the last of the apple relish.  We absolutely recommend this recipe & will make again before the grill season ends! (Does it ever end?? Not according to PAB.)

Waste not, want not
elz + pab


Lamb Burgers With Apple Relish & Creamy Chive Mayo

8.20.2010

the butcher shop: boston (south end)




The Butcher Shop
552 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02118

(617) 423-4800
Mon & Sun 11am-10pm; Tue-Sat 11am-11pm
http://www.thebutchershopboston.com/

WHO: ELZ + PAB
WHEN: August 2010





ELZ ordered off the restaurant week menu ($33/three courses) while PAB ordered off the regular menu.  We enjoy sharing items in order to sample a wider spectrum of the menu and tonight was no different (PAB usually makes out well in this regard, definitely consuming more than one portion). 
This evening we sampled the:
  • fennel & corn soup(delicious)
  • steak tartare
  • flat iron steak
  • capellini & polpette
  • a side of lentils
  • chocolate mousse
As to be expected, the steak was excellent. The polpette were rooster meatballs that had an excellent, rich flavor.  We also ordered a bottle of house wine of the day, which ELZ really liked.  A red Austrian Blaufrankisch, very smooth & balanced.

Knowledgeable waitstaff:
we had a super friendly waitress who knew the menu & extensive wine list well, a definite plus in elz's book. 
The atmosphere was fairly modern, very clean & sharp decor.  A small corner space, the restaurant boasts exposed brick & cool design elements.  A chalkboard wall displays the daily specials, and the meat refrigerator in the back houses fresh meats which are sold by the in-house butcher daily until 8pm.
ELZ thought it was too hot in the restaurant, but PAB assured her it was because they had biked over in the summer heat to the South End restaurant from their Beacon Hill abode, a couple miles away. (You would think the newly found Bikram Yoga hobby would have helped regulate ELZ’s body temperature.)
Heads up! Be warned - it is a small space.  This place does not take reservations (except during restaurant week), so be prepared to wait for a table on any given night of the week.  And, there is also a good chance that once you are seated, it may be a bar stool, since 1/2 the total seating is located at the bar.

Nice addition? They sent us home with a copy of the menu & the label from our wine bottle:


elz + pab rating: 
Will recommend to friends, if we haven't already...
food: 8.5 of 10
service: 8 of 10

Waste not, want not
elz + pab