Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Spiced Almonds

I decided to spice up some almonds with garlic, paprika and chili powder for a heathier snack aternative for when that afternoon craving for sweets kicks in. Just one handful of almonds can provide a great deal of nutrients including, vitamin E, protein, and magnesium to name a few. They also may help in lowering cholesterol. The almond fruit is a drupe, and the seed inside is what we know as the nut. I am reminded of the days when I was studying neuroanatomy in college. It was easy to remember the almond shaped region deep within the brain called the amygdala (latin for almond) which is part of the part of the limbic system, or 'pleasure center of the brain'!

One thing to note about this recipe is to not use a lot of oil. I used a little too much and used the left over oil to spread on some bread and baked for delicious spiced toast bites for hummus dipping. Have fun and try out different spices!


2 cups whole, unsalted almonds
1 teaspoon tsp Garlic Salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder (optional)
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Roast almonds in skillet without oil for about 3min. Remove almonds from skillet and add oil, and spices. Let the spices mix for about 2 minutes. Add the almonds to the spicy oil mixture and cook for another few minutes. I also cooked in the on 250F for a few minutes since I used a little more oil. The added roasting time provided more flavor.

Spicy toast bites!


While enjoying some spiced almonds, check out Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling a band inspired by the 60's cult spi-fy TV show The Prisoner. Sophia Cacciola is the drummer and lead while Michael J. Epstein plays bass. They are both bandmates in The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library where I play some kalimba! Check out their next show coming up on Febuary 10th at Wellesley College where you can also experience and learn about the science of Miracle Fruit


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Guchi's Midnight Ramen: Good to the Last Slurp!

On January 16th,  I attended one of the premier opening evenings for the highly anticipated pop-up restaurant, Guchi's Midnight Ramen. Yet another culinary project co-creator of Dore Creperie, Vilas Dhar played a part in with mastermind chefs from O Ya, Yukihiro Kawaguchi (aka "Guchi"), Mark O' Leary, and O Ya alum, Tracy Chang. The result is a noodle dish unlike any other.  The opening nights took place at cozy Bondir in Cambridge. We were graced with a light dusting of snow that night which seemed perfect for the noodle slurping in the wee hours of the morning!

We were greeted by Vilas, Tracy, and friends upon arriving at Bondhir around 12:30AM. This was my first time in the space, and I will most definitely be heading back for dinner! The warm atmosphere made the event feel like an intimate dinner party with about 20 guests. With Brooklyn Lagers in hand, we were seated at our tables. Bandmate and food blogger extraordinaire, Rachel Leah Blumenthal of Fork it Over Boston and I sat at a table with two other bloggers; Patrick Maguire of I'm Your Server Not Your Servant, and Meredith Smith of Serious Eats. Thanks to Patrick, we were lucky enough to get a sneak peak behind the scenes as the noodle dishes were being constructed. We learned a few bits about the individual components of the noodle dish. The broth is cooked for 10hrs with pork and chicken. The noodles are, of course made by hand the same day, and each noodle dish is carefully arranged with precision and care.

"Guchi stands and watches the eggs cook for exactly 6 minutes" -  Mark O'Leary

Perfectly measured portions

After our paparazzi moment in the kitchen with Mark and Guchi, we went back to our table and were served a delightful pork bun appetizer with sweetened pork, cucumber and peanuts. 

(Meredith, me, Rachel)

When the highly anticipated noodles arrived at our table, I was immediately struck by the delicate placement of the egg, seaweed, perfectly cut pork slices, and equal ratio of noodle to broth. Then the slurping began! A camera was passed around to capture first slurps. The pictures were then printed and creatively posted on a cork board for all to enjoy.

The broth really made this noodle dish. Each and every bite was full of flavor. The egg added to the richness, and the pork was perfectly tender. There was also a condiment at the table called 'umami oil'  I'm not exactly sure what was in this condiment, but it definitely had bits of sweet goodness which added another dimension to the noodle dish. Before I knew it, I was left with a very small pool of broth in my bowl. It was a sad moment. I sat and stared at the bowl in disbelief before picking it up to take the last slurp.

We were then treated to some gooey green tea chocolate chip cookies and were given a packaged cookie to take home!

Right down to the last detail, Guchi's Midnight Ramen was overall, a well executed, delicious experience. I will definitely be going back for more!

Special thanks to Vilas Dhar for inviting me to partake in this special event, and to my fun dining companions Rachel, Meredith, and Patrick. Extra special thanks to Guchi and Mark for creating this noodle dish!

Read more about this pop-up on Tiny Urban KitchenEater: Boston, & Dishing - Boston.com.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Short Ribs

Slow cooked short ribs are perfect for this time of the year, or any time of the year, really! As the temperature drops here in Boston during the winter months, my slow cooker tends to get more and more use.  Plus, I use this method of cooking when my schedule gets very busy. I recently made these Short ribs for a small gathering. After hours of cooking, the meat just falls off the bone and you are left with a sweet, luscious short rib. Add a little more chili sauce for more of a kick. I left it on the mild side for my guests. Paired with roasted carrots and parsnips (or any other vegetable), a favorite red wine, baguette to soak up the sauce, this dish is delicious and very easy to prepare. Your dinner guests will be very impressed. The ultimate in comfort slow-cooker meals!

Beef Short Ribs
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 short ribs
5 tablespoons butter
1 chopped onion
1 cup beef broth
1 cup red wine
1/4 cup brown sugar
1-2 pears, peeled, quartered
3 tablespoons chili sauce (sriracha)
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced

Coat the beef with flour, salt and pepper in a large dish shaking off excess. Sear beef in butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Place in slow-cooker. Add additional ingredients to the skillet and cook for about 15-20minutes. Add to slow cooker with the ribs. Cook for 8-9 hours on low heat. The aroma will make you very hungry while the beef is cooking! I suggest having some tasty bites on hand to curb your appetite until the meal is ready.


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