Monthly Archives: August 2010

Lazy Lentils

 I’ve spoken to someone recently who does not understand why celery still exists in this world. It made me think, why does celery exist? It tastes unaturally crunchy, the threads get stuck in your teeth and it tastes like absolutely nothing . It sucks in soups, it doesn’t complemement the chicken wings with blue cheese and it definetely doesn’t make my favorite buffolo burrito from Boloco better (substitute the celery with cucumbers my friends). Like really, do you know a single person WHO LIKES celery? I definetely don’t.The only excuse that I came up with that allows this green monster to grow and hang around on farms and in supermarkets is that it can be used to make vegetable broth. If I have offended anyone with my hate for the harmless green bush, please give me a recipe where celery is the king. I will try it right away!In this lentil soup, feel free to use celery but I refuse to.

On another note, lentil is one of my favorite comfort soups and my friend Thalia’s most passionate food lover. I know that typically comfort soup would be potato and bacon but lentil is my weapon of choice. And since Kenny has left Top Chef, I needed a little comforting.

Ingredients: 3 diced carrots (or 2 carrots and 2 celery sticks),1/2 diced onion, 16 oz can diced tomatoes, 32 oz chicken stock, grated parmigiano, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 lb dried lentils, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, salt and pepper to season

Begin by adding olive oil to a Dutch Pan on medium heat. Drop the carrots and the onions.

Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the vegetables soften. Add salt, pepper, cumin and minced garlic.

Drop the tomatoes and cook for another 6-8 minutes

Add the lentils. I usually wash them with cold water before adding to food.

Pour the chicken stock and stir to cover the lentils. Cook for 30 minutes or until the lentils soften and the soup thickens.

When ready top the soup with cheese and enjoy.

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Filed under Soup, Vegetarian

Avocado Shrimp Cocktail Salad

Another quickfire recipe. I am so mad (and devastated) with Top Chef about kicking Kenny off that I am going to leave it to the next post to vent about it. This recipe is great to entertain the guests with. It is really easy to make and just filling the avocado shells with the cocktail salad, makes it a real fancy looking appetizer. I also only recently discovered the amazing taste bud powers of chipotle in adobo sauce and have been trying to incorporate this food into some of my dishes. Here I used it to make spicy mayo. If you don’t like mayonnaise, make regular cocktail sauce with ketchup and horseradish. Enjoy.

Ingredients: 12 cooked shrimps, 1 avocado, 1 hard boiled egg, salt and pepper to season

Spicy Mayo: 1 cup mayonnaise, chipotle in adobo sauce (I used 1 chipotle and 1 tablespoon of adobo sauce from a 7 oz can)

Begin by making the sauce. In a blender puree and mix the mayonnaise with the chipotle and adobo sauce until it becomes a smooth mixture.

Half the avocado and pit it. Do not throw the avocado skins. Dice it and add to a bowl.

Chop the cooked shrimps and add to the avocados.

Grate the egg into the bowl

Add half the amount of sauce, salt and pepper and mix together

Stuff the avocado shells with the shrimp avocado salad and entertain your guests

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Filed under Appetizer, Seafood

What happens after work

Courtesy of Park Plaza

Yesterday the craziest day. It started out when the account manager at the magazine I work at asked me if I wanted 2 VIP tickets to the Taste of Park Plaza. Not knowing what that was, I googled it. Welcome to Paradise foodies. 11 participating restaurants offer food and drinks with all the ticket money proceeding to The Greater Boston Food Bank.

There were also a series of appealing prizes put up by these same restaurants BUT only if you got a stamp at 10 of the participating restaurants. Unable to undertake this challenge on my own, I enlisted a soldier. Alecia, a committed but not raging vegetarian, had to push meat aside and consume sides at drinks drinks at an unreasonable speed- a mission that she indeed accomplish. Since we showed up to the event an hour late, as competitive as one can be to win grand prize of a stay at Park Plaza and 2 Red Sox tickets (mind me that neither me nor A even remotely care for baseball) , we had to run through all the restaurants trying to get stamps (and stuff our faces with food and liquor) in just an hour and a half.

At Pairings we sat at the lovely patio, at MJ O’Connors we had the most delicious clam chowder, at Maggianos we almost had a food coma from the family style buffet that they had laid out but it was at Fleming’s where all the fun began. A noticed a girl, accompanied by a young man, wearing the most beautiful shoes. Obviously she had to ask about them. The young man admitted to having got them for his lady friend and referred us to Nordstrom. A minute passed and we had to leave to Melting Pot where yummy cheese and chocolate fondues were awaiting us with a chocolate martini.

When we got to Smith and Wollensky, we ran into the same couple. We had a few laughs in the elevator and then bumped again when getting food. “What are you guys doing after the after-party?” the young man asked. “You should come to MJ O’Connors to see me on Master Chef on Fox.” Me and A laughed. We haven’t heard that one before. “How will we know who you are? You might look different on tv,” we said. “I will be wearing the same shirt,” he replied pointing to his orange/brown/red plaid shirt. “Maybe he wasn’t kidding,” me and A whispered leaving the restaurant.

Curiosity got better of us after the after-party at Whiskey Park. He wasn’t kidding. Meet David Miller, the contestant of Master Chef. With his entire supporting crew watching the show, we were the odd ones out. “How do you know David?” we got asked. “We met him 30 minutes ago,” was our honest answer. People looked doubtful until during the commercial David confirmed that we really did not know one another. Let me tell you what I learned about David. He knows how to chop onions, how to cook an egg and he has moved on to the next round.

After the show me and A left the bar and went home to uncover what was in our heavy gift bags. Lots of happiness it turned out in form of a classy wine opener, beer opener, Food and Wine magazine, gift cards and discounts to restaurants, rum bottle, beer glasses and indoor and outdoor cooking and warming gel (if anyone knows what I am supposed to do with this one, please comment and let me know). How I do love charity work.

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Filed under Blah Blah

Don’t you love the colors of summer?

After a week of indulging in all-inclusive tacos, nachos, fajitas, empanadas, margaritas, pina coladas and hot chocolate desserts, I am struggling to fit into all my jeans. So for the next few weeks, a diet is in order. Whenever I make salads, I never have hard time coming up with ingredients. It is the dressing that is always the same. Olive oil and balsamic vinegar, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and dijion mustard, olive oil, lemon juice and red wine vinegar…it’s always pretty much the same condiments. When I saw this red pepper dressing recipe on Cake, Batter, and Bowl, I knew I wanted to try it. The color of the dressing is so bright and fun and the salad tastes delicious. While I didn’t have corn on a cob, I used the corn kernels from a can. I also added a little bit of blue cheese salad.Yum

Ingredients: 2 cups cooked shrimp, 1 red pepper, 2 shallots, 2 garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 10 oz baby spinach, 1 small can of corn, 2 cups cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup blue cheese, 6 tablespoons olive oil, salt, red pepper flakes, italian seasoning and pepper to season

Begin by cooking the shrimps. I threw mine onto a skillet with one tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkled the shrimps with red pepper flakes, salt and italian seasoning. Cook for 5-7 minutes.

Next chop the red pepper and shallots.

Saute the red pepper and shallots in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the vegetables soften. Mince the garlic into the skillet and cook for another minute.

Transfer the vegetables to a blender and add the remaining olive oil, red wine vinegar, tomato paste, salt and pepper to season.

Blend into a smooth puree dressing. Add spinach to a bowl. Add cherry tomatoes and drained corn.

Top with cooked shrimp and blue cheese. Add red pepper dressing and enjoy!

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Filed under Salad, Seafood

Cancun and no new recipes

While I have returned from Mexico there are no new recipes for me to post. My friend is still visiting and so I have been taking her around the restaurants in Boston. I promise that soon enough I will post something delicious.

While in Mexico, I have gone into a guacomole/pico de gallo/fajitas/tacos coma. Our all inclusive 8 restaurant/bar resort fed us enough mexican food to last me for the next year to come. In addition to tanning, eating our stomachs out and going out, I have realized one of my biggest dream. I went swimming with the dolphins. Above you can see Fiji who swam with me, kissed me and rode me on his belly.

Now I am back and Boston. Be patient with me and I promise to post something amazing soon.

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Filed under Blah Blah