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Where to buy Japanese whiskey in Boston?

We just bought a bottle of the Nikka Coffee Whiskey at Bin Ends in Braintree. I imagine they'd have it in their Needham store too.

Jun 26, 2015
mwk in Greater Boston Area

What Unusual or Uncommon Vegetables Do You Eat - And how do you prepare them?

In the New England area, fiddlehead fern shoots are a big deal during the Spring. I don't know how common they are in other areas, though. They are delicious just sauteed in some garlic butter, simple preparation.

My CSA sometimes will give us stinging nettles as a vegetable in the Spring. It's not my favorite thing, but I'll eat them. The key is in the preparation. They need to be cooked without touching them first. They come in a plastic bag and you get some water boiling and dump them right from the bag, being careful not to touch them. Once they have boiled for a minute or so, they are safe.

I also like using the tops of things. Carrot tops are very good, made into a pesto. Radish tops are very spicy and are good sauteed and mixed in with other greens, like chard. You can also eat them raw in salads. And of course, beet greens are very nutritious and tasty sauteed in some olive oil and garlic.

Jun 25, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking
1

The Townshend, Quincy

I haven't had a chance to try it myself, but from what little I've been able to find online, it looks interesting. A good friend of mine works at the President's Place building, and has been there for lunch a few times so far. He's been raving about it, so I think it will be worth a try. The difficult thing is that the last two times I've been thinking of going to dinner in the Q, were Sunday nights, and they aren't open on Sunday (which I think is a bit unusual).

Speaking of something a "cut above", I do like Rozafa, the place that used to be the Alba Deli. They do a really nice breakfast, and I was there last weekend for dinner and sat on the patio outside. Food was quite tasty and service good too.

Jun 25, 2015
mwk in Greater Boston Area
1

Best price on wild salmon?

I just bought wild alaskan salmon, frozen and vacuum-packed, from the Star Market in Quincy. Normally $11.99/lb, it was on sale for $5.99, so I bought four. I poached one and had a piece of it cold for lunch today. It was very tasty.

Jun 22, 2015
mwk in Greater Boston Area

'Salad' / cheat comfort foods

I had mentioned this in another thread a while ago, but absolutely my favorite comfort salad is a macaroni salad I make from a recipe my mom used to make. You use whatever shape pasta you like and the dressing is mayo, good seasons Italian salad dressing packets, white vinegar. To give it color and crunch, I add a package of Mann's broccoli slaw.

Jun 08, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking
1

What do I make with these ingredients?

use some of the sorghum syrup and the rhubarb and strawberries to make a strawberry/rhubarb pie or crumble.

Sautee the kale/spinach/asparagus with the chicken bratwursts, some garlic and onions, fresh grated parmesan cheese or some feta cheese, and use it alone, or serve it as a topping for the linguine.

Take a salad for lunch with the radishes and lettuce.

Jun 08, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking
1

Fantasy Question for Boston Old Timers

I'd love to resurrect the old European restaurant in the North End. I could go for one of their European Deluxe Extra Large pizzas any time.

Also, this goes WAY back to my college days as well, but I'd love to resurrect the old Aegean Fare restaurant and the Deli Haus restaurants in Kenmore Sq. Great food and open until 4am. Those were the days :)

Jun 08, 2015
mwk in Greater Boston Area

May 2015 Openings and Closings

Looks like there's a new restaurant just opened in Quincy Center, in the Galleria building, called the "Townshend". Based on the Townshend Acts, I gather.

There's precious little information on line about it, and the website is useless. However, the description in the Herald sounds great. Has anyone had a chance to check it out?

https://www.bostonherald.com/entertai...

May 21, 2015
mwk in Greater Boston Area

Dinner Disaster!

My favorite story in this vein is from my Mother. She was notorious for putting things in the freezer without bothering to label them. One day, she took out a chicken to roast for dinner.

When my Dad got home from work, she put dinner on the table, and brought out the chicken, browned, smelling delicious. My Dad went to carve it. He tried to put the fork in the breast and the fork literally bounced out of his hand and landed on the floor. He got another fork and tried again. Could not get the fork or the knife into the meat.

Turns out she had roasted a soup fowl instead of a roasting chicken. LOL.

May 01, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

no-bake dessert challenge

Nigella has a few recipes that I love, that would fit the bill. Many of them are "no-churn" ice cream recipes:

http://www.nigella.com/recipes/no-chu...

Then there's also a simple Eton Mess:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ni...

Finally, I've made this twice last summer and it was very popular:

http://www.marthastewart.com/858246/n...

Apr 29, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

Dinner before Lyric Stage

Add me as a big fan of Salty Pig and Coda. We go to one or the other after all our Lyric shows.

If you want another option, we've also eaten at Douzo on Dartmouth St. which was very tasty. We did also try Back Bay Harry's once, and it wasn't bad, but in the end, it wasn't better than Coda so we never went back.

Apr 21, 2015
mwk in Greater Boston Area

Yelp for Pure Entertainment: Erbaluce

I have to disagree. I went to Erbaluce for the first time last week. I loved my meal, and the service was absolutely professional, courteous and efficient. They asked us if we had to get to a show (which we did), and the food was perfectly paced. I didn't get any of the nastiness or snootiness that some of those reviewers felt.

I do strongly feel that since waiters are human beings, they will react somewhat to what is being thrown at them. If you, as a customer, are difficult, unreasonable, snotty, condescending and generally consumed with your own sense of awesomeness, at least some of that will be reflected back in the quality of service you receive.

Apr 17, 2015
mwk in Greater Boston Area

Yelp for Pure Entertainment: Erbaluce

It's funny you mentioned this. I just went to Erbaluce for the first time last week for my anniversary. The meal was spectacular. I had heard such great things about it, so I was worried that it might not live up to the advance billing, but I was not disappointed at all.

After I made the reservations, my husband went online to research it as he often does. He pointed me to the Yelp tirades. After eating there, I can't imagine what those people were thinking, to bring a baby into that place. It's just really ridiculous.

Apr 17, 2015
mwk in Greater Boston Area

Gnudi

I've made Lidia Bastianich's recipe a couple of times and both times I almost didn't get a chance to taste them myself because my husband inhaled so many of them. They are delicious.

https://www.lidiasitaly.com/recipes/d...

Apr 06, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

Anyone have a soft serve ice cream recipe?

I've made this a couple of times. It's really easy and very tasty.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ni...

Mar 19, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

Rachael Ray gets on my last nerve

She does have a very hyper TV personality, I get that. I happen to be a big fan of hers though. And I've made a lot of her recipes and have yet to hit a bad one. Her recipe for Tuscan style spaghetti with beans is a regular at my house.

Jan 29, 2015
mwk in Food Media & News

Anybody know of a good chicken breast recipe?

I absolutely love this recipe from Barefoot Contessa. It's easy and really delicious. I probably make it once a week.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...

Jan 29, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

Suggestions for Steak Marinade

This one is quick, easy and delicious. Nigella uses a London Broil, but it would be great on a top sirloin as well:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ni...

Jan 28, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

HELP: Good Chinatown Restaurants that Deliver

if you live in Boston or Brookline/Cambridge, you can use DiningIn to get food from SOME of the Chinatown restaurants. But, generally they don't deliver.

Jan 27, 2015
mwk in Greater Boston Area

What are some of your favorite kitchen tricks that you'd be hesitant to admit to foodies?

No problem. I'm "required" to bring it to any summer BBQ or pot luck parties. It's so easy to throw together, I won't buy deli salads any more.

Jan 27, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

Indian Cooking Tips and Recipes

I usually use the Patak's Curry Paste, the mild one, rather than the pre-made curry cooking sauces, which is a different thing. The paste is used as a base for a curry, not as the sauce itself.

http://www.pataks.co.uk/products/mild...

They also have spicier versions, but I like to control the heat, so if I want more heat, it's easy enough to put some cayenne pepper in.

As for the jarred ginger paste, I have a few Indian supermarkets near me where I go for supplies. I've tried two different brands of paste, and both got thrown in the garbage. I just don't think it's a viable substitute for fresh, unlike the curry paste which is fantastic.

Jan 23, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

Indian Cooking Tips and Recipes

One tip would be that you don't necessarily need to make the curry all yourself. I love getting a jar of the Patak's curry paste, and using that as a basis for my curry. It's very simple, and it sure tastes like a restaurant meal when I'm done.

I do make curry from scratch on occasion, and the onion directions are spot on. I will say that the garlic-ginger paste from a jar is disgusting and should never be used. It's tasteless, full of salt and just nasty. It's so easy to make your own in a blender or mini food processor, and it's not even in the same league of flavor.

Jan 23, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking
1

I need a good recipe for either Chicken Cacciatore or Parmesan Chicken

I make this recipe ALL the time. It's outstanding. I am a huge fan of smoked mozzarella, so I love this. It pairs so well with the fresh basil too, really packs a flavor punch.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ra...

Jan 23, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

What are some of your favorite kitchen tricks that you'd be hesitant to admit to foodies?

Here's another "secret" that I use often. I make my own BBQ sauce for chicken by mixing one can of jellied cranberry sauce, 1 bottle of Heinz Chili sauce, and a packet of onion soup mix in a saucepan and heating until melted and combined. It's great brushed on ribs or chicken. I also use it as a base in a crock pot for meatballs on a buffet table.

Jan 23, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

What are some of your favorite kitchen tricks that you'd be hesitant to admit to foodies?

Ha...proportions...well, I don't usually measure when I'm cooking. For the macaroni salad, I just mix up the dressing to "taste".

I can give you a starting point. For one pound of shell or elbow pasta, I usually will use 2 packets of Good Seasons (zesty or regular Italian doesn't really matter too much which one), 2 cups of Hellman's, and maybe a 1/4 cup white vinegar.

I mix the dressing together separately in a bowl and taste. I like it to be very tart from vinegar, so I'll usually start adding more splashes of vinegar until it's the way I want it, keeping in mind that when it coats all the pasta and it's been chilled in the refrigerator, the taste will mellow a lot. Of course, you may like yours with less dressing, or with less vinegar flavor. Taste and play around with the proportions. As I said, I make it strongly flavored because it's covering a lot of pasta and I like it to have flavor.

Also, along with the pasta, I'll add a bag of Mann's Broccoli Cole Slaw, to give it some crunch and some color.

This recipe differs substantially from deli macaroni salad, I'm just warning you. I hate deli salad because it's way too sweet for my taste. This is not sweet at all. There's some sugar in the Good Seasons I think, but that just helps the vinegar to go down more smoothly.

Have leftover roast chicken and sourcream in the fridge.....

Sautee some onions in a pan in a bit of oil. Add some diced tomatoes and a couple of tablespoons of your favorite curry powder and cook down a bit. Add the diced/shredded roast chicken to the pan and just warm through, then take off the heat and add sour cream until it is a nice creamy curry. Serve over rice.

By the way, although Sour Cream is easier to cook with than yogurt and less likely to curdle, you can make it (or yogurt) almost "curdle proof" by mixing in a teaspoon of flour or cornstarch to a cup of sour cream before putting it in the hot food.

Jan 22, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

I need party food ideas for 50 people, including kids

of course you can do whatever you want to this. Making meatballs I'm sure is delicious too, but this is usually a "throw away" dish for me when I'm making a lot of food and I just want something easy. Sort of like when Ina goes to the market and buys antipasto instead of making an appetizer ;)

I have actually added onion soup mix to the concoction on occasion, but since I'm trying to cut back on salt, I stopped doing that. I've been known to add some dehydrated onion flakes to it, though.

Jan 22, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner - #345 - the Winter Doldrums Already? Edition [through January 28, 2015]

I made one of my favorite meals last Sunday. I take a bone-in pork butt roast (not the picnic one with the skin, but the butt) and I put it in an oven roasting bag (for easy clean up) with a half bottle of red wine, a can of diced tomatoes, a few chunked carrots and celery, some sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme that I tie together, and salt and pepper. Roast at 300 degrees for 6 hours, until it reaches at least 175. Then I defat the cooking liquid as much as possible, remove the herbs, and put it in a blender with the vegetables to make a great gravy to go over the meat.

On a more involved note, I also tried making the America's Test Kitchen version of Bolognese Sauce. It was really yummy. Filled the whole house with a nice aroma, and made enough that I have three containers in my freezer for later on.

I need party food ideas for 50 people, including kids

A very popular dish that I usually include on buffets is BBQ meatballs or hot dogs.

You take one can of jellied cranberry sauce, 1 bottle of prepared Chili Sauce (I usually use Heinz) and melt them together in a saucepan. Pour into a crockpot and add either some frozen mini meatballs, sliced hot dogs, cocktail franks, or cooked chicken wings. I usually use the meatballs because they are easiest. People seem to LOVE this. Just keep it warm in the crock pot.

What are some of your favorite kitchen tricks that you'd be hesitant to admit to foodies?

My absolutely favorite macaroni salad recipe is one that I got from my Mom, who made it occasionally. I can sit and eat an entire bowl of the stuff if allowed.

The dressing is Hellman's Mayo, white vinegar and Good Season's Zesty Italian Salad dressing mix. I take this to BBQ's during the summer and it always disappears.