Recipe #2 – Vietnamese Shrimp Salad

By Kristina

Source: Serious Eats
Ingredients & Modifications
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  • For the dressing:
  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice [used lemon juice instead]
  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar [omitted]
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more if desired [used more]
  • For the salad:
  • 1/2 pound cooked shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed (or pre-washed) [used spinach instead]
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and cut into thin bite-sized strips [used yellow pepper instead]
  • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded [omitted]
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced [used zucchini instead]
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped [used onion instead]
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation
Prepare sauce. Mix into other ingredients. Eat.
My Thoughts
Deliciousness: Five stars. Whole Foods had cooked shrimp on sale last week, and it was enormous and chompable. I liked the zing from the fish sauce and red pepper.
Ease of Preparation: Doable within one episode of Big Bang Theory. The chopping is the most time-consuming part; there was no waiting time because I put the shrimp & cilantro into the sauce while I chopped the veggies.
Leftover Staying Power: I took some to school for lunch the next day, and it held up quite nicely!

Recipe #1 – Pineapple, Honeydew and Mango Salad

By Kristina

I made recipe #1 for a math party that I attended today. The party was a potluck, and the host asked guests to bring salad, dessert, or drinks. I decided to combine the dessert and salad by bringing this fruit salad from Epicurious.

Ingredients
2 cups diced peeled fresh pineapple
1 cup diced seeded peeled honeydew melon
1 cup diced peeled pitted mango
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh cilantro or mint
1 tablespoon minced crystallized ginger
1 tablespoon minced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Preparation
Mix all ingredients except sesame seeds in large bowl. Let stand 10 minutes for flavors to blend. Divide fruit mixture among wineglasses and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Modifications
I bought precut honeydew and pineapple to save time. I used mint instead of cilantro and cut the fruit very small, as reviewers recommended. I didn’t include sesame seeds. I forgot to buy limes, so I ended up using two tablespoons of pisco sour.
I also had thought I could use an orange bell pepper that I had in the fridge, but it was wrinkly, so I used a cara cara orange.
My Thoughts
Deliciousness: 4 stars. The mangoes weren’t ripe, and I would have preferred the lime juice and a little texture from the bell pepper. I’m glad I didn’t use cilantro though–that would have been overpowering.
Ease of Preparation: Very quick–I finished it within two weddings of an episode of Four Weddings (~20 minutes).
The Final Product

Boston Brunchers – Ceia in Newburyport

By Kristina

My friend Jess recently told me about Boston Brunchers (a blogging/brunching community that also includes writers, tweeters, bakers, and PR professionals). I love discovering new places to eat and am excited about getting involved. This month’s brunch is at Ceia, a Newburyport restaurant with an average of 4 stars on Yelp. Sounds like an awesome day trip and opportunity to meet other foodies over oysters, linguica and potato hash, and much more!

Photo Credit: Ceia (http://www.ceia-newburyport.com)

Enter to win brunch at Ceia in Newburyport!

Restaurant Outing – Sei Bar

By Kristina

Yesterday we rang in the new year with a visit to our favorite sushi restaurant, Sei Bar! The sushi and the customer service are equally awesome. We love going there for date nights or birthday celebrations–you can always count on a cheerful, easygoing experience! No crowds, long waits for tables, or snooty attitude can ever be found. The staff will also get to know you after you come in a few times, and they’ve been known to throw in free creme brulees, drinks, or Viking boats.


Some highlights of dinner (coincidentally some of my favorite things to order) are below:
Reason #1 to Love Sei Bar: Fresh, Simple Ingredients. Spicy tuna hand rolls (2 regular, 4 white tuna). I’m now a huge fan of white tuna after being converted by my friends Brad and John.
Reason #2 to Love Sei Bar: Innovative Recipes. We first saw the sushi sandwiches (tuna, spicy mayo, and tempura) in April at Brad’s going away party. It made an official appearance on the holiday menu in December.

Reason #3 to Love Sei Bar: Viking Boats.Our viking sushi, from left to right: Tufts maki (cooked tuna over a roll of cucumber and tempura), caterpillar roll, Tesla roll (tuna, roe and seaweed salad over a roll of cooked tuna and mango), spicy white tuna hand rolls, and salmon sashimi.

Not Pictured Today, but Likely Will be on Future Visits
  • Lettuce wraps with minced chicken
  • Spicy avocado salad
  • Tuna naruto
  • Spicy lime veggie soup
  • Flower tea
  • Creme Brulee

On the first day of ’12, my true love gave to me…

By Kristina

…a Canon Rebel T3…(i).

This baby is way more technologically capable than my old Canon PowerShot, so my dream of cooking up a storm and then presenting my cooking via a frequently-updated food blog will now come to fruition! However, I haven’t touched an SLR since my days at Corks & Curls and Cav Daily, so I feel rusty with concepts like aperture, shutter speed, composition. Furthermore, there are so many features, modes and options on the camera…will have to make a study date with the instruction manual!

My dream of a food blog has been around for a while, with my first forays into food blogging taking place in the dark ages of the interwebs. My friend Kat and I were inspired to chronicle our kitchen experiments for our friends and family to see. Though Kat was diligent about her posting, I was…not. At the time, I was a newly minted teacher trying to juggle three different preps and learning how to lesson plan while chomping on the results of my kitchen experiments, often ending at one of these stages of the meal’s circle of life:

1) Infancy: I devoured the meal before remembering to take a picture. “Ooh that chili was the bomb dot com. Was there something I was supposed to do? Ehh, I’ll blog next time.”

2) Toddlerhood: I fully intended to take a picture but didn’t charge the batteries or forgot the camera. “I am so ready to write about this gruyere, mushroom and bacon egg frittata. No battery? Ehh, I’ll blog next time.”

3) Childhood: I took a picture but my kitchen light gave the food the unflattering treatment that only a DMV camera can impart, so I deleted it. “This gourmet cream of mushroom soup tastes so good…but looks really vile. Ehh, I’ll blog next time.”

4) Adolescence: I took a picture but let it languish on the camera’s SD card. “I’m in a food coma after eating buffalo chicken. The pictures look a little better than usual, but I’ll just take a nap before I upload. [Three hours later] Ehh, I’ll blog next time.”

Looking back on the rare meals that made it to the Adulthood stage (camera + USB cable = upload success), I realize that some lesson planning wisdom I’ve gained over the years can turn my food blogging from a C/D to an A/B. In a math lesson, clear objectives, routines and materials are key to making sure all the activities run smoothly. In 2012, out with the “I’ll blog next time” and in with the “I’ll blog this now!”

1) Clear Objectives: I didn’t have a clearly defined purpose. I’d blog random snacks or elaborate french toast with banana cardamom sauce. I didn’t set any time deadlines for myself. In 2012, I will blog the following: one new recipe a week and one dinner party a month.The recipes will come from my cookbooks or favorite food blogs. I won’t blog every single meal I make, otherwise I will burn out and fall back into the “next time” trap. Sometimes I’ll include things like restaurant meals or budget challenges, but I’m going to aim for reasonable rather than try to write about everything under the sun.

2) Routines and Materials: The lovely Canon Rebel T3i and Eye-Fi card will make uploading so much quicker. I’ll also post on the new recipes on Wednesdays to get into a regular habit, and post the dinner party recaps within two days of the parties.
Looking forward to twelve dinner parties and fifty-two new recipes in 2012!

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