Follow the culinary adventures and misadventures of the Cooking Agents (Ray and Katie). Watch as we eat/cook our way into adulthood.
On Sunday, I went to the Sowa Open Market for the first time to check out the food trucks and farmers market. After arriving around 10:30am, I took a stroll to see what was available and created a shopping list in my head. Corn, tomatoes, peaches and plums came to mind, yet I also left with string beans, cherry tomatoes and blueberries. Typical. This wasn’t like haymarket where food goes bad in 24-48 hours. I still have them going strong in my fridge and have been enjoying them all week. I spent a total of $21 for 3 ears of corn, 3 tomatoes, 2 peaches, a pint of blueberries, plums, cherry tomatoes, and about a half pounds of string beans.
Best Produce of the Summer So Far.
Lush, Full Herbs… Ways to Inaccurately Describe My Herb Garden…
When Pigs Fly Bread.
For people not in the Boston area, food truck business has been booming and they’ve been popping up all over town as permits and license restrictions have become more lenient. However, having food trucks gathered at a single location is a huge draw and they are at Sowa every Sunday. For lunch, I got a lamb skewer from Silk Road BBQ (which is actually a food stand), but was left disappointed since it cost $8 and was essentially 5 large chunks of lamb and left me hungry. It tasted decent, but wasn’t worth the price and was regretting passing up the chance to try M&M Ribs. However, the guy was friendly and also offered me a sample of pulled pork.
This past weekend I kicked off my BBQ season by busting out my charcoal grill for some BBQ chicken. I’m down to two bottles of supermarket sauce- Stubb’s BBQ sauce and Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle Sauce. The chicken turned out tangy for Stubb’s, smokey and sweet with a slight after burn for SBR. For everyday BBQ, I’m leaning towards the sweetness of KC Masterpiece and Sweet Baby Ray’s over the likes of Stubb’s, Open Pit, and Mississippi. Out of the more vinegary sauces, Stubb’s is the leader.
Stubb’s One of My Favorite Bottled BBQ Sauce Designs
Remove chicken drumsticks from fridge and rub with BBQ sauce. Heat charcoal in a chimney starter until briquettes are all heated and grey. Pour coal into one side of of the grill to make a two zone fire. Place chicken on indirect heat side and cover. Make sure the side of the lid with open vents is the side with the chicken. Let cook in indirect heat for about 20 minutes. Brush additional sauce over chicken and let cook for another 10 minutes. Brush more sauce over chicken and move chicken to direct heat. Watch chicken carefully and rotate pieces to get an even char to get the skin crispy. Add more sauce if desired. Cook until juices run clear or until 180 degrees internal temperature.
Two Zone Fire- Barely
Hot, Sweet, and Irresistible. Just. Like. Me.
In typical Ray fashion, I had friends over this past weekend and had a few days of pure gluttony. When friends come over, I try my best to get a sense of they are looking to try wherever I’m living and plan the weekend around meals that will be satisfying and give Boston a chance to impress.
To begin our journey, we headed to the North End since it would be a little less crowded on a Thursday night. We got on line at Giacomo’s and after 30 minutes, we were treated to calamari, garlic bread and pasta. Calamari was good, but could have been fried better. The marinara sauce was tangy and had a homemade taste to it. Pass on the garlic bread. Lobster Ravioli was finished off quickly as the portion size was small. Linguine with Fra-como sauce and shrimp and scallops and swordfish with a cream sauce were wins. Next, we braved the only semi-hectic crowds at Mike’s Pastry for cannolis. Peanut butter, yellow cream and pistachio all safe bets.
The next day, berry tarts from the previous day were for breakfast followed by UBurger. After some afternoon beer at Sam Adam’s Brewery, it was time for dinner at Yankee Lobster Fish Market were all 3 of us enjoyed clam chowder and Lobster Rolls. This was probably the most fulfilling meal of the weekend for me both because of the concept of fresh seafood by the water at the start of summer. Perfectly crispy fries and a long walk down Seaport Blvd. help too.
Lobster Roll from Yankee Lobster Fish Market
The next day, we hit up a few Asian establishments including Japonaise Bakery for some sweets including their Azuki Cream Bun, cakes and mochi. Take a pass on the cake and head straight for the Japanese cream items and pastries. For lunch we hopped between Bonchon Chicken for some wings, pork buns, and fried octopus balls and Jojo Taipei for soup dumplings, scallion pancakes and minced pork over rice. Finally for dinner, we headed to Redbones for some BBQ. St. Louis ribs won out above all and the smoked brisket was dry. Before my friends left, we had dim sum at Hei La Moon in Chinatown. If you’re concerned about my health right now, rest assured that I’ve been eating like a rabbit since the weekend.
Almond Cake with Oranges and Cream with an Azuki Mochi
I was determined to put my slow cooker to use and decided kill two birds with one stone by also making pulled pork for the first time. After reading so many times about the wonders of the slow cooker for winter time BBQ, I decided to use a simple recipe so that I could see the pork by itself and then try a bottled sauce as well.
Simple Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
3 lbs Pork Shoulder
Salt and Pepper
1 Bottle of BBQ Sauce
Season pork shoulder with salt and pepper. Place in slow cooker and add water until the bottom of the slow cooker is covered. Set to low for 8 hours. Once shoulder is ready, take shoulder out of slow cooker and let rest 15 minutes. While the meat is resting, remove liquid from slow cooker and add BBQ sauce of choice to slow cooker bowl. Begin shredding meat from shoulder and place in the bowl. Mix with sauce. Return bowl to slow cooker and cook 30 minutes on high. Serve and enjoy. I use a Texas style sauce from World Market, which was bold and just a tiny bit spicy.
Mini Pulled Pork Sandwiches
I initially made some mini pulled pork sandwiches, but decided to use the leftovers with some cauliflower puree. Looks like cauliflower is good for something after all.
1 Head of Cauliflower chopped into 1-1.5 inch florets
1 cup Water, Milk or Stock
3 Cloves of Garlic
3 tbsp Butter
Salt and Pepper
Take cauliflower florets and place in a shallow sauce pan with 1 cup milk, water, or stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer covered for 10 minutes or until tender. While cauliflower is cooking, roast 3 cloves of garlic with olive oil in a foil pouch. Place 3 tbsp. butter, garlic and oil, cauliflower florets, salt and pepper in a food processor and blend until desired consistency is reached. Use remaining liquid in sauce pan to thin out the mixture in food processor by adding a little at a time. Season to taste.
Pulled Pork Over Cauliflower Puree
When I visited Boston last fall, Katie, Krissie and a few others went to Blue Ribbon BBQ in West Newton. A few days ago, My sister, her boyfriend and I went to the Arlington location. Both visited yielded the same belly warming sense of euphoria. On my first visit, I ordered the pulled pork sandwich with bbq baked beans, and cole slaw. I finished the plate, but didn’t feel so great afterward, and when I burped, I swear I could taste smoke. Yeah, it’s that good.
This time, I ordered the half rack of Memphis ribs, cornbread, black eyed corn and rice and beans. Although the ribs were piled high (5-6 ribs), the amount of work it took to eat in a civilized fashion and surprisingly not too filling made for a delicious meal without regrets. The ribs were tender and could easily be pulled off the bone, which made for good dipping in the various sauces. The black eyed corn was balanced and no ingredient dominated the side. The rice and beans were very well blended and was flavorful and even juicy, though each still held form, if that even makes sense for rice and beans. The cornbread left a lot to be desired as it was on the harder and less moist side. Overall, I think the pulled pork outshine the ribs. You just can’t beat the fatty juice that good pulled pork gives you. I will be looking to give the brisket a try in the future.
Memphis Ribs, Cornbread, Black Eyed Corn, Rice and Beans
Pulled Pork, Cornbread, Black Eyed Corn and Mashed Potatoes
Beef Brisket Sandwich, BBQ Baked Beans and Cole Slaw