Follow the culinary adventures and misadventures of the Cooking Agents (Ray and Katie). Watch as we eat/cook our way into adulthood.
After the whirlwind I like to call the Holiday season, it’s wonderful to be nestled in and take the time to plan out a home cooked meal. For those of us still in the spirit of gift giving (like me), why not give the gift of delicious food, particularly food that’s wrapped in parchment. Some recipients might not realize, but for me the best gift I can give is food. Food is a source of nourishment for everyone, so why not make something that’s a necessity something special?
With the usual New Year resolutions of losing weight, especially now that I have a bathing suit deadline for March, I’m making every effort to eat healthier and treat my body right. One very late night, my creativity stirred me from my sleep and I drew out the following recipe for a delicate white fish in papillote.
Halibut en Papillote
The pat of butter snuck its way into my first healthy eating post! Forgive me!
One thing to note about this recipe is that the vegetables still have some bite to them after their time in the oven. If you’re interested in baby food, I’d throw them onto a sauté pan for a few minutes before placing them in your parchment parcel.
Also, I’ve recently discovered Sous Style, brought to you by the ever talented Pippa Lord (Photo Director for Elle magazine). The blog covers fashion and food, two of my biggest interests. Plus, the Male Mondays posts (like this one) are a fun way to start your week. You can thank me later.
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.
Last weekend, I had a friend over who was visiting from NYC, meaning it’ll be a challenge to impress from a food perspective. She arrived on Friday late afternoon and after dropping off her things at my office, we headed to Kingston Station in downtown Boston near my office. Although more know for its bar scene, we sat down for dinner in the back and got some drinks. The bread basket was average, but the maple butter elevated the bread, which led to a second basket. We shared PEI mussels to start that came with the standard white wine, garlic broth with tomatoes. For entrees, Grace ordered the Ahi Tuna Burger and I ordered the scallops with celery root puree, English peas, and carrots. The burger disappointed as it lacked the texture of a good sear and also came with sub par fries. Scallops were much better with a nice even golden sear and tender throughout.
Afterwards we headed back to my office for a mini tour and a game of pool (I won). Before heading to The Thinking Cup for dessert (sub par cupcake, good fruit tart, good atmosphere) and then to watch The Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
The next day, we went to the Friendly Toast in Kendall for brunch and ordered one savory egg and one sweet special. The eggs came with onions, tomatoes, bacon?, and some type of champagne along with home fries and toast. The pear and pomegranate french toast came smothered in a pear cream cheese and a side of sausage. Both were satisfying and unique, although Grace accused them of being overly flavorful. I thought that was suppose to be a good thing?
After brunch kayaking on the Charles was short lived as the forecast was cloudy, Grace either splashing me or herself with Charles River water, and bumpy waves so we left and headed to Newbury street so Grace could shop from the beginning to the end. This landed us with few great dining options as the more casual Back Bay dining scene is nonexistent so we ended up at Kashmir for Indian eats. We got a comp watermelon shooter, which tasted a little off as it didn’t taste like straight up watermelon juice, even though it was suppose to be along with Murg Do Piaza Khumb (pan roasted chicken with onions tomatoes, bell peppers, and spices), Gosht Korma (chunks of lamb cooked with spices and nuts in a mild cream sauce), Shahi Aloo Gobhi (cauliflower and potatoes with tomatoes, onions, herbs and spices), Garlic Naan and finished with Coconut Sorbet. Overall, the meal was average as the chicken and lamb were dry, and the naan was unevenly cooked. Mixing the sauces with the rice and the coconut sorbet were probably the highlights for me.
After getting back home and talking about Thomas Keller, Tom Haverfoods, and watching music videos we set out for some late night eats (failing to find Amy’s Cheddar Bowls at 3 locations) we sadly ended up at Tavern in the Square and had some tough as leather buffalo chicken skewers and drinks. Frozen food at Shaw’s would have been more fulfilling.
On Sunday, before heading to a doomed candlepin bowling excursion, we stopped by Anna’s Taqueria for lunch. Grace got the Mexican plate with chicken ranchero and some additional grilled veggies while I got the Carnitas Quesadilla (really a griddled burrito). Both dishes were good and very well priced. Grace even got to enjoy a non price inflated Mexican Coke (win for Boston).
We made a stop at Harard Square so that Grace could revisit from her days at pre-college, but it really just ended up being a trick to do some more shopping. We made a stop at Crema Cafe where I confirmed that I still don’t like coffee. On the way back home, Katie was able to get us two more tickets to the Yankees and Red Sox game that night so the original Oleana plans were canceled for Sunday night baseball! This of course was after I explained the value of these tickets to Grace so that the law of supply and demand made choosing easier.
At Fenway Park, we were able to get Pavilion seating with a counter service like seating and where food was brought to you. Some over priced beer and sausages later, we called it a weekend and headed home.
I can’t remember the last day I lived like a vegetarian, but I started my basic work day with a bowl of cheerios and skim milk. I also brought clementines, grapes and bananas to work for healthy work week snacks. Once late morning rolled around, one of my bosses bought in chocolate goodie bags for us with a few lindt chocolates. Lunch ended up being those chocolates and a banana. For Valentine’s Day, our office turned the dining space into “Cupid’s Lounge”, which served champagne and a chocolate fountain complete with fruit, cake, and other treats. Later on, clementines filled the gap due to the sustenance void (protein). Once I got home, I decided to continue the trend and made another Asian vegetable dish with rice, only this time I added an egg for protein.
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
10-15 stems of Chinese broccoli, cut into bite size pieces on a bias
2 tbsp. honey
2 tsp. low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp. oyster sauce
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
Heat wok over high heat. Add oil and move around to coat the bottom and sides of the wok. Add egg and quickly stir with a large spoon/spatula/chopsticks. Once it’s finished, place in a separate bowl and set aside. Let wok reheat and then add stem pieces. Toss and let cook roughly 3 minutes. Add remaining Chinese broccoli and cook another 3 minutes or until ready to eat. Set aside in a separate bowl. In the wok, add soy sauce, oyster sauce, honey, and pepper. Let reduce roughly 1 minute or so over medium heat. Add broccoli and egg back into wok toss to coat and serve with rice. I forgot to throw in the egg so so I just served it on the side.
Chinese Broccoli, Egg, and Rice
After treating my stomach to tacos for lunch, I decided to cook up a vegetarian dinner loosely using a recipe from a bargain bin cookbook on Asian cuisine, I made sauteed baby bok choy with a hoisin sauce and served it with some leftover white rice.
1 tbsp vegetable oil
10-15 thin pieces of baby bok choy
1 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
Bok Choy That Played in Fire
Heat wok over high heat and pour vegetable oil into wok and move around to coat. Toss bok choy in wok until ready to eat and set aside (roughly 3 minutes). In separate small bowl, mix sugar and white wine vinegar. Pour into wok and let reduce (roughly 2-3 minutes). Add hoisin sauce, mix and let reduce again (3 minutes). Add bok choy back into wok and toss until well coated in hoisin sauce. Serve with white rice and enjoy.
Baby Bok Choy with Hoisin Sauce on White Rice