Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Boston Bakes for Breast Cancer is Almost Here

I got the chance to meet with one of my favorite people last week: Carol Sneider, Founder and President of Bakes for Breast Cancer!

Here are all the details for Boston, Rhode Island, and now the Cape and the Islands Bakes for Breast Cancer. Boston takes place May 2-8, Rhode Island takes place May 8-14, and the Cape and the Islands June 6-12. Here are more details:
From May 2 through Mother’s Day on May 8, more than 200 restaurants, bakeries, caf├ęs, ice cream, and chocolate shops throughout Massachusetts will participate by designating all sales of one specific dessert, or 50 percent of proceeds from their entire dessert menu, to breast cancer care and research. Proceeds from the 17th annual event will Bakes for Breast Cancer, Inc., a non-profit breast cancer organization dedicated to making a difference. For a list of participating establishments or to shop online, please visit bakesforbreastcancer.org. 
We both have a massive sweet tooth so of course we met up for ice cream at Abbott's Frozen Custard. As you may recall, I'm a big fan of frozen custard. Abbott's frozen custard was fantastic - smooth, creamy, and delicious.


I got birthday cake with sprinkles in a waffle cone coated in chocolate. Also, you judge me during PMS, I judge you during PMS.


How adorable is this place?




I grabbed some salted caramel for home and it was also amazing. Enjoy!

Friday, April 08, 2016

Legendary Boston Baker John Pupek Shares Recipe, Techniques for Making Jordan Marsh's Blueberry Muffins

Image source.
I don't know about you, but this constantly flipping weather, nonstop political fighting, and the winding down of the semester (combined with stacks of papers to grade, mind you) has me daydreaming of carbs. Come watch John Pupek, the legendary baker of the Jordan Marsh blueberry muffin, prepare his masterpiece:

Legendary Boston baker shares recipe, techniques for making Jordan Marsh's blueberry muffins | Local News - WCVB Home


You can learn secret techniques for making the muffins too.

According to Yankee Magazine, this is the Jordan Marsh blueberry muffin recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups unsifted flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-1/2 cups large fresh blueberries
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (for top of muffins)


Instructions:


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy; add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
  3. In a second bowl, combine all dry ingredients. (You can use an electric mixer to combine the dry ingredients thoroughly at this point so that you won't need to overmix once the wet and dry ingredients are combined.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter and sugar mixture along with the milk and vanilla.
  5. Optionally, mash 1/2 cup of the blueberries, and stir in by hand (this will turn batter a light shade of blue and add a touch of blueberry flavor, but this step may be skipped, if you wish). Add the remaining whole berries and stir in gently by hand.
  6. Spray a 12 muffin baking pan with Baker's Joy (or other non-stick spray). Fill greased muffin cups.
  7. Sprinkle sugar on top of unbaked muffins.
  8. Bake at 375°F for 25-30 minutes. Cool in pan. Run a knife around the edge of each muffin after several minutes to free it from the pan and cool on wire racks. Muffins may be brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with sugar, if desired.

My personal favorite blueberry muffin recipe is from the Fanny Farmer Boston Cooking School Cookbook, which is also posted on this blog here.



Monday, December 28, 2015

Nutella Pizza at MAST' is as Good as it Sounds

I recently had the pleasure of eating at MAST', a truly authentic Southern Italian restaurant located near Park Street.




Everything required to make the most authentic Neapolitan pizza is imported from Italy, from the flour to the tomatoes to the hundred-year-old oven to the cooks themselves!




One of the helpful waitstaff, Tessa, created this video to show you the chef in pizza-making action:


I sampled a variety of pizzas for lunch. Because the oven is so hot, the pizza cooks in the oven for less then 1 minute. If you have not had traditional Neapolitan wood-fired pizza before, the pizza dough itself is likely different than what you might expect. It has a complex flavor and rich, chewy texture and is so delicious it encourages eating slice after slice. All I'm saying is plan your carbs that day accordingly because you will want to indulge.

Here is the Margherita pizza with San Marzano tomatoes, fior di latte, basil, and olive oil:



Here is the Zucca pizza with pumpkin squash creme, fior di latte, and spezia, which takes advantage of the pumpkin flavor. No lame pumpkin spice here!


Here is the Capriciosa with artichoke hearts, Prosciutto cotto ham, olives, fior di latte, and San Marzano tomatoes. 


Here is the best part of MAST' - NUTELLA. Here is their Nutella wall:


The Nutella pizza, which is so good that upon tasting, you start trying to figure out ways to hoard it from others: 



Here are photos of the owners. Thank you for the fantastic lunch!




** Editor's note: lunch was provided by MAST'


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Live Candy Cane Making Demo at Tuck's Candy Shop

Last week I had the pleasure of checking out one of my favorite holiday traditions - the candy cane making demonstration at Tuck's Candy Shop! Located about an hour's drive north of Boston (and accessible by commuter rail with a short walk), Rockport is on the tip of Cape Ann, Massachusetts.  You have likely seen the most famous image from town, referred to as Motif No. 1, in Bearskin Neck wharf because it is photographed so often:



Although one might think of it as a summer destination to visit the beach and cute shops, it is fun to walk around even this time of year. Many shops are still open and the temperature is unseasonably warm. Being so close to the water will make you crave seafood but be aware that everyone else will have the same thought and plan your lunch or dinner table-waiting accordingly.

I was super excited to revisit Tuck's. I hadn't been there in years and was excited to go there!


Here is the candy-making demonstration schedule:


Here is an overview of the entire process with feedback from the candy makers. The taller gentleman mentioned that he is a third generation candy maker:


The curving and setting of the candy canes:







I believe the last demonstration of the season will be on December 20. Have fun!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Checking In

I wanted to post a brief update to those who may have noticed there have not been many posts lately. About a year ago, I had some unexpected changes that had some major ramifications for my career, significantly cutting down resources like time to check out dessert places and money to sample menus. I'm slowly working my way out of the quagmire and rebuilding.


I've been writing for this blog for over 10 years. We're older than social media - HUZZAH! I didn't realize it when I started, but writing for this long would mean watching good places open and close, replaced by something else that also opens and closes. I was ignorant of the life cycle and challenges involved in keeping restaurants afloat. When Hamersly's closed I was doubly sad because even though it was my favorite Boston restaurant, I could not afford to have one last meal there. Hamersly's was accessible elegance, like walking into Bergdorf's but you could actually take something home with you. Everything about it was perfection; the service, the decor, the view, the location, the feeling of contentment as you sat and drank in the entire experience. After learning Hungry Mother was closing, I started to reflect on these places that stay, evolve, or disappear. Even though it would always be outside my price range, I wanted to check them out and enjoy the experience. Most of my food adventures these days come from being close to my second (retail) job. It's weird to think about Hungry Mother. I remember when it wasn't there. I remember when it was the talk of the town, and given their success, they probably still are and the chefs always will be. I remember chef Jay Santos serving as a guest speaker at a Boston Center of Adult Education class on Food Writing when he was on Hell's Kitchen. I went to Gargoyle's on the Square soon after with a dear old friend who passed away soon afterwards, and that memory is precious. I remember Anthony's Pier 1 and relished the classiness of the place, the sense of old school Boston permeating throughout, and that exquisite view of Boston harbor.
Image Source
I suppose openings and closings, old expectations and new realities, are always in flux. I'm old enough to know this is not new, and yet, each decade brings new challenges that starts the cycle up in new and unanticipated ways. All of which in typical long-winded blogger-speak means I'm still here and working on this blog. As always, when I find a place my budget can afford and time to go there, if the dessert is something you should try you will find it written up here. If there is a place you recommend hit me up!