Monthly Archives: January 2010

Sweethearts In Winter

Photo: Courtesy of Delicious Dishings

Jessica Alpert

Wow, today super cold.  I’m headed to NYC for the weekend and I can only hope the Gods look down on Manhattan and smile with lots of sun.  Probably unlikely but dreaming of this divine sweetheart cake keeps my heart warm.

Whether you’re pro- or anti- Valentine, you never need an official day to make a delicious cherry cake.  Megan of Delicious Dishings (a great blog-destination for special dinners and desserts) shares her special recipe and giveaway with us.


Photo: Courtesy of Delicious Dishings

Valentine’s Day is such a love/hate thing… and I happen to love it! I think that’s actually because of my mom. I can’t remember a Valentine’s Day when I lived at home when my mom didn’t make us heart-shaped french toast and give us little gifts. Even after I moved out, she would still send Valentine’s Day care packages — only now I have to make my own heart-shaped french toast (or even heart-shaped waffles), as that wouldn’t ship very well. She started such a great tradition and gave me so many great memories of Valentine’s Day that it hasn’t mattered over the years whether I’ve been single, celebrating with friends or family, or sharing the day with a special someone.


Thursday Tidbits

Photo: SummerTomato/Flickr

Emma Jacobs

Legal Sea Foods is turning 60. Roger Berkowitz, who started working in the family fish market at the age of 10, talks with Greater Boston’s Emily Rooney here.

Wrong city. Good eats. Good radio. Chicago Public Radio’s Eight-Forty-Eight’s Soundbites series reports on the sounds coming out of seven Chicago restaurants.

In other food news, Amanda Bensen of Food & Think met a  new vegetable: fennel. She offers suggestions on fennel soups, salads and dessert. How’s that for versatile?

Reports suggest that the USDA may lift its ban on haggis. Made from the simmered, internal organs of sheep, haggis has been outlawed since the mad cow scare of the 1980s-1990s because of fears it carried a related pathogen. Scottish-Americans are relieved, including Margaret Frost of Ohio, who told the Guardian: “We have had to put up with the U.S. version, which is made from beef and is bloody awful.”

Locally, the Boston Licensing Board considers the beer and wine license for Wee Angel today, in what could become the city’s first Scottish pub, complete with haggis-inspired grub. If you’d rather try out this, um, delicacy at home, the Food Network’s Alton Brown has a recipe.

Didn’t get your flu shot? The Boston Globe is offering recipes for chicken soup, also called Jewish penicillin, to make yourself. Marjorie Druker of Newton cooked Paul Brophy chicken soup. They got married, and started the New England Soup Factory. Chicken soup apparently works marvels. Their avgolemono, a Greek egg-lemon soup, looks particularly promising.

Le Whif


I love chocolate and yes, I worry about its impact on my hips.  But sometimes, a small square is just necessary.  The desire cannot be contained…..but Harvard Professor David Edwards is taking a shot at it.

In fact, he’s created a chocolate that is TOTALLY calorie-free and doesn’t include an ounce of aspartame.  It’s called ‘Le Whif’ and from its promotional materials it seems more like an experience than a snack.


It works like this: you put the small cylindrical container into your mouth and puff.  Hundreds of miligrams of tiny food particles fall onto your tongue…creating a sense of chocolate, an air of it…without one chew.


I want to try all three flavors (raspberry chocolate, mint chocolate, dark chocolate) of this puppy….I’m not thinking it would satisfy my post-dinner cravings but then again… is beautiful, no?

What's New at Powisset Farm


Photo: colleen taugher/Fickr

Farm Manager Meryl LaTronica, a monthly blogger at PRK, fills us in on what’s new this month in her neck of the woods.
Meryl LaTronica, Guest Contributor
Powisset Farm

Time for Winter Farming Conferences!

Even thought the snow is still falling (often) and the cold weather is keeping me from the fields, I can feel spring about to burst on the farm! Here at Powisset Farm, January has been filled with busy days of crop planning, seed ordering, tractor shopping, putting together this season’s stellar farm crew and even making it to the local farming conference.

Last week the Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) held their 23rd annual Winter Conference. Most of Massachusetts’ small farmers and gardeners were in attendance, checking out workshops such as ‘The ins and outs of maple sugaring,’ ‘Raising healthy hogs for direct markets,’ ‘Chemical free beekeeping’ and ‘Cut flowers, from seed to sale.’ There were workshops for a range of growers, from backyard gardeners to large-scale production farmers. I ended up spending most of my time in some of the less glamorous, though informative, workshops, filling notebooks with ideas and methods on hay and pasture production, growing grain on a small scale and which varieties of winter greens do best in our climate. The winter conference is a great time to catch up with all my fellow Massachusetts farmers and gardeners and to get inspired with new ideas and strategies for our upcoming growing season. Oh, and lunch isn’t bad either—a potluck for 800 people—so many delicious options, most of which are grown and raised right here in Massachusetts!

Until the next conference, I’ll be at the farm, finishing up the season’s seed order. The tomato seeds just came in…this year we’ll be growing 39 different varieties! Maybe in my next post I’ll tell you about a few of the favorites I’ll be growing this year.

For more information on Massachusetts NOFA, visit:

Read Meryl’s last post
Read Meryl’s November ’09 post

Rum…a Yum, Yum.

Glass of rum

Photo: Flickr/Kyle May

Nothing like a tasty glass of rum in the middle of winter, right?  These days, good rum is possible regardless of geography.

Maybe you’re partial to the Caribbean, maybe you prefer a good Guatemalan….perhaps you’ve even fallen in love with a Berkshires brand.  Whatever it is, broaden your horizons…TONIGHT.

For fifteen bones, head over to Redbones in Davis Square where you can educate yourself about the rums of the world (at least those created in this hemisphere).  Reservations are not required but you are forewarned: New Englanders are always looking for constructive ways to stay warm.  (There may be a crowd).

Weekend Plans

Susan McCrory

Russell’s Garden Center in Wayland is hosting a winter farmers’ market from 10am-1pm tomorrow and every Saturday through February 27. The list of participating vendors is long, varied and enticing. It could be a great eating weekend!

The two-day Boston Wine Expo begins tomorrow, don’t forget, with legions of wine for the tasting and cooking demos from local chefs on both Saturday and Sunday, all afternoon.

Courtesy of the chic life

If you’re in the mood to bake this weekend, bake for Haiti! Shannon from  Tri to Cook and Diana from the chic life read yesterday’s post and commented with the URL for an online bake sale she is organizing to raise money for Haiti (proceeds will go to the American Red Cross). You can bake, bid or both. The deadline for bakers is this Sunday, January 24. Bidding starts 12:01am on Wednesday, January 27. Check it out!

Finally, from the Herald, here’s a helpful, loooong list of shops, artists, musicians and restaurants participating in Haiti relief efforts this week and next, including At Drink, Portobello Road, Rialto, Stella Restaurant, Victoria Station in Salem, and so many more. Lots of fun things to do, lots of ways to help.

Reaching out to Haiti

Susan McCrory 

In Haiti each day, each hour, the need for help is so immense it’s overwhelming. What must it be like for those living through the catastrophe there, just trying to survive? Let’s keep willing into action a great efficiency among the governments, military units and relief organizations coordinating their aid to help the Haitian people on the ground.

As they do, PRK would like to do its small part in spreading the word about how we can help from here. Below are links to articles listing restaurants participating in the relief effort by raising money via special lunches, dinners, drinks, desserts, etc. Many of these restaurants are funneling the dollars to Partners in Health, Paul Farmer’s aid organization with two decades’ worth of experience in Haiti. It looks like what is needed most is money — yes, cold hard cash, per the PIH volunteer and donate pages and the article “Teaching Americans What Haiti Needs: Money” from yesterday’s New York Times. So, whether you donate directly to an aid organization or donate through a meal out, please do donate. Whatever you can. And please let us know of other efforts out there that we can shout about.
Boston Magazine
Grub Street
Palate Press
Sweet Earth Chocolates is offering “Haiti Relief Bars,” 100% organic, fair trade chocolate for the Haitian cause.

Election Day Delights

Folks, I’m beat.  I was here late last night helping out with WBUR Senate race coverage…and I’m back again today doing the same thing.  Since the election is on my mind, I thought I might stay on point but lighten it up.

If Scott Brown had a favorite food, what would it be? 

I’ve scoured the internet and I cannot seem to locate many details on his culinary tendencies but I think brainstorming might be a load of fun…..or at least cathartic for Coakley supporters.

Give me a shout out….what would you cook for him OR for her?  Chicken soup? Victory Apple Pie? Rutebaga? Don’t be shy…..

Tuesday Tidbits


Photo: not a hipster/Flickr

Susan McCrory

She Made Crackers
“I love the D.I.Y. challenge of deconstructing the everyday processed food; it feels like Martha Stewart is having lunch with Patti Smith, or something. I’m just drawn to the contradictions…” And so it went for Lindsey Frances of Made By Frances who made, you guessed it, crackers.

CityFeast: Dining out to Conquer Diabetes
PRK recently spoke with Carla Gomes, owner of North End restaurants Antico Forno and Terramia, to hear from her personally about the 5th annual CityFeast: Dining Out to Conquer Diabetes, a benefit for the Joslin Diabetes Center’s High Hopes Fund, slated for Sunday, January 31, in Boston’s North End. Carla’s son, David, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on his first birthday. Eighteen years and literally tens of thousands of shots and finger pricks later for her son, Carla is organizing CityFeast for the fifth straight year to help raise awareness of diabetes and support the Joslin Center’s mission of conquering the disease through critical care, research and education. Seven North End restaurants – Lucca, Prezza, TarantaTresca, Caffe Grafitti, and of course Antico Forno and Terramia – will participate in CityFeast by offering guests a special five-course dinner with wine pairings. Tickets run $150 each, $100 of which goes directly to the Joslin and is tax-deductible. Approximately 250 people attend the event each year and, to date, CityFeast has raised $95,000.

When we spoke with Carla, it became clear how integral a part of her son’s health the Joslin has become over the years, and how clear her goal is of growing CityFeast to a North End-wide, city-wide, even a nation-wide, event dedicated to fighting diabetes: one evening, one disease, lots of support. Visit the Joslin Diabetes Center homepage for information on buying tickets.

Who Won at Le Cordon Bleu?
The team fielding one of their own students, plus Jeff Dudley of Saffron Bistro and Ilene Bezahler of Edible Boston, left for home with the blue ribbon from last Thursday’s cooking competition hosted by the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Cambridge (read last week’s post on the contest.) According to lead chef Jeff Mushin, about 70 people attended and chose their fav for being “well presented, with good flavors.” Voting was done by ballot, but guests had the chance to vocalize what they liked about the three dishes of poulet sauté they sampled for dinner, and why. Said ribbon-bedecked winner Ilene, “we did a pan seared chicken breast with porcini mushroom, madeira and cream sauce, [with] carmelized blue potatoes, and then a butternut squash puree which was savory not sweet. The key again, simple and well prepared!”