Monthly Archives: April 2010

One Scoop If By Land, Two Scoops If By Sea

Photo: Sarah Knight

Sarah Knight, PRK Contributor

As a child of New England, I know my Boston Cream Pie. It was my brother’s #1 favorite birthday cake, and I have sampled the classic cake, as well as the variations: Boston Cream Pie doughnuts, Boston Cream Pie cupcakes and the ill-advised Boston Cream Pie-flavored yogurt.

And now….the newest incarnation: a new Ben & Jerry’s flavor. Inspired by Continue reading

Gut Check

Tzatziki (yogurt-cucumber sauce) courtesy of The Gut-friendly Gourmet

Susan McCrory

Safe to say that if you’re reading these words right now, you have an interest in food that goes beyond where it comes from, how you prepare it and who prepares it, if not you. That is, you actually enjoy eating the food that looks good to you and you do it whenever you can. 

But what if you were totally into how something tastes and knew you just couldn’t, or shouldn’t, eat it? This is the challenge (understatement) faced by people who suffer from Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and other GI conditions. PRK learned about a new blog called The Gut-friendly Gourmet launched in January by Erika, a local gal. It’s dedicated to cooking for Crohn’s disease and motivated a) by Erika’s love of cooking and b) her desire to be proactive about her condition and share that feeling of empowerment.
The following are Erika’s responses to our questions about her blog. She says she’s gotten a lot of feedback from people with gastrointestinal disease, saying that they had no idea what to eat, how to prepare it and how to make it taste good before they found her site. Her hope is to reach readers who struggle to reconcile their love of good food and their body’s limited ability to digest it. A gut check and reality check wrapped up in one.
PRK: What makes your blog different?

There are several blogs about Crohn’s and colitis. However, most of them are more in the personal-blog vein and chronicle peoples’ day-to-day lives with the disease. In starting my blog, I actually wanted to avoid that model and focus more on something that I could DO to help me feel better on a daily basis, and that even more importantly would give readers something concrete to do to empower themselves against a disease that can be extraordinarily disempowering…Learning how to cook and eat the right foods has made my life so much better that I knew there must be a need for an online resource for others in my position.

PRK: Are all the recipes you post Crohn’s appropriate?

All the recipes are Crohn’s/colitis appropriate–I test them all myself, and anything that disagrees with my system does not make it onto the blog. But I recognize two things: 1) everyone has different foods that work/do not work for them, so what is good for me may not be good for you; and 2) I’m finally getting better (I’ve been quite sick the past few months) so my “gut check” might not be as sensitive as it once was. But I do try to make all the recipes something that I could eat when I’m not feeling well.

PRK: Tell us more about the responses you’ve received since beginning the post

I’ve gotten both comments on the blog and emails from readers. There was one particularly memorable email I got just a few weeks after I launched the blog: “I looked through your page and it is so great to see that you haven’t let your disease keep you down. You are doing great work and I hope you keep on doing it for all those others that are stuck in a rut. I will be trying some of your recipes.” I have gotten a lot of readers by having my friends and family pass on the website to people they know who have Crohn’s or colitis (or other digestive issues). I have also given the URL to several dietitians, who then refer their patients to the blog.

PRK: Do you mostly eat in because of your condition? How do you handle eating out?

Eating out is a challenge, particularly because many restaurant foods are high in fats, which are very hard for me to digest. I have found that Asian noodle restaurants are very good because they are naturally low in fat and the soups are easy to customize. I usually check restaurant menus online ahead of time to make sure that there is something I can eat (plain grilled fish or chicken, a baked potato, rice), and if not I suggest that we try someplace else. But I do entertain a lot more than I used to–partly from necessity, and partly because I like testing out potential recipes for the blog on my friends (and they are happy to be my taste testers).

PRK: Any favorite eateries?

My current favorite noodle joint is Xinh Xinh in Chinatown, and I love the seafood udon soup at Fugakyu in Brookline.

What Boston Eats: Q & A with Sarah Kleinman

Boston Eats: a definitive gem in the Boston culinary scene.  You may not have heard of this restaurant review cum YouTube phenomenon since well, it’s kinda underground.  It’s creator, Sarah Kleinman, is a midwife by day and Boston Eats is her creative outlet.   But it’s not about just doodling in front of her Mac….Sarah’s really, really good.  I did a Q&A with her to learn more about Boston Eats….and above, you can see one of her signature videos.  To see more Boston Eats, click HERE.

PRK: Where did you get the idea to start this series?

SK: I love food. And I’ve always loved projects that incorporate creativity and community building. I recently graduated from midwifery school and no more than a month into that very science based 3 year program, the artist in me started to seep out in any way possible. Creating satirical nursing newsletters and facilitating school-wide cooking contests were soon followed by the making of commercials for phony OBGYN products and video documentation of the “capturing” of the school’s catheterization mannequin for an evening of adventure.

When I moved back to Boston after I graduated, the video bug was still very much alive in me. And though I had lived in Boston for 6 years prior to graduate school, there were so many parts of the city I had yet to see. When I set out to “relearn” my way around Boston I discovered that instead of taking the day to walk the freedom trail or tackle the USS constitution, I found that exploring the city via its’ culinary offerings was much more fun for me. It gave me an excuse to travel to neighborhoods I otherwise would never see and allowed me opportunities to connect with the people of Boston through food.

PRK: How do you choose restaurants?

SK: I’d like to say there is a well thought out system for this process but there really isn’t. I never touted Boston Eats as a review of only “cheap eats” types of places but I’m finding that I’m much more drawn to the unfamiliar hole in the wall than the overpriced or extravagant meal. Don’t get me wrong, I can absolutely appreciate a really decadent, delicious meal but I think the unknown underdog is generally more interesting and generally accessible to a larger audience.

I pretty much make it my duty to check out the Cheap Eats section of the Boston Phoenix every week in case they review anywhere interesting. I have a pile of reviews I’ve ripped out of that newspaper and stuck to my fridge for future episodes. I’m also not above choosing a restaurant based on stereotypes of the city it’s in. So, there was no question I was going to go to a fried fish shack in Portland, ME last week. I also have plans in the mix for episodes critiquing Pizza in New Haven, Vietnamese sandwiches in Dorchester and oysters at the Union Oyster House in Faneuil Hall. Other than that, it’s just word of mouth, recommendations or noticing a neat looking spot while I’m walking down the street.

PRK: How important are the friends you take along?

SK: The friends I take along are very important. I think the best episodes, or at least the ones I have had the most fun making, are the ones where my guest host has strong opinions, a healthy sense of humor and the confidence to disagree with me. Although I think my perspectives are adequate, having a friend or two come along offers the audience multiple views of the food, atmosphere and the experience in general. So, while I could certainly do Boston Eats on my own, I think the “friend’s opinion” has become an essential part of the series.

PRK: What has been your favorite video so far?

SK: Such a tough question! I really loved all of them for very different reasons. Sometimes for the food, sometimes for the company, sometimes for the final edited video. I loved eating at No 7 in New York as it was some of the best fried chicken I’d ever had and still is the only restaurant featured on Boston Eats that earned itself a top score. Jose’s in North Cambridge is also one of my favorites. The food wasn’t anything to write home about but the experience of eating dinner outside on a hot summer night with a cold beer and my very pregnant friend is always an episode that makes me smile. The dueling delis episodes in Queens, NY was also memorable as it was the first and only time we actually critiqued 2 restaurants in one episode.

Sofra in Watertown and Mi Tierra in Waltham are two local spots featured that I was just so pleasantly surprised by during filming. I go back to both of those restaurants ALL the time and would never have known about either one of them had it not been for Boston Eats!

PRK: You’ve taken Boston Eats to NYC. After spending time in NY, do you think the Boston dining scene brings something unique to the table? Is Boston lacking in certain ways?

SK: Although I think Boston and New York are two distinctly different cities, I’ve found that as soon as I walk into a restaurant and turn on the camera, the place comes to life, no matter where I am. Portland, New York, Ottawa, Allston…I’ve been so amazed at how the camera acts as this equalizing force. The waiters are friendly, the food is unique, and my friends and I find ourselves completely caught up in an exciting dining experience. I really haven’t found that Boston is lacking at all in the way of food/restaurant options. Every city is going to have both great and not so great restaurants. I’ve been impressed and disappointed by the dining options in ALL of the cities I’ve taken Boston Eats to. IN fact, I think the only way the dining experience in Boston is different from anywhere else is related to the fact that Boston, unlike all the other cities I’ve taken Boston Eats to, is my home. So each time I eat out here I feel like I’m learning a little but more about the city in which I live. Perhaps, because of that, I’m a little more critical of the Boston restaurants I feature. But when I eat somewhere that really knocks my socks off my heart swells with a little Boston pride.

PRK: Do you have any goals for Boston Eats?

SK: I do. I’m definitely an amateur in movie editing and cinematography but every time I work on a new episode I learn more about how to make the series as watchable as possible. So, one goal is just to get better at that. I’ve also thought about creating a Boston Eats web site so all the episodes are in one place, sort of a video blog type of thing.

One of the things I like about this endeavor is that as long as it remains an avocation it can stay sort of silly and “rule-less” and amateur. At this point, for me, it doesn’t need to be perfect. In fact, I love all of Boston Eats’ imperfections. I really just want to continue to satisfy my creative hunger (so to speak), continue to make people laugh and explore as many local restaurants as possible. That being said, it wouldn’t be awful if some Boston restaurateurs got wind of this series and started to personally invite me to their establishments to wow me with their gastronomic creations…

East Coast Grill Turns 25

Emma Jacobs

This summer the legendary and much-loved East Coast Grill in Cambridge celebrates its 25th birthday. In anticipation, Public Radio Kitchen visited the restaurant and talked with chef-owner Chris Schlesinger. We covered the Grill’s early days in Inman Square, the evolution of the hottest pasta around, served at the Grill’s now (in)famous Hell Nights, and how each Saturday night is a little like a war zone.

Watch PRK’s audio slide show, below, to see the East Coast Grill staff hard at work chopping, filleting, stirring stock and turning out its zesty, tasty-looking entrées. The Grill’s 100th Hell Night begins this coming Monday, April 12th. No surprise, it’s sold-out…

(After the slide show, listen here to WBUR’s 2007 coverage of one of the Grill’s Hell Nights and how “Morning Edition” host Bob Oakes got burnt.)

Thursday Tidbits


Photo: vmiramontes/Flickr

Abby Conway

Local Bites 2010 Preview Party
Tomorrow evening is the kick-off for Down:2:Earth: Sustainable Living in Boston at the Hynes Convention Center. From 5-9 pm Whole Foods, Root:1 and Electrolux are sponsoring Local Bites 2010, a green happy hour (OK, a long one) in which local chefs, food producers, restauranteurs and folks from the wine and beer industry–all committed to sustainability–will be offering their wares, ideas and time. “Come after work to browse the expo, talk to all of the exhibitors and be entertained … all while sampling local bites and sipping organic wine.” Tickets ($20 in advance, $25 at the door) are valid for entrance to the expo the entire weekend. Proceeds from Local Bites 2010 will benefit the New England Aquarium Sustainable Seafood Program and The Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Markets.

If you’re a fan of WBUR’s midday news magazine “Here & Now,” host Robin Young will be main stage on Saturday at the expo, discussing sustainable business. 

Baking for Breast Cancer
Beginning the week of May 3rd, restaurants, bakeries and cafes in the Greater Boston area will be participating in the 11th annual Boston Bakes for Breast Cancer Event. Hundreds of area restaurants will designate one of their sweet treats as “the Boston Bakes for Breast Cancer Dessert.” 100% of the proceeds from the selected confection will benefit breast cancer research and care at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Be sure to check out which of your favorite eateries are participating. If you’re going to indulge, indulge wisely for a worthy cause.

Chop Chop
Got a little chef at home? A new magazine and website aimed at kids aged 5 to 12 and their families is in the works. It’s called ChopChop and its mission is to educate kids to cook and be nutritionally literate.” Its board (the grown-up version) is made up of MDs, PhDs and MPHs, but kids are apparently playing an advisory role. The magazine will be filled with nutritious and inexpensive recipes, food facts and games. The first issue (published by Kid2Kid, Inc., in Watertown, MA) is being distributed to pediatricians, children’s hospitals, community organizations and selected schools, farmers markets and grocery stores. 

Get It While It’s Hot
Food trends come and go but, according to the Boston Globe Magazine, the five hottest in Boston right now are worth getting your hands on. Funky popcorn, exotic citrus, pork belly, coconut water and ‘pickled non-pickles’ make the list. Where can you get the best of these trends? Read here

Wine Wars
BU Food and Wine is hosting “Wine Wars”: a trivia game for wine geeks and wannabes. Friday, April 9th, join Annie Coops, Food Editor at Yankee Magazine, for a night of competitive wine trivia. The “Wine Wars” game was created by BU MLA in Gastronomy graduate Joyce Lock, who also created the Foodie Fight trivia game. Wine and snacks are included in admission and the winning team will take home prizes. The cost is $25/person or $150/table. You can join a team when you get there or come with your own (up to 8 people).

“This Isn’t Your Parent’s Wine Tasting”
Mark your calendars. The Wine Riot will be at the BCA next weekend, April 16th and 17th. The Riot is an expo-style wine tasting, hosted by The Second Glass, that will feature over 250 wines from all over the world plus Crash Course wine seminars, food pairings, a DJ, a photo booth and more. Check out their blog for the most up-to-date information on what to expect at the Riot. Tickets range from $45-$55. Serving up food pairings (all under $5) will be Tremont 647, The Upper Crust, Masa, Redbones and Legal Seafoods. Keep your eyes peeled for more on this event from PRK.

In Honor Of Beets

Photo: Flickr/La Grande Farmer's Market

Maybe it’s not the perfect season for borscht, but my husband made a huge batch this week and I’ve been taking it to work….with nothing but happiness and pride.

But really… in honor of that wonderful vegetable (I really do LOVE beets, especially with a sprinkling goat cheese), take a look at this fantastic “Produce Pete” video from The Daily Show’s Steve Carrell days.


Photo: Flickr/Tanya

Just CLICK HERE to watch.

And coming up…..we visit East Coast Grill as they celebrate 25 years in the restaurant biz.

Boston and the Chocolate Factory

Photo: Courtesy of Edible Boston

Ilene Bezhaler
Edible Boston

Easter and Valentine’s Day are behind us, but that should not be a reason to stop thinking about chocolate! In the Spring issue of Edible Boston, Irene Costello has written about the history of chocolate and how Boston has played an important role in its history, starting back in the mid-1700s when Baker’s Chocolate was founded, and continuing today as Taza Chocolate leads the parade with their artisanal chocolates. 

Craving more? Sink your teeth into Cory Clarke’s article  on Taza published in 2007.

Audio Tour: East Somerville Cook Book

Emma Jacobs
East Somerville isn’t just Louis’ Ice Cream. A new cookbook takes readers on a tour of all the tastes of the neighborhood.
Rebecca Novak helped to gather the collection of recipes from neighborhood restaurant and residents for the East Somerville Main Streets.

 She takes us down East Broadway, to talk with contributors about the backstories behind their chosen recipes.


Marie Annese and Charlotte D’Angelo run family business Broadway Break with their brother, Phil D’Angelo.

When they were growing up with four kids and two parents, Charlotte says, her mother had to cook big. However, her mom’s Easter recipe for Italian fritatta had never been written down.

Ugandan sauce

In Uganda, Sammy Mulondo says, most food is steamed in banana leaves, which are understandably hard to come by in the United States. There are workarounds for cooking food Ugandan-style on American cooking equipment, but Sammy says the results don’t quite taste the same.

pasticcio di silvana

Julia Renalds and her husband, Emanuele, started baking his mother’s Italian recipes so that he could keep in touch with his native Italy. She submitted the recipe for his mother’s lasagna without telling him, and presented him with a finished cookbook during a visit to his family, who still live in Northern Italy.

dairy-free scone

Iseti Reis and her husband Ademar own Boston Cookie. They bake their vegan cookies with the help of their son, Sunrey. They no longer make Iseti’s favorite recipe, their vegan scones. She remembers how different the early days of the business were, and hopes to bring back her favorite item someday.

The official launch party for the cookbook and an exhibit of photography from the book will be held on April 17th, 1-3pm in East Somerville. You can pick up your own copy here.