Monthly Archives: March 2011

Thursday Tidbits: Heaven


Photo: Mike Licht,


Sin Your Way to Heaven
It’s back. Boston’s Bacon & Beer Festival is happening April 30th! This means you have the whole month to salivate in anticipation. But, don’t get complacent. Tickets to this heavenly event go on sale TOMORROW at 1pm, and they go quickly.

Pretty Saucy
The options for cheap, all you can eat pizza these days are pretty slim, and rather grim. Your prospects will change for one day only—this Saturday—for the First Annual Peabody Pizza Challenge in Somerville. For only $10, taste several local pizza challengers and vote on your favorite for a great cause. All proceeds will benefit the Elizabeth Peabody House’s emergency food pantry in Somerville. Tickets are limited.

Meet an Editor
The James Beard Foundation awarded The Washington Post as the best newspaper Food Section in 2009 and 2010. On April 9th, you’ll have a chance to meet Joe Yonan, the Food and Travel Editor behind these awards, at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, Yonan’s alma mater. He will give a demonstration from his new book Serve Yourself: Nightly Adventures in Cooking for One and discuss his writing career. Tickets cost $40, which includes a copy of the book and samples.

Location, Location
One of the biggest problems with food trucks is also their biggest asset: location. Often they just aren’t convenient to where you are. Now through April 13th, the City of Boston is offering a Food Truck Survey where you can suggest locations for the mobile businesses. You’ll find it here.

On the Lamb
When thinking of Newbury Street, designer fashion and maxed-out credit cards might come to mind. You probably weren’t thinking it is the place to learn how to butcher half a lamb. Watch Tom Daly of Savenor’s Market, home of meat geniuses, do just that April 20 from 6:30 to 8:00 at KitchenWares. The 90-minute demonstration includes wine and lamb tasting for $50. Register online here. Continue reading

Food Therapy from Waltham Fields Community Farms

Photo: Waltham Fields Community Farm

You may have been wishing you could turn OFF the heat today and tomorrow. But it looks like a better idea to turn your oven ON.

How about a roast to take your mind off the wet stuff. Here’s some curried cauliflower and chick pea ‘love’ from Waltham Fields Community Farms blog. Personally, I am not a big fan of cilantro, but I’ve got plenty of parsley in my frig, and that’ll do nicely.

While you’re at it, check out Waltham Fields’ Spring events! They’ve got four upcoming seedling sales in April and May, plus a farm wellness retreat and lots of volunteer opportunities. This is a local gem.

Spread the word, share the love.

Celebrating the Persian New Year at Lala Rokh

Close-up view of Lala Rokh's New Year's Table

While the weather might still be on the chilly side here in Boston, spring is in the air. I’ve seen the crocuses to prove it.

It’s a time to look ahead to warm weather and nature’s resurgence. This is also the time of the Persian New Year, known as Nowruz, which means ‘new day,’ a celebration of the beginning of spring.

For Babak and Azita Bina, the brother and sister who run the Persian restaurant Lala Rokh on Beacon Hill, celebrating Nowruz is a tradition that took on an added significance when they emigrated to the U.S. from Iran in the 1970s. It’s a way of reaffirming their ties to both their family and culture. Continue reading

Food Therapy from Tales of the Basil Queen

Photo: stevendepolo/Flickr

There’s something about pink icing that can make even the driest, blandest pastry a little special. In my childhood, I had so much FD & C Red No. 3 on my Dunkin’ Donuts that I might as well have been swallowing a (sugary, jimmie-covered) tumor.

The donuts were always horrible – even as a kid, I’d sometimes just eat the frosting and discard the rest – and despite being a New Englander born and raised, I haven’t stomached a DD pastry in years. To be fair, I can’t even remember the last time I had a donut – it all seems too sticky-sweet, too reminiscent of a toddler’s palate. It doesn’t seem to have a place in a quinoa- and kale- lover’s diet.

I changed my mind at about 10:30 this morning, when I saw this recipe by Adele at Tales of the Basil Queen. Finger buns (also known as London buns or candlegrease buns) are basically a lighter version of donuts – they’re an Austrailian treat made from a yeasted dough with sultanas and just a teensy bit of sugar and butter. Out of the oven, they are drizzled with some pink icing – a necessary step. “The icing is supposed to taste pink,” Adele writes. She uses food coloring; for an all-natural approach, you could use beets.

These buns are, in Adele’s words, “pleasantly soft and agreeably sticky, and they are much beloved by schoolchildren, if not so much by adults.” This adult, however, thinks they might be a perfect afternoon snack. If your yeast fails you, if you cook for too long, hey – at least you’ll get a bowl of pink frosting out of it.

(Incidentally, Tales of the Basil Queen happens to be a captivating and utterly absorbing local blog. Her great post accompanying this recipe is typical of the quality you can expect. Check it out!)

Liquid Therapy from Cocktail Virgin Slut

West Fens from Citizen's (Photo: Susanna Bolle)

There are a lot of great resources out there for cocktail recipes with a bevy of classic cocktail books and a thousand and one online guides.

With all this choice, more often than not, I turn to the local cocktail experts at Cocktail Virgin Slut when I want a shot of creativity. Need to find a drink to make with, say, Smith & Cross rum or yet another Charlie Sheen-inspired cocktail? You’ll find it here.

The site usually features recipes for cocktails by Boston bartenders — these folks get out to a lot of bars around town and, as the saying goes, they “drink and tell.” But they also do a little drink-related scientific experimentation every now and again. Recently, they undertook a hyper-detailed study of the Effect of Glass Temperature on drinks. Ultimately, it’s this kind of rigorous dedication that really sets them apart.

Checking in with Munch Madness

Flour Bakery + Cafe. Photo: nooschi/Flickr

I am currently in second-to-last place at my student newspaper’s office March Madness bracket competition. Not surprising, considering I picked Boston University as my champions (what can I say – I bleed scarlet).

I think I’d fare a little better at The Boston Globe‘s version of the basketball tournament: Munch Madness, their second annual restaurant tournament. Sure, I’d have gone the other way with some match-ups – I’d pick The Friendly Toast over Franklin Cafe, for instance – but I could have predicted such tense battles as Flour beating out UpStairs on the Square (good sticky buns will get you everywhere in life).

The remaining elite eight will be weeded down to one champion by the end of this week – voting ends on April 1, and the winner will be announced on the 4th. Continue reading

Food Therapy: Pop Chip Falafel From Good Cook Doris

Photo: Good Cook Doris

These aren’t the chips you ate in middle school.  They’re yummy and the bag says they’re “popped,” not fried.  I don’t really know if they’re that healthy but wow, they taste REALLY good.

I may admit to liking these chips but when I heard “Good Cook Doris” was taking on a challenge to COOK with them, I had to take a closer look.  You should, too.

Time in the Greenhouse

Photos: Courtesy of Powisset Farm

In this month’s post from Powisset Farm, Meryl captures the spirit of a rite of Spring: seeding time in the greenhouse. Feel your own shoulders and muscles relax as she describes this important ritual.

Meryl LaTronica
Farm Manager, Powisset Farm

This morning I opened the door in the dusky early morning to walk my dog along the farm road. The divots in the road were filled with icy ponds, there was a thin layer of frost on the fields, and the geese were helping themselves to an all-you-can-eat buffet of the winter rye that has been slowly emerging as the snow has melted away. After a little game of dog-chase-geese and a filling of my coffee mug, I made my way into the greenhouse for a morning of seeding.

The greenhouse is where we start nearly all of our plants at Powisset. We began March 1st with onions, shallots and cabbage. Then we moved into broccoli, scallions and beets. This week we will be starting on spinach, leeks and kale.

For each week of the season, from March through August, we have a seeding schedule that we live by.   Continue reading

PRK Meets Up at Central Bottle

Photos: Laura Bulgrin

A HUGE shout out to our PRK readers who met up with us last night at Central Bottle!

As billed, it was a raucous time. Not because of our crowd, per se, but the entire crowd at Central Bottle. If you haven’t been yet, their Thursday Wine Bar is top notch. It’s basically a hip wine and cheese party after work/play/study, with standing room at the tables and huge windows looking out onto Mass Ave. So many thanks to our gracious hosts there, Liz and Maureen. Nothing was lacking. It was completely social. Bring your friends.

We certainly had ours around us. Til next time!!