Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Creating a Foodie Travel Guides: Restaurant Recommendations

It's a blustery day here in Boston—a perfect kind of day to spend an afternoon in the kitchen, baking up some classic pound cake for a dinner party tonight with my amazing family and a dear friend. The house smells like butter, eggs and sugar, thanks to Rose Levy Beranbaum and her Cake Bible. Its warm aroma and the sound of the wind outside are christening the house with homey hints of the seasons to come...

Speaking of seasons to come, most of us do a bit of traveling over the holidays, and I have taken another step at helping you fellow foodies do what you love to do best: EAT. I find that I just don't have the time to write a post about all of the restaurants that I've been to and loved—both here at home and on the road—so I've started a Travel Guides section! Woohoo! 

You can find the tab to CAF's Travel Guides located right under the header here:

Creating A Foodie Travel Guides are here: restaurant recommendations

The main page lists the cities alphabetically. Click on a city to view "calling cards" for each restaurant that I absolutely LOVED in that city (sorry, mediocre restaurants. You must become worthy...). I provide the address and a mini description of what to expect for each one. If you click on a restaurant's "card," you will be taken to the restaurant's website or its Facebook page.

I hope you find it useful. It's definitely in the beginning stages, and there is a bit of a backlog...

Here's to safe travels and fabulous eating!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Playing Around with Paletas: A Peach-Basil Popsicle Recipe

What a summer this has been! For those of you who visit often, you've gathered that I've been a bit out of my usual loop these past few months. I would make excuses, but I can't because I've had so much fun this summer that my excuses would be a farce. I've missed writing, but I certainly have not missed my family and friends. It's been a summer to make up some seriously lost time, and I've had a blast.

One of my favorite events this summer was having Michael come visit twice! I love cooking for him again when he is back, and this second summer visit from him prompted me to buy something that I have been wanting to buy in a long, LONG time: namely, a popsicle mold. 

I know, I know... How old am I? (cough) Do I have small children? (NO.) 

It's just...every time the heat of summer rolls around and I see photographs of frosty, melty, fruity paletas (i.e. Spanish for "popsicles," kind-of), I have this longing to pureé a bunch of fruit and make some myself.

The only problem? I have never been able to find a popsicle mold that suits my tastes, and I've been SUPER picky about what I want in one. It must:
  • be easy to clean
  • be BPA-free
  • use popsicle sticks that can get accidentally tossed/lost and not ruin the entire set
  • be warp-free
  • be easy to freeze without making a huge mess of my freezer
  • be the classic popsicle shape
Some of you are probably wondering how on earth I ever found my husband if my laundry list for a POPSICLE MOLD is this stringent.

Well. Regardless of what you may think of my picky nature, I FOUND ONE. I paid a small fortune for it, true. But I believe it is going to last me just short of forever. Check it out:

Onyx Stainless Steel Popsicle Mold Set

It's the Onyx Stainless Steel Popsicle Mold from Amazon. It currently costs about $40, but DUDE. Look at it! It's STAINLESS STEEL. It comes with its own super-stable holder. The little silicon rings in the lids hold the (included!!!) bamboo sticks perfectly in place. No crooked popsicles/too-short handles/wimpy plastic here! I am seriously in love. A mom designed it because she couldn't find the perfect popsicle mold, either. Figures. GO, MOMS!

SO. I ordered the popsicle mold, got it in the mail a few days before Michael got into town the second time, and whipped up a couple trial recipes that I concocted after reading around on the internet. NO, they were not recipes for adult-flavored popsicles. I made them from mostly fruit with yogurt or herbs and a little bit of sugar. That's it. Not even water (I hate icy ice-pops...). The blueberry-yogurt one pictured below that Chef Reiton is not sure of (and the one farther down with Marley longingly gazing on) still needs some work, but here's a quick recipe to use up those late summer peaches and basil that are still hanging on—a recipe for peach-basil paletas that got the family approval!

Playing Around with Paletas: A Popsicle Recipe

Peach-Basil Paletas (makes 6 pops or 2 cups of pureé):

Peel 4 medium ripe peaches with a paring knife and cut them into chunks. Place the peach chunks into a small pot and simmer them with 1/4 cup sugar for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pot from the heat, then add 8 fresh basil leaves. Pour the mixture into a blender (or use an immersion blender) and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a glass measuring cup (for easy pouring) and pour into the molds evenly. Let cool to room temperature. Freeze overnight.

Let me know if you try them out or do something different! I'm thinking about trying a strawberry-basil one next...

Playing Around with Paletas: A Popsicle Recipe

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