Birds of a Feather

Fastnacht February 13, 2013

Filed under: Recipes and food,The everyday — kcfeather @ 2:32 am

Today goes by many names: Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Carnival, Shrove Tuesday. Here in Philly, we’re just outside Pennsylvania Dutch country. We’ve learned that the Dutchy term for the day is Fastnacht, and the day is celebrated not by eating King Cake or pancakes, but doughnuts!

We didn’t make it over to our favorite doughnut shop today so we’re staying in, and enjoying some tapioca pudding. But in future years, we look forward to properly celebrating the day (how can you beat fried dough?)

Happy Fastnacht!


Market Cooking: Fall Edition December 7, 2012

Filed under: Recipes and food — kcfeather @ 10:08 pm
On my way to the Farmers' Market

On my way to the Farmers’ Market

Happy Friday! Now that Thanksgiving has passed and Autumn is coming to a close, I thought it was time to do another edition of Market Cooking (see the earlier one here). We’re still loving the Saturday farmer’s market right down the street, and have discovered some pretty tasty recipes over the last few months:

Acorn Squash Quesadillas

Tortilla Butternut Squash soup (from the New England Soup Factory Cookbook)

Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese

Kale Salad with Squash and Clothbound Cheddar

Massaged Kale and Currant Salad

Shepherd’s Pie with the following layers (from the bottom): beef with cinnamon and a bit of curry, drained tomatoes, sauteed chard and garlic, pureed roasted cauliflower

Asian Brussels Sprouts

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples, Hazelnuts, and Brown Butter Vinaigrette

Broccoli Rabe Grinders

Parsnip Fries (hat tip to J for suggesting roasted parsnips last time around)

Beet and Fennel Soup (also, roasted beets on anything)

Finally, I’m including these last three because they are fantastic, but I cheated and used canned pumpkin, so they are not exactly “Market Recipes” – but still very tasty.

Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins (I made these as mini-muffins, which seemed like a better size for such sweet treats)

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

Golden Pumpkin Waffles (from Greg Atkinson’s West Coast Cooking)

Here’s the recipe for the Golden Pumpkin Waffles – they are perfect: substantial but not too heavy or sweet (unless you douse them with butter and maple syrup, which isn’t bad, either).

1.25 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup canola/vegetable oil

1.25 cups pumpkin puree (you could use homemade, but I cheated and just opened a can)

Mix the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients separately, then combine them until just mixed. Put the batter in the waffle maker, wait, and enjoy!  This only really makes enough for 3 people, so double the recipe if you want more (or if you want to freeze some to stick in the toaster on a busy morning).


Market Cooking September 27, 2012

Filed under: Philly,Recipes and food — kcfeather @ 4:47 pm

We’re finally not simply eating out every night (which, as I mentioned, we were), and are enjoying the chance to break in our new kitchen and eat in. Since there are lots of great produce markets in town (the Fitler Square market is just around the corner from us, the Clark Park market is across the river, and Reading Terminal and Italian Markets are also not too far away) I’ve been having fun trying out recipes that use fresh market fruits and veggies.

Kale and ricotta and plums, oh my!


Some favorites from this summer:

Grilled Kale Salad with Ricotta and Plums

Ratatouille (this is a super easy version…maybe someday I’ll try the Thomas Keller one)

Peach Shortbread

Corn Salad Sandwiches (Oh my, were these a hit.  C was skeptical, but quickly came around once he tasted this deliciousness)

Spicy Zucchini Frittata


Almond-oat cakes with strawberries
Am looking forward to trying out some fall recipes in the next few months – think: squash, potatoes, apples, beets and other root veggies. Any recommendations for recipes featuring fall fruits and veggies?


Say Cheese! March 26, 2012

Filed under: Beantown,Recipes and food — kcfeather @ 8:57 pm

Inside the Formmagio Cheese Counter

On the first morning we spent in Cambridge (July 1, 2010), we woke up, walked a few blocks down Huron Avenue, and got a cherry scone, four fruits tea (K), and coffee (C) at a little neighborhood gourmet market.  We’ve come to frequent the market – not for buying actual groceries, since it makes Whole Foods look like a discount grocer, but for picking up little treats – a bit of cheese or salami, Stumptown coffee beans, a bottle of wine, or perhaps their famous Saturday barbecue – and for getting ideas of things to make at home.


We had *heard* that they had a cheese cave – in fact, seeing the cheese cave is on our list of things to do before leaving Boston – but the store is always so crowded that we never thought it was a good time to ask if we could see it.  Then, a colleague of C’s invited us to a “Cheese 101” class at Formaggio, and we thought that this might be the perfect opportunity to enjoy the store when it is a little less chaotic, and maybe even get a chance to check out the cheese cave. And indeed, it was!  We had lots of fun tasting the cheeses (and enjoying the wine pairings), learned a little bit about cheese-making, got in some good Cambridge people watching, and….got a private tour of the cheese cave!

Inside the cheese cave, at last!

The cave was not surprisingly dark, damp, and smelled of ammonia…but it was also full of oodles and oodles of cheese.


Friday Five October 7, 2011

Filed under: Recipes and food,The everyday — kcfeather @ 4:47 pm

1. I woke up this morning with a very swollen, pinkish eye.  The doctor at urgent care confirmed: pink eye.  Ugh. But the upsides are many:

-I caught it early
-I had a vision test and still have better than 20/20 vision, and…
-the doctor asked me what dorm I lived in.  It almost always makes my day to be mistaken for an undergrad!

2. Time flies – it feels like it was just August yesterday, and suddenly it’s…October!  Another baseball season come and gone (for Boston at least), and another school year underway.

3. C is hard at work (moreso than ever before), getting ready for the job market.  He’s had some good feedback recently, which is encouraging, and the job market craziness begins soon (which means that the end can’t be too far off, right? Just 5 months away…)

4. With C’s long hours, I have lots of time to pursue hobbies – as of late, have been making some new quilts, running a lot (trying to squeeze it in before the weather turns for good), and trying out some new recipes.  A few that we’ve enjoyed recently:

Pistachio-Crusted Tofu with Ponzu (and brown rice and broccoli)

5. As long as we’re talking about food, I recently decided that I love simple cabbage slaws (with only vinegar or lime juice…none of that mayo business, thank you).  But after many nights in a row of cabbage making up a large portion of our dinners, C put the ke-bash on it.  So no more cabbage slaw for dinner for a while (though I can always have it with my lunch).

My two favorite ways to make it are with lime juice, salt and chili pepper (to go with black bean or fish tacos), or a more Asian-style slaw, with peanuts and a dressing of 1/3 cup sugar plus 1/2 cup each of rice vinegar and regular white vinegar, boiled, then with juice of one lemon and 3 Tablespoons soy sauce added in.


Stayin’ Cool August 3, 2011

Filed under: Recipes and food — kcfeather @ 3:28 pm

We’re on holiday this week, with the fam in Cape Cod, but are back in Cambridge for a short spell (to work…) I recently discovered something so wonderful, and so “summertime” that I just had to share.

In the middle of a pretty brutal heatwave a few weeks ago, C and I decided that the best way to beat the heat was to go to the movies (for the second night in a row). Midnight in Paris, which we had heard great things about, was still playing at the Coolidge Corner theatre, and so for dinner we thought we’d stop by the Super 88 (a grocery store where we won’t shop – but where we’ll eat at the food court).

On my way to pick C up from his office en route to Super 88, I was listening to NPR’s Splendid Table. In this particular episode, they were interviewing a woman in LA about her favorite foods for the dog days of summer, and she mentioned a meal I had never heard of: mul naengmyeon or, naeng-myun.

From Wikipedia:

Naengmyeon is a Korean dish of long and thin hand-made noodles made from the flour and starch of various ingredients: buckwheat, potatoes, sweet potatoes, naengmyun made with the starch from arrowroot (darker color and chewier than buckwheat noodles), and kudzu…
Originally a delicacy in northern Korea, especially the cities of Pyongyang and Hamhung in North Korea, naengmyeon became widely popular in Korea after the Korean War.
Naengmyeon is served in a large stainless bowl with a tangy iced broth, julienned cucumbers (Korean cucumbers are like the gourmet cukes. Remove seeds if using the ubiquitous waxy cukes), slices of Korean pear, and either a boiled egg or slices of cold boiled beef or both. Spicy Mustard sauce [or Mustard oil-use sparingly] and vinegar are often added before consumption.

I was fascinated just listening to the description, and was excited to find that the Korean restaurant at the food court actually sold Naengmyun. So of course, I had to try it. And it hit the spot – was perfect for such a hot night. Now I have a new go-to food for the really sticky 90/90 days (90 degrees/90 percent humidity).

Yes, at Super 88 they even put in watermelons!


I scream, You scream July 20, 2011

Filed under: Recipes and food — kcfeather @ 12:55 am

We all scream for ice cream!

Summer was slow in coming, but there is no debating that it’s finally here.  There are some beautiful (but hot and humid) summer days in Boston, but there are also a lot of overcast (but still hot and humid days), which are a little uninspiring.  Either sort of day, though, is a great day for ice cream.

When we first met, C was a plain vanilla sort of guy.  In fact, probably to this day he would say that Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla is his favorite ice cream flavor of all time.  (Also, C microwaves ice cream before scooping so that it is soft.  Is that weird or what?)  I, on the otherhand, once interned at a design firm whose motto was, “Never Vanilla.”  Although I’ll grant that Bryer’s Vanilla Bean ice cream is pretty good when topped with hot fudge.

Before leaving the Bay Area, we discovered the best ice cream in the world.  Humphrey Slocombe is the place that convinced C that just maybe non-vanilla flavors of ice cream could be pretty good.  Our favorite flavor at HS is Secret Breakfast (bourbon ice cream with corn flakes), but other really wonderful flavors there include Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee, Cinnamon Brittle, Green Tea Black Sesame, and Balsamic Caramel.  Plus there are lots of flavors that we missed out on (because they only serve a limited number of flavors at a time), not to mention the flavors that are interesting to taste, but perhaps a bit much for a full serving (e.g. Salt and Pepper and Boccalone Proscuitto).  Also – their sundaes (Tin Roof and Hot Mess) are out-of-this-world delicious.

Here in Cambridge, people think they have great ice cream options, but none of the options quite live up to HS (though we still enjoy a trip to Toscanini’s on occasion whenever I can convince C to take me there).

But we also have a handy-dandy Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker at home, and have been trying to put it to good use.  And we have two pretty great ice cream cookbooks to boot:

Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments by David Lebovitz

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer

Flavors that we’ve tried at home before and really like:  Vietnamese Coffee (from The Perfect Scoop, this is the easiest by far, so a big winner); Raisin and Oatmeal Praline (also from The Perfect Scoop), Pumpkin Oil Ice Cream (with Pepita Brittle); Anise Ice Cream (The Perfect Scoop); Tangerine Sorbet; Basil Lime Granita; Torrone Semifreddo.

Today, we’re trying Celery Ice Cream with Bourbon-plumped Raisins topped with candied peanuts (a la Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams). A sort of modern take on ants-on-a-log, I guess.

Other flavors we’re hoping to try before ice-cream season ends:  blackberry cabernet granita, sweet basil and honeyed pine nut, backyard mint, and maybe if we’re brave, toasted rice ice cream with coconut and black tea (all from Jeni’s).