Below are a few of my tears from the Improper’s Bartenders issue. My task was to photograph Boston’s finest bar foods and beverage parings at eight restaurants throughout the city. It was a hectic few days, but nonetheless fun, and a delight sampling the leftovers!
I’m excited to post this tear from the latest issue of Boston Magazine. The shot below was taken for their “First Bite” section, and highlights the chorizo, poblano and cheese smothered Disco Fries at The Sinclair (a live-music venue and restaurant) in Harvard Square.
Last Friday we decided to venture down to Connecticut to visit my parents and spent a cozy weekend getting snowed in together. This was the perfect occasion for warm, hearty, home cooked soup. My mom whipped up a batch using a few homegrown ingredients, including three varieties of heirloom beans (pictured in the post below) as well as the onions and kale. She also used her own homemade chicken stock. When I asked her about the benefits of making her own stock, here’s what she had to say:
“I make my own chicken stock primarily because I can control the ingredients that go into it. No chemicals. I only use organic free-range chickens because they are healthier and more nutritious than the caged chickens that are fed hormones, antibiotics, and a poor diet. Plus, buying from local farmers supports the community. Also, homemade stock is richer, tastier, and far superior to commercial broth”.
This soup is delicious, so thanks to my mom, I’ve included the recipe below. It’s always such a treat going to my parent’s and having a homegrown meal!
You will need:
1 1/4 cups of dried beans (my mom used Jacob’s Cattle,Vermont Cranberry and Hutterite Soup beans)
1/4 lb of bacon
1 1/2 cups of diced celery and onions combined
3/4 tsp of Herbes de Provence
5 minced garlic cloves
3 cups of carrots (sliced in half moons) and chopped kale combined
6 cups of homemade chicken stock
To Make the Beans:
Cover the beans with 3 inches of cold water, and soak for about 4-12 hours. Simmer soaked beans in 6 cups of cold water for 1 1/2 hours with a bay leaf and smashed garlic clove. Drain beans and reserve 1 cup of the liquid for the soup. Remove the bay leaf; the garlic clove can stay with the beans.
To Make the Soup:
In a large pot, cook down the bacon until crispy. Drain the bacon fat and set the bacon aside. Add 2 tbsps of bacon fat back in to the pot.
Add celery and onions and cook until soft, then add the Herbes de Provence and minced garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Then add the carrots and kale and 2 cups of the chicken stock. Cook for 20 minutes to soften the carrots, then add the beans, the remaining chicken stock and 1 cup of the reserved bean cooking liquid and cook for 10 minutes more.
Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle bacon, Romano cheese and parsley over the top and serve.
Daddy Jones Bar: 525 Medford St, Somerville
Left: Grilled Lamb Skewers-Marinated lamb, Grilled veggies, Rice Pilaf. Right: Mac Daddy- Sharp Cheddar, Kaseri, Bacon, Sauteed tomatoes, Elbow macaroni
Left: Ceviche with Homemade Russet Potato Chips, Right: Filet of Spanish Mackerel with Curried CauliflowerWaban Kitchen, 1649 Beacon Street Newton, MA 02468
Our first day in Budapest we wandered about two miles through the city and ended up at Vajdahunyad Castle, where we discovered several street vendors selling hot spiced wine and traditional Hungarian meats and baked goods. It was a particularly foggy, chilly day, the coldest we’d had so far, and the hot wine was just the ticket to warm us from the inside out. After the wine, we became a bit caught up in the cultural surroundings and made a snap decision to purchase a sheep skin from a fur vendor. It seemed like a good idea at the time (and such a bargain!), but later realized it had quite the stench, reminiscent of fermenting sheep and dirty barn. We moved on, and stopped to try a few dishes from the meat vendors, deciding on the Goulash and Pork Shoulder. Both were delicious- perfectly tender and brimming with flavor. After, we sampled the “Chimney Cakes”, baked over coals and sprinkled with cinnamon, coco or nuts. We opted for half and half, and tried the cinnamon and coco, which was excellent. The dough had a rich, sweet buttery flavor, and was so tasty fresh off the coals! It was the perfect ending to our little food adventure, and my favorite experience in Hungary.