Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tower of London

Happy Travel Tuesday. (Are you sensing a theme?)

The Tower of London is an iconic landmark situated on the north bank of the River Thames, home of the Historic Royal Palace and The Crown Jewels as well other prominent and powerful entities through the years since it was built in 1078. Tricia and I embarked on a tour lead by a spirited Beefeater, wandered the green (noting the legendary ravens) and explored the Royal Armory. We were engrossed in tales of beheading among others told of London's past, and fascinated by the visual displays of all that accompanied a life of majesty.

The tower is worth a visit especially (or specifically) for a glimpse of the jaw dropping collection of Crown Jewels. The sheer beauty of these gems - among them diamonds, rubys and emeralds to name a few, set in regal purple crowns and gold encrusted wands with their perfectly cut shapes, massive size and intense sparkle factor, is unreal. (Too bad you can't photograph them.) What you can photograph is just about everything else, as shown in the Instagram collage below.
The majestic Tower Bridge can be seen from atop the fortress walls and around the outer perimeter of the area. This famous landmark is commonly mistaken as London Bridge, which is actually further down the river and not nearly as poignant. We didn't have time for a tour of the bridge on this trip, but to marvel in its presence felt like enough.

Monday, January 30, 2012

january weekend.

It was 45 degrees and sunny this past Saturday in Boston. In other words, it felt like early April as opposed to late January. We cooked meals at home, strolled through Beacon Hill, had a drink in Back Bay and visited our favorite baby in the South End. It was leisurely paced and perfectly relaxing. How was your weekend?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

stir it up

My latest inspiration in the kitchen comes from Stir. The cookbook is written by chef Barbara Lynch, who has perhaps one of the most respected and inspirational coming of age success stories in Boston. Her tales of growing up in the Southie projects are told all over town, touching on her involvement with petty crime or reminiscing about the time she stole an MBTA Bus at age 13 (for fun), to the home ec class in high school where her passion for cooking ignited. With 6 highly acclaimed and well loved Boston restaurants (No. 9 Park, B&G Oysters, The Butcher Shop, Sportello, Drink and Menton) not to mention a catering business (No. 9 at Home), and a demonstration kitchen offering classes to the public (also named Stir), the time line from dropping out of high school to present day is nothing short of remarkable. Reading her cookbook gives a true insight into her powerful story, bold natured spirit and of course, her signature dishes. I find most of the recipes to be elegant and distinctive while remaining approachable and practical. They are extremely well written and the food turned out as a result, is exceptional. Two Sunday's ago I made her Lemony Panko Crusted Chicken and Ginger Glazed Carrots and served them alongside Near East garlic and herb couscous. (Chicken, carrots and couscous - apparently, I was going for a "C" themed dinner.)I adapted the carrot recipe only slightly, where chef calls for mustard seeds, I took the liberty of using real mustard. The glaze took on more of a honey mustard quality as a result, but the inherent depth from the ginger remained in tact. The carrots themselves are bright, buttery and perfectly tender.
Ginger Glazed Carrots
6 carrots, trimmed, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch lengths
1 tablespoon spicy yellow mustard
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper

Prepare to blanch the carrots by boiling a medium saucepan of water and setting aside a bowl full of ice water. Cook the carrots in the boiling water until just tender, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer the carrots to the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain well.

Heat the mustard in a skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan to allow it to disperse, about two minutes. Add the butter and honey. When the butter is melted, add the ginger, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Add the carrots and toss them well. Continue to stir everything until the carrots, butter and flavorings are well combined, about 5 - 7 minutes.
I did not adapt the Lemony Breaded Chicken Cutlets, but I did find the recipe online if you want to make them. Scroll midway down the article linked just above and you will find it within the text. If the fact that the recipe calls for homemade tarragon, parsley and chive herb butter doesn't entice you, nothing will. This is easily my new favorite way to make carrots and undeniably the juiciest and most flavorful chicken to ever come out of my kitchen. I can't wait to share more of what I make from Stir.

Other Indulge Inspire Imbibe posts
featuring a piece of Barbara Lynch's empire

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

the hawthorne

1.  phil collins
2.  500A commonwealth avenue
3.  frisee & manchego, chestnut honey vinaigrette
4.  the newest reason to visit kenmore square
5.  “you must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” rb
6.  thick sweet cognac.deep italian bitters.aged yellow-green liqueur
7.  cheese
8.  meghan drinks an old fashioned while her husband Eric looks on
9.  convenience
  the hawthorne strainer was patented in 1892 in Boston
11.  there's a zebra couch
12.  vodka.cucumber.lime.chartreuse+a metal straw-meets-stirrer
13.  fingerling potato skins
14.  lin and che

15.  deviled eggs, crispy prosciutto, cornichons

cheers, jackson cannon, to a job well done. well done indeed.

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