Friday, July 22, 2011

Dinner with Friends - you don't always have to go out!

Sometimes I find myself looking at my calendar and finding that I have dinner plans every night in a given week - I don't like to go out to dinner that much so if I'm making after-work plans a good solution is cooking in! It's more affordable and certainly better for you - and your apartment is definitely BYOB!

Months ago my coworker had me over her condo for dinner - and given the late spring timing, we tried out a dish with cherries, which we both really ended up enjoying. It was good for after work too because it didn't take too long to put together. Ever since this dinner whenever cherries are on sale I try to find a new dish to try with them - they're not just for making pies!
We prepped the ingredients first - pitted and sliced the cherries in half, sliced some red onion, made a simple champagne vinaigrette dressing and tossed everything together with arugula.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tuesday Night Happy Hour

Next time it's a Tuesday and you're looking for something to do after work - I have something for you, if you're willing to head to the South End that is!

439 Tremont Street, South End
From 5-7pm most weeknights Masa has a great happy hour deal on their tapas bar menu. For $5 you can get a little taster of 10 different bites from the menu, with things ranging from a chili almond stuffed date to a poached shrimp with tostones and salsa. It's probably difficult to share since it's just one bite, but for $5 you can probably manage to order one for each person! The drinks are great too - last night I tried the Raspberry Mojito ($9) and would absolutely order it again, delicious! My friends went more traditional opting for a glass of wine and margarita. Don't worry about getting a spot at the bar - we were the only ones holding the place down until almost 6pm.

647 Tremont Street, South End
After Masa we made our way down the street to Tremont647 for their $2 Taco Tuesday night!! This has been on my radar to try out for a while and I'm glad we finally did. The prices were reasonable, especially with their $2 taco menu and the food was pretty good. They have a small patio area out front, but it was way too hot to be outside so we opted for a nice table inside. It's pretty loud there but we were glad to not have a wait for a table. We started with drinks - I enjoyed my choice at Masa better. I tried their special drink of the night - a Watermelon Daquiri, thinking it would be frozen, but it was on the rocks and didn't taste a lot like watermelon. My friend tried their Raspberry Vodka Gimlet and loved it though. We started with chips, salsa, guacamole and their "sides plate" - and be warned, while I'm super sensitive to spicy things, it seemed like everything had a bit of a kick to it. Not enough to stop me from eating though! The service was great - food came pretty quickly. Our server suggested 2-3 tacos per person, so we listed and each ordered 3, plus a couple sides to share - we got the plantains and the rice and beans. Plantains were yummy - loved the banana guava ketchup that it came with! Apparently the tacos change every Tuesday, with some staples. We tried the chicken, pork and fish ones - I think the chicken was my favorite and I didn't like the fish. It was way too fried and hard - definitely wouldn't get that one again. The chicken taco had chopped up canteloupe salsa in it and the pork had a mango salsa I think. With the sides and drinks I probably would've been fine with just 2 tacos. The server also convinced us to try one of their desserts and if I may say so, it was a flop. It was a chocolate crepe with mango ice cream on top, but for $7 price tag and the tiny portion it was definitely not worth it. I mean, the crepe tasted good, but I think we each got one bite and we were playing nice and sharing well. So if you're craving dessert I'd say skip it there because there are plenty of other dessert options in the area - like South End Buttery (cupcakes and other treats), Picco (ice cream) and probably others I'm unaware of!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

I love summer desserts - and strawberry shortcake is definitely at the top of the list. A friend was having a birthday party outdoors at her new apartment and I offered to bring a dessert but I wasn't sure if she would have silverware, bowls, etc. When I found this recipe from Martha Stewart for strawberry shortcake cookies I thought it was a perfect solution to my problem! What a great idea Martha - everyone loved these cookies. They're a bit more cakey than cookies, but that's what makes them multi-purpose (could also have them at a brunch/breakfast). I also had the idea to throw in some chopped dark chocolate into half of the batch, which I decided made a sort of Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cookie! Also delicious - and I've had at least a couple people ask for the recipe since making them, so here goes:

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies
2 cups diced strawberries
1 TB fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup plus 1 TB sugar
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 TB cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup light cream
sanding sugar for sprinkling on top
1/3 cup dark chocolate pieces (if you want!)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ladies Dessert Night

I just realized how behind I am on some of these posts I've been wanting to do. Looking at my calendar I realized it has been almost two months since I hosted a Ladies Dessert Night at my place to celebrate a good friend's engagement! If you are nervous about hosting a dinner party this might be a good first step for you - cocktails and dessert will make most people very happy, and mini desserts are adorable. With just 8 or 9 girls coming over I knew that if I made 3 or 4 different things it would be too much, but what's the fun in having just one or two options?! I set out to find a nice variety of chocolate and fruity - because you don't want to end up with just one or the other. Dessert diversity we'll call it.

Ladies Dessert Night: Vegan Cookie Dough Balls, Lemon Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting, Chocolate Mint Cookies .... and no celebration would be complete without Champagne and Sangria!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Catch up preview

It's been an unbelievably busy few weeks so I apologize for the lack of posts. I have a long list of entries to catch up on, but in the meantime here's a preview of what you can look forward to:

Mini strawberry lemon cupcakes for an engagement dessert party

Meeting top chef contestant Tiffani Faison @ MOS Food Festival

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

Taste of Cambridge event review

It's grilled pizza season!

Hosted a very successful bridal shower for a childhood friend!