Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mom's Famous Sugar Cookies!

For anyone who's had my mom's sugar cookie recipe they know exactly what I'm talking about - these are the best sugar cookies out there! The key to the recipe is not rolling your dough out too thin and also, not baking the cookies too long because they will keep cooking once they come out of the oven. The recipe card above is one of my favorites - I have my own at my apt, but whenever I'm in NH at my parent's house and pull out this recipe card, it reminds me of all the times we've baked these cookies! The other great thing about these is that you can decorate based on the event or holiday.

Most recently I wanted to make some festive holiday cookies for winter so I opted for a pink cookie batter and used cookie cutters in various shapes - my stocking one is one of my favorites, but I also love this mitten shaped cookie cutter!
Last year I think I made my most impressively decorated holiday sugar cookies yet - so I might have to top them this year!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Thanksgiving down, Christmas Next

I'm clearly behind as I still haven't posted about Thanksgiving, so I absolutely must write this one up before Christmas comes this weekend! At first I was told that there wasn't much room for me to do a lot of cooking, as my mother was taking care of most of the food - but then, the night before, when I got home I was told I could cover a long list of things! Fine by me! This year we just had dinner the four of us, and then got together with extended family for dessert so here goes - my thanksgiving in pictures!
I got up pretty early to get started, but even then - by the time I got up my dad had already gotten the turkey ready to go and into the oven. Last year I tried to brine the turkey and I didn't find that it made a big difference in flavor or juiciness, so no brining this year. Still very important though to baste throughout the cooking process.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Weekend Full of Fun Food in Washington, DC!

Just last weekend I got to head down to Washington, DC for a long weekend visiting good friends! One of my favorite parts of city-hopping on weekends is getting to check out new restaurants and to cook with friends I'm visiting! I got to both of these this past weekend - as well as re-visit some old restaurants I loved when I lived in DC. Of course, all of this is better when you get to enjoy good food with good company, so thanks to all my friends down there for a fabulous weekend away!

Friday I dragged my friend to Nando's Peri Peri near Dupont Circle - this delicious Portuguese chicken place that I discovered last summer. They also recently opened a 2nd location near Chinatown - so I guess other people have discovered them too! They have different spice levels of their chicken and you have all kinds of options - from salads, to wraps, to roast chicken dishes with sides. Lots of options for everyone - and while I usually go for their mildest chicken it still has a ton of flavor.
This time around both my friend and I ordered the butternut squash and couscous salad with the chicken on top, with a side of grilled pita - oven roasted butternut squash and red onion with olives, grilled corn and couscous, served with their house dressing on a bed of greens. Even at peak lunch hour on a Friday we didn't have to wait long and by the time we put our order in there was a table ready for us. We both were impressed with how organized they were.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Shabu Zen Date Night

After walking by this place a number of times I finally got to try it out a couple weekends ago - and now I'm on an "interactive cooking" kick! Think Japanese Hibachi where they cook right in front of you - but with Shabu Shabu cooking you actually do it yourselves! I'm sure there are some people that go out to dinner so that they don't have to cook, but this is different - it's like an activity and dinner all rolled into one. Plus - since I like to cook, it only makes sense that I really enjoyed myself at this place!

2 locations - 80 Brighton Ave in Allston and on Tyler St. in Chinatown

When you walk in you'll see that every table has a stove top right at the table - then you'll have to set to work navigating the menu. Our waitress was very helpful and explained all the decisions we had to make. Essentially you choose the broth flavor and the types of things you want to cook in the broth - so many options ranging from 5 different beefs to seafood or a tofu variety plate. Lots and lots of options!
We started off by choosing the House Special Broth (the pots they bring are divided into two sections in case you want to choose two different types of broth or two different spice levels) and agreed on the Boneless Short Rib Beef as our main protein. The dishes are listed individually, but it was plenty of beef to share and I think would've been a lot for just one person. Every main entree is served with an assorted vegetable platter (on the right there) and your choice of Udon, Vermicelli or Jasmine Rice.