Archive | December, 2011

Figs, Pigs and a Taste of Italy

10 Dec

We recently got a new bakery/sandwich shop on Highland Ave in Somerville called 3 Little Figs. While running errands the other day I stopped in for lunch and a coffee. The space is small, but comfortable and I really liked the decor. The first thing you see when walking in is a big glass case of baked goods. I know I came in for lunch, but man did these pastries look delicious. I ordered a “Market” sandwich and a Cafe Americano. At the last minute I added 2 apple cider donut muffins to go (one for me and one for Jason). The Market sandwich is prosciutto, goat cheese, arugula, and fig jam on Iggy’s francese bread. It was served with a few slices of seasoned cucumber. It’s literally all my favorite things in one sandwich – seriously!

My sandwich and coffee - absolutely delicious.

The coffee, from Gimme! Coffee , was also very good. After reading up on 3 Little Figs on their website I learned they source most of their food locally, including their tea, honey, milk, yogurt and produce – we all should do this. How was the apple cidar donut muffin you ask? Amazing! It didn’t last the car ride home! Jason’s a big fan of apple cidar donuts so I knew he would like it. I wish I got a picture of it, but I totally spaced in my sugar coma. I would definitely recommend this place to my Somerville friends if you’re looking for a good breakfast or lunch spot.

In my travels this same day, I stopped at Savenor’s, a butcher shop and local grocer near me in Cambridge. I went in not knowing what we were going to have for dinner but knew I’d find some inspiration there. I definitely did! They had just smoked some wild boar bacon and were handing out samples when I walked in. The smell and taste was amazing – I got a pound of it and decided I needed to make a ragu with it. Savenor’s describes this bacon as this:

Made from free-range wild boar, this is a great alternative to traditional pork bacon. Leaner and more flavorful, wild boar bacon is a wonderful change of pace.

I also bought an onion, some mushrooms and other ingredients for dinner later in the week. I started my Wild Boar and Mushroom Ragu by sweating rough chopped onions and mushrooms in olive oil. Then added tomato paste and let that cook with the vegetables. Once I had good color on the vegetables, I deglazed the pan with some veal stock and added fresh herbs, some warm spices and the wild boar bacon. The smell in the house was amazing. Rick was waiting for me to drop some boar on the floor the whole time!

Here's the veg and boar simmering in veal stock!

I let the veal stock reduce a bit before adding in my tomatoes. Once the tomatoes went in, I brought the ragu up to a simmer and then let it go real low for about 2 hours.

The ragu had simmered for about 2 hours at this point. The flavors were really great.

About fifteen minutes before we were ready to eat I put water on for pasta and made ziti. I thought this ragu needed a nice hearty macaroni to go with it. There was so much wild boar on the menus in Italy – this dish definitely reminded me of something we ate on our honeymoon (long sigh…). Jason and I enjoyed our dinner with glasses of Brunello di Montalcino from Abbadia Ardenga in Italy. We bought several bottles from this vineyard when we visited them in Italy.

Me in the Abbadia Ardenga tasting room surrounded by wine, meat and cheese. It couldn't have been more perfect.

The wine went perfectly with the pasta. Of course we added a healthy does of Parmigiano Reggiano to this dish after I took the picture! What a great meal!

The finished Wild Boar and Mushroom Ragu dish! Can't wait to have more wild boar.

After a fun day with my sister and nephew today, Jason and I are headed to our first holiday party of the season tonight. I can’t wait to see our friends and start the festivities. Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Dinner and a Movie!

8 Dec

What the heck have I been up to you ask? Well, lately I’ve been doing a TON of recipe testing. Unfortunately, because all the recipes are unpublished and still in development, I can’t share the details of the testing. Also, December is a big month of birthdays in my family so there will be lots of celebrating! A rainy day like yesterday seemed like the perfect opportunity to get away from the computer and into some stores for holiday/birthday shopping. I’m actually not a big fan of shopping, so I don’t particularly like being out when everyone else is.

After a successful shopping trip in Inman Square and wrapping up recipe testing notes, Jason and I headed out for dinner and a movie. Tonight’s itinerary: Trina’s Starlight Lounge and The Muppets. Yes, the Muppets.

Doesn't this just bring you back to your childhood?

First stop, Trina’s. This place happens to be walking distance from our house. It’s got a cool Americana/Vintage vibe with great drinks, music and famous fried chicken! Also good for late night haunts and Monday(!) brunch. Wednesdays happen to be a special day at Trina’s because it’s Sloppy Joe day! How could we resist? It only happens once a week. We both got Sloppy Joe’s – his with coleslaw and fries on top of the sliders and mine with a homemade cheese sauce and fries and coleslaw on the side. The sloppy joe mixture was meaty, with a bit of sweetness and just messy enough. Trina’s fries are awesome too – they’re thick cut and perfectly crispy on the outside but soft in the middle. Coleslaw had a nice tang to it as well, and still had a lot of crunch. We were in heaven.

These are supposed to be sliders - some pretty gigantic sliders!

We needed to take a breather after our dinner so we walked around Harvard Square for a bit before the movie. Now for the movie. We thought it was great and made us feel like kids again. It totally brought me back to watching it when I was young. For those of you who want to know something interesting about Jason… he loves The Muppets. I think he was more excited about the movie than me. He laughed louder than anyone else in the theater and is still whistling the theme song today! For those of you looking to take your kids to a movie this holiday season or even if you don’t have kids – it’s worth a trip to the movies.

A new look, and a new outlook

2 Dec

Hey all! You’ll notice the look of Delicious Ventures changed yesterday. I felt it needed a little facelift. It’s like when you feel like you need to rearrange the furniture in your living room, just because. I thought since I’m revamping my career path, the blog should be revamped as well. I recently left my job as a line cook at Bergamot in search of what my next move in the culinary world will be. Leaving Bergamot was really difficult. It was my second home. My coworkers were like my family, the people I spent most of my time with. And the food, I loved every dish we put out. Each plate is a creative and delicious reflection of every person behind the line. But, unfortunately, working in a restaurant isn’t very conducive to kicking off a marriage and spending time with your hubby, friends and family. So, I’m in search of something that is a better balance of what I love to do and spending time with the people (and dog) I love.

Here's Rick (the other man in my life) and I on a rainy day this fall!

I have been traveling a lot over the past few weeks, connecting with old friends, and setting up a new office space in our spare bedroom. The picture at the top of this post shows how the room is shaping up! I’m so happy with how it looks so far. We’ve now got a sofa bed for overnight guests (woo hoo), a desk and a chair! There are a few more pieces we need so I can keep all my junk awesome stuff organized, but those will come in time. Since I’ve been home the past few weeks, I’ve also done a ton of cooking. I have great photos of many of the dishes I’ve made recently, so you’ll see those in upcoming posts!

I hope you all enjoy the new look of Delicious Ventures. If you get my blog via email, click on over to the actual website to see the new look and feel (that term was so marketing-y of me!). Hope everyone is enjoying the start of the holiday season!