October 7, 2012
June 13, 2011
June 8, 2011

enter the cheese cave.

A friend and I got a chance to go on a tour of the cheese cave at Formaggio Kitchen a few weeks ago. Formaggio’s is well-known gourmet food shop in Cambridge that I’ve wanted to visit for ages, but it’s a bit of a trek over, and I just never made it there. Pretty surprising that I let the long-ish walk stop me since they are known for their interesting, high-quality cheeses (among many other things), and I LOVE LOVE LOVE cheese. Apparently they have killer weekend barbecues too during the warm weather season.

Anyway, better late than never, right? An email from a Food Literacy Program rep about the cheese tour was just the push I needed to finally get over there. So glad I did! The huge selection of cheese, meats, bread, wine, and other gourmet food was impressive, and there were samples galore (the best part, obviously)! And of course, getting to peek into the cheese cave was pretty cool, although it was quite chilly and stunk of ammonia from some of the more pungent cheese rinds.

In the cave, Ihsan taught us all about proper cheese sourcing, testing, storage, and care. I already knew Formaggio was a locally renowned cheese shop, but apparently its reputation for top quality products extends all over the country and even internationally. A lot of the cheese comes from France, the Pyrenees, elsewhere in Europe, as well as from more local sources like Vermont farms. We got to sniff and sample tiny bits of some really unique cheeses from the cave, some really creamy and tasty, and some…a bit too complex for my common palate :P

More samples once we climbed out of the cave. Took a lot of restraint not too buy a pound of everything…

There are tons of other cool fresh and packaged products in the store, and even a bakery. Check out these fresh figs! So pricey, but beautiful, and super tasty I’m sure.

Formaggio Kitchen
244 Huron Avenue
Cambridge, MA


June 6, 2011

turkey.

A huge pot of homemade turkey broth and a super quick and healthy turkey salad today, using just 2 hefty and cheap turkey drumsticks (3 bucks for both) from the supermarket + veggies and a couple other fridge & pantry ingredients.

This chicken stock recipe is a simple and easy go-to recipe, basically just toss everything together in a pot and simmer for several hours. I used turkey today instead of chicken - I’ve been eating a lot of grilled chicken lately, which my mom says is bad because of hormones or something…not convincing, but regardless, I love turkey too and haven’t had it in a long time.

Like chicken, skinless white turkey meat is very lean and low in fat, high in protein. After removing all the meat from the bones while making the stock, I snuck a few bites (so tender!) and then mixed up an extremely quick, flavorful, creamy but light (mayo-less!) turkey salad with the rest. So easy, just shred the meat with a fork, add a couple spoonfuls of non-fat plain Greek yogurt, some chopped green onions, a bit of salt and pepper, a squeeze of lemon, and a dash of chili powder or Siracha if you like, and mix together. Chill in the fridge for a while to let the flavors really develop and meld. Yum! Great snack on crackers or bread, or just straight with a spoon :)


June 5, 2011

[guilt-free!] mini carrot cakes

Carrot cake is probably my all-time favorite dessert. My theory is that this preference is actually an adaptation I developed at school after realizing that carrot cake is one of the very few desserts/foods in general that HUDS (our dining service) seems to actually do right…some of my favorite dinner conversations at college have been enjoyed with a side of carrot cake, eaten leisurely with most of the cream cheese scraped off (while I can eat grossly large amounts of regular cream cheese, I am not a fan of sweet cream cheese) and a cup of hot black coffee in hand.

I’m at home for a few days before my whirlwind travel schedule begins, not yet in the real real world but already starting to miss the comfort (and even some of the crazy hecticness) of college…including the never-ending piles of carrot cake.

However, I definitely do NOT miss the lack of accessible/clean/well-stocked kitchens and fresh food at school. And with such luxuries readily at my disposable at home, I can make my own carrot cake ^.^

Inspired by this dairy-free carrot cake recipe from BGSK (one of my new favorite food blogs thanks to mjw!), I decided to make a healthier, crunchier, raisin-less & nut-less (I HATE raisins and also do not like nuts of any sort, except pistachios and peanuts on occasion) version of the classic carrot cake. My method was quick and dirty, lots of eyeballing measurements and just winging it, but yielded a very tasty end product, surprisingly similar to the taste and texture of a classic carrot cake despite my many modifications. The oatmeal gave the cake chew and crunch even without nuts, and I didn’t miss the real sugar at all - sometimes substituting honey for sugar means a significant change in flavor (often a negative one in my opinion, but that’s because I dislike the taste of honey), but in this case the substituted volume was small enough and the other flavors strong enough that I really didn’t notice a significant flavor difference.

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