Friday, February 26, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
I always stop at a speciality store, prefering Salumeria Italiana for higher end products, such as fresh cheese, meats and Balsamic vinegar. For a wide range of pastas, J. Pace and Sons is easy for one stop shopping. Finally, little Polcaris offers personal service and great prices for everything from chesnut, chickpea and semolina flour by the pound to a range of coffees, nuts and vinegars.
We love the pizza choices in the North End so much that we always buy way more than we need and freeze the rest. We always stop first at Umbertos for their sicilian style pizza covered in browned mozzerella, freshly fried panzoritti (filled mashed potato balls) and arancini (filled risotto balls). They sell out early (by 2:00 pm!) and lines move slowly, but the trade off is very special and very inexpensive treats.
We can't leave the North End without taking home at least one (!) pizza from Pizzeria Regina. Their pizza is our favorite by far, baked in oven built in 1926. The crust is perfection-thick and chewy, covered in a sauce that is just acidic enough and balanced by creamy, shreds of whole milk mozzerella. Because parking can be so tricky, we have also just called in advance and driven by to take a pie home. While it is never as good as when you get it right out of their oven, it is still worth it.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
It is hard to resist the Vietnamese restaurant Xinh Xinh for wonderful soups, full of homemade broth. The enormous bowls, topped with fresh herbs and meats are very inexpensive. With fresh rolls, it is a perfect meal. The avocado shake makes you understand how avocado is actually a sweet, creamy fruit. The limeade is both tart and refreshing. The service is always warm, helpful and kind.
One of my favorite dishes is from Taiwan Cafe: mustard greens with tofu and edamame. At lunch you can order this with rice and soup for less than $10.
If I want take out meat, I stop at Chinatown Roast Meat for soy sauce chicken and barbecued pork on beds of rice. At other times, I head to Hong Kong Eatery to sit down to a bowl of broth filled with noodles and an assortment of toppings. On a recent visit I enjoyed the roast pork and dumplings filled with shrimp and pork.
I make sure to stop at the C-Mart grocery store before I head home for enormous bags of sticky rice, canned lychees, frozen dumplings and steam buns, pressed tofu, inexpensive soup spoons, bags of rice noodles, Pearl River Light Soy Sauce and Hi Chew mango candies (a cross between Starbursts and delicious mangoes).
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I love the idea of tofu because it is inexpensive, healthy and easy to get. Before children I frequently made stir fries laden with vegetables, peanuts and spicy sauces. But I have yet to figure out how to make a stir fry with children clammoring to help me cook or to watch-it just never seems safe. So, unless I am grilling it up with soy sauce and sesame oil on the Foreman grill, I rarely cook tofu anymore. However, when I watched "Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie" and they featured this dish on a show about Korea, I knew I had to make it. The first time I kept the spices to the side so that my kids could at least have a chance of enjoying it. So what happened? The 3 1/2 year old loved the warm tofu with soy sauce, while my 1 1/2 year old loved the spicy version! I adored how easy and delicious it was. I found the Korean hot pepper at the Super 88/Hong Kong Supermarket in Brighton, as well as H-Mart in Burlington. My foodie friend also bought me some at Christina's in Inman Square in Cambridge. You could skip it, though the taste isn't quite the same without the extra heat.
Warm Tofu with Garlic-Sesame Sauce, Adapted from Gourmet.Com
1 (14- to 18-oz) package soft tofu (not silken)
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped scallion
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1 teaspoon coarse Korean hot red-pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Carefully rinse tofu, then cover with cold water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then keep warm, covered, over very low heat. Mix remaining ingredients (except tofu). I use a small food processor.
Just before serving, carefully lift tofu from saucepan with a large spatula and drain on paper towels. Gently pat dry, then transfer to a small plate. Spoon some sauce over tofu and serve warm. Serve remaining sauce on the side
I like to serve it with bowls of warm sticky rice for mopping up more of the sauce. You can make the sauce 1 day ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before using.