Beachy keen

Ack, today has gotten away from me — it’s just been action-packed with laziness 😛

Before I get onto today’s food, though, look at what I found last night hidden in a cabinet behind some dishes!


This was perfect since we were all pretty stuffed from the big grilled dinner but still in the mood for something sweet. I split the Hershey’s truffle and the Newman’s bar into three pieces so that mom, John, and I could all take part:


To be honest, though, that chocolate bar was weirdly sweet. I like my dark chocolate to be somewhat bitter — the extra sweetness kind of gave it a fake chocolate taste.

For breakfast this morning, I made us all carrot cake oatmeal:


For the three of us, I used 3/4 cup dry steel-cut oats, 2 cups water, 1 egg, 2 shredded carrots, 1 shredded apple, 2/3 cup fork-crushed fresh pineapple, and lots of cinnamon. (I put a giant spoonful of freshly ground almond butter on top of mine, too, in case you missed it.) I also made about 1/2 cup each of healthy cream cheese icing for the side to be added on at the last minute possible — I wasn’t trying to have any more chemical reaction disasters taking place in my food!


Cascading icing:


After breakfast, we pushed off toward Wareham, a little town near the Cape where my mom bought a marsh-shack (though she calls it the “little house”) a few years ago. It’s just a few teeny rooms, but mom and John are working on completely gutting it and making it liveable — it will be a nice renovation project to keep them busy for, ohhhh, the next 25 years or so. While John did something with tools and ladders and some cementy compound in the “bathroom” (which now boasts a toilet that flushes — yayyyyyy!!) mom and I went for a walk on the “beach.” Here she is looking for pretty rocks:


More scenery:



My dad was nearby on the Cape with my stepmom at my step-grandma’s house, so he came over for a visit post-walk. We had brought some goodies from home for entertaining purposes, so alongside our afternoon tea (unpictured), we each had a slice of random rhubarb pie that my mom made yesterday (with my assistance, of course).


I’m not going to give a recipe for the pie since it was SO random (part of the fridge clean-out mission), but it included all of the following and more: part-skim ricotta, verrrrrrry iffy fat free ricotta (it was gone enough that I wouldn’t eat it straight, but mom was convinced that it would be fine for cooking), eggs, garden-fresh rhubard, dried Asian dates, a way beyond ripe avocado, 1/2 banana, erythritol (my mom is diabetic-ish, and this is her sweetener of choice because it doesn’t have a wretched aftertaste like splenda), and a crust made of pre-cooked whole grains (a blend of every grain under the sun that mom made last week in hopes of using them for a batch or seven of kitchen sink muffins).


I wasn’t sure how this pie would be given all of the iffy ingredients (my doubt says a lot because you know how lenient I usually am with food iffiness!), and the taste didn’t knock my socks off when I tried it right out of the oven yesterday. I have to admit, though, that it was pretty tasty today after a night in the fridge! I guess mom knows what she’s doing after all.


After pie, we also shared a package of Anna’s ginger thins and rye crackers with seed butter I made yesterday:


The seed butter came about because, during fridge clean-out yesterday, I came across a ramekin full of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and sea salt that my mom had been saving since we made everything bagels together when I was home in March of 2008. Yes, she’d been saving these seeds for 14 months. I just could not handle the thought of them taking up space in the fridge for another 14 (or 28 or 42 or 56, etc.). We soaked the seeds in warm water to dissolve and eliminate the salt and then toasted them, along with some pepitas that mom had around, to dry them out. All grinding took place in the coffee bean grinder, but I think I over-toasted because the finished product was pretty bland. I immersion-blended it with a couple tsp of miso paste and about 3 tbsp of almond butter to add “depth,” and that helped quite a bit. Mom has plans to doctor it further with Ghirardelli cocoa powder — no complaints here!

After tea-time, dad headed back to step grandma’s house, John returned to compounding the bathroom with ladders and tools, mom pretended to do some work paperwork, and I took a nap. When I awoke, it was nearly time for dinner! We droveout to Turk’s Seafood in Mattapoisett. My mom has been raving about this place to me on the phone for months, so I was excited to have the chance to experience it first-hand!


I love beachy seafood restaurants, and this one fit right into that category. The atmosphere inside was very casual (though, sushi is also available if one feels the need to class it up) and boisterous. The food even came on paper plates! We started with edamame to share:


I ordered the broiled haddock and crabcake with roasted vegetables:


It was delicious (even though “thawed in the oven” may have been a better description for the veggies than “roasted”). I chopped the fish and crab cake and mixed it all up with the veggies and that mango salsa (back right) and quite enjoyed every single bite.


After dinner, dessert was on the agenda, of course. We backtracked slightly to hit up Kool Kone, another fun beachy establishment, for ice cream (and we turned on the heat in the car to get in the mood!).


I had a small cup with a scoop of black raspberry chocolate chip frozen yogurt on top and a scoop of chocolate peanut butter cup on the bottom.


Some blurry pb cup chunks:


Phew, that brings us to the end of this marathon post! It’s been a very exciting food day that somehow involved a lot of doing nothing. Not a bad combination if you ask me 😛

What is your favorite beach food?

Restaurant Review: Barrio

My week of good food continued last night at Barrio with my stepdad, John. As I mentioned, John was in the ‘hood for business and very generously offered to take me out for dinner. I picked a spot right here in the Slope that I’ve walked by many times but have never experienced first-hand.

Barrio is sort of a Latin-fusion restaurant with festive music, bright colors, and exciting wall murals:


We sat at a table by the window, and if it had been a bit warmer, we could have opened the window right out to the sidewalk. Perfect for people-watching. The chips came immediately with two salsas. I was hungry, so this was a very exciting development.


The red salsa was my favorite because it was sweet. Maybe they used peppadew? Or maybe I just like to say/write peppadew

Anyway, we housed those chips and got a second basket (of which we ate a significant portion as well, minus the leftovers that I took home). The second basket came along with some freshly mashed, chunky guacamole, on the house. It’s hard to beat free and fresh guacamole.


I also ordered one of the specialty cocktails — a “perfecto nestorindo” — because it had agave, fresh mango, and pineapple, and I’m a sucker for drinks with fresh fruit!


It was good, but it kind of tasted just like a regular old margarita. I should have gotten the strawberry mojito. Next time!

John and I split the sweet plantain and black bean empanadas (lightly fried with Oaxaca cheese and tomatillo salsa) for an appetizer. Obviously, any dish that contains sweet plantains and black beans is a given!


They were delicious, but I don’t think I need to tell you that.


I threw a little guac on top for fun. As I remarked to John, any time I can get sweet plantains, black beans, and avocado in the same bite, I’m a happy camper.

For his main dish, John ordered el plato del dia: sauteed shrimp enchilada with cilantro jalapeno pickled onion salad and achiote salsa, queso fresco, and crema nata.


I had a bite and it was delicious — that red salsa again!! Check out the beautiful ribbons of salsa and crema:


I went for the Yucatan shrimp with cilantro and jalapeno marinade, calamari coconut rice, and pickled onions:


A little spicy, very cilantro-y, and very fresh! The shrimp was perfectly charred:


And that coconut calamari rice! I tend to avoid white rice since it’s so nutritionally useless (it’s actually one thing that I feel ok letting go in the trash can, gasp!), but this rice was amaaaaaazing with the hint of coconut and the rings of calamari. I ate every single bite.

John and I decided we had room for dessert (because dessert goes to a different stomach, obviously). The waitress recommended the chocolate-crusted coconut cheesecake. Doesn’t that sound brilliant? But, cheesecake struck me as a little bit too heavy after the loaded meal, plus we were in the mood for something more “authentic.” Being that I’m on vacation and all, we chose the Borracho Tres Leches cake (fyi, borracho = drunk) with anejo tequila salsa and whipped “crema.” (I love how they just threw random Spanish words all over the menu.) The whipped crema turned out to be the leaning tower of crema. We watched it topple, and now you can, too:


Once the crema had settled on the side of the plate, I smushed it all back on top of the cake and cut it in half. John got me a spoon at the end so I could Olympic all the extra milk out of its misery. Finding a home for every last crumb applies to drips, too, you see.

So, it was a lovely meal that involved all of my favorite Latin food components and excellent company. I left stuffed, but not painfully so … which is a big accomplishment for me 😀 Thank you, John! (And mom, we were thinking of you the whole meal and ate extra in your honor. Wish you could have been there!)

What is your favorite Spanish/Mexican/Latin food item?

P.S. I completely forgot to add, look what came with the bill!


Mexican “gelt”! It was good chocolate, too 🙂

You’ll never believe it

I did not get hungry until 7:30 tonight!

Granted, I ate way too much at the party last night (at least an extra day’s worth of food, in my opinion), but I’m so impressed that my appetite also got that message, especially considering the workout I had this morning!

After the gym, I pretty much lazed around all day (have to take advantage while I have the chance) and contented myself with soymilked and honeyed yerba mate:


My dinner (and only meal of the day) consisted of brilliantly crispy roasted brussels sprouts, the rest of my tuna humbangu, and 1/8 chopped avocado:


(It tasted yummy even though it looks sort of swampy …)

See the crisp?


Dessert was a slice of healthy cheesecake, blackberries, and my last UliMana treat: a dark cacao raw truffle.


As usual with UliMana, this truffle was super rich and dark and bittersweet, and I just love that it manages to taste this way while simultaneously being packed with excellent nutrition. Here’s the inside:


Since this is a food-light post, I might as well take the opportunity to show you a couple more UliMana goodies that I realized I forget to blog about when I was mired in papers. Obviously, they were exponentially delicious. I’ll let the pictures do the talking 🙂

Hand-dipped chocolate date roll:


Lemon fig pecan bar (my favorite!):


The whole UliMana family:


Siiiigh, I wish I had more!

Was today food-light or food-heavy for you?

Do it myself?

Lunch was going to be so easy to talk about … until I got carried away! I had both tahini and chickpeas on hand, and since I already made hummus yesterday, falafel was clearly in order for today!


I loosely used this recipe but of course changed almost everything. I soaked 1/4 cup dry chickpeas in two inches of water overnight. This morning, I drained the chickpeas and then immersion-blended them with the rest of the recipe ingredients. I was making a much smaller batch than what was in the recipe, so I eyeballed/tasted the measurements for everything else. I think I ended up using an overly high ratio of wet things to the chickpeas, so my batter was too wet. I soaked up the extra moisture with about 1/4 cup coarse blue cornmeal:


The resulting mix was still a bit wet, but significantly stickier.


Instead of frying, I decided to bake. I heated the oven to 350 and lined a cookie sheet with parchment. I divided the batter into six balls.


After about 20 minutes in the oven, the balls had flattened somewhat as I had expected they would due to the wet batter.


I let them cool enough to handle and then reformed them into balls, flipped them, and popped them in the oven for another 15 minutes.


And then, for extra measure, I put the falafel under the broiler (minus the parchment paper) for 5 minutes to get them sufficiently crisped.

For the tahini dressing, I mixed the rest of the baby Artisana jar of tahini (about 2 tsp) with 2 tbsp plain yogurt and sprinkles of coriander, cumin, cayenne, and garlic salt & pepper.

I had three of the falafel balls for lunch on a big bed of arugula and topped it with half of the tahini (I’m saving the other half for the other three balls).


They were perfectly crunchy (thanks to the cornmeal) and crisp on the outside and moist on the inside:


It was no Mamoun’s, of course, but it was close!

On the side, I had a mini arugula salad with a couple tbsp tuna humbangu (I was craving that as well) with a dollop of roasted red pepper hummus for color:




I needed chocolate after this meal, so I went for the other half of my UliMana raw hemp brownie from last night:


I don’t even think brownie is the right word for this. It’s like a solid, perfect, grainy block of dark dark chocolate fudge. Ahhhh. I need to do more research into raw “cooking” and find out how to make this for myself!

I had a few more snacks throughout the afternoon. The rest of my Newman’s spelt pretzels (about 3/4 serving) with 2 more tbsp hummus:


Yerba mate and a plummy gummy:


A raw macaroon:


A hard-boiled egg with pepper:


IMG_9895And a mug of soymilky Numi Emperor’s Puerh tea. Following the instructions on the bag, I brought “regal waters” to a boil and steeped for 3-5 minutes “to capture the full taste of this majestic tea.” Numi describes this black tea as bold and malty, and I certainly needed both of those this evening! I’m still dragging from my restless doggy night last night, and I’m heading out to a birthday party in a few — my goal is to last longer than an hour there. Hopefully, the tea helps. So far, it just tastes like regular black tea. Word is that the party will have food, too, so that’s why I kept my evening eating to a minimum.

What do you want to learn to make for yourself?


Hummmmmm, what does that title mean?


Wellll, I’ve been wanting to try Bender’s humbecue sauce forEVER, and today seemed as good a time as any! Except, I didn’t have any hummus. What I did have, however, was a serving of collard greens and BBQ baked beans in the freezer from ages ago.


I also had a serving of cauliflower-mangu left, and that’s kind of the texture of hummus, right?


I had initally planned to immersion-blend everything, greens and all … but then one of the greens jumped into my mouth and tasted so good that the rest followed. So, I just blended the BBQ beans and the mangu.


Next, I broke out some fancy tuna in olive oil.


I’ve been noticing this Cole’s brand of tuna (and other fishies) in some gourmet grocery stores lately because the packaging is so pretty. I recently starting liking canned tuna, and I only discovered this from being fed foods that contained it. So I don’t think I’ve ever actually opened a can of tuna myself. Until today.

I was so impressed with the quality of the tuna in this can! It wasn’t mushy at all and was so tightly packed that it flaked apart almost like a piece of tuna steak:


Very promising. I dumped the can of tuna (minus the olive oil, which I drained into a baby Artisana jar for another time because tuna-infused olive oil might come in handy at some point!) into the humbangu sauce:


Since I combined three meals to make this tuna humbangu, I incorporated 1/3 of the total mix into my lunch. Here’s my finished salad on a bed of arugula with the mangu’s hammy bits, some blackberries, the last of the tostones, and a teeny dollop of plain yogurt for presentation’s sake:


It was so so so so tasty!

IMG_9811Eventually, I made my way to the gym for some bicycling (no running!) and arms. When I got home, I decided that I needed to remedy the no-hummus situation. I cooked a bunch of chickpeas from dry and combined about 1/2 cup of them with a piece of roasted red pepper, Italian seasoning, a whole garlic clove, coarse sea salt, and 1/2 a baby jar of Artisana tahini.


After immersion-blending, I fork-mashed another 1/2 cup of chickpeas to mix in because I like it a little bit rough:


To fuel myself through the ever-so-grueling hummus work, I pulled out the rest of the yerba mate that I brewed this morning and left in the fridge. It had gotten even greener!!


Does anyone know how that happened?? You can see how white it was when hot in the previous post, and making it cold completely converted it to this vivid sea foam color. I love it.

I also had the last 1/4 cup of chickpeas that didn’t fit in the hummus:


Anyway, I got around to dinner eventually and mixed about 2 tbsp of my fresh roasted red pepper hummus with a chopped hard-boiled egg (once again, thanks to Eggland’s best for doing the boiling and peeling for me!). I had my egg salad atop a bed of arugula (lots of mushy arugula salads today, right?) with 1/8 chopped avocado, sprinkles of paprika and black pepper, and a few crushed Newman’s spelt pretzels:


For dessert, I had a slice of healthy cheesecake alongside half an Ulimana raw chocolate hemp brownie and 1 tsp pineapple-coconut-ginger peanut butter.


Yes yes yes, absolutely holy-yum worthy! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Ulimana definitely knows its way around a raw dessert … or any dessert for that matter!


Do you do anything wild with hummus?