Margherita, Otto Pizza, Brookline MA

Advertisements

Salted Double Chocolate Peanut Cookies

Something is making me sneeze.

Perhaps it is the colossal pollen eruption that took over my neighborhood:

Or maybe it has to do with this new family member:

Here’s another photo, because one is just not enough:

One thing for sure is that these scrumptious things are so amazing that I would be willing to sneeze continuously for the rest of my life in order to eat these. Of course, this side-steps the fact that if I were sneezing continuously, I probably couldn’t eat.

These are Salted Double Chocolate Peanut Cookies.

Say what?

I love peanut butter cookies, but adding salt and chocolate to them? That should almost be illegal.

Thankfully, I made these pups for my little cousin’s birthday party so I didn’t have to sit in a corner and shovel them down my throat in guilt. While these certainly didn’t overshadow the Modern Pastry cannolis, or the blue frosted Carvel cake, I feel these at least stood up to the other desserts. I realize they look like feces, particularly when placed against other desserts, but believe me on this one: they don’t taste like feces.

My only complaint is that they have a cake-like consistency. I prefer my cookies to be gooey, melting, and chewy. Don’t let that stop you from trying these out. An easy recipe to follow, you can substitute peanut butter chips for a sweeter taste, or use peanuts as I did.

Check out the recipe at Food 52.

Mamma Maria, Boston

For Mother’s Day, I treated my mom to a wine tasting tour of the North End. My whole family ended the tour with a spectacular dinner at Mamma Maria, which is one of my parent’s favorite restaurants. This was my first visit and from the impeccable service, to the fabulous food, I can’t wait to go back. We were seated in a private dining room, since my mom had called earlier that week requesting a table near the window. They ended up seating us in a small room with just a four-person table–an awesome surprise.

The bread was fresh, and the pesto homemade:

We ordered the Antipasto Tower, which was a hefty $56, but oh-so-worth it. I tasted my first oysters ever, which were mind-blowing. The mozzarella is imported from a farm in Italy. The cheese was the creamiest, most delectable piece of mozzarella I’ve ever eaten.

Scallops cooked with blood orange were also a favorite part of the “antipasto tower.” Perfectly cooked, with a little crunch and citrus flavor.

My entrée was wild-mushroom ravioli:

My parents both ordered the Clam and Crab pasta:

The take-away message: wow.

If you are in the North End (and are willing to spend some dough on a meal), eat here. You will not regret it.

Blueberry Peach Muffins

I love peach crumble: buttery, cinnamon-sugary, fruity bites. Add blueberries to that, put the batter in a muffin tin and sprinkle with a little more cinnamon-sugar and these babies are born. I added a simple streusel topping (combine 1/4 cup of brown sugar with 1 tablespoon of soft butter and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon), which is added on top of the muffin batter right before baking.

Blueberry Peach Muffins


3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 tbs baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)

1/2 cup peaches, fresh or frozen (thawed) and chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix milk and lemon in a small bowl. 

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and sugar.

Add egg and oil to milk mixture. Mix well. Gently fold this mixture into the flour mixture. Fold in fruit.

Bake in greased or lined tin for 22-24 minutes.

S’mores Rice Krispie Treats

It’s starting to feel a bit like summer. And by this, I mean I am boggled down with projects, papers, exams, and stress.
Summer is long walks in the woods with bug-spray amply applied, trips to Maine for fresh lobster, weekends spent on the beach, thunderstorms rattling the house, humidity blowing up my hair, breathing in the night air, eating fresh strawberries, biking to the store instead of driving, and of course, s’mores made on a fire pit.I don’t have a fire pit with me in my college-owned housing (shame), but I can make s’mores in the microwave if I’m desperate. This is not the same thing, of course, as a melted, toasted, perfectly charred marshmallow sandwiched between chocolate and graham crackers, made on a hot summer night. I decided that if I can’t have my s’mores like I do in the summer, then I’ll at least take microwaved s’mores up a notch and make S’mores Rice Krispie Treats. My housemates gobbled these up in one night. Addicting, delicious, almost-as-good-as-the-real-thing bites of goodness.

Smore’s Rice Krispie Treats

3 cups mini marshmallows

1 Tbs butter

2 tsp vanilla

3 cups Rice Krispies cereal

1 cup Graham Crackers, original or honey flavored, coarsely chopped

1 cup milk chocolate chips

Microwave marshmallows, butter and vanilla in a bowl until the marshmallows begin to soften, or about one minute. Stir mixture and microwave for another minute until fully melted. Add the Rice Krispies to marshmallow mix, then graham cracker pieces and chocolate chips. Press into a greased 8″x8″ pan. Allow to cool for 30 minutes. Cut into squares.

Raspberry Oatmeal Bars

One morning when I was little, I awoke with hives from an allergic reaction. This occurred right before a trip to the dentist to get several molars pulled. I desperately wanted to jump out of the chair in the dental office in order to scratch my skin, but instead I got injected with novocaine, temporarily blind-siding me from my intense itch. My binge drink the day before of ten boxes of Minute Maid Very Berry juice, which contained raspberry juice, was the only potential culprit of my allergy. To this day, I enjoy raspberries but in moderation.

Now, let’s focus in on these babies: Raspberry Oatmeal Bars. They remind me of Nutri-Grain bars, which subsequently reminds me of recess in elementary school. These are twenty times more delicious than the processed bars. Use the best raspberry (or apricot, strawberry, etc.) preserves you can find. The seedless type is the best, but ultimately you can use any preserves, so long as it tastes good when you swipe a spoonful out of the jar. The only change I would make to these bars would be to prepare more dry, oatmeal mixture to crumble on top. But, I can’t complain: these were out-of-this-world amazing.

Raspberry Oatmeal Bars

1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats

1 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup canola oil

3 tbs water

1 10oz. jar raspberry preserves (I used Bonne Maman”brand which worked out tremendously)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease an 8″x12″ pan.

Mix together oats, flour, brown sugar, salt and baking soda in large bowl until no lumps of brown sugar remain. Pour oil and water over oats and mix with fingers or spatula until evenly moistened. Set aside 1/2 cup of mixture for topping. Press remainder in pan. Spread preserves on top. Sprinkle remaining oats on top. 

Bake until golden 30-40 minutes. 

Cinnamon Donut Muffins

I’m in charge of bringing breakfast into my Creative Writing class tomorrow. Typically students bring in Dunkin’ Donut munchkins. I’m taking it up a notch by making my own version. And these are better.

Dipped in butter and rolled in cinnamon and sugar, these are to die for. The inside is dense, moist, and full of cinnamon and nutmeg. If you want your house to smell good, make these. If you want your stomach to be pleased, make these. If you want others to scream in delight, make these.

Cinnamon Donut Muffins

Makes 12 regular-sized muffins


1 3/4 C All-Purpose Flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/3 C oil

3/4 C sugar

1 egg

3/4 C milk

Coating:

1/2 C butter, melted

1/3 C sugar

1 tbs cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin tin.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.

In a separate bowl, combine oil, sugar, egg and milk. Add the dry ingredient and stir until just combined and still clumpy.

Bake 15-20 minutes. While baking, melt the butter in the microwave in a small bowl (the shallower the better). In another bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. 

While the muffins are still hot, dip in butter then roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Allow to cool.