Thursday, September 30, 2010

No sir, a 10-82 is disappearing a dead hooker from Ben Affleck's trailer. Oh that Affleck.

I love movies about Boston. I'm a total sucker for the familiar. The scenery, the accents, the subtle references to the Red Sox and our shared Irish heritage. What can I say, I'm a girl who was born in Beantown.*

So, of course, I was absolutely dying to see The Town.

All and all the movie was great. It was quick witted and action packed. The characters were complex and intriguing in a way that constantly made you want to know more about them. Although the storyline was a little familiar, having taken a few twists and turns from Heat and The Departed, it was thoroughly enjoyable to watch and kept me on the edge of my seat.

Affleck for his part as an actor does a nice job, but he is a little more believable in the romantic storyline opposite Rebecca Hall, than he is as a bank robber opposite Jon Hamm. Ben, you are just too handsome, it's not your fault.

The best actress award, however, definitely goes to Blake Lively. Who knew she could play such a convincing coke whore. She even did a decent job with the accent. I definitely see some crossover potential with Serena van der Woodsen from Gossip Girl. Jeremy Renner also pulled off a superb performance as Ben's maladjusted, uber violent sidekick. Both fit into the movie in way that is comparable to all of the gorgeous shots taken of the Boston city skyline.

*Disclaimer: Anyone actually from Boston wouldn't call it Beantown. My NH upbringing denies me the ability to say I'm from Boston, but I was born here and I have lived here for 10 years now!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cups. Pints. Quarts. Gallons. Oh My!

When I'm cooking, I am never far from my computer.

It's where I keep most of my favorite recipes, how I keep A Nesting Experience and Mad Tasty up-to-date, and most importantly, how I calculate ingredients when modifying a recipe.

Most recipes make four, six, some times even eight servings. Despite how delicious a meal is, there are only two of us and we just don't want to eat the same dinner every night for a week. So, I'm always cutting recipes down to more manageable portion sizes, which can make for some difficult mathematical calculations.

Then one night my friend Allie at Fraske Designs told me about this super-duper handy chart that she found. Now, if only I could figure out teaspoons to tablespoons!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Speaking of good BBQ...

I found this recipe a few months ago. I was sitting in my mother-in-law's kitchen, randomly leafing through a Food Network Magazine, listening to family updates, when all of a sudden, wham! The recipe jumped out at me and said, "look at me, I'm awesome."

Turns out, it was right. The recipe is easy to follow, the pork chops were cooked perfectly, and the Bourbon BBQ sauce was sweet, tangy, and delicious.

Glazed Double-Cut Pork Chops

  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 double-cut bone-in pork chops
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups ketchup
  • 3/4 cups apple juice
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup prunes
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsps black pepper
  1. Mix 2 tablespoons salt, the black pepper, brown sugar and paprika in a bowl, then rub all over the chops. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the vinegar and brown sugar until dissolved. Add the ketchup, apple juice, syrup, bourbon, prunes, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 30 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender or in a regular blender.
  3. Heat olive oil in a fry pan on medium heat. Place chops in the pan and cook until halfway through, about 15 minutes. Turn the chops and turn heat to low. Cover and cook, 15 to 20 minutes. Uncover and brush the chops on all sides with the prepared sauce, then cover and cook until glazed, about 5 more minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and brush with more sauce. Tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes. Serve with more sauce.

Monday, September 27, 2010

East Coast E.

The week that Alex and I got married, we decided that we needed to go on one last date as an unmarried couple. We had heard so many good things about the East Coast Grill in Cambridge's Inman Square, but we had never been because neither Alex nor I are seafood eaters and that is their specialty. Come to find out, they have two specialties. The other is barbecue.

East Coast Grill has some of the best barbecue I have ever had in Boston. For 25 years they have been offering up delicious casual fine dining with some of the most fantastic service you'll find in any restaurant. The atmosphere is relaxed and fun in a way that makes you feel like you are at a party at your best friend's house.

Alex started with the Hell Brined, Smoked and Grilled Jerk Chicken Wings, while me and my weak stomach started with a cold Anchor Steam. Alex had Uncle Bud's Trio Platter which included Dry Rubbed Pork Spareribs, Texas Style Beef Brisket, Eastern North Carolina Shredded Pork (which I ate most of because it was literally to kill for) and an enormous piece of corn bread. I had the New York Strip which included a super Avocado-Roasted Corn Chili Salad and Fried Sweet Potatoes with Goat Cheese. For dessert we shared a piece of Key Lime Pie which the waiter so generously added a piece of grilled pineapple to after I mentioned it looking good way back when we ordered our drinks. Now that is some amazing service.

All and all, we will definitely be back to East Coast Grill as a married couple! It was a wonderful last date.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Coming Soon to a Blog Near You

Hello Readers! I hope there are a few of you still out there. I know, I suck. An unexpected three month hiatus? Yes, I know. But I'm back. Hopefully you will forgive me!

There is lots of good stuff to come next week, but here are a few things to tempt you back...

First, get out there and enjoy some wine this weekend. This week is Boston's first annual wine week. At participating restaurants, select bottles of wine (some of which would normally cost $90 a bottle) will be offered at $9 a glass and $32 a bottle. It's a steal. For a list of participating restaurants, click here.

Second, get out there and do some good this weekend. Saturday is the 7th annual Harbor to the Bay AIDS Benefit Bike Ride. Riders will be taking on this 125 mile challenge from Boston to Provincetown. Crew members are still needed to hand out orange slices and cheer their faces off. To sign up, click here. Bonus: 100% of all money raised goes to charity, oh and Alex and I will be at pit stops #1 and #7 working it for Community Research Initiative of New England.

Lastly, get out there and enjoy the weather this weekend. 83 degrees and sunny. Probably the last true weekend of summer temperatures left in New England. Enjoy it while it lasts!

See you next week. That's if you still love me enough to stick around. I'm back, and I promise lots of amazing recipes and neat crafts to come. Thank you for reading!