Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lucky Clover

I don’t go to Cambridge. Ever. Crossing the Charles River requires something insanely good on the other side. I just feel like I don’t fit in there. Like my friend Ly once said, “We can’t go there because we wear makeup and heels.” Just about sums it up. The only problem is that Cambridge has some insanely amazing food. If anything would bait me, it would be a good meal. However Clover Food Lab, who was stationed at MIT, opened a second location on my side of the pond at the Dewey Square farmers market. Hallelujah!
What is Clover Food Lab you ask? A vegetarian, organic (when possible), creative, and amazing food truck. Rumor has it they plan to open a restaurant, but I like it just fine as it is. I love a food truck. I love a farmer’s market. Put them together and it’s perfection. With Dewey Square being about a five minute walk from the office, the food Gods must have been smiling down on me.

My friend Laura and I checked the weather forecast to find the best sunny day of the week, and made the maiden voyage. We also went with our friend Adam who is a Twitter junky, and responsible for us learning of the Dewey location. When we approached the truck it felt like the first day of school. We were so excited and didn’t really know what to expect but knew it would be good.

The line went so far back, we couldn’t see the white board menu, which added to the suspense as we waited. We squinted as we got closer and began to make out the menu. I was immediately sold on the chickpea (since I have falafel running through my veins). It came with hummus and pickled veggies. Laura and Adam couldn’t decide. Then a beautiful thing happened. We decided to get three and share. Adam ordered the pimento cheese, with spicy cucumbers. Laura got the BBQ seitan. We decided on two orders of rosemary fries, and one jicama slaw. I got a black assam iced tea, Adam the rhubarb agua fresca. Sound amazing yet? It only got better.

Now we had to wait. We stood there anxiously as they called out other people, and got disappointed each time it wasn’t us. I suddenly began to remember every person who was in line in front and back of me so I knew when the moment of truth would come. When we heard “Pimento for Adam” Laura and I both cheered like he scored the winning goal in a World Cup match. After a couple more minutes we all had our food, and we grabbed a seat in the grass.

Every bite was perfect. The falafel was delicious, and the pickled veggies were so subtle but complimented it perfectly. The pimento had super sharp cheddar cheese that was mellowed out by pimentos, but still kept on its toes with spicy pickled cucumbers. The BBQ seitan was the wild card for me. It tasted like fantastic BBQ chicken. It was tender and sweet with a delicious tangy sauce. We would each take a turn with a sandwich and then rotate around so we got to try them all. OMG so amazing, I go back there just thinking about it. The rosemary fries were super fresh and so well seasoned. The jicama slaw was crisp and fresh. Mmmmmmm!!!

The breakfast menu was still up when we were there so I snuck a little peak. In addition to coffees and teas, they had fresh banana muffins, oatmeal, and popovers. No one loves a popover more than this girl. Can’t wait to hit it up!
My first Clover outing was an enormous success. It was a beautiful day with great friends and a fantastic lunch. I plan on visiting many times this summer, and I can’t wait to see what else they come up with. I follow both locations on twitter (@cloverdwy & @cloverfoodtruck)  so I can know if there are any menu updates. If Cambridge one ups Dewey, I may just have to cross the river. Maybe.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Amazing Cookies, Fantastic Girlfriends, One Sweet Day.

It’s no secret that I have a mega blog crush on Joy the Baker. She is witty, hysterical, and I want to eat every single thing she posts. But why the heck would I bake dozens of cookies or big ol’ cakes just for little ol’ moi? Well, today was my day. Dulce De Leche Sandwich Cookies here I come! 

My bestest bestie is visiting from Atlanta and we went out for a lovely day on “The Minnow” which is the baddest pontoon boat in the Metro West. I was asked to bring a sweet treat. I had a boat load of ladies to feed.  Literally.  This was my chance to bake! 

The recipe is super simple. My only concern was whether I would be able to find Dulce De Leche by the jar. I walked into Whole Foods, my Mecca, and there it was near the peanut butter.

Joy’s post is fantastic, so I will just offer a few notes from my experience.

This recipe will not disappoint. Satisfaction guaranteed.

• When I read “Spoon the dough onto the lined baking sheets using a heaping teaspoon of dough” I didn’t believe it. It seemed way too small, so I used more like a tablespoon. Joy was right. These suckers spread. A teaspoon is the way to go.

• When at the store, I looked at the jar of dulce de leche and wondered if one jar would be enough for the dough and filling 30 sandwich cookies. It seemed doubtful, so I bought two. Best thing I did all day. One wouldn’t have been nearly enough.

• A sprinkle of sea salt should be required, not suggested. Skipping this step should be punishable by incarceration. It’s delicious. It’s addictive. It’s borderline magical.

• What could possibly make these cookies even better? Nutella. I would eat Nutella on dog food.  I brought it with pretzel rods as another snack, but slather it on top of one of these cookies, add a spattering of sea salt, and let the sugar coma ensue.

• Pick the seat next to your friend who has the strongest affinity for sugar, and who is the least likely to judge you when you begin a marathon binge session on these little gems. If you are as lucky as I am, you have a friend like my Rebecca who will not only hold your drink while you slather Nutella, but repeatedly suggest that the two of you share just one more. Love you Beezie.

I can't say enough about these cookies.  It's definitely my new go to.  Simple enough, delicious for days, and another excuse to drive home and spend some time with my mom while hijacking her Kitchen Aid.  It was kind of fun to offer her the beater to lick when I was done.  I remember waiting around the kitchen as a kid counting down the seconds until she gave me that chance.  Plus I got an amazing mom-ism.  "Cookie dough tastes so good because of the raw eggs".  So poo-poo to those who are afraid.  It's cookie dough.  Raw, cooked, whatever.  Count me in!

Ahhhh... Dulce Vida.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Knock Off-Of A Knock-Off Table

Would I like a Jonathan Adler table? Yea, but $595 is not realistic. Would I like something similar from West Elm? Yea, but I could spend that $180 on a flight to visit my BFF. Can I make something close enough for pennies? Damn right I can.

I’m kicking myself for saying in my pillow post that one of my pet peeves is when people make things with supplies they found around the house. I’m doing it again, BUT… you could buy everything I used for around $30. So there, I saved you hundreds. You’re welcome.

So, what do you need?

A snack table like this beauty. $10 at Walmart or Target, or find one in your parent's basement that's been sitting there since you graduated college.  Just saying.

A tray like this or this.  I got mine at Target a few days after Christmas when all of the holiday stuff was 80% off. So, $15 tray for $3. I didn’t need it for anything so it sat on my coffee table for a few months. Now, it’s reborn!

Spray paint – A couple bucks

I wound up cutting down the edges of the table top just a bit, because they were rounded and just sticking out. Then a few coats of spray paint (how much fun is that) and I put the tray on top. Voila! Knock-off of a knock-off table!

I’m not delusional. Well, not completely delusional. I know it’s isn’t the same, but I think it’s pretty damn close. And I didn’t have to buy a single thing to make it. This makes me feel better about buying random things when they are on sale. You know you might need it one day. And who can say no to a $3 tray?

As of now, my version is the reverse of the Jonathan Adler and West Elm versions just because I had a silver tray and white paint on hand. I’m thinking about doing the legs silver at one point, but for right now I am plenty happy with it as is.

OK one more thing.  The whole living in a shoe box thing.  This table takes up close to no space.  I can use it as a coffee table, or as a bed side table.  It folds up and is totally portable.  If you can't tell, I really like this table. 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I Made My Bed, And I Will Lie In It!

I developed an obsession with the Stratton Bed from Pottery Barn. My dad took half a look at it and declared that $1,300 was ridiculous, and he could make it for a fraction of the cost. Welp… works for me!

Full disclosure, my original intention was to help build this thing. I wanted to use drills, and saws and hammers. Inhale saw dust. The whole nine. However, my dad beat me to the punch and had it 99% done before I even knew he started it. Thank God for early retirement.

I did a little research and found great plans from Knock Off Wood. The only catch (and there’s always a catch) I wanted the design of the twin bed, but in full size. The Queen version at PB has two openings on the side and one at the head of the bed. I wanted three down the side. Like the twin, but wider to fit a full mattress. Dad to the rescue.

Now, I’m not really a basket person so I struggled with what to use underneath. After much searching and many many country barfy baskets, I found some online at World Market that fit exactly. And at $15 a pop I might add. It’s like they were made for this. I would have broken down and bought the PB version if they sold them solo. The problem is you have to get the $1300 bed to get the dang baskets. These are actually pretty shallow but it’s fine. It’s enough to hide what’s behind, and leaves tons of storage space. It all just fell into place.

Also amazing is that the bed breaks down into pieces, which makes it easy to move. Not that I’ll be doing that anytime soon.
And remember my Brimfield find turned pillow? I lurrrrve it on here. 

I am so incredibly happy with it, I only wonder why I didn’t do it sooner. Talk about storage, I can fit an insane amount under there. I have luggage, extra linens, off season clothes and the list goes on. The Pottery Barn version is amazing, and I wish I had that much money to drop on it. But it’s pretty great to have one that was made for me, the way I wanted it.

Nighty night my little bed bugs!

I'm a Cutter

Being short on storage is a given when you live in a studio. As you may know, I camouflaged a hamper and it lives under my TV. Creativity is a must. This doesn’t bother me, but of all things, I was lacking somewhere to store my knives. Yea, they were crammed in a drawer with my silver wear, but that dulls the blades like a mofo. I decided to do something drastic.

I got a magnetic knife bar at Ikea.  When I suggested one of these when I lived with my friend Rebecca, she thought it was the scariest thing she had ever seen, but I have always sweated one, and now I have it!

Some quick notes on the install. Well, all I really want to say is that I now own a drill. Technically it’s on loan from my dad but I may just keep it. It’s an old one and when I asked if he could part with it he did say “I’m not giving you a cordless!” Whatever, baby’s first drill. WOOT!

First I put my chef’s knife on, and said a prayer that it woldn’t fall to the floor and stab me through the foot. Success! Obviously the next step was to see what kind of other stuff I could get to stick. No dice on the wine opener or microplane, but success on the garlic press, veggie peeler, and my personal favorite… the starfish wine stopper that was a favor from my friend Amber’s wedding.

This thing makes me feel like a bad ass chef.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Blog Crush - Joy The Baker

Aaaaaand the blog love continues.  Joy The Baker is laugh out loud funny + baking.   My kind of blog!  What really got me was a post called "How to Impress a Boy by Baking".  It's utter hillarity, but kept reminding me of my recent blunder where a date asked me what I like to cook and I said "salad dressing".  My friends laughed about that all last weekend.  Clearly I should have read this post and I would have had him eating out of my hand.

Some highlights:

"Even if you are a wild, foul-mouthed hippie… you’re a wild foul-mouthed hippie who can cook. Moms like girls who can cook. Be a girl who can cook."

"boys are happiest with a simple meal that involves steak, barbecue sauce, and warm chocolate chip cookies."

"And that’s my two cents… put that in your brain hole to marinate"

Blog Crush - My Tartlette

There's nothing like being home on a Friday night with crippling heart burn and an empty DVR.  Thank God for the interwebs.  I stumbled across and fell instantly head over heels in love.  Look at these pictures!

My Tartlette is making me
1) Want to learn French
2) Get an incredible camera
3) Become a macaroon making machine
4) Have the ability to quit my job, and cook and blog for a living
     4a) Be able to eat incredible creations like this and not gain 100lbs. 
     4b) Or get crippling acid reflux.

I think I got about 20 pages deep and I'm still going.  This blog is beautiful, and inspiring.  Enjoy!