Savory

McDonald’s In The Kitchen, Fairsted Kitchen that is.

A Surprise From McDonald’s at Fairsted Kitchen

 

When I got the invitation to Fairsted Kitchen, it was a given that I would say yes. Every time I drive by it, I remind myself that we need to have dinner there, then I get home and life happens and I forget, again, at least until the next time I drive by.  And when I saw that McDonald’s was hosting and Executive Chef Stephanie Cmar (yes, foodie friends, of Bravo’s Top Chef and of Stacked Donuts fame), was going to cook only with McD’s ingredients, I was intrigued. How would this work? What would the menu look like? And most importantly…Would there be fries?!

Photo credit: Debbie Grubstein

 

And not only were there fries – there was a bar of fries!  Everyone talked, laughed and nibbled as we circled the table and there were lots of stories because…fries. And I was so excited that the charming and twinkle lighted exterior of Fairsted Kitchen was a perfect preview to the lovely space within –  warm wood tables, lovely vintage mismatched china, and a welcoming staff. What a wonderful antidote to a cold and rainy night.

Dinner was, as expected, fantastic. And made only from ingredients that would be used in a McDonald’s kitchen. The first up: chicken croquettes with cilantro lime sauce, cucumber, peanut salad, and wilted romaine puree and our hosts explained that the fresh produce was the same used in McDonald’s premium salads and McWraps.  I learned that McD’s sources from local distributors when possible.

Next up, gnocchi made with actual McDonald’s french fries that were put through a meat grinder. Wow, super clever Stephanie Cmar! The Bolognese made with sausage and 100% ground beef, was delicious! I also learned that McD’s uses 100% beef that is ground, then formed into patties and flash frozen, and made with no additives or preservatives. Good to know.

Dessert was seriously the biggest doughnut I have ever seen. It’s okay though, years of training had prepared me for the challenge and I was undaunted. Doughnuts with Cranberry and Salted Caramel made by Stephanie (McD’s uses USDA grade A fresh eggs and North American grown whole wheat flour).

 

Served with a perfect cup of coffee (from McCafe) and made with 100 percent Arabica coffee beans. I loved McDonald’s coffee when it was Newman’s Own and I love it now, too. A great price for great coffee.

Stephanie Cmar Fairsted Kitchen McDonald's In the Kitchen

Photos* were taken by Debbie Grubstein, friend, food blogger extraordinaire, and all around wonderful person. Thanks, Deb!

*except the coffee cup so you can see why Deb is good to have around!

This post was sponsored by McDonald’s. All opinions are, and always will be, my own. Thank you!

 

Pantry in Brookline is gorgeous

 

 

Farm to table, great. Store to table, also great. Especially when it’s this store. Pantry is the newest and freshest way to grocery shop. The store is a beautiful place, warm and well-stocked with dinner plans for every taste. There’s also a carefully curated selection of cooking utensils and pans – the chef’s choice – gorgeously displayed and reasonably priced, too. Recent college grads? Empty nesters? Busy families? They’ve got you covered for dinner, anyway.

I decided to try the salmon since we all love it, and I needed a new way to prepare it. Okay, I was asked repeatedly to find a new way to prepare it and finally took the clue.

Here’s the recipe I made –  Salmon with Spinach Barley.

 

Delicious, different and on the table in under 40 minutes. The recipe card says 35 minutes which is pretty accurate, I’m always a bit pokey the first time I make something.

So the shopping was a joy, the prep was a breeze. And here’s the final dish. And they pair beer or wine options (and have them in the store) with every recipe. Brilliant.

I’m definitely voting Pantry as most likely to be a new favorite place for dinner. Why? The store is gorgeous, the food locally sourced, the recipes fantastic – easy to execute but sophisticated – and you choose your own fresh ingredients.

Pantry also will deliver the ingredients. Really. Door Dash and Caviar both deliver Pantry’s fresh ingredients – and you get a fresh, healthy meal that’s way better than the usual take out fare.

This super sweet shop is in Brookline at 1622 Beacon Street – easy to get to and great to stop by if you are driving home past it. On the T? Just jump off the Green Line, grab your dinner and head home!

Head on over to Leah’s Life to see what they thought of the Thanksgiving Turkey Roulade.

And thank you to Leah for the great photos and for being so much fun!

Happy dinner planning!

Disclosure:

I was not compensated for this post but was given the ingredients for the meal above to facilitate the review. I purchased the beer and wine myself, and some Justin’s peanut butter cups which did not make it home. Sorry, family. All opinions are, as always, my own.

 

Just Add Cooking – the rest is covered

Do you know that feeling when you get a package? It’s great, right? What’s even better is when the package is filled with fresh, local ingredients for three whole dinners!  Love this new way of getting healthy food on the table. Not every week – heck, not every day – is the same and sometimes, usually, I am stretched to come up with healthy meals that I can make under an hour that everyone will like.  So while I am a tiny bit of a control freak, I also am pretty fresh out of ideas for dinner. Just Add Cooking came at just the right time.

Three meals, prepped and cooked in under 30 minutes, and the ingredients delivered to your door. Bye bye Control Freak. Hello, Just Add Cooking.

 

My lovely Just Add Cooking box had the ingredients for

Coq au Vin

Chana Saag

Fish Soup with Aioli

 

Everything was fresh, delicious, easy to prepare (and true to the projected cooking times which is the best). Having the exact ingredients and amount of ingredients was nothing short of a miracle (if you are my neighbor you have probably gotten a missing ingredient call from me). Can’t wait to try owner of Moody’s and an amazing chef, Joshua Smith’s take on Corned Beef and Cabbage. Yum.

Just Add Cooking is offering boxes starting at $39 for a 2-person, 3-meal box (normally $69) and $69 for a 4-person, 3-meal box (normally $109). This is for the first box for new customers and the price will be automatically applied to their first purchase if they visit http://www.justaddcooking.com and register by clicking “Get Cooking.”  So got try it out. Your dinners will be happier for it.
  • Just Add Cooking is based in Boston and the ingredients are locally sourced, using local farmers, vendors and purveyors and seasonal ingredients whenever possible.
  • Delivery area is throughout Eastern Massachusetts.
  • There are seven recipes to choose from each week. Typically there is a poultry, seafood, pork and beef option along with 3 vegetarian options.
  • You make a selection by 12 pm on Wed and get delivery on Sunday or Monday depending on your area.
  • There are also designated gluten-free meals, which have been evaluated by a dietitian and are clearly labeled as such.
  • Because Just Add Cooking sources locally, they pack and deliver (via courier) the same day. No FedEx means less packaging (packaging is minimal and everything but the freezer bag is biodegradable). This process also helps ensure freshness and involves lower food miles the ingredients have to travel.
  • All recipes are developed by an in-house chef and all recipes are tested to ensure they are accessible to home chefs. This means the time printed on the recipe (usually around 30  minutes) is the true cooking time.JAC Open Box picture
Check out Just Add Cooking
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Disclainer: I was not compensated for this post but did receive a Just Add Cooking box to facilitate this review. All opinions are =, and always will be, my own.

Halloween is sweet over at The Food Network

What is sweeter than Halloween? And some of our favorite shows are on The Food Network, where I often find inspiration, and they have special Halloween themed recipes…of course they do! Check out these sweet and savory treats. The Food Network has two great October shows that offer more great Halloween recipes and ideas – Halloween Baking Championship (Mondays @9:00pm) and Halloween Wars (Sundays @9:00pm).

You know I’m all about the sweets, and there are some great treats like Wicked Cupcakes 

and

Pull Apart Graveyard Cupcakes

Pecan-Caramel Spiders
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups toasted pecans
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, in pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 ounces thin black licorice strands, cut into 2-inch pieces
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
Chocolate curls or jimmies, optional

Directions

Line 2 baking sheets with waxed paper and lightly spray with nonstick spray. Mound 30 small clusters of pecans, about 3 or 4 pecans each, spaced a couple inches apart on the pan.

Make caramel: Warm the cream over low heat and keep warm while you cook the sugar.

Put the sugar and corn syrup and in a deep, heavy-bottomed large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Stop stirring, raise heat to medium-high, and simmer until the sugar reaches the hard crack stage, or 305 degrees F on a candy thermometer, about 7 minutes.

Whisk the butter and salt into the sugar mixture. Gradually pour in the cream and vanilla taking care since the mixture will bubble up. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar reaches soft ball stage, 240 degrees F on the thermometer, about 5 minutes more. Immediately remove from the heat and cool for a minute.

Ladle a couple tablespoons of warm caramel over some of the nut clusters, to make the spider bodies. Then press 6 pieces of licorice into the warm caramel to make the legs. Repeat with the remaining caramel and licorice. (It’s helpful to have an extra hand here, since the caramel can set quickly. If caramel hardens, warm over very low heat. ) Let spiders cool 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the chocolates in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1-inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. (Alternatively, put the chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Melt at 50 percent power in the microwave until soft, about 1 minute. Stir, and continue heat until completely melted, 2 to 3 minutes more.)

Spoon about 1 tablespoon of melted chocolate on top of each spider. Sprinkle with jimmies or chocolate curls, if desired. Let cool until firm.

Copyright 2007 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved

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But I also love tomato soup with a nice grilled cheese and this recipe is too adorable not to share! Vampire Blood Tomato Soup with Muenster Sammies to fuel us your little trick or treaters before they get all sugared up from Halloween. Plus it’s a rookie move to order a pizza on Halloween night because everyone does and the wait is endless.

For more Halloween recipes and ideas, tune in to Food Network or visit Foodnetwork.com

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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