Food

Delectable wine app

November 24, 2014

DelectableWineApp

My good friend Virginia introduced me to the Delectable wine app. Do you use it? I recently setup an account, and I’m really excited to start using it to keep track of the wines I’ve tried and ones I like and don’t like. Delectable is also a great way to find new wines suggested by friends, family and professionals within the wine industry: sommeliers, winemakers, winery owners, writers, etc. Sounds fun, right?

 

Here’s a summary of Delectable:

“We built Delectable with the dream of making the world of wine simple and fun for everyone. You can use Delectable to learn about any wine you come across in the real world. Try snapping a picture to get quick information in a grocery store or a restaurant. In seconds, we’ll identify the wine and bring you ratings from our community of wine lovers and professionals.

You can also use Delectable to discover new wines. Some of the best minds in the wine world are active members of our community! Follow sommelier Raj Parr, writer Jon Bonné, or winemaker Cathy Corison to see what they are drinking…you might discover a new favorite.” -Alex Fishman, Founder

 

The app is very user-friendly and the setup is quick and easy, and you can personalize your account with a profile picture. You can download Delectable and start building your library of wines for free here: iPhone and Android.

PS. This is NOT a sponsored post–I’m just excited about this app! Find me under the user name Kelley MacDonald. 🙂

(Photo and summary via Delectable.)

Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potatoes

October 24, 2014

Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potatoes via The City and Us

Happy Friday everyone! This week has been a long one for us and we’re ready for a couple days off.

Here’s an impromptu Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potatoes recipe I made the other day with ingredients we already had in the kitchen (no grocery shopping!). It was pretty tasty so I thought I’d share, but if you give the recipe a try, use it more as a guide than an actual recipe (e.g. if you have chili powder in your pantry (we are out), I’d add a tablespoon of that and a dollop of sour cream and chopped scallions would taste great on top). Let me know what you think if you try it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium/small red onions, coarsely chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 15- to 16-ounce can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 15- to 16-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • sea salt and black pepper
Preparation:
  1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the onion, bell pepper, garlic, cumin, salt and black pepper. Add the tomatoes (and their liquid), beans, sweet potato, and 1 cup water.
  2. Cover and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender. (I cooked our’s for about 4 hours on high and the sweet potatoes were cooked through.)
  3. Serve with the pita chips (I love Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips) sour cream, and garnish with scallions (optional).

What are your favorite slow-cooker recipes? Share in the comments, if you’d like! 

Delicious Hummus

September 23, 2014

A couple years ago, Dan and I started making hummus from scratch. Until then, we’d mostly had the store-bought kind, which is good but definitely not as good as homemade hummus. We follow this easy and smooth hummus recipe by Joanne and Adam Gallagher of Inspired Taste. So good!

For a light, easy dinner option, we’ll simply cut up a bunch of veggies (carrots, celery, red and yellow peppers–whatever you like), open a box of crackers (we love Triscuit’s cracked pepper & olive oil crackers with hummus) and make a batch of this hummus to share. Also, we like to drizzle herb-infused olive oil on top of our hummus (like Joanne and Adam mentioned in this video). I’d highly recommend topping your hummus with flavored olive oil, if you have any kicking around the house.

On buying tahini: We’ve noticed that not all grocery stores carry tahini, and if they do, it’s generally found in the Asian food section or, sometimes, by the peanut butter. Tahini, which is simply ground sesame seeds, can be pricey. Often, you can find it in bulk on Amazon (like this pack of two for $10.49) for a better price than you would at the grocery store.

Enjoy!

Good and Cheap Cookbook

August 11, 2014

The free e-book Good and Cheap, written and photographed by Leanne Brown, is a cookbook aimed at helping low income families eat better by cooking for themselves. Created for the capstone project for her MA in Food Studies at New York University, Brown describes Good and Cheap as, “a collection of recipes for people with limited incomes, particularly those on a $4/day food stamps budget.” After Brown posted her free PDF version online, it went viral on social media sites such as Reddit and Tumblr and was featured on national news stations and covered in newspapers and magazines. This support gave Brown the idea to launch a Kickstarter campaign to print hardcopies of her very popular e-book version. Her goal was to get copies of Good and Cheap into the hands of people who didn’t have access to the online version or who wouldn’t otherwise see it.

Brown’s Kickstarter was hugely successful; starting with a goal to fundraise $10,000, the campaign finished with more than $144,000 in donations and is now available to pre order! Books will ship in September with the addition of 20 new recipes. You can also donate a copy of the book and there are special options to order in bulk for low-income families. Brown states on her website, “I think everyone should eat great food every day. Eating well means learning to cook. It means banishing the mindset that preparing daily meals is a huge chore or takes tremendous skill. Cooking is easy — you just have to practice.”

Although aimed towards low-income families, there’s something for everyone in this beautifully photographed cookbook. I’m particularly excited to try the Whole Wheat Jalapeno Cheddar Scones, Vegetable Jambalaya, and Cauliflower Tacos. Also, the section called “Things on Toast” is genius and the recipes look delicious! Here’s a peek at the “Things on Toast” section:

ThingsOnToast_2

(Video via Good and Cheap Kickstarter page; images and information from Leanne’s website and the pdf version of Good and Cheap.)

Spiral Vegetable Slicer

June 17, 2014

Do you have a spiral vegetable slicer? I came across this nifty kitchen appliance the other day and I can’t believe I didn’t know about it! Have you used one before? A spiral vegetable slicer turns veggies into curly spaghetti. How genius is that?!

I’m thinking fresh spring pasta in flavors of zucchini, squash, carrots and kohlrabi! If you have/use a spiral vegetable slicer and have any good recipes, please share in the comments!

(Photos via)

Trick For Long Lasting Lemons

May 14, 2014

Warmer weather is finally here, which means light, crisp, refreshing drinks are in order. We always have lemons on hand for cooking, drinks, smoothies, or simply squeezing fresh lemon juice over a green salad. Lemons are so pretty when left out on the counter in a pretty bowl (I usually leave about half the bag out for added kitchen decor), but it turns out they’ll last much longer if kept in the fridge and sealed in a plastic bag. I came across this tip for long lasting lemons from the kitchn a few days ago and I think it’s worth keeping in mind, especially if you like and buy lemons as much as we do! : )

What are your favorite recipes with lemons? I’m always looking for new ways to cook with lemons and you can’t go wrong with a glass of refreshing lemonade.

 

PS. Basil Processo and Lemoncello + Meyer Lemon Margarita

(Image via.)

An Interview With Gelato Chef Morgan Morano

May 12, 2014

Keeping with the sweet-dessert theme of this afternoon’s post, I wanted to share a piece I wrote about Morano Gelato in Hanover, New Hampshire. Last summer, Dan and I interviewed Morgan Morano, gelato chef and owner of Morano Gelato and talked about her famed gelato, sourcing local ingredients, shop decor, and her mentor Chef Antonio Cafarelli. Check it out below, if you’d like…

Morano Gelato in Hanover, New Hampshire

If you’re anything like us, you’re pretty serious about three things: dessert, pizza, and wine (not necessarily in that order and we strongly believe in dessert at any time of the day…pizza too…wine maybe wait until after lunch…or not 🙂 We were lucky enough to sit down and chat with Chef Morgan Morano, another person who is very serious about dessert—specifically of the gelato variety. Morano, chef and owner of Morano Gelato in Hanover, New Hampshire, makes roughly 16 flavors of authentic, Sicilian-style gelato goodness every single day! Flavors like chocolate and red pepper, yogurt, amaretto, raspberry, Florentine cream, sweet milk, almond, mango, pistachio, hazelnut, and dark chocolate are often in rotation, but the selection changes depending on what ingredients are in season.

Morano Gelato
Nicolle Moore of Plainfield, NH (her current favorite flavor is cookie) working the gelato bar, and a sample of the rotating gelato flavors

Using the freshest ingredients sourced from local farmers, artisans, and craftspeople is one of Morano’s primary focuses, “I do it because it really is the best…It’s supporting the community and it tastes better.” Morano credits McNamara Dairy in Plainfield, NH, “I think McNamara significantly contributes to the success of the gelato. The creaminess. The flavor.” McNamara also contributes Maple Syrup to Morano Gelato that is collected from local trees and boiled on McNamara’s traditional wood fire arch. Another exciting collaboration for Morano Gelato is with Red Kite Candy in Thetford, VT. “They approached us in 2011 about selling their caramels here. Then we ended up doing a collaboration of a hazelnut caramel.”

Morano Gelato in Hanover, NH

Before even tasting the gelato, you’ll see and hear an Italian influence in Morano’s shop from the decor to the music to the employee’s aprons to the Italian candies and espressos (also available daily). “It’s completely, 100% me.” Morano says of the interior decor which is elegant with clean lines and sans wood-anything, which is very much unlike other Hanover, NH stores. The distinctive black and gold fixtures, which conveniently happened to be in the space before Morano Gelato began renovations in 2011, and the bold gold stripe that flows through the space were not originally part of the Morano Gelato brand, admits Morano. A bold pink and white color palette were intended, but Morano shifted towards a more “clean but warm and welcoming, authentic Italy” feel with gold, black, and white.

Another distinctive quality of the shop is the gelato bar. Instead of purchasing a gelato bar from Italy, Morgan worked with local designers and builders; Scot Christiano of Christiano Construction North, Inc. (Norwich, Vermont) designed the unique bar and Peter French (Norwich, VT) built the bar.

Morano Gelato

Katticus Metallicus (left), currently loving the salted caramel gelato, from England works with Nicolle Moore (right) to serve up the daily batch of gelato.

Morgan and the rest of the Morano Gelato crew-THANK YOU for having us in your shop for a visit!

One last thing…no interview is complete without a set of Mr. Sketch smelly markers and a few light-hearted questions. Here’s a peek at the interview in progress:

Morano Gelato

Morano Gelato

Morano Gelato Morano Gelato

(Last answers read, “Dark chocolate-because I love it and I love black things and I’m a minimalistic person.” [Hanover?] “Pistachio, it’s green and sophisticated.”)

Thanks again, Morgan! It was a blast chatting with you.

If you find yourself in Hanover, NH, I’d highly recommend visiting Morano Gelato (57 South Main Street) for a sweet treat!

UPDATE: Congrats to Chef Morano on the expansion of Morano Gelato through a franchise system. We’re excited to see what’s next!

Eataly’s Nutella Bar Opens Today!

May 12, 2014

Don’t tell me you aren’t little-kid-in-a-candy-story psyched about the opening of the Nutella Bar at Eataly this evening! Top or fill muffins ($4.80), crepes ($5.80), crostatina ($4.80), saccottino ($3.80), brioche ($3.80), pane ($2.80, Eataly’s housemade rustic bread) and others with the chocolate-hazelnut decadence. My mouth is watering as I type this! Check out their full menu here.

BONUS: Eataly is offering a free Pane con Nutella today from 5PM-9PM to celebrate the opening of the Nutella Bar! We’re going!

UPDATE: Guys, the Nutella Bar is AMAZING and my Pan con Nutella sample was delicious! I would highly recommend checking out Eataly’s Nutella Bar ASAP! x

 

(Image via Eataly’s blog.)

Blue Apron for a Family of Four

April 14, 2014

Sam&Cait1The newest addition to our family is our beautiful niece, Caitlin. She was born in February and lives in Massachusetts with her parents, Meg and Pat, and her big brother, Sam. Isn’t she the sweetest?!

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Since we’ve heard those first few weeks at home with a newborn can be wonderful, daunting, happy, adventurous, and sleepy, Dan and I wanted to do something special—and also helpful—for this new family of four. I had read about Blue Apron, a food delivery service, before but I didn’t know anyone who had used the service. However, Blue Apron has wonderful reviews so I thought it might be the perfect gift for a family with a new baby. Meg and Pat were up for trying something new so we went for it. Here’s how it worked:

BlueApron_TurkeyBurgerSlides

Blue Apron offers three gift options ranging from one week with three meals per week for two adults to four weeks with three meals per week for six adults. Since Meg and Pat hadn’t tried Blue Apron (or any food delivery service) before, we decided to gift them a one week package with three meals for two adults. When a Blue Apron package is given as a gift, the gift giver simply fills in their personal payment information, the name and email address of the recipient(s), and a short note, and that’s it (it only takes about 2 minutes to complete the order)! Blue Apron emails the recipient and the recipient chooses the type of food they want (vegetarian or meat/fish/poultry) and schedules their delivery to fit their schedule. So easy, right?

BlueApron_FoodPrep2

We caught up with Meg and Pat to hear about their experience with Blue Apron. Here’s what they thought:

Things we like about it:
-Convenience
-It includes calorie count per serving
-It’s nice to not have to worry about planning half of our meals in a week
-Cuts down on shopping time
-Meals have all been delicious!
-It was a great gift idea (one we will likely use for friends in the future)
BlueApron_FoodPrep3
Things we’re not sure about:
-It comes in a lot of packaging and we feel a little guilty about the environment… We clean all the plastic, etc. to recycle but it is definitely more wasteful than if we were cooking from scratch with bulk items (like taking a spoonful of mayonnaise out of a jar versus the little plastic container of mayonnaise they included in one of the recipes).
-Some of the recipes have prep work that can take a while (but this doesn’t bother us at all).
-We’re still figuring out if it is cost effective!
BlueApron_TurkeyBurgerSlides_Final

If you need a great, quick gift idea, we (and Meg and Pat) definitely recommend Blue Apron! Check out their website, if you’re interested. I love the variety of foods and how each recipe is designed to take no more than 35 mins of prep and cook time—so convenient.

BlueApron_Cod_Final

Pan-Seared Cod & Roasted Red Potatoes with Remoulade Sauce & Frisée Salad

BlueApron_Pork_Final

Fennel-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Grapefruit, Mustard Greens & Japonica Black Rice

Thanks for your feedback, Meg & Pat, and thanks for the photos, Meg!

P.S. Almost 4-year-old Sam helped chop veggies for this dish a couple of weeks ago. Go, Sammy!

Blogmilk | Brandi Bernoskie