Tag Archives: family

Easy Bruschetta

3 Jun

My brother goes to school in Milwaukee so he was only back at my parent’s house for a week between the spring semester and starting his summer internship back in Milwaukee. I took a day out of work to spend some time with him during his quick stay. We spent the afternoon at an awesome coffee shop in Providence, Cafe Zog, before hitting Whole Foods to get some groceries for a dinner we prepared for my parents, sister, nephews, and grandmothers that night.

We debated dinner options while we browsed at Whole Foods and we decided on making pizzas, bruschetta, and salad. We’d never made brushetta before, but we googled a few recipes, combined some of their ingredients and ideas, and came up with something easy. Even better, it turned out to be delicious.

Ingredients:

1 loaf French bread

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1/4 red onion, chopped

3 leaves fresh basil

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Directions:

Chop the cherry tomatoes into small pieces, then add the diced red onion and the chopped basil leaves. In a small bowl combine the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and whisk together. Add the oil and vinegar mixture to the tomato and onion mixture and stir well so the tomatoes are evenly coated with the liquid.

Cut the french bread into 1/2 inch thick pieces. Brush some olive oil on one side of each piece and place the bread oil side own on a baking sheet.

Bake the slices of bread in a 450 degree oven for 5 or 6 minutes, or until it becomes golden brown. When the bread is toasted, dish the tomato mix on top of each piece. Let the bruschetta sit for a bit to soften the hard bread.

The pizzas we made also came out terrific. Take a look at our finished meal. Delicious!

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Week 47: Custard Pie

30 Nov

So I realize I’m a bit late this week. There was work, and Thanksgiving, and time off, and a trip to Plimoth Plantation, and all those types of things, so I got a little distracted. But I did take Thanksgiving as an opportunity to try something new – custard pie. I did not make this custard pie; I ordered it from the wonderful Tufts Dining Hall.

Taste of Christmas

So last Wednesday, after dropping off three boxes of food donations for the Greater Boston Food Bank, a coworker and I picked up my pie from the Dining Hall. I brought it back to the office and put it on my desk for the rest of the day. And then I brought it home and put it in the oven (the oven was off) so that Reggie the cat wouldn’t be tempted to try to eat it. (He eats lots of things including cereal, bread, lettuce, and anything that is in the garbage disposal, so I didn’t want to risk the pie.) But custard pie’s main ingredients are eggs and milk. These items need to be refrigerated. My custard pie spent the day on my desk and the night in the oven. See where this is going?

So we arrive at Thanksgiving, pie in hand, and when someone offers to take the pie, she asks, “does your pie need to go in the refrigerator?” And I just stood there like a moron and thought OH. SHIT.

Did you know that when you google, “should you refrigerate custard pie?” the answer you see in every single search result is “always”? So then the pie came thisclose to the trash. But Aunt Betty jumped in and assured us that because the milk and eggs were cooked, the pie actually didn’t need to be refrigerated. Because I really didn’t want to throw the pie away, I took Aunt Betty’s word for it against the forever-wise Google.

So I ate the custard pie and not only did I not die, I thought it tasted just fine. It was rather bland, I’d say, but good and cinnamon-y. Someone had described it as creme brule, but firmer, and I think that was pretty accurate. Now if the custard pie just had a top layer of scorched sugar, it would be my new favorite.

So Thanksgiving was a success. The pie was a success. And we even got in some quality kitty-snuggling at Andrew’s parents’ house:

 

Week 43: Green Tea

25 Oct

Green tea is great for you! And I love foods that are great for you.

My sister is reading Anticancer: A New Way of Life, which discusses how food really is our greatest defense against illness (not just cancer) and the key to living healthy. I’m super on board with this idea, since I’m convinced that all the artificial ingredients and preservatives and awful things they do to our food (check out Food, Inc.) cannot possibly be good for us. I keep my food organic and all natural, and do most of shopping in the produce department.

When Jen told me about the book, she mentioned that the author, Dr. David Servan-Schreiber, is a big advocate of green tea. Green tea has been used for medicinal purposes in China for 4,000 years. About.com points out the health benefits simply:

Today, scientific research in both Asia and the west is providing hard evidence for the health benefits long associated with drinking green tea. For example, in 1994 the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the results of an epidemiological study indicating that drinking green tea reduced the risk of esophageal cancer in Chinese men and women by nearly sixty percent. University of Purdue researchers recently concluded that a compound in green tea inhibits the growth of cancer cells. There is also research indicating that drinking green tea lowers total cholesterol levels, as well as improving the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to bad (LDL) cholesterol.

The secret of green tea lies in the fact it is rich in catechin polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a powerful anti-oxidant: besides inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, it kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. It has also been effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels, and inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots.

And green tea is great for you dieters, as well: “Researchers found that men who were given a combination of caffeine and green tea extract burned more calories than those given only caffeine or a placebo.”

So last weekend when I was at my sister’s house, hanging out with a red power ranger and a cheeseburger (Halloween is coming, and you had better believe I’ll be posting pictures – who doesn’t want to see a 2 year old dressed as a cheeseburger?), Jen and I sat down to have some green tea, my first cup. And you know what? It was delicious. We drank it straight up, but I hear many people like sweeteners in their tea. If that’s your thing, try agave nectar to give it a natural, sweeter taste. (Whatever you do, just don’t use splenda. That would be just about the most blasphemous, unnatural thing you could do to this wonderful, healthy tea.)

If you don’t like straight up green tea, it also is available in all different kinds of flavors. Like lemon or mint? There’s a green tea for you. More of a berry girl (I am), one for you too. There’s ginger, and fruity, and floral even, if that’s your thing. In fact, I’m typing this with a mug of pomegranate green tea in my hand. So, really, go have a cup of green tea and revel in the fact that you are doing an amazing thing for your health.

See? I really am typing and tea-ing.

Half Way There!

4 Jul

Today it hit me: I realized that this little project is half over. When I first had the idea to try one new food each week, I thought I’d make it a few months, but I figured it would be much too hard to find fifty two new things to try. I thought I would go about my business, picking up a few things here and there and keeping a mental list for myself to make sure I had roughly one each week. I hadn’t considered blogging about it and when someone suggested creating this blog, I thought, “No way! I already have a blog! No one has TWO blogs. That’s crazy.” A blog meant a commitment: if I slacked one week or forgot or plain just didn’t feel like it, there would be a world of people (ok, maybe five) who would know I’d failed in this little project.

But then I got a ton of suggestions, people offered me recipes, and each trip to Whole Foods added even more inspiration. I realized that I love my other blog, so maybe I would love this blog too. And if only five people were going to be disappointed if I didn’t see it through, that would be just fine with me. Thus the wonderful Caesar Salad Incident was born and my culinary adventure began.

To realize that I’ve already finished half the year is exciting, but also really sad for me: I’m having such an awesome time. I know that I can still try new stuff when the year is over (obviously), but that’s not it: I really love blogging about my new food adventures. And even more I love that people have said to me that they tried something new because I did. I love that my family and friends have been trying new foods with me.  I love that people text me new fruits they see at the supermarket. I love that my cousin Jason visited from California and specifically asked if he could have a “Caesar Salad Incident” meal with me. I love that my brother requested I bring a food he’d never tried before to a family cookout. I love that my little nephews have tried new foods with me. I love that Andrew and I get to eat at amazing restaurants and try new things together.

I am twenty six new experiences richer since I began this trip in January. I have found foods that I love and are new additions to my grocery list (pomegranate, jicama, celery root); I discovered foods I don’t ever want to eat again (kumquatGulab Jamun); I have a new favorite ice cream (black raspberry chip) and new restaurants I love (Addis Red Sea, Diva). The Caesar Salad Incident is an adventure I am completely loving. I hope you are enjoying the ride too.

Week 23: Aprium

6 Jun

Cookout season is upon us! My parents had a BBQ and my brother, who is home from college, asked that I bring a new food that we could both try. Since when I tasted pluots my friend Matt recommended that I try apriums as well, I thought the cookout with be a good chance for Taylor and I to try something new together.

Like the pluot, apriums are also plum/apricot hybrids. On the outside, apriums look like  apricots or little tiny peaches. Apriums are sweeter than the pluot and wikipedia says that they are “usually only available in the United States during the month of June, unlike the pluot, which can be seen in produce sections as far as into the fall season.”

My brother wasn’t the only one who wanted to try an aprium – my sister, mom, and nephews wanted to taste them as well. We all agreed they were fuzzy like a peach, although much smaller. We cut the up into slices and passed them around. Even Luke whose current tastes include only tan-colored foods, gave them a try. Although let’s be honest: at a light yellow, it’s not like apriums are a far venture from his tan-colored preferences.

He liked it!

Everyone liked the apriums because they are sweet and juicy and very peach-like. James even asked for seconds and took one home for a snack. Moniz family aprium tasting success! Now if we could just get my dad to try something new…. 🙂

Week 13: Kumquat

29 Mar

On Sunday I decided to drive down to my sister’s house to bring my nephew James a 4 foot firetruck floor puzzle that I bought for him at a fundraiser rummage sale I went to this weekend. I stopped at Starbucks for a coffee and Whole Foods to grab a muffin when I ran into kumquats in the produce section. I had heard of kumquats but didn’t know what they tasted like or how to eat them. They were the size and shape of cherry tomatoes and looked just like mini oranges, with a rind and everything. The sign above the display said something vague about citrus. I decided to give them a try and knew my sister and nephews would be excited to try them with me.

So after James put together his firetruck puzzle (which he did in about 15 minutes because, obviously, he is a genius), we decided it was time to try the kumquats. James was excited, I was determined, my sister was leery, and Luke didn’t really have a clue what was going on (to be fair, he’s only 2, and was smiley and happy throughout the kumquat-tasting process).

Good old e-How told us that kumquats had seeds, but we could eat them just like a grape – rind and all. We decided since we had a 2 year old and a 6 year old, it’d be nice if we took the seeds out for them. So my sister cut up a few kumquats and diligently picked out the few seeds. They smelled citrusy and wonderful and we got ready to try them:

Jen and I “cheers!”ed our kumquats and popped them into our mouths, rind and all. My teeth crunched down and – BAM! – holy sour! Way too sour. Unbearably sour. My face puckered, I spit my half-chewed kumquat in the trash, then ran to the sink and sloshed water all around my mouth. Jen somehow managed to swallow her kumquat (and later complained her stomach was puckering) and we howled laughing at how funny it was. Then we looked over and saw James, happily eating his kumquat and looking at us like we were crazy.

He loved those crazy sour oranges! He asked for more and eagerly gobbled them down, occasionally making the sour pucker face, but loving it the whole time. Luke didn’t care to try a kumquat, but he thoroughly enjoyed holding one in each hand and tossing them around the table.

So the verdict is: Jen and I hated them! Way too sour to be enjoyable. James loved them and I think they’ll be on Jen’s shopping list for weeks to come. If Luke ever decides to try them, I’ll keep you posted 🙂

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