Monday, May 27, 2013

Dinners With Friends: Kale Edition

All the cool kids are eating kale these days. It's everything a trendy food should be: packed with vitamins, minerals, and protein; vegan and gluten-free. It even leaps tall cancer cells in a single bound, earning it the hipper-than-hip title of "superfood."

The only question left is how, exactly, you're supposed to cook the stuff. It's so...chewy. And it comes in such enormous bunches. What are you supposed to do with all of it?

This week I asked the expert. And by the expert I mean my roommate, who spends more time in Whole Foods than I do, and has figured these things out.

Step 1: Yes, kale comes in intimidatingly large bunches, but you end up not using all of it, because first you get rid of the stems, which take up a lot of real estate in the bunch. Then rip up the rest of the leaves into more manageable pieces. (Don't forget to compost the unused bits or freeze them for soup stock!) Put the leaves you're going to use in a colander and give them a quick rinse.

Step 2: Heat up a heavy-bottomed pan and coat the bottom with oil, then put your kale in. Don't worry if it piles high, it will cook down eventually. After 2 to 3 minutes, stir it up with tongs to make sure all parts of the pile are getting equal heat, then add some lemon juice, salt, and chopped garlic for flavor.

Step 3: That's pretty much it. Remove a leaf and sample it for flavor and texture. Add more seasoning if desired, and leave it to fry a little longer if it's still chewier than you'd like.
Serve however you'd like. We found it to be a perfect side dish with these Portobella Mushroom Burgers from The Adirondack Chick.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Brunch at Bar 10

On one of the first really beautiful weekends of 2013, I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to join a group of fellow bloggers for brunch at Bar 10 at the Westin Copley Hotel in Downtown Boston. The event was put together by Blog and Tweet Boston, a group of social media and local event enthusiasts headed by Jen Dorman of Boston Bachelorette and Kerrie Urban of Urban Foodie Finds.

The new brunch menu that the exceptionally friendly staff was proud to unveil focuses on seasonal ingredients where possible.

We were all started off with a miniature champagne cocktail complemented by pineapple and raspberries.
Fresh fruit, a splash of bubbly, nothing corny about that. Except maybe the sentence I just wrote.
Next, we were presented with a fruit platter that got passed around the table, but not before a parade of smart phones came out and snapped close-ups. It was a great and somewhat strange feeling not to be the only one at the table taking pictures for the food porn files.

But doesn't it look good?
For my entree, I opted for Belgian waffles. I'm almost positive this part of the meal fails the corn-free test, but the dish did come with its own teeny tiny jar of real Vermont maple syrup that the chefs even took care to warm up, so it earns points anyway.

Paired with the tartness of the fruit, it made a perfect bite.
The real crowd pleaser, though, was the hash browns. I really can't say enough about these hash browns. So many people loved them that we were eventually each presented with our own as the final course of the meal. Golden brown and crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, and flecked with herbs for extra flavor, they really hit the spot.

You never know exactly what you'll get when you order hash browns. Luckily this was a pleasant surprise.
Overall, the afternoon was a great way to indulge in some delicious and more or less healthy, if not entirely sustainable food. And maybe more importantly, to connect with some talented and fun food lovers who think that every experience is worth writing about.

To try out Bar 10 for yourself, whether it's for brunch, lunch, dinner, or late-night cocktails and musical entertainment, take the Green line to Copley Square or the Orange line to Back Bay, and let me know what you think.