Monday, May 31, 2010

Lemon Pappardelle

Because of long holiday weekend, my “usual” classes at the gym (i.e. my Saturday morning and Monday evening Kickboxing classes) are cancelled!!! 

Not gonna lie this caused a momentary panic.  The worst part was I didn’t know Saturday’s 8am class was cancelled until I got there!!! 

My workout that day turned into yard work, which was fine because it was hot out and I was sweaty!

Sunday Brian and I did a nice run…about 4.6 miles.

Other randomness:

  • Saw Sex and the City 2 Friday night….LOVE!  Went with 3 of my old college roomies, and we used to watch the show alllll the time.  I own seasons 3-6 on DVD.
  • First we got soft serve….how is this a KIDDY cone?!?!  That would be vanilla/chocolate twist with JIMMIES!


  • Had my first nectarines of the season!  DELICIOUS!  I love fresh peaches/nectarines!


Last Sunday when Mom and I hit up Trader Joes, they were sampling this Lemon pasta + tuna dish.  (They are always sampling something and 95% of the time I end up buying whatever it is)

1. – I’ve always been skeeved out by Tuna in oil (not any more.)
2. – I’ve never added canned tuna to anything besides sandwiches and cold salads.

Lemon Pepper Pappardelle + tuna + capers


  • For 4 servings cook up 1 package of TJ’s Lemon Pepper Pappardelle  (got a big lemon smell when I opened the bag :)


  • Once cooked, combine with 2 cans of Solid White tuna in Olive Oil.


The say not to drain the oil as it basically becomes the sauce…but I did drain some of the oil.

  • Add half a jar of capers….or capers to your liking WITH their juice!  I am a caper lover :)
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

My additions were to serve over baby arugula for more greens, and to add a sprinkling of fresh parsley on top for color.


This was so easy and DELICIOUS!  The freshness from the lemon makes it so you don’t feel like your just eating canned tuna.  Plus what an easy way to add protein to a pasta dish.


Once the pasta is cooked this comes together in like 2 minutes.


Enhanced my Lemony dinner with lemon seltzer


Not to mention the leftovers were amazing cold.

I’d definitely recommend the TJ’s lemon pepper pappardelle pasta, but this recipe can easily be made if you don’t live near a TJ’s. 

I bet you could find another lemon pasta at a specialty store or even just use any other pasta and maybe add some lemon juice and lemon rind to the water you cook it in.  I might try that method with whole wheat pasta next time. 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bringing Maine Home

Happy Long Weekend!!

Where to begin, I feel like I have a huge backlog of things I want to write about and they would never fit in one post.  Times like these I wish I posted more frequently…maybe something to work on this week.

So, I’m back tracking to last weekend.  Brian’s Birthday was last Sunday and we had just gotten back from Maine the day before.  Because we were away those days, his actual birthday day had to be a big yard work day, but it was really nice out and well it just needed to be done.

I did tell him he didn’t have to go grocery shopping which I think he was happy about.  Actually my mom came up and her and I set out for food. 

After a trip to:

I had tons of fresh produce, stocked up on TJ’s treats (including a dinner I was inspired to make while at the store…yeah that’s another post), a super delicious Birthday dinner, and a sweet Birthday treat!

The Birthday dinner I had planned was very “Maine”-centric. 

One of my purchases in Portland was these guys…


I picked them up at a favorite store of mine: Le Roux Kitchen

Blueberry Balsamic Vinegar and Blood Orange Olive Oil

I always visit this store when I’m on Martha’s Vineyard and I was very happy when I saw it in Portland!  They have numerous stainless steel dispensers of many flavored olive oils and vinegars that you can sample. 

I knew these would turn any salad into something special, and I was right.


With all my fresh produce I created a big garden salad with:

  • Green Leaf Lettuce
  • Arugula
  • cucumber
  • tomato
  • grilled green peppers
  • grilled red onion
  • fresh local goat cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • drizzle of my new oil and vinegar


The best bites were the ones with the blueberry balsamic + goat cheese :)  Almost dessert-like.


P.S.  I love serving salads on platters.  They just look so much more pretty and you can see all the ingredients.

Grilled Corn…so sweet, no need for butter.


More grilled veggies


The Maine course (haha) was…


obviously I hadn’t had enough.


Actually they were so cheap at the grocery store I bought a few extra to have for lunch the next day :) 

Yes I’m that girl who brings a container of lobster meat to work.

The sweet ending was a sampling of cupcakes from Cake.


  • White Out (top left) – white cake, some sort of white filling, white icing, and coconut
    • this was our least favorite…the cake was a little dry
  • Lemon (top right) – yellow cake, lemon filling, lemon butter cream, and a little lemon gummy bear on top!
    • MMmmmmmm I love lemon.  The flavor in the frosting was subtle so not too overpowering, but delicious.
  • Red Carpet (bottom right) – red velvet cake, cream cheese frosting, a mini Oreo + cookie crumbs on top
    • delicious!  The cake was moist and what could be bad about cream cheese frosting!
  • Sprinkles (yeah can’t remember the real name) – simple golden cake with chocolate buttercream and sprinkles
    • this was my favorite because that chocolate buttercream was just soooo good!  Simple combination but you know it works every time. 

I think it turned out to be a great birthday for Brian :)

Things to come:

  • the TJ’s inspired dinner I mentioned
  • OUR YARD!!! 
  • Beer Tasting
  • Other randomness

I’m going to continue my Sunday morning productively and write some more posts :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fore Street

Now for the best part of my trip to Portland


I tend to gush about this restaurant, but I can’t help it…it’s THAT good!


The menu changes every night, based on whatever fresh ingredients they can get their hands on. They even have a little climate controlled produce room…so cool! Even though you won’t know the menu until that night, I would never be worried about not having enough options. They always have a full page of appetizers…hot, cold, raw bar, veggie, meat…anything, and just as many options for main courses.


Another thing I always mention, but it’s my favorite part, is the large open kitchen. That night we had a prime table right by the big brick oven where I was able to watch so many orders of mussels go in and out of that oven I could easily re-create them at home…well that is if I had a brick oven and knew what was in that vat of garlic butter they use!


I love places with copper covered table…




It’s easy to see what’s popular that night by watching the kitchen, and one of those was the pizza we had as an appetizer.

Wood Oven Pizza – Marinated Fresh Mozzarella, Cauliflower, and Golden Raisins. IMG_9574

I had this slice and then maybe another half :)  The golden raisins must of been blended in with the cauliflower sauce/puree they used because there was no evidence of whole raisins but the pizza had this subtle sweetness that you couldn’t quite pinpoint, but it was delicious!!


Our other appetizer was this:

Rocket and Cipollini Salad: Artichokes, Maine Farm Goat Cheese, Balsamico, Rich Olive Oil

IMG_9575Simple, yes, but I could not get over how good this salad was!!  There was a lot of “mmmm”-ing and other noises during the appetizers haha.  The balsamic was slightly sweet, but the salad also took on a sweet taste from the roasted cipollini onions…and goat cheese…OMG.     IMG_9578 IMG_9579

Hey look, you can see our hotel from the restaurant…very convenient ;)


Next up…main courses!

Brian had the duck breast which was delicious…I can’t remember the description though.


I opted for Bluefish.  I haven’t had bluefish in ages and the description just sealed the deal…


Black chickpeas!?!?  Never heard of those!  They were just as you’d think…same shape, taste, and texture as regular chickpeas but BLACK in color. 


This was amazing.  The roasted sweet peppers, caramelized shallots, and what I’m guessing was butter gave the sauce an incredible flavor!!  Blue fish has a fairly strong flavor on its own and this sauce stood up to it well.

We also had a side of green beans that seemed to slip past the camera.

At this point I was comfortable…which I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing.  Probably good because we couldn’t NOT get at least 1 dessert to share.


After a lot of contemplating, we decided to split the:
Warm Rhubarb Cottage Pudding – Candied Rhubarb, Vanilla Crème Anglaise, Champagne Honey Poached Muscat Grapes, Orange Ice Cream


Heaven in my mouth.  The only other cottage pudding I’ve ever had is the version my family makes which is basically a dense yellow cake with a hot chocolate sauce you pour on…mmm. 

However this was more like a mini rhubarb upside-down cake.  I love the tartness of rhubarb.  It was a fabulous compliment to the creamy vanilla crème anglaise and the cool orange ice cream!  I didn’t want this to end!  The Muscat poached grapes were a nice surprise as well. 

Needless to say we had very happy stomachs after this dinner.  We keep saying how we need to try some of the other great restaurants in Portland, but I just can’t stay away from Fore Street.  Maybe if we’re up for more than 1 night we’ll try another place in addition to this :)

Fore Street on Urbanspoon

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Maine: Food, Beer, Lobster, Love

First off… Happy Birthday Brian!!!  The husband turns the big 2-8 today!!!  We spent the majority of it doing yard work, but don’t worry there was a delicious dinner and some birthday treats involved.

First let’s rewind…  Thursday morning I left my house at 6:00AM and headed about 1.5 hours north to Portland, Maine! 


I had a transportation engineering conference for all day Thursday and half the day Friday so I decided to extend the trip 1 more night since I LOVE Portland.

Brian joined me Friday as well so it was like a mini vacation/birthday celebration :)

Nothing too exciting to re-cap Thursday, but Friday I opted to start my day at the breakfast buffet at my hotel (I was staying at a different hotel than that of the conference). 


I was craving yogurt and fruit and thankfully I was able to fulfill that…too bad I had to pay the $12.95 Breakfast Buffet price for my bowl of yogurt,fruit, and granola…oh well. 


Now for some good stuff :)  My hotel was RIGHT next to my FAVORITE restaurant…Fore Street, and the same people have a bakery right behind the restaurant that I have been dying to try (last time I was up here it was closed). 

Standard Baking:



Not gonna lie…I visited this bakery 4 times in 2 days!  The first was a mid morning treat of a ham and cheese croissant.


Oh.My.God…incredible, and that’s just the beginning.  Inside that braided croissant dough was salty ham and I believe gruyere cheese.

Once the conference was over for the day on Friday, I hopped back to my hotel, changed, and headed out for a run!  I found a beautiful trail along the coast…unfortunately I do not run with my camera. 

However the next morning Brian and I took a nice long walk on the same trail and I DID bring the camera. 

After my run I walked over to Portland Lobster Co. for lunch. 


I placed my order, and grabbed a seat with a view. (that lobster thing is the buzzer to let me know my food’s ready haha)



Oh yeah…


Can’t come to Maine and not have lobster.  Not to mention it’s by far my favorite food…ever. 

This was turning out to be an incredible day.

When Brian arrived, of course, the first place I took him was Standard Baking for a small afternoon snack.  I got an iced tea and a coconut macaroon and he got a piece of rugelach. IMG_9547


My macaroon which apparently went unpictured, was delicious…small, soft, coconut, golden and crisp on the outside.

Then we headed to the next stop…his quest…
Novare Res Bier Cafe


Poor guy, I know he wishes this place was closer to home!  This “Bier Cafe” is a beer lovers dream bar.  Lots of space, out door seating, very knowledgeable, friendly, and laid back staff…and many, many, unique beers.  They specialize in craft beers, many of which are from Belgium, Germany, the UK, and even the owner’s own homebrew. 



Happy Boy.  That particular beer was delicious…Rodenbach Grand Cru.  It was a bit tart, but really so refreshing.

There was more Beer-happenings later.  He always likes to get a few bottles to bring home.  This store was conveniently right near the hotel as well.


Then it was time for dinner!!  This needs it’s own post…way too much deliciousness.  Stay tuned for that :)  You can check out my post about our last time at Fore Street                .

I’ll give you a teaser though…the desert menu.  Can you guess what we ordered??


As I mentioned before, the next morning we set out for a morning walk along the coast.   Copy of IMG_9607          IMG_9596

But first we stopped at…where else, Standard Baking for coffee and pastries.

We took our “breakfast” to a bench overlooking the ocean.

Chocolate Croissant



Morning Bun with nuts


Coffee + sun shine


Then we set out


Lots of dogs playing in the ocean!



After the walk (about 3 miles), we went back to the hotel, changed, checked out, did a little more shopping, and headed home :)


If you live in New England and love food…seriously, visit Portland!!  Specifically Old Port…that’s the area we were in.  There are so many incredible restaurants…it’s definitely a place for food lovers.

Great to be home though…can’t wait to catch you up on the yard updates!