Sunday, October 30, 2011

Milky Way Tart & other Treats

Happy Halloween!

While I didn’t dress up or get scared by any costumes this year…I think most of us around here got quite the surprise by the freak snow storm we got last night! 

We were luckier than some, but unfortunately Brian and I did return to a power-less house last night!  I’m just SO thankful it came back on early this morning, because I know a lot of people are still in the dark!

On the upside, we had a fabulous evening at Megan and her fiancĂ© Jeff’s condo last night!

Megan, working with the Tri Lamb group, hosted a Fall themed pot luck with a lamb dish being the focus of the meal!  Brian and I both love lamb, so we were excited about it!

The recipe she was sent to make was for a lamb pizza with goat cheese and arugula!  I was a BIG fan of this pizza!!

There was also a plethora of other treats:  cheese, crackers, meats, hummus, Elina’s spinach artichoke dip, Justin’s white chili, Emily’s pretzel bites, butternut squash soup, and more I can’t even remember.

p.s. I want this cheese board (actually I think I registered for it, but never got it…bummer)IMG_1553



There were even “lamb jokes” spread around the room

(the sLAMBer…get it?)

It was a really relaxing night, and I realized no one else was taking too many pictures, so I just put my camera away too :)

I do, however, have plenty of shots from the making of my dessert :)  Megan made some gorgeous mini chocolate orange cupcakes, and the cutest pumpkin/chocolate tartlets! 

I was trying to think of a “fall” dessert, but instead went more for a “Halloween” theme…candy!

As soon as I flipped to it’s page in the Flour Bakery cookbook, I knew it would be a winner!

Milky Way Tart!


I’m a big fan of the candy bar, especially the mini version, but this tart just takes it to a whole new level of awesome!

It’s a fairly simple ingredient list, and procedure, however the different components have different cooling times needed so be sure to read the WHOLE recipe before you dive in!  In that same regard, this would also be a great dessert that you could prepare all the components a head of time!

Lucky for you I found this whole recipe reprinted online, so I will link over to it and just give you my notes :) 

Find recipe here (although I HIGHLY recommend just buying the book, it’s a good one!!)

Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe

As I said, very simple ingredients…


  • I made the chocolate cream for the mousse first thing in the morning, as it needs to chill for AT LEAST 8 hours!
  • I used instant espresso powder instead of instant coffee and only used 1 tsp.  I was worried it was still too coffee tasting, but the final product was amazing and you couldn’t detect the coffee.  My mom loved it and she hates coffee, so don’t worry about that and DON’T skip the coffee!
  • I love making caramel
  • The caramel needs to cool for at least 4 hours, so I made it around noon


I always use my copper pot for caramel :)


  • Have your caramel ingredients measured out and ready before starting to cook the sugar


In no time you’ll have gorgeous caramel


A little later I got to work on the dough for the crust



  • I used a rectangular tart pan, as opposed to the circular one in the recipe, and in my case my crust cooked faster!
  • I checked the dough at 25 min and it was even slightly more browned than I would have liked, but luckily not burned and still delicious.
  • Once the crust was cooled, I whipped the mousse.
  • The recipe says soft peaks, and I did just that, but I think I could have whipped it a tad longer and will next time.
  • I also let the caramel come more to room temp before spreading it into the crust just to make it easier.
  • When it says the milk chocolate should be slightly warm for ideal “curling” conditions, we’re talking on the verge of melting warm!  Mine wasn’t really warm enough, nor did I have a long enough piece so my curls didn’t really curl.


In the end, it came out lovely :)  At this point it was supposed to chill for 30 min to set, however we were late and I decided I could let it chill at Megan’s place.  Not the best idea as it shifted a little en route, and was a little “melty”, but luckily no one cared because it tasted great. 


I can’t wait to make this again!!  Everyone seemed to really like it which is always a relief :) 

This is an impressive looking dessert, and even though it takes some time, it’s very straightforward and everyone will love it :) 

Megan told me they would make this as mini tarts in the Bakery…LOVE that idea :)

Hope you have lots of treats (and no tricks) this Halloween.

Hmmm guess we should actually get some candy for the trick-or-treaters…

So, what's your favorite candy??     I love Twix, sour patch kids, peanut M&M’s, and the Midnight milky ways (ooo that would be a yummy Tart too!)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ladies Night @ Aragosta

Where was I?  Oh right, it was Thursday and I was spending the afternoon back at work hoping my appetite would return after eating that delicious delicious burger…

Luckily I had a busy day at work, a walk to the North End, a 15-min chair massage, and a polish change to help me work my appetite back up.


You see, that same Thursday I was heading over to Aragosta for their Bella Notte Thursdays, Ladies Night, with a group of some of my favorite blogging gals.  Aragosta is in the beautiful Fairmont Battery Wharf, right on the water in the North End, and even though it’s technically in the North End it’s in a much quieter location away from all the hustle and bustle. 

The lovely Lindsey from Beantown Eats organized a small group of bloggers to get together for a fun girls night. 

I was the first to arrive as I was told from 5:30 – 6:30pm, on Ladies Night (which is every Thursday, by the way), they will offer free polish changes and chair massages!

The newest Exhale Spa opened up right next to the Fairmont earlier this year, and a nail technician and a masseuse had themselves a little set up right in the hotel lobby/lounge area.   I immediately put my name in for a polish change as they only have 4 spots each time they come.  I wasn’t planning on the massage, but as I was waiting I was told they had an opening so I decided why not!

(note massage chair in the background) 

It was slightly awkward getting into the massage chair while wearing a skirt, in front of everyone in the lounge, but I soon forgot all about that.  I quick arm, back, and neck massage was JUST what I needed.  So good in fact, that I am thinking about going back to Exhale for a full massage!   

At this point I heard the other girls arriving, but I had a polish change after the massage.

Done and done!  I went with an Essie color, not sure the name, but it was a light grey shade. 


Oh right, back to the food!

The premise of Ladies Night, is that for $20 you order one cocktail and one appetizer!  It’s obviously best if you are with a friend or 2 (or 6) and you can each order something different to try.  The appetizers are a good size as well, perfect for sharing. 


I started with their light margarita, it reminded me of a Skinnygirl :)  I don’t think this cocktail was on the Ladies Night menu, but I ordered it earlier in the lounge.


All the drinks looked and sounded great


Eventually we decided to go sit, and were led over to the chef’s table/bar!  This was a 7-seat bar area set up right in front of the kitchen where you can watch all the action!  I love watching chefs make the food!!IMG_1419  IMG_1417

We were lucky this night.  We didn’t just have to choose 1 appetizer.  The chef was going to just bring out a few dishes of various items so we had a good sampling of what the menu has to offer :) 

To start was some addicting bread…IMG_1426

super crisp and crusty but oh so soft on the inside!  With olive oil/olives.

The first item to come out (and my favorite of the night) was the Truffle Rigatoni, Warm Goat Cheese Fondue


This was the only item where we were served half portions.  The chef didn’t want us to get full off the first bite, as it’s so rich.

Honestly I didn’t notice the truffle, but this was the most incredibly cheesey bite of pasta EVER.  I had one single piece of rigatoni, but it was stuffed with cheese and surrounded by warm melty goat cheese.  I want a whole plate please. :)


Next, and another favorite, was the Margherita Flatbread, Torn Burrata, Fresh Basil

Simple, yes, but everything just tasted so fresh!  Those tomatoes were just sitting in a bowl on the counter when we first arrived, and then they ended up on our plate.  The burrata was soft and creamy, and the crust was super thin and crisp. 

Next was Lobster and Truffle Crostini, White Bean Puree.  I love all the components separately, however I just wasn’t a fan of this one.  The flavor of the lobster and the truffle seemed to just be fighting each other and it wasn’t pleasant for me.  Oh well, can’t love them all :)


I did love watching the action in the kitchen…


Baked Veal and Pancetta Meatballs, Soft Polenta, Fresh MozzarellaIMG_1443

Love the presentation.  Delicious meatballs once I got over the fact of eating veal (I know I know, it’s just a psychological thing).

Lindsey’s beautiful cocktail:


Gorgeous platter of a Hand Crafted Selection of Salumi, Caponata, and Hot Cherry Peppers


I enjoyed some of the meats with the soft bread from the beginning of the meal.

Finally we ended with Warm Black Mission Figs wrapped in Proscuitto, Gorgonzola Dolce. 


Sweet and salty with a pungent taste from the gorgonzola.  Very flavorful!  We also noticed how popular these were!!  We saw many orders of these figs go out of the kitchen while we were there!     

It was a fabulous night with some fabulous ladies: Lindsey, Megan, Elina, Meghan, Daisy and myself!  Lots of chatting and enjoying delicious food and drinks!  Everyone at Aragosta and the Fairmont were very welcoming and I’d love to return with some friends!  They even have outdoor events in the winter!!  Heat lamps, blanks, and fondue??  Sign me up!    

All in all last Thursday was the highlight of my week!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Radius Burger. Finally.

Last Thursday was a really fun day!  Even with work mixed in ;)

I was headed to a “ladies night” with some lovely bloggers later that evening at Aragosta, but first I had a date with mom…

My mom came into the city to meet me for lunch!  Ever since I started working in the city, I’ve wanted to be able to enjoy the lunch menu at some of the top restaurants in the city that I have only ever dined at for dinner before.  You get the beautiful atmosphere and superb service with, generally, a smaller bill at the end of your meal.  However most of those restaurants only offer lunch on weekdays.

Finally it was time!  I actually had a tough time deciding where to go, but I am really happy I went with one of my first thoughts…Radius


I haven’t been to Radius in years…Brian took me there on one of my birthdays, definitely before we were married…or even engaged.  I’ve been wanting to go back, specifically for a reason though: The Radius Burger!

I’ve read and heard so many amazing things about that damn burger, and was just waiting for the right time to try it!  Ideally, my “right” time would be with someone who would split it with me as I’ve also heard it’s pretty substantial.

I called ahead a few minutes before we arrived, just in case we’d need a reservation.  Though we got a table with no problem, it was pretty packed for a random Thursday lunch!  Business suits everywhere I looked…Radius is definitely a “power lunch” spot, or in our case a “special” lunch.

It took a bit of time before our waitress even brought the menu’s over (my only complaint of the day was the service…not bad, per se, but not what I’d expect from a place like that). 


Anyways, we both started with a fresh roll and some iced tea.  Not only did they bring over the usual options for sweeteners, but also a small pitcher of sugar water!  How clever!!  I’m sure you know, but sugar doesn’t dissolve very fast in cold drinks so sugar water /simple syrups are better.  I love when restaurants pay attention to little details like this.


I talked up the burger to my mom on the way, and it took little convincing to determine our order…The Radius Burger and their High Street Salad.  We shared both.

It can never hurt to mention you’re sharing.  In our case they, pre-portioned the burger for us, serving us each out own plate with half a burger and our own fries and ketchup.  Seeing other burgers go by, i realized we each received full servings of fries!


LOVE those mini copper pots the fries came in!

So this burger… the menu describes it with Vermont cheddar, crispy onions, and horseradish sauce.

What it really is, is a perfectly cooked, juice 9 oz burger, topped with melted aged cheddar cheese, a mild and creamy horseradish sauce, and thin crisp onions! 

I was debating on medium vs. med-rare.  Mom wanted medium, so we went with that and I”m glad we did.  They air on the rarer side it seems.  It was perfect for me.

I was pleasantly surprised by the horseradish sauce!  I’m not a huge horseradish fan, but it’s oh so subtle that I almost forgot about it.  For a moment I thought it was another creamy cheese on the burger…with a hint of horseradish.  I loved it. 


1/2 of that beauty was perfect.  I think I would have been overly stuffed if I ate a whole one…that is one big burger!!  The fries were also delicious, crisp, and not greasy. 

Also if you’re a ketchup lover, I’d urge you to try a few bites of the burger before immediately adding ketchup…the flavors are so amazing on their own.  I tried it with ketchup, but it totally overpowered everything.


Oh right!  We ordered a salad too!  Not that it wasn't good, but it was nothing compared to the burger.  This was a beautiful chopped salad with lots of different veggies, cheese, and pieces of meats as well, all in a light vinaigrette!

I wasn’t wild about it, but it was good and would make a good meal on it’s own.  Next time I’d try just their seasonal greens salad to accompany the burger.    

Radius on Urbanspoon

With a full satisfied belly, I headed back to work with the anticipation of another fun time to be had later that evening.

I had intended to focus this post on my dinner/ladies night…but apparently I had a LOT to say about that burger!  Well, it’s that good.

I forgot to get a photo of mom and I  unfortunately, but I did get an outfit shot later at home :)


It’s all about the tights!

  • cream cardigan: Banana Republic
  • light pink top: F21
  • purple skirt: Banana
  • grayish/purplish lace tights! : Nordstrom
  • Navy wedges: Nine West (from Nordstrom)
  • Gold belt: grandmother
  • gold shell necklace: other grandmother :)

So, have you tried the Radius burger??  Or where is your favorite burger from??

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tailgate Pretzel Bites

So we meet again on a Sunday night!  Hope your weekend was great and you’re getting ready to face another week.  I know I am.  It’s going to be a busy one, and I already can’t wait until Friday…

I had one of those weekends that’s jam packed with fun activities, but doesn’t leave anytime for relaxing…it was GO-GO-GO!

Saturday was the big UNH vs. UMASS football game at Gillette Stadium!  A big group of my friends from college got together for some tailgating and football!


I don’t tailgate much, and was having the hardest time thinking of something fun and different to make that didn’t involve needing to be heated up.

In the end I went with something I’ve had one my mind for a while now: homemade soft pretzels!


I saw this recipe online and decided to make the regular salted ones, AND the cinnamon sugar ones :)


Friday night I whipped up the dough.  The recipe called for it to rise for 1 hour, but at this point I just really needed to get to bed.  So I covered the dough with plastic wrap in the oiled bowl, and put it in the refrigerator.  Refrigerating it allowed the dough to rise much slower for a longer period of time. 


The next morning the dough had risen, and I just let it sit out to bring it back to room temp for about an hour.  I prepped some other ingredients while I waited. 

Then I got to rolling out the dough into ropes!


I used a pizza cutter to cut each rope into 1” pieces.


This was one of those recipes where it was crucial to have everything measured out and ready to go!


This was my first time making pretzels, and therefore working with a pot of boiling water + baking soda!  Just so you know, the boiling water will bubble up some when you add the baking soda!

In went the first batch


On to the pans


This is when I had Brian help by given them an egg wash while I continued boiling the dough bites

Then once they were all boiled, and egg washed, we salted one pan and cinnamon-sugared the other!


Baked each for 14-15 minutes, and voila! IMG_1493

Per the suggestions given in the recipe, I made the cheese sauce for the salted ones and a cream cheese frosting type sauce for the cinnamon-sugar bites.

The cheese sauce was the same one in the recipe, except I doubled it and added a pinch of garlic powder.


For the  sweet ones, I used roughly:

  • 3oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 – 1 cup powdered sugar (start with 1/2 cup, then add more as needed)
  • 2-3 T skim milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

I ended up needing to use a hand mixer as I was having difficulty getting the cream cheese to incorporate thoroughly just using my hand.  I made mine a much thinner consistency than a regular cream cheese frosting…more like a glaze which is better for dipping.


I love how they came out!!  Soft, doughy, and perfect size to pop in your mouth.

My only issue was that the cheese sauce sort of solidifies as it sits out at room temp.  We ended up heating it up over the mini charcoal grill.


It was a gorgeous day for some tailgating



(possibly some jello shots…hello college!)

And fun (and shenanigans…of course…)



UNH won!!  Obviously ;)


Fun times!  I wish I saw some of my friends more often!!  I hate how time just slips and months go by to fast these days :(

Anyways…  on the other end of the spectrum, Brian and I had another fun and very important day today :)  We are now the godparents to this little cutie…


Another fabulous food filled day!  Although I carbo-loaded enough to run a race tomorrow haha…maybe I’m trying to tell myself something ;)

So many other things to share, so little time. 

For future reference, what are some great tailgating recipes???