What I Ate: NH Getaway

What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.

Mr. J’s bday present was a little getaway to New Hampshire. I’m so thankful not to travel for work anymore and I’m loving being home all summer. It is amazing. Being home has actually involved a few trips to Maine, a few days to Cape Cod, and possibly one more jaunt. I wasn’t sure NH was going to fit in. I bought it for Mr. J’s bday in June then didn’t schedule it for-ev-er. We explored nature and ate lots of good stuff.

We stayed in Jackson, NH which is a little town near North Conway, but without the insane traffic. The inn was cute and had a phenomenal porch.
Inn at Thorn Hill
On our way up to New Hampsire we figured we stop somewhere for lunch and it just so happened we’d pass one of the many locations of Portland Pie Company. My favorite pizza! Though, their service is pretty terrible, all the time the pizza was really good. We got one of their seasonal pies: chicken caesar salad pizza!
nh_pizza
After checking in and poking around the inn, we explored the town and the area.
nh_river
We got dinner at the Red Fox Pub. We were really tired by then and were very hungry. I got lobster mac & cheese. There was an impressive amount of lobster and I couldn’t come close to finishing it! Mr. J had wood grilled meatloaf so he was as happy as can be. That was only Friday!
nh_lobstermac
Saturday we enjoyed breakfast on the porch of the inn and then checked out a tented art show, then we did a mini hike to some falls. It was breathtaking…also getting back up to the parking left me winded, so literally breathtaking. Mr. J adventured to some insane spots all in the name of photography. Luckily he didn’t end up in the drink!
nh_falls
We also popped into the LL Bean Outlet there where we found upright adirondack chairs. On sale. With an extra 30% off. Also using several LL Bean credits from our credit card. Scoooooore! We got two for less than the price of 1 normally. It was so meant to be! We didn’t have the pups so we got our new chairs into the car all assembled and never looked back. Just wait till I show you our beautiful yard projects with these snazzy new chairs by the firepit.

Dinner was part of our package to each have 3 courses at the inn. I started with clam chowder since it was 60-something degrees that day! For my entree, I chose duck over mushroom risotto with a chambord glaze. The duck and sauce were so good. The glaze was pretty sweet to it paired nicely with the salty risotto.
nh_duck
I didn’t exactly have room for dessert, but when on vacay! I had a chocolate hazelnut tart that was just amazing.
nh_dessert
Sunday morning we decided to venture out for bagels. We had passed a little bagel joint the day before with a sign boasting home of the boissant croissant/bagel hybrid. Hands down, best breakfast sandwich I’ve ever had. I wish I brought boissants home. I was thinking it would be more like a bagel or more like a croissant, but I love both so I figured I’d bet set. It was such a wonderful mix of the two.
nh_broissant
It was a nice little getaway. We wished it was warm enough to swim since the pool at the inn was cute but I’m still thankful for cool days. They were nice for walking around a lot. I hadn’t known if there’d be a lot for us to see/do but we had a great time wandering and not being at full pace.

Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie

I grabbed a few stocks of rhubarb at the farmer’s market and I was thinking of a smoothie since I never use cooked fruit in a smoothie. I think the rhubarb cost me all of $1 buck. It was good for some true summer flavors.

Ingredients:

4 stocks of rhubarb
3 tbs sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup strawberries, chopped and frozen
1 cup strawberry yogurt
splash of water/milk/juice

Directions:

Chop rhubarb into small pieces and cook over medium heat with sugar and water.
Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie - The Three Bite Rule
Cook 3-5 minutes until rhubarb is soft and cooked down.
Remove from the heat and let cool.
Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie - The Three Bite Rule
Blend together rhubarb, strawberries, yogurt, and a splash of water.
Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie - The Three Bite Rule
Add more water/milk/juice if it is too thick.
Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie - The Three Bite Rule

I liked this one. It was more work than my usual smoothie, but it was so good. It reminded me of dessert! I cooked the rhubarb the night before so it really wasn’t a ton of work the morning-of.

Greek Pita Pizza Redo

This Greek Pita pizza is one of the easiest dinners ever. I figured this uber old post circa 2011 deserved a re-do. I love the tapanade, spinach, and feta flavors. Making the pizza on pita bread means less than 15-minutes of cooking time. I added zucchini to it as well in case your farmer’s market finds or garden zuccs are out of control. This is a very veggie-centric meal  if you, like me, ate your weight in fun vacation-foods like pizza, and duck over mushroom risotto, and lobster mac & cheese, and blueberry ice cream…more on that later, now it is time for some veggies.

The Three Bite Rule - Greek Pita Pizza

Ingredients:

4 wheat pita breads
1 cup prepared tapanade
2 cups zucchini, sliced or chopped
2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup feta

Directions:

In a large skillet, cook the zucchini over medium-low heat with a drizzle of olive oil, for about 3-4 minutes.
Add chopped spinach and cook for another 2 minutes until the spinach begins to wilt, but doesn’t get over cooked.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Pita Pizza
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Spread the tapanade over the crusts.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Pita Pizza
Then add mozzarella, and the spinach & zucchini mixture to the top. Sprinkle with dried oregano.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Pita Pizza
Add feta on top and bake for 10-15 minutes. Cook for ~15 if eating it right away. If reheating another time for a different lunch or dinner, cook 10 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Pita Pizza
I love this one. The flavors are all really good and there aren’t many ingredients. One of the keys is the tapanade. I used a red pepper & artichoke tapanade, but any you find would work. I don’t like olives so I use this one or sundried tomato pesto for this pizza.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Pita Pizza
I don’t always add the zucchini so that can be optional. Fresh spinach is good or frozen spinach with all the water squeezed out. This one can be whipped up with mostly freezer/pantry ingredients!

Top Your Own Pasta Bar

For Dad’s bday we did a top-your-own pasta bar. It was really fun and I loooove customizing dinner with a group. Mom made everything and the rest of us just reaped the benefits.

We started with an antipasto which is actually Dad’s signature dish.
Antipasto - The Three Bite Rule
The pasta bar started with cheese tortellini in a light cream sauce. Then the toppings were all separate and allowed perfect customization.
The Three Bite Rule - Pasta Bar
We had grilled chicken tenders.
The Three Bite Rule - Pasta Bar
We had carrots, zucchini, and some tomatoes, onions, with a little pesto.
The Three Bite Rule - Pasta Bar
We also had peapods, artichokes, and capers.
The Three Bite Rule - Pasta Bar
It was really good. I had mine with zucchini, chicken, and onions with tomatoes. Topped with Parmesan.
The Three Bite Rule - Pasta Bar
The man of honor, had chicken, artichokes, capers, and some lemon.
The Three Bite Rule - Pasta Bar
We wrapped up with blueberry pie which was gone before I remembered to snap a pic.

Happy Birthday DAD!!

Walk, Salads & Cupcakes with Boston Brunchers

On Sunday I was lucky enough to get a spot with the Boston Brunchers for an afternoon at Chestnut Hill Square. I was so glad I went since I haven’t really been over there since it was all re-done. I was glad to meet a few new bloggers and this event was fun because we mixed a few categories of foodies, athletes, etc.

We started at True Runner and got to test out some New Balance sneaks for our hike and some techy tom toms. I declined the Tom Tom and stuck with my fitbit. I did take advantage of borrowing the sneakers. They were great, though I don’t know how much I’d have to love them to dish out $115 for them, since a) I’m not a runner and b) I’m 4.5 months pregnant so starting to run isn’t in my near future. How fun are those laces though?!
blog_salad_shoes_590_390
We walked a leisurely pace. I clarified that we weren’t running but I hope the pace wasn’t meant for me. I could have gone faster but it was beautiful out and the homes in those neighborhoods are so amazing.

Then we returned and promptly went to Sweetgreen. They were very hospitable with blueberry basil lemonade ready at our reserved tables. I love that they focus on local foods, and that they compost everything. My only thought was that we were crammed into the patio. They made a bunch of salads for us to pick from but some of us were boxed in and got stuck with 2 remaining choices nobody really wanted. I think their menu looks fantastic and I’ll definitely be back…that being said, I wasn’t into my salad. I just can’t give a steller review for a salad I would never have chosen.
blog_salad_choices_590_390
I had the Spicy Sabzi. It was spinach and kale, with spicy quinoa, spicy broccoli, raw beets, carrots, sprouts, and tofu. Had I known what was really in it, I would have passed. It was just too spicy for me. Plus, I don’t like raw beets, and sprouts are a no-go during pregnancy annnnd certain squishy foods aren’t appealing to me these past 4 pregnant months. They were super smart to have stuff ready, but I wish I got to order. I’m glad we weren’t disrupting their usual customers though.
blog_salad_mine_590_390
The dressing was a chili vinaigrette and I skipped the sriracha. I ate some of it. It was just too spicy. A few salads were gone in a second ahmm:kale caesar, cough: chic p. I will go back because I like the prices, local ingredients, attention to detail, and the vibe. The santorini salad with feta, shrimp and cucumber basil yogurt dressing sounds amazing and the guacamole greens has my name written all over it. Who knew I’d be so picky for salad?

They gave us a taste of the seasonal gazpacho which was tomato peach. I loooved it.
blog_salad_gaz_590_390
Next up was Sweet Cupcakes to round out our day. I love Sweet and went to the downtown crossing location a few times. They’re just so clever to have shots of frosting. Those came in handy when work was just too much. The cupcakes are better than most others around.

blog_salad_allcupcakes
The shop and manager were just too cute. She told us about the seasonal flavors and how often they rotate. We had a few to try and then chose a few others to taste. We tried a Honey Blackberry cupcake which was the best dessert I’ve eaten in a months. The frosting was cinnamon-y and I loved it. I’d normally go towards peanut butter, chocolate,  or coconut. This made me change my tune.
blog_salad_cupcake
There are 6 Sweet locations and I’m glad they’re doing so well. They’ve opened one a year! Two other cupcake Boston area joints have closed. The Somerville one shall remain nameless, but I’m not surprised.

As an event planner I’m so impressed how well organized the whole day was. Three venues  and a group of more than 10 can definitely alter ideal timing but they had everything coordinated perfectly. We got some goodies from a few more of the stores and we had a delightful day.

Full 3 Bite Rule Disclosure: My invitation seat with the Boston Brunchers was completely complimentary but my thoughts, opinions, and words are entirely my own. 

Shrimp Tacos with Corn Lime Salsa

I love shrimp tacos and I wanted to mess with a different salsa. I didn’t go spicy and wanted the corn to be toasty and pop with each bite. I threw in some broccoli slaw for a crunch. The shrimp was fully cooked so the grill was for char and smokiness. This dinner took 15 minutes without turning the oven on. Perfect for summer!

Roasted Corn and Lime Salsa - The Three Bite Rule

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups corn
1 lime
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 cup red onion chopped
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tbs honey
6 jumbo shrimp
1 cup broccoli slaw
flour tortillas

Directions:

In a dry, hot pan, roast the corn until lightly browned, about 5 minutes on high heat. Then let cool to room temperature.
Roasted Corn and Lime Salsa - The Three Bite Rule
Mix together the tomato, lime juice, lime zest, onion, garlic, and honey.
Roasted Corn and Lime Salsa - The Three Bite Rule
Mix together and then let sit.
Skewer the shrimp, then brush with honey, lime juice, salt and pepper.
Roasted Corn and Lime Salsa - The Three Bite Rule
Grill the shrimp until lightly charred.
Toss the corn into the salsa.
Assemble tacos with tortilla, broccoli slaw, salsa, and shrimp.
Roasted Corn and Lime Salsa - The Three Bite Rule
The salsa was subtle. I liked the honey and lime flavors with the corn but I think I’d add more of kick next time. It was good and made dinner feel different, which is what I was going for. My grocery store never has cotija but had I found feta in the fridge I might have thrown that on there for more contrast.

Some Good Stuff

Aka, a collection of ramblings and links to share. Also drool-worthy photos other bloggers are rockin’.

This is just too funny: The Nutella Debate. I’m on team-nutella, minus the fact I always want to spell it incorrectly differently. Please do not disagree…especially if you are somebody who pretends to not like chocolate. Be gone with you. Nutella goes with every.thing. Make my grilled nutella, pb & pear sandwich. You can thank me later.

nutella_sand_plate_590_390

Non-Chinese foods that (hopefully) we already know aren’t authentically Chinese…still are top choices regardless. Was somebody thinking these were authentic?

Boston(ish) foodie collaborative & shared rental spaces popping up all over.

How cool is NYC? They did a French Restaurant Week just before Bastille Day. Love it. Regular restaurant week is so tired, and they dumb down their menus, and their staff hate it. I’d love a super specialized restaurant week here and there….now that restaurant week happens all the time. Ok. I’m off my soapbox.

Hmmm. I want some really good polenta…like this amazing looking one by Half Baked Harvest. I should mess around with polenta more often. There was a good one at work but it was just too spicy for me.
Balsamic Fig Glazed Pork w-Blistered Cherry Tomatoes and Creamy Gorgonzola Polenta | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest
A House in the Hills made some honeydew basil spritzers which sounds lovely while there’s still some summer left. I’ll have to skip the wine in there, but I should make that happen, pronto.

I’ve been inspired by using weird methods for usual things…like hashbrowns I made the other night on the waffle iron. I was wayyyy too heavy handed with the cheese and they stuck miserably. I’ll try again, but by that point I just wanted to eat so it wasn’t blogged.

What else looks good out there?

Steakhouse Flatbread Pizzas

I was wanting to make his & hers pizzas. I don’t eat beef and Mr. J isn’t into mushrooms so this was the perfect time for individual pizzas. I was really into the idea of buttery mushrooms with a really good cheese. Being pregnant means only pasteurized cheeses and I had envisioned fontina but couldn’t find one labeled as such. I figure they are, but I’m not taking any chances. I found some asiago (labeled as pasteurized) and thought that would be good.

Steakhouse Flatbread Pizza - The Three Bite Rule
I had some naan pieces from Trader Joe’s which made really great individual pizzas.

Ingredients:

Pizza dough/flatbread/pita bread
1/4 red onion, chopped
3 tbs cream cheese
2 tbs milk
1 tbs garlic
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
3 oz shiitake or portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 cup mozzarella
1 cup asiago

Directions:

Saute chopped onions in olive oil over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until soft and lightly browned.
Steakhouse Flatbread Pizza - The Three Bite Rule
Mix up the cream cheese, milk, garlic, garlic powder, Parmesan, salt and pepper.
Steakhouse Flatbread Pizza - The Three Bite Rule
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat until it starts to foam. Add in the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes.
Steakhouse Flatbread Pizza - The Three Bite Rule
Spread the flatbreads with the cream cheese sauce, then mozzarella and asiago.
Add onions and mushrooms on top.
Steakhouse Flatbread Pizza - The Three Bite Rule
Sprinkle remaining asiago on top.
Bake 5-10 minutes at 350-degrees until toasted and the cheese melts.
Steakhouse Flatbread Pizza - The Three Bite Rule
Enjoy!

I loved this one. The mushrooms were buttery and paired perfectly with the asiago.
Steakhouse Flatbread Pizza - The Three Bite Rule
Mr. J grilled some marinated steak tips and sliced it for the pizza. His started with the same flatbread, cream cheese sauce, mozzarella and asiago cheese mixture, onions, then topped with sliced steak.
Steakhouse Flatbread Pizza - The Three Bite Rule
These individual pizzas were topped with what we each like. These are a great to really customize for separate preferences but would also be a great way to use small amounts of leftovers.

Roasted Beets and Potatoes

I like beets but I really never make them. I think I like them when somebody makes them for me ;)

I mean, the grocery store sells so many ridiculously prepared things yet not roasted beets. It isn’t rocket science to roast them, but trying not to stain my hands, clothes, cutting boards while also not bringing the kitchen temperature to 1000 degrees.

I hadn’t decided what I wanted to do with some beets from the farmer’s market. Off to pinterest! I found The Heritage Cook’s beets and potatoes and thought it was a great combo. I thought it was a great starting point for me. I added the mustard and lemon juice to wake up the flavors and keep it fresh tasting.

Roasted Beets & Potatoes - The Three Bite Rule

Ingredients:

3 beets
2 potatoes
1 sweet potato
3 tbs melted butter
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbs chopped garlic
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
salt & pepper
1/2 tsp chopped chives
1/4 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Trim the beet greens off the beet and rinse well.
Rub with olive oil and loosely wrap in aluminum foil. Roast for 40 minutes. Poke with a fork to check if they are cooked through. Let cool to room temperature.

Roasted Beets & Potatoes - The Three Bite Rule
Quarter the potatoes, then boil the potatoes until cooked most of the way through.
When the beets are cool enough to handle, use a paper towel to rub the skin off. Then chop into quarters.
Roasted Beets & Potatoes - The Three Bite Rule
Heat a large heavy skillet to medium high heat.
Whisk together melted butter, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, dried rosemary, salt, & pepper.
Roasted Beets & Potatoes - The Three Bite Rule
Add the potatoes to the hot pan and the whisked dressing. Cook for 5 minutes to crisp the potatoes.
Roasted Beets & Potatoes - The Three Bite Rule
Remove the potatoes from the heat, into a large bowl. Add the beets. Pour the remaining liquid over the bowl and toss once. (Tossing too much will make everything beet-colored pink.)
Sprinkle in the fresh herbs.
Roasted Beets & Potatoes - The Three Bite Rule
This was good and paired well with a grilled pork chop. I didn’t want it to be too fall-feeling. Originally I was going to grill the potatoes, but I usually cook them a bit first. I cooked them a bit too much to then grill. I didn’t want them to fall apart, so I added them all to the skillet.

The sweet potato with the beets with the potato all complimented each other.
Roasted Beets & Potatoes - The Three Bite Rule

What I Ate: Tapas at Barcelona Wine Bar

What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.

Washington Square was not the same culinary scene when I lived around there. It makes me feel old but when meeting Ms. L for Tapas at Barcelona Wine Bar and we marveled at how many cool restaurants are there now. We decided on Tapas to hear about her trip to Spain. It was crazy hot so we ate inside. The patio is lovely though. Tapas is such a good summer meal to dabble in flavors and textures that appeal at the moment.

tapas_outside

I loved the menu. There were a ton of choices and we did a fantastic job choosing…I have to say. I was glad some were really sizable. I am happy to say we left feeling full without breaking the bank.

Golden Beets with Pistachio Pesto & Orange – This might have been my favorite dish. The beets were so good and the pistachio pesto was fantastic.

tapas_beets

Zucchini and summer squash- these were from a local farm. They were lightly cooked and a good compliment to everything else we had.
tapas_zucchini

Jamon and Chicken Croquettes – these were perfectly crispy with a light aoli underneath. They were perfectly pop-able. If they were any smaller I might have devoured them without enough attention.
tapas_croquettes

Patatas Bravas Salsa Brava, Garlic Aioli – these arrived hot from the kitchen. They were crispy and had great tomato flavor. We weren’t sure if this was going to be too spicy but it was perfect.
tapas_potatoes

Truffled “Bikini“ Grilled Cheese, Jamon Serrano – mini grilled ham & cheese with truffle oil. Yes. Please. These were so good and a great balance with the veggies we had.
tapas_grilledcheese
Brookline has some fantastic restaurants that I love (like Fireplace, Regal Beagle, Orinoco, La Morra, Publick House, Matt Murphy’s and of course Brookline Spa).
And a bunch more new ones I still have to try (like RibelleFairstead Kitchen, The Abbey).

Any other Brookline spots I’m missing out on? It has now been a long time since I worked in Brookline Village and lived in Cleveland Circle area!