Tag Archives: garlic

Area Four, Kendall Sq – Revisited

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Where: Area Four – 500 Technology Square Cambridge, MA 02139
When: July, 2012

Its really not easy working right across the street from Area Four. Its constantly calling my name tempting me to come over for lunch and, more often then not, cocktails. Like I need that extra temptation…

I’ve been to Area Four many times but this particular trip was worthy of another post. This is the first time I had been this summer so we were able to snag a table outside on the patio. I tried the Sparkling Malbec which was really lovely, especially on a warm summer day. It was much like a Rose – light, refreshing and not too sweet. After cocktails we started with their famous Garlic Knots which are smothered in garlic, pecorino and gremolata. These are amazing and worth all the calories – I promise.

For pizzas I decided to split one of the specials, on the bottom, with a friend but as soon as I saw the Mushroom and Fontina pizza come out for our other friend I knew I had to get in on that.  I ended up abandoning my pizza and eating half of hers as it was just that good. Thank goodness for generous friends. Typically I am not a huge fan on fontina but it just went so well with the mushrooms. The saltiness of the pecorino on top was perfectly balanced with the gremolata, which I am turning into a huge fan of. I think I have been back to Area Four for the Mushroom Fontina pizza twice since this trip. Do it.

20120707-151238.jpgGarlic Knots

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The Mushroom Fontina pizza is on the top and one of the specials is on the bottom (sorry, what is is has escaped me as my mind went blank after trying the Mushroom Fontina one!)

If you are in the area, try to make it to Area our for some of their homemade ice cream that they pop up on the sidewalk. I recently had the Peanut Butter and it was pure heaven. Oh, and don’t even get me started on their croissants! My heart and brain are grateful to Area Four but my waistline… not so much.

How did Area Four measure up? 4.5 Spoons!

Area Four on Urbanspoon

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Life Alive, Central Sq

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Where: Life Alive – 764 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA
When: Februar, 2012

I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about Life Alive since it opened so was thrilled when an old friend and colleague, Jackie, moved back to town and suggested it to Daniela and I. The plan was lunch but since we pinned down a date I had booked a flight for a mini holiday so we moved it to brunch.

Daniela and I got there a few minutes before Jackie did so we grabbed a table and started scooping out the menu. We didn’t recognize a lot of the sauces so had a hard time distinguishing what was what and hence were no closer to a decision when Jackie arrived. After a few minutes of catching up we re-focused on the menu until we had our choices.

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I got the The Green Goddess: “Our Ginger Nama Shoyu Sauce enhanced by flax oil and garlic, empowering avocado (seasonal), broccoli, dark greens, and tofu. All are served over short-grain brown rice.” I got mine in a salad format (instead of a wrap). It was really filling and full of healthy and earthy ingredients with a zesty tangyness from the dressing. It felt really healthy, like I was doing a really nice thing for my body. It was also very garlicky. Don’t get me wrong, I love garlic but I just couldn’t get over how garlicky it was (I think I must have said “Wow, this is garlicky!” six times). It must have had 12 cloves of garlic in it. I felt bad for whoever was sitting next to me on my 3 hour flight. Yikes!

20120229-165757.jpgDaniela got the The Adventurer: “Our Sesame Ginger Nama Sauce combines with a colorful mix of corn, beets, broccoli, dark greens, shredded cheddar, tofu & tamari
almonds over quinoa & short grain brown rice.” This was recommended by one of the staff members when she asked for a suggestion. He said this is their most popular item on their menu.

20120229-165746.jpgJackie got The Explorer: “Our scrumdelyishus homemade lowfat Red Lentil Hummus, paired with sesame crunches, sundried tomatoes, cucumber, corn, spring mix and a sprinkle of shredded carrots and beets all traveling together with our fantastic honey wasabi vinaigrette. A dreamy destination!” What a description!

Both Daniela and Jackie said they liked their wraps a lot and both took half home as they were so filling (I ate all of mine, ahem).

Overall, I think Life Alive is a great bite place. They don’t have table service so the feel is very casual, more like a cafe, but comfortable. I think its a great alternative to grabbing a burrito or something a little less healthy when you need a quick lunch. I’d definitely go back when I want to grab a quick healthy, filling bite.

How did Life Alive measure up? 3.75 Spoons!

Life Alive on Urbanspoon

Thai Shrimp Bisque, Recipe

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We finally got some snow here in Boston! It sure is a big change from last year’s winter when the term “Snowpocalypse” was overused for good reason. I’m sure our snow bunnies still aren’t happy since it didn’t stick but I am just fine with it.

Anyways, an inch or two of snow is more than enough to drive me into the kitchen to try a new soup recipe. I found this recipe for a Thai Shrimp Bisque through My Recipes (which searches Cooking Light, Food & Wine, and a few other food magazine sites) and, although long, the list of ingredients weren’t too intimidating for someone like me who doesn’t have a lot, if any, experience cooking Thai food. I love the flavors of Thai food and how they combine citrus, spice and creaminess all into one well rounded dish. This soup is really filling just on its own and has a burst of lime that makes it feel very fresh and light even on a cold snowy-ish Boston day.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Thai Shrimp Bisque20120303-093338.jpg
From Cooking Light, 2000

Ingredients

Marinade:
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp
1 1/2 tablespoons grated lime rind
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed

Shrimp stock:
2 cups water
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste

Soup:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped celery
1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1 tablespoon grated lime rind
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparation

To prepare marinade, peel shrimp, reserving shells. Combine shrimp and next 8 ingredients (shrimp though garlic) in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes.

To prepare the shrimp stock, combine the reserved shrimp shells, water, wine and 1 tablespoon tomato paste in a large Dutch oven. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until the liquid is reduced to 1 cup (about 10 minutes). Strain mixture through a sieve over a bowl, and discard solids.

To prepare the soup, heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and celery, and sauté 8 minutes or until browned. Add 1 cup shrimp stock, coconut milk, and 1 tablespoon tomato paste, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine flour and reduced-fat milk in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add to pan; reduce heat, and simmer until thick (about 5 minutes). Add shrimp and marinade, and cook 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon lime rind, 1 tablespoon cilantro, and salt.