Monthly Archives: May 2012

Midwest Grill

 
Midwest Grill is a Brazilian BBQ, Churrascaria Rodizio restaurant, and the only one in the Boston/Cambridge area.
Churrascaria is a cooking style, which translates roughly into Barbeque, and describes a restaurant that serves mostly grilled/BBQ meats.
Rodizio is a style of restaurant service in Brazil where one pays a fixed price and waiters come around to the tables with food – usually meat – several times until you’ve had enough.
Midwest grill was my first Rodizio experience. Piece of advice, go VERY hungry! There is also a buffet, included in the fixed price, which has white rice, yellow rice, beans, stews, vegetables, fried plantains, meatballs, lasagna, and it goes on. I wouldn’t fill up on a lot of this. I did sample the two stews, both pork, one with chicken, and surprisingly I really liked the pork stew. When you are seated, you are given a card to indicate to the waiters whether or not you wanted food or you where done/needed a break.
 

Brazilian BBQ Pricing

Lunch    Monday – Friday       $13.95
Lunch    Saturday – Sunday    $14.95
Dinner   Sunday – Thursday   $21.95
Dinner   Friday – Saturday      $24.95
  
The service here wasn’t that great. It was pretty slow, as it was 8pm on a Sunday night, and I was shocked. We had to ask for water three times before my boyfriend got up and poured it himself. I was also surprised at the length of time between each ’round’ of meat.
The quality of the food was very good! I enjoyed most of the meats – sirloin, pork loin, sausage, lamb, chicken hearts, ribs, kielbasa and grilled pineapple. The only seasoning used on the meat is salt, so they are 100% safe and free of gluten.  
We also ordered Guarana, a popular, you guessed it, guarana-flavored soda in Brazil. It tasted like a more sweetened version of ginger ale.

Location: 1124 Cambridge St. Cambridge, MA 02139 
second location in Saugus, MA

Black Rice with Sweet Potatoes

At the store last week I noticed, for the first time, black rice. I can honestly say I’ve never seen this before and it struck me as such an unusual thing. But, after doing a little research I learned so much about this versatile and HEALTHY rice. I was so intrigued by what I learned about black rice…

Black Rice, also known as forbidden rice is considered to be both food and medicine in China. It is black in color and turns deep purple when cooked because it is rich in antioxidants. It contains 18 different amino acids, iron, zinc, copper, carotene and many other important vitamins. In China, black rice is claimed to be good for the kidney, stomach and liver (these claims have not been verified), as well as provide many health benefits – prevention of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and heart attacks. I am sure this grain will become very popular soon in the US; it’ll be the next ”big thing” in the near future. We went from white rice to brown rice and now to black rice? It could happen.

I was so fascinated by all I had just read and I started searching for recipes, and found so many that looked interesting! Next weekend for my graduation party I plan on making Cumin-Scented Quinoa and Black Rice or Black Rice Salad with Ginger Dressing. Tonight I decided on Black Rice with Sweet Potatoes.

Black rice has a mild but distinct flavor. I found it to be somewhat nutty and sweet at the same time, and slightly chewier than brown rice, but very tasty.
Basic rule for cooking black rice, 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice.

Ingredients (makes 4 servings)

  • 3/4 cups Chinese Black Rice
  • 1.5 cups Water
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt (optional)
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup Scallions, (1 bunch)
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Ginger, Peeled & Minced (or ginger powder if you realize you forgot to buy fresh ginger)
  • 1 Sweet Potato, Large (12-14 oz), diced

Recipe

  1. Rinse rice under cold water before cooking.
  2. In a sauce pan, bring rice, water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook rice, covered  until tender and most of the water is absorbed (about 35 minutes).
  3. Let rice stand, covered, off the heat for 10 minutes. 
  4. While the rice is cooking, heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Saute scallions, ginger, and sweet potato, stirring until well coated (about 2 minutes). Reduce heat to medium/medium-low and add the rest of the salt (if using, I omit salt, always) and pepper to taste.
  5. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the potato is tender, about 12 minutes.
  6. Add the rice and toss gently to combine

The Cottage – Chestnut Hill

The Cottage was packed on Sunday night! I was surprised how busy it was to be honest. I hadn’t heard much about it, I think it is relatively new. I love the ambiance and decor, it reminded me of being at home in Duxbury. Every time I looked out the window I was expecting to see the ocean, not Route 9, but what are you gonna do?

They have a nice (and big) gluten free menu with a variety of options for lunch and dinner.

We started with the Nacho appetizer. Although not on the gluten free menu we ordered nachos anyways. The corn chips are fried in the same oil as other menu items containing gluten; this is the reason why they are not on the gluten free menu. For those of you with serious allergies, I wouldn’t dare, but I felt fine after.  The nachos were so good! Topped with jack and cheddar cheese,  spiced sour cream and a homemade pico de gallo and guacamole.  They didn’t skimp on the guacamole, and it was delicious!I love nachos and these definitely pasted the test of excellent flavor and amount of toppings.
For my entrée I ordered the Chicken and Wild Rice Risotto, with fresh peas, chicken tenders and fresh, shaved Parmesan cheese. The risotto was only somewhat creamy, this is a good thing in my book, and very flavorful. The wild rice gave it a little crunch, maybe a little under cooked but it tasted pretty good and added nice texture to the dish. The chicken was just ok, it was a little dry.
Jeremy, my boyfriend, ordered the Grilled Salmon, also on the gluten free menu. It was served with a citrus salsa verde, chile scented rice and an agave nectar sauce with fresh pineapple. It was cooked to perfection (medium) and so delicious! I liked it better than my own meal.
The salads also look delicious, Shrimp & Lump Crab with hearts of palm, avocado, and tomato in a lemon-basil dressing. Next time I may try this.
They also have gluten free dinner rolls, which tasted like chemicals, so don’t even bother. And bread for sandwiches, which I have not tried and forgot to ask what brand it is.
I’ve been told the lunch is better than the dinner. I was not disappointed with the dinner and I would love to try one of their sandwiches. Maybe the Jumbo Lump Crab Melt or Mahi Fish Tacos, yum! 
Location:  47 Boylston Street Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
There are two other locations – Wellesley, MA and La Jolla, CA.  The Wellsley location has a gluten free menu, the La Jolla location does not and the menu is very different, so I would check up on that before, and if, you venture out to the one in Cali.

Mass Ave. Tavern Gluten Free Menu

This isn’t a true gluten free menu (no bread substitutions) BUT it is nice that they list all items that do not contain gluten. I haven’t been here but might try it soon!

Elephant Walk

LOVE LOVE LOVE this place!
Elephant Walk is one of my favorite restaurants in Boston. I have been here 6 times in the past 18 months (once at the Cambridge location.) I absolutely love their gluten free menu. This most recent visit, I noticed the menu was slightly different from the last time I was there in October 2011.
The décor is amazing and very authentic. Walking into the restaurant you feel like you are in a whole different world, somewhere foreign and captivating, almost like time traveling. The restaurant is inviting and full of warmth, contrasting colors and lighting. The two rooms are quite big and open and really nicely light with candles once it get dark.
The French-Cambodian menu is dynamic. It does not combine the two into one, rather separates the menu into sections; traditional Cambodian, Original Cambodian and Original French. Cambodian food is a combination of strong and vibrant spices and flavors, while the French is , well typical French food.  The menu is great for the adventurous foodies and the more conservative eaters. The best part for us, there is an extensive gluten free [and vegan/vegetarian] menu.
The food is fabulous.  During my most recent visit I had the Tofu Curry – pan seared organic tofu topped with grilled zucchini, butternut squash, asparagus, portabella mushrooms and eggplant in a lightly spiced green ginger curry sauce, with white rice. It was amazing. I’m glad my meal wasn’t drenched in the sauce but I do wish there was a little more of it. If I was at home, I would have licked my plate clean jut to get every last drop of it. And it wasn’t too spicy, this is one of the less spicy curry dishes on the menu (I made sure of this before ordering).
My favorite appetizer (which I’ve ordered 4 times) is the mouth watering Avocat Kanthhor – raw tuna, avocado, lemongrass and fresh mint tossed in an Asian dressing. I always order this without the peanuts.  The tuna just melted in my mouth and the avocado was ripened to perfection. The combination of flavors- galangal, garlic, fish sauce, shallot and rice vinegar -in the dressing blended so well.
 
The one and only time I ordered off the French menu I was a little disappointed. Not to say I didn’t enjoy my meal, the Grilled Flat Iron Steak was cooked exactly how I wanted it. What I did not like about it was the Roquefort sauce, which, thank god, I ordered on the side. I was never a fan of cheese sauces anyways and this one was just not good, even my boyfriend didn’t like it. The side of brown rice and edamame, was simple yet delicious, and what a great idea, I never thought of combining the two – definitely one going into the recipe book.
(**note, I didn’t take a picture of my dish but found this one of the dish on 
the non-gluten free menu. The fries are not gluten free.**)
For dessert we had the flourless chocolate cake. It was good but not homemade, I have seen this exact cake at many other restaurants  (we even ordered this pre-made frozen dessert where I worked during college).  I’m not saying it’s not worth trying, but it is it very rich. I also loved the raspberry coulis that came on the side.

 I’ve also had the Shrimp Curry, which is served inside a red bell pepper and is EXTREMELY spicy, and the S’gnao Mouan, which is a Cambodian chicken soup with chicken breast, lime juice and lemongrass garnished with scallion and Asian basil with gluten-free crispy rice for dipping. The crispy rice was like a bad rice cake. The soup was so light and refreshing. 
No longer on the menu, but so delicious I just have to mention was the a chicken dish infused with fresh basil leaves, Asian mint served with asparagus, pea pods and red peppers light curry sauce (I can’t remember what else was in the sauce, as this was my first dish I ever had here and that was over 1.5 years ago). But I do remember it was delicious, with the fine balance of firey hot and savory. I just loved it.
They also have an extensive wine list, with great wines from all over the world. I highly recommend the Elephant Walk. I prefer the one in Fenway over Cambridge, the atmosphere is much more inviting, maybe that has to do with the light colors and openness in Fenway, or maybe it’s just my personal preference.
It’s great if you are in the mood to try something new and different, like one of their exotic assortments of authentic soups or salads or if you are daring enough, which I hope you are, one of the entrees.  I can’t say enough about the food here. The only this they are missing is gluten free bread!
 
Location: 900 Beacon Street Boston, MA. 02215 (C Green Line – St. Mary’s t stop)
       Other locations: 2067 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge
                                   66 Main Street Waltham, MA.

Yellow Cake

Today is my boyfriends’ birthday and I wanted to buy him a cupcake or small treat but I could not find a single, not pre-packaged pack of 4, gluten free cupcakes. There are no gluten free bakeries around me, unfortunately. So any bakers in Brookline reading this, please start offering gluten free desserts in your bakeries or stores! He isn’t on a gluten free diet but he doesn’t really like sweets and I knew he was going to offer to split it with me. So I decided to make my own cake. This was my first attempt at making a gluten free cake from scratch and it came out pretty good! For my cake I cut the recipe in half to make a small cake. The only recommendation I have from the recipe below (which I adapted from Aruthur’s) is to add a little more sugar, the cake is not that sweet. BUT it is still very tasty and not overly sweet like those premade cakes you buy in grocery stores that taste like an entire box of sugar was dumbed into it.  
Why is my cake green? I tried to write “26” on it but my cake decorating skills are very below average and it came out horrible. Not being able to wipe if off completely I just put a layer of green frosting on the whole cake and added coconut flakes to the top (he really likes coconut)
Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (I like to use Bob’s Red Mill)
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup milk
1.     Preheat oven to 350F. I set my temperature to 325F and it came out nice and golden.
2.     In a large mixing bowl cream together the sugar and the butter until it is smooth.
3.     Beat in the eggs using an electric beater or a whisk. Add in the vanilla extract and milk and mix well.
4.     Combine flour and baking powder in a separate bowl to mix together. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix well.
5.     Bake 30 – 40 minutes. mine was in for just under 35 minutes.
6.     Let cool before you frost. I used Pillsbury Whipped Supreme Fluffy White. Pillsbury labels their frosting gluten free now!

Cuchi Cuchi Gluten Free Menu

I can not wait to try Cuchi Cuchi in Cambridge (Area IV)!!

I have heard nothing but rave reviews about the cocktail list and signiture drinks, the food and the Moulin Rouge inspired atmosphere. It sounds unique and fun and I can not wait to go with my girl friends! They do have a gluten free menu (although not advertised on their website) here it is:

GLUTEN-FREE MENU

Seafood-filled Avocado  (Guatemala)  – 18
   ½ grilled lobster tail, shrimp, scallops,
   octopus, crabmeat;  salsa
Sizzling Garlic Shrimp  (Spain)  –  10
Scallop Ceviche Shot  (Panama) –  7
   (portion is for 1 person)marinated
   scallops in tomato, onion, jalapeño, lime,
   mango & banana salsa
Baby Back Ribs   –  12
   (no fritters/fresh apples) 
Bracioletta Ripiena di Maiale  (Italy) – 12
   grilled pork rolls filled w/pecorino        
   cheese, pancetta, sautéed garlic
Grilled Indian Lamb  –  18
   w/beet & grilled fennel salad;  yogurt  
   & mint dip
Grilled Skirt Steak  (Argentina)  –  15
   Gaucho style w/Chimichurri – a classic
   thick parsley, garlic & herb sauce
Gratin Dauphinois  (France)  –  10
   baked thin-sliced potatoes,
   onions, cheese & cream
Chicken Liver Paté  (France)    10
   adorned w/cornichons, dried fruits 
   & port wine glaze
(no crackers) 
Warm Baby Beets & French
Sheep Cheese Salad  –  10
Grilled Eggplant Napoleon  –  13
   w/roasted tomato & pepper
   ragout;  basil & herb goat cheese
Insalata del Liquria  (Italy)  –  9
   endive, romaine, black Sicilian
   olives;  Gorgonzola, drizzled
   w/ fragrant chestnut honey
             
      Fresh Fruit w/ Cherry Sauce &
             Chantilly Cream –  8