Monthly Archives: August 2012

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes (aka Mashed Cauliflower)

 My Aunt Cindy makes these at Thanksgiving. It started a few years ago when she was on the Atkins diet and she continued to make both regular mashed potatoes and these, because we (mostly me) liked them so much! I don’t eat mashed potatoes, I’ve never liked them, but this mashed cauliflower has so much flavor and I just absolutely love them!
In order to keep them a little chunky use a potato masher instead of a blender. If you like your mashed potatoes smooth, use the blender. 
Ingredients:
Raw Cauliflower – a medium head makes about a pound of florets
1 Tablespoon cream cheese softened
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese  (I use a little less)
¼ teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon chicken base or bouillon, you may substitute
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 teaspoon Chives, chopped
1.     Separate the florets and chop the core finely
2.     Steam until tender (or microwave to save time). It is tender once you can easily pierce it with a fork, about 12-15 minutes. You can also boil the cauliflower for 6 minutes.
3.    Drain well but do not let cool.
4.    In a food processor, pulse the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, chicken bouillon, and pepper until almost smooth. Pulse for even less time if you like your ”potatoes” chunkier.     
5.     Garnish with chives and serve warm.
This will make about 4 servings.

Living Social Deal for Gluten Free Dinning at The Fireplace

Check out this great deal for The Fireplace in Washington Square Brookline!

The Fireplace has a great gluten free menu (brunch lunch and dinner!) and this deal is $38 for one appetizer and two entrees. I love the gluten free rolls here and can’t wait to try the lobster roll app! I think this is a great deal because all entrees start at $26.

http://www.livingsocial.com/deals/443016?rpi=77317506&ref=personalized-link-box-77317506&rui=12657519

The Capital Grille, Chestnut Hill

The Capital Grille is not just a restaurant; it is an experience. I was super excited to go here last night with Jeremy to celebrate my new job. I have been once before to the old location on Newbury Street when I turned 21, but I have not been back since. This past winter I went to Morton’s during restaurant week, which was also amazing, but I do have to say my experience last night was far superior. I loved every minute of being there, every bite of food and every sip of wine.
Restaurant Week is great. For those of you unfamiliar with it, each participating restaurant offers a 3-course meal for $33.12. There is also a lunch 3 course and 2 course menu as well. You have the choice of one appetizer or salad, one entrée and one dessert. Restaurants will offer anywhere from 2-5 options in each category. This is a great way to explore and try those top notch and ridiculously expensive restaurants we don’t dine at on a regular basis.
I was pleasantly surprised that they offered gluten free bread. Even more surprising, is that they don’t offer dinner rolls, but raisin sandwich bread. I found this a little odd but I did love the bread, it was more like having a slice of toast before my meal.
It is one of my favorite kinds, both Rudi’s and Udi’s make it and I’ve seen it at my local Trader Joe’s.
For starters, I ordered the Field Greens, Seasonal Vegetables with Shallot Champagne Vinaigrette. Loved the dressing but the salad was only lettuce and tomatoes, no other vegetables. I did like the lettuce though, a lot, and I wish I knew what kind it was so I can buy it! Jeremy had the Cesar salad, which was just ok. The lettuce was a little welted. 
We both ordered the Bone-In Kona Crusted Aged Sirloin. This was without a doubt one of the best steaks I have ever eaten. It was exceptional, expertly prepared, and cooked to perfection. It was beautifully seasoned with coffee beans and peppercorns. The coffee bean flavor really came through and gave it a nice little aftertaste. It had a nice crisp, charred texture on the outside and was unbelievably juicy on the inside, and incredibly flavorful – mouthwatering. The Shallot butter had flour in it so it was left off, but it didn’t need it, I didn’t miss it one bit. The steak was impeccable on it’s own. Not much more I can say besides that it was amazing and Capital Grille really holds up to its name. I can’t wait for restaurant week next year!
Even though it was restaurant week, the portion was big, not downscaled at all, like some other restaurants serve during restaurant week.
For our sides we shared the mashed potatoes and Grilled Vegetables. The mashed potatoes were ok, Jeremy loved them, I’m not a big mashed potato fan but I liked the smooth and creamy texture. The vegetables were tasty and nicely seasoned. 
For dessert I had the Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake. It was dense, rich and bitter sweet. It was thick like fudge and I really enjoyed it. I needed a glass of milk to go with it though! It was served with a scoop of cream, which I loved dipping the cake in and which gave it a nice balance. The thick fudge like texture might turn some people off, but as a chocolate lover, this was devine.

Jeremy had the Crème Brulee. It was also very rich, topped with fresh berries and vey nicely caramelized. It was good; it tasted like every other crème brulee I’ve ever tried, nothing outstanding.
Our waiter was great, and even remember Jeremy from the last time he was there with 11 of his friends, but who wouldn’t remember a group of 12 rowdy guys?  He was very knowledgeable about the menu, very polite and gave us just the right amount of attention, filling our wine glasses when empty but giving us plenty of time to ourselves. We never once felt rushed or neglected. This was one of the best dinning experiences I’ve had.
During the summer (July 9 – September 2) Capital Grille offers “The Generous Pour” Summer Wine Event. For $25 per person, you get to try nine remarkable wines, as many pours as you would like. This was such a great opportunity to enjoy and try different wines. I tried all 4 reds, one white and the rosé. The wines were good, nothing exceptional, but I did like trying so many different kinds and I would do this again.
I highly recommend checking out Capital Grille during restaurant week. They also have a gluten free menu. 
Location:  250 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
                    900 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02115

Artu

When my sister turned 23 a few weeks ago we had a big family dinner at Artu in the North End (they also have a location in Beacon Hill). We all loved it. The food was great; everyone thoroughly enjoyed their meals. We went on a Sunday night and had the upstairs space all to ourselves.
I loved the ambiance here, semi modern but with the traditional Italian restaurant feel. Located on Price Street, right off of Hanover Street, it was little quieter than other restaurants right on Hanover.
Jeremy ordered the Veal Piccata was a flavorful dish of thin slices of veal, capers and mushrooms in a white wine lemon sauce. The veal was not breaded or coated in anything and was gluten free, as was the sauce.
I had the Frutti di Mare with gluten free penne. It was delicious! The penne was cooked to perfection, had great taste and texture.  The portion size was just right, not too big, and full of shrimp, calamari and little necks in a light tomato sauce.  The only down side is that they charge extra for the gluten free pasta but don’t tell you this ….until the bill comes, and it’s on there. But it was so delicious that this time I wasn’t too upset (and I wasn’t paying!)
My aunt also ordered gluten free pasta with her eggplant parmesan, which they made special for her without the breadcrumbs. The kitchen was very accommodating and I highly praise them for this.
My cousin ordered the Maple Glazed Salmon special served with mixed greens and balsamic vinaigrette. It was also deliciously, slightly pink in the middle, just the way we like it! He devoured his plate

My only complaint is that after telling the waitress we had two gluten allergies and talking with her about the menu options, we ordered 2 orders of the Mussels appetizers. The broth had flour in it. I was very surprised she didn’t tell the kitchen to omit it. She also told us she “thinks” the veal was gluten free, so of course we asked someone else to confirm this. She wasn’t the greatest waitress I’ve ever had, to put it nicely.

We brought our own gluten free chocolate cake ($35) from Modern Pastry. It was delicious! No one could tell that it was gluten free, and almost everyone ate their entire piece. One of the other waitresses came up to sing happy birthday and she was a riot! She was this little older Italian lady with such a great personality, I wish she had been our server that night! We even gave her a piece of cake! Just an FYI, they do serve a $2 cutting fee per person, but since this was a special occasion – and they won’t bring a knife to the table (so I’m not sure how else you could do it) – my mom did not mind paying for this extra service. 

Modern pastry also has gluten free muffins, whoopie pies, and biscotti. What they carry in store week to week varies.

Website: http://www.artuboston.com/
Location: 6 Prince Street (North End) and 89 Charles Street (Beacon Hill)

Forum

Last week I won a gift certificate to Forum. I’m not sure how because I don’t remember signing up for their mailing list. I was excited though, because I’ve been wanting to try it ever since it opened, about 2 years ago. So I decided to take my dad. 
It was a hot and extremely muggy day and we weren’t overly hungry so we decided to share a salad and entrée and a side and call it a meal.
The Grilled Shrimp Salad ($12) is now one of my favorite dishes in Boston. It comes with four decent sized grilled shrimp on top of a coleslaw-like jicama, avocado, and mango with a chimichurri dressing. It was to die for! It had a great kick from the cilantro – in the chimichurrti – beautifully presented and not overly dressed. The table next to use, the only other occupied table outside, ordered the Steak and Tomato Salad, which also looked to die for! 
The drink list looked really interesting, but seeing I had just walked 3.5 miles with my dad all I really wanted was an ice water and iced tea.
As an entrée we ordered the Salmon, I called that one the second I looked at the menu. My dad orders salmon 99% of the time we eat out. It had a crispy skin and was served on a bed of mixed pan roasted vegetables – brussel sprouts, green beans and carrots. Very oily. It was topped with an harissa sauce; hot peppers, garic, coriander, red chili peppers, and carway. Our waiter explained this to us, we had no idea what harissa was, and it was not spicy at all. I have a very low tolerance and I didn’t find it spicy, and it was so just so so, kind of bland. The salmon was cooked almost to perfection, I like mine a little bit more on the rare side. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but was it worth $26? No. For $26 I expected a delicious, savoring, full of flavor, melts in my mouth, piece of salmon. 

We also ordered a side of fingerling potatoes. Why? I don’t know, ask my dad. These were way over salted. And cost $5, really? I thought it was going to be a substitute for the couscous the salmon dish originally comes with, but we were wrong. My dad ate them so not all was lost. 
We left feeling full but not that gross overly stuffed feeling. I hate that. Would I recommend Forum? I would recommend having a drink and the Shrimp Salad. I’m glad we had the gift  certificate because I do not think it was worth as much as they were charging, especially with Atlantic Fish right next door, who knows how to cook a piece of fish. 
On the other hand, they do have gf buckwheat pancakes on their brunch menu. If I ever feel like paying $13 for pancakes – maybe a special occasion – I would like to try these.
Location: 755 Boylston Street, Boston

popchips!

Tasty and Healthy. Only 100 calories per bag, popchips make a great mid-day snack and fit easily into my desk drawer at work.
Great crunch and airy texture. I love the lightness and bold flavors. Not greasy at all, like most potato chips. I’m also a fan of the minimal saltiness.
My favorite is the sweet potato chips. They are a bit sweet, crispy and delicious!
All potato (14 flavors) and tortilla (4 flavors) chips are gluten free.

Nebo

I heard about Nebo last year from a coworker of mine who has celiac. I’ve also heard other people rave about it and saw it on the Chronicle or Date Line last year. So when there was a Living Social deal last month I bought it without hesitation. I had been dying to go and last night I finally went.
I was not blown away. The flavors were amazing, so fresh and so bold. But I was let down by the over price menu and extra chargers for gluten free substitutions.
We started with two appetizers; the olives and timballo de melanzana. The olives were served warm in oil with orange zest and rosemary. This was delicious. I loved the warmth and citrus flavor mixed with the saltiness from the olives and and contrast from the rosemary and other spices they used. The Timballo de melanzana is eggplant and mozzarella timbale with fresh tomato sauce. In cooking, timable can refer to both a type of baking dish and to a type of food, usually prepared in and served in the baking dish of the same name. This timable was layers of eggplant, mozzarella and fresh tomato sauce and it was delicious. I highly recommend this dish. It is served hot in a timable and the eggplant was so tender.
Timballo de melanzana

We also shared the baby arugula and Parmesan salad. The arugula was so fresh with a slightly bitter taste and paired nicely with the lemon vinaigrette. It was easy to tell that the Parmesan was freshly shaved and it was delicious.
Everyone ordered gluten free meals so we could share. Well actually if I’m being honest, they did it because they are extremely nice and wanted me to be able to try everything and feel bad when I am left out.
Jeremy ordered the “Bobby Flay Throwdown Winner” zucchini lasagna and it was fantastic. This was layers of zucchini, homemade ricotta, mozzarella, romano and marinara sauce. It was light and noodle-less (and vegetarian).  I highly recommend ordering this, it was just amazing.
The Gluten Free Pizza was great. We tried the margherita and the scampi. We all preferred the scampi. But both were delicious. I could taste the freshness of the basil on the margherita pizza, it was like it was just picked straight out of my garden. The scampi pizza had much more flavor, from the garlic and parsley, and the crust didn’t get as soggy in the middle as the margherita did. I think this happened because of all the tomato sauce, and once it had been sitting for a while it started to get a bit soggy in the center where it was already softer to begin with.  I absolutely loved the crispy outer crust. I just wish they didn’t charge an extra $4 to make it gluten free. It was great but not great enough to pay $21 again for a pizza!
Margherita Pizza

Scampi Pizza
I was super excited to try the gluten free pasta. It is still not something I find very often on restaurant menus, although it is starting to show up more and more, but when I find a restaurant that offers it I get so excited! The gluten free pasta comes with only one option; spirals. It is not homemade, don’t be fooled. It is made and packaged in a gluten free factory, and Nebo charges an extra $3 for it. Maybe it’s just me but I think it’s ridiculous when restaurants charge extra for gluten free substitutions – bread, pizza, pasta. I understand the price of gluten free food can be more expensive, but why not try to find one not as expensive? It especially makes me mad when it’s not homemade and even more frustrated when it isn’t even good. Nebo isn’t the only restaurant that does this, so I’m not trying to pick on them, but the upcharge here is one of the most expensive I’ve seen. My pasta was way undercooked and it was so inconsistent. One piece would be semi undercooked, another completely hard and one spiral every now and then would be about 95% cooked. The taste was fine but the texture, not so much. We were going to send it back but by the time the waiter eventually came over to our table to ask how it was we were too hungry and had already begun eating it. It was such a disappointment because I had been looking forward to this and not to mention the sauce was delicious. So, I used the sauce instead on the lasagna – which I thought needed a little more sauce anyways.
Shrimp with slow roasted spicy tomato sauce with gluten free pasta
We had a living social voucher for $50, which in addition to wanting to try it for so long was the main reason we are here last night. Over all it was good but not for the money. I enjoyed the pizza crust, but the middles were a little doughier and softer, and the pasta was under cooked, both certainty not worth the $3 and $4 upcharges. The lasagna was great but was a little pricey at $21. The décor is very modern, not the place to go if you are looking for a traditional Italian restaurant. It was also a bit loud, great place for a big group, as it had a fun atmosphere, but not the most desirable for eating out with your boyfriend and his parents. I’m not sure if I’d go back. I might if there is another deal because I want to try the gluten free calamari, which the table next to use ordered, and it looked really good. If I had another deal I would go back for sure, but I’m not so sure I want to pay so much extra just so I can have a gluten free pizza. I know plenty of restaurants that make pizza just as good, if not better, for less money and no extra charges.
The online menu does not mention the extra fees for gluten free pizza and pasta, and I don’t think this is right. It’s kind of like luring you in on false pretenses.
I did like that the maître d’ and the manager both came to see how we were doing and if we were enjoying our meals. Our server was very nice, but not very attentive.
Location: 90 North Washington St., North End Boston