In the meantime:
SB is starting school, SH is finishing school and we are both going to spend some time visiting the east coast.
We will try to keep you updated on our progress and travels, but no promises!
Thanks for stopping by.
9/2 - SH just stopping by with a quick update. I have been busy working on my dissertation, but took a break this weekend for a quick trip to Vermont. I had a great weekend visiting with friends and attending a beautiful wedding. A much needed break from daily writing to enjoy a relaxing weekend. I miss BostonsInVirginia Wednesdays, but we will be back soon.
Well, I will admit to technology troubles tonight. I had composed the blog and was proofreading when my computer suddenly crashed. Alas, all was lost and now I am starting from the beginning (again). Just a warning, the second round will be somewhat abbreviated as my bedtime is swiftly approaching.
The theme this week was Mexican with a twist; a few fresh ideas to enliven the otherwise ordinary and predictable comfort cuisine.
The appetizer this week was homemade tortilla chips enhanced with cumin and chili powder. The chips were dipped into refried black beans flavored with garlic and cumin and refreshed with the addition of a little goat cheese. YUM!
The main course was an Epicurious.com recipe. This take on enchiladas revived the classic by using two salsas. In addition to the typical tomato salsa, the green salsa was comprised of sauteed pumpkin seeds blended with cilantro. The nuttiness of the pumpkin seeds truly was the refreshing "secret" ingredient in the enchiladas.
- 1 large white onion, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
- 2 red bell peppers, quartered
- 3/4 pound medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 12 (6-to 7-inch) soft corn tortillas
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 6 ounces crumbled queso fresco or ricotta salata
For pumpkin-seed salsa:
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh serrano chile, including seeds
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 1/3 cups raw green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups chopped cilantro
- 1 1/2 cups water
For tomato salsa:
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh serrano chile, including seeds
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Garnish: cilantro leaves
Prepare a gas grill for direct-heat cooking over medium heat; see Grilling Procedure .
Preheat oven to 350°F .
Secure each onion round with a wooden pick for grilling. Oil grill rack, then grill vegetables, covered, turning occasionally, until tender (6 to 8 minutes for bell peppers and zucchini; 10 to 12 minutes for onion), transferring to a bowl.
Wrap tortillas in stacks of 6 in foil and heat in oven, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make pumpkin-seed salsa:
Cook chile, garlic, cumin, and pumpkin seeds in oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring, until seeds pop, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer 3 tablespoons seeds with a slotted spoon to a bowl and reserve. Purée remaining seeds and oil with cilantro, water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender until smooth.
Make tomato salsa:
Stir together tomatoes, onion, chile, lime juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Assemble and fry enchiladas:
Cut vegetables into strips. Spread 2 teaspoons pumpkin-seed salsa on each warm tortilla and top with some of grilled vegetables, then roll up. Heat oil (1/2 cup) in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Fry enchiladas, seam side down first, in 2 batches, turning once, until lightly browned and heated through, about 2 minutes per batch. Transfer enchiladas to plates, then drizzle with remaining pumpkin-seed salsa and sprinkle with reserved seeds and cheese. Serve with tomato salsa.
The main course was an easy to prepare summer treat. The pizza came together quickly and easily while providing a refreshing summer delight.
Strawberry, Pistachio, and Goat Cheese Pizza
(from Cooking Light.com)
1 (12-ounce) prebaked pizza crust (such as Mama Mary's)
1/3 cup (3 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup trimmed watercress
1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Dash of salt
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shaved fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 tablespoons shelled dry-roasted pistachios, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Place crust on a baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 8 minutes. Remove from oven; arrange goat cheese evenly over crust.
3. Combine strawberries, watercress, olive oil, juice, salt, and black pepper; toss gently to coat. Arrange strawberry mixture evenly over goat cheese. Sprinkle pizza with Parmigiano-Reggiano and nuts. Cut into 12 wedges. Serve immediately.
Dessert was an almond shortbread topped with homemade strawberry jam and a dollop of goat cheese. This dessert was made extra special by our strawberry jam, made by our mother with locally grown strawberries. Thanks Mom!!
Another wonderful meal and Wednesday night. Try out these recipes, we don't think you will be disappointed.
Enjoy these last few weeks of summer, use the great ingredients available while you can!
This is my first trial at an e-mail post. SB and SH are going out
and about this week and we want to take you with us. We'll give
updates throughout the evening as we seek out a great dinner in
downtown Blacksburg and enjoy a movie at our favorite local theater.
We will see how it goes!
Tonight we are enjoying a great summer evening. After a rainy day the evening is cool and a nice breeze is blowing through the kitchen. As has been the case in recent weeks we are incorporating fresh and local ingredients when we can while still exploring new culinary ideas. Our three courses tonight are all technically simple and come together quickly with relatively few ingredients. Our main source of inspiration this week was The Splendid Table's How To Eat Supper, a wonderful new cookbook worth checking out.
One 2 1/2-pound intensely sweet-smelling ripe cantaloupe
2 cups ice cubes
Generous pinch of salt
4 or 5 grinds black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
Juice of 2 large limes (about 1/2 cup)
Grated zest of 1/2 large lime
1 or 2 jalapeños, seeded and cut into fine dice
10 to 12 fresh basil leaves, coarse chopped
1/2 medium red onion, cut into 1/8-inch dice (optional)
1. Cut the melon into quarters. Scoop out its seeds and trim away the rind. Slice it into chunks and put them into a food processor. Add the ice, salt, pepper, sugar, and lime juice, and puree. Stir in the grated zest.
2. Place the jalapeños, basil, and onion in separate small serving bowls. Pour the puree into individual soup bowls or into a pitcher for further chilling.
Our Main Course, inspired by 101 Cookbooks, came together quickly and utilized minimum ingredients. We used store-bought ravioli and rotini and threw together a quick sun-dried tomato pesto to toss with the pasta. We added roasted cherry tomatoes and crumbled goat cheese to the top and served it on top of a bed of baby spinach. Check out the recipe at 101 Cookbooks and if you aren't familiar with Heidi's site spend a while getting familiar with her wonderful blog.
Dessert was another no-cook recipe. This sorbet had frozen pineapple at the base that was flavored with ginger and almond extract. All ingredients were mixed in the food processor and blended smooth. Spoon into bowls and enjoy this little slice of heaven. By the way, this is another How To Eat Supper Recipe.
Since it's summer and fresh produce is bountiful we wanted to prepare a meal that captured the freshness of our ingredients. With our minds fixed on lush, fresh produce we immediately decided to fix a Mediterranean themed meal.
Our starter was an easy, easy bean dip. We will even give you the recipe (courtesy of Epicurious.com).
Balsamic Bean Dip with Fresh Veggies
- 1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans), drained
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar plus extra for drizzling
- Oil from jar of roasted red peppers
- Assorted crudités (we used bell peppers and carrots)
- Pita bread, cut into wedges
For the main course we ventured into a new realm for BIV - a savory pie. We made a Mediterranean Vegetable Cheese Pie flavored with spinach, onion and dill.
Foccacia Bread with rosemary and sea salt
Tonight was exciting for sooooo many reasons! Where do we start??
Well let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. We invited a special guest this week to enjoy dinner and our newest reality show, SYTYCD. Juba joined us for the evening and SJ dropped in for appetizer before heading over the mountain and making his own dinner. After the initial excitement we settled down and enjoyed our appetizer of roasted chickpeas and a dill dip with sliced bell pepper and cucumbers. One of the best aspects of this BIV was the addition of a new game, banagram. This is a word tile game packaged inside a banana that we played a few rounds of. The game is fast paced, competitive and very fun! If you like word games, it is worth checking out - but I will admit that SJ and I both ended up as rotten bananas.
After recovering from our game we settled into preparing our main course which was comprised of the classic combo soup and sandwich; but this was BIV style. Our soup was based on a pureed blend of roasted vegetables becoming a smooth, flavorful dish. The sandwich was an awesome accompaniment for the soup. SB prepared the sandwich the night before by roasting eggplant, zucchini, squash and red peppers then placing them in hollowed cibatta bread with a pesto sauce and thick slices of mozzarella cheese. The sandwich was wrapped and placed in the fridge to allow the flavors to mellow. It turned out wonderful!
And then for dessert, we enjoyed a new treat with the tropical fruit mango. The mango crisp was a warm, bubbly fruit mixture topped with a macadamia nut mixture. We served it with a vanilla tofu pudding for an incredible finish to our great evening!
Now to top it all off we are watching SYTYCD and having a great time!
The BostonsInVirginia are cooking on Friday this week because we have a very special guest joining us. . . . . . . . our Mom! That makes three Bostons In Virginia! We knew we wanted to fix a special dinner for her since she came all the way to visit us and since yesterday was her birthday. So, we went back through our archives and chose some of our favorite dishes to put together the special birthday dinner. We invited the boys to join in, so really it was quite a party!
We started with appetizers and happy hour.We recreated a couple of our faves; Fig and Goat Cheese Bruschetta and Asparagus White Bean Tart. Both were very tasty while sipping on a cold beverage and catching up with everyone.
We moved out to the deck to enjoy our main course, a garden salad with potato gnocchi.
We rounded out the evening with a game of cards and lemon pie. It was a great night!
Summer is here and what better way to celebrate than with a little foodie trip to Cuba. Well, SB and SH are still here in Virginia; but in our minds we are exploring the streets and flavors of our southern island neighbor (now that travel restrictions have been lifted, maybe someday we can actually go).
Our starter tonight was Spicy Corn Fritters. These fried patties were full of corn, green onion and fresh cilantro then spiced with cumin and coriander. The patties were served with a sweet and sour sauce that enhanced the flavor of the fritters.
The main course tonight was an adventure into the unknown for us. We were familiar with frozen black bean burgers that come in multiple varieties in the frozen food section at the grocery, but we had never ventured there from scratch. To serve burgers with chips is an American staple; but we took it to the next level with yucca. We chopped the yucca into thin slices, fried them in peanut oil, and finally sprinkled them with salt, chili powder and cayenne.
I cannot say enough about this combination- the burgers were a bit spicy and so much better than the frozen veggie burgers you buy. The chips were crunchy and flavorful (and easy!).
The sweet treat to finish off the evening was the Tres Leches Cake. This Cuban delicacy was a rich cake soaked in milk that we topped with fresh fruit. This cake was slightly sweet and feels like summer with the raspberry topping.
Another successful dinner!
As our President is in the Middle East brokering world peace BIV are following in his footsteps (well, not literally but culinarily). Our meal tonight was inspired by the flavors and ingredients used in Middle Eastern cuisines. We began with a classic appetizer, hummus. Hummus is likely the Middle Eastern food most integrated into American culture. Tonight we made a traditional chickpea hummus enhanced with the flavor of roasted red peppers. We served the hummus with toasted pita chips, carrots and sliced orange bell pepper. We didn't plan on it, but this course was a delightful, monochromatic orange.
The dessert was inspired by the combination of phyllo dough and cheese known as Knefe. Our interpretation was Sauteed Grape Napoleons with Red Wine Reduction which incorporated a goat and cream cheese mixture with toasted phyllo dough sheets. White grapes were sauteed then stacked in layers with the cheese and phyllo. The napoleon was a light cap to a wonderful meal and a dessert that will take a place among our favorites.
SB- What an amazing feast! This menu is one of my favorites that we have done. The flavors came together perfectly, especially serving the flavorful yet mild sweet potato flafel with the spicy couscous dish. The presentation of this dish was easy and elegent.
The dessert blew me away! It is easier than it looks, don't be afraid to try it. It is light and flavorable, and beautiful as well!
t salad. The salad incorporated fresh greens from SH's garden, home-canned picked beets, sunflower seeds and goat cheese. We ate outside on the deck (with our guest SJ) while enjoying a bit of sunshine in an otherwise rainy, rainy week.
Our main dish was a spicy tomato sauce served with pasta also known as penne arrabiata. This simple and tasty dish was made even better with tomatoes canned with love by our mother (Thanks, Mom!). We served the pasta with rosemary bread and garlic butter and it was simply perfect.
Our dessert tonight was our celebration course - we bought truffles from our local chocolate shop, The Chocolate Spike. We indulged with Pineapple Honey, Mango Lime and Fire and Ice truffles. The truffles were even tastier than they were beautiful.
A truly enjoyable evening with an easy, simple meal worthy of any special occasion.
Congrats, SB on your new home!