Icelanders Do It Better.

Have you ever vacationed somewhere and never wanted to leave? (Yes, of course.) But how about somewhere that’s actually colder than your hometown?

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A-Tooch went to Iceland. In February.

Every corner of this beautiful country looks like a page out of National Geographic magazine. One of the best parts of the trip, though, was the food. Icelanders have a culture rich in farming and agriculture. Our meals were full of fresh fish, local lamb and even puffin (sorry little guy, but it was delicious).

Now on to the most important food group: DAIRY. Iceland has bred a unique food group called skyr — akin to greek yogurt but thicker, even more protein packed (!) and less tart. Amazing.

In a quest to find skyr in the good ol’ US of A, I dropped by Whole Foods. Behold: Icelandic Provisions.

photo cred: Icelandic Provisions

photo cred: Icelandic Provisions

 

This stuff has 110 cals and 19g of protein in one serving! Tastes like Haagen-Dazs but with the calories of fro-yo. Next up: the kitchen test to see how many recipes skyr can be swapped into.

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EVERYTHING DOUGHNUTS

When two things we love combine…

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photo cred: The Doughnut Project

 

Maybe the doughnut trend isn’t over afterall! Has anyone tried these?

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Brown Sugar Eggnog Cake

Somehow, whenever TFAW are in a baking rut the winter season seems to kickstart us back in action. In A-Tooch’s family, Christmas is a multi-day event. Day one came early this year and so did the need for a seasonal recipe.

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In the quest to find an easily transportable dessert (yes, I Googled this exact term), I landed on dense bunt cake recipes. I can vouch for the durability of this cake — it flipped over twice on my cab/train commute in a massive snowstorm. The pecan streusel and warm brown buttery sauce really put this ordinary cake over the top. I made the warm sauce topping once I reached my destination. Super simple and extremely decadent.

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Brown Sugar Eggnog Cake
adapted from Betty Crocker recipes

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup eggnog

For pecan streusel:
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease bottom and side of bunt pan. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In large bowl, beat 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, the granulated sugar and softened butter with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly, thenon medium speed about 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat in flour mixture alternately with 3/4 cup eggnog on low speed until smooth.

Pour half of the mixture into pan. Combine pecan streusel ingredients in small bowl and sprinkle generously over the first layer of mixture. Fill the pan with the remaining — mixture will not fill to the top and this is OK.

Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool for about 10 minutes before remove from pan to cooling rack.

Before you are ready to serve the cake, prepare the sauce. In a small saucepan, heat sauce ingredients except vanilla to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly; boil and stir 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla.

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A-Tooch Travels: Dubai

Well friends, this may just be the farthest apart TFAW have ever been. Just how far, you ask? For a month-long work assignment, A-Tooch is exploring the Middle East, based out of Dubai.IMG_9015

Hi, Dubai! Burj Khalifa – day and night

While I’d love to go through culinary differences here, what many Americans don’t know about Dubai is that it’s hugely modern and cosmopolitan, with all of the comforts of home. Yes, even a Shake Shack, Eataly and Rosa Mexicano. Aside from the usual traveling quirks (e.g. a turkey + tomato sandwich on a “bagel”…which they buttered…) there really aren’t many culinary differences. Cuisine options are the same, if not more, than our native NYC and Boston. The emirate is composed of about 85% expats, so true local cuisine is hard to come by.

Lesson over. Today’s highlight: beverages. Since the UAE is a strict Muslim country, it’s unlikely you will be having a glass of wine over dinner. (Exception: hotel restaurants and bars) To accommodate a largely dry population, a range of delicious delicious delicious fresh juices, smoothies and mocktails are available all over. I am so in love that I may return a sober woman. Maybe…

IMG_9176 Behold: a ginger, pineapple and mint juice (left) and cooling mango lassi (right)

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The New Crab Rangoons

There are few people who would admit that crab rangoons are their foodie vice. A-Tooch has never been a big fan of Chinese takeout, so this cheesy menu option always seemed to be her out.

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When I saw this recipe to “classify” crab rangoons a bit I knew I had to try it. No deep frying and big pieces of crab I knew would be non-imitation crab meat? That’s a go.

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The New Crab Rangoons
adapted from Frito-Lay

8 oz. low-fat cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp. low-fat sour cream
1/2 tsp. Worchester sauce
1/2 tsp. hot sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot)
(1) 6 oz. can fancy white crab meat, rinsed and drained
1 green onion, finely diced
about 24 Tostitos Scoops tortilla chips (whole grain preferred)

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, beat together the sour cream, cream cheese, soy sauce and Worchester. Gently fold in the crab meat and green onion and mix until combined. Arrange the tortilla chips onto a cookie sheet, discarding any broken chips, and stuff each chip with the mixture. Bake for 15 minutes or until tops just begin to brown.

The recipe was super easy and delicious, with fresh crab taste. My only advice is to heat and serve immediately as this recipe is neither good cold, nor does it reheat well. Soggy tortilla chip alert!

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Itadaki – Boston

The subject line of the email inviting Miss Niss to try a new-to-her Boston Back Bay restaurant included the word “ramen.”  The easy part was saying yes the this dinner invitation; the difficult part was finding time to go!

A few weeks ago, Miss Niss found time to try Itadaki, a Japanese restaurant and bar on Newbury St.

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The dark lighting, exposed brick walls, and dimly lit candles set the mood for a unique Japanese experience.

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To start, I ordered the Cucumber Sake-tini, made with Effen Cucumber, Reiko Sake, St. Germaine, and Gingerale.  I love cocktails with cucumber and St. Germaine, and this was no exception.  I would go back to Itadaki just based on the drink menu!

But the food was delicious too.  I’ll admit I was disappointed (and surprised) that none of the ramen soup I was so looking forward to enjoying was vegetarian.  Luckily, there were several other options on the menu that caught my eye.

IMG_0237We shared the Chamame Edamame, special nutty flavored edamame with sea salt.  It tasted a lot like regular edamame, salted to perfection.

For my dinner course, I ordered Baked Eggplant with Miso Cheese Sauce and Itadaki Signature Cheese Gratin.

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The eggplant was the most unique eggplant I’ve had at an Asian restaurant.  The slices of eggplant were perfectly tender and the tangy miso cheese sauce perfectly complemented the dish.  The gratin is a Japanese style macaroni and cheese, made with white onion and mushroom cream sauce.  It is such an unexpected dish at a Japanese restaurant. I mean, have you ever had mac and cheese with chop sticks?

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I can proudly say that I have!  And, it was among the best mac and cheese in Boston.  The sauce was so creamy and the cheese on top had those brown spots reserved only for the best mac and cheese.

My friend loved her fresh sushi too.

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Not one to pass on dessert, we shared the Japanese Style Flan and Strawberry Mochi.

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I’m not sure what was so Japanese about the flan; it tasted like a regular flan, creamy and decadent.  The strawberry mochi tasted like rich strawberry ice cream inside a soft doughy bun.

We had a fun and delicious meal at Itadaki, combined of both traditional and unique Japanese flavors.  Take a break from this busy holiday season and enjoy a night out at Itadaki!

What new-to-you restaurants have you tried lately?

 

 

This meal was provided complimentary.  As always, our opinions are our own.

 

 

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Biscoff Everything Treats

If you’ve ever flown Delta you are probably familiar with Biscoff — those graham cracker-like cookies that are always a better option to peanuts. TFAW were shocked to learn there is life outside of planes for these little guys, and when we received a gratis package we put the new baking ingredient to work.

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The premise of this recipe was a little of “everything left in the pantry.” While Speculoos or Biscoff spread probably would have been a preferable ingredient to peanut butter, I made do. I will admit, they were a bit dry and not as gooey as I would have liked. I would suggest cutting the baking time by 5-10 minutes or adding some more butter perhaps.

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Biscoff Everything Treats
makes 24 mini treats

1/2 package Biscoff cookies, finely crushed
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup HEATH milk chocolate toffee bits
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup peanut butter (I used PB&Co. Mighty Maple ’cause that’s what was in stock)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and fill a 24 mini-cupcake tin with liners. On a stovetop over medium heat, melt butter and brown sugar. Once smooth, remove from heat and add peanut butter, stirring until blended. Set aside and let cool.

Combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then fold in the marshmallows, butterscotch chips and HEATH pieces.

Add egg into your cooled mixture on the stovetop, then combine liquid and dry mixtures. Pour into each of the 24 mini-cupcake tins, filling about 3/4 to the top. Bake for about 25 minutes.

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Spice up your Summer Grilling

I’d never heard of Coleman’s mustard or COOKINA grilling sheets before I was asked if I wanted to participate in the Summer Blogger ‘Grill – Off’ hosted by COOKINA and Coleman’s Mustard, but I thought who doesn’t love summer grilling and mustard?  I sure do!

Soon enough, my package of goodies arrived at my door.  I received one COOKINA Barbeque Reusable Grilling Sheet, Coleman’s Dry Powder Mustard, and Coleman’s Original Prepared Mustard.  I tasted the mustard immediately.  It looked like plain yellow mustard.  I put a big smear on a cucumber stick and was blown away.  This is no ordinary mustard.  It tastes a lot more like wasabi than a typical mustard.  I checked the ingredients – there is no horse radish!  Just mustard.  Very spicy mustard.

Since the mustard reminded me of wasabi, I thought an Asian marinade would be appropriate.  Then I thought better of my audience.  Not everyone likes such a spice so instead of marinating vegetables, I made a sauce to use as a topping for grilled vegetables.

In past summers, My Mr. and I have grilled frequently.  This summer has been so busy that we’re barely home for dinner and sadly have not used our grill once!  Luckily, my parents had us over to grill.  I took control of the veggie side of the grill and finally had an opportunity to test out my grilling sheet and mustard sauce.

I started with sliced zucchini tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

I started with sliced zucchini tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

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You can’t even tell, but the COOKINA grilling sheet is on the left side of the grill under the veggies.  I cut the sheet to fit the grill.  I actually read the directions – rare for me, I know – and it said you can cut the sheet.  It also said you don’t need to use any fats when grilling.  Too bad I had already added the olive oil.  The sheet is nonstick and not only suited for grilling, but a replacement for tin foil wherever you may use it in cooking or baking.  I see cookies on a COOKINA sheet in my future.  My favorite part of the COOKINA sheet is not the ease of use or the nonstick surface.  It’s the fact that this sheet can make any grilling surface vegetarian!  I won’t have any meat touching my vegetables!  My parents know this and actually keep the left side of their grill vegetarian for me, but now I can bring this reusable sheet to any barbeque and ensure my vegetables are vegetarian.

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Anything grilled on a COOKINA reusable grilling sheet gets grill marks as if it was grilled directly on the grill.

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My grilled zucchini also tasted just as delicious as if it was grilled directly on the grill.  And this Spicy Mustard Sauce only took it up a notch.  It was a hit with the whole family.

You too can celebrate summer grilling with COOKINA.  The brand is hosting a social media contest and the winner gets a trip to Las Vegas!  Tag your photo featuring COOKINA on Instagram or Twitter with #YesYouCanCOOKINA or upload your photo to their Facebook page to enter to win.  COOKINA is available at Home Depot, and you can visit their website for more information.  The easiest place to buy Coleman’s mustard is Amazon.

Spicy Mustard Sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 T sesame oil
1-3 T Coleman’s Mustard, depending on how spicy you like it!

Stir all ingredients together in a dish.  Top your favorite grilled vegetables, meat, or fish.

What have you been grilling this summer?

 

I received COOKINA Reusable Grilling and Sheet and Coleman’s Mustard products for free.  My opinions are my own.

Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , , | 1 Response
  • Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie. ~Jim Davis
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