Late to the party

I am big on texture as far as food goes.

Crunchy, crispy, smooth – anything but gelatinous and I’m game. Which is why I came a little late to the oyster party. I tried one when I was younger; it didn’t go well. There was an attempt at chewing, followed by a little bug-eyed choking. It wasn’t pretty. I wanted to like them – they smell of the ocean, my happy place. And you can’t beat the presentation: served perched on their own ornate little shells, luxuriously glinting from a bed of crushed ice.

An oyster tasting at the Summer Shack of all East Coasters: Cotuit, Chatham Bay, Wellfleet, Wianno, Island Creek, Pemaquid.


A November birthday dinner for Bo’s sister Lizzy at East Coast Grill in Inman Square gave me another chance to slurp down one of these suckers and see if I could finally enjoy it. And I did. Maybe it was the company, the Spanish Cava or the fact that the briny oysters were plucked from Duxbury Bay, just over 30 miles away.

Whatever it was, I’m a convert.

There is nothing like taking that tiny sip of the oyster’s juice before you slurp it down. It tastes of the ocean, or rather, how I think the ocean should taste. Not like when you were small and accidentally drink a half gallon of it after being hit by a wave and tumbled head over heel so many times you aren’t sure which way is up until finally, gasping for air you emerge, polka dot bikini bottoms around your ankles, matching suspenders rendered useless, fashionable but useless, at your feet. Ah memories.

A Wellfleet, so far my East Coast favorite. Clean and briny, not too fishy, all ocean flavor.


Oysters usually cost between $2 and $3 on most raw bar menus, but there are dozens of $1 oyster deals all over the city to explore. Here are a few to get started on.

$1 oyster deals

(click on the links for addresses, contact information and menus.)

  • 8-10 p.m. on Sundays, $1 oysters and $1 PBRs = hipster heaven at Myers + Chang in the South End.
  • 4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, $1 oysters. Summer Shack’s Boston and Hingham locations, at the bar only.
  • Tuesdays, $1 oysters, Scarlet Oak Tavern, Hingham.
  • Fridays, through December 2010, $1 oysters, Turner Fisheries in Back Bay.
  • 5:30 p.m. until the last oyster is shucked, $1, Mondays, Rialto Restaurant, Cambridge.
  • 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. late night live-shucked $1 oysters at the bar, Wednesdays at Sel de la Terre‘s Long Warf location.
  • 3-6 p.m. Monday-Friday at the bar, $6 for 6 oysters, Legal Sea Foods, multiple locations.
  • 5 p.m. until close on Wednesdays, $1 oysters at the bar, Abby Park in Milton.

Any additions and updates would  be most welcome, send me a note if you have a favorite Boston-area oyster deal and I’ll add it to the list.

 

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Filed under Eating out, Local, Restaurants, Seafood, Steals and Deals

A sweet and savory start

I created this blog in October, something I’ve been meaning to do for a while now. I fiddled with the lychee picture for far too long, I hemmed and hawed over the name (still undecided) and finally, I published.

Then… silence.

Two months of silence to be exact. I’ve thought about blogging quite a bit, but when it comes down to it, to me it feels simultaneously like shouting into an empty room, and one filled to the brim with people, staring, judging. Do I have anything to say? I’m not sure. Do I fear coming off as self important and precocious? Yes. Should I just shut up and stop worrying how I will come off? Definitely.

So, here it goes. To introduce myself, I am a writer who recently moved from Vermont to Boston, leaving behind a stable (relatively) staff writing position at a wonderful newspaper smack in the midst of a floundering economy. Now, I’m making a go at freelancing (Is that laughter I hear?). I plan to use this blog as a place to publish recipes, thoughts on food and other things, all of which will be very deep, philosophical and most likely rife with regurgitated and inaccurately stated tidbits from NPR.

On to the first recipe.

Rosemary butter cookies dipped in dark chocolate.

Savory and herbal, buttery and sweet, bitter from a quick wallow in melted chocolate. These aren’t kissin’ cousins of the powdery (and delicious) Walker’s, but chewier and dense. Fresh rosemary is a must, even though it’s a bit pricer. Also, you know the Processor Pause, the moment where you’re in the kitchen, about to start cookin’ and you stop – staring at the cabinet that houses your food processor. A complex inverse ratio calculation running through your mind:

extra dishes+hassle

_____________________

less prep time+ less manual labor

To haul the contraption out or not to haul it out, that is the question. I usually don’t. But in this instance, do it. Integrating the butter, sugar and flour evenly without over working can be frustrating, it’s worth it if you have one. If you don’t, no problemo. I tested the “by hand” method on my guinea pig of a sister and she did just fine. I’ve included a few tips for those who prefer going old school, including a neat trick involving a cheese grater and some good ol’ fashioned elbow grease.

These are a great hostess gift, the rosemary gives it a little something special. But beware, home alone with a batch of these babies and a lack of self control can mean trouble. Trust me, I made 12 batches (288 cookies) to perfect the recipe and I have no idea where they went. None.



Rosemary butter cookies dipped in dark chocolate

Makes about 24

1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 heaping tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced

2 cups white unbleached flour

½ teaspoon sea salt

8 ounces (one and 1/3 cup) good quality dark chocolate, 60 percent cacao or higher

By hand:*

1. Mix butter and sugar until thoroughly combined. Add vanilla and rosemary, incorporate fully.

2. Sift salt and flour directly into mixing bowl. Mix until just incorporated, don’t over work.

*Note: This can be the most frustrating part of the recipe, incorporating the flour into the butter/sugar mixture without over working. If you have a food processor, it’s worth the extra dish, if not try this: Grate the butter into the bowl with the medium slots of a cheese grater, add the sugar and mix with your hands. Add the vanilla and rosemary, then sift the flour and salt directly on to the mixture. Combine all ingredients with your hands, working the flour into the butter until it resembles a dry, but uniform pile of crumbles.

Skip to step 3.

———-

Food processor:

1. Pulse butter and sugar until completely incorporated, roughly 10 seconds, add vanilla and rosemary.

2. Sift flour and salt directly into processor bowl, pulse until combined, roughly 15 seconds.

———–

Note: At this stage the mixture will appear crumbly and dry, not cohesive, this is okay, the butter will work it’s magic in the oven.

3. Pour mixture onto large piece of plastic wrap, wrap tightly and chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. 15 minutes in, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, line a 9 by 12-inch pan with parchment paper, excess paper draped over the edges.

4. Dump the mixture into the pan, pressing it down to create a uniform layer.

5. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the very first light brown spots appear on the crust.  Remove and cool for 5 minutes in the pan, lift out by gently pulling up parchment paper, set on a wire rack until completely cooled. Slice into 2-inch squares.

6. Melt chocolate gently in double boiler on the stove, or in the microwave in a non-reactive bowl, first for one and half minutes, then for 15 second intervals until smooth.

7. Gently dip half of each cookie into melted chocolate, use a plastic spatula to coat missed areas and wipe off excess chocolate. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet, once every cookie is coated, put the tray in the refrigerator to harden for 15 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

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Filed under Cookies, Dessert, Recipes

Hello world!

Um. Ehem, ehem. Excuse me, if I could have your attention please.

Hello.

That’s all. Thank you for your time.

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