Sausages, Peppers, and Onions

Italian Sausages, Peppers, and OnionsThis is a classic outside of Fenway Park on game day and at countless other public and family events across the Bay State and New England. It's easy, cheap, and a great crowd-pleaser.

The secret to success here is the perfection of each ingredient. The sausages are the star, so they have to be great - cooked through and with crispy skins, the melted fat saved for the important work ahead. The onions and peppers work best cooked separately or serially. Red and green peppers are a great combination but you can do fine with all green peppers or with whatever your garden/CSA share gives you. A proper New England bun is great, but this works well on pasta too.  

Viren's Kachumber Salad

Kachumber SaladI used to make this refreshing summer salad with my friend and co-worker Viren before he returned to Gujarat, India. It's a great burst of summertime flavor, with just summer-fresh tomato and cucumber, maybe a little onion, and salt and pepper. No oil or vinegar are needed. The contrasting colors look like little gems, and the flavors are great together. 

There are many ways to make a Kachumber Salad, and many of my Indian colleagues had other ideas. I'll call this one Viren's Kachumber Salad because I learned it from him.  

Bosom Caresser


Bosom Caresser Cocktail, classic

With a name like Bosom Caresser, I could only resist so long. It's not that I have anything against caressing bosoms, should the opportunity arise, but I thought it must be something trendy, relying on a silly name to get attention in a crowded market. Except nobody knows this one anymore. Research was called for.

The recipes for the Bosom Caresser fall into two very different groups, a complex interesting version with an egg yolk (I think this is the older version) and then a much simpler version recorded in Mr. Boston and published in many places online. In both cases it is a sweet cocktail, but in the first instance it is sweet like a great dessert, and in the second it's just sweet and boring. 

The top image here is what I believe to be the classic recipe, with the egg yolk, documented here. It's not a beautiful drink, but it's an experience!

Bosom Caresser, Mr Boston's simple version

The bottom image is the simpler version in the Mr. Boston Official Bartender's Guide, made of 2:2:1 brandy, madeira, and triple sec, and much too sweet and simple to be taken seriously alongside the other version. 

The old version is made with egg yolk. We don't see a lot of egg yolk recipes these days, but there are plenty of them in the books, often called the Royal something-or-other. For example, there's a Clover Club Cocktail and a Royal Clover Club, the latter being distinguished by the addition of an egg yolk.

Roasted Summer Squash

Roasted Summer Squash

Here's an easy and tasty way to use the ton of zucchini and summer squash that arrive this time of year. 

All you do is cut the squash into serving size pieces, dress with olive oil, salt, and whatever seasonings will go well with the final dinner. Then roast at high temperature until it's ready.

I served it here with roast pork, and it's a great accompaniment to roast meats, but it's also good on its own, or even cold as a picnic dish.  


Running Late on Amtrak

You don't take Amtrak to anyplace a jet can take you if you are in a rush. Even from Boston to NYC, after taking into account the wasted time getting to and in the airports, flying is still usually faster than the train. But if you are on vacation and if your schedule is flexible, then the train can be a great part of an adventure. 

In July of 2017 we took the Lake Shore Limited from Boston to Chicago. For the first time in 12 trips, we missed our connection in Chicago due to lateness. The lateness was not due to any error on Amtrak's part, it was just an unusual combination of the things that can happen when you take a train:

Foodie's Guide to Train Travel

rails to the horizon

Between us, Lorna and I have traveled about 100,000 miles by Amtrak. We have also traveled about 6,400 miles by train in Scotland, England, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and France. Considering myself a seasoned rail traveler, I offer these thoughts on how you can have a happy rail adventure.

These are our long-distance train trips on Amtrak: 

A Foodie Weekend in the Old Port of Portland, ME

Type of Post: 
Best of Show
Wall of Maine Spirits at Maine Beer and Beverage, Portland

People frequently ask me about must-see places for foodies visiting Portland. Most recently, I wrote up this list in an email, and then I thought I should post it here:

If I were going to spend a weekend in Portland, I'd want to be sure to check out:

Dining and Drinking:

  • Becky's Diner - local breakfast joint
  • Gilbert's Chowder House - local lunch joint 
  • Fore Street - fancy dinner 
  • Drifter's Wife - acclaimed hyperlocal dining, if you can get in
  • Silly's - casual and fun near East Bayside
  • Duckfat - trendy dinner 
  • Portland Hunt & Alpine Club - cocktails
  • Thirsty Pig - beer and sausages
  • Novare Res - beer 
  • Central Provisions - cocktails, beer and good food
  • Liquid Riot - noisy distillery with restaurant 
  • Holy Donut - potato donuts, go early 
  • Mount Desert Island Ice Cream - Lorna still raves about the tangerine-tarragon sherbet 
  • Gelato Fiasco is also highly regarded. Not an ice cream guy myself. 


Quiche with Shrimp and Mushrooms

Mushroom-MaineShrimp Quiche

This delicious quiche highlights the little Maine shrimp, with some layers of complexity added by sauteed mushrooms and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in a cheesy quiche-custard.  

The little Maine shrimp are hard to find, but worth the search. I got a pound of them frozen, cleaned and ready to cook at Pinkham's Seafood in Boothbay, Maine. 

Mushrooms add a great note to all manner of crustacean dishes - shrimp, crab, and of course lobster. Mushrooms also feature prominently in Russian cuisine, so in this recipe I bring in a Russian note with a pinch of dill.

For cheese I used the fine Italian Parmigiana-Reggiano for the warmth that it brings. In hot weather I might try a ricotta, but I made this on a rainy, blustery Mother's Day so the king of Italian cheeses was called into service. 

A Feast of Burgundy on French Election Day

Burgundy Dinner

On the day of an exciting election in France, we had our friends Kurt & Debbie over for a feast from Burgundy. 

I love the cuisine of Burgundy, and not just the celebrated wine. When we toured France in 2015, we drove from Lyon in the south to Dijon in the north and back again, through Beaujolais and the Cotes de Nuit to the Cotes d'Or.

We drove past vineyards large and small, with gorgeous old manor-houses and rustic outbuildings and other structures that made no sense to us. Among the vineyards on hills poorly suited for grapes were farms producing beautiful produce.  

Burgundy is known for food of all kinds. The inhabitants of the medieval gray stone buildings of Dijon in the north are fond of cheeses, pork, mushrooms, cream, and of course mustard.

At the southern end, just past Beaujolais, is Lyon, the culinary capital of France. There is a long tradition of courtly fare, but for this feast, I focused on the well-known hearty country fare. 

Beef Bourguignon

We enjoyed: 

Beals Cocktail

Beals Cocktail

This is an interesting and tasty old cocktail with a Scotch base. Don't use a fancy single-malt Scotch here! The bartenders who mixed the Affinity didn't know about single-malt Scotch whiskey in the 1920s.

This is not a strong cocktail, so it's a good one for a party where you can relax and have a few. 

I was long suspicious of Scotch-based cocktails, until I realized that I was not expected to waste my precious Lagavulin 16-year! Now I use Famous Grouse for these old-school Scotch cocktails and it has opened a whole new chapter for me.

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