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Falafel

19 Jan

Well, it certainly has been a while…

Over the last year, I graduated, took (and passed) my boards, and got a job that I love. I’ve had a hard time managing my work vs. home life, but my New Year’s resolution is to spend more “me time”… which, of course, means more cooking.

Nick and I are trying to do more meals that we can make in advance and eat over the course of the week. His Mother got us a great America’s Test Kitchen cookbook that we have been stealing ideas from. I love Greek food, so we decided to try doing make-ahead falafel.

We make a ton in advance, bake them, and then freeze them. Whenever we’re craving them, we pull a bag out of the freezer and just defrost it. They’re pretty easy to make and taste great on a salad or in a sandwich.

What you’ll need:
2-15 oz cans of chickpeas (or one large can), drained
1 white onion
10 tbsp chopped parsley (roughly 2 bunches)
5 garlic cloves
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cayenne
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400.

Using a food processor, blend the chickpeas, the onions, and the seasonings. Add olive oil, and stir until the mixture starts coming together.

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Take a cookie sheet with aluminum foil on it, and spread a little bit of olive oil on it. Form patties using your hands (ours were more like pucks, but we’ve also done ball-shaped ones before). If you find that the patties aren’t staying together well enough, add more olive oil.

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Bake for about 15-20 minutes on each side… they’re ready to flip when the bottom side is brown (otherwise, the patty won’t stick together when you go to flip it).

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Let cool, and then put over a salad or on a pita with some tzatziki sauce.

Limoncello, part 2!

3 Jul

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while… my computer is (temporarily) not working so it’s been hard to post. Expect an onslaught once it’s back!

Anyway, welcome to step two of making limoncello! Assuming you’ve already completed step one, you can now take your lemon booze and make it something delicious (and actually drinkable!).

Step One

Step Three

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This recipe is assuming that you followed my step one, and are left with lemon peels in grain alcohol that has been sitting for about 6 or 7 weeks. Long story short, you’re going to mix this with simple syrup to make it something drinkable. You’ll need a funnel, some bottles, water and sugar.

So we started with a handle (1.75 liters of alcohol), and added the rind of a bunch of lemons, right? We let it sit for a while, until the alcohol was bright yellow and the rind becomes so brittle that it cannot bend anymore, it just snaps. That’s how we know it’s ready!

Let’s start step two making a simple syrup. Note: this amounts are specific to the volume of alcohol we used, if you are using more or less it is important to scale up or down, respectively. Heat 8 cups of water in large pot until it is just about at a boil. At this point, turn the heat off, and add 5 cups of sugar. Stir until dissolved. Let cool so you can handle it.

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(Not a very interesting picture, I know)

As you’re waiting for the water to cool, take a minute and sanitize your bottles and funnel. We have a sanitation powder we mix with hot water that Nick uses in brewing, so I just used some of that. I didn’t know if our funnel could stand boiling water… but that’s always an option.

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The next step is to get all those rinds out of there – I poured the lemon mix into a large bowl using a colander to remove as many of the big pieces as possible.  Add the sugar water and stir very, very well, until everything is entirely mixed. If your funnel has a filter, that’s great, but if not use a coffee filter in there and filter/funnel the booze into bottles. Some people like to filter it several times… but I am partially too lazy and partially too impatient for that. Warning: this will take longer than expected so be ready to wait for a while! You may need to change/clean the filter out a few times during the process.

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Once the bottles are full, throw them in the freezer and wait for step three!

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Our Final Nights: Galway

29 May

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We left Ring of Kerry with the intention of getting dinner and heading to Galway that evening. We realized that Bunratty Castle (and more importantly, Durty Nellys) was on the way. For those of you who don’t know – Durtys is a bar in Boston, and Mike Barrett (guy who plays at the pig -where Nick and I met) plays there, too. We figured we’d head in to pay a homage to Boston, just in time to find out that they stop serving dinner at 10 (it was 10:15). We sojourned on to Galway, keeping a lookout for any open restaurant – nada. Nothing. Zip.

We basically tore each other’s heads off all the way to Galway (two MORE hours of driving????) and made it to a B&B that we had booked ahead of time (to avoid a night like Thurles from happening again). I eagerly tore into a bag of cookies in the room, and finally took a second to look around – this place was incredible. It was technically in Salthill, which is known to the locals (apparently, so we heard) as the “Gold Coast of Galway.” The room was gigantic, with a huge, plush California King sized bed… oh, and a second bed in the corner. The bathroom rivaled the one at Graceland, and the carpet was so plush I thought I was walking on marshmallows. Our windows looked out over the bay… and I’m sure I would have noticed more, if I hadn’t immediately sprawled out on top of the bed and fell asleep.

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The next morning we woke up to the sweetest woman cooking food – we got in after she had already fallen asleep, and she wanted to know how our trip was. We wanted to say “please, we haven’t eaten in 12 hours, we are about to knock you over to get at some yogurt. Try me after breakfast,” but we were able to muster polite conversation – for about a minute. Toast came and I shoved a piece in my mouth as fast as I possibly could – no regrets.

We spent our time in Galway relaxing. We had such a crazy week that we wanted our last few days to just be simple and easy. We explored the city, including Eyre Square and Church Street. It finally rained for real, so we escaped the weather in a little bar with some beer (and my first Irish Coffee).

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We did a lot of shopping while we were there – there was a pretty touristy open air market that I got some jewelry from, and Nick finally bought a sweater.

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We explored the Latin Quarter, the Spanish Arch, and Nick FINALLY got his Shepherd’s Pie. FINALLY I DON’T HAVE TO HEAR ABOUT IT ANY MORE.

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I think 1 week is a good limit of vacation. I think after that you tend to… get sick… of people.

Anyway, we spent the next evening in Galway, too. We went in search of good music, but we found out that it was the football finals (disclaimer: not a sports fan), so a lot of bars were showing that instead of live entertainment. Stupid.

We did find a wonderful place to drink and listen, and we did just that. ~15 Guinness and 5 whiskey gingers later, we had to leave and head back to our final night in Ireland. After probably the scariest cab ride of my life (I kept forgetting that they drive on the left side of the road…), we finally made it home.

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We were leaving the next morning, but not after Nick got his last full Irish (and I fell in love with smoked salmon). We packed up, took some Excedrin, and dragged our hungover butts to the airport. It was a very, very, very bittersweet moment – especially once we realized that once you pass through security and customs, there were no bars in the airport! We grabbed a little bottom on wine and quickly chugged it before our flight – nothing like a little hair of the dog to set you straight. It was the perfect way to leave Ireland – sort of drunk, a little hungry, and ready to watch Dallas Buyer’s Club on the plane.

 

Northern Ireland

22 May

Today has been an absolute whirlwind of a day – we woke up at the castle, had a quick breakfast (I had my first taste of smoked salmon – delicious), packed up, and headed towards Northern Ireland.

We set out for what was suposed to be a three hour drive, but it ended up taking much much longer. As we drove, the scenery around us changed… which means I had to get out of the car multiple times to take pictures. Here’s a valley between Killeter Forest and the Blue Stack Moutains that I just absolutely had to get out of the car to stare at.

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We eventually made it to Northern Ireland and somehow managed to find ourselves just around the corner from Bushmills Distillery (so Nick says, I still think he planned the whole thing). The sky opened up and it started pouring as soon as we got to the distillery, so we took it as a sign from the Irish gods that we had to go in and at least have a look around.

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Well, we got in just a few minutes before a tour began (and were able to get in with old student ids for a reduced price, awesome!) and went on to explore the distillery (and taste some whiskey). Big surprise, but I still don’t love straight whiskey. I let Nick finish my glass, and we moved on to our next Northern stop.

We went to Giant’s Causeway, which is a cool rock formation formed by volcanic activity/lava flows. It’s a series of octagonal shaped rocks that look like steps right out of the water. There’s a great story about an old giant who created the causeway, but frankly I don’t have the attention span for that. Google it if you’re interested. We hiked all around the causeway, until we found an area where the path abruptly ended because rock slides destroyed it from going further… that was enough adventure for me. The views on the hike back were absolutely stunning; I could have stared at the cliffs/causeway/ocean view for the rest of the week here – but we had to get moving on, so I couldn’t.

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Our next stop was the rope bridge on the causeway, but as we drove between the two sites Nick spotted something interesting (and adorable) in the road. He found a newborn lamb in the road! It was so tiny and helpless, bleating out to it’s parents who were safely inside of a pen. When we realized how young it was (the umbilical cord was still hanging there and everything,) Nick insisted on doing the nice thing and trying to save it. Well, he corralled it up, and it tried suckling on his knee… once he was able to redirect it, he was able to lift it back into it’s enclosure to be back with it’s family. They bleated like crazy, and we got out of there fast.

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The rope bridge was closed when we got to it. It used to be used by fishermen who wanted to get off the mainland and to one of the islands to fish. We hiked down to it anyway, and got a chance to see more of Ireland’s impressive coast.

After the rope bridge, we explored around Northern Ireland and headed down towards Dublin. We had mentioned to each other that we were hungry at around 6 when we were on the causeway, and we started to look for a restaurant around 7 when we started our drive south – we probably passed about 50 places that were either closed, boarded up, or obvious fronts for strip clubs. At about 8:30 we finally found one open restaurant, a crappy hole in the wall Chinese place. While we debated the pros and cons of eating Irish Chinese food, our hunger pains forced us into the 5’x5’ store front. Several minutes later, we happily ate sweet and sour chicken served with french fries and discussed that we should never, ever go 12 hours without eating a meal again.

Marathon Monday

21 Apr

Hey guys,

No food post today. Just wanted to wish everyone a happy marathon. I’ll be
in the medical tents again this year – I hope I don’t see any of you!!!!!

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Graduation Trip!!

10 Mar

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I went up to Boston this weekend and Nick made me a delicious duck dinner over a sweet citrus salad… with a side of fried goat cheese.

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We had an enjoyable dinner together over which he gave me my graduation present – we’re going to Ireland for 10 days!!!! I am so excited. We’re going in mid-May, a few weeks after graduation.

Get ready for some Irish recipes as I mentally prepare for the trip!