Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Sips & Nibbles

I am back again with a special Friday of Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I briefly highlight some interesting wine and food items that I have encountered recently.
1)  In a few weeks, chef-owner Jeff Fournier of 51 Lincoln restaurant in the Newton Highlands, will climb a ladder, fill a basket with fresh greens, herbs, tomatoes and berries, lower it to his kitchen door on a pulley, and keep on cooking.  With advice from experts at Boston’s last working farm (Allendale Farm), Jeff will soon be fulfilling his locavore fantasies. Growing produce steps away from the kitchen means peak freshness, savings, and no carbon footprint. Irrigated beds and a shade trellis for the 1,800 sq ft roof garden is under construction, and Jeff is hoping that his budget can support a small greenhouse for seedlings.

51 Lincoln also has begun serving weekday lunch, from 11:30am-2pm on Monday to Friday. Salads (3), sandwiches (5), pastas (4) and entrees like Roast Pork Tacos and Salmon over Quinoa are priced from $7 to $16.

During the month of May, they will offer 26 different recipes for soft shell crab during 26 nights of dinners (closed Sundays). You'll find dishes ranging from Cajun (on a Po’ Boy with BBQ Collards) to Chinese (tempura’d with sticky rice and mirin braised bok choy) to Calabrian (fra diavolo with homemade tagliatelle). Market prices.

2) 62 Restaurant & Wine Bar does not usually serve brunch but once a year Chef Antonio Bettencourt opens for brunch in honor of his first inspiration to enter the culinary arts, his mother. The special brunch is served à la carte with three courses to choose from. Guests can enjoy Chef Bettencourt’s take on brunch classics such as: Eggs Benedict with poached eggs, pancetta, brioche and hollandaise ($15.00) and Brioche French Toast with house-made brioche and vanilla roasted apples ($13.00). Diners can also make a distinct departure from the brunch norm and dine on delights such as: Hache featuring wild mushrooms, potatoes, pancetta and black truffle with poached eggs & brioche ($14.00) or Sformato with Parmigiano, haricots verts, roasted hazelnut vinaigrette & baby field greens ($9.00).

Pair your selections with from-scratch cocktails from 62’s Mixologist Jeremy Bogert featuring items such as: Nectar of the Gods made with Prosecco, fresh mint and lime, the 62 Sangria made with seasonal fresh fruit, or enjoy an Elderflower Mimosa or a classic Kir Royale all for $10.00 each.

Mother’s Day Brunch will be served on Sunday, May 8th, from 11am-3pm, reservations are required and can be made by calling 978-744-0062.  The restaurant will also be open for dinner on Mother’s Day from 5pm-9pm with Cocktails until 10pm.

3) The Beehive in Boston’s South End calls you south of the border on Thursday, May 5th, as they celebrate Cinco de Mayo with their annual event featuring live music and food & cocktail specials. Kick the night off with dinner as you listen to exciting Jazz-infused Mexican music by Aquas-Aquas with Rafael Alcala. Keep the night going with a special performance by a nine piece Mariachi band, Mariachi International from 10pm-2am. Mexican appetizers, entrées, desserts and cocktail specials will be served all night.

Fresh Guacamole, Charred Tomatillos, Corn Chips $11
Shrimp & Chorizo Quesadilla, Salsa Verde $12

Mexican “Fall Off the Bone” Roast Pork, Warm Tortillas, Rice & Beans $20
Grilled Mahi Mahi Tacos, Slaw, Salsa, Mexican Corn on the Cob $20

Mexican Chocolate Coconut Flan $8

Classic Patron Margarita $10.50
Patron Strawberry Margarita $10.50
Patron Red Sangria Mexicana $10.50

The Beehive is open from 5pm-2am.  There is no cover charge and dinner reservations are highly recommended by calling 617-423-0069. Sombreros welcome!

4) Butter Café and Bakery located in Walpole, will be celebrating Easter this year by giving its customers a free order of homemade marshmallow peeps with every order placed for the upcoming holiday. Customers merely need to mention that they’d like their free peeps when placing their custom order by calling 508-668-2123. This special is available now until April 23rd (orders must be placed on or before 4/23/2011). 

Recipe: Butter Café and Bakery Homemade Peeps (Makes about a pound)

Ingredients:3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup cold water
3 envelopes plain gelatin
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of Salt
Colored Granulated Sugar

--Prepare a 9 x 13 x 2 inch pan by covering the pan lightly with shortening.
--Place a half a cup of cold water in a bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the water and reserve.
--Put the corn syrup, sugar, salt and a half cup of water in a heavy medium size pan on low heat. Stir mixture until the sugar is dissolved and it starts to bubble.
--Cover it for about 3 to 4 minutes to make sure that the sugar crystals on the sides of the saucepan melt. Uncover and turn up the heat to medium high heat and insert a candy thermometer into the mixture.
--Boil the syrup without stirring. When the temperature reaches 240 degrees take off the heat.
--Pour the syrup into the gelatin mixture. After all the syrup has been added, turn the mixer to high and beat it for 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture is really white. Now add the Vanilla.
--Pour the mixture into the pan and smooth it out. Let it sit at room temperature uncovered overnight.
--The next day, sift the colored granulated sugar onto a cutting board and turn the pan over in order to remove you’re soon to be Peeps. Tap the stiffened Marshmallow out of the pan and remove.
--Use your favorite “animal –like” cookie cutter and shape your peeps. Dip the cut sides of each strip into sugar to coat then cut each little bit. Shake to get rid of the extra sugar.

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