Desserts

J Squared: Valentine's Day For Lovers And Loners Alike

Thursday, February 9, 2012
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February 9, 2012 – We can only imagine, that ever since the high middle ages - when Geoffrey Chaucer first turned the feast of an obscure 3rd century Saint into a celebration of romantic love - that Valentine's Day has had its advocates and its detractors: Lovers - awash with romantic notions - have perhaps always looked forward to Feb 14 with anticipation. And maybe others – loners, independents and skeptics - have long rolled their collective eyes at all the fuss. Well these days, Valentines Day – like so many holidays – comes with no shortage of stuff to buy, themed menus and special events - for every possible demographic. And in the end, can you really argue with a mid-winter excuse to get out of the house on a weeknight? So here are some Valentine's Day ideas for all you lovers – and you loners – out there from our resident insiders, J Squared - Jan Saragoni and Jared Bowen.
Dining 

El Centro/South End (Shawmut Ave)
Cozy Mexican bistro with a real, live Mexican chef. Chef Alan Rodriguez’s Valentines Day menu features Empanadas Rellenas de Queso con Pollo (cheese empanadas stuffed with chicken and vegetables); Queso Fundido con Rajas de Chile Verde (melted cheese served with roast pepper, marinated pork or vegetables); Salmon Ranchero with asparagus and oven baked potatoes with a medium spicy sauce. Signature deserts: Chocolate Flan and Arroz con Leche (rice pudding). Delicious Sangria. All entrées priced between $10 & $20.

Area Four/Technology Square, Cambridge
“Misery Loves Company” menu. Dates are welcome this Valentine’s Day, but the real fun is for the singles. Groups of any size welcome to enjoy the Bloody Heart Pizza (beef steak tomato hearts, carmelized onions, house-made mozzarella, $15 & $23.50) ) Breakup Banana Split (homemade chocolate & vanilla ice cream, brandied cherries and chocolate, marshmallow and salted caramel sauces, $10 per person). And for those who want to drown their sorrows, cocktails by the pitcher.

Lala Rokh/Beacon Hill
Tucked away in Beacon Hill, Persian-themed Lala Rokh takes its name from an epic romance by the 19th century poet Thomas Moore, which tells the story of a beautiful young princess on a journey of love and discovery. Valentine’s Day features a four-course prix fixe menu ($48/person) of flavorful staples like Borani-e Garch (mushrooms over grilled, yogurt-drizzled cornbread), Baghla Pollo (braised lamb shank in tomato saffron sauce and rice spiced with fresh dill & fava beans) and Khoresht-e Bademjan (slow-cooked beef with roasted baby eggplant and saffron-seared tomatoes). An a la carte menu is also available.

Lumiere/Newton
Valentines Night 2012 first- course menu features Maine Lobster Chowder, Fried Wellfleet Oysters & Vermont Veal Tartare. Main course includes Sweet Potato & Ricotta Ravioli, Long Island Duck Breast and Alaskan Black Cod. Desert Rose Champagne Sorbet & Sauterne-poached Dried Apricot Tart. $75 per person, optional $25 wine pairing.

Dumpling Café/Chinatown (Bargain!)
Yummy Chinese classics including General Gau’s Chicken, Chicken with Broccoli and Tofu with Veggies. Any two entrees, dumplings and tean included for $20.95.

Trade
540 Atlantic Avenue — Parking is free with validation
Try the Grilled squid and fried tentacles with Borlotti beans and vinegar peppers and the baked rigatoni with spicy lamb ragu and provolone.

El Centro
472 Shawmut Avenue in the South End
$40 3-course prix fixe menu including a glass of wine
1st Course: Melted Cheese with pepper, pork or vegetables or Cheese Empanadas stuffed with chicken or vegetables
2nd Course: Skirt Steak, 3 Cheese Chicken Breast or Salmon
3rd Course: Chocolate cake, Mexican Caramel Sticks or Rice Pudding

Asana and M Bar at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Valentine’s Day Delights
"Experience an evening of indulgence this Valentine’s Day at Four-Star Asana restaurant. Delight in a decadent four-course dinner menu specially created by Asana’s culinary team available from Saturday, February 11, 2012 through Tuesday, February 14, 2012. Menu is USD75 per person and an additional USD55 for champagne and wine pairings. Menu attached. And toast to love at M Bar & Lounge where Executive Pastry Chef Nelson Paz has created an assortment of tantalizing house-made chocolate truffles to enjoy complimentary with the purchase of two glasses of Veuve Clicquot Rose available for USD50."
Events And Music  

Sex at the Zoo Lecture
Franklin Park Zoo Presents an Evening on the Private Lives of Animals.
With a nod to Valentines Day, the Franklin Park Zoo takes a peek into the private lives of animals – do they find each other attractive? Are their mating rituals between humans and animals similar in any way? What can the techniques that animals use to attract mates teach us about romance? This adults- only affair is presented by Dr. Rory Browne with insights into the pros and con of of being in a relationship vs. staying single in the animal kingdom. Lecture takes place in the Tropical Forest Pavillion, home to gorillas, ring-tailed lemurs and of course a giant anteater. Friday, Feb.10 6:00 –8:30. $20 single ticket, $35 pair. Wines by Greenvale Vineyards.

Boston Camerata – the eminent early music ensemble, performs “The Game of Love” (“Jeu d’Amour”)
Artistic Director Anne Azema is joined by intrumentalist Shira Kammen, Tom Zajac and singers Jane Sheldon and Deborah Moore in a special vocal performance emphasizing the “lighter and lustier” side of the Middle Ages (who knew?) with songs dealing with springtime, youth, erotic intrigue as celebrated in village revels, courtly chambers and pre-Internet trysting places. First Lutheran Church, Berkley Street, Boston, Sunday Feb. 12 at 8:00 p.m.

Rebecca Parris Trio/”In Love with Parris” Valentine’s Concert
Rare Boston performance with her long time trio! A romantic evening of impeccable vocal jazz from a beloved local icon of the genre. One Show Only, Saturday Feb.11, 8 pm, Arlington Regent Theater. Tickets $18 - $28.

A.R.T. Ever After Gala
Monday, February 13, 2012
"Princes and Princesses, proclaim your love for the A.R.T. with the 2nd Annual Valentine's Gala, an enchanted fairytale evening of love potions and Grimm notions. Featuring a unique cabaret performance by Broadway composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz, with Jared Bowen of WGBH as emcee, and a special A.R.T. Angel Award to longtime A.R.T. friend and community volunteer Joan Parker. With a darkly romantic fairy tale theme, A.R.T. Ever After promises to be the social event of the winter. The Castle will be transformed into a wooded forest where guests will mingle with story book characters before enjoying a delicious feast."

Venetian Valentine
Tuesday, February 14, 2012, 6:30-9:30 PM
"A Venetian-inspired Valentine at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Enjoy live music and good conversation over artfully-designed small plates, cocktails and dessert. And then explore the Gardner Museum's magnificent new wing and historic galleries, including the restored Tapestry Room and the rarely open Little Salon, with its putti-adorned mirror and courtship tapestries." $225 per couple/$125 per individual; Members: $150/$85

Green Eyes
Playing at the Ames Hotel through February 26th
"Straight from its sold-out run in New York City, Company One is proud to present Travis Chamberlain's highly acclaimed site-specific production of Tennessee Williams' GREEN EYES at The Ames Hotel. Written in 1970 but unpublished for almost 40 years, this "lost" erotic thriller graphically reveals the impact of war through the sexual fantasies of a newlywed couple honeymooning in New Orleans. He's a soldier, traumatized by his participation in the war; she's a ravenous woman determined to satisfy the darkest recesses of her most deviant desires. Starring the acclaimed NYC actress Erin Markey"a kittenish vixen whose sexual pliancy hides an iron will" (The New York Times)--GREEN EYES transforms a honeymoon suite into a psychosexual battleground where desire and violence blur and become indistinguishable. With only 25 seats available per show, this is an exclusive theatrical event you do not want to miss!"

Broadway's Rachel York and Brent Barrett in Isn't It Romantic?
Sunday, February 19th, 1pm at Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston
Co-stars in the West End production of "Kiss Me Kate" (familiar to PBS audiences as it was filmed for Great Performances), this dynamic pair re-unite for a concert at Waltham's Reagle Theatre.

Project Dream Dress
Saturday, March 3 at 1010 Harrison Avenue in Boston 10-2
Military brides-to-be can choose from more than 100 designer gowns (at no cost to them) at a Project Dream Dress event held at the Atrium at Morgan Memorial Goodwill.
Lasell College has contributed the couture gowns which were donated by an exclusive and anonymous design house for Lasell's fashion students to study. They're valued at between $1,000-$8,000. Lasell fashion students will serve as stylists and provide free tailoring and Zoots will provide complimentary dry cleaning services. Brides must register in advance at bridesacrossamerica.com

Taste of WGBH: Wines of Italy

Wednesday, January 4, 2012
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Jan. 20, 2012

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WGBH celebrates the regions of Tuscany, Lombardy, and Puglia with an opportunity to meet winemakers and sample their wines! (Floris M. Oosterveld/Flickr)


Thanks to all our members and guests who braved the cold to join us for a taste of Italy's bounty!

Of course, Italy is a source of inspiration at WGBH for its beautiful art, its rich musical heritage and the delicious culinary traditions as well. Explore WGBH.org to learn more about Italy's incredible culture. Here are a few pages to get you started.

From the archives of The French Chef

sandwich

Foccacia for Dessert? Executive chef Craig Kominiak at Ecce Panis Bakery in New York City visits Julia Child in her kitchen. Kominiak bakes focaccia, testing the elasticity of the dough by stretching it to see the "window." He creates a sandwich with the baked focaccia. Baked with fruit and topped with sugar, focaccia can be also used as a dessert or a breakfast item.


Chocolate Napoleon & Fettucini Ice Cream Sandwich Pastry chef Gale Gand of Brasserie T in Northfield, Ill. creates a towering chocolate napoleon and a fettuccine ice cream sandwich. Gand demonstrates how to make chocolate filo dough, poached pears, cranberry compote, whipped cream with ginger, and the mocha granache for the napoleon. He creates a filo dough "fettuccine" for the ice cream sandwich with raspberries and a fresh fruit kabob.

If the wines and recipes inspire you, be sure you have music to cook Italian by! Trio Settecento offers up pieces by Corelli and Veracini, among other early classics. If the kids are helping in the kitchen, let violinist Gil Shaham talk in detail about Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

We hope you enjoyed the event. Be sure to consult the list below if you can't recall the name of the region or the wine you enjoyed most. If you have some feedback for the organizers of Taste of WGBH, please leave us a comment!

“ I am certain that the good Lord never intended grapes to be made into grape jelly.”
—Fiorello La Guardia
 

 

 

This event sold out! Be sure to get your tickets now for Wine & Chocolate in February!

Thanksgiving Saturday

Sunday, November 13, 2011
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Thanksgiving Saturday
Saturday, Nov. 19, WGBH 2

Days before the traditional feast, WGBH 2 presents a day of programming that will help you create a delicious Thanksgiving. Guiding you from defrosting to dessert, culinary experts cover the whole table: rolls, stuffing, mashed potatoes, squash, gravy, the perfect pumpkin pie and, of course, turkey.

11:30am: Sara’s Weeknight Meals: Thanksgiving 101
How to buy, defrost, brine, and roast a turkey. Also, common Thanksgiving dinner mistakes; a one-size-fits-all stuffing; a wine-infused gravy; and how to keep and reheat mashed potatoes.

12:30pm: America's Test Kitchen: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving
Our roast turkey technique guarantees moist, flavorful meat and bronzed skin — a true holiday table centerpiece. Finish the meal with a slice of our perfect pumpkin pie.

2:30pm: America's Test Kitchen: Thanksgiving Turkey
We read up on American cookery to rescue a rare bird from the brink of extinction: the holiday turkey that has it all. Along the way, we share some pointers about stuffing.

3pm: Cook's Country: Fail-Safe Thanksgiving
An old-fashioned roast turkey with gravy, garlic mashed potatoes, and dinner rolls are prepared.

3:30pm: Cook's Country: Autumn Desserts
Bridget reveals the secrets to the ultimate apple dumplings. Chris makes old-fashioned pecan pie.

4pm: Heirloom Meals’ Thanksgiving Special
Family recipes are shared. Included: cranberry-stuffed acorn squash; Brazilian cheese rolls; chipotle-spiced pumpkin pie; roast turkey; and wine recommendations for a Thanksgiving table. Host: Carole Murko.

Jennifer 8. Lee: Author of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles

Thursday, April 7, 2011
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Stained Glass Cookies By Annie Copps

Monday, December 20, 2010
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If we get a solid snowstorm in December, then chances are, my friends get holiday cookies from me, so I am always stocked with butter, eggs, and sugar and I am always on the hunt for a special baked treat to prepare.

Since I was a child, stained glass cookies were always fascinating to me—you know, the cookies that hang from windows or holidays trees, the ones with the translucent, colorful center that looks like a stained glass window? They are so beautiful, I assumed they were for experts—turns out they're easier than you'd think.

Begin with a basic sugar dough of butter, sugar, a touch of molasses, vanilla extract and eggs. Roll out the dough and with cookie cutters cut the dough into stars, snowflakes, or diamonds—whatever you like, then using a smaller cookie cutter or a knife, cut shapes into centers of cookies. Fill the space with a crushed hard candy and cut a hole at the top of the cookie, so you can hang them after they bake. Pop them in the oven and the candy melts for a beautiful stained glass effect. I hope you'll add these to your holiday cookie repertoire.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Start to Finish Time: 60 minutes
Yield: 3 to 4 dozen

Ingredients
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
20 hard candies (such as Jolly Ranchers or LifeSavers), preferably in several flavors

Directions
Heat oven to 375°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (aluminum foil may be used, but parchment paper works better with these cookies).

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add molasses and vanilla extract, mixing until incorporated.

Add egg and mix until light and smooth, about 1 minute on medium speed. Sift flour, salt, and baking powder over mixture; then, using a rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into mixture. Use electric mixer to blend just until flour is incorporated. Divide dough in half and flatten into two disks.

Wrap one disk in waxed paper and refrigerate while you work with the other disk. (Dough may be made up to this point and refrigerated up to 2 days.)

Place disk between two large sheets of waxed paper and roll to 1/4-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut dough into desired shapes, such as stars, snowflakes, diamonds, or circles.

Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheets, about 1/2 inch apart. Using a smaller cookie cutter or a knife, cut shapes into centers of cookies, reserving these center bits to add into extra dough. (You may also roll dough into long, thin ropes to make shapes. Do this on the baking sheets so you don't have to transfer the dough.)

Remove any wrappers on candies and separate them by color into plastic bags. Using a mallet or the side of a rolling pin, crush candies. (Note: If you use a wooden rolling pin, the candies may dent the wood.) Use a spoon to sprinkle the crushed candy into the hollowed-out centers of the cookies, filling to the edges. You can mix colors for a mottled effect.

If cookies will be hung as ornaments or decorations, poke a small hole in the top of each cookie before baking. (Once cookies have cooled, thread string or festive ribbons through holes.)

Bake 9 to 10 minutes. The candy should be melted and bubbling and the cookies just barely beginning to brown and firm to the touch. Remove baking sheets from oven and place on wire racks to cool.

Allow cookies to cool on pans at least 10 minutes; otherwise, the candy centers may separate from the dough. When cookies are completely cooled, remove and store in an airtight container.

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