Wednesday, June 19, 2013

puritan & company

To continue our support of the Gilson family, T & I went to Puritan & Company on Saturday night. Opening in 2012 in Inman Square of Cambridge, Puritan & Company has already been nominated for a James Beard award for Best New Restaurant. Will Gilson creates an ever-changing menu with local & seasonal ingredients, resulting in deliciously clean dishes being swept out of the kitchen. On our way to dinner, I checked their website to peruse the menu and found Marc Sheehan, of Brasstacks, was the sous chef! Shocked, we stepped on the gas pedal with a sense of urgency and hustled to our reservation. With high expectations we were a bit nervous, but I can honestly say that both T & I loved each and every dish we had, and Puritan & Company has shot up to being somewhere in our top 2 favorite spots (and we already have made another reservation for July).


Having eaten at Gilson's family's Herb Lyceum the evening before, we couldn't help but draw parallels between the two spots. With the cool neutral colors with the trim of white, cabinets, and rustic tables, we felt as though we were visiting a friend in their old study of their old home. A warmth radiated in every corner of this little gem. With many small tables, 7 seats at a prep station near the kitchen, and one long table where multiple groups were placed (like the evening prior at the Herb Lyceum), there was a constant buzz of energy.

T started with one of their many beers on tap and was fascinated by the glass which looked just like a beer can.

Although we were given (two) servings of the rolls, we also ordered the gougeres with rosemary and a clothbound cheddar mornay, because I can't say no to cheese and pastry dough.

We started with the swordfish pastrami. Yes, swordfish pastrami. It was thinly sliced and wrapped around the clean components including pumpernickel, mustard, and pickles. And is that samphire I spy, again?

Next T had ordered the lamb belly with eggplant, orange, and moxie. I was raised not eating veal, lamb, or any other baby animal, and I'm sorry, Mom, but I have to admit that this was delicious. Crispy on top and tender on the inside, lean, and packed with flavor, this is a dish I could actually order myself...and not really feel too badly about it.

To start I ordered the local vegetables, which I imaged to be some sort of a roasted vegetable dish with potatoes, carrots, and hearty veggies, but was pleasantly surprised to see a local salad of sunchokes, peas, pickled carrots, farmer's cheese and a delicious slew of mystery veggies. I hate salads, and I could probably eat this every day it was the perfect combination of veggies.

The moment I saw chicken on the menu, I obviously had to give it a shot, since my rule is if a restaurant has chicken on the menu, it better be the best chicken I've ever had and a chicken that I couldn't make myself at home. Yep, this was my favorite chicken I've encountered. I love this chicken, and I've had a lot of chicken. A dish full of free-range chicken, fingerlings, and a few browned brussel sprouts, I was in heaven. With crisp skin, succulent chicken, and the best fingerlings I've ever had, I was a happy customer.


T went with a massive portion of wagyu steak with pommes ana, a browned brussel sprout, delicately caramelized carrots, and an egg sauce. Between happy "oh man"s, I was able to sneak a carrot, a piece of steak, and a bit of the potatoes. Everything was prepared perfectly, and T was especially impressed with the potatoes which he compared to a crisped hashbrown.

Pleasantly full we wound down with some coffee and tea. Sadly there was no mint tea of the menu (my favorite after-dinner flavor), so I settled with a nutty green, which was still nice.

At this point we were full, but never too full for dessert. We ordered a dessert which I can't remember the specifics of (sorry, but true) but it was lemon curd with bites of pistachio and earthly flowery flavors along with an ice of sorts. Nevertheless, I whole-heartedly recommend this light refreshing palate-cleansing finale. With the texture and taste of the lemon reminiscent of a key lime pie (despite the fact that it looks like deviled-egg fillings), we weren't pushed over the too-full-level, and were able to leave happy as clams with stomachs full of delicious combinations. 

Puritan & Company on Urbanspoon
Pin It Now!

Monday, June 17, 2013

the herb lyceum

Friday evening we visited the Gilson's Herb Lyceum in Groton for a relaxing evening.  Arriving with our own wine selections at 7:15pm, we enjoyed a nice glass of wine under the sweeping branches of the hickory tree while basking in the beautiful weather.

With dinners offered on only Friday & Saturday, reservations are required for the 6 course meal that began at 7:45pm. Within the large barn sit 2 medium tables and 1 long table where strangers meet for great food, good foodie conversation & a memorable experience. With all locally-sourced ingredients (mostly from on-site when possible) and thoughtfully crafted dishes, this experience is a real steal at only $60 per person, despite the fact that the whole experience lasted 3.5 hours. 

We started with a delicious succotash...

followed by grilled proscuitto wrapped asparagus, farm egg, tallegio and thyme mornay. This may have been T's favorite, it was one of mine mostly due to the mornay sauce mmmm.

Third was the chilled sugar snap pea and mint soup with tomato concasse, chili oil and creme fraiche. Another of T's favorites, this was a bit too cucumber-y for me, but was still deliciously light and refreshing, and the hint of chili oil was a perfect contrast.

Our main dish was the best of all, perfectly sized herb rubbed hanger steak with pommes duchesse, baby carrots, and a sauce choron. Unbelievably delicious and tender.  The potatoes were T & my favorite bit, they were pretty much twice-baked mashed potatoes piped out into the pretty shape. Everything was perfect with this dish.

Our cheese course was a blue perfectly paired with a few slices of green onion & a house tomato.

We finished with a strawberry gelato, short cake cookie, fresh cream, and some crumbles that tasted just like gingerbread, but turned out to be lavender cookie crumble.

As the night dwindled and the stars came up, we headed home full, happy, and looking into the menu for July. With dinners being offered Fridays and Saturdays year-round, with a monthly-changing menu, we are definitely looking forward to trying another evening, and bringing along some friends to share in the experience.
Pin It Now!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

simple weekend recap: edition 28

The weekend began early with the first tiny strawberry of our garden...

...followed by my first shot of a a tortilla espanola (after being inspired by Toro's), which I can write more about this week.

Friday night T, a friend & I tried out a new experience (to us) in Groton at the Gilson's Herb Lyceum (write-up tomorrow)...

...and Saturday T & I continued our Gilson family support by trying Puritan & Company (finally), and being amazed by the fact that after one quick try this new hot spot has shot to our top two favorite restaurants (more Wednesday).

Sunday (happy father's day!) T & I tried our hands at Pasta making with the ladies of Nella Pasta at a Formaggio Kitchen class...

 ...which turns out is easier than I thought and was delicious!


We even walked away with leftovers for lunch and two more dough balls for tomorrow night's dinner at home!

Sunday night dinner was a quick onion-cornflake chicken (one of our favorites) with a wild rice pilaf & a quick sautee of brussel sprouts and pancetta before the premiere of True Blood with a large cup of tea to prepare for the week ahead!

Pin It Now!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

roasted potatoes with leeks

A perfectly elegant side dish for an entertaining dinner, or a healthy mayo-free version of a BBQ potato salad dish, these roasted potatoes get an extra lift from the light onion-y flavor of the leeks.

Ingredients (for 2 large sides or 4 smaller portions):
4 small potatoes, cubed into 1/8ths
1 leek stalk, diced into small rings
1 tbs olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Place potatoes and leek bits into a pan and drizzle with olive oil before sprinkling with a dusting of salt & pepper. Mix to coat thoroughly.

2. Bake for 45 minutes, until softened, crisped, and browned.

That's it! Two easy steps! Tons of flavor, I promise, just give it a shot and you'll never make home fries again, soon you'll be addicted to these little bundles of joy just like I am!
Pin It Now!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

za'atar chicken baked over peppers

I recently found the spice blend za'atar and now I want to sprinkle it over everything I eat...well, maybe not everything, but a bunch! You can find the blend in some specialty shops, online, or you can make your own (recipe). This recipe uses corn flakes as a crispy shell, one of my favorite coatings, and peppers as a base of the baking to infuse the sweet and spicy flavors into the chicken.

Ingredients (3 dinner servings):
1.5 cups greek yogurt
2 tbs za'atar
salt & pepper to taste
1 lb organic chicken breast, sliced
2 red peppers, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
2 cups corn flakes, crushed 
3 tbs butter, melted

1. Add greek yogurt, za'atar, salt, pepper, and sliced chicken breast to a large ziploc. Shake and mix, let marinate in fridge for 30 minutes. *Don't be alarmed when your chicken looks an icky-green color*

2. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking pan with the sliced peppers.


3. Remove chicken from the fridge, wipe of extra greek yogurt and dunk in the corn flakes before laying over pieces of peppers.


4. Drizzle melted butter over the chicken and bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until crisped on the top and fully cooked.
Pin It Now!