Look at this wonder woman
In my adulthood, my relationship with my mom has become so multifaceted. As a child, she’s the caretaker I loved unconditionally who from time to time would slap a bandage and the dreaded antiseptic spray on any post-wipe out boo-boos. As an adult (semi-adult anyway), she’s become a best friend, confidant and one of the quickest and cleanest darn sous chefs a daughter could ask for.
Some adoptees go searching for answers from the country they came from, looking to find faces that look like their own. While there is nothing wrong with wanting that, I have my twin sister so we can just cross that off the list. I feel so wholly loved and supported in my own family, there are no questions that need to be answered. I am this wonderful woman’s daughter and I am so proud to be the Irish-Italian-German-Croatian mutt that I am.
This past mother’s day, the younger generation of my extended clan prepared a brunch feast for our moms and grandma. One contribution I’d like to share is a really quick and easy apricot turnover.
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar (you can use powdered, but I had granulated handy)
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
1/2 cup Apricot jam
2 tbs jam plus 1 tbs water for glaze
Preheat oven to 400.
In a small bowl, stir together the cream cheese and the sugar and set aside.
Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Cut each sheet into 6 equal sized squares.
Add 1 tablespoon sweetened cream cheese and 1 tablespoon of jam towards one corner of the squares, about 1/3 inch from the edge — maybe a little more after you’ve seen the filling explosion in the picture above.
To seal the sides, brush a small amount of water on the edges and fold over the puff pastry into a triangle. Use a fork to seal the edges and transfer to two baking sheets (6 turnovers to a baking sheet) that have been lined parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together 2 Tbsp jam and 1 Tbsp water. Brush the glaze onto the turnovers.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Finished apricot turnovers
The past month has been filled to the brim with elbow grease and chronic exhaustion. Mr. E and I have made significant progress on his beautiful South Shore home, which I’m happy to report is now ready to be sold. Bring it real estate market!
Now that some major to do’s have been checked off the list, I’ve found myself back in Back Bay trying to hangout more in our new temporary home. With Spring in full swing now, or at least that’s what I’m trying to convince myself with the recent temperature spike, Mr. E and I have been taking advantage of the Public Garden and have been on a few nightly strolls.
Last night, in the midst of a 4 hour long stroll, we headed to an oldie but a goodie.
Beautiful Seaport (courtesy of Mr. E)
Shocked by how fake the background looks. We were there, scout’s honor!
We have arrived. WOOF!
About to get my eat on
Unsweetened iced tea with extra lemon — one of the best flavors of summertime
Oh hello little fried clam babies
Mr. E’s fish and chips
The atmosphere is so laid back at The Barking Crab, it was built for the summer. There’s really nothing like being right on the water, sitting at a picnic table with a bunch of your closet friends (or soon to be closet friends) with some serious crab legs and an ice cold beer. In a bottle of course. We’re not messing around with glassware.
Some locals and “locals” find this place a little gritty and rundown, the service on the spotty side, and in general a giant tourist trap. You know what? That’s nice. I love Disney World. Considering the atmosphere and yes, the sea of tourists this place brings in during the warmer months, your meal certainly won’t come with a small price tag. Your basic fried and boiled seafood fare is good, but by no means great. If you want great, head to Island Creek Oysters just don’t expect that neighborhood feeling you get at The Barking Crab.
If you’re going to go, pick a warm summer night. The key is to sit outside and expect to wait around. Nestle in at the bar, get an iced cold beverage, and make a few friends. And if you’re feeling bold, like Mr. E and I were last night, power walk off some calories in the direction of the North End.
And make sure you save just enough space in your belly for a single cannoli
The Barking Crab
88 Sleeper St
Boston, MA 02210
Restaurant Week. We have a love/hate relationship. I feel like a restaurant’s RW menu is very telling of its understanding of the value of customer growth and retention. If you find only cheap items, then you’re truly getting what you pay for. Whereas other restaurants pull out all of the stops or simply let you choose from their entire menu for the same fixed price. I always think the latter is wiser as it leads to a better diner return rate. Restaurant week should be about dazzling diners in the hopes that we’ll be back with our wallets full from the savings you offered us the last time.
Sadly, I’m compelled to think restaurants take the low road and jazz up some cheap cut of meat to make a nice margin on your meal. Alas, the charm of restaurant week and knowing the restaurant will be buzzing with activity has enough pull to get me to round up friends and get my wine and dine on.
Kim and Kate, my willing dining mates
‘Sup you beautiful, dippable bread morsel.
Bruschetta con Burrata e Speck
Grilled Bread, Burrata, Smoked Prosciutto & Pignoli-Currant Marmellata
Insalata di Cavoletti
Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Pancetta & Ricotta Salata
Polpette e Polenta (Restaurant Week Menu)
Veal and prosciutto meatballs with soft mascarpone polenta
Tagliatelle alla Bolognese
Veal, Pork, Pancetta & Parmigiano
Pollo e Farrotto (Restaurant Week Menu)
Roasted chicken breast with charred onions, farro risotto and rosemary jus
Panna Cotta di Ciacolatto (Restaurant Week Menu)
Chocolate panna cotta with toasted hazelnuts and amarena cherries
Torta di Ricotta e Ananas (Restaurant Week Menu)
Ricotta cheesecake with grappa soaked pineapples
Overall, I really enjoyed the meal. Kate, who ordered from the Restaurant Week menu, went so far as to say this may be her favorite Aquitaine group restaurant. Bravo, Cinquecento.
As for the food — burrata, it’s everywhere and I’m ok with that. Simple bruschetta topped with this gooey, milky cheese that was studded with oh so sweet current and punctuated with the salty speck made for a very nice first appetizer. I also stole a bite of Kate’s meatballs which were good and had a lot of flavor potential. They just needed a little extra sprinkle of salt, which was disappointing and surprising considering the addition of the prosciutto. The table also split a shaved brussel salad. Vegetables that include pancetta (think bacon) and ricotta salata are ok in my book.
Kim and I both ordered the tagliatelle bolognese. For starters, bolognese pulls on my heart strings. Always. I feel pangs of guilt if I leave a bolognese on the menu without ordering it. Why? Because I’m a fat kid at heart and rich meat sauce covering ribbons of pasta is my idea of heaven on earth. There I said it. The bolognese did not disappoint. Give or take a mouthful or two taken by Kate, I cleaned my plate. Still, my two top bolognese are from Sportello (Waterfront Boston) and Frank (East Village New York).
Kate ordered the chicken with farro risotto. I’m never one to order chicken in a restaurant. I fall into the snotty group of people who “don’t order what I can cook at home”. Well, that chicken was damn good. It was so moist and flavorful. Definitely NOT what I make at home.
We rounded off the meal with a chocolate panna cotta and ricotta cheesecake. Both were ok dishes, not great but that clearly didn’t stop me from picking at the cheesecake until it was all gone.
Our server left something to be desired unfortunately, but she definitely got an A for effort and somewhat awkward enthusiasm. If nothing else, hop over and grab a seat at their beautiful bar. Their small plates are delicious and anyone who has the gusto to decorate their space with pillars of Aperol and Campari deserves a visit or two.
500 Harrison Street
Boston, MA 02118