that's forking good

adventures in a culinary neophyte's kitchen

Archive for the ‘notes’ Category

Hello Fresh: We’ve got a first timer here

Posted by culinaryneophyte on September 9, 2015

Hello Fresh salmon ingredientsI am now obsessed with Hello Fresh, the weekly food box delivery service. My first order arrived last night, and I couldn’t wait to get cooking. This is the first time I’ve used a service like this, and I was super impressed. The Hello Fresh website was easy to use, and the meal selections were available a few weeks in advance, allowing me to order based on my tastes and my schedule. The giant box showed up on my doorstep on time, full of ice packs and fresh ingredients. Also, props to the the packaging designers, because everything was straight up adorable. (The soy sauce packets were little fish!)

I chose to make the fish meal first, assuming it would not stay fresh in my fridge as long as the others. (You can obviously freeze the ingredients upon receipt if your original cooking plans go awry.) I think I’ve come a long way in my culinary pursuits over the years, and I’ve cranked out some pretty good food (alongside some very sad, traumatic missteps), but the end result of this box was as close to “restaurant” as I’ve come. The fish was cooked to perfection with a nice crispy skin, and it paired nicely with the earthy beets. (Not to mention purple is my favorite color — and rarely present in my meals — so I got some food nerd fun plating the beets and the red onions.) I was a big fan of the “salsa” of beets, red onion, fresh dill and horseradish, and the side of farro added a nutty crunch.

Hello Fresh pan-seard salmon beets herbed salsa

Because I spend hours scanning circulars, scrolling through Pinterest and writing meal plans in my ladybug notebook, I wasn’t sure a meal delivery service like this would be “my thing,” but I really enjoyed this experience. Financially, it equates to a week of groceries for meals of this quality, but it also cuts down on waste. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lifted an unidentifiable baggie of vegetables from my crisper drawer, and thought, “Well there goes $3…” or let a $6-jar of something grow mold because I broke the seal to use 2 tablespoons of whatever it contained and let it sit on my refrigerator door for two years.) The weekly menu-selection process allows you to be adventurous, opting for dishes and/or ingredients you wouldn’t otherwise pick. It also makes a great date night activity that your culinarily challenged significant other pretty much can’t screw up.

If you are interested in trying out Hello Fresh, let me know and I can send you an invite email that will get you $40 off your first box (which means you’re getting six meals for $20-something — it’s a steal!), or use my referral code 7Y9WGA.

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chocolate-covered strawberry paleo pancakes

Posted by culinaryneophyte on January 19, 2015

Thank you to Mrs. Thinsters for featuring my breakfast on their social media channel!

paleo chocolate-covered strawberry pancakes with Mrs. Thinsters brownie batter cookie thin crumbs.

chocolate-covered strawberry pancakes with Mrs. Thinsters brownie batter cookie crumbs.

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tbt: Mike’s Pastry

Posted by culinaryneophyte on November 13, 2014

mikes pastry cannoliDoing the Throwback Thursday thing to my visit to Mike’s Pastry in Boston.

I never go anywhere, so I pretend my business trips are vacations and hit every local famous food place I can in between work obligations. Obviously, I got some chowdah (I learned during my Fenway tour that “r” is a foreign concept there) and a lobstah roll, which was my favorite meal of the week, but a friend insisted I get a cannoli from Mike’s Pastry in the North End — a place known for its Italian food. Italian food and sweets are not my go-to food picks, but man, this lived up to the hype. And the flavor selection was impressive, I brought home a string-wrapped pastry box for my dad, complete with Oreo, peanut butter and pistachio. I tried to work in a “Godfather” reference when I dropped them off, but failed. I think he appreciated it anyway.

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welcome, 2014!

Posted by culinaryneophyte on January 2, 2014

In the past, I’ve done a year-in-review post just before New Year’s Eve, recalling my favorite posts throughout the year. Sadly, this year was very light on posts, and if I made a Top 10 of 2013, it would basically contain every post I wrote this year, because I’m not sure I got that deep into double digits.

This would make sense if I hadn’t spent much time in the kitchen, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. (My Instagram can back that up. I pretty much only take pictures of food.) It’s just been a matter of time… well, I guess more a matter of priority. If something is important to you, you’ll make time for it. Writing fell by the wayside in 2013, and that breaks my little writer heart. I miss crafting posts and sharing my food fun with you. This blog was such a big part of my life, and I want it to be a priority again. I haven’t been big on New Year’s resolutions the last few years, but maybe a New Year’s aspiration?

2014 sparkler

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sexual tonic herb?

Posted by culinaryneophyte on October 13, 2013

A little love for your Sunday here… goji love! High in protein, fiber and vitamin C, this superfood has powerful antioxidant properties to boost your immune system. Oh, and the package says they are “among the most revered sexual tonic herbs.” Yowzaaaa


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tfg enters the toddler phase

Posted by culinaryneophyte on September 9, 2013

Today marks my blog’s third birthday. When I look back at where I was when I started this thing, I simultaneously can’t believe it’s been only three years and it’s been that long.

A few things in my life have remained constant — family, friends, my ability to mess up seemingly innocuous tasks. (Oh, and my beloved car, which also celebrates its birthday this week.) But then, so much has changed. When I started, I baked and wrote to take my mind off the crapstorm my life had become. I was pecking away about mac n’ cheese in my secluded cubicle cave at a failing newspaper, and spending all of my free time on foodgawker. Sometimes I’d be sitting in the dark, the bedroom illuminated only by the laptop, scrolling through the endless trove of food porn until 2 a.m. When I got laid off that winter, I had even more free time to experiment in the kitchen — my roommates often coming home to some strange plate of food on the kitchen table. They would have eaten it regardless of how it tasted or what adjectives I put to it, but it appeared I actually had a smidge of culinary talent despite my sometimes… unconventional methods (or “brilliant” shortcuts that led to burnt eyeballs and broken appendages).

(Not even kidding… As I write this, I just realized I left a wing sauce on the stove for about 15 minutes too long and it is now a burnt, sticky substance at the bottom of my pot. I got lost in my little blogging world over here. Writer > chef.)

The three biggest developments of this last year started with the purchase of my condo in December, which marked the real beginning of my “big girl life,”  No more roommates — just me, on my own. Yes, that meant bug killing duties rested solely on my shoulders, but I now had free rein of my [bigger] kitchen and the foreign task of cooking for one.

Once I got settled, I started looking for a new “thing,” and that’s when I fell into a brand new “fitspo” world. Well — not entirely new because I have always been active, and at that time, was playing on three soccer teams, but I wanted more. I joined kickboxing. I started consistently doing “Insanity.” Shaun T became my best friend. I became my downstairs neighbor’s worst enemy. I felt great and knew moving my diet even further along the healthy spectrum would only improve my life. I started “clean eating.” (Enter my friends mocking my “#cleaneating Instagram posts.) I cut back on the bread. I cut dairy almost entirely out of my diet. I relished the challenge of making people drool with things that were actually good for them. Now, I’m teetering on the edge of being “one of those Crossfit people,” but I make no apologies for feeling stronger (both physically and mentally) than I have at any other point in my life, and much of it comes back to the food.

The last development builds on last year’s mover and shaker: Pinterest. In last year’s blogiversary post, I made it my goal to make one Pinterest meal per month. I actually did a double take when I went back and read that. Per month?! I’m doing, like, three per week. I will always have a place in my heart for foodgawker, but Pinterest has become my new food porn purveyor. And it helps a Type A-person like me organize everything into neat little boards. Many of my favorite creations have been inspired by something I’ve found in Pinterest.

This past year has brought about a lot of changes. Some good. Some bad. Some itty bitty. Some monumental. I’m in a much different place now than I was when that’s forking good turned two, but for your sake, a few things have stayed the same… I still love writing. I still love cooking. I still love taking pictures. And I still haven’t conquered corn soup.

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