Summer 2012: a fresh start

By Jillian Bernardini - May 29, 2012 - 12:00 PM
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Life can be fickle, flying by way too fast.  After an arduous semester, and five months of eating and drinking around the streets of Boston, here are the updates.


Drinking beer, writing about beer, learning about beer, and all things beer can often consume the lives of John and me. 


So, why not support the smaller establishments while we're at it?  Dabbling in a little grinding action for a friend of a friend's homebrew projects was exciting to participate in.


Boston Winter of 2012 lacked the usual feet upon feet of snow, but John and I decided to take a break from the bean and head to Portland, Maine.  Day trips can be equally as informative and adventurous as a weekend vacation...even the placemats at the bar act as tutorials for the local food culture. 


I did mention this was a mini-vacation, so a taste, or two, of the craft beer culture is an essential component of Maine.  If this photo is tickling your palate, then please taste this beer as soon as you can.


Despite the multiple trips of dining and drinking about Boston, my kitchen remains an active experimentation room for newly-attempted recipes and culinary creations.  Roasted butternut squash is pulsed and folded into a few cups of flour with hopes of transforming into pillowlike gnocchi.


A denser pillow indeed, but my first hand-rolled gnocchi attempt maintains rustic flavors with the addition of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, fried parsley leaves, and a drizzle of imported Italian olive oil. 


Reinvent your weekend pancakes as soon as possible with the addition of fresh blueberries to this recipe.  Creamy ricotta gives the pancakes a richer texture, while the fresh lemon zest and juice adds a delicately balanced brightness. 


Don't worry, oysters remain a major component of my day-to-day work life and hobbies.  John and I crave them too often, but we still maintain an appreciation for them as a responsibly raised delicacy, not to overgorge ourselves on them.  Not sure if my dream this morning about shucking giant oysters with multicolor spores floating out of them with one of our main shuckers, Eduardo, running scaredly away from them up a hill....means that I think about them too much...potentially...but a bizarre dream indeed. 


The dangerously convenient two block walk to Cognac Bistro will be over-utilized this summer, as we are moving to a different neighborhood in the fall.  The perfect array of ingredients is combined into this salad, perfect for brunch.


Crispy, whole-belly fried clams are a welcome snack for accompanying local BBC draft beer selections at CB. 


Yes, more beer, but in the name of St. Patrick's Day festivities, and a Saturday off from work, yippee!  Guinness is not as rich as everyone thinks and can actually be a great low-alcohol nightcap to a long day of celebrating. 


And after all of those fried treats and beers, lunch composed of organic sushi rolls and vegetable-laden appetizers can be a welcome break from the partying.  I admit to a slight addiction to spicy tuna anything, but Genki Ya in Brookline boasts some truly unique, yet quirky sushi combinations.  A random asparagus spear is surrounded by fresh salmon and tuna, but is delightfully complex in textures. 


Boasting freshness with such vibrant color compositions, something as simple as steamed vegetable dumplings taste delicate and packed with quintessential Japanese flavors. 


One of the most exciting Food Writing assignments this semester was courtesy of the one and only, Sheryl Julian.  Creating a food infographic of the most trending chocolate cupcakes in Boston, which took five hours to acquire from bakeries, cupcake boutiques, and even a roaming food truck.  The tasting, post-photoshoot, made it worth all of the effort. 


And with my most current piece of news, I walked as an accomplished Masters student in Gastronomy at Boston University.  Like I said, time is flying by and living in Boston for the past two years remains a surreal, exciting experience.  This summer is coming with a heightened sense of ambition, along with my last four credit course in July: a culinary laboratory on the science and recipe structure of baking.  It was a pleasure to graduate with an amazing class of fellow gastronomes, and I hope we can continue to inspire one another and keep in touch!

Reading, writing, eating, and learning all things food is an important component of these next few months, and I appreciate everyone that is reading my blog with hopes of receiving ample support, criticism, and advice from everyone.  All comments are welcome!  Thanks to the creative genius of my boyfriend for the redesign, and please let me know what you think!