A Selection of Shots from Improper Bostonian Article

Oh… is Thanksgiving over?  Whoops!  Well, maybe you’d like these recipes as you gear up for your next holiday feast.

A few weeks ago, I photographed a spread for our local alternative magazine, the Improper Bostonian.  Featured are recipes from local chefs Jody Adams, Jeremy Sewall, Tiffani Faison, and Lydia Shire.

Click here to check out some more pics and get the recipes.

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MonetDecember 1, 2013 - 11:10 pm

Beautiful Brian. You are so talented. Truly an artist. I love visiting your blog because it makes me think of you (such a lovely and warm person) and it inspire me (your photographs are works of art). Thank you for sharing! Here’s to a wonderful first week of December!

Bev @ Bev CooksDecember 2, 2013 - 8:21 am

I LOVE it all. Even that scary fish. I love it.

naomiDecember 2, 2013 - 12:06 pm

Beautiful as always, Brian. Of course–I would love the scary fish best!! :)

JulieDDecember 2, 2013 - 2:51 pm

Love love!! :) It’s so beautiful!! Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!!

JoanneDecember 3, 2013 - 6:53 am

Gorgeous! So much of thanksgiving food is pretty brown and beige but your photos are popping with color!

Sommer @ ASpicyPerspectiveDecember 3, 2013 - 9:12 am

Gorgeous photos, Brian!

[...] Stuffed Cabbage [...]

Cranberry and Kumquat Sauce and A Thanksgiving Cocktail

You know those foods that leave a lasting impression?  The ones where you remember your first introduction… the exact place and time you had your first bite and exactly how it tasted and smelled?  Well, I had this with kumquats. Yes… kumquats. It was at the office of a documentary production company I had just started interning with (and would later work for) and one of my fellow interns was always bringing in foods I’d never heard of.  One day she brought in a bag of kumquats and I was amused by their shape.  What are those? What do they taste like?  She was quick to offer me one, explaining to slowly sink my teeth into the peel before continuing into the flesh. I did as instructed. Oh, it’s sweet. Oh, it’s tart! Oh, I want another!

This may or may not come as a surprise, but the inspiration for this sauce stemmed from a cocktail recipe I started working on a few weeks ago.  My mother in law, a cranberry sauce lover (she makes it all year long… not just around the holidays), left a container of her’s at our apartment and, after tasting a spoon, I thought it’d be fun to incorporate it into a drink.  I wanted to keep it refreshing, so I went with gin, a bit of Aperol, some lemon juice and a little simple syrup to sweeten it up (despite what many cranberry sauce recipes say, the less sugar you add the better. Tart is the way to go).

I made this sauce for our Friendsgiving dinner last weekend and it was a huge hit… not as a side dish, but in the drink we served with appetizers.  Either way, folks will be pleased.  I mean, how can you go wrong with booze?

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Jeanne @ CooksisterNovember 27, 2013 - 7:31 am

Haha – I remember my first kumquat too – my older sister gave me one as a kid, mostly to see my confusion as I bit into it!! Gotta love older siblings… I am in love with this sauce, but I am even more in love with the cocktail you describe!

CarolynNovember 27, 2013 - 9:49 am

What a great twist on cranberry sauce. And you are welcome to make me one of those libations any time!

NaomiNovember 27, 2013 - 10:18 am

I love kumquats and cranberries so this is a winner for sure- cocktail first though! :)

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla SugarNovember 27, 2013 - 3:12 pm

This is definitely perfect for the holidays. Love the flavour!

Jeanette | Jeanette's Healthy LivingNovember 27, 2013 - 4:52 pm

Love how pretty your cranberry kumquat sauce looks – my mom used to preserve kumquats but I haven’t used them before. I’m sure they must make a festive Thanksgiving cocktail. Happy Thanksgiving!

KaseyNovember 27, 2013 - 5:12 pm

Oh! I saw a very similar recipe in Bon Appetit, made with wine. Yours sounds intriguing. Aperol?! Yum. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving!!

MonetNovember 27, 2013 - 11:22 pm

Goodness. What gorgeous flavors AND colors here. I would want to make it just so I could but that orange and deep maroon into one pot! And you can’t go wrong with a recipe inspired by a cocktail, can you? Thank you for sharing! I hope you and yours have a beautiful Thanksgiving tomorrow!

JoanneNovember 30, 2013 - 8:07 am

It’s probably a foodie bad on my part that I’ve never had kumquats. FOR SHAME. Even so, I kind of love the idea of them in cranberry sauce…and love even more that you mixed the cranberry sauce up into a drink! My leftovers have never seemed so appealing.

Kale and Shiitake Mushroom Bread Pudding

I’m not a stuffing fan. I mean, I don’t find it offensive or anything, but it’s not what I go for first. I’m much more into cranberry sauce and green beans and sweet potato casserole (who can resist those crispy marshmallows on top?). As I make my rounds at the Thanksgiving buffet, I’ll load up my plate with every other side, leaving only a small corner for stuffing.  I’ve just never been blown away.  But bread pudding… that I can get behind.  Something about the addition of heavy cream and eggs and cheese makes it more appealing.  The idea came to me as I sat down to develop a recipe for the McCormick Go4Gourmet campaign, in which I was asked to prepare something that included ground ginger, kale, shiitake mushrooms, and vegetable stock. You’d think coming up with a dish with those ingredients would be easy… but it wasn’t. I struggled for weeks.  It wasn’t until I brainstormed some ideas with Eric that this popped into my noggin.  And thank goodness… because it’s changed my view of what stuffing can be.

If I don’t see y’all before then, I want to wish you a happy Thanksgiving.  We’ll be staying in Massachusetts this year, which I’m kind of excited about. It’s exhausting traveling during the holidays… I’m looking forward to staying put for a few days.  Of course, I’ll miss my parents and sister and my nieces.  But I’m sure I’ll make it down there soon.

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Dearna @tohercoreNovember 20, 2013 - 1:57 am

I love a good savory bread pudding! This looks delicious :)

TieghanNovember 20, 2013 - 9:08 am

This savory pudding looks so good, Brian! I love kale and mushrooms, so it is perfect!

[...] out Brian Samuels’ gorgeous  Kale and Shiitake Mushroom Bread Pudding. A rich version laced with cream and [...]

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla SugarNovember 20, 2013 - 3:08 pm

This bread pudding truly looks perfect! Lovely recipe!

MonetNovember 20, 2013 - 11:28 pm

A savory bread pudding…now this sounds like the kind of dish I can sell my family on. We wanted to do a few new dishes this year but we’ve had a hard time agreeing on which ones. Clearly, this would be a winner. Thank you for sharing, sweet friend!

JoanneNovember 21, 2013 - 8:08 am

No one ever thinks to make vegetarian stuffing for me, and I have so many other things I love more, so I haven’t eaten it in YEARS. But the good thing about bread pudding is that you can eat it year-round without getting sideways glances. So this is happening.

Jeanette | Jeanette's Healthy LivingNovember 21, 2013 - 8:46 am

Love the idea of kale in this hearty bread pudding recipe – shiitake mushrooms are one of my favorites too – our local Asianstore sells them for a lot less than the supermarket.

Jen @ My Kitchen AddictionNovember 21, 2013 - 9:52 am

This is a gorgeous dish, Brian… I love the idea of a bread pudding instead of stuffing. I am not really a huge fan of stuffing either, with the exception of cornbread stuffing. Though, now you have me questioning the cornbread stuffing… How much more amazing could it be as a bread pudding? Hmmm… :)

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the KitchenNovember 22, 2013 - 5:24 am

This sounds way better than stuffing and a wonderful alternative to the traditional side.

CarolynNovember 22, 2013 - 9:46 am

Funny, I sort of think of stuffing as a savoury bread pudding like this. Whatever you call it, it looks delish!

Mallory @ Because I Like ChocolateNovember 22, 2013 - 5:36 pm

Mmmm mushrooms. I love shiitakes! This is a super great take on savoury bread pudding!

Marlene Heckman DanielsNovember 23, 2013 - 2:54 am

i have a question………which mixer paddle would you use to make mashed potatoes

sarahNovember 23, 2013 - 9:44 pm

Such beautiful photos, Brian! And this sounds amazing.
Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Russell at chasingdelicious.comNovember 25, 2013 - 2:46 pm

What a fantastic idea for a bread pudding! I love taking it in a savory direction.

Bev @ Bev CooksNovember 26, 2013 - 8:45 am

Why am I not cuddled up in that thang? UGH. So hot.

Lora @cakeduchessNovember 26, 2013 - 9:01 am

I just love this idea, Brian. I could eat this alone and forget every thing else. My favorite part of Thanksgiving is the stuffing:) Happy Thanksgiving to you, E and your family. xx

Alison LewisNovember 26, 2013 - 12:52 pm

this is my favorite recipe i have seen in a while!

Sommer @ ASpicyPerspectiveNovember 26, 2013 - 12:55 pm

So delicious, Brian! Love the flavor combo in this! Hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

ShainaDecember 2, 2013 - 11:36 am

My sweet potatoes have a praline top, but I’m with you on reaching for those before the soggy stuffing. This one, however, makes me want to redo Thanksgiving all over again.

[...] From A Though for Food: Kale and shitake mushroom bread pudding [...]

Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Lemon Ricotta

Eric and I have started the process of looking for a house again after putting things on hold for a bit when I transitioned into freelancing. We’ve lived in the same apartment since we got together.  I moved in after eight months of dating and this place has been good to us.  It has everything we need and is conveniently located within walking distance to Downtown Boston.  But because it’s a rental, we haven’t done much to give it any flare. The walls are white, the furniture a mishmash of things from college and hand me downs from our parents.  Then there’s the furniture we’ve acquired via Craigslist, which we haven’t replaced because, why would we when we don’t know where we’ll be living?  We’ve been saying that for years.I think we’re both ready to start a home together… one that’s decorated the way we want. One that has a yard for a garden and, ideally, a fireplace.  At least we have a vision, so I hope it won’t be an arduous process.

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TieghanNovember 13, 2013 - 8:38 am

So simple and pretty, but so good!

Good luck house hunting!

Liz @ The Lemon BowlNovember 13, 2013 - 9:00 am

These photos are stunning. Such a perfect recipe. Good luck with the house hunting!!

Bev @ Bev CooksNovember 13, 2013 - 10:17 am

Favorite, favorite, favorite. FAVORITE.

sorry to scream.

Dan from Platter TalkNovember 13, 2013 - 10:36 am

Love this idea, great post!!

Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and HealthNovember 13, 2013 - 11:33 am

good luck house hunting. Love this lemon ricotta idea :)

Elin RiggsNovember 13, 2013 - 2:19 pm

This looks awesome! I am always looking for new recipes and since I make my own ricotta cheese sometimes its a new way to use that as well.

EileenNovember 13, 2013 - 2:29 pm

This is totally the kind of simple yet delicious dinner I want to eat right now. Bitter greens for the win!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla SugarNovember 13, 2013 - 3:33 pm

Stunning! And looks absolutely gorgeous!

Tracy NevilleNovember 13, 2013 - 4:08 pm

This looks so light and fresh. Great Idea!

MonetNovember 13, 2013 - 11:24 pm

Can I please come visit when you happen upon said home? I’m so excited for you guys. I know that you’ll bring so much love and character to a house. Yipee! I’m also totally digging this pasta dish. I need to pack on the pounds to get ready for winter here. I’ll be making this soon!

Jenny @ BAKENovember 14, 2013 - 2:50 am

These photos are amazing! I particularly love the first one of the spilled dried pasta. I can’t wait to try this dinner it sounds delicious! good luck with your move I really hope it all goes well!

Jocelyn Delk AdamsNovember 14, 2013 - 4:21 am

The sound of lemon ricotta sounds incredible. Nice idea.

CarolynNovember 14, 2013 - 7:23 am

I do NOT envy you the house-hunting. Keep warm out there!

Jeanette's Healthy LivingNovember 14, 2013 - 3:14 pm

I love broccoli rabe – haven’t made it in a long time, so craving this dish right now!

Tina @ Tina's Chic CornerNovember 14, 2013 - 4:14 pm

I love how simple and light this dish is! Definitely need to add this to my rotation. :)
Good luck house hunting!

ElizabethNovember 14, 2013 - 5:06 pm

Sounds like such an exciting time! I hope you both find the home of your dreams. My husband and I are gearing up to buy in the next couple of years and I have to say, I can’t wait to have a place that is truly ours. I also love this pasta recipe––so simple and perfect for chilly fall days.

StaceyNovember 14, 2013 - 5:49 pm

YUM!! That’s so exciting that you guys may be ready for a house. :)

KaseyNovember 15, 2013 - 12:54 am

You’re describing my dream! Good luck with the search!

caraNovember 15, 2013 - 8:28 am

Your apartment sounds like our apartment. Good luck looking! And, naturally, this pasta looks amazing.

Sommer@ASpicyPerspectiveNovember 15, 2013 - 9:10 am

Oh Brian, this looks magnificent.

Kay FrishmanNovember 16, 2013 - 12:41 am


Alison LewisNovember 16, 2013 - 2:08 pm

this looks mouthwatering

MarciaNovember 16, 2013 - 11:16 pm

House-hunting is fun…as long as you don’t feel rushed into a decision. Good luck in your search!

That pasta looks amazing!

Sommer @ ASpicyPerspectiveNovember 19, 2013 - 9:50 am

Such a delicious and light pasta dish!

Aimee @ Simple BitesNovember 19, 2013 - 7:12 pm

I think your vision sounds lovely. Hold onto it and don’t be afraid to dream big.

In the meantime. THIS pasta!

Jen @ My Kitchen AddictionNovember 21, 2013 - 9:54 am

Best of luck with the house hunting… I won’t tell you how many places we looked at before we found our house. Let’s just say we have a very patient realtor. :)

And, I love everything about this pasta…I cannot get enough broccoli rabe. Stunning!

ChitraNovember 22, 2013 - 9:54 pm

Oh wow this looks amazing. I love ricotta and anything green together, so pretty too!

Jeanne @ CooksisterNovember 25, 2013 - 8:22 am

Oooh – exciting! House searching and buying is stressful, but the rewards when you find The One are huge. Good luck with the search!

[...] Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Lemon Ricotta adapted from athoughtforfood [...]

CSA Contents | Week of 3/2/14March 3, 2014 - 9:59 am

[...] Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Lemon Ricotta [...]

Silent Sunday: Ramen Tatsu-Ya (Austin, TX)

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TieghanNovember 10, 2013 - 8:25 am

Wow, that soup with the egg look incredible! What and awesome meal

LirenNovember 10, 2013 - 6:33 pm

There’s nothing better than a steamy bowl of ramen. Looks like this was worth the wait, Brian!

MonetNovember 10, 2013 - 11:09 pm

Ryan got to visit this place before we moved home. I, however, was sick in bed, watching reruns of Scandal and munching on saltine crackers (this was during my dreadful first trimester). At the time, ramen sounded awful, but now…well, now, I wish I could eat here more than anything in the world! Looks so good Brian, and I’m so glad you got to go!

Dan from Platter TalkNovember 11, 2013 - 10:14 am

Wish I had been there!!

naomiNovember 11, 2013 - 12:09 pm

oh, you are making me crave ramen at 9am!!!! Lovely pictures and it looks like you had a great time in Austin.

Kellie HemmerlyNovember 12, 2013 - 2:42 am

Love your Sunday posts.

Rachael (Fuji Mama)November 12, 2013 - 9:39 pm

So the million dollar question…was it as delicious as it looks?

[...] Naranjo Ramen Tatsu-Ya Trio at the Four Seasons Hotel CBD Provisions (Dallas, [...]

Pumpkin Potage with Toasted Farro

It’s rare that I cook with pumpkin. Really rare. Like, once a year… maybe. For a while, we kept canned pumpkin puree around and I would use it to make a quick soup or these brownies, but for whatever reason, we stopped purchasing it.  The one time I cooked with fresh pumpkin, it was kind of a process. I roasted the flesh and blended it with vanilla and spices and whipped up what would turn out to be some of the best pancakes I’ve ever consumed. Did I follow a recipe? No. Do I remember what I did? Nope. And I have yet to attempt recreating it.

So, that was the last time I cooked with pumpkin… that is until a few weeks ago when one came in a box from Blue Apron. For those unfamiliar with the company, Blue Apron is a service where people can have fresh ingredients and recipes delivered to their homes.  Printed on the recipe cards are step-by-step instructions that include color photographs.  I never promote a business without trying out the product first, so I asked to have a box sent to me. Let’s just say that I was impressed.

One of my fears was that everything would come pre-chopped and that all I’d have to do is throw it in a pan and I’d have a meal in 15 minutes. What does that teach anyone about cooking?   I was thrilled to find that while ingredients came pre-portioned, there was quite a bit of work that was required. The recipe Blue Apron provided in the shipment, a pumpkin veggie potage, required that I roasted the pumpkin and seeds, toast the farro, chop the onions and garlic, and let it all stew in a pot for a period of time.

The potage is one of many vegetarian recipes Blue Apron has in their database and it’s the ideal meal for a cold fall day.  The recipe, which can be found here, includes a “New World Spice Blend” which contains garlic, basil, onion, marjoram, thyme, fennel, turmeric, and cinnamon.  The “veggie base” is Better Than Bouillon brand, but it was suggested that veggie broth would work as a substitute (my recommendation is to not use a low-sodium broth as this is main supply of salt in the dish).

If you’re interested in ordering from Blue Apron, they’ve generously provided a 30% off coupon to A Thought For Food readers.  Just use this link to order.

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Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and HealthNovember 7, 2013 - 9:57 am

how interesting. I have never heard of this company but would love to try their services esp for busy weekdays.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla SugarNovember 7, 2013 - 1:04 pm

I’m happy you’re back on the pumpkin train! This soup is perfect :)

Liz @ The Lemon BowlNovember 7, 2013 - 4:10 pm

I had no idea about Blue Apron!! I just sent your link to my cousin who would love this type of service. So awesome!

Brandon @ Kitchen KonfidenceNovember 7, 2013 - 6:44 pm

This looks so tasty! And who doesn’t love the word Potage?

Heidi @foodiecrushNovember 7, 2013 - 10:24 pm

You’re so classy. I’ve never said potage before in my life. I need to hang out more with the likes of you :) . Totally Pinned, dude.

TieghanNovember 7, 2013 - 10:27 pm

The Blue Apron sounds pretty cool! How fun to have ingredients delivered to your door and also recipes with step-by-step instructions too!

I personally love cooking with real pumpkin and prefer it to baking! I know! This potage sounds perfect

Jeanne @ CooksisterNovember 8, 2013 - 10:43 am

Oooh, been meaning to come over and check this out ever since I saw your first tweet about it earlier today – this looks just divine! Unlike you I cook with pumkins and squashes all the time (well, what choice do I have after hubby brought home OVER 20 POUNDS of butternut squash from our vegetable garden…!) I also adore farro, so this sounds right up my street to try and recreate. Blue Apron sound like a great company!

Jenny @ BAKENovember 10, 2013 - 2:03 pm

This looks delicious! that sounds like a fantastic service! I must admit I was also put off by the idea of that it would be little more than a deconstructed ready meal but Blue Apron sounds perfect!

JeanetteNovember 11, 2013 - 7:54 am

Looks like a beautiful vegetarian potage – I’ve been getting lots of root veggies in my CSA Box and wondering what to do with them – I think this would be perfect. Blue Apron sounds like a neat service – love that they have recipes to help customers figure out what to make.

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the KitchenNovember 13, 2013 - 4:49 am

I could have used a bowl of that soup today, it looks so hearty and comforting.

[...] from A Farmgirl’s Dabbles Farro and Sausage Stuffed Roasted Acorn Squash from Skinny Taste Pumpkin Potage with Toasted Farro from A Thought for Food Garden Farro Salad with Feta from Aggie’s Kitchen Roasted Strawberry [...]

[...] From A Thought for Food: Pumpkin potage with toasted farro [...]