Fenway, Horses, and Baked Tofu

Well, it’s a rainy Sunday evening, and I am sitting in bed catching up on several (maybe a dozen at this point) episodes of Gossip Girl and sipping a basil-infused gin and tonic (more on that in a minute), trying to ignore my sunburned arms and sore butt.  Care to learn more?

Here goes.

I left work on Thursday and headed down to my sister Courtney’s house in Dunstable, MA so we could get an early start Friday morning for Fenway Park.  As usual, I was impressed at a red light with the skill my fellow NH residents show at choosing both illustrative and succinct personalized license plates.

So far nothing has topped the nondescript white truck I saw with the plate “GOT POOP” – but really, what can?

Friday morning Courtney woke me up at 5:45, and we made our way via the commuter rail in Lowell in Boston as employee and volunteer (respectively) for the Welch’s-sponsored Guinness World Record attempt for “most about of people toasting at once” at Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary ceremony before the first Sox/Yankees game of the season.  The first task was to place a cup, can of Welch’s Fruit Fizz, and card explaining the toast at each of Fenway’s 37,000 seats.

That’s a lot of seats.

Once that was done (oh, the stooping!) we were allowed to enjoy the park before the doors opened at 12:30.  After that, we would be on hand to interact with fans explaining the toast, and also serve as official Guinness Counters when toasting time came.  It was a picture-perfect day and Fenway looked like a million bucks.

Courtney and I agree that our favorite part of the day was the time in between setting up the cups (our group of 3 was responsible for around 700 seats) and the doors opening, when we were allowed to check out the view from just about any seat except the dugout, so we made do by getting a shot of us sitting on top of it instead.

The Fenway 100th birthday ceremony was an amazing sight to see, and if you watched it on TV, you already know why.  I am going to write about the day at length for my Yankee Seeker blog next Thursday, so if you’re interested in learning more, check there next week!

Nine hours and one sunburn later, we were headed back to Dunstable, exhausted, but thrilled to have had the chance to participate in such a special day.

The cows near Court’s house moo’d hello.  Clearly, I loved this.  Whattup, girls!!

On Saturday we met up with my mother and little sister Tara for a planned outing to Cornerstone Ranch in Princeton, MA for two hours of horseback riding.  None of us had ever been on a horse before, but someone (probably Courtney) had the idea we should do this together, and thankfully, we all (horses included) survived.  My horse, Hope, was a sweetheart, but today my butt is killing me from two hours on a saddle.

After me is my mom on Ginger (who was also Hope’s mom), Courtney on Shiloh, and Tara on Zoomie.

Which brings me to today – an overcast day, perfect for a multi-step stir fry.  I marinated some tofu (sesame ginger), then baked it (350 for 10 minutes, then flip and bake for another 30 minutes or til you’re happy with the texture) while I steamed some broccoli and sautéed a bunch of mushrooms, onions, red peppers, and zucchini.  Served over brown rice, it was quite delicious.  I love baked tofu because the long cook time lets it get a nice firm exterior, while the inside stays soft.  I loathe fried tofu.

I also decided to make a basil syrup, since I openly am in love with the basil lemonade at Clover Food Lab, and thought if I could make something like it for my gin and tonics, it might be the best thing ever.

I let the basil steep in the simple syrup for awhile…

But the jury is still out on how much I like it.  It made almost a cup of syrup so I’ve got plenty of time to try it in different things.

How was your weekend?  I hope it was adventurous, delicious, relaxing…and free from sunburn and saddle butt!

Citrus Basil Butter Cookies

Confession – I am ardently in love with fresh basil.  Head over heels.  Smitten kitten.  I want to marry it.  All of those things.

Basil is wonderful in many Italian dishes and paired with its BFF’s, tomato and mozzarella, but basil is also a marvelous ingredient in buttery cookies, especially when you also add in the citrus tang of lemon and lime zests.

I found this recipe a little odd.  The dough comes together in a food processor, similar to making pie dough.  The recipe said the dough would form “moist clumps,” but mine wouldn’t hold together to form a ball, so I added in 2 teaspoons of milk to make it wet enough to shape into balls.

The extra milk is probably why the cookies stayed a little moist in the middle, so if I make these again I will poke a few holes in the center of the cookies with a toothpick before I bake them .

Overall, if you love basil like I do, you will want to experiment with these cookies so you can enjoy the burst of fresh basil, citrus and butter when you bite into them.

Citrus Basil Butter Cookies
Adapted from Bon Appetit

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for pressing  cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons sliced fresh basil  leaves
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons milk
Sanding sugar (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
  • Combine the flour, sugar, butter, basil, zests, lemon juice, and salt in the bowl if a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.  If you don’t have a food processor, whir in a blender.
  • Slowly drizzle in the milk until dough just comes together.
  • Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and arrange on baking sheets, leaving 2″ between each.
  • Take a flat-bottom measuring cup and lightly cover it in additional powdered sugar, then press onto each ball of dough to lightly flatten it.
  • Sprinkle tops of the dough with coarse sanding sugar, if desired.
  • Using a toothpick or piece of raw spaghetti, poke a few holes in the center of each cookie.
  • Bake until the edges are brown, around 12-15 minutes.
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Yield:  16 cookies

Print Version

Caprese Sandwich

Now that we are finally enjoying some beach and picnic weather, I thought it would be a good time to celebrate that most famous of portable meals…the sandwich!

Are you a sandwich fan?  Of course you are.  The beautiful thing about sandwiches is that they are for everyone – young or old, rich or poor, peckish or famished.  Whatever or whoever you are, right now there is a sandwich with your name on it.

Not sure what you’re in the mood for?  I suggest you peruse the informative, entertaining, and beautifully photographed new book “The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches” by Susan Russo, with photos by Matt Armendariz.

Susan  pens terrific the Food Blogga and also writes for NPR Kitchen Window while Matt was one of the wonderful and seriously talented speakers I met when I attended Food Blog Camp in Mexico.

This book is right up my alley…portable, crammed with historical fun facts, full of bright photos, and inspiring enough to make me hungry.  It covers the basics (peanut butter and jelly, egg salad, grilled cheese, hamburger), the adventurous (egg and pepper, Spamwich, prosciutto and fig, Dagwood), the mysterious (muffuletta, Croque Monsieur, Bánh Mi, Jucy Lucy) and the just plain magnificent (banana split, baked bean, frittata, ice cream).

I was only on the C’s when I started making my grocery list. 

Behold my first EOS-inspired lunch – the Caprese sandwich!  It couldn’t be simpler, but simple is all you need for one seriously delicious sandwich.

Split a crusty baguette and layer on the plum tomatoes.

Add some fresh mozzarella.

Then fresh basil, salt, pepper, and drizzle of olive oil.

Pick your beautiful creation up…

…then close your eyes and experience sandwich heaven in the form of juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and aromatic basil.

Within a crusty baguette, of course.  This is a sandwich, after all.

I can’t wait to eat these all summer with fresh tomatoes.

Are you thinking about your favorite sandwich now?  What is it?

Stay tuned for more of my favorite sandwiches this summer!

The kind folks at Quirk books sent me a copy of The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches to review, but as always, all opinions expressed are entirely my own!