October 17, 2012 by Meg G.
Last week, Heather and I had a little Boston adventure!
She had a conference in Cambridge, so I galavanted around town and sipped hot coffee in various cafés, like Flour Bakery…mmm. Try the egg sandwich. Or the Pop Tart. Or the vanilla latte. Or, really, anything.
So, on Friday night, we drove out to Brighton to cook with our friends, Oliver & Will. Since we hadn’t menu-planned, I had this wacky idea that we should wing it, food competition style. I suggested that we head to the grocery store – split up – and each return with one ingredient. We would then caucus, choose a menu, and and add a few more ingredients. Oliver and Will immediately said – like a Mystery Box! (I confess I’m not a MasterChef watcher, but I got the gist.) SO FUN, right?! Right. Here’s how it went down.
We went to Whole Foods and planned to meet up in the produce section. We gave ourselves about 3 – 5 minutes to shop.
So – what did we pick?!
Drum roll please….
Oliver chose some baking pumpkins.
Will went for a yam.
Heather picked up some smoked apple sage veggie “sausage”
And I rounded us out with an apple.
Looks like everyone went with a seasonal item – plus some protein!
…and ultimately decided on a menu of pumpkin risotto, yam fries, and sausage on a bed of kale. For dessert? Some vanilla ice cream and sautéed apples with candied pepitas (pumpkin seeds). OH YEAH!
We picked up a shallot and some parmesan for the risotto, red onion and garlic for the kale, and vanilla ice cream and another (tart) apple for dessert.
We got back to Oliver & Will’s place and got to work!
Oliver got the risotto started. He began by dicing the pumpkin and saving the seeds (for dessert!).
Meanwhile, Heather and I started cutting the yams into fries.
And Will stemmed and chopped the kale.
While tending the risotto, Oliver also diced the onion and garlic for the kale. (That boy worked hard!)
Meanwhile, Will got the pepitas ready. We roasted them for a few minutes and then he candied them, using orange juice and brown sugar. The smells coming from the kitchen were out of this world!
Then Will cooked up the kale and sausage while I seasoned the yam fries with salt, pepper, curry powder, and a smidge of cinnamon – and got them in the oven.
After what felt like 30 minutes (but was more like an hour and 30) of chatting, prepping, dicing, roasting, sautéing, tasting, and laughing – we were ready to eat!
It was DELICIOUS. I was so impressed by our creativity, teamwork, and talent! (Unfortunately, I was short on humility.) But wait – there’s more! Check out that dessert!
Honestly, I haven’t had this much fun or success in the kitchen in a long time. Over the next few days, Heather and I just kept turning to each other and saying – how much fun was that?! Guys – I think we might have to make this a regular rendezvous. Next time – we host!
Sorry for the lack of recipes, but we just made it up as we went along. ; ) I hope the Mystery Box Challenge inspires you and your favorite kitchen buddy!