Annenberg Cook-Off

by Audrey Thorne ’19

The basic structure
Five teams, three judges, one winner. The teams were given from 4:30 pm until 6 pm to cook and plate their dishes. Each team must incorporate apples into their dish.

The teams
Al Dente Al Fresco, Working Title, Shakers and Bakers, Ratatouille, and Fernando the Destroyer.

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The judges

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The winning dish
Working Title won for their Chicken Cordon Bleu in a honey mustard glaze, with a provolone melt and a side of maple whipped sweet potatoes with sage butter and a Fall salad.

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Ingredients
Each team received $18 in plastic Farmer’s Market currency to buy fresh ingredients from the fair. All spending in the market was rounded up to the dollar and had to occur before 4:30. In addition to produce bought at the fair, the teams had access to Annenberg’s salad bar, raw eggs, milk, and the secret ingredient: apples.

image8 image9 image10 Crunch time
“I had class from 3-5pm, so I had to buy my ingredients in advance and start cooking just over a half hour late. My group, Ratatouille, purchased homemade rigatoni for $6.50, a fresh sweet potato for $2, and seasoned almonds for $3.”

What did it feel like cooking in front of a crowd?
“Exciting. I ran in just past 5 pm to see a full production: five tables tended to by guys and girls in white aprons and hats, scurrying about, chopping and simmering. Others strolled from table to table cooing and inquiring. Friends came by taking photos. My teammates plated the pasta and uncooked apples, followed by the seared the chopped apples and sweet potatoes. To our right one team seared scallops and whipped sweet potatoes. To our left the girls cooked cranberry sauce and assembled three swans out of apple slices, one on each judge’s plate. Each team’s dish looked so different, not just in how it was cooked but also how it was presented, despite the similarities in ingredients.”

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Basia’s Scoop (#3: Christina’s)

by Basia Rosenbaum ’18

There is a Cambridge debate over ice cream: Toscanini’s vs. Christina’s. Central Square vs. Inman. Cocoa pudding vs. chocolate mousse (below left, along with cactus pear, right).

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A couple weeks ago I went to Toscanini’s, and this week I tried Christina’s.

Starting with location, Christina’s takes it. Just 10 minutes down the road from CGIS, I wondered why I didn’t go to Inman more often. Fun restaurants (including Punjabi Dhaba serving great cheap Indian food), cute shops, and a branch of the always amazing 1369 Coffee House.

Walk inside and Christina’s has a completely different vibe. Whereas Toscanini’s feels almost hipster—minimalist décor, flavors written in chalk, people coding over ice cream—Christina’s feels like an institution. This is not a shop designed to impress; rather meant to let the flavors speak for themselves.

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The range of flavors at Christina’s is impressive and there is an excellent combination of standard favorites with creative offerings. There’s maple walnut, black raspberry, rum raisin, and pistachio. But also Adzuki bean, banana cinnamon and Khulfi.

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Butter almond and peanut butter chip

Some of the flavors were amazing; some were less impressive. The butter almond was fantastic, but after a few bites I realized the peanut butter chip wasn’t one to order again. Cactus pear sorbet? Such an interesting option (and color). But while yummy initially, it was just too sweet and left me with a taste of pure sugar. The chocolate mousse is fantastic (better than Toscanini’s cocoa pudding in my opinion) and their chocolate chip cookie dough is great (as all chocolate chip cookie dough flavors are).

My best advice is to taste before you buy (and taste extensively). Depending on what flavor you order, you will leave with an entirely different impressive of Christina’s. Find the right flavors and this might be your favorite Cambridge ice cream.

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Chocolate chip cookie dough

You can also find Christina’s at the weekly Farmer’s Market in the Science Center. Albeit serving just a few options, the mobile Christina’s is great way to try the ice cream closer to campus.

Toscanini’s vs. Christina’s. I’d have to say that I come out of the side of Toscanini’s. But when we’re talking about good ice cream, why would we even have a debate? The more good ice cream options, the better.

Through the Gates with Cambridge Eats

by Emily Brother ’19

A couple of weeks ago, the Freshman Dean’s Office organized a food walking tour that took students to a variety of Cambridge’s best cafes, restaurants, and markets. Below is a list of the places that the group visited followed by a brief description of the food that is served so that when your palate is wanting something different and delicious, you know where to go:

Clover (7 Holyoke St.): Known for using locally grown produce to create delicious vegetarian dishes, Clover is the best place to grab a quick and healthy sandwich on the cheap.

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Broadway Market (468 Broadway): Across the street from the Harvard Art Museum, one of the most affordable markets near the Yard. It has everything from fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, cheeses, sushi, and more.

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Savenor’s Market (92 Kirkland St.): A butcher shop that was supposedly a favorite of Julia Child, Savenor’s sells a plethora of meats. If you’re feeling adventurous, my most exotic finds were Pheasant, alligator, foie gras, rabbit, and buffalo.

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The Biscuit (406 Washington St, Somerville, MA): Just a few blocks from Annenberg, The Biscuit is a great café to go to for a nice cup of coffee and a delicious baked treat that is off the beaten trail.

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Shiso Kitchen (374 Washington St., Somerville, MA): For those who weren’t able to take Harvard’s Science and Cooking course this semester, you can go to Shiso Kitchen and learn how to prepare foods from places like France, Thailand, and Italy for a variety of occasions. A typical class is anywhere from $50-$100.

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Reliable Market (45 Union Square, Somerville, MA): A wonderful Asian food market that sells an endless amount of ingredients commonly used in the preparation of Chinese, Thai, Japanese, and Vietnamese dishes.

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Capone Foods (14 Bow St., Somerville): A charming store that specializes in selling fine Italian wines, homemade cheeses, meats, and pasta sheets! This is also the place to get cannolis when you tire of Mike’s Pastry!
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Union Square Donuts (20 Bow St., Somerville, MA): A gourmet donut shop that sells delicious donuts including flavors like: Brown Butter Hazelnut Crunch, Sea-Salted Bourbon Caramel, and Boston Cream. You can visit their store (address above) or catch them at the weekly farmer’s market on campus!

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Bloc 11 (11 Bow St., Somerville, MA): Not only does Bloc 11 brew amazing fair-trade coffee, it also pays its employees a living wage and benefits while providing them with a comprehensive training program that will prepare them to work in any position in the restaurant.

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From the Farmer to the Foodie

by Landy Erlick ’19

If you don’t have a class near the Science Center on Tuesdays, you might be missing out on some sweet and savory treats. The Harvard University Farmer’s Market sets up shop from noon to 6 pm, and it only runs through the end of October, so if you’re looking for fresh fruit, soft bread, or green vegetables, it’s best to come sooner rather than later.

brightly colored pumpkins and cornberries and fruit bundles

Walking under the big tent, there are several rows of delicious and varied cuisine. From the delectable choices at Taza Chocolate to the garden-fresh flavors of Ward’s Berry Farm and the enticingly spicy Alex’s Ugly Sauce, it’s practically a guarantee that you won’t leave disappointed. There’s even a spot to buy lobsters!

Fish & Donuts!

Most of the vendors are cash only, and as a result it’s best to be prepared with something other than a credit card in hand. Prices aren’t too high, but it definitely costs a little extra for items that are freshly made or just picked.  While sweet corn is worth $0.75 an ear, containers of raspberries and grapes are around $5.00. The highly-coveted donuts from Union Square are $3 a piece, and at that price the highly desired flavors like Belgian Chocolate and Maple Bacon tend to sell out fairly quickly. Overall, staying within budget might be hard with so many tempting tidbits around.

vanilla bean donut from Union Square
Vanilla Bean Donut (Union Square)

The open space and bright colors help to maintain a welcoming environment, unlike some farmer’s markets which can be slightly overwhelming if you arrive without a game plan. If it’s your first time exploring the plaza or you don’t need any food in particular, it’s a great idea to walk the rows and be inspired. Sometimes, you might be lucky enough to get a free sample of cheesecake or peaches!

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chocolate chip brioche roll

Before the snow comes, and sweet, juicy fruits become a treasured rarity, be sure to stock up on some cartons for your microfridge. Or, if you’re like me and can’t ignore any form of bread or pastry, try a chocolate brioche roll (above)! It’s the perfect size – big enough to share, but small enough to keep all to yourself without feeling guilty. Fruit, vegetables, baked goods, and other items vary each Tuesday, so make it a weekly trip.