Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Reblog: One-Pan Farro with Tomatoes

Here is a great summer recipe I found today from the Smitten Kitchen blog.  I want to make it soon.

One Pan Farro with Tomatoes

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Delicious Blueberry Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup

This morning I woke up to a beautiful Saturday morning at the shore and I thought about heading over to Bennie's Diner. But then I saw the flat of fresh Jersey Blueberries on the counter and I thought . . . Blueberry Pancakes.  I love to go back to my short order days and cook up a batch of pancakes or homefries and eggs or whatever.  I have a great cast iron well seasoned griddle that covers two burners so I feel like I am back to at my old station at the Sign of the Fish Restaurant in Ocean Grove, where I got my culinary start.  Here's a great recipe for Blueberry Pancakes.  They were very tasty, especially with the blueberry syrup as a topping.

Blueberry Pancakes

2 cups buttermilk or 1 Tbs juice from 1 lemon mixed with 2 cups milk
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 Tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 large egg
3 Tbs butter, melted
1 to 2 tsp vegetable oil
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, rinsed and dried

Combine all dry ingredients with a fork.  Mix butter into milk and wisk egg into milk.  Combine milk mixture with dry ingredients until everything is wet but batter is still lumpy.  Fold in blueberries.

Grease griddle with a bit of oil on a paper towel.  When a couple of drops of water "dance" on the griddle it is ready.  Drop about 1/3 of a cup of batter on griddle.  When the edges begin to dry and there are hollow bubbles on the surface of the pancake, turn it over and cook until top of pancake begins to get soft.  Put finished pancake in a covered dish until you've finished cooking all the batter.  This should make 16 pancakes.

Serve pancakes with butter, maple syrup, or blueberry syrup.

Blueberry Syrup

1 1/2 cup blueberries
1 cup light pancake syrup

Boil blueberries in syrup until they begin to explode.  Pour over blueberry or regular pancakes.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Empinadas In Timesquare

Had a pretty awesome snack from Nuchas Gourmet Empinadas food truck.  The short rib empinadas are the bomb. We stopped by while waiting for traffic in the parking garage to clear after seeing Anything Goes, which was a pretty good show. Best tap dancing (actually the only tap dancing) I have ever seen.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Trip to the Belmar Seafood Festival

The gang and I spent this past Sunday afternoon at the 26th Annual Belmar Seafood Festival.  It was a great time dampened only a little bit by the heat and the huge crowds.  One of the perks of living at the Shore is to be able to jump in the car and drive to a festival like in just few minutes.  There is music, craft and other non-food fenders, and a giant wine and beer tent, but of course the real draw is seafood.

Some of my favorite Belmar area seafood restaurants were there including Mr. Shrimp (my current favorite) and Ollie Klein's (the fish I grew up on when the owner was the chef at Evelyn's which has sadly departed from the Belmar restaurant scene.)  There were some higher end representatives including Mumfords, 40 North Oyster Company and Anthony's of Little Italy.  However at an event like this, the key is to eat seafood you love in as close to it's natural state as possible.  The highlight of my eating adventures was a platter of 4 cherrystone clams and 4 nice plum oysters.  What made it taste even better is that this delectable plate of raw mollusks cost me only 5 bucks. It was pretty impressed with the shuckers.  The guy who was preparing my plate told me that he shucks about 2000 briny packets a day.

Nick joined me in his own feast of raw mollusks.  Bria chose a platter of seared tuna, coconut shrimp with a side of rice and arugla. Becca had a crab cake sandwich and a buffalo shrimp taco.  Christine enjoyed a New Jersey speciality, deep fried crunchy soft shell crab on a sandwich with lettuce and tarter sauce.

There were some great choices for deserts if you were interested.  Nick opted for a deep fried oreo which was shared among the group.  Becca had a crape folded over a ricotta and chocolate chip filling.  For me, being the frugal guy that I am, I was thrilled that 7 Eleven had a truck there giving out free, pretty generous samples of slushy.

If you plan to attend the Belmar Seafood Festival next year, I would give you two hints.  Try to go on Friday night.  The attendance is a little lighter and according to one of the worker, this years festival had the largest attendance in it's history, so on the last day, crowds were definitely bordering on intolerable. The second hint is to park in at the Marina or train station and use the free shuttles provided by the festival.  I am looking forward to enjoying some of the other great foodie and fun festivals this summer.  It's great to live at the Jersey Shore.  Enjoy!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Eat Sustainable Seafood

This past fall, I had one of the best fishing trips of my life. Frank, Matt and I boarded the Gambler in Point Pleasant, NJ in quest of the mighty striped bass. This is game fish that had been overfished in Jersey waters to the point of extinction a few years ago. Thankfully, agressive fish management has brought back the stocks in Jersey to level that enabled our party to limit out with lunker bass that looked like this:

Proudly display our catch, including Frank's pool winner

All conscientious foodies should be concerned about the problem of overfishing.  Only sustainable fish should be eaten.  Here's why:

Also, only herbivore farm raised fish should be eaten.  If a fish is carnivore, only wild fish should be eaten.  That is why wild salmon is should be chosen over farm raised salmon.

Here is a handy dandy guide to help you make ethical choices when it come to eating seafood:  Seafood Watch.

Happy fishing!  Enjoy!

Monday, March 19, 2012

St. Patty's Leftover Treat -- Bubble and Squeak

I am cooking up a batch of Bubble and Squeak for lunch with the sweetheart.  Bubble and Squeak uses the leftover veggies from your St. Patty's Day feast.  (Our's was a doozy this year).   It is simple and fun.  It gets it's name from the noises the pan makes as the treat cooks in it's black cast iron pan.  Here is how you make it:

Take a good amount of butter (I used 3 T) and melt it in a cast iron pan. (Has to be a cast iron pan).  Dice some onions and cook it in the pan.  Mash up your left over potatoes, carrots, turnips.  Whatever you had in the pot with your corned beef or smoked pork butt.  Slice up your left over cabbage and mix it with the veggies mash.  Put it into the pan, mash it down and cook for 10 or 15 minutes until it is nice an brown on one side.  Flip it out on a cutting board, slide it back in the pan and brown the other side.  Eat it with butter, malt or cider vinegar, salt and pepper.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Essential Christmas Album Collection

The Meaning of Christmas

This is one of the great Christmas albums of all time. It starts out with the medley "Sing We Now of Christmas" and some of the older re-issues of this album go by that name, but the star of the show is the original version of "The Little Drummer Boy". You probably listened to tunes spun from the vinyl of this LP when you were opening presents under the Christmas Tree when you were a little kid. This album is a re-issue of the original 1959 classic.

This album featuring choral singing backed by orchestra is another must have for the Christmas season. I love the use of some lesser known Christmas songs. It is another old standard and features a great collection of sacred Christmas music that you will spin again and again.

John Rutter is an English composer and conducter of sacred music. He has several Christmas albums and this is his best. It includes most of Rutter's original Christmas compositions and some fresh arrangements of Christmas standards. What makes Rutter great is his ability to bring a contemporary twist yet still have that touch of either mystery or festivity that is the essence of Christmas.

Handel's Messiah is a composition which I have to listen to at least once during the Christmas season, even though only one third of the oratory has to do with the prophecies and events of the Messiah's birth. There are lots of bad Messiah recordings, this is not one of them. The version done by the Academy of St. Martin in the Field is a great recording and one of my favorites.

The late, great Luciano Pavaratti is my favorite tenor. This album is a re-issue from the late 70's. "Uncle Luke's" voice is at it's peak of perfection. This is a wonderful collection of timeless, beautiful songs that capture the meaning of Christmas.

The Spirit of Christmas

Bing Croby, Burl Ives, they are all here. This and the companion CD linked below bring together just about all the Christmas classics that are part of the Great American Songbook. If you are looking for a comprehensive collection of the songs of your childhood Christmas memories, you have found it here. The Time-Life Treasury of Christmas: Christmas Memories

The animated TV perennial. This soundtrack is from was the very first Peanuts inspired seasonal special and is the wonderful. There is something about Charlie Brown's sad Christmas tree and Snoopy's antics along with Linus' reading of the Christmas story that capture the spirit of the season for me. As a bonus Vince Guarali's jazz interpretation of the Peanut's charachters is spot on.

OK, now for a few albums that are newer, but have an earned a place on my must play at Christmas time playlist. My kids introduces my to the music of Sufjan Stevens. He is a multi-instrumentalist minimalist singer song-writer. This 42 track CD is a compilation of Sufjan reinterpretations of Chrismas classics plus new music he sent out starting in 2001 to his friends as a kind of a musical Christmas card.

Maggie, Terry and Suzie Roche are three sisters out of the New York folk season. They used to do an annual Christmas concert at Manhattan's Town Hall. Their tight harmonies and sweet and sassy style are a joy to listen to. I always thought they were one of New York music's best kept secrets. I have enjoyed introducing them and especially their Christmas album to a a lot of different folk over the years.

Why is this one here you might ask? Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses, I Believe in Father Christmas by Gregg Lake, Step Into Christmas by Elton John and Father Christmas by the Kinks, all in place. Lots of Christmas memories from my late 70's early 80's college days. Almost an anthology of Classic Rock Christmas music. If "Do They Know It's Christmas" and "Merry Xmas (The War is Over) were here this would be golden.

Great Deals under $50 at Cooking.com!