Thursday, July 30, 2009


OK I got my verizon hate off my chest and let me add balance with some cool Summer beauty.

This plant is a Japanese Maple. I think its name translates to the pine branch.
Not sure if anyone knows why.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Seriously Verizon WTF

How does it work that this heavy volume of crap, loaded with photos of greedy, desperate attorneys and absolutely useless BS is deposited all over town no questions asked? I'm guessing the narrow avarice of the local monopoly called Verizon.

Cheetos and Cheeseburger

Jersey tomatoes at the Italian today $1 a pound, butter lettuce $.25 per head, Cheetos at Superfresh also Superfresh 90% ground beef $4.79/# and very decent.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Canele Breakthrough ?

I tweaked my recipe a little bit and made a change to the molds. I've struggled to get a more consistent result that worked well in large Philly Kitchen Share convection ovens batches. I'm going to PKS tomorrow to test out a larger batch but the preliminary canele were outstanding!

Vanquishing the problems involved in scaling up would be so amazingly satisfying. It's pretty much the most puzzling culinary problem I've ever tried to solve.

Thanks to baking 911 for sharing some know how.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Peaches This Sunday

You could see that vacation time is in full swing by the light traffic and slow pace at Market today. There was plenty of beautiful stuff, tomatoes, corn, and stone fruits were especially lush.

I had the nicest customers today, thanks guys for compliments and support.

Today at Headhouse Three Springs had the sweetest looking peaches white and yellow. I went to buy them at a few minutes past 2 and was turned back by a stern youth. I was told that there were no sales after 2pm, when the market closes.

"Pull the corn" sign is from Duckies in West Cape May

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Learning More French (with Alizee!)

My French is weak. I often try to improve my skills. I do know most food words and some common phrases. I've improved a lot lately from watching this video.

Is she like the French Brittany Spears?

Buffalo Shrimp, West Cape May Style

We're off to the beach for a couple days. I've held off on chowing down on the lil lady's fried shrimp. I'm ready to give in; it's mid-summer, there is surf in the forecast to help work off the calories and I got a fresh jug of sauce.

I got a date late night Saturday with a few gallons of canele batter. Be back then.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chicken : Strips and Wings

My sister requests grilled chicken wings pretty much every time we get together. I've had a lot of practice rubbing and grilling them usually they are real good.

On South St. lately there are so many motorcycle 'riders/posers' lately that it's beginning to get my goat That is why I wanted to explain about chicken strips. Chicken strips aren't food they are FEAR. A chicken strip appears on a motorcycle tire when the rider is frightened to lean the bike over. If you have a sport bike and ride this way it is like being a chef and who only ever uses his paring knife. It's pussified.......and extremely common, especially among the loud revving, chromed out, purple LED, pristine leather wearing ass hats who spend a 1/2 hr rolling down South St on weekend nights. Check out some of the 'fellas' tires as the pose on South St. Their tires are as unscuffed as their leathers.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Peppers & Cheese

$2.00 baskets of poblano peppers at the Italian Market today ....had to call the lil lady and request a chile rellenos date.

Meanwhile I fixed a nasty, double brie burger with cucarachas for lunch.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Beautiful Sunday


These sunny , dry and breezy days lift my spirits and my canele. An excellent batch today. Right on time too because Chefs Alison Barshak and Mitch Prensky stopped by and each grabbed a pack.

Alison psyched me out by striking up a conversation about the best value on canele in Paris.

The produce everywhere was sparkling but I was a little bit too busy to really check things out.

The sandwich is WholeFoods Market Italian sausage pattie, with provolone and brocoli rabe also from WholeFoods on a kaiser from Superfresh with some cucarachas, crushed up, on top. Locavoracious

Bistronomy Bistronomie Bistronomique

Last autumn I heard about Bistronomy from a cable TV program. They showed a chef in a Parisian bistro tossing together an assiette de charcuterie using house made cured meats and sides. It was a classic Bistro dish with a few innovative touches.

From Chowhound contributor Souphie
Now bistronomique is what happened in the 90s when some chefs trained in top restaurants decided that they did not want the whole circus of expensive laundry, big staff, etc. Top gastronomy at that time was very much top ingredients perfectly cooked. The trend is often considered to have started with Christian Constant's disciples. Constant was the chef at the Hotel Crillon and he is known for introducing simpler ingredients, more casual ingredients, usually reserved for bistrots, but using the skills and precision of top dining.

So some Constant disciples said: we can do that without fancy dining room. The most famous ones are la Régalade from Camdeborde and La verrière from Fréchon. Ultimately, even Constant himself turned his restaurant le Violon d'Ingres into something more casual. Camdéborde now runs le Relais Odéon and La Régalade, run by his second is one of the top bistronomiques.

The standard for bistrots became more upscale, but only few stick to the actual concept of using top ingredients and cooking in no formal settings. La Régalade and l'Ami Jean are the best.

I googled bistronomy, read about the concept and scanned a few menus. The dishes of course look deliciously Parisian. The pic above is from Potatomato's blog.

It's pumpkin soup with foie gras served at La Muse Vin a bistronomique in Paris.

From Gary Lee Kraut:

Bistronomy is a combination of bistro and gastronomy. The term best applies to bistros where the chef continues to emphasize seasonal produce and nearly traditional recipes while displaying his knowledge and interest in more polished or sophisticated cuisine. These are indeed bistros since the additional elements required of a truly gastronomic restaurant—elegant services, fine tableware, more expensive produce, a section-by-section kitchen staff, a decorator—may be absent.
A number of famous (read: trademarked) mid-career and older chefs who have made their name in gastronomy now have an adjacent business of bistronomy, while opening such a restaurant is now also a way for chefs in their 30s to try to strut their stuff and take full control at an early stage in their career.
The term bistronomy is naturally a fad, a bit of a marketing ploy by which its owner or chef claims to be a cut above the ordinary bistro. Yet beyond the easy way the word rolls off the tongue lies the sensible notion that traditional French cuisine evolves and that gastronomy is just another of saying a good meal. Add to that the notion that a hungry traveler can have a relaxed, well-conceived meal in an unpretentious setting at an inviting price.
Le Cotte-Roti is a classic example. It is an open 30-seat space that’s pleasant enough without having any particular charm. Service is kind if direct. The chef sometimes gives a hand in the dining room. A three-course meal is currently an honest 30€ without supplements. One comes for the food.
Thus a tasty October lunch with Fabien of hare terrine containing bits of foie gras; braised veal tournedos with stewed mushrooms; a fruity-cum-earthy bottle of Faugères, a Syrah-Mouevèdre-and-then-some blend from the Languedoc region.
Re-thus a notable November dinner with Jean-François (who not only allowed me to share in the conversation but also in his meal) of oeuf mollet frit, a fried soft-boiled egg on a pesto-lined “dipping” bread; a mi-cuit foie gras terrine; a succulent scallop and potato purée dish; a sea bream (dorade/daurade) on a bed of salsify heightened with white truffle oil; poached quince with a triangle of French toast; poached pear on a creamy rice putting laced with caramel. Wine: Saint Joseph 2006, a Syrah from the northern portion of the Rhone Valley.
All these are good examples of bistronomy’s enhanced bistro fare and of someone giving it his best effort in the kitchen. Regarding those efforts, the foie gras lacked umph (and curiously of toast), an indication that one can’t expect the chef in a two-man kitchen to do everything well.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Los Amigos

That sausage in pic is chorizo from 9th St. The store that has "Quality Meat" stenciled on their window at Carpenter sold it for about $4.00/#. It had a fresh and light texture, nice seasoning but not too spicy, a little bit fatty and very tasty. On their receipt it prints Los Amigos as the store name. The salsas are tomatillo made from dollar a pound 9th St. tomatillos, the red one is salsa that we served with the rellenos it uses cooked tomato and the third is made with nopales. The avocados for the guac were excellent @ 1.50 each on 9th.

Everyone was thrilled by the lil lady's chile relleno

Those nopales and grilled jalapenos made excellent salsa. It matched nicely with chorizo.

They had both Maryland and Louisiana crabmeat at the the Lobster House Market last week. It was the same day that I could not pass up the soft shell crabs. I didn't buy any crabmeat that day. By the next week they had only Venezuelan jumbo lump @ 18.99/#. I made salad with it and it was tasty and 'fresh' but not nearly as sweet and crabby as best quality, US East Coast, fresh, jumbo lump.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pawpaw Anticipation

I counted 9 ripening fruits on the pawpaw tree I grow. I'm excited but still hoping that someone is bringing these to Headhouse this Fall.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Headhouse Sunday

Wow, it was toasty at Market today. They moved us out of the covered area onto the sun-shiney sidewalk. It was so hot that my sample plate warped. Meanwhile on the shady side of the market the vendors stayed under the cover of Headhouse. Next week all of the vendors on the east side go out on the sidewalk and all the vendors on the west stay inside. WTF?

On the canele front it wasn't pretty. My batch last night was a 80% failure.......YIKES so I woke early and baked off a mini batch that wasn't perfectly hatched.. Thanks to my faithful customers for buoying my spirits as canele consistency continues to confound me.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Santucci & Cucaracha

Santucci's pizza (O St. location) tops any pizza I've had in town. It's got more going for it than Osteria's 'pie'.

Crushing some home made cucarachas on top makes it even tastier.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Fish & Grits

The halibut ($14.99/#) at WholeFoods Market has been superb. I spiced it up and seared it with a bit of octopus ($4.99) that WFM is offering. The octopus too was very tasty. I was told it's a product of Vietnam and it comes in frozen blocks.

A lighter touch would have been a better treatment for the halibut which was mild, totally fresh and sweet

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Here Comes the Judge

The judges from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society visited here today. The plants were looking especially vibrant because of the rainy spring. Hot summer hasn't caught up to them yet.

Summer Style

We stopped at roadside markets inWest Cape May and Lower Township and grabbed NJ FRESH: tomatoes, cukes, red onion, new potatoes, mushrooms, string beans, red pepper, and arugula. We tossed the veggies in citrussy vinaigrette and dropped a lively, Lobster House, soft shell crab (tempura)($3.98/each) on top and a few grill roasted potatoes on the side.

We (I) had the excellent top necks ($3.99/dz) with icy vodka, lemon and pepper.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Mutual Admiration Society

Canele trade was brisk at HeadHouse today. I didn't even get out to look around at all. I did see lots of shoppers with great looking zuchini with blossoms, tomatoes, green onions, lettuces and flowers.

At the end of market I did have a few canele left and I traded with Joe Coffee, the vendor who adopted me, for a pound of fresh roasted Guatemala beans. I ground them a few hours later and made a pot. Wow, extraordinarily vibrant brew with light body and lots of flavor and nose. One of the best coffees I've had outside of Hawaii or Jamaica. Thanks Joe !

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

Happy B'day USA. Always critism for this modern Lady Liberty

Joe B

Friday, July 3, 2009

Local Killah Vanilla

Canele rely on superb vanilla notes. I've used a bunch of different vendors for vanilla but so far Vanilla Products, a dealer in Doylestown, is tops. It is claimed that the Indo beans work best for long, hot cooking dishes. These beans are meaty with moderate caviar and excellent aroma they have a light but firm vanilla flavor. They are about a buck each by the quarter pound. Beans in S Philly go for $2.50 each and fancy beans at WholeFoods are about $7 each!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Market on Passyunk East

Vendors at this market yesterday had NJ corn and PA tomatoes. Potatoes and beans looked prime so did raspberries and blueberries.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sly Fox at Supper

Supper offered these inventive and tasty deviled eggs to enjoy with a deal on Sly Fox canned brews. We had a good time there, sitting out on South St, with beer and eggs.

Some Lacroix Dishes with Red Sancerre

It was an extremely promising amuse bouche. A meaty slice of sweetly fresh, fatty salmon quickly sets a high bar.

We had the oysters to start they were Fanny Bay and Island Creek. Both were on the 1/2 shell topped with ponzu and tobiko. Very tasty. I would have preferred the toppings on the side.

We shared kobe beef with brandade. Both were excellent on their own. Together they were not completely in love. We shared a softshell crab dish and a pea soup with prawns. I thought the crab was misunderstood and not expressing it's character too successfully. The pea soup was astonishingly green with a matching bright flavor. It had a green sweetness that buoyed the sweet chunks of prawn. House salad was quite delicious, just barely dressed, crispy greens with extremely savory little nuggets of lamb bacon.

We ordered gnochi and asparagus as sides. The asparagus was delectably fresh and just steamed. The white chocolate sauce sort of tricked me into expecting hollandaise, I was disappointed. We shared curried lobster and cote de veau for entrees. The lobster was a shelled, pristine BIG meaty tail with claws. It was steamed to a tender, barely cooked minimum and shelled. Again, I thought that the lobster was misunderstood. The little pool of broth and small slab of flat bread might have matched better with a small pot of steamed lobster meat and vegetables, herbs/seaweed, flowers etc. However it morphed into an unbelievably luscious 'leftover' with leftover risotto the next day. The veal chop was prime and tasty.

First we had the excellent Lacroix house champagne with the oysters. Then the sommelier brought the red Sancerre to our table. He told us interesting details about the wine but I recall nothing except that it was a very enjoyable, lighter, non-oaky red that agreed with the mix of dishes we had. It was a lot like the Cab Franc that we learned about at the wine tasting. It was the first I heard of a red Sancerre!

Service at Lacroix was outstanding and the sommelier was a virtuoso of vinology.