Saturday, October 31, 2009

Rock Shrimp Pizza Pie

I bet that I could heat up my pizza making game if I practiced making my own dough. Even so this pie was really stellar. I used that "Brooklyn" dough with mozz, fontina and ricotta and the rock shrimp with lots of garlic and parsley. We shared this pie along with bowls of chicken veg soup, perfecto.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

WholeFoods Market Canelé Sampling

Customers at WholeFoods Mkt, South St. sampled quite a few canelé today.

Thanks folks. Thanks to WholeFoods Staff for their kind support.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Autumn Colors

Many trees are colorful right now. This Japanese maple 'Matsugae' is just beginning to show color.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Canele at Whole Foods Market

I am sampling mini canele at WholeFoods Market, South St. this Wednesday at 5-7pm. If you can stop by please say hi.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Shola, Studio Kitchen

I was honored earlier in the week when Shola Olunloyo revealed that he gets down with my canele on Sunday mornings. Not surprisingly it pretty much tripled traffic here at Philly Market Cafe. Could all of you new visitors please stop by HeadHouse market tomorrow? I'll be ready and waiting. An excellent batter has been resting since Thursday AM. It's ready to rise and shine.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Rock Shrimp, Olives and Spinach

Rock Shrimp from WholeFoods Mkt, previously frozen but not treated/glazed $13.99/# They were very decent. Pasta sheets from Talluto. A few vendors at the Italian Mkt had spinach for $1/bunch.

This was a real tasty dish. I moistened the spinach ravioli using a little bit of 38% cream from Dutch Way. The shrimp were cooked off with the olives, hot pepper, garlic and a lil olive oil.

This dish looks so much like a throwback from Marabellas when Neil Stein was providing a little direction.

Market Day Canele at Whole Foods Market Today

First order of fresh and crispy canele for Whole Foods Market, South St. Nun better.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Stella Osteria Pizza Frank Bruni

The other day I ran into a friend who is a Philly pizza aficionado and when the convo turned to Stella he grimaced and revealed that Stella stole the complete play book for Pizza from Osteria....WTF really? Anyone know about this?

I read a while back about SRO trying to get a renown Brooklyn pizzaiolo to lend a hand in Philly. He wasn't persuaded. LOL

We love our Pizza. We often make it at home using the WholeFoods Brooklyn dough. At times we travel to Charlie's and Santucci's and occasionally Marra's.

This piece by Bruni in the Times is excellent. FB gives a quick run down with key observations on favorite NYC spots.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


It took us way too long to get around to Paesano's. The sandwiches there seem to get accolades from everyone. We found that they are well deserved. Yesterday we stopped in for a late lunch and ate at the counter. We shared a roast beef and a pork sandwich. Both were very tasty. The pork was the pulled style with broccoli rabe, long hots and provolone and the roast beef was made with horseradish and ricotta(?). These were both on soft but crispy seeded Liscio's rolls. The folks cooking and serving were very warm and on the ball. This spot was a gem except the housekeeping was sketchy. It was real good cooking. Better sandwiches than Dinic's or Johnny Bears .......I don't know about that. The interpretations were maybe too different to compare.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Perciatelli at Johnny Bears 1512 Lounge

This pic shows our late night snack at Johnny Bears last Sunday. John asked if we'd like to eat we said yes we'll take whatever you'd like to serve. This is what he hooked up. Perciatelli with sauce, garlic bread, sausage and meatballs, roasted long hots and Johns home made cucarachas. Before that he plated up a little Bel Paese, sharp provolone, ham, sweet roasted peppers and olives. Consistently great hospitality with tasty cooking at the 1512 Lounge.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Spatchcock II

Sunday at Headhouse I purchased a chicken at Mountain View Poultry, garlic and shallots at Colton Organics, raw milk goat cheddar at Patches of Star, and leeks, mixed lettuces and pink and yellow potatoes at Blooming Glen.

I used the onions, potatoes and cheese to make a gratin and I spatch'd the chicken. The mixed lettuces got tossed with lemon and olive oil.

The goat cheddar worked well in the dauphinois which made a superb side to the spatchcocked chicken. The chicken was prime, light, clean and sweet with outstanding texture. The salad greens were brilliant, crispy and pristine. The lemon, dill dressing was tart and bright, it kept all the flavors on the plate popping.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Spatchcock With Colameco

Aren't most food shows preposterous and idiotic? Last week I saw a TV show with Mike Colameco that was neither. This show was a pleasure to view. He took viewers to visit Little Owl and Peasant in NYC. Chef Frank De Carlo at Peasant told a story about how Chef Paladin came in one night. He came back the next night, then he came back with Ducasse, soon Bocuse and Ripert were at the table. The point that Colameco was driving at was that when Chefs are in the kitchen there is more magic. Think about it. Many of the busiest restaurants in Philly are helmed by a ever changing stream of 'Chefs'. Do you make a destination out of a spot where chef is busy cultivating a food business empire? Who IS cooking your grub?

After Colameco demonstrated the excellence and integrity of these restaurants he did a little cooking. He boned out a chicken in about 90 seconds and cooked it off spatchcock style in a saute pan. I was impressed and salivating. Yesterday I got around to making my own. You can find a how-to on boning out a chicken easily on Google.
This bird has only it's wing bones remaining.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dinner Appetizer Party

We had friends over on Wednesday night. A few guests fearing they had the swine flu stayed home. Since we made plenty of appetizers and had less people than expected I nixed the entree part and just went with apps and dessert. It worked out just fine.

The dishes were:
1- Lobster roll, no pic but pretty much mini versions of the Steingarten recipe. They were excellent. We steamed a 4lb lobster that we grabbed in Cape May on monday @$7.50/#.
2- Baked oysters using Cape May local oysters. I thought that fennel broth and guanciale would work, but when I tested out the dish it wasn't right. Instead I made a vermouth reduction using a bunch of those gray shallots, a bit of cream, a sprig of chervil, some pistachio and a pinch of Murray river salt. Tasty.
3- Cheese plate with Metropolitan Bread was outstanding. We used Bucheron, Cusie, Basajo and LaTur with roasted peppers, olives, figs, berries, deviled quail eggs and the crispy chunks of guanciale that did not make it into the oyster dish. Superb.
4-Mini crab cakes with buna shimeji, chili and cucumber. These were delightful. The crab meat was super fresh Louisiana jumbo. The recipe is that old, old school recipe that was used at Odeon and predates even the reputation enhancing crab cakes that Chef Lacroix used on the Four Seasons menu in the 80's. The recipe relies on tasty fresh crab meat and magic to hold them together. 180° away from the very popular bread cakes sold around town.
5-Shrimp spring rolls using 16-20's @10.99/# from Cape May and just a few vegetables with Chinese mustard for dipping. Excellent and again 180° away from the fussy, overwrought 'egg rolls' around town.

For dessert the lil lady made vanilla ice cream with pomegranate swirl. She served it with an almond tuile. We served canele with fresh roasted Joe's coffee from El Salvador..

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Beppino Occelli @ Claudio

Beppino Occelli is a butter and cheese maker in Farigliano, Piedmonte, Italy. Claudio was unpacking these cheeses as we were ordering stuff for a dinner tomorrow. We got to taste the Crutin, pronounced (crow-teen) named from the word for cellars that were used to age cheeses, tied with strings and hung from the ceilings. It is a beautiful cylidrically shaped cheese. It is rather hard and crumbly. It sliced perfectly into discs. The truffle flavor is potent and pleasing but the crumbly, dry, and salty mouthfeel is, at first, not what you expect @$30/#. In a moment though it gives a luscious creamy and truffley finish, very luxe. Still I'd say it probably might be best used as a rich and piquant grating cheese or as an element of a cheese stuffed pasta paired with ricotta.

We didn't pick this up but we did grab Basajo and Cusie.

Thanks to Atalanta for cheese details.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Griselle Shallots

Colton Organics was selling "gray shallots" at HeadHouse Sunday. I had no idea about these. Tom said that they are known as the 'true' shallot. I did a little googling and found very little. Hank who seems to know his way around the kitchen and the garden as well as the fields, forest and streams had this to say: "they are far more flavorful than the purple ones you find in the supermarket. One big difference is that the gray shallots are smaller, less watery and more deeply flavored. Like mass-farmed anything, the supermarket ones are grown to be very, very large and milder. Think of them as the "vanilla" of shallots -- although I still use them when I run out of my gray ones..."

I do have high hopes and big plans for them. I'm scheming on how to use them.

My camera is MIA so i nabbed this pic at Food Gal Carolyn Jung. Thanks FGCJ.

Vegetables of interest
has a worthwhile read about this vegetable.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

JASNA, Well informed people who have a great deal of canele...

Today I had additional mini-canele because I tested out a new recipe. These minis baked up very lovely. Towards the end of market this afternoon I had enough to offer samples of whole, perfectly crispy and flavorful mini's. I offered a very handsome canele to a woman standing near our stand. In a few moments a group of her friends were sampling and chatting me up about the ingredients and calories, techniques etc. I learned that they were New Yorkers visiting for a meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America. One woman asked if I knew who JA was!

Anyway, they recognized a superb canele and they headed back to NYC with a cache of canele. Thanks JASNA canele customers.

Jim's Steaks Revisited

The Lil Lady was incredulous when I told her that Jim's was pretty good on my recent visit. She needed to confirm my impressions. We stopped in this week for lunch. The vibe inside was definitely different. Everyone in line was a retired Winnebago type person. The 4-5 in front of us were nice folks from MI. The sandwich maker was playful & patient with them as they tried ordering in proper ch steak syntax. Even though there were only about a dozen people around the counter the din created by the other staffers was a distraction that grated on my ears and was causing lots of repeated messages and slowing service. It seemed like the B-team was trying to run the show. The sandwich maker asked me a couple times 'was that wiz with?'

Ok, we got the sandwiches and the LL says "are you kidding, you don't think this is salty?" It did seem wetter and saltier. The grill guy splashed on a few ounces of liquid as he was chopping that I assumed was water but the LL said "no way that stuff was viscous." We both finished but at the end she pointed out a little bit too much congealed grease and also suspicious looking transparent fluid that had gelled on the wrapping paper.

So this time I have to say the workers were not on point at all. Even the grill guy was yucking it up a lil bit too much as if he were a Disney grill cook or a New Orleans shoe shine man. The other workers were noisy and unpleasant. The sandwich was in the better thn average range but not worth a special trip. For the 2 sandwiches and 2 sm chips, 1 water it was about $20.

For $20 at Famous 4th, just down the street, you'd be far better fed (take out).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

New Menu Items @ Johnny Bears -- Cheese Steak Empanadas

We stopped by the 1512 Lounge earlier this week and sampled John & Maria's empanadas. We had the savory version (pic) Philly Cheese Steak and the sweet with caramelized apples. Both were tasty. We also chowed on an excellent roast pork and a crispy chicken cutlet.

Friday, October 9, 2009

$tarbuck$........ Everything but the Coffee

Book reading, signing, informed conversation about coffee @ Pumpkin Restaurant Monday, 6:30 PM, free.

Everything but the Coffee
casts a fresh eye on the world's most famous coffee company, looking beyond baristas, movie cameos, and Paul McCartney CDs to understand what Starbucks can tell us about America. Bryant Simon visited hundreds of Starbucks around the world to ask, Why did Starbucks take hold so quickly with consumers? What did it seem to provide over and above a decent cup of coffee? Why at the moment of Starbucks' profit-generating peak did the company lose its way, leaving observers baffled about how it might regain its customers and its cultural significance? Everything but the Coffee probes the company's psychological, emotional, political, and sociological power to discover how Starbucks' explosive success and rapid deflation exemplify American culture at this historical moment. Most importantly, it shows that Starbucks speaks to a deeply felt American need for predictability and class standing, community and authenticity, revealing that Starbucks' appeal lies not in the product it sells but in the easily consumed identity it offers.

Little Fish -- Fish

I always hear how great Chef Stollenwerk's cooking is. I have only ever tried to eat at Little Fish. It has never worked out. Today I crossed paths with a bud who knows Philly grub and is going to be a server at the new Fish which could open Monday. He's thrilled to be working there and expects it to be a prime fish spot in town. That made me excited too!

He had a training copy of the menu on him.
It looks a mess in mini form but if you click it's readable and current. It is different and probably more accurate than the menu posted at Meal Ticket.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Clark Park Today

Wow, wasn't today the most beautiful Autumn day? i was lucky to enjoy the day selling canele at Clark Park. It was my first market there and it went very well. I met the nicest folks and the atmosphere there is peaceful and refreshing. Today's batch of canele was very nice. I sold all of them .

West Philly hold your le le's up.

I didn't get much opportunity to check out the other vendors . Our neighbor popped over with some buttered slices of rye and sourdough that were very tasty. Another vendor had great looking icicle radishes. People were buying Asian pears like crazy.

It was a pleasure to market in Clark Park today

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Blogola / Yelp Sucks

The FTC has mandated that bloggers should disclose blog-ola. I have no beef at all with this requirement., the soapbox that panders to the common idiot, surely should hard wire this ethical practice into their process. Even before Yelp began to get my goat, the yelper in charge of the Philly area gave a review of brunch at Lacroix. Brunch at Lacroix is pretty special in my experience. It was special in her experience as well. But it's way more special when a 250-300$ brunch is gratis. 1st review: This was not disclosed. Though ethically appalling, it is an insignificant concern compared with the cringe evoking dullness of yelp banter.

Birch Run Hills Veal Brisket

Sue, of Birch Run Hills Farm, is my neighbor on Sundays at the farmers market. I know their cheese is renown, local and tasty. Now I know that their veal is also prime and delish. We're working on a menu for a party next week, and one of my canele customers told me about a brisket he made with BHF veal. I grabbed a brisket on Sunday. I plopped it into a cure last night and slow roasted it with some long neck garlic and sweet and hot peppers. We made this old school lunch with it. Excellent veal in every way. The roast was nicely trimmed with just enough fat and it had lovely light flavor and superb texture. The Talluto'$ noodles with crispy sage and reggiano were yum. The Scott & Judy $1.50/# beans tasty.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Market Day Canele

Sold at WholeFoods Markets Philly, La Colombe, Pumpkin Market, Plaza at Schmidts , Headhouse Mkt and Clark Park Farmers Market.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cape May Salts and Lobster Rolls

The salts I've eaten this summer were not anything to blog about. They were sweet in the Spring but Tuesday was the first time they've been prime since. These were sweet/salty and firm with clean complex flavors. The lobsters were 7.50/#. We got a dz salts/6.99, a 3# lobster and some Lobster House cole slaw and made do.

We used Steingarten's recipe and technique verbatim for the rolls. N. Cape May ACME (bring gold) has the split top buns. I made the french fries with an heirloom potato I got at HeadHouse. Both the lobster roll and the fries were superb. Fresh made lobster roll, of course is gonna be good and better than what you can get in Philly. But the fries were so completely outstanding that the combo was way off the chart. We had an icy cold rose with this plate.