Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year

I'm off to the shore to cook lobsters, give out canelé and play shuffleboard at the VFW.

The Hopkins verse was going to be my Christmas Dinner poem but my sister read an epic and everyone was eager for supper. It makes a good New Years poem, right?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Food Shopping

We saw mad crowds at the Italian yesterday so today the lil lady was all doom n gloom about revisiting the market . Turned out the crowds weren't too bad at all, Even Whole Foods South St was navigable.

The 9th St crooner was slaying the crowd with sweet Sinatra tunes.

We grabbed fresh guavas from the Mexican produce guy. I haven't seen those there before.

Monday, December 21, 2009

DiBruno Bro$

Sunday morning was so snowy that the canelé lorry was trapped. I walked an order up to La Colombe and visited Di Bruno since I was in the hood. Wow, they have nice looking $tuff. Gorgeous looking u-8 prawns caught my eye immediately. In the same area there was a stack of canned San Marzano tomatos at 50% off i.e. 2 for $5.

We grabbed the tomatoes and kept browsing. We'd been looking for Chaource but it was not available. $9.99/# Fresh chestnuts were available! They are also available at 9th St DiBruno where you can walk outside and find the same chestnuts for $3.99-$5.99. That's culinary pioneering for ya!

I was a little bit shocked to see canelé in the pastry section. They weren't Market Day Canelé and they were not Metropolitan canelé. They were imported from N.NJ! They were Balthazar canelé. They were presented with a flaccid raspberry and powdered sugar on top. I bought one for $3. I waited till i got home to evaluate it. This was just one canelé from a reputable bakery so how much can I rightly say besides NO....this canelé had a 'crust' like the membrane of a raw egg and the interior was like a barely scrambled egg. The top part absorbed some leakage from the berry and it was unpleasant. The trip down the NJ turnpike didn't help their baguette either.

This 'imported' pastry topped with an unseasonal and inapproriate garnish made me a little sad.

Christmas Party @ Johnny Bears

We rode the sub to Johnny Bears on Saturday night. Bear and Maria had a tasty buffet and the lounge was festooned with festive touches. After chowing down and drinking up we enjoyed a 2.5 mile hike up Broad at 3 am (not a taxi in sight). It was worth it.

Those mini Carangi rolls were outstanding. John also sliced up a tender, sweet, white wine salami that he found in DiBruno Bro$.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Last Sunday Market at Headhouse--Cancelled

Tomorrow is the final market for 09 at Headhouse.

UPDATE: market for tomorrow is cancelled.

Sunday Supper: Farmer's Market Wrap Party is still on

Italian Market

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cape May at the Holidays

Blanquette de Veau

Ochs' was out of stewing veal so I grabbed 2 pounds at South St. SuperFresh. The pastry is Dufour. Chanterelles, herbs and carrots supplied by Iovine.

Just right on a chilly night.

Monkfish Picatta

John at the Lobster House Fish Market told me that the scallop boats had been hauling in monk fish along with their primary catch. These are mostly day boats, the fish was prime. This was a delicious dish. The fish was $6.50 /#.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Reading Terminal Today

Seems like I missed the radicchio cook off. Rob over at Market Report blogged about it.

We made a quick stop around noon to grab stuff for a mega chicken stock batch. The lil lady loves Godshall.

As we stood around eating a couple of Fishers pretzels we observed those corduroy cuties working that skittles machine as passionately as a day tripper on a one arm bandit.

Iovine had enormous navel oranges 2/1$. They were delicious to eat and their fragrant zest went into tonights' canelé.

I chatted with Nick @ Ochs and offered my condolences. It was excellent to speak with Nick about Harry and to learn that Nick's intention is to maintain Harry's high standards. At Och's we grabbed a pound of beef chipped from a nice looking bottom round. We had homemade cheese steaks for lunch.

The market was lively with visitors. Plenty of folks seemed to be here for the Army Vs Navy game.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Headhouse Farmers Mkt. Last 2 Sundays

Stop by for a coffee and canelé on Sunday.

Place an order for pick-up or delivery at HeadHouse or send an Email:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Alaskan Spot Prawns

Every so often the sustainable seafood vendor is at HeadHouse Mkt dropping off products to customers who have pre-bought 'shares'. A few of our customers at Sunday Market have spoken about how they support the concept and appreciate the quality.

That vendor is Otolith Sustainable Seafood. This morning, at Pumpkin Mkt, Hillary directed me to a bag of their IQF Alaskan Spot Prawns. They were $20/# for the 20-30 count. I didn't buy them on the spot but came back before dinner and took em home with me.

The purchase was an excellent decision. These were pristine beauties that were dressed and frozen in their glistening prime. They were so pretty we ate the first one raw. Most of them were brimming with roe. The roe, both raw and steamed, had the lightest briny flavor and the texture was amazingly firm. The eggs looked like gems.

I tempura'd them and served with chinese mustard - celeri remoulade and sprouts. The roe we ate from the shells with lemon and salt.

Balthazar Baguette

The lil lady grabbed a baguette and a braid from Di Bruno Bros last week. The braid from Faragalli was amazing. It's a favorite around here. The baguette from Balthazar was very nice but might have suffered from a slow ride down from N.NJ. It was tasty enough and the interior was nicely textured but there wasn't much crackle in the crust.

At market on Sunday I overheard Laura of Wildflower Bakery explaing a new baguette recipe created by a newly hired baker. I nabbed one of those. That loaf was also very tasty. It was in the chewy style, more like a sourdough, the crust was not crackly but it was crisp. It tasted even better as a reheated day old loaf.

A customer of mine reported that the best baguettes in town are coming from Fork! I was intrigued. We headed over to grab one but they were sold out. Instead we bought a loaf labeled sourdough. I think it may have been mislabeled. It was a crusty, dense wheat (?) boule. We enjoyed it with an extremely delicious wedge of Casatica di Bufala. We took this cheese after tasting and on recomendation from Zeke at 9th St Di Bruno. Thanks Zeke your suggestion was excellent.

Les Oeuf

Last week at HeadHouse I traded canelé for eggs with Mark of Natural Meadows Farms. I crack a lot of eggs to make canelé. I've never seen eggs as tight and bright as these. This weeks canelé were all made with those eggs. They produced beautiful batches

Good info from farm to philly.

Check out the excellent structure of this just cracked egg from Mark.

Chile Chilaca

I saw these chiles last week at the Italian Mkt. I learned chilaca is the fresh form of passila just as poblano is the fresh form of ancho.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Epic For Eddie

The requisite big surf was in place yesterday on THE N. Shore. In Winter Hawaii doesn't do much NFL but they do have all those N. Shore invitationals including the Eddie Aikau which is held only when surf is epic.

In first pic Mark Healey is seen rag dolled in a photo by Eugene Tanner. 09 Aikau

The surfer in free fall is Darryl "flea" Virostko at the 08 Aikau. Photo is by Karen Wilson

Pic of paddling surfers is 09 Aikau. Surf was 20-30'. Photo by Hugh Gentry

It's not always all about cheesesteaks and canele here at PMC.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

God Bless Harry G. Ochs Jr.

Harry Ochs is/was and has been the ONLY supplier of prime beef and spectacular veal and lamb at Reading terminal Mkt.

Harry died on Sunday. He was 80 and had been fighting cancer for a while. Harry's integrity, high standards and wit brightened my every visit to

Harry's knowledge of meats and butchering made him one of the rare living cultural treasures remaining at
RTM. Harry had stories about butchering at RTM that could scarcely be believed in this time of phony and misleading signage, CryoVac, waterlogged, medicated 'natural' products. and 'butchers' aka unpackers.

Harry was crazy about
Villanova basketball and the Boston Celtics. In 85-86 Harry was already in heaven. Villanova took the NCAA in 85 and the Celtics were in the NBA championship both years taking the title in 86. Harry also won Best of Philly that year.

Harry generously educated me at the butcher block, meat saw and grinder. He invited me over to use his tools anytime he had space. Harry shared his politics, sports obsessions and good judgment as freely as his smile.

RTM takes a big hit in the cultural capital vault with the loss of Mr. Ochs.

PHOTO: April Saul, Philadelphia Inquirer

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Superb Salmon and Salts

Famous 4th on Bainbridge St. is still slicing luscious nova. I packed a few oz's. to take to Cape May last weekend and it was just as distinctive and satisfying as the local salts and little necks.

Salts were $7.96 dz at the Lobster House Mkt and the salmon is about $36/#.