Monday, August 30, 2010

Packaging Echantillons: Tauer and Ormonde Jayne

I was impressed by the packaging on these sets of fragrance samples. The metal box is from Andy Tauer of Switzerland. The black box that cleverly unfolds when you pull on the black ribbon is from Ormonde Jayne in the UK.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Deals at DiBrunos !!!!!!!!!!!!

I've been meaning to test out Beppino Occelli's truffled pecorino in a ravioli for a while. I made it down to 9th St on Wednesday. Claudio's was real busy so I popped in DiBruno Bros. They had a sign out front for Grana Padano @$9.99. This is delicious parmesan-like hard cheese at an excellent price. Once inside I saw guanciale for $12.99. You can buy as much or little as you like. I think that is very exciting! So while I was there I grabbed a slice of their truffled pecorino, guanciale and grana. Then I went back to Claudio and bought ricotta, basajo and copacolla.

I used the guanciale with escarole (Scott and Judy) and shallots, the truffled pecorino with the ricotta inside the rav was excellent. Wholefoods had boneless skinless chicken on sale @$4.99. I sauteed off the chicken and plated the greens, ravs and chicken together. Very tasty casual plate!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Local Lamb & Sicilian Eggplant From Media Farmers Market

The Lil Lady made some excellent trades at the Media Farmers Market yesterday. She came home with wonderful lamb chops from Red Haven Farm and Sicilian eggplants from A.T. Buzby, chevre from Shellbark Hollow and a bread from Big Sky. She cooked up this grub herself!

These chops had excellent flavor and very sporty trimming. The eggplant was transformed into a Mario Batali style eggplant parm. The eggplant and lamb might not seem like the most felicitous pairing but it is a combo we both enjoy. We had this with a Torres Tempranillo.

Thanks to those producers for their remarkably delicious goods.

Monday, August 16, 2010


We are grateful to The Daily Candy for taking notice of our canele and caramels.

While we're at it:

We are thankful for our generous customers who we see rain or shine or snow or sweltering market days. A thanks to our new customers at Rittenhouse and Fitler Sq.

There are no farmers markets without farmers. They show up week in and out with beautiful, nourishing and naturally grown goods. Thanks folks.

Thanks to all the market managers and their organizations that keep things rolling.

In addition to the markets listed in the article, we are in Media on Thursdays and Clark Park on Saturdays. Please refer to our Facebook page for more info.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Market Day Canelé de Bordeaux

The canelé is a magical bakery confection, a cake with a rich custardy interior enclosed by a thin caramelized shell. It's a brilliant construction developed long ago by an anonymous Bordeaux cook, whose innovation has been subjected to 300 years of refinements.

Many recipes don't carry a tale, the canelé carries many. One of the oldest refers to a convent in Bordeaux, where, before the French Revolution, the nuns prepared cakes called canalize made with donated egg yolks from local winemakers, who used only the whites to clarify their wines. Any records that might verify this were lost in the turbulent revolution, thus relegating the convent story to legend.

In an alternative tale resident of Bordeaux, who lived along the docks, gleaned spilled low-protein flour from the loading areas, and then used it to make sweets for poor children. The small canelé molds, fluted and made of copper or brass, were nestled in embers to be baked. from Paula Wolfert

Market Day Canelé are made in Philadelphia, the ingredients are: fresh whole (natural) milk & pasture eggs, sugar, flour, rum, butter, Tahitian vanilla and orange zest*. These ingredients are baked in molds brushed with a bit of organic beeswax to crisp the exterior and to allow the canelé to slip from its mold.

* The ultra orthodox Confrerie of Canelé de Bordeaux considers orange flavoring a “bastardization.”

The 2.8oz canelé contains about 165 calories:

  • Total Fat: 6.0 g
  • Cholesterol: 69.9 mg
  • Sodium: 70.3 mg
  • Total Carbs: 23.2 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0.2 g
  • Protein: 4.1 g

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Back at the time of the Lil Lady's 30th b'day we imagined celebrating at Amada with scores of friends and a litter of COCHINILLO ASADO. The dream never died. We did make it to Amada on Monday for the lil pig. We brought along 2 friends and pre-ordered the conchinillo asado.

Before Jeff (scissorhands) rolled his pig laden cart from the kitchen to our table we primed out appetites with a selection of tapas.

We had the PIQUILLOS RELLENOS Crab-Stuffed Peppers - REVUELTO Shrimp & Wild Mushroom Shirred Eggs -MELÓN CON JAMÓN Melon, Serrano Ham, Yogurt & Sherry Reduction - ALCACHOFAS Y SETAS Artichoke & Wild Mushrooms, Black Truffles & Manchego - CHANQUETES FRITAS Fried Baby Anchovies, Fried Egg & Salbitxada Sauce - OYSTERS Strawberry Escabeche & Cava Granita

Both the hospitality and cuisine could not be faulted. Each dish seemed executed as if it had been presented a thousand times. The server was accommodating and friendly (we were super late) . The tapas compositions were nicely balanced classics with tame spices and easily accessible flavors. The strawberry/oyster combo was a genuine delight.

Whole Roasted Suckling Pig, Grilled
Green Onions, Herb-Roasted Fingerlings,
Garbanzos con Espinacas &
Rosemary White Beans

The lil pig was carved expertly, and it was mucho tasty, though not as dramatic and satisfying in flavor and texture as I expected from so small a critter. The sides were tasty too. Three carbohydrate sides seemed heavy handed to me. However, each one was distinctive.

Dining here was completely enjoyable. There was not a glitch with any dish or point of service. I was a little bit underwhelmed by the rote feeling that pervaded the place. The cooking wasn't exactly churning with summer exuberance, more surfing on the wave of the tried and expected. Clearly the Iron Chef has better things to do than challenge the expectations of his patrons. Garces' tapas formula still fills the dining room but I found it's not as spirited here as it once was.

The complimentary sherry at the meals end was a gracious and delicious touch.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pizazz at Pumpkin Restaurant

We do business with Pumpkin Market on a regular basis. But Thursday night was my first time at the restaurant.

Whoa, I was really impressed. I found the dining room stylish and comfortable. Our server was warm and attentive and informed. The menu, with a focus on local, excellent quality ingredients, was both concise and intriguing.

There was a green gazpacho with peekytoe crab. Mmm chilly and bright with cucumber, pea, cilantro, avocado and other green ingredients. Against the vegetable puree, the crab bits' briny sweetness sang.

The beet salad was also just right for a toasty summer night. It had a cool puddle of beet gastrique and a wedge of Jasper Hill Blue. It was a little bit like my holiday beet salad!

Chef sent us an order of squid stemperata. I didn't know that word at all. Apparently it means stamped, referring to olives which are split. This dish was sort of like an antipasti salad with eggplant, basil, fennel and thinly sliced squid rings. It too was an excellent seasonal and cool dish for a hot night.

Next we had grilled quail. These were grilled to amazing perfection and seasoned just as deftly. I'm now embarrassed by how I hoarded and savored these birds. At the same time we had the watermelon salad with lime granita. This too was an outstanding dish. Pefectly in sync with the season and composed with local melons. The ice was packing perfect citrus zing. The melon sweetness and texture with the cilantro herbiness were astonishingly captivating and refreshing.

The lil lady had steak tartare. She lorded over it such that I didn't sample enough to comment.

We had haddock and swordfish. Both sweet, fresh and cooked to juicy just-done-ness. The summer vegetables with the sword and the 'corn chowder' with the haddock again show chef right on the money with best local stuff and a meticulously seasonal menu.

Finally the panna cotta with granola and berries and a frosty glass of basil ice cream ended the meal on a light, bright and tasty summery note.

Thanks Ian and Chris. Really fine cooking with an emphasis on local, fresh and the chef in the kitchen! As enjoyable and inventive as the best of the BYO's (Fond, BlackFish etc.)