Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fowling It Up: Goose Egg Carbonara, Pheasant Galantine, Supreme de Volaille

Sonny D'angelo's galantine of pheasant with pistachio and apricot is seriously crafty and delicious.  We stalked this bit on a tip from Zeke over at DiBruno Bros. Thanks Z. excellent tip.

Lil lady made carbonara with the goose egg (Fair Food Farm Stand). The yolk is enormous!

 She used Sonny's guanciale, no cream, Grana Padano and Reggiano. This was a delicious plate with a slice of sauteed chicken from WholeFoods Mkt. Sauce texture was too tight but flavor was superb.
I used Italian Market escarole, Landisdale beets and Davidsons mushrooms in a salad dressed with EVOO, citrus and shallots to go along with this plate. AND We used the Vietnamese peppercorns on the salad, chicken breast and pasta. There is no question that fresh, high quality peppercorns are worth seeking out.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Morning at Reading Terminal Market

I chatted with Tom this morning just before the photographers showed up. He said to me "I've been cooking for 40 years and all of the sudden people notice" or something like that.

I had to grab one of these and taste what's inside.

These morels were $60+ per pound. which maybe worth it for really potent morels. these smelled super mild so I didn't bite.

A few other observations: I had a coffee from Old City it was excellent. I had a slice of pizza and slice of steak stromboli just out of the oven from By George. The pizza was fantastic the strombo, oh no. I had a egg sausage and cheese pretzel from Millers, delish!

OK looking back here it seems pretty dang idiotic not to match up the egg and morels. It did not work out that way. Instead we (she) went w carbonara using 'the $4 egg'.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Break Out the Cucarachas

I crisp off a pot of chili peppers every couple of weeks to bring to market. This style is traditionally called cucaracha. This little flyer describes them in brief but folks always ask me how to use em. 

Suggestion: sprinkle them on a goat cheese and rock shrimp pizza.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Madagascar, Malabar, Sarawak, & Vietnamese Black Peppercorns

Madagascar Malabar Sarawak and Vietnamese Peppercorns from Pepper Passion
I've been looking around town for fresh premium black peppercorns for a while. I grabbed some Telicherry poppercorns on 9th St. I wasn't super impressed. In my mind I was thinking back to those spicy fresh and fragrant  peppercorns that were once offered at the spice shop in the RTM. 

Update #1 We tried out the Madagascar peppercorns on a very basic pasta dish. Lil lady declared these fantastic. Bright berry notes with sharp clear peppery-ness. She said this accounts for those recipes which call for 1/4 tsp of pepper. Put in a 1/4 tsp of most pepper it's not much different than adding pungent dust. Put in 1/4 tsp of this and you've got a zingy pepper flavor.

Update #2 We peppered an amazingly fine slice of Striped Bass (credit to WholeFoods Mkt South St) with the Sarawak peppercorns. Again the flavor is a remarkable improvement over basic peppercorns. These were also really bright with the peppery-ness along with a flavor that is sort of camphorous in a desirable way.  

Candied Orange

I wanted to learn if it is worthwhile to make candied orange rather than buy commercially prepared. We use these in the chocolate Florentines. I found that the batch I made was brighter in flavor and more aromatic than the package I grabbed at Fante's. I used these to make Florentines today.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Goat Cheese Tart with California Asparagus and Philadelphia Guanciale

This is a huge improvement over past efforts. Same leaf lard, butter combo with Daisy organic flour for the shell. The filling here is a Bucheron  custard. I used Madeleine Kamman's  Torteau Fromage aux Oignons recipe as a guide. I hope to have these at market in a couple weeks, baked with as much excellent local stuff as possible.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Parsley Ricotta Tart

More tart experiments conducted today. On this trial my pastry shell was very close to what I was looking for. I researched  all around about leaf lard - butter dough. Good info is easy to locate. I adjusted the ratio to 3/4 butter 1/4 leaf lard Technique wise I sensed I needed more skill. I used this info from Smitten Kitchen to improve my pastry. SK's technique recommendations were very helpful (minus the suggestion to use plenty of extra flour). 

On the filling side I wasn't so pleased. I used Claudio's ricotta, eggs, Reggiano and parsley. I sprinkled grated parm and crushed pistachio on top. This was real tasty but not especially harmonious.

Lindendale may be at Rittenhouse this Saturday. It would be perfect to swap with them for goat cheese. That trade should lead to a few tarts for market in 2 weeks.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Striper and Halibut, Rock Shrimp and Filet o' Fishwiches

I missed an opportunity to grab fish from Amanda (Otolith) at Rittenhouse Market Saturday. Instead I visited WholeFoods and found this amazingly fresh rockfish on ice. They were not ready to break it down yet so....... I grabbed some halibut and rock shrimp.

Both the halibut $17.99/# and rock shrimp $13.99/# were prime. The dish wasn't so great. I used pancetta, olives, rockshrimp and thyme w/ chicken stock and cream. The cauliflower had a lil anchovy butter.

The next day I did snag a small slice of the rockfish. We made filet o' fishwiches.
These sardines looked  tasty-fresh but they didn't catch my eye until I had my stuff.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

River & Glenn @ DiBruno Bros Chestnut St.

Need an excuse to splurge on River and Glen Salmon? The quality is exceptional, the price is fair plus you can grab all the stuff to make that delicious bite in one stop. Thanks to DiBruno Bros too for the skilled salmon slicery. Thanks to Metropolitan bakery (pretty sure) for the tasty pump ficelle.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011

Dueling Pigs at Midlantic

This event last night was quite an extravaganza. The meet-n-greet was out front on Market Street with sweet tunes in the pleasant pre-Spring evening air and summer pickle firkin in the glass.  

For the three of us, Lil lady, my son and I, it was a first visit to Midlantic. I thought the dining room design was really stylish. The  lamps and the wall boards were intriguing and elegant

The mood was festive at our table. We were seated with six other folks, one was a tiny little skipper. A few tables over Chef Lacroix and his wife Vivian were enjoying plenty of adulation. Chefs Stern and Ridgway were circulating through the crowd. They didn't seem too concerned about how the duel would resolve.

In the end folks put their chips on the pig from Iowa. Still, I know first hand that Breakaway has super delicious fresh pork. 
Meet and Greet Action

Digging into the Main Dish

Thursday, March 17, 2011


When we arrived the dining room and sushi bar were both full. There was the feeling of  sushi afficionados there for sushi.We were a table of 5 and sampled several dishes. Hamachi was my favorite, I thought all the fish we shared were pristine and the rice was just right. Our server suggested we grab the spicy tuna hand rolls while they were still warm. It was great advice these were delicious. 

 BlueFin delicious and reliable as ever.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sunday Schnitzel with CherryGrove pork and Natural Meadows eggs

At Saturday's Rittenhouse Market I swapped canele and Florentines for a splendid pork tenderloin from CherryGrove Farm. I was stumped about what to do with it. I was scheming on a way to use it with these great looking fresh coconuts I saw at Hung Vuong. I didn't want coconut curry i was thinking more like a savory coconut flan or those fried coconut milk balls that go with Chin Kiang pork. I never arrived at a happy decision with those inspirations. However, as i was about the give up and make an predictable go-to dish, I remembered those beautiful chicken eggs. Voila Wiener schnitzel a la Holstein.

Maybe the super premium pork deserved better treatment. Maybe not. This dish was super tasty. Great eggs and great pork are very  happy partners. Anchovies, capers, lemon and asparagus add  elements that make this dish classic.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Heritage Breed Pastured Chicken Eggs

Last Winter we participated in the Pits at Schmidt's 'Farmer's' Market. Maybe the only thing we miss about that market are the eggs from Mark Skinner who was a regular vendor there. This week we crossed paths via Fitler Sq. Farmers market and we grabbed enough to cover all canele baking this week. Yipee.....Except you do need a scale to successfully bake with eggs that are not sized.

Celebrating St.Patrick on South St.

These Irishmen and women were tuning up on our street in preparation to parade down South St. Loved hearing the bagpipes being played. That sound always evokes in me a pause for reflection. Those tunes also call to mind my Mom, Brother, and especially my Aunt Rose.  Always stirring.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tart Experiments

These beauties were abysmal failures in the taste department. 

Sheila, a bud and market regular, suggested we offer savory tarts for market. It does seem like a good idea. I tried out a couple combos. These are leaf lard crusts. Almost all of the ingredients are from local organic suppliers.

The tart with sage leaves on top is Asian pears, taleggio and mascarpone custard. The one with guanciale is sweet potatoes and Burchrun Hills Blue. What I learned from baking these is that I should have begun my experiments with proven classic flavors. 

Coming up next a) carmelized onions and chevre. b)guanciale, spinach, claudio ricotta.
leaf lard/butter 

Veal Francese

We never dined on veal growing up except maybe Granny's pan fried veal kidneys. It wasn't until I was a line cook that I first tasted those delicious, pale rosy 'nature' veal scallops. We used to swipe a few slices from the night line's mise. We'd saute em and stuff one each in a leftover breakfast croissant with a fried egg. Mmm.

Really nice veal is expensive and uncommon. When I was at Capuccio's last time, grabbing mixed grill fixins, one of the butchers was taking great looking slices from a veal round. The price was $18.99. I went back there this week and purchased one pound and handed it off to the Lil Lady.
Sicilian Liver Sausage at Capuccio's

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Percy Street BBQ

We were both ravenous after a night of baking and an afternoon of marketing. Here's what happened:

The pork belly, slaw and green tomato sandwich and the Blanton's were my favorites.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Breakaway Farms Pork Shoulder Arm Steak 'Osso Buco'

Lil lady made an excellent trade Saturday at Chestnut Hill Farmers Market. She came away with a slice of Breakaway Farms heirloom pork. This slice weighed 2.2lb. We got 3 plates from it.

The brochette sticks and butchers twine help the cut hold it's shape.