Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cooking Up Stockton Farmers Mkt Ingredients

I made tacos with a slab of grouper I brought from Metropolitan Seafood at the Stockton  Mkt. The youthful fish monger was gracious and knowledgeable. He informed me that the grouper was from FL and confirmed that it was fresh as can be.  It was. This fillet was of excellent quality. It was $30/#. The taco looks good too right?

I came home with 2 wedges of Bobolink's cheese. I choose 'Jean Louis'. This cheese was named in honor of "Jean-Louis Palladin, a fearless and passionate cook who helped to free French cuisine in the United States from a hidebound orthodoxy while influencing a generation of chefs and food lovers". My other choice, was a harder cheese that was in a brie like shape but with a completely different mold, texture and flavor...so not brie like at all. These were both remarkably distinctive. There was a boldness of style that caught both of us by surprise. The flavors were unique in their layered complexity. The molds on each were assertive and matched up with the innards to meld into extreme deliciousness. We tasted these with bottles of Stella and slices of a tasty, crispy baguette from Crossroads Bakery.  The pics here don't do the products justice.


Tullamore Farms had a table at market. Jeanmarie Mitchell was selling products from her farm.We chatted a little about her farming practices. I was sold. I grabbed some lamb stew meat. Then we talked a little bit more and it turns out she's knowledgeable about cheese steaks! So I had to test out her grass fed, free range chip steak. We made cheese steaks yesterday for dinner. The beef was great. It was sweet, lean with a delicate beef flavor. No pics. We ate the sandwiches before the camera appeared. The lamb cubes are for tonights' spezzatino.

When I was at this market Sunday I had an amazing cup of Sumatra from Fresh Coffee Scoop. I brought a bag home with me $14/12oz. It brewed up at home just as tasty as the cup I had at market.

Stockton Farmers Market is worthy of destination designation for the Philly area. Super friendly folks with great products at an indoor market in the 'country'.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Stockton's Farmers Market

I was off doing some recon at Stockton NJ's Farmers Market. While I was there I had this excellent pork sandwich from Mighty Quinn.

I had a great visit there. This is an indoor year round farmers market. Yippee an indoor winter market! Great idea right?

I grabbed a few ingredients and chatted with some vendors. The atmosphere there was friendly and relaxed. I saw plenty of tempting products. I tried out coffee, bread, cheese, fish, lamb and chipped steak. I have high hopes for this stuff. I will be reporting back soon details on how things cooked up.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Artsy Tartsy

We had a few of these onion and chevre tarts for meals during the past week.They were left over from last Saturday's rainy market. I found out this one tastes great with with a beer.

Mini canele just out of their molds.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Spot Prawns Scampi Style

Last Saturday's Rittenhouse Market was a chilly, wet affair with just a little bit of biz being conducted. One bright spot was the acquisition of another 1# bag of spot prawns from Otolith

The 'scampi' technique uses the spot prawns assets to very good effect. I used this bloggers recipe as an outline. We left the shells on and split them along the top. We did not bake them at all. Instead we convection broiled them from a middle rack. It worked great but I let them go maybe a minute too long. We served it up with a crispy Italian load to dredge the pan and bowls of tortellini and escarole soup. Hasty tasty!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Saturday's Tarts: Mascarpone and Meyer Lemon or Petit Billy With Caramelied Onion

Fresh Loire Valley Chevre from DownTown Cheese RTM
Savory Tart with Petit Billy, Caramelized Onions, Herbs, Guanciale

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Spot Prawn & Root Veg Pot Pie

We're both big fans of Otolith's products. Murat was at Market a few weeks back with a few sizes of spot prawns. I was too late for the big ones but I did snag a bag of the mediums. They were in the 21-25 range.

Pot pie probably isn't the best way to utilize these fantastic sweeties. But, from my fridge, I wanted to include a few prime root veggies and a ball of pastry dough. So a pot pie right?

The raw prawns went into ramekins, with roasted celeriac, turnips, fennel along with sauteed leeks and crimini's, layered between veggies. I topped the ramekins with a circle of pastry dough. I did not line the ramekin.

This baked up real nice. The root veggies and shrimp are happy partners. A dose of Pernod amped up the fennel note. I used a little guanciale to bring a porky base note to the assemblage. These got broken into so quickly I didn't get a chance to take a pic of the finished dish.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Escape to the Cape

Sunset Beach, Cape May Point- Yesterday
Belle Cakery Stowaways from Philly
Calzone from The Italian Affair, North Cape May

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The New Dinics Looking GREAT


Reading Terminal Market is NOT the spot to get a cheese steak.
Grab a roast pork and you'll have a legit Philly taste experience.

Osso Buco

These shanks were beauties. $7.99/# at South St. SuperFresh

Friday, January 13, 2012

Winter Market Tarts

Livengood's farm continues to deliver. We grabbed these turnips and some equally choice leeks at East Goshen Market Thursday. They are roasted and now in tomorrow's savory tart. The sweet tart uses Beechwoods' bosc pears and the last of their prune plums that we put up in Autumn.
We're at Rittenhouse and Chestnut Hill Farmer's Markets tomorrow.

Surprise Super Tasty Goat Plate

I have been hearing all kinds of positive stuff about Jon Cichon's cooking at Lacroix.

After lunch @ a.kitchen on Tuesday we stopped into Bar 210 for a libation. Our timing was miraculous. In the kitchen Jon was putting together dishes for a COOK goat head-to-tail deal.
Check out this remarkable plate that Jon sent out to the bar. It wowed both of us.

Lunch @ a.kitchen

We've been trying to make it to a.kitchen for a while. We finally arrived on Tuesday for lunch. I didn't know about Craig LaBan's 3 bell review where he mentions "vivid nibbles." A combination of hype, along with management and culinary pedigree, made it a must visit for a snapshot of state of the art grubbing, Rittenhouse Style.

The layout wasn't what I was expecting and was a little closer than I imagined. A decent sized, prominent open kitchen communicated a  very food-centric design.

I found the menu items alluring and was tempted by plenty of the dishes. It took a few minutes of negotiation to decide on four plates.

After the server took our order I was viewing the kitchen when this guy (horns) walks in from a side door. With no one on the line, he reaches in and grabs something out of a bowl to nibble on!  Open Kitchen indeed.

I ordered the salad with the poached egg. The warm egg was served with a tortured hash brown, greens and bacon. I would have liked the egg bigger, hotter and brighter in flavor and color. The hash brown was not unlike versions served in hospital cafeterias, except it was overcooked. The greens were tender, crisp and lightly dressed. The dressing was pleasantly unctuous but lacked zingy brightness.

Lil lady had the beet salad. We agreed that the 'chevre' in the salad could have been mistaken for mascarpone. The flatness of the cheese element was a big problem in this dish. The veggies in both salads were prime.
I had the cheese steak. My sandwich was served with home made potato chips. Chef put them on my plate from a bowl behind the line. You know the bowl I'm talking about, right? I prefer chips that are lighter, crisper and saltier. They tasted more like oil than potato. The steak sandwich was a disaster. The chewy roll with the pre-chewed meat is a poor match. I couldn't taste the cheddar but I bet it contributed to the overall greasiness factor. None of the traditional steak sandwich garnishes were offered.

Lil lady was served lamb Bolognese. The menu description says "with tagliatelle." Right away we were both expecting an explanation from the server about the noodle substitution. None was forthcoming. This dish was tasty, but a thick lasagne like noodle with ragu doesn't fly like a tangle of freshly prepared tagliatelle. It was a disappointment. I checked LaBan's review and it seems like he had the same noodle. He writes about a "frilly-edged tagliatelle." What?  I referred to The Geometry of Pasta to confirm my suspicion of shenanigans.  The book says that tagliatelle was invented by Chef Zefirano to mark the marriage of Lucrezia Borgia to Alfonso I d'este and that, "...the pasta was supposed to be so thin that the Basilica di San Luca could be seen through it, via the cooks window."  The noodles served with this dish were nothing like that. They were tasty enough but there is a reason tagliatelle is de rigeur with ragu Bolognese. 

Bread and butter are not part of lunch service. I'm not a fan of a pricey lunch that doesn't include this essential element of hospitality.

UPDATE: This post got a lot of attention because it was noted by foobooz. The ham handed folks there summarized my experience as  I was pissed because no bread and butter.  Foobooz best reporting is on cupcakes and bloated $25 hamburgers. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

People Who Hate Obama More Than They Love America

Jesse Lagreca wants to talk to the haters!

 "you would rather pay ZERO taxes than you would see a newly born baby get access to quality health care, you cheer when we discuss denying health care to young people with preventable diseases, and you boo when we discuss the First Ladies plan to cut back on childhood obesity."

 "Republicans can NOT win on the issues. They've got NOTHING. All they have is a divide and conquer class war that pits ignorant racist and bigoted people against the rest of us in a meaningless battle of wedge issues and the already proven to fail George W. Bush agenda again of tax cuts for the rich, deregulation, privatization and war profiteering and nothing else, so all they can do is blame black people, gays the government, anybody and everyone else for their own failings. The party of personal responsibility, my ass."

The Canele and the Cupcake

Is the canele going to be the "new cupcake"? So many well informed trend observers have predicted this role for the canele in 2012.

Doesn't it seem like cupcakes may be exposing their insecurity by trying too hard? Cupcake artists are amazingly prolific with their creations. Practitioners have explored every last theme to bring us cupcakes unique beyond expectation. Meanwhile the canele is essentially the same anywhere it's properly made.Will those who esteem expressive cupcakes respond to the simple poetry of the canele? I predict that folks who covet jimmies will be unimpressed by the canele's golden, caramelized robe.

What about the numb satisfaction of ingesting 500-600 calories in a few frosted bites? There's no comparison. A canele with about 1/3 the calories of an average bakery cupcake is a guilt free pleasure. In its place it offers less fat but more nourishment both gustatory and nutritionally.

One excellent thing about all the attention is that more people will be converted to or at least blessed with the canele experience.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Santucci's Stellar Pizza

Post farmers market we chowed down on pizza from Santucci Christian St. This was fantastic. As tasty as any pie that I've had from the old O Street spot.
  Bravo Santucci!

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Other Caramelle

It was my first try and it took me forever to make these caramelle. They are filled with potato, reggiano and rosemary, sauced with maitakes.

The photo does not do the plate justice. This was super tasty with very complimentary contrasts and combinations.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Under the Banner Of Heaven a Reading by Mitt Romney

Krakauer admits he wanted to describe how today's LDS Church, with their clean-cut, do-good approach, is at odds with its founding history.

 The negative reviews of this book appear to come from LDS members who are unhappy with Krakauer's history of their church. It's a pity they 
missed his important points on the danger of revealed religion (where anyone can justify anything)

 This is an extraordinary book, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Though the Mormon Church has expressed it's hostility toward the book, as with all ostriches, they are simply sticking their head in the sand and asking the rest of us to follow suit. Thank goodness for people outside the Church who look in, and tell us what they see.

Rangers Fan Pummeled as Cops Wait for Occupy to Occupy Rittenhouse

Why didn't Philly popo foresee the potential for trouble on 9th st after the Winter Classic?

Answer: PPD foreseers are too confounded by Occupy to make a move out of Rittenhouse Sq. They've been anticipating this visit with a fleet of vehicles parked in the park with their motors running for weeks.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lacroix Loses Eric Simonis

Long time sommelier and recent GM of Lacroix Eric Simonis has resigned his position.Eric supplied more than his share of Lacroix's credibility for years. Outside of its address and eponymous legendary chef, Lacroix's tenuous slot in the top echelon of Philly fine dining has been secured, in recent years, through Eric's  credentials, style and diplomacy.