My weekend, well it did not start off so good. I was surprisingly calm when I discovered my car missing from my parking spot after I was done with teaching Friday afternoon. Was it stolen, or did a tow truck haul it away to vehicle jail? I could have been using Gordon Ramsey's 'F'avorite word, but my title stands for "Friends, food, fun, and Fiasco Friday".
Friday was the first day of culinary class at the newly located Isles building. Trenton is not the greatest place to leave your vehicle unattended (we had a parking lot before). My van was taken, and it took me all night to find the thing, and without the help of police "Thank You Very Much"! A big headache, but I will have it back by Monday afternoon, and hopefully all in one piece. Moving on, as I am still unusually calm, maybe shock is a good word...
A Saturday get together challenge with our AWS friends more than made up for 'Fiasco Friday'. Earlier in the week, Adrienne and I discussed how much we enjoy doing progressive dinners. I thought this would be a fun addition to Mommy Gourmet @ My Original Recipes blog challenge of how we each entertain in our own fun ways...~ Here is MG's post...
The plan- to start out at our house with a round of appetizers paired with a wine sampling; move to a restaurant for the main course; then another hot spot for dessert, or after dinner cocktails. I found the time to make one of my appetizers- Scallion Potato filled 'Pierogi's' with Asparagus. This was not quite the spread nor the traditional pierogi I had planned, but I figured all would understand. My class had so much Asian marinade/sauce left from our feast; that I decided to use a little, since I now had time constraints out of my control...
After some great conversation we headed to a new restaurant in our area, J.L. Ivy. We found it quaint and friendly staffed, but not the 'French' infused restaurant it presented itself at launching. Our friends already had guessed it used to be a once popular establishment from long ago, The Rusty Scupper. We shared that it must be a law that every time it is mentioned in the media, The Rusty Scupper appears as well. I have never eaten at a Rusty Scupper, nor does it sound appealing, but they say it was decent.
Word is, J.L. Ivy menu is all over the place, and we agree. The 'BBQ Fluke Rolls' turned out to be the winning dish on this visit, so we would come back just for the sushi bar. Four small plates to share was plenty, and the wine list is wonderful. Three bottles suited our taste buds. Sounds like a lot, but we sat for a long time before moving on.
When our check arrived, escorted by the manager explaining to us the table next to us got our bill and without question, they paid. We paid for theirs with a discount. This surprised us, but what about the others, as tomorrow they will awake and realize "Hey did we order those three bottles of wine, and martinis"? Who doesn't look at their check before paying?
'The manager brought over our check that had been paid, but gave us the lighter one...'
Off to the next adventure... Thank goodness we rode in their car, because we were having at great time laughing at each others stories from the past, that I was happy to sit back and relax for once. Elements was chosen as the 'dessert' destination. Sharing the memory of my 'Brown Butter Whiskey' excited them, and Adrienne was looking for a place to take her college graduate son in a few weeks, so this was a chance to check out the establishment.
As we sat at the bar, the bartender, or should I say 'Mixologist' was shaking around a few unfamiliar cocktails. We decided to sample. Mommy Gourmet, you would have loved his truffle infused cognac martini made with their home made grape fruit bitters. What a refreshing drink that was! After more laughter and good conversations with the staff at Elements, we knew the magical midnight clock was about to strike. Off we rode in their chariot into a Sunday morning twilight; then hubby and I drifted off into a peaceful slumber. Food, fun, and good friends are a great way to end the week!
Scallion Potato filled Pierogi
2½ cups of flour, or more if needed 1 tsp salt 1 egg 2 tbs. sour cream ½ cup lukewarm water
Sift the flour, and then mix all the other ingredients together, and knead a few minutes. The dough should not be very smooth, and it should be quite sticky. Let stand covered with an inverted bowl for 1/2 hour before using. Take a portion of the dough, and roll it out until it is 1/16" thick, using round 2" molds make about a dozen or more for filling.
2 1/2 lbs of red bliss 2 bunches of scallions, chop small to medium salt/pepper to taste
Finely chop the onions and fry in butter until golden brown. Peel potatoes and cut them into thirds; cook until tender. Once cooked, completely drain potatoes and mash with no liquid. Add fried onions, salt and pepper to taste, and blend together.
Fill each round and then refrigerate over night covered, so filling may cool.
Isles Culinary Class- Asian Marinade/Sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar 1 teaspoon ginger powder 1 tablespoon garlic powder 1 tablespoon lemon grass paste 1 tablespoon cilantro paste 1 teaspoon chili paste 3 tablespoon oil 1/2 cup vegetable stock, or chicken stock
In a hot saute pan, add oil and asparagus cooking for about seven minutes, or so, to brown, remove and set aside; add the remaining ingredients together in the same pan over the medium-high heat, reducing by half. When ready tuck in pierogi, and simmer for a few minutes. Serve over asparagus.
'A squeeze of orange, and a lighter, our mixologist at Elements dazzled everyone with his magic...'
Gordon Ramsey Update: The staff working at Elements (our last stop this post) knows someone who works at 'Flamangos Roadhouse' and filled me in on the same info I had gotten last week, and confirmed the new info from my friend Robert C.- I spotted the Gordo today lacing into some people in front of the restaurant. He was dramatically leaning towards them when I snapped a phone pic- nothing. The car was going too fast. I noticed he highlights his hair. Good job though. Looks very natural. He has a good stylist. He's also remarkably fit looking- and tall.
I am hoping to go back, and between Elements staff and Robert C., I will get into that re-launch party to meet Gordo! I am enamored by his whole persona now...
"I experiment with Flavors"...
Elizabeth Stelling, hails from her home state of Texas and has been involved in the food industry via institutional, fast food, B&B's, ethnic eateries and other restaurants since she was fourteen. Now living n New Jersey she has ran her own cafe, teaches culinary classes, runs a small boutique catering and staffing business, restaurant consulting for NJWBO, is a personal chef and shares her love of cooking with local, organic, healthy, and natural ingredients with the community.
Chef E is a member of Slow Food and the American Wine Society, Princeton, New Jersey. She has published written works of poetry and media pieces, as well as ran Open Mics in the Princeton, NJ area.
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