Friday, December 31, 2010

Butter Milk/Meyer Lemon Soaked and Fried Oysters

Lets bring in the New Year with a four course meal!

Of course some wine and some champagne from our wedding we have been saving...will make it the celebration we enjoy around here.

First course- Butter Milk/Meyer Lemon soaked and breaded Oysters over Mache and Spinach Salad with a butter milk tartar sauce dressing (a dash of horseradish, chopped pickles, onion, and squeeze of Meyer lemon zips it up a bit!)

Happy New Year Everyone!

I have to get back to my other courses. We plan on celebrating all the way past midnight. Everyone else will scarf this down, I will have just a bite...good thing I went to the gym today.

What else is coming...stuffed peppers...swordfish...then dessert...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Sweets

One thing my younger sister and I have never gotten to do together is duplicate my mom's recipe for her Christmas goodies. We got a chance when my son and I drove down to Texas. I always stay at my oldest friends Cheryl, so we all decided to do some candy making- Peanut Butter Fudge, Rocky Road Fudge, Gingerbread Squares, Caramel, and something we had not had since our childhood- Date Nut Roll. I had to hunt far and wide for this recipe.

The recipe was incomplete, so I had to alter it as it cooked. A Few recipes of Date Nut Roll Candy called for-

2 cups of sugar, 2 cups of milk (I used heavy cream and milk), some called for a hunk of butter, which we laughed; begin to dissolve the sugar in milk and bring to a slow boil (will become grainy if too high). After the candy thermometer reaches 'soft boil' or 234 degrees, remove from heat and stir in 1 cup chopped dates, 1 cup chopped pecans or black walnuts, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour onto butter wax paper and form into logs, wrap and let cool. Some things we learned- Do not cool in fridge, stir too long, use fresh dates over dried, and clean up pans and equipment as quickly as you can, or you have a sticky mess. Enjoy!

Cutting the caramel into pieces and wrapping is better when you have others to help, otherwise its like surgery my friend and I decided.

What childhood goodies do you remember that you either make now, or think about making?

My little sister Mary and I have always been close. We talk almost everyday on the phone. I am flying her up to New Jersey from Texas for her Christmas Present in February.
I have had the pleasure of having sun and warm weather in Texas, lots of snowing in St. Louis, and now am flying home to snow storms in New Jersey.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Roasted/Mashed Christmas Turnips

Every Christmas I can remember... I have enjoyed fresh roasted and mashed turnips. An easy and tasty dish to make for any gathering. Actually...I cannot believe I ever turned my nose up at these when I was small. My grandmother would grow them, use the green tops to saute and serve with beans and rice, or roast the turnips and then served them mashed with onion and butter.

Persimmons have been showing up in Whole Foods, so I grabbed a few for a dinner side...

What are your traditional holiday sides? Or have you created new traditions?

A Personal Note:  I am having a great time with my son in MO. I love his girlfriend and we are having a blast bowling, cooking (she is vegetarian, so we are eating healthy!), going to social gatherings. Now we are heading down to Dallas to visit family and friends...a surprise visit!

Here they are dressed up for a 20's Murder Mystery Party- Sly Sleazy and Mrs. Vicki Ravioli...neither were the killer... I did make my son his favorite dish, smothered steak for today's meal. A mother loves spoiling her baby!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

North Of The Border Tacos

These fish tacos are made with a few of the Arizona afternoon Farmers Market purchases- I attended back in August while visiting hubby as he worked. The fish is dredged in Mesquite flour (made from mesquite beans- I lightly smoked the fish after dredging, and finished off in the oven), Tepary beans, and Ciolim Dried Cholla Buds.

I used a thicker and sturdier fish for this dish- hake, whitefish or Poor John as it is called; otherwise it will fall apart before it gets to the tortillas (talapia is often too thin). You can make your own tortillas for this dish. Whole foods carried blue corn flour, and I brought back corn flour from Virginia last summer and after a few practices with the rolling pin you can get them to a thin state for tacos. No matter because they are good and flavorful in any form- each ingredient in these tacos brings a flavor to the plate. My favorite are blue corn tortillas. Something I learned to love on the road in New Mexico, and southwest restaurants that popped up in Dallas in my youth.

Cholla buds have a unique flavor that includes tones that range from artichoke to asparagus – green and vibrant. Once cooked, cholla buds will triple in size. These delectable desert vegetables love marinades and will readily absorb the flavors of whatever they are cooked with. Terrific in antipastos, chilies, salads and sautes, use them as you would artichoke hearts or asparagus tips.

All of these ingredients are low in glycemic index- so great for diabetic eating, or for losing weight and maintaining a healthy diet.

Happy Holidays! I will be with my son in Missouri for the next two weeks helping him pack and move- He and his girlfriend are going to Korea as students and to teach for a new and exciting turn in my life...he expressed his deep affection for her, so I may have a new daughter in the future...I am also meeting her family for the first time, as we are spending Christmas together. I will be around to read your posts...Peace to you all...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Short Rib Stuffed Peppers

Want to try your skills at making one part of the dish the night before- melting off the bone succulent ribs, then remove the meat and stuff them into peppers the next night? It was not an easy task...

About two weeks ago we had dinner with two couple friends from our American Wine Society group at Daryl Wine Bar & Restaurant. Daryl's is based on one simple concept; pairing the most innovative and modern American cuisine with unique and hand selected wines. The menu changes, and it had been a while since any of us had a meal there. I noticed they had this appetizer on the menu- Short Rib Stuffed Pepper.

We all ordered, and the plan was to share every dish six ways.

I felt my appetizer was a little 'short' on flavor. The beef broth they sat in was made from the bones, which was rich and flavorful, but was lacking on flavor in the meat and pepper. My feelings were that if this dish were made in my own kitchen- it would have to be more intense.

One night I slow roasted the short ribs (beef or pork is okay) with my own dry rub recipe. When cooled a bit, I shredded the meat. Once off the bone I added some barbecue sauce, tomato and jalapeno bits, and pumpkin seeds, then it was placed in the fridge over night. I decided not to roast the peppers and remove the skin, as the restaurant had done (careful though, the peppers split when cooking due to over stuffing them), feeling fresh whole Italian peppers would be fine slow cooked in beef broth (broth I made from the bones and juices of ribs).

I slow cooked the bones with carrots, celery, onion, a few spices, and the juices from the slow cooked ribs. Carefully scrapping any marrow and bits from the bones in the final reduction. This was not enough broth, so I added sugar free beef broth to my mix when actually cooking the rice. (next night) Just before the rice was done I added the stuffed peppers and covered the pan. Turning down the heat so not to over cook rice. The rice, broth and peppers melded nicely.

In another pot I sauteed left over rib meat with onion, tomato bits and kale in a dash of olive oil. The combination of the three were wonderful. The pepper flavor rang out through the rib mixture, and pumpkin seeds added a slight crunch.You will have more than enough flavored broth left on the rice (and it does not dog bone), so make sure you spoon some over the plate just before serving.

A NOTE: In case anyone cares, my food has not been so 'pretty' lately. I have not been feeling well (a nasty cold), since hubby keeps bringing germs home the past month, but I also have been busy with my writing, consulting, and had an interview. I am proud to announce a start-up gourmet food company has asked me to come to work this next week in their kitchen. I like the idea of working for someone else for a while. I will head up production.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Grilled Octopus Sandwich

Hubby and my son have always loved octopus in sushi, and prepared other ways. I however went towards the fried version with a spicy marinara. But in Spain I ate some of the freshest squid and octopus with my son and hubby's encouragement. What a delight. So I decided to buy some our local fish market. What would I do with it?

I decided pan grilling it would be fun, with a Spanish Sheep's milk cheese. Similar to a soft Goat's milk, and on grilled bread, then served with a salad. I recommend putting a brick on top when cooking. Otherwise they looked like dancing acts from a children show, and the tentacles shrivel up.

For show I put them whole on the bread, but I suggest you get out the cutting board and slice slice slice!

Octopus marinade (in a baggy overnight to tenderize)- I used this recipe for Greek Grilled Octopus on the internet, and it was quick. He was right, outside the fact I did not use skewers, a grill, or have a smokiness, but the marinade and grill pan cooking method rang through. I could see Nibble Me This trying this! I added fresh cooked Balela to the greens, therefor adding zing and more fiber.

Don't be scared off by the fact that this Greek dish requires whole baby octopus:

Saturday, November 27, 2010

How About Some Chow and Chatter

I was so excited when Rebecca of Chow and Chatter announced she had developed her Apple App! No I wasn't, I was jealous LOL Yes, a little! but you know she is so cool to know how could I not go over and put it on my new anniversary prez. Hubby surprised me at our hotel when we returned from the youngest of eight siblings wedding (and final). I am learning how to use the new gadget, and downloaded her Chow and Chatter app on my iPod touch.

Hubby asked what it was for, and I said...when I send you to the store for ingredients for a meal you want, and you cannot get a hold of me. "What" he said. Yes sweetie when you want something special for dinner, or are just hungry you can go on her app, pick something out, and then the recipe and ingredients are right there! He still looked at me with a blank stare, and I said "Oh okay, then I will have it when I am out with you", and he began looking at it.

The app is so easy to use. Right at your finger tips are recipes, Rebecca's website (for reading when you have to wait in line), and so many possibilities for healthy meals when you cannot think of what you want on a minutes notice! I love her app, and am so happy to have it on my iPod Touch. Go check it out, and here is some other information below. OH, PS- its only $.99 to upload it!

After making some Lamb Barley Soup to get us through the weekend after the holiday eating, I am going to sit back, sip down some and play with the iPod Touch to see what I am making this week from her app!
 is proud to announce the release of its recipe app for the iPhone, and other compatible Apple products. It features a selection of the most popular global recipes from the food blog complete with easy instruction and pictures. The app comes with user friendly search options by cuisine, ingredient and by dish and allows you to email your favorites to friends or family. The app also has a link to the blog allowing you to enjoy reading it on the go.

Stay tuned for periodic updates complete with more mouth watering recipes making it a cooking application that will never go out of date. We invite you to treat yourself to the gift of learning new and healthy recipes from around the World, or gift it as a fun stocking filler to friends or family.
About Chow and Chatters Author

Rebecca Subbiah RD, SRD is a registered dietitian in both the UK and the US, a food blogger and radio host. Food and travel are her passions and through traveling hopes to inspire others to try new recipes from other countries that are healthy and easy to make.

Rebecca Subbiah RD, LDN, SRD

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Gift of Giving is upon us!

My own family was less fortunate in many ways when I was growing up, but my mom always taught me- you can always volunteer your time, and there is never too little for sharing with others. We would go out and collect can goods for the local church pantries, she would make extra pies and other food for the church to give to other families. Families are under stress during this time of the year, because of pressure to give their families gifts and to have good food on the table. Giving on all levels does help ease the stress on so many levels.

When my children were young and the holidays and cold weather would approach, we would volunteer to hand out blankets and meals. Anelisa and Aaron along with me, loved making others smile. However I also told them we should act as though it was Valentine's Day and Christmas every day of the year.

I was happy when my friend Elaine emailed asking to share the news about Silver Diner. I am hoping this becomes more than a holiday event for the company...

UOSS Proudly Announces 11th Annual Thanksgiving FEASTival Dinner
Hosted by Silver Diner in Cherry Hill and Cathedral Kitchen in Camden, NJ

Union Organization for Social Service (UOSS), in conjunction with The Volunteer Center of Camden County, will host the 11th Annual Thanksgiving FEASTival for Camden County’s low-income working families, veterans, and disadvantaged community members on Nov. 25 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Silver Diner on Route 38 across from the Cherry Hill Mall and from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Cathedral Kitchen,1514 Federal St., Camden, NJ.

The Thanksgiving FEASTival rewards people with a luxury many of us take for granted – a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings and lots of holiday fun. UOSS developed the FEASTival 10 years ago in response to the need expressed by many working families struggling with the cost of providing a Thanksgiving dinner for their families.

Silver Diner and Peggy Grossmick, Operating Partner for the third year in a row is paying it forward by providing 200 turkeys and all the fixings to help feed 500 families in the Camden, NJ area this year.

If you would like to help in your area, contact local family services or government agencies to see what you can do. Make it a year long effort to help those in need. Some open mic performers have taken to performing at local retirement and assisted living homes to help bring music and poetry to a few forgotten elderly this year. Something we have wanted to do for has finally come to light.

For more information contact the Volunteer Center of Camden County at (856) 663-9356.

This year I have given many gift cards I myself received for gifts this year to others I knew might not otherwise be able to enjoy such luxuries. I myself have more than I need (my dish and catering closet is busting at the seams), and heard one girl really enjoyed shopping at the William Sonoma store.

Another company who is also interested in helping the less fortunate by bringing some of the leading fair trade artisan products is NOVICA. They contacted me a while back asking if I was interested in checking out their products. Novica is similar to another company here in Princeton which sells products many of us might not have access to otherwise. Doing this provides work and an income for those who struggle to survive in other countries.

Novica works with National Geographic to give talented artisans around the world a place to express their artistic talents and provide access to the world market. They have thousands of top fair trade corporate gifts and home decor items on the website. They have many things that would interested food blogs such as yourselves for entertaining during the holidays, or any day of the year.

Novica Philosophy-
At the deepest essence of our philosophy, we want to create a bridge between you and the many talented artisans across the globe. We want you to know about who you're buying from. We want you to feel that attachment to the product and to the hands that created it.

DISCLAIMER- I feel the company is sound and the products are worth their value. Actually many things are more than reasonably priced. Many friends who are local and artist from abroad as well as myself, believe in supporting the arts.

I have not been paid by either companies (Silver Diner, or Novica) for this blog mention. Actually I decided this summer not to continue promoting products on my site, due to my husbands and my own feelings about corporate shilling. This will be the last company CookAppeal promotes. The gifts received by Novica are being donated as gifts to the less fortunate. Purchase one of their products and make it an angel tree gift!

Try these links-

gifts for mom

gifts for him


Monday, November 22, 2010

Black Seedless Grape Tuna Tartare

In the mood for Tuna? Want to take tartare in another direction? While looking up recipes in my Asian books, there was a recipe using pears. I did not have pears, but I had lots of black seedless grapes the.They are sweeter, not the sour punch the green and purple variety can be at times. Let them sit and they just sweeten up as days go bye!

How in the heck do you crush grapes with out stomping on them? Hmmm, a tenderizer? Nooo, too messy. Use a plastic bag? No, would lose too much of the juice in the plastic. Look in the drawers for a lost gadget? Yes...

Viola! The garlic press; it worked beautifully. Used 12 or so grapes along with a dash of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, shallots, home made chili paste, olive oil, salt, pepper, mashed roasted garlic, and a tablespoon of some fresh squeezed lemon.

Cut the more tender loin part of the tuna steak into small pieces, and let it marinate for about thirty minutes. Use the tougher, membrane ends of the tuna for searing after marinade. Serve with a three green salad- saute dandelions, Swiss chard, and kale with tomato bits, onion and shallots, a dab of mustard and roasted garlic. Adds a nice bite and flavor to some brown rice.

We love rare and raw fish in our house, but it is not recommended for pregnant person's and anyone with a sensitive stomach to eat fish and meat this way. You can marinate and then fully cook it through if you wish. I used sashimi grade tuna steak for this recipe, but there are still no guarantees. Buy fresh, and use immediately.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hake & Autumn

My favorite time of year- I adore fall and its bounty of color. We got married in October, love all that is pumpkin and squash! I also am adoring all the pumpkin and squash recipes out there, fantastically presented on many of your sites, so I thought I would share this one I made incorporating a whole grain cereal. Something I was told by the dietitian to use as a filler snack when I am hungry, and I am hungry throughout the day it seems.

Fresh market catch- Hake with an organic apple and acorn squash stuffed with crushed cereal, and a dash of maple syrup.

For years I did not like eating meals with a fruit twist. Now I adore it, as long as my taste buds have that spice finish. Spicy, like chipotle.

Puree apples without skin along with some apple cider and poppy seeds, and a sprinkle of chipotle (dried smoked jalapeno in coffee grinder- to a powder form). Acorn squash cleaned, halved, and filled with whole grain cereal, onion, white sweet potatoes, parsnips, apple pieces, drizzle of maple syrup, salt, pepper, Jamaican allspice powder, and less than a pinch of chipotle powder. Don't forget the crushed cereal, and there are some out there with less than 5 grams of sugar added that taste good (not panko or bread crumbs when eating gluten free like I am, but you feel free too).

The sweet balances out the heat.

More information on Hake (my fish book, and on-line)...

Hake is the Rodney Dangerfield of the whitefish world. It's the fish that just can't get any respect. At least that's the story in America, where the seafood industry goes to great lengths in its efforts to perpetrate a hake cover-up.

In places like St. Louis, hake is called jack salmon. The Midwest, where until recently most people didn't know the difference between a cod and a coho, is a traditional dumping ground for cheap fish. On the West Coast, home to one of the largest hake fisheries in the world, seafood processors changed the name of Pacific hake to Pacific whiting in the 1970s in a fruitless attempt to give their fish an image boost.

When it's not being passed off as some kind of a piscatorial puzzler, hake is simply sold as whitefish, or more often as "fried fish."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Date with an Endive

This may look like a chensy date, but not really- its packed with fresh ingredient flavor...

We love date or fig compote, along with goat cheese and almond spread on endive and served with arugala salad (dressed with lime and olive oil). There is just nothing more to say, except share the recipe...

Cut up dates, shallots, and saute together with a few tablespoons olive oil; add garlic, salt, pepper and chili powder, along with a splash of orange juice or apple cider; stir for a few minutes on med-high; then remove from heat, and continue stirring until thickens. Spread soften goat cheese onto endive, and then top off with the date compote.

Serve over arugula, or salad of choice.

Drizzle lime juice and olive oil onto entire dish; add tomatoes, or sliced apples (optional).

This batch I have wrapped with prosciutto San Danielle, serve with a Pinot Noir.

After having a horrible experience with a chain market's meat department recently (putting meat out that was horribly smelly and out of date), I have decided to only shop whole foods for my beef, poultry, pork and fish needs. I am also eating and cooking with uncured sausages by Nimen for my diabetic menu (not diabetic meats, but if you eat this way; it will save you weight and health headaches down the road). We also have had a lot more fresh fish, so many posts are filled with wonderful new recipes.

Can you dig Sweet Potato Crepes and Brussel Sprout-Apple Hash? Will tell you how it turned out next week!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dreaming of Spain

Sometimes you find there are so many things you want to share about a trip, but you do not want to bore people to death with the details. However it comes back to a longing for the trip in which you just had so much fun and such wonderful food.

I have quite a few special restaurants to post, but also many new dishes we have encountered in my kitchen.

Casa Paca was ranked #3 in the books for the best suckling pig. Their carpaccio was out of this world! The olives and local olive oil seem to bring it to life. Melt in your mouth.

You go in through the bar, and the restaurant is upstairs in the back area.

Looking through photos to see if I wanted to relive the experience I saw the one of hubby (top) in the square of a small town we visited after my son left. Just the walking around, site seeing, tapas and wine for lunch and dinner; it was wonderful. Most of the time we ate light, because we were saving our selves for a few special places and the suckling pig in Sevogia.

The suckling pig was not all presentation as portrayed in the video and brochures we saw, but it was fantastic (not so great for photo). We want to go back to Spain. So much to do and not enough time or stomach space for all the goodness!

That is all there is too it, we fell in love with Spain. This photo is just outside of two towns surrounded by castle walls.

"They do not waste any part of the animal" hubby said the next morning while roaming in a central market.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Three Step Squash Soup

A friend of mine called from the market and asked what I thought about using butternut squash in soup. I had just made a few of my own creations a few days earlier and had some thoughts to share.

1) Step- "Roast the squash with maple syrup and seasonings before adding it to your chicken stock" I told Phil along with how roasting vegetables before making soup, similar to making stock, always makes a great pot of goodness. A tip I picked up years ago. Also if you are making pumpkin or any squash soup, do not let it just boil away on the stove with out checking in on it. It tends to lose moisture fast, and will burn with out you knowing, at least until the smell comes your way. No way of fixing that is there?

2) Step- He then asked what I thought about adding some spicy pork sausage.  I said, "Of course, but make sure you add some pumpkin spice to give the sweetness of the squash an extra layer with the heat of the sausage.", and then added "Oh and make sure you take some photos, so I can share this with my blog readers"!

Hubby came home last weekend with a variety of butternut squash and sweet potatoes. So many possibilities run through your head. I even added some baked squash to a pot of spicy red tepary beans, and they were so good!

Phil reported back that night with photos and a report- "I did bake the squash with honey and olive oil/canola oil. The spicy sausage was just what it needed".

3) Step- "I used white wine to de-glaze the saute pan; added some chicken stock, milk and butter in the end to thicken, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg to add that sweetness you suggested with the sausage" and man was this good Phil exclaimed!

Baking vegetables like this, or roasting them adds a sweetness and flavor. Rather than just boiling them. Always a successful soup tip that never gets old.

I know Phil is enjoying these leftovers, as soup is always better the next day!

(Photos from Phil Southard's IPhone! and his recipe below...) 

butternut squash soup

3 Tbs of Olive oil/ Veg oil - 50/50
1 onion - diced
20 oz of Wegmans clean cut Butternut squash
2 cloves of garlic
32 oz of Wegmans chicken stock
spices - freshly ground or graded
1/2 cup of 1% Milk
1/4 cup white wine
salt and pepper
2 tbs of butter

pour chicken stock into large pot and bring to slow rolling boil
while stock is being heated, saute the onions for 2 minutes
add squash and saute until squash is browned. before squash
finishes browning add garlic to sweat it. Be careful not to burn the garlic

when squash is browned add white wine to sauce pan to deglaze the pan.
next pour contents of saute pan into the now boiling stock.

poach the squash in chicken stock for 15 minutes. After 15 min, turn the heat down to medium and then use a slotted spoon to remove the squash and place into a blender. Puree the poached squash. When finished, pour pureed squash back into the stock pot. and return the soup to a boil for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to medium. next add the milk and butter. next add clove, cinnamon, nutmeg and honey to your liking. then salt and pepper the soup and reduce until the soup coats the back of a spoon when dipped into the soup.

Happy Cooking

Phil Southard

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunny Side Up, Silver Diner in South Jersey

A New Jersey Diner, Silver Diner- Diner is a 'silver' word in Jersey, maybe even golden. A prized possession in history and in a destination eatery for the family, seniors, or just for the hungry. I wrote a poem about diners, and probably should get it performance ready, because this place is note worthy.

At first glance it looks like another glimmering (pre-fabricated, written history tells us all of this) stainless steel, off the road of hunger, decent prices, and a plate piled high. Each diner is unique to its own menu, cooks, family owners, and have changed very little over the years.

This diner caught my attention. The menu had featured options for gluten-free eaters, diabetic choices, and heart healthy. You say, many already have this, but not with limited and regular options. The menu was not sooo large, that a decision had to be man-dated for the waitress to get our orders. We knew quickly what we would have. Okay, what I am trying to say is...some diners specials and menus are just way too big!

Crab Corn Chowder-
Very filling and full of crab meat! I would go back for this...

Mozzarella Pesto Ciabatta Sandwich (above)- The Chef's specialty item on the menu, not so good for gluten-free (hint Chef), and fantastic flavoring- I say vegetarians you have a winner, and I would crave this if I was in the area!

Sweet Potato Fries- Not such an easy thing to get right. A friend and I discuss this, they are either too thin, or too fat. These were perfect, soft inside, just the right amount of crisp on the outside, and sprinkled with corn meal like one should! (Oh, and they have Louisiana hot sauce if you so chose to dress them up!)

Coleslaw with craisins- Like my dinner guest, I am always on a quest to taste coleslaw. So far the #1 winner is in Folkstone, GA, but we will take this any given day in Jersey. She even took home a quart for later! Not too much dressing, and the craisins added a nice touch.

Chicken Citrus Salad- A little too much fruit on this plate of spinach, but the chicken was cooked perfect on the griddle, and the dressing was perfect. So we would order this again, just easy on the strawberries...

Guacamole Bacon Burger- BBQ blasted the menu read, and a southwestern dressing to boot, but too much for me. Noticing right away it was oozing with sauce, we had a bite of the meat to see if it was cooked to order, and it was. I am not sure why we ordered a burger, maybe it was the 'guacamole' stuck out on the menu. They have 'Burger BYO', and if this guac burger is not your bag, you can order it 'your way'.

Apple Pie- Encouraged by the waitress we ordered a dessert to balance out the tasting. This was warm, and drizzled with caramel, a light touch I might add! Good cinnamon flavor rang through. Grandma would be proud.

Wow you say, that is a lot of food, but we shared, nibbled and took home left overs!

Silver Diner, 2131 Route 38, Cherry Hill, New Jersey- the staff was friendly, the prices were very good, and the food was delish...they even help steer you to the specials of the day, describe all the menu items if you chose to ask a million questions, and have good soup choices, which is one thing I like. If your in the Cherry Hill area off Route 38, we recommend you stop in and have a great meal!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Blueberry Crudo Tacos and Orecchiette Salad

Crudo is the Italian take on sushi, and in my house, we love both versions. This is a scallop version I have made before, but by adding summer blueberries from New Jersey farms this past summer. You could make this dish all year, but I hear blueberries have gone up from 4.99 to almost 6 dollars a small box. They are healthy and tasty, but a bit bitter during off months. Simply slice the scallops into at least three pieces, after draining the water (paper towels work fine, or colander).

Using roasted red peppers preserved in oil, a lime, a few ounces of Blandy's Madeira, and chiffinod basil in this recipe it was a nice light meal with a salad. Light salt and pepper.  I am learning how to make brown rice flour wraps, dusted with white rice flour. They are healthier than regular flour, but not always great as left overs. Working with them is best in a skillet, but you can steam them in between wax paper stove top rather than frying them in oil, or use Indian dosai (soaked rice, uncooked, and black urad dal) if you are seeking other gluten free/low carb alternatives. Can be purchased in Asian Indian Markets.

I cooked up some Orecchiette pasta for a more filling meal for hubby. This gave it an extra layer by adding some extra red peppers, their oil and lime over the pasta.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tepary Beans and a Hungry Chef

When hubby and I were visiting Arizona we stumbled upon an evening Farmers Market. The heat is so intense early morning and throughout the day, they have it in the evenings. There I found some beans I had not tried before- Tepary Beans. Deciding what to do with them the past few months has been daunting with the trip and a time crunch. I love to get creative, and did not want to just throw them in a bowl as a side dish. I wanted them to shine. old memory of my parents eating them simply dressed as a main dish with corn bread. Or possibly make some unique baked bean recipe is floating around in my head, I have to find it. My parents would cut up fresh onion and jalapeno's, top them off, and they were great! However, I do love sweet and spicy baked beans, but with my diet concerns, I had to watch additives and risk my sugar levels going too high.

Reading Tepary beans still hold their shape after cooking, and have this wonderful nutty flavor, I decided to match them with something smoky. What luck, we bought pecans at the Arizona market (soak the pecan shells for a few hours, so they do not burn fast). I could not find pecan wood for smoking brisket and had heard you could use the fruit to accomplish the same results. So I used my stove top smoker to cook and smoke two ribeye steaks.

Like most beans you soak the Teparies over night. (Reading) You cook them in water from 1 1/2 hours to 3 hours, so I was not sure. Using the pressure cooker works as well. I tried the 1 1/2 hour technique, medium high heat and cover with lots of water, and it worked just fine- adding eight cloves of garlic, celery, red onion, and a pinch of salt to the water to flavor them up. I wanted the garlic and saved the water for moistening the dish. I might use it as a vegetable stock, so I froze the leftover water for later.

The final result of our dinner- fantastic! Not to mention hubby getting to use his fancy steak knives from Toledo, Spain-

What did I put in my Tepary bean salad? I added small chopped red onion, pecan pieces (reminded me of cracking pecans for my mom's pecan pies and candy as a young girl, ugh!), chopped jalapeno, cilantro and cumin pesto I had made, 1/2 squeezed lime, the crushed garlic cloves, and a pinch of salt.  What really worked with the beans, is mashing the cooked garlic along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a few tablespoons of the bean water, and a squeeze of 1/2 lime.

Yum! On the pecan smoked steaks (which I smoked twenty minutes, and then pan grilled in the top part of my cast iron smoker) with the beans on the spinach and mache salad.

I will find out what the dietitian thinks of this dish, because I was a little worried I had put a fatty meat (4 oz) with a meat substitute (beans and lentils are still carbs). Then I read that Tepary are among those beans with the lowest glycemic index, about 30. So along with dal channa, they are one of the better meat substitutes.

This bean salad will be on the menu again and soon! Check out this 'hummus' recipe using these beans...

Want to know what one of the nicest dietitian's we all know and love has to say about 'Loosing weight and keeping it off'? Chow and Chatter over at 'Eating Weeds' with this Hungry Chef!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Magma Volcano Oven Pizza

Lets step back in time...before Spain and when this sandwich was whole...A few months ago while shopping for our Spain trip- I needed some good walking shoes, International Drivers License, gadgets, and more travel gadgets- we stumbled upon a quick bite to eat. A good one at that- Magma Pizza- Volcano Stone Oven.

Well, an eatery that offered more than just New Jersey Italian Pies- Mediterranean fare at its best!

I am not a big fan of pizza as I was in my younger years (or at least chewy crust), so I ignored the pie menu and noticed the  Mediterranean items. I zoomed in on a salad but noticed something else, and hubby went for a piece of vegetarian pizza. Still hungry after the rather small salad, I went for an oven baked sandwich with artichokes, onion, mushrooms, and a tapinade spread (shhh, hubby dislikes olives, so I do not think he noticed!).

The food was served on the brick oven paddles- or in the bakers world, Peels. Duh! Did I not realize my favorite kind of pizza, the reason I do not eat any other- brick oven, in front of me?

Their oven is made of lava rock, bottom to top, so their oven heats up faster and is possibly hotter than the traditional brick kind. Oh how the crust was crisp like a thin thin cracker! The topping was also crisp. Normally people in our area would have to drive almost an hour to the nearest brick oven place, and now we have one just ten minutes down in Nassau Park Shopping Center.

I asked, they have been there four years. We just do not shop in that part of the center that often, or eat out more than once a month.

You can find their menu with things like Za'atar Break, one of my favorite new spices I use regularly, along with fresh Pita bread that puffs up when brought to your table, and hummus at Magma Menu.

Also, check out Simply Scratch, she made pita bread, and this is how it does look when Magma brings it to your table fresh from their oven!

Update, 10/8/10- Funny reading this post I wrote before we left for Spain, because I realize how often I would slip into eating bread, even if it did have vegetables on it...I have found out my sugar levels are border line diabetic, so now it is time to drastically change my lifestyle. I have started another blog, I know CRAZY! Yeah, but I feel it is time to turn my life around, so come over and read 'EatingWeeds'. A journey into my world of changing what is on my plate, whats in my glass, and other random discussions. I am hoping people can help each other ease into change, which we all know is not always easy to do...

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Food Cannot Wait, Nor I

I am back from Espaina- Spain. We took a few days to make a trip over the southern border of France, into the Basque region. To visit a small village of Sare (Sara). We drove through massive grape growing regions all along the way, after leaving Madrid and Barcelona. I know this is jumping midway into our trip, but it is so note worthy.

Many people head into Bordeaux, and ship this region all together, and it is its own country in its own right.

You can go here and read more about Xareta, the bordering region of France and Spain.

Our food experience was a funny one. My son speaks very good Spanish (his first trip out of the country), but hubby and my French has not been used enough to cut through reading a Basque menu. The hotel receptionist was called in by the waiter who felt my son's Spanish, and our French was going to ruin his evening. We had a choice of three menus with a starter, entree, and a dessert for a very reasonable euro amount.

Hubby chose Scallop Pie with Cod entree. My son and I chose Squid starter, and Le Boeuf Pie (Veal Kidneys with mushrooms and potatoes on top). All of it very good, but I was unaware Aaron and I had ordered kidneys, or I might have rethought the choice. I saw 'le boeuf' and thought, "Okay I could go for some beef". He however heard the woman explain its ingredients of 'kidneys', and he thought "Okay, I am willing", but did not tell me until we began eating. The whole meal was good, and the wine made it even better.

If you get a chance to visit this region of the world, please do. So worth the winding roads in an overloaded rental car (meaning three grown adults- we however packed lighter than our Italy trip). Oh and watch out for those unlikely and funny encounters you will have on any trip to a different land...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Arizona Farmers Market

I enjoy visiting Farmers Markets when we travel. I know, I said that before, but this one was really different. Because of the heat they have it in the late afternoon to night. I do not blame them, it was HOT! Over one hundred degrees daily while we were there. I have no desire to move back to Texas because of the heat- just visit my friends and ponder on the cacti. So many varieties.

So beautiful-

We had prickly pear candy and lemonade. Maybe I would turn into a Javelina. They like their prickly pears. I wanted so badly to pick some and bring them home, but they say you have to know when they are ripe. Throw in a handful of Chia seeds and you won't dehydrate-

I found it a bit sweet, but we added sparkling water to the mix and it worked wonderfully for a refreshing heat beater! I will share my market buys soon, I bought lots of fun things I have not cooked before, and have Spain posts to share.

Seems like there is so little time to do all the posting we have, right? 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Not My House, Elvira's- Tubac, AZ

I am back to cooking, and preparing vegetarian and simple meals during the week, but I have to say meals like this while traveling are superb moments in one's busy life-

Elvira's is a hot spot in an old-new town of Tubac, with lots of colorful history in Arizona, on the way back into Tucson from Sierra Vista. Tubac was the original Spanish colonial garrison in Arizona. It was depopulated during the O'odham Uprising in the eighteenth century. During the nineteenth century, the area was repopulated by miners, farmers and ranchers, but the town of Tubac is best known today as an artists' colony.

We had Tongue Molcajete with Salsa Verde Sauce- the mortar comes out piping hot, boiling like a volcano, with a side of beans and guacamole. I was apprehensive, but it was good. Tasted like beef! Strange had bok choy and cubes of tofu- Mex/Asian Fusion I suppose.

I had a spicy- Tamarind sauce over mesquite grilled shrimp on top of pineapple with rice and beans. Was a bit sweet, but I was excited to see the popcorn like topping, Amaranto (Amaranth). Doggybloggy sent me some that is in the freezer, so I have to use it now, or sometime in the future. Added a nice flavor to the dish.

Now the Honey-Prickly Pear Margarita was yummy, along with the sauteed mushrooms we had as a starter in corn tortillas. This is not authentic Mexican, but the spicy habanero salsa had me ordering another one.

Reminds me of visiting Velva of Tomatoes On The Vine- Refreshing and you could almost taste it!