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...