Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Holiday Cooking Remembered

In the rush of everyone being hungry, I had thought no photos were taken of our intimate Thanksgiving meal, but somehow my son slipped one by us. I found it on his Facebook page. It is over I know, but the memory lingers for Yebyul who had never experienced this before.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Chili Days = Warm Nacho Nights

The cold weather we are having here in the northeast is a great excuse to make a pot of chili, bag some up and freeze it, then thaw it out and add some to a plate of chips. Makes a great football food...

This batch was made with bison meat. No fresh tomatoes in the pantry, but a can of fire roasted chipotle tomatoes works. Strain them first, then use leftover sauce to stretch the chili out.

Plan ahead and freeze foods; it only makes since in this busy holiday time of year!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sweet Skatin Potato Pie

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

We are having our meal at home this year, due to family losing their homes on Long Island, but it is all good. I made three pies this year- Southern Bourbon Pecan for my son, Cranberry Pecan Torte for hubs and my fav you see in the photo...Sweet Potato Pie. I prefer it over pumpkin since my childhood.

It also has a splash of bourbon, my theme this year is bourbon and chorizo in many of the dishes, but not overkill. Doing our usual heirloom turkey this year with cranberry-walnut bread and chorizo dressing, green beans and wine. Not too much, don't want to be stuffed do we?

My son is into rock climbing and roller skating, so this years turkey on the pie is has roller skates and is dancing at the rink. He is here for the holidays for the first time in six years. I always add one, a turkey pastry topper to one of the pies, last year the turkey was reading a book for my hubs step-mom who is a retired teacher. She says every good turkey should read!

Hope your holiday is safe and peace to all...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ceviche- Squid, Baby Scallops, and Salad Shrimps

Thanksgiving is upon us! Hopefully you have shopped as I have, and are ready to begin tomorrow finishing up your lists. But in the meantime what to serve those stragglers arriving, and yourself! Protein is a good idea to keep up the brain strength (from going insane).

I whipped up some mixed fish Ceviche, because hubs and I love it!

Chop up some squid, throw in baby scallops and salad shrimp; add red onion and cilantro; then give it a good squeeze of lemon and lime, your choice; don't forget the olive oil, jalapeno, sald and pepper! And pick up some corn tortillas, and you have a nice snack for an entree salad, as well as a tapas appetizer. Don't forget to drain the juice or it will become mushy.

The acid from lemon or lime will cook the fish. I often stir it about every thirty minutes till done. The acid breaks down the protein in the fish, making it opaque. Never heard of this dish before? Check this site out...Ceviche 101There are many great ceviche recipes out there, so go check them out. Rick Bayless south American cooking and cookbooks are one of my favs.

We paired a 2010 tempranello with this batch- a well suited south American blend from Trader Joe's.

There is a warning you need to be aware of, any consumed raw fish or meats are not safe for young children and pregnant women, and this fish is not always fully cooked. Depends on how long it sits in the acid, as it does not remove bacteria and parasites.

From my family to yours...have a wonderful and safe holiday- Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Are you a Raclette or Fondue Virgin?

Want to get in on the latest food fade party?

When my mom and dad were young urban parents and invited people over to play dominoes or cards, they often made a fondue pot; sliced lots of stale bread, cold cuts, and sometimes veggies to casually dip during their beer and wine fueled  social gatherings, because it was the newest food fade for a party. Yes, while my brother, sister and I peered from around the hallway corner. Jealous we 'couldn't dip our fingers into its goodness (and not the booze).

Try having a Raclette party.

I have done the fondue parties...passe. No, I would do them again, they are still fun.

But it's 2012, the holidays are here, and you want to be the talk of the town. Right?. You want to invite a few friends over, but aren't sure what the menu should be, and you want to host the newest craze in food themed parties Raclette's are fun and easy to prepare for. Did I just say that? Sure you have to make the menu and prep schedule. Shop (and in this time of year, til you drop, because stores are crowded!). Put it all away. Then prep at least one day ahead so you can relax and pull it all out ready to go when the guest arrive.

Sadly though unless you buy two racklette stands, you better only invite six other people besides you and the significant other. Why, because the stand I bought only serves eight to ten people, and I only have six chairs. It was comfy with six, with a few extra tray inserts to help ease the wait for food.

Raclette food prep is very similar to doing fondue- I made a grilled shirt steak, sliced and plated it. Grilled some chicken breast, sliced and plated them. Bought a loaf of hearty bread, had them slice it, and I brushed on olive oil and grilled it (already pre-planned grilling kabobs, so it was obvious), cut it into pieces to fit raclette trays. Pour some white wine into small pitcher for pouring over bread and veggies, then add sliced cheese. Prep broccoli, raw string beans and squash slices for veggies. Made a pot of my Green Chili Meatballs in sauce to heat in fondue pot which came with my racklette stand. And I must say that worked out beautifully as an extra protein filler with bread.

Now about the plate of cheese- I served six cheese courses, one plate per couple (or two people and they had better not be shy) , and all wedges of various melting cheeses, along with sliced Barolo dry salami. Hard cheese like parm will melt but it takes longer under the electric broiler on the stand, so I went with a racklette cheese, and four other semi-soft fat cheese which melted a bit faster. Three cows milk and three goat (two were raw). No need to state which in fact, just be creative on your own.

Ánd don't forget the roasted/boiled potatoes and the gherkin cucumbers (cornichons, and not one was left in the jar)! They are a suggested side when reading upon racklette, which means 'scrap'. I also served a homemade Korean BBQ sauce and mustard for the meats. You can read the history 'Racklette' and plan your next party.

The question on your mind may be "How similar are these two themes, fondue and raclette'? They are very similar in the ingredients are the same (or as you will, the dipping sides), but the melting methods are different. The trays provided for the raclette are actually fun to use and easy to clean up, right down to dessert.

The whole experience was really sweet when my guest, John and Lisa Howard-Fusco brought out her chocolate dessert course! Two kinds of chocolate bars, four fruit choices- two dried and two fresh, along with pound cake. We melted the two chocolates, bitter dark and milk together, that seemed to work best and then dip away.

Thanks to Lisa Howard-Fusco  for posting a question about raclette on FB, and it sparking our get together this past Sunday. If you live in New Jersey and don't follow their site, you are missing out. I had the pleasure of meeting them on one of my food tours in Princeton five years ago and we've been friends since.

Oh, one more thing, I know this post is already too long, but a new drink came out of this gathering 'The Friendly Scandinavian'...the next post...

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sustainable (sea)Food- Town Restaurant, Honolulu, HI

LIVE Hawaii and LOVE Hawaii through food- chef Ed Kenney

Town kaimuki

3435 Waialae AvenueHonolulu, Hawaii808.735.5900

It seems like it has been months since hubs and I arrived in Hawaii, but it has only been two weeks. Sigh. Time to go home, but the memories will be with us for as long as we live.

I wrote about Hawaiian food trucks in the first days of arriving, about how they line the Honolulu coastal beach stops and how you should try them...and now down to one restaurants we visited. Above is the mussel appetizer we shared. It was wonderful. The whole experience was wonderful!

Cooking on my part did take place at my friends house in Hilo, on the big island of Hawaii, but pictures were not taken. If you get a chance to visit and stay someplace with a kitchen, then visit the farmers markets that are all over each island. Hawaiians believe in using what the islands provide, and many are trying to reason with the billions of dollars spent on shipping goods in from the mainland. So support restaurants that use what is around them. They do serve beef raised on the island.

This place firmly believes is supporting farmers and ranchers on the island, so visit Town Restaurant if you make it to Honolulu, HI. It is very laid back, and no fancy clothes needed. Here is the catch of the day- Mahi Mahi...

 and some grilled baby carrots with smoked paprika, our favorite!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hawai'ian Food Trucks: Haleiwa, HI Garlic Shrimp

When we travel, we look for food. Of course, everyone does that right? Not usually Food Trucks though. It is a foodie adventure whenever traveling to new places, and there was a time when you would never had stopped and eaten at a food truck. Now, it is often known to be some of the best eating establishments in many areas.

Low rent drives these mobile culinary trends up into vast popularity. Once you have established yourself then you move into a higher rent local. Or not. But I don't think this is going to happen in this situation. Too many beach goers and tourist wanting quick and tasty eats at their beckon call. Some don't even bother with the truck, they use a van and various tents, and set up table and chairs for eating. A few only do take out.

No matter what you decide, just decide to stop at one; two if you really wanted, because we did just that on our first day out beach combing. We did Ray's Kaiwe Broiled Chicken on Joseph P. Deleong Hwy, then doubled back to the Blue Water Fish Truck for the shrimp. Both were fantastic and we finished it off with shaved ice from Aoki's. It was one of at least three places along the road, but had the longest line, so that gave us a good idea of its goodness.

What ever the sauce consists of at Blue Water Shrimp, I want to know! So far this trip, we tried other garlic shrimp along Ohau's shore line, and theirs was the best. Sure you might be turned off by discovering you have to peel your own shrimp (hubs doesn't enjoy it, I don't mind), but it is worth it. Most have hand washing stations set up for you on a table. They even spoon the sauce over your rice, but don't forget to ask for more.

I read before coming over that the Hawai'ian diet has gotten very fatty which includes lots of rice and macaroni salad laden with lots and lots of mayo. Well it is true. But some of the macaroni salad is good for a bite or two, but otherwise it is just to fill you up. We tried to avoid it by taking the salad offerings when it is mentioned.

Chef E's Recommendations-

Ray's Kaiwe Broiled Chicken and pineapple cole slaw were fantastic. Whole or half chicken only, but it is such a small amount (skinny chickens I guess) two people could eat more than half. The smell of smoking lava rocks and local wood will draw you in. It is truly the original finger licking good!
Blue Water Shrimp (is actually to the right of the gas station on the corner below) has fish tacos and other dishes besides shrimp, but they are known for the garlic shrimp.

Aoki's Shaved Ice has many many flavors and don't let the long line scare you; it was an indication of really good treats.

All three are located: Haleiwa Road and Joseph P. Deleong Hwy in Haleiwa, HI

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hawai'ian Delights

Hubs and I had a second honeymoon in the Hawaiin Islands and our first stop was Duke's at The Outrigger in Honolulu, Waikiki.

We have been reading up on what is local cuisine, and one thing is you always want to eat local and fresh. The islands got a reputation years ago for doing Pacific Rim and Asian Fusion and that is now passe. Many chefs are getting back to their roots and we will be featuring Town on the next post.

I had read that Waygu beef has its popularity here, mostly veal and a paticular kind, but will share more later.

So we went for fresh seafood, and this dish was calamari. Not your usual 'onion ring' looking fried squid, but a chunky and very fresh tasting dish. The breading was light and the lemon aoili was the best. I didn't care for the pineapple sweet dipping sauce. I am not a big sweet sauce kind of gal, and am afraid that is all I will find on the islands, but they do have hot sauce for me.

If you get a chance to visit try Dukes. This is what you get while you dine on the big continuous patio...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Bison Bolognese (Italian: ragù alla bolognese) and Meeting Bloggers

While traveling to Texas, my home state and back I had the opportunity to meet three food bloggers I had not so far in my four year journey food blogging. It was wonderful. Everyone I have met along the way have been fabulous. I still stay in touch with each and everyone of them.

Now I can add these three to the mix-

Mindy @ Mindy's Mouthful as I once knew it; now it is The World in My Kitchen ; I drove into her lovely town and we went to dinner at a new restaurant, Pescara Pizzeria and Mediterranean Restaurant. They needed to work a lot of kinks out of that place, but the food was fine for the most part. We laughed at the experience. She is much taller than I imagined. Many of the other people I met were shorter. Funny how we imagine each other right! I am rounder than one might expect, okay I am laughing at myself right now. Mindy is a busy mom, as well as works full-time, and has a beautiful home.

Rebecca @ Chow and Chatter; she just happened to be an hour and half from my in laws, so I made it a point to stop in. She made me a tuna sandwich with cumber and tomatoes, which is my favorite! I had lunch with her and those two cute children of hers. I always have admired and adored her. Lovely in person as she is on her blog. Her husband just happened to be around and it was a pleasure to meet him as well.

Last but not least, the next day I finally caught up with Natasha @ 5 Star Foodie Culinary Adventures. We met for drinks and a light dinner near my hotel in her town. It was my last stop before hitting home, and I mentioned there was no hurry to get home. Son was working and hubs was at classes in PA. She invited me over the next day to cook something together. We talked about what ingredients she had in the pantry and we went from there. Somehow it slipped our minds to take a photo like I did of the other two, but we did our food blog thing...Bison Bolognese was the result. Delish!

Of course it only took me six shots of a cell phone camera to get this, and she had taken hers already, so this is staged (hint: camera lens). We laughed. After it was all said and done, we talked about how when I walked up to her door, she was playing piano. What a talent that girl has. I run open mics in my town and feel I know talent when I hear it. So she gave me a performance. Talent! Thanks Natasha for the tour of your beautiful new home.

This recipe originally uses beef (cow), but we decided to make it with bison (buffalo) meat. It was really tasty and the consistency was just as I have had it in Italy. The spices are not traditional, but it was fun to play with these flavors! Glad Natasha went with suggestions. We hope to get our significant others together one day soon for a cook-a-thon! Well, my hubs will open the wine. She doesn't live that far for a weekend get together.

Bison Bolognese  (Italian: ragù alla bolognese)

1 lb ground bison meat

brown in pan for about seven minutes and then add-

minced garlic, onion, and carrots (equaled about a cup altogether)

smoked paprika

a pinch of this and that- saute for another ten minutes or so; when begins to really brown; add

just enough tomato sauce to wet meat (about a cup or so). Bolognese is never saucy; it is a dry like mixture.

Pre-boil  and rinse pasta (we agreed on angel hair), and then plate as you see in photo.

Thanks to the girls for having me this trip, I had fun with each of them. I hope to meet more along the way; it is a fun thing to do, meet those you admire...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Busy Stew

We all have made this pot of busy many times! My travels come to an end this weekend, so I will post actual food ramblings next week.

Hope all is well and you are busy with your own pots of excitement the past few weeks!

Till then...

(photo taken The Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, New Jersey)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Texas Bound and Deviled Eggs Diablo

Always love me some deviled eggs, but when mom Val said what would you say if we added bacon and jalapenos, I threw myself at her feet. Spicy and bacon is always a plus.

Try it and you'll be hooked, although they almost do not beat out my Black Truffle 'Summer Deviled Duck Eggs'...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Zucchini Bread Pudding

Like bread pudding? And making zucchini bread? Combine both for a dessert, and you have a winner. They are easy to freeze and pull out when you want one. Don't serve the brandy sauce with it and serve it as a snack. This just made sense.

Hubs saw this dish at whole foods in one of their small packaging and I slapped his hand away. Your bill at WF can already be huge, why add stuff like this to the basket.

I followed Paula Deen's recipe for zucchini bread, but use ramekins to bake individual servings. I added the slice of zucchini just like we saw in WF, and voila! Give some out as gifts to your neighbors as I do, and freeze a few.

Let them cool completely before removing from tins or ramekins, and I recommend using cupcake papers if you are going to do them in tins. The ramekins allow for a knife to slip around and they pop out.  If unfreezing or after a few days, add a pat of butter and reheat before pouring brandy sauce on top.

Now there could be a problem making brandy sauce for one or two, when the recipe calls for more than you need, and sugary sauces are not easy to keep, they become weepy. So I eyed a smaller batch just from my own experience. You can always add a tablespoon more of this and that if it comes out too thin, or too thick. Sugar, brown sugar (or not, plain sugar will do), water, and boil until begins to thicken (you want it to run like syrup off of spoon) and add brandy just at the end; unless you like to cook the alcohol out, and there is always an argument there, whether it does cook out. I believe it does on high heat after five minutes. If this is how you feel, add in beginning and boil away!

Some brandy sauces are all fancy and have 3 or 4 ingredients, but I use the old fashioned way like my mom and grandmother, sugar and water and thicken; add alcohol, stir and let sit. Some call for corn starch, but that is to thicken, and if you know it sugar thickens to make caramel, therefore thickens on its own. But you will not take it that far, only a runny sauce flavored by brandy or rum if you choose.

Enjoy! We did...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Remember, Dosai

This is still a number one snack and mealtime delight.

Eaten sweet and stuffed. Fresh Jersey blueberries and some syrup, oh yes!

Do a search in the upper left hand corner and you will see all the different ways I have used this batter, savory and sweet. Plan and simple, we like it the traditional way; stuffed with curried potatoes, tomatoes, and often with spinach. But there is no pan or home stove big enough to make the giant Indian restaurant style, so we make this version. It is also served with sambar- a vegetable lentil spicy soup.

Dosa or Dosé or Dosai is a fermented crepe or pancake made from rice batter and black lentils. It is indigenous to and is a staple dish in the southern Indian. 

You can make it at home, but you have to get the consistency thin enough to spread. Otherwise it will begin cooking once it hits the pan and puffs up like a chefs ego. Only use distilled water to thin it out if the batter thickens, and it will. You can think out a small batch if you are cooking it right away; adding regular tap water messes with the fermentation, which makes it a live food (raw food eaters). 

This is a gluten free food as well. 

Okay, now I'm hungry and there is a great Dosai restaurant near my destination for the evening of reading my poetry to a live audience. Go and try it for yourself...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cheesy Breadsticks

Food photography and blogging and breadstick  posers...

It is and will always be a favorite for the family, but the picture is all mine...back in '09, when the light box ruled meal time.

Right down to the blue glass idea.

Go ahead, grab one...

Friday, August 24, 2012

Pav Bhaji- Indian Street Food

While out doing my poetry at a local Princeton Open Mic, location Infini-T, a tea and Asian food inspired tea house and market- I had the most wonderful snack Pav Bhaji (pronounced Paav Ba-gee). It is served in places like Bombay as a street food.

Indian locals are seen out around an area Chowpatty Beach, India often at midnight looking for something to eat like crispy Dosai, Chaat, Kulfis and this dish- Pav Bhaji.

I read that there are a few places famous for this dish originally created as a light food for mill workers so that they do not return to their physical work sluggish from heavy meat infushed meals.  Its light, smooth, go that right amount of bite from chilies, and as I have noticed from various recipes, there is not too many the same. You can see from my picture it was more potato, and less red from chili powder and all the processes. I figured I could duplicate this at home.

The bhaiyya (Bombay street food chef) will start sauteeing the veggies (mash a boiled potato, peas, tomatoes, jalapeno, coriander) together with spices and enormous dollops of butter and mash the whole mixture into a sizzling vegetable dish. He will then serve this bhaji with rolls of bread called pav that have been likewise drowned in butter. The final touch: the dish is topped with raw onion slices and lemon wedges.

Now, if you go and google recipes for this, or ask your Indian neighbor about this dish, they may tell you it takes time, and has many processes for such a simple ingredient dish. However, from what I tasted and what I have seen it can be simplified and still have the same flavorful dish without having to buy a ticket to Bombay India, but that would be nice!  Oh and minus so much butter...

My bread however wasn't drowned in butter, but flattened and buttered. They seemed like crushed hamburger buns, but growing up we did this often for garlic bread if we did not have sliced regular bread around our house.

I liked this so much, there will be some Pav Bhaji projects going on this week!

Also on the note about Infini-T: I had read some pretty good reviews, but with it's share of negative on cost and lack of flavor. My opinion if anyone wants it....the food was great, service was great, desserts were great (I had a brownie), and the tea was fabulous. I will go back again and do a formal review next week, but for now I only spent $5 on the Pav Bhaji and thought that was a fantastic price for what you got on the plate. Very filling and tasty!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sushi At Home

Who doesn't love going out for sushi?  Okay a few out there don't, but if they did and you wanted to have a night of Tuna, you could. The global market has made it so easy for us cooks today. We can get almost any ingredient. Even my son's Korean friends have been cooking up a storm, their beloved favorites because the Asian markets carry so much.

Sushi is adored in our house, and often we find eating it out can add up, so we make it at home. In the photo above you see-

Nigirizushi (握り寿司, "hand-formed sushi") consists of an oblong mound of sushi rice that the chef presses into a small rectangular box between the palms of the hands, usually with a bit of wasabi, and a topping (the neta) draped over it. Neta are typically fish such as salmon, tuna or other seafood.

There are many sites you can learn to make the vinegar'ed rice aka Sushi Rice for your sushi. Rice cookers are generally the best, but I still use my mom's pressure cooker and it turns out just fine.

Seared Tuna (right) and Salmon (left) and Sashimi Tuna and Salmon, which is out of the picture.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Mediterranean Dinner- Lamb

My tagine was not big enough, so I used my clay pot from Spain, and since I bought two of them, I capped this dish off with the other.

Braise the salt and peppered lamb pieces in olive oil (brown both sides) and place in bottom of dish; add (layer ALL ingredients) onion, various olives, sun dried tomatoes, fresh oregano, tarragon, lightly mashed garlic cloves, sliced lemon pieces , and finish with squeezed lemon juice and red wine.

Slow cook for 2 and half hours in oven. Make couscous with veggies (recipe next week).

Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer Corn Salad

We have a big debate with our Long Island family (hubs), whether LI corn or Jersey corn is the best. I brought home a bag of Harb's corn on the cob (Northfork). We soaked it in a bucket of water for an hour and threw it on the grill, silk removed of course. Was good the first night. As usual though when I grill there is a need to use up the heat as so not to waste the coals, so we grilled quite a lot of corn.

A few nights later I took three ears corn and sliced it off, and added- 1/2 cup cherry heirloom tomato mix, sliced into quarters if large enough; 1 avocado cubed, 1/2 cup slow roasted tomatoes with herbs and white balsamic vinegar, 3 grilled artichoke (steamed and cooled), and 1/2 red onion small chop.

Heat up a non-stick pan and add a drizzle of olive oil, onion, and saute.  Add 1/2 teaspoon crushed and chopped garlic, salt and pepper; then add corn, blacken a bit, and remove from heat. Add rest of ingredients and stir gently. It is alright if the avocado spreads around.

Serve room temp or chilled. We like ours slightly room temp. Some heat adds a nice tone, so dash some of your favorite hot sauce, or even salsa to this. We grilled pork chops and I made an additional pan of summer squash casserole...another post!

Oh, and is my household going to sway the Long Island corn over Jersey corn debate? Not sure, we just like eating fresh summer corn.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Spicy Seafood GukSu (Soup)

I was so crazy about my son's girlfriend's (she is Korean) mom's recipe for  Dakbokkeumtang that I took a few recipe items and added them to this recipe. It was a seafood version of the other I wanted to try, so I kept the basic seafood items, plus vegetables which are similar, and changed a couple of things.

Just to give you an idea of how this starts off with major ingredients, I have listed them...but there are more...

Spicy Seafood GukSu (Soup) 

12 Jumbo Shrimp (or 15 Small Shrimp)
2/3 Cup Squid 15 Mussels
2/3 Cup baby scallops
2/3 Cup squid 
2/3 Cup Cabbage, small cut pieces (I used kimchi from Asian market, jar)
1 Cup Onion, medium cut pieces
1/3 Cup Carrot, small cut pieces
1 Handful Spinach
9 Stone Ear Mushrooms (Asian markets; often found in cans with water, or use shitake)

2 Hot Peppers (1 Red & 1 Green)
1 Green Onion, chopped (white onion will work)
Thick fresh (or Frozen) Noodles for JjamBbong (I did not use this, because vegetables were enough)

I borrowed the chili paste recipe from the first dish Yebyul made, then incorporated it into this recipe for Spicy Seafood GukSu.

After adding onion, cabbage, and carrot you stir in chili paste below. Omit the original seasoning. I really like the flavor combination of this chili paste over the other. I also felt the anchovy paste could have been also omitted, and will do so next time. Unless you really enjoy fishy flavor, which I do not, you can stick to the original GukSu recipe on the site I direct you too.

-Dakbokkeumtang Chili Paste:

Make seasoning paste by mixing ¼ cup  soy sauce, ¼ cup of minced garlic, ¼ cup hot pepper paste, ¼ cup of hot pepper flakes, and 1 tbs of sugar.

There are so many versions of this soup recipe it might be fun to try another. We enjoyed this dish very much.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Barcade, Jersey City, New Jersey

It has been a while since we have rated an eatery, so let's jump in with this micro-brew location up north from us. Barcade was suggested as a meeting place for me and a fellow poet-professor friend living in Jersey City.  He enjoys his beer, and we do as well from time to time. The weather was getting warmer out, and going over some of my performance poetry gave us good reason to hide inside.

The micro-beers are fantastic, and so is this sandwich. It is totally meatless too. We wanted to nibble before hitting another place around the corner for our big meal of the night, so I saw this Chickpea-black bean burger with coleslaw. Of course I thought it was on the side, not on the burger, but I gave it a chance and took a bite. Wow, was it fantastic! Like to take chances? Then do on this. They have a selection of other sandwiches, like pull pork, but this was paired with a belgium ale and it was even better!

Check out there Barcade menu (pizza crostini is good as well)

163 Newark
Jersey City, New Jersey
(take Path train out of New York, and it's three blocks on the left hand corner)

There are other locations, like Philadelphia as well...

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tandoori Chicken Salad

If you have followed cookAppeal for a number of years you might remember this post ''Tandoori Chicken with cashews''. It was beautiful on the plate with it's bright red color along side the cashews also cooked in the powder.

I took a similar concept of dipping four chicken breast into Tandoori powder you can find in most Asian Indian markets (2 T), squeeze lime and chop cilantro, let sit for half hour or so, and then  shallow fry (very little oil in pan) them. You can serve red onions and yogurt along potatoes, rice, or any side dish desired. They are not a spicy as one might think.

Any pieces left over from that meal the night or day before...chop them up into small cubes. I added lemon aoili, red onion pieces and cilantro. It was good on a bed of spinach dressed with lime and oil, or on an onion roll.

Simple for summer eating!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Quinoa Crabcakes- revisited

I made these again recently with a spicy aoili, and I have to say, they rocked!

Just substitute cooked and cooled quinoa for bread crumbs (oh heck add some bread crumbs if you're not gluten free eating)- with egg, bits of onion and celery and cilantro. Often I have added chunky homemade salsa. Oil your hands lightly to keep it from sticking, work quickly, and after you have formed them, set them on wax paper you can shallow fry them. Heat oil in pan and work quickly.

Serve them over a salad, make them smaller for appetizers, and it is a nice light meal on movie night.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Late Wordless Wednesday Post

We have had company in from Texas, my computer died, and I'm busy with poetry reading engagements. So posts here may be a bit behind... Until I get a new computer up and rolling, I am working on hubs iPad and we know that is a feat. Velva @ Tomatoes On The Vine has posted a few of my Korea pictures, and you can go check the KIMCHI BAR out...(click the link)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Good Food and Food Bloggers

"IACP Culinary Expo & Book and Blog?"

"Yes. I thought you might like to attend" said hubs.

"Sounds good to me."

We already had an over night trip into New York planned, so why not?

My post have been mapped out already, so there was no time to let others know. I figured anyone in NY already knew about it, and would be attending. The building was multilevel and a really cool space for this event. Lofty. I love loft space.

The Book and Blog was in a space next door. Meaning you had to go back out on the street and thankfully someone pointed you to the red velvet roped entry.

Lots of foods and vendor offerings all around. Between hubs and me, we took a lot of pics.

I didn't see any familiar bloggers though. Met a few old wine industry friends and authors. But then there was Marc of 'No Recipes' (photo above, and my handsome son right behind in red jacket). He and I saw each other and it was instant recognition.

He moved from New York and over to Japan. Says he is really having fun writing and teaching professionally, and was in town visiting. Like me, it just so happens this event was going on. He also said he was surprised not many people we knew had attended. Is it me or does it seem like events are getting smaller and smaller here. Even Taste of Princeton was the smallest it had ever been.

As I always think, I'm not sure why we don't go into New York more often. The food and people watching are like no other.

IACP Culinary Expo  & Book and Blog
April 1, 2012
82 Mercer Street
New York, NY

Now for New York fashion statements...now this was some good people watching.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Smoked Salmon Sliders- Happy Memorial Day

Our HOA (Home Owners Association) president, and neighbor asked me to help with our annual Memorial Day picnic out by the pool. The Smith House works good for food set up, but only a stove top to reheat. I suggested sliders and hot dogs for the kids. A few volunteers helped with the smoking and grills. Of course I made Texas Red Chili for our own plates.

Slip some cream cheese on small bagels, a piece of smoked salmon along with capers, a squeeze of lemon, red onion, and tomato. Easy to assemble, and easy to down in a few bites with a good glass of wine.

We invited a good friend and fellow poet Pasquale to taste test the food. He served in the coast guard, navy, and as a guard for the Tomb Of The UnNamed Soldier over the course of his life. He shares stories of that time period are enjoyed by many. He is a great story teller, and likes my cooking.

Hope your having a great Memorial Day and don't forget those who have helped defend our country!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Easy Cinnamon Rolls

No time to make dough? Use pre-made pizza dough in can from the market. Roll it out and use any filling recipe (I use Kashmiri garam masala, an Indian spice instead of Cinnamon, but it's an acquired taste); add raisins and crushed walnuts if desired- roll it back up carefully and slice into pieces; fill non-stick pan or oil regular baking dish, and bake, removing just before they get beyond golden (or dough gets too tough).

Follow recipe for icing, but using orange juice and orange zest to flavor.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Chicken Parma

I haven't made this dish in a long while. I simply sliced breast in half, for easy dipping in chapatti flour (Indian/Asia store) and dropped them into shallow oil; brown on both sides (salt/pepper).

I made a marinara sauce with roasted garlic and artichokes and served it over some flat noodles hubs bought in Eataly on our last visit into NYC.

Simple and good with a salad or even spinach side dish.

Here is a look inside my first bite...Yum!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Kimchijeon (Korean Pancake)

The photo is blurry, but the taste was fabulous! It was the side dish to my son and his friend, Yebyul's Korean Dakbokeumtang Meal.

Chop 1 cup Kimchi (Asian market), 1" slices
1/3 cup kimchi juice from jar
1/2 red onion, small slices
1 cup flour (we used Chapatti flour from Indian market)
pinch of salt
1/4 cup milk (milk works, but we do not drink regular milk and omitted this and added extra egg)
1 egg  (we used 2)

In bowl mix flour, milk, juice, eggs and salt together, then fold in onions and kimchi. Should be just like a regular pancake mix.

Kimchijeon are not like our American pancakes, they are basically Korean fritters. Cook them on a well oiled griddle or in a skillet. After each one we wiped the pan off with an oil soaked paper towel. Should be crispy on edges. Serve with main dish or salad.

This is typically eaten as a late night snack food and in company of others while enjoying a beverage. Similar to appetizers we share while having a beer or margarita.

Serve with soy sauce and chopped chilies as garnish.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spicy braised chicken- Dakbokkeumtang

My son returned from his stint in Korea teaching English with a fierce hunger for their foods. He and Yebyul, his friend made us dinner last week before she moved to NYC to study and work.

Spicy braised chicken (dakbokkeumtang)- can I, where do I, even begin with this dish. It might seem complicated, but they mix all the main ingredients together in a bowl and pour it over the cut up chicken. You can buy all the ingredients at your local Asian store. Don't think you have one? Have you checked? If it requires traveling to another area of town, go; it is worth it! 

It is a pot of chicken pieces cooked in a red chili sauce with sweet potatoes, red bliss potatoes, carrots and onions. Serve it over rice. Pancakes on the side are optional. My son's obsession.

Yebyul said it was one of her comfort foods when she is away from her mom. She said she cooked rice in certain kind of machine. I couldn't figure it out for the life of me until we were looking at electronic rice cookers and she pointed at a pressure cooker. I have one of those I told her.  She tried to eye the rice, but burned it. Not enough water. I told her. Smile.

She eyes all of her cooking. A sign of a good cook. Not that any of you who use recipes aren't good, but have you thrown a little of this and that in the pot afterward? Try it.

Kimchijeon will be highlighted next...otherwise try this recipe for Dakbokkeumtang

It is a video Yebyul and I watched. You'll laugh. And you'll understand the ingredients.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Korean Visitor

Our house has enjoyed a Korean student staying with us for the past month. Yebyul Oh is moving to NYC to study and intern and met my son while they were both in Hong Kong. Becoming friends she told him about her stay and he asked if we minded having a house guest for a few days, which turned into three weeks, but she earned her keep by helping around the house. She is not a professional in the kitchen, but she is very creative and loves to try new foods. She can visit any time, because she really loves my fusion cooking!

She gave us the honor of cooking our last meal together. Well, she will visit every now and then, but this was a great opportunity to taste something Korean families make in their homes. A visit to a local Asian market proved to be fruitful. We bought a big box of Korean Pears.

After obtaining all the ingredients for Kimchijeon and Dakbokkeumtang I found them in a discussion with another Korean woman about what chilies to use for the Kimchijeon soy sauce. My son went for the small Thai, which are very hot.

Once home she was busy preparing our Friday night meal...with some help. It was nice to sit back and let them make the mess and clean it all up. All I had to do was sit down at the dinner table. Ahhh...

Come back and enjoy the meal post next week!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

NYCFA (Food trucks!)

What what what???

We don't go into the city as nearly as much as we would like, so when I got the opportunity to be a secret shopper for NYCFA I couldn't refuse. We were going into the city for the weekend and back home on Monday, so it all worked out.

How did this all begin?

It’s became a great entrepreneurial move for someone who wanted to start a restaurant when credit was tight. Also for consumers because these businesses tend to be very affordable (and) convenient — they come to you. We saw a surge in food trucks a few years ago in NYC and in Hoboken. All over matter of fact.

You can't afford rent in some areas of a city, so these guys do themselves and us a favor. The food truck business process- figure out a short menu that is consumer friendly, lays out nicely, easy to put together, buy a truck, license it for food via the city health department, and find out legal locations to park. Build it and they will come- sound familiar? Of course it can take time and education on the entrepreneurs part before jumping into this... I always joked about it.

In some areas of Dallas, especially the Hispanic neighborhoods , you can find the best taco stands- Portable push carts with hot dogs and tacos and breakfast burritos and ice cream, and some of the best outside of a restaurant, or even your own cocina.

So they have always been around in some form or fashion selling hot dogs to gyros in limited fashion.

Complaints are often lodged against the trucks, because they can cause traffic jams and park illegally even if only for short periods of time. Cities are trying to work with these companies because even they realize what a boost it is to the economy these days.

What does NYCFA do for food trucks?

NYCFA helps spread the word and educate the public by providing a public service message...

Food trucks are great for NYC. They stimulate culinary innovation, draw tourists, provide jobs, and contribute revenue to the city. They offer a valuable service to New Yorkers, help energize the streets, and are an important part of the social fabric of the city.

If you have a food truck in the area you pass and think "Hmmm, I wonder what the food is like?" Just stop and try it sometime. You will be helping out the little guys! This trend has been taking off in other cities besides the north east. We did it! And it was all good.

Above photo- Red Hook Lobster Pound- $16 Lobster Roll
I found it a bit pricey, but it was good. Reminded me of a place in Northfork LI, and similar price.

Kimchi Taco Truck- $4 for beef rib, chicken, and pork tacos with Koren flavor twist...and tasty!

Mexicue- $3.50 for two smoked chicken tacos...very filling and my favorite...

Where can I find these food trucks in NYC? The NYCFA lists the companies which in turn list their whereabouts daily. We found these guys just in front of the new Conrad by Hilton Hotel off 102 North End Avenue. We needed to find a few to review, and what do ya know our hotel listed them outside our hotel. How convenient!