Sunday, September 30, 2012

First Congregational Church Montclair NJ

1st Congregational Church Montclair NJ Located on South Fullerton in Montclair NJ, the First Congregational Church commands a rather stately presence. Church photography is shared on Black Tie and Flip Flops each Sunday morning.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

It's Compostable : Pulp From The Juicer

It's Compostable : Pulp From The Juicer
So you've jumped on the juicing bandwagon too? Do you realize that all that pulp from the juicer is easily composted.

Its pulverized so it should break down rather quickly. Here you can see a whole lot of carrot, some bits of kale and that fuzzy stuff that's actually ginger.

Whatever You Do ~ Don't Blink

The Weeping Angels (also known as the Lonely Assassins) are an ancient race of aliens from the Doctor Who television series. Their usual mode of feeding is to send their victims back in time, which creates time energy to feed on. When they are not being observed by another being, they can move very quickly and silently, but when they are being observed they become "quantum-locked", occupying a single position in space, becoming stone. In this state, they are frozen and difficult to destroy. They cannot suppress this reaction. If two Weeping Angels were to look at each other at the same time (or one were to look at a mirror), they would be trapped in stone form until an outside force moves them apart. To prevent this, they often cover their eyes while moving - this makes them look like they are weeping.

The Fall Finale of Doctor Who ~ Tonite On BBC America

Friday, September 28, 2012

Chrysanthemums Waiting To Put On Their Show

Chrysanthemums Waiting To Put On Their Show

Williams Sonoma - Muirhead Pecan Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Muirhead Pumpkin ButterBread Pudding is a rich comfort food that is very quick and easy to make and is sure to become a favourite!

Last Autumn I did the Fall Baking class at the local Williams-Sonoma and decided to break the rules just a bit and show how adding one of the fall staples at the store can turn something good into something great.

I've taken a basic bread pudding recipe and added pumpkin butter to capture some of those great autumn flavours we all love. This pudding is also a great alternative to pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving.


4 cups Challah Bread - cut into 1/2 inch squares (Brioche works well too)

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup sugar (turbinado sugar or Sugar In The Raw works best)

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 13 ounce jar Muirhead Pecan Pumpkin Butter (available at Williams Sonoma in the autumn months, and yes, most US stores already have their Pecan Pumpkin Butter in stock!)

Method :

With the rack in the center of the oven, preheat to 350F (180C) Butter a 9 or 10 inch pie dish and spread the bread cubes evenly. (at times I have used a 9 inch square pan as well, but presentation-wise using the pie dish really plays on the 'alternative to pumpkin pie' concept)

Over medium heat warm the cream just until steam starts to rise, this is usually about 3 minutes. Remove the cream from the heat and set aside.

As the cream is resting, whisk together the egg, egg yolk, sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin butter in a bowl. (okay, I admit, sometimes I am not in the mood to separate eggs and just add two eggs - the recipe works out just fine!)

While whisking the egg mixture, slowly pour the warm cream into the egg mixture.

It is important to constantly whisk the egg mixture at this point. (Pouring too much warm cream at one time will cause the eggs to scramble) If pouring from the saucepan at the same time you whisk is a challenge, scoop the cream using your cup measure and add a little at a time.

Once the cream is fully whisked into the egg mixture pour it over the bread cubes. Using a spoon, dunk any bread cubes that remain dry so they can absorb some of that great pumpkiny flavour.

Place your pie dish on a baking sheet and bake until puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, usually about 30 minutes.

Bread puddings always taste great warm but let this rest about 5 minutes or so after removing it from the oven before serving.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mood Indigo : Jazz and Bones at Indigo Kitchen Montclair Tonite

Indigo Kitchen Montclair Feels Like HomeDon't miss live Jazz this Thursday night & get the sweet deal on ribs or chicken 20 bones or 2 birds for $25

Indigo Kitchen is one of my favourite restaurants on the East Coast.

Featuring new soul food including Kansas City style ribs and the best Shrimp and Grits around each visit feels like home.

Live Jazz is the latest addition to the offerings at Indigo Kitchen and tonight's special deal is the reason to visit again, or if you haven't been there yet, its the ideal reason to go for the first time.

Check out the restaurant and menu at  

Save The Date : Blessing Of The Animals at St Lukes Montclair 7 October 2012

St Francis Day / Blessing Of The Animals

Each year on the first Sunday of October at 4pm, St Luke's Episcopal Church on South Fullerton in Montclair NJ celebrates St Francis Day with the Blessing of the Animals.

Companion animals are such a blessing in the lives of so many people; on Sunday 7 October reciprocate those blessings at St Lukes.

 Each year a cadre of cats, rodents, birds and even a horse come to receive a blessing, but the dogs will be the first to declare that "cat" spelled backwards is nothing.

That's Archibold in the center of the photo with a new friend who looks remarkably like Rosalita but alas it's not her.

Herbes De Provence ( #foodporn )

Herbes de Provence #foodporn
Herbes de Provence is a mixture of dried herbs typical of the Provence region of Southern France.

The standard mixture typically contains savory, fennel, basil, and thyme. Lavender flowers are often found in mixtures sold in the United States. Lavender is not found in the original French version, but as Americans associate lavender fields with Provence liberty is taken to create a unique North American blend.

But here's where it gets interesting. Herbes de Provence as we know it really didn't exist until the 1970's. Sure the herbs themselves were used in various ways, sometimes all together, sometimes a few of them in various combinations, but a name wasn't associated with the blend until the 1970's.

For starters try Herbes de Provence under the skin of a chicken before roasting. How about ditching the colonel's eleven herbs and spices for this blend in fried chicken? It even works wonders with plain bread to make an interesting stuffing.

One whiff and most of us are taken away to a far off place. So why not take ordinary weeknight dinners to new places with Herbes de Provence?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Great News : @AnthonysCake Is Open For Dinner

Anthony's Cheesecake, known for Cheesecake and Desserts is celebrating its second anniversary this week by adding dinner service this week!

Cheesecake for dinner? Where have you been! After serving breakfast and lunch with great success for the last year or so, a dinner service is being added to the mix of offerings at Bloomfield's best kept foodie secret.

Not long ago I wrote about discovering  Anthony's Cheesecake on Hot From The Kettle I haven't even written extensively about lunch (yet) and here comes dinner!

So make room on your calender and put Anthony's on your radar.

Garden Nosh

Garden Nosh

Favorite Recipe For Johnny Appleseed Day : Apple Crisp

Back in the day Americans celebrated Independence Day with Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet. Over the years we learned that Baseball and Hot Dogs are filled with steroids, Chevrolet went into bankruptcy, but our love of Apples prevails - and why not. American lore is filled with stories of the Apple : everyone from Johnny Appleseed to George Washington had a passion for apples. (there is a rumor that the Father of our country cut down the cherry tree because he wanted his mom to stop making cherry pies, we can't confirm that story, but we like it!) Today being Johnny Appleseed Day it's only fitting that an easy Apple Recipe is shared.

Apple Crisp is an easy alternative to Apple Pie as it contains most of the same ingredients as apple pie, sans all that rolling of Pie Crust. This recipe has been copied onto recipe cards, passed from family member to family member, copied some more, and probably has its origins in Food & Wine or Family Circle Magazine, our apologies to the original author for not knowing your name, but kudos on a job well done nonetheless!

Apple Crisp
6 cups thinly sliced peeled apples
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsalted butter

Mix together apples, 1/3 cup sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter.

Place in a greased 8 inch square baking dish, set aside.

Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, and flour, cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over apples.

Bake at 375° F (190° C)about 45 minutes or until apples are tender.

Delicious on its own but feel free to serve with whipped cream!

Makes about 8 servings.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Spycam : The French Quarter Truck On Park Street Montclair @TFQfoodtruck

SpyCam ~ It's the French Quarter Truck @TFQfoodtruck
Montclair's Foodie Scene is getting better all the time ~ in a year that brought us Le Salbuen, Samba, and Indigo Kitchen, the good food just keeps rolling along! Specialty food trucks bring a nosh to some of the communities outposts that are a little off the beaten foodie path.

The French Quarter Truck, spotted here on Park Street Montclair, just outside the Red Cross, brings a bit of the Garden District to the Garden State. (Translation for those readers who are not members of whodat nation : the Garden District is a National Historic Landmark District in New Orleans Louisianna). Yes, we're talking some Cajun Cravin'!

Jason Cervone's brainchild features Gumbo, Jambalaya, Po' Boys, and even Beignets. Of course no visit to a Cajun Truck would be complete without something a little Red Beans and Ricely!

  So where's the French Quarter Food Truck today? Follow it on twitter at @TFQfoodtruck

Veggie Frites At Smashburger Montclair

Flash-fried asparagus spears, carrot sticks, and green beans.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The World Trade Center From Jersey City NJ

The World Trade Center From Jersey City

Surprise! You Already Eat Vegetarian Dishes! #meatlessmonday

Ask most people about Vegetarian Food and their responses will vary but most will have a general theme of doing without. Comments will be diverse, everything from "no protein" to "no flavour" to "no crunch" to "no fun." Sadly perceptions and reality of vegetarian cuisine are about as different a week shoveling snow and a week long holiday vacation in Barbados.

 Foods that meet the criteria of being vegetarian are all around us, and most of us have eaten some of them in the last week, we just didn't realize they were vegetarian!

Parameters need to be set. Sir Paul McCartney's definition of "not eating anything with a face" is by far my favourite but serious wordies would have issue with that definition (along with the term 'wordie') so let's get serious for a moment.

 While vegetarianism has been around for thousands of years the word first found its way into English around 1839 with irregular formation from vegetable (n.) + -arian, as in agrarian. Popular use seems to have come from the creation of the Vegetarian Society in Ramsgate in 1847. Classically defined a vegetarian is a person who does not eat or does not believe in eating meat, fish, fowl, or, in some cases, but subsists on vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains.

A vegetarian is different from a vegan in that a vegan does not eat any animal products including dairy, eggs, and honey. (Vegetarians do consume these foods) Vegan was first used in 1944, which came as a surprise to me as I somehow thought it was a flower-power inspired word but actually was defined near the end of World War II.

So what are these vegetarian dishes that we all eat but may not realize they are vegetarian? A partial list includes :

Macaroni and Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies French Toast Blueberry Pie
Belgian Waffles with Maple Syrup Risotto Butternut Squash Soup Green Bean Casserole
Corn Bread Stuffing Apple Pie Chocolate Ice Cream Spaghetti in Marinara
Eggplant Parmigiana Donuts Frosted Flakes Cheese Pizza Cream of Mushroom Soup
Egg Foo Yung Roasted Sweet Potatoes Creme Brulee Falafel Lasagna Western Omlettes 
Palek Paneer Rice Pudding Oatmeal with Dates and Nuts Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
Chili Fettucine Al Fredo Ravioli Edamame Bleu Cheese Fondue
 Penne With Vodka Sauce Dill Pickles

Once we start getting over the idea that vegetarian dishes are ones that do without, perhaps we'll be confortable eating more of them. (and yeah, I included the treats in the list just to show that not everything vegetarian is health food, there is fun food too!)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Riverside Church In New York City

Riverside Church, Barge Panoramic
Modeled after Chartres Cathedral in France, Riverside Church is an interdenominational landmark in New York City. In 1922 the congregation of the Park Avenue Baptist Church, with the major financing and support of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. set forth plans for the church, construction was completed in 1930. Grant's Tomb is in the same neighborhood.
Church photography appears on Black Tie And Flip Flops every Sunday morning.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

It's Compostable : Pistachio Shells

Its Compostable Pistachio Shells
Sure, they take a while to break down, much longer than the fruit and vegetable peelings from the kitchen, but they do biodegrade over time and do a lot more good in the garden than in a landfill.

Each Saturday on Black Tie and Flip Flops discover something else that is compostable.

Mark The First Day Of Autumn With A Vegan Chili Even Carnivores Will Love

Chili in its simplest form is a stew consisting of chilis and meat often with the addition of tomatoes and beans. In this version we ditched the meat kept the tomatoes and beans then added root vegetables for a flavor sensation that is as comforting for the body as it is for the soul. Forget every preconceived idea you have about vegan foods – this zippy comfort food is such a surprise that you don’t have to let anyone in your family know its meatless secret!

Vegan Chili #Recipe
Aside from vegetables, this version contains some ingredients not usually associated with chili. The spice mix includes Turmeric, Citrus Juice plays a small supporting role that will be missed it its left out, and Black Eyed Peas and Corn bring visual interest and a nutritional punch.

1 Medium Onion
3-4 cloves of Garlic, minced
  2 tsp ground Cumin
1 tsp ground Coriander
1 tsp Chili Powder
1 Sweet Potato , peeled and diced
  2 Parsnips, peeled and diced
1 large Carrot, peeled and diced
1 ½ cups low sodium Vegetable Broth
1 14-15oz can diced Tomatoes, or crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz can Red Kidney Beans (drained)
1 14-15 oz can Black Eyed Peas (drained)
1 11 oz can Green Giant Steam Crisp Corn *
2 Tbs Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice or the juice of a small lime
½ tsp Paprika
  ¼ chopped Cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste, smoked black pepper will put this chili over the top.

Put all those peelings and trimmings in your compost container, your garden will reward you for this.

In a large pot, such as LeCreuset, warm about a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the onion and garlic over medium low heat until the onion is soft and translucent and the garlic’s fragrance is warm and no longer stinging. Add the cumin, coriander, chili, and turmeric. Stir to coat the onions. Cook for about a half a minute or so, just until the perfume of the spices starts to fill the room.

Add the sweet potato, parsnip, and carrot, stir and cook for 3-5 minutes , then add the broth reduce heat and cook until the root vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes. Add the drained beans and peas, then the tomatoes and their juice. Cook about 10 minutes more. Fork test a piece of sweet potato for doneness, it should be soft and ready to eat right about now. Turn off the heat. Stir in the corn, citrus juice and paprika; season with pepper and salt, if necessary. Stir in cilantro and serve.
Makes about 4 servings.

*Green Giant Steam Crisp Corn, formerly called "Summer Crisp" is canned corn but is as crisp as frozen. It's become a favourite around here because its got all that great flavor and texture without taking up freezer space.

A Sign Of Autumn : Wild Turkey at Lambert Castle Paterson NJ

Wild Turkey at Lambert Castle

Today's First Cuppa? African Autumn from Harney & Sons

A favourite cuppa and a bit of irony to start this first day of a new season!

It's the first day of Spring in South Africa, the first day of Autumn in the United States, and I'm starting the day with African Autumn (that season actually runs from March to June in Cape Town). There's a bit of irony in there but I'll put a pox on the house of anyone who suggests I am embracing the qualities of hipsters. Enough about hipsters, let's get to the tea.

Harney & Sons African Autumn blends the earthiness of South African Rooibos, also called Redbush, with the tang of Cranberry and Orange. The tea itself is a deep orange color, its warmth recalls the late afternoon sky just before the sun slumbers for the night. A great attribute of rooibos is that it is caffeine free, making it a great choice for a late night cuppa.

To be a true tea, a beverage is made from the steeped leaves of Camellia sinensis plant, but in the contemporary vernacular pretty much any plant or plant part that is steeped is called a tea (hence ginger tea). Rooibos tea comes about with a process that is similar to the one used for Camellia sinensis in which leaves are allowed to oxidize. In their natural state the leaves are green, that gorgeous orange color of the tea comes about in the oxidation process. There's noting strange about oxidation, it just means exposure to oxygen, in this case the process takes place under the African sun.

Rooisbos is only grown in the Western Cape province of South Africa. This region is home to Cape Town as well as those African Penguins, yes, Penguins in Africa, that I fancy so much. Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange NJ has a great collection of African Penguins. Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, was the Anglican Bishop of Cape Town. Someday we'll share a pot of African Autumn and discuss the work of Bishop Tutu, but that will be another time.

One of my favourite wintertime drinks is a Cape Town Fog. Steep rooibos in steamed milk for a great pick me up! The complexity of African Autumn makes a Cape Town fog even better!

African Autumn is available in many supermarkets and on

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ghirardelli Blood Orange Chocolate Supreme Brownies

. @Olive_That 's Ghiradelli Blood Orange Brownies Making these brownies was easy ~ switching out Olive That's Blood Orange Olive Oil for the vegetable oil suggested on the box created a great taste treat.

While Dr Oz would probably never declare brownies a health food, using Olive Oil instead of "vegetable oil" is a better choice for health and the environment. Plus the flavor is unbelievable.

Blood Orange Olive Oil is available at Olive That in on Bellevue Ave Upper Montclair NJ, across from the Chase Bank, two door from the Bellevue Movie Theartre. And yes, these are the brownies sampled brownies at the sidewalk sale. More than one customer said they could easily be passed off as completely homemade.

 Read the full story about my discovery on Hot From The Kettle

Asian Elephant in Turtle Back Zoo

A Bronze Sculpture of a Baby Asian Elephant is found in the South East Asian section of Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange New Jersey.

 Native to Southeast Asia, these elephants are highly domesticated and are often found doing heavy work both in forests and urban areas. Although endangered, Asian elephants can still be found in the Wild.

 Turtle Back Zoo doesn't have any real Asian Elephants, but sculptural animals like this do help tell the story of our relationship with animals as well as add fun to a day at the zoo.

Lemonade with Lavender and Vanilla via the @Beekman1802Boys

On this last day of summer raise a glass to the fabulous flavors of summer with Fabulous Beekman Boys Lemonade With Lavender and Vanilla 

Using fresh squeezed lemon juice, vanilla, and lavender buds this recipe is super simple and most likely will leave result in a "why didn't I think of this" reaction. Better yet, the lavender-vanilla syrup is a great addition to the home bar or, when stored in the fridge, can be used later as a sweet drizzle for pound cake! Start out with lavender from the spice section of a gourmet store or really well stocked supermarket, but then if inspiration takes hold do as I do and plant lavender in the garden.
My favourite cookbook of the year remains Beekman Boys 1802 Heirloom Cookbook which included this interesting twist on the summer classic as well as countless other recipes that have continued to earn rave reviews each time they were served.

  Read my story on Hot From The Kettle for the complete recipe.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

#Foodie Discoveries : SuzyQue Barbeque In West Orange NJ

SuzyQue's BBQ In West Orange NJSusan Hoffberg, namesake and chief executive honcho of SuzyQues, draws on the flavors and techniques of Texas, Midwest, and Carolina barbeque, then follows the three rules of barbeque (low, slow, and smoke) to create dishes that put West Orange NJ on any national BBQ tour map.

A recent afternoon visit resulted in big flavors, big portions, and big doggie bags. Don’t tell the doggie, the leftovers were for me. But let’s rewind to beginning : SuzyQue’s is located in the former Charlie Brown’s location on South Valley Road in West Orange. The space includes a large dining room, a substantial bar area, and a glass enclosed patio just off the bar. The variety of rooms set the stage perfectly for trying out SuzyQues with co-workers for lunch, or hanging out with the guys to watch the game before returning for a family dinner on your next visit.

SuzyQue's Baby Back Ribs
SuzyQues Ribs, Mac & Cheese And Creamed Spinach
The restaurant prides itself on using only the finest premium meats but anyone who knows barbeque understand technique matters as much, if not more than, the quality of the meat. Great barbeque starts with a great dry rub. Hoffberg blends her own from scratch before putting the meat in their smoker. When the order arrives at the table the rub has permeated the meat and formed a crust that is oh so thin but incredibly flavorful. Don’t worry, lesser places base their rubs on salt, at SuzyQues herbs and spices are the foundation of the rub. An assortment of sauces is delivered to each table allowing each diner to decide exactly what’s right for them.

For my first visit I chose the Beef Brisket and the Baby Back Ribs, with sides of collard greens, macaroni and cheese, cole slaw, and creamed spinach. Corn bread comes with each order. The relaxed atmosphere made it possible to share a bit of everything and experience as much as possible.
SuzyQue's Macaroni And Cheese
SuzyQues Mac And Cheese
The brisket was juicy and fork tender. Alone, with just the dry rub, it was an entrĂ©e worthy of a great review. Was this really happening in New Jersey, barbeque that didn’t need sauce? I slathered anyway. I turned what could be described as “flying business class” (have you ever heard anyone complain about flying business class?) into “flying first class.” It was that good.

The baby back ribs were equally impressive. Like the brisket they came to the table simply seasoned with the dry rub. Having tried the brisket first I dove right in without adding any sauce, and like the brisket the ribs were top drawer. The half rack was more than enough (some had to go home with me) and were so tender that eating ribs with a knife and fork was totally possible.

But what about the sauce? SuzyQue offers four sauces, all made on site, served in squeeze bottles so patrons can put on as much, or as much more, as they like! The great thing about serving the sauce in this manner is that a little of each can be tried throughout the meal. Memphis style sauce has a foundation of vinegar with molasses as a sweetener. For some heat try the Orange Habernero which features the perfect blend of sweet, tart, and spicy flavors. The squeeze bottles are ideally suited for this sauce as customers uncertain about chilis can try just a few drops on a forkful of barbeque before making the decision to slather away, just as I did. Kansas City style sauce is tomato based with sugar and vinegar. The fourth sauce is a fruity molasses sauce with hints of tamarind. Being a big tamarind fan I would have liked it to have a more pronounced presence in the sauce, that said it is still my favorite of the sauces. A source told me at the end of the night the bottles are emptied and contents discarded before being washed and refilled. Similarly when the bottles near being emptied during the day they are washed before being refilled.

SuzyQue's BBQ Brisket In West Orange
Beef Brisket At SuzyQues
The sides were generous. The stand out is the macaroni and cheese which is made with real cheese, then topped with cheddar before being baked. It was almost a meal unto itself. The big surprise was the cornbread which was dense, almost like pound cake. Instead of the usual crumbling messy muffin consistency that passes for cornbread these day it really was bread. If had room for more I would have asked for more.

There was no room for dessert, so I opted to take a slice of Red Velvet Cake for take away. Dense and pound cake like, it had those wonderful tangy notes of chocolate one usually finds in deep south. I regret not getting two, or more slices, in my take away box.

SuyQues is located at 34 South Valley Road in West Orange NJ.
 Details can be found at

Rabbit Food : An Urban Legend Unearthed About Carrots

Carrots are a great source of Vitamin A. Vitamin A deficencies can result in poor eyesight and other occular conditions. However eating more carrots and taking Vitamin A supplements does not improve vision.

The rumor about carrots improving eyesight was started as a part of disinformation campaign in the 1940's. The Royal Air Force was using an early form of radar and did not want the Nazis to know anything about this new technology. So to explain why British pilots had such an impressive records of hitting their targets, the Home Office explained that the pilots were eating large amounts of carrots.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It's Cheeseburger Day

@SmashburgerNNJ 's Jersey Burger
Smashburger's Jersey Burger : 100% Angus Beef smashed, seared and seasoned to perfection, the New Jersey Burger is topped with everything that residents of the Garden State crave: Applewood smoked bacon, blue cheese crumbles, grilled onions, haystack onions, lettuce, tomato and mayo on a fresh onion bun.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding Recipe From Caprial Pence

Back in the 1990's I discovered Caprial Pence. She has had her own PBS series and has also hosted Caprial and John's kitchen with her husband. She has authored several cookbooks including American Bistro Fare.

One of my favourite American Bistro Fare recipes, and one that I have made several times (so much so that I no longer need the recipe) is Pumpkin Bread Pudding. It's a great twist on the classic Pumpkin Pie and sure to become a favourite everywhere.

Much to my surprise, after sharing this recipe in person a few people have approached me to mention that they used this this recipe at Thankgiving and recieved rave reviews from their guests. (It's kinda to neat to know that I provided the information that earned someone accolades).

1 baguette, diced (I have found that a variety of day old white bread works well too - and recently found that using Challah knocks everyone's socks off)
1 cup toasted pecans (a few times toasted chopped filberts have gone over really well)
2 1/2 cups half and half
3/4 cup Pumpkin Puree (the Libby's in the can works great)
3/4 cup sugar (white sugar is fine, but everything tastes better with Turbinado sugar)
1/2 cup brown sugar
5 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon crystallized ginger (rough chopped ginger, so that the pieces about the size of M&M's seems to be what produces the best results)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (grate your own - the flavour will be amazing!)
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

The original recipe calls for a 10-inch springform pan, but I have found that well greased 8 or 9 inch square baking pans work well too. Place the diced bread in the pan, sprinkle the toasted pecans over the bread as evenly as possible.

In a medium bowl mix half and half, pumpkin, and 3/4 cup sugar. Then add brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, ground and crystallized ginger, nutmeg, and allspice.

Pour this mixture over the bread and mix well. Let stand about 20 minutes so the bread can absorb the pumpkin mixture. Give it a quick mix again just before placing it in the oven.

Bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Without hesitation, I highly reccomend jumping over to and checking out American Bistro Fare as well as Caprial's other books.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Great Horned Owl At Turtle Back Zoo

Bubo virginianus is a native American Owl and quite large. Found mainly in forested areas, they have been known to live in some urban areas.

Visit the Great Horned Owl, and all sorts of other great animals, including undersea friends in the new aquarium exhibit at Turtle Back Zoo.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

It's Compostable : Lawn Trimmings and Clippings

Its Compostable : Grass ClippingsIn my garden every other mowing the clippings are left on the lawn, the other time they are added to the compost as a layer of green matter.

Sometimes a pitchfork is used to toss them into the top layers of compost like a salad, this prevents matting and promotes faster break down of material.

Save The Date : Down Abbey Returns To America 6 January 2013

The war is over, but intrigue, crisis, romance, and change still grip the beloved estate in the thrilling new season of Downton Abbey. Written and created by Julian Fellowes, with its all-star returning cast and Oscar-winning guest star Shirley MacLaine, Downton Abbey, Season 3 premieres January 6, 2013 on Masterpiece classic! Until then, explore all things Downton, from war to peace to everything in between.

Friday, September 14, 2012

I Can Haz Mine Own Show On Tee Vee Machine?

Samba Montclair to air on "Neighborhood Eats" WABC-TV Channel 7 Eyewitness News Today 14 September  ~ 5.40pm; thx to host Lauren Glassberg!!

And yes, that's me being interviewed. Love, love, love, Samba.
Strogonoff de Frango at Samba Montclair

Thursday, September 13, 2012

This Is What Real Carrots Look Like

This is what real carrots look like ~ at the Montclair Farmers' Market
At Matarrazzo's Farm Stand at the Montclair Farmer's Market

Inspiration In Decay : Negro League Hinchliffe Stadium In Paterson NJ

I always wondered why somebody doesn't DO SOMETHING about that. Then I realized I was somebody. ~ Lily Tomlin

Just behind the Great Falls of Paterson is a large battleship grey concrete wall that, at first glance appears to be the remains of some industrial building that has fallen into a state of decay. Step a little closer, peer through the iron gates and it comes clear that this structure was at one time a stadium. It's huge, and despite the school busses parked on the infield, and rubble strewn about, the imagination cannot help but wonder how many people used to fill this place for sport and recreation.

Hincliffe Stadium in Paterson is one of the many forgotten gems of the Silk City that are waiting to be rediscovered and repurposed. Built in the depths of the Great Depression with Government Funds, construction of the stadium gave hundreds of laid off mill workers a job at a time when there were none to be had in the private sector. That history of the stadium is akin to the stimulus package that our President supports so strongly. Like the stimulus, the government funds spent on Hinchliffe benefitted the region during the immediate period of construction, and continued to do so for decades to come.

During World War II, Hincliffe hosted war bond rallies featuring popular celebrities of the time including Bud Abbott and Paterson Native Lou Costello. Imagine the experience, at a time when our nation was in such turmoil to come together with friends, neighbors, and strangers in support of something so worthy in an environment of light heartedness. It must have been magical.

During the Jim Crow Era, Hinchliffe was a major stadium for Negro League Baseball. The Negro League team affiliated with the Yankees played here. Sadly most of the old Negro League stadiums in the US have been torn down. Hinchiffe is special because much of the Art Deco structure is solid so any restoration and renovation would not diminish those parts of the original structure. I'm a strong believer in the idea of buildings having souls, think of it as a variation of "if these walls could talk." With so much of that period architecture intact any future use of the stadium will not only echo with the cheers of those fans, but I am 100% confident that if one listens closely enough they'll hear ever so quietly the last echoes of the last cheers of the last Negro League Baseball game played at Hinchliffe.

In 1971 the stadium hosted one of Duke Ellington's last major concerts. In the years that followed high school teams from both Paterson and Clifton used the field.

Today much of Hincliffe has fallen into disrepair. Perhaps sharing this story and these photos that show this decayed yet beautiful piece of American History will reach someone with the power and authority to affect change.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Purple Haze : Painted Ladies Of Montclair

Painted Ladies of Montclair : Purple Haze
Click here to see the Painted Ladies Of Montclair  Slideshow

The Best #Hashtag Ever ~ From @SunnyAnderson

 You're It!

Leave it to Sunny Anderson to put a punny foodie spin on one of twitter's mainstays : the hashtag.

Sunny is familiar to most people as the host and star of Cooking For Real on the Food Network, but did you know that she also served in the Air Force? I know, pretty cool right! Well she did grow up as a military kid, so combine those travels to Germany and Korea with her New Orleans heritage, and you've got one awesome foodie background! Don't worry, I am not going to make a Seoul Food pun.

Word on the street is that Sunny is working on a new show AND a new cookbook, but in the meantime her recipes are available on her website  Just like the title of her most recent Food Network series, these recipes are "Cooking For Real." Seriously, real people who work real jobs and have to do an unreal amount of stuff when they get home can impress the family and random guest with receipe she's created.

These original t-shirts, along with other foodie apparel and aprons are available on her website Be sure to check out "Three Dog Night."

Of course you can also follow Sunny on Twitter at @SunnyAnderson

Favourite Websites : The Portfolio Collection (you gotta check out South Africa!)

The Portfolio Travel Blog

The Informed Choice For The Independent Traveler

One of the best things about traveling to new destinations is when your holiday has been to a place most of your friends and family would have never imagined : someplace off the beaten path (or at least the path beaten by your friends), someplace that you were able to experience outside the limits of some "if it's Tuesday it must be Museum Day" package. It's travel to these undiscovered places we most envy!
The Portfolio Collection Travel Blog is THE PLACE to tell the entire world about your Southern Africa experiences in South Africa, Swaziland, and Lesotho. Letting your friends know about your trip is one thing, having it publishes on a major travel site is a whole other cup of tea. Of course as travelers share their experiences here, those planning to travel can find all sorts of places and adventures they did not know existed.

One of the slogans of the Portfolio Collection Blog is “local is lekker*." In addition to the vast number of contributions from international travelers, many of the regular contributors are South Africans whose love of their country grows each day. It's not uncommon to find entries about local events, favourite coffee shops and cafes, or even my favourite, a recipe for Malva Pudding!

Of course even before you book your flight, start wandering through the blog to read about bistros tucked away and known only by locals, or bookshops featuring up and coming South African authors, or the best places to go penguin viewing on Boulder Beach. Of course there is the wine, South African wines have vineyard owners in California quaking in their boots, er, I mean flip flops - and the writers at Portfolio Collection can lead you to some of the most scenic wineries the world over! (and the wine is pretty fantastic too!) Making holiday plans here will allow you to discover places that were missed by the guidebooks.

With Delta Airlines offering non-stop service to Johannesburg, and one stop service to Cape Town from the US, now is the time to start dreaming about your South Africa holiday.

*lekker = really, really nice, cool and awesome.
(South Africa has a diverse history, one being its masala of languages. Lekker is one of the fantastic borrowed words that make 'South African English' special)

Visit the South Africa Travel Portfolio Blogtoday.