Friday, November 30, 2012
Check your local independent bookstore for details about special events planned for the day.
Locally, Montclair residents are in for a treat as Watchung Booksellers hosts children's author Patty Lovell who will be reading her book, "Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon" at the 10:30am Story Time. Watchung Booksellers is located in Watchung Plaza in Montclair NJ. Visit Watchung Booksellers for details on this and other events.
(so why on earth am I showing Ezra Jack Keat's The Snowy Day? well, because its the first book I ever borrowed from the library, Peter has a Dachshund called Willy (I had one called "Trudy" at the time, and it's the greatest American Piece of Literature ever written!)
One of the cool features of the Montclair Animal Shelter is his large playhouse with a mattress that many cats use for their afternoon siesta.
Sure there are individual beds around the sides but this one big bed attracts several cats who all seemed to pile in and snooze.
The Montclair Township Animal Shelter is where I found my herd - have I mentioned how much I love that place? Of course not everyone can take in one of these wonderful creatures, but donations of time, talent, and treasure are always welcome. (here's a neat idea : you know how you keep meaning to start walking more often? why not make it a resolution for the New Year and volunteer to be a dog walker at the shelter!
Thursday, November 29, 2012
"Walks with Farley" is the book version of a Facebook photo album that documents the daily walks taken with my Jack Russell Terrier, Farley, who came to live with me in New Jersey after the death of my son, Maurice Mannion-Vanover. The book took shape after friends requested a permanent form for the photos and comments that accompany them, all written on my Blackberry (and later, Droid) while actually out walking. All profits from the purchase of the book will be donated to my son's high school, Shepard Academy, in Morristown, NJ, and his summer camp, Camp Henry at Lake Logan, near Asheville, NC. Thank you for your support, love, and encouragement!
To share this gift with others, orders for "Walks With Farley" can be placed here:
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
As a part of the local station's Superfood Series, Chef Palmieri included Salmon as the featured superfood, and added Spinach, Garlic and Pomegranates. (who ever knew that eating good could taste so good!) The salmon pinwheels are served over a spinach cream and dressed with wilted spinach. (I'm kvelling, I'm already seeing the opportunity to turn that spinach cream into a creamy spinach soup, as well as a vegan soup, but that's a later post for Meatless Monday, let's get back to the recipes!
King Salmon Pinwheels (Serves 4)
2 lbs. of wild salmon (center cut) Slice salmon thinly (against the grain) with sharp clean knife, roll into pinwheels and tie off with butchers twine, season with salt and pepper Melt 1 tbsp. of butter in a non-stick skillet with a whole smashed garlic clove and sprig of thyme. Sear salmon – cook three minutes each side, remove from pan and remove twine. Serve over spinach cream and wilted spinach (see wilted spinach and spinach cream recipes below).
Wilted Spinach: Serves 4 1 bag of cleaned baby spinach (2/3 for wilted spinach) (1/3 for spinach cream) 1 shallot divided – 1 tablespoon grated with microplane and slice the rest for spinach cream ½ tbsp. of garlic puree – place 1 whole head garlic with top cut to expose cloves in foil, add extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and roast till golden brown. Squeeze out garlic cloves and process in a blender adding approximately ¼ cup ice cold water and ¼ cup blended oil (olive & canola) until smooth. 1 tsp. lemon juice (squeeze lemon and strain to remove pulp/seeds) In a stainless steel mixing bowl add baby spinach, shallots, garlic puree, lemon juice, salt and ground white pepper. Put mixing bowl over low heat, mix with tongs or spoon over until lightly wilted. Be careful not to overcook.
In saucepan heat 1 tbsp. butter and add sliced shallots, cook until soft. Add cleaned baby spinach. Add one pint heavy cream, lightly season with salt and pepper bring to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes. Remove from stove and put in blender, add one bunch of cleaned parsley, mix on high. Cool over ice and reserve. This can be reheated in a small pot and poured onto plate under wilted spinach and salmon. To see the video clip of this morning's segement visit CBS 2 New York at 2 In The Kitchen : King Salmon Pinwheels
After having tickled your tastebuds with this sensation, be sure to check out The Orange Squirrel
Since the revival of the Doctor Who series on BBCone in 2005, Christmas Specials have been a part of the merry making of the holiday. Sadly in the US we had to wait months before those specials were shown in the US. Starting in 2010 with the sixth Dr Who Who Christmas Special "A Christmas Carol" everything changed : it was the first special that was shown in the US the same day it was shown in the UK.
The tradition continues in 2012 with the eighth Christmas Special "The Snowmen" that will be shown on BBCone in the Uk and on BBCAmerica several hours later in the US on Christmas Day. Matt Smith returns as the 11th Doctor and introduces us to Jenna-Louise Coleman as the Doctor's new companion, Clara. Charles Dickens pretty much wrote the rule that the best Christmas stories are set in Victorian England, this episode is no different being set in 1892. Now if we could only start driving on the proper side of the road all would be good in America.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Monday, November 26, 2012
In English, the hymn is:
Lo, how a rose e'er blooming,
From tender stem hath sprung.
Of Jesse's lineage coming,
As men of old have sung;
It came, a flow'ret bright,
Amid the cold of winter,
When halfspent was the night
Three of the areas most popular trucks parked on Bellevue Avenue to the delight of local shoppers.
Each truck has its own unique following, and each group of followers not only discovered the other trucks but discovered the unique locally owned shops in the village. While running around doing my own shopping on Black Friday locally, I heard several shopkeepers talk about the rally with praise for the way it made walking Upper Montclair a great experience for the shoppers. Many new faces were seen, perhaps a few will be back spending even more money in Upper Montclair in the coming months.
There's a new Rumer in town! Who is she?
She's a Pakistan-born, 31-year-old singer/songrwriter who has spent the better part of the last decade trying to land a record deal. Now she has one and she looks set for massive global success.
Her music: Her drowsy, sobbing contralto spookily conjures up the late Karen Carpenter without the sense of tragedy.
Her sound is pure Sunday afternoon Bacharach, all lazy horns and languid atmosphere. Think The Carpenters' "Close To You" meets Dusty Springfield's "The Look of Love." Lush!
Her breakthrough: Bacharach reportedly flew Rumer out to California to hear her perform
Here she is with "Alfie" :
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Thanksgiving is a memory and sadly for most people anything pumpkin will not be considered again until sometime next October. Pish! Pumpkin isn't just for Pie, as I proved in my class "Perfectly Pumpkin" - it's for the entire season.
This recipe, created by VeggieGirl Dianne Wenz, uses Pumpkin Puree to create a vinaigrette that is similar in consistency to that wonderful Gingered-Miso dressing we all love at the Japanese Restaurants.
Here's one of the great things about Pumpkin Puree : that wonderful orange stuff from the can is freezable, so if you are only planning to use a bit of it to make this recipe, portion out the rest in freezer bags and reserve for later use.
Can't catch it tonight? Downton Revisited will be shown again Wednesday 28 November at 9:30pm on many PBS stations. Check P B S for times on your PBS station.
Season 2 of Downton Abbey will be shown again on Masterpiece starting on 2 December 2012, Season Three of Downton Abbey returns to PBS 6 January 2013.
Saturday, November 24, 2012
Royal Icing is that sweet colorful piped icing that dries hard and makes sugar cookies look so good. The original Royal Icing was made with egg whites and powdered (confectioners) sugar however with so many cases of crazy illnesses being attributed to raw eggs using meringue powder is the best way to go. Meringue Powder can sometimes be found in grocery stores during "cookie baking season" and its almost always in foodie oriented stores such as Williams Sonoma and Whole Foods. Craft stores with a cake decorating section often sell meringue powder as well.
Friday, November 23, 2012
Hunger Construction is here with those incredible stuffed baked potatoes called "Cement Mixers"; Jay is representing WhoDat nation with the French Quarter Food Truck (yup, I fancy me some Jambalaya), and fresh from feeding the volunteers who are rebuilding the Jersey Shore, Elefans can rejoice : the Thai Food Truck is here too! I'm just a little obsessed with the Food Trucks.
Here's a photo slideshow of the trucks compiled over the last several times I've visited them:
Brownies, cookies and other treats can all be made with Olive Oil and based on the mini taste tests conducted in the store they're a hit.
I'll be conducting a Holiday Sweets and Treats demo-class at Olive That and More Wednesday evening December 12 at 7pm, but why wait, stop in Olive That this weekend as a part of #shoplocal weekend and #smallbiz Saturday to discover how traditional Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar can start new tradtions in your family this holiday season.
#5. Leon : Naturally Fast Food. Naturally Fast Food is a book of two halves. The first half is Fast Food, which contains recipes for every occasion that take a maximum of 20 minutes to prepare: from a work day breakfast and children's meals to simple suppers and party food. The second half is Slow Fast Food which contains things that can be made in advance when you have time, to enjoy when you don't have time. With more than 200 recipes there is plenty in both halves for the experienced cook as well as the culinary adventurer in search of inspiration.
#4. Mark Bittman : The Mini Minimalist. This boxed set contains over 160 recipes ideal for the harried chef who is still interested in serving delicious meals. Mark Bittman, renowned for the quick and easy recipes featured in his weekly New York Times food column, prunes his collection in order to minimize the effort and ingredients required for each dish featured in this anthology. The ideal size and packaging for gift giving, this small slipcase set of cookbooks makes a thoughtful housewarming or holiday gift for the everyday gourmand or novice chef.
#3. Deb Pereman : The Smitten Kitchen. Deb Perelman loves to cook. She isn’t a chef or a restaurant owner—she’s never even waitressed. Cooking in her tiny Manhattan kitchen was, at least at first, for special occasions—and, too often, an unnecessarily daunting venture. Deb found herself overwhelmed by the number of recipes available to her. Have you ever searched for the perfect birthday cake on Google? You’ll get more than three million results. Where do you start? What if you pick a recipe that’s downright bad? So Deb founded her award-winning blog, Smitten Kitchen, on the premise that cooking should be a pleasure, and that the results of your labor can—and should—be delicious . . . every time. Deb is a firm believer that there are no bad cooks, just bad recipes. She has dedicated herself to creating and finding the best of the best and adapting the recipes for the everyday cook.
#2. Stanley Tucci : The Tucci Cookbook. There is some truth to the old adage “Most of the world eats to live, but Italians live to eat.” What is it about a good Italian supper that feels like home, no matter where you’re from? Heaping plates of steaming pasta . . . crisp fresh vegetables . . . simple hearty soups . . . sumptuous stuffed meats . . . all punctuated with luscious, warm confections. For acclaimed actor Stanley Tucci, teasing our taste buds in classic foodie films such as Big Night and Julie & Julia was a logical progression from a childhood filled with innovative homemade Italian meals: decadent Venetian Seafood Salad; rich and gratifying Lasagna Made with Polenta and Gorgonzola Cheese; spicy Spaghetti with Tomato and Tuna; delicate Pork Tenderloin with Fennel and Rosemary; fruity Roast Duck with Fresh Figs; flavorful Baked Whole Fish in an Aromatic Salt Crust; savory Eggplant and Zucchini Casserole with Potatoes; buttery Plum and Polenta Cake; and yes, of course, the legendary Timpano. and drum roll please ~ no real surprise here ~ my favourite cookbook ever is also my top gift choice
Thursday, November 22, 2012
I've heard some people compare the shop to the great bread stores "in the city," not sure about that, I was thinking more like the great bread shops in Paris.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Check out the recipe on Hot From The Kettle (and don't tell anyone - it's vegan!)
Another distiguishing feature of the Tulip Tree is their height: some trees can grow as tall as 170 or even 180 feet tall, allowing them to tower above Oaks and Maples in Eastern forests. The broad trunks of these trees made them suitable for use as dugout canoes by Native Americans, earning this tree the nickname of "canoewood."
For me, its all about the leaves, the fascinating shape, the multiple hues in autumn all make the Tulip one of the things I have come to enjoy about New Jersey.
This photgraph was taken in Brookdale Park in Montclair New Jersey.
While working on the review of "Olive Oil Desserts" by Micki Sannar the process was a little more intense as the subject is little different than most things to which people are accustomed.
Most recipes in the book were tried (and loved) then tried again and shared. These brownies are one of the many surprises. Of course after killing myself working through this book I discovered that many people I know actually think Hostess Cupcakes taste good. So perhaps all that work was for naught.
Regardless, Olive Oil Desserts is serving as the basis for the next culianry demonstration at Olive That And More on 12 December 2012 in Upper Montclair. A formal review will also be shared on Hot From The Kettle
In the mean time, it's almost Small Business Saturday. I'm throwing my money at Watchung Booksellers, Olive That and More, JafaJems, and Banyan Tree in Montclair. See you around town.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Monday, November 19, 2012
PS ~ The Cookbook Section Rocks
I met Itchy at the Montclair Animal Shelter's Block Party in 2011. A favourite of the kids who volunteer at the shelter, Itchy won me over too. (but there are too many best friends in my herd so as much as I would have loved to take Itchy home I could not.
Itchy was eventually adopted from the Montclair Township Animal Shelter by two good friends of the shelter but sadly is very ill with kidney issues.
Janet & Lou, Itchy's people are great wonderful souls and shelter volunteers. Lou works at the shelter part-time and Janet is a special ed teacher.
Please help these compassionate and amazing folks pay for the vet care for this wonderful dog. Donate to the Chip-In Page to help Itchy.
Help Itchy's Medical Bills Here
(Oh yeah, so you're wondering about the name "Itchy" ~ it was given to him by one of the first children to meet him. It's a good thing he was scratching himself when she first met him, there's no telling what his name would have been if he was doing something else)
Sunday, November 18, 2012
I got some puzzled looks when I replaced my Accord with a Mini Clubman but I never would have been able to get six haybales in the Honda. The hay bales will be used in the garden. Pretty cool huh?
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Okay, okay, I hear the murmurs already, how will people in New York compost if they are in apartment buildings ... well, for the record many of the boroughs have townhouse akin to the Cosby House with a real back yard, plus there are all those community gardens in the city. But the real wake up call for me was not the New York part, it was the transporting part that holds true for suburbs around the country. How many of us can afford a trip from New York to Viriginia once a month, let alone three or four times a week? So spend our money on sending our trash on that journey?
If you don't already compost yet, Thanksgiving Dinner, combined with all those falling autumn leaves, presents a great opportunity to start going green and get ready for next season's garden. So here's what I've discovered is compostable at Thanksgiving:
1. Butternut Squash Soup : If you are a purist and make yours from scratch, the peelings from the squash are compostable. Save the seeds to toss into your feeder mix for the birds in winter. If you have leftover soup, and it doesn't keep, it will break down rather quickly in the compost - its a much greener alternative to dumping it down the drain or toilet.
3. Stuffing. Seriously, if you have leftover stuffing, you've done something wrong! But as long as your stuffing isn't a sausage or oyster style (just bread, fruit, and vegetables) it's compostable.
4. Turkey. The turkey itself is not compostable - at least you don't want meat products in your compost, WAY too much trouble of all sorts of varieties, but there are things from the turkey preparation that you can compost. If you are one of those people who toss quartered onions and fruit into the cavity of the bird for extra flavorful drippings, those items can be tossed into the compost (the traces of turkey drippings will be negligible in comparison to the rest of your compost). If you are a fresh herb person, all those sage and parsley stems are were cut away during preparation are compatable too.
5. Cranberry relish. The only way to go with this is to buy the bags of fresh carnberries and make your own. Of course there are always some old maids in there that are turning bad. Don't toss them out - compost them.
6. Sweet potato pie. Yup, peelings. Lots and lots of peelings.
7. Pecan pie. If you are making pie from complete scratch, meaning you crack the nuts, toss those shells into the compost mix. They'll take longer to break down than other things but eventually will return to the earth from which they came.
9. Green bean casserole. Making it from scratch, with fresh green beans? All those ends of beans you cut off are idea green matter for the garden.
10. Corn On The Cob. The cobs do take a long time to fully break down, sometimes I find that everything but the cobs are broken down when it's time to empty and use the compost, but that's okay, what's not fully broker down gets tossed in the next batch of compost. (So toss those corn cobs in there too!)
11. Bread, rolls, and pie crust. Why not take all those half eaten things and toss them into the compost too (or break them up and toss them out for the birds)
There no doubt are many, many more things from Thanksgiving that are compostable, and I am sure that each and every reader will have more. As we bask in the glory of giving thanks, it's kinda neat that we can enjoy the fruits of our labors, without placing an extra burden on Creation.
The Hunger Construction Food Truck is at the Montclair Farmers' Market today from 8:00 am until 2 pm (or whenever the spuds run out.
I'm just a little obsessed with their Original Cement Mixers : check out the mini slideshow of Hunger Construction below:
Here's A Secret : Citrus will really bring out the flavor of all squash, not enough for anyone to really distinguish its presence, just a little bit. A squeeze of lemon into butternut soup or even on courgettes will wake up their flavours incredibly.
Friday, November 16, 2012
On the shelf above the register, one can find an archaic device called a "typewriter" perched on a shelf. In addition there is also a pillow (which is for sale) featuring a print of the "typewriter's" keys. Upon closer examination, I discovered that the "typewriter" has keys that are aligned in the exact same way as on my phone, so why use a device like that when everyone has a phone? Sometimes things are so confusing.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Focaccia is an Italian Bread that is similar to pizza but much thicker, akin to Sicilian Style pizza. Focaccia is often topped with herbs, a bit of meat or cheese, or even fresh vegetables that 'roast' on top as the bread bakes. It is often cut into long slices similar to bread sticks or sliced on the horizon to make incredible paninnis.
At the first culinary demonstration at Olive That And More in Upper Montclair, the theme of the evening was Focaccia. Using a basic recipe, we made a plain Focaccia as well as varietals switching out the traditional Olive Oil for some of the flavor infused varieties the store offers. Details of the variations appear after the basic recipe.
A non-profit organization powered by a volunteer core that believes in giving back to the community, the Montclair Food & Wine Festival (MFWF) will be establishing a scholarship fund for a local student who exhibits merit and financial need to further their culinary education. The MFWF will also be donating a portion of the proceeds from the event to the St. Joseph's Children's Hospital Center for Feeding and Swallowing and to the Partners in Health Foundation.
MFWF creator Melody Kettle, "Montclair has long been considered the 'unofficial' food capital of New Jersey, so we're thrilled that lovers of food, wine and spirits from all over the state will be able to gather here for two days of exceptional food and wine tasting experiences."
On day two -- June 2nd, 2013 -- guests will experience a tour-de-force of collaborative culinary wizardry: Michael Carrino of Pig & Prince in Lackawanna Plaza; Ariane Duarte of CulinAriane; Ryan DePersio of Fascino, Bar Cara and NICO Kitchen + Bar; Mitchell Altholz of Highlawn Pavilion; Francesco Palmieri of the Orange Squirrel; and Zod Arifai of Blu, Next Door, and daryl, will all join forces on an extraordinary dinner for attendees. Montclair's Amanti Vino will be pairing/coordinating the wines and proprietor Sharon Sevrens will give explanations on the particular wines paired.
Inspired by that original recipe, this twist of the original features fresh ingredients and is made from scratch. This recipe can either be made straight through, or it can be started the day before and finished in the oven on the day of the holiday.
1 1/2 - 2 pounds frozen cut green beans (use fresh trimmed green beans when in season)
2 Tbs unsalted butter
10 oz sliced baby bella (the little portobella) mushrooms (see variation below)
3 Tbs minced shallots (if shallots are not available, finely diced onion works well)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup half-and-half (using milk produces a less creamy, but equally delicious result)
1 cup chicken stock (see variation below)
1 tsp soy sauce
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter a deep 2 1/2 quart baking dish. (If going the “make ahead” route skip this step.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the green beans and cook until tender-crisp, about 4 minutes. (Using a larger pot meant less of a temperature drop of the water when the frozen beans where added). Drain and rinse under cold water; allow excess water to drain off in a colander or pat dry with paper towels. Yes, the beans are being blanched. Skipping this step results in a final product in which the beans that are more of a camouflage color rather than green.
|Digging In We See Green Beans, Mushroom Slices, And Of Course Those Onions We All Love|