Friday, December 28, 2012

It's Foodie Friday ~ So Of Course I'm Thinking About Samba In Montclair

Croquettas, Chicken, Beef and Cheese, At Samba Montclair
I love to start my journey to Brazil at Samba with this Chicken, Beef, and Cheese Croquettas.
Samba is located on Park St in Montclair, directly across from the World Famous Montclair Rooster.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Downton Abbey Returns To PBS 6 January 2013 ~ But What To Serve As Snacks? #foodie

Downton Abbey will return to PBS in on Sunday 6 January 2013 with its third season but for those who missed the first two seasons a netflix viewing party is in order. Instead of the usual bagged snack foods why not try something a little Brit different.

Suggestions for the Downton Abbey snack menu :

Cucumber Sandwiches. A must! Thinly sliced cucumber, perhaps some with super thin radish, some watercress, or just some finely chopped dill.

Gentlemen's Quarters : Simple ham sandwiches onto which the bottom slice of bead is spread with hot english mustard and the top is spread with apricot preserves. The contrast of heat and sweet is brilliant!

Curry! (okay, it's not a period dish at all, but Tikka Masala is the national dish of the UK) Play with the concept and dash some curry or garam masala over buttered popcorn.

Of course everything should be served on the your best silver service. No silver, no problem! Wrap a chinet plate in Reynolds wrap and voila!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Tim Burton's Original Poem from the 1980's : A Nightmare Before Christmas

It's been nearly 20 years since we were captivated by the characters of Halloweentown discovering the wonder of Christmas in Tim Burton's "Nightmare Before Christmas." Many of us do no realize that this animated film was originally a poem written by Tim Burton. Here is an animated reading of that poem by Christopher Lee.

Tee Vee Machine Alert : @Beekman1802Boys Marathon Tonight On @CookingChannel

The Fabulous Beekman Boys are, well, fabulous and starting tonight at 9pm EST Cooking Channel will run a marathon of the Fabulous Beekman Boys!

If your only reference point for the Beekman Boys is knowing them as the winners of the most recent season of the Amazing Race, you are in for a treat!

In this series two Manhattanites move to a 200 year old farm in upstate New York and discover that the live of the gentleman farmer is not as simple as they expected. Think of it as a modern "Green Acres" with Josh and Brent both cast in the role of Oliver and a diva llama called "PolkaSpot" as Lisa. There'll be goats, and cheese, and farm festivals and, well let's just say that it will be fabulous.

In addition to reality television, the Beekman Boys are accomplished foodies and farmers. The cheese from their farm receives praise and accolades wherever it is sold. The goat milk soaps and dry goods inspired by discoveries at their farm are available in some speciality stores around the country and have a knack of selling out quickly. Of course one of my favorite Beekman items is their cookbook.

Read my review of the Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook  on Hot From The Kettle. (Did I mention that its the best cookbook of 2012?)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Green Holiday Inspiration From Little Daisy Bake Shop In Montclair NJ

The paper chains decorating the Little Daisy Bakeshop in Upper Montclair NJ remind me of Christmases past, but also inspire me with ideas of Christmas future.
Paper Chains
As we get older, starting in our teens, so much of Christmas is about the memories of Christmases past, of good times, great stories, and time shared with loved ones who are no longer with us. Photographs are a great way to share memories, but what if something from then could be a part of next Christmas?

Paper chains were a big part of primary school Christmas decorations. Teacher would cut strips of contruction paper on that big guillotine slicer for everyone to assemble into chains with ample amounts of paste. The paste always worked best if whacked the paper with your fist creating a big ruckus but also ensuring the paper stuck to the glue and vice versa.

The paper chains at Little Daisy Bake Shop in Montclair recalled those memories for me, but also reminded me of a family tradition of reusing gift wrap from large packages for smaller packages the following year. My grandparents started the tradition because of the Great Depression, but carried on with it into the 1980s. There's a sheet of shiny green paper from my very first Christmas that is so crinkled its sad, but every year someone gets the treat of using it to wrap a gift for the immediate family (there is no way that heirloom is leaving the house!), no tape is used, just careful folding and ribbons to minimize any damage.

Imagine for a minute all the paper that is being used this Christmas. Some of it big, some small, little if any of it in such poor condition that it can'd serve another purpose. Trim the rips, fold under the tape, and suddenly a great deal of paper is suitable for another gift, or perhaps a fun project for next Christmas.

To start a fun family tradition why not save the paper, perhaps even marking the "bad side" with a note of the year, for paper chains for Christmases future. Next year, perhaps on Thanksgiving weekend, start by making small chains of perhaps 6 or 8 paper chains each. Link the smaller chains with a bit of ribbon. Hang them on the foyer, on the tree, over the mantel. In years to come snip the ribbon, and add a few links of paper chains with new gift wrap chains. Over time a long chain, with Christmas 2012 alongside Christmas 2016, which is next to Christmas 2013, will be created. When the kids come back from college, or return with kids of their own, the paper chain will be waiting for new memories to be added.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pondering Turkish Delight This Holiday Season #downtonpbs

Turkish Delight has been a Christmas tradition in my house since forever.
I wonder if Turkish Delight is a part of the celebration in the Crawley family?
Downton Abbey returns to Masterpiece on PBS 6 January 2013

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Dr Who : The Snowmen ~ Christmas Night On BBC America

Like Sticky Toffee Pudding and Christmas Crackers all great holiday traditions on this side of the Atlantic start in the UK years before they are adopted stateside. And so that tradition continued in this second decade of the 21st Century with the Doctor Who Christmas Specials.

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.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Great Foodie Discovery : Catering From The Thai Elephant Food Truck

One of my favorite recent foodie  discoveries is the Thai Elephant Food Truck plying the streets of Montclair NJ.

The nature of Thai Food is that everything is fresh, preparing in advance, or even using frozen items just doesn't work. That tradition continues here. Anyone who has run up to the truck as it arrives at a new location knows all too well that there is about an 8 or 9 minute wait from the time the truck parks until the first food can start to be served. There's peeling, and chopping, and dicing that is done just before the actual cooking. Of course everything is cooked to order so once that initial preparation work is done, the longest I've ever had to wait for an order was 2 minutes. And it's so worth that wait.

It gets better! Aroy-D is available for catering. Imagine having a party with the Thai Elephant parked in your driveway! The truck is also available for civic events, corporate lunches, holiday parties or private events. Call 201-474-5432 or email for info. To find out where the truck is today, follow the Aroy-D Thai Elephant Food Truck  on twitter.

Click the white arrow thingy to view the Thai Food Truck slideshow.

I'm Thinking I Need Another Take Away Box From Little Daisy Bake Shop

Take Away Cookie Box At Little Daisy Bakery

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Quick Recap : Slow Roasted Prime Rib (#recipe)

Since there was no hand-out for today's class here are some of the key take-aways from this morning:

Having the rib roast at room temperature is essential to having the roast turn out perfectly. Usually this can mean two hours sitting out of the fridge. Keep it covered. A half hour before roasting it, season with salt and pepper. We used an herb rub this morning, that was applied about a half hour after seasoningjust before putting the roast in the oven.

WilliamsSonomaTo flavour the roast last year we just used salt and pepper, this year we did a bit more with an herb and garlic paste. The paste consisted of 8 finely chopped cloved of garlic, 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary finely chopped, and 1 tablesppon finely chopped thyme.

Starting with a tablespoon of oil (my inner Suze Ormon forbids you from using the really good $30+ a bottle Olive Oil) combine to form a paste, you might have to add up to an additional tablespoon of oil.  Supermarket Olive Oil and Canola Oil are ideal here.  

Roasting will be done bone side down, so rub the herb paste on the other sides. Since there was a bit of a fat cap I scored it with a sharp knife so that some of the herb rub would get stuck instead of sliding off the roast as the fat melted.

We used a 6 pound rib roast; with the oven preheated to 500F the roast went in for 15 minutes, the oven was then turned down to 325F for about and hour and a half. For rare the temperature should read 115 to 120F; for medium it should read 120 - 125F. There were a few people who went for the rare meat but the medium roasted meat seemed more popular. An oven thermometer is essential here. At an hour and a half we were only at 110F, the outside looked gorgeous at this time so appearances are not the best just, invest in a thermometer, they are worth it.

The "rules" stated baste every half hour. The store was insanely busy this morning and since I was so engaged in providing excellent customer service (yes, you may roll your eyes now) basting was totally overlooked. Whoopsie! But the roast turned out perfect!

Upon removing the roast from the oven cover it with foil and allow it to rest for 20 minutes. Since we didn't want to sit around staring at the ceiling this morning we didn't wait. The first tasting samples were good, but the last people to get samples go the better pieces as those rested a bit.

While the roast is resting, the drippings can be used to make Yorkshire Pudding. If you are intimidated about trying to pour hot fat from a hot roasting pan don't fret, I've used grapeseed oil, canola oil, and bacon fat to make yorkshire pudding. I find that when using the less falvorful oils adding a bit of ground pepper to the batter makes up for any flavour shortcomings in the oil.

It's Christmas ~ All Over

.... in the window of Little Daisy Bake Shop in Upper Montclair NJ

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

John Lee Palooza ~ Nom Nom Nom! (from Little Daisy Bake Shop In Montclair)

After seeing these cookies at the Little Daisy Bake Shop in Montclair I realized they are not candy canes, they are backwards Js. So I headed over to Williams Sonoma and picked up the last J cookie cutter they had. I suddenly have the urge to bake cookies for others. :D
Swirled Candy Cane Cookies At Little Daisy Bakeshop

Soap and Scandal : Downton Abbey Paper Dolls

Downton Abbey returns to Masterpiece on PBS on 6 January 2013

Monday, December 10, 2012

Elizabeth Palmer's Chocolate Pecan Toffee Brittle #recipe

This past weekend, Team Hot From The Kettle  visited Williams-Sonoma in Upper Montclair NJ for a “Holiday Sweets and Treats” demonstration. Dianne Wenz made some spectacular cookies, I made
Nutella Rice Krispie Treats , and Elizabeth Palmer made this Chocolate Pecan Toffee Brittle that was the hit of the day.

Chocolate Pecan Toffee Brittle

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1-cup sugar
1-cup butter, softened
1/3-cup water
5 (1.55-ounce) milk chocolate bars (preferably with sea salt and/or toffee), broken into small pieces
Incredible Chcocolate Toffee Walnut Brittle
Preparation :

Line a 15- x 10-inch jellyroll pan with parchment paper.

Sprinkle with pecans and chocolate pieces to within 1 inch of edges.

Bring sugar, butter, and 1/3 cup water to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly.

Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly for 12 minutes or until a candy thermometer registers 310° (hard crack stage). Pour over the pecans and chocolate and keep it in the freezer for 15-30 minutes or until set.

Break up toffee using a rolling pin or your hands. Store in an airtight container (if you don't eat if all as soon as its cool enough to eat!

Elizabeth Palmer is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York City and frequent contributor to Hot From The Kettle. Elizabeth is also the owner of Elizabeth Palmer Kitchen ~ a hot new food blog and one to watch in 2013.

Celebrating Madiba ~ Wishing Him A Full Recovery

President Mandela received the Nobel Peace Prize on the 10th of December 1993, International Human Rights Day for his selfless contribution to the struggle for liberation, human rights and justice in South Africa.

#musicmonday ~ Maccabeats ~ Candlelight ~ Hanukkah

Originally formed in 2007 as Yeshiva University's student vocal group, the Maccabeats have recently emerged as both Jewish music and a cappella phenomena, with a large fanbase, more than 10 million views on YouTube, numerous TV appearances, and proven success with two albums, 2012′s Voices From The Heights and 2012′s Out Of The Box.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Nutella Rice Krispie Treats #recipe ~ two varieties (Simple and Sybaritic)

Nutella Rice Krispie Treats #recipeRice Krispie Treats are a guilty pleasure that has been enjoyed by children and adults for as long as time itself.

While its nearly impossible to improve upon a classic, sometimes a little variety keeps things interesting.

These two variations on the classic box cereal recipe odd one (for the simple variety) and three (for the sybaritic variety) ingredients to the original recipe for a taste treat that is sure to find its way on holiday cookie platters and even dessert tables at dinner parties.

Nutella Rice Krispies Treats Recipe (Simple)
4 Tablespoons butter
1 10 oz Package of marshmallows or 4 cups of miniature marshmallows
6 Cups of Rice Krispies cereal
½ cup nutella

In a large skillet or medium saucepan melt the butter over low heat, add the marshmallows. Keep stirring, sugar easily burns and the melted marshmallows at the bottom can start to burn before those on top start to melt.

Once the marshmallows are almost fully melted add the Nutella. Stir. It's okay if its a not fully mixed, there's more mixing later.

Add the Rice Krispies and stir, remove from heat and stir, stir, and stir some more until every Rice Krispie is coated.

Scoop the mixture into a wax paper lined 13x9 dish. Cool, cut into serving pieces.

Nutella Rice Krispie Treats Recipe (Sybaritic)

This version of the recipe is nearly identical to simple recipe with the addition of 1/2 chopped hazelnuts and 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

To prevent the chocolate chips from melting, follow the recipe from above. Once the marshmallows are melted, add half of the Rice Krispies. Stir just to spread the hot marshmallow mix around, add the chocolate chips, hazelnuts and remaining Rice Krispies. Stir, stir, and stir some more.

Scoop into a dish, cool, devour.

Tips :
Mini Marshmallows always seem to work the best.
A wide deep skillet (saute pan) works best for me, but I have made rice Krispie Treats in a wok as there is enough room to really mix the marshmallows with the cereal before it starts to harden up.
The original recipe calls for the 13x9 dish to be buttered. I've used a ceramic casserole that was not buttered and never had a sticking problem.

Ceiling, Half-Domed Roof,St Luke's Episcopal Church Montclair NJ

Ceiling, Half-Domed Roof,St Luke's Episcopal Church Montclair NJThe half domed roof of the Parish Hall at St Luke's Episcopal Church has an English Country feel on the exterior, bringing to mind patoral scenes in the Cotswolds.

But inside its all about the Geometry. Perhaps now that I posted this pic we'll notice more congregants lying on their back look up at the roof and getting lost in its simple complexity.

Images of houses of worship are a part of Black Tie and Flip Flops every Sunday.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Happy Chanukah!

Words We Love : Immaculate Conception

–noun Roman Catholic Church .
the dogma of the unique privilege by which the Virgin Mary was conceived in her mother's womb without the stain of original sin through the anticipated merits of Jesus Christ.

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is marked on 8 December which always seems to be a point of confusion for some Roman Catholics and non-Catholics alike as it falls just 17 days before Christmas. (how can there be a conception and then birth a little more than a fortnight later?). Immacualate Conception refers to the conception of Mary, the Blessed Virgin, who is often called the Immaculata, especially in art.

The Feast of the Annunciation (25 March) marks when Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary. 25 March falls exactly nine months prior to Christmas.

So the next time someone wishes you "Happy Holidays" keep in mind that holidays like the Feast of the Immaculate Conception are one of the many celebrations, er holidays, of the season.

The Church of the Immaculate Conception in Montclair NJ is named in honor of Blessed Virgin.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Save The Date : Dec 14 Crave Something at Montclair Bread Company

I Crave Something From Montclair Bread Company It's a Doubly Delicious Day during Walnut Street's continued Renaissance : Crave will be at Montclair Bread Company Friday December 14th from 10 - 2!

Crave specializes in creative twists on traditional jam favorites! Using seasonal produce, each small batch is made by hand right here in the Garden State. Most produce used is locally sourced keeping everything very Jersey Fresh.

Morning Glory has become my favourite varietal ~ think of it as an uber carrot cake muffin, in jam form, with pineapple, coconut, apple, and of course a confetti of carrots floating in all that luciousness like some sort of foodie ticker tape parade! (can you tell I Crave it?) Other specialities include Cran-Marnier with cranberries, valencia oranges and Turkish apricots. Then there's Chunky Vanilla Pear which has an almost Riesling like flavour.

Come for a taste! Pick up a few gifts. Grab some for yourself. Crave jarred products have a shelf life of 12 months unopened; please refrigerate and consume within 3 months of opening.

The Montclair Bread Company is at 113 Walnut St Montclair. (around the corner from the Montclair Animal Shelter, and near Le Salbuen, the best restaurant to open in Montclair in 2012)

Shop Local Montclair NJ This Christmas ~ I Did

Olivia At Watchung Plaza In Montclair

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Tip Can Change A Family ~ At Hunger Construction #foodtruck

SheganRubinIn November we were all saddened by the loss of Shegan Rubin of Hunger Construction. Whether a first time customer or a regular, Shegan had a way of making everyone feel like the most welcomed person in the world, if only for a few moments while ordering a spud.

As details emerge of the events of that sad day, we learned that some hot shot cop engaged in a high speed chase through residential areas. The suspect lost control of his car, struck other cars, which in turn struck Shegan who was simply walking on the sidewalk.

Our grief was further met with frustration as we learned that as he made his transition, Shegan left behind two children, ages 10 and 3, who now only have their mother to care for them. The Montclair food community cried, and mourned, and offered condolences.

Now we have a chance to offer Hope.

Now through Christmas, all tips left on the Hunger Construction truck will be given to Shegan Rubin's family. To find the Hunger Construction food truck, simply follow them on twitter at @hungerconstruct 

Of course if you're in a generous mood, but not in the mood for one of the best stuffed baked potatoes in the country, feel free to drop off a 'tip' for Shegan's family.

Border Run Stuffed Potato at Hunger Construction

Save The Dates : Great Cooking Classes At Kings Cooking Studio in Short Hills NJ

Coming in 2013 : more great classes from King's Cooking Studio in Short Hills. This past autumn I had the great pleasure of sharing "Perfectly Pumpkin" at King's Cooking Studio in Short Hills NJ. It was 3 hours of recipes, lots of recipes, sampling, laughter, and a lot of pots to wash.

In 2013 Kings welcomes me back with new players on the culinary stage. Registration isn't open (yet) but I couldn't help but start teasing the offerings!

Olive Oil – It’s More Than Salad Dressing ~ January 31
The Old Canal Inn Is Cooking With Gas!We’ve all heard it more times than we can remember: Olive Oil is heart healthy and we should all consume more of it, but how many salads can we eat! In this class we’re going to release Olive Oil from being trapped in the salad bowl and show how this golden liquid can be used for baking, cooking, and poaching both sweet and savory dishes.

The Classics – Remixed ~ February 8
We all grew up with them – those classic dishes that seem to grace every table in the land and remind us of all comforts of home, but sometimes we want something just a little bit different. In this course we’re going to break the rules, just a little bit, toss tradition to the wind but still remain classic. Flavors and techniques from foreign and domestic regions accent classic dishes while allowing their traditional heritage to shine through. You’ll learn how to make the North African staple, preserved lemons, and use them to brighten American dishes; risotto isn’t just a savory side dish; and macaroni and cheese can grow up while still satisfying the child in all of us. Who says baseball is all about hot dogs and apple pie? You’ll learn easy pulled pork that will score a home run every time and might start a summer tailgate revolution. Everyone loves bread pudding, this class will also include a savory bread pudding that is perfect for weeknight meals. You’ll also learn some simple changes to make ordinary side sides extraordinary. You’ll also be encouraged to ask questions and share ideas. Recipes for the dishes in class, as well as some extra remixed classics will be shared.

Le Salbuen Uses All-Clad Cookware My Favorite Cookbooks ~ February 28
 Having a mild cookbook addiction can be problematic, unless I can rationalize that addiction by sharing my obsession with others as I share these tour guides of a my culinary journey. In this class some recipes from some of my favorite books will be shared as well as discussions about why I found them to be among my favorites. In a time when celebrity chefs seem to be getting all the attention, some really good books are falling off the culinary radar. There will definitely be some surprises along the way.

Small Crowd – Big Flavor ~ March 22
What if you wanted the Easter flavor experience for a small group? You’ll learn new ways to make an intimate dinner for a small group that proves size doesn't matter. Recipes featured in this class also translate really well to other days of the year as well. In this course it’s all about big flavor and easy preparation so you can spend your time at the table instead of in the kitchen. A whole roasted chicken isn’t all that elegant, in this class we’ll bring the flavors big bird in individual, almost bistro style, servings. You’ll learn easy bold gratins that are more than potatoes, no torch crème brullee , and what would a John Lee class be without Ice Cream.

Make Ahead Feast ~ May 3
#4 Vegan Lentil Soup That Carnivores Love #photo365With Sunday Dinners for Mother’s Day and Fathers’ Day as the primary inspiration for this class you'll discover that preparation and cooking for a big event doesn’t have to mean you spend all day in the kitchen. Using a combination of techniques that are just coming into the mainstream, creative use of refrigerator space, and careful planning, your guests will think that you did spend all day in the kitchen! We’ll even make a stuffing from scratch, including baking the bread portion from scratch. In this course you’ll learn that a juicy chicken is foolproof with some make ahead tricks, gravy is super easy and stress –free, and green bean casserole can be made with all fresh ingredients. You’ll also learn that homemade soup and stuffing don’t have to be limited to autumn holidays. You’ll also learn grocery shopping tips and simple techniques to reduce calories, fat, and salt without sacrificing flavor.

Once online registration is available, links to the classes and more detailed descriptions will be shared.  

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas At Matarazzo Farms in North Caldwell #shoplocal

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas ~ At Matarazzo's Farm Located on Mountain Ave in North Caldwell NJ, Matarazzo Farms is a mainstay of the Montclair Farmer's Market where local Jersey Fresh Produce are the choice of foodies from across the region.

 Come December, the farm becomes the best choice for locally grown Christmas Trees. Don't forget the wreaths and other symbols of the season. Handmade wreaths are created right at the farm - and visitors often find the Matarazzo elves working their magic right in the farmstand.

Matarazzo Farms is located at
 216 Mountain Ave. North Caldwell, N.J. 07006
Phone – 973-396-8181

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Foodie Discoveries : Vegan Gummy Bears at @MontclairBread Company

Vegan Gummy Bears at Montclair Bread Company 2 Yum! Fruit Pectin is the secret here. Instead of gelatin, which is derived from animal bones, these gummy bears are made with fruit pectic. Not only is the flavor akin to an artisinal jam, but they are incredibly soft, and, well gummy!

They're available exclusively at the Montclair Bread Company   ~
 A Part of the Walnut Street Renaissance in Montclair NJ.

Nigella Lawson's Ginger Glazed Ham

Why bother writing a recipe when it's possible to post the youtube file?

This Ginger Glazed Ham has very little hands-on time so it is the perfect holiday food for those of us with more ambition than time. While the ham is featured in a Nigella Express episode for Christmas food, I cannot imagine why this cannot become a focal point at Easter or even served cold for an alfresco summer lunch.

Just Two Months Until World Nutella Day ! @nutelladay

Hazelnuts Fill My Thoughts

Nutella is a delicious Hazelnut spread laced with chocolate. It's perhaps one of the greatest combinations ever. Millions love it and now we can unite and celebrate this culinary wonder together on one day in February.

World Nutella Day was created in 2007 when Sara Rosso, an American blogger living in Italy, thought that there were many days in the year but no day set aside to appreciate Nutella. Why not?

And World Nutella Day was born. The day is celebrated on 5 February every year.

Find out more about here,
 or follow @NutellaDay on twitter.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook ~ Best Cookbook To Gift

You loved the Macaroni and Cheese with Mushrooms and Kale Recipe  ~ now find out about the cookbook that has inspired me to get back into the garden, out to the farmers market, and put some new twists on some heirloom recipes.

Known to many as the stars of the reality show “The Fabulous Beekman Boys” on Cooking Channel and The Amazing Race on CBS, Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge gave us the “Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook” that is heirloom in every way despite being published just this past year. There are recipes handed down, there are culinary traditions that are handed down, there are places for the reader to slide in their own recipes that have been handed down, and of course, there is the great chance that this book will be handed down. (Just don’t let Josh and Brent know I mentioned that part, their publisher would prefer you buy an additional copy to give as a gift!)

#34 @Beekman1802Boys Cookbook #photo365The Beekman in the title refers to their farmstead in Sharon Springs NY and its original owners. And that’s where some of the understanding of heirloom really comes to be. In the modern context we think of heirlooms as things we’ve inherited through the family, but a closer definition of the word shows that it is something that is passed down. Throughout the book we see evidence of “heirloom” in each photograph and recipe, vintage china and silver, some passed along by friends and family, some “inherited” after exchanging some cash with the owners of an antique store, it all conveys a sense of tradition and passing along. If you’re one of those foodies who doesn’t cook, the text and pictures make this book worth covetting.

The first few pages are enveloped, and remind me a bit of the Trapper, and Trapper Keeper from Junior High School. Lined cardstock pages are held in place, but are easily removed. Brilliant! In the opening pages the Beekman Boys are already encouraging their readers to include their own recipes with this volume. Each recipe page in the book includes an entire lined column titled “notes” so, let’s say you tried Portobello mushrooms in the mac and cheese here’s where you can note “tasted great, looked grey.” (Yup, I experimented). That’s the other feature of many of the recipes, many include notes and suggestions from the authors about how to switch up the dish with the addition or switch of a few ingredients.

The Beekman Boys also include on many of the ingredients. Roasted Garlic Yogurt Cheese Crostini now only takes us through the steps of making yogurt cheese by draining yogurt in a sieve, and then making the crostini, but there is an entire section dedicated to the adventurous among us who wish to make our own yogurt. As intense as this may sound, it’s really quite easy. You know how “Mint Jelly” in the supermarket is nothing more than Apple Jelly with some mint flavoring? The mint sauce that is alongside the roast leg of lamb recipe uses fresh mint, which is easily grown in a contained spot in the garden, parsley, cider vinegar and some other things that are probably already in your pantry. I find it to be a great addition to peas and even fish.

Recipes take us through the seasons, with Lemonade With Vanilla and Lavender  for Summer, Roasted Cauliflower and Apple Soup in Autumn, and Blue Cheese Pizza for right about now. The pies and desserts are lullabies of comfort, there’s even spiced tea and eggnog.

Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook #foodpornWhether intentional or not, the Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook is a source of great inspiration. In the kitchen there are so many traditional recipes, many with twists, that have been passed down to me by the authors, but they have also inspired me to stake a greater claim on my suburban farmstead. It wasn’t long after reading the book for the first time that I realized that a peach tree would be ideal in the garden, according to local lore, peach and apple trees were common on the lawns and gardens throughout the area, most were cut down because of the excess fruit. Blueberries have replaced some of the azaleas that were destroyed in Snowtober in 2011, and a bed of daffodils is being dug up and transplanted elsewhere so it can become a more formal herb garden. I've been overly inspired. You don’t have to do that if it’s not your thing, hit the farmers markets, talk to the produce manager, and embrace the possibilities. The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook is available at Watchung Booksellers

Full Disclosure : This Is My Favorite Cookbook and Favourite Book To Give As A Gift

Monday, December 3, 2012

Save The Date : 12 December 2012 : Sweets And Treats at Olive That and More

Olive Oil, Chocolate, and Brownies
It's an evening of Holiday Sweets and Treets!

We all limit our thoughts of Olive Oil for salads and dipping bread. This evening we'll cast aside those ideas and demonstrate that Olive Oil is a great addition to a wide range of sweet treats including brownies and cookies.

Just in time for the kick off to holiday baking season, we'll be baking and sampling treats in this culinary demonstration.

The fun starts at 7pm on Wednesday 12 December 2012, and yes, late arrivals are welcome! The best bet is so call the store ahead of time to register for this free class just in case anything changes (like we win the Powerball can happen!)

  Olive That & More is at 246 Bellevue Ave Montclair NJ 07043
 two doors from the Bellevue Theatre
  Phone : 973-744-7175
   Visit Olive That And More Online.

Vanilla Extract #Recipe ~ Start Now To Beat The Midwinter Blues

Vanilla Extract #recipeAfter discovering that many of even the best Vanilla Extracts contain water as a prime ingredient I decided to dive in and make my own.

The recipe is simple, two vanilla beans, split lengthwise, a cup of vodka, a glass container with a tight lid, and about 3 months in a cool dark place.

The seeds have most of the vanilla flavour, hence the splitting of the pods to expose them to the vodka immediately. Using a sharp knife I split the beans leaving the ends attached so the bean keeps its shape and looks better in the container.

A mason jar works fine, but I had this great clamp top bottle that originally contained Vermont Maple Syrup so I put it to work for me here. This is day two, so there is a long way to go for the flavor and color to fully develop.

~ Alert ~ it takes about three months for the vanilla extract to fully develop. So start now, the hardest part for most people is finding a jar they really like. The extract will be ready at the end of February, just in time to make its first appearance in cookies, or custard, or whipped cream atop a pie that will fight the mid-winter blues.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Season's Greetings Found At Matarazzo's Farm in North Caldwell NJ

Season Greetings Detail of one of the many hand made wreaths made at Matarazzo Farms in North Caldwell NJ. This Christmas is all about #shoplocal and #smallbiz for me. Join me in that goal?

From The First Congregational Church In Montclair NJ

First Congregational Church Montclair
Each Sunday morning images of faith and church architecture appear are featured on Black Tie and Flip Flops.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

No More Doubts ~ The Montclair Parking Authority Really Is Just Messing With Us

Now I Know The Montclair NJ Parking Authority Is Messing With Me

It's A New Dawn, A New Day, (A New Month) ... And I'm Feeling Good

Feeling Good is a song written by English singer-songwriters Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse for the musical "The Roar Of The Greasepaint - The Smell Of The Crowd" in 1965.  The song has been by artists such as Michael Buble, Jennifer Hudson and Muse. The most well known cover is performed by Nina Simone and is often mistakely thought to be one of her orignal songs. (While she did not write it, her cover is most certainly an original!)

Why wait until 1 January to celebrate the chance for a new start. Today's a new day, a new dawn, and it just happens to be the start of a new month. So what are you going to do so that by this time tomorrow you're 'Feelin' Good?'