Archive for July, 2008

National Attack FoodieDani Day!

I didn’t realize it but instead of the loving, educated, nice comments I usually get, two came through today that I had to make sure my dear readers saw, thus it must be National Attack FoodieDani Day. The one for Bobby Flay wasn’t sooo bad, but I had to defend myself. Now the Jose Tejas one was laughable and yes, I got a bit snarky admittedly. But hey, I’m a Cancer and we’re some calm folks but when you come at us we pinch pinch…

Here’s the links….for your reading enjoyment….

Bobby Flay

Jose Teja


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I am still recovering from the Stephanie Coonan, ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ benefit this weekend, getting everything squared away, but I’m more than happy to report it was successful. We raised closed to $2000 for Stephanie and checks are still coming in. Thank you to those who came, those who donated, and those who offered prizes for the silent auction.

A big thanks to Trinity Restaurantin Keyport for letting my organization use the event. They were gracious, accommodating, and a wonderful resource I hope to use in the future.

Further thanks to the following businesses in my community and NJ for donating items for the auction:

The Beta Beta chapter of Theta Phi Alpha, Victoria Florist, of Cranford; Westfield Knights of Columbus Council No. 1711; Candice Sykes, of CBS Studios/As the World Turns; Lou Mongello, of; Shall We Dance, of Middletown; Fat Kat Tattoos, of Keyport; Drew’s Bayshore Bistro, of Keyport; Pirate’s Cove on the Bay, of Belford; Bulkhead Bar and Grill, of Keyport; and, our host, Trinity Restaurant.

I cannot express my thanks enough for everyone involved. It truly touches my heart to see so many people come together to help someone.

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News Bits and Bites

Stephanie Coonan Benefit….
Sorry for lack of posting, I”m gearing up for my benefit this Saturday, please see my last post for details on the Stephanie Coonan benefit. If you’d like to attend, please post a comment and I’ll email you back. I can reserve a seat for you, you’ll just have to pay at the door on Saturday.

Thank you to my fellow blogger friends, Jersey Bites and SableMinded for posting info about Stephanie’s Benefit. Thanks for your support ladies!!!! Much appreciated!

Misc. News Brief…

I spent the weekend in the Hershey area, visiting Hershey Park, Hershey Gardens, and Indian Echo Caverns. But the main reason for me heading out to Lancaster County was for MagicMeets, a Disney fan convention. Now, all I’m going to say is you have some great chocolate pics and a great review of a tapas bar in Harrisburg to look forward to. However, I don’t know what my favorite kitty cat is talking about here…..

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Benefit Luncheon

Dear readers,

I am working with the alumni association of my sorority to host a benefit luncheon for one of our young alumnae sisters who was diagnosed with a rare form of stomach cancer last year. The Northern NJ Alumni Association of Theta Phi Alpha sorority is hosting this benefit next Saturday, July 26th from noon to 3pm at Trinity Restaurant in Keyport, NJ. Proceeds from the benefit will go to the “Don’t Stop Believing” fund which benefits Stephanie Coonan, of Hazlet, NJ.

Stephanie, 23-years old, is a sister of the Beta Beta chapter at the College of New Jersey in Ewing where she was in her senior year prior to being diagnosed. Stephanie has had her stomach removed and has gone through chemotherapy and numerous surgical procedures.

Tickets are still available. The luncheon will cost $30.00 per person and includes choice of entree with dessert:

Grilled Salmon with Watermelon and Cucumber Salad with Creamy Lime Vinaigrette

Reconstructed Chicken Parmigiana…Roasted Free-Range Chicken Breast with Fresh Mozzarella over Caprese Salad

Vegetarian Moussaka with Ratatouille Vinaigrette

Dessert: Fresh Strawberries in 25-year old Balsamic Vinaigrette with Mascarpone Mousse & Katafi

To read more about Stephanie and other fundraisers that have helped her, please visit these links:

If you would like to attend or donate, please leave a comment here and I will personally send you details (I can see your email when you leave a comment, will not publish on main page).

Thank you dear readers for taking the time to read this.


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Batista’s Puerto Rican Eatery

So a few weeks ago I reviewed a new Puerto Rican eatery in Matawan, Salsa Latina, that left me craving some Latino food that was actually good. As promised in that post, I was going to try another new Puerto Rican eatery in Keansburg, Batista’s, that was getting some positive feedback over on Chowhound.

I headed over there for some take-out not too long ago. It’s a tiny, little place with a handful of tables and a counter to order from. No wait service here. It’s a very casual eatery. I ordered to go, one papa rellenos, one order of fried plantains, one Cuban sandwich and one dinner entree, Rotisserie Chicken. My only complaint was the wait time. I waited a good 25 minutes for the food, but that’s not really all that bad, I was just really hungry!

Starting with the papa relleno. I ordered just one and mostly did this to compare to Salsa Latinas. This was delicious! Not greasy, good-sized portion and an equal balance of potato to meat. Salsa Latina’s had about a teaspon, if that, of meat inside (cold meat to be more specific). The flavors of the potatoes and meat were delicious and left me wishing I had order more.

Next up were the fried plantains. This is what I was talking about. These were good plantains -not too thick (like Salsa Latinas), great flavor, nicely fried, not overly greasy.

Moving along to the chicken…This was served with a choice of beans and rice – I went with yellow rice and pigeon peas. First of all, the serving size was enormous. I barely made it through half of the food. The chicken was good, not great. Some parts were really moist and juicy, some were a little dry. The rice and beans were definitely better than Salsa Latina with just the right amount of seasonings and not dry at all.

The Cuban sandwich was pretty good, not the best I’ve ever tasted but worth ordering again. My only gripe was with the cheese – American. I’ve never had a Cuban with anything but Swiss cheese. It just didn’t taste right to me. If I ordered again, I’d skip the cheese. The Cuban sandwich was enough to feed a whole family!

The total bill was just under 20 bucks. Great deal if you ask me. Did I love it? No, but I really enjoyed it. I would definitely hit this place up again. It’s not the best I’ve had but it’s the best in the area right now and with their prices, menu selection, and pretty good food, I’m heading back (and NOT to Salsa Latina).

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Smoked Garlic Steak

A few years ago I heard about this small business out in California that sold smoked garlic. I want to say I heard it/saw it on The Food Network. They showed the owners processes for smoking garlic and even salt. I immediately went to their website and ordered smoked garlic and smoked salt. And I’m happy to report I’ve been a satisfied customer for a few years now. If you like smoky flavors then you’ll love their products.

My favorite way to use the smoked salt is on fresh corn on the cob. It really brings out the flavors of the corn with the smokiness. The smoked garlic has come in handy many ways. I’ve used it in crab cakes, in chicken dishes, mixed with butter, and most recently, as a steak rub. I took about 7-8 garlic cloves and diced them very fine and then rubbed them with some of the smoked salt and freshly ground pepper over a London Broil. I also topped it with some extra virgin olive oil. Then onto to the grill. It was fabulous, smoky, garlicky. You can see some of the carmelized garlic on top. Loved it.

Check out Smokin’ Garlic here to order some garlic, salt or some of their other products.

Overall rating – 5 stars

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Herb-Stuffed Salmon

So this recipe originally called for a whole red snapper, but I was in the mood for salmon. Plus, I’ve never cooked a whole fish before and with my limited time and overall utter lack of motivation for cooking lately, I had no desire to work with a whole fish. This was a simple recipe and appeared to have great potential with all those fresh herbs (straight from my garden), but it failed to deliver on flavor. Perhaps it was because I used a large cut of salmon and rolled the herbs tightly into it. Or maybe because I was too lazy to go outside and turn on my grill so I baked it instead….Nonetheless, the herb flavor was practically indistinguishable. The fish was tender and moist but the herbs just stood out.

Overall rating – 1 stars

Salmon unrolled after cooking

Herb-Stuffed Red Snapper

Be careful when testing for doneness, as steam will escape from the foil when you open it. A whole fish makes a dramatic entrée, best served family-style so guests can help themselves to this succulent dish. If you have extra fresh herbs on hand, garnish the platter with them.

1 (4-pound) cleaned whole red snapper
Cooking spray
1 teaspoon extravirgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, divided
4 lemon slices
4 large fresh basil leaves
3 parsley sprigs
3 mint sprigs
2 thyme sprigs
4 lemon wedges

1. Prepare grill.

2. Score fish by making 3 diagonal cuts on each side. Lay 1 (18 x 12–inch) sheet of foil flat on a work surface, and coat with cooking spray. Place fish in center of sheet; rub oil in fish cavity. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt in fish cavity; sprinkle remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt evenly on both sides of fish. Place lemon slices and next 4 ingredients (through thyme) in fish cavity. Wrap fish in foil, twisting ends to seal; place fish on grill rack. Grill 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Discard lemon slices and herbs. Serve fish with lemon wedges.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 4 ounces fish and 1 lemon wedge)CALORIES 241 (19% from fat); FAT 5.2g (sat 0.9g,mono 2.2g,poly 1.3g); IRON 0.5mg; CHOLESTEROL 80mg; CALCIUM 75mg; CARBOHYDRATE 1.7g; SODIUM 687mg; PROTEIN 44.9g; FIBER 0.5g

Cooking Light, JUNE 2008

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