Archive for September, 2008

E for Excellent

My friend over at A Taste of Home Cooking gave me the E for Excellent Blog Award. Thank you!!!!  Now it’s my turn to pass it along to a few blogs…(although I bet more than a few have already received this). Please check out these great blogs! Not all food related.

Alosha’s Kitchen

Caviar and Codfish

Jersey Bites

Peanut Butter and Julie

Peanut Butter Boy

Choose Life

Down the Shore with Jen

Lisa Farry and My Life on the WDW D-List

Sableminded

Broke Hoedown

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Farewell Summer…

It’s a sad, sad week…This week marks the end of Summer as we welcome Autumn. I love the Fall but living 15 minutes from the beach, I’m a beach bum at heart. I’m at my second week at my new job but the week before I started I took the entire week off from my last job and spent more or less the entire week at the beach.

I started off with a trip to Atlantic City and Cape May with my friend Mel. We started the day venturing down to Cape May where we immediately hit up my favorite spot, The Mad Batter, for breakfast. If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know every time I go there, I can’t stay away from the Croustade. But maybe it was a sign…they were out of it. I went Chesapeake Bay Benedict – poached eggs on toasted English muffin with super lump crabmeat & caper Hollandaise, home fries $12.00, which was delicious, not as delicious though as my Croustade. Mel went with the Country Breakfast which she enjoyed and a Peach Tea Cooler (booze). Mad Batter also has THE best coffee in Cape May, though the locals say the Wawa does. Never tried it though. I also had a Chambord Mimosa. Perfect way to start a beautiful day! After spending a lovely day at the beach, we hit up Washington Street Mall for some shopping and of course some fudge from Cape May Fudge Kitchen and we were off to Atlantic City where a heavenly room at Caesar’s awaited us…

Once in AC, we decided later that night to hit up The Tropicana Casino to head over to Cuba Libre for dinner. Now as a ballroom dance instructor/student I wanted to check this place out since on the weekend they have Latin dancing. But alas, on a Monday night, ain’t much going on. Very cool place to go dance, but eat? NEVER again. It started out alright. Mel had a fabulous Manjo Mojito and I had a refreshing Watermelon Mojito followed by some darn tasty Pappas Rellenos and some nice bread with a Mango Butter. Then the entrees came. Oh how terrible. One of the worst meals we both every had. Her Arroz Con Pollo was rubbery and my Vaca Frita (short rib steak) was fatty and burned. ugh….

After a long night of drinking and gaming we needed to fuel up. We headed over to Cafe Roma in Caesar’s for a breakfast overlooking the ocean. Mel ate from the buffet while I went with the ham and egg (hold the cheese) croissant sandwich with home fries. This was pretty tasty overall and since I had some comp dollars most of it was paid for!!

After spending a few more hours in the casino and boardwalk we packed it up and headed home. Not before stopping off at the legendary White House Subs. We got ours to go and Mel loved her’s while I thought it was good, it wasn’t the best I’ve had. It was definitely tasty and fresh but I like my lettuce shredded and I WANT to taste the olive oil, vinegar and spices on my sub. But definitely worth a trip any time.

The rest of the week I beached it. As you can see, one of my beach days I was the ONLY person on the beach. Kinda cool, kinda creepy. I was also able to really take in the beach, hence the floral picture.

After the beach one day, I hit up Red Bank for some window shopping and found a little treasure of a restaurant. I was starving but wanted something quick, healthy, and affordable. I found it at Sogo Sushi. This place is so small, it’s easy to miss. It is really a take-out place as it only has two small tables and enough room to seat four. And they only serve brown rice, which works for me as I favor brown over white. I ordered here a spider roll and a salmon roll. I was pleasantly surprised at the good taste and great value.

Overall, it was a relaxing week before getting back to the grind. With the new job I somewhat hesitantly welcome Fall. Good-bye summer, good-bye beach, I’m miss you, as will my bike…

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Food porn ala Flakey Tart


I challenge The Flakey Tart bakery in Atlantic Highlands, NJ to make something I don’t like. With that said, here’s some recent delicious treats from a recent excursion down to my favorite bakery.

In the first picture, we have a Monkey Muffin (croissant dough with sweet cream cheese and nuts baked in), a half eaten almond croissant, and a ginormous blueberry muffin.

In this pic, we have their luscious key lime tart.

And finally. a mini pound cake that was sweet and heavenly.

I also recently stopped there for breakfast last week on my way to the beach and had the most delicious little brioche topped with sweetened cranberries and filled with an orange curd. wow….

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carmelitas



Carmelitas…Never heard of them? Me either until I saw the delicious pictures over at Lisa is Cooking blog. Lisa found the recipe in an issue of Food & Wine. These bar cookies feature chocolate, pecans and dulce de leche. I decided to make these for a picnic I had to go and I always like to bring some sweets. Everyone seemed to enjoy them and I will say they were good but when I look at Lisa’s they look a helluva lot better than mine. They were very heavy and dense. I probably wouldn’t make them again. The oats flavor was just too strong for me. But overall, not bad. Here’s the link to the recipe.

Overall rating – 3 stars

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Props to my favorite restaurant…

I don’t hide the fact that Trinity Restaurant in Keyport, NJ is one of my favorite restaurants. I’ve done two (here and here) reviews on them over the last year and am quick to recommend them on chowhound and nj.com. Up until today, the only media attention it has gotten was when the Munchmobile went there a couple of months ago. It was a small write-up with some good and bad. But today, Trinity finally got it’s due. The Star-Ledger’s Cody Kendall wrote up a fantabulous review calling the food “heavenly” and “divine.” Here’s the link to the post. Congrats to my favorite restaurant! You certainly deserve it!

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Sweet Corn Succotash

So I’ve become a bit of a farmer’s market addict this summer. If I don’t make it to my local market in Keyport, NJ every Thursday, I’m thrown off. Luckily, the same vendors all attend another farmer’s market the next day in another nearby town, Atlantic Highlands. I’ve found myself trying lots of new fruits and vegetables this year as the selection is vast and economically fantastic. Everything I’ve bought over the last couple of months was wonderful. One of the new items I’ve tried on for size was okra. Now I’ve eaten okra at restaurants but I’ve never bought or prepared it myself. I couldn’t pass it up one day as it was a bagful for $1.00! I just so happened to notice that my current issue of Food & Wine I had lying around had a recipe with okra in it. Perfect!  I found this delicious recipe in the August 2008 issue of Food & Wine. In addition to the okra, it also made use of the fabulous sweet corn and beautiful heirloom tomatoes I purchased at the farmer’s market. The only changes I made to this were using frozen peas instead of fresh (just couldn’t find them) and Canadian bacon instead of regular (health-conscious choice). I absolutely loved this recipe! What a great, quick and easy summer side dish. I enjoyed it so much I just picked up some more corn and okra yesterday at my farmer’s market!

Overall rating – 5 stars

Sweet Corn Succotash

TOTAL TIME: 45 MIN
4 SIDE-DISH SERVINGS
Birmingham, Alabama, chef Chris Hastings of Hot and Hot Fish Club uses fresh field peas, like black-eyed peas, in his succotash, but green peas are nicely sweet.
ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh green peas
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 thick slice of bacon, finely diced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound okra, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 3 medium tomatoes—peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 3 ears of corn, kernels cut off
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup slivered basil leaves
directions
  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the peas until tender, 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid.
  2. In a deep skillet, heat the oil. Add the bacon and cook over moderately high heat, until browned. Add the onion and cook until just softened. Add the okra and cook for 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and corn and cook until the tomatoes break down. Add the peas with the cooking liquid and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the butter and basil; serve.

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