a new cookbook

I don’t just make up recipes I actually follow recipes and read cookbooks. I will admit I have a lot of cookbooks, as I love cookbooks and gardening books. One of my favorites over the years has been The New York Times cookbook.

I bought my copy of The New York Times cookbook in either 1990 or 1991. It was done by Craig Claiborne. I also have a copy of the 1961 original cookbook. You can find them all over. My copy of the 1961 edition came from a fair book tent years ago – an impulse buy. My 1990s version I splurged for, and some of the pages are stained and the cover has been taped back together.

For 2022 I just bought the updated and revised edition by Amanda Hesser. I think there was another one from 2010 but I don’t have that edition. That one is also by Amanda Hesser.

Apparently the edition we can now find in 2022 I think it was supposed to come out in late 2019 or early 2020. Thank La vida COVID for that I think.

The author/editor Amanda Hesser, is a former New York Times food critic and successful author who is also the co-founder of the Food 52 website, which is a favorite of mine.

One of her best known books is Cooking for Mr. Latte written a bunch of years ago. It also lives in my library and is actually kind of special to those of us who went to Shipley. You see it was kind of written about her husband and their courtship. He was a year ahead of me at Shipley and is in his own right an incredibly accomplished author and writer for The New Yorker, Tad Friend. I also have one of his books in my library and understand he has a new book due out this spring.

But back to the cookbooks of it all. The New York Times Cookbook is one of the essentials that every home chef should have in his or her personal library. And maybe I am just old school, and although you can find almost any recipe you want on the Internet, there’s nothing like cracking open a book.

Treat yourself to the new and updated and expanded New York Times cookbook. It’s still maintains a lot of your favorite old recipes that you know from the New York Times cookbook, but as I’ve been swimming through it I see lots of new recipes. And the thing about this book is it’s not complicated or intimidating the recipes are things that you can do.

Please note I am not being compensated in anyway shape or form for writing about this. I love books, I love cookbooks and I love to cook. Maybe someday I will have my own little self-published cookbook, but I can’t hold a candle to an updated classic like this! In the meantime I will continue to wish for occasional help cleaning up the kitchen in my house! It’s fun most of the time being chief cook and bottle washer, but sometimes I just wish I didn’t have dishpan hands.

Thanks for stopping by- I am actually going to make chicken chili this afternoon. Yes my own recipe, no one famous.

poseidon on paoli pike is fabulous!

My friends have been speaking about Poseidon Asian Cuisine & Sushi Bar since they opened. We finally got there this weekend and it was fabulous!

The restaurant is super clean and the staff is so nice. And the food? One word: FABULOUS. It was all amazing, and their dumplings and dim sum are sublime. The sushi is so fresh it practically melts in your mouth.

They also serve wonderful green tea in nice pots at the table. That’s a little detail that is important to me because a lot of restaurants have stopped giving individual pots of tea to each table, and if you like tea you don’t want to keep flagging down your waiter or waitress, you want to be able to just pour it yourself at the table. Oh also this restaurant is BYOB.

We will be going back soon and I just thought I would tell everyone how much we enjoyed it. It is like night and day inside as well when compared to what was there prior to them, which was Redhound Grill before they went under.

Poseidon’s hours are as follows:

Monday – Thursday 11am – 9:30pm
Friday – Saturday 11am – 10pm
Sunday 12:00 pm – 9:30pm

Poseidan is located at 128 Paoli Pike, Paoli, PA (610)-812-3333. You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram.

Five star food and many more “Yums.”

I was not asked to write this post, nor was I compensated. We just really enjoyed our meal.

Thanks for stopping by.

to the owner of the ship inn

Dear Ship Inn Owner,

Did you not take heed of the advice that Chef Robert Irvine gave you? I have now been into the restaurant several times since the makeover and since the Restaurant Impossible episode aired. I have to ask are you trying to tank your restaurant at this point?

You have a fabulous makeover. You’ve got a nice chef and nice staff. Yet you are miserable to them, and that is not invisible to your customers. We have a front row seat.

When I watched the episode of Restaurant Impossible, I distinctly remember Chef Robert Irvine not so subtlety telling you to not be so miserable to your employees, to not reprimand them on the dining room floor, to not be such a control freak essentially and give them a chance to do their jobs.

Everyone knows you still have the property for sale. I think probably the way to save the restaurant and the location is for somebody to buy it from you. But you are presuming everyone wants to assume the amount of debt you wracked up. In my opinion, it’s overpriced. I know people looking for historic sites for fine dining, and they aren’t looking your way.

The first time we came in for dinner after the show aired, first you kept us waiting while you “educated” your staff in front of us. I didn’t say a word but it was uncomfortable. Then after we were seated a while you YELLED at your servers ON the dining room floor. My husband has refused to return for dinner since because he found that so offensive. Which is a shame because dinner was good.

I have been back for lunch a few different times with friends. Every time you have been omnipresent and unpleasant with staff. Reprimanding and even yelling at staff again on dining room floor. Storming in and out of kitchen and your guests can hear the kitchens contretemps too.

Most recently I was there for lunch last Friday. I met a friend. We had wonderful salads but something that wasn’t so wonderful occurred before my friend arrived. The waitresses were setting up a couple of other tables coming in and they were right next to me and I forget what one of them said to the other but it struck me as funny and I laughed. You yelled at one waitress on the floor and shushed her for laughing too loud.

I said to you “Excuse me I’m really sorry if you thought it was too loud but it was actually me, not your staff.” You looked at me, said NOTHING and just turned your back to all and walked into the kitchen.

This is one of the things I don’t like every time I’ve been there (including in the past.) You are ALWAYS reprimanding or yelling at some staff member ON the restaurant floor for all of the guests to see and ironically for anyone saw the Ship Inn episode of Restaurant Impossible this is part of what Chef Robert Irvine said had to stop and he also told YOU that you needed a front of house so you got off of the floor. You are not particularly user friendly.

I really wish you would STOP doing this and not be so omni-present on the dining room floor. Your staff IS capable and NICE. I want this place to succeed. I really do.

‼️ALSO See: https://www.foodnetworkgossip.com/2021/07/ship-inn-restaurant-impossible-update.html ‼️

I have sat and thought about this for days because I don’t want people to think I don’t like the restaurant. I do. But I don’t like the way you treat people, and that actually includes customers because what you should have done was apologize to me for snapping at the waitress and making me feel uncomfortable because it was something I did, not her.

People are chattering about this around town it’s not just me. You can see it in your reviews you can see it all over social media. Part of the chatter is you’ve lost staff in your kitchen already and is that true?

I will note that you have monkeyed with the menu again and you’ve done a very heavy special for Oktoberfest or something. No one does the old-fashioned businessman’s lunch anymore. That menu is fine for dinner, but for lunch it’s too heavy and too expensive.

And the furniture in the made over formerly 1970s disaster of a main room? I guess you ran out of money for new tables and chairs? so in the back of the new room you have the old tables and the old chairs which are very out of place and hodgepodge and destroys the uniformity of the space that was designed for you.

And you still haven’t refreshed your ladies room. You should white wash it with bead board to kind of have it match the made over dining room. It’s clean but it’s very tired and it looks very shabby. And you could refresh it for not a heck of a lot of money. I have to wonder if the way the ladies room looks is the way you think of women in general?

I really hope you can get it together, because right now I actually fear for the restaurant and it’s survival not because of the staff, not because of the food, but because of you being like the black cloud of doom in the restaurant. You have a wonderful place there but if you don’t believe in it and the people working for you then what’s the point?

Try to be happy, and just be pleasant. If you can’t be pleasant, don’t be present. As patrons and diners we want to enjoy our experience, and that’s what we’re paying for is the experience and food and service. We’re not paying for the slideshow of yelling at your staff, which interferes with everything.

Eventually I will be back to give it one more try but not for a while. I might be the only one blogging about this locally, but I’m not the only of your local patrons to feel this way.

Signed,

A customer

a spin on chicken sauce piquant

A friend from Baton Rouge, Louisiana phoned the other day and some how we got on the topic of Cajun/ Cajun inspired food. He gave me his Chicken Sauce Piquant recipe. I have modified it to suit what I was doing so here it is (my version):

1 cut up whole chicken
2 onions – one red. One white
4 red hatch chiles sliced
2 Italian green sweet long peppers sliced
3 stalks of celery diced (like 2/3 cup)
Salt & Pepper
Garlic
Cajun seasoning
2 Tuscanini Italian Tomato Sauce, Premium Italian Passata, 17 oz (amazing and I hate prepared sauce)
1 small package of andouille sausage sliced into thin rounds (about 8 oz is the package I used)
Wine to deglaze pan after removing chicken to start vegetables

Rice on the side.

Now here are my friend’s recipe notes that I based this off of:

Ingredients

1 chicken cut in pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
tomato sauce
2 tablespoons corn starch
Salt
Black pepper
Cayenne pepper
Garlic powder
4 tablespoons cooking oil

Directions:

Heavily season chicken with salt, peppers, and garlic powder.

Brown chicken using oil in Dutch oven pot on medium high heat, then remove chicken from pot.

Sauté onions until clear on medium to medium low heat, then add tomato sauce.

On medium low heat, stir onion-tomato sauce gravy for 5 minutes or until sauce turns darker.

Add chicken back to pot stirring gravy and chicken to blend and cover the chicken.
With heat on medium low, cover pot and cook for 40 minutes stirring occasionally.

Mix corn starch with 2 tablespoons of water, then pour into chicken sauce stirring well. Let sauce simmer for 5 minutes.

Serve over rice

I dredged my chicken in flour with Cajun spices and garlic powder before browning, so I omitted corn starch and deglazed the pan before sautéing vegetables. I omitted the Cayenne pepper because I used my own home grown peppers. I will note I caused the smoke detector to go off when I deglazed the pan.

Everything simmered on the stove a good couple of hours (I didn’t time it, sorry). Really good. Spicy but not burn the inside of your mouth out spicy…just good spicy. And the tomato sauce/gravy was a wonderful not too thick but thick enough consistency.

Mmmmmm

otoro sushi: amazing

Salmon “Rose”

I love sushi. Especially really good, top of the line sushi and sashimi. Fish so tender, it practically melts in your mouth.

Sushi “Tacos”

My friends in Berwyn have been telling me about Otoro at 668 Lancaster Avenue, Berwyn (down from 30 Main.) They are BYOB if you are going for dinner.

Amazing doesn’t even begin to cover it. Sublime might come close. Everything is super fresh and beautifully presented. The staff is super nice and just the right amount of attentive and helpful. The prices are fair.

I went there for lunch today with a friend after going to the Life’s Patina preview.

I can’t wait to go there again!

the envelope full of old recipes

A friend is working on a local treasures booth for an upcoming fall fair. In the middle of a box of things being priced, was this ratty envelope full of recipes. Mostly cut out of The Washington Post. A few were handwritten.

The fair ladies didn’t know what to do with the envelope, so she gave them to me. I scanned them mostly into a PDF which I will upload at the end of this post, for all to enjoy.

The personal collections of recipes are often a fun culinary history of trends years ago, combined with what people hung onto. I did not keep all of the recipes because well…the endless gelatin molds of all sorts of combinations of foods is not my jam.

There are some great recipes in the pile and quirky things like how to make mint julips.

Enjoy!

roasted squash soup

There are a lot of things I just make. There is no recipe, there’s nothing I look to, it’s just in my head. But today friends asked me to write down how I make my roasted squash soup.

So how did squash soup happen? Two weeks in a row I have gotten squash in my vegetable box. So squash soup popped into my head since it was a comparatively cool day (finally) to be in the kitchen. I decided small fresh sweet potatoes would be added to thicken it up and bone broth made in the InstantPot. Lots of fresh herbs from garden for the broth. When broth is ready and vegetables are cooled from roasting, into another pot it all goes to cook and purée with hand (immersion) blender.

So basically I lined a half sheet pan (18” x 13”) with foil, cut up all my hard sided squashes, baby sweet potatoes, and a couple of chili peppers from the garden, and sprinkled a little olive oil , some tikka masala powder, hawayij spice blend, and salt. I roast everything in a 425° oven for about 40 minutes. Then I turned the oven off and just left the vegetables in there with the door closed until everything cooled down.

Now for the broth part. I keep a Ziploc bag in my freezer where I put the gizzards and necks from whole chickens I buy to roast. I keep those in a bag in the freezer when I want to make broth. Sometimes I even save a chicken carcass after cooking (and freeze it) but that’s not what I used this time. This time I had a bag full of liver, gizzards and chicken necks. Literally like six sets. I used my small InstantPot which makes 3 quarts of broth.

How do I make the broth besides the chicken parts? One onion cut in 4, a couple of carrots cleaned and chunked, salt, rosemary/thyme/sage from the garden. I add water, leaving approximately 2 inches clearance from the top of the InstantPot liner pot. I hit the broth button and let it cook.

After both the vegetables are roasted and the broth is cooked I let everything cool down so I can proceed to the next step. The next step is easy: I take all the squash and scoop out everything from the skin of each piece and put it into a soup pot with the roasted baby sweet potatoes, the carrots used to make the broth, and 6 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter. I give everything a mash with a hand potato masher, and add the strained broth and cook on low for a couple of hours. Then I use the immersion blender and purée everything together. At that point I put it on simmer and let it cook down a little more.

Oh and this soup does not require a dairy component. It’s good just the way it is!

That’s it! Enjoy!

different slaw

My vegetable box today had a couple things I was not sure would go together, but actually have quite nicely!

I had some beautiful young fresh red cabbage, and a couple of heads of fresh fennel. So I thought what could I do with them? Then I thought why not a kind of coleslaw? I’m out of carrots so I could use the fennel in place of the carrots.

Well it worked! I also added half of a red onion and a couple of apples.

Here’s what I did:

1. Grate a small to medium size head of red cabbage.

2. Clean a large fennel bulb and grate. Or two smaller bulbs. Save some of the frilly green frond tops for the dressing .

3. Grate 1/2 of a red onion,

4. Grate 2 medium apples with skin ON.

Toss everything together that you have grated into a bowl. Add a little salt to taste. I like Crazy Jane’s Mixed Up Salt.

In a separate little bowl whisk together a little handful of the fennel fronds minced, a quarter cup of mayonnaise, 4 tablespoons of maple syrup, 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, three or 4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.

Add the dressing to the grated everything bowl and mix together. Put it into the refrigerator to chill up and then taste again before serving to see if you need to adjust the salt or pepper.

Enjoy!

today was a wonderful day to visit the west chester growers market!

I had not been to the West Chester Growers Market since COVID19 hit. Today we went back for the first time and it was awesome!

These are among the things that I missed during COVID19 and I was so happy to be there on such a pretty day! We had company in from out of town and we wanted to show her the market.

The West Chester Growers Market is the original producer only market in Chester County. Outside Saturdays 9AM – 1PM . May through December with some other limited hours in the off season. Always on the corner of North Church and West Chestnut Streets in downtown West Chester, PA.

best pickles around? fishtown pickle project of course

Mmmm mmm good (one of my jars)

File under random things I write about. Pickles. You have got to love good deli pickles.

I used to love a couple of the really awesome Jewish deli places that used to exist in Philadelphia because they would have a pickle bar. Hymie’s in Merion had one until Covid — I don’t know if it’s back or not.

Famous 4th Street Delicatessen on South 4th Street in Society Hill also still comes to mind for not only their deli, but amazing pickled things. There was also this place that I remembered in Center city off of Chestnut or Samson Street I think somewhere around 16th. And there is also Schlesinger’s, which my mother loves.

But if you don’t live near any of these places it’s hard to find good deli and good pickles. Which is why I’m writing this post. I’ve been thinking about it since I discovered the Fishtown Pickle Project, and decided it was time to give them a shout out.

Photo courtesy of
Fishtown Pickle Project on Facebook.

I discovered the Fishtown Pickle Project through The Artisans Exchange in West Chester, but you can also find them at the West Chester Growers Market.

These pickles are amazing. They are better than even the revered New York deli pickle. They are fresh and crisp and flavorful.

Anyway I am just a happy customer, they certainly don’t even know me, I just keep buying their pickles. They bring that old school deli pickle to your home refrigerator. And you can order their products on their website and I think after you buy so many jars you get free delivery.

Life is too short for bad pickles so try Fishtown Pickle Project.

Photo courtesy of
Fishtown Pickle Project on Facebook.