summer salads: tabbouleh with a twist

One of the things I like about summer, are summer foods. One of my favorites is tabbouleh. Essentially tabbouleh at its core is a parsley salad flavored with bulgur, mint, scallions, tomatoes, and a bright lemony dressing. It’s quick, fresh, easy, and totally yummy.

Tabbouleh is something I’ve always made in the summer, but as an adult in my own house I essentially make it only for myself unless we’re having company because no one else seems to eat it. Another problem in my house is while I work for myself and can set my own hours, my husband has a corporate job, and corporate jobs seem to have expanded their hours since the onset of COVID19, and the days of traditional 9 to 5 hour days seem to no longer exist. So he works a lot. Often he comes home from the office and works hours more in our home office and eats later. I don’t like to eat late, so tabbouleh the way I make it that I’m sharing with you today, is something I can eat for a quick summer dinner . I don’t even necessarily need to make meat or chicken to accompany it, I can just eat that “as is.”

Yes, there is a young adult living with us, but he’s kind of allergic to vegetables most days and eating with the other people in his house, so he will grab dinner and go sit in front of his computer screen and play video games. Often I will make the two of them something to eat and just leave it on the stove. No it is not my favorite thing to do as I don’t like eating by myself but life is what it is. So I have decided that I’m going to make things that I enjoy more in the summer to have if I am going to be eating early and by myself.

You will note when I share my recipe that I don’t have tomatoes in it, and I added chickpeas. The reason I didn’t add tomatoes is I don’t have any in the house and the ones I am growing in my garden are just plants at this point. I’ve also discovered that the salad stays a little more fresh if I don’t store it with tomatoes added. So if I make this with tomatoes I will often dress the top of the bowl with tomatoes that are diced and I will remove the tomatoes off of the top to put away.

Another thing about tabbouleh is you can indeed make it with couscous if you don’t have bulgar wheat.

This is a great summer salad and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! To follow is the recipe.

1 3/4 cups bulgar wheat

Juice of 4 large lemons (maybe more – depends on you!)

A couple of dashes of apple cider vinegar

Olive oil

1 large bunch of Italian flat leaf parsley

1 bunch fresh parsley

Salt, pepper, dash of garlic powder, ground cumin

One large regular cucumber peeled, seeds removed, diced. Or one English hothouse cucumber peeled and diced.

1 sweet or red onion diced, or two bunches of scallions cut up small.

A 15 ounce can of chickpeas drained

Get out a large mixing bowl and to it add dry bulgar wheat, a little salt, a little pepper, a couple tablespoons of olive oil, and a teaspoon of ground cumin.

To that add about 1 1/2 cups boiling water, and toss. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil and put to the side.

In another mixing bowl, add your chickpeas, onion or scallions, parsley and mint chopped fine, and the cucumber. Add salt to taste. Toss it together and if you think it needs more salt add a little more. I add the salt slowly because you don’t want to over salt this.

And a small bowl add your lemon juice, cumin, small dash of garlic powder, salt, eyeball the olive oil and whisk together briskly. Give it a taste and you may want to add a couple of dashes of apple cider vinegar as well.

Bulgar wheat takes nothing to reconstitute with a little hot water so by now you should be fine and remove the aluminum foil from the bowl and give it another stir to fluff.

Add the vegetables and chickpeas and mint and parsley to the large mixing bowl with the bulgar wheat in it. Give that all a mix together and then whisk the olive oil lemon juice and apple cider vinegar mixture again and pour it evenly over everything in the large mixing bowl and toss together.

At this point you can taste test to see if you want more salt or ground pepper. Cover the mixing bowl and put in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly.

Leftovers are good for a few days. Keep refrigerated.

goat cheese, ham, and scallion frittata

I love a good frittata. True story is one of my frittatas is actually published in an Epicurious cookbook. It’s called The Kitchen Sink Frittata, and it was published in Epicurious Cookbook in 2012. Amusingly enough Nancy Fuller (Food Network personality) has an identically named recipe on Food Network’s website. My recipe I think is better.

But this? This is a new recipe and I thought of it this morning based upon what I was looking at in my refrigerator this morning.

So here it is and I hope you enjoy it!

Preheat oven to 400°

Take 4 tablespoons of butter and put in a baking dish. I use my vintage 12” French copper gratin pan.

Take eight eggs out of the refrigerator, one bunch of thin fresh scallions, about 6 to 7 ounces of deli ham, 1 4oz log of fresh goat cheese. The goat cheese I’m using today had bits of fig in it – it was what I had on hand.

Thinly slice the scallions and include some of the green tops. Maybe about 3 inches if they are in good shape. Chop up the ham. Also if you have it thinly slice one Roma tomato, also known as a plum tomato. But only use a fresh one.

If you’re using a pan like my gratin pan you can heat it up on the stove as well. I wouldn’t recommend using a glass baking dish, so please don’t . But you can also make a frittata in a cast-iron pan, for example. I also use a cast iron pan to make frittatas, and I have an oven safe fry pan from Great Jones cookware I also use.

When the butter is melted quickly sauté the scallions and the ham. Add to that the thinly sliced tomato. Don’t swish it around in the pan too much you don’t want things to break up. Next add a little freshly cracked pepper, and some dill weed. You can either chop up some fresh dill or use dried dill. Turn off the stove, and let that sit while you move onto whisking the eggs.

Briskly whisk eight eggs with a couple dashes of hot sauce, a little bit of salt not a lot, and about three or 4 tablespoons of buttermilk. Please remember not to use more than a little pinch of salt because you are cooking with ham which is already salty.

When the eggs are whisked up and frothy pour them slowly over the ham and vegetables in the pan evenly. Next crumble up your log of goat cheese and spread evenly over the top and add a couple of more dashes of fresh cracked pepper.

Place in your 400° oven and bake for about 35 minutes. Depending on your oven —-you need to keep an eye on it, so nothing burns. Take it out let it sit for a few minutes slice up and serve. It makes a wonderful weekend breakfast or brunch.

portuguese influence: cod stew

When I was little we knew this wonderful Portuguese lady named Belmira. Sometimes she would cook us these amazing Portuguese dishes. She lived somewhere in Philadelphia’s Olney section which had a big Portuguese section in the early 1970s, the time when we knew her.

One of the things she made was a codfish stew. Belmira used bacalao which is dried and salted cod. She would soak it a couple of days in milk. I loved her codfish stew but she is the only one who I have ever known to make the bacalao palatable. My mother tried but it was always too salty.

Yesterday I was wondering what to make for dinner. I had gotten yet more potatoes in my vegetable box. (We always seem to get so many kinds of potatoes this time of year.) I also had a bunch (a little over two pounds total) of flash frozen cod in the freezer my husband had bought. Ash Wednesday was the other day, and I randomly remembered Belmira would make codfish stew.

I couldn’t find quite the right recipe. I looked at a couple of recipes, but then decided to wing it. Codfish stew is essentially tomatoes, cod, potatoes, onions, bell or sweet peppers, herbs, spices and white wine.

I decided I would make the stew part of it without the cod at first. I remember when you’re doing fish stews you only add things in like the last 20 minutes or so you’re cooking it so it doesn’t get over cooked. Cod is a great fish for soups and stews because it holds up and doesn’t disintegrate.

First I sliced thin a red onion and a white onion. I decided it would be prettier sliced than chopped. I put that into the bottom of a big pot with olive oil, five cloves of garlic sliced very thin, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning. To that I added a cup of white wine.

All the onions and garlic were starting to do their thing and white wine I also took two red bell peppers I had. I sliced them into thin rings. I also had three zucchini which I sliced into thin discs, and about six medium red bliss potatoes as well. I did not peel the potatoes. Finally I had a bag of spinach in the refrigerator so I cleaned that and drained it.

I added all of the other vegetables to the onions and garlic and white wine and started to let it cook down. then I added two 14 ounce cans of Mutti Baby Roma tomatoes. They are small, a little bit larger than the grape tomatoes you can buy in the supermarket. I just opened the cans and put them in juice and all. If you can’t find these tomatoes, you can use a regular 28 ounce can of plum tomatoes but you will have to break up the tomatoes because they will be too big. These Baby Romas are little so they just sort of pop open as they cook and they aren’t too large.

To this I added a little more salt, sweet Spanish paprika, basil, a little more Italian seasoning blend. The blend I use contains no salt, by the way.

I added another half cup I believe of white wine, a few tablespoons of tomato paste (maybe four), and then I just kept an eye on everything and let it cook on a low flame until the vegetables were tender and the flavors were right I don’t know how else to describe it.

About 20 minutes to half an hour before serving, I chunked up in two rather large chunks of the thawed codfish. I added it to the stew and bought the heat slightly. When the fish was cooked and flaking slightly at the chunk corners, I served it. It was really good!

I would say that you might have to add a little more liquid if you didn’t add spinach. And spinach as well as zucchini wasn’t part of what Belmira cooked when I was a child. I just had them to use up.

I will make this again. I imagine I could use other meaty white fish and even add shrimp to this dish. Alternately, the dish without the fish would make a good vegan dish. If I made it vegan, I might add capers.

Happy Saturday!

winter cooking & what’s cooking in my kitchen…read and discover

It’s a cold, crisp winter day, and we even had snow flurries this morning. So it’s time for some winter cooking.

My vegetable box this week had some really nice potatoes, mushrooms, and carrots. I had four good size slices of beef shin in my freezer that I had been thawing this week. So that’s basically what dinner is tonight: beef shins in red wine, garlic, beef broth, tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions, mushrooms, and some herbs and spices.

The spices are used in addition to garlic, salt and pepper are Herbes de Provence and an Ethiopian spice mix called Berbere. I also added a few sprigs of rosemary from my greenhouse. My greenhouse isn’t heated so I am thrilled it’s still alive.

I started with searing the beef shins in my big Dutch oven. Before I added the meat I had put into the pan some olive oil, a couple of dashes of teriyaki sauce, Berbere, and garlic powder. The beef shins had been drenched in flour and salted a little bit. I added a little red wine and let that cook off as I was searing.

After the beef shins were seared I moved them to a big metal bowl and deglazed my pan with some more red wine. I then added my chopped carrots, onion, celery, and mushrooms. I seasoned them just a smidge added a little bit of Herbes de Provence. I let the vegetables cook down a bit and then it was time for the final step before putting them in the oven. The oven had been preheating at 300°F.

Before I added the beef shins back to the Dutch oven I added two small cans of tomatoes. The tomatoes were chopped and 14 ounce cans. The brand is Mutti. I also had a can of Campbell’s beef consommé sitting in my cupboard and then I added two more cups of beef broth.

I added back the beef shins and I actually had to pull out 2 cups of liquid for the time being and put it in a measuring cup because the Dutch oven was just so full. I added the two sprigs of rosemary. Everything is now covered and doing the low and slow dance for a few hours in my 300° preheated oven.

I will serve with smashed red bliss potatoes.

People always ask what cookware I use besides my vintage Dansk. I use cookware from a really awesome female owned company called Great Jones. I saw them a few years ago on a segment on cooking by the Today Show, tried them and have been using them ever since. I really like them. The Dutch oven is 6.75 quarts and solid cast iron and it’s called the Duchess. I will warn you the one thing I don’t like about it is how heavy it is but it’s great to cook with especially for a recipe like this.

Please note I am not compensated by Great Jones to write about their cookware. I just happened to own it and love it.

This isn’t a recipe that I have written down anywhere. It just sort of came together in my head this morning when I was thinking about what I was going to do with the beef shins. The mushrooms I like to use are the baby Bella. I am just not a white mushroom person unless it’s a salad. And seriously it’s so easy to throw things together. You don’t always need a set in stone recipe, just wing it.

What’s cooking in your kitchen on this winter’s day?

farms were once revered in chester county, and were her lifeblood, but now they are under attack?

Look. A young family, their farm, excited to be farmers in Chester County. Apparently East Coventry sees this as a problem and isn’t that horrible?

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Farms being targeted as bad things in Chester County? But is it crazy? No —- this is not about Wildflower Farm which is under siege in Willistown Township by NOFIMBY “neighbors” on Castlebar Lane. This post is about Kolb’s in East Coventry. This farm seems to be under siege by their municipality, so it makes you wonder what the municipality really wants, doesn’t it?

NOFIMBY = No Farms In My Back Yard.

So I saw this GoFundMe posted about helping Kolb’s and it stopped me dead in my tracks:

📌📌‼️Allow Kolb’s Farm Store to Continue Hosting Ag-Supported Events at the Farm!

Since November of 1975, Kolb’s Farm Store has been a fixture in the East Coventry and greater Chester County area providing farm fresh milk and other essentials to the community. In July 2021, the Farm & Store was sold to Bob & Casi Long (along with their 18 month old son). When Bob & Casi, a young couple in their mid 20s, took over the farm it was clear that they needed to increase revenue to support the rapidly rising cost of feed for their cattle as well as the overhead costs to run the farm & store. Casi came up with creative, Ag-Supported, events to be held at the farm. The gatherings would bring together local vendors, other small businesses from our area, community members and the farm. People would learn more about the farm, pet the cows in the barn and enjoy good food. While these things are all absolutely wonderful and supportive for the surrounding community, these Ag-Supported events expanded the Long’s market reach and drove traffic (thus sales) into the Farm Store. Last week, Casi was served papers from East Coventry Township, including screenshots from Facebook posts, detailing her Ag-Supported events on the farm. After a meeting with the township, it was determined that the Long Family would need extensive legal counsel as well as several thousand dollars to apply for the zoning variances and fees associated with this.

This is where you come in. Supporting the Long Family through a donation to their GoFundMe not only supports keeping a local dairy farm in East Coventry Township, it means open space remains open. It means your food sources remain local. It means supporting the backbone of America: Small Business & Farmers. We will continue to update on this page as things progress with East Coventry Township. Please also follow the Facebook page (Kolb’s Farm Store) for meeting dates with East Coventry Township officials. The time to show support is now.

Thank you, Long Family, for continuing to fight the good fight to grow your farm and continue to feed the greater Chester County area.📌📌‼️

So this again is a farm which transitioned to younger owners who kept the name and now a Chester County municipality seems like they want to shut it down? So Kolb’s has been part of the fabric around there for decades, right? I know nothing much about this municipality but don’t they have a supervisor named Ray Kolb? Relative of original owners or just same name?

But anyway. Check out this article from Lancaster Farming:

Kolb’s Farm Store Transitions to Young Farm Couple
Eric Hurlock, ehurlock@lancasterfarming.com Jan 6, 2022 Updated Jan 6, 2022

📌📌SPRING CITY, Pa. — The Kolb family had been farming in East Coventry Township, Chester County, for generations. Roy and Alice Kolb moved into the farmhouse on Kolb Road around 1960. They began milking cows and raising a family. In 1975, they opened up a small milk store at their farm to help bring in more revenue to support their seven kids.

Paul Kolb, who does the milk processing now, remembers his dad Roy asking him and his twin brother what they wanted to do after high school. Did they want to stay on the farm?

“Because if we wanted to stay on the farm, he had to try and come up with some other income to support us. So that’s what happened. And that’s how the store got opened,” Paul Kolb said…..The farm and store were run by various members of the family over the years, most recently by Leroy and Sally Kolb. Sally ran the store and Leroy ran the farm, but in March of 2020, Leroy died unexpectedly.

The family had been trying to figure out how to transition the operation to the next generation. But the next generation of Kolbs weren’t that interested in taking it over.

The family knew it was time to sell the farm….A farm this size in northern Chester County would fetch a hefty chunk of change, if split up and developed, but the Kolbs had different priorities.

“Obviously, developing (the land) was an option, but we decided that we would rather sell it as a working farm,” said Paul. “That was our first priority. We knew the neighbors would appreciate it tremendously. And so that was the reason that we sold it as a farm.”

But finding the right people was sort of a long shot.

“And fortunately, we were able to find somebody who was interested in keeping farming,” Kolb said….Bobby and Casi Long were married in 2019. They met as teenagers at the 2014 Kimberton Fair in Phoenixville where they were both showing cows.

As the couple planned their future together, they knew they wanted to farm….The couple financed the sale through Mid Penn Bank.

“The Kolbs and the bank and us — we all got to have a conversation and all of our goals aligned. And so that’s kind of how that whole partnership kind of blossomed,” Casi said.

By June of 2021, the Longs were working with the Kolbs to transition ownership. There was a lot to learn and having members of the Kolb family on hand to show them the ropes was an absolute blessing.

On July 1, 2021, Kolb’s Farm Store officially opened under the ownership of Casi and Bobby Long.📌📌

So why does this township want to shut these people down? Does this seem as crazy to you as it does to me? Here is how you contact East Coventry: info@eastcoventry-pa.gov – : 610-495-5443 – 855 Ellis Woods Rd., Pottstown, PA 19465.

We need to SAVE our farms. I hope people make it rain e-mails, post cards, letters, phone calls. #HANDSOFFKOLBS #NoFarmsNoFood

On my blog’s Facebook page are posts I have shared with links to small businesses supporting Kolb’s and the Long family. There is also the Go Fund Me: https://gofund.me/833d8a8a

And if I actually knew the Long family and hadn’t just had the awesome milk from Kolb’s I would tell them or any concerned resident to submit a Right To Know Request to East Coventry Township to ask them if there are complaints in any form (oral, written, email, text message, electronic, etc) going back to 2020 against the farm, against them personally, the Kolb family from whom they purchased the property. And that would only be the first one.

And today I realized the irony in Chester County putting out the call for people to help with the semiquincentennial of the United States of America (America250PA) as it will be celebrated in Chester County. Oh the goddamn irony because how many farms will be under siege by July 4, 2026? And Chester County was founded in a big part on the backs of farmers, so WTF Chester County? How about helping actually protect, promote, and preserve farms in Chester County? Like Kolb’s. Like WildFlower Farm. And others like Happy Days Farm that was bought by Vanguard and sold, but at some point will it still be developed?

Ten million plastic townhouse developments, trails to nowhere, nasty NOFIMBY neighbors, a development happy county planner, and duplicitous municipalities aren’t the tradition of Chester County, nor should they be her future. Farms are the lifeblood and heart of this county and we need to preserve them in perpetuity.

Farming is a brutally hard business. Municipalities and neighbors of farms should be lifting up their farms, not slamming them down. Please Chester County residents, and Chester County Commissioners stand up and SUPPORT our farms and farmers. And that also means helping our farmers promote and grow their business to ensure farm sustainability. That means allowing events and farm tours and ways to educate people about farms, farming, It means encouraging people to be Localvores. It means municipalities in PA respecting the ACRE Law too.

Shame on you East Coventry. You suck, actually. Farms matter. Farmers are real people, our friends and neighbors. Shame on you East Coventry.

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!