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.
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.
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.
Well I hope my happy hater from the other day isn’t too distressed by Bolognese sauce. Hope she doesn’t find a red sauce too angry….but I digress. (I do that sometimes )
A true Bolognese sauce does take time to create. But it is one of the most delicious sauces you can put over pasta… ever. I shared Bolognese sauce before, but I am sharing this again because I change my recipe slightly sometimes.
I started my sauce first thing this morning. And that’s something that creates a memory smell for me for lack of a better description. When my father’s mother (Grandmom) used to babysit us when we were younger, and even when we were in high school she used to make her sauce first thing in the morning. (And no, this sauce is not her recipe it’s my recipe I never recall her making a true Bolognese.)
First you would smell the smell of a fresh pot of coffee (she would make it in one of those stovetop blue cornflower Corningware coffee pots). Then wafting up behind the fresh perked coffee aroma, was the smell of sautéing garlic and onion in her big sauce pot. She gave my mother that saucepot eventually, and I think my mother still uses it. It was hammered aluminum so it wasn’t like Farberware. To me those are the smells of home.
We are trying to empty out a chest freezer in the basement and I came across three 1 pound packages of ground meat. I usually use about three pounds of ground meat when I make a Bolognese.
Here are the ingredients:
THREE 1 pound packages of pork, veal, lamb, or beef. I’ll use whatever I happen to have handy.
TWO Onions. Chopped. 1 big sweet onion, 1 red onion.
SIX cloves garlic, minced. We like to keep the vampires away in my house.
DASH nutmeg or cinnamon- My late father always did it , so I do it.
Kosher salt to taste, ground pepper after you add the tomatoes.
TWO Bay leaves.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
ONE cup whole milk
ONE cup red wine or 2/3 cup red wine vinegar.
TWO cans crushed tomatoes – 28 ounce.
ONE 6 ounce can tomato paste
BIG bunch fresh basil and oregano from garden.
GOOD pasta and grated cheese.
I will start with I chopped up two onions and threw into my pan (I use one of my larger vintage Dansk touch ovens) with extra-virgin olive oil and some kosher salt.
After the onions started to get that translucent look, I added the three one pound packages of ground meat. Today I am cooking with ground pork and ground lamb which is one of my favorite combinations for a truly flavorful sauce. I added a little more salt and a couple of dashes of nutmeg.
After allowing that to cook for about 20 minutes I added 2/3 of a cup of red wine vinegar. I let that cook off and cook down for another 25 minutes approximately, and then I added one cup of whole milk. I then allowed the milk solids and everything to cook off slightly which was almost half an hour.
As I am doing the meat and the onion I do stir occasionally so nothing has the chance to stick to the bottom.
Next I add my tomato paste and stir it into the meat mixture.
Then I add the cans of crushed tomatoes one at a time. I stir thoroughly after each time. Now I add some fresh ground pepper and a big bunch of just roughly torn up basil and oregano from my garden.
My kitchen smells amazing. I don’t care if it’s July a good Bolognese sauce is perfect all year round. And I like making it in the summer because I can use all my fresh herbs.
Now the pot is on simmer and I will just let it go on simmer for a good couple of hours. Then I will turn it off. It will take a few hours for the sauce to completely cool down. At that point I will skim off any fat that rises to the top from the meat.
Then around dinner time I will slowly bring this sauce up to temperature again and serve with a good pasta, grated cheese, and a big green salad.
Good pasta does make a difference even with dry pasta. Today I am going Delco. Springfield Pasta and Mangia Famiglia grated cheese. (Mangia Famiglia is also one of my favorite sources for Italian sausage.)
A true Bolognese sauce is some thing that is truly amazing. and even in the summer it’s a great family meal option. And don’t be afraid to load up the fresh herbs. I forgot to mention I will finish this with some fresh flat leaf Italian parsley on top.
It was a hot and steamy, but beautiful day. We went to a crawfish boil at Chef Paul Marshall’s house. Yes, it was the annual Marshall’s Half Hill Farm crawfish boil. And like everything else Paul and his wife Julie do, it was awesome!
People know Chef Paul Marshall locally because of Farm Boy Fresh. But he is a chef with incredible credentials.
From his childhood on the bayou in rural Louisiana, Chef Paul Marshall always showed a passion for cooking. During seven years under the watchful eye of Fernando Oca he learned classical French technique.
Chef Marshall then returned to his New Orleans roots to work under Emeril Lagasse at Commander’s Palace. There he further developed his passion for “the new” New Orleans cuisine; a melting pot of French, Spanish and American flavors.
Chef Marshall was part of the team that opened the Four Seasons in Florence, the Executive Chef at the Hong Kong Sheraton and Chef De Cuisine of Oscars, the French Brasserie in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel…and now he calls Chester County home.
My husband and I have been really lucky, and have been a guest of the Marshalls at their home. Paul’s wife Julie, has her own amazing credentials in world of food, having been with the James Beard Foundation for many years. She is also a terrific gardener.
So today was all about fun and food and friends and family. It was just so nice. And the food was, as always, off the hook.
The crawfish were flown in live and fresh from Louisiana. They weren’t those frozen little tasteless things that are called crawfish other places. These were fresh and succulent. Lobster’s little freshwater cousins were enjoyed by all!
Our waiter was this nice kid named Sam. He was delightful and hardworking. Lunch was so good I forgot to take food photos! We had burgers, slightly edited because I don’t like cheddar on a burger, and neither of us like eggs on burgers.
Also the makeover inside is lovely. And I say that fully admitting I liked the last interior makeover when it was still called the Eagle Tavern.
But this makeover is so pretty. And great light fixtures and details. The booths are gone and the main dining room is more open.
However ask me what one of my favorite things in the makeover is? Give up? I will tell you: NO TVs IN THE BAR ANYMORE!
I wasn’t sure if I was going to like The Eagle Tavern becoming Bloom, but now I think I do. We can’t wait to try dinner there! Oh and they are one of the few places open for lunch on Mondays. We were actually going to go to the Ship Inn and try the lunch menu, but they are only open for lunch on Friday and Saturday.
Check out Bloom Southern Kitchen located at 123 Pottstown Pike Chester Springs, PA 19425
So I love Magnolia Cottage Shop and the owner is a friend. And I have to give her credit because she open the store just before Covid hit and she hung in and doubled down and actually moved into a BETTER space across the driveway in the same commercial location.
The new space is filled with light and fun things waiting to be discovered. The wall color is one I am a bit obsessed with. A shade of grey that is just so pretty!
One of my favorite things to do in Chester County is attend a Life’s Patina event. Meg Veno and her team of designing women have an amazing eye and flair for putting things together.
When you walk into the big barn, you are always greeted immediately by a lovely tableau in the center. You move from space to space within the barn which is two levels and quite large and your imagination just goes wild!
There is so much to see so many great ideas and every nook and cranny is filled with something you either know you need, you didn’t realize you needed but want, or would make a perfect gift for someone special in your life.
Spring event which started today with the preview my friend Amy and I attended this morning, was just lovely. After a long winter to go through those big barn doors into the magical scenes which unfolded for us every step we took, made even a gray and rainy day sunny!