What’s for Dinner?: Perfect Steamed Lobster

BY  |  Sunday, Aug 03, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

 Steamed Lobster

Time to celebrate! I finally overcame my fear of cooking lobster. People are often amazed to discover that I had never cooked one before. I think I was scarred by the lobster scene in Annie Hall. Watching Annie and Alvy chasing the lobster around the kitchen with a wooden paddle made a big, bad impression on me. Alvy (Woody Allen) sums it all up when he says “I told you it was a mistake to bring a live thing into the house.” His words stayed with me for years.

This week, we were on vacation in Cape Cod with friends and the reality of me having to cook lobster was inescapable. The darned things are everywhere out here and such is my reputation, our friends expected that I would be serving lobster at every meal. I was cornered…

Now, I’m never one to show weakness or failings so I fibbed a little -— “yeah sure lobsters, no problem, I cook them all the time.” So, with much trepidation I bought my first live lobsters: four of the creepy crustaceans to be precise.  Even though the claws were secured with rubber bands I could hear the bag rustling in the trunk of the car and had visions of losing one along the way. I drove home very slowly, taking every bend in the road smoothly in order to avoid having an Annie and Alvy situation on my hands. In a Volvo. A mistake to bring a live thing into a car? I should never have left Baristaville…

Once I was home I relaxed a little (the glass of rosé helped) and I was able to reflect on the conversation I had with the good people at Mac’s Seafood who had sold me the beasts in the first place. As it turns out, cooking lobster is pretty easy. The key to serving successful lobster however comes down to three things: storing, steaming and equipment:

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What’s for Dinner?: Pea, Feta, Mint and Barley Salad

BY  |  Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Pea, Feta, Mint and Barley Salad

Pea, Feta, Mint and Barley Salad has one of my favorite food combinations — peas and mint. The sweetness of the peas contrasts with the freshness of the mint. This salad takes that combination and adds the salty tang of feta, with barley providing the backdrop. Apart from the time it takes to cook the barley, it is incredibly simple. It will also last a few days in the fridge, so there you have it — dinner and lunch! Continue Reading

What’s for Dinner?: Chard and Garlic Scape Tart

BY  |  Sunday, Jul 20, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Chard and Scape Tart

I love picking up my CSA veggie box: my two-weekly bounty of just-picked produce. However, the last two deliveries have been abundant in both chard and garlic scapes and as much as I love all things green, both of these seasonal anomalies can be a bit challenging. Kale is still the rockstar vegetable in our house so like an old Spandau Ballet record, the chard tends to get overlooked and forgotten about.

Chard and Scape TartAs for garlic scapes, well, their novelty soon wears off. I was so excited the first time they made an appearance in my veggie box I eagerly made some scape pesto, which was good, but not great. There is a reason that pesto is traditionally made with basil – it has an amazing flavor with which garlic scapes just cannot compete, so now, I just use them as a green onion substitute.

Until now…

This Chard and Garlic Scape Tart combined with some robust cheddar and Parmesan cheese takes these two vegetables to a whole new level.

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SB&J: Superbutter Offers Another Peanut-Free Butter Alternative

BY  |  Tuesday, Jul 08, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

SuperbutterChances are you love or know someone with a peanut and/or tree nut allergy. And your child’s school classroom and summer camps may be a nut-free environment to protect those children. Having a peanut and nut-free alternative to the old standby PB&J is so great for those with allergies and those who can’t brings nuts to school or camp.

I know, because my oldest daughter has a severe peanut allergy. She was diagnosed at the age of two and since then, our home has to be completely peanut-free. After we found out about her allergy, I searched for a peanut butter alternative. Not so much for her, because she hasn’t found one she likes at all, but for me and her little sister. I was a PB&J fanatic. I ate it several times a week because of its convenience, taste and nutrition. After trying many alternatives, I found sunflower seed butter is the closest thing to peanut butter. My favorite brand is Sunbutter, which is available at all of our local supermarkets.

When I was asked to review a new peanut-free butter, I jumped at the chance. Every allergy-alternative product is helpful.

SuperButter is another seed butter using sunflower seeds, like Sunbutter, but it also includes flax and sesame seeds, making it chock full of protein, fiber and antioxidants like Omega 3′s and vitamin E. It’s also made from real, whole ingredients and produced in an allergen-free environment.

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What’s for Dinner?: Strawberry Shortcake

BY  |  Sunday, Jul 06, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (2)

Strawberry Shortcake

OK, I’ll be honest: Great Britain is not known for its culinary prowess.

Good British food is usually simple, honest and often a straightforward, unfussy partnership: fish and chips, bangers and mash, strawberries and cream, with the latter representing a quintessentially English dessert. Nothing says “English summer” like Wimbledon and nothing says “Wimbledon” like an abundance of strawberries and cream (other than perhaps say, tennis whites and Pimm’s).

If you take strawberries and cream as your starting point and add scones you have another classic English dish, the English Cream Tea (also known as a Devonshire Cream Tea) which you will find served at village fetes and in tea shoppes the length and breadth of the sceptered isles. America took this summertime staple and—this is where I get controversial—made it better by substituting strawberry shortcake for the scones.

Although shortcake actually dates back to England in the late 1500s, America championed it and turned scones into biscuits, meaning that this adaption of the English classic allows the buttery qualities of the American Strawberry Shortcake to provide a delicious vehicle for serving fluffy dollops of cream and sweet strawberries.

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Fourth of July Round Up

BY  |  Thursday, Jul 03, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Fourth of July

A Fourth of July round up of parades, firework shows, crafts, food and fun! Rain, rain, stay away….



National Ice Cream Month is Coming!

BY  |  Saturday, Jun 28, 2014 7:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

National Ice Cream Month

Of all the “national” days and month, National Ice Cream Month is my favorite. Yes, it even trumps Chocolate Pudding Day. Ice cream is my weakness, hands down. But it’s the treat I allow myself occasionally. But since July, which starts on Tuesday, is National Ice Cream Month, it’s summer and hot, I’m going to splurge a bit and enjoy it a bit more.

There are many place to get your ice cream fix locally—and sorry, but I’m not talking about yogurt places—no self-respecting ice cream lover would. You can make your own Blue Moon Ice Cream recipe and/or Ice Cream Pizza for something unique. But there are some other fun National Ice Cream Month events you may want to know about:

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It’s National Chocolate Pudding Day!

BY  |  Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

national chocolate pudding dayLike the Dowager Countess says, “It seems such a pity to miss a good pudding,” so don’t, especially today on National Chocolate Pudding Day.

It’s totally fine to go out and buy some boxed Jello Pudding or My-T-Fine from our childhood and make that today for your family. But pudding is the best homemade. And it’s not difficult to make at all.

I don’t have my own recipe, but Ina Garten, aka The Barefoot Contessa, has one that I love. It’s called the Double Chocolate Pudding recipe and it’s delicious. Get her recipe here.

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Watchung Cooperative Preschool Creates Cooperative Cooking: Cooking With, For and Despite Kids!

BY  |  Monday, Jun 23, 2014 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

 Watchung Cooperative Preschool

Watchung Cooperative Preschool in Montclair has created a cookbook called Cooperative Cooking: Cooking With, For and Despite Kids! with favorite, go-to recipes field-tested from families and staff in kitchens just like yours.

Keeping one eye toward nutrition and another toward kid-friendliness, Cooperative Cooking offers up recipes sure to please even the pickiest eaters.  With many vegetarians/vegans at the school, the cookbook also includes a chapter with recipes to get your kids to eat more veggies. Another highlight is a chapter with recipes straight from the classrooms for making your own play-dough, sidewalk chalk paint, oobleck, and more. It’s perfect for those rainy, summer, “what do we do now?” days.

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What’s for Dinner?: Eton Mess (English Summer Berry Dessert)

BY  |  Sunday, Jun 22, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Eton Mess

The creamy, crispy, slightly decadent Eton Mess offers an easy but impressive way to use some of summer’s staple ingredients: fresh berries.

This traditional English summer pudding — so-called because its thrown-together combination of broken meringue, strawberries and whipped cream can look a little messy — originated at Eton College in the UK. Rumor has it that it was a meringue dish that was trampled on by a dog at picnic. Messy? Yes. Delicious? Definitely. Continue Reading

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