Wednesday, November 30, 2011

RTM Breakfasts for Cold Weather

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  And as the chill winter wind approaches, we need a hearty meal to start our engines.  Good thing Reading Terminal Market has such a wealth of high quality, reasonably priced breakfast options to keep us going til spring!

Molly Malloy's Blueberry French Toast

Beck's Cajun Cafe Breakfast Po'boy
Down Home Diner's Scapple and Scrambled Eggs

Dutch Eating Place's Blueberry Pancakes

Feeling healthy?  Tootsie's steel cut oatmeal will start your day off right!
Can't decide?  Tootsie's Breakfast Bar has plenty of options!

So no excuses. If you don't have time to sit down and enjoy a leisurely meal, there are plenty of speedy takeout, grab and go options. Cold and flu season is upon us and we need all our strength to stay healthy. Your mother was right. You need a good breakfast!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Turkey Pot Pie with Flaky Pastry

Jamie Oliver has never steered us wrong. 

A friend recommended Jamie's turkey and sweet leek pie. 

While we had no leeks in the house, we did have plenty of turkey knocking around :) 

My kids prefer flaky or puff pastry to conventional pastry so we nipped out and grabbed some from the freezer cupboard at our local supermarket.

This was easy as pie -- and no-one felt they were shortchanged eating Thanksgiving leftovers!

Meanwhile, another neighbor sent in this photo of her sister's work of art.  This turkey cake is made entirely out of cake.  Look closely; the details are unbelievable.

"Cake boss" watch your back.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey Leftovers: Beyond the Basic

Creative ways to use turkey leftovers is our timely topic today.  Sure, everyone likes the old standbys, soup, and sandwiches, but with these recipes, you really won't feel like you're eating leftovers....

Turkey Jambalaya--don't let the long ingredient list scare you off; this is a very simple recipe and a time tested crowd pleaser!
 serves 8-10

2 cups rice
5 cups chicken or turkey stock
1 lb smoked sausage, cut in 1/2 inch slices
1 lb ham, cubed
4 cups cooked turkey
1/2 stick butter
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 6 oz can tomato paste
2 tsp Beck's Devil Dust, or your favorite Cajun spice blend
1 large bay leaf
1/4 tsp thyme
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Hot sauce to taste

Cook rice in broth.  Meanwhile, in large Dutch oven, melt butter and saute ham, sausage, turkey, onion, pepper, garlic and parsley.  Cook about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add remaining ingredients except rice, mix and cook several more minutes.  Add cooked rice, stir thoroughly, and cook over low heat 15 more minutes, stirring frequently.

Our friend Chef Wally McIlhenny came up with this tasty trio:

Turkey Quesadilla:  fill a tortilla with turkey, bleu cheese, roasted poblano pepper and apples.  Cook  in a skillet on low heat til tortilla is lightly browned, filling is hot and cheese melts.  If you are making a large number, put them on a cookie sheet and heat in the oven at 350 until filling is heated and cheese melts, about 10 minutes.

Saffron, Leek and Turkey Risotto.  This is an excellent version of the dish.   To use the leftover turkey, add 1 1/2 cups of cooked turkey toward the end of cooking with the last ladle of broth.  Finish as directed.

White Bean, Spinach and Turkey Chili.  We liked this recipe, too, but we'd add a bag of fresh (or a defrosted pkg of frozen) spinach to the pot.

Hmmmm.   We might cook an extra turkey just to have enough leftovers for these dishes.

Nah.  By Saturday, we'll all be craving......what?  You tell us!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Jack Gives Back

Chef Jack McDavid is known for launching the farm to table movement in Philadelphia and creating the Down Home Diner,  which offers top quality southern food at an affordable price.  He is also famous for his trademark overalls and "Save the Farm" cap.  But did you know he is also famous for charitable works?

Jack says, "Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for what we have, and part of that is remembering those that don't have.  My momma always taught me to give back and help others, even when we didn't have much.  Well, that's a lesson I've learned and I try to pass on."

Clearly Jack learned the lesson well; this Thanksgiving, he'll be providing dinner for the residents of St. John's Hospice, a shelter for homeless men in Center City.

The menu will be identical to the one Jack serves at his family's table later that day.

Pumpkin Soup
Roast Turkey
Smoked Country Ham
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes
String Beans in Garlic with Sauteed Almonds
Pumpkin Pie
Apple Cranberry Crisp

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Oyster Stuffing by Reading Terminal Market Chef Stormy Lundy

We promised you Stormy's oyster stuffing recipe, and we are girls who keep our promises, so here it is in all its glory....

Oysters - in every shape and form are readily available from both of the seafood vendors at Reading Terminal Market

Stormy’s Oyster Stuffing:

  • A loaf of day old bread unsliced from The Market bakery or Metropolitan bakery
  • 16oz Jar of Oysters, available from the seafood merchants at the Market; keep the liquor for use in the stuffing mixture itself.
  • 6-8 leaves of fresh sage
  • Few sprigs of fresh thyme – strip the thyme off the woody stem
  • 1x medium sized Spanish onion
  • 3x medium sized carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 cup of raisins
  • 8oz of butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Cut the bread into small, evenly sized cubes
  2. Finely dice the onion, celery and carrot
  3. Add butter to fry pan and sauté the onion, celery and carrot, once softened add bread and fry all the mixture until the bread begins to turn brown
  4. Dice sage finely and strip the thyme leaves from the woody stem – it’s easiest to run your thumb and finger up and down the length of the stem. Discard the stem itself.
  5. Add herbs and salt and pepper to mixture in fry pan, stir for 2 minutes then remove from heat. Leave to cool.
  6. Add oysters and their liquor to the mixture and stir gently. Stuff the cavity of the turkey with mixture. (Refrigerate turkey if you are not planning to cook immediately.)
Your turkey from the Market’s own poultry merchants - Godshalls, Haltermans, Fair Food, Smuckers and Giunta's all stock turkey at this time of year - is now ready to go!

Follow cooking instructions recommended by the USDA. 

Full details available from this useful website.  Use a thermometer to check that stuffing has cooked all the way through.  Stuffing temp should reach a minimum of 165.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Stormy's Thanksgiving: Holiday tips from Reading Terminal Market's Chef

Today’s guest cook, Stormy Lundy, is by day Director of Special Events of Reading Terminal Market’s Catering Company.

And Stormy is a gal who knows how to throw a stunning party – she regularly orchestrates out-of-hours events at the Market for anywhere up to 2,500 guests.

The Market is a super-cool venue after hours...

Stormy argues that the same principles apply to creating a great party whether that be for 25 or for upwards of 2,500 partygoers…

...some things never change.

One of her key tips is to do with food consumption.

If like us, you tend to over-cater (for fear of being caught short and running out of food), best to heed Stormy’s advice if you want to get the quantities right! 

Two important questions to consider:

What’s the ratio of Men to Women at your event? Guess what? No surprises; Men eat more than Women -especially in a buffet situation. Stormy suggests allowing 1.5 servings per head for a male guest to every 1 serving for your female guests.

Is there a game on TV? If there’s a game on, then expect people to eat even more.

As Men cluster around the TV to watch their fave team over the Thanksgiving weekend, so they tend to pile their plates up with food.

“It’s the psychology of food,” explains Stormy. “There’s a funny thing going on. Men tend to look across and check out what other guys have on their plate. If one person says “these ribs are delicious”, then you tend to get a run on the ribs suddenly.

"In our family – I had 5 brothers & Dad - there was always a fight over the turkey legs; it was a big deal who got the legs!”

Stormy is herself an adventurous cook who loves to push the envelope at Thanksgiving.

Her typical menu features a turkey with oyster stuffing, sweet potatoes bolstered with a dash of Drambuie and turkey gravy enlivened by a cup of Old City Coffee from the Market.

Look for Stormy's much coveted recipe for oyster stuffing in our next post......

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Rick Nichols Does Brussels Sprouts

Rick and baby Brussels Sprouts, little green gems.

Rick Nichols, food writer extraordinaire, was good enough to share his version of Marc Vetri's famous Brussels Sprouts.  We had the good fortune to encounter Mr. Nichols at Kauffman's Lancaster County Produce in Reading Terminal Market this week where we chatted with him about Brussels Sprouts.

"People think they hate Brussels Sprouts because they associate them withe oversized, sulphurous orbs that you find in supermarkets.  But Baby Brussels Sprouts are wonderful, " says Rick.  He went on to describe his method of cooking them, which is a slightly simplified version of the Vetri version detailed in the link above.

Nichols-Vetri Sherry-charred Baby Brussels Sprouts

serves 4 as a side dish

20 Baby Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 to 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar, divided
Salt and pepper to taste

In large skillet, heat oil and butter.  Add garlic and saute briefly, long enough to allow flavor to blend.  Remove garlic from pan and discard.  Add Sprouts, face down, and char them over high heat until dark brown, about 5 minutes.   Remove from heat and season with 2 TBSP sherry vinegar, salt and pepper.  Return to heat, allow flavors to blend, and add remaining vinegar, heat through.  Serve hot immediately or at room temp up to six hours later.

We're adding this to our Thanksgiving menus.  Thanks, Rick!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Talking Turkey with Godshall's

Dean and his crew certainly love their work!
Dean Frankenfield, co-owner of Godshall's Poultry in Reading Terminal Market was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to chat with us about this season's most popular fowl. Of course, we took the opportunity to order our fresh killed Thanksgiving turkeys from Dean, and he was kind enough to share these turkey facts:
  • Godshalls sells about 1200 turkeys the week of Thanksgiving.
  • Turkey is absolutely the meat of choice this time of year;  people who don't need a whole bird (the smallest is 10 lbs) will buy a breast, or assorted turkey parts like wings and drumsticks.
  • Dean's favorite use of leftover turkey:  sandwiches.  His wife's:  a casserole made with leftover turkey, broccoli, and cooked rice in a creamy mushroom sauce.
  • As a devoted fan of turkey's true taste, Dean does not brine, but, being an open minded chap he does not judge those of us who do.

Godchall's stock, ready for roasting
    And now,  Drumstick roll, please, the information you've all been waiting for, Dean's Top Tips for Successful Roasting:

    1.  Set the oven at 325-350.
    2.  Roast the turkey Breast Down.  This maintains maximum moisture in the meat.
    3.  Cook 12-14 minutes/lb for an unstuffed turkey, 14-15 minutes/lb for a stuffed bird.
    4.  After cooking, remove turkey from oven and tent with foil approx 20 minutes. This maintains moisture and makes for easier carving.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Dressing the Perfect Thanksgiving Table

    In the South of France, the Cicada is a popular motif for linens because it is associated with good luck

    What's your favorite holiday? 

    Thanksgiving or Christmas? 

    A poll among our facebook friends suggests that Thanksgiving is preferred by far.  Reasons given include ""it's all about the family", "less commercial", "no presents" short, it's the company that's around and the food that's upon the table that makes Thanksgiving.  The table literally takes center stage at this time of year. 

    With this in mind, we sauntered down to Reading Terminal Market to interview Laura di Francesco, owner of Contessa's French Linens for her thoughts on how to dress a table for Thanksgiving.

    Laura has a passion for French linens.  She sources hers from Marseilles and Nice, believing that "the best linen comes from the South of France."

    She goes direct to the South of France to select her stock and claims that only things that pass the "Laura wash test" make it into her store in the Market.  By this, we mean that Laura herself washes a tea-towel, tablecloth or napkin many times - to check for shrinkage and loss of color - before placing an order for that line of linens. 

    Linen from the South of France is characterized by its color and the motifs favored by the weavers. 

    Popular colors include lavender blue, sunny yellow and bright white. 

    Motifs are always drawn from the natural world; we spotted bunches of lavender, trailing vines, flower designs and of course the symbolic cicada -- synonymous with happiness and good fortune!

    Laura's store is a riot of color.  Her linen table cloths are richly patterned and colored

    Her advice to those looking for linens, either as a cheerful holiday gift, or to dress their own table: 

    1.  "Don't skimp on the quality.  Look for fabric that is teflon-coated.  This is important because it means the fabric won't absorb food and wine stains; you can sponge off stains immediately."

    2.  If you want to use something other than a tablecloth, then try using a napkin as a place mat and then match that napkin with another napkin, folded attractively.  (see above)

    3. People often move away from the Thanksgiving table between the main course and dessert.  Because of the quantity of food, guests may take a break between courses and rejoin later for dessert or coffee.  In order to help people remember where they sat, and more to the point, remember which napkin was theirs, then why not use a different colored napkin for each person?

    As the days get shorter, we rely on fun-filled celebrations like Thanksgiving to lift our spirits and get us through the winter season.   Half the fun is in the plotting and planning behind the scenes for the Big Day.  If you are in need of a pick me up at this time of year, linger in Laura's store; Contessa's French Linens are extraordinarily beautiful both to the touch and to the eye - golds, reds, oranges, purples and cobalt linens dazzle and delight.

    For further information, or to order directly from Laura, refer to her website.

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    Philadelphia's Pepperpot soup - The Tripe, the whole Tripe and Nothing but the Tripe...

    It's true. 

    One of the reasons that this recipe is famous is that it includes honeycomb tripe. 

    Before you wrinkle up your nose with distate, consider the merits of eating the stomach lining of a cow...

    1. It's environmentally correct.  It's far greener to consume as much of an animal as possible.

    2. Tripe is cheap and nutritious and packed with vitamins.  So it's good for you.

    3. It's part of America's history....

    Pepperpot soup earned itself the soubriquet "the soup that won the war."  The back story is fascinating. 

    It was the Winter of 1777. Washington's troops stationed in Valley Forge were cold and practically starving because the English had bought up all the local food supplies because they had hard currency.  The story runs that there were no victuals to be had for the Revolutionary troops so the army chef had to get creative.  With a few scraps of meat, tripe and peppercorns - anything edible he could lay his hands on - he invented this spicy, heart-warming recipe.  The soup was filling and nutritious, and legend goes, with bellies full, the troops went on to beat the English soundly and change the course of the War.

    This weekend, Jack McDavid, chef/owner of Down Home Diner recreated this hearty fare at the Forgotten Foods Festival. 

    It went down a treat!

    An authentic version of the original Pepperpot Soup recipe is available here...

    To obtain the Veal Knuckle and the Tripe itself, ask Giunta's at Reading Terminal Market. 


    Friday, November 11, 2011

    Chocolate Hazelnut Pie

    This chocolate hazelnut pie was the chart-topper for me this week
    I'm on a hazelnut binge.  Bought a packet for one recipe and subsequently found, customized or created several other hazelnut-based recipes in one week alone!

    First up, a roasted butternut squash salad with hazelnuts from Food&Wine magazine.

    Uber simple this...

    This Fall salad packs a punch. 

    The combination of roasted squash and toasted hazelnuts is a winner and is enhanced by the intense hazelnut oil dressing drizzled over the salad greens.

    It's a substantial salad and because of the roasted squash can almost be counted as a side!

    Next up was the chocolate hazelnut pie

    It's a bit like a chocolate pie because it's all dense and gooey, but the addition of the hazelnuts gives it an edge; think Nutella - if you're a fan of this breakfast spread - only for grown-ups!

    I never got to taste it...Quick photo and then it was headed to a neighbor, Amanda, who described it thus: "It's richer than a normal choc pie - and decadent.  The hazelnuts are a bonus.  I'm sorry you should have taken a slice."

    She was right.  I should have.

    Chocolate Hazelnut Tart - converted to Imperial Measurements
    Serves 6
    For the pastry case:
    plain flour 150g (5oz)
    90g (just over 3oz)
    ground hazelnuts
    50g (2oz)
    egg yolk
    caster sugar 1 tbsp

    For the filling:
    hazelnuts 100g (3 1/2oz)
    shelled walnuts 80g (3oz)
    caster sugar
    75g (just under 3oz)
    fine dark chocolate
    250g (9oz)
    butter 40g (1 1/2oz)
    espresso coffee
    5 tsp
    eggs - 4

    For cooking instructions, see Nigel Slater's Chocolate Recipes.

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    Jack McDavid's Apple Cranberry Crisp

    Jack McDavid, Chef/Owner of the Down Home Diner in Reading Terminal Market is justifiably famous for his authentic country cooking.   His recipe for apple crisp does not disappoint.  Not only is it simple to make, but served warm with vanilla ice cream it is a righteous dessert,   Better yet, it doubles as breakfast the next morning (sans ice cream)--if there's any left, that is.

    Jack's Apple Cranberry Crisp

    4 lbs Gala Apples, peeled, cored, and cut in 3/8 inch slices
    2 TBSP lemon juice
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/4 lb fresh cranberries

    3/4 cup flour
    3/4 cup brown sugar
    2 pinches salt
    1 stick butter, cut in pieces
    1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (NOT instant or quick cooking)
    1/4 cup maple syrup
    vanilla ice cream, cinnamon and allspice for serving

    Heat oven to 375.  Mix filling ingredients in large oval baking dish.  In mixing bowl, blend flour, brown sugar, salt, butter, and oats.  Blend til mixture forms pea-sized clumps.  Crumble over apple mixture and press gently.  Drizzle maple syrup over crumble topping and bake 45-50 minutes.  When done, apples are soft and topping is browned and crisp.  Serve warm topped with Bassett's vanilla ice cream sprinkled with cinnamon and allspice.  NOTE:  This can be done without the cranberries for a simple apple crisp.

    Saturday, November 5, 2011

    Kelsey's Fall Fig Salad

    Fall Fig Salad starring Reading Terminal Market fresh produce

    Fair Food Farmstand, Iovine Brothers Produce, and other Reading Terminal Market merchants provide the ingredients to this fancy fall fig salad made by none other than my budding foodie of a daughter. It started with a complaint:  "Mom, your salads are so boring.   And they're not pretty."

    She's right, I suppose. I tend to view a salad as a light side dish, almost palate cleanser; I gravitate toward baby greens like arugula or mache and toss them with a simple balsamic vinaigrette.  But Kelsey prefers something a bit more involved, and if she's willing to make it, I'm more than happy to provide the ingredients and step aside.

    Kelsey's Fall Fig Salad

    1 10 oz package Spring Mix, rinsed and spun
    6 black or green figs, quartered
    1 pear, peeled, cored and sliced and spritzed with lemon
    1/3 cup lightly salted cashews
    1/4 cup grated asiago cheese (or other sharp cheese of your choice)

    Place spring mix in salad bowl, and arrange other ingredients decoratively on top.  Dress as desired--we used a light lemon vinaigrette.

    When you see her Halloween costume, you can tell that plain and simple are not to her liking:

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    You Say Potato, I Say Pot-ah-to!

    Fall produce shines at Reading Terminal Market.  Today we spotlight potatoes.

    I love potatoes. Blame it on my Irish-American heritage or my addiction to carbs. Mashed, baked, roasted, fried, white, russet, yukon gold or sweet, this girl loves her spuds.

    I can easily make a meal out of a potato--scrub, prick, bake at 400 about an hour, cut the top, and fill with anything from cottage cheese to chili con carne and I'm a happy lass. Said meals are reserved for when I'm dining solo; husband doesn't cotton to this type of carb-fest, being more of a lean protein and salad kind of guy (I know, I know, but he's handsome and has a good job).  My carnivorous kids would wonder where the rest of their dinner was.  Other fave spud dinner:  baked sweet potato topped with black beans and salsa--no fat, lots of flavor, rich in vitamins, high in fiber, cheap and filling.  Good

    My British partner has been on a recent rant about the fact that the mashed potatoes she makes in her adopted country, i.e. the US, do not match the fluffy, light, Utopian version that she recalls from her youth.  She has set herself on a Grail-like quest to recreate British mashed potatoes stateside.  She has tried Bon Appetit's version using russets, but was disappointed. If you have any insights or hints, we'd be delighted to hear them, either as a blog comment below or FB post.  But meanwhile, back in the potato patch....

    My latest potato creation arose out of an ongoing love affair with Beck's Cajun Cafe's Devil Dust.    This spice blend is positively wonderful; I have used it on salmon, shrimp, hamburgers, steak, chicken, pumpkin seeds, and now potatoes.  All have been transformed something good into something wonderful.   I've become so addicted I'm considering putting it in my morning we need an intervention?

    To make Devil Dusted Potatoes......

    3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large bite sized chunks
    2 white potatoes (any variety) peeled if you insist (I refuse) and cut into large bite sized chunks
    1-2 TBSP canola oil (enough to lightly coat potatoes)
    1 TBSP Beck's Devil Dust

    Heat oven to 400.  Place potatoes in large baking dish and toss with oil and Devil Dust.  Roast til browned, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, 45 minutes or more.   Serve hot, to general amazement and adoration.

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Fall Fennel and Fruit Salad

    My sister Kristen, source of the now famous Chicken Bruschetta recipe, sent us one of her latest creations.  While many things run in the family (blue eyes, weak bones, a taste for pinot noir) the fondness for fennel does not.  Claire, however, is a fennel fan, and was inspired to try this with dinner last night.   It was a hit--the perfect complement to her simple grilled fish.
    Waiting to be transformed....

    Fall Fennel and Autumn Fruit Salad

    Toss in large salad bowl:
    1 fennel bulb, chopped very fine
    1 pear, chopped
    1 apple, chopped
    toss with a 10 oz pkg baby greens - could be  arugula/spinach/endive/pea shoots or a combo
    1/4 cup chopped walnuts (or use candied walnuts for extra crunch and sweetness, a nice touch)
    Optional:  garnish with large slivers of Parmesan (use a potato peeler for slicing)

    Mix dressing:
    1/4 cup Olive oil
    juice from one whole lemon
    salt/pepper to taste


    Bon Appetit!