Friday, August 14, 2009

Summer Suggestions

By Millicent K. Brody

Do Your Summer Shopping at a Farmer’s Market

Do yourself and your family a favor, and visit a farmers' market. I’ve been visiting the Summit Farmer’s Market every Sunday morning and can’t seem to get enough of it. You can find anything from lavender plants and sunflowers to early apples, delicious peaches, zucchini, glorious peppers, string beans, corn, lettuce, and tomatoes. You’ll also find an endless supply of mozzarella cheese, fresh bread, and delicious confections from the Brownie Points Bakery stand. Start your Sunday morning with a freshly baked muffin or scone. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy. You’ll find a real Brownie Points Bakery in Summit at 3 Beechwood road, (908.464.2253) and at The Mall in Short Hills. The Summit Farmer’s Market is located at DeForest Ave., City Lot #2, (Summit & Maple Sts.). To find a farmers’ market near you, visit

Jersey Corn Week at Gladstone Tavern

The Gladstone Tavern is celebrating one of New Jersey’s most famous crops by offering fresh summer corn on its menu. See some of the delicious dishes they'll be offering:

Starters: Chilled gazpacho with corn fritters, ($6.); sauteed crab and corn cake with crispy corn flake crust and smoked bell pepper sauce, ($12.50); shrimp tamales steamed in corn husks with smoked tamale sauce, ($12.00).

Entrees: blackened chicken and corn salad with avocado, tomato, black beans, and a creamy, cilantro-lime dressing, ($18.00); sauteed halibut with roasted corn sauce, sauteed zucchini cakes and spicy cherry tomatoes, ($25.00); grilled pork chops with a corn whisky sauce, wilted greens, and creamy cheddar grits, $23.00).

Desserts: caramel corn parfait with vanilla ice cream, candied peanuts and hot fudge sauce, sweet molasses corn cake with Bourbon chantilly and a fresh summer berry compote, ($7.00); malted corn ice cream, ($4.00).

If you have a four-legged foodie in the family, bring your dog to the Tavern’s annual “Take your Dog to Dinner Day” on August 23.

Gladstone Tavern is located at 273 Main St., Gladstone, 908.234.9055,

Greek Taverna Celebrates First Anniversary in Montclair

As a thank-you gift for a year of welcoming and success, Greek Taverna owners Peter Hajiyerou and Wei Chen will host a Greek-style open house anniversary party at their Montclair location on Tuesday, August 25. Enjoy a free buffet from 6 to 9 p.m. Party to live Greek music from 6 to 11 p.m. For reservations and information call: 973.746.2280. Greek Taverna is located at 292 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair and 55 Promenade, Edgewater. Call: 201.945.8998.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Misadventures Down The Shore

By Molly McGrath

Since I was six I have spent one week each summer in Wildwood. This year’s vacation began like any other—wake up at the crack of dawn, load the car, pile in, and head for the Garden State Parkway. Here, my misadventures began.

Misadventure #1: The philosophy of “wake up early to beat the traffic” has become a farce. By 8 a.m. the traffic was backed up just to get on the parkway and our E.T.A. of 10 a.m. was quickly pushed back to 11:30. A minor setback in the grand scheme of things, but a pain in the butt nonetheless.

Misadventure #2: Attempting to walk on the Wildwood Boardwalk between 9 a.m. and noon. One morning my mom and I decided to go for a walk. Minutes after arriving a loud “BANG!” rang out. A gun shot? A car backfiring? Oh, no. No, no. A rental-bike-tire-blowout. I kid you not. One second this man is having a great time riding his adult-size trike down the boards and then suddenly he’s swerving uncontrollably and trying to regain his balance. It could happen to anyone. It could happen to you. And if it doesn’t happen to you, you could still be the poor pedestrian who gets his foot run over. No one is exempt from rental bike misadventures between 9 a.m. and noon.

Misadventure #3: Attack of the killer salps. Ok, so they weren’t “killer” exactly, but they sure were gross. Cape May County was inundated with what seemed to be baby jellyfish—salps. The problem got worse and worse each day until they were piled as thick as slush in the winter and you could leave footprints in them. One man on the beach even suffered from salp-infested chest hair (uh, ew). And how about the thousands of mussels that washed up in Ocean City last week… sorry I missed out on that one.

These misadventures happen to us all—seagulls attacking us for our food (my own grandmother once took a wing to the back of the head and lost her sandwich in the fight), small children driving into us on their bikes, drivers from *insert-least-favorite-state-here* slowing us down… and yet we keep coming back. The traffic gets worse, the crowds get bigger, the salps attack… And yet every summer there we all are.

The Jersey Shore is an undeniably magical place. Why? Because it’s where we’ve all grown up. It’s possible to overlook the misadventures because of the things that always stay the same: the way your heart beats a little faster when you see the ocean for the first time in a year, the smell of salt and the sound of the waves crashing when you first set foot on the sand, the way the lights on the ferris wheel and the sounds of kids laughing instantly make you smile and remember that… down the shore everything’s all right.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What the Big J.C. Told Me About Wine

By Maureen C. Petrosky

Of course I am talking Julia Child here. With the release of Julie & Julia, the world of gastronomes delights in a renaissance of French-flaired soirees and celebrations in honor of the grande dame of TV chefs. Almost everyone in the culinary world has a story to tell about meeting, working, being inspired by, or just crossing paths with the big J.C. Friends of mine at the Food Network remember her visit to the studio and how they were filled with butterflies just being in the same room. Another colleague from CNN shared that her name is on the CNN tape on display in Julia’s kitchen at the Smithsonian (she interviewed her once for a show.) My memory, of course, revolves around wine.

In 2004, I was lucky enough to be assigned an interview with the lady legend and, with the help of Julia’s assistant Stephanie, garnered some of the most memorable quotes of my career. When I asked Julia what she thought of wine snobs, she simply said she did not approve of them. We chatted about cooking with wine and enjoying wine with friends. The J.C. wisdom I most often hear myself sharing is her thoughts on wine lists in restaurants. In this current economy, and every other time, this statement holds true. She said, “A restaurant is only as good as its least expensive bottle of wine.” If ever I find myself worrying over what to order I recall that A-HA! moment.

Even in her stardom she was down to earth; she stayed true to herself and was unwavering in her commitment to what she called “cookbookery” and culinary education. In her honor and in celebration of her unending gifts to the culinary world and the world as a whole I’ve picked a champers (her jolly moniker for Champagne) she often enjoyed with the likes of James Beard and her beloved husband Paul, to toast with this week. It’s a splurge, but even Julia, as down to earth and cost-conscious as she was, knew a girl needed to indulge once in a while, especially if it meant a treat to the tastebuds.

Dom Perignon, 2000, Champagne, France, $160- That’s right, the real deal in bubbles. This is a splurge but think of it as a lesson in wine. Let these rich, glorious bubbles fill your mouth and you’ll see what all the hype,--since the 17th century, mind you--continues to be about.

On the svelter side- Willm, Cremant d’ Alsace, Rose $15- Still from Julia’s beloved France, but just a smidge north of the Champagne region, these bubbles dazzle in rosy pink and are refreshing on a hot summer day. For the complete interview, including Julia’s top picks for dinner mates and her most valuable tool in the kitchen, log on to

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Music on the Waterfront

By Brianne Harrison

Judging from the recent weather, it seems like Mother Nature is almost trying to make up for that chilly, rainy June we had. Hopefully, the beautiful weather will hold for the first River’s Edge Music Fest, which is scheduled for Saturday, August 22.

The Music Fest—which will, appropriately, be set up right on the Delaware River, in Lambertville—will feature an arts and crafts fair starring local artists, food and refreshments served by the Hibernia Fire Squad, and, of course, plenty of music. The day’s lineup includes JB Kline, The Legendary Johnny Pompadour, John Sonntag, Bosco and Peck, The Shackers, Acoustic Mellowdrama, and Mixxtape, amongst others.

Tickets to the all-day event can be purchased for $15 before the 22 at City Market, Caffe Galleria, Buck’s Coffee Shop, and Rojo’s Roastery in Lambertville. You can also buy tickets at the door for $20. For more information, visit

Monday, August 10, 2009

Well Preserved

image courtesy of
By Pat Tanner

My mother instilled in me two fears that to this day I am unable to shake: terror of pressure cookers (explosions) and home canning (botulism). So it was with some trepidation that I cracked open Eugenia Bone’s new book, “Well-Preserved” (Clarkson Potter 2009).

I began to relax when it became clear that Ms. Bone conducted painstaking research on the latest technological improvements. The first 45 pages explicate the exacting but simple facts and provide detailed how-to instructions for each technique. Plus, she brings preserving into the 21st century by going beyond water-bath canning and pickling to also include freezing, preserving in oil, curing and smoking, and pressure canning. She uses this variety of techniques to preserve not just fruits and vegetables, but also meat, poultry, fish, beans, nuts, and fungi.

Bone acknowledges that modern home cooks have limited time and space both for preserving and for preparing daily meals. She makes a good case that preserving a wide variety of products in small batches - which she does in her space-challenged Manhattan rental – is not all that time consuming and that the resultant variety of products allows her to actually spend less time preparing interesting dinners all year long.

Each recipe for preserving a particular product – say, cherries in wine – is followed by savory and sweet recipes that incorporate that product (e.g., cherry tenderloin, seared duck breast with cherries, cherry dessert soup with mascarpone).

Even if you choose to substitute store-bought preserves for homemade, dishes such as chicken thighs with green olive tapenade and shrimp with three-citrus marmalade are wonderful. But because Ms. Bone makes preservation seem so doable, so practical, and so cost-effective, you will want to make your own

Even I - scaredy-cat that I am - am contemplating buying a pressure canner to try my hand at preserving top-quality local tuna in oil.