River Grill: Narrowsburg, New York

IMG_7873b

Narrowsburg, New York is a quaint little town a few miles away and just across the Delaware River from Honesdale, Pennsylvania (our town).  The small main street is chock- a-block with restaurants and boutique shops; antiques, fine wines, furniture, clothing, etc. We’ve always liked this town and it gets a lot of visitors from New York City for the festivals and river sports.

IMG_7862b

Although the trees in France do change colors in autumn, I have always thought that the colors were muted or maybe discreet at best.  What I have always loved about the U.S. east coast is that our autumn colors are striking, brash and boisterous, with the trees shouting “me, me, me.”  American, quoi :D

IMG_7815b

Saturday was a gorgeous day with moderately warm weather and we drove over to Sullivan County, New York to drop Jade off at a birthday party for one of her cousins.  The hills and dales of Sullivan County are “pocked” with Mullallys and the boys all pretty much have the same first names; Brian, Kevin, Patrick, Michael.  A nightmare for the postman.  The girls’ names, while varied, are mostly along the same Irish theme; Kelly, Coleen, Megan, Margaret, Maura.  I love that.  Tradition!

Okay, you probably want to know about those moules/mussels in the top photo.

IMG_7843b

We lunched at the River Grill on Main Street in Narrowsburg that has both indoor and outdoor tables with a fine view of the river.  Of course on this lovely day, we chose to sit outside.

IMG_7853b

We were very excited about the menu!  In addition to the day’s “features” their menu offerings of duck breast, salmon and fresh pastas made our jaded, Francophile hearts go pitter-pat :)

IMG_7846b

Normally this kind of food would make wine an essential part of the meal, but we have had so many bad experiences (dry=semi-dry, fruity=tastes like fruit, maybe raspberry, smokey=don’t-have-this), that we stoically decided not to possibly ruin our meal with upscale variations of Gallo’s Thunderbird and Night Train.  We’ll go back later just to try the wine.  Who knows?  It could be good….

Anyway.  The food was great!  As an appetizer, we shared a big bowl of mussels that had a peppery, garlic flavor that, while not traditional, was still interesting.  My one suggestion would be BUTTER and maybe SHALLOTS.  That’s two suggestions.  I’ll bet Jamie Oliver would hate me if he knew me :D

IMG_7881b

Well we couldn’t all have the duck breast, so our son who is younger and hungrier was awarded the honor.  Long Island duck breasts come from Pekin ducks of Chinese origin and cannot be referred to as “magrets” because these ducks are not Barbary ducks nor are they force fed.  God forbid.  Still they are flavorful and although the breast was not served rare (there’s probably a law), our son said it was juicy, loved the cherry sauce, grilled vegetables and smashed potatoes.  We all liked the presentation.

IMG_7893b

My husband had an enormous breaded pork chop that was reminiscent of German schnitzel, however, the Grill’s chef’s innovation was a marvelous lemon sauce topping.  I should have taken a picture of the empty plate.

IMG_7905b

I have been absolutely craving fresh pappardelle pasta and this big, rich bowl of pasta bolognaise filled the bill.  There was really enough for 2 people but the men were ravenous and happy to help out :)  Of course we had no room for dessert but decided instead to go around the corner for espressos.

IMG_7907b

Good sign.  Bad picture.  Who knew about that shadow :D  Coffee Creations has good tasting coffee and you can sit outside at little round tables on the sidewalk.  Coffee Creations has good French cafe like demi-tasse cups that they will not fill to the top.  If you order a double espresso, instead of filling up the demi-tasse, they give you a big cup that they don’t fill up either.  They did the same thing in Stuttgart!   I hate that.

IMG_7915b

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in American, Appetizer, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Legumes Moches

IMG_7811b

I think it was Roger who mentioned the promotion of “ugly” vegetables and fruits in French grocery stores at a third of the price of “pretty” or regulation vegetables and fruits. I thought about this again after another dismal and disappointing visit to the weekly Farmers’ Market and comparison shopping for organic local vegetables in the supermarket.  I think I begin to see the light.

IMG_7751b

The Farmers’ Market, maybe a half dozen tables with a handful of each variety of vegetables or fruit, looks like the aftermath of a holocaust, 10-20 years later when things are starting to grow again.  In this case, local organic means scarce, ugly and therefore outrageously expensive.  That can’t be right!  And it’s not.

IMG_7780b

Many of the same farms that sell local, organic vegetables and fruits in the market, also sell to the supermarkets and while the produce is a bit more expensive than the non organic,  there is a lot of variety and appearance counts.  So, I think I will either buy in the supermarket or go directly to each farm for variety if nothing else.

IMG_7787b

Uninspired, I didn’t know what I was going to cook today so I just added things to a pot until I had something.  My husband had bought some Italian sausage links on sale, God knows where, that I used along with some lean ground beef.

IMG_7797b

Sauteing vegetables in olive oil is always a good beginning.

Random Ragout

1 lb bulk hot Italian sausage

1 lb lean ground beef

1 large purple onion, chopped

4 large garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 each orange and green bell pepper, diced

2 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved

1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

1 bay leaf

1 can diced tomatoes

2 cans chicken broth

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 cans cannelini beans, drained

1 can yellow hominy, drained

Brown the sausage and beef together in a skillet, drain and set aside.

Saute the onion, garlic and bell peppers in the olive oil until the onion is soft.  Add the reserved ground meat, grape tomatoes, oregano, basil, bay leaf, diced tomatoes, broth, cumin, salt and pepper, then bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the beans and hominy and continue to simmer for 20 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Quails R Us Plus

IMG_7736b

About 20 minutes outside of Honesdale there is a farm called Quails R Us Plus that sells fresh eggs; goose, chicken and quail.  In addition they advertise poultry and lamb.  We didn’t see any of the lamb and poultry because when we got there, nobody was home except for a little dog inside of the barn next to the “office” with the refrigerator full of quail and chicken eggs and money in a bowl.  We took our chicken and quail eggs and left the money on top of one of the freezers.  We’ll have to go back to see what else they have.

In the meantime, I made Korean quail eggs.

 

Posted in Appetizer, Asian, Cooking, Food and Wine, Hors d'oeuvres, Korean, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Where the Buffalo Roam

IMG_7711b

Real men from New York State don’t rely on GPS guidance.

She:  You missed that turn, My Heart.

He:  Don’t worry about it.  She (the GPS) doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

IMG_7595b

Lost once again in Pennsylvania, we chanced upon a buffalo farm.  A real buffalo farm!  A good sized herd was ruminating, roaming around, eating grass and looking very free range. I didn’t have my camera with me because I didn’t know that we’d be taking the long-cut home.  Next time when we intentionally return to the farm, I’ll get pictures to post.

IMG_7636b

The farm has a little store in the front with freezers packed with buffalo meat cuts.  I thought I’d try the short ribs for my first experience cooking buffalo.  All the cuts were expensive but so is everything else in the States that is raised and butchered by individuals. Tant pis.  This farm is a good source of unadulterated protein and the short ribs were delicious.

IMG_7623b

What’s the deal with the fat free thing!?  I didn’t imagine that anything could be done to everyday, ordinary beef broth in the can so I didn’t read.  But when I got it home, I noticed that it was 99% fat free.  From the ubiquitous range of fat free products in the supermarkets (there’s no getting away from them!), we Americans should be some of the fittest people on earth!  And we all know that’s not true.  So what are they doing with the fat that they’re taking out of everything?  You know they’re not throwing it away!  I guess it’s better not knowing : -0

IMG_7621b

To my relief, I found some local, good sized, juicy garlic at the Super Duper market.  I don’t usually shop for vegetables here but pass from time to time for their great sales on cat food and litter.  In the future I’ll look at everything.

IMG_7640b

In Pennsylvania alcoholic beverages, except for beer, is sold in government state stores. As far as bottled French, Italian and Spanish wines are concerned, it seems that the civil servant who chooses the wines  1) Doesn’t know a thing about wines and doesn’t care.  2) Is only interested in saving the State money by choosing the least expensive imported wines with names he/she has vaguely heard of; Chardonnay, Chablis, Chianti, Cabernet Sauvignon, Beaujolais Village,Valpolicelli, etc.  Of course these are wines that no self-respecting, homeless, on the dole, European would drink, so they export this “plonk” to Japan, the US and China.  Our federal government demands a healthy import tax, the state of Pennsylvania has their say and before you know it, you’ve got a 1 euro bottle of Cote du Rhone for $22 on the shelves.  You can imagine how we hate this.  Worse, you can not find, other than Veuve Cliquot, a decent bottle of wine on these shelves for neither love nor money.  We have got to go into the city (New York) to find a solution because the Black Box seems to suck us into a black hole.

IMG_7669b

I love roasting vegetables!  This are from local farmers.

IMG_7695b

The Indians probably ate like this when they got tired of buffalo.

Roasted Buffalo Short Ribs

3 lbs buffalo short ribs, cut into individual ribs

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 heaping tbsp meat rub (Emeril’s essence/Bavarian essence/your favorite)

3/4 cup flour

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, halved then sliced

3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3 bay leaves

5 fresh thyme sprigs

1 can normal beef broth

1 cup red Black Box wine or if in France, Cote du Rhone

Mix the salt, pepper, rub and flour together, then dredge the ribs in the mixture.  Brown the ribs in the oil, a few at a time, no crowding, then place them in a roasting pan.

Briefly saute the garlic and onion the same pan until the onion is wilted, the pour over the top of the ribs in the roasting pan.  Tuck in the bay leaves and thyme, then pour the broth and wine over the top.

Cover the ribs with aluminum foil, then roast at 375 F for 2-2 1/4 hours.

Garlic Roasted Vegetables

1 each,  small zucchini and yellow summer squash, cut into large chunks

1 small cauliflower, broken into florets

12 large mushrooms, halved or quartered, depending on size

1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped

1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

1  fresh scallion, sliced

5 huge cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

Mix everything together, place in a baking pan and roast at 375 F for 45 minutes, stirring after 30 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Macaroni and Cheese

IMG_7529b

A couple of years ago I made a macaroni and cheese to take to a barbecue in Villiers-Louis, France, deep country.  I made this casserole in a sort of can’t be bothered way but the French loved it!  I used 3 different French cheeses (reblochon, tomme de savoie, comte) and creme fraiche.  I also mixed in some red bell pepper and onion.  It was good, so I thought of making a reasonable facsimile today with the cheeses that are available in Pennsylvania, USA.

IMG_7542b

Surprisingly, it was difficult to find cheese that wasn’t reduced or low fat!  Ditto for the sour cream (I substituted this for the creme fraiche).  I like all the fat that’s supposed to be in my milk products.  In the case of a particularly rich dish, I eat less of it, but I want all the flavor of the unadulterated product.  The same goes for butter.

IMG_7433b

In the end, I had to settle for reduced fat cheddar, but normal monterey jack and mozzarella.  The cheddar was an accident.  My eyes were so glazed over from looking for normal cheddar that this one slipped by me.  There was one container of normal sour cream left.  I snapped that up!  I think I have to make a bi-weekly visit to Wegmans in Scranton.

IMG_7441b

I do most of my shopping at the local Weis Supermarket.  They offer both local and some organic vegetables and fruit.  Fresh and pretty.  And sometimes you can find meat that is organic/grass fed/free range.  Like these lovely center cut pork chops.

IMG_7485b

I baked these in my usual way; salt, pepper, flour, butter in the pan.  Marvelous!

IMG_7552b

Macaroni and Cheese

1/2 onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 tbsp butter

1 lb small elbow macaroni, cooked

1/2 cup monterey jack cheese, grated

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

1 1/2 cup sour cream

Bread crumbs

Saute the onion and bell pepper in the butter until the onion is soft, then toss with the hot macaroni.  Add the monterey jack, the mozzarella, 1/2 cup of the cheddar and the sour cream.  Stir to blend well.  Pour the mixture into a baking pan and top with the rest of the cheddar, then the bread crumbs.

Bake in a 425 F oven for about 30 minutes.

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, side dish | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 52 Comments

Bento a la Carnivore

IMG_7375b

The problem with my kitchen is that, in the 80s, the owners of the house bought top of the line, fashionable, electric, black and stainless steel appliances to compliment their quality but dark, real wood, kitchen cabinets.  Over 30 years later, the appliances are old, and I’ve never liked electric, black or stainless steel appliances.

IMG_7419

In addition, the butcher block island top looks like a real old and aggressively used, third world country, butcher’s block.  Trying to get the top replaced, plus fitting the new white, gas stove into the old space for the electric oven, plus replacing the leaking dishwasher has been a nightmare.  Apparently, removal and installation are two separate areas of expertise and we had to schedule a remover before we could schedule installations.  I almost lost the will to live.

IMG_7412b

The good news is that after a brief tryst with vegetarianism, Jade has rejoined the fold. While not discouraging her foray into non-meatitude, we continued to cook and eat all manner of beasts that smelled and looked delicious, causing understandable salivation and dissatisfaction with her healthy but meat-less meals.   A little propaganda, and voila!

Killer Vegetarians

Where is Jamie Oliver when you need him!?  Jade’s high school cafeteria could use a visit. I have started to prepare bento boxes for her lunch at her request and because I like preparing bento boxes :)

IMG_7399b

Today’s lunch was packed with furikake sprinkled inarizushi with tuna, Major Grey chutney glazed lamb meatballs, steamed and buttered acorn squash with chunks of orangesicle fudge for dessert (bottom layer, top photo), steamed ginger chicken, cherry tomatoes with vinaigrette, star and heart shaped boiled egg halves (top layer, photo just above).

IMG_7271b

With our household effects somewhere between Stuttgart and Honesdale, I bought a few bento supplies on amazon.com.  I found a non-traditional, stainless steal, tight sealing , neon green box that I thought Jade would like.  I have to find a matching fork, knife and spoon case for her.

IMG_7315b

Inarizushi are sweet, seasoned and fried bean curd pockets that you can buy prepared in a can.  You just drain them, then pry open the pockets for stuffing.  Easy.

IMG_7294b

Make some sushi rice, seasoning it with mirin, rice vinegar and sugar.  Use Hon-mirin if you can find it instead of Aji-mirin.  Also, be sure to read the outside of the rice vinegar bottle because I found some rice vinegar that was made with wheat.  Holy Mother of God! What happened to the honesty?

IMG_7267b

When I was making the tuna for stuffing into the pockets with rice, I was a little concerned about the tuna, but Bumblebee Solid White Albacore in water is a nice tuna, although I do still miss my Petit Navire from France :)

IMG_7242b

Jade loves these!  We all do, even me.  This doesn’t count as rice :)

IMG_7308b

The steamed chicken thighs are simple to make.  Bone or buy boned 5-6 chicken thighs, skin on, place inside a bowl and then inside of a steamer basket, then sprinkle with slivers of garlic and ginger and slices of scallion.

IMG_7330b

Pour over some soy sauce and mirin, then steam.  My steamer baskets are not here yet, so I used a metal colander.  A little tricky but it worked.

IMG_7343b

Skin removed and thinly sliced, this chicken reminds me of something similar I had in The People’s Republic, back in the day.  Good over Thai rice noodles.

IMG_7357b

Really happy to have access to acorn squash again.  I could never find these in France. Simply baked or steamed, these are delicious.  Stuffed is good too :)

IMG_7378b

The lamb meatballs (lead photo) were made in a “can’t be bothered” fashion.  Good though.  The recipe included here is what I can remember.

Major Grey Chutney Glazed Lamb Meatballs

1 lb ground lamb

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 cup bread crumbs

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup Major Grey’s Mango Chutney with Ginger

1-2 tbsp water

Mix together the lamb, salt, pepper, coriander, cumin, bread crumbs and egg.  Form into normal size meatballs, then bake in a 350 F oven for 20-25 minutes.

Melt the chutney over a low flame with the water, then pour over the cooked meatballs, gently stirring to glaze.

Tuna and Sushi Rice Stuffed Inarizushi

1 large can tuna, drained

2-3 tbsp chopped onion

2-3 heaping tbsp mayonnaise

1 tsp mustard

Salt and pepper

1 can inarizushi, drained and pockets pried open

3 cups hot sushi rice

Assorted furikake sprinkles

Mix the tuna, onion, mayo, mustard, salt and pepper together and set aside.  Stuff the pockets with a layer of rice, a layer of tuna and then a final layer of rice.  Sprinkle with furikake.

Steamed Ginger Chicken

5-6 chicken thighs boned, skin on

1 inch fresh ginger, slivered

1 large scallion, sliced

2 large cloves garlic, slivered

1/4 cup mirin

1/4 cup tamari soy sauce

Put the chicken thighs in a heat proof shallow bowl.  Top with the ginger, garlic and spring onion slices.  Mix the mirin and soy sauce together and pour over chicken.  Put the bowl inside a steamer basket and steam for 15 minutes, covered.  Baste with the soy sauce mixture and steam for an additional 10 minutes.  Remove the skin and thinly slice. Serve over rice or noodles with the sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Asian, bento, Cooking, Food and Wine, Japanese, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Grilled American Lamb on Kaiser Rolls

IMG_7210b

I couldn’t decide what I wanted to make for our Labor Day meal.  I visited the Alpine Wurst & Meat House, vaguely thinking of beef brisket.  After talking to the butcher, I knew I didn’t want to grill the brisket for 12 hours, so decided on a lovely piece of butterflied lamb.  Yes, butterflied.  That’s what they call it here in America, you British people. Butterflied.

IMG_7205b

It really is a shame that American lamb has very little flavor, other than grain.  I love the grassy, tangy taste of normal lamb.  The lamb here looks good, but if I had not rubbed it with Bavarian essence, it would have been tasteless. Coming from the only credible butcher in the region, this is disappointing.  Whine :(

IMG_7169b

Some days my tzatziki is better than other days.  Today was a good day.

IMG_7159b

On Sunday we went to a volunteer fire department clam bake about 10 miles away near Hawley, P.A.  We like to attend community fund raising events held at these small town firehouses; pancake breakfasts, chicken and beef dinners, penny socials and clam bakes.

IMG_7154b

I’m usually fairly cautious about seafood at these open air affairs in the summer but this time I threw caution to the wind and ordered 12 of the raw clams, afraid that the steamed would be overcooked and chewy.

IMG_7093b

The raw clams were firm and briny.  Delicious.

IMG_7081b

As predicted, the steamed clams were overcooked and chewy.  The two “fraidy cats”, my husband and Jade, switched to the raw and ordered another serving of the delicious corn on the cob.  The corn is GM of course, all American corn is but, like cake, an occasional piece shouldn’t hurt.

IMG_7118b

Because the towns are close, the different firehouse events are attended by almost everyone in the region.  We saw our framer there.  People are open, friendly and ready to engage.   It’s a good way to let everyone have a look at you and get used to seeing you. Comparative to attending all market days in Sens and/or lolling at Le Litteraire over coffee.

IMG_7128b

It’s always good in the beginning to eat the trashiest food on offer, then you’re completely over it and need never eat it again.  Unless you’re a starving to death vegetarian and all food, save meat, is delicious and elegant :D

IMG_7142b

I really thought she wouldn’t be able to resist the lamb on kaiser rolls.  Nope.

IMG_7229b

She just sat there mechanically working her way through the macaroni and green salads. Rather sadly, I thought.

Bavarian Grilled Lamb on Kaiser Rolls

1 leg of lamb, butterflied

Bavarian essence

Tzatziki

Lettuce

Tomatoes

Kaiser rolls

Stab the lamb all over with a knife, then rub in the Bavarian essence.  Refrigerate overnight.

Turn on all the burners of a gas grill and preheat with top down to 500-600 F.  Sear the meat on both sides, turn off half the burners, put the lamb on the side without flame, put the top down and roast for about 15-20 minutes.

Remove the lamb from the grill and allow it to rest for 10 minutes, then slice and layer onto kaiser rolls with tzatziki, lettuce and tomatoes.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, Sandwich | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments