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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Belgium Chicken Stew - Waterzooi

When Dave and I traveled to Belgium last spring, I had the very good fortune to sample Waterzooi (Vater- zoo ee) for the first time.  The broth was incredible, the chicken -- tender and amazing!  Naturally, I had to try and make it once we got home.  Here is Julia Child's recipe.  Not difficult - so satisfying on these cool spring nights.  Enjoy with a wonder Belgium white or a nice glass of Chardonney.  Bon Appetite!


3 large carrots

1 large leek (white and tender green part only)

1 medium sized onion

4 celery ribs/sticks

1 tsp dried tarragon

Butter (2 Tbsp)

1/2 tsp salt

1 lb.chicken breasts/thighs

1 cup extra dry vermouth

1 cup light chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream

2 large egg yolks

2 tsp cornstarch

salt and freshly ground black pepper

a large handful of finely chopped fresh parsley

Trim and wash the vegetables. Cut carrots, leek and celery ribs into 2-inch julienne matchsticks. Peel and halve the onion, then cut into thin slices.
Heat the butter in a heavy Dutch oven, add the vegetables, half a teaspoonful of salt and dried tarragon. Sauté for about 5 minutes, without browning! Add the chicken over the vegetables.
Pour over the vermouth and chicken  broth, so the chicken and vegetables are just covered (you may need a bit more broth). Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and chicken cooked through.
Strain the cooking liquid into a bowl. Whisk egg yolks, cream and cornstarch until combined, then add the hot cooking liquid, spoonful at the time in the beginning ('to temper' the egg yolk mixture). Pour the sauce back into the Dutch oven over the chicken and vegetables, stir in most of the parsley and heat until the first bubbles appear. Remove immediately (overheating will cause the egg yolks to curdle).

Divide into hot soup bowls and serve with boiled new potatoes, gnocchi, noodles and good French bread.

Monday, July 13, 2009

It's time for Blueberries!

The blueberries are ripe and ready for picking! Many area farms offer pick-your-own opportunities - a full list is available below.
This weekend, July 18th & 19th, is Historic Bethlehem's 24th Annual Blueberry Festival.
Fun for the entire family - a weekend of great food, live music and family fun at Burnside Plantation- a farm in the city. A wide variety of blueberry desserts, (including the best blueberry pie and ice cream), will be available for snacking. Music, crafts and demonstrations will also be offered.
Researchers at the USDA Human Nutrition Center (HNRCA) rank #1 in antioxidant activity when compared to 40 other fresh fruits and vegetables.Antioxidants help neutralize harmful by-products of metabolism called "free radicals" that can lead to cancer and other age related diseases. Anthocyanin -- the pigment that makes the blueberries blue -- is thought to be responsible for this major health benefit.
If you can resist eating them straight from the basket, here are a few recipes to try:
Old-Fashioned Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh blueberries or 3/4 cup frozen (thawed and drained)
Heat oven to 400°. Prepare struesel topping (listed below). Grease the bottoms of 12 medium muffin cups or insert paper muffin cups. Beat milk, oil, vanilla, and egg. Stir in flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and mix just until flour is moist. Batter will be lumpy. Fold in blueberries. Divide evenly among muffin cups. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of the streusel topping and bake 20 - 25 minutes until golden brown. Makes 12 muffins.

Streusel Topping
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons firm butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Mix all ingredients until crumbly.

Easy Peach/Blueberry Cobbler
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 cups fresh or frozen sliced peeled peaches
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
Directions: Heat oven to 350° Melt butter in 2 1/2 quart baking dish. Set aside. In medium bowl, combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar and baking powder; add milk; and stir until blended. Spoon batter over butter in baking dish; do not stir. Combine peaches, blueberries and 1/2 cup sugar; spoon over batter. Do not stir. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 55 minutes until dough is lightly brown. Serve warm with ice cream, if desired. Serves/Makes: 6

Lemon Blueberry Scones
The flavors of lemons and blueberries come together nicely for these tasty lemon blueberry scones.
2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
1 cup heavy cream, plus 2 tablespoons for brushing on the scones
1 cup fresh blueberries
Lemon Glaze:
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 lemon, zest finely grated
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Sift together the dry ingredients; the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. mix just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough. Fold the berries into the batter. Take care not to mash or bruise the berries because their strong color will turn the dough blue.Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12 by 3 by 1 1/4 inches.

Cut the rectangle in 1/2 then cut the pieces in 1/2 again, giving you 4 (3-inch) squares. Cut the squares in 1/2 on a diagonal to give you the classic triangle shape. Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little heavy cream. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until beautiful and brown.

Let the scones cool a bit before you apply the glaze.

Mix the lemon juice and confectioners' sugar together in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon zest and butter. Microwave for 30 seconds on high. Whisk the glaze to smooth out any lumps, then drizzle the glaze over the top of the scones. Let it set a minute before serving.

Blueberry Martini

2 oz Cranberry Vodka

2 oz. Triple Sec

2 oz. blueberry juice

1 dash of lemon/lime soda

Combine the vodka, triple sec and blueberry juice in a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. Top with Sprite, garnish with fresh blueberries, and serve.

Here are some area farms where you can pick your own blueberries and other fruits/vegetables. Please call first to be sure of days/hours. (Listing courtesy of The Morning Call).

3879 E. Mill Hill Road,
Lower Milford Township
Pick your own: Strawberries, snap and sugar peas, blueberries, peaches, apples, pumpkins
Other: Pre-picked seasonal fruits, vegetables and honey
Info: 215-679-7756

2141 Pirma Ave.,
South Whitehall Township
Pick your own: Blueberries, sour cherries, blackberries, currants
Info: 610-433-8826

5681 Berry Dr.,New Tripoli
Pick your own: Strawberries, blueberries, red raspberries, peaches, blackberries, sour cherries, sugar peas, pod peas, and string beans
Other: Pre-picked seasonal fruits and vegetables
Info: 610-298-2591,
1767 Clearview Road,
North Whitehall Township
Pick your own: Pears, raspberries, apples, cherries, peaches, pumpkins
Other: Pre-picked produce, bakes goods and preserves
Info: 610-261-2323,


5761 Nor-Bath Blvd.,
East Allen Township
Pick your own: Strawberries, shelling peas, sugar snap and snow peas, pumpkins, gourds, squash
Other: Fresh rhubarb available
Info: 610-837-6282,

262 Trapper Road,
Pick your own: Strawberries
Other: Honey available year-round
Info: 610-262-6400

6490 Kaylor Road,
Pick your own: Sweet and sour cherries, apples
Other: Pre-picked corn, peaches, nectarines, plums, pumpkins
Info: 610-498-3020,

548 Monocacy Drive,
Pick your own: Strawberries, pumpkins
Other: Pre-picked seasonal fruits and vegetables, annual and perennial plants
Info: 610-837-9582

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Some recipes from Looper's

I thoroughly enjoyed my interview with Natalie Miller, Looper's Grill & Bar, (313 E. Third St., Bethlehem) owner and chef. The interview airs Monday, July 6 from 6-6:30 p.m. on WDIY 88.1 FM (

Natalie was kind to share some of her summer favorite recipes with us. Enjoy and bon summer appetite!

Cinco Shrimp & Chipotle Corn Salad
Cinco Shrimp
1 lb large shrimp
2 T. melted butter
2 T. FRESH lime juice
1 tsp lime zest
2 T. garlic
½ tsp. hot pepper flakes
a few dashes of hot sauce…to your taste
Clean and devein shrimp (I buy them this way already). Mix all of the other ingredients and pour over the shrimp. Let sit 5 minutes. Put on a hot grill and cook about a minute and a half per side.
Serve with Chipolte Corn Salad

Chipotle Corn Salad
5 ears of corn
½ medium Vidalia or Red onion, thickly sliced crosswise
1/3 c. sour cream
2 T. fresh lime juice
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, seeded and finely chopped
1 scallion, finely sliced…
¼ cup diced cucumber (seeded)
salt and freshly ground pepper
Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the corn and onion slices with the olive oil and grill over moderately high heat until charred in spots, but still slightly crisp, about 7 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut the kernels from the cobs and coarsely chop the onion.In a medium bowl, mix the sour cream with the lime juice, chipotle chiles, cukes and scallion and stir in the charred corn and onions. Season the corn with salt and pepper.

Grilled 'Hot Potato' Potato Salad
1 1/2 lb. baby red potatoes
2 thick slices red onion (grilled and then diced)
1 ear corn (grilled and then cut off the cob)
Olive oil for grilling
3 slices bacon (cooked and crumbled)
1/3 cup finely diced celery
kosher salt (to taste)
black pepper (to taste)
1 cup mayonnaise
Tbsp. horseradish
1 tsp. fresh dill
splash lemon juice (preferably freshly-squeezed)
Splash Worcestershire
kosher salt (to taste)
black pepper (to taste)

DIRECTIONS Boil potatoes in medium sauce pan 15 minutes, just until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water. Cut the potatoes in half and chill. Drizzle the potatoes, corn and onion with olive oil and grill until slightly browned.In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, horseradish, lemon, dill, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Add in the celery, corn, bacon, and diced grilled onions and stir. Toss in potatoes and gently mix.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Backyard Grilling & Sipping!

Here are a few of my favorite recipes for fast, no fuss summer grilling. Also included are several fun and easy drink recipes. Bon Appetit!

Roasted Corn Chili & Lime
6 tablespoons crema mexicana, crème fraîche, or sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder or ancho chile powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
8 ears of corn with husks
2 limes, halved or quartered
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Mix crema mexicana, fresh lime juice, chile powder, and coarse kosher salt in small bowl to blend. DO AHEAD Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and chill.
Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Remove outer husks from corn, leaving inner pale green husks attached. Fold back inner husks; remove corn silk. Sprinkle corn with salt and pepper. Rewrap inner husks around corn. Grill corn until husks are charred and beginning to pull away and corn is tender, turning frequently, about 10 minutes. Grill lime quarters until lightly charred, about 5 minutes.
Pull husks away from corn to expose kernels. Place corn and lime on platter. Brush corn with crema-lime mixture. Sprinkle with cilantro.


Pork tenderloin

2 tbsp. dry mustard

1 tsp. thyme

12 oz. beer (light ale or a lager)

1/2 c. soy sauce

2 cloves garlic,

minced1 tsp. ginger
Mix all ingredients. Marinate pork 3 to 4 hours (in zip-lock freezer bags). Light 1/2 of grill on high. Place pork on unlit side of grill. Close cover for 45 minutes. Slice 1/2 inch slices.

Watermelon Margaritas

16 oz seeded, watermelon

1/2 lime

6 oz tequila

3 oz. triple sec

1 Tablespoon sugar

Cut up a watermelon, removing seeds. Liquify in a blender until you have about 16 oz. Add remaining ingredients, top with ice and blend until smooth. Taste and add sugar if watermelon is not sweet enough. Serve in a margarita glass with a sugar-coated rim.


Sangria is traditionally made with red wine. In this version, rose gives the drink a pretty pink blush. If you prefer a bit more "punch," add in some rum.

1 750 ml bottle of rose

4 6-ounce cans of pineapple juice

2 11-ounce cans of guava nectar

4 cinnamon sticks

2 cups fresh pineapple

2 oranges, thinly sliced


Mix in a large pitcher and cover and chill at lease 6 hours. Serve with more orange slices.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Some recipes from Emeril

Mr. Lagasse comes to Bethlehem...
Above is a photograph of the incredible Petit Allen Brother's Prime Filet Mignon, butter whipped potatoes, roasted and glazed button mushrooms I enjoyed at the media event for the new ChopHouse at the Sands.
Having had the chance to sample some of Chef Emeril Lagasse's fine cuisine at his new Sands Casino Chophouse in South Bethlehem, I thought it would be fun to show some photos from the restaurant and offer a few of the recipes he features in his new book, "Emeril at the Grill: A Cookbook for All Seasons."
Following are a few rubs and recipes for BBQ'd Ribs:

Backyard BBQ'd Spareribs
4 to 6 servings

2 racks pork spareribs (about 3 pounds each)
1/2 cup Memphis Shake or Cajun Rub, recipes follow
3 cups wood chips, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes and drained
2 cups of one of the following: Kansas City-Style BBQ Sauce or Chile-Coffee BBQ Sauce, recipes follow
Trim the membrane off the back of the ribs and rub ribs all over with spice blend. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours. Soak wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling.
Prepare an outdoor grill with a medium fire for indirect grilling. Place a drip pan, half-filled with water, under the cooler side of the grill grate. Open bottom vents of the grill.
Set the ribs over the drip pan. (If you have a rib rack, use it.) Toss 1 cup of the drained wood chips onto the coals and cover the grill. Rotate the lid so that the vent holes are directly over the ribs. Add about 1 cup of hardwood charcoals to the fire about every hour during the cooking time to maintain a medium to medium-low fire (a temperature of about 250 degrees F to 275 degrees F is ideal). After 3 hours the meat should pull back from the bones and will have turned a reddish brown. Baste the ribs with some of the barbecue sauce of your choice and cook over direct heat until lightly glazed. Cut the racks into ribs and serve with extra sauce on the side.
Shopsmart: Spareribs always mean pork from the belly. A rack of 11 rib bones ideally weighs between 2 and 3 pounds. Spareribs are often sold with a meaty section of the flank attached; when trimmed, they are known as "St. Louis style."
Cook's Note: If you like your ribs dry, skip the sauce or simply serve it on the side.

Memphis Shake:
1/4 cup sweet paprika
3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon celery salt
Whisk paprika, brown sugar, oregano, garlic, ancho powder, salt, and celery salt in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 months.
Makes about 3/4 cup

Cajun Rub:
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 bay leaves, crumbled
Mix brown sugar, oregano, parsley, garlic, onion powder, paprika, thyme, black pepper, salt, celery salt, white pepper, cayenne, and bay leaves in a bowl. Pulse in a spice grinder in two batches to a medium-fine grind. Seal in an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place for up to 2 months.
Know-How: If your spice grinder doubles as your coffee grinder, make sure you clean it well after making this rub. Place a handful of uncooked rice in the grinder, pulse to a powder, and wipe or brush the grinder clean. The rice will absorb the flavors from spices left in the grinder so your morning cup of coffee won't taste like the Bayou.
Makes 1 cup

Kansas City-Style BBQ Sauce:
2 tablespoons neutral tasting oil, such as grapeseed or vegetable
6 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 slightly heaping tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch ground cloves
2 cups ketchup
2 cups water
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup dark molasses
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons English-style dried mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, paprika, red pepper, allspice, and cloves and cook, stirring, until paste is dark brick red, about 3 minutes. Add the ketchup, water, vinegar, molasses, brown sugar, salt, soy sauce, Worcestershire, mustard, black pepper, and bay leaf. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the flavors come together, about 30 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf before using.
Makes about 1 quart

Chile-Coffee BBQ Sauce:
3 guajillo chiles
3 mulato chiles
1/2 medium onion, cut into wedges
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 tablespoons corn oil
1 cup tomato puree
1 cup strong black coffee
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch ground cumin
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
Split, stem, and seed the chiles. Toast the chiles in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, turning and flattening with a spatula, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Put the chiles in a heatproof bowl, cover with very hot water, and set aside until soft, about 30 minutes. Drain, reserve soaking liquid, chop chiles roughly, and set aside.
While the chiles soak, char the onion and garlic in the same dry skillet over medium heat until the onion blackens slightly and garlic softens in the skin, about 8 minutes. Cool, squeeze the garlic out of the skin, and put in a blender with chiles and onion. Puree to a paste, adding soaking liquid as needed (about 3/4 cup) to help the mixture break down.
Heat the oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chile mixture and cook, stirring, until thick and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add the tomato puree, coffee, sugar, 1 tablespoon salt, oregano, cloves, and cumin. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
Stir in vinegar and season with salt to taste.
Cook's Note: For this recipe, we prefer Mexican oregano. It's stronger than Italian oregano, so it can hold its own with the other assertive flavors in this sauce.
Makes 1 quart

Friday, May 8, 2009

Lehigh Valley Farmers' Markets

FRESH LOCAL PRODUCE can now be ours once again as many Lehigh Valley Farmers' Markets are now open. How wonderful to purchase tender young asparagus, bright, versatile rhubarb, and bright green early peas from a local farmer.

Most produce in the U.S. is picked four to seven days before it appears on supermarket shelves. It's astonishing to learn that it's shipped for an average of 1,500 miles before being sold! This is taking into account only U.S. grown products -- when you consider produce is also shipped from Mexico, South America and Asia -- those distances increase by leaps and bounds! We need to stop and consider the very high energy costs we are paying for!
Local food is also more nutritious. Once harvested, produce quickly loses its vitamins and minerals. In addition to the energy conservation and health benefits, buying local produce also helps preserve open space. By spending our money on locally grown food, we're increasing the value of the land to the farmer and making development less likely.
Two excellent websites where you may read more about the benefits of buying local food are:

The Emmaus, Saucon Valley and Easton Farmers' Markets are all open and the Allentown and Bethlehem Markets will be open in early June.
Did you know that the Easton Market is America's LONGEST RUNNING open-air market and is celebrating its 257th year in operation? This year, the market has added wine and cheeses to its vast array of produce, dairy products, meats, bakery items and flowers.
HERE are some good recipes made that can be made with fresh local produce now in season.

We'll need to wait just a few more weeks for the strawberries!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie
3 cups rhubarb, finely cut

4 T flour

2 cups strawberries, sliced

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 T butter

1-1/4 cups sugar

Dash cinnamon
Combine ingredients and pour into a 9-inch unbaked pie shell. Dot with butter. Bake in 400 degrees F oven for 35-40 minutes. Top with fresh whipped cream.

Chilled Strawberry Soup
A favorite recipe from Homestead Farm, Poolsville, MD.

2 pints strawberries (1 quart)

1/2 cup cold water

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup sugar, or to taste

1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 cups plain yogurt

Wash and hull strawberries. Puree strawberries with the water in container of blender. Pour mixture into large bowl; stir in orange juice, sugar and cardamom until sugar is dissolved. Blend in yogurt; chill.Serve in chilled bowls garnished with additional sliced strawberries and sprigs of mint, if you wish.

Grilled Asparagus Salad
Servings: 6
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup lemon juice
12 fresh asparagus spears
6 cups fresh spinach leaves
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon seasoned slivered almonds

Preheat a grill for low heat. Combine the lemon juice and olive oil on a plate. Place asparagus on the plate, and roll around to coat.
Grill asparagus for about 5 minutes, turning at least once, and brushing with the olive oil mixture. Remove from the grill, and place back onto the plate with the oil.
In a large bowl, combine the spinach, Parmesan cheese, and slivered almonds. Cut asparagus into bite size pieces, and add to the salad along with the lemon juice and oil from the plate. Toss to blend, then serve.

Here is a version of a Vegetable Paella to use those fresh green peas!
Vegetable Paella

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
4 garlic gloves, chopped
1green sweet pepper, cored and diced
1 sweet red pepper, cored and diced
1 cupfresh peas (may use frozen)
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
1 pinch saffron thread (not absolutely necessary but so nice)
28 fluid ounces vegetable stock
ground black pepper
10 ounceslong grained rice
1/2 cup fresh parlsey, chopped (optional)
1Dissolve the saffron in the vegetable stock.
2Prepare all the ingredients and have them lined up in front of you in the order listed above.
3Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan, add the onions and garlic, cover and cook for about 3 minutes until soft.
4Then add the peppers and peas, stir in, cover again and cook for a few more minutes.
5Make a well in the center, put the tomatoes in the well and the paprika on top.
6Then add the stock (with the saffron if you have it), but make sure it doesn't overflow: If it gets more then half a cm close to the rim of the pan, stop adding stock and just use less rice.
7Season with pepper and stir.
8Scatter as much of the rice as you think will fit over the stock, stir it in gently, then allow it to simmer gently until the liquid has absorbed and the rice is cooked. This should take about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
9Test a bit of the rice to see if it's cooked, add a bit of stock or hot water if it is not done.
10Stir in the parsley a few minutes before it has finished cooking, if you want to use it, then serve hot.
11Also nice cold eaten as leftovers.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Allentown Art Museum presents "Heart of the Home" Gourmet Kitchen Tour

How would you like to take a peek into six of the most interesting kitchens in the Lehigh Valley?

Well, on Wednesday, May 13th, you'll have the chance at a new event sponsored by the Society of the Arts group of the Allentown Art Museum.

SOTA will sponsor a new event, "Heart of the Home" Kitchen Tour, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will feature six Lehigh Valley kitchens that have been selected for their diversity and design merit.

The first stop on the tour is the welcome center, located in the Allentown Rose Garden Pavilion, off Ott St., Allentown. Visitors will have the opportunity to then proceed to any or all the kitchens on the tour. Chefs from several local restaurants, including Bolete and the Farmhouse, will be on hand demonstrating their culinary techniques. Tastings will be available, a Chinese auction and cookbook and plant sale will take place.

All proceeds from the Kitchens Tour will benefit the Art Museum's educational programs and its Print Collection. Tickets are $25 in advance at all the area's Wegman's, at the Art Museum, or $30 at the event. More information is available at

The Emmaus, Saucon Valley and downtown Easton Markets opened last weekend and look for early June openings for the Allentown and Bethlehem Markets.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

South Bethlehem's Spring on Fourth 11th Annual Chili Taste-Off

Enjoy the Entertainment of Spring on Fourth, Visit Southside Merchants,

Sample Chili During the 11th Annual Taste-Off! (Can you sample all 30??)

It’s time again to ready your taste buds, have your water bottle full and look forward to some serious sampling during this Saturday’s 11th annual chili taste-off as part of South Bethlehem’s Spring on Fourth Event.

More than 30 restaurants and organizations are preparing their favorite versions of the Tex-Mex dish and will offer samples to attendees.
From noon to 2 p.m., patrons may purchase tickets for 3 samples for $1 and visit locations throughout the southside for tastings.

While traditional chili is made with ground beef, variations -- either geographic or by personal preference -- may substitute different types of meat (or go meatless) and can also include tomatoes, beans, or other ingredients, be slightly spicy or Knock Your Socks Off HOT!
The name "chili con carne" is a variation of the Spanish chile con carne, which means "peppers with meat." Chili con carne is the official dish of the state of Texas and can be found worldwide in local variations.
Naturally, Bethlehem has its special versions of the dish.
From bananas, to chocolate, to beer and all types of sausages, the ingredients in the chili up for judging reflect a heap of creativity. Many restaurants have made their signature dishes for years; others are mixing it up with some new twists. Back again with its signature Ho Chorizo Chili will be the Tally Ho and not to be missed is De Ja Brew’s Chili Davis. A perennial favorite is Cindy’s Vegetarian Chili ladled up at Godfrey Daniels.
Tallarico’s Chocolates on Third Street has captured the Peoples Choice Award for two years. Don’t miss this one, as Brian again will spoon out samples of his tasty Chili laced with Chocolate.
After the judges make their way around to all locations and choose the winner, you can hear the announcement live here on WDIY at 4 p.m.
In addition to the chili tasting, Spring On Fourth will offer entertainment from noon to 4 p.m. in the form of music concerts at several locations, clowns, a Cops ‘n Kids reading celebration event and skateboard and BMX demonstrations. It’s a great family day and it’s free of charge. AND, at 4 p.m. WDIY will host a free concert in the Wachovia Bank Building lot featuring the Doug Hawk Proposition. Entry is free, but attendees are asked to bring a nonperishable item for the New Bethany Ministries soup kitchen.
Traditional AND Unique Chili Recipes
Crock Pot Turkey Chili Recipe
Put this chili together in the morning and by dinner time you will have a wonderful chili dish! This turkey chili recipe is also great for those watching their weight, since turkey is a leaner alternative to ground beef.
• 2 pounds ground turkey• 1 cup chopped onion• 4 large garlic cloves, chopped• 1/2 cup green peppers, diced• 1 cup chicken broth• 2 teaspoon dried cumin• 1 teaspoon dried oregano• 1teaspoon chili powder• 1/2 teaspoon salt• 1 teaspoon ground black pepper• 1 can refried beans• 2 15 to 16oz cans of kidney beans (not drained)
In a large skillet, brown ground turkey and drain. Add all ingredients to crock pot except the can of refried beans. Cover and cook on low 2 hours. Add refried beans to chili for thickening. Cover and cook on low for an additional 2 hours.

Chili Con Carne Recipe with Dark Stout

1 1/2 lbs ground beef

2 cups chopped yellow onions

1 cup chopped green bell peppers

4 teaspoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon Essence of Emeril

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 (15 ounce) can stewed canned tomatoes

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon brown sugar

16 oz. Guinness or another stout

2-3 cans of various beans (Light and dark red kidney, white beans, black)

1 cup shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped Jalapeno for topping


Brown the meat and stir to break up the pieces. Add the onion, green bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, Essence, salt, cumin, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add drained tomatoes, the tomato paste, sugar, and beer to the pot. Stir well and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, add the cans of beans and simmer uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.


4 slices bacon, diced

2 tbsp. oil

1 c. chopped onion

1 lb. ground beef

28 oz. can tomatoes

1 - 3 tbsp. chili powder

1 tbsp. ground unsweetened chocolate

1 1/2 tsp. garlic salt

1 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. pepper

16 oz. can kidney beans

1/2 c. chopped green pepper
In a heavy saucepan, saute bacon; stir in oil and onion. Add meat and cook until brown. Add tomatoes, chili powder, ground chocolate, garlic salt, cumin, and pepper; heat to boiling. Add kidney beans and green pepper. Simmer, covered, 20 minutes.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Food & Beer Pairings

Since the ancient Romans first undid their sandals, stomped grapes, and aged the juice in oak barrels to produce wines, people understood how well wine went with foods. Volumes have been written about wine & food pairings and people have been experimenting for centuries.
But beer? Well, that malty stepsister has often been reduced to consumption with lesser foods… & peanuts, beer & hotdogs, beer & pizza. Many fine restaurants have been dominated by wine. Not anymore!
Move over red and white, today there is room for brown!

As breweries throughout the world have increased exportation of their fine brews and this country’s hundreds of microbreweries have flourished, more beer & food pairings are becoming extremely popular.
Restaurant chefs and home cooks are making the discovery that beer’s flavor spectrum – from chocolaty stouts to bitter IPAs – combine with its palate-cleansing carbonation and low acidity - to become perfect matches for food.
Creative cooks are using beer as both an ingredient in their recipes and as an accompaniment to their dishes.
Beer can be incorporated, as you would add spices to a dish. Instead of thyme or oregano, a bit of a bitter IPA will give the sauce a new twist. A dark stout will add an incredible depth of flavor to stews, chilies or gravies.

To accompany meals, use seasonal ingredients and match them with seasonal beers. There are several approaches here. We can try and complement the flavor – for instance, a mango salsa over a delicate fish could be accompanied by a hefeweizen. Or you may want to contrast flavors by serving a spicy Thai dish, for example, with a super-hoppy IPA.

As a t-shirt I recently spied says, "Life is simply too short to drink bad beer." To those who say they don't like the taste of beer, I say: You simply haven't tasted the right one yet!

Multi-course beer pairing dinners now take place in restaurants throughout the country. These events go far beyond traditional pub grub. Several area establishments are adding these events as well.

Locally, The Farmhouse Restaurant, Emmaus, has offered beer tasting dinners for several years. Chef Michael Adams creates three farm-to-table courses paired with different beers on the Third Thursday of each month.

This Thursday’s event, “For the Love of Chimay,” will feature the three versions of the Belgium ale paired with a variety of foods. For reservations and information you can visit

The most recent edition of one of my favorite magazines, Imbibe, features a very good article about beer and food and offers the following tips for beer-pairings dinners. The following list was compiled by Chef Sean Paxton.
1. Beer Is an ingredient. “You can use beer just like you would oregano or thyme, to add flavor,” Paxton says. “Bitter IPAs and sweet barleywines can be vital to any recipe.” 2. Tweak the standards. “Sake and sushi is an amazing combination, but so is sushi with a crisp pilsner or lager,” Paxton says. “Don’t be afraid to deviate from the norm.”

3. Stick to beers you like. “Trust your taste buds. If you don’t like a sour, complex lambic, don’t put it on the menu.” 4. Eat and drink seasonally. “Use seasonal ingredients and match them to seasonal beers,” Paxton urges. “Dark, rich beers work well with stews and braised meats for a reason.”

5. Complement and contrast. “With beer pairings, you either want to complement the flavor (like a mango salsa over fish with hefeweizen) or contrast it by serving a super-hoppy IPA with spicy Thai.”

6. Make a scene. “When you design a dinner, think about how you can make it interesting,” Paxton says. “Make a quirky appetizer or use cool stemware or keep the menu secret. The point of the dinner is to learn, have fun and inspire people.”

7. The more the merrier. Invite as many people as you can feed, Paxton suggests. “Our society has gotten so used to eating in front of a TV. A beer-pairing dinner is an organic way to gather a likeminded community.”

8. Begin mild, end big. “Start with lighter, simpler beers and move up to stronger, more complex beers,” Paxton says. “If you kick off dinner with an imperial stout, you’ll blow out people’s palates.”

9. Have a theme. “Organize your beer dinner around a single brewery or perhaps a country. It serves as a unifying principle you can build around.”

10. Steady the course. “A three-course dinner can be just as rewarding as a 10-course dinner,” Paxton says. “Don’t bite off more than you can chew, and feel free to keep the recipes simple.”

See more recipes below.

Beef & Beer Brisket

Here is an excellent recipe I found several years ago and have made in my slow cooker. The simple ingredients go in the crock in the morning. Come home from work to the delicious savory aromas.
Warning - dogs do drool over this!
It's nice to serve with some boiled new potatoes or mashed.

Beef & Beer Brisket
1 (4 pound) beef brisket
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 large onion, sliced and separated into rings
1/2 cup chili sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 cup (a full-bodied Pale Ale, like Sierra Nevada)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Trim fat from brisket, and cut brisket in half. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon pepper.PLACE onion rings in bottom of a slow cooker; top with brisket.STIR together chili sauce and next 3 ingredients; pour over brisket.COVER and cook on HIGH 4 to 6 hours, or on LOW 8 to 12 hours. Remove brisket, and set aside, reserving liquid in slow cooker.REMOVE1 cup reserved liquid from slow cooker; whisk in flour, and pour into slow cooker, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until thickened. Serve over brisket; sprinkle with pepper.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spring Crops from the Farmers Market

One of the early spring crops to be harvested and now available locally is Swiss Chard. Yes, you know's one of those vegetables down in the corner of the produce aisle. It's usually near the leeks and endive and you're just not too sure what to do with it!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Celebrate "The Greening"
...with Peas
As Spring begins to sprout her tender beauty, it's wonderful to begin to lighten up our menus with fresh ingredients. Easter approaches and lamb, fresh asparagus, spring onions and colorful eggs grace our tables. I like to think about the simple pea. As green as new foilage, the vegetable is often underated and underused. I've been searching for new recipes that feature one of Mother Nature's prettiest wee creations.
Maria Rodale, of Rodale Inc., authors a wonderful blog on cooking, planting, travel, etc. Check out:
Her new post offers instructions on getting outdoors to plant peas. There is no satisfaction like that of sowing, tending and harvesting one's own vegetables and then offering them up in a delicious, fresh dish, (or sharing them with others).
I found the following recipe by Bon Appetite and added my own signature to the dish. It's easy, inexpensive, and features the Petite Pea. If you can't find them fresh, frozen peas will work fine too. The mint wakes up the dish and will make you yearn for warmer days!

Along with a crusty baquette, I served this with a very complex Belgium beer called Gulden Draak, (Golden Dragon). Chardonney would be quite nice as well.

Pasta with Peas
Makes 6 to 8 servings
1 16-ounce package large shell pasta or Fiori
1/4 lb. of bacon
1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
1 16-ounce package frozen petite peas (do not thaw) OR 1 cup fresh peas
2 1/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
Instructions: Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot.
Cook bacon until crisp. Drain well and crumble. Set aside.
Meanwhile, bring cream to simmer in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add peas and simmer just until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 2 1/4 cups cheese and stir until melted and sauce thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Stir in bacon, mint and 1/4 cup parsley. Pour sauce over pasta and toss to coat, adding pasta cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if dry. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with remaining parsley. Serve, passing additional Parmesan alongside.

Here's a wonderful recipe from the current issue of Bon Appetite using peas.
Green Pea Soup with Tarragon and Pea Sprouts
This healthy soup gets its vibrant color from frozen peas, making it easy and nutritious.
6 servings
2 16-ounce packages frozen petite peas, divided (do not thaw)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups sliced shallots (about 11 ounces)
4 cups (or more) vegetable broth
3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon, divided
Plain nonfat yogurt, stirred
Small fresh pea sprouts*
*Available at natural foods stores and Asian markets.
Place 1 cup peas in microwave-safe bowl; set aside. Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté until golden and almost tender, about 7 minutes. Add remaining peas, 4 cups broth, and 2 tablespoons tarragon; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil until flavors blend and peas are tender, about 7 minutes. Cool slightly. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until completely smooth. Return to same saucepan. Bring to simmer and thin with more broth by 1/4 cupfuls, if desired. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon tarragon. Season with pepper.
Cook reserved 1 cup peas in microwave until warm, about 1 minute.
Ladle soup into 6 bowls. Drizzle lightly with yogurt. Sprinkle whole peas over and garnish with pea sprouts.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Erin Go Braugh!

St. Patrick's Day Recipes

With the annual celebration of St. Patrick's Day right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to offer up a few of my seasonal favorites. It may seem a shame to pour this great brew into a recipe, but the richness of Guinness gives all these dishes that extra "Irish kick." In each case, the alcohol will cook out, departing its special essence.

This first recipe is a wonderful starter on a chilly night. It's great for St. Patrick's Day celebrations OR just a cozy dinner for two in front of the fireplace.

Irish Cheddar and Stout Fondue
1 pound Irish Cheddar (such as Dubliner), grated
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 onion,
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon coarse-grain mustard

1 1/4 cups Irish stout (such as Guinness or Murphy’s)

Toss the cheese with the flour in a bowl and set aside.
In a fondue pot, (or a heavy pot), melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown and very soft, about 10 minutes.
Add the salt, mustard, and stout. Increase the heat to medium-high, stirring constantly, until the liquid boils.
Decrease the heat to medium-low and add the cheese mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until melted after each addition. Serve immediately.

Serve with: Irish brown soda bread cubes; chicken-apple sausages, cut into bite-size pieces; steamed red or Yukon gold potatoes; steamed brussels sprouts.

Pairing suggestions: stout or ale; hard cider; sauvignon blanc.
Recipe courtesy of Fondue, by Rice & Callinan

Here is a simple, but delicious appetizer that packs a wee bit o' Guinness flavor! Wonderful as a starter paired with a fine Belgium Witbier or a nice pale Ale.


1 (8 oz.) pkg. of cream cheese

2 tbsp. mayonnaise

2 tsp. onion juice

1 tsp. paprika

2 tbsp. Guinness

2 (4 oz.) jars smoked oysters, chopped

Finely minced chives
INSTRUCTIONS: Bring cheese to room temperature; mix with mayonnaise, onion juice, paprika and Guinness; whip until fluffy. Fold in finely chopped smoked oysters and chives. Note: Onions can be juiced in a food processor or can be chopped very fine.
Serve with crisp dip crackers or whole wheat breadsticks.

Shepherd's Pie with Guinness

The roasted barley in Guinness imparts a deep intensity and richness to this gravy. It's important to allow adequate simmering time. There is controversy over using ground beef or lamb in Shepherd's Pie. Traditionally, a pie made with beef is termed a "Cottage Pie" and one with lamb is the "Shepherd's" (makes sense!). But, I prefer beef and have tweaked this recipe and have made it many times with good results. This recipe makes enough for 10 people with some leftovers!

5 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks

4 Tablespoons sour cream

2 large egg yolks

1 cup milk (or cream)

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 pounds ground beef (0r lamb)

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 med onions, chopped

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons flour

1 cup beef stock

1 cup Guinness (draught can or extra stout is good)

4 teaspoons Worcestershire

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup frozen peas

2 teaspoons sweet paprika

12 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

2 tablespooons of chopped fresh parsley

INSTRUCTIONS: Boil potatoes in water until tender. Drain potatoes and add sour cream, egg yolks and milk. I also add a few pats of butter for richness. Using hand masher, mash until smooth.

In large frying pan, brown ground beef in the oil, sat and pepper well. Add onions and carrots and cook until tender, stirring and breaking up the meat. In a second skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add flour, stirring and cooking for approximately 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in broth, beer, worcestershire and tomato paste and stir until thickens. Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes - stir frequently. If it gets too thick, add a bit of water or additional broth.

Add the gravy to the meat and stir in defrosted peas. Pour mixture into a 13 by 9 baking dish, (that has been sprayed with cooking spray), spread potatoes over the top to completely cover. Add the shredded cheese and sprinkle with paprika. Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for approxitely 20 minutes,. Sprinkle top with chopped parsley and serve.


Guinness Pot Roast

Here's a perfect recipe for a late March Saturday or Sunday. It is worth the cooking time! The key to this very moist roast is in the searing and the extended braising process. The Guinness helps with the tenderizing. Less expensive cuts of beef, such as a boneless chuck roast or an arm roast, will work out very well. Secret ingredient here -- pretzels - yep, pretzels & beer - how could it not be great?

1 boneless chuck or arm roast (3-3 1/2 lb.)

salt & pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups shiiitake mushrooms (stemmed and sliced)

1 1/2 cup onions, diced

2/3 cup carrot, diced

2/3 cup celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 bay leaves

3 tablespoon tomato paste

1/2 cup pretzels, finely ground

2 12 oz bottles of Guinness Extra Stout

2 cups beef broth

2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

3 carrots, peeled and cut into 3 inch chunks

4-5 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

INSTRUCTIONS: Preheat oven tp 325 degrees. Trim meat of excess fat and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil over med-high heat in an ovenproof Dutch oven. Sear roast on all sides until brown, 4-5 minutes per side. Tip: once the oil is hot, add meat but don't move it around. It needs constant contact with the heat to brown and develop a nice, dark crust. Remove from pan to plate.

Sweat the mushrooms, vegetables, and seasonings in the potfor 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, cooking for two minutes. Add in ground pretzels. Deglaze the pan with the addition of the Guinness, scraping up the bits from the bottom of the pan; stir in broth, Dijon and Worcestershire. Return the meat to the pot and bring the liquid to a simmer. Cover and transfer to the oven.

Braise the roast for two hours. (Enjoy the lovely aroma!) Remove the roast from the oven, turn over with a carving fork and add carrot and potatoes. Cover and return to oven for an additional 45 minutes.

To serve, transfer roast and carrots to serving platter, cut meat into chunks. Simmer sauce on top of the stove, simmer off any fat. Pour over meat, potatoes and carrots. Serve with nice crusty bread, a good Cabernet Franc, a full-bodied ale, (or another bottle of the Guinness!).


Guinness Chocolate Cake

2 cups stout (such as Guinness)
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
4 cups all purpose flour
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sour cream

2 cups whipping cream
1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

Instructions: For cake:Preheat oven to 350°F.

Butter three 8-inch round cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line with parchment paper. Butter paper. Bring 2 cups stout and 2 cups butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined.

Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cakes to rack; cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack and cool completely.

For icing:Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, stirring frequently, about 2 hours.
Place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with second cake layer. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake.

Recipe courtesy of Epicurious.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Mussels with Blood Oranges, Wine & Tomatoes

March 2, 2009: Mussels on a Winter Night

White wine and fragrant, sweet Blood Oranges make Mussels a special winter treat!

As March delivers her windy days and cold nights, most cooks turn to comfort foods to help get us through the month. While hearty stews and simmering soups are wonderful, many of us are pressed for time and search for something satisfying that may be prepared in 1/2 hour after getting home from work. Here is a wonderful recipe that I found and adapted that offers up good nutrients, wonderful aromas, color and a broth that's perfect for soaking up with good crusty bread!

Paired with French Fries. French Bread and a delicious Belgium ale, such as Chimay Grande Reserve, this is a feast for the body & soul!

Orange-Steamed Mussels With Tomatoes and Breadcrumbs

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 large celery stalk, sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 gloves garlic, minced
1 cup Sauvignon Blanc wine
Three 1/4-inch slices of blood oranges, peeled
2 lbs. of mussels, cleaned and de-beareded
10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Melt the butter in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and saute for approximately 5 minutes or until dark golden. Remove from heat and toss in chopped parsley. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a pot large enough to hold the mussels. Saute onion over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes. Add celery and cook for another 3-4 minutes until softened. Add garlic and saute for another minute or so. Pour in the wine and add the orange slices. Add the mussels and tomatoes to the pot. Cover and cook over high heat for approximately 5 minutes or until the mussel shells have opened. Discard any that remain closed.

Ladle the mussels into bowls, sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and serve with slices of baquette.