Monday, October 8, 2012

Recipe: Eggplant Saute with Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

Today's recipe is a Winner! No, really. As a stay-at-home dad one of my "jobs" is to provide meals for my wife who works from home.
Emptying the fridge of anything I could find, I created this dish for Tammy's lunch.  She not only enjoyed it  but encouraged me to enter  my first ever cooking competition  (October 2010) With this recipe I won the Chef's Choice Award and a new career was launched. Thank you Tamian for your encouragement.
What makes this dish a winner is its blend and balance of savory, sweet, salty and sour. If you are not an eggplant fan, substitute tofu. The texture will be very similar and the tofu will also caramelize much the same way. Here is the blueprint for success.
1 medium eggplant
2 eggs
fresh herbs or Italian seasoning blend
1 package of cherry tomatoes - halved
1 packaged Laura Channel goat milk cheese
Balsamic vinegar
Extra Virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Begin by cutting eggplant into 1 inch pieces while heating a medium saute pan. In a small bowl beat egg and milk to create an eggwash to hold breadcrumbs to eggplant. Lightly cover eggplant in bread crumbs (either fresh with herbs or store bought brand).
Place eggplant and a tablespoon of olive oil into pan and saute until caramelized-light brown. Add more oil to pan if necessary being careful not over saturate the eggplant or burn it. Drain excess oil from eggplant and place on serving plate.
Next add cherry tomato halves. Crumble goat cheese over tomatoes and top with balsamic vinegar.
Salt and pepper to taste.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Profile: New York Bagel, Cafe and Deli


There's nothing quite like an original!  And, when it comes to bagels there's nothing that can compare to a New York bagel. But what makes New York bagels different than other bagels? Ask any New Yorker and they will tell you that's it's the nutient rich water of the Hudson River. Truth or local-lore  one thing is certain, Picasso-esque artesan bagels just don't make the grade!
New York Bagel Cafe and Deli (NYB) of Lititz is NOT owned by any native New Yorker but three local brothers with a vision. Since March 20th of this year  Eric and Ben Shirk along with Adam Montpetit have been serving up all the best that New York has to offer -  Hand rolled, preservative-free bagels and bialys from Brooklyn. Thats right, an original!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons...

We're all familiar with the saying that "When life gives you lemons make lemonade."
If we are to maximize the best of a bad situation as the quote implies, why just make lemonade? Sure, you could start with lemonade and then slice a lemon or two and use as garnishment. Place some slices into foil and bake with fish or chicken for an infusion of flavor or create a simple syrup with them and use in deserts. There is much diversity in the little yellow fruit.

I for one have been given  more than my share of lemons as of late and have little energy left to squeeze anything into life. Unable to get into the kitchen and create something fresh, I thought that I would share favorite lemon recipes from a few of my favorite fellow food bloggers. I hope that you will take the time to try them and offer feedback to each.

Strawberry Lemon Water

Ingredients / Directions:

8 C. water
3/4 C. sugar
8 Large strawberries-quartered
4 thin lemon slices

Pour 7 cups of water into your favorite pitcher. Heat 1 cup of water with sugar until it has completely dissolved. Cool and add to the pitcher. Quarter the strawberries and slice the lemons and add to the pitcher. Allow to cool and let the fruit juices release into the water. Chill before serving.

Lemon Berries w/ Maple Whipped Cream
Recipe from Martha Stewart Living c/o June Farkas, Superior, WI
Ingredients / Directions:
3 C. Fresh blueberries
1/4 C. packaged light brown sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest + 3 T. fresh lemon juice
3/4 C. heavy cream
1/4 C. Sour cream
1/4 C. pure maple syrup
In a medium bowl combine blueberries, sugar, lemon zest and juice. Set aside. Using a mixer on high speed, whip heavy cream and sour cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form (approx. 2 minutes). Keep whipping, add maple syrup in a steady stream; continue to whip until maple cream is thick and velvety - approx. 1 minute more. Divide berries among serving bowls. Top with maple cream.
NOTESeasonal berries are best. This time of year red raspberries could be substituted for the

Grilled Meyer Lemon Oregano Chicken Legs
Ingredients / Directions:
2 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. coarsely chopped fresh oregano
2 garlic cloves - pressed
1 T. EVOO (olive oil).
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse Kosher salt
pepper to taste
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
8 chicken drum sticks
Whisk first 6 ingredients in a small bowl. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper. Pour marinade into a 1 gallon resealable plastic bag. Add chicken and seal.Turn bag to coat chicken. Marinade at room temperature for 30 minutes or in the fridge for up to 2 days turning occasionally.
Prepare grill (medium light heat). Place chicken on grill rack and grill chicken until cooked through. Brown all sides, turning frequently (about 30 minutes). Plate and serve.

Thank you for following Plates and Palates. May your day be filled with "all things FOODACIOUS!"

Friday, August 24, 2012

Recipe: Caprese Salad Skewers

This week's recipe can be found in the Lancaster  New Era Newspaper (Lancaster,PA). You can find the article in its entirety at the following address below.

In the weeks ahead look for another published feature with Duluth Superior Magazine (Duluth, MN) on the foods of Lancaster, PA.-a mini tour of restaurants and gourmet specialty shoppes.

Thanks for following Plates and Palates!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Profile: Cisco's in the Park

Each spring beginning in May the Long's Park Amphitheater Foundation (LPAF) presents its Summer Music Series - 13 weeks of FREE concerts. Imagine picnic baskets and BBQ's stretched across a freshly cut carpet of green grass while the sound of soft jazz or rhythmic
blues resonates deep into the audience of the thousands who have assembled. And, while the LPAF may know music, the newcomer to Long's Park, Cisco's In The Park, knows beef!

For nearly 20 years Craig Schusko has been serving up his open pit beef sandwiches (Cisco's Open Pit Beef) throughout Lancaster county from his mobile vendor trailer. Looking for a high traffic customer-friendly business location, Craig along with his son Chad, settled on Long's Park. After several weeks of renovations to an underutilized building and preparing the kitchen for use, the father and son duo opened Cisco's In The Park.

Opened for only a month, Cisco's has already developed a regular clientele.Their recipe for success can be summed up in two words...BEEF and CHICKEN. The signature item, open pit beef sandwiches and a one of a kind menu item, thunder tacos, are to be credited.

The open pit beef sandwiches are made of thinly sliced beef, run through an au jus bath, stacked high on a soft 8 inch hoagie roll and topped with Cisco's homemade sweet and tangy BBQ sauce. Open pit never tasted so good! Beef may be the main attraction but it's the thunder taco that will take your taste buds for a ride around the park. Take a flour tortilla, fill it with a breaded chicken tender and top with a jalapeno mayo slaw. The uniqueness of the slaw as well as the "secret ingredients" of the breading mixture will leave you wanting for more. I came. I saw. I ate three!

Cisco's also serves burgers, hot dogs and fresh cut french fries. Looking for a sweet treat? Try one of nine different ice cream offerings or sip on a simple snow cone. Just don't expect to find a booth or chair to sit on. Part of the appeal of open pit is the outdoor dining experience that comes with BBQ or grilling. So, pull up to one of the nine picnic tables and make yourself at home. Cisco's In The Park is open for business Tuesday-Sunday from 11am-9pm.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Recipe: Grilled Peaches with Gorgonzola and Bacon

I am thankful that at 2:30 am I finally have some me time away from the bustles of the everyday rat race! Thank you everyone who supported my son while I was away. You really made an 8 yr. old feel "Big Time". I will be giving him future opportunities to broaden his skills as "Son of A Blogger". In fact he has already been given his next assignment. Now...On with the show!

Every once in awhile I create a meal that on paper looks good but in application falls short. Tonight was one such moment.

While doing research for an upcoming publication on skewers I discovered a new foodie shoppe - Olio Olive Oils and Balsamics . Like a kid in a candy store I was excited at the many selections of oils and vinegars staring back at me from around the room. My excitement heightened when I found out that I could "try before I buy," although I wouldn't recommend sampling more than two or three per shopping trip. Settling on a Modena 25 Star White Balsamic and a bottle of Sonoma Smoked Olive Oil, I headed for home thinking of ways to use my new pantry entries. Here is what I had planned: Caprese Skewers, Smoked Pork Tenderloin, Baked Beans and Grilled Peaches w/ Gorgonzola and Bacon. The answers are: Yes, Yes and Sometimes. Yes we cook every night, Yes my kids eat what is made and Sometimes they don't like it. BUT, they try it. It's the RULE!

Assembling the Caprese skewers was the easy part. Keeping my three year old daughter from the tomatoes, one of her favorite foods, was a bit more challenging. Since I would be grilling dinner on the deck, redirecting her energies to the sandbox proved a winning strategy. Meanwhile inside the baby was stirring and mommy was on a very important conference call in her office. So, back inside I go. It seems that "blogger boy" had decided to shirk his duties of watching his younger brother and went to the basement for a little wii action. Needless to say, the multi-tasking was not working out so well! The results?

My wife in a humorously sacrcastic manner summed up her dining experience this way. "The pork was a bit dry. The beans were too spicy and the peaches were the best part of dinner but just a tad heavy in Gorgonzola. This was not one of your best dishes tonight. And, for these reasons you have been Chopped!

Savoring the best of the worst, I am sharing with you my recipe for the Grilled Peaches with Gorgonzola and Bacon. Try it and let me know your results. I'd love to hear from you!

4 Fresh peaches - halved
6 oz. package Boar's Head Gorgonzola crumbles
4 Slices bacon
1 bottle of Sonoma Smoked Olive Oil


Preheat grill to 300 degrees. Place bacon on top rack away from direct flame and slowly grill. Once bacon is done, wrap in foil and place into oven to remain warm. Next, place halved peaches pit side down onto grill above direct flame and cook until caramelized and soft but not falling apart. Flip over and add Gorgonzola. Finely chop bacon and top peaches. Allow a few minutes for Gorgonzola and bacon to blend. Drizzle Sonoma smoked olive oil over peaches and serve warm.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Son of A Blogger: Mini Chocolate Chip Muffins

Our vacation got moved to next month sometime because Mom had to go to Boston for work and Dad is pretty busy too. So, he said I could write again this week. I wasn't sure what I was going to write about until my friend who likes to bake came to my house. With a little help from Dad, we baked a box of mini chocolate chip muffins. We just followed the directions on the back of the box and topped them with some melted hershey kisses. Dad says that I put too much chocolate on them but I don't think so. They were real easy to make. Here is what you will need: 1 box of chocolate chip muffin mix, a small handful of Hershey Kisses and a small bowl for melting kisses in the microwave. Just follow the direction on the box to make the muffins. Put a handful of Hershey Kisses into a small bowl and melt in the microwave. Here is where my Dad helped us. He made sure the chocolate did not burn. Oh, and he took the picture too.