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.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Guest Post: Son of a Blogger

With writing deadlines, a family vacation and business commitments, the next two weeks are schedule heavy!  After numerous pleas by my 8 yr. old son, I have decided to let him try his hand at blogging.  This is his "story"...

My name is Patrick and I am 8 yrs. old and the son of a food blogger. I like to cook like my dad because it is fun to put ingredients together and see how they taste. I also like to write.

At school I read a book by Emeril Lagasse,(  a famous chef, called "There's A Chef In My Kitchen". In his book I found a recipe for "Baby BAM", a seasoning rub for meat. It is good on pork and steaks because it keeps them juicy inside. It is also very flavorful. I want to share with you today how easy it is to make "Baby BAM".

I hope you have as much fun in your kitchen as I do in mine.

You will need:

3 Tablespoons paprika
2 Tablespoons salt
2 Tablespoons parsley
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon celery salt

Put all ingredients into a medium size bowl. Mix them together well and then put them into a used clean seasoning jar. Make sure the lid is tightly shut. That's it!


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Calypso Salad

I think we'd all agree that beating the heat the past few weeks has been challenging. Air conditioners and cool soaks in the tub just aren't enough. And, sitting in the kiddie pool with my children is like trying to put a square peg in a round hole. Ugh, we still have alot of summer to go. The good news is that it's not just an east coast weather pattern, it's nationwide. The bad news's nationwide. Phew, There's NO escaping it!

Closing my eyes I dream of finding  paradise -  the beauty and splendor of  blue skies, sandy beaches and  fresh crystal clear water where the scent of fresh mangoes, and coconuts fill the air and the water hits the shore echoing a steel drum's hypnotic beat. Listen. Can you hear it?

Dreaming of paradise, I've created a recipe that freshens the palate with exotic flavors of the islands - Calypso Salad. With ingredients of sweet mango, coconut and lime it tames the sizzle of the summertime heat yet with a subtle hint of habanero and red chile it provides a little heat all its own. But, don't take my word for it. Prepare some for yourself. Grill up some shrimp, serve up a margarita (or mohito) and pull up a hammock. Relax, only 69 more days until Fall.


1 pound Pappardelle Calypso blend pasta shells
1-10.5 oz. jar Tropical Pepper Co. brand Mango Coconut pepper sauce, 1 pinch of coconut (for topping and presentation), * 1 pound medium shrimp - Optional.


Place pasta into a large pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat cooking pasta until al dente. Rinse, drain and set aside in a large mixing bowl. Place contents of sauce into mixing bowl and gently fold into pasta. Add a little water to bottle, shake well and save for presentation. Refrigerate pasta for at least 4 hours. Remove from fridge and serve. Place sauce on plate, followed by a heaping serving of salad and top with a sprinkling of coconut. If desired, add steamed and/or sauteed medium shrimp.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Profile: Pappardelle's Pasta Co.

For the past month I have been enjoying myself creating unique side salads using some very unique pastas - dark chocolate fettucinne, sweet potato orzo, chipotle blackbean fettucinne.

Thanks to Prima Donna's Pasta (717- 917-6228) of Root's Market ( for providing the public with an unusual blend of gourmet pastas. While Mary at Prima Donna brings the product to market each Tuesday, it is Pappardelle Pasta of Denver (CO) that provides the opportunity to be creative in your kitchen with their finely detailed artisan pasta blends.

Using only the best natural ingredients available, Pappardelle ( has been cranking out "edible art" since 1984, earning them the nickname" the Micheangelo of Pasta." Fusing international flavors with time honored Italian craftsmanship, each batch of product is monitored to ensure nothing (flavors, armoa, colors) is lost in the process.

With over 150 products to choose from, Pappardelle makes purchasing easy by dividing each product type into one of the following categories: dried pasta blends and shapes, flat-cut flavors, lasagna, seasonal pastas, gluten-free and nutritional pasta, fresh frozen ravioli and tarts, and fresh frozen gnocci. Sauces and pesto as well as Bella Sol oils and vinegars are also available.

So, What will YOU prepare for dinner tonight? How about lobster in a sweet red pepper dough? Or perhaps gluten-free basil garlic penne? If you can imagine it. You can create it! And with as little as two or three ingredients you can make a gourmet dish in no time at all.

Pappardelle's - L'arte della pasta!


For  additional information regarding Papperdelle's Pasta contact Jesse Stubbs, Director of Consumer Division. He can be reached by calling 1-800-607-2782 ext.102 or via e-mail


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Recipe: Chipotle Black Bean Pasta Salad

Summer Side Salads Series (3 of 3)

Put a little heat in your seat!

Mexico's small but mighty dynamo, the smoke-dried jalapeno pepper known as chipotle, is heating up the Scoville! OK, a bit of a stretch perhaps as it only reaches the mid mark of the scale with a a rating between 10,000-50,000 Scoville units (

However, If you enjoy TEX-MEX cuisine then this is the pepper for you. Use it as a marinade (adobo) for grilled pork. Sprinkle a little on sweet buttered corn on the cob. Chipotle mayo perhaps? How about a salad with a balanced blend of south-of the-border favorites? Today's featured recipe of Chipotle Black Bean Pasta Salad provides everything for a fiesta en la boca (a party in your mouth). And, you only need 6 ingredients. Let's get this party started!


1-18 oz. bag frozen sweet corn
1 1/2 pints grape tomatoes
1 lb. black bean chipotle fettuccine
12oz. Marzetti Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
1 bunch fresh cilantro
3 stalks green onions.


Thaw frozen corn and drain. Set aside. Quarter grape tomatoes. Remove white onion ends and rough chop green leaves. Place ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Meanwhile, place fettuccine into a large pot of boiling water and cook well but not limp. Drain and place into bowl with other ingredients. Pour vinaigrette over salad and garnish with rough chopped cilantro. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate overnight. Salt to taste prior to serving.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Recipe: Sweet Potato Orzo - Two Ways

Making my weekly trek to Root's Market (, I caught up with fellow chef and salad peddler Lynn Manbeck of Pasta Plus. I also stopped to visit my new foodie friend and entrepreneur Mary Armstrong of Prima Donna's Pasta with one thing on my mind - summer side salads. Between Lynn's prepared pasta dishes and Mary's 30 plus gourmet pasta selections, the summer salad season is filled with endless "pastabililties"!

I first introduced Prima Donna's Pasta two weeks ago with a twist on chocolate marshmallow peanut sundaes using dark chocolate fettuccine. Deciding not to post a recipe last week, I continue today with my series on summer side salads featuring Prima Donna's unique delectable gourmet pasta varieties. Today's featured flavorful pasta - sweet potato orzo.

Also smitten with Prima Donna's line of gourmet blends, Lynn decided to create a salad featuring sweet potato orzo as well. It seems that great minds actually do think alike! Using Thanksgiving as our focal point we came up the following two recipes: (1) Bourbon Bacon Sweet Potato Orzo and (2) Sweet Potato Orzo with Cranraisins and Pecans. Ideal for holiday or summertime gatherings, each could be served heated but are at their best when served chilled.

If we can celebrate Christmas in July, why not Thanksgiving in June?

 Bourbon Bacon Sweet Potato Orzo
(A twist on Louisiana's Thanksgiving Day sweet potato casserole)

Ingredients: 1 lb. sweet potato orzo, 16 oz. can apricots, 1 lb. Wright brand Bourbon BBQ bacon, 1/2 stick butter, 1/4 C. brown sugar, 1/3 teaspoon nutmeg, pinch of ground cloves, 1 C. chopped pecans, Kosher salt, pepper.

Directions: (1) Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place orzo into pot and reduce heat. Simmer orzo until al dente, cooked but not hard, and remove from heat. Rinse with cool water, drain and set aside. (2) Drain apricots and rough chop. Place into large mixing bowl with orzo. (3) Place bacon onto sheet pan and place into a 350 degree preheated oven. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until bacon is crisp. Remove and set aside. Remove excess grease by gently blotting bacon with paper towels. DO NOT OVER BAKE. (4) Melt butter, add remainder of ingredients and pour into mixing bowl with orzo and apricots. (5) Crumble bacon into mixture and gently combine all ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sweet Potato Orzo with Craisins and Pecans
(Recipe by Lynn Manbeck)
Ingredients: Sweet potato orzo, carrots, craisins, pecans, green onion, orange juice, vinaigrette.

Directions:  Lynn does not have an actual recipe. Like most great chefs she tastes as she prepares the dish. She confirmed the ingredients, however. For additional questions or comments you can contact her at 717-449-0063 or visit Lynn at Root's Market on any Tuesday.

* Next week's featured pasta - Chipotle Blackbean Fettucine.


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Gardening For Kids - Herb Boxes

Tilled and prepared the garden tonight. It's that time of year once again. Plant. Weed. Reap the efforts of your labor. Nothing beats fresh veggies and herbs! In our home it's a family event and all hands get treated equally (calloused and dirty) even the little ones. With a surname of Plowman it's more than a hobby... its a tradition.

While my oldest son and I pounded out the earth beneath our feet, my wife and two youngest children created these simple yet functional herb boxes. She then set them on the sills just outside the kitchen windows where they can be easily accessed when needed.

Creating the herb boxes not only got our children's hands dirty but it also showed them the importance of recycling as well. Miss Eva our lovely soon to be 3 yr.old daughter had decided to use mommy's bread pans in the sandbox... and then... left them outside to rust. My wife was so happy with Eva's creativity that she turned shades of color I have never seen before. All is well that ends well though. We have some beautiful new functional  herb boxes from bread pans that once were destined for the scrap pile.

Directions: To create your herb boxes you will need: bread pans, stencils or lettering, spray paint (color of choice), sandpaper, potting soil and an assortment of herb plants.

Begin by sanding away any rust from pans (if necessary) and apply a light coat of paint. Place a second more heavier coat of paint and allow time to dry before lettering. Fill boxes with potting soil and herb plants. Thoroughly water and place on window sills. Water plants as needed. Enjoy fresh herbs all summer long.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Recipe: Chocolate Fettuccine Marshmallow Peanut Sundaes

Happy Memorial Day everyone! Keeping it short and sweet (pun intended) so that I may enjoy the holiday festivities with my family.

Having recently discovered a new gourmet pasta line, over the next several weeks I will devote time to developing summertime side salads, created from some very unique and innovative pasta blends. 

We begin today with dark chocolate fettuccine. I hope you enjoy today's feature of Chocolate Fettuccine Marshmallow Peanut Sundaes - A sneak preview of things to come.

Ingredients:  Vanilla ice cream, Marshmallow Creme, Hot fudge topping, Maraschino cherries, Crushed salted peanuts, Chocolate fettuccine bits, Chocolate fettuccine bowl.

Directions:  For those who have never made a sundae before...

1) Boil fettuccine in large pot of hot water as you would for any cooked pasta until al dente'. Drain and place pasta into a small bowl of choice. Place pressure onto pasta with another dish so that fettuccine may take the shape of the bowl. Cool in fridge until it sets.

2) Once bowl has set and is ready to use carefully remove from mold and begin building your sundae. Start with placing two or three scoops of vanilla ice cream into bowl. Top with fudge, marshmallow, peanuts, fettuccine bits ( small broken pieces of uncooked pasta). And, don't forget to top it all with a cherry. Enjoy!

* Next week - Sweet Potato Orzo


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Profile: The JDK Group

Its been a busy few weeks for our household with funerals to attend, last minute family visitors and an award ceremony to honor my wife. Not to mention its one of our busiest times of the year for catering. Corporate conferences. Weddings. Family picnics. Coordinating special events can be tedious and at times a bit stressful. Alright, it IS stressful!

As noted earlier, I recently attended an American Red Cross awards ceremony. Having attended more than my fare share of banquets and award ceremonies I was certain that this evening would be like many before - "Heated up bulk food in a can, turn and burn, clean up and go home... I couldn't have been more wrong!  On this most momentous occasion I had the opportunity to view first hand quality in action. What does "quality in action" look like? The JDK Group of course!

With over 20 years experience in the event service industry, The JDK Group( of Harrisburg (PA), however, "can make even a novice party planner look like a Pro!" Voted Best Caterer 8 consecutive years (2004-2011) in Harrisburg Magazine's Simply The Best Readers' Poll, The JDK Group (JDK Catering (, Essential Party Rentals ( Imagine Event Designs ( is "Central PA's premier full-service caterer and event planner".

Food presentation is a very  important element to a dining experience. It is said that 90% of what we eat is due in part to how it appears to the naked eye. On this particular evening there were two hors d'oevres offerings that from afar dressed my attention - The beef skewers and the meatballs in a sweet tomato basil sauce.

The beef skewers impressed me for the unique heating method used in keeping them warm as well as the use of color in their presentation. Laying atop small smooth rocks, the skewers were kept warm by a babbling brook of heated water below them. The red and yellow sweet pepper pieces added a pop of color against the gray rocks, creating for a visually appetizing presentation. Serenely balanced like yin and yang!

 The skewers may have popped in color but the sweet cherry tomatoes and basil sauce served with the meatballs (There were meatballs. Honestly...) popped with flavor. The shaved Parmesan cheese and black pepper added an additional depth of  flavor to an already satisfied palate.

While the little nibblers served prior to the event saved off hunger pangs, there was still room for desert. What's an award ceremony without some cake?  But, as I mingled with other guests the cake slowly disappeared and I was left with only pie. Silky. Rich. Snickers Pie. And Oh how it satisfied! Ok, maybe you don't need cake afterall.

The quantity and variety of horsdeovres was more than adequate for the event size. The spacious reception room, although larger than necessary, was perfectly executed by the JDK design team. The overall experience on this night was not just in the details of the event but in those staffing it as well. The JDK Group's servers were approachable and courteous while Senior Event Specialist Kim Koch's professionalism and attention to details is to be commended. Thank you JDK for giving me the opportunity to share "quality in action" with the world.

For stress relief in planning your next special event, give The JDK Group a call at 717-730-4661.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Recipe: Chipotle Pork Shepherds Pie

This evening I took  my son and his friend Landon to a Lancaster Barnstormers minor league baseball game. Wow, how the game has changed! When did carousel rides, inflatable slides and bumper boats become a part of the "ballpark experience"? I was a bit baffled. After only two innings and the home team getting trounced 7-0, the boys trotted off to the bumper boats saddened by the score but returned with a ball in hand smiling from ear to ear.  Lucky recipients of a foul ball. It seems that the ultimate of souvenirs had gone for a swim while they were riding the boats. I suddenly saw the genius of an amusement park.

One thing hadn't changed - ballpark grub. OK it's changed quite a bit. There is still plenty of beer and hot dogs being served at the ole ballgame but there are also pita sandwiches and BBQ ribs... Beer and ribs. Now that I understand!

Also discouraged by the outcome of the game, I found my thoughts wondering. Tomorrow is May 5th-Cinco de Mayo. And you, my faithful foodies, were promised a recipe. Upon arriving home I searched through my files and found the perfect recipe for the occasion. I hope you enjoy Chipotle Pork Shepherds Pie as much as my family did last year. It's a quick and easy family friendly meal. The heat from the chipotle sauce is tamed by the creamy mashed potatoes,ensuring that the little ones' sensitive palates will not be offended.


1/2 stick butter
4 medium red potatoes
2 T. Cabot Greek yogurt

1-16oz. frozen peas
1 medium onion
1-16 oz. can diced tomatoes w/green chilies - DO NOT DRAIN.
2-3 pounds pulled pork
Water - Only if needed to add moisture to dish


First prepare chipotle pulled pork. You can find the recipe at my magazine blog "One More Bite"

Next, prepare mashed potatoes. Clean, skin and quarter potatoes. Place into large pot and boil until softened. Drain water from potatoes and add butter and yogurt. Mash and set aside.

In a large Pyrex baking dish, assemble casserole. Place a quarter of the diced tomatoes on the bottom of dish followed by mashed potatoes, onions, meat and peas. Continue layering until reaching top of dish. NOTE: The final layer should end with potatoes on top. If needed, add a little water for moisture. However, this should not be necessary.

Place into 350 degree preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown. DO NOT OVER BAKE!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Recipe: Pork Medallions with Quinoa Pilaf and Asparagus

Spring has sprung! Awakened each morning by melodious chords from songbirds that gather outside my bedroom window, mother nature's alarm clocks have made it increasingly difficult to sleep beyond 7am

Lawn care and pollen counts now consume my days. I have mowed my lawn twice this month already. Well, Pete the lawn boy has. However, while Pete takes care of the lawn, he does not do weeds! Ah yes, the task of weeding one's gardens is a necessary tedious time consuming event. There is one weed however that is a pleasant to pluck-asparagus. OK, it's a vegetable but guaranteeing a supply from early spring to early autumn, it grows like a weed!

Asparagus is also a versatile veggie. An asparagus salad with simple ingredients like salt and pepper, shredded Parmesan cheese and a dash of balsamic vinegar is a wise choice for those trimming their waistlines for summer. Fresh and lightly blanched or raw, asparagus can be served as a component of crudites. Grilling it creates for a depth of smokiness that marries well with grilled meats. Perhaps the most preferred method to serve asparagus is as a veggie side. Which brings us to today's featured recipe: Pork medallions with Quinoa pilaf and asparagus. A perfect meal for champagne brunch on the patio.


1-Pork tenderloin - sliced into medium medallions

6-12 Asparagus spears
1/2 C.  red onion - finely chopped
2 carrots - diced

1 C. Organic Quinoa
2 C. Nature's Basics vegetable stock
2/3 C. toasted sunflower hearts - meat only (no shells)
1/4 C. parsley


(1) In a large sauce pan, sear medallions. Place into 375 degrees preheated oven and bake until internal temp is 145 degrees. Remove and allow to set for 5 minutes at room temperature before serving.

(2) Meanwhile, prepare Qunioa pilaf. Heat EVOO in saucepan and saute onions and carrots until soft. Add vegetable stock and quinoa, bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes. Quinoa should be light and fluffy. In a bowl toss quinoa with the toasted sunflower hearts and parsley. Serve either hot or at room temp.

(3) Blanch asparagus in boiling water. Remove. Plate all components of meal. Drizzle some honey mustard sauce* over pork and serve.

* Honey mustard sauce can be a commercially bought product or prepared by mixing 1 T. honey with 1 T. brown deli mustard.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Root's Market - A Lancaster County favorite since 1925

Earlier in the week while enjoying a warm breakfast croissant at Trin's Beans in Columbia ( I met up with fellow culinarian and Lancaster New Era food journalist Bill Clark "Clarkie on the Grill". Striking up a conversation we journeyed through an epicurian maze that began in France-How can you discuss food and not have the French be a part of the conversation- winding our way back to the good ole US of A. Before parting we concluded with a brief banter on the simpler things in life like honey-do lists and lawn care. While Clarkie set out to complete his list I phoned the lawn boy and planned an afternoon of fun in the sun with my 2 yr.old daughter. With the temperature ascending towards 70 degrees, I had better things to do than waste a beautiful day on lawn care. It was Tuesday after all and for Lancastrians that can mean only one thing - Root's Market (

Established by A. W. Root in 1925, Root's Market is the oldest single family-run country market in Lancaster county, PA. What began as a simple poultry auction has evolved into one of the county's most recognizable tourist stops. Chickens still cackle at the original auction site, however, the market today consists of 200 stand holders selling everything from flowers and crafts to collectibles and antiquities.
And let's not forget the real reason for visiting Root's...The food!

 In our jaunt around the market grounds we visited five different food vendors for very specific reasons.Our first stop took us to Spring Meadow Farms, where PA Dutch foods, relishes and dressings have been sold since 1969. For a complete product listing and price sheet you can contact them via e-mail at or by calling (717)-664-6004. Our reason for stopping was not to purchase smoked bologna or Amish Ketsup but rather pickles. Large. Juicy. Dill pickles. Eva just loves pickles!


Stopping at Hahn's Seafood Sandwiches I enjoyed a single deep fried oyster sandwich on a fresh roll with a smidgen of ketsup for only $2.75. Hahn's other sandwiches include fish, shrimp and crab cakes. This is a must stop for me each time we visit. I've been coming to Hahn's since I was a teen. The line may be long but the wait is worth it!

Looking for something healthy to balance the salty deep fried oysters we stopped at Pasta Plus to see Lynn Manbeck. Before making a purchase I sampled several side salads. The Bulgar and Quinoa sides were certainly healthy but it was the nutty and savory flavors of the sesame Thai salad that won me over. For creative pasta and vegetable salads contact Lynn at (717)-449-0063.

We could not leave without some sort of desert. Pie perhaps or maybe a sundae? As we were leaving for the parking lot there it was. The aroma of a fresh baked apple pie coming from Kohr Kreations. I just had to stop. But wait. This wasn't edible pie I had smelled from afar. No this was a beautifully hand crafted candle. That's right! A candle. Amy and Dave Kohr of York, PA specialize in handcrafted candles with over 150 fragrances to choose from including a hot fudge brownie sundae candle that burns through a layer of chocolate syrup then vanilla ice cream followed by the chocolate brownie. Now that's Foodacious! You can reach Amy via e-mail at or by calling (717)-912-2112.

After a few hours in the sun with my charming little girl, it was time to make our way back home. Exhausted by all the walking, it did not take Eva long to fall asleep. Before leaving we made one last stop to see Katie Mast, a Pampered Chef Consultant.  I was reminded that we needed to get mommy a new "gar wick pwess" (garlic press). As we headed towards the car I could not help but to think...I am glad that I have a lawn boy. I had better things to do than waste a beautiful day on lawn care!

Root"s Country Market and Auction Inc.
705 Graystone Road
Manheim, PA 17545