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.