Food is a favorite subject at The BRJ and we're excited to share these fabulous recipes from our contributors, friends and readers!
2 cups spring mix (packed)
2-3 medium beets
1/2 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
2 tablespoons feta
1 tablespoon walnuts (chopped)
2 tablespoons vinaigrette
Preheat oven to 400 °F
Remove leaves and wash beets. Cut into 1/4" slices. Toss with olive oil and salt to taste. Roast in a single layer on a pan for approx. 20 minutes, or until tender. Set aside to cool, approx. 10 minutes.
Assemble salad with spring mix, feta, walnuts and beets. Toss with vinaigrette (of your choosing) and serve.
Flipside Farm produces nutrient-rich, ecologically-healthy, chemical-free produce for your family through our CSA: Community Supported Agriculture, on our 93-acre farm in Bedminster, NJ. With our partners Just Farmed, we provide veggies and fruits to your family year-round.
flipsidefarmnj.com. 1500 Larger Cross Road North Far Hills, NJ 07931
Flipside Farm's produce is also featured at the Bedminster Farmers Market. The 2020 Bedminster Farmers Market will be held on Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm, June 6 through October 31 at the Township's River Road Park, located at the corner of Route 202/206 and River Road.
I love this family-friendly recipe because it is easy to substitute ingredients, it’s healthy, and the filling freezes nicely. It’s easy to make and even easier for the older kids to re-heat. Everyone seems to love it. You could easily make this dish dairy-free (substitute the sour cream for tomato sauce) or gluten-free (use gluten-free bread crumbs.)
6 or 7 medium-sized peppers (I like to use yellow, red and/or orange peppers because I think they have more flavor and it makes the dish look aesthetically appealing. To save some money, or if you can only find green peppers, they would work as well.)
One pound of ground round (I have also substituted ground turkey)
One large onion (about 1 ¾ cups) finely chopped
One garlic clove, minced.
One jar of your favorite tomato sauce (approx. 29-ounces) or you can make your own sauce. (In a pinch, I have also drained a can of chef-cut tomatoes or you could use tomato paste and water)
One and a half cups of cooked rice. I use brown but you could also use white. (Time saving tip: You could add a bag of Boil-in-Bag rice, at the same time that you add the peppers to the boiling water. Both will cook for 10 minutes…or you can cook rice the old fashioned way)
Salt and pepper to taste (About 1/8 tsp of salt and ¼ tsp. of freshly ground pepper)
One half cup of seasoned breadcrumbs.*
One fourth cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.*
Olive oil to drizzle.*
One fourth cup of sour cream or additional tomato sauce to serve.*
Named for their bell shape, his vegetable of the nightshade family originated in South America. Though Columbus discovered bell peppers growing in the West Indies, they weren’t widely introduced to Europe until the 16th century, when Spanish and Portuguese explorers brought them back from the new world. Bell peppers come in a variety of colors and are an excellent source of vitamin C. (Green, sweet bell peppers have 2 times as much vitamin C as oranges; red and yellow bell peppers have 4 times as much!) Bell peppers are available in markets throughout the year but are more abundant and less expensive during the summer months, when our local farm markets have a plentiful array of Jersey grown peppers . The BRJ
1) Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and put a large pot of water on the stove top to boil. Cut the tops off your peppers. Remove and discard the seeds and membranes. Finely chop the pepper tops (discard the stems.) Set the chopped pepper tops to the side and put the remaining peppers into the boiling water. (If you are using Boil-in-Bag rice, add that now.) Cook uncovered for ten minutes. Drain the peppers up-side-down.
2) Cook the chopped pepper tops, the ground round, onion and garlic over medium-high heat in a large pan until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are soft. Add the tomato sauce and the rice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and then simmer for five minutes uncovered.
3) Spoon the meat mixture into the drained pepper “cups” and place them into a baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Take the peppers out and top them with a mixture of breadcrumbs and cheese. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on top. Put the peppers under the broiler for about 3 minutes. The topping will turn golden brown. (Do not let the topping burn) The stuffed peppers can be served with sour cream or additional tomato sauce. Serves 6 people.
Greetings from Black River General Store and Catering. The current health crisis has been really hard on my fellow friends and family in the food industry, but we must stay strong!
I received this recipe for from a Tuscan Chef, who was gracious enough to share it with me while I was visiting Ravello, on Italy's Amalfi Coast.
Ingredients: (serves 4 – 6)
2 stalks of celery
1 medium yellow onion
3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil (for sauté)
2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil (for baguette cubes)
10 basil leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 qt. of chicken stock
1 28 oz. can of peeled plum tomatoes
Cut one fresh, crusty baguette into cubes and toss with 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil, granulated garlic, salt, & pepper. Lightly toast on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for 15 minutes until crisp, remove and cool.
Brunoise dice (very small in English) celery & onions, lightly sweat (lightly sauté) in extra virgin olive oil on medium heat with fresh basil and oregano until the onions are translucent.
Add fresh chicken stock, peeled plum tomatoes with juice (lightly mash the plum tomatoes) and bring to a boil, stir in toasted baguette, taste and adjust seasoning (add salt and pepper to your liking).
Serve in a bowl with freshly shaved Parmesan.
Stay Safe and be strong,
Above Photo: Hometown hero, Chef B, (left) on his way to deliver food to Morristown Memorial Hospital's nursing’s staff.
Black River General Store and Catering
5 Fairmount Rd East, Pottersville, NJ
Open Monday through Saturday, 9 am to 2 pm, for take-out and curb side pickup.
Follow the Black River General Store on Facebook and Instagram for daily specials and announcements.
This is a favorite of mine, a fool proof Lemon Pound Cake that is a delicious addition to any Mother’s Day brunch.
Preheat oven to 350° Grease and flour a 10-12C Bundt Pan
3 Cups Sugar
½ lb Unsalted Butter Softened
1/3 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons Lemon Zest
½ teaspoon Vanilla
3 Cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
½ teaspoon Salt
8oz Sour Cream –May substitute Greek Yogurt
Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time till just combined.
Add vanilla, lemon juice and zest.
Alternately mix in flour, baking powder and salt in 3 parts with sour cream. Beginning and ending with dry ingredients.
Pour batter into the pan and bake 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
1/3 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
Combine sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar is just dissolved.
Brush the glaze over the warm cake and let cool.
Store covered at room temperature for 2 days.
Happy Mother's Day!
167 Morristown Rd, Bernardsville, NJ
Monterey Fine Foods is providing curbside pick and delivery of fresh veggies, fruits, butchered meats, fish and pantry provisions. They also offer a wide selection of wines, spirits and craft beers.
I had my research plants and worked at Willowwood in the late 60s/early 70s when it belonged to Rutgers and I got to know Dr. Ben Blackburn and Russ Myers. I also received a small grant from the Willowwood Foundation to conduct botanical research in Europe, in 1970. I was always impressed with the “Englishness” of the place. One thing that sticks in my mind is the cleaning of the shovels and rakes at the end of the day with an oiled piece of burlap, almost like a Japanese tea ceremony.
Another thing was the rest at the end of a gardening day with drinks on the back veranda, looking down the allee. Mrs. “L” was the cook. I never saw it spelled out, but I understand that the “L” stood for Mrs. Llanagen. Here is her cheesecake recipe that she shared with us.
Set oven to 325 °F and grease an 8 ½ x 3-inch spring form pan.
1 ½ cups of Graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1 lb. cream cheese (softened)
1 lb. creamy cottage cheese (strained)
1 ¾ cups sugar
4 eggs, well beaten
½ cup melted butter
3 tbsp. cornstarch
3 tbsp. flour
1 pint sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ tbsp. lemon juice
Crust: mix crumbs, 3 tbsp. sugar, and 1/3 cup of melted butter. Press into the bottom and sides of the pan.
Filling: Combine cottage cheese and softened cream cheese. Add sugar slowly. Add eggs, lemon juice, vanilla, and butter. Mix cornstarch and flour with half of the sour cream; add this and other half of the sour cream to the mixture. Bake one hour, turn off oven, and leave in closed oven overnight. Chill for several hours (or overnight) before serving.
Dr. Tucker’s recipe for Willowwood Cheesecake first appeared in our Winter 2003/2004 issue.
In 1908, two brothers, Henry and Robert Tubbs, established a country home in Chester Township, NJ. Together, with Henry’s adopted son, Dr. Benjamin Blackburn, they developed their rural oasis into the Willowwood Arboretum, New Jersey’s most comprehensive and longest continually operating Arboretum. Now, under the stewardship and management of the Morris County Park Commission, the Willowwood Foundation, and with the support and hard work of countless donors and volunteers, it is a beautiful green space of gardens and meadows for the public to enjoy.
300 Longview Road, Chester Township, NJ. willowwoodarboretum.org
After a winter of roasts, soups, and long braises, it is nice to be able to return to the light, delicate meals of spring and summer. It is a welcomed sight to see the farmer’s markets start to unfold and bloom as the temperatures rise and the grasses turn green. Great, locally grown, fresh vegetables and fruit will again grace our pantries and dinner tables.
One of the first available crops of spring is the young, early peas, which are available locally around May 20 (fresh peas continue to be picked into late June and early July). These are smaller and sweeter than the mealy, older peas of summer. These fresh peas, combined with ham, cream, and butter, provide a quick and easy celebration of the season that your mouth will not soon forget.
This adaptation of a Marcella Hazan sauce will go with a variety of pastas, but it is best to use ones with holes and voids that will capture the light sauce. Any penne or shell pasta will work, but my favorite dried pasta is Campanelle (Barilla). Its unusual shape holds the sauce perfectly and adds interest to your plate. If you are really ambitious, this sauce is perfect with fresh, homemade pasta, which I used in this meal.
You will need the following ingredients for 6-8 large servings:
4 pounds of fresh young peas in their pods (As of this writing fresh peas are still not in season so I substituted 2 cups of frozen petit peas for the photos. These are adequate, but nothing beats the fresh taste of young peas.)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 pound un-smoked boiled ham, sliced as thin as possible and then cut into ¼” strips
1 cup of heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese (plus another 1/3 for passing at the table)
2 pounds of dried pasta
Shell the fresh peas and rinse them in cold water then drain. Place 4 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 cup of water, 1 teaspoon of salt, and peas into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a slow simmer, cook for 10-15 minutes until the peas are tender. Most of the water should be evaporated.
Meanwhile, in the smallest pan available that is large enough to hold the pasta, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter (or all 8 tablespoons if using frozen peas) and add the onion. Turn the heat to medium. As soon as the onion starts to turn translucent, add the ham strips (the ham is going to want to stick together, so once its in the pan, use a fork to gently separate it as best as possible). Your goal is to slowly cook the onion until lightly golden and the ham until slightly crisp. Adjust heat as necessary.
Add the cooked peas (or thawed frozen peas) and cook at medium heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the cream, salt to taste, and add generous grindings of fresh black pepper. Turn up the heat and reduce the cream, stirring frequently until dense. Take the pan off the heat.
Cook the pasta as directed on the box. Drain the pasta (reserve a cup of pasta water), but try to leave it at wet as possible. The starchy water will help loosen the sauce. Add the pasta into the pan with the sauce and return to medium heat. Stir the pasta for a minute or two until coated evenly, loosen up with the reserved pasta water if necessary. If you are not afraid of cardiac arrest, add one more tablespoon of butter for extra flavor.
Remove from the heat, mix in the Parmesan and transfer to a warm serving bowl.
Serve immediately after opening a fine red wine accompaniment.
Make a toast: Spring is here!
In addition to being a serious student of the culinary arts, Nick Cusano is owner of Cusano Associates Architecture + Design, one of New Jersey's premier architecture firms focusing on residential design with an eye towards period detailing, exquisite proportions and enduring quality. cusanoassociates.com
Raised in Lyon, France, a 2,000 year-old city with its own proud and unique culinary traditions, Sebastien Destree spent 20 years as a chef in Europe and New York before settling in Long Valley, NJ with his wife and two children. Sebastien is the owner of The Pastoral Pig, in Flanders, NJ, where his pasture-raised, hand-aged meats are sought after by customers who want the healthiest and most flavorful cuts. Sebastien also offers a variety of store made creations using the finest and freshest ingredients for those who love to eat, but would rather have someone else do the cooking. One of our favorites is his beef bourguignon. (We leave the metric conversion for your translation.)
Sebastien's Recipe for Beef Bourguignon
You will need:
250g of grass-fed chuck meat, 1 inch diced
Meat from the shoulder is more flavorful and its fiber breaks down better during a long cooking process. Avoid meat from the round (back leg). It is cheaper, but the meat will dry out and will not fall apart.
50g of bacon, diced
Bacon will bring much needed fat during the long cooking process and will also add a bit of smokiness to the dish.
8 oz of 100% grass-fed beef broth.
The bone broth as opposed to water will add more body, more flavor and more nutrients. If you don’t have a good source for your beef broth, do it with water instead but add a bone marrow inside.
450ml of red wine
Beef bourguignon has its name from the Burgundy region of France. I for myself like bolder wine, so I use Cabernet, Malbec or Shiraz. Remember that if it isn’t good to drink it isn’t good to cook with, especially in a dish based on wine.
250g of carrot diced
100g of celery diced
120g of red onions or Spanish onions depending on what you have in your pantry, diced.
20g of fresh garlic, crushed without the skin
250g of parsnip, diced
If you want to eat your bourguignon with tagliatelle use parsnip; otherwise, the more traditional way would be to use Yukon potato instead.
125g of quartered cremini mushroom.
2g of black pepper
5g + of kosher (Morton salt)
Every brand of salt has a different strength. All our recipes at the store are made with Morton Kosher salt. It is 30% more potent than the Red Diamond brand. It doesn’t matter which one you use but always use the same one.
1g ground clove
Don’t use too much. It is a very potent spice.
1g of ground star anise
You can use 1 whole star anise if you don’t have ground at home.
Few Juniper berry crushed
3g of fresh thyme
Add it up at the end
Flour, to coat (the meat)
At the store we use King Arthur organic. If you want to make it gluten-free at the end of cooking add cornstarch or arrowroot. When you add cornstarch or arrowroot you need to dilute it in cold water otherwise it will clump in the sauce.
Tip: I do not marinade the beef prior in wine. The alcohol will start cooking the meat (ceviche), it will tighten the fibers and prevent the flavors from being incorporated to the meat.
How to do it:
1. Bring the temperature of the oven to 300 degrees. Season the meat with salt and flour.
2. Bring the Dutch oven pan to medium high heat and sear the meat on all sides until brown (not black). When done reserve the meat on the side.
3. Sear the vegetables until lightly golden. You don’t want to caramelize them too much, you are just building the flavor.
4. Add the meat to the vegetables. After that mix the spices into it.
5. Deglaze with the wine, scraping the bottom of the Dutch oven pan. Add the broth.
6. Cook it until the meat falls apart around 3 hours depending on your oven.
7. Optional: if you want to enjoy less cooked vegetables you can remove the ones that cooked and replace them with fresher ones for the last hour.
244 Route 206 (The Mall at 206)
Making gnocchi is deceptively simple. The pillowy potato dumplings require merely five ingredients. And like all things diced and cooked, there are no big secrets to making delicious gnocchi… just a few little secrets (which I share with you as “tips” below). I use my gnocchi recipe as a foundation to creating a seasonal dish. Simply serve with a few roasted or grilled vegetables that are in your pantry and the dish becomes yours. Finish with a little olive oil and maybe a spoonful of ricotta to add a touch of decadence.
I treat gnocchi as a canvas and I paint it with the season. My winter gnocchi iteration is bathed with a creamy ladle of butternut squash soup and served with roasted mushrooms, beets, cranberries and walnuts. It is a delightfully comforting dish that keeps the cold at bay. During the summer, I like to serve them with grilled summer vegetables like zucchini or corn and pair them with a little acidity like blistered cherry tomatoes to create a refreshing and satisfying meal. There really are no set rules so use this recipe as a jumping board to create your own gnocchi at home. Be creative and let the season guide you.
Here’s what you’ll need for a serving for four…
3 medium size russet potatoes
3 egg yolks
160g (1 ¼ cups) flour
65g (5 tbsps.) butter
6g (1 tsp.) salt
Utensils: food mill, sifter, bench scrape, large pot w/ lid
1. Bake the potatoes in your oven at the highest setting for 45 min or until done. The best way to check for doneness is by pricking the potato with a fork or a cake-tester. If your fork slides right in after piercing the skin, it is done.
2. While the potatoes are roasting, cube your butter onto a plate and set them by the oven to temper. Tip: Temper the butter to a spreadable-soft texture but do not allow the butter to melt. If the butter isn’t to the desired softness, take your bench scrape and scrape down on the butter until it softens. Taking this extra care ensures a silky, rich mouthfeel.
3. Start a large pot of water to boil and season with salt. Slice the potatoes in halves while they are still hot from the oven. Scoop the innards into your food mill and mill into a large bowl or a clean working surface. Tip: Do not wait for the potatoes to cool and work quickly. Doing so will allow the ingredients to mix together better and will keep you from overworking the dough.
4. Form a well with your milled potatoes and sift the flour on top. Add your butter, yolks and salt and gently mix everything together using your bench scrape to form a dough. Tip: Do not overwork the dough as doing so will activate the starches and gluten, making the gnocchi dense and gummy. Mix only until everything is well incorporated and no dry clumps of flour remain.
5. Very lightly dust your working surface and scoop off tennis ball sized pieces to roll into a rope. (If this is your first time, try starting with a smaller sized piece.) Cut into 1” sized pieces with your bench scrape and place onto a sheet tray or large plate. Refrigerate the gnocchi for 15 min or until they are firm. Tip: First shape the dough into a small log and roll with both hands starting from the center and gradually move your hands outward. Repeat the movement until a rope has formed.
6. Prepare a sheet tray or large plate by lightly drizzling the surface with olive oil. Blanch the gnocchi in the boiling water, scooping them out as soon as they float to the top and place them on the oiled tray. Cool them in a refrigerator and store in sealed containers after cooling. They will keep refrigerated for 3 days or can be kept frozen. To serve, sear the gnocchi on both sides in a hot pan to golden brown with a little olive oil or browned butter. Add your meat or vegetables and enjoy!
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