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Archive for June, 2009

Bucks County Taste has moved! See this post on our new server.  

One Saturday this past May, we struck out with our friends, Sharon and Mark, to attend the 2nd Annual Breakfast on the Bridge in Perkasie, run by the Bucks County Covered Bridge Society.

One of the benefits of maintaining our calendar of Food Events in Bucks County is that I find all kinds of great stuff to go to. Case in point. Where else can you enjoy a delicious pancake breakfast (provided by Joseph’s Italian Market in Perkasie), sitting on a historic covered bridge, satisfied in both body and conscience? It was a lot of fun, as well as educational. Make sure to look for it next year.

Pasqualina's Italian Market & DeliOn our way to Perkasie, we passed Pasqualina’s Italian Market and Deli, in Blooming Glen, and I made a mental note to waylay our little culinary party on the way home. It wasn’t difficult. Sharon, as our intrepid readers may remember from previous posts, doesn’t need her arm twisted to stop at an Italian market.

Pasqualina’s is a gem. From the moment you walk in, it sparkles and beckons, enticing you with sights, smells and tastes. Cheeses, pastas, meats, olive oils and vinegars, homemade sauces and meatballs, Italian and Mediterranean groceries, and fresh hot and cold sandwiches – all in one compact, clean and inviting space.

First let’s get the Blooming Glen thing over with. You’re probably saying to yourself, “Blooming Glen? Huh?” It’s actually not as remote as it sounds to all you folks in Central and Lower Bucks. Go up Route 313, past Dublin, to Route 113, turn left (west) and go two miles. Voila. You’re there. There’s also a number of interesting food places on that stretch of Route 113, including Blooming Glen Catering (Big Bob’s BBQ), Tussock Sedge Farm Beef, Bolton Farm Market and the Blooming Glen CSA Farm.

Patty and Brian Gianfelice opened the market almost four years ago. Patty’s a native of Bucks and the couple raised their family just down the road. The market was Patty’s dream, and she nurtures it like a good Italian mother. (“Pasqualina” is her Italian name.)

“This is like one of my children,” she explains. “My name is on this. It was the name of my grandmother whom I adored, the best cook, the sweetest person. It has a lot of family strings for me.” Patty even has her cell number on her business card so customers can call if they have a question or need help with one of her recipes. Brian, who’s been married to Patty for many years, raising children and grandchildren, has come to appreciate her in a new way. “I’ve learned how incredibly talented my wife is because this is a very difficult thing to do. ”

Cheese samples at Pasqualina'sPasqualina’s has many delectable things, but let’s start with cheese since it’s my favorite, and their selection is deep and interesting (rivaling Wegmans). The market carries over 90 kinds of cheese – from Italian classics like asiago, parmigiano-reggiano, and mascarpone – to others from all over Europe. My newest favorite is Ravenno, a Dutch cheese with “the nutty, caramel flavor of parmesan yet the sweetness of gouda.” They’ve laid out small tasting stations throughout the store, with freshly cut pieces to try, and informational signs.

“We’ve cut over 8 1/2 tons of cheese,” says Brian, a bit surprised himself, including cracking more than one wheel of parmigiano-reggiano. It’s worth stopping by frequently since they always have something new, and Brian loves sharing and teaching about cheese.

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The Taco Burger

One of the things I love about Basically Burgers is the sheer creativity behind their food. (There’s taste, too, but I’m going for something a little deeper here.) To hear Wes Goddard tell it, many of the stalwarts on the menu stem from his son Jay’s insomnia, when it’s one in the morning and he can’t sleep. There’s the ranch burger, the jalapeno popper burger (one of my favorites), and the taco burger. All of them show off the Goddard family’s approach to food: local ingredients, prepared fresh, with strict attention paid to quality, flavor and fun.

The Goddards were nice enough to let us cram into their kitchen one recent night so we could watch them at work. Rather than describe it at length, see it all for yourself. Here’s Jay on making a taco burger. (The video runs 3:41 minutes.)

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There was a persistent brightness in the sky today. I think it’s called “sun.” And there is brightness in the forecast for this weekend, although with some clouds and occasional thunderstorms. Be not intimidated. Go forth, eat and drink, and enjoy the bounty of Bucks County.

Lots of stuff going on, more than we can possibly get to and continue to see friends, family and our little sailboat too. So be sure and write to us, or add comments to posts, to let us know where you’ve been eating in Bucks.

PicnicWe plan to go to the Slow Food Picnic starting right after the Linden Hill Farmers’ Market on Friday evening. Maybe we’ll see you there. Saturday evening we are going to the Cafe Blue Moose, an organization of young chefs (kids) who prepare dinners and events a couple of times a month here in Bucks. Look for our post about it in the coming days.

The first segment in our video series of Jay and Wes Goddard making their delicious burgers at Basically Burgers in Doylestown will be posted soon. Look for…The Taco Burger.

BarbecueWe’ve posted our first online poll too. Check it out on the sidebar. With July 4th coming, the focus is on meat (apologies to our vegan and vegetarian friends), so we’re asking folks to vote on their favorite place to buy meat.

Since we’re coming into the holiday weekend, I’ve listed events through Thursday, July 2nd. Check out our online calendar, Food Events in Bucks County for more details on any of the events below.

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BlueberriesAlas, the strawberry season is coming to a close but that can only mean one thing…blueberries are coming! And while the rain certainly made a mess of the strawberry harvest this year, apparently it’s done the blueberry crop good, according to an article in the Pressof AtlanticCity.com. Blueberries are much larger and plumper this year.

Last year, there were four really hot days in the beginning of June that stunted the growth of the crop – they went from green berries straight to blueberries without any growth,” said Bill Mortellite, of Hammonton, whose family has owned Blueberry Bill Farms on 11th Street for more than 50 years. “This year, the cool, wet weather has enabled the berries to gradually go from green to white to red to blue, which allows them to grow bigger and become easier to pick.”

But New Jersey blueberry farmers are worried about making ends meet as well this year. With competition from both within the U.S. and abroad, it has decreased the demand for local blueberries.

We’re just starting our harvest, but if you go to the supermarket, they already have blueberries on the shelves from Georgia,” said Mortellite, who will allow adults to pick their own blueberries at his farm for the first time this year in an attempt to offset the impact of the recession.

“Blueberries grown locally are the freshest and, in my opinion, the best tasting,” he said. “People just have to know that the season is here. Because it is so short, they could miss it.”

Although the article talks about the big blueberry farms in New Jersey, we’ve got some here in Bucks as well, as I was just reminded by an astute reader. Be sure to check out Solebury Orchards  and The Wildemore Farm in Chalfont for the start of their blueberry seasons. The Wildemores come to the Doylestown Farmers’ Market and also, like Solebury Orchards, offer pick-your-own.

Because Mark and I are doing low-carb, and I can’t eat one of my favorite blueberry cake recipes, I’m sharing it all with you. So go out and get some local blueberries and make some cake!

 

Blueberry Buckle
[Thanks, Mom]

INGREDIENTS for the CAKE

2 cups blueberries
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
grated lemon rind
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

INGREDIENTS for the GLAZE

2 tbsp. soft butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice

HOW TO for the CAKE

  1. Wash and drain blueberries. Set aside on paper towels to dry.
  2. Stir lemon juice into milk and set aside.
  3. Set oven for 350 degrees F.
  4. Cream butter, sugar and egg; grate lemon rind in.
  5. Add milk and lemon mixture, flour, baking powder and salt. Do not overmix / beat.
  6. Add blueberries and gently stir in.
  7. Pour into a greased 8 inch square pan.
  8. Bake for 40 -45 minutes until a thin knife comes out clean.

HOW TO for the GLAZE

  1. Prepare just before cake is done baking.
  2. Cook all ingredients over low heat until smooth and then remove from stove.
  3. When cake is done, spread glaze over top. Return cake to oven and broil until glaze bubbles, but avoid overbrowning.

Note: You can use the same recipe to make muffins. Just brush the glaze on instead of pouring.

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Early summer has presented us with many bounties. Greens, certainly, and now, for the first time this season, squash flowers appeared at the farmers’ market. So here’s a couple of recipes to get you cooking.

The first is one I’ve been dying to try out. Sharon Schwartz recommended it from the cookbook Adventures of an Italian Food Lover by Faith Heller Willinger, but I didn’t want to publish it until the flowers were available. If you’ve been wandering the farmers’ markets the last few weeks you’ve also seen lots of spring greens, including some you’ve probably never heard of. Here’s a simple recipe that I’ve been using that works for all of them. It’s fast, and even Mark – who is not known for his love of vegetables – loves it.

 

Zucchini FlowersRicotta-Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS

1 cup ricotta, fresh if possible, or sheep’s milk ricotta
12 – 16 fresh zucchini flowers
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Fine sea salt
1 tbsp. minced fresh basiL

HOW TO

  1. If your ricotta is watery, drain it in a sieve to remove excess whey. Soak the zucchini flowers in cool water, then spin-dry in a salad spinner. Removing the stamens is unnecessary.
  2. Pack the ricotta into a pastry bag (you can also use a disposable sturdy plastic bag and simply cut the tip off the end). Insert the end of the pastry bag into the zucchini flowers and pipe one or two spoonfuls of ricotta into each.
  3. Drizzle 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Placed the stuffed flowers in the skillet in a single layer and place the pan over the highest heat. When the pan heats and the oil begins to sizzle, cover and cook for 4 to 6 minutes or until the flowers are hot, stemed by the moisture of the ricotta. Transfer to a serving dish and top with pepper, sea salt, minced basil, and the remaining oil.

GreensSpring Greens & Garlic

The amounts are approximate, depending on how many you are feeding and how much garlic you like. The general rule with greens is make lots, and then double it. When they steam and cook, they shrink tremendously.

INGREDIENTS

Greens – chard, collard, spinach, kale, bok choy, beet greens, dandelion greens, broccoli rabe, etc.
Garlic, smashed and minced
Onions, or shallots, or, if you’re lucky enough to find them, garlic scapes, sliced thin
Olive oil
Kosher salt or sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
Hot pepper flakes (optional)

HOW TO

  1. Clean and wash the greens but you don’t completely dry.
  2. With flat-leafed greens (like collards), lay several leaves on top of each other, then roll them together, kind of like a cigar. Then cut the greens at an angle, at 1 inch intervals. For spinach and smaller greens, just tear into bite-size pieces.
  3. Now here’s where opinions differ. Some people like to steam the greens in a skillet, gradually adding water and/or stock. That’s fine. But I’m a little lazy. So I steam them, putting the tougher greens or stalks towards the bottom, and the more tender ones at the top (won’t need as much steaming). Just for a few minutes, to soften them, then remove the lid and let them breath.
  4. While the greens are steaming, start warming a skillet. Add olive oil. When the oil is hot, add garlic and onions, but being careful not to burn. Turn the heat down and let the garlic/onion mixture gently cook.
  5. Add a bit more olive oil and let it warm up. Then add in the greens, gently tossing. Season with salt, pepper and hot pepper flakes, if you like, and then serve.

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Dad at the grillEven more tedious than the constant rain is talking about the constant rain. So, with a typical summer forecast for this weekend – chance of thunderstorms – let’s move on.

Time to take Dad out for some fun this weekend – and food and wine. There are three venues doing wine-related events this weekend. On Friday night, both Crossing Vineyards in Washington Crossing and Shady Brook Farm in Yardley are pairing music and wine, while Chaddsford Winery is pampering Dads the whole weekend at its tasting room in Peddler’s Village.

Also in Peddlers Village, Earl’s (formerly Earl’s Prime) has changed its concept, incorporating locally-produced and -grown food into their new contemporary cuisine menu. On Sunday, Father’s Day, they’re offering Dads a complimentary brunch or dinner. What a deal! See their web site for the coupon and their new menu.

Some fun community events include the Joyful Noise Music Festival in Haycock with all proceeds going to the Quakertown Food Pantry, as well as two firehouse breakfasts – one in Riegelsville and one in Plumsteadville. Shady Brook Farm is also doing a Father’s Day BBQ on Sunday if Dad is not in the mood to clean the grill.

If you haven’t a chance to yet, be sure to watch our video of the Wrightstown Farmers’ Market, where you’ll hear vendors describing their products – then you can meet them in person on Saturday at the market, or at some of the other farmers’ markets throughout the county.

Check out our online calendar, Food Events in Bucks County for more details on any of the events below.

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Catch the latest “Where’s the best…?” contest run by Glen Macnow, sports broadcaster on WIP. This year – hoagies. And who came in number 7? Pallante’s in Richboro. They had to come all the way out to beautiful Bucks County (but South Jersey doesn’t seem far? Hmmpf!). Here’s Glen’s description of the Pallante hoagie:

By our calculation, it’s 34 miles from the WIP studios to beautiful Richboro, PA, so – even after a half-dozen loyal listeners recommended this place, what were the chances we would going to spend upwards of an hour driving out there? Not good. Fortunately, we were able to arrange delivery – and even strong-armed our intern into paying the tip.

Tell you what – it would have been worth the drive. Guisseppe Pallante’s “Don Supreme” is one outstanding hoagie, a balance of top-notch prosciutto, soppressata, pungent shredded provolone and oil-dipped long hot peppers. Add purple onion and lay it gently on a seeded roll and, well… so good I could eat it for breakfast. Hell, I could eat it for dessert.

Glen apparently ate almost sixty Italian hoagies over the last sixty days (a tough job but someone has to do it) and the Hoagie Hunt Finals were held last Saturday at the Fox and Hound Pub & Grille in King of Prussia. I like Glen’s description of his tasting process, especially his comment about loyalty to one’s favorite sandwich place. See the full article on WIP’s website and the article in the Philadelphia Inquirer for more:

Yes, folks, I really did eat 56 Italian hoagies over the past two months, determined to find the greatest sandwich in the Delaware Valley. From South Jersey to South Philly, from Lower Delco to Lower Bucks, I tried to hit every neighborhood. I sampled good, bad and ugly as I hit delis, specialty stores and more than a couple of neighborhood taverns.

You may thoroughly disagree with my ratings, or any one of my reviews. That’s okay. Picking a hoagie is like picking a girlfriend – what works for me may be abhorrent to your taste. One thing I’ve learned, everyone thinks their favorite sandwich place is the best. Which is as it should be.

I guess Mark and I are going to have to make yet another exception to our low-carb diet (sigh) and try it out.

Pallante’s
130 Almshouse Road, Richboro
215-364-9750

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