On the First Full Day of Spring 2018, March Nor’easter No. 4!

March 22, 2018

At Home: March 2018 Nor'easter No. 4!

View from our Front Door at 2 p.m.

At Home: March 2018 Nor'easter No. 4!

2 p.m.

For lunch, I made us this hearty Cabbage, Lentil, and Barley Soup.

At Home: March 2018 Nor'easter No. 4!

So-o-o good! Perfect for a snowy day. The original recipe on the Bob’s Red Mill site calls for farro. I have several of his products but no farro. A quick internet search revealed that barley was a good substitute.

During the previous nor’easter (No. 3), we had Bobe Bopsy’s Holiptches for dinner. This time, we started with a Vegetable Potage composed of onions, potatoes, carrots, and celery.

At Home: March 2018 Nor'easter No. 4!

Then Meatloaf, Sweet Potatoes, and Broccoli.

At Home: March 2018 Nor'easter No. 4!

A few days ago, while skipping around the t.v. dial, I happened to catch one of Ina Garten’s old Food Network shows on which she and a guest prepared this meatloaf. It looked really good, so I got the recipe on line.  Indeed, an excellent meatloaf.

The snow began to really ramp up in late afternoon and was going strong by night time.

At Home: March 2018 Nor'easter No. 4!

10:30 p.m.

We got about 8″. This morning, the always reliable Sanchezes plowed us out.

At Home: March 2018 Nor'easter No. 4!

At Home: March 2018 Nor'easter No. 4!

The time for them to start cutting our lawn can’t come soon enough for me!



March 20, 2018

Yesterday, it was “Signs of Spring.”  Today, spring (aka the vernal equinox) officially arrived at 12:25 p.m. EDT.  But… Here are this afternoon’s temperatures.

March 2018 Snowstorm No. 4

And here’s what’s coming our way.

March 2018 Snowstorm No. 4

March 2018 Snowstorm No. 4

We’re in the 6-10″ zone.

Winter has definitely not gotten the memo!

At Home: Signs of Spring

March 19, 2018

When we moved into our house at the end of 1969, the landscaper we hired the following year planted an entire bed of daffodils on the right side of the house. Those pretty yellow flowers bloomed like clockwork in early spring each year. However, in the mid-70’s, when we put in a fireplace in our living which is on that side of the house, many of the daffodils became victims. And eventually, the remainder began dying out. By the time we did a complete landscaping overhaul in 1996, we did not include any in the new design.

For some time, I’d been thinking about having daffodils again. Not an entire bed but rather little groupings placed in the backyard beds. Last spring, I discussed it with our landscaper Ed Wendel. In order for them to bloom this spring, they needed to be planted in the fall. In October, he bought the bulbs and his men put them in.

Despite the snow from three March Nor-easters, last week, I noticed they’ve begun to sprout.

At Home 2018: Signs of Signs of Spring

At Home 2018: Signs of Signs of Spring

A true sign that spring is on the way. Can’t wait to see them flower!

Fondue at The NoMad Bar

March 15, 2018

The NoMad Bar Fondue

We’re no strangers to fondue. Those of you who come here with any regularity know that for quite some time, it’s what we’ve been doing at home on New Year’s Eve (two exceptions being 2015 and last year when we went to EMP). Our fondues are always beef cooked in hot oil flavored with dipping sauces. In fact, we’ve never done a cheese fondue at home. Many years ago, Michael and I had one at a restaurant in Montreal. I also had one in NYC during a lunch with Jen at the now defunct Artisanal more than 10 years ago. So, that was it for cheese fondues until….

A few months ago, Chef Daniel Humm and Will Guidara announced they were ending the Sunday nights only “Mamma Guidara’s.” Spanning several seasons, it was a tribute to Will’s Italian heritage. We went twice and really enjoyed it. (My post about our first time is here.) However, something new was going to be happening at The NoMad Bar on Sunday evenings. This time, they would be doing a tribute to Daniel’s Swiss heritage: a cheese fondue dinner like the ones his family had weekly at home. Of course, we were excited to try it especially after reading about the menu. But there was a tiny catch. It was going to be offered for a very limited time, January 28th to March 4th.* Only 5 Sundays! Needless to say, reservations went fast. Happily, with a little help from our friends at EMP (Thank you, Billy!), we were able to get a table on March 4th.

The set 3-course menu required no decisions on our part. However, Michael did need to decide on a glass of wine. He consulted with our knowledgeable serve, Louie, and chose a red, but after reflection, changed his mind and switched to what was actually Louie’s first recommendation, a white.


Michael can never pass up the opportunity to have his favorite cocktail, Satan’s Circus.

Cocktail: Satan's Circus

I had a soft cocktail I really like, Peter Piper.

Soft Cocktail: Peter Piper

The meal began with excellent Chicken Consommé poured at the table.

Chicken Consommé

Next came an array of Charcuterie, a Salad, and Pretzels with Mustard Sauce.



Pretzels & Mustard

As you can see, the pretzels were enormous, so we shared one and left the other. We polished off everything else. All a giant yum!

Then, the main event.

Cheese Fondue

The pot contained a superb combination of piping hot Alpine Cheeses.

Cheese Fondue

Lots of Sourdough Bread for dipping.

Bread for Dipping//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Cheese Fondue

There were also some Marble Potatoes.  Though I suppose we could have dipped them in the cheese, we ate them straight.


There was an option to add soft scrambled eggs and black truffles to the cheese. But we passed on it because we felt it would make the already very rich cheese way too rich.

For dessert, this gorgeous and seriously luscious Tarte Tatin. (We took half of it home.) Served with a scoop — for each of us — of Vanilla Ice Cream.

Apple Tarte Tatin

Vanilla Ice Cream

Along with it came a beverage with a difficult-to-pronounce name. Shümli Pflüml is an Alpine après ski drink composed of coffee, plum eau de vie, and cream.

Shümli Pflüml

The perfect end to a perfect cheese fondue dinner!

*Note: Though we thought we were dining on the last day, they told us they’d decided to extend the fondue for two more Sundays. So, this coming Sunday, March 18th, will be the finale.

The entire set of photos from this meal can be viewed on my Flickr here.

Bobe Bopsy’s Holiptches: The Perfect Thing to Have for Dinner During Yesterday’s Nor’easter Snowstorm!

March 8, 2018

I make holiptsches (translation:  stuffed cabbage) once each winter. For the past few years, they’ve been the main course for our Purim dinner. Last year, that dinner was at Jen and Louis’s apartment, and she and I made them together. This year, Michael and I were in the city on Purim (Thursday, March 1st). We came in the evening before and stayed for several days. We did get together with Jen and Louis but not for a Purim dinner. So, no hopliptches until…

Fast forward to yesterday. The kind of weather that just begs for hearty comfort food. And what’s a perfect hearty dish?  Bobe Bopsy’s Holiptches, of course!

I put them together in the morning.

At Home: March Nor-easter Dinner

(Note: I made more cabbage rolls than I’d anticipated, so I added another can of tomato sauce to the pot.)

By mid-afternoon they were ready.

At Home: March Nor-easter Dinner

We began dinner with Vegetarian Chopped Liver, a favorite forshpeiz (that’s “appetizer” for the Yiddish impaired).

At Home: March Nor-easter Dinner

Then, the pièce de résistance! (How’s that for mixing languages?)

At Home: March Nor-easter Dinner

As usual, seriously yum!!

Purim 2018

March 1, 2018

Today is Purim.  I didn’t bake any hamantaschen. But Purim wouldn’t be Purim without them, so we went to Breads Bakery where there is a variety to choose from.

Breads Bakery

I always make prune and apricot. Sadly, no prune at Breads. But there was apricot as well as apple, raspberry rose, and poppy seed. There were also chocolate and potato, which are a bit unusual. But when it comes to unusual bordering on bizarre, the prize has to go to the pizza filling. Yes, you read that right. A pizza hamantasch!

We bought an assortment, excluding the poppy seed (which neither of us likes) and including the pizza.  Definitely a must try!

Breads Bakery

To see the entire Breads photo set on my Flickr, click here.

Chag sameach!

Lunch at Home: Stuffed Puff Pastry

February 28, 2018

I had some puff pastry leftover from chicken pot pies I made a couple of weeks ago. The wrapped pastry was sitting in the frig awaiting a future use. Some time ago, I came across and bookmarked a recipe for stuffed puff pastry in the NY Times by David Tanis, which he calls “Flaky Chicken Hand Pies.” On Tuesday, the twain met.

Since his recipe was for eight pies and I was making only two, I guesstimated the amounts of the filling ingredients: onion, garlic, mushrooms, flour, s & p, chicken stock, and heavy cream (substituted for crème fraîche). I started by broiling a small piece of chicken. While it broiled, I prepared the filling. As I worked, I kept an eye on the chicken, pulled it out when it was done, let it cool, and chopped it into chunks. It was added to the filling last along with chopped scallions.

I waited until the filling was ready before taking the pastry from the frig as it’s best to roll it out when it’s cold. Because I had cut circles out of the sheet, the leftovers were an add shape. I needed enough to be able to cut two squares. By rolling it quite thin (it rolled easily), I was able to cut off the excess and have what I needed though the squares were not perfectly symmetrical. I divided the filling between each square. Happily, I had guessed the perfect amount. I folded the squares into a triangle, sealed the edges, pressed down with the tines of a fork to make sure they wouldn’t open, brushed them with beaten egg, and put them into the oven. Fifteen minutes later, voilà!

At Home: "Flaky Chicken Hand Pie"

This is actually the first time I’ve ever made this sort of thing. It’s great when you try something new, and it turns out so well. A really tasty filling and, of course, a very flaky, delicious crust.

Not one to ever attempt making puff pastry, I always have Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry in my freezer. Tanis even says that “[s]tore bought pastry makes it easy.”

Tanis has the oven set at 375 degrees, but I followed the Pepperidge Farm box and set the oven at 400.

Tanis has the completion time at 2 hours. Perhaps it would take that long if you’re making eight. But for my two, start to finish, it took a little less than 45 minutes.

It was recently announced that Tanis has been appointed executive chef at The Monkey Bar, in midtown Manhattan. We ate there several years ago when Chef Damon Wise was helming the kitchen. But he didn’t stay long, and we haven’t been back. Once I’m sure  Chef Tanis’s menu is in place, we’ll definitely be trying it.

Mother Nature is toying with us!

February 21, 2018

Mother Nature Toys with Us - February 21, 2018

Previous record high for this date in NJ: 69 in 1953.

Lunch on Michael’s Birthday at Tsuru Ton Tan

February 8, 2018

Tsuru Ton Tan

If you follow this blog with any regularity, you know that on our birthdays, the birthday person gets to choose where we eat lunch.* Michael wanted noodles. Not exactly my thing, but as I said, he got to choose, so….

At first, we were going to go to a Thai restaurant a few blocks from our apartment which we hadn’t been to in a long time. But then, I came up with another idea: Tsuru Ton Tan, which calls itself an Udon Noodle Brasserie. He was really excited about this suggestion because (a) it was a place we’d never been to before, and (b) it offered a menu of noodles in broth, one of his favorite combinations.

We made a 12:45 p.m. reservations, arrived on time after the 20-minute walk from our apartment. Tsuru Ton Tan is in the space formerly occupied by Union Square Café. The décor has, of course, been radically changed to an Asian feel with wood on just about every wall.

Tsuru Ton Tan

Tsuru Ton Tan

We were seated promptly. Our two-top in the main dining room was at the front end of the banquette that runs the entire length of the back wall. In the middle of the room, there’s a very long, two-sided community table with a divider made of wood slats in-between.  There are also a few free-standing tables.

Tsuru Ton Tan

The crowd leaned young (as far as I could see, there were no other diners in our age group, not that we cared) and was a mix of Asians and non. When we arrived, the place was packed and during our stay, tables turned as did seats at the community table. The noise level was moderate. By the time our meal ended, the four guys at the table adjacent to ours had left, and the room began to empty. That’s when I snapped this photo.

Tsuru Ton Tan

A young, very pretty Asian gal took our order. There is a choice between narrow and wide noodles. I chose narrow; Michael went with wide. She immediately brought the Japanese IPA Michael ordered…

Japanese IPA

…and said the bottle of sparkling water he requested would arrive shortly, which it did.

Then we sat and waited. And waited. And waited. And waited some more! It was hard not to notice that at the adjacent four-top, bowls arrived for two of the guys but not for the other two. After several minutes, the third bowl arrived. And after several more minutes, the fourth bowl was served. Something was definitely not right in the kitchen.

We had been sitting for about half an hour when runners finally brought our appetizer.

Udon Pon Dumplings

Udon Pon Dumplings

Udon dough with vegetable filling served with spicy crunchy garlic

They were utterly delicious. And the garlic dip added a really nice zip. The applicable expression would be, “Worth the wait.” But I’m also going with, “Better late than never.”

Our server told us she was going to talk to the kitchen about getting our bowls our more expeditiously. But it didn’t seem to make much of a difference since the wait for them was still too long.

Mine arrived first.

Shrimp Tempura Udon

Shrimp Tempura Udon

Shrimp Tempura Udon


Shrimp Tempura Udon

Shrimp and Vegetables Tempura

Michael’s came a few seconds after.

Duck Udon

Duck Udon

Duck Breast, Meatball & Tokyo Negi

The portions of noodles and broth in these enormous bowls were, well, enormous. While the tempura shrimp were excellent, sadly, that portion was the direct opposite of enormous. Only two. I hadn’t expected the vegetables (no hint on the menu), but they were excellent as well. The noodles were fine. Not Italian al dente style though not mushy either. I’m totally inept with chopsticks which made getting the noodles from bowl to mouth a challenge. As for the broth, I didn’t care at all for its flavor. Since I hadn’t really expected to like this noodles with broth thing, the outcome wasn’t a surprise. But at least I tried it.

Happily for the birthday boy, he was in noodle and broth heaven. Loved everything about his bowl. He finished all the duck, meatballs, and broth but even he couldn’t manage but half the noodles.

We doggie bagged his leftover noodles along with all of my broth and most of my noodles (in separate containers). When we were back in NJ, I added chicken stock to his noodles, so he had them for lunch one day and then had my leftovers for lunch the next day.

All this having been said, you’ll probably be shocked to hear me say that I’d be willing to go back. Michael is eager to try another bowl from the many options, and I could put together a bunch of small plates on the lunch menu. I would certainly love to have those dumplings again as well as the shrimp and veg tempura without the noodles and broth. Other appealing options are Hamachi crudo, fried chicken, and shrimp dumplings. If we went for dinner, there are dishes not on the lunch menu like fried eggplant, duck breast, and wagyu striploin which I would enjoy.

Our major complaint was, of course, the exceedingly slow kitchen. Kudos to our server for recognizing that the wait was unacceptably long. Hopefully, next time, they’ll do a much better job getting our food out.

*Note: It’s a given that Michael’s birthday dinner was at EMP. Stay tuned for that report.

Happy Birthday, Michael!

January 26, 2018

Kitchen Visit