Monday, July 2, 2012

Good Things in June

We've been fortunate with our weather this month.  Cool temperatures, occasional rain and refreshing breezes have been keeping us comfortable here in Pennsylvania throughout most of June.  At the beginning of the month I was happy to have introduced you to a most delicious chocolate cookie, using that all-too-familiar ingredient, Nutella.  I was also glad to have finally introduced some of my favorite places in Philadelphia that hold a special place in my heart.  Although I've never lived in the city, I used to frequent it on a weekly basis when I was living in Haddonfield.  Back then I would simply take a train into the city to do my necessary shopping or errands, and I would take it back home when I was done.  

Spending a half hour going through Antique Row and popping into my favorite stores to see the 'new' merchandise was a favorite pastime of mine.  It was nice to have returned to say hello to old friends several weeks ago.  Going down to the Italian Market was another great detour for me.  I can always rely on the delicious breads from Sarcone's (I sometimes stop by for a slice of pizza to eat as I head down 9th Street) or the wonderful cheeses & olives from the various shops.  Let's not forget Fante's Kitchen Wares.  As someone who loves to bake on a weekly basis, the store will always have something for me to purchase whenever I stop by.  Although the staff may have changed from 10 years ago, the friendly atmosphere and quality I've come to expect from that store is intact.

Two of my favorite breakfast items were shown this month and from the feedback I've been getting, they were well received by those who made them.  I even baked a most delicious summertime pie for you all to enjoy; let's hope some of you profited from that recipe and attempted, devoured and shared a bit of pie.  

Let's take a look back at June. 

The Nutella Chocolate Cookie recipe kicked off my using the metric system for measurements in conjunction with our American customary units.  A reader sent me a note asking for this in order to help people abroad follow and make the recipes on the blog.  I thought to myself: why not?  Since I do get a lot of you reading from all over the world, I wanted you to feel capable of having success in the kitchen.  

 
Delicious Nutella gets added to the batter (above) for extra flavor.

The cookies themselves are so chocolaty and tender without being too sweet.  Give them a try soon if you haven't already.

Antique Row has seen a few changes over the years.  Some vendors have either retired or shut down, while several others have moved in adding their own personal style to Pine Street.  It's an area worth strolling through on a weekend or whenever you're in town, but be warned, you may be tempted to buy a thing or two.

Visit Blendo (above) and and marvel at the kitsch, the antique and the unusual; it's rather a shame I don't make more time to visit as often as I used to.  This store will always be a favorite of mine. 

I have to admit something to you.  Although I tout home cooking each and every day, I can't help but be tempted with a slice of pizza when I'm in the area.  If I don't get a small Sicilian one from Sarcone's (above), then I get one from Lorenzo's just down the street.  I walk out with it and devour the slice as I'm making my way toward the market.  I love a plain cheese, margherita or pizza bianca if you must know.  One does have to keep up one's strength while shopping, don't you think?

Visiting Di Bruno Brothers is a must.  Buy a container of olives or a bottle of fruity olive oil while you're there.  Maybe you feel like composing an antipasti platter for your next gathering and want to add the best of the best.  It's all at Di Bruno's and everything is of the highest quality.  You will not be disappointed.

Don't forget to purchase some freshly made pasta at Talluto's.  I love their ravioli.

I just had this scrumptious brunch dish over the weekend & I enjoyed every single bite.  Depending on my mood, I will either fry my eggs sunny side up or make them over easy.  Other people enjoy eating their frites with hard boiled eggs or even soft boiled eggs.  Serve them with whatever your guests or family want.

I wanted to include this picture, unedited, so that you could see something.  Look at the baking sheet.  Can you see how browned those edges are?  This is a half sheet that originally started as a shiny aluminum baking sheet about 8 years ago.  I've been using this particular sheet for all sorts of baking, roasting and broiling, so I don't mind its "patina".  I encourage all of you to dedicate a special baking sheet for these tasks and not mind it so much if it does aquire a burn here or a burn there.  Save the perfect sheets for baking cookies and pastry.   

This delicious sandwich is fast and so simple to make.  I think everyone should take homemade lunches to work (leftovers are big at my house) to cut down on costs, calories, sodium & saturated fats.  Drive-thru convenience food is fine once in a great while, but it should not be the weekly routine.  You may say to yourself: the bagel itself contains a lot of calories.  You are perfectly right.  What I always do to a bagel, however, is hollow it out before I make a sandwich to cut down on these calories.  It's also a great way to contain your ingredients in the sandwich and away from your clothes when biting into it.

I would be lost without this store and its wonderful merchandise.  I'm not one who enjoys shopping to begin with, but when it comes to housewares and kitchenwares, I'm all for it.  I would love to someday own copper pots and if I ever do manage to get some, I'm going to do so from Fante's.  They have some of the best copper that France has to offer.

Need a cast iron pan?  Lodge Cast Iron is the oldest family-owned cookware company in the country.  These pans are made to last a lifetime.

 Tart pans galore!  In every shape and size and all with removable bottoms. 

Just look at the selection of muffin pans.  From mini to jumbo, Fante's has it.  Everyone who loves to bake and cook needs to visit Fante's at least once in their lifetime.  Put it on your bucket list!


Who doesn't love fluffy buttermilk pancakes for breakfast every once in awhile?  The perfect thing to have when you're cooking for a crowd, these flavorful pancakes that I came up with (at the request from a dear reader in Scotland) are bound to become favorites with you.  If you want to make more than the dozen in the recipe, simply make another bowl of batter and have an extra griddle going.  I know people who have ranges with built in griddles and those who have double burner griddles, so making a dozen or more of these hotcakes shouldn't be a problem.  They should be kept in a warm oven until the last pancake is done and everyone is at the table ready to eat.


Bring the platter with your stack and serve 1, 2, 3 or more per plate.  The maple syrup can be cold, room temperature or warmed up a bit.  It's completely up to you!


Don't be intimidated by the idea of making your own pie crust.  It's a simple thing to do and it takes no time at all.  Far superior in flavor and texture than store bought, a homemade pie crust that's reliable and easy to work with will get you through years and years of baking.  I'm glad I was finally able to come up with my own recipe.  Give it a go the next time you're up for baking a pie and let me know what you think.

I look forward to the Montmorency sour cherries at the farmer's market toward the end of June.  This year, I witnessed a lady buying out the entire stand of sour cherries for a whopping $140.  She had to use a shopping cart to carry the cases of cherries to her car.  I looked  with envy as she carted them away from the stand, leaving us without any.  I'm telling you, people go crazy for sour cherries and one must always take advantage of them as soon as they're around. 

Who wouldn't be tempted by these red beauties?  I'm just glad I was able to buy a couple of quarts to bake a pie with them.

This delicious pie was eaten quickly and not a crumb of crust or a drop of sweet juice was left.  It's that good.  Make a note of it and mark it down on your calendar for mid June next year, and ask your local farmer's market purveyors when they'll be available.  Don't hesitate!


I just love this set of embossers from the former Martha by Mail catalog.  I'm glad I had the foresight to get them when I was able to.  The good thing though, is that embossers can be designed, personalized and purchased from so many sources these days.  I've seen Williams-Sonoma offer wonderful sets with your choice of icons and text during the holidays.  Look for them if you're in the market for one.

My little guy.  He's inimitable.  He's adorable.  He's loved immensely.


Here's to more Good Things this July!

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