Tag Archives: Lynne Faille

New Eateries: Wildflour & Mallery’s; Marc Vetri on Stuttering; Notable Events

Lots to report. Dine gluten-free (plus vegetarian) in Lawrenceville and on Simply Grazin’ organic meats in Hillsborough. My radio encounter with Vetri and his lifelong stutter. Participate, please: March against Monsanto, cheffy benefit for one of my favorite NJ nonprofits, first ever Montclair food & wine fest.

Wildflour Bakery/Cafe

The space that had been the Lawrenceville Inn has morphed into an artisan bakery and daytime cafe featuring made-to-order savory and sweet crepes, breads and pastries – all gluten-free. The cafe menu  (you’ll need to click to enlarge) also offers housemade soups, salads, and smoothies (also gluten-free and vegetarian).

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The gal behind Wildflour is Marilyn Besner, shown here holding one of her exceptional coffee cakes.  Princeton-area foodies known her from Moonlight Bakers, her previous strudel-making venture. Besner used her training at The Natural Gourmet Institute and French Culinary Institute to develop her own blends of flours, using everything from amaranth to quinoa, which result in exceptionally light textures, even for cream puffs and pastry for fruit tarts.

On my first visit to Wildflour I couldn’t resist ordering two crepes. I started with a buckwheat crepe filled with sautéed spring greens (kale was one) and caramelized onions with goat cheese crumbled on top and red pepper muhammara on the side ($7.95). Big, hearty, and flavorful. If buckwheat is not to your taste, the alternative is a rice-lentil batter. For my dessert crepe I chose the “plain” batter, made from Marilyn’s own blend of rice, millet, and other flours, the result of which is a light, tasty, tender wrapper. Housemade lemon curd and ricotta was my chosen filler and even though 2 full-size crepes are really too much for one sitting, I gobbled it down. Below is my companion’s equally spectacular choice: Nutella with bent spoon ice cream on the side.

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Wildflour Bakery/Cafe is open for breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch. Birthday cakes and full-size pies and tarts are available by special order.
Wildflour Bakery and Cafe on Urbanspoon

Mallery’s Eatery
UPDATE, AUGUST 2013: MALLERY’S EATERY IS CLOSED INDEFINITELY

Fans of Mark & Lynne Faille’s organically raised meats from their Simply Grazin’ Farm and Mallery’s Grazin’ Meats butcher shop – both in Skillman – have added a butcher shop/cafe in Hillsborough called Mallery’s Eatery. Executive chef is none other than Eric Martin, the opening and long-time chef at Rat’s Restaurant at Grounds for Sculpture.

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The lunch and take-out menu includes soups like his organic chicken orzo ($7); salads such as one of beets, granny smith apples, goat cheese, and arugula ($8); cold and hot sandwiches; panini; and “plates” of spaghetti and meatballs ($10) and meatloaf ($13). On a recent visit I was particularly impressed with this organic turkey chili (beef is also available) served with fresh corn tortillas and all the trimmings ($9.99):

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Mallery’s Eatery is open for breakfast and lunch, tucked away deep in the recesses of the Kingsbridge Shopping Center on South Branch Road.

Marc Vetri, Stuttering, and Me

Did you catch this touching HuffPost piece by Marc Vetri about life as a stutterer? It resonated with me partially because back in 2005, after being wowed by a fabulous meal at his namesake Philly restaurant, I emailed him asking if he would be a phone-in guest on my live, Saturday morning radio talk show. It was only after he accepted that I learned he was a stutterer. I was impressed once again with the man – he wasn’t going to let that stop him. The interview went well and got a good response. I have to admit it was stressful on my end – it was hard not to jump in when he was struggling to get a word out – but it was a lesson in restraint well worth learning.

Chef’s Night @ Palace at Somerset Park

New Brunswick-based nonprofit Elijah’s Promise (motto: “Food Changes Lives”) does so many important things so well it takes my breath away: soup kitchen, pay-what-you-can eatery, CSA, community garden, more social services than I can name. But one that’s particularly close to my heart is Promise Culinary School, an intensive, state-accredited program that prepares low-income adults to work in the dining industry.

Chefs Night PhotoChef’s Night, the school’s biggest fundraiser, with 35-plus restaurants participating, will take place on Monday, June 3rd from 6 to 9 pm at the rather grand Palace at Somerset Park. For menu, details, and tickets, click here.

I’m not often political in this space but…

March Against Monsanto logo

I am so distressed by the so-called Monsanto Protection Act that I’m breaking my unspoken rule. A worldwide March Against Monsanto has been called for Saturday, May 25th. Check out the list of participating continents, countries, states, and cities here. The official March against Monsanto Facebook page has so amassed more than 81,000 likes.

In NJ, 2 Marches are planned by NOFA-NJ and other organizations. Marches lead off at 2 pm, from downtown New Brunswick and Atlantic City.Here’s their rationale:

– Research studies have shown that Monsanto’s genetically-modified foods can lead to serious health conditions such as the development of cancer tumors, infertility and birth defects.

– In the United States, the FDA, the agency tasked with ensuring food safety for the population, is steered by ex-Monsanto executives, and we feel that’s a questionable conflict of interests and explains the lack of government-lead research on the long-term effects of GMO products.

– Recently, the U.S. Congress and president collectively passed the nicknamed “Monsanto Protection Act” that, among other things, bans courts from halting the sale of Monsanto’s genetically-modified seeds.

– For too long, Monsanto has been the benefactor of corporate subsidies and political favoritism. Organic and small farmers suffer losses while Monsanto continues to forge its monopoly over the world’s food supply, including exclusive patenting rights over seeds and genetic makeup.

Montclair Food & Wine Festival: A 2-day Feast for a Good Cause
Participating Chef Ariane Duarte of CulinAriane

Participating Chef Ariane Duarte of CulinAriane

This is the inaugural event showcasing leading chefs from Montclair’s long list of terrific restaurants (and a couple of high-profile outliers from neighboring towns). It takes place on Saturday, June 1st and Sunday, June 2nd. A portion of the proceeds will go to the St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Center for Feeding and Swallowing and to Partners for Health Foundation. For the complete line-up, details on the Grand Tasting and Gala Dinner, and tickets, click here.

Black Walnut Cookie Recipe; Mallery’s Grazin’ Meats Market Opens

Simply Grazin’ Organic Farm Opens Its Own Market, Complete with Custom Butchering

The 100% grassfed organic beef, pork, and poultry from Mark & Lynne Faille’s Simply’ Grazin’ has drawn loyal customers to their Hillsborough farm for years now. And some of it is carried by Whole Foods markets up and down the Eastern Seaboard. So why did the Failles feel the need to open Mallery’s, their brick-and-mortar market just up the road in Skillman? And why did about 1,000 people show up on opening day? I tell all in the August 22nd issue of US 1.

Black Walnut Love

My favorite ice cream flavor growing up was black walnut. Looking back that seems like a pretty sophisticated choice, since the Eastern Black Walnut (Juglans nigra, to biologists) has a particularly robust, rich, earthy flavor and, to my mind at least, an attractive fermented quality.

You don’t come across black walnuts much these days. They somehow became old-fashioned, losing ground to the more common English walnut. By rights they should be a darling of the current craze for foraging because the American Black Walnut is a 100% natural, wild, sustainable crop that grows naturally in the woods, pastures, and yards of the Midwest. It is virtually unchanged since the days it was a staple of the Native American diet.

Each October when the nuts naturally fall to the ground, local residents collect the nuts and sell them to hulling stations, like those of the Hammons Company of Stockton, Missouri, now in its fourth generation. You can imagine my delight when while trolling the aisles at this summer’s Fancy Food Show I came across Hammons, a.k.a. “the black walnut people.” When I asked what stores in New Jersey carry their bags of raw, chopped nuts, they mentioned Wegmans. Alas, only their stores south of Princeton carry them. Undaunted, I ordered two bags of Hammons chopped raw nuts over the company website, and began experimenting.

English: Black walnuts - one in its husk, and ...

English: Black walnuts – one in its husk, and one already cracked (with a hammer). Bloomington, Indiana. Русский: Чёрный орех, толстокорый североамериканский родственник грецкого ореха. Один в кожуре, другой уже расколотый (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By the way: black walnut trees grow in New Jersey, too. In fact, the one in my neighbor’s yard when I lived in Hightstown branched over into mine. But Miss Embly, my elderly neighbor, warned me that trying to crack the shells was almost impossible and would result in my hands being stained black. Which is why Midwest foragers take them to Hammons, where the nuts are run between large steel wheels to crack the hard outer shells.

I have to admit that straight out of the bag, raw black walnuts don’t taste very good. Once they meet heat, though, it’s another story. Ice cream and baking are traditionally where the black walnut shines, as it does in the buttery cookie recipe below. It’s from my favorite baking book:  I have probably reprinted more recipes from Jim Fobel’s excellent tome than any other over the years.

Here are even more reasons to embrace the American black walnut tree (figuratively speaking, of course). Black walnut shells are eco-friendly, inert, nontoxic, and biodegradable, which is why they’re used in the industrial blasting industry to clean brick, metal, and wood, especially in historic preservation projects. The oil industry uses the shells as a filtration media. And in a completely different sphere: black walnut wood is among those used to make wands in the Harry Potter series. (American black walnuts were transplanted to Europe in the 1600s.) A wizard with such a wand should have “good instincts and powerful insight.” I submit that home cooks with good instincts and powerful insight might want to give black walnuts a try.

BLACK WALNUT COOKIES
Jim Fobel’s Old-Fashioned Baking Book (Lake Isle Press)

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup (4 ounces) chopped black walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup milk

1. Position two racks so that they are evenly spaced in the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Grease two baking sheets.

2. In a medium bowl combine the butter and sugar. With a handheld electric mixer, beat until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the egg until blended. With a spoon, stir in the black walnuts and vanilla.

3. On a sheet of waxed paper stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and then stir in half of the milk. Stir in half of the remaining dry ingredients and then the remaining milk. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients to make a sticky dough.

4. Using 1 level tablespoon of the dough for each cookie, drop it onto the prepared sheets, leaving 2-1/2 to 3 inches between them (1 dozen per baking sheet). Bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer with a spatula to racks to cool. Repeat with remaining dough.

Makes about 30 cookies.

(Reprinted in part from the August 21, 2012 edition of The Princeton Packet.)