Tag Archives: Sickles Market

Summer is NOT Over: Dine on the JC Waterfront; Attend a David Burke-Curated Alfresco Fundraiser; & Make Seasonal Salsas

Before We Get Started: Join me at Readathon for Adult Literacy

This Thursday, September 4th, I’m participating in Literacy New Jersey‘s Readathon at the Princeton Public Library. At 1 pm, I will read from my favorite (food-related) book for 5 minutes, as part of an all-day event to spotlight adult illiteracy.

A few cookbooks from my shelves

A few cookbooks on my shelves

Did you know that in Mercer County alone, 60,000 adult residents cannot read above a fourth grade level? As someone with a sibling who never learned to read (incredible, I know), this cause is very close to my heart.

From 10 to 11 am, children’s books will be featured; from noon to 4 pm, adult books. Please join me! The public is welcome to sign up as readers, too. Phone 609.587.6027 or email vgolden@literacynj.org.


As It Grows” Dinner to Benefit Little Silver’s Historic 1665 Parker Homestead

Parker Homestead

Parker Homestead

David Burke is the celebrity chef (David Burke Fromagerie, etc.) creating a sumptuous farm-to-table menu for what event co-chair Bob Sickles (of Sickles Market) terms a “serious food and wine event with a fun, casual approach.” It takes place on Saturday, September 13 starting at 6:30 pm under a sailcloth tent at the historic Parker Homestead in Little Silver, which is the beneficiary.

The “elegant casual” evening includes wines from Colts Neck’s 4JGs Vineyard, music, dancing, and a live auction (featuring rare collectible wines) conducted by Antiques Roadshow star Nicholas Dawes.

Here’s the menu created by David Burke (who, btw, grew up in Hazlet):

Cocktail Reception: Bacon Clotheslines with Pickled Carrot Garnish; Cheese”burker” Sliders; Quinoa Sliders; Pork Rillettes; Corn Panna Cotta Jars; Pig Trotter Terrine Spiced Apple; House Cured Lardo; Garden Conserva; Country Crostini; Chicken Lollipops.

Lusty Lobster Raw Bar: Wild Caught Sandy Hook Bay Clams; Wild Caught Delaware Bay Oysters; Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail; Jonah Crab Claws.

Sickles Market Cheese Table: Assorted Farmstead Jersey Cheeses including Long Valley Shepherd, Bobolink Dairy and Cherry Grove. Gourmet accompaniments and fruits.

“Local” Salad Station: Organic Kale Caesar Salad; Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Apples; Candies Pecans, Blue Cheese, Dried Cranberries; Fall Market Salad with Fixins’; Tomato Burrata Salad.

Fish Station: Barnegat Light Day Boat Scallops, Parsnip, Apple, Chanterelle, and Leek Fondue.

Pork Station: Porchetta Carving Station, Pineapple and Mustard Kraut, Quince, Lentils, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Corn Bread Stuffing, Country Potato Salad.

Beef Station: Roast Prime Rib with Au Jus, Horseradish, Crème Fraiche and David Burke Steak Sauce.

Pasta Station: House Made Cavatelli, Sheep Milk Ricotta, Butternut Squash.

Dessert: Cotton Candy, Smokin’ Hot Doughnuts; Peach Pies.

Tickets are $250 and can be purchased at www.AsItGrows.org or by calling 732.462.1466.

Surfeit of Scrumptious Salsas Sizzle at Salsa Slam 2014

Princeton Salsa Slam 2014

Princeton Salsa Slam 2014

Last month I was a judge at a different event at the Princeton Public Library: it’s third annual salsa contest. Ten area eateries vied for the coveted title of best salsa in this Ivy League town. Terra Learning Kitchen (located inside the YMCA) won over us judges with its Salsa Verde with Avocado, while People’s Choice went to Tortuga’s Mexican Village for its classic Secret Family Recipe Salsa.

My fellow judges: Gab Carbone of the bent spoon, Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert, & food blogger Sue Gordon

My fellow judges (left to right): Gab Carbone of the bent spoon, Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert, & food blogger Sue Gordon

Naturally, I used the occasion to gather recipes for some of my personal favorites. Don’t let the Labor-Day-means-the-end-of-summer hype fool you: there’s plenty of NJ harvest time left to make the following fresh, exciting salsas. The folks at Agricola, Princeton’s popular farm-to-table restaurant kindly shared their intriguing entry, anchored by kimchi and heirloom tomatoes. The mango salsa recipe is courtesy of my friend George Point of Lawrenceville, who won awards for it years ago when he competed on the NJ barbecue cook-off circuit.

For a full report on the Slam, read this terrific account by one of my fellow judges, Sue Gordon, who blogs as the Princeton Food Examiner. (Recipes are reprinted from my column in the August 15 issue of the Princeton Packet.)

Pete Maglaty, Sous Chef, Agricola

3/4 cup kimchi
2-1/2 cups heirloom tomatoes
1/2 cup spring onion, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
Juice from 1-1/2 limes, separated
4 tablespoons kimchi juice, separated
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves

  1. Combine the onion, jalapeno, juice from 1 lime, and 2 tablespoons of kimchi juice in a small bowl. Cover and let macerate overnight at room temperature.
  2. Next day, cut the tomatoes into small dice and chop the cilantro leaves. Mix together the tomatoes, cilantro, and kimchi. Stir in the macerated mixture of onion and jalapeno, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of kimchi juice. Season with salt, cover, and let rest in the refrigerator overnight. Before serving adjust seasoning if necessary with additional salt and lime juice.
    Makes about 3 cups.

George Point

2 15-ounce cans sliced mango
1/4 cup crushed pineapple
1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2 ripe kiwi fruit, chopped
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper, or to taste
Juice of one fresh lime
Fresh cilantro, chopped

Puree the mango. Combine all ingredients except cilantro in a small bowl. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Makes about 3 cups.

Review: Battello – Ryan DePersio’s Latest, at the Newport Marina in Jersey City

NJ Monthly cover sept 2014The views of Manhattan, the open-air porch on the Hudson, the breezy nautical decor all make Battello a natural for catching the last of summer’s fine weather. The modern Italian seafood ain’t bad either. Read the joint report from me and senior editor Eric Levin, in the September issue of New Jersey Monthly.

Undici Taverna; National Acclaim for 2 NJ Towns

Before I get to the terrific Sicilian meal I had recently at Undici in Rumson and before I name the two small towns that were tagged among the 20 best in the U.S. by Smithsonian Magazine, here’s the best photo I’ve seen of the space shuttle Discovery being flown to DC earlier this week:

This was the view outside my daughter Alice’s office in Northern Virginia, taken by her co-worker Jordan on his cell phone. Imagine looking up from your desk and seeing this out your window!

Smithsonian Magazine Names 20 Best Small Towns in the U.S.

Albert Einstein House, Princeton, NJ

Albert Einstein House, Princeton, NJ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Congratulations to Princeton and Red Bank, both of which rank in Smithsonian Magazine‘s list of the 20 best small towns in the U.S. Here’s an excerpt on the criteria they used:

“…high concentrations of museums, historic sites, botanic gardens, resident orchestras, art galleries and other cultural assets common to big cities. But we focused on towns with populations less than 25,000, so travelers could experience what might be called enlightened good times in an unhurried, charming setting. We also tried to select towns ranging across the lower 48.”

Old train station building, Red Bank, NJ, USA

Old train station building, Red Bank, NJ, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wow. Even though they were looking for a nice geographic spread, tiny New Jersey still managed to come in with two winners. The only other states to accomplish that feat were Florida (Naples & Key West) and California (Mill Valley & Laguna Beach). Go us!
Sicilian Dinner at Undici
As mentioned in a previous post, I had signed up for the dinner hosted by Sickles Market of Little Silver that was to preview that store’s excursion with 12 people to Sicily this coming October. Before the dinner, only 10 spaces were left to sign up for the trip; after it, well, I have no idea. The Taste of Sicily menu was superb. This marked my first visit to Undici, a Rumson hotspot, and the rustic decor reminds me very much of Basil T’s in Red Bank – not surprising since one of the owners is involved with both.

Undici is highly regarded for its authentic Sicilian pies, which sport crisp crusts from baking in the 800-degree brick oven. We enjoyed samples of five from the menu – originali, margherita, filetti, bianco, and arugula e prosciutto. All were superb, with the last two among the best versions I’ve had. The pizzas were served with two Sicilian wines from Undici’s list. Both had an amazingly velvety mouth feel. The white was the Firriato Chiaramonte Bianco 2010, which is 100% Ansonica, the grape customarily used to make Marsala. The red was the Feudo Maccari Maharis 2007, a blend of nero d’Avola, cab, and syrah. This and the arugula/prosciutto pizza were a match made in heaven.

April Events & Mo Rocca Defends NJ

It’s not just the weather that’s heating up ’round these parts. Here are two fun events you might want to hook into:

Princyclopedia 2012

Every year the Cotsen Children’s Library on the Princeton University campus brings to life for one day a beloved book with hands-on projects, activities, live shows, and demonstrations. It’s free, it’s as enjoyable for adults as it is for kids of all ages, and this year the book is one of my all time favorites: Robin Hood. (That’s Princyclopedia creator Dana Sheridan pictured at left.)

Think falconry, longbow archery, and battle-ax and sword play, mead tasting, knights, castles, and other delights. (Every year, The Bent Spoon brings a theme-related ice cream flavor. Wonder what this year’s will be.) It’s on Saturday, April 14 from 10 am to 3 pm at Dillon Gym on the University campus. Details and logistics here. Plus, I’ll write about it in greater detail in the 4/11/12 issue of US 1, so I’ll post a link when that’s available. This year, in the spirit of Robin, there’s a food drive component, which makes me like Princyclopedia even more.

Sickles Market Goes to Sicily. Literally. 

Bob & Leslie Sickles of the award-winning market in Little Silver were so entranced by a buying trip to Sicily last year that they’ve organized a food-buyer’s insider tour for 12 people this coming October. To see if you would like to be one of them, they’re offering a taste of what to expect at a Sicilian evening at Undici restaurant in Rumson on Monday, April 16, at 7 pm. Cost is $35. For reservations, contact Kirsty Dougherty at 908.512.0600 or kdougherty@sicklesmarket.com.

Mo Rocca Refuses to Trash the Garden State

"Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me" recept...

"Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me" reception at Octavia Books, Uptown New Orleans. Mo Rocca. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve always liked Mo Rocca, but never more so than when my daughter Elizabeth told me how he came to the defense of our state on last week’s NPR quiz show Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! You can imagine the jokes and snide remarks offered by the other panelists when he was asked to name the surprising area in which NJ was recently named to be Number One in the nation. He steadfastly refused to join in – and wound up extolling many of our good points, as well as coming up with the right answer! Which, if you haven’t heard, is quite surprising. Here’s the link to the audio. (The NJ bit starts about 2 minutes and 45 seconds into the segment.)