Market Cross Pub, Carlisle, Pa

Our Sunday afternoon lunch was eaten at the Market Cross Pub, again, just ahead of restaurant week.

I let him order and we had the bruschetta appetizer, along with two shantys. I’d never had a shanty before, but it grew on me as we ate. The bruschetta looked great, see?

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It was different from any I’ve ever had, having mushrooms in it, and since I like mushrooms, I quite liked the addition. Also, the balsamic glaze was one of the best I’d had. This set the bar for the rest of the meal quite high.

He filled the table, though it was a small one, with a shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash, and a pub burger with Stilton cheese. Two of the three came with mashed potatoes, but they were thick and not my preference. The shepherd’s pie actually had lamb in it and a blend of savory spices, completely different from what I was expecting.

The Stilton cheese on the pub burger was a new experience for me, and I quickly learned that I don’t care for it on my burger. Once I removed it though, it was a pretty good burger, though we’ve made better ones at home. They do get credit for properly cooking it though, a lovely medium rare.

My favorite was the bangers and mash, two sweet sausages with a brown ale gravy, again, not the potatoes so much, but I do like a good sweet sausage.

All in all, a good experience, food could have been a little better, service wasn’t too bad and the atmosphere was unique, I’d not been in a pub before.

 

Berry Sorbet

This week (at work, so details will have to be sparse) I made my first ever sorbet. I’d never done it before and had no idea what all it would entail, but armed with a recipe, I found it to be rather simple!

There was a combination of black raspberries and red berries that weren’t raspberries, but strongly resembled them, so the color was gorgeous (and the main reason I felt compelled to share it with you), see?

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Simple, cold and tasty, what more could you want?

Pickle Crisp?

Warning: The purpose of this post is to vent! I need to get something off my chest and you probably don’t want to read about it. Final warning, turn back now!

Still with me? Okay, thanks.

I have gotten 38 cucumbers in the past two weeks. We’ve put some in sour cream (one of his favorites), I’ve eaten some whole, and we’ve given them to family and friends, but we’re keeping the remainder, as one of the reasons we planted them was to make our very own pickles. I’ve never done it before, but I’ve Paula Deen’s recipe for bread & butter pickles and it seems simple enoughé

His mother lent/gave (I really should clarify that!) me 12 quart canning jars and lids, so I’m set that way and at the store on Thursday, I picked up the other things I need. Spices? Check. Pickling salt? Check. Vinegar? Check? Pickle crisp granules? No, not at that store.

No problem, I had to stop by Lowes the following morning for batteries anyway. Oh wait, problem, they don’t have their canning stuff in stock yet. ‘It’s too early.’ Really, that’s funny, because I’m pretty sure we’re well in to the spring harvest season…

Alright, I’ll just hit another grocery store, no luck there either. At this point, I thought it wise to head home and do some research, looking up every place I could think so and calling them to see if they had pickle crisp in stock. Every hardware store, grocery store and speciality cooking store in the area proved no help, they had Ball Pickle Mixes, which have the granules I need in them, but I really wanted to do things from scratch, this would be like making a cake from a box! I even called Ball and checked their website of retailers, but still nothing!!

Throughly frustrated, I called my finacè and said that it seemed the only place one could purchase pickle crisp was off the internet, but it get it here by Saturday would be nearly $32! We decided to order some, but we’re going to put off the pickles till next week, as we’re sure we’ll still be swimming in cucumbers then, and  let it take it’s time getting here.

I had no idea this would get so complicated and frustrating, I hate it when I can’t find what I’m shopping for! Have you ever had that problem? Can pickle crisp be found in a store near you?

Anyway, since I was all pumped to make something this weekend, we’re going to try basil jelly, stay tuned!

Homemade Taffy – The Kitchen Side of Things

First off, let me quickly apologize for going so long in between posts. I am still learning to find time to type these up. I’m sorry. Forgiven?

Alright, on to the taffy!
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Memorial Day, I had friends come over to have a taffy pull. There were 8 of in all, 5 having helped last year when we made taffy for the first time.

6 of them paired up and readied to pull, buttering the entirety of my kitchen/dining room table and their hands quite throughly. They also worked on cutting wax paper into squares, since you MUST individually wrap them or they become one large piece again. But beyond that, I was in the kitchen, so I shall have to let my fiancé post about what else went on out there.

I had a helper and we initially set about mixing one batch at a time but quickly opted for two in a large soup pot. It had to be large for the sugar really bubbles when cooking. We have concluded through various batches that the best way to achieve maximum flavor (a must for us!) is to mix several packets of unsweetened drink mix in with the sugar and omit the salt. Also, craft store with cake decorating supplies are the best place to buy glycerin, not kitchen stores or specialty shops.

It took far longer for the sugar to cook down then I remember, but the thermometer was calling the shots, not me. Once the prescribed temperature was achieved, we poured it into two separate bowls to add flavor and color, then poured each bowl out onto a buttered, rimmed, cookie sheet.

At this point, the pullers would be informed to take over, wait until it was cool and begin pulling… but that’s not my part of this story.

By the end of the day, we’d made enough taffy for everyone to take a decent sized bag home. We had strawberry, sour green apple, lemon, cranberry, blueberry, orange and peppermint, in every color.

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This is the only picture we managed during the process, as I was running the kitchen and his hands were covered in butter. Can you guess what flavor this is?

My Weekend in the Kitchen – Saturday (5-17)

When I got up this morning, I headed to the kitchen, where I soon found myself entrenched in several things at once.

I had been putting the removed-prior-to-feeding sourdough starter in a container in the back of my fridge for several weeks and set about turning it into crumpets.For something new, I used a ring to keep them in shape and they all came out the same size. See?

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Halfway through, my fiancé called and suggested that I add some green onions to the remaining batter (he’s been pursuing green onion cakes for a little while now). I did so, and they were good, but I could and should have added more. Oh well, next time.

While they cooked (for I only have small non-stick pans and one ring, so doing one at a time, they took awhile!), I mixed up this week’s sourdough bread, the boule from King Arthur. It was his request, he wanted to share it with some friends on Monday.

As the bread rested and the crumpets cooked, I got out a large saute pan and worked on the sauce for Monday’s dinner, Lasagna Con Corne from Taste of Home. Browned the meat, sautéed the vegetables and added the canned goods before leaving it to simmer while I washed up the dishes. Very soon, a chili-like smell filled the room, but then…

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…it does look rather like chili when you think about it. This concluded my morning, save tending the bread occasionally.

My afternoon was spent outside, tilling up and planting another, smaller, garden. I hope to have this be my herb garden next year, but for now, both are mixed. I moved the thyme from the other bed, and planted some chives and fennel from pots on the porch. There were three strawberry plants from the previous owner, and I planted another 5 squares (from seed). I also planted 10 corn seeds and 39 beet seeds, it’s a little late, but we’ll see if I can manage anything.

Ran in and out while the bread was baking and it came off alright, very toasted, but tasty!

 

A Word About Hard-Boiled Eggs

http://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/how-to/article/how-to-boil-an-egg

I found this handy link last night as I read last month’s edition of Bon Appetit (which we’d finally been able to check out from our local library). The first thing I like is that it tells you some of the science behind the process. And second, I’ve always used the cold-water method described here to hard boil eggs and it works perfectly, no green yolks! But then, that’s all I’ve made until recently when I had my very first soft boiled egg. I’ve yet to make one for myself, but when I do, I shall reference this site. I wanted to post it on here and share it with all of you so that you too may have perfect eggs, no matter how cooked you want them to be!

P.S. To get the yolks to be in the center, turn them on their side the day before you boil them, or longer…it can’t hurt. The easiest way I’ve found to do this to rubber band the carton shut (just in case, I mean, we are dealing with eggs here!) and turn that on its side.

Piazza Sorrento and their Woodsman Pizza

I went out with a friend on Saturday, we hit the Tanger Outlets in Hershey (where I had to control myself in the ‘Kitchen Collection’ store… but this post is not about that!) and then had to find somewhere to eat dinner on our way to see a show at the Hershey Playhouse, which can prove difficult at 5:30/6:00 at night when you didn’t make any reservations.

However, we eventually drove past the Piazza Sorrento and decided to try it as well. The exterior wasn’t much to look at, but inside there was a warm, elegant Italian atmosphere. The hostesses informed us that they had an hour plus wait (just like everywhere else), but they had a small table in the bar area where they could seat us right away, if we didn’t mind.

We didn’t. Happy to at last have found food, we took our seat and I began to pour over the menu, in search of something special or unusual. There were several house specials, but all of them sounded like something I might find else where, so not what I was looking for. Eventually, my eyes found a listing in their 10 inch pizza section for a ‘Woodsman Pizza’ with tomato sauce, sausage, prosciutto, pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, red peppers and Mozzarella for $13 (even though my friend had insisted that cost wasn’t to concern me).

As we waited, I had their ‘Triple Berry Blast’ cocktail, which consisted of strawberry vodka, raspberry vodka, and cranberry juice, which was fine, but with all the infused vodka, there really wasn’t much of a ‘blast’.

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I was expecting less olives and more cheese (personal preference), but when I tasted it, it worked just the way it was! I could taste all the various toppings in turn. Nothing remarkable about the crust, but it wasn’t terrible.

She had their homemade lobster ravioli and let me try a few. The pasta was very thin and there was a decent amount of filling, not too much, not too little, but the sauce was amazing, a Marsala with corn and onions, it was sweet and a great compliment to the lobster.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for dessert. But, with their warm atmosphere, helpful wait staff, variety of menu, and fair prices, I’d love to take my fiancé there sometime soon. A lovely accidental find!

‘Famous’ Sticky Buns?

Last week, there was a blood drive in my town. Promised to the donors were the local resort inn’s ‘famous’ sticky buns. Now, I’m one to donate when I can regardless, but I was intrigued to taste them, these sticky buns that are so famous I’ve never heard of them, despite growing up in a neighboring town.

The donating was a little rough, my technician was a trainee and she had a few problems, so by the time I got to the canteen, I was ready for something tasty. I’m afraid I was disappointed, they were basically a sweet pastry in a bun shape and not at all sticky! Several raisins had been strewn across the top, but not evenly, and there weren’t nearly enough for each bun to have one.

I smuggled one home and let my fiancé have a taste too, I always enjoy having his imput and perspective. He seconded my thoughts, we were both unimpressed. Oh well, at least the blood will help someone who needs it.

Crumpets – Who Knew?

A short entry to share a pleasant surprise. This Saturday morning, I was trying to find something to do with my unfed sourdough starter and had nearly consigned myself to having to throw it away, when I found a recipe for Sourdough Crumpets from King Arthur Flour that seemed to solve the problem. It also gave me something to eat for breakfast!

It looked (and was) simple enough, add 1 t. of sugar, and 1/2 t. of salt and baking soda to 1 C. of the starter, stir and cook like pancakes. ‘Twas neat to see how it grew and bubbled.

Melted a little butter on mine and ate them while they were still warm. I was amazed at their flavor. Best ‘pancakes’ ever! I had no idea, but this is definitely my new favorite way to use up that unfed starter each week.

Meanwhile, the fed is being turned into bread bowls….