Wednesday, May 30, 2012

WIAW # 28: Romaine Hearts Salad with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

I have a feeling that I won’t be the only person who WIAWs their Memorial Day eats. (Yes, I just made that a verb.) Now, I must state, as a very-soon-to-be military wife it kind of depresses me that this National Holiday of remembrance gets turned into a Barbeque day with no actual remembrance sometimes. Forthose of you who do remember the true meaning of this day, I applaud you. But at the same time, there is nothing wrong with enjoying this day/weekend with family and friends, just be mindful of what it means. And of course who makes it possible for you to get a day off work to enjoy.

As my wonderful fiancé tells me, this is a day of reflection. Good job sweetheart. You give me another reason to be proud of our military.
On another note, this was a beautiful if not extremely hot weekend here in the North East. I was able to make some great eats along with several recipes to share. So here is it, my Memorial Day eats. And no we didn’t actually go to barbeque believe it or not.

Dinner at Bonefish Grill with Lisa

Ahi tuna with soy dipping sauce

Their crazy good mostly-likely as fattening Rocking Shrimp
A mango martini

Grilled Salmon and asparagus salad with goat cheese and lots of veggies!

Saturday Lunch

Rome apple and peanut butter

Chicken Minnasale sandwich from Montesano’s Brothers
Chicken cutlet, roasted peppers, broccoli rabe, sharp provolone

Homemade iced coffee with coffee iced cubes via Bakeaholic Mama (Recipe to come soon)

Saturday Dinner at Ludwig’s
Pomegranate martini
Handful of calamari
Romaine Hearts Salad (Restaurant inspiration)
Split crock of French onion soup with Lisa
A third of Jewish apple cake and ice cream
Yum yum yum…


Eggs and home fries (so-so)

POM Beach Smoothie (Recipe to come)

Homemade Romaine Hearts salad with homemade blue cheese dressing, prosciutto, blue cheese, red onion, and kalamata olives
Homemade truffled three cheese and scallion paninis


Homemade Fried potatoes with fired egg
fried tomatoes
Fresh watermelon
glass of orange juice


Homemade pita pizza (three cheese, tomato, proscuitto, kalamata olives, balsamic reduction)
Watermelon margarita

The best thing I ate this weekend was the Romaine Hearts salad I had first at Ludwig’s in Chester Springs, PA and the next day at home when I recreated it. After having this great summer salad I had to make it again. I had to make a special trip to Wegman’s since I knew that the closest grocery store to my mother wouldn’t have anything I needed. It was totally worth the trip as we devoured these babies along with our paninis. It is the perfect summer salad to make at home or for a summer party. The romaine hearts act as a hands on salad, no utensils needed. The perfect summer treat.

Romaine Hearts Salad with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing:
4-5 servings (3-4 pieces each)


For the dressing

1/2 small red onion
3/4 cup mayo
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup light cream
1/2 cup crumbled buttermilk blue cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp salt
Juice of 1 lemon
Pinch of chili powder

For the Salad

1 heart of romaine lettuce, separated (about 15 cups)
½ red onion
15-20 pitted kalamata olives
3 slices of prosciutto, sliced into thin strips
¼ cup crumbled buttermilk blue cheese


Using a mandolin, slice the red onion into thin slices. Separate 1/2 of the onion and soak in ice water for 1-2 hours in the fridge. Take the rest of the onion and chop finely for the dressing. In a medium bowl, whisk all ingredients together until mixed well. Refrigerate while you prepare the salad or several hours ahead of time. (there will be leftovers)

On a large plate, arrange the lettuce cup side up. Sprinkle evenly with crumbled blue, sliced onions, and pitted kalamata olives. Drizzle blue cheese dressing all over the lettuce cups well but not too much. (you might have to do this in two batches) Sprinkle with fresh cracked pepper and serve.



The College Cuisiner

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Philly: Northern Liberties Night Market

If you couldn’t tell from my over excited post on Thursday, I went to Night Market Philly in Northern Liberties…. and it was awesome.

Now since this is still a relatively new event, they still have some kinks to work out. The biggest problem with food festival built around food trucks is that often enough those trucks have problems. This happened twice- “Say Cheese” grilled cheese truck and “Mini-Trini” Trinidadian food. Of course I was looking forward to both of these the most. My luck.

I love the concept of the Night Market: close down a long street in a cool neighborhood, invite 40 + food trucks and various restaurants and sell lots of food for around $5 each. Unfortunately as when any “festival” is built around the food, there are going to be long long long lines.

Of course, some of the best known trucks, Gaupos Tacos, Pitruco Pizza, Zea May, Smoke Truck, and anything tacos had ridiculously long lines that I could not justify waiting in. Luckily our weather was fantastic and despite the ominous clouds that hovered like a warning, rain did not come to the Night Market. Though I must say, I thought it would kill the lines a bit if it did.

Now what did I eat you may ask?

Well, as we got there right at 7pm when it opened I thought I would hit up Sugar Philly first to beat the lines before everyone else got there sandwiches and wanted dessert.

I went for the three macaroons that the lovely “waiter” suggested, milk and honey, tiramisu, and salted caramel. These babies were huge. And the tiramisu was incredible! I like the salted caramel but it was a little too salted for my taste and as Aaron had already gobbled up the sugar cookie-esque milk and honey, I couldn’t judge it properly.

I felt a little weird eating dessert first when I was so hungry so while Aaron was waiting in line for this sausage sandwich from Renaissance Sausage, I got this plate of homemade gnocchi from Mama Maria Ristorante Italiano. 

It was very good with only the occasional bites of watery gnocchi but I was so hungry I didn’t care and since they didn’t have a huge line, I went for it.

Aaron got a Yard’s Brewery beer from one of the various Yards’ stations around the festival. (They were the sponsors after all.) I wanted to get a glass of wine from Penn Woods Winery but after a taste of the only red wine they had (Merlot) and the fact that the tiny pour was $7 I passed on the so-so wine. I love the concept of wine from Pennsylvania grapes but I’m picky I guess and it was a really small glass.

After gobbling down my gnocchi at an open table (gasp!) we ate my macaroons and thirsty me went for an iced latte and Rival Brother’s coffee truck. It was the perfect refreshment and a pretty average price.

But back to the tables, I was shocked there was actually a place to sit. Now, these were hard to come by but it worked for me as I balanced my pasta and dessert.

We wanted to keep going further like Mackenzie and Jon who left us in the beginning and got the amazing Wisconsin cheese curds I had been drooling over but then company included wanted to circle back and get some tacos. Now don’t get me wrong, these bad boys were the real deal but this line was massive. As in block the entire road wrap around the opposite sidewalk bad.

I got the chicken tacos. They were delicious but the “mild” I thought I got set my mouth on fire after I finished half and the spiciness ruined my appetite a bit. What a shame for my stomach but a blessing for my wallet.

Check out these virgin pina coladas they were peddling. Wow.

After that it began to get dark so we decided to walk to the end of the festival at the Piazza and then walk back to our car. Honestly, we didn’t even have to drive since Mackenzie and Jon live so close but they didn’t know it went to the Piazza  (a few blocks from them) so we parked at the opposite end. No big deal.


Night Market Philly in Northern Liberties was a lot of fun. Live music, lots of great people watching and some really great food from local people. What could be better? Shorter lines, but let’s be realistic here. Aaron was a little on the quiet-tired side so we probably could have stayed longer but honestly two and half hours was a good amount of time to hang out. The weather was lovely which made the whole occasion even better. I’m glad I brought a lot of cash though as I saw lots of people hitting up the ole-ATM quite a bit. This Night Market couldn’t have been on a better street, which was just as interesting as the festival itself. Despite the fact this place is super close to my sister, Aaron and I don’t get here much. I’d like to change that along with my cash flow. Night Market is a great event and if you have a chance, go see it next month at the Italian Market as it parks at Washington Avenue. If I can get another generous day off from my boss to make the trip, I will definitely be there too. Because I AM getting a grilled cheese and no one can stop me.



The College Cuisiner

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Philly: Going to the Night Market!

I am so excited because TONIGHT I am going to the Night Market in Northern Liberties hosted by the Food Trust. I have been dying to go to this travelling food truck festival for over a year now but I’ve never been able to go. So tonight Aaron and I are making the effort and meeting my sister and her fiancé for a night of beer, wine, and foodie-truck heaven. There will be more than forty different vendors there ranging from the classics to the unique. If you know about the gourmet food truck craze that has hit major US cities In the past few years you know that Philadelphia has gotten a fair shake at this fad. This is the fifth Night Market and the largest by far! All the better for us! 

Images courtesy of the Food Trust

If you are in the Philadelphia area tonight come over to Northern Liberties and check this thing out! It will be from 7-11pm and I can’t wait! 

Where is this thing?? Northern Liberties- 2nd Street between Fairmount and George (2nd and Poplar)

There will be lots of live music, food, drinks, and fun for the whole family!

“Philadelphia’s favorite street food festival, celebrating the city’s ethnic restaurants, gourmet food trucks and coolest neighborhoods.”

Here are just a few of the food trucks that are showing up (Full listing Here):

BAR FERDINAND · Spanish tapas

BROWN BETTY · Desserts


CAPOGIRO · Italian gelato

DELICIAS · Venezuelan 
Twitter: @PhillyDelicias

EL CAMINO REAL · BBQ burrito bar

ESPOSITO’S PORCHETTA · Italian roast pork


GARDEN VARIETY · Food cart garden


GUAPOS TACOS · Tacos (Garces Company Food truck!!)

LIL’ POP SHOP · Popsicles 
Twitter: @LilPopShop


MARU GLOBAL · Japanese takoyaki

MINI TRINI · Trinidadian

SAY CHEESE · Grilled cheese 
Twitter: @SayCheesePhilly

STELLA JEANNE’S · Wisconsin fried cheese curds

SWEETBOX · Cupcakes


YUMTOWN · Seasonal

ZEA MAY · Native American

and soooooooo many more!

If you are coming let me know! I have a feeling this is going to be a Philly-blogger haven. 

Check out some past reviews from my favorite Philly Bloggers:

Come back for my review tomorrow!


The College Cuisiner

Does your hometown have anything like this you look forward to? 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

WIAW #27: Chipotle Lime Shrimp Skewers

This weekend I was treated to a lovely homemade Italian meal by good friends of Aaron and mine but unfortunately as the nature of many Italians I was fed enough for a small (10,000) army. But no fear, after lying in bed in pain, I recovered from the deliciousness. So you might understand why I veggied-out the next day. If I have learned one thing in my life it is all things in moderation. A carb/calorie heavy overload is bad enough but a veggie-overload won’t necessarily even it out. Moderation folks, moderation. So today it’ll be light carbs, a small protein and a side of veggies.

But here’s how it looked ahead of this:

Great grains Cranberry cereal fat-free milk
Black tea with splash of half and half


Arugula salad, dried cherries, walnuts, dried apricots, a little blue stilton with homemade vinaigrette
Bowl of V8 tomato herb soup
2 glasses water


Grilled chipotle lime shrimp, grilled red peppers and onions, sautéed kale, wild rice pilaf, fresh cucumber salad
Glass of Pinot Noir

Two Green & Black mini dark chocolate bars

One thing I did get out of all this is a great new recipe for grilled shrimp. When we got home Aaron and I got out steak for them but nothing for me. Sadly when my mom came home 4-5 hours later the chicken sausage she just pulled out of the freezer was not going to work in a food-emergency moment of hunger. So, I went for some shrimp. Some for me and a few for them on the side of their steaks. I have always seen citrus and seafood as good pairs so I decided to experiment. Instead of just adding a little lime juice to the marinade I added lime zest as well. A drizzle of garlic olive oil and a little chipotle chili seasoning later, we were in business.

But that is only part of the story…

Today is the premiere of what will now be known as GWA or Grilling with Aaron. For some time now Aaron had been really excited about sharing one of his many talents with you all and one of my favorites, his grilling expertise. Yay!

Now if you are like me, you have an Aaron that does all your grilling for you and makes all your deliciously grilled food look/taste good. I might make a killer marinade but as most of you know, a good marinade means nothing if your shrimp are over cooked. Thank goodness for my grilling wizard of a fiancé. Check out his own tab under GWA for grilling tips throughout the summer!

Here’s his advice:

For the shrimp, ensure that you rotate it after starts to show a little golden/brown glaze.  The timing per side will very on the size of the shrimp and the temperature of the grill. I recommend 3-5 minutes for each side until golden brown. But be careful because nothing is worse than over cooked shrimp.

Chipotle Lime Grilled Shrimp Skewers: 5 skewers


25 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
Juice and zest of half a lime
3-4 tablespoons of garlic infused olive oil
1 tsp. of sea salt
1 large garlic clove, minced
Black pepper
Chipotle Chili powder
5 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 20 minutes



Heat up grill on medium heat.

In a medium bowl toss peeled shrimp in everything except the chili powder. Mix well.

Carefully thread shrimp on the wooden skewers, about 5 shrimp per skewer, leaving room in between each shrimp. Sprinkle skewered shrimp with chili powder on each side and rub in.

Place skewers on hot grill and grill on each side for 3-5 minutes until golden brown.

Serve immediately.



The College Cuisiner

What's you favorite way to make shrimp? who does your grilling?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Harrisburg: Third in the Burg May (Suba Tapas Bar)

Two weeks back into my internship and I am already fried. Great.

But the one good thing about working in Harrisburg is that this city has some hidden gems that make it a pretty cool place. Yes, it is a really small city but there are so many great restaurants, bookshops, and cool spots that make it worth the search. Last night was Third in the Burg, a monthly intiative highlighting some of the great stuff Harrisburg has to offer similar to First Fridays in Philadelphia which also feature local artists.

As I work in the State Museum I have been walking by the Jewish Film Festival here all week and have been really interested in checking it out. So Aaron and I decided to go see one of the movies playing, An Intimate Grammar. It was a really well done Israeli film about a young boy in 1960’s Israel but it was so depressing! We expected a delightful coming of age story but it was a complete downer.

After the depressing movie, we went to Suba, Tapas Bar which is right across from the State Museum. Downstairs is Mangia Qui, an Italian restaurant while upstairs is a Spanish tapas bar. This sounded so good and after my tapas experiences in Barcelona I was game. Suba is a small space being only the second floor of an old row home in Harrisburg.

Both the drinks and tapas menu is extensive so we went all in. Aaron ordered a Cuban mojito and I ordered a glass of Cava (Spanish Champagne.)

Since the space is small, so are the tables. I really like that they staggered the tapas to make it manageable in the close quarters. Unfortunately as the night went on the building got much darker so that the last few dishes were practically impossible to photograph without a flash!

First we had deliciously crispy breaded calamari. Of course, as Aaron MUST get calamari wherever we go! The calamari was perfectly breaded and while I was satisfied with the wedge of lemon on the side Aaron asked for some of the delicious creamy sauce we had on our tacos to accompany his calamari.

Next we split the amazing Suba Tacos which were crispy fried tilapia, salsa rosa, avocado, mango cilantro salsa, and shredded cabbage on top in delectable homemade stone ground corn tortillas like nothing else. These things were over the top incredible but since they were a tad on the spicy side the white cabbage really helped subdue the spice.

We ate these FAST but I had to clean up after because it was so packed and messy!

Then we had the Tostada de Pato: Two Shaved smoked duck breast, grilled fig jam, and Cana de Cabra goat cheese on a crispy corn “pop chips (?)”. WOW WOW. Probably my favorite thing, these were a knock out! Soooooo good! When we go back I am getting a whole order to myself!

After that we had one on my favorites, pan amb tomaquet (tomato bread.) Their version was a lot different than mine and what I had in Spain but it did not discredit the deliciousness of these bad boys. Think bruschetta smeared on grilled country bread. Enough said.

Then we had the Queso frito: Breaded seasoned fried cheese with sriracha sour cream dipping sauce. Do you think Aaron liked these? Mmm mhmmm…..

After that we had an ordered of patatas bravas. This was one of my favorite things in Barcelona and the ones at Suba were a little different. More like potatoes tossed in hot sauce that drizzled like I remember. These were good but not my favorite of the meal.

Aaron then had a plate of Spanish cured meats which he loved of course.

And since he got his meat I got my dessert. Along with a cup of decaf coffee I had the incredible homemade ricotta cheese cake with a small drizzle of preserves. HOLY CRAP! This was so strangely good. It had the constancy of a corn meal and was not too sweet but so satisfyingly good and just WOW. I would come back just for this.

I honestly considered getting a second dessert (fresh strawberries and homemade ricotta drizzled with lavender honey and balsamic vinegar) but I was good.  Next time. I also have soooo many other dishes I MUST try!

Review: Suba was really a knock out. It is so nice to have such an authentic cool place in Harrisburg. The night we were there they had a live band who were very good but too loud for the small space. The bar was a really cool place complete with loads of fresh fruit and mixers. (Like the sugar cane stick in Aaron’s mojito.) The chef here is Brazilian so the overall theme of the dishes was definitely more South American than straight Spanish but I think that added to its uniqueness. I cannot wait to come here again and eat happily for two hours. Like a true Spanish meal, this is a deliciously drawn out affair with staggered dishes so if you ever make it here give yourself sometime to really enjoy it.

Despite the small space you never felt rushed like a real European meal. After I finished my coffee our waitress offered me another without expectations to rush the check. I love the sharing aspect of tapas. It’s perfect for two people but it get a little trickier with larger groups as many of these plates were split into two portions. As the nature of tapas (average 6-8 or 9 dollars with tacos at $12) you can easily rack up a pretty good bill. If you want to do the whole experience of multiple plates (which I recommend) this is a special occasion meal but totally worth the cost for the quality of the delicious plates. The staff at Suba were friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable but not over the top. This is definitely a great place to spend a relaxing Friday or Saturday evening after a long work week sipping great cocktails and enjoying incredible plates.



The College Cuisiner