Food Friday: Happy Easter!

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Food Friday is on the road this weekend, heading to a family Easter in Charleston. Please indulge me and enjoy our making our favorite Easter dessert. Play nicely at your Easter egg hunts, and let the little ones find all the eggs. You can sip on a Bloody Mary or two.

At Easter I like to haul out my dear friend’s lemon cheesecake recipe, and reminisce, ruefully, about the year I decorated one using nasturtiums plucked fresh from the nascent garden, which unfortunately sheltered a couple of frisky spiders. Easter was late that year and tensions were already high at the table, because a guest had taken it upon herself to bring her version of dessert – a 1950s (or perhaps it was a British World War II lesson in ersatz ingredients recipe) involving saltines, sugar-free lime Jell-O, and a tub of Lite Cool Whip. The children were divided on which was more terrifying: ingesting spiders, or many petro chemicals?

I am also loath to remember the year we hosted an Easter egg hunt, and it was so hot that the chocolate bunnies melted, the many children squabbled, and the adults couldn’t drink enough Bloody Marys. The celery and asparagus were limp, the ham was hot, and the sugar in all those Peeps brought out the criminal potential in even the most decorous of little girls. There was no Martha Stewart solution to that pickle.

Since our children did not like hard-boiled eggs, I am happy to say that we were never a family that hid real eggs for them to discover. Because then we would have been the family whose dog discovered real nuclear waste hidden behind a bookcase or deep down in the sofa a few weeks later. We mostly stuck to jelly beans and the odd Sacajawea gold dollar in our plastic Easter eggs. It was a truly a treat when I stepped on a pink plastic egg shell in the front garden one year when I was hanging Christmas lights on the bushes. There weren’t any jelly beans left, thank goodness, but there was a nice sugar-crusty gold dollar nestled inside it. Good things come to those who wait.

We won’t be hiding any eggs (real or man-made) this year, much to Luke the wonder dog’s disappointment. Instead we will have a nice decorous finger food brunch, with ham biscuits, asparagus, celery, carrots, tiny pea pods, Prosecco (of course) and a couple of slices of lemon cheesecake, sans the spiders, sans the lime Jell-O and Cool Whip. And we will feel sadly bereft because there will be no jelly beans, no melting chocolate and no childish fisticuffs.

Chris’s Cheesecake Deluxe

Serves 12
Crust:
1 cup sifted flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Filling:
2 1/2 pounds cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400° F
Crust: combine flour, sugar and lemon rind. Cut in butter until crumbly. Add yolk and vanilla. Mix. Pat 1/3 of the dough over the bottom of a 9″ spring form pan, with the sides removed. Bake for 6 minutes or until golden. Cool. Butter the sides of the pan and attach to the bottom. Pat remaining dough around the sides to 2″ high.
Increase the oven temp to 475° F. Beat the cream cheese until it is fluffy. Add vanilla and lemon rind. Combine the sugar, flour and salt. Gradually blend into the cream cheese. Beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time, and then the cream. Beat well. Pour into the pan. Bake 8-10 minutes.

Reduce oven heat to 200° F. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until set. Turn off the heat. Allow the cake to remain in the oven with the door ajar for 30 minutes. Cool the cake on a rack, and then pop into the fridge to chill. This is the best Easter dessert ever.

Perfect Bloody Marys:
http://food52.com/recipes/8103_horseradish_vodka_bloody_mary

Remedial hard boiled eggs:
http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/04/how-to-make-perfect-hard-boiled-eggs

More than you thought you wanted to know about eggs:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/jacques-pepin-eggs-are-on-the-outs-again-to-me-theyll-always-be-perfect/2019/03/22/8d2334e0-4cc1-11e9-93d0-64dbcf38ba41_story.html?utm_term=.a6dd368aa915

Fittatas, of course:
https://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/chorizo-parsley-and-goats-cheese-frittata/

https://inspiralized.com/potato-and-leek-frittata/

“Probably one of the most private things in the world is an egg before it is broken.”
― M.F.K. Fisher

Food Friday: The End is Nigh

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Are you humming songs of fire and ice? We have been getting ready for weeks and months for the end of Game of Thrones. Seven seasons is a lot of television. While we are not super fans of the Game of Thrones, we are eager to see what happens next. We have been feverishly re-watching the whole shooting match – seven seasons of dragons, battles, swordplay, secrets, giants, incest, blood and guts, palace intrigue, snow and lots of wine. The Lannister family guzzles casks of red wine. Is the wine symbolic, or merely tasty?

(Spoilers abound ahead. I am hoping that Tyrion is the winner of the Iron Throne. He is smart and funny, and his character has evolved from being a clever, drunken wastrel, to someone of strength and integrity, who still likes a good glass of red. Although I like that unhinged Daenerys Targaryen, who is always perfectly coiffed even mid-flight astride a dragon. Oh, and I like Sansa, too, who cooly let the dogs have their way with Ramsey Bolton – she is steely and regal.)

Although we will not have a viewing party Sunday night, Mr. Friday and I are planning on a small feast, which will include red wine. And nothing tastes better with red wine but fresh, crusty bread. This is my favorite go-to recipe for bread: https://www.markbittman.com/recipes-1/no-knead-bread It does require a little planning – so if you are going to try baking it for Sunday night, start on Saturday. It is rustic and crusty, much like something Hot Pie would have baked, back in the day, for young Arya Stark.

There is an actual, official Game of Thrones cookbook! A Feast of Ice & Fire. https://www.amazon.com/Feast-Ice-Fire-Official-Companion/dp/0345534492/ref=sr_1_1?crid=20H5T5PSOCXO9&keywords=a+feast+of+ice+and+fire+cookbook&qid=1555007899&s=gateway&sprefix=A+Feast%2Caps%2C135&sr=8-1 My goodness. It is organized by region, so you can use all your valuable spare time comparing the various foods of the Seven Kingdoms. Here is a recipe for Dire Wolf Scones: http://www.innatthecrossroads.com/hot-pies-direwolf-scones-2/

I cannot imagine eating a lot of the food that has been in Game of Thrones. Remember the stallion’s heart that Daenerys scarfed down in Season One? And Joffrey got what was deserved during the Purple Wedding, but did we need to see it? How about a tasty Bowl of Brown? https://gameofthrones.fandom.com/wiki/Bowl_of_brown. And wouldn’t you just love a juicy slice of Frey pie? (Walder Frey: “Where are my damn moron sons? Black Walder and Lothar promised to be here by midday.” Arya Stark: “They’re here, my lord.”
— Lord Walder Frey while being served Frey Pie.)

There are several commercial tie-ins to the Game of Thrones, naturally. You can buy a bottle of Johnny Walker White Walker Blended Scotch Whisky. There are Game of Thrones Oreo cookies for heaven’s sake! And if you want to order the special Game of Thrones menu at Shake Shack, you must speak Valyrian. https://www.delish.com/food-news/a27101897/shake-shack-game-of-thrones-menu/

We’ll keep it simple. A recognizable protein, bread, salad and wine. And then we will have a tasty dessert of lemon cakes that Sansa would enjoy, too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_TPdzzPH9A

“Cersei set a tasty table, that could not be denied. They started with a creamy chestnut soup, crusty hot bread, and greens dressed with apples and pine nuts. Then came lamprey pie, honeyed ham, buttered carrots, white beans and bacon, and roast swan stuffed with mushrooms and oysters. Tyrion was exceedingly courteous; he offered his sister the choice portions of every dish, and made certain he ate only what she did. Not that he truly thought she’d poison him, but it never hurt to be careful.”
-George R. R. Martin

Mid-Shore Food: Back to the Beginning in WC’s Food Lab with Dr. Bill Schindler

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Perhaps the most the general public knows about Washington College’s Eastern Shore Food Lab, at least until recently,  was its dubious distinction as being the entity that replaced the beloved Blue Heron restaurant. In a town experiencing a shortage of fine dining venues, it didn’t matter what the mission of Washington College’s innovative program was; it was a villain in the town’s quest to eat well.

But now that the doors are open, including its participation in First Fridays each month, the more the  residents know about the Food Lab, the more they realize was a remarkable gem it will be for the community. And perhaps even more ironically, it may be the best thing that ever happened to those same people eager to eat well.

No one has been more proactive in getting the word out on the mission of this program than its founder and director, WC professor Bill Schindler.

Already having established a national reputation in experiential anthropology and with appearances on the National Geographic Channel, Schindler was well aware that it was his job to let people know what the Food Lab was all about and how the local community plays a critical role in its purpose.

In short, Bill argues that our modern food system is an extraordinary failure. America’s addiction to processed food has led to the sad reality of not only having one of the highest obesity rates in the world but that its victims experience chronic malnutrition at the same time.

The Food Lab aims to provide students the opportunity to understand that our food system was not always like this. Through the lens of anthropology, they become familiar with how human beings had extraordinary skills, developed over centuries, to reaping the benefits of their hunting and gathering with highly nutritional food.

Rather than leave it there, Schindler also wanted to serve the community he and his family have lived in for the past ten years. Beyond the academic hat he wears, the professor is also, at heart a grassroots advocate for changing America’s food habits. It was clear when he envisioned the food lab seven years ago, that Chestertown and the Mid-Shore region must be part of this culinary revolution.

In what we hope will be a regular check-in with Bill, the Spy sat down with him in the Eastern Shore Food Lab center last month to talk about our cultural history with food, the current challenges in our current food system, and his views on eating meat, perhaps one of the most controversial issues being discussed these days due to conservation impact and humanitarian concerns.

This video is approximately ten minutes in length. For more information about the Eastern Shore Food Lab please go here

 

 

 

Food Friday: Spring Perennial

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It’s time to put the wool away and focus on spring and all the felicity therein. The towhees are performing an operetta in the front yard. The blue birds are setting up housekeeping in the nesting box out back. Our daffodils are bobbing in the breeze, and now, in the evening, though still cool, we have enough sunshine for a quick Rhubarb Spritzer on the back porch as we watch the sun go down. The mosquitoes haven’t yet taken up residence, so quick, get outside and enjoy the coolth.

Plan ahead for the weekend: make some rhubarb juice.
½ cup sugar
¾ pound rhubarb, chopped
4 basil leaves, for garnish

Much Prosecco

In a medium saucepan, bring 1/2 cup water, sugar, rhubarb to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the rhubarb is tender, about 10 minutes. Push through a fine-mesh sieve. Let cool.
Fill 4 small glasses halfway with ice. Pour into each glass a scant 1/4 cup rhubarb juice, then top with Prosecco or sparkling wine, or if you insist, soda water to taste. Garnish with a basil leaf.

We had a couple of rhubarb plants growing in the lower garden, near the mulch pile by the barn. We never ate the rhubarb. My mother was never going to serve Rhubarb Spritzers, so I think it they were plants she inherited from the original owners of the house. Like the Jack-in-the-Pulpit by the steps and the bank of Lilies of the Valley on the west side of the stone wall. I have to use store-bought (or farmers’ market-bought) rhubarb, and that’s a good thing.

Every spring there are cascades of recipes for rhubarb and strawberry pies, cakes, jams, lemon bars, tarts, crumbles and fools. Which are all wonderful and delicious, but this year I want to try a couple of new recipes; where rhubarb isn’t the main novelty or ingredient, but is a subtle and unusual taste.

I am related to a couple of people who are always looking for the next best ribs recipe, and I think this might scratch their itch, for this weekend, at least: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/rhubarbecue/

And here is one that will make an excellent Sunday night supper: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roast-chicken-with-rhubarb-butter-and-asparagus-56389535

Try this for something light in the middle of the week, when you want to stay out in the garden a little bit longer and plant those daylilies, or when you cannot stand another minute in the kitchen: http://carolcookskeller.blogspot.com/2007/05/salad-du-printemps-rhubarb-confit-with.html

And any of these meals can only be enhanced if you give in to the springtime celebration of sweet and sour rhubarb desserts. An Eton Mess is always bliss, but it becomes more than a schoolboy treat when rhubarb and lemon basil are added to the lush whipped cream and the airy and crisp meringue. Or maybe you should reconsider dinner, and just have some Eton Mess with those Rhubarb Spritzers. Yum. https://food52.com/recipes/22388-eton-mess-with-rhubarb-gin-jam-and-lemon-basil-meringue

Roasting the rhubarb elevates the humble lower garden vegetable considerably. This shortcake will be scarfed down by your rib lovers, too: https://food52.com/recipes/76923-slab-shortcake-with-roasted-rhubarb

And something easy to make, and keep in the fridge to give you another little taste of spring even when the mosquitoes are back, and the frantic moths are circling the the back light: rhubarb jam. There is a link in this recipe for a PDF for printing jam jar labels:
https://cookienameddesire.com/rhubarb-jam-recipe/

Please remember if you are eating home-grown rhubarb DO NOT eat the leaves – very sick-making.

“I want a dish to taste good, rather than to have been seethed in pig’s milk and served wrapped in a rhubarb leaf with grated thistle root.”
-Kingsley Amis

Food Friday: Spring into Salads!

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Spring is sprung! And Food Friday has snuck away for spring break. Indulge me, and enjoy this redux.

I want to retire the crockpot, stash the Dutch oven, put the lasagna pan out to pasture and start digging into light, healthy, crispy fresh green salads. With crusty French bread and sweet butter and a glass or two of cool Chardonnay. In my bare feet. In shorts.

I am heartily tired of the winter weather and snowy concerns. I am ready to spend some time in my humble little container garden. How about you? The more organized among you have probably thumbed through all the seed catalogues, marked your favorites with Post-its or have cleverly started your salad gardens in tiny peat containers or out in your cold frames. Obviously there was enough time with all the snow days this winter to linger with pleasure over the many tantalizing illustrations and photos of giant tomatoes and mouth-watering melons. I fell into the Burpee catalogue and just placed my order online, so when the seeds arrive I’ll have to get cracking on the Spring Salad Project.

March is a good time to get a jump on cool-season vegetables. You can start the annual competition with the deer and rabbits for the finest lettuces, broccoli and spinach. We are going to try some mixed, loose-leaf, heat tolerant lettuces this year. I want to enjoy the practical, health conscious and economic concepts of growing our own lettuce, with an eye to the decorative. I envision my ecclectic collection of odd terra cotta pots brimming with a array of colorful, wafting lettuce leaves. A veritable cornucopia of renewable crunchy salads!

That is always the best part of gardening, seeing everything in your mind’s eye in the gauzy Technicolor future. Somehow there I am always wearing a float-y white outfit as I drop my bountiful harvest into my antique English garden trug, clipping merrily (and with surgical precision) with the vintage secateurs. Reality won’t elbow that fantasy out of my suggestive and malleable brain for a couple of months…

I was appalled to see that the cheater’s way of buying lettuce at the grocery store has gotten so expensive – $4.09 today for a single puny bag of pre-washed mixed spring greens! I have had enough! Enough of the madness! I am fighting back. I have just spent $5.95 for 500 lettuce seeds. Let’s see what my actual return on the dollar is, at roughly 1.2¢ a seed…

Here is Burpee’s perky and unintimidating video for growing lettuce. http://www.burpee.com/vegetables/lettuce/how-to-plant-grow-lettuce-article10469.html

While I was earnestly researching lettuce seeds I was diverted by the day dream that I am able to grow hydrangeas, which are my favorite flowers (after violets, daffodils and lily of the valley) but which I can never seem to grow. Maybe this year I’ll be lucky. I have just ordered ten Nikko Blue Hydrangeas, as well as the lettuce seeds. And pole bean seeds, morning glory seeds and some half price vinca seeds. Obviously, I will have to regale you with some gardening stories later this season, as I watch them all grow. With crossed fingers.

But back to the matter at hand – salad: as usual, we are hoping that the basil container farm will be busy and bushy this summer, as well as the annual tomatoes, which I hope won’t wither on the vine. We are also considered trying to make our own fresh mozzarella cheese. Maybe it would be easier to just move to Italy. But that depends on the lottery officials, I am sad to say.

My mother was always fond of ordering from the kind folks at Burpee, so give them a whirl. She always had an amazing garden. http://www.burpee.com/

“It is said that the effect of eating too much lettuce is ‘soporific’.”
― Beatrix Potter

Food Friday: Dinner Improv

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We started the home-cooked pizza routine back when the children were in elementary school, and pizza was a big deal for them. But we could only get crummy cardboard Papa John’s pizza delivered to the house, and taking everyone to the pizza place became prohibitively expensive. And so we rolled up our thrifty New England shirt sleeves and learn how to make pizza. And maybe over the years we have saved a little money, although good ingredients are pricey. Fresh mozzarella, good pepperoni and flavorful tomatoes start to add up.

Most Friday nights we still heat up the kitchen and make an amoeba-shaped disc that we call pizza. It is a good time to share the rote duties in the kitchen as we heat the pizza stone, roll out the dough (after all these years we still can’t twirl it), slice up the pepperoni, slather the sauce, and pluck the basil from the feeble container garden. The mozzarella melts, the cool beer tastes deelish and a cloud of garlic perfume fills the air. Also, the corn meal falls all over the floor and the oven, and the smoke detector frequently alarms us. After a quick ten minutes of cutting, folding and triangulating, dinner is over. And then the clean up begins.

The empty nest yawns about us now. We could probably sashay out on a Friday night to have pizza nearby. But we do love that time when we have Alexa playing 70s Dance Music for us. And we talk about the weekend ahead, and what delightful prospects it holds. And we don’t need a recipe any more. We know how to turn out a tasty pizza.

But if I eat another pizza on Friday night, and sweep up that damn corn meal again, I will probably implode. This weekend we are going to break out of the routine and rummage in the freezer and fridge, and we are going to improvise. I have found the best outline for a no-recipe meal: steak tacos, courtesy of Sam Sifton and The New York Times. The New York Times has a pretty rigorous and alert paywall – but I assure you that I have subscribed for years, so I feel secure in sharing this radical and freeing notion of cooking without a recipe with you. https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1020017-steak-tacos-with-pineapple-salsa

“This is a no-recipe recipe, a recipe without an ingredients list or steps. It invites you to improvise in the kitchen.
Get some fresh tortillas and a pound of skirt steak, then make salsa from mostly fresh or canned pineapple, pickled jalapeños and a healthy couple shakes of chile powder, along with plenty of chopped cilantro. Shower the steaks with salt and pepper, and broil them for 2 to 3 minutes a side until they’re perfect and rare. Warm the tortillas. Grate some Cheddar. Rest the steak, slice it, and serve with the tortillas, cheese and that awesome salsa.”

Basically we need:
small steaks: flank steak, skirt steak, Omaha steaks, hanger steak
tortilla shells (flour or corn – your call)
salsa – jarred or homemade
jalapeños
chile powder
fresh cilantro
salt and pepper
Cheddar cheese
bits and pieces: avocado, onion, sour cream, lime juice, garlic, guacamole, tortilla chips (lightly warmed in the oven)

We always have tortillas in the fridge, and luckily, we also have a couple of Omaha steaks in the freezer, thanks to Santa. The spindly container garden has a pale and wan cilantro plant that I haven’t killed yet. And we have a bowl of jewel-like cherry tomatoes for the salsa. I will have to re-organize the pantry to see if we have any cans of pineapple. I refuse to make one more trip to the grocery store this week. Enough is enough, and enough is as good as a feast.

Epicurious Magazine weighs in: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/jalapeno-and-lime-marinated-skirt-steak-tacos

Food and Wine suggests serving the tacos with wine; always a serious consideration in our house: https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/chile-spiced-skirt-steak-tacos

Gimme Delicious points out the cost benefits of making steak tacos at home. Indeed! https://gimmedelicious.com/2014/09/11/mexican-steak-tacos-with-simple-guacamole/

“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”
― Julia Child

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces — just good food from fresh ingredients.”
– Julia Child

Food Friday: Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Our family has a weak spot like the back of a bad knee for chocolate desserts. When it is your birthday, we will bake a Boston cream pie. Christmas dinner? A flourless chocolate cake is the only answer. You came home for spring break? Let’s have some chocolate éclairs. And while other families are preparing corned beef and cabbage (which I think stinks to high heaven) this St. Patrick’s Day, we will be digging into some chocolate stout cup cakes. We will honor the blessed saint, the foe of snakes, in our own sweet way.

A couple of weeks ago I chatted briefly with one of our neighbors when I was out walking Luke the wonder dog. This fellow always carries a mug and I have assumed he was taking his coffee for his early morning strolls. (I cannot walk the dog, listen to Slate Magazine podcasts AND carry a Diet Coke in the mornings. I have a limited skill set, I’m afraid.)

Luke wanted to get acquainted. While going through all of the usual dog rituals of sniffing and leash dancing, I found out that the neighbor’s dog is named “Guinness.” I asked if there was a good story about the dog’s name. Maybe he had a secret Lulu Guinness handbag collection, or was noted in the Book of World Records for some perilous feat? Sadly, no. Our neighbor gazed blankly at me. His dog was named after the Irish stout. He is a very dark, very tiny little dog. I hope that the dog Guinness is extra strong. Perhaps he has his own fantasies of a more picturesque neighborhood, one where he is strolled along the cobbles down to the pub late on a golden summer afternoon, to lift a pint with his walker. A nice little daydream that Guinness entertains, instead of resigning himself the prosaic suburban reality of the early morning trot down our street, only to have the indignity of Luke getting overly familiar and sniffy. And now I wonder if our neighbor is really drinking coffee…

It is about time to download The Quiet Man for our annual John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara love fest. Where we gaze at the gauzy golden Hollywood Innisfree, and admire John Wayne in a rain-soaked shirt and laugh at Barry Fitzgerald’s tippling matchmaker. That calls for another Guinness.

In the meantime, we must surely celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in an authentic fashion. No stinky corned beef and cabbage for us! Here is a Guinness Cake from the kitchen goddess herself, Nigella Lawson:
http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/chocolate-guinness-cake-3086

I love a good cup cake – and with these you will eat both the cake and the icing. https://www.thechunkychef.com/guinness-cupcakes-with-baileys-frosting-and-chocolate-drizzle/

I haven’t tried this recipe yet – but Julia Turner endorsed it on the Slate Culture Gabfest this week, and that’s good enough for me. She used it to great success when she baked two birthday cakes for her six-year-old boys’ birthday: https://smittenkitchen.com/2008/02/homemade-devil-dog-ding-dong-or-hostess-cake/

If your St. Patrick’s Day is not complete without corned beef, then accept the Bon Appétit challenge, and see how many ways you can prepare it: breakfast, lunch and egg rolls. Really. https://www.bonappetit.com/story/corned-beef-marathon-st-patricks-day?

Luke is looking forward to another sidewalk encounter with our neighbor’s dog. We can stage our own St. Patrick’s Day parade through the neighborhood. We’ll bring our own mugs of Guinness.

“Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
-Benjamin Franklin

Chestertown Culinary Renaissance: Enter 98 Cannon Street with Joe Elliott

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While opening dates remain far from confirmed, it is quite likely that over the next 18 months Chestertown will have four new restaurants in its historic district to call its own. After a few years of suffering the loss of several popular dining venues, including the beloved Brooks Tavern, Blue Heron, and the Lemon Leaf, a culinary renaissance is starting to take place.

The very first of this new wave will begin with the opening this spring of 98 Cannon Street, former home of the Fish Whistle and the Old Wharf restaurant, located at the town’s new marina.

As one might imagine, the Spy was beyond curious to this extraordinary explosion in culinary options. So much so that we tracked down the new owner 98 Cannon Street to understand what he and his team have planned for this iconic site on the banks of the Chester.

A financial advisor by profession, with a successful firm based in the Philadelphia area, Joe Elliott and his wife made the very deliberate decision to find a more rural environment for the couple and their three young daughters to gather on weekends. That’s what led him to Kent County a few years ago, but there was no desire to have any commercial interest in the town at all.

That started to change as Joe began to fall in love with his family’s new hometown. Going against a lifetime bias against owning businesses like restaurants, including his consistent advice to his clients to stay far away from these “opportunities,” Joe started to see a waterfront dining establishment as a personal challenge rather than a return on investment.

We caught up with Joe a few weeks ago at the Spy HQ to learn more.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. The new 98 Cannon Street design work is being done by M3 Architecture of Rock Hall

Food Friday: Pork Chops

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March is proving to be a little chillier than I had anticipated. I am not running around sweater-less. At least we seem to have left the snow behind. And now is the time when I remember my father’s mutterings about the great April blizzard of 1888. Not that he had been born yet, but he loved to inject a little niggling doubt in our minds, that maybe spring wasn’t really on its way. No one ever writes about the day of great sunshine and warm zephyrs gently tossing the new bright green leaves on the oak trees. I come from a long line of gloomy New Englanders.

I do not see snow in the forecast, though there is rain. It seems to be warming up enough to take a walk in the garden, and look for snowdrops and crocus shoots. And while I stack a few fallen branches and peer anxiously in the leaf piles under the yet-to-bloom flowering quince, I must return to thinking about dinner.

We have used up the vat o’spaghetti sauce that Mr. Friday had prepared long ago in January. It served us well, through the original meal of spaghetti, through the homemade pasta experiments, through baked ziti, chicken parm and an interesting rigatoni R and D. My dinner insurance policy has expired, and now I have to pony up a meal that would charm, delight and fill. But I wanted one that would not involve a trip to the grocery store.

Luckily, Mr. Friday was in an Asian food mood this past weekend. In addition to his version of General Tso’s chicken, he wanted to prepare stir-fried rice. His recipe called for a handful of diced pork. And so he bought a package of three pork chops, instead of sidling up to the fellow behind the meat counter, and asking for a singleton pork chop. Lucky me! There were two plump pork chops sitting in the freezer, just begging to be cooked for our mid-week-not-spaghetti dinner.

I’m pretty sure all my mother ever did with pork chops was toss them into a Pyrex baking dish and let the oven take over. (She did not believe in exotic convenience foods like Shake N’Bake.) She included a side dish of homemade coleslaw and a bowl of apple sauce, adding a simple flourish of cinnamon. And now you see the stodgy New England side: no fuss, no muss, and a lot of banausic, colorless food. Surely we have advanced a little here in the twenty-first century?

Food52 has a spicy, colorful paprika inspired pork chop recipe: https://food52.com/recipes/819-paprika-pork-chop

Mark Bittman, never one to fuss, has a sautéed pork chop recipe: http://www.howtocookeverything.com/recipes/sauteed-pork-chops

Of course, Martha has a complicated variation on my mother’s applesauce: https://www.marthastewart.com/341389/pork-chops-with-apple-raisin-relish

Bon Appétit has the answer for everyone: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/pork-chop-recipes

Possible side dishes:
Asparagus
Corn
Green beans
Grilled vegetables
Butternut squash
Scalloped potatoes
Baked potatoes
Baked sweet potato fries: https://www.purewow.com/recipes/Baked-Sweet-Potato-Fries
Green salad
Cranberry Apple Salad https://www.floatingkitchen.net/cranberry-apple-salad/
Tomato salad

I opted to bake the pork chops, after browning them lightly in a pan. We also had scalloped potatoes, applesauce, a green salad and some delicious cheap white wine. And candles. It wasn’t spaghetti, and it wasn’t bland. We are ready to greet spring.

“No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.”

― Laurie Colwin

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