October Best Bites

October was another busy month of delicious tastes, both at home and out on the dining trail. Besides the places I’ve already posted about (Like Peasants Grill and Seasons 52), here’s a gallery of the rest.

I’d bookmarked a recipe I found online for a crock pot dish of Cornish game hens cooked with fig preserves and port, so made that in advance of a recipe column I’ll write this winter. It was so good, and almost no work at all. I made a big batch of a brown rice blend (Lundberg) and wild rice to go with it. A friend and I enjoyed dinner at North End Bistro one evening, in advance of attending the small batch jam class at the Whole Earth Center I previously posted about. Her salmon and my mac & cheese were both quite good.

I’d come across a reference to using leftover rice that mentioned it could be used in a frittata, something I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. But why not, Italians do it with noodles, so…I used leftover Chinese restaurant rice, and some smoked gouda I needed to use up, and the result was a delicious, quick meal with a salad on the side.

I’ve been on a bit of a pot pie binge, sampling what’s out there. The Savory Pie Guy pies are sold at Mrs. Green’s in Princeton Junction, and are tasty. I LOVE that their pies have a bottom crust, something most savory pie makers have given up on.  At 8 ounces, they look small, but I find them sufficient if combined with a salad or additional cooked vegetables. I also tried a Griggstown Farm pot pie, I haven’t had one of theirs in a while, and they are now sold at Whole Foods Market, so I made a point of buying it there. These have evolved over the years. Sadly, they no longer have a bottom crust (that happened several years ago), and it seemed a tad saltier than I remember, but I will qualify that by saying I don’t think most people will notice. The filling is still quite good and I really appreciate that their pie includes what I call “grown up” vegetables like parsnips and fennel. So much more interesting than most fillings.

I had bought a bunch of cute Japanese Hakurei turnips at the Great Road Farm stand at the West Windsor Farmers Market when I was there judging apple pies in October. I roasted them (they turn into juicy flavor bombs when you do that) and quickly sautéed the greens, combining it all with a Dijon mustard dressing at the end that also contained a bit of sorghum (rather than the honey the recipe called for).  I enjoyed those with some homemade sausage patties (so easy to throw those together, just ground pork and seasonings, mix and let sit in fridge a couple hours). I also had some of the turnips with roasted cod that I buried in seasoned bread crumbs, which seems to be the only way I cook fish at home lately.

The veggie fry-up was one of those clean-out-the-crisper things. Zucchini, eggplant, onions…I stir fried it all, adding a little tomato paste, water, and a dash of cinnamon since I still had Middle Eastern food on my mind after reviewing Labebe in North Brunswick and making briam in September. The fry-up turned out really well, and that’s even though it’s a ratatouille-like affair (a dish I am not so fond of).

I shopped at Savory Spice Shop in Princeton (been building up that list for a year!), and shopped online at Anson Mills, so I’d better get crackin’ on some grits and polenta this winter.

My food co-explorer Pat Tanner whisked me up Route 27 to Rai Rai Ramen for an article she’s working on (not a review), and besides trying a couple of the Taiwanese dishes that were the original draw, we also had ramen (of course!), and this delicious fried chicken (boneless). Since it has mochi in the name, I’m thinking the coating is rice flour. They use dark meat, so it’s moist, oh so moist, and the dipping sauce was fantastic too. Also had interesting Japanese Fried Rice and elongated “gyoza” dumplings. And a big oyster omelet that was good, but not the best I’ve had. Overall, I really liked this place though, and our lively waiter was a real plus. Go try it. I’ll let Pat tell you later on about the other dish she ordered, one we weren’t allowed to eat there, so she took it home.

I’ve had an unusual yen for croissants lately, maybe because I have (er, had) some amazing orange saffron marmalade from Eat This. I dragged a (willing) friend to try Papa’s Tomato Pies in Robbinsville for the first time (another iconic spot that left Trenton for the ‘burbs), and boy were they packed. Early on a Friday evening we waited over a half hour. But it was very good (mine was sausage & mushrooms), our waitress was great, and a good time was had.

I ended the month handing out some Halloween candy (typical stuff), but for the Packet I wrote about the Day of the Dead and took photos of my little collection of DOD dioramas and other trinkets. I just love that stuff, especially since a lot of what’s pictured revolves around food. I don’t see that that article has gone online, so I’ll post it on my Packet Articles page over the next few days. And I’ll keep posting that (and other articles) until they get their act together about their website, which is seriously broken at this point. (They get the leading news stories up, but not much else.)

(Click on any photo to view this as a slideshow.)




2 thoughts on “October Best Bites

  1. Totally agree on the Japanese Hakurei turnips from Great Roads Farm. This time of year they are amazing roasted, so sweet and delicious. Their Deliccata squash is also amazing, my current favorite along side the ‘shrooms from Shabumi Farms. Thank you for your posts!

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