May’s Best Bites

So much goodness, but a lot of it was not made by me, as my knee (frayed meniscus) is still limiting the time I spend in the kitchen (or doing anything else, sadly). I did, however, discover the secret to really crispy oven-baked chicken wings and I’ll share that with you soon, as a Recipe of the Month.

I loved my dinner at Freddie’s Tavern, my review is here. And I made a point of trying the new Nomad Pizza at the Princeton Shopping Center. I hate to wait, so was there at opening. I blush to admit I’ve never been to the one in Hopewell, although I’ve had it a couple times at outdoor summer festivals in years past. Of course, they are an instant hit, due to high quality ingredients and toppings. And an aura of coolness. Truth be told, this Neapolitan-style pie with lots of puffy crust is not my ideal, although I may be in the minority. I’m more a fan of Roman style pizza and Trenton Tomato Pies (thin crust and crispy throughout), so hope they get that second oven operating soon, so those can be added to the menu, as I’ve read is planned.

Our two pies were delicious, once I got them to add just a bit more honey to the Soppressata pie. (And I promptly realized I could add honey to the TJ’s frozen uncured pepperoni pizza in my freezer. Duh!) And their Caesar salad – closest thing I’ve had to what I consider the real deal in ages. None of that homogenized creamy dressing, just the classic olive oil and lemon juice. Perfect. I might have preferred typical cured anchovies as opposed to the fancy “fresh” ones they used, but then, this is Princeton, after all, where everything is gussied up. They also offer soft serve ice cream from the bent spoon, which is perfect for kids and the kid in you.

I hadn’t been to The Taco Truck for a while, so picked up some takeout the other day. The fish taco was quite good, as was the “aguacate” with fried avocado, which I’d been meaning to try. While tacos al pastor are usually my favorite, that day the meat was overwhelmingly salty. Really, really salty.

Between Nomad opening, The Taco Truck, and Main Street (an enduring favorite), that side of the Princeton Shopping Center is becoming very busy and parking is a pain at dinnertime. There are several spaces taken up with construction equipment etc. right now – the eagerly awaited LiLLiPiES bakery opens July 1 – so when those are cleared it will help, but still…Sometimes change hurts. I fully understand the need of the Center to turn a profit on their investment, but I value convenience, so vying for parking spaces is something to be avoided, especially as one gets older. Those who don’t mind can put up with that downtown or at the malls on Route 1. Sigh.

The skirt steak over arugula is a recipe in Julie Powell’s Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession, the book she wrote after Julie and Julia made her famous. It’s about the destruction of her marriage (by her, sadly) and learning to butcher. Talk about breaking things down… In spite of wanting to throttle her, I kind of liked the parts about butchering, and this recipe is one of several in the book. The steak is simply marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and rosemary and quickly seared, then sliced and put over arugula with shavings of cheese. She may have said Pecorino, but I had Parmesan so…

The ice creams…I love cashew milk! That ice cream is described here, and the Brooklyn Blackout (dairy) is from Steve’s, although that flavor doesn’t appear on its website. Maybe it’s being phased out and I got the last of it? Mrs. Green’s in Princeton Junction has a good selection of interesting and non-dairy ice creams. Of the non-dairy, I am partial to coconut milk and, now, cashew milk. Soy, not so much, but maybe I’ll give one of those another try soon, as I suspect they’re better than a few years ago, now that they understand that even non-dairy people want interesting flavors. (I like pieces of stuff in my ice cream, usually with some crunch.)

And those funny looking tamales? I had to laugh, they look like a salamander’s spots or a skin condition you’d want to hide. It is two pork/red chile tamales (out of the husks), covered in one slice of pepperjack cheese and topped with enchilada sauce. A few drops of green hot sauce to finish. I was LOL on that one, but it was good, although I did have some sour cream with it because it ended up being pretty spicy (but I like that).

And stay tuned for a post on the Hoboken Farms pasta sauces which I’m trying out. So far I’ve had the original marinara and it was fantastic, bright and fresh.

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