Tag Archives: Appetizer

{ Bowman’s Tavern } ****

bar

1600 River Road
New Hope, PA 18938
215-862-2972
 

CHECK OUT THE MENU!

I am definitely NOT a creature of habit; I am the antithesis of anything routine, especially when it comes to my food! I like exotic meats, unusual vegetables, and all kinds of different ethnic cuisines. But provided that I live in a small town with limited dining options –only 114 according to Trip Advisor–I have inevitably become a regular at some of my more preferred restaurants. There’s Domani Star for Sunday brunch, El Tule for my Latin American cravings, and Ooka for my sushi fix.

Lately though, my parents have been frequenting a restaurant that I’ve never visited. They go at least once a week on their “date night” or bring friends for a casual dinner and drinks. I wanted to find out for myself what all the hype was about, so tonight I begged them to change their reservation for two into a both for three! They agreed and thus I had my first–of what will become many–meals at Bowman’s Tavern in New Hope.

The food earns 5 stars and the value for what you pay deserves 6 stars. Factor in the cozy atmosphere and the pleasant service, and you’re looking at a fabulous dining experience. To top it all off, there is a very active owner circulating the dining room to ensure that all of his guests are tended to and happy with their food.

To start I ordered this weekend’s special Salad with Pickled Maitake, Goat Cheese, Roasted Beets, Pumpkin Seeds, Garlic Vinaigrette, and White Truffle Oil ($10). The portion was a bit smaller than the other salads I saw leaving the kitchen, but it was very tasty. The goat cheese and the roasted beets were plentiful, and the pumpkin seeds added a beautiful bit of crunch to the dish. The only thing I found slightly disappointing was the lack of truffle flavor in the salad. I did not taste this ingredient at all, but the salad certainly did not taste bland without it.

IMG_3342

We also ordered a plate of the Semolina Crusted Calamari topped with Garlic Aioli, and Spicy Cherry Pepper Relish, with a side of House Marinara ($9). These were hands down THE BEST fried calamari that I have ever had because of the spicy cherry pepper relish. It really brought a new spin to the traditional fried appetizer, and the semolina breading was delicious. These are reason enough to return to the tavern!

IMG_3343

For my entree I ordered the Steamed P.E.I. Mussels in Garlic White Sauce ($10). The mussels themselves were meaty and plump, but I thought that the sauce was a little bland. It needed some more garlic, lemon, or shallots, or parsley. My parents have had the mussels in red sauce and said that they were much better, so I would recommend the tomato herb broth to those of you ordering the bivalves! I will restate though that quality of the mussels were beautiful though, and not a single one in the heaping bowl was closed!

IMG_3345

My mom ordered the winning dish of the night, which was the Seared Scallops over Creamed Corn, with Roasted Mushrooms, White Truffle Oil, and Micro Salad ($23). The truffle oil was added in just the right quantity without overpowering the dish, and the scallops were just unreal. They had a lovely, golden, caramelized exterior with a tender and creamy inside and the sweet corn underneath made for a perfect compliment to the protein. The mushrooms were used sparingly but they were packed with flavor and so each forkful that contained one was treasured.

IMG_3347

My dad ordered one of the specials, which was a Grilled Mako Shark, Spaghetti Squash, Braised Beans, Broccoli Rabe, Pesto, and Romesco Sauce ($23). The shark was tender and well-seasoned, especially when combined with the pesto and Romesco sauces drizzled on the plate.

IMG_3346

The place is great during winter months because it is warm and cozy inside, and they have live music performers that effectively draw in the crowd, inviting guests to come up, sing, and dance. It is just an all around homey place with friendly service and top notch food at a great value!

Leave a comment

Filed under Bars, Brunch, Buck's County, Cafe / Bistro, Cocktails, Dessert, Lunch Spots, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Restaurants, Take-Out

{ Brushetta with Prosciutto, Ricotta, Apples, & Olives }

Before almost every meal at my house, I find that there are a few moments where everyone gathers around the kitchen center island, anxiously waiting for dinner to finish cooking. The table has already been set, but the meat may need to rest another minute before carving, or the sauce may have to reduce a bit more before serving. It is during this time that I like to “pre-game” for dinner (confessions of a fat girl) with an appetizer–and bruschetta is always at the top of my list! I steal a few slices of baguette from the bread basket, toast ‘em in the oven or on the grill, and then top them off with any and every thing that I can find in the fridge.

This week, my little sister Ella, turned me onto a new layering of ingredients and flavors, which included; sliced granny smith apples, creamy ricotta cheese, chopped kalamata olives, and thinly sliced prosciutto.  Not going to lie, I had some reservations about these particular food combinations at first, but I was very pleasantly surprised by the sweet and salty contrast of the prosciutto and ricotta. The slightly tart bite of apple also added another unexpected dimension to the plate, and was a refreshing palate cleanser in-between toasts.

If I were to serve this at a party (which I certainly will in the future!), I would allow the guests to create their own toasts by serving the ingredients separately, this way everyone can have exactly the toppings they want. The dish is so simple and relatively inexpensive (cost of ingredients averaging $10 for 6 servings), but it very important that you use quality ingredients–high grade (or homemade) ricotta is a  MUST! (I suggest Wegman’s brand for $3.00). I also suggest that you season the ricotta with a nice drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper before serving it…it adds more umph–and looks pretty!

{ Ingredients }

  • 1 baguette, sliced on diagonal, 1″ thickness
  • 2 cups high quality (or homemade) ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 2 granny smith apples, thinly sliced
  • 4-6 ounces of thinly sliced prosciutto

{ To Make the Bruschetta Toasts } Use a silicon brush to coat the sliced baguettes with extra virgin olive oil. Place them on the grill, turning until well toasted on each side (about 3 minutes per side). NOTE: You can also toast the bread in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees, which takes about 5 minutes.

3 Comments

Filed under Recipes

{ Cinnamon Apple & Brie Toasts }

Bruschetta is one of my favorite small plates to enjoy before dinner, but every now and then I like a break from the plain old garlic and tomato. It’s not exactly dinner-date friendly, and it’s getting a little overdone as far as I’m concerned. So this evening I decided to make a sweet bruschetta with oven-roasted cinnamon apples, honey, and baked brie cheese. It was absolutely delicious and it is a super versatile recipe. I used it is as a small plate for dinner, but I would also suggest serving it for breakfast, brunch, or as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea. To cut back on the sweetness, use less honey, or omit it all together. Remember, the brie cheese releases oil when baked, so don’t worry about the toasts being too dry!

{ Ingredients }

  • 1 french baguette, sliced down on a diagonal (1/2″ thick)
  • 2 honey crisp apples, sliced 1/4″ thick
  • A chunk of brie cheese, sliced into rectangles (1/4″ thick)
  • Ground cinnamon to taste
  • Honey for drizzling
{ To Roast the Apples } Preheat the oven to 350 degreesLay the sliced apples in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet and dust with a covering of ground cinnamon. (If you want, you can omit the honey later, and dust the apples with brown sugar here to create the sweetness!). Bake for 5-8 minutes and remove from oven.
To Assemble the Toasts } On another foil lined baking sheet, arrange the sliced baguettes side by side. Top the bread with a slice of roasted apple, a cut of brie cheese, and then another slice of roasted apple. Drizzle the top with a little bit of honey and repeat until all the toasts have been assembled. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees until the cheese has become soft and gooey (about 4-5 minutes). Remove from the oven and serve!

 

 

6 Comments

Filed under Baking, Recipes

{ Jalapeno Cheddar Mini-burgers and Chipotle Aioli }

Jalapeno Cheddar Mini-Burgers

Words of wisdom from Harold and Kumar go to White Castle:

Burger Shack Employee- “Just thinking about those tender little White Castle burgers, with those little itty bitty grilled onions that just explode in your mouth like flavor crystals every time you bite into one…”

Harold- “I want that. I want that feeling. We gotta go to White Castle. I am so hungry. I’m gonna eat, like, 20 of those little burgers, man.”

Kumar- “Dude, I will see your 20 burgers and raise you 5 orders of fries.”

Fact: Everyone loves and craves a thick juicy hamburger from time to time. Vegetarians, don’t even kid yourselves, I know you do too. You just have more self-control than the rest of us and I’m still in the process of trying to decide whether I find that admirable or insane. Anyways, with the economy down the past couple of years, Americans are beginning to downsize the many aspects of their lives. Toll Brothers is building smaller homes, people are starting drive smaller cars (they finally realized that gas prices will never be below $2 again…goodbye H2), and the biggest names in burgers are producing mini-burgers faster than you can say recession.

White Castle first introduced the mini-burger concept back in 1921, dubbing their creation the “Slyder.” Today, many people refer to all small burgers as “sliders,” but this is just incorrect. Society is so focused on being politically correct, but lets get our culinary terms straight too while we are at it! You see, in order for a miniature burger to be a true slider, it must be a very thin slip of beef cooked atop onions and garnished with pickles. The steam from the onions does as much cooking as the griddle, and the burger buns absorb their pungent aroma. This is the method of preparation still used at White Castle today—that’s if you can manage to find a White Castle, of course. I think Harold and Kumar prove that it can be a rather long and difficult journey!

On the other hand, mini-burgers (a reduction of the same old thing we know and love), are popping up everywhere and they are absolutely irresistible. Maybe it’s the satisfaction of getting to eat multiple burgers (with less guilt might I add), or the ability to try out several different topping combinations, or maybe things really are better fun-sized (except women of course—coming from one that’s 5’ 9”). Whatever the reason, mini-burgers have created a loyal, almost cult-like, following all across America and I consider myself to be a “patty purveyor,” always looking for the latest and greatest in burgers. (So far my favorite mini-burgers are; (1) STK’s made with Japanese Wagyu Beef, secret sauce, truffle mushrooms, and sesame bun, and (2) Sugarcane’s made with Kobe beef, tonkatsu sauce, and fried quail egg).

I knew that I wanted mini-burgers for my birthday, so I decided try my hand at making my own! I made Jalapeno Cheddar Burgers and Mushroom Swiss burgers. Just fold the desired amount of your toppings into some ground sirloin beef, season with salt and pepper, and mold into 3 ounce patties with your hands. Then simply grill to desired cooking temperature! I purchased whole wheat slider buns from Wegmans, and made this Spicy Chipotle Aioli as a condiment. The aioli turned out awesome and I have since been eating it with chicken and using it as spread for sandwiches. It will hold for quite some time in your refrigerator, so don’t hesitate to make a lot.

{ Ingredients for Chipotle Aioli }

 

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • Juice of ½ a lime
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

{ To Make Chipotle AioliCombine all ingredients in a food processor and puree. Adjust levels of adobo sauce, salt, and pepper to taste preference.

Spicy Chipotle Aioli

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes

{ Spinach Salad with Citrus Dressing and Parmesan Frico }

Spinach Salad with Citrus Dressing, Almonds, Orange Segments, and Parmesan Frico

This week has been mildly depressing for me. Not only did I graduate from the best four years of my life (aka college—my four year paid vacation), but I also turned 22 years old. Twenty-two is a miserable birthday because it is the first birthday that doesn’t come with any special privileges. On your 16th birthday you look forward to driving, on your 18th you look forward to moving out of the house and going off to college, and on your 21st birthday you look forward to drinking…legally (for a female in Miami, this means you can now get into a club without dressing like a prostitute!). But here I am, turning 22 and I find myself regressing in life; I am leaving college, moving back home, and wearing all the alcohol that I legally consumed over the past year on my hips and thighs. The only thing that I have to look forward to this year is beginning the use of anti-aging products. For some reason this just doesn’t feel like something that I want to celebrate…weird.

So instead of going out and making a big fuss at a restaurant, I decided to celebrate with a homemade BBQ here at home with my family. And oddly, it turned out to be my favorite birthday yet. There was no hype, no pressure, and no disappointment. Just good times with the people that I love the most, doing exactly what I love the most—EATNG!

Of course, I had to have my hand in the cooking and tried out a few new recipes that are certainly blog worthy. The first recipe being one of Giadas’ for Spinach Salad with Citrus Dressing and Parmesan Frico. The dressing is very light and the citrus from the orange and lemon is refreshing. It makes for a perfect summer side or appetizer salad (I would add a protein like chicken if you were to serve it as an entrée salad).

The Parmesan frico is something that I have never made before, but it was super easy and added a great salty crunch to the salad. I prefer I over croutons any day, and it looked pretty impressive aesthetically on top of the salad. Giada suggests using almond slivers in the salad, but I like the more pungent flavor of walnuts and would substitute them next time I make this recipe.

Parmesan Frico Before Baking

To make the Parmesan Frico, grate about 1 ½ cups of good Parmesan cheese on a fine grater. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place teaspoon sized mounds of the cheese onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about 3 inches apart from one another. Use the back of the spoon to then gently flatten the mounds into disks that are about 2-3 inches in diameter. Grate freshly ground black pepper over the tops of the cheese disks. Bake in the oven for about 8-10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown on the edges. Remove from oven, let cool completely, and then peel the crisps off the parchment paper and place on top of salad.

{ Ingredients for the Citrus Vinaigrette }

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 ½ teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

{ DirectionsWhisk together all ingredients in a small bowl or shake to combine in an airtight container.

Citrus Dressing

{ Ingredients for the Spinach Salad }

  • 1 package of baby spinach leaves
  • 2 oranges, peeled and cut into segments
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds (or walnut pieces if you prefer)
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes

{ Thai Lemongrass Vegetable Soup }

Thai Vegetable Lemongrass Soup

One of the most challenging aspects about cooking as a college student is that you’re typically only cooking for yourself and so there tends to be a lot of waste. You make a tray of lasagna on Monday and you have to eat it for every lunch and dinner all week to get rid of it. But since no one enjoys eating the same thing at every meal (unless you are a freakish creature of habit), it usually ends up getting left in the fridge until a roommate complains about the smell and makes you throw it away. I’ve found that the best solution to this wasteful dilemma is to cook soup! You can make a large pot of it and store a desired amount in the fridge for the week, and then freeze the rest in individual serving-sized plastic ware. This week I was craving something hearty and healthy, and I decided to experiment with Thai flavors. I always order Tom Kha Gai soup to start at Thai restruarants, which is a lemongrass chicken soup (sometimes made with coconut milk), and I wanted to create my own version at home. I don’t really know how to cook Thai, but since I love to eat it so much, I am familiar with the flavors and how to combine them. What I didn’t take into account was how hard the ingredients are to find, how expensive they become, and how difficult and unusual they are to work with!

I went to Whole Foods, and $80 later, I had a had 4 large bags filled with enough groceries to open a small Thai restaurant myself. Since I couldn’t find a recipe that I liked online, I decided to combine aspects of 4-5 different ones I saw, and create my own. I felt like a little kid, just throwing things into the pot as I went, but it turned out awesome! I used a lot of really great vegetables, and the broth has an awesome spicy lemongrass flavor.

To serve the soup, I took inspiration from Vietnamese Pho and garnished the bowl with bean sprouts, cilantro leaves, jalapenos, lime wedges, and Siracha hot sauce. I ate the vegetables with my chopsticks in my right hand and held a spoon for the broth in my left! None of this soup made it to the freezer, because I looked forward to eating it for every meal of the week (I also shed some pounds, because it is super lo-cal!). Hopefully, you will enjoy the recipe!

{ Ingredients }

  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 2-3 stalks fresh lemongrass, peeled and chopped into 2 inch lengths
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 4 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, freshly grated or minced
  • 5 teaspoons Thai red curry paste (less if you don’t want it to be as spicy)
  • 2 cups shitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 cups Napa cabbage, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1-2 jalapenos, thinly sliced (depending on how spicy you want it)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Garnishes: bean sprouts, green onion, sliced jalapeno, cilantro, and Siracha

{ To Make Soup }

 In a large stock pot, combine the vegetable stock, chicken stock, and lemongrass pieces. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes.

In a small pan over medium-high heat, warm the vegetable oil and then sauté the garlic and ginger for about 2 minutes, or until fragrant but not burnt! Add the Thai red curry paste and combine mixture over heat for 2 minutes.

Add the garlic, ginger, curry paste to the broth in the stockpot and stir well. Add the broccoli, red peppers, jalapenos, and zucchini. Allow to boil for 5 minutes and then reduce heat to low. Add the cabbage, green onion, and shitake mushrooms and allow to cook for 3 more minutes. Remove pot from heat and stir in soy sauce, lime juice, and cilantro. Season to taste with these ingredients and serve in individual bowls with garnishes.

Lemongrass Vegetable Soup with Plate of Garnishes

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes

Mexican Black Bean Salad *****

Mexican Black Bean Salad with Corn

The omelet tied me over pretty well for breakfast, but around 2:30, I was ready for some lunch. Normally, I would head over to Gardner’s Market for a chicken sandwich with goat cheese on ciabatta, but no 700-calorie sandwich for me today! Instead, I went on a 4 mile run and then headed to the fresh market to pick up some groceries. For those of you living in the Miami area, you must check out The Market (I believe it is a chain, but I don’t know how many states they are located in)! They have the best produce and meat selection, and it is usually cheaper than Whole Foods. I picked up a skirt steak marinated in chimichurri, and some vegetables to make a black bean salad. I make this salad all the time, and serve it with chicken, steak, and burgers. I also fold it into omelets and serve it on top of nachos or mixed greens for a Mexican salad. Best of all, it holds in the refrigerator for several days so you can make it on a Monday and use it all week. Avocado tastes great in the salad, just don’t mix it in all at once because they turn brown and make the salad go bad. I cut up and incorporate fresh avocado with each serving to stretch the shelf life.

It is really important that you drain and rinse the black beans well, because the sauce is super starchy. Also, I like to use canned corn without added salt because you can always add more kosher salt to the dish, but you can’t take away!

Also, a good trick to juicing lemons and limes is to roll them first, before cutting them. This makes the fruit much easier to squeeze and you’ll get all the juice.

Note: I had to modify this recipe slightly since I can’t eat honey on my diet, so instead of the dressing listed below, I used the modified version with the asterisk. If you are not on the diet, use the regular dressing because it is soooooo good!

{ Ingredients }

  • 2 cans of black beans, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can corn, drained
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup diced red bell peppers
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • ¼ cup diced green onions
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 4 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • Juice of ¾ lime
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch of ground cumin

{ To Make DressingWhisk together vinegar, lime juice, honey, salt, pepper, and cumin. Combine the dressing with vegetables.

{ Ingredients Modified Dressing }

  • 1 small clove garlic, minced and mashed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Juice 1 ½ limes (about 3 tablespoons)
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of ground cumin

(Whisk together all ingredients for dressing and then combine with vegetables)

Nutritional Information

The total number of calories in this entire salad are 1,311. The nutrition count is as follows: 18% comes from protein, 4.8% comes from fat, and 77% comes from carbohydrates. If you make this into 6 individual servings, that’s an average of 218 calories per serving.

Cost of Ingredients

The total cost of making this salad is $13.21, based on the assumption that you have a few basic ingredients in your pantry such as vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, olive oil, and seasonings. With the skirt steak, this meal totaled $17.21, but remember that the black bean salad will last several meals. If you get 6 servings out of the salad, that’s an average cost of just $2.20 per serving. Compare that to the price of eating out…not too bad!

Skirt Steak Marinated in Chimichurri with Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions and served with Mexican Black Bean Salad

1 Comment

Filed under Recipes

{ Kendall’s Simple Baked Brie en Croute }

Baked Brie en Croute with Almonds and Raspberry Preserves

Baked brie is a great and easy appetizer to bring to any holiday party. I showed my roommate Ariana how to prepare it for our potluck Thanksgiving dinner, and since then I have received a lot of requests among my friends for the recipe (Ariana did a great job making it!). Instead of sending each of them an individual message, I have decided to just post it on my blog for all to view and enjoy!! Unfortunately, now I think everyone is going to offer to bring baked brie to my next potluck…but brie is delicious so I would be okay with that.

You can make this dish using either philo-dough or puff pastry. Philo-dough is flakier and a little bit more difficult to assemble because it is done in thin sheets one at a time. Therefore, I encourage using puff pastry dough if it is your first time making this dish! Also, feel free to substitute different nuts and flavors of fruit preserves, such as walnuts and/or Black Current preserves. Get creative!

{ Ingredients

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, pre-packaged (or philo-dough)
  • 2-3 tablespoons melted butter (or 1 egg beaten if using philo-dough)
  • 1 8 oz brie wheel
  • Apricot, Raspberry, or Strawberry preserves
  • ½ cup sliced almonds

{ To Make using Puff Pastry }

Preheat oven to 375.

Defrost puff pastry for about 15-20 minutes and then unfold. Place the wheel of brie in the middle of the pastry dough and top brie generously with fruit preserves and then nuts. Fold the puff pastry dough up over the toppings and wheel of the brie, gathering up the edges in center and gently squeezing together the excess dough at the top. Brush the sides and top of the puff pastry dough with the beaten egg using a silicon brush. Place the brie on a cookie sheet lined with foil and bake for about 20 minutes, or until pastry dough is golden brown.

Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes and then serve with crackers and fresh fruit.

{ To Make using Philo-Dough }

Preheat oven to 375.

Defrost philo-dough for about 15-20 minutes and then unfold. Place the wheel of brie in the middle of the dough and top brie generously with fruit preserves and then nuts.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Fold the philo-dough up over the toppings and wheel of the brie one thin layer at a time. In between layers, brush butter onto dough (almost as an adhesive) using a silicon brush. Continue in layers until the brie is well covered, gathering up the edges in center and gently squeezing together the excess dough at the top. Brush the sides and top of the dough with butter one last time and then place the brie on a cookie sheet lined with foil and bake for about 20 minutes, or until pastry dough is golden brown.

Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes and then serve with crackers and fresh fruit.

5 Comments

Filed under Baking, Recipes