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Princeton, NJ Dining Blog

Each JM Group company (Witherspoon Grill, Blue Point Grill, Princeton Farmers' Market, & Nassau Street Seafood) will provide at least one blog post per month (4 per month minimum) on various food-related topics. Focus to include food/dining, sustainability, seafood/fishing, farming (produce & animals), recipes relevant to subject matter, and special food events in downtown Princeton.
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Summer Recipes from a few of POL'S FAVE Spots

While we all continue to stay-at-home and look for entertainment, many are turning to cookbooks and cooking blogs to try their hand at new dishes. We're going to be busy enjoy trying to recreate recipes from some of Princeton's favorite, right in our own home. We're dishing recipes from The Chauncey, Terhune Orchards, The Farm House Cooking School, Nassau Street Seafood, The Witherspoon Grill & Trattoria Proccacini.

Of course, frequent your local favorite for take-out or outdoor dining. 

We'd love to hear what you've been making in your own kitchen! If you make any of these recipe below, be sure to share on social & use the hashtag #PrincetonOnline

 

 

SUMMER SMOOTHIE PARFAIT

    GM, Sara Blivaiss, The Chauncey

    (Sara's son, Jonathan, is lactose intolerant and this is one of his favorites)

 

1 cup Frozen Strawberries (about 1 cup)

3 Bananas

½ cup Soy, Almond, or Rice Milk

2 Tbsp. Agave or Maple Syrup

2 Tbsp. Ground Flaxseeds

½ cup Granola

 

Blend strawberries, bananas, almond milk, agave, and flax in a high-powered blender until smooth. Taste and add more agave for sweetness, if needed.

 

In a tall glass, layer smoothie and granola as desired. Grab the biggest spoon you can find and enjoy!

 

 

BEACH COOKIES

Executive Chef, Brian Wagner, The Chauncey

 

½ cup vegan Margarine, melted

2 cups Graham Cracker crumbs (I buy Health Valley Graham Crackers and pulse them into fine crumbs in the food processor. Feel free to do this with any graham cracker or wafer cookie.)

1 cup canned Coconut Milk, mixed well before measuring

¼ cup Agave or Maple Syrup

1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

1/8 tsp. Sea Salt

2 tbsp. Cornstarch

1 ½ cups Shredded Coconut

2 cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips (dairy-free)

½ cup chopped Walnuts, toasted (optional)

 

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour margarine into a 9- x13-inch baking pan. Swirl the margarine around until the bottom of the pan is completely coated. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs evenly into the pan until the bottom of the pan is completely coated in crumbs. Pat down lightly with your hands.

 

In a small bowl, whisk together coconut milk, agave/syrup, vanilla, salt, and cornstarch. Drizzle this mixture evenly over the graham cracker layer. Sprinkle the shredded coconut into the pan, then layer chocolate chips and walnuts. With the palm of your hand, gently pat the top of the cookie pan so that the chocolate chips cement into the rest of the cookie.

 

Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until center looks thick and slightly bubbly with lightly browned edges. Let cool, and then refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Using a sharp knife, cut into bar cookies. The textures and flavors of this cookie really work best after refrigeration, but if you’re like me and gotta dig in right away- bemy guest!

 

If you’re feeling festive, platter the cookies on a tray of brown sugar (mock sand) and stick some cocktail umbrellas in the sugar for a “beach scene”.

 

 

BLUE SWEET CAKE

Terhune Orchards’ Blueberry Bash Bake-Off Winners 2011-1st Prize Cake Kimberly Newhall

 

Ingredients:

Cake:

¾ cup unsalted butter

3 eggs 2 ½ cup flour

2 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 ¾ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 ¼ cup whole milk

2 cups fresh blueberries

 

Icing:

1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature

3 cups powdered sugar

½ tsp kosher salt

½ tsp vanilla extract

 

Filling:

½ cup white chocolate

1 cup fresh blueberries

½ cup whole almonds,  toasted and chopped fine

 

 

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar, beat until light in color and fluffy. Next add 1/3 of the milk and mix until incorporated, then add one egg, mix till combined. And then alternately add the rest of the milk and the eggs. Making sure after each addition of the milk and egg is fully incorporated. Add in the vanilla. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to mixer, and mix on low to medium speed for 10-20 seconds or until there are no more lumps and the batter is smooth. Next add in the 2 cups of blueberries and fold them in with a spatula. Cut parchment paper pieces to line the bottom of two 8” round cake pans or three 6” round cake pans.  Fill the pans ½ to ¾ of the way full and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees or until you place a toothpick in and it comes out clean. When done, take out of oven and let cool on a wire rack.

 

Icing: In a stand mixer, beat the butter until it becomes light yellow and fluffy about 4 minutes. Then add in the salt, vanilla, and sugar and mix for another minute until the icing becomes smooth.

 

Assembly: When the cakes are cooled, cut both of the rounds in half so you will end up with 4 layers. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds, when totally melted mix it with 1 cup of the butter cream icing. In a bowl, smash the blueberries with a fork slightly. Put the first layer of cake on a plate and spread some of the white chocolate icing on the top. Then lay some of the smashed blueberries on top of the icing. Next place another cake layer on top and spread some icing over it, then chopped almonds and lay them evenly out over the second layer of cake. For the third layer, just repeat. Then place the fourth layer on top and with the rest of the icing, cover the whole outside of the cake. Decorate as you please, with some fresh blueberries. Enjoy.

 

 

SEARED SALMON WITH CITRUS AND ARUGULA SALAD

via Nassau Street Seafood Company, recipe via  Linda Xiao for The New York Times.

 

4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)

¾ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste

¼ cup thinly sliced shallot (from 1 large shallot)

1 small grapefruit

2 to 3 navel oranges, blood oranges or Cara Cara oranges, or a combination (about 1 1/2 pounds total)

4 (6-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets

2 to 3 ounces baby arugula (about 4 cups)

½ medium fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and very thinly sliced crosswise

1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and thinly sliced

¼ cup shelled, roasted salted or unsalted pistachios, chopped

 

Make the glaze for the salmon: In a small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons olive oil with the orange juice, mustard, half the chopped garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

 

Make the salad dressing: In another small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil with the lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir in the shallots and the remaining garlic, then set aside.

 

Using a small serrated knife, peel the grapefruit and oranges and trim to remove any remaining pith. Slice all the peeled fruit crosswise into thin circles (no larger than 1/2-inch thick); remove the seeds and set aside.

 

Heat a 12-inch cast-iron or heavy stainless-steel skillet over medium-high until it’s extremely hot (a drop of water flicked onto the pan should turn to steam almost immediately), about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, pat the salmon fillets dry using paper towels, brush both sides with olive oil, and season all over with salt and pepper.

 

When the pan is ready, cook the salmon fillets skin-side down over medium-high without moving until the salmon skin releases easily from the pan, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a pair of tongs or a spatula, wiggle the fillets to loosen the skin from the bottom of the pan, then carefully flip. Lower the heat to medium and cook until the salmon is cooked through but still slightly rare in the center, 4 to 5 more minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.

 

Transfer to a rimmed plate or serving dish, and brush the glaze all over the salmon, making sure to coat the fillets.

 

Combine the arugula and fennel in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Add the avocado, citrus rounds and pistachios, and toss gently. Transfer to a shallow serving bowl or platter and serve alongside the salmon.

 

 

BAKEWELL TART

via The Farm Cooking School 

 

Makes 1 9-inch Tart

 

INGREDIENTS

For the crust: 

One Recipe Ian & Shelley’s All-Butter Pie Crust 

 

For the frangipane filling: 

150 Grams Almond Flour (ideally freshly picked from a mix of trees, shelled, and ground from your own grove; store bought is acceptable)

150 Grams Sugar

150 Grams Room Temperature Butter

3 Large Eggs (fresh from your almond-fed chickens)

1 tsp Lemon Zest (picked from your lemon tree)

1 T Kirsch, optional

 

For the tart:

1/2 Cup Apricot or Cherry Jam (also from your trees, picked last summer, and jarred immediately) 

Powdered Sugar

 

Some notes on ingredients: 

 

A few of my additions (the lemon and Kirsch - a cherry brandy) are to help mimic the intensity of hyper-fresh hyper-local almonds which are, no doubt, hard to source in the States. Almond flour/meal is fairly easy to source now in most markets, or, you may grind your own from whole in the bowl of a processor (just be sure to stop short of almond butter, a somewhat costly - if delicious - mistake). Either makes a great tart, though I prefer a coarser home-grind for the pleasant texture it adds to the tart. 

 

Also, feel free to substitute any reddish jam you have on hand - preferably homemade; in various recipes I consulted, cherry, raspberry, and strawberry all seemed like acceptably authentic substitutions. I prefer either apricot or cherry, as both belong to the same family as almonds and help to bolster that flavor.   

 

Prepare in advance one recipe Pate Brisee or All-Butter Pie Crust. Leave to chill in refrigerator until needed.

 

Place a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 400ºF

 

To make the frangipane, using a stand- or hand- mixer on low speed, slowly add your sugar into your butter until well incorporated. Increase the speed to high and cream together until the butter becomes light, fluffy, and a bit paler in color.

 

Replacing the speed back to low, add an egg at a time, allowing each to fully incorporate before adding the next.  

 

Add the zest and Kirsch, if using.

 

Finally, add the almond flour in stages until fully combined. Place frangipane aside.

 

Roll your reserved pastry to fit a 9-inch pie plate or tart pan. Prick all over with a fork and line with parchment or foil. Fill with pastry weights, rice, or dried beans and blind bake at for 15-20 minutes, until the sides have set and the crust has begun to take on a light blonde color. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

 

Using a spoon or offset spatula, spread your jam evenly across the bottom of your crust. Pour your frangipane over top, being sure not to allow jam to creep up the sides as you do so. Smooth the top of your frangipane and replace in the oven.

 

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes more, or until the frangipane is puffed and browned and the crust golden. If, after 20 minutes, the crust or frangipane seem to be browning too quickly, loosely cover with foil until cooked through. The filling should be soft, with a slight crumb, almost like a set custard.

 

Allow at least a few minutes to cool, or cool completely.

 

Just before serving, lightly dust with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Slice and serve, perhaps with English cream (and definitely with a small glass of Kirsch on the side).

 

 

 Witherspoon Grill’s Executive Chef Chris Graciano and got the low-down on his crab-stuffed lobster tails.

 

 

CRAB-STUFFED LOBSTER TAILS

via Chris Graciano, Executive Chef, Witherspoon Grill 

 

Crab Cake Mix:

2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs

1 pound jumbo lump crab

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

Juice of 1 lemon

Pinch salt and pepper, to taste

Chopped curly parsley

 

Directions:

Gently fold ingredients together in a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

To stuff the lobster tails and bake:

4 lobster tails

Melted unsalted butter

Salt and pepper

 

Lobster tail prep:

Cut top layer of shell with kitchen shears to open. Gently pull meat out of shell without disconnecting from the tail and place on top of shell.

 

Cooking:

Drizzle 2 teaspoons melted butter over top of tail meat. Season with salt and pepper.

Loosely top tails with 4 ounces of crab mixture per tail.

Bake at 350° F for 15 to 17 minutes, or until crab topping starts to brown.

 

 

TRATTORIA PROCACCINI LASASGNA

via Trattoria Procaccini 

 

1 lb. ground pork

1 lb. ground beef (ground round)

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

2 qt. tomato sauce

2 boxes (16-oz.) lasagna noodles, cooked to instructions

1/2 lb. mortadella, thinly sliced

2 balls (16-oz.) smoked mozzarella, cubed

1/2 lb. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1/2 lb. grated Pecorino Romano

1/2 lb. prosciutto, thinly sliced and trimmed of fat

4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped fine

1 bunch parsley leaves, chopped

1 bunch basil, chiffonade

Fresh-cracked black pepper

 

 

In a deep, rectangular lasagna pan, add a thin layer of sauce to the bottom, then layer the lasagna evenly across the bottom of the pan to cover the entire surface, about 8 sheets of pasta.

 

Sprinkle 1/4 of the cooked meat mixture over the pasta, then layer 8 slices of mortadella.

 

Sprinkle 1/4 of the cubed mozzarella and 1/4 of the grated cheese and top with a layer of tomato sauce.

 

Layer another 8 lasagna sheets to cover, then a layer of prosciutto, mozzarella, 14/ of the grated cheese, 1/3 of the chopped herbs, 1/4 of the cooked meat, and tomato sauce. Finish this layer with 1/2 of the shopped hard-boiled eggs. Repeat with another layer of lasagna, remaining prosciutto and mortadella, 1/4 of the grated cheese, 1/3 of the chopped herbs, remaining chopped eggs, 1/4 of the mozzarella, 1/4 of the cooked mat, and sauce. Repeat with the last layer of lasagna, remaining cooked meat, grated cheeses mozzarella, and a think layer of tomato sauce.

 

Sprinkle the top layer with the remaining chopped parsley and basil and fresh cracked black pepper.

 

Cover with aluminum foil, careful not to let foil touch cheese and bake for about 1/2 hour, until cheeses melt and ingredients have melded.

 

Uncover and let cool and set for about 30 minutes before cutting so lasagna can absorb the liquid released by the cheeses.

 

 

What are you making in your kitchen?

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