Saturday, November 28, 2009

Scrumptious Saturday

We've started a new trend at work this Christmas- it's called Scrumptious Saturdays and I love it. It all started two weeks ago with Tabby's Spaghetti Pie, then continued last week with the Frizado's Chili and this week I've contributed that delicious Pumpkin Sausage Lasagne that I blogged about around this time last year. It's simple- one or two people bring the main entree, and everyone else contributes sides and dessert.

For anyone interested in the recipe for this amazing lasagne, you can find it on Rachel Ray's website here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Starbucks Via Ready Brew

So I finally broke down and bought a package of Starbucks Via- their new instant coffee. And guess what- it's delicious. I was running late this morning on my way to work- I had planned to go through the Starbucks drive-thru, but I didn't have time. Then I remembered that I'd purchased a package of the Italian Roast Via about a week ago and thrown it in my purse for just such an occassion. When I got to work, I made it and it was absolutely delicious. I think what's nice about it, too, is that you can make it stronger or weaker depending on your taste. I personally like really strong coffee, so I made it with the recommended 8 ounces of hot water, but if Starbucks is a little too strong for you, it would be easy to make it with a little extra water to tone it down a bit. Has anyone out there tried it? What do you think of it? Leave a comment!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Gelato di Babbo

Shop Name: Gelato di Babbo

Location: Lititz Pike, Lititz, PA

Screams: 5

I FINALLY managed to get over to Gelato di Babbo's Euro Cafe in Lititz, PA today. I had the day off and no plans until the evening, so I decided to go for lunch. I'd heard from Kim, the owner, about the delicious panini sandwiches on the menu as well as soups and of course her famous gelato. My meal today was:

"Classico" Panini- Proscuitto with fresh mozzarella, basil and cherry tomatoes
Chocolate & Coffee Gelato

First, let's talk about the sandwich. The bread was sliced nice and thick and grilled to perfection- crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and not a bit of that greasiness that so often clouds a panini sandwich. I don't really like panini that are slathered in butter before placed on the grill- I prefer it dry and that's how they do it at GdB. Another note on the bread: it was so flavorful with a mildly sweet tone to it- really just delicious. It complemented the other elements of the sandwich perfectly- the salty proscuitto, the ripe tomato, the earthy basil- it all worked together really well. And it was all SO fresh. I watched Kim step outside to pick the fresh basil that she then put on my sandwich. It was amazing. Does it really get any more fresh than that? I don't think so.

After devouring the sandwich, I paused a moment and then surveyed the gelato case- the flavors of the day were Caramel Corn, Gingersnap, Rasperry Sorbet, Chocolate, Mint and Coffee. I sampled nearly all of them before selecting a small chocolate and coffee. They top it with a cute little wafer cookie- it's really adorable:

One thing that you just HAVE to understand about GdB is that the texture of the gelato is velvety smooth like no other frozen treat. It's silken texture is out of this world. I've never tasted ice cream or gelato like it. I don't know what her secret is, but it's working like a dream. As for each individual flavor, the best was the Caramel Corn- it had a nice popcorn-esque flavor, but sweet, almost like kettle corn. And the gingersnap was also delicious. I've had gingersnap ice cream and frozen custard before and neither one was very good. GdB's gingersnap was amazing. I'd order it in a heartbeat and recommend it just as fast.

The hours are 11-9PM Friday through Sunday- perfect for a nice weekend treat. Head on over this weekend if you can- I guarantee you'll enjoy it.


I think that anyone living in the Lancaster area knows about Isaac's- their sandwiches are out of this world, don't you think? I've been there a couple of times in the last few weeks- once when my mom was in town, another time last night with coworkers- and it never gets old.

My favorites on their menu include the Phoenix (sandwich), the Ruffed Grouse (sandwich) and the Sonoma (salad). Their desserts are pretty tasty, too. Last night I had the Sonoma Salad with a scoop of the cranberry almond chicken salad. One word: outstanding. I think the last 3 or 4 times I've been to Isaac's that's what I've eaten and it never gets old!

One thing I really love about Isaac's is the pickled veggies you get before your meal. I had a piece of cauliflower last night and it has some kick to it. I'd never tasted picked cauliflower, but now that I have, I highly recommend you try it.

Sorry for the short post, (and for not posting much lately), but I've been focused a lot on my other blog: Style... the New Black. Visit when you have a minute and leave a comment so I know you came by!

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I sometimes forget how much I enjoy cooking! I went to the Central Market yesterday and got some beautiful produce, cheese and other goodies. I wasn't sure of my plan for how to use it all, but I had a feeling it would be delicious. I wanted to make enough food to eat dinner tonight and also bring leftovers to work tomorrow and Monday. Here's my menu:

Green salad
Cinnamon chicken with apples
Maple dijon sweet potatoes
Lemon garlic mushrooms

I enjoyed my dinner so thoroughly, I thought I'd share my recipes with all of you. Enjoy!

Green salad:
1 large head green leaf lettuce
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup cubed extra-super-sharp cheddar cheese
Balsamic vinegar glaze & olive oil

I think y'all know how to make a salad- chop it up and toss it together.

Cinnamon chicken with apples:
3 chicken breasts, butterflied and pounded thin
1 granny smith apple, cubed
1 red delicious apple, cubed
1/2 small onion diced
1/4 cup apple juice
Salt & Pepper

Start by seasoning the chicken with salt, pepper, nutmeg and a generous amount of cinnamon. In a hot skillet, heat 1 T. oil and 1 tsp. butter. Brown each side of the chicken about 45 seconds. Remove from pan. Saute onion and apples, adding a little cinnamon and nutmeg (to taste). Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan. Once onion and apples have softened, deglaze pan with apple juice, return chicken to pan, cover and simmer until finished.

Maple Dijon Sweet Potatoes

3 medium orange sweet potatoes or yams
1 T. light dijon mustard
1 T. whole seed dijon mustard
1/2 cup real maple syrup
3 T. butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel sweet potatoes and chop into 1/2- 3/4 inch cubes. Toss with mustards and maple syrup until coated. Make 3 "pouches" with aluminum foil and divide mixture between them. Top with salt, pepper and a pat of butter on each. Close pouches completely and place on a baking sheet. Bake 25-30 minutes or until tender.

Lemon Garlic Mushrooms

1/2 pound button mushrooms, sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
Italian seasoning or dried basil, oregano and thyme
1 clove minced garlic

In a sautee pan, heat garlic, then add mushrooms, lemon juice and spices. Cook until tender.

Ok, the mushrooms don't really go with the rest of the meal, but I had to do something with them, and this is my favorite way to eat them. They added a nice tart acidity to an otherwise sweet meal. The salad was AMAZING. The cheese was aged 4 years and so fabulously sharp. It was perfect with the tart cranberries, the crunchy almonds and the balsamic glaze. The sweet potatoes are so delicious, you'll never make sweet potatoes any other way again. The chicken I would do differently next time. I'd deglaze using chicken stock instead of apple juice- it was all just a little too sweet. Also, I was rather light-handed with the cinnamon and I think I'd change that as well. The cooking process seemed to mellow out the flavor too much or something. (Hey, I'm no Top Chef- don't expect me to know what goes wrong!) Also, the whole chicken dish needed more salt. I actually put some of the cheese from my salad on the chicken. It got all melty and made the chicken a LOT more tasty. The sweet potato recipe is from my mom, but the rest is my creation. If you try any of these recipes out, let me know how they turn out!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Leola Freeze & Frizz

Shop Name: Freeze & Frizz

Location: Old Philadelphia Pike, Leola

Boo's Rating: 4 screams

I went to the Freeze & Frizz last summer and thought it was pretty great. Today I went there again with my fabulous friend Christine. She got a twist with rainbow sprinkles. I got a "thick" chocolate shake. She seemed to really enjoy her ice cream cone and I was very happy with my shake. It was thick and creamy and plenty chocolate-y. And the coolest part? The straws are extra-wide and colorful. Fun! There is something about a roadside ice cream/fast food stand that sucks me in. There's definitely a certain nostalgia to them. When I was in high school, I spent a summer working at a roadside "Clam Shack." I forget the actual name of the establishment, maybe it was the Clam Box? I dunno. Anyway, the point is, I spent an entire summer sweating my butt off, serving ice cream, burgers, fried fish and slushies through a tiny little window. It was a dive right across the street from a local amusement park and at the end of the summer, I threw out all my work clothes because no amount of washing could get the stink of fried fish out of the fabric. Even now, 15 years later, I can't eat a fried clam without remembering that summer job. When I first started there, I was the ice cream girl. We had a few soft serve flavors and plenty of toppings including dip. You know- the melted chocolate that hardens when you dip the ice cream into it? Freeze & Frizz has it, too, which is another reason why I like it! Anyway, at the Clam Shack, there were three different "dip" flavors- chocolate, strawberry and caramel. For some reason, the only one that really worked was the chocolate. Something about the consistency of the other two never really worked. I can't remember how many times I'd dip a cone filled with ice cream into that strawberry dip and pull out an empty cone. No joke! Then I'd have to rush to scoop out the ice cream before it melted into the dip. It was always a mess! Hysterical!

Anyway, even without all the nostalgia, I love the Freeze & Frizz because they know how to make a good chocolate shake and that's what matters!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Olde Greenfield Inn

Shop Name: Olde Greenfield Inn

Location: Greenfield Rd, Lancaster

Boo's Rating: 4 1/2 Screams

I have been going to the Olde Greenfield nearly every Wednesday for a while now and I think it's time to comment on it. Although I have never ordered ice cream at the Olde Greenfield, I have sampled many other tasty treats. My love affair with this lovely establishment began when I won a gift certificate at my company's annual Christmas party. I went with my good friend Amy to use it and we had a fabulous time. Turns out, Amy also performs at the Olde Greenfield. She's a fabulous jazz singer. Every Wednesday at the Greenfield, they have a series called "The Lovely Ladies of Jazz" and Amy performs as part of that series. Her trio varies slightly from week to week, but no matter whom she's hired to back her up, she always sounds fabulous. I'll admit, I'm a fan.

The menu is varied and Wednesday night also happens to be their "Wild Wednesday" special night, meaning the specials menu is chock full of wild game options. For example, this past Wednesday I sampled a bit of Kangaroo soup. No joke. It wasn't the most amazing thing I've ever tasted, but I have to admit, I sampled it largely so that I could say I'd eaten kangaroo in my life! Normally I stick with one of their seafood options. The salmon is often on special and it never disappoints. Recently I tried the diver scallops and it was one of the most delicious meals I've had in a long time. Certainly the most delicious I've had in Lancaster.

The prices are in line with the quality of food, but it's not the kind of place I can afford to eat at too frequently. (Let's just say I'd love to get another of those gift certificates!) Fortunately, they have a large selection of appetizers between $10 and $15 that are practically meals themselves. The crab dip is definitely one to try, as is the cheese platter (which is big enough for 3 people). As for desserts, I mentioned I've never ordered ice cream, but I have tried their creme brulee (delicious) and their flourless chocolate cake (outstanding).

The bottom line with the Olde Greenfield is that the whole package is one worth trying- the menu and the music will not disappoint. 4 1/2 screams is about as good as it gets where I'm concerned!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Samantha Harris on BROADWAY?!?!?!

Yes, that blog title is correct- today we're screaming for a BAD reason. I'm sorry if reading this has ruined your day. I know it nearly ruined my night when I heard the news last night. I was prefectly happy watching the season finale of "Dancing with the Stars." It's a guilty pleasure, I admit. Samantha Harris co-hosts the show with Tom Bergeron. To say he hosts circles around her would be an understatement. She is beyond terrible. I can hardly bear to sit through her awkward interviews with the performers. It's as if she's not even paying attention to what's coming out of her mouth or theirs!

My friends Brance and Betsy refer to her as "a poor man's Catherine Zeta-Jones." I used to laugh at this and even used the nickname myself, but lately I feel like I'm insulting Catherine Zeta more than Samantha Harris when I say it. Those two should not even be in the same universe. Ok, ok, I'm getting to the real story here. As I was saying, I was perfectly content, sitting on the couch, watching the season finale of DWTS, when Tom announced that his co-host would soon be starring on Broadway as Roxie Hart in Chicago. I nearly fell off the couch. (For the full story, click on the title of this blog and you'll be directed to Of course the first thing I did was text both Brance and Betsy. Betsy responded immediately, "You have got to be kidding me. I seriously just threw up," followed by "What has the world come to?" and "I really cannot believe this. It's disturbing and I can't get the horrifying visual out of my mind!" It's no secret that the recent revival of Chicago on Broadway is not much more than a revolving door of B-list celebrities, but this is an all-time low. Remember when Lisa Rinna played Roxie? I thought that was about as bad as it could get, but apparently I was wrong. (Other less than fabulous choices for the production: Ashlee Simpson (Roxie Hart, West End), Brooke Shields (Roxie), Harry Hamlin (Billy Flynn), Usher (Billy), Joey Lawrence (Billy), David Hasselhoff (Billy), and Kelly Osbourne (Mama Morton).

So what is wrong with Broadway today? So many great shows closed this past January, putting hundreds of talented performers out of work and yet Chicago continues to run, even with "actors" like Samantha Harris in the lead role.

When Brance finally responded to my text, it had a different tone than I expected. He responded by saying, "If poor man's Catherine Zeta Jones can be on Broadway, then there's hope for us all." True. It was hard to tell if his text was meant to be sarcastic or hopeful. (He's a professional actor currently living in NYC.) My cynical self would like to think, "Why not just pull people off the street and cast them in Broadway shows? It would be a lot more interesting, but the standards wouldn't have to change at all! But then again, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Poor Man's Catherine Zeta will blow us all away with her spot-on portrayal of the infamous Roxie Hart. I won't hold my breath, though.

Lemon Squares

I mentioned yesterday that one of my earliest memories baking is a recipe for Lemon Squares. I used to make them ALL THE TIME. They were so delicious and tart- I could eat the entire pan myself.

I'm keeping it simple today and just giving you the recipe- no step-by-step pictorial today! Sorry! If you make these, let me know what you think of them. I've often thought of topping them with a meringue, or making them lime-flavored instead, or even a citrus blend with orange, lemon and lime. Delish!


For cookie base:
2 cups flour
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup butter, melted

For filling:
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup flour
5/8 cup lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine ingredients for cookie base and then press into a 13 X 9 inch baking dish. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown.

In a large bowl, combine, sugar, baking powder and flour. Stir in the eggs, and finally the lemon juice. Pour mixture over the prepared crust and return to the oven. Bake another 30 minutes, until the bars are set. Cool completely before slicing and eating! Also, these are delicious with a scoop of sherbet. Very refreshing!

I'm still waiting for a comment with your favorite lemony recipe. It can be as simple as homemade lemonade, or something complicated and fancy. It can be sweet or savory- whatever you like! Leave a comment!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lemon Cake

One of my earliest memories of cooking as a child is baking lemon squares. I used to make them all the time and I'm sure it drove my mom nuts. I'll bet she had other uses in mind for the eggs used in the recipe and I'll bet she had to purchase a lot more flour and sugar because of me and that silly recipe. I even remember once I put the pan in the oven and then promptly forgot all about it and left to go swimming. About an hour later my mom came and found me with a blackened pan of lemon squares. Come to think of it, I think that may have been the last time I made that recipe. Hmmm...
As you can see, I'm continuing yesterdays lemon theme, but today I am going to take you through my process of baking a fabulous lemon cake from the Martha Stewart Everyday Food magazine. I'm pretty sure I receive that periodical as a "bonus" gift associated with my Martha Stewart Living subscription and let me tell you- I love it. I'm not gonna lie to you- I've always been a fan of Martha. Even back in her prison days, I pictured her (as I'm sure many people did) making coordinating bedsheets and window treatments for her cell, teaching the other inmates how to maximize their limited cell space, and giving the cafeteria cooks tips on how to make that meatloaf nice and moist. Anyway, this particular issue included a recipe for a "Cake 3 Ways." It's a standard vanilla cake recipe with 2 different variations- one chocolate and the other- you guessed it- LEMON! I think sometimes people are intimidated by Martha's recipes, so I'm going to walk you through this one step by step, complete with pictures. (Haha- I say that as if I'm some kind of Martha Stewart recipe expert. If only!)

You'll need:
For cake:
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 c. sugar
2 sticks butter
2 eggs plus 3 egg yolks (save whites for frosting)
1 T. lemon zest
2 T. lemon juice
1 c. buttermilk

For syrup:
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. sugar
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1/4 c. lemon juice

For frosting:
3 egg whites
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
2 T. fresh lemon juice
As always, begin by preheating your oven. This recipe calls for a 350 degree oven. Next, you've got to butter & flour your cake pans. I'm not gonna lie to you- I use the Pam butter & flour spray for ALL my cakes and it works like a dream, plus it's a lot cleaner to use.
Next, in a medium sized bowl, sift together 2 1/2 c. flour, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. baking powder and the zest of one lemon. In a separate bowl, cream 2 sticks of butter with 3/4 cup sugar. I always use my KitchenAid stand mixer whenever I'm baking because it makes life SO easy. (Side note: I purchased my KitchenAid for the bargain price of $50 from an ex-boss and it was the BEST kitchen purchase I have EVER made.) Back to the recipe- the key to "creaming" butter & sugar is making sure that the butter is at room temperature- not too cold, nor too melty. This makes for a nice "creamy" consistency. Like this:
Next, beat in the eggs, one at a time. Then alternate mixing in the flour mixture with 1 cup of buttermilk and 2 T. fresh lemon juice. Do not use the stuff from a bottle. Gross! Try not to overbeat the batter, and remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure the ingredients are all incorporated well. Next, evenly divide the batter between your two 8-inch cake pans. Spread the batter out evenly or you could get some wonky cakes. Nobody likes a wonky cake.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until cakes are set. Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake and if it comes out clean, the cake is done. While the cake is baking, you're going to make a simple syrup infused with lemons. In a small saucepan, boil 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 cup water.
Take a fresh lemon and slice it nice and thin and then add it to the water/sugar mixture. Simmer for a solid 25 minutes. Here's what makes Martha so brilliant. Not only are you infusing the simply syrup with lemon flavor, but you are SIMULTANEOUSLY making candied lemon slices! Brilliant.
After simmering for 25 minutes, remove the lemon slices and place them on wax paper. Aren't they pretty? They're pretty tasty, too. After you are done admiring your work, stir the 1/4 c. lemon juice into the syrup. Believe it or not, you're almost done. Once the cakes are done, turn them out on a wire cooling rack and let them cool a bit. Then, pierce the tops with a toothpick a whole bunch of times. While the cakes are still warm, brush the lemon syrup on top of each cake. The holes allow the syrup to get down into the cake. Yum! Once the cakes are cooled completely, make the frosting. This is where things got tricky for me. I had never made a frosting like this and I was really nervous to do it. I followed Martha's instructions to the letter and at first the frosting looked perfect. It's like a beautiful glossy meringue. Then, several hours later, it appeared my meringue frosting had "deflated." I have NO IDEA what I did wrong. It could have been anything. I'll probably try this recipe again just to see if I can get it right. According to Martha, you take the water, egg whites and sugar and in a "heatproof bowl" heat them over a saucepan of boiling water. Double-boiler-style is my guess. Anyway, you are supposed to stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture reaches 150 degrees. Then, beat the mixture until it forms stiff peaks. Mine looks pretty darn good, don't you think?
The picture really doesn't do it justice. I swear it looked EXACTLY like the picture in the magazine. Here it is on the first layer of the cake:

I have to admit, at this point, I was feeling pretty confident and sure of myself and this frosting. I finished assembling the cake and topped it with the candied lemon slices just like Martha did in her magazine. It sure is a pretty cake. I think I did a decent job making this cake and let me tell you- it was DELICIOUS. Even after the frosting deflated, it was still moist and refreshing and oh-so-lemon-y. It's a perfect cake for summer. Good job, Martha!
Now, if anyone can fill me in on what I did wrong with this frosting, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks! Enjoy!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Danielle's Pasta Salad

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! Or pasta salad? Hmmm....
I haven't been eating much ice cream lately, but I have been thinking about all those foods that seem to conjure up summer-time memories: grilled chicken, burgers & hot dogs, lemonade, ice cream cones, Popsicles, crisp salads with fresh veggies, summer squash, tomatoes fresh from the vine- the list goes on and on. Summertime foods to me are usually just simple, fresh foods with minimal preparation- food that just tastes good on its own and refreshes and rejuvenates me. Lemons are a delicious, juicy fruit that I like to use in all sorts of ways, especially in the summertime. This week I'll be posting recipes that incorporate this tasty fruit.

My very good friend Danielle taught me a recipe for pasta salad years ago and I still make it every summer. It's the most refreshing pasta salad and it's also incredibly easy to make. It took me a while to write the recipe down, so it may have changed a bit since the first time I tasted it, but I wanted to share the recipe as it is in my recipe box right now. The lemon juice and zest, mixed with the spicy fresh ginger and the mellow garlic make an amazing combination. One of the other great things about this recipe is that you can change it to suit your taste- more ginger, less garlic, cheese or no cheese, add chicken or grilled tofu- whatever you like. Also, it's just as delicious when it's fresh as it is a day or two later cold out of the fridge.

You'll need:
1-2 T. fresh ginger, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
1 box tri-color rotini pasta, OR whatever pasta you like
2-3 T. extra virgin olive oil
zest and juice of 1 lemon
Cooked peas OR broccoli OR asparagus OR your favorite veggie
Fresh green onion, chopped
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese

To Prepare:
In a large pot, cook pasta. Meanwhile, chop ginger & garlic. Place in a large bowl with lemon zest. Cook whatever veggies you plan to use. (I prefer blanching broccoli or asparagus so that it is still crisp.) Add cooked pasta and veggies to the bowl with the ginger, garlic & lemon zest. Pour 2-3 T. olive oil and the lemon juice on top and toss all ingredients together. Sprinkle the green onion and Parmesan cheese on top and serve immediately OR refrigerate and serve cold. Yum!

I promise this salad will NOT disappoint. Let me know if you try it. Also, let me know what your favorite lemon recipe is- I'd love to try it!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Rachel's Creperie and Cafe

Shop Name: Rachel's Creperie and Cafe

Location: Queen Street, Lancaster

Boo's Rating: 3 1/2 Screams

I've started to run out of ice cream establishments, so I'm expanding the blog to cover anything I feel like "screaming for," but I'll try to keep it food related. That being said, this blog entry will cover Rachel's Creperie and Cafe in downtown Lancaster. Ice cream? Nope. Crepes? Yup. Last weekend we had a serious heat wave- it was fantastic. I woke up early each day to the sun streaming in my face and I was out the door, dying to get some sunshine. I decided to have brunch at Rachel's since they have outdoor seating.

I should make a note here that I don't claim to be a legit food critic. I just happen to really enjoy food. Correction: I love food. Even weird food. I'll try just about anything once. Crepes are a particular favorite food of mine because I grew up eating them. My family is French and I remember both my mom and my memere making crepes when I was a kid. I had high expectations for Rachel's. The menu was pretty extensive when you consider that the main item is crepes. The have breakfast crepes that are kind of like omelets, except it's a crepe that surrounds the fillings. The have sweet crepes, savory crepes, veggie crepes, dessert crepes- pretty much any crepe you can imagine. On this particular day, they also had a roasted red pepper soup with Gouda, so I decided it would be soup & sweet crepes for me. I ordered the soup, an iced coffee and the "Tavern on the Green" crepes. The Tavern on the Green crepes are a pretty special combination, if you ask me. In my house growing up, crepes came with butter, real maple syrup, and maybe a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Simple. The Tavern on the Green crepes had fresh strawberries, brown sugar and sour cream. The combination was divine! Unfortunately, it needed to be, because the crepes were not. The crepes at Rachel's were, in my humble opinion, bland and dry. Crepes should be egg-y, and moist and so tender you can slice through them with your fork- no knife required. The texture of Rachel's' crepes wasn't quite right- they were too tough, and it was hard to cut them. In addition, the flavor wasn't anything to write home about. Maybe I'm spoiled- my mom and memere always made perfect crepes. I'm not saying I won't go to Rachel's again- the soup was outstanding, the coffee perfectly brewed and even though the actual crepes weren't amazing, the Tavern on the Green combo was spectacular. I gave Rachel 3 1/2 screams. (Not bad considering what a crepes snob I am!)

And even though mom will probably kill me for doing this, I'm going to post the family crepe recipe:

Gelineau Family Crepes:
1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 well-beaten eggs
2/3 c. milk
1 Tbl. melted shortening

Mix all ingredients well. (A buzz in the blended works.) To prepare: Pour enough batter into a HOT greased pan to just barely cover the bottom. Tilt the pan to cover with batter. Work quickly, turn when just set and cook the other side. Don't over cook. Roll out of the pan and place on a warm dish or in the oven set on warm. Use up all the batter and serve with maple syrup and butter. Note: This batter is best made the night before. At minimum, refrigerate one hour before cooking.

Another great crepes recipe I've found is of course from Martha Stewart. Her recipe is almost a tutorial in how to prepare perfect crepes, so I'll include it as well. (Although, mom says it's sacrilege for me to prepare any recipe other than the family one, so you'll have to make these and tell me how they are.)

Martha Stewart Basic Crepes Recipe:
1 3/4 c. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
2 cups whole milk (room temp), plus more if needed
3 large eggs, room temp
5 Tbl. unsalted butter, melted, plus more for skillet

Sift flour and salt into a large bowl. Whisk milk and eggs in a medium bowl. Pour milk mixture into flour mixture and whisk to combine. Whisk in butter. Strain mixture into medium bowl and refrigerate at least 2 hours (or up to 1 day). Batter should be consistency of heavy cream. Add more milk if needed.
Heat an 8 or 12 inch non-stick skillet over medium heat and brush with butter. Ladle or pour 3 Tbl. of batter (for small crepes) or 1/3 cup batter (for large crepes) into pan, turning and tilting skillet to coat bottom evenly with batter. Cook until top of crepe appears set, bottom is firm and golden brown in spots, and center is lifted by pockets of air, about 1 minute.
Run a spatula around edge of crepe to loosen. Slip spatula under crepe, and gently flip in one swift gesture. (If it doesn't land quite right, that's okay; use spatula to unfold, or rearrange it.) Cook until bottom is firm and golden brown in spots, about 45 seconds. Transfer to a plate and cover. (The first one will not be your finest.) Repeat with remaining batter, brushing pan lightly with butter as needed (every 2 or 3 crepes). Serve immediately.

If you're intimidated by the idea of making crepes yourself, then head over to Rachel's and enjoy the fruits of their labor. (And may I suggest the Tavern on the Green crepes?)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Carmen & David's Creamery

Shop Name: Carmen & David's Creamery

Location: Prince Street

Boo's Rating: 4 Screams

Wow! It has been a looooooong time since I posted a blog, but I have to be honest- there weren't many ice cream stands open over the winter months. A while back, I saw there was an ice cream shop opening up on Prince Street and I decided it would be my first blog of the new season. I had high expectations for this place- while they were renovating the space and preparing it for the grand opening, the windows were covered with brown paper and the brown paper was covered with quotes all about ice cream. It was impressive how many quotes they managed to have. After seeing that, I knew that this was going to be a first-rate ice cream shop. Some of the quotes included were:

"Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone."


"Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart."


"Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first."


"Always serve too much hot fudge on hot fudge sundaes. It makes people overjoyed and puts them in your debt."

Once they opened their doors, they kept these clever quotes as part of the decor- they are on the napkin dispensers! Adorable! The whole shop is painted in bright green, yellow and orange- it's very lively and colorful. In addition to the bright, friendly decor, Carmen & David have made their shop totally GREEN in the environmental sense. Their supplies are all biodegradable, so you don't have to feel bad about using 4 or 5 of their colorful sample spoons! (I used 3 myself and NO I am not ashamed to admit that.) The list of flavors is impressive and every one of them is homemade. I sampled several that day, along with my fabulous staff (pictured below): Autumn, Laura and Vanessa.

All of the flavors I sampled were delicious- the ice cream itself was very creamy and flavorful. I ended up settling on a shake made out of mocha chocolate chip, which was my favorite of the flavors I sampled. The shake was a little thin- I like them so thick that they are hard to get up the straw. In New Hampshire, we call them a "frappe." A frappe has lots of ice cream, milk, flavoring and it's shaken together to the consistency of a Wendy's frosty, but you consume it through a straw, not with a spoon. Yum. The shake at Carmen & David's was really flavorful, but I think they need to work on getting the consistency a lot thicker. All four of us really enjoyed the ice cream, so I gave Carmen & David's Creamery 4 screams- one for each of us. Not bad for such a new shop. I'll definitely be back there over the summer months to sample more flavors!