Restaurant Rewind: Swift Half for Game Day

I took a momentary hiatus from blogging as my priorities shifted a bit over the last month or so. Tonight’s priority, however – watching the Eagles on the couch with Lexi. Less than two minutes into the game tonight, DeSean Jackson ran 67yds for a touchdown. At the risk of sounding cliche, it made me think maybe it’s time for me to get back in “the game.” I luckily had an easy return with a blog post already drafted about a perfect September day enjoying my utmost priorities! GO EAGLES!

It was about time for Dre to meet the parents, so we planned a sunny Sunday afternoon to watch the Eagles game in Philly. We met at the Piazza at Schmidt’s, knowing Dad was interested in seeing the new hip spot in the city. Food and drink is an important part of family time so we snagged an outdoor table  at Swift Half with a perfect view of the Piazza’s jumbotron tv . After a round of beers and conversation, my sister Kerry joined us just in time to place our lunch order. Dre matched Kerry’s request of a B.E.L.T, stacked accordingly with an over-medium fried egg. I went with their Traditional Burger, served medium-rare with Applewood Smoked Bacon & Colston Bassett Stilton. Their fresh, shoestring cut Idaho fries paired with the sandwiches may now be in my top ranking in the city, just under Misconduct’s.

B.E.L.T. - Swift Half

B.E.L.T. - Swift Half

Burger from Swift Half

Traditional Burger with Applewood Smoked Bacon & Colston Bassett Stilton

Dad doesn’t front when it comes to his love of Scrapple, retelling stories of making homemade batches at Penn State. Swift Half managed to serve it in a most appetizing way for a non-fan like me – battered, fried triangles paired with a Maple Ketchup & Potato Hash. Mary Ann, the biggest Eagles’ fan I know, went with an epitomous game day snack of Potato Skins with Applewood Bacon crumbles, Melted Cheddar, & an Herb-Mayo dipping sauce. We all shared the Fudge Board for dessert highlighting Bacon Fudge, Vanilla Fudge, & Pistachio Fudge.

Despite an embarrassing loss by the Eagles, it ended up being a fantastic Sunday afternoon relaxing, laughing, & eating with the most important people in my life.  We even enjoyed seconds with Swift Half’s tender and tasty Buffalo Shrimp, which were eaten too fast for me to snap a pic! And no lie, now less than 2 minutes to halftime and there goes DeSean Jackson with another touchdown. All these great memories of food, family, & football – I think I’m officially back in the game.

Scrapple, Potato Hash, & Maple Ketchup - Swift Half

Scrapple, Potato Hash, & Maple Ketchup - Swift Half

Bacon & Cheese Potato Skins - Swift Half

Bacon & Cheese Potato Skins - Swift Half

Bacon Fudge, Vanilla Fudge, & Pistachio Fudge - Swift Half

Bacon Fudge, Vanilla Fudge, & Pistachio Fudge - Swift Half

Check out Swift Half’s Website and Twitter. Yum!

Family-Style: Spicy BBQ Slow Cooked Pulled Chicken Sammies

I couldn’t wait to cook for my mom, as she made the trek all the way from beautiful Hawaii to visit Ker & I. Nothing is more comforting after a long travel (especially 3 flights & 14+ hours later) than a home cooked meal. The night before her arrival, I decided to dig out the ol’ Crock Pot. I usually rely on it to keep me warm during the winter months, but I had 6 chicken split-breasts waiting for a simmer.

I’d estimate that I make some version of pulled chicken in my Crock Pot about 4x each year, but never the quite the same recipe. This round, I took a Spicy BBQ approach for some summery flair.I tossed all the ingredients into the pot and set in the fridge with a can of chopped tomatoes on top so I wouldn’t forget to add in the morning. At 830am, I turned the Crock Pot on ‘Lo’ and headed to work. I love coming home to the aroma of a 9-hour simmer! Ker picked the bones out (a scorching & tedious task) & pulled the chicken. It simmered for another hour so the flavors could fully infuse.

I melted sharp cheddar on Whole Foods Onion Focaccia flat-breads, topped with leftover warmed collard greens, & a healthy pile of my Spicy BBQ Slowed Cooked Pull Chicken. I paired the plate with a Summer Roasted Vegetable Salad that I quick prepared the night before and finished with Rice Vinegar & Fresh Herbs before serving.

I always make a ton of chicken when I’m working with my Crock Pot. It works well on sandwiches, tortillas, quesadillas, salads, pizzas, inside a spring roll, & over rice to serve as extended leftovers. Get creative! I freeze a portion of every batch, too, to enjoy on a lazy dinner night!

BBQ Spicy Pulled Chicken, Melted Cheddar, Collard Greens, & Onion Focaccia w/ Roasted Summer Vegetable Salad

BBQ Spicy Pulled Chicken, Melted Cheddar, Collard Greens, & Onion Focaccia w/ Roasted Summer Vegetable Salad

Spicy BBQ Chicken Sammies w/ Summer Roasted Vegetable Salad:

Spicy BBQ Slow Cooked Pulled Chicken – BBQ Sauce, Soy Sauce, Worcestershire, Shallots, Garlic, Jalapeno, Olive Oil, Chili Powder & a Can of Chopped Tomatoes, marinated overnight & slow cooked in the Crock Pot for 10 hours

Whole Foods Onion Focaccia Flat Breads

Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Leftover Collard Greens from my Grilled Crab Dinner

Roasted Summer Vegetable Salad – Roasted Yellow Squash, Cherry Tomatoes, & Sweet Peppers w/ Minced Garlic & EVOO, cooled & tossed w/ S&P Lemon-Thyme, Thai Basil, Parsley, & Rice Vinegar

Only regret is forgetting to add chipotles to the chicken. It really could have used a some smokey, spicier layers. Til next time…

To Taste: Grilled Snow Crab Legs

Wasn’t too long ago that I was just sayin’ that you shouldn’t grill in the dark… especially crab legs. So I took another stab at grilled snow crab legs for a Sunday late-lunch/early-dinner with Dre. I decided to get all the sides started before I threw the crabbiness on the grill, so I could give it my undivided attention.

Earlier that week, I bought 2 large bunches of Collard Greens from the Italian Market. It was alot of greens for only $2! I rinsed & chopped them before sauteing in garlic, shallots, EVOO, & butter and simmering in chicken stock. I didn’t have any turkey bacon on hand as a usual ingredient in my greens, so just settled for some Sriracha & Worcestshire to jazz it up. I STILL had Grape Tomatoes from my Spicy Fish Tacos & Avocado-Salad and Sweet Peppers from my Mexi-Risotto, so I tossed them into a Rice-a-Roni Spanish Rice Mix.

Dre whipped up a batch of Cornbread using trusty ol’ Jiffy mix. We tossed in some sliced jalapenos & the leftover sweet peppers, and sprinkled with shredded sharp cheddar halfway thru the baking process. With the greens sauteing, rice simmering, & cornbread baking, it was time for crab!

After a few knife pokes, a brush of butter, & 5 minutes on each side, we had ourselves a summer afternoon feast. Oh, and MOJITOS! After some experimenting, Dre mixed up a perfectly refreshing batch using Apple Mint from my garden.

Grilled Crab Legs, Spanish Rice, Collard Greens, Jalapeno-Cheddar Cornbread, & an Apple Mint Mojito

Grilled Crab Legs, Spanish Rice, Collard Greens, Jalapeno-Cheddar Cornbread, & an Apple Mint Mojito

Jalapeno-Cheddar Cornbread

Jalapeno-Cheddar Cornbread - Photo: Dre

Grape Tomatoes

Grape Tomatoes

Fresh Collard Greens from the Italian Market

Fresh Collard Greens from the Italian Market

Summer Grilled Crab Feast:

Grilled Snow Crab Legs – Brushed in butter before grilling, dipped in Butter after

Sauteed Collard Greens – Wilted w/ Shallots, Garlic, & Olive Oil, simmered in Chicken Stock w/ S&P, Worcestershire, Dried Herbs, & Sriracha

Spanish Rice – Sauteed Garlic, Sweet Peppers, & Grape Tomatoes added to Rice-a-Roni Spanish Rice

Jalapeno-Cheddar Cornbread – Sauteed Sweet Peppers & Jalapeno added to Jiffy mix, topped w/ Shredded Sharp Cheddar

Classic Mojito w/ Apple Mint from my Garden

To Taste: Spicy Fish Tacos & Mexi-Risotto

One of my favorite quick & economical meals is Spicy Fish Tacos. Acme offers frozen Tilapia fillets in single portions at $1.00 apiece, so my freezer is always stocked with the easy to defrost packets. Summer hosts the best vegetables so fresh avocado, grape tomatoes, romaine, & green onion were mandatory additions! I had a bit more time on my hands on this quiet Sunday evening, so I had no qualms spending a bit more time in the kitchen pairing it with a Sweet Pepper & Cheddar Risotto. Thank goodness for Dre, my handsome kitchen assistant, as he took on the tiring task of continually stirring the rice.

Spicy Fish Tacos w/ Mexi-Risotto

Spicy Fish Tacos w/ Mexi-Risotto

Spicy Tilapia, Grape Tomatoes, Romaine, Green Onion, & Flour Tortillas

Spicy Tilapia, Grape Tomatoes, Romaine, Green Onion, & Flour Tortillas

Spicy Fish Tacos & Mex-Risotto:

Spicy Tilapia Fillets – Marinated in Sazon, Sriracha, Garlic, Shallots, & Lime Juice, Pan-Fried

Flour Tortillas

Mexi-Risotto – Red, Orange & Yellow Sweet Peppers, Cheddar, Garlic, Shallots, Chicken Stock, & Arborio