Quickie: On Vacay

So I’ve been MIA since I’ve stuck to my New Year’s resolution to travel my ass off through 2012. I’m on stop #4 visiting my mom in Hawai’i after Lancaster, Calgary, & Boston and wanted to share some ono grinds from today’s trip to the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet. This kailua bbq pork sammie blew my mind!

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iPhone users can follow my adventures in photos on Instagram. @SincereFoodLove

Mahalo!

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To Taste: Pork Breakfast Sausage + Egg Sammie w. chèvre + red bell pepper

I had every intention of getting up at a reasonable time yesterday to get some things done around the house. Then I woke up at 12:15pm. Might as well whip up brunch for 1!

Monday night, I made The Food Lab’s Sichuan-style Braised Eggplant (which was AMAZING!) and still had 1/2lb of ground pork leftover. When I saw it in the fridge the next morning/afternoon, I knew just what to make with it – breakfast sausage. I blended the pork with a few pantry items and garden herbs (no sage since Hurricane Irene drowned my plant), formed them into patties, and pan-fried them to crispy, yet juicy, perfection. They belonged on a worthy breakfast sandwich.

I toasted some sandwich thins in the pork-greased pan, smeared the top slice w. Shellbark Hollow fresh chèvre spread and topped it w. sliced red bell pepper. On the bottom slice, I piled 2 of my sausage patties on a fried (over-medium) Sandy Ridge Farm egg. It was a delicious combination of textures – toasty + creamy + crunchy + savory + yolky – and easy!

Check out my Pork Breakfast Sausage “recipe” after the jump!

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Quickie: Marathon Catering

I can’t believe it’s been 10 months still I started at Marathon. I’ve learned so much about how a family-run six-restaurant local chain with successful catering & private event departments functions and thrives. My role began as the Director of Sales & Marketing, but when our event planner left, I was tossed right back into the private events world and juggling many hats. There’s certainly pros and cons to every job, but I truly appreciate the times I get to let my talents shine. With the recent update of our catering menu, I had the opportunity to shoot some photos of the amazing food we deliver to Philadelphia businesses every day. Let’s eat!

Rise + Shine

Jay’s Hand-Cut Turkey Sandwich

 Market Salad

Sweet + Salty

I can’t speak of Marathon Catering & Events without a shout-out to my office ladies.
You bring (update: brought) sunshine into each of my work days! Thank you.

Marathon Catering & Private Events
215.561.0500 | www.eatmarathon.com/catering

Family-Style: Grandma’s Ham Sandwich

I love my Grandma and I have such a deep food love because of her. Some may call it sacrifice, but I consider her life-long dedication to feeding others a home-cooked meal a true, honest labor of love. Stories of prized fresh cream skimmed from the top of milk; years of entertaining trustees at The Hill School; the freshest, purest applesauce in all the universe – no matter the menu, she insisted that hard work and integrity were the best ingredients.

Something about a Grandma’s touch makes even the simplest of meals taste even better and, these days, her 90-year-old hands can only do so much. You can’t visit Grandma without being offered a snack and, on this trip, she was so proud to make me and Gramps ham & mustard sandwiches. Built with the sincerest food love, I savored the best ham & mustard sandwich I’ve ever tasted. Thank you, Grandma. Thank you for everything you’ve ever done for me.

To Taste: Erin’s Amish Reuben

I’m guessing most of you outside of Central/Southeastern Pennsylvania have lived your whole lives without tasting the best, THE BEST, cold cut in all of our United States. I, however, have been blessed with easy access to savory, salty, delicious Lebanon bologna (named for the PA county, not the country).

Sweet Lebanon Bologna

This PA Dutch smoked & cured all-beef sausage is available sliced as a deli meat in regular & sweet varieties. Sweet is the right kind for me – bold, zesty, tangy, smokey – all the beginnings of a fantastic sandwich. Introducing… Erin’s Amish Reuben.

Back in May, on Day #6 of my week between jobs, Sunshine & I took a trip to Zern’s, our favorite farmer’s/flea market. Every visit, I pick up a fresh pound of sweet Lebanon bologna and two fat dill pickles from my favorite butcher, Clover Farms (See: Triple Smoked Bacon). I always keep a jar of my favorite mustard, Kosciusko Spicy Brown, in the fridge for the glorious occasions I bring home the salami of all salamis. I smeared it on wheat toast and topped it with 3 ribboned slices of Lebanon bologna, a thick slice of Swiss, & dill pickle chips for a culinary daydream to the PA Amish country. Take the photo journey through my magical sandwich assembly and get your hands on some Lebanon bologna!

Kosciusko Spicy Brown Mustard

Dill Pickle

Soon to be sammie

Erin's Amish Reuben

Erin’s Amish Reuben

sweet Lebanon bologna

+ sour dill pickles

+ sharp Swiss cheese

+ spicy brown mustard

on toast

Restaurant Rewind: Max Brenner & the Family

The weekend before Mom’s Day, my sister & I met up with my parents for Sunday dinner. Kerry decided on Max Brenner, a global chain focused on inspiring a new “chocolate culture.” Many a man has named a restaurant after himself and this bald guy seemed a bit suspect. But in the spirit of celebrating Mary Ann’s birthday, it made sense to give our family chocolate lover an indulgent experience. And that is was!

The menu consisted of familiar items with a “Max Brenner Chocolate Culture” twist. It was hard to focus on savory dinner items with a bible of chocolatey confections tempting you, so we made up our minds on dessert before placing our dinner order. I ordered the Veggie Conscious Burger. The soft, herb-flavored patty topped with tomato & avocado engulfed a brioche bun smeared with avocado-cilantro mayo. chili-chocolate powder dusted waffle fries with some yummy spiced mayo dipping sauce sat opposite  on the long oblong wooden serving plank. My dad ordered The Brenner Burger and we loved both!

NOTE: 2 pickle spears and I didn’t even have to ask!

Veggie Conscious Burger @ Max Brenner

Dad & I decided to share a side dish as well and were fully impressed with the Black & Tan Beer Battered Vidalia Onion Rings w. Dark Chocolate Ranch. You heard that right – time to get some chocolate Ranch dip in your life!

Black & Tan Beer Battered Vidalia Rings w/ Dark Chocolate Ranch Dressing @ Max Brenner

Kerry was underwhelmed by the fish tacos, but Mary Ann seemed to really enjoy her Deep Bleu Cobb Salad. A sampling on my part deemed it quite tasty & crisp. Rabbit food (complete with ears) done right!

Deep Bleu Cobb Salad @ Max Brenner

Now, on to the important stuff, CHOCOLATE! We were quick to place our dessert order since our minds were already made up. Spoons in hand, the four of us waited for our two selections to arrive. Mary Ann went with the Melting Chocolate Heart, a classic chocolate bomb with a oozing raspberry filling, for a tart & rich end to a great meal.

Melting Chocolate Heart @ Max Brenner

I chose my favorite approach to a dessert crepe – Banana & Hazelnut – finished with a side of ice cream, berries & molten chocolate syrup. Took me back to the La Crêperie truck of my Temple days. I loved it –  every last bite & every moment with the fam!

Banana & Hazelnut Cream Crepe @ Max Brenner

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARY ANN!

Quickie: Yogurt & Granola w. Blackberries + BLT w. Sriracha Mayo

Seeing that I work 6 day weeks for 5 weeks straight, I had to make the most of my one & only day off this week. Once I peeled myself out of bed after a much needed sleep session (interrupted too often by allergy/cold induced coughing fits), I knew I needed some fuel to get through the chores on my list. I set out for the kitchen on a quest for Sunday Brunch for 1. 15 minutes later, I came out with a bowl of Dannon Light & Fit Vanilla Yogurt topped with Cascadian Farm Oat & Honey Granola and fresh whole blackberries for the breakfast half of brunch.

Vanilla Yogurt & Granola w. Blackberries

A classic BLT with Sriracha mayo was a perfect match to complete my brunch couple. And so the rainy day laundry & cleaning & bloggin begins…

BLT w. Sriracha Mayo