Monday, November 10, 2008

Fun Playing With Great Food and Good Family in NY

Ok - time for me to catch up on this backlog of photos and food!

We spent a long weekend in NY with my family, starting on our 13th wedding anniversary (Wednesday, October 22). I thought that I would have preferred a snazzier setting for our anniversary dinner than the Premier Diner just off the Long Island Expressway in Commack. But since we'd get to dine with my brother, sister in law, and their two kids (who I adore), it was worth the trade off. And the food was pretty darn fine, too.

Bread; Bread Service also includes several varieties of breadsticks

Amuse - Chick Pea and Bean Salad

Well - not really an amuse in the technical sense. But every dinner at this diner starts with a complimentary plate of some type of cold salad. This one was lovely.

Dad and brother both started with a cup of Matzoh Ball Soup. My dad has finally gotten serious about losing weight - this dinner was the first time in 44 years that I can recall my father ordering a salad for his entree. It was a tasty looking choice!

Bob and I each ordered entrees that came with salad and dessert.

Mediterranean Side Salad, sans Cucumbers (already removed to Bob's plate)

Red Snapper Filet Francese

I so adore partaking of fresh fish and seafood when on Long Island, but at a diner? Oh yeah - this plate was groaning with exquisitely fresh fish coated in an eggy batter and nestled over pasta with a gentle olive oil dressing. I was a happy anniversary girl!

Bob didn't do quite as well as I did, but he was very happy with his choice.

Grilled Pork Chop

This conventional pork was tasty, but suffered from dryness (a combination of conventional pork and slight overcooking). It was a generous portion, and Bob brought some home.

I didn't even try to photograph the rest of the table in the dinner tumult - mom enjoyed a Turkey Burger, nephew Daniel a hamburger, nephew Justin a Chicken Gyro (sans toppings), sister in law a lovely looking shrimp over pasta dish - and I can't for the life of me remember what my brother ate.

The boys left with their mother before dessert. Bob and I were too full to eat dessert, and got ours wrapped up. Mom sampled Carrot Cake, Dad a Pastry Horn, and brother had a black and white cookie.

Most, if not all of the pastries, are made in-house. My choice was the Mini Lemon Meringue pie (center item in the top row below); Bob took the Chocolate-chocolate cake to its right. The irony is that I never got to taste mine (hope Mom enjoyed it); I did get a bite of Bob's and it was dreamy!

The ubiquitous (on Long Island) Black and White Cookie is bottom row center, above. The carrot cake is one row up, second from the left. Dad's dessert is directly to the left of the carrot cake.

We began Thursday with some Jewish Soul Food from Bagel Boss.

Belly Lox, Onion, and a Schmear on Pumpernickel Bagel

Whitefish Salad

The whitefish salad had large chunks of delicious fish - it wasn't too hard to work around the celery!

And for dessert -


This pastry is characterized by being heavy, with lots of buttery mouth-feel, while conversely being flaky.

The rest of Thursday was a blur of shopping and doing. We picked up an order of farm-fresh goodness from Makinajian Poultry Farm & Country Store, including freshly roasted chicken, raw chickens for cooking, eggs, home-made pies, and garden produce. We also hit Richters Orchard (and I forgot my camera - duh!) - but more on that later.

It was a pleasure feeding my mother some real food for dinner Thursday night, starting with a hearty salad. We enjoyed the roasted chicken from Makinajian, with some local cauliflower, microwaved to al dante with some Ghee and Indian spices. Dad had also picked up potato knishes at Bagel Boss, but they were a great disappointment - crumbly in texture and freezer burned in taste. Finally - mom wanted a plate of mashed turnips. It was a new dish for both Bob and me - but we had great product, and took our best shot with it. It came out . . . ok - a bit bitter despite the sugar we'd added. I got the bright idea to mix in some of the potato filling from the knish - and it did the trick!

For dessert - we had two freshly baked pies from Makinajian. The Apple Pie was made with orchard-fresh apples:

The peaches in the peach pie had originated in Makinajian's orchard, but needed freezing once their season ended - the pie couldn't have cared less:

I think all four of us actually liked the peach pie a little better.

Speaking of Makinajian's chickens - here's one of the raw babies, getting ready for our stew pot!

The stew would be for the Oktoberfest we were planning to attend at Alley Pond Park in Queens on Saturday. Given the dire weather forecast, however, the High Command decided to postpone the festivities until Sunday, when beautiful weather was forecast.

We returned to Richters Orchard on Friday, this time with camera, to take pictures and buy more apples! We'd already been enjoying Macintoshes and Honeycrisps - but the Macouns we bought on Friday took the prize!

Turns out, Richters has been a stone's throw from my parents' house for longer than my family has lived in the neighborhood, and yet I'd never been (mom insists I went there on a school trip once when I was a kid). The question is WHY? No - they are not organic, and yes, they do use some spray - but as a last and not a first resort. And no wax to be found! Every bite was a burst of sweet goodness.


A Peek Into the Cider Mill

None of my cider photos came out well - but this was like drinking liquid apple love!

I think some of their equipment is older than me!

So many choices and so little carry-on allowance

We also got some fabulous preserves - blackberry for us, Black Raspberry and Strawberry for mom.

Getting back to the stew prep - having the extra day took some pressure off, and we cooked it up on Saturday.

Here, Chicky-Chicky

The Chicken Stew contained browned chicken, yellow onions, white onions, parsley root, celeriac, carrots, salt and pepper - pretty simple. Simple is often the most delicious.

Since we had so much beautiful chicken skin that would otherwise go to waste, Bob made some Grebenes (or cracklings):

My nephews joined us for a nondescript Chinese take-out dinner on Saturday. Sunday, we gathered with over a dozen good friends for the Oktoberfest!

Bob made Caraway Dumplings to accompany the stew. Here's the final product:

Dumpling is visible on lower left and at 10 o'clock

Sherry's Vegetarian Potato Leek Soup

Kenny's Sauerkraut with Smoked Pork and Sausages

Kenny's Sauerbraten

It was a European feast, washed down with many German and Oktoberfest beers.

Monday, we cleaned up, packed up, and enjoyed a quick lunch of pizza and subs with mom and brother before heading to the airport. We had great fun not only playing with this wonderful food, but spending quality time with my family.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a fun trip. Robin and I were in NYC at the end of October too. Great food and great fun.