Tag Archives: Dorothy Mullen

Special Cookbook Signing @Stockton Market; A Month’s Worth of Delicious Activities to Fight Breast Cancer; Rescuing a Burnt Pot

Author-Artist of 100% Hand-Illustrated & Hand-Lettered Latin Cookbook Coming to Stockton Market

Mi Comida Latina, by Marcella Kriebel (Burgess Lea Press)

Mi Comida Latina, by Marcella Kriebel (Burgess Lea Press)

On Sunday, October 11, Marcella Kriebel will sign copies of her gorgeous cookbook, Mi Comida Latina, and offer sample tastings of its contents at the Stockton Market. Times and details about this unique book and event in my post here at njmonthly.com.

Brothers Moon is the Month-Long Locus for Chefs, Farmers, and Cooking Teachers in Campaign to Fight Breast Cancer

Chef Will Mooney of Brothers Moon

Chef Will Mooney of Brothers Moon

Chef/owner Will Mooney of Brothers Moon has been doing the right thing since the day he opened his Hopewell BYO 15 years ago. He was, for example, a pioneer in sourcing local, sustainable ingredients. He supported our Central NJ Slow Food chapter from its infancy. He was the literally first customer for Shibumi Farm’s magnificent mushrooms.

For the remainder of October Brothers Moon will hold a series of dining activities to benefit Hope is in the Bag, a campaign to promote awareness about breast cancer and raise funds for those undergoing treatment at Capital Health’s Center for Comprehensive Breast Care. Some of my favorite folks – besides Will – are participating. Here’s the rundown:

October 9 through October 23 – Brothers Moon will sell pink cupcakes, the proceeds of which will be donated to Hope is in the Bag. The restaurant will also have specially marked menu items, of which 10% goes to the campaign.

Thursday, October 15 – Dinner with Jess Niederer of Chickadee Creek Farm. 10% of sales will be donated.

Friday, October 16 – Dinner with Alan Kaufman of Shibumi Farm. 10% of sales will be donated.

Friday, October 23 – Dinner with Dorothy Mullen of The Suppers Programs. 10% of sales will be donated.

Thursday, October 29 – Cooking with Allie O’Brien of the Garden State Community Kitchen. 10% of sales will be donated.

To sign up for any (or all!) of the special dinners, visit brothersmoon.com, or phone 609.333.1330 for details.

A Household Cleaning Tip That Really Works

Does anyone read the Hints from Heloise column, assuming it’s still around? Well, I gave up on it and its ilk years ago because in my experience very little of the advice ever panned out (pun intended).

Stock pot 002

So when I recently burnt – and I mean badly burnt – the inside bottom of my favorite, decades-old stainless steel stockpot (above), I came darn close to chucking it. But I just couldn’t bring myself to part with my old friend. As a last-ditch effort, but with little hope, I turned to the Internet. I’m not sure what made me trust this advice on ApartmentTherapy.com above all others, but I took a chance. It delivered – and exactly as promised, without any hard scrubbing and with a 100% restored pot. Thanks, ApartmentTherapy.com!

Couples in the Kitchen, part ii; Local TV Cooking Show Debuts; Hopewell Restaurant Week; Slow Food Market

Love in (and out of) the Kitchen

Food biz  couples in the Princeton area who live, love and work together in their restaurants and shops recently shared with me the highs and lows, the ins and outs of their personal and professional lives. In this December 2014 post, I featured an engaged couple just starting on this life journey (Lauren Sobogal and Frank Caponi) and seasoned veterans with a popular restaurant and a toddler (Rory and Aaron Philipson of Blue Bottle Cafe).

Karen Child

Karen Child

Below, excerpted from my 1/16/15 “In the Kitchen” column in the Princeton Packet, is the final installment. This time the spotlight’s on two married couples: Jennifer & Rudie Smit of Olssen’s Fine Foods, the Palmer Square cheese shop, and Karen & Bo Child, who’s previous enterprise was the Lawrenceville Bakery.

Rudie chose to be the correspondent for the Smits and Karen for the Childs.
First up, Rudie.

Q: What are the best, most rewarding aspects of working so closely together every day?

Rudie: “Here are a few things that Jen and I brainstormed about working together in our store. For a correct understanding it should be noted that our staff and children are connected to that too as they all have to put up with all the “married-couple-with-kids” shenanigans. Our staff calls this the “Smit-swirl:” a state in the shop where our kids run around, Jen and I give contradictory instructions to the staff, new ideas are fired and mayhem abounds. Fortunately, this is usually limited to ten minutes, after which calm returns, the children find something to occupy themselves with, and Jen and I start working with our staff and our customers. Jen is the visionary in our working and home relationship and I typically execute. Whatever divides us, our passion for the store and what we sell really unites.

Q.: What are some unavoidable conflicts and how do you handle the stress and how do you keep the romantic spark alive?

“Between the paperwork and long hours, Jen and I sneak out for a nice quick lunch or make a delivery together. The busy nature of owning your own business still does not mean that you cannot have off-time together. We try to have a date night or a civilized lunch.  We try our best to avoid talking about the shop and instead talk about the things that brought us together originally.

“Early in owning the shop, a smart person told us to divide responsibilities and while there is often overlap, we have found that we always go back to “hold on, that is yours” – we might talk about a new cheese (which is my main responsibility) but I lead the introduction of the cheese.

Next up are Karen and Bo Child. Karen, a pastry chef, and Bo, a musician, are currently planning their next endeavor, which will combine both of their specialties. Here’s Karen’s report from the trenches.

“Well, here’s a perfect example of what couples do when they work together. My husband Bo is an English major and subsequently the writer in the family so I asked him to write something for your article and he thought I had written and sent you something….and , so the story goes…

“It’s tough being in business together, I won’t kid you. I think the most important thing that needs to be done is to establish who does what in the business and actually have some written job descriptions down so you and your spouse can be accountable for certain duties. However, even with these descriptions, there are going to be snafus where either one may not actually do what’s part of the job description – which ultimately means that one person might have to carry the ball and wear two hats at any given time. I think this happens routinely in any corporate environment as well, so it’s nothing new. The goal is to avoid the pitfalls and see them before they actually become a problem.

“The following are some examples of what you can expect as a couple working in the food industry. As much as you want to hire employees that you can trust, we learned the hard way that it was best to have one of us at the shop during open retail hours. This made having time off together difficult to achieve.

“And then there were the holidays. With both of us in the business and holidays being big retail days for us, we couldn’t spend time with our respective extended families like we would have liked. And snow days. You look outside and see a ton of snow and a veritable winter wonderland and you just want to stay in your pajamas, by the fire. But no, someone has to go to the shop – regardless of whether or not you’re going to open for business during a winter state-of-emergency. If the decision was made to NOT open, then someone STILL has to go in and, in the case of owning a bakery, attend to raw product that’s been sitting in the proofer. And try as we might, sometimes we each broke the promise to not bring shop business home with us. Sometimes shop-related arguments carried over into our home life. We vowed never to let that happen again.

“However, on a more positive note, there were many wonderful times when we worked together. We each instinctively knew what each one was capable of doing. You go into the partnership knowing what each others’ strengths are and when you allow each person to do what they know best, the machine hums. We had wonderful evenings at our shop, especially during the last couple of months in business when we had a lot of music and food that was put together very spontaneously. Bo acted as host and MC and talked and played music with folks who brought their instruments and I was in the kitchen with a friend preparing food that we were offering our guests. The lights were off due to the storm, candles were lit which added a soft ambiance and, although the storm left its mark financially on us, we put our concerns aside for the evening and hung out, singing and dancing (me too!) until it was time to make our way home, steering clear of trees that had fallen during the storm. It was one of the most memorable evenings we had at the bakery during our 10 years in business. We miss those times the most.”

My thanks to all these folks – Jennifer & Rudie, Karen & Bo, Rory & Aaron, and Lauren and Frank for sharing.

“Cook for the Health of It” Debuts on PrincetonTV

Dorothy Mullen, "Cook for the Health of It"

Dorothy Mullen, “Cook for the Health of It”

The first episode of this show with host Dorothy Mullen, who’s well known in the Princeton area for her Suppers Programs, features a guest who has had debilitating rheumatoid since the age of 16. Together, they discuss the healing powers of whole foods while making split pea and kale soup. New, 30 minute episodes will appear monthly on the local Princeton channel, and can be screened at www.princetontv.org.

Hopewell’s First Ever Restaurant Week

SweetGrass shrimp & grits w/hush puppy, pickled okra, Creole sauce

SweetGrass shrimp & grits w/hush puppy, pickled okra, Creole sauce

From February 22 through 28, twenty-one of Hopewell’s best eateries will offer special menus and pricing. They include established favorites – e.g., Blue Bottle, Brick Farm Market, Brothers Moon, Nomad Pizza – newbies you may have been meaning to check out (Sweet Grass, e.g.), or oldies you’ve been meaning to check out, like Peasant Grill or Paint the Roses Tea Room (which also serves Chilean food). Check it out here.

Reminder: Slow Food Northern NJ’s Winter Farm Market is Sunday, February 1

It’s a chance to stock up before the coming snowstorm on edibles from your favorite farmers and food artisans and, as I wrote in this previous post, meet some new ones. Note: a couple of the vendors I mentioned – Arturo’s and Jose Porter Farm – won’t be able to make it, but 20 others will.

I Judge Salsa; Zagat Issues Updated NJ Guides; Salt Creek Grille Shares Recipes

Cool Winner of Princeton’s Hot Salsa Contest

Who could have predicted that a sorbet would win Princeton’s first ever salsa contest? But that frozen concoction from the folks at The Bent Spoon won over us judges from among a strong field of 14 entered in the event held at the public library.

The pale pink “taco sorbet” had all the flavors and zest you expect in salsa – but in a creative and unexpected form.

I and my fellow judges had a tough time deciding, as did the public. Only 3 votes separated the People’s Choice winners, with Olives just squeaking past Eno Terra. Above are  Dorothy Mullen of the Suppers Program and Judith Robinson of Our World, Our Choice. Not pictured is Sue Gordon, whose blog is FoodNetworkMusings.

You can see here some of how diverse the entries from eateries and businesses throughout Princeton were:

And the young lady below came over to me begging for water after sampling a particularly zingy entry.

Not just salsa of the edible kind was featured at the event. There was lively dancing on the plaza as well. Totally fun; I hope they do it again.

Speaking of Contests, Let’s Not Forget Relish

Serious Eats recently listed their picks for top hot dog relishes in the US and guess what? Two of the 14 hail from NJ! Congrats to Grandma Fencz’s Hungarian Onion Sauce (at Charlie’s Pool Room in Alpha) and Rutt’s Hutt Relish (Clifton). I feel compelled to add a third: First Field’s, bringing my personal NJ total to 3.  Unfortunately, First Field’s is currently out of stock. The good folks behind it expect to have this year’s batch on the shelves (and at farmers markets) in the coming weeks.

Two Updated Zagat NJ Guides

I have been remiss in not reporting that 2 updated Zagat NJ guides are out for 2012/13: the statewide book and Jersey Shore Pocket Guide. (Full disclosure: I am an editor of both.) Among the updates and additions are 21 Key Newcomers. The iconic maroon books are widely available, including on Amazon and the Zagat site.

Recipes from Salt Creek Grille’s Wine & Dine for Eden Autism

Since 2008 Salt Creek Grille in Forrestal Village on Route 1 in Princeton has mounted an annual and wine gala on behalf of a worthy local cause. This year’s gala, held on June 28, raised funds for Eden Autism Services.

At the gala, selections from Salt Creek Grille’s recently unveiled “Fresh Reinvented” menu were served under the direction of Fabian Quiros, who took over as executive chef in January. The “Fresh Reinvented” menu features dishes that are lighter and healthier than in the past. (These are in addition to such Salt Creek signature dishes as mesquite-grilled double-cut pork chop and bacon-wrapped stuffed shrimp.) The restaurant group has also increased its commitment to using organic and locally sourced ingredients, and among its current suppliers are Small World Coffee, Fresh Field (Jersey ketchup and relish), Crazy Steve’s Pickles & Salsa, Cherry Grove Farm (cheeses), Griggstown Farm (poultry and sausage), and Lucy’s Ravioli Kitchen.

Chef Quiros’ menu for the Wine & Dine event featured, among many other dishes, four pastas and chef stations offering roast pork rubbed with smoked paprika and prime rib with chimichurri sauce. These were all delicious, but the surprises for me were the stupendous made-to-order sliders – actually, chubby mini burgers – and seafood paella. (That last particularly because I rarely enjoy paella even in Latin restaurants.)

Fabian Quiros’ story is inspiring. He came to the US from Costa Rica in 2000, speaking no English. He started out as a dishwasher in the Rumson Salt Creek Grille, worked his way up to sous chef and now, at age 32, is executive chef. Along the way he met and married a Salt Creek Grille waitress, and the couple, who lives in Jackson, has a two-month-old daughter, Lucia.

One dish on the restaurant’s new menu that is just now in season is Roasted Squash & Ricotta Ravioli, made with Lucy’s pasta, a plethora of fresh vegetables including corn, sugar snap peas, and baby tomatoes, and a pesto that employs three types of greenery. The pasta pillows come topped with a dollop of fresh tomato marmalade. Below is Quiros’ recipe for the marmalade – which I think would also be great over roasted salmon – as well as the pesto. This meticulous chef blanches the basil, spinach, and parsley and then squeezes them dry before pureeing, but I have to admit I got good results taking the lazy route – just dropping them au naturel into the blender.


4 ounces Italian basil

4 ounces baby spinach

4 ounces flat-leaf parsley

8 ounces extra virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic

4 ounces almonds

4 ounces Parmesan

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Season with salt and blanch the basil, baby spinach, and parsley for 15 seconds. Have a bowl of ice water at the ready. Remove the herbs from the boiling water and place in the ice bath for approximately 1 minute. Remove the herbs and squeeze out the excess water in a towel (the drier the better). In a blender, puree the herbs together with the oil, almonds, garlic, and cheese on high speed for approximately 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes enough for 4 generous pasta servings.


5 Roma tomatoes, diced small

1/2 Spanish onion, diced small

1 garlic clove, crushed

1/4 large sprig rosemary, needles chopped fine

2 ounces clover honey

1 pinch of salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine all ingredients. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.