Wednesday, June 25, 2008

PBE #3 Reminder

Only five days left to enter your most fantastic cake or cupcake recipe that involves everyone's favorite ingredient: Peanut Butter!


Submit your recipes, a photo, and the following information for an original cake or cupcake recipe involving copious amounts of peanut butter!


Send all this information along with your recipe and photo to by June 30th at 12(noon) Pacific Time. The Peanut Butter Boy and I will take on the arduous task of wading through the entries, imagining them in our mouths, and choosing at Top 3 to be featured prominently on each of our blogs.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Memphis Tap Room

Though it's been on my docket since it opened, I only just recently made the trip up through Port Richmond to the Memphis Tap Room. To be honest, I'd heard a few days ago that the Memphis Tap Room was one of a few bars featuring Fleur-De-Lehigh, the latest brew from the Philadelphia Brewing Company, so I hurried on over. Once I arrived, however, the keg was kicked and they weren't expecting more for another couple of days. I drowned my sorrows with a mixed drink and happily read the menu. The menus, by the way, are decorated with maps of different cities. I love this little touch. I've become a big fan of maps since working at MPIP and love to see them used in decorative ways.
Memphis Tap Room Food (1)
Lucikly we were a party of five, so I felt better about ordering practically everything on the menu. We had two vegetarians, a vegan, and two omnivores, so we sampled a little bit of everything. These little fried balls of goodness are Corn Dodgers, I was expecting them to come out filled with little veggie hot dogs, but nothing on the menu told me that, I just assumed, and assumed incorrectly. They were simply hush puppies served with roasted red pepper ketchup.
Memphis Tap Room Food (2)
Walla Walla Suicide Rings were crisp and yummy, but didn't bring the heat we expected from the name. Even with the habanero cream (which was delicious!)there wasn't anything suicidal about these rings.
Memphis Tap Room Food (3)
A mix of carrots, zuchini, and mushrooms are dipped in a vegan beer batter for the Veggie Tempura. They only use fresh seasonal veggies, thank goodness, but once fried these little vegetable sticks are a bit oily. The poblano coconut curry dipping sauce looks rich and packed with flavor, but could have used a little more heat.
Memphis Tap Room Food (5)
These pasties (pronounced PASS-Teas) have been all over the Philly food blogs, so I just had to try them. A perfectly flaky and lightly salted dough is wrapped around shredded slow-cooked beef, onions and horseradish. I didn't detect a single bit of horseradish in the pastie I ate, but I did pick up the aroma and taste of cinnamon. And while it wasn't altogether unpleasant, I wasn't sure if it was purposeful. So I liked them, but I was left a little confused.
Memphis Tap Room Food
According to the omnivore side of the table, the best appetizer we tried were the Pilsner brined Hot Wings. They were moist and tender, the way chicken only really gets once it's been brined, then doused in tasty hot sauce that wasn't too sweet or too vinegary, it was just right.
Memphis Tap Room Food (8)
The ALT is a veggie version of the classic BLT. Subbing avocado for the bacon makes this slightly healthier. The addition of a brown sugar and roasted tomato mayonnaise not only keeps the sandwich from falling apart, but also imparts a nice smokey flavor to the whole ordeal making it reminiscent of it's bacon-filled namesake.
Memphis Tap Room Food (9)
Miso marinated tofu is beer battered and fried, then served up with skin-on french fries and vegan tarter sauce for a new veggie-friendly twist on classic British street food. The tofu was decent. I didn't really pick up on the miso flavor, and I thought the tofu should have been pressed of it's moisture a little more, but I would recommend this to those non-meat eaters who enjoy fried foods now and again.
Memphis Tap Room Food (10)
The Memphis Tap Room also makes a traditional version of fish and chips and executes it slightly better than the vegetarian version. Three big portions of white fish are dipped in beer batter and fried to perfection, then nested on a bed of those same yummy skin-on fries. Also accompanying this meal was a scoop of some of the most delicious cole slaw I've ever had. Chopped instead of sliced, it was easier to eat and was a bit on the salty side, while not being too wet with mayonnaise. I loved it.
Memphis Tap Room Food (11)
The winner of the evening was probably this bowl of chili. I scoffed at Karlina when she ordered it, it was late on a muggy Sunday night and I couldn't believe she wanted a bowl of hot chili. Turns out she made a great choice though, this chili wasn't your typical tomato based thick glop. Made with white beans and loads of veggies it's served on top of toasted barley. Topped with jalapenos and a side of tortilla chips for dipping, this is the ultimate in summertime chili.
Memphis Tap Room Food (15)
Trying hard to cater to all the various food restrictions people are tacking on themselves these days, Memphis has both vegan and traditional desserts to offer. The chocolate cake was good, if not a bit dry, but totally respectable for a dessert without animal products. I wasn't a big fan of the pool of opaque liquid it was sitting in, not because it tasted bad, but because I had no idea what it was, and no one seemed to know.
Memphis Tap Room Food (16)
I enjoyed this Key Lime and Coconut Tart a bit more than the cake, it had a buttery crust, and was filled with a smooth and tangy filling, then topped with toasted coconut shavings.

All around, the Memphis Tap Room is a nice addition to the Port Richmond and Philadelphia as a whole. They have a wide selection of food options for everyone, and an impressive selection of draught and bottled beer.

Memphis Tap Room
2331 East Cumberland Street
(Corner of Cumberland and Memphis Streets)
Philadelphia PA 19125
Memphis Taproom on Urbanspoon

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A few days ago was the finale of Top Chef Season 4. To celebrate, a few friends got together and we had a pizza cook-off. To save time and energy, I picked up a few balls of pre-made dough from Trader Joe's. It's a tasty crust and a total steal for just 99 cents a ball. Every participant was required to bring the rest of their toppings for their own use.

Pizza Mosaic 2

We had a few unusual and many delicious combinations. In the top row: Karlina's cold pizza with roasted red pepper cream cheese, freshly sauteed spinach and garlic. Carly's Chopped Cherry and Sun-dried Tomato pizza. In the middle row: Liz's World Fusion pizza with Italian hot sausage, Teriyaki sauce and feta cheese. Shannon's turkey red sauce pizza with fried capers and eggs. In the bottom row: E's red curry pizza with broccoli and red peppers. Shannon's Chicken Poblano and Coffee pizza.

They were all fun to try, but my favorite was Liz's World Fusion pizza. With a load of ingredients that sound as if they wouldn't go well together, it was the underdog of the night, but the biggest hit!

Friday, June 13, 2008


Oh my oh my oh my! I'm so excited for the next Peanut Butter Exhibition! We've already asked you to make the perfect peanut butter cookie and the most decadent peanut butter breakfast, now it's time for you to create the ultimate peanut butter cake or cupcake! I'm already notorious for my Elvis Cake, so that's my submission to this contest. Can you bring a recipe to the table that's more peanut buttery and luscious? I bet you can.

Check out The Peanut Butter Boy's post for his witty banter on the subject. Also, the full details can be found there.

Here's a mini run-down:

Submit your recipes, a photo, and the following information for an original cake or cupcake recipe involving copious amounts of peanut butter!


Send all this information along with your recipe and photo to by June 30th at 12(noon) Pacific Time. The Peanut Butter Boy and I will take on the arduous task of wading through the entries, imagining them in our mouths, and choosing at Top 3 to be featured prominently on each of our blogs.

You've got three full weekends to whip up, photograph, blog about, and submit your recipe to PBE #3, so get in the kitchen and get baking!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Urban Saloon

Totally starving on recent Saturday, Brittany and I decided to grab a quick bite to eat in the early afternoon. The collar was packed and I didn't want to eat at London Grill, so we ventured to the Urban Saloon. With a prime location on Fairmount Avenue in front Eastern State Penitentiary, the Urban Saloon is doing well in it's first year of business. I always have a hard time finding something to eat on their menu though. It's just burgers and other bar food, nothing too special. Their brunch menu is roughly the same small list, swapping in omelets and breakfast burritos for the salads and sandwiches. However, this breakfast burrito is totally banging.
urban saloon
Stuffed full of eggs, cheddar and bacon, then grilled in a panini press, the burrito comes out piping hot, melty and crunchy on the outside. Their egg mix could use a dash of hot sauce or pepper, but that's not a huge issue as they were generous with the side of hot sauce I requested. You also get a choice between a side salad and fries. I absolutely love the fries they serve at Urban Saloon, they're salty and super crunchy, so I ordered those. Not a healthy brunch in the least, but a delicious one!

Currently the Urban Saloon has no website, and Menupages Philadelphia doesn't seem to have an available menu, but as soon as they do, I'll provide a link.

Urban Saloon
2120 Fairmount Ave
Philadelphia PA 19130
Urban Saloon on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 06, 2008

While there were not quite as many entries for PBE #2, Breakfast, as we had for PBE #1, Cookies, it was still a good showing. The Peanut Butter Boy and I had a hard time choosing a Top 3 out of the eleven yummy Peanut Butter Breakfast recipes that were submitted.
So without further babbling on my part, here are the winners! Each will receive a winners badges to place on their site and declare their dominance in the field of peanut butter breakfast making!

1st Place: Peanut Butter Crunch French Toast from Heidi at Baking Buddies

2nd Place: PB&J Smoothie from Giz at Equal Opportunity Kitchen

3rd Place: Peanut Butter-Peach Breakfast Parfait from Rosiecat at Life, Love, and Food

All Entries:

Peanut Butter Breakfast Panini

Peanut Butter Cornbread

Peanut Butter Quinoa

Hazelnut Pan Bread

Peanut Butter Banana Bagel

Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie

Double Stuffed Peanut Butter Pancakes

Suprise Peanut Butter Muffins - This recipe doesn't have a home on a blog, but the participant included her recipe as follows:

2 cups whole wheat flour
2T baking powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter (no more than 1 cup)
1/2 cup applesauce
3/4 cup soymilk
1/4 agave nectar
1 banana (very ripe), mashed
6 small cooked sausage patties (precooked frozen ones work fine)
1/2 cup apple jelly

Directions: Heat oven to 375 F. Combine flour, baking powder, and brown sugar in a large bowl. In a small bowl combine PB, applesauce, soymilk, and agave nectar, and mix well. Pour the wet mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients and gently stir to combine. Line a 12 muffin pan with paper cups. Fill the lined cups 1/3 full. Make a shallow indentation in the center of the batter with you finger; do not go to the bottom, and place a teaspoon of the apple jelly in each indentation. Place a cooked half sausage patty on top of each muffin cup. Fill muffin cups with batter about 2/3 full. Bake about 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Place muffins on wire rack to cool until just warm. Serve and ENJOY!

Thanks to everyone who entered! We're keeping this up for at least another month. So keep those thinking caps and aprons on and stay tuned for PBE #3, Cake/Cupcake Challenge! Nick and I will both be posting the next challenge in the coming week and doing a round up toward the end of June.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Honey Nut Cookies

A couple of months ago my officemate, Jason, who knows of my Foodaphiliac tendencies brought me a jar of raw honey that his father cultivated out in Lancaster. It is hands down the most delicious honey I've ever tasted, and while I've been using it in tea and on toast in the mornings, I'd been waiting for a opportunity to highlight this honey in my baking adventures.
The following recipe is what I've come up with for a dense and chewy cookie that has similar texture to a snickerdoodle, but with honey as the central flavor. The cookies puff up in the oven, then flatten slightly as they cool. The outside turns golden brown, while the inside remains chewy and moist, a really good combination in a cookie in my opinion. The peanut butter and nuts can be subsituted with other nut butters and nuts as you desire or prefer them. Peanut butter is always something I have on hand, and the cahews were a last minute but inspired idea. Best of all, the ingredients are combined by hand in one bowl, so there's very little clean up.
honey nut cookies

2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup roasted and salted cashews

Mix oil, peanut butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add egg, honey, baking soda, vanilla extract, and salt and mix to combine. Finally, add the flour and mix until just combined. I took aboout half of the cashews and chopped them roughly to add to the dough, then added the rest of the cashews whole.
honey nut cookies (1)
Drop by tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart on parchment lined cookie sheets and bake at 375 degrees for about 12 minutes. Let cool for 2 minutes before moving to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 3 dozen.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Last night I was parked on the couch enjoying the first episode of Season 4 of the The Next Food Network Star. I hope you watched it too, and if you did I'm sure you'll agree it was a great season opener! There might be a little drama this season, and Bobby Flay is no just making guest appearances, but is hosting every episode.

If you missed the first episode, don't worry too much. It will be repeated throughout the week on Food Network, and then you can jump on the bandwagon and tune in Sunday nights at 10/9 central to watch the season play out.

Fans of The Next Food Network Star can make their voices heard, by logging on to and participating in the network’s first-ever “fan favorite” vote! Starting Monday, June 2nd, viewers will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite contestants throughout the season. The finalist with the most votes will be crowned the “fan favorite” and will win assorted prizes.