Winter Warmer Lentil Salad

A medley of earthy flavors will melt in your mouth

Jan2018_WinterWarmerLentilSalad.jpg

By Anna Herman

A good salad is always greater than the sum of its parts, whether assembled from the freshest garden greens or a thoughtful mixture of leftovers. Salad—from the Latin for salt—is the alchemy of disparate ingredients pulled together with a lively vinaigrette, or some other preferred dressing.  In winter, I’m more than willing to trade the crisp crunch of lettuce for the warmth of wilted greens.

Lentils cook quickly and absorb flavorful vinaigrettes or seasonings, making them a very useful legume. Red, green and brown lentils, which get so soft as to lose shape, are perfect for soups and stews. Black and French lentils (lentilles du Puy) cook quickly, but retain their shape when soft and are best for blending with a grain for a pilaf or featuring in a salad.

Sherry Dijon Vinaigrette:

• 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

• 1/3 cup sherry vinegar

• 1/2 cup fruity olive oil

• 1 clove garlic, very finely minced or
pressed through a garlic press

• 1 teaspoon salt

• Fresh ground black pepper

• 2 to 4 teaspoons minced scallions
and/or parsley (optional)

Add all ingredients to a jar. Close
with a tight-fitting lid and shake well
to emulsify.

Salad:

Serves 4 to 6

• 2 medium beets, trimmed and
washed (or 2 store-bought roasted,
peeled beets)

• 3/4 cup uncooked lentils du Puy
(French green lentils)

• 1 bay leaf

• 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed

• 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

• Salt and pepper as needed

• 3 tablespoons olive oil

• 4 tablespoons minced onion

• 2 to 3 cups sliced mushrooms— any variety or a mixture— the more interesting the better

• 3 heads of frisée, trimmed, washed well and spun dry. Frisée is in the chicory family along with endive and escarole. If frisée is unavailable, feel free to substitute.

• 3 tablespoons toasted walnut pieces

To Assemble:

1. Heat oven, or toaster oven, to 375 degrees. 

2. Wrap beets individually in aluminum foil and place in oven. Cook 25-45 minutes until soft to
the touch when pressed. Larger beets will, of course, take longer to cook.

3. Remove beets from oven and allow to cool, still wrapped.

4. Remove foil. Using a paring knife to assist, slip off the beet skin. Slice into bite-size pieces and toss with 2 tablespoons of the sherry Dijon vinaigrette. If using store-bought roasted beets, cut into pieces, toss with vinaigrette and let beets sit out to room temperature.

5. In a medium saucepan, add the lentils, bay leaf, garlic and thyme, and add enough water to cover by 1/2 inch. Bring to a boil, lower flame to a simmer and cook 10 to 12 minutes until a tested lentil or two are just soft and cooked through. 

6. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir, and let lentils sit on stove as you prepare remainder of salad.

7. In a sauté pan, heat oil until it shimmers over medium heat.  

8. Add the onion and mushrooms, season with salt and fresh pepper, and stir often until mushrooms and onion wilt and caramelize.

9. Add the frisée on top of the mushrooms, put a top on the pan, and let frisée wilt for 2 to 5 minutes, depending on how tender the frisée was to start with. If substituting Belgian endive, do not wilt. If substituting escarole, let cook for up to 6 minutes until well softened.

10. Drain lentils, remove smashed garlic and bay leaf, and toss with 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette.

To Serve:

Remove frisée from the pan and use it to line the bottom of a serving plate or platter. Add 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette to the mushrooms remaining in the pan and mix well. Spoon lentils in the center of the frisée-lined plate. Arrange mushrooms and beets on top. Sprinkle with walnuts. Drizzle any remaining vinaigrette on top to taste.

Turn this into a complete meal with a hunk of hard cheese or breaded baked goat cheese
and a crusty bread. A mug of beer or hard cider wouldn’t be amiss.

Recipe: Grandma’s Manicotti

Cheese-filled crepes and a warm salad will satisfy in the cold weather

Jan2018_GrandmasManicotti.jpg

By Brian Ricci

This month’s recipe for manicotti is based off of my grandmother’s. She used to make this most often for Sunday afternoon family dinner. With a great spread of food before us, we would gather around her big table and eat for what seemed like hours. The prep could be done the day before, leaving her time to spend outside of the kitchen with her children and grandchildren.

Crepes
Makes about 15 crepes

• 6 eggs

• 3¼ ounces all-purpose flour

• 1/2 cup water

• 1 tablespoon salt

• Pinch of parsley, chopped roughly

Process all the ingredients together in a food processor or whisk together until just combined. Allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. In a nonstick pan, add tablespoon of oil or butter and set the heat to medium. Ladle about 1 ounce of batter into the pan and swirl around to spread and coat the bottom of the pan. Allow the batter to cook evenly—this takes about 1 to 2 minutes. You are looking for the crepe batter to go from wet to dry—but no color. Then, take the crepe off using a spatula. I tend to do this project first and wrap them in bunches of 10 to keep them fresh.

Cheese Filling

• 2 pounds ricotta

• 5 eggs

• 4 ounces Parmesan, grated

• 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, shredded

• 1 teaspoon nutmeg, grated

• Salt and pepper to taste

The filling is very straightforward. Simply mix these ingredients in a bowl using a spatula. When complete, fill each crepe with about 1/2 cup of the mixture by placing it 1/3 up from the bottom. Then roll the bottom end and tuck it underneath to create a cylinder of deliciousness. To finish, bake in a Pyrex or baking dish lined with olive oil in a 350 F oven for 20 to 30 minutes to set the egg mixture. Modifications: You can add some simple tomato sauce to the manicotti just before baking. For the winter, try adding braised greens, mashed sweet potatoes, or even pickled peppers or onions for a more nourishing or robust flavor.

Specialty Grocers for the Inspired Cook

When your recipe requires some serious shopping, Philadelphia has you covered

Ey Emily Kovach

If you’re doing a deep dive into an unfamiliar cuisine, sometimes the hardest part is finding the right ingredients. But all over the Philadelphia region, you’ll not only find specialty shops where you can get what you need to create a from-scratch gourmand masterpiece, you can also pick up store-made specialties. 

Here are a few of our favorites.

Shop the ’Burbs

Maido!

Founded in 2003 by Seiko Dailey, Maido! is the only Japanese-owned grocery store in the Philadelphia area. Maido! occupies a storefront on East Lancaster Avenue in Ardmore and offers a wide selection of Japanese groceries, including an amazing array of candy and frozen treats that you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere else locally. 

Home cooks looking to create authentic Japanese cuisine will be thrilled to find traditional ingredients, including shimeji mushrooms, komatsuna leaves, kabu radishes and mizuna from Suzuki Farm in Delmar, Delaware. The shop also sells Japanese stationery, cosmetics and toys, some that may be recognizable (Hello Kitty and Pokémon characters), and others that are more obscure.

Maido! is also an eat-in lunch counter, serving up okonomiyaki, yakisoba, oyakodon (rice bowls), curries and more traditional bites. 

Maido translates to “every time,” but is used regionally as a friendly greeting similar to “nice to see you again!” This benevolent spirit is apparent from the friendly, open customer service in the shop—they even offer a shuttle service to those without access to cars! The market’s Saturday shuttle runs between the Japanese Language School of Philadelphia (1101 City Line Ave.) starting at 9:30 a.m., returning about every 30 minutes until 2 p.m. Groups of six or more shoppers in Center City or University City can call to request the shuttle on Saturday or Sunday afternoons.

5 E. Lancaster Ave. in Ardmore
484.417.6745 

Armenian Delight

Tucked into an unassuming shopping center on West Chester Pike in Broomall is Armenian Delight, a family owned market selling Armenian, Greek, Lebanese and other Mediterranean products. For immigrant families in the western ’burbs, this store is a mainstay for all kinds of ingredients, from jarred goods (imported honey, walnut preserves, tahini, pomegranate juice) to cheeses (feta and halloumi), as well as spices, nuts, dried fruits and olives with authentic origins that provide a taste of home. 

An in-store, carry-out café also offers a bevy of traditional foods. Containers of hummus, tabbouleh, baba ghanoush, stuffed grape leaves, labneh and other Middle Eastern salads and dips are available, perfect to pair with rounds of lavash. Lahmajoun, a thin piece of dough topped with veggies and herbs and your choice of beef, chicken or tofu, is a customer favorite, as are the boreg, savory pastries filled with spinach, beef and cheese. Don’t leave without a sampling of sweet pastries, such as baklava, cashew fingers and khoorabia (Armenian butter cookies).

2591 West Chester Pike in Broomall

610.353.7711

Shop the City

Tortilleria San Roman

Before you visit Tortilleria San Roman, you must heed this very real disclaimer: Once you try the handmade corn tortillas and impossibly crunchy tortilla chips, you may never be able to go back to the prepackaged stuff from the grocery store. 

Situated in the heart of the 9th Street Italian Market in a small corner spot, this walk-up counter has a limited and unbelievably inexpensive menu. Blue and white corn tortillas, which are made every day (you can see the process right behind the counter), come in a pack of 30 for just $2.25 (half-packs are available upon request). Those life-changing tortilla chips are available in small, medium and large bags, priced at $1.50, $3.50 and $6, respectively. There is simply no reason to buy tortillas or chips anywhere else.

Tortilleria San Roman also makes its own salsa, cactus salad, tlacoyos (tortillas filled with fried beans) and sopes to complete a Mexican feast. Brave the market crowds on the weekends to be handsomely rewarded with fresh guacamole and pico de gallo, which are only available on Saturdays and Sundays.

951 S. 9th St.; 267.507.9161

Bitar’s

This Lebanese market and café at 9th and Federal streets is a South Philly institution that you can’t miss if there’s a Middle Eastern recipe you want to try. On one side of the space, find a well-stocked shop with dried beans, breads, olives, a refrigerator full of hummus, tzatziki and other assorted dips, sauces, drinks, cheeses and olives; don’t miss the pastry case with heaps of honey-kissed phyllo dough treats (oh, those pistachio rings). 

The other side of the space is a casual café, where plentiful vegetarian and meaty options are on offer. While the standard falafel, gyro and kabob sandwiches are well-crafted and tasty, veer a bit off road and try some kitchen specialties. The “Bittzas” are clever fusions of Middle Eastern cuisine and pizza: za’atar-flecked flatbreads with a variety of toppings such as grilled chicken, tomatoes, feta, olives and roasted peppers.

947 Federal St.; (215) 755-1121

Bacchus Market & Catering

This is the kind of gourmet market that every neighborhood deserves: quality without pretension, everyday staples alongside specialty splurges, and a large case of prepared comfort foods for those evenings when a home-cooked dinner just isn’t going to happen. Oh, and a coffee bar, too!

Bacchus was founded in Fitler Square in 1999, when the city’s food landscape hardly resembled what it looks like today. For nearly 20 years, it’s been serving neighborhood residents, tourists and those just passing through on the way to work or a walk the park with easy breakfast and lunch options, to-go salads and sides, ice cream, fresh produce and pantry items. The prepared food is made with local ingredients when possible, with bountiful vegetarian and gluten-free items. The market’s fun snacks, gourmet chocolates, artisan beef jerky and hot sauces also make stellar gifts for foodie friends.

A robust catering menu rounds out Bacchus’ offerings, providing extensive choices for Philly residents celebrating occasions large and small. (Word has it that Judy Wicks ordered food from Bacchus for her holiday party last year!) Stop by for a snack or to peruse the shelves of groceries; just take note: Bacchus is closed on Mondays.

2300 Spruce St., 215.545.6656

International Foods & Spices

Looking to build up your pantry with Indian ingredients? Head over to 42nd and Walnut streets to International Foods & Spices, one of the most extensive Indian markets in the city. Rows upon rows of lentils, beans, breads, sauces, chutneys, snack mixes, infusions such as rose water and tamarind water—and so much more—await. Whether you’re an accomplished cook or just want to see what all the recent fuss over ghee butter is about, this store has you covered. 

Sacks of rice in many sizes and varieties offer some of the best prices around (you’ll never buy overpriced coconut milk again from a conventional grocery store once you see how much you can get for so little). When it comes to spices, there is a veritable rainbow of both ground and whole seeds and spices, mostly sold in bulk (in plastic bags, not from self-serve containers). This is by far the most economic (and green!) way to buy spices, so start rinsing and saving your empty spice jars in preparation.

The market also has a small produce section. While this might not be the most practical place to buy some ingredients, like tomatoes or cucumbers, you can sometimes find galangal, kaffir limes, curry leaves and other traditional ingredients that you rarely ever see at a supermarket. Staple aromatics, such as onions, garlic and ginger are also super cheap and worth stocking up on. 

Behind the front counter, there is a small selection of hot, prepared Indian dishes. While you’ll have better luck with hot meals at some of the nearby Indian buffets and restaurants, we recommend making it a tradition to grab a crispy samosa or two for the walk home.

4203 Walnut St., 215.222.4480

Market Watch: Now Open/ Coming Soon

Philadelphia is in the midst of a natural-food market boom, with a slew of openings and two neighborhood co-ops coming soon. South Philly Food Co-op has been striving toward the goal of opening a member-owned market for years now. While the core group of organizers is still fundraising toward their $1 million goal to open, a major milestone has been achieved: A lease has been signed at 2301 S. Juniper St. (on Wolf Street between 13th and Broad). Across town, a similar endeavor is underway: Kensington Community Food Co-op has secured a space on Coral Street, which will be home to a market and a café (with a liquor license!). The members are still raising funds, but they hope to begin construction soon.

Fishtown recently welcomed Riverwards Produce, a community-centric food market featuring many local products, in Fishtown at 2200 E. Norris St. Owner and founder Vincent Finazzo says he is committed to affordability and accessibility for the market’s shoppers.

Rowhouse Grocery, in the Newbold neighborhood of South Philly, is pursuing a similar model. Occupying a two-story row home at 17th and McKean streets. Prepared foods and coffee round out produce, meat, dairy and pantry items. Check out fall market hours on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For a bigger market experience, the new Market East location of MOM’s Organic Market is finally open and offers a wide selection for grocery shopping and prepared foods to serve the Center City lunch crowd.

Outside of the city, keep an eye out for the new Weavers Way location in Ambler, and another outpost of Kimberton Whole Foods in Collegeville (its largest location yet). Both are coming soon.

Now Pouring

Where to get your drink on this fall

Photo by Penn Jersey Paper

Photo by Penn Jersey Paper

By Emily Kovach

Philadelphia Distilling’s new tasting room
We previewed Philadelphia Distilling’s Fishtown facility and tasting room last fall, when it was still under construction. Walking through the raw industrial space, it was hard to imagine the exposed, graffiti-frosted walls making way for a large-scale production facility fronted by a posh, lively tasting room. Doors to the space officially opened in February, and the transformation is phenomenal. Sleek, gorgeous light fixtures and barstools frame a long, dramatic bar, which overlooks the distilling equipment through huge windows. Expert service and thoughtful cocktails that take Philadelphia Distilling’s award-winning libations from “still to shaker” all add up to a sophisticated bar/tasting-room experience. (Ed. Note— Grid's 100th Issue Party is at Philadelphia Distilling on Sept 14).
25 E. Allen St. • (215) 671-0346

Roy Pitz Barrel House at 9th & Spring Garden
This artful, creative brewing company, based out of Chambersburg, opened a barrel house in the burgeoning “Spring Arts” neighborhood (we still like to call it the Eraserhood) in June. With a strong focus on barrel-aged, funky and sour beers, this neo-industrial space makes up for its lack of coziness with colorful paintings, stylized lighting and plenty of seating for large groups. Replacing the chalkboard menu concept is a digital beer list with an up-to-the-minute list of drafts from Roy Pitz’s “liquid art” offerings. Choices range from the straightforward (Best Blonde golden lager) to the sublime (Cherry Hound sour ale), but all the pours pair well with the seasonal bar snacks coming out of the kitchen.
990 Spring Garden St. • (215) 995-6792

Bluebird Distilling in the Shops at Liberty Place
An import from Phoenixville, Bluebird brings handcrafted spirits, such as its four grain bourbon, Juniperus gin and sugarcane rum to Center City in its newly opened tasting room at the Shops at Liberty Place. This is not a bar, mind you—open daily from noon until 7 p.m., this spot really is just a tasting room and retail shop, with full-sized bottles on offer. That doesn’t mean you can’t drink there; guests can sample Bluebird’s wares via tasting flights ($5 for three, $8 for six, and if you buy a bottle, the price of the flights is subtracted from your purchase total).
27 S. 17th St.

Fishtown Brewpub
Does Fishtown have room for another small-scale craft brewery/gastropub hybrid? This spot, opened in mid-summer, is betting yes, with this seven-barrel brewery and adjoining bar housed in a historic building on Frankford Avenue that was once home to a hosiery mill and an elevator factory. On the brewing side, head brewer Steve Dieva is fluent in a range of beer styles ranging from New American ales to old world barrel-fermented beers. Chef Justin Koenig heads up the kitchen, putting up unpretentious—but clever—snacks and small plates (think: South Philly-style beef tartare), and the bar program goes beyond house brews to offer local favs such as Tröegs and Sly Fox, as well as a curated list of classic cocktails.
1101 Frankford Ave. • (215) 990-1396

Fermentery Form
Breaking the mold of a traditional brewery, Fermentery Form creates a new form, and a new model, for what it means to “make” beer. Instead of brewing their own wort, the team here buys the grain-infused liquid from other local breweries and tackles the fermentation process in-house, using their own “mother cultures” (yeasts and bacterias that many breweries purchase from labs). By controlling fermentation, aging and conditioning variables, Fermentery Form beckons its signature rustic farmhouse style from the unassuming imported wort. The West Kensington spot holds regular hours on Saturdays from 2 to 6 p.m. for bottle sales (which may be drunk in-house or taken away). Keep an eye out for tasting room hours, hopefully coming this fall.
700 N. Palethorp St. • (267) 518-3676