Posts Tagged ‘pate’

Sometimes a fun, if not a great, notion

March 8, 2015

Blame it on the weather induced cabin fever.

Dinner is served: Pork Roll Wellington, roasted potatoes, salad.

Dinner is served: Pork Roll Wellington, roasted potatoes, salad.

Or maybe it is a hyper awareness of all things pork roll. One friend is working on putting together his second festival honoring that local indigenous product and another has just released a book on the subject.

Whatever the cause, “inspiration” struck earlier this week and I just had to act on it: Pork Roll Wellington!

Right out of the oven!

Right out of the oven!

Don’t laugh (yet).

What if we dressed up this Jersey favorite pork product with some chicken liver pâté and mushroom duxelles and then wrapped the package in some puff pastry? Would it be edible? Tasty? Worth the effort?

2015-03-08 15.47.01OK. Laugh if you want, but it wasn’t that bad. And it wasn’t that difficult.

I adapted this recipe for Beef Wellington.  Instead of the beef tenderloin, I used one of those cute little 1 pound “chubs” of Cases’ Pork Roll. I made the chicken liver pâté last night from the recipe linked to from the Beef Wellington page (click here). The duxelles I made earlier today so they could cool down.

As per the recipe, I mixed the mushrooms and some of the pâté together. After rolling out a sheet of puff pastry, I spread the mixture over the pastry. Having removed the pork roll from its traditional canvas casing, I then set it on the “dressed” pastry dough and rolled it up. The seam and the ends were sealed with some beaten egg and pressed together. Placing the package seam side down on a baking sheet, I set it back in the refrigerator to cook later.

Have you ever seen a "naked" pork roll?

Have you ever seen a “naked” pork roll?

Since the pork roll comes “ready to eat” you only have to bake the dish long enough to heat it through and brown the dough nicely. I put mine in a 450 degree oven for about 10 minutes and then lowered the temp to 400 for another 15 or so.

Admittedly I didn’t know how this would come out but it tasted pretty good. I might try adding an “inner wrap” of phyllo dough (in place of the crepes in the original) to act as a vapor barrier and reduce the sogginess of the underside of the pastry crust. My wellington stuck a little to the aluminum foil I lined the baking sheet with. A bit of oil, Pam, or maybe using a silpat should remedy that.

Give it a try. It’s a fun way to dress up an old standby.

A little slice of pig heaven.

A little slice of pig heaven.


The return of the Black Bass

February 14, 2010

A civilized Sunday tradition resumes

Although it may have become an American dining cliché, the Sunday Brunch can still thrill when done right.
In keeping with the New Orleans theme, there is some proof that the concept of an elaborate, late morning breakfast got it’s reputation if not it’s start in the French Quarter.
In the mid-19th century Begue’s restaurant on Decatur Street served but one meal: a hearty “second breakfast” at 11:00 a.m. It was designed to cater to the hungry laborers from the docks and the nearby French Market whose workday began before dawn each day. By late morning they were ready for a substantial meal.

The Cotton Centennial Exposition of 1884 brought many visitors to New Orleans and those that found their way to Madame Begue’s became enamored of the famous brunch.
Today, many restaurants offer an all-you-can eat, buffet style brunch to capture the Sunday morning crowds. In too many of them, quantity far outstrips the quality of the food offerings.
Along with our good friends Beth and Lou, Ann and I for many years would take a mid-winter break and enjoy the Sunday brunch at the Black Bass Hotel in Lumberville, PA. The venerable old building perched above the Delaware River dates back to the 18th century. The dining room overlooks the canal bed and Delaware River, offering views of the rolling hills of Hunterdon County, NJ.

Although the brunch was an all-you-can eat affair, the quality was above average and the bottomless glasses of sparkling wine only added to the sense of contentment and satisfaction. For at least a couple of hours on a winter Sunday, all seemed well with the universe.

The floods of 2005 and 2006 created problems for the Black Bass and it had to close. Fortunately, a new owner stepped in, made some needed repairs and updates to the structure and re-opened for business in June of 2009. 

We were relieved to find the character of the old building intact and the upgrades complimentary to the original feel. Similarly, the revamped brunch exceeded expectations.

Gone are the omelet and crepe stations and the bottleneck around the sweets and savories trays. Now it is a three course affair. Diners select from several menu offerings for each of the first two courses and are then shown to the dessert table for the third. Champagne, coffee and juice are also included in the price.

I started with smoked salmon, capers and cream cheese served with mini-bagels. Not much that can go wrong with that.

Ann’s fruit filled crepe wasn’t as hot as she would have preferred. It seems as though it may have gotten misplaced in the kitchen as it didn’t arrive with the other three starters. The taste of the Black Bass Signature Bailey’s Pate that Beth offered was rich, creamy and slightly sweet.

The Charleston Shrimp and grits were my choice for a second course. Three jumbo shrimp in a tomato cream sauce were presented over very smooth cheese grits. While I always want more shrimp, the dish was not stingy on flavor or portions. I can only guess that the other courses, Scotch Woodcock for Lou, Poached Eggs Noveau for Beth and Pecan Waffles for Ann, were equally satisfying as there were no offers of shared tastes forthcoming.
The service was friendly, professional and efficient. The food is quite good and the servings ample enough that you don’t miss the gluttony of the all-you-can-eat at all. The late arrival of the lukewarm crepes was the only exception to an otherwise wonderful repast.
Sitting next to the windows; sunlight washing over us; enjoying an excellent meal in fine company; it was hard to find fault.

“Just so civilized,” as Beth put it.