Early May Random Bites

It's salad time:

Bathing suit season is right around the corner.

I'm trying to eat less bread, sugar and pasta and eat more fish and salads.
I feel less bloated and more energetic.

Here is my favorite Cobb Salad recipe.

Avocado, grilled chicken, egg, red onion, tomato, bacon, lettuce & blue cheese.
What's not to love?

Salad #2:

Leftover orange glazed salmon over arugula w/ oranges and sliced hard boiled egg.

(click here for the easy Orange Glazed Salmon recipe)

Nice and skinny.

Militant Community Garden Update: (I'm going to call it MCG from now on).

I know you've all been waiting patiently for a Militant Community Garden Update.......well here it is.

We've finally had our first real asparagus harvest last week. Every 3 days I get about 10 new spears for my dinner.
I love snapping them off and just eating them raw.

Such a treat.

This is what one of the four plots looks like the first week in May.
Broccoli, beets, garlic and all sorts of goodies coming up.

The tomato plant sale took place Saturday and I bought 11 plants. I am excited to put them in the ground for some summer tomato recipes.

And more new friendly signs posted on the garden gate.


Yeah, because your canine friends might eat your plants.



and for all you people with foot fetishes, here are my silver toes in the garden.


My mother used to say I should mind my own business.
I am always listening to other people's conversations and getting involved.

Yesterday, while in line at Trader Joe's in Millburn, NJ, an eccentric woman in front of me (I say eccentric by the way she was dressed) returned 25 rotten kiwis without a receipt.

The manager nicely came over and opened the register and refunded her money. Their store policy is to not ask the customer any questions why they return an item. They want to be friendly and encourage you to try new things.

But I had to ask.
"Why are you returning all those kiwis?".

She turned around with a dirty look and said "because I don't want them anymore".

What a shame, they wound up out back in the dumpster.
I hate wasting food and I also think they should enforce a better return policy.


Stuck in a miserable traffic jam Saturday night (1 hour, no movement) and forced to detour.
Wound up in the city of Newark. Yes, I said it.

We went "down neck", as they say in NJ.
"Down Neck" refers to how the Passaic River is shaped (like a neck), and historically, this area was called "Dutch Neck".

Also known as the "Ironbound" section, because at the turn of the century, it was filled with industry, bound by the railroad.
Ballantine Beer, a few other breweries long gone, and Benjamin Moore Paints employed the residents of this neighborhood.

It was mostly Lithuanian, German, Italian and Polish immigrants who inhabited this neighborhood in the 19th century.
It is still a working class, international community which now has mainly Portuguese and Hispanic roots.

I haven't been there since college, when a bunch of us would go for huge portions of paella and cheap sangria.
We'd always come home reeking of garlic!

Well, the food Gods were watching over us.

Not only did we get a parking spot, but we wound up in a fabulous authentic Spanish tapas bar, all by chance (and the iphone "around me" app!).

Delicious pata negra from Iberico w/ croquetas de Nona. Patatas w/ alioli (OH MY!) and manchego w/ green apples (which I am making at home!).
Paella Valenciana w/ gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp) and lots of good bread to mop up the oil.

Great hospitality and delicious food. I can't wait to go back to this neighborhood restaurant.

Thank goodness for traffic jams or we would have never found this place.

Vivo Tapas
(973) 465-4800
167 Ferry St Newark, NJ 07105

Good Things: (I sound like Martha Stewart).

If you haven't checked it out already, my friend Marie, over at Proud Italian Cook has a new e-book out on sauces.
It's called Italian Sauces My Way. (click on the link for more info).

It's fabulous and can be downloaded to your kindle or desktop in no time.

She knows what she's talking about.
Everything I have made from Marie's recipes always turn out delicious!

I Love Instagram:

For those of you who follow me on instagram, you know I have been acting odd lately and posting photos of things that I am throwing away in my garbage disposal in the sink.

I have titled it "insink=erator art".

Sometimes I think garbage is just pretty (as long as I can't smell it).

I know I'm weird.

Thanks for reading.


Alicia said…
Long live the MCG!
Who makes those sandals,I love them!
I'm in Mass. Food looks sooo good!!!!!!!
Stacey Snacks said…
I wear NAOT sandals from Israel all summer long. They are more comfortable than Dansko and Birkenstock, so many styles and I can't travel without them. Nordstrom and Zappos sells them. Love them!
Lisa Nickerson said…

My father met my mother when they bothed worked at Ballentine Brewery. She was engaged to marry her high school sweetheart (who she TRIED to break off the engagement with but his mother talker her back into it). The night she was supposed to marry him -- my father called her and asked if she really wanted to marry him -- she said no and they eloped to Elkland,MD where no blood test was required. :)

My grandfather worked for Benny Moore's for 50 years. It was delightful to read about Down Neck and Ironbound from here...

P.S. My mother's family was Polish they lived in one of the poorer sections in an apartment building and my father's family -- who lived in a gorgeous mansion in Newark was from Austria.

Anonymous said…
I love the old Spanish men in deep conversation, and that lobster looks FANTASTIC!

Love MCG posts! Good to see the progress in your garden.

Also, yes, the garbage disposal art is very cool.

Tracy said…
Glad to see another "MCG" post, they are always entertaining. Also I never knew why they called it "down neck." My girlfriend from Nutley always says that and I thought it was weird, I am from the shore area originally so it's just Newark to me!
mil said…
You should write a book!! Well, you are doing just that! Wonderful blog, always a great story, beautiful pictures, humor, (we need more of that in this world) and "An Education" besides.
P.S. The comments are great, too.
John said…
Dang, Stacey, reads like you're having a bit of Spring Fever. Thanks for the tip on Vivo, I will go there on my next trip to NYC, hell or high-water. You should start a coup against the totalitarian regime of MCG. Viva la MCG!
Dana said…
I love these posts. You totally crack me up. What is your handle on Instagram? How did I not know you were on there? I'm addicted!
Stacey...so many interesting things in your post today. I have been meaning to download that app...thanks for the reminder. Garbage disposals are outlawed in my area. Your asparagus is beautiful. Brings back fond memories of my farmer-girl days.
Anonymous said…
One day you're making ebraica cake, the next you've got shrimp dangling from your earlobes & a jamon stuffed belly. You're my own personal OMNIVORE's DILEMMA, Ms. Snacks, and a special treat to read every day. ps-listen to Mil, not Mom, more mishegas to enjoy that way!
Casey said…
Stacey, check out sierratradingpost.com from time to time for Naot sandals and shoes. Be sure and sign up for their DealFlyer emails and get an extra 30% to 45% off their already reduced prices.
Love your salads, I've been making lots here too. Your garden looks great,you're way ahead of us, we just started planting this past weekend. I'm going to look for Naot sandals I need a new comfortable pair. That restaurant you found sounds amazing, you eat good my friend! thanks for the shout out. xox
myfrenchkitchen said…
Two lovely salads..a great potager coming on and a great tip to keep the rotten kiwis and add them to your compost heap..I like it all! As for the silver toes peeping through the sandals..love those too!
Catherine said…
Nice post. Like all the random bits. My dog would love to visit your garden as she would enjoy snacking on the salad items. Yesterday she had the raw ends of the asparagus I used, plus a few bites of roasted end version. She loves cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes and zukes. Carrots are also a particular favourite.
Happy Spring eating!
LG O'Connor said…
Great post, Sta! I think you should add a sign to the MCG under the No Dogs Allowed. Bears OK. Z xoxo
Anonymous said…
Hi Stacey, I took you for a composter! Imagined that you hauled all those beautiful scraps over to the MCG, making militants jealous with your decomposing kitchen excess! My asparagus in Sag Harbor is coming in strong too, love it!
Bluebird NY said…
Great post, Stacey, Love the disposer pics!
Anonymous said…
Your garden looks fabulous - kudos! We love restaurants in the Ironbound section and have been going there for years! One of the newer places we've found (with tapas!) is a great little place called Mompou Tapas - great food, great drinks, great jazz. Will definitely try out Vivo Tapas.