Magic Matt: Husband, Father, Fishmonger Extraordinaire

FamilyButchers and fishmongers fascinate me. Because my butchering skills are mediocre at best, seeing someone dissect a piece of meat or fish into neat little cuts is like watching someone walk on water. They can skin something or cut its head off without batting an eye, while I find myself apologizing to whatever I’m cutting, even though it’s long past dead. Plus they all seem to like what they do. I’ve never met a butcher or fishmonger that didn’t enjoy their work and take pride in their products.

Matt Kirkpatrick is one of those people. Continue reading

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Saying So Long to Summer with a Little Gnocchi & Clams

Gnocci.CuttingAh summer… How I love it so… Someone asked me recently how my summer was going, and if I were to answer literally, I would have to say, “Not any different than the rest of the year.” I work full time, so I still get up at the same time every day, go to the gym, go to the office, come home, make dinner. My routine is the same, but it’s SUMMER! Warmer weather, longer days… And it’s Super Bowl Sunday every day, food wise. Everything’s in season, ripe, juicy and delicious. It’s heaven. Continue reading

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Guest Blogger: My Amazing Sister, Jennifer Russell

There’s been a lot of chatter in the media about reducing funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Personalities such as Ben Affleck and Newark Mayor Cory Booker participated in the SNAP Challenge, an experiment meant to educate the public on how much money SNAP participants are afforded for food every day. My amazing sister Jen also took the challenge and lived on a food stipend of only $5.13 a day for a week. I asked her to write about the experience.


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Leave The Magic To Disney

Kissie.KissieI met James and Anastasia Goldman more than 20 years ago. We were broke and fabulous and making our way in Philadelphia by working (where else?) in the restaurant business. James and I worked together at a restaurant in Center City called Dockstreet. He was dating (and later married) Anastasia. I was dating (and later married) my husband Michael who was parking cars at the Ruth’s Chris Steak House on Broad Street.

Our lives were so easy back then. No kids, no mortgages, no real jobs. We’d work until midnight, go out, maybe go dancing, and often end up eating in China Town at 3 in the morning. Philadelphia had a thriving arts scene back then (still does) and we enjoyed feeling like we were in the middle of it. And James and Anastasia were that couple that was one step ahead of everyone else in the coolness/hotness factor. They knew about fashion, music, food and always looked like something out of Interview Magazine. Continue reading

Posted in Desserts | 11 Comments

Pour Some Syrup on Me!

French.ToastI love Mother’s Day! It’s the one day a year I completely take off and just enjoy my husband and daughter. No work, no errands, no cleaning, no cooking. Not that I mind cooking, of course, but it’s nice to have someone dote on you and cater to your every food whim. In our house, this means brunch, starring my husband Michael’s killer French toast. Continue reading

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The Quest for Great Meatballs


EricIt’s no secret that I love meatballs. Growing up in New Jersey, just about every large gathering was catered by an Italian restaurant and featured all types of pastas and proteins. Swim team banquets, first communions, funerals – you name it, there was probably a steaming chafing dish of meatballs there and me cutting in line to get them. Continue reading

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3 Sisters, 3 States, 1 Sandwich

SandwichI grew up one of four siblings in Freehold, New Jersey. My sister Jen is the oldest, and my brother Terry, born four years later, is the youngest. My sister Pam and I are smooshed in between. The older half, Jen and I, were born in Chicago. In the late 60s, my father took a job as an editor for McGraw-Hill in New York and we made our way east, moving into our house on Christmas Eve. Pam was born a month later, then Terry soon after that. Continue reading

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Spontaneous, Instagramtastic Super Bowl Aps


Every time there’s a get together in my neighborhood, I’m amazed at the amount of yummy food people bring to share. I lucked out and moved into a subdivision with lots of people who enjoy cooking and sharing their wares.  Quite the opposite of the bridge parties my mother used to host in the 70s when people brought Triscuits with wine cheese spread. Continue reading

Posted in Appetizers | 3 Comments

A Cuban New Year, aka, Pig in a Box

1.Family.Fire The Sanchez family, native Miamians, moved in across the street from me a few years ago and quickly became known as the nicest people in the neighborhood. Carlos and Ines and their three boys (Gabriel, Nicholas and Michael), along with Ines’s mother Gladys, are incredibly pleasant, upbeat people. Carlos and I both enjoy cooking and have been known to pop across the street and share what we’ve whipped up in our kitchens.

Around Thanksgiving, Carlos mentioned his family was going to roast a whole pig either Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve. I immediately perked up. Like Homer Simpson, I believe pork comes from a magical animal, and I had never experienced a Cuban pig roast. I’m not exaggerating when I say I salivated just a bit when I heard the news. Continue reading

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My Christmas Hangover

Fish.MongerI’ll say it – thank goodness Christmas is over! I don’t think I could have eaten another bite! Don’t get me wrong – I love the holiday. I love the build up, the sense of good will and hanging out with my family. But my goodness, it’s one food over indulgence after another. The fact that I haven’t developed diabetes this month is the biggest Christmas miracle of all. Continue reading

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