Monday, April 6, 2009

A Memory - Matt's Red Rooster Grill

My birthday is coming up - April, 17th. My dad takes me out to dinner every year, and lately it's been to rather nice restaurants. Last year he took me to a place called Matt's Red Rooster Grill. The food was amazing and the building is great... It made for a great birthday dinner.

From the restaurant's website...
"One of the most exciting culinary properties to hit Flemington, NJ Domiciled in a venerable Victorian building and lovingly restored.
Matt's Red Rooster Grill Restaurant is comprised of two floors that are tastefully adorned.
The first floor contains a bustling open kitchen with grill, and the second floor has a more serene setting."

I remember what I had for dinner that night, even though it's nearly a year later. The meal started with wine my dad brought along - I don't remember what it was, but I enjoyed it. My meal started with a trio of soups - creamy tomato, chicken tortilla, and a surprisingly delicious green lentil soup. Then I had a grilled duck breast cooked medium rare accompanied by peppery arugula and a honey balsamic dressing. My entree was lamb (I'm pretty sure it was a Colorado Rack of Lamb) and I chose a black truffle butter to go with it. Oh my was it great. I love lamb, and it's such a treat for me since I don't eat it very often - maybe only once or twice a year. The meal was topped with such a wonderful surprising treat... I shared fried banana cheesecake with my family. The waiter even put a birthday candle in it for me.

I hope I get to go back to Matt's Red Rooster Grill this year...

If you'd like to check it out (which you should if you're anywhere near Flemington, New Jersey) here's the information you need.

Matt's Red Rooster Grill
22 Bloomfield Avenue,
Flemington, NJ 08822
Tuesday-Friday: 5:30pm-close
Saturday: 5:00pm-close
Sunday: 5:00pm-8pm

Here's to spending birthdays in great places with great people.

- Cait

Spotting Dinner - Seared Scallops with Grilled Onion

So far I've taken you on a lovely little bit of food heaven today... A filling egg and bacon breakfast tart, a warming bean and ham stew... I went TasteSpotting again to find something for dinner. I love sea scallops and when I found brooklynfarmhouse's seared scallops with grilled sweet onion I knew that would have to be it! The recipe is for two servings of three scallops each, so for a dinner sized portion you'd probably want to double the recipe itself. The scallops served with a nice salad and some fresh baked bread or rolls would make for a nice rounded meal.

Photo from Brooklyn Farmhouse

Seared Scallops with Grilled Sweet Onion, Red Pepper Coulis, and Arugula Flowers
via Brooklyn Farmhouse


For the red pepper coulis:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded, chopped roughly into 2-inch pieces
Kosher salt
Cayenne pepper
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed with the side of your knife
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon heavy cream (optional)
Lemon juice (optional)

For the grilled sweet onion:

1 large sweet white onion (such as Vidalia, Maui, or other sweet variety), sliced into 3/4-inch thick rounds
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the seared scallops:

1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil
6 medium sea scallops, adductor muscles removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the garnish:

1/4 cup microgreens
Handful of arugula flowers or other small, edible flower

Special Equipment: Food processor, grill pan


For the red pepper coulis:

  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a small, heavy saucepan. Add the bell pepper, a generous pinch of salt, and a tiny pinch of cayenne. Sweat the pepper (cook without browning) for 3-4 minutes, or until the pepper is slightly soft. Add the garlic and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. (Turn down the heat if the pepper or garlic starts to even remotely brown.)
  2. Add the water and turn down the heat to medium-low. Cover the pot with the lid slightly ajar and cook until the pepper pieces are soft and most of the water has evaporated, about 15 minutes.
  3. Carefully add the contents of the pot to the food processor and process until smooth. Add the heavy cream and pulse to evenly distribute.
  4. Taste and season with additional salt and a few drops of lemon juice, if necessary.
  5. For a very smooth coulis, force the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the solids.
  6. Keep the red pepper coulis warm.

For the grilled sweet onion:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300ºF.
  2. Heat your grill pan (or grill, if you should be so lucky) over high heat.
  3. Season the onion slices generously with salt and pepper. Oil them lightly with the olive oil.
  4. Grill the onions over high heat until grill marks form and the onions have softened, 5-6 minutes per side. Taking care to keep all of the rings intact (you want a solid bed for your scallops), transfer the onion slices to a small baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.

For the seared scallops:

  1. Generously season the scallops with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  2. In a medium, heavy saute pan, heat the oil over high heat until very hot, but not smoking.
  3. Add the scallops. Sear (without moving) on one side until golden brown, about 1 minute to 1 1/2 minutes per side (this will depend on how large your scallops are). Flip the scallops and cook on the second side for another minute.
  4. Remove from heat to a warm plate. Tent with foil to keep warm.

To serve:

  1. Place a warm grilled onion slice on a small plate. Spoon the red pepper coulis around the onion slice (or transfer the coulis to a squeeze bottle and decoratively squeeze the coulis around the onion slice).
  2. Top the onion slice with 3 seared scallops. Top the scallops with a handful of microgreens. Scatter arugula flowers on top of the microgreens.
  3. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Serves 2.

I'm going to have to make this recipe... It's beautiful and seems like it would taste amazing. Or perhaps since my birthday is coming up, someone could perhaps give cooking this for me a try.

Here's to making someone happy and making sure they have a full belly.

- Cait

Spotting Lunch - Cannellini Bean and Ham Stew

After a filling "breakfast" I thought I'd like to find a lunch idea that would be filling, but not overly so. I thought of soup of some sort would be a great idea and after looking on TasteSpotting for a bit I came across a bean and ham stew. With Easter coming up it would be a perfect way to use up leftover Easter ham! Depending on the serving size, it would easily be a wonderful lunch OR dinner. The stew was posted on TasteSpotting by recessionipes.

Photo from recessionipes

Quick Cannellini Bean & Ham Stew


Adapted from Gourmet, January 2007
Makes 6 servings
Total Price: NY $17.50
Price Per Serving: NY $2.91

  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped (NY $0.48 for 1 bulb)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (NY $0.86)
  • 2.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (staple)
  • 1 14.5oz. can stewed tomatoes, coarsely cut* (NY $1.59)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (NY $1.29)
  • 2 19 oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (NY $2.98)
  • 1 1/2-lb piece baked ham (sliced 3/4 inch thick), cut into 1/2-inch cubes (NY $5.51)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (staple)
  • 10 oz spinach (roughly torn) (NY $2.50)
  • 1 demi baguette, sliced (NY $2.29)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (staple)
In a large pot, sauté the chopped garlic and onion in 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil over moderately high heat until the onions turn golden (approx. 3-5 minutes).

Add the can of cut stewed tomatoes and juice to pot and stir.

When the juice starts to simmer, add the beans, ham and black pepper.

Add the chicken broth, stir and bring to a boil.

When the broth starts to boil, reduce the heat until it settles at a simmer.

When the soup is simmering, pile the spinach on top of the pot to steam the spinach. As the spinach starts to wilt, stir it into the soup and turn off the heat.

Serve immediately, garnished with toasts.

While stew is simmering, preheat broiler or set your toaster over to broil.

To Prepare Toasts:
Put bread on a baking sheet or toaster over tray covered with foil, and lightly brush each side with 1/2 tablespoon oil total. Broil until light gold, approx 1 minute.

Flip toast, sprinkle with parmesan cheese to taste, and broil again for approx 1 minute longer.

With all the April showers we've been having in Bucks County, this stew would be a little bit of sunshine...

Here's to strong umbrellas and full bellies.

- Cait

Spotting Breakfast - Bacon and Egg Breakfast Tart

After poking around on I found a wonderful breakfast tart... I actually saw the recipe before in an old Williams-Sonoma catalog (I believe) and wanted to make it, but never did. Well, I'm newly inspired! The photograph was posted by YUMSUGAR, and I'm happy I found it. I'm going to be making this sometime soon, maybe even this upcoming weekend. You can find the post by YUMSUGAR - here.

I'm including the recipe...

Photo from YUMSUGAR

Bacon and Egg Breakfast Tart
From Williams-Sonoma


1 sheet puff pastry dough
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp. water
3 oz. crème fraîche
2 oz. shredded Gruyère cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
8 bacon slices, cooked until crisp
3 eggs
10 fresh chives, cut on the bias into 1/2-inch lengths


  1. Thaw the puff pastry dough according to the package instructions.
  2. Preheat an oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  3. On lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to 1/4-inch thickness and cut into a 10-by-8-inch rectangle. Place the pastry on the prepared baking sheet. Using a paring knife, score a border 1/2 inch in from the edge of the pastry. Using a fork, prick the center of the pastry. Brush the border with the egg wash and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the crème fraîche and cheese, and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Spread the crème fraîche mixture on the pastry, keeping the border clean. Lay the bacon on top, slightly overlapping the slices. Bake the tart for 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking.

  6. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place it on a level heatproof surface. Using a fork, prick any large air pockets in the pastry. Crack the eggs onto the tart, spacing them 2 inches apart. Bake until the egg whites are set and the yolks are still soft, 7 to 10 minutes.
  7. Transfer the tart to a platter, garnish with the chives and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

You could easily take this recipe idea and add other ingredients you truely enjoy... Tomatoes, spinach, asiago cheese and eggs could make a sort of florentine version. Or perhaps some garlic chicken sausage instead of bacon. Hmmm...

Here's to starting the day with a full belly.

- Cait