Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Gelbstein’s’

IMG_4698

Leave it to me to milk a season for all it’s worth, but I can’t help it this time around; I just discovered zucchini flowers. I torched them last time (and ate them anyway and regret NOTHING because they were insanely good). This time I did two things: I took a reader’s advice and sauteed them so I could taste them alone, without a filling of any kind, and learned they taste like very delicate zucchini. And I tried the below, another reader’s recipe, as part of my cooking project.

The recipe is second only to a bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats in its simplicity. Here’s the dish as it cooks…

IMG_4703

And here’s Lou:

I picked up the recipe from a chef talking to a patron from the same area, presumably back East at a breakfast hangout where I live. I believe it’s a classic regional possibly ethnic dish from somewhere and there is a story behind the origin as per their discussion. I reconstructed the ingredients from memory back home.

Eggs Daffodil

A very soft scramble of butter with eggs, zucchini blossoms, scallions and Comte (Gruyere) cheese

Louis Rousseau

Santa Cruz, CA

USA

I snooped around a little online to find other recipes with this title, and found quite a bit, including a vomitizing one that calls for 3/4 of a pound of Velveeta. I did not find one as luxurious as this.

For Lou’s recipe, I picked the blossoms at the organic farm and made this dish for lunch when I got home. Since I have to watch my cholesterol (ugh and whimper)*, I used organic egg whites. But I wasn’t going to exclude the Gruyere; I found an applewood variety and shaved a bit into it here and there. The flowers I rinsed gently under cold water, took out the stamens, and then with kitchen scissors snipped them into julienned strips. Snipped the scallions with scissors, too. Browned the bottom of the eggs a smidge, then added the rest of the ingredients and turned it all over just once.

This dish is ELEGANT. It’s champagne and toast points for the VP of marketing, it’s brunch for Kate and Will, it’s a cheering lunch after you’ve driven an hour out and back to the farm. The cheese lends a smoky richness, and the scallions give crunch and fragrance. Zucchini flowers really do look like daffodils here, as bright and sunny as the summer left behind.

Thanks for this, Lou!

IMG_4704

That’s Gelbstein’s pumpernickel with sesame seeds downstage right. Wonderful and earthy with this.

*Aren’t you impressed? I’ve never had a problem with cholesterol in my life, but now that I do, I summed it up with a simple ugh and whimper and didn’t mourn as loudly and as extensively as I could have, certainly, like going on about it for miles and miles in a footnote that nobody wants to see and has nothing to do with the recipe at hand and in fact distracts from the point.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Last week I was driving through Lakewood, NJ when a sudden flash of inspiration hit, and in blinking lights it read Gelbstein’s Bakery. It’s not the first time this inspiration has hit me, but it was the first time in a long time that I could do anything about it. For last week, I was wearing pants instead of shorts.

Crickets, right?

A little explanation: Gelbstein’s is located in the heart of a city made up largely of Hasidic citizens. These folks are strict when it comes to clothing, and when it comes to women, the less skin showing, the better. So when I realized I had on pants, it was a green light to visit Gelbstein’s. I didn’t want to go while wearing shorts because it would be disrespectful, first off. And as it was, I had on my usual summer uniform of t shirt, flip flops and surfer bracelets. Any more and it would have looked like I was filming an episode of The Little Lost Shiksa.

Another reason why I went: I was in the mood for an adventure. Not sure about you, but every now and again, usually when life is going really well or when I need a life shake-up of sorts, I get a craving to do something loopy. This time was a life-is-going-really-well adventure craving. But whatever the motivation, I make myself follow it, and I’ve never regretted it. The bakery, its clientele and its products are unlike anything I am used to. Perfect.

Gelbstein’s has been in business for nearly 30 years. My dad used to rave about them, curling his arms out in front from the waist, and saying, ‘Rye breads like this!’ They still offer incredible ryes (although not as gigantic as hyped) but all of their breads are unique and fresh. You can taste it, honestly.

Something else that’s unique about Gelbstein’s: It’s a small place, yet most of their goods are right out on the floor in bins or packed on full sheet pans, accessible to our greedy little hands. I asked a shop girl who was refilling the bins where I could get a bag, and she pushed a bunch of huge plastic sleeves into my hands. It was Friday—Shabbos—which is punctuated by an evening meal at which two loaves of eggy, braided, pully breads are the stars, so she figured I was planning to load all of the bags to capacity. That Shabbos bread, challah, was featured in easily half a dozen ways, but I chose a few little loaf about the size of three stacked bagels and shaped almost like a brioche, with a lumpy knot on top. I’ve never seen loaves that size or shape. They were sprinkled with sesame and poppy seeds and yummy little bits of onion. I also took a couple of whole wheat buns topped with oats and a little whole wheat baguette.

The service made me smile because it felt as if I was in the city*; it was all business. They’re the type of place that is so busy that there’s not much time to discuss what grade your youngest is in now or whether the rain is supposed to stop on Wednesday or Thursday.

‘How many?’ barked the petite lady behind the counter. She picked up my bag, counted its contents, and dropped it back on the counter. Not placed—dropped.

When I got home, I took the shot above and then pulled off that challah’s fat knot and gobbled it up. Then I sliced the roll in half, loaded it with wild salmon that I mixed a little mayo and some capers into, and ate that, too.

A loopy excursion that ends with a great lunch is my idea of the perfect adventure.

*I know everyone means something different when they say ‘the city’. In north and central New Jersey, we means New York. When South Jersey says it, they mean Philly.

Read Full Post »