Menu Blog


  1. A Chef’s Last Meal

    Deep down, most chefs are entertainers. Our audience the palettes of those who dine rather than eat. That is when it came to me, if I could only cook one more meal, what would the components of that meal be?

  2. A Cook and His Books

    In the course of a hectic life, transitioning from summer jobs back to teaching and numerous side projects I have neglected some old friends. Some have been with me since the early days in Mom’s kitchen. My cookbooks. [Recipes: Coq au Vin, Beef Bourguignon]

  3. A Half-Baked Idea

    There are two distinct clans in the culinary world. Hot foods chefs and baking/pastry chefs. Not exactly the Hatfields and McCoys. Nevertheless, there is a distinct line of demarcation between the two groups. They work differently and think about food differently. Both groups are creative to be sure, but how that creativity is expressed is very different. Hot foods chefs are jazz musicians they take basic themes and throw a little improvisation and solos in the mix. Each hot foods chef lends his/her own distinct licks to a basic repertoire.

  4. A Little Something on the Side

    Like a good character actor in movies, a tasty side dish can steal the spotlight from the main course. The primary item in a side dish is usually plain or non-descript in flavor. Cooks should think of those items as a blank canvas that they can enhance with a palette of flavors. Rice, potatoes, grains, […]

  5. Backyard Grilling

    Not sure of the difference between grilling and barbecuing? Looking for something more exciting than your store-bought marinades? The Persnickety Chef has you covered!

  6. Bean there, done that

    Jack sold the family cow for a handful of magic ones. Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of stewed ones. Truffles, Foie Gras, Kobe Beef? No. Legumes.

  7. Bogged Down with Cranberries

    A working cranberry bog mirrors one of American’s earliest agriculture practices. It also showcases some of the newest and most innovative methods used by farmers today. But time stands still when one reflects on these glistening berries during a beautiful Indian summer day in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Each autumn farmer continues gathering the […]

  8. Cape May Christmas Recipes

    I don’t know about you, but I love Christmas morning. Yes, the presents are nice – but it is breakfast that I crave. But here’s the question – what to make? So, I ask myself – what would the Victorians do?

  9. Cape May summer cocktails you can make at home

    We asked a few of our favorite watering holes for summer drink recipes to help you beat the heat.

  10. Culinary Hardware

    For specialty kitchen equipment, thinking outside the box can save you money. After your trip to the hardware store, head into the kitchen with these recipes for Crème Brûlée and Cedar-planked Salmon.

  11. Dandelion – Really the bad boy on the block?

    Most folks would laugh if someone said they planted this common weed in their garden, yet today’s supermarkets buy vast amounts of dandelion from farmers who grow it for market.

  12. Eggstranoeus Information

    The egg has often been called the perfect package. Delicate, yet sturdy. Encased in the porcelain white shell is a bundle of flavor and texture. No single food is as versatile as the egg. A staple for breakfast, it is also a key component in sweet and savory dishes. Recipes Avgolemeno, Coconut Custard Pie, and Angel Food Cake with Seven Minute Frosting

  13. F is For Football!

    My Sundays in the fall revolve around three F’s – Football, Food and Friends. It is always the food that ties the other two together. As you get ready to kick-off your football season, try the recipes for Raging Red Beef Chili, Red Curry Chicken Wings and the Ultimate Patty-Melt.

  14. Fishing Cape May

    Yes, fishing fever is here. It’s more like a fishing frenzy in Cape May, a town with eleven commandments — thou shall fish rounding out the bunch. A place where being “seaworthy” is next to Godliness. An island uniquely placed where the Delaware Bay shakes hands with the Atlantic Ocean. PLUS – a recipe for Lemon Beurre Blanc

  15. Flipping the Bird

    This month have a Persnickety Thanksgiving with my recipes for Cranberry-Orange Relish with a splash of Grand Marnier, Silky Smooth Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes and Mom-Mom’s Holiday’s Pumpkin Pie with old-fashioned lard pie crust (optional but worth the effort to find the lard).

  16. Fried Chicken & Soul at the Chalfonte Hotel

    At the Chalfonte, Cape May’s oldest continuous operating hotel, the Magnolia Room’s southern menu has been a tradition for 101 years.

  17. Get Cooking with Eggplant

    One of the joys of living in the Great Garden State is summertime produce. New Jersey corn and tomatoes get the big press and for good reason. They are well liked summer vegetables and Jersey grows some of the best in the world. But there is the ugly step-sister of produce, one people either love […]

  18. Get the Drop on Drupes

    The drupe is one diverse food group. The common denominator in culinary terms seems to be intense flavor. This makes for fun in the kitchen.

  19. Grill of my dreams

    Down at the shore we know that seafood and the grill are a perfect union. Recipes for Mojo Shrimp and Sweet Chili Fish in Foil

  20. Holiday Recipes

    Enjoy these holiday recipes from the Bed and Breakfast Inns and Guest Houses of Cape May.

  21. Holiday Recipes

    PRIME RIB OF BEEF Perhaps the most impressive and traditional of all Christmas meals is the Prime Rib of Beef. It may also be the most difficult to get just right — beautifully dark and crusty on the outside, pink and juicy on the in. Letting the meat rest inside the oven after roasting is […]

  22. How Martha Stewart Ruined Christmas for Everyone

    Keep it simple. The holiday meal is more about the people around the table than the food on the table.

  23. Ish’s Recipes

    Inspiration has been a recurring theme for recent columns. It often comes from sources and at times we least expect. Being a chef has its perks and drawbacks. One drawback is everyone who has ever boiled water wants to talk food with you. So it was when I started at the Mad Batter on Jackson […]

  24. It Came From the Garden: Squash Blossoms

    Unlike the zombie green zucchini, squash blossoms are a golden orange color that looks like captured sunshine. Recipes: Spaghetti with Squash Blossoms, Squash Blossom Frittata, Crab Stuffed Squash Blossoms

  25. Jersey On A Plate

    Cream sauces curries, mustard and horseradish all work with the versatile scallops as well as a variety of starches from pasta and polenta to grits and potatoes. This month enjoy Jersey on a Plate as well as my spin on ceviche.

  26. Let’s Talk Turkey

    This month’s column tackles a subject matter that rears its ugly head each November. This topic has been known to cause rifts in families and stir deep-seeded emotions. No, I am not talking politics. I am talking about the proper way to cook your Thanksgiving turkey. An improperly cooked turkey can ruin the whole day […]

  27. Lily of the Kitchen

    The onion rarely stands alone on the plate. Rather, its flavor and texture enhances the food it accompanies. The different types of onions have their own unique flavor profiles, from pungent Spanish onions to sweet Vidalias. Recipes: Apple-Onion Soup, Spinach Salad with Shallot-Sherry Vinaigrette, Goat Cheese Leek and Tomato Tarts

  28. N.J. Food Romance – From Ewes with Love

    Consider the source of the food you make. From farmers to local cheese artisans, craftsmen’s skills are disappearing for sake of convenience and cost.

  29. Octobeer Fest

    The love for Beer and Bratwurst immigrated to America with German immigrants and has become part of the national fabric. American cuisine owes a debt to Germany for introducing hot dogs, hamburgers and beer to us. Re-visit traditional favorites like Jaeger Schnitzel with braised green cabbage and spaetzle, and a Persnickety tribute to the marriage of food and beer – Cheese Soup.

  30. Prawn Stars

    Everybody loves shrimp. Put shrimp out at a party and see a Pavlovian reaction from your guests as they swarm en masse to the sweet pink crustaceans. Recipes for Cajun Bar-B-Que Shrimp, Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp, and Tarragon Shrimp.

  31. Respect the Fish

    Fish intimidates some cooks because it varies so much from species to species as to flavor profile and appropriate cooking techniques. Recipes: Pan-Seared Salmon with Bacon-Braised Lentils and Porcini Cream; Grilled Bluefish with Tomato Basil Salad and Roasted Garlic Polenta; or Pan-Seared Flounder with Lobster and Crimini Mushroom Cream Sauce.

  32. Rise and Loaf in the New Year

    Bread has long been a symbol of life. Wheat from which bread is born has a unique attribute in the plant world. This month try these recipes for Basic Baguette and Brioche.

  33. Roasting Meat – A Juicy Subject

    This month it is time to sink my teeth into a juicy subject. Roasting meat. Roasting meat is probably the most ancient form of cooking. Forest fires and slow deer combined to give our ancestors their first taste of roasted meat. In the 20th century roasting came to mean cooking in dry heat in an […]

  34. Rubbing it in: Barbecue Rubs

    Barbecue is an event for all the senses. It can be smelled before it is tasted. As you get closer to the smoker you can hear the sizzle of dripping fat like rain on a hot tin roof. A peek inside reveals food that has honored its source and your salivary glands kick into overdrive. The taste would make Rhett Butler give a damn.

  35. Soup – A Gardener’s Elixir of Life

    Many gardeners like to get outside, even in cold weather. A lot of gardeners also like to cook using their garden vegetables. Enjoy recipes for Monk’s Garden Soup, Barscazc, Chicken Soup with Greens, and Tomato Soup.

  36. Strawberries – The Fragrant Fruit

    There is something about the fragrance of a field of strawberries with the warm June sun, the blue skies and butterflies floating lazily over the berries that stays in one’s memory.

  37. Taking the chaos out of the kitchen

    The real challenge to the party host is how to put out an excellent meal and not be chained to the kitchen.

  38. Tavern OF the GREEN: Sustainable Cooking

    Greening our kitchens can be relatively painless. Buying local can be as simple as stopping at Duckies on Broadway or other local farmers’ markets to buy what is fresh and in-season before you drive off the island to hit the local grocery store chains. Spring Peas and Pearl Onions with Amish Bacon, Pan Seared Scallops and Leek Potato Hash with Beet Horseradish Puree, Mushroom Vinaigrette Salad, and Poached Local Eggs Florentine using Jersey Spinach

  39. The Art of Tailgating

    September first is here and brings the unofficial end to the summer season. In three days the next big season starts, Football. Football seasons’ first weeks bring hope that this is finally your team’s year to win it all. This enthusiasm is manifested in many ways from wearing your team’s colors, face painting, bad bets, […]

  40. The Crab Cake Doctrine

    What makes a superior crab cake? For the truly crabby, only Blue Claw Crabs will do. Enjoy my award-winning crab cake recipe.

  41. The Pumpkin: Thanksgiving’s Centerpiece

    In a historic town like Cape May, seasonal decorations that are quaint and natural are often seen in autumn! I know that some folks begin to decorate for Christmas in mid-November, but others hold out until after Thanksgiving. Pumpkins are often scattered here and there in doorways and along paths in the spirit of an […]

  42. Collard Greens

    The South Shall Fry Again

    Fast food has taken away our desire to cook and our ability to distinguish good food from mediocre food. Proof was established when Zagat’s named KFC as America’s best fried chicken. Have our standards of taste fallen that far? It is time to dust off our skillets put down the McNuggets and get back to the kitchen. Try recipes for Fried Chicken, Collard Greens, and Buttermilk Biscuits

  43. The Sweet Taste of Italy

    Our best food holidays are in winter. No matter your ethnicity or holiday traditions, this Christmas season enjoy a taste of Italy with these recipe for Struffoli, Cenci, Almond Macaroons and Cannolis.

  44. Time for Soup

    Although we wish it were snowing here, it should be noted that Lorraine is in Franklinville, NJ. Soup instructions are in bold. Many gardeners love to get outside no matter what the weather. I am always eager to look at the garden when I go out to feed the chickens or fill the bird feeders. It […]

  45. Time to Get Sauced

    The place to begin to learn the craft of sauce making is at the bottom of the pan. The humble pan sauce is quick, easy and delicious. Recipe for Scallops with Sherry-Mushroom Cream Sauce

  46. Victorian Christmas Parlor Games

    For much of this century the term Victorian, which literally describes things and events during Queen Victoria’s reign from 1837-1901 have always conjured up images of things prudish, repressed and old-fashioned. And although such associations have some basis in fact, they do not adequately describe the nature of this complex, paradoxical age, known as a […]