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17 posts categorized "25) Around Town, Road Trips & Encounters"

12/09/2014

~ Mel's Happy Valley Meyer Dairy Eggnog Cookies ~

Eggnog -- the traditional and official drink of Christmas and New Years. There is nothing quite like sipping slowly from a punch-cup full of this creamy-rich liquor-laced libation. In many families, making eggnog from scratch is an event. The recipe is often times a well-guarded secret, being passed down from generation to generation. The only egg nog I got to drink as a child were the sips I could sneak out of a jovial adult's punch cup at more than a few neighborhood cocktail parties. Our nextdoor neighbor, Mrs. Rimm, she made great eggnog! A bit about eggnog: References to...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Happy Valley Meyer Dairy Eggnog Cookies ~"

11/24/2014

~ Nobody's Pizza - For the Somebody in All of Us!!! ~

Pizza makes me happy. I'm not alone. It's my belief that next to watching baseball, eating pizza is America's favorite past time. Everybody goes to the ball park and the pizza shop to have a good time. If you're a traveler in search of the perfect slice, the one made just for you, you already know it's important to not give too much credence to personal recommendations and published "pizza shop reviews". I've been burned way too many times paying attention to that over-rated banter. Pizza, like toothpaste, is personal. Some of the best pizza is the simplest, and, is...... View full recipe for "~ Nobody's Pizza - For the Somebody in All of Us!!! ~"

05/08/2014

~ Here Comes the Bride: A Cooking Class Memory ~

A Bridal Shower + A Cooking Class = A Great Gift Idea! Like all of you, a trip to my hair salon is something I look forward to. It's always relaxing. For an hour or two, I am the center of pampering and spoiling attention. I forget my problems du jour, and, on a good day, if I just sit in my chair quietly and listen, I can tune my antennae into some very interesting small town gossip. Admit it. You've done it too and you know I am right! For those of you not local to Happy Valley, the...... View full recipe for "~ Here Comes the Bride: A Cooking Class Memory ~"

11/02/2013

~ Around Town (in search of a blockpit & a recipe for PA-Style Blockpit BBQ'd Butter 'n Vinegar Chicken) ~

My search for a blockpit began about six months ago. A girlfriend from Ohio, who works with noneother than The Grillmaster himself, Steven Raichlen, contacted me. Nancy explained that Steven's website had received an e-mail request for a specific recipe for barbecued chicken, cooked over a wood fire in a structure made of cinderblocks. During the cooking process, the half chickens or chicken parts are misted, not brushed, with a mixture of melted butter, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sometimes lemon juice. Nancy added that, in the e-mail, the man said "he had grown up eating this unique chicken in Pennsylvania"....... View full recipe for "~ Around Town (in search of a blockpit & a recipe for PA-Style Blockpit BBQ'd Butter 'n Vinegar Chicken) ~"

09/09/2013

~ Road Trip: Mel Takes 2 Days Off to Visit w/Tommy~

In three years of blogging, I've never "dropped everything" and decided to take a couple days off. I diligently post 3-4 times a week. What that means is, if I know I am traveling, I work really hard, in advance, to make sure I have a blog post pre-written and scheduled to post for you folks while I'm gone! This week was an exception. My mom called to say her family from California was coming into town for a visit. This has happened before, but the difference in this trip, was: My favorite cousin Tommy and his wife Linda were...... View full recipe for "~ Road Trip: Mel Takes 2 Days Off to Visit w/Tommy~"

04/29/2013

~ Vintage + Nostalgic = Priceless Remembrances ~

As a foodie blogger, I am always on the lookout for props to make food photos more interesting, and, I admit to buying a few vintage items, once in a while, at a flea market or on e-bay. A close friend of ours, Mark Sunderland, is an accomplished interior designer and antique dealer in Atlanta, GA. He's always on the lookout for interesting pieces for me too (many of which you have seen in my posts), and, when he visits his childhood home in Altoona, PA, he often stops by with a box of treasures. I enjoy all of them,...... View full recipe for "~ Vintage + Nostalgic = Priceless Remembrances ~"

03/28/2013

~ Melted Cheese Please: A Swiss Cheese Fondue (aka: Bill Clarke's Authentic Swiss Cheese Fondue) ~

In September, 1974, I arrived in State College, PA, a new bride of one day. I gleefully spent my first two weeks setting up our household and unpacking bridal shower and wedding gifts. One such gift was a chic, avocado green fondue pot. About a month later, I decided to try out this trendy wedding gift and made the cheese fondue recipe that was included with the instructions that came with it. It was a disaster: the cheese sank to the bottom in clumps while the liquids separated out and bubbled to the top. I was pleased to find out...... View full recipe for "~ Melted Cheese Please: A Swiss Cheese Fondue (aka: Bill Clarke's Authentic Swiss Cheese Fondue) ~"

02/03/2013

~ Egg Bagel, Sausage & Scrambled Egg Sandwich: A Super Breakfast for Super Bowl (or any) Sunday ~

You've heard me say it before: I am not a morning person. I do not love to cook breakfast. Eating breakfast, well that is another story. I love breakfast and I have a particular weakness for a well-made bagel, sausage and egg sandwich. I am very particular about it too: Only a NY bakery-style yellow-colored egg bagel, a juicy sweet-sausage patty, and, a fluffy scrambled "egg pancake" will do. Cheese? I prefer my sandwich without it, but, I'll put it on for you if you ask nicely... two slices of white or yellow American cheese per sandwich! On weekdays, Joe...... View full recipe for "~ Egg Bagel, Sausage & Scrambled Egg Sandwich: A Super Breakfast for Super Bowl (or any) Sunday ~"

01/27/2013

~ Road Trip: Buffalo, NY's One & Only -- Schwabl's! ~

Thanks to two long-standing members of our Penn State tailgate group who hail from Buffalo, NY, I have heard tales about Schwabl's "beef on a weck" for over thirty years. On more than a few occasions, Mary and her husband Joe would serve their homemade version of this revered sandwich at cocktail parties and tailgates. Thanks to my husband Joe, who made a business trip to Buffalo this past Thursday, I finally got to sink my teeth into a real-deal, one-and-only, Schwabl's roast beef sandwich on a real-deal, one-and-only, kummelweck roll! The moment I learned about Joe's impending trip, I...... View full recipe for "~ Road Trip: Buffalo, NY's One & Only -- Schwabl's! ~"

01/09/2013

~ Love Me Tender(s): Is there a difference between a boneless chicken finger and a chicken tender? Yes! ~

Everyone knows what a beef, lamb, veal or pork tenderloin is, so, I just assumed everyone knew what a chicken tenderloin is too. I was wrong. On our way back from from running errands yesterday, Joe and I stopped by our local Home Delivery Pizza Pub for a quick mid-afternoon snack (and a beer). Joe ordered a plate of their classic Buffalo Wings. I was torn between the Cheddar & Potato Pierogies and the Chicken Tenders with Honey-Mustard Sauce (served with fries). Before ordering, I asked the bartender, "are the tenders made with the actual tenderloins or sliced boneless chicken...... View full recipe for "~ Love Me Tender(s): Is there a difference between a boneless chicken finger and a chicken tender? Yes! ~"

10/20/2012

~ Around Town: Mel Visits Herwig's Austrian Bistro ~

I am pleased to report that classic, authentic Austrian food is alive, well, and, thriving at 132 W. College Avenue, located in the heart of downtown State College (Happy Valley), Pennsylvania. I've been listening to more than a few foodies sing the praises of this eatery for more than a few years now, and then, laughingly proceed to tell me to "enter at my own risk", and, be prepared to be "confused", "abused" and "stuffed". What is that supposed to mean? My inner foodie wanted to find out, but, the chicken in me felt the need for backup. My friend...... View full recipe for "~ Around Town: Mel Visits Herwig's Austrian Bistro ~"

08/05/2012

~ It's a Girl! A Pretty in Pink, Greek, Baby Shower!!! ~

A few months ago, my best friend Jeanne gleefully told me she was going to be a first time Grandma. I knew she'd been secretly "keeping her fingers crossed" for this news for quite a while... ever since her son Tom married her daughter-in-law Lisa four years ago (in May)! Over the past fifteen years, Jeanne and I have planned and organized all sorts of events together, and, when she and her daughter Katie started to make plans to give Lisa a baby shower, it just made sense for me to offer to let them have it in my home,...... View full recipe for "~ It's a Girl! A Pretty in Pink, Greek, Baby Shower!!! ~"

07/24/2012

~ Around Town: The American Ale House & Grill ~

At least three times a week someone asks me to recommend a State College restaurant. "The Ale House", is my immediate response. Why? Because when I go out to eat in Happy Valley, unless I am invited somewhere else or looking for a sports bar (which would be "Champs"), The Ale House is where I go and this is where I take people. My relationship with the restaurant, its owner(s) and executive chef dates back to the 1980's. Let's start at the beginning: Meet Scott Lucchesi: A State College native, Scott combined his love of family, the Penn State community...... View full recipe for "~ Around Town: The American Ale House & Grill ~"

06/29/2012

~ Sweet GF Treats from Get Fresh Bakehouse in NJ~

Around 2:30PM yesterday afternoon I received a phone call from Facebook friend Bill ("Doc") Doyle. Bill has the distinction of being my very first foodie friend on the social network that I've been sharing my Kitchen Encounters posts and pictures with for a little over two years now. I also remember that we struck up our friendship around the 4th of July, because he posted a picture of a flag cake he baked and I posted a picture of my blueberry buckle! Doc is a great source of culinary expertise for me. He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet GF Treats from Get Fresh Bakehouse in NJ~"

02/07/2012

~ A Guest Chef in Mel's Kitchen: Chef Jesse Jones ~

My doorbell rang at 10:00AM today. It was not a surprise. I could not wait to meet the "big guy chef from Newark, NJ". He and I'd been planning for us to get together for months, but, in the small world we all live in, our local WTAJ-TV 10 pulled it all together by inviting him to appear on their We Are Central PA Live show's Chef's Showcase segment (which, coincidentally, I have appeared on also)! Yesterday, "CJ" called to confirm. "Chef Mel", he proclaimed in his big, bold voice (which is full of Southern heritage), "I'm coming to hang...... View full recipe for "~ A Guest Chef in Mel's Kitchen: Chef Jesse Jones ~"

08/09/2011

~ Road Trip: The Philips Hotel & 1921 Restaurant ~

Yesterday, my assistant Jeanne and I decided to kick off my new Kitchen Encounters Category, "Around Town, Road Trips & Wanderings", with a trip to Philipsburg Pennsylvania's historic Philips Hotel. The decision to visit The Philips first was an easy one: My great and good friend Faith Lucchesi-DeBoef, a woman with great drive and vision, took over this dilapidated, 7-story landmark back in 2008 with an ambitious plan to restore it to its original splendor. Three years later she is about three-quarters of the way through the renovation, with just a couple floors of hotel rooms, suites, office spaces and...... View full recipe for "~ Road Trip: The Philips Hotel & 1921 Restaurant ~"

06/30/2011

~ Around Town, Road Trips & Encounters ~

Mel's goin' on the road!!! I am pleased to announce that starting in August, Kitchen Encounters will be adding a new blog Category: Around Town, Road Trips & Encounteres. Enough of you have asked me enough of times to please visit, critique, comment on and post about local restaurants, farmer's markets, current events and foodie activities that I finally decided: Why not! My plan is to do this on a "regularly irregular basis", depending upon my availability and what happens to be happening in State College and the surrounding areas. That being said, if any of you local Kitchen Encounters...... View full recipe for "~ Around Town, Road Trips & Encounters ~"