The first month of 2019 is already in the book. Following the holidays, my husband was sick with the flu for a few days, feeling bad enough to stay home from work. During that time, he didn’t have much of an appetite and following this, we lost my aunt. As my mother used to say, “Life goes on.” So, on the day we buried my aunt I celebrated my birthday.
Following my aunt’s funeral, my children and their spouses and my brother and his wife went to lunch at Ristorate Da Benito in Union, NJ. A friend of my son-in-law’s recommended this restaurant. We arrived at approximately 1 PM and it was bustling with customers. The wait staff was attentive without being overly intrusive. Occasionally the chef would come out from the kitchen to check out the dining room and talk to the regulars.
The appetizers selected by our table included Cesar salads, pasta e fagioli and L’oroz e fungi, a soup with toasted barley and shiitake mushrooms, delicious.
For lunch entrees there again was a variety chosen. I selected Pollo Ricoperto, which was lemon glazed free range chicken stuffed with fennel and accompanied by wild rice and Savoy cabbage. The chicken was moist and delicious. The wild rice and Savoy cabbage was tasty and different. My daughter had linguine and white clam sauce, a few had the homemade papperdalle pasta whhich was light and delicate.
For dessert, I had Semifreddo Di Torroncino, my brother had the trio of creme brûlée and I think there were a few Italian ricotta cheese cakes served with a homemade orange sorbet. Also, they brought two complementary dishes of cookies to the table. Everyone totally loved the food and the vibe of this restaurant. If you’re looking for someplace new, it’s conveniently located off the Garden State Parkway in Union.
Earlier this week, I was looking for inspiration for a new supper idea. I perused the local food ads and found that Whole Foods had wild caught cod on sale for prime members at $8.99/lb. Sounded good, but how to prepare? Again, I checked my favorite food websites and found an easy to do recipe on epicurious.com for Slow-Roasted Cod with Bell Peppers and Capers. Beside the fish, the recipe needed capers and fresh parsley, which I already had on hand, red and/or yellow peppers, a red onion and sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar. If you want to use sherry vinegar, Carter and Cavero in Sea Girt/Red Bank/Princeton/Staten Island carries it.
The peppers need to be roasted before assembling the fish for baking. I should have done this earlier in the day as it was have sped up dinner prep. After roasting the peppers, they’re tossed with garlic, vinegar, red pepper flakes and salt to taste. On a baking sheet you place the pepper mixture and then surround the cod around the peppers. Drizzle the fish with EVOO and salt and pepper. Before serving, the fish is topped with a mixture of sliced red onions, chopped parsley and capers. The fish and pepper combination was delicious. The addition of the vinegar gave the dish a brightness. I could take or leave the topping. Perhaps if the onion was diced, I would have found it more enjoyable. I also added a bit of EVOO to mixture. Overall my husband and I enjoyed it. It was a light and refreshing meal.
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.