Tuesday, October 21, 2014

One of our country's oldest farmer's market... and who won the giveaway

Reading Terminal is an enclosed historic public market. Located in Philadelphia at 12th and Arch Streets. Established in 1893, the market occupies the first floor and basement levels of Reading Terminals train shed. Reading Terminal is one of the oldest farmer's markets in the country with over 80 unique merchants in a food bazaar setting. Along with many Culinary treats, there are also Amish merchants from Lancaster County.

Reading Terminal has been a filming location for several movies including Trading Places, National Treasure, Blow Out and 12 Monkeys.

Reading Terminal is one of John and my favorite markets and in this post I will take you along with us in a photo essay during a shopping trip a few weeks back. I'll weave in a funny true story and leave you with a competing chef's challenge poem. 

But first who won the Poe giveaway! 

The blogger who won is Nana Diana! Congratulations Diana,
please email me your address and this is off to you.

The reflection in the window is of the Pennsylvania Convention Center directly across the street at 1101 Arch Street.

Walking into Reading Terminal is always exciting. It's where the worlds diverse foods and tastes await, where ethnicity and cultures combine on the plate.

Interesting spices and seasonings combine for a treat and leaves your appetite satisfied with the savory and sweet.

John and I turn our weekly food shopping into an adventure. Creating dinners is fun for me and I never plan out a menu in advance. Instead I buy the freshest of what's available and locally sourced if possible. I delight in the creativity of inventing on the spot recipes for our meals be it just us or for dinner guests.

Because we both believe ... Drive throughs that serve fast food in a wrapper, isn't really what your tastebuds are after!

We bought the two Red Snappers on the left, had then cleaned and filleted and it became our dinner that evening. Dried rubbed with Cajun spices and blackened. Red Snapper is a delicate flavored fish that can take on spicy seasonings. When cleaned the two fish equaled 1 pound.

Many, many years ago when my son was in his early teens I spent three weeks away in Chicago because of my work. I love Chicago, it is a splendidly beautiful city which I did get to enjoy sightseeing. It was the first time I was away more than a week from John and Chris. I'm a nurturer and I love to cook, to me it's just another artistic expression and a way to show people I care. So imagine being away worrying about them eating nutritiously. I figured the first week they would be eating Philly Cheesesteaks and Pork sandwiches every night for dinner ... But I also knew it would grow old quickly and John would eventually cook something out of necessity.

Every evening I would call, first I'd talk awhile with Chris, discuss his day, address any homework questions and ask him what he and John had for dinner. My suspicions were correct and on the 9th day the allure for takeout was over. The following night when I asked what they ate for dinner I was told John cooked Cajun. CAJUN ... I thought, I didn't even know John could cook!!! John and I love Cajun food, matter of fact we are regulars at an authentic Cajun restaurant that I swear inside you feel you're in New Orleans, so my reply to Cajun was - COOL.

Following evening, once again Chris told me John cooked Cajun for dinner .... I asked leftovers? Nope, Chris said, John cooked Cajun. Hmmm I thought, perhaps John was planning a surprise Cajun meal on my return and he was trying out recipes. Next night when I asked once again ... you know it, Chris's response was Cajun! Suddenly I knew Cajun was code for burnt! I asked Chris if the meal was blackened, he said as blackened as you can possibly make something! That evening Chris, John and I laughed ourselves silly over it and I knew just how much they were missing me and anxiously awaiting my return home making dinner requests for their favorite meals.

Even now after all those years when John is asked by friends if he cooks - his answer is always, YES, CAJUN! True story and John gave me the OK to share it.

A basket of cuteness

Turkey slab bacon, sliced chicken steaks and chicken cutlets came home with us from Godshall's Poultry.

For the past 30 years I haven't eaten Beef or Pork. But not for any other reason than I have difficulty digesting it and I become extremely tired afterwards. My system hasn't the enzymes it needs for digesting it. So I mostly eat things that swim and fly. But around 10 years ago I added Lamb into the mix, giving me my red meat fix. Lamb is the easiest meat to digest and in Italy they even serve it to small children and invalids! 

At the Border Springs Lamb stand - pâté, ribs and ground meat for lamb burgers was purchased. It's USA raised lamb. But I will honestly admit I prefer Icelandic or New Zealand lamb over domestic.

Salumeria International Cheese in the terminal. Smile and say cheese.

We love cheese!

Picked up both Cow and Goat cheese and it was enjoyed by us and dinner guests that weekend.

At Lancaster County Farm Fresh - Canned foods, honey, jams anything you can name.

All things beeswax, check out those sweet pumpkin candles.

Iovine Brothers where we choose to shop. Locally grown and always the freshest veggies and fruits.

In the Bazaar setting you can even find fine French linens, Portuguese and Italian pottery too.

Roasted right on the premise, only the freshest coffee beans at Old City Coffee, Inc.

Always a stop for us.

We love Duck and this place won a "Best of Philly award". 

A Creperie ... 
Hey, here's what I say...
To awaken your palate of global culinary pleasure, experience dining adventures at your leisure!

Pearl's Oysters a weakness for John and I. Ever have an Oyster shooter? Pepper infused Vodka, hot sauce and a you guessed it an Oyster. 

Love me a Po Boy ... pretty please!

Termini Brothers is a famous Philadelphia Italian Bakery. A third generation, 90 Year old Philly tradition. During the holidays we make a stop at their flag ship store at 1523 South 8th Street located in South Philly. There's always a line half way around the block and even entertainment during the holidays. Which usually is a guy playing the Accordion.

I have a suggestion to make ... in our busy active filled days ... Please nurture yourself, enjoy traditional cultural taste. Because to hurry a meal in haste is truly a waste. 

I leave you with a poem I wrote - Nola versus Dan. Both John and I love watching Food Network's food challenges late Sunday night in bed ... Hey are there calories consumed just by looking at food??? Hope not, other wises we'd be in a whole lot of calorie laden trouble!

Awhile ago a fierce culinary battle of the states started on a very stormy day,
Competition in opposing cooking styles and palate tastes from states far away.

First competition matched lovely Nola from New Orleans, Louisiana,
up against ruggedly handsome Dan, from Big Sky - Montana.

Nola's a chef in the French Quarter and has a sexy southern drawl,
with her restaurant diners she would instantly charm and enthrall.

Nola's Praline confections are widely known to cause grown men to drool,
Dan owns a wild game steakhouse and decided he should just play it cool.

First challenge was Nola's Oyster shooters and popular savory blackened Cajun Red Fish,
Dan's signature drink the Montana Tornado was served with braised Bison short ribs as his dish.

The judges were expecting each one would prepare their prized recipes to win for their beloved state...
But judging a competition between a couple with sexual tension really turned into a huge debate.

Seems funny now it all came down to five judges who would determine their culinary fate ...
Each inventing creatively delicious offerings on each and every tasty, yet diverse plate.

But in the end it was Dan who won the highly desired red chef jacket in this battle.
Months later Nola flew out to visit Dan at his Montana ranch where he raises cattle.

Much in love, Nola agreed to stay in Montana and together they formed an unexpected union.

Together creating new dishes combining cajun & creole with wild game in a unique food fusion!

© Vera

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

All things Edgar Allan Poe ... Plus a giveaway!

Edgar Allan Poe died on October 7th 1849 in Baltimore Maryland in his 40th year. The actual cause of death still remains a mystery. So on today, October 7th, 2014 - I dedicate my post to the master of what some call macabre but for me one of my favorite writer's and without doubt my favorite poet. 

"Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words"
~Edgar Allan Poe~

This is my Halloween post and a giveaway of the new Edgar Allan Poe Pop up book and his writings. I will take you in-between reality and an altered state in some enhanced photographs in our row-home and then back and forth to the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic site. A preserved home, that was rented by Poe when he lived in Philadelphia between 1838-1844. It is located in the Spring Garden section of Philadelphia at 532 N. 7th Street. Poe lived here for 18 months, but he also lived in five different houses in Philadelphia.  Poe was nomadic in spirit. The location photos are at the Spring Garden location which is the only Poe home in Philadelphia still in existence.

"All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream."
~Edgar Allan Poe~

"The Raven" is a famous poem written by Poe and published in January of 1845. A supernatural favorite that first appeared in the New York Evening Mirror. "The Raven" was written in Philadelphia. 

I found this photo of a Raven on Google images. I am intrigued by Raven's. They are very intelligent bird's of prey, true Salvagers.  The photo is displayed on our stainless steel photo ledge in our kitchen. An altered photo for this post that has been converted into B&W with brown color enhancements done by us. John printed it on canvas and mounted it on foam core. We've displayed it along with three Black velvet pumpkins that are part of our Poe inspired Halloween decorations.

"Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear"
~Edgar Allan Poe~

At the Edgar Allan Poe house a Raven statue sits perched up in the air on it's tall pedestal steel stand. Imposing and impressive but what John and I found humorous is  there is a bird living inside the statue! Yup, a bird has built its nest and resides inside the statue of "The Raven". How absolutely "Poe" like.

Silhouette of the Raven statue at the Poe house in Philly.

I fell in love with Poe's writings when I was in High School and it was required reading. Nowadays I often find myself on rainy/stormy days taking the opportunity to sit down and reread his writings. I've always been one whom has rejoiced in "things that go bump in the night".

Personally it is my belief that partaking in a good hardy laugh or in a jump out of fear or surprise is like hitting a restart button on our body that instantly re-aligns our senses. It provides balance on an ordinary day and makes our senses feel heightened and alive.

"Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality"
~Edgar Allan Poe~

An unabridged book in my collection of Edgar Allan Poe. Upstairs in my sitting/reading room on the sofa is the latest addition of Poe I greatly enjoy. I find myself transcended into an altered reality in Poe's writing, where time and space blur into words on a page and imagined images. Rainy days are perfect to indulge myself in his writings. Yes, for me Poe is the mastermind of intrigue, suspense and horror. 

On the sofa is an adorable plush black cat that I have named Pluto, for the cat in Poe's "Black Cat". I will admit the eye incident in the story is extremely upsetting and difficult for me to read but the story indeed shocking is delightfully frightening.

Maybe in today's storytelling of horror as in "American Horror Story" Poe isn't so macabre. But seriously to me he will always be the master and Vincent Price movie performances remain spellbound in my memories. Price was the perfect choice for actor in Poe's stories brought to screen.

"And so being young and dipped in folly, I fell in love with melancholy."
~Edgar Allan Poe~

In our living room appears a Raven as if lifting off in flight from an antique window barn frame. It contains no glass and offers marvelous shadow play. For this post we have altered the photo. The below photo is how it really appears.

"There are some secrets which do not permit themselves to be told."
~Edgar Allan Poe~

We have 2 Ravens perched in our Living Room. 

I'm having a Poe giveaway, the contest is open World-wide and all you need to do is be a follower and leave a comment on this post. Listed below is what someone will win and receive in my Poe befitting gift wrap. Wonder why this Poe lover would be giving all this away? Well, I'm a brat and also purchased a set for myself and whoever is randomly chosen from a computer pick wins this giveaway. So what's in this giveaway...

An illustrated Edgar Allan Poe unabridged book that contains Pop-Ups. The book is newly released and contains Poe's masterpieces listed below:


Also two Historical Documents reproduced on antiqued parchment that look and feel old in Poe's handwriting. Courtesy of the Richard Gimbel collection of Edgar Allan Poe. The originals are on display in the Free Library of Philadelphia. These I purchased at the Poe house.

"Annabel Lee" and "The Raven" are the documents included in this giveaway.
Plus I'm including a Nevermore - Edgar Allan Poe 3.75 wide by 7.5 tall Tag/Bookmark.

Edgar Allan Poe's historical Philadelphia home. A national historic site in the Spring Garden section of Philadelphia. Located at 532 N. 7th Street and maintained by the National Park System. Donated by Richael Gimbel.  The tour is free and there is an 8 minute movie offering an overview of Poe's life.

Poe's historic home offers self-guided tours, hours are 9-5 Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There are two friendly Park Rangers inside the home who are extremely knowable on all things Poe and enjoy engaging in conversation and made our visit not only informative but fun. I happened to mention my blog and my intentions of this post during our visit and I hope they approve of what I've done.

Model of Poe's house

It is a preserved home once rented by Poe from 1838-1844. Poe called Philadelphia home for 6 years and during this time he wrote some of his most acclaimed works. Including:

"The Pit and the Pendulum"
"The Black Cat"
"The Fall of the House of Usher"
"The Tell Tale Heart"
"a descent into the Maelstrom"
"The Oval Portrait"
"Murders in the Rue Morgue"

Plus many, many more, it is where he began work on "The Raven" while spending 18 months at this home with his beloved wife Virginia (Poe's first cousin) Mother-in-law Maria Clemin he affectionally called Muddy and their adored tortoise-shell tabby cat named Cutlerina.

Another interesting Poe fact is that he invented the modern short detective story.

In back of Poe's house.

In back a tree and garden, Virginia loved to spend time gardening.

The below photo's are of the cellar and what inspired his writing of "The Black Cat".

"I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat."
~Edgar Allan Poe~

The cellar is quite a scary place... especially since John thought it cute to hold the door shut so I could not leave the cellar. (True experience of the day). Trust me it's spooky down there. Just before writing this post I re-read "The Black Cat" and I can tell you I can see how this cellar was his inspiration. 

"I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity."
~Edgar Allan Poe~

The Poe historic house is left unfurnished except for one room. Poe's reading room. Even unfurnished the rooms have the haunted echo's heard in the history of the past and are embellished with painted canvas's depicting each rooms usage.

Honestly John and I felt the presence and the genius of Poe in the weathered preserved walls of this historic spot.

A bedroom

Poe's Reading room. Between the sunlight filtering through red drapes, the red sofa and all the red in the room there is a eerie pink glow. 

Oil painting in Reading room, see the glow of pinkness?

In our living room a coffee table vignette

Upstairs in our Poe inspired Halloween Row-home...

"I have been happy, though in a dream. I have been happy - and I love the theme.
Dreams! In their vivid coloring of life. As in the fleeting, shadowy. misty strife."
~Edgar Allan Poe~

As you leave the preserved historic home of Edgar Allan Poe in Philadelphia across the street a hand painted mural appears on a home. Perhaps only to say ... In honor of Edgar Allan Poe.

"With me poetry has not been a purpose, but a passion."
~Edgar Allan Poe~

I leave you with my spooky poem I wrote and dedicated to my brother Kevin and Sister-in-law Gay for Halloween 2013. I can not give any led up to my poetic words because it would spoil it. So please read Mathias and hopefully enjoy feeling my inspiration of Poe in modern day. Any questions? Please ask in the comments or by email and I will answer them.

Mathias originally hails from Austria and bears a red birthmark in the shape of a Fleur de Lis on his timeworn face.
Over his many years he's developed a rugged complexion and his birthmark has faded to hardly a noticeable trace. 

Mathias's Father, at the turn of the 20th century was a master craftsman working in an Austrian village creating in accurate precision.
Now as you can imagine and might suspect bringing Mathias home being old was a well thought out belabored decision.

But since Mathias arrived there's been a presence cast in long dark shadows that  appear strangely luminous, even throughout the day.
Sinister shadows lingering in day's bright light triggering an emotional fear that can make ones nerves totally fray.

Like a haunting of past sensations and knowledge harmoniously recalled as it permeates the air with a registering chime.
A resonating sound of great remembrance that stirs distant memories in an echo of the past in the recorded journey over his lifetime.

Mathias in his elderly well experienced age as you would naturally expect his movement is a tad bit slow ...
As if his experience has patiently enabled him to understand passage of time and somehow intrinsically know.

Mysteriously today German Elder leaves appeared scattered across the wood floor, perhaps not strange being it is the season of Fall.
Except... It's an eerie thing, since this is my Brother and Wife's Florida home and Mathias is the antique German clock on their library wall.

© Vera

I'll be back on October 21st and will announce the winner of the Poe giveaway. Want a look inside the pop up book? Here is a link below for a You-tube video.
Trust me the book is cool.

Halloween BOO kisses and hope you have enjoyed all things Edgar Allan Poe.

Primitive journal of Edgar Allan Poe - Feather Bed Farm, etsy
Nevermore - Edgar Allan Poe Tag/Bookmark - Harvest Moon Emporium, etsy
Ravens - Amazon