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Chef Mama Wei cooks Mu Shu Pork

Mama Wei's mu shu pork
Chef Mama Wei’s Mu Shu Pork via @lalwei

Ari put together this 23 second video of me cooking Mu Shu Pork. Made me look like I know what I’m doing.

On the topic of Philly’s Cheesesteaks – and a list of best places to buy

Corleones cheesteak
Foto: Corleone’s

So, I collected this list of Philly cheesesteak restaurant reviews in 2016 from a Facebook thread, but didn’t record whose thread. I need to share it, for the couple of real gems in the list and because Ari and Jorge Ivan are in Philly today, contemplating cheesesteaks. If you’ve got a favorite spot to add, share it!

Here’s what I concluded after reading through the comments:

  • Pats, Geno’s and Tony Luke’s are tourist places. Steve’s is another non-traditional spot but it gets banging reviews.
  • The consensus among Philly natives is that Papi stores make the best cheesesteaks – and they only cost $5-10
  • If you pay more than $10 for a cheesesteak you’re getting ripped off

This is my favorite comment 🙂 :

Vernon King: Foh dh. Who n the hell will pay beam dub on chessesteak with sesame seed long roll. When u could go to the Papi store & Get it for $4.00 or $4.50. I can buy new pair of J`s or Some Polo shirt. No State/City can make better chessesteak than ppl who was born/raised n Philadelphia,Pennsylvania hand down.

And the rest, for your reading pleasure:

  • Belly busters have the best cheese steaks I have ever had!
  • Got a place down here in Miami Springs called A Little Bit of Philly. The owner Pat is from Philly. And it’s the best philly cheese steak around, and only $8. Authentic down to the Amoroso bread. But no cheese wiz. But I’m ok with that. Lol
  • Hassan Dioubaté:  My girl’s from Philly. She brought me to Jim’s (not the South St one). The shit was soooooo damn good. I’ll be back!
  • The nostalgia of going to Philadelphia and having a classic cheese steak from Pats or Steve’s makes it worth it! Thats just my opinion.
  • Nick Tremarki:  Nothing beats Chinks.
  • Erick Naranjo:  chubby’s steaks on Henry Ave the best ???
  • Shantel Vails:  Cheesesteaks from Max’s are the best!!
  • Jordan Alexander Wallace:  Atlas on 52nd and Market out in West Philly.
  • Melanie Ways:  Don’t miss Tony Luke’s! In Camden, check out Donkeys on Haddon Ave. I fell in love with Tony Luke’s pork sandwich. My husband discovered their cold sub is excellent as well. The secret is the bread!
  • Jeffrey Graham:  Maybe you don’t REALLY understand how passionate we are about OUR cheese steak here in Philly Jean Claude Mendez. We love our grease running down your knuckles, meat falling out of the sandwich on a good soft Philly baked Italian roll, belly filling cheese steak. It’s very insulting when you hear or see a variant that no where near how we do it and then jack up the price that NO real Philadelphian will EVER pay. It’s not called Philly pride for nothing.
  • But have at it if that’s your flow.
  • Shantae Pretty BrownSkin:  Maxx’s is where it’s at!!! Inexpensive for an awsome big meaty cheese steak
  • Jake Royal:  I live right outside of Philly . pat and Geno’s way overated. The suburbs of Philly make the best cheese steaks. But if anyone is planning a trip to Philly try. Lorenzo’s. Or Sam’s. They are really good
  • Crystal Strand:  Paganos, Max’s , delassandro’s, Steve prince, ischia bibles… There are too many to chose from, but I guarantee whichever one you chose you won’t be disappointed Nikki Balseca Valentine
  • Victoria Tori Parsons:  Poppy stores. Bomb ass cheese steaks for 4 bucks. Grab a drink and a bag of chips, full for under 10. I’m good
  • Eddie Alcantar:  Personally Jim’s is one if my favorites. One of the best cheesesteaks I’ve ever had
  • Layd Kayd:  Pat’s or north 11thst…yesss
  • Kev Walshie:  This video just made me want a $6 steak from Carmen’s
  • I have had probably 20 different steaks in the city and totally agree with Pagano’s and even Jim’s. If you want a custom steak for a slick deal with amazing flavor go to Shank’s on the pier, get their mushroom and aged prov all the time when I am down there.
  • Arthur Brown IV:  Maaaaan go to a Papi store
  • Josh Priar:  Jim’s on 4th and South… hands down the best. I’ll take 2 wiz with and 2 cans of lager
  • Elissha Franklin:  Ariel Manzano They are just tourist attraction. And they don’t know any better.. Every Neighborhood has at least one popular Steak shop.. Along with many small mom and pop shops you can get a good steak from.. Some of the steak shops has been Mentioned, Max’s, Steve’s, Dalessandros just to name a few.. But they’re also in the hood. So if your not a philly native and or affiliates with someone that will take you. Most likely you won’t know about it, or venture on your own..I’m from south philly and I go to Ishkabibles which is on south street. Very popular and Tourist friendly. So to speak… I’m just keeping it honest.. If you’re ever in philly look me up. And I will show you a steak good time
  • Dan Hafner:  Kharrima Stevens-Jackson It’s at 18th and Locust
  • Ebin A. Draper:  BELLYBUSTER’S IN OXFORD, PA! We don’t do Steakums & Cheez Whiz!!! REAL TALK!
  • Jake Royal:  Belly busters have the best cheese steaks I have ever had!
  • Leslie Stars:  Byblos on 18th & Chestnut in Philly has a filet mignon cheesesteak for $15 and its out of this world.
  • Jackie Leinheiser:  Or you go to the one pound cheesesteak place on Kensington and Lehigh at 2 Am and get a two footer for 11 bucks lol
  • Sheed Sturgis:  Or paganos on ogontz ave they pack ya steak heavy
  • Jackie Leinheiser:  Pats, Geno’s and Tony Luke’s are all tourist places that act like we actually order our cheesesteaks “wit” or “wit out” when we actually just say “mayo, ketchup, salt, pepper & fried onions”
  • Brian Weissman:  Jackie Ann, I really hope you ain’t from Philly and if you are I hope you get evicted from my city because what you just said ain’t no cheesesteak, you just ordered a pile of dogshit on a roll. STEVES PRINCE WIT WIZ! FOH.
  • Michael Tomassetti:  Jim’s Steaks 62nd & Noble. And nobody drinks that Swill you have a Yuengling with it.
  • For my money though I’d rather shoot up Swanson to John’s or grab a couple roast beef combos at Old Nicks up on Jackson.
  • Josh Priar:  Best spot in Philly is Jim’s. Tony Luke’s is for people in MTL when they can’t get over the bridge. And idgaf if youre putting mayo ketchup or some of you actually do mustard….. you’re eating the wrong sàndwich
  • Joe Shook:  Genos and Pats are tourist steak places. Steves Prince all the way.
  • Rah Diezel:  I think I’m bout to go there now. There or Dwight’s. I swear they’re putting crack in that bbq sauce. That shyt is addictive.
  • Latasha Parker:  Ya prices way too high you need to cut it ?????? …#PhillyNative P.S. Every true Philly native knows that the best cheesesteaks come from the Papi stores!
  • read more

    Homemade Pineapple Cough Syrup

    pineapple
    source: pexels.com

    All Natural Pineapple Cough Syrup

    Yield: about a cup so make more if you think you may need it. This is very good stuff: good for you and good for treating your cough.

    Ingredients

    2 thick slices of fresh pineapple, peel removed, but core intact (about two good cups)
    1 Tbsp honey
    1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (omit or reduce for children)
    a thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced or rough chopped
    juice of 1 lemon

    Instructions

    Chop the pineapple roughly into chunks, including the core, which is both edible and extremely healthy. Blend everything up in a blender or food processor until smooth.

    Use as is, or push the mixture through a mesh strainer to get a smoother syrup. Keep in the refrigerator and take as needed.

    Via Sue Moran

    Kimi’s Super Duper Spaghetti Sauce with Italian Sausage

    In 2016 we were able to get most of the produce needed for spaghetti sauce from our own garden plot. Well, let’s be honest – from Ivan’s garden – since he does most of the work to make it work. And believe me, it takes plenty of work to make this kind of abundance happen, beginning with setting up the community garden, which Ivan helped with.


    Herbs, tomatoes, eggplants, scallions, we had it all in 2016. 2017 was pretty much a bust for growers though, all across our region in northern New Jersey. Rain persisted for weeks into the early summer and then it stayed cold for a while! Tomatoes don’t like cold and apparently, a lot of other veggies don’t either.

    Thanks to Jim, whose Matarazzo Farm stands supplied us with what our garden wouldn’t produce, we were still able to enjoy spaghetti sauce this year made from farm-grown ingredients. Here’s Jim at the Ramsey Farmers Market taking a break to enjoy a visit from a 4-legged friend.

    Jim Matarazzo with 4-legged friend
    Jim Matarazzo getting a visit from a 4-legged friend

    I’m sharing Kimi’s Super Duper Spaghetti Sauce with Italian Sausage recipe with you today. If you make it be sure and let me know how it goes for you. The sauce takes a while to make, but it’s full of tasty and healthy ingredients – and it freezes really well. If you can’t get farm fresh tomatoes, buy the most pungent smelling ones you can find in a store.

    Protected: Brewing Jun, a fermented green tea drink

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    Commissary Kitchen, a prison cookbook by a Mobb Deep rapper

    mobb deep, prison chef
    Source: Teddy Wolff/Infamous Books

    A new cookbook is on the market about which its prison chef author Prodigy Johnson of the rap group Mobb Deep writes, “This book won’t make you a better cook, but it might make you a better person.”

    Knowing what to eat and how to make it is evidently such an important part of prison life that there’s an entire cottage industry of cookbooks written on the subject. Inmate survival guides often have a section on food and how to use the commissary to augment prison diets. Commissary Kitchen: My Infamous Prison Cookbook, which will be published this month, is written by Prodigy and journalist Kathy Iandoli.

    In the book, Prodigy describes how his lifelong battle with sickle cell made him hyper-conscious of what he ate while incarcerated.

    “I couldn’t afford to get sick in prison,” he writes. “My sickle cell is no joke, so I couldn’t eat poorly or not exercise. And everything in jail is designed to do the exact opposite.” This is just a hint of what sets Commissary Kitchen apart from other books in the genre — it’s about Prodigy’s experience of prison as much, if not more than, about the food itself… read more

    For healthy and non-GMO foods, vote for House and Senate candidates like Josh Gottheimer

    Josh Gottheimer v Garrett in NJ's 5th CD
    Source: foodpolicyaction.com

    In November, vote for the House and Senate candidates who believe in good, healthy and GMO-free food. Food Policy Action compares the food positions of 12 sets of candidates.

    Here’s the scoop on Rep. Scott Garrett vs. Josh Gottheimer – New Jersey’s 5th District Congressional candidates:

    Josh Gottheimer supports a strong federal safety net for seniors and food insecure families with children. He also supports fair wages and working conditions for food and farm workers. Incumbent Scott Garrett has voted repeatedly to cut hunger reduction and nutrition programs like SNAP; and he opposed measures that would reduce the misuse of antibiotics in food.

    What if industrialized food has made us fat and we’ll be slender if we eat wholesome foods?

    Cake v. salad
    Source: HealthCastle.com

    Paul Tappenden believe that food choices – not gluttony or a predisposition to being fat – are why so many Americans are overweight these days. And he offers some pretty good ideas on simple changes we can build into our eating habits that will significantly change our fat quotient.

    OBESITY

    Why are there so many over weight people in America? I have many well intentioned friends who are 30 to 40 pounds over-weight. For the most part they don’t want to be that way, and in many cases they put themselves on diets to no avail. They are not vast over eaters, yet the pounds keep creeping on

    What saddens me most is that they don’t need to be that way. You see, it isn’t about calories or gluttony, it is about food choices. The disturbing fact is that the majority of industrialized foods are filled with toxins that disrupt our endocrine systems causing weight gain, chronic disease, infertility and cancer.

    Even so called lite and diet foods contain these toxins, ensuring that no matter how fastidiously one diets, the results will be temporary at best.

    If you think this situation will improve any time soon think again. There are entire industries built on the fact that you will be sick and obese.

    So long as you eat pre-made, packaged foods, you are adding to your health and weight problems. In order to give these “foods” long shelf life and to make them palatable, companies add chemical preservatives, flavor enhancers, artificial colors and flavorings, conditioners and, to make up for the lack of nutrients, synthetic vitamins (most of which are useless at best),

    The ingredients in these cheap foods are sub-standard and often toxic in their own right.

    FATS

    For simplicity sake I’m dividing fats into good fats and bad fats. Canola oil, corn oil, soy oil, cottonseed oil and the vast majority of oils used in industrial food preparation are bad for you, and when they are hydrogenated, as in the case with butter substitutes, Crisco etc they are even worse

    The fats you should eat are butter, egg yolks (yes folks, they are both good for you and your heart), olive oil, coconut oil, avocado and even lard. Of course, these should be obtained from good organic sources, to avoid any added toxins.

    SUGARS

    There are even good and bad sugars. High Fructose corn syrup and refined white sugar are among the worst. Organic, unfiltered honey and coconut palm sugar are both low glycemic and filled with nutrients.

    Most sugar substitutes are as bad for you as the sugars. In fact it has been demonstrated that Aspartame causes you to gain weight, so what good is it?

    STARCH

    Starch turns into sugar in your system. Sugar feed diabetes and cancer, So limit the amount of starch you consume. Even whole grains can be problematic.

    GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS

    The other big concern is the presence of GMO’s (mostly concealed from the consumer by law). The industry claims are that GMO’s are safe. However, even if they were (which overwhelming evidence disproves), they come heavily dosed with highly toxic pesticides, that also disrupt hormones and may cause cancer.

    MEAT

    Limit the amount of meat you eat. Rather than eat a pound of industrial beef, eat half a pound of organic, grass fed beef. It will give you all the goodness without, growth hormones, antibiotics and GMOs (all of which make you fat). Meats also acidify the body, making it a good breeding ground for cancer cells.

    The bottom line is to eat organic, fresh whole foods. If you are over weight, you will begin to see those pounds drop away and your health improve.

    Hat tip to José German-Gomez for directing my attention to Paul’s post.

    Michelin enters the Singapore street food scene, causing both fame and disruption

    Chan in the kitchen
    Source: Michelin Guide Singapore via YouTube

    52 year old chef Chan Hon Meng has been a street hawker all his life. Before his Singapore food stand opens each day, customers are already queued up to buy his delicious dishes, which costs $2 Singapore – or USD$1.87 – the lowest price Michelin-starred meals anywhere in the world.

    When Michelin invited Chan to receive recognition for the excellent quality of his food, the Malaysian-born chef didn’t quite believe that the invitation was real. But a few weeks later in July 2016, he beamed from ear to ear as the company spokesman welcomed him on stage and awarded Chan’s Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle restaurant a single, coveted star.

    Producing quality, tasty food at prices low-wage workers can afford is a balancing act, and one which requires long hours and in Chan’s case, has called for personal sacrifice too. Although his suppliers have raised prices several times over the past two years, Chan has not raised his. The downside to international recognition is that although demand has caused Mr. Chan’s workdays to escalate to the 17 hour range, at the end of each day he must turn away a long line of hungry customers because provisions have run out. And, now Chan worries about how to qualify for a Michelin star again next year.

    1 day left to comment to the USDA on GMOs. Pitch in!

    comment on GMOsHere’s my comment to the USDA about GMOs in less than the 1024 characters allowed. I hope you will add yours!

    GMO plants:
    1 Kill whole ecosystems.
    2 Many GMO crops have pesticides in them. Insects that survive eating them become immune to pesticides and descend on other farmers’ land like locusts, consuming everything.
    3 GMO seeds are patented and are bankrupting farmers. Seeds are investments for farmers and many do not understand that GMO seeds must be “re-purchased” every year. In India, every 30 minutes a bankrupted farmer drinks pesticide to commit suicide.
    4 In silent GMO forests pesticides built into the trees’ DNA poison everything except the trees. Nothing else lives: no insects, birds, animals big or small. No undergrowth.
    5 We do not know the long term effect that GMOs will have on human bodies.

    I urge the USDA to place strong mandatory regulations on GMO crops to protect our environment, farmers and food supply. The public needs to know what we’re ingesting & feeding our families. Big chemical companies that profit from selling GMO crops should not be allowed to influence laws. Thanks for listening!

    Chef & educator Twitty creates Afro-Jewish fusion

    Michael Twitty, torah scholar
    Michael Twitty (@koshersoul) is a fascinating man I would love to share a Pesach (Passover) seder with. We could trade stories – Michael, of what being a Black Jew celebrity chef is all about … while I would tell about running my mother’s Chinese takeaway restaurant and Asian grocery store in downtown Tel Aviv. From her hospital bed, Mom said if I kept alive the business she loved so much, she felt she could win the battle to regain her health. Whatever I did or didn’t do, those who loved that vivacious wonder enjoyed Mom’s company for almost another decade after that. Mom was Israeli and my Dad is Chinese.

    Tablet Mag shares a biography adventure article about Twitty, who sometimes introduces himself as a ‘Nice Jewish boy’:

    <blockquoteat 37, Twitty wears a yarmulke and tzitzit, and he’s taught at Hebrew schools across the religious spectrum. And he has carved out an idiosyncratic culinary niche for himself, concocting fresh fusions that bring together elements of African-American and Jewish cuisine, and sharing his ideas around the world...

    "...The topics (Twitty) deals with – culinary justice, multiculturalism – are very relevant here," (food writer Ronit Vered) said. “He’s a very complex man: African American, Jewish by choice, gay. Certainly, the issues he raises in his talks are not easy to for many audiences to digest. In a world that has a clear preference for the easy-to-digest, his complexities are very interesting. People who meet Michael end up asking themselves hard questions about how identity and community come into play in the kitchen, questions that aren’t usually raised. So if people were left with more questions than answers, then I got what I wanted..."

    Getting difficult reactions from audiences is nothing new to Twitty; his plantation events often require dealing with difficult history. "It’s in the dead quiet after the laughter than I know I’ve made the dent," he said. "Food is lovely and nice, it gets us to a new place of understanding, but then you must deal with the serious stuff. I guess my model, again, is Passover. It’s a riot, right? Kids doing little plays, wine, and songs. But the best Seders are when, in-between, you get a lofty discussion of freedom and slavery and what they mean, what oppression does and how self-liberation takes place. That’s what I try to capture in how I teach and how I cook."

    Banana trade is bananas, but you can go Fair Trade

    First came the proposed merger of Fyffe and Chiquita brands last March, which fell through in October and now Brazil’s Cutrale and Safra have partnered to buy Chiquita and headquarter the company in Brazil, closing the company’s North Carolina Office. Fortune says, fruit is big business.

    bananasGuardian authors Rebecca Smithers and Dominic Rushe write:

    According to Banana Link, a not-for-profit organisation campaigning for a fair and sustainable banana trade, the big fruit companies are relocating to countries in search of cheaper labour and weaker social and environmental legislation. Many workers in countries such as West Africa, the Dominican Republic and Ecuador do not receive a living wage and face appalling working conditions including 10- to 12-hour working days and exposure to harmful chemicals.

    Banana Link said that in Guatemala, one of the largest suppliers to the US, union activists have been shot when they have tried to campaign for better conditions. read more

    Gotta believe somebody

    Le Creuset Demi Tea Kettle
    I bought a nice little Le Creuset enamel-outside tea kettle second hand and when I washed it up, I spotted a little rust where the body meets the spout – and in the bottom of the spout. I googled on getting rid of rust and came across a delightful post. The technique suggested is for good advice for removing rust from a cast iron pot (which mine isn’t, exactly), but the poster’s counsel on how to choose a method out of all those offered in the thread, is absolutely wonderful! See for yourself:

    May 14, 2012
    Hi Cathi. I think the paint will come off with steel wool, sandpaper, or wire brush. If it’s too much work to do by hand, a battery operated portable drill can be fitted with any of the above tools. I wouldn’t use paint removers.

    After that, well, what can I say that could possibly herd together the divergent (and even intolerant) seasoning advice you’ve read on this page? 🙂

    You’ll have to believe somebody and follow their advice, and dismiss everyone else who says they’re wrong 🙂

    Regards,

    Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
    finishing.com
    Pine Beach, New Jersey
    read more

    Thanksgiving 2014 community giving & celebrations

    North Jersey

    Newark

    FP Youth Outcry’s Break Bread With You and PACTS (delivering 3500 home-cooked meals in the Greater Newark area)

    Paterson

    Ken & Corey’s coat drive

    Ken McDaniels & Corey L. Teague
    973-767-5980
    Ken & Corey's coat drive
    Ken McDaniels says: The need is greater this year than any other year I’ve seen. Just walking the streets of Paterson and seeing so many kids who don’t have a winter coat is gut wrenching. Let’s show love and be a blessing.

    Paterson turkey drive

    On Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 10:30am-11:30am, 4th and Inches Foundation will be hosting The Rickey Edwards Turkey Drive at NJCDC, 32 Spruce St. Paterson, NJ. To drop off before November 22 contact Director Emanuel Capers 973-572-5223 or email TeameCapers@gmail.com.

    turkey drive

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