Dishing Up New Jersey cookbook

I love the beautiful little map of New Jersey in the front of the book. This delicious cookbook isn’t just a cookbook, it’s an exploration into the so-called “armpit” of the US, revealing a little guessed cultural landmark.


The Taylor Ham breakfast sandwich, a roll layered with a special Jersey made ham, cheese and egg, sounds amazing. The dishes range from French baguette style French toast to homemade chocolate cashew milk.

I look forward to making Radish Bread, a tasty and simple dish that would be at home at an afternoon tea, as well as the bold flavor explosion of 7 Fish Caesar Salad! Desserts like Honey-Thyme Caramels, Apple Cake and Grand Marnier Truffles all sound divine.

This cookbook focuses on simple and startling combinations. It’s an impressive collection of recipes that surprises and delights (and I’ve seen a lot of cookbooks!)

Copy from NetGalley.

Fried smelts and herb-butter potatoes


Smelts are a small, delicious fish that somewhat resemble salmon. They are best when fried and eaten whole if small enough, or when bigger you can fairly easily pull the bones out by pulling along the spine to the tail.


  • Fresh or de-frosted smelt, cleaned and heads removed if the fish is longer than your thumb
  • 2-3 tbsp. rendered duck fat
  • Lemon quarters
  • Brussels sprouts (optional side)
  • Young potatoes (optional side) with herb butter


  1. Turn on a large fan and open the windows when cooking any seafood!
  2. Cook the vegetables in boiling water until tender when pierced with a fork, set aside
  3. Rinse and pat the smelts dry
  4. Pre-heat the duck fat at high heat
  5. Place the smelts in the pan and cook about 3 minutes each side
  6. Put the extras in the oven at 250 degrees if you have a small pan
  7. Serve with lemon and parsley

You can also make them breaded if you prefer, by shaking them in a seal-able bag with 1/2 cup breadcrumbs prior to frying.

Sauteed scallops and green rice

After a hiatus I promised myself I wouldn’t mention, involving illness, heartache and new friends, seafood seems like a good place to start. A trip to the local market and we have fresh scallops, spinach and parsley from the home garden.


  • 3 scallops per person, or 4 if you love them
  • Duck fat, frozen or fresh (I get it frozen at the local Asian supermarket), or butter or oil
  • A serving of rice per person (basic recipe)
  • Handfuls of fresh Italian parsley
  • A handful or several fresh beet greens
  • A handful of fresh or frozen spinach
  • 1-2 chopped green onions
  • Handful of pre-cooked chestnuts (optional)


  • Heat the pan to medium-high with duck fat or oil of choice
  • When the pan is sizzling hot, add scallops
  • All recipes say 2 minutes per side but if you didn’t get your pan hot enough, it can take 5 minutes or more
  • Cook until they don’t look translucent, they should get milky in appearance (nervous cooks can cut them in half to double-check)

Green rice:

  • Cook the rice in a pot, or add to pot after cooking
  • Add onions and greens, cook for a few minutes
  • Add parsley and crumbled chestnuts, cook for a few minutes longer or until hot through

Green rice is adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow’s wonderful book My Father’s Daughter. You can use whatever greens you have on hand, kale is a good option although I recommend cooking it first.

Bon appetit!