Browsing Category


2 In business/ local/ salads/ Seasons/ Sides/ summer/ vegan/ Vegetarian

You say tomato, I say let’s eat

tomato, tomatoes

You say tomato…

Every year my now 88 year old grandfather grows tons of his favorite vegetables (and fruits) in his garden in Philadelphia.  You can always find a tomato, tons of lima beans, string beans, cabbage or collards.   He was raised on a farm in North Carolina during the 1930s & 1940s a time when many families had to grow their own food to survive. 

Today the farm to table movement is booming with a whole new generation leading the charge. 

Tomatoes have long been considered as a beginner gardeners friend, especially grape and cherry tomatoes.  In fact, when I was in the 3rd grade one of our projects was to grow cherry tomatoes (luckily, my grandfather was able to revive my almost dead plant before it was due).  And even though my gardening skills leave much to be desired, there are numerous farmers around the country with tons of tomatoes this time of year. 

And such a versatile fruit that is treated like a vegetable deserves a box.

Eating them raw in salads and gazpacho or roasted in a hot soup or tomato sauce, tomatoes are great for large dishes that you can freeze or can.

All the recipes this month may call for a specific type of tomatoes but feel free to swap out your favorites or what is abundant at the markets.  Maybe even branch out and try the many heirloom varieties easily found these days.

1 In Lobster/ local/ pasta/ salads/ shellfish/ Shrimp/ Sides/ summer/ Uncategorized/ Vegetarian

4th of July Pasta Salad

Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays. As a little girl, school was out, everything was a little relaxed, I could stay up late to watch any and all firework displays (and in the city of brotherly love the 4th was a big deal). And it was around this time we had block parties on our street. Somehow the adults got permission to block off the street so no one could drive down it. Everyone brought their grills from the backyard to the front sidewalk. And us kids played every game we could think of like Hide & Go butter bee, Hide & Seek, Double Dutch, we’d have Uno and Acey Duecy tournaments and any other game that lends itself to 20+ kids playing together.

Food was usually a simple fare burgers, hot dogs, chicken, sometimes steamed crabs and lots of fruit. These days I love bringing vinaigrette based pasta salads. I know a lot more vegetarians and pescatarians these days and want to make sure they eat well too. And if I could find or create more recipes that taste as good as this I’d consider pescatarianism at the very least.

And the cool thing about pasta salad is you can totally personalize it. My husband hates bell peppers so they can be taken out. I love onions and garlic and tend to add them in everything. Fresh squeezed lemon juice or lemon zest brighten up everything in my opinion so it’s always an ingredient. And everyone knows I love crabs. So if it’s possible I’m adding it to a recipe. Prefer lobster or shrimp? Swap it out. The only thing you need to be aware of is having enough vinaigrette to adequately coat all the ingredients. If you stick with these ratios you should be good but you can always double or triple the vinaigrette recipe if you find your ingredients list is getting kind of big 😀


So make a bowl of this amazingly fresh summer pasta salad and serve at your next 4th of July bash!

Need help planning your next holiday get together?

Check out our friends at Tinselbox Holiday for awesome ideas and future subscription boxes. They help you celebrate every holiday!

Pasta Salad with King Crab
Serves 8
A wonderful summer side dish for any bbq!
Write a review
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr
  1. 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  2. 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
  3. 1 tbsp finely chopped shallot
  4. 2 tbsp honey (we use Orange Blossom flavored local honey)
  5. 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  6. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  7. 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  8. Salt & pepper
  1. Kosher/sea salt
  2. 2 cup fresh corn kernels
  3. 1/2 lb pasta, such as campanelle, cavatappi or tortiglioni
  4. 1 tbsp olive oil
  5. 3 oz baby spinach or arugula
  6. 1 small bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and very thinly sliced (red, yellow or orange)
  7. 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  8. 4 oz crumbled feta
  9. 1lb king crab legs
  10. 2 tbsp old bay (optional)
  1. Combine lemon juice, mustard, shallots, honey and lemon zest in a bowl and set aside for 5. Whisk in extra virgin olive oil. Add in dill, and stir to combine. Season with 3/4 tsp and 1/4 tsp of pepper. Taste and adjust honey and lemon juice to your taste.
  1. Over high heat, get a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Put the corn in a metal strainer/small colander and dip it into the boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Remove corn,rinse under cold water, draw well and place in a bowl to let cool.
  2. *At this point you can add the crab legs to the water to heat through. I prefer to steam mine with a little old bay seasoning in a separate pot*
  3. Bring water back to a boil and add pasta. Cook to al dente. Drain well and toss with olive oil set aside to cool (if I'm really hungry, I put the pasta and corn in the fridge for 10 minutes to speed cooling)
  4. In a large bowl combine pasta, corn, spinach/arugula, and the vinaigrette. Stir to combine. Add cheese, the red onion and crabmeat and stir gently. Let stand for 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy!
Adapted from Fine Cooking: Pasta Salad with corn, spinach and red bell pepper
Adapted from Fine Cooking: Pasta Salad with corn, spinach and red bell pepper
Tasty Tin http://tastytin.com/



0 In local/ pasta/ salads/ Seafood/ shellfish/ Shrimp/ Sides/ summer

Roasted Shrimp & Orzo Salad

It’s beginning to smell a lot like the holidays!

I won’t try and pretend this isn’t of my favorite times of the year.  Lots of family, friends, fun and most importantly food.  It’s the only time of the year I eat turkey, cranberry sauce and leftovers.


And while the ham, macaroni & cheese, candied yams, stuffing and all the other wonderful dishes that fill our Thanksgiving tables are enjoyed, we need a break.


Our palates need a break.


So I try cook right after Turkey day something that is completely different from the traditional meal.  Light meal options are great to cleanse the palate and refresh the stomach.  So here is one of my many pasta salad recipes.  It’s quick, easy and good.  The cooking the orzo and letting it chill allows for the vinaigrette to coat all the ingredients days after it’s made.  I use shrimp because in my family they love it and I keep them on hand at all times.  But I will substitute salmon, crabmeat (snow, blue or king) and scallops when I can get them.  Or go vegetarian and don’t add any meat at all.  It’s so versatile everyone can find a way to incorporate it into their lives.


Bon Apetit!

Roasted Shrimp & Orzo Salad
Serves 8
A light and refreshing pasta salad for any day of the week
Write a review
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
  1. 1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice and the zest from the lemons
  2. 1 shallot, chopped
  3. 3 tbsp honey
  4. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  5. kosher salt and ground pepper
  1. 1 lb 16-20ct shrimp, peeled and deveined
  2. 3/4 lb orzo, cooked
  3. 1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved
  4. 1 english cucumber, seeds removed and chopped
  5. 1 cup fresh corn, approximately 3 ears
  6. 1 small red onion, sliced (optional)
  7. 1 bell pepper, sliced (optional)
  8. 4 oz feta cheese, cubed
  1. In a small bowl, add lemon juice, zest, honey and shallots. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow the shallots to mellow a bit. Whisk in oil to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to allow the flavors to marry.
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  3. Drain and coat with a light layer of olive oil.
  4. Place in fridge to cool.
  5. While pasta cooks season shrimp with salt and pepper, or any blend of seasoning you like on seafood.
  6. Place on baking sheet in 1 layer.
  7. Roast in oven for 4-10 minutes*.
  8. Remove pasta from fridge, add cucumbers, corn, onions and peppers. Add shrimp once cooled.
  9. Combine dressing with salad
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste
  11. Gently mix in feta cheese.
  12. Serve at room temperature.
  1. *the larger the shrimp the more time they take. 16-20 ct take about 7-8 minutes, 21-25ct take about 5-6 etc.
  2. Over cooked shrimp are rubbery so watch them in the oven.
Tasty Tin http://tastytin.com/
0 In business/ fall/ local/ Pork/ salads

Tasty Tin Review: Dead Rooster Company




So we’ve finally been able to test each of the rubs sold by Dead Rooster Company (descriptions directly from their site.

  • Redwood aka Pork Redemption – old school barbeque rub that creates amazing pork loins and killer ribs. This has a brown sugar base and creates the perfect blend of sweet and salty for some top notch meats. Dredge your pork cuts in this magical mix, then hit them with a good sear to form one incredible brown sugar based crust.
  • Olde Tymers – the original classic. We envisioned what the best steak ever tasted like and sought out to create that flavor. What we came up with is our new kitchen staple. We start with your basic coarse salt and pepper and add hints of citrus, dill, subtle heat and much more. This does nothing but bring out the finest flavor of steak and chicken and can absolutely perfect vegetables.
  • Black Gold – most unique blend and surprises with an incredible flavor. We’ve passed this around a lot of circles and no lie, this stuff is addictive. Using chocolate coffee grinds as the foundation, we added savory complementary spices and topped it off with a touch of delicious heat. This makes one stunning steak and also works wonders as a chicken blackening season. Seriously. This is life-changing.

When I saw them in the mail after returning from a trip, I was pretty excited but then again anything that revolves around cooking (especially grilling) makes me excited.  And I so wanted to love these blends.

The pictures on their site and Instagram page are drool worthy so I had high hopes.  And because I’m twisted, I started with the one I thought I’d like the least, Black Gold.  Let me preface this review with, I am NOT a fan of coffee, especially the smell of coffee.  So opening the pack was a little off-putting for me.  But like I said I wanted to love them all so I grabbed a nice 2lb flank steak because it’s a cut that needs a strong rub and went to work.

Like the description says they used coffee grinds and chocolate as a base with a blend of other spices.  And because I let it sit for a while, I had to convince myself to actually taste it when done.DSC_0277

Boy, am I glad I did!

After direct cooking on my grill, the coffee smell was completely gone and the flavor was great.  I could taste the hints of chocolate and the flaky sea salt really rounded out the taste.

Because the package said it made a great blackening season for chicken as well I wanted to compare.  And while the chicken also had amazing flavor, my testers and myself much preferred it on steak.

Next step is to try it on a cowboy Ribeye.


Next was the Olde Tymers and Black Gold on chicken breasts tha
t I decided to make into salads in a jar.  They are easy to transport to my recipe testers club members and it allows the meat to shine through.  In a nutshell WE LOVE OLDE TYMERS ON CHICKEN AND CAN”T WAIT TO TRY IT ON EVERYTHING ELSE.  That hint of spice from the crushed red pepper is lovely.  And I’ve already got some veggies, seafood and other things in mind to test.
DSC_0316And finally it’s fall and I’ve been looking for recipes to test with fall flavors.  A good price on a 10lb pork loin, some local apples in my weekly CSA box and what I call Pork Redemption seemed like a match made in meat heaven.

It rained all weekend (you know that annoying rain that is steady) so I didn’t put it on the grill like I wanted to but my oven comes through in the 11th hour.

DSC_0005Brown at 450℉ for 10 minutes to get a good crust then lower for about 10 minutes per pound to tender perfection.

I ate a crusty end as I took it out of the oven and goodness was it amazing.  The sweet and salty combo was perfect for pork.  I could imagine eating a whole rack of ribs with this blend.  Finger Licking….well you know.  But because a whole pork loin seems to call for a little maturity I made a pan gravy (cause really it’s sacrilege to waste the juices) and sautéed some locally grown apples sprinkled with the pork redemption to reinforce all the wonderful flavors these guys developed.

A perfect fall combo with an awesome blend!

So in a nutshell buy their stuff.  You won’t be disappointed.

Dead Rooster Co