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“Thinking Outside the Bird: Market Products for a Non-Traditional Feast, a Hostess Gift or the Morning After,” by Carolyn Wyman

 

 

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Chocolate by Mueller's Chocolate Turkey Drumsticks

 

Regular Market shoppers already know to go to Godshall's or Giunta's, Martin's Quality Meats & Sausage, L. Halteman Family Country Foods, or the Original Turkey or the Fair Food Farmstand for their turkey; Iovine Brothers Produce, OK Produce, Fair Food Farmstand, or Kauffman's Lancaster County Produce for veggies; and any of the Market bakeries for their pies and sweets. This story is to tell you about some newer or not-so-obvious Thanksgiving celebration aids. For instance:

 

 

  • How about starting your Thanksgiving meal with a traditional colonial-era cocktail shrub drink made with Tait Farm Foods' cranberry or spiced apple shrub mix from the Pennsylvania General Store. This stand also sells John & Kira's caramel-spice chocolate pumpkins and caramel apples dipped in crushed Sweetzel spiced wafers or autumnally hued Reese's Pieces for the sweet tooths at your gathering.

 

  • The plastic inflatable turkey by Accoutrements sold at Amy's Place could make a great centerpiece for a vegetarian Thanksgiving table. This stand also has meat-eaters covered with their turkey baster topped with a turkey-shaped bulb that contains its own brush for easy clean-up.

 

  • Thanksgiving is a showcase dinner and nothing will wow your guests like the Flying Monkey Bakery's famous turducken-like Pumpple cake (apple and pumpkin pies baked inside chocolate and vanilla cakes, pre-ordering required). More than you think your group can handle? How about a dozen of this bakery's caramel apple pie cupcakes or pumpkin-pecan whoopie pies?

 

  • Planning to do your own baking? The tiny fall leaf candy shapes and autumn-colored jimmies sold at The Head Nut could seasonally dress up your own creations. This stand also carries Simply Sprouted Way Better Snacks' pumpkin-cranberry-flavored tortilla chips for holiday-appropriate healthy, pre-dinner snacking.

 

  • Pumpkin and apple butter taste great stirred into oatmeal or spread on bread at breakfast the morning of (or after) Thanksgiving. You can buy jarred versions made in Pennsylvania Dutch country at Kauffman's Lancaster County Produce, L. Halteman Family Country Foods, The Head Nut and the Fair Food Farmstand. Kauffman's and Halteman's also carry sweet potato and pumpkin pancake mixes.

 

  • Metropolitan Bakery's pumpkin cranberry bread could work for Thanksgiving breakfast or dinner. Made with pumpkin, spices, dried cranberries and Metropolitan's signature sourdough starter, it's available Fridays and Sundays in November as well as the day before Thanksgiving.

 

  • We already mentioned Iovine Brothers Produce as a source of Thanksgiving vegetables to eat. But we think one of their interestingly textured blue and gold Hubbard squashes would also make a wonderful decoration or table centerpiece.

 

  • Speaking of the Thanksgiving table, take yours to the next level of specialness and fun by swapping out the usual boring old rectangular stick of butter with a Keller's Creamery turkey butter sculpture sold by Hatville Deli.

 

  • Looking for a Thanksgiving hostess gift? We nominate Chocolate by Mueller's box of anatomically correct milk chocolate turkey legs or super-sized chocolate wishbone. Mueller's also sells pilgrim and turkey chocolate lollipops, turkey-shaped mint or maple-flavored crystallized candy and colorful foil-wrapped chocolate turkeys and fall leaves. Sweet as Fudge Candy Shoppe sells Thanksgiving-image-adorned foil chocolates and also big milk chocolate acorns and harvest-hued candy corn and spice drops.

 

  • One different, sustainable way to handle your Thanksgiving veggies: Order a "Thanksgiving in a Box" produce share from Fair Food Farmstand here http://fairfoodfarmstand.myshopify.com/collections/featured-items/products/thanksgiving-in-a-box-produce-share or at the stand right now (Deadline: Thursday, November 20th!). It includes enough locally grown apples, onions, potatoes, carrots, cranberries and collards to make a Thanksgiving meal for three to four people and is available for pickup next Tuesday or Wednesday. This stand also sells pints of the local Weckerly's ice cream in such seasonally appropriate flavors as burnt sugar apple crumble, pumpkin butter bourbon and candied sweet potato as well as ice cream sandwiches made by sandwiching these ice creams between oat, gingersnap or maple pecan cookies.

 

  • In addition to the usual pumpkin and apple, Termini Brothers Bakery also sells hard-to-find, old-fashioned mince pies as well as pumpkin cheesecake (whole cakes and by the slice) as an alternative to the more traditional, heavier pumpkin pie.

 

  • Beiler's Bakery is holding a virtual pumpkin festival between their pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cream pie, pumpkin cake (whole or by the slice), pumpkin roll and pumpkin cookies (the latter three, all with cream cheese icing). This is not to mention the pumpkin creme and pumpkin cake doughnuts on their doughnut stand side.

 

  • And there is no speaking of pumpkin pie alternatives without mentioning Bassetts Ice Cream's pumpkin ice cream, made with real pumpkin, nutmeg and cinnamon. Their cinnamon ice cream is also a perfect topping for apple pie.

 

 

Carolyn Wyman is the Market's news correspondent and operator of the Reading Terminal's bi-weekly Taste of Philadelphia Food Tour.

 

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Behind the Counter: Makin’ Serious Whoopie

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Elizabeth Halen bakes up a storm at Flying Monkey Bakery (FMB), the home of the Pumpple cake in Reading Terminal Market (RTM). She’s got Philadelphia throwing down some serious amounts of sugar in the form of bars, cakes, cookies, cupcakes, pies and whoopies.

 

RTM: How did you come up with the name Flying Monkey Bakery?

FMB: I bought the existing name, Flying Monkey Patisserie and immediately changed it to Flying Monkey Bakery. I thought, oh, I’ll wait a year and then change it permanently, but we gained attention within the first two weeks for our Pumpple cake (a layer cake made from a pumpkin-pie baked in chocolate cake batter and an apple pie baked in vanilla cake batter and then coated with homemade buttercream frosting), and we haven’t looked back since.

 

RTM: Why invest in a bakery as oppose to another part of the culinary industry?

FMB: I dropped out of my doctorate and was hustling for 18 months, with three jobs. I knew that if I could make it through that and still loved what I did that it was the right decision to follow my next love, baking and eating.

 

RTM: When creating, do you have a formulaic process?

FMB: Creating usually starts with looking for the gaping hole and trying to find flavor profiles that are not prevalent to fill in the blanks. I am working on a series of cake bars and alcoholic glazes at the moment. Whenever I create I focus on feelings and flavors, soft, sweet and crunchy at the same time.

 

RTM: How did the Whoopie Pie make headlines?

FMB: It was gradual. To me, it’s the new cupcake. Whoopie Pies were the birthday cakes of my childhood, and that was part of my vision for FMB. Cutting the cupcake selection at the store in half was the first indication of change, and then having four to five flavors of whoopie pie a day made a statement to our customers.

 

RTM: After making national news, is there an award or news outlet you are after?

FMB: This may shock you but all I really want is for my buttercake to make the Best of Philly list. My Whoopie Pies have won the award but now its time for the buttercake to get some recognition. This is my city and my people, and I bake for them. None of my products have fake ingredients in them and I want people to eat it here and build that memory here, in Philadelphia.

 

RTM: Which of your desserts are hidden gems and why?

FMB: They’re all my babies! I would say the buttercake, because it creates the perfect mouth experience. It’s plain looking, no frosting or sprinkles, but the mouth feel that it creates is incredible, sweet, chewy, creamy and salty all at the same time. Nothing can match it.

 

RTM: If you could place your product in any market, where would you place it?

FMB: Our products are already in some of the best coffee shops in Philadelphia. Personally, I would love to have our products in Ultimo Coffee because we share some of the same philosophies and echo the same sentiments in our product in terms of quality.

 

RTM: Who is your role model or inspiration in the industry?

FMB: Julia Child is my food inspiration. I don’t care about the cheapest or fastest route to baking; all my products are made in small batches using the best quality ingredients. Julia brought French cuisine to America, and I brought my whoopie pies to Philadelphia. Boom!

 

RTM: If you could bring one thing to Philadelphia’s culinary scene what would it be?

FMB: If you had asked me this 5 years ago, I would have said burritos. That Cuban/Puerto Rican cuisine still has room for growth in this city. I guess I would like to see the city up their dessert game as a whole too!

 

Whether it’s buttercake or whoopie pies, FMB continues to be one of the sweetest spots in the Market. As Elizabeth and her team continue to experiment and create some ridiculously texture heavy, flavor-fortified, mouthwatering treats, be sure to stop by frequently and indulge your sweet cravings.

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Behind the Counter: Udderly Cheesy

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Inspired by the cheeses of Europe, Valley Shepherd Creamery (VSC) owner Eran Wajswol began his journey of owning his own farm and making and selling cheese ten years ago. Originally starting out with a small acreage raising beef cattle, his interests grew to learning sheep herding and cheese making using European techniques and traditions. Eran’s goal evolved to creating a self-sustained sheep dairy farm, VSC. Rebecca Foxman, Company Executive Chef, sat down with Reading Terminal Market (RTM) to talk cheese, the people who love it, and Philadelphia’s activity in the cheese-sphere.

 

RTM: What elements do you think make VSC a "destination?"

Rebecca: The farm is definitely a destination. It’s one of the largest sheep dairy farms in the country and carries a natural beauty; guests can watch the cheese making process, see the animals, purchase cheese during their visit, and more. At RTM, we sell those cheeses, use them in our grilled cheeses, distribute them to some of the merchants and local restaurants, and offer cheese making classes.

 

RTM: To whom does VSC appeal to the most?

Rebecca: It truly appeals to everyone. Our customer base ranges from the corporate business crowd to the young college crowd, and all the travelers and food adventurists in between. For lunch, Meltkraft by VSC is a merchant that allows customers to play it safe with a familiar food, yet still be adventurous at the same time by eating real local cheese and great ingredients. We also try to make buying cheese from our VSC counter fun and easy. Our talented mongers are excited to help our customers.

 

RTM: What’s the most outrageous grilled cheese someone has ever requested?

Rebecca: There’s a regular customer who always requests a grilled cheese with jalapenos, mac and cheese, chicken, watercress, cranberries and bacon cooked in duck fat. It turns out to be a very expensive grilled cheese.

 

RTM: How is the rise in artisanal trends contributing to the demand for Meltkraft?

Rebecca: Artisanal is a term used mostly to describe local cheese; meaning the product is made in a traditional, non-mechanized way. We are one of the few businesses out there that makes the cheese we use in our sandwiches. The grilled cheese sphere is growing, and the true artisanal cheese movement is hugely impacting the popularity of grilled cheese. People want local, small batch, handmade whole food products. We deliver that to our customers.

 

RTM: DiBrunos is a major player in the Philadelphia cheese market. Do you feel under pressure to compete?

Rebecca: No, we most certainly don’t feel under pressure. We like DiBrunos! Competition is a healthy thing; it makes you strive to make your business successful and the best it can be. Together we help bring cheese enthusiasts to the city, help educate people about cheese, and grow the passion of cheese consumption too.

 

RTM: Have you noticed anything unique about RTM’s customers?

Rebecca: Having worked at Meltkraft in Brooklyn, NY and the Meltkraft in Philadelphia, I feel as though our base here at RTM is more diverse. The people are exceptionally genuine and I find that the city as a whole has a sense of understanding and togetherness.

 

RTM: Have any of the Merchants inspired creative new grilled cheese concoctions?

Rebecca: The Merchants always inspire new flavors for our products. We have a good working relationship with Molly Malloy’s, Iovine Brothers Produce, Martin’s Quality Meats and Sausages, and Salumeria. Sometimes we use their products and sometimes they use our cheese. The marrying of our businesses creates some great sandwiches.

 

RTM: Do you have a formulaic process when creating your recipes?

Rebecca: We don’t like to create anything haphazardly, so we always aim to match the message to create a nostalgic feel. Of course we also consider seasonal ingredients, and draw inspiration from pop culture to add a fun touch.

 

RTM: When hiring new employees, what are you looking for in terms of skill and knowledge of cheese?

Rebecca: We look for people who are genuinely passionate about food and easy to hold a conversation with. We actually prefer for them to come to us with little to no knowledge of traditional cheese mongering because we (our exec cheese monger Zeke and I) like to be the ones to educate them. This education goes beyond VSC products; it’s about cheese culture as a whole.

 

RTM: What’s the most successful class or demo that VSC does, and why?

Rebecca: The Mozzarella Pulling class is extremely popular. We run four to five classes a month, and each class holds up to twenty people. Participants learn the history of the cheese, and get to practice the technique by pulling their own mozzarella to take home with them.

 

RTM: What are some passions beyond cheese making that you are immersed in?

Rebecca: I love to cook and experiment with ingredients all the time, even beyond the realm of cheese. I also like exploring the growing beer and cocktail scene in Philly.

 

RTM: Using the names of cheese, how would you describe VSC?

Rebecca: We can assure you that our cheese is Gouda not Morbier. We never feel Feta up or Bleu.

 

Valley Shepard Creamery has taken an American favorite and blended it with cheeses made by European traditional methods. Their presence in and out of Reading Terminal Market has made them one of Philadelphia’s foodie favorites. We would like to thank Rebecca for sharing her VSC experiences with us, cheesy and all.

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Behind the Counter: A Scoop of Bassetts

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Ice Cream Slider by Bassetts Ice Cream

 

Did you know that America’s oldest ice cream company was the first merchant to join Reading Terminal Market (RTM) in 1892?  Bassetts Ice Cream (BIC) is a fifth generation family-owned business that has grown with the Philadelphia food scene since 1861. It is a full service frozen dessert distributor on a regional, national and international level. We sat down with Michael Strange, Roger Bassett and the youngest generation, Eric Bassett to discuss the brand, throwback to some outrageous moments and talk a little business here and there.

 

RTM: How would you describe Bassetts to new customers?

BIC: Being America’s oldest ice cream brand has a huge significance; it adds value and earns a certain kind of respect. The beauty of our product is that you don’t need to speak the language to appreciate it.

 

RTM: Bassetts has been at RTM the longest. How has the evolution of the Market affected your business?

BIC: We’ve definitely experienced all the ups and downs of the market. The 80’s were the worst; there were days that Bassetts made about $25 in sales. The growth in the number of merchants from 25 to 80 has helped us keep our business strong. More merchants means more diversity, and that allowed us to explore other options in the Market. We’ve opened a bakery and a turkey sandwich shop in addition to keeping Bassetts alive.

 

RTM: What vision do you have for Bassetts in RTM in the next 20 years?

BIC: It’s about keeping our product consistent, evolving slowly and maintaining that traditional-current vibe. The best example is the marble counter that our customers sit at - it is the original counter from 1892; it’s probably the most valuable item we own. At the same time, we added a new digital price board, creating juxtaposition.

 

RTM: Your product makes you a global player. What is the hottest market for Bassetts at the moment?

BIC: China, hands down! The Chinese market has shown a demand for more flavors that incorporate fruits and nuts and it is infiltrating trends in the U.S. The green tea flavor was the most challenging in meeting customer satisfaction. Luckily, The Tea Leaf, came through with the specific tea powder that allowed us to nail that flavor.

 

RTM: Who do you think is a strong example within the culinary world?

BIC: In terms of a chef, we believe that Marc Vetri and his team are unparalleled. He grew his business organically and is very focused on delivering a consistently high quality product and service. Looking at it from a business model perspective, we appreciate Chipotle. Their style of leadership in the industry has led to great success for the business.

 

RTM: What’s your advice for millennials or people starting out in this business?

BIC: Do more than what’s expected. If you believe in it, do it. Don’t be afraid to experiment. If you’re not failing you’re not trying hard enough.

 

RTM: Can you recall the most bizarre order from a customer before?

BIC: The beauty of ice cream is that you are working with a blank canvas. There is no flavor you can’t create. Green Tomato Ice Cream was by far the most unusual flavor we have created for a customer.

 

RTM: What is the most interesting thing you have ever done with a scoop of ice cream?

BIC: Without doubt the Ice Cream Slider.  This looked exactly like a cheeseburger.  The patty was a scoop of chocolate ice cream, which we pressed flat.  We then put a thin slice of white chocolate from Chocolate by Mueller, and used a glazed donut without a hole from Beiler’s for the bun.  We even used a raspberry sauce in lieu of ketchup.

 

RTM: With a constant change in trends and the success of frozen yogurt, what do you think keeps people loyal to ice cream?

BIC: The unique mouth feel of ice cream cannot be duplicated. It is rich and creamy, with a heavy butterfat content that helps create a silky smooth texture.

 

RTM: Describe a world without ice cream.

BIC: A world without ice cream would be like a world without smiles. Its capability to evoke memories and emotions is so powerful.

 

While RTM continues to be their home base, Bassetts has become part of a global lifestyle, representing Philadelphia’s food scene on the world map.  We would like to thank the Bassett family for taking the time to discuss their business, and congratulate them on being the first merchant to be featured in our Behind the Counter series. 

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“Activity at the Market's Demo Kitchen Heats Up Under a New Operating Model and ‘City’ Name,” by Carolyn Wyman

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Anyone who ever took a class at La Cucina at the Market already knows what a great space the Market kitchen is.

The kitchen's assets will soon be appreciated by a lot more people now that Market management has taken over its operation.

Redubbed City Kitchen at Reading Terminal Market, the kitchen will now be hosting a great many both paid and free programs, demonstrations and classes showcasing Market merchants' food smarts and solidifying the Market's reputation as the hub of culinary culture in Philadelphia.

"We're hoping to have things going on in the kitchen five to seven days a week," says Market manager Paul Steinke.

This will include two free weekly series of demonstrations featuring Market merchants starting in November: a "How to" (frost a cake, tie a roast, make a roux etc.) one that will take place at 2 p.m. every Wednesday, and a "What's for Dinner Tonight" class at 5pm on Thursdays. The latter will demo a quick weeknight recipe that participants can then source at the Market before going home to make themselves.

There are also tentative plans for ticketed evening tasting events featuring Market food and drink -- sort of mini versions of the Party for the Market fundraiser held in February, according to Sarah Morrison of All About Events, the company that won the contract to manage City Kitchen for the Market as part of a competitive bidding process that took place this spring. 

The kitchen's "new" operating model is actually similar to the one it had when it debuted in the Market's northeast corner in the 1990s. Then-Market staffers Irina Smith and Betty Kaplan organized many free cooking demonstrations and tastings there before the kitchen became part of Foster's kitchen store and, after Foster's left the Market in 2007, home to Anna Florio's La Cucina cooking school. In 2012, as part of the Market's Avenue D renovation, the kitchen moved to the east end of the Center Court seating area, with counter seating for 12, table seating for 20, and room for an additional 60 people when the door is open to the adjacent Rick Nichols meeting room.

As successful and fun as La Cucina's classes were, having the kitchen leased like any other Market stand precluded other uses -- like the Eat Right Cooking Camp nutrition education program that began this summer and will continue as an afterschool program this fall. Under the grant-funded program, local chef Angela Scipio introduces schoolchildren to healthy foods sold in the Market then takes them into the kitchen to show how to turn them into tasty meals or snacks.

The Market will also be renting out City Kitchen to outside chefs, cookbook authors or companies who want to hold classes, demonstrations or tastings. The local La Colombe coffee roasters recently inquired about sampling their new rum in the kitchen, for instance. Morrison is also cooking up plans to offer for-fee private cooking classes and dinners featuring Market chefs. "Instead of going out to a Starr restaurant for a special anniversary, a couple could host a dinner at City Kitchen for 8 to 10 family members or friends some evening, with wine and a chef there who could explain what they're making," Morrison said.

Keep an eye on the Market website and e-blast for details on upcoming City Kitchen events.

Carolyn Wyman is the Market's news correspondent and operator of the Reading Terminal's bi-weekly Taste of Philadelphia Food Tour (www.tasteofphillyfoodtour.com).

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“Early Birds Get the Best Breakfast in Philadelphia -- in the Market,” By Carolyn Wyman

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Photo: David Braunstein of Pearl's Oyster Bar with Bacon N' Banana French Toast 

 

The Down Home Diner and Dutch Eating Place have long been among Philadelphians' favorite breakfast destinations.

In the past five to seven years, though, they've been joined in serving eggs, ham and the like by a growing number of Reading Terminal Market businesses. Almost all of the food stands that have opened in the Market since 2007 have offered breakfast items "right from the start," notes Market general manager Paul Steinke.

Here's what you've been missing if you don't usually visit the Market in the morning, or at least haven't lately. After breakfast you might want to shop for dinner ingredients at a time when there are rarely lines. (Store them in the office fridge until quitting time!)

Termini Brothers Bakery sells individual muffins as well as six-packs of tea biscuits (like buttermilk biscuits and featuring raisins) and La Columbe coffee to wash them all down.

Breakfast is served all day at the Down Home Diner. Best-sellers include the Philly Cheesesteak Scram (featuring all the traditional cheesesteak ingredients plus scrambled eggs) and the Country Benny (eggs Benedict made with biscuits and gravy). Other menu highlights include a shrimp, grits and eggs plate, and decadent apple pie pancakes (with whipped cream).

On Saturday morning the Market's north aisle is usually clogged with lines of people waiting to have blueberry pancakes, Western omelets and fresh-squeezed juice at the Dutch Eating Place. Their breakfast items feature Jersey blueberries, and Lancaster eggs and meats (including the rarely-seen creamed chipped beef). Dutch Eating serves breakfast until noon Tuesdays through Fridays, and until 2 p.m. Saturdays.

Pearl's Oyster Bar only began serving breakfast and brunch in February but it has been a huge success. One possible reason: It was crafted by their new (as of fall 2013) chef Jason Ledee, a veteran of popular Philly bruncherie Green Eggs Cafe. Highlights of his fish-focused, somewhat fancy menu include a breakfast po' boy (with fried shrimp), shrimp and grits and chicken and waffle Benedicts, and Bacon 'N Banana French Toast (featuring banana-mascarpone-stuffed brioche, Applewood bacon bits and flambéed bananas). Breakfast items are served all day, every day.

Looking for some hair of the dog after a night of hard partying? Molly Malloy's has 24 beers on tap and a daily breakfast menu that includes omelets, egg sandwiches, oatmeal and their best-selling vanilla-cinnamon French toast and egg-topped spicy Potato Hash.

Valley Shepherd Creamery's Meltkraft grilled cheese operation's sole breakfast sandwich is the Toad in the Hole. It's offered only on weekends, mainly because of how much trouble it is to assemble prosciutto, Somerset cheese and roasted tomato on toasted brioche with a hole in the middle where the egg peaks through, says chef Rebecca Foxman. Meltkraft will add bacon to any one of their other sandwiches for an extra $1.25 any day of the week and Foxman thinks it goes particularly well with their Brielle cranberry-chutney sandwich.

Although most famous for interesting-flavored cupcakes and whoopie pies and cake/pie hybrid Pumple cake, the Flying Monkey Bakery now also sells breakfast items like banana bread and crumb cake (the latter variously featuring pecans, apples or berries).

The opening of Beiler's Donuts and Salads in May of last year rocked the Philly doughnut world. Best-sellers from among almost 35 varieties offered daily are the fritters, Salted Caramel, Dutch Crumb and Harvest Apple. Non-doughnut breakfast offerings at Beiler's Bakery include Danish, coffee crumb cake, muffins and traditional Philadelphia sticky buns in a variety of sizes and with a variety of toppings.

One of the newest breakfast offerings in the Market is also among the most unique: Pizza, Stromboli and foccacia topped or stuffed with egg, cheese, sausage and the like at Mezze. Pizza is sold by the slice and everything else, cafeteria-style so you can grab and go to work quickly.

You can also get egg, cheese and sausage or bacon-stuffed pretzels at Miller's Twist until 10 a.m. every day they're open.

Market Bakery offers breakfast baked goods they make on-site or procure from a variety of local artisanal bakeries, including glazed scones from Philly Cupcake, croissants from Four Worlds and bagels from Le Bus, which you can buy plain, as part of an egg sandwich or dressed with black raspberry and bacon, cheddar and horseradish cream cheese, among other flavors.

Hershel's East Side Deli is the Market destination for cream cheese and lox on a bagel, as well as their almost equally popular pastrami, egg and cheese bagel sandwich and challah French toast.

Lamb fans have two breakfast choices at Border Springs Farm: a lamb "ham" sandwich on a challah roll and a breakfast hash plate featuring lamb sausage, onions, peppers, fried egg and hash brown potatoes.

Old City Coffee offers three baked goods to accompany its wonderful coffee: Jewish apple cake, sour cream cake and walnut apple muffins.

Metropolitan Bakery's breakfast selections offer something for (almost) everyone), from Power and Millet muffins and bagged granola for the health foodies to scones, bagels, croissants and cheese Danish for the rest of us. Weekend-only treats include the rich, cinnamony Morning Buns and/or the caramel-encrusted Kouign-Amann.

Beck's Cajun Cafe's taut breakfast menu includes the best-selling Bourbon Street (a red beans and rice, fried egg, cheese and grilled corn bread platter) and a Breakfast Po Boy sandwich (featuring andouille sausage and eggs "over easy"), which are served until 11:30 a.m. daily. But Beck's famous beignets, New Orleans' signature powdered donettes, are only available Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays before 1 p.m. Wash them down with equally New Orleans-authentic Cafe Du Monde chicory coffee.

The most popular breakfast crepes at Profi's Creperie are the steak egg and cheese and the BLT (featuring egg and turkey bacon).

Tootsie's Salad Express' hot lunch offerings change daily but one of their cafeteria tables always features scrambled eggs, grits, fried fish, roasted potatoes and chicken and pork sausage (plus steel-cut oatmeal in cooler weather) from open to 11 a.m.

You can build-your-own breakfast sandwich at both Spataro's Cheesesteaks and Smucker's Quality Meats & Grill. Spataro's options include steak or ham with scrambled eggs with or without cheese on a bagel, toast or a long roll. Smucker's breakfast sandwich meat choices include scrapple, pork roll and their famous slow-roasted pot roast with a fried or scrambled egg or egg whites, on a muffin, long roll, wrap or toast, with or without cheese, all available all day. Smucker's also sells slices of French toast for a mere $1.35 each.

Unless otherwise noted, breakfast items discussed above are available until 11 a.m.

Carolyn Wyman is the Market's news correspondent and operator of the Reading Terminal's bi-weekly Taste of Philadelphia Food Tour.

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Morel Mushroom and Asparagus Eggs Benedict

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We’re firm believers in brunch traditions, which is why this tasty dish can be made entirely from ingredients at the Reading Terminal Market. Stop by to pick up the fixings for this meal and wander the historic aisles of the market. Then, spend a splendid Sunday afternoon whipping up this decadent meal for your family and friends via closetcooking.

Mushroom and Asparagus Eggs Benedict features a twist on a classic, not to mention a fanciful use for the seasonal Morel mushroom. Jump on this meal fast, before the season expires! Our taste buds are tingling at the prospects of this delicious dish.

Ingredients & Vendors

1 tbsp olive oil – The Tubby Olive

1 shallots (large, finely diced) – Iovine Brothers Produce

1 clove garlic (chopped) – Iovine Brothers Produce

1/2 tsp thyme (chopped) – OK Produce

1 tbsp butter – Fair Food Farmstand

8 ozs mushrooms (morel, halved or quartered depending on size) – Iovine Brothers Produce

1/4 cup white wine (or broth) – Blue Mountain Vineyards

1/2 cup heavy cream – Lancaster County Dairy

Dash of salt and pepper – Jonathan’s Best Gourmet Grocer

4 slices multigrain bread (lightly toasted) – Market Bakery

12 spears asparagus (blanched) – OK Produce

4 eggs (poached) – Godshall’s Poultry

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the shallot and cook until tender, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  4. Add the butter and let it melt.
  5. Add the mushrooms and cook until they release their moisture, about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Add the wine or broth, deglaze the pan and cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Add the cream and simmer until it thickens, about 2-3 minutes and reduce the meat to minimum.
  8. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and reduce the heat to medium.
  9. Swirl the water in the pot.
  10. Crack an egg into a bowl and pour the egg from the bowl into the water. Repeat with another egg.
  11. Let the eggs cook until the whites are set but the yolks are not, about 2-3 minutes and fish them out. Repeat with remaining two eggs.
  12. Place the toast on plates, top with the asparagus, poached eggs and creamy mushroom sauce.
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NHL Draftees Visit the Market

This week, for the first time in history, the NHL draft will be held in Philadelphia.  Today, we were thrilled to welcome the top NHL draftees to the Market for lunch.  Of course, they couldn't leave without stopping for ice cream cones at Bassetts Ice Cream.  We wish them all good luck!

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Top NHL draftees, posing with Michael Strange, owner of Bassetts Ice Cream

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Music @ the Market in the Month of May

The Reading Terminal Market is one of the most popular locations in downtown Philadelphia, averaging 17,000 people per day, 358 days a year for a total of 6.3 million visits each year. This creates an interesting challenge for programming and scheduling. We often schedule performances on Sundays since weekend patrons have more time to linger and Saturdays are generally extremely busy and crowded.

 

Our regularly scheduled performances take place on the second and fourth Sundays of the month. In May, these dates coincided with Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. We programmed two accomplished solo guitarists, playing standards and original material. Matt Richards has performed at the Montreal and Mellon Jazz Festivals, and shared stages with Richie Havens and Paco Pena. He’s been described as “the most originally creative guitarist on the regional scene.’ Philadelphia Music Award nominee Rolly Brown is a national champion fingerstyle guitarist, renowned both as a performer and a teacher.  

 

One of the goals of this new performance series is to introduce the performing arts to the broad and diverse audience that frequents the Reading Terminal Market. It’s been especially wonderful to see how children respond to live music. This little girl was clearly fascinated by Rolly Brown’s guitar. When he started playing Teddy Bear’s Picnic, she danced.  

MayMusic

 

Music @ the Market is an ongoing program; click here for information about upcoming performances.

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4 Asparagus Recipes for Spring

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Photo: Iovine Brothers' Summer Slaw

Asparagus is one of the first crops to be harvested during the local growing season, and, at the Market, we know spring has sprung when the first batch of local asparagus arrive. We thought it only fitting to post four of our merchants’ favorite asparagus recipes. Enjoy!

Beck’s Grilled Summer Asparagus

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. asparagus, pencil size
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • ½ tsp Granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt ( kosher) to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 12 ea. fresh raspberries (as garnish) 

Preparation:

Cut the root end of asparagus until, wash and dry. Put in a baking dish with all ingredients except the fresh raspberries, reserve them for the garnish.

The asparagus should marinate for about two hours covered in the refrigerator. Strain the marinade from the asparagus and shake off any excess oil so that it will not flame on the grill and give the asparagus the black sooty color as it is cooking, you want a nice lightly charred look.

Place asparagus on a smoking hot preheated outdoor grill, get some quick car marking then move the asparagus to an indirect area of the grill to finish. From beginning to end; to cook this should take 3-4 min total, it should until be bright green and be al dente to the touch, it will continue to cook until it cools. Place in fridge to help cool.

Put asparagus on a platter decoratively and top with the dressing and garnish with fresh berries.

Fair Food Farmstand’s Favorite Shaved Asparagus Pizza by www.smittenkitchen.com

Makes 1 thin crust 12-inch pizza

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 recipe Really Simple Pizza Dough or your favorite pizza dough
  • 1/2 pound asparagus
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 pound mozzarella, shredded or cut into small cubes
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Several grinds black pepper
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced

 

Preheat your oven to the hottest temperature it goes, or about 500 in most cases. If you use a pizza stone, have it in there.

Preparation:

Prepare asparagus: No need to snap off ends; they can be your “handles” as you peel the asparagus. Holding a single asparagus spear by its tough end, lay it flat on a cutting board and using a vegetable peeler (a Y-shaped peeler works best here, but I only had a standard, old and pretty dull peeler and it still worked; a mandolin would also work, in theory, but I found it more difficult to do it that way), create long shavings of asparagus by drawing the peeler from the base to the top of the stalk. Repeat with remaining stalks and don’t fret some pieces are unevenly thick (such as the end of the stalk, which might be too thin to peel); the mixed textures give a great character to the pizza. Discard tough ends. Toss peelings with olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl and be sure to try one — I bet you can hardly believe how good raw asparagus can taste.

Assemble and bake pizza: Roll or stretch out your pizza dough to a 12-inch round. Either transfer to a floured or cornmeal-dusted pizza peel (if using a pizza stone in the oven) or to a floured or cornmeal-dusted tray to bake it on. Sprinkle pizza dough with Parmesan, then mozzarella. Pile asparagus on top. Bake pizza for 10 to 15 minutes, or until edges are browned, the cheese is bubbly and the asparagus might be lightly charred. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with scallions, then slice and eat.

Iovine Brothers’ Summer Slaw

Ingredients:

Vinaigrette

  • 12 oz Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Celery Seed
  • 2 tbsp. Yellow Mustard Seed
  • 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Salt & Pepper
  • 6 oz. Honey

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a sauce pan.
Let cool before serving.

Summer slaw

  • 1 Bunch Red Swiss Chard removed from the stem, sliced thin
  • 1 Turnip, Julienne cut
  • 4 Asparagus Stalks, French cut
  • 1 Fennel Bulb, shaved thin
  • 2 Navel Oranges, segmented
  • 6 Bunch Radish, thinly sliced in rounds

Preparation:

Add all ingredients into a mixing bowl and toss with cool dressing immediately before serving. Enjoy!

Pearl’s Oyster Bar’s Scallops with Asparagus and Mushroom Beurre Blanc

Ingredients:

  • 1lb medium asparagus
  • 1tsp. minced garlic
  • 3 tbs. olive oil
  • 2lb large sea scallops (tough ligament removed from side of each, if attached)
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • Sliced Baby Bella mushrooms
  • 1tbs. minced fresh chives

Preparation:

Trim asparagus, and cut stems into ¼ thick diagonal slices, leaving tips whole.

Heat 1 tbs. oil in a 12” heavy nonstick skillet over moderately high heat. Add garlic, mushrooms, and asparagus, stirring occasionally, until just tender (5-6 minutes). Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate, reserving skillet off heat (do not clean).

Pat scallops dry and sprinkle with pepper and ½ tsp. salt. Add 1 tbs. oil to skillet and heat over moderately high heat, then sauté ½ of the scallops, turning over once, until browned and just cooked through, 4-6 minutes total. Transfer scallops with tongs to another plate as cooked.

Wipe out skillet with paper towels, and then add remaining tbs. oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Sauté remaining scallops, turning over once, until browned and cooked through, 4-6 minutes total. Transfer cooked scallops to a plate. (Do not wipe skillet after second batch.)

Carefully add wine to skillet (mixture may spatter) and boil, scraping up brown bits, until liquid is reduced to about 2 tbs. (about 1 minute). Add any scallop juices accumulated on the plate and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter, 1 piece at a time, until incorporated.

Add asparagus and remaining ¼ tsp. salt, and cook until heated through (about 1 minute).

Serve scallops topped with asparagus and mushroom sauce. Garnish with fresh chives.

 

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