Posts Tagged ‘Jersey’

I LOVE peanut butter and I LOVE tomatoes.  Of course if you are a regular reader of this blog you already know that.  The blog is a testimony to Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches, my favorite, my kids favorite and now my adorable granddaughter, Finley’s favorite.

 Tomatoes, especially Jersey Tomatoes are a passion of mine.  I eat them all summer long and as far into fall as I can.  Once there are no locally grown tomatoes, I literally STOP eating fresh tomatoes!  I have vintage tomato salt and pepper shakers, a tomato-shaped tea pot, tomato sugar and creamer, tomato cookbooks, a collection of cans of Italian tomatoes and best of all, a tomato tattoo.  Well now that’s out there to the world.  I was born in New Jersey and I often describe myself (to my husband) as “one hot Jersey tomato” – that’s me.

And as if Big Boy, Beefsteak, Arkansas Traveler,Bella Rosa, Brandymaster Pink, Charger and hundreds more varieties weren’t enough to tantalize your taste buds, add Heirloom Tomatoes!  You’ve seen them with their bulbous, knobby, colorful shapes.  Sometimes they look weird, misshapen and in a palette of colors not necessarily in the red family!  They don’t always look appetizing, however, they are sweet and flavorful.   They come in a variety of sizes and add great interest to your summer salads.  But don’t let their use just end up in a wooden salad bowl – here are two Heirloom tomato recipes you will love to make and serve.

Heirloom Tomato Pesto Pizza

Heirloom Tomato Pesto Pizza


1 lb pizza dough

flour for dusting

4 tsp olive oil

1/2 cup basil pesto

1 lb Heirloom tomatoes thinly-sliced

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat grill to medium heat.

Divide dough into 4 balls, dust work surface with flour and roll each ball into a 9″ circle.  Brush both sides of the circles with olive oil,  place on baking sheet. Working with one circle at a time, place on grill rack and with tongs rotate the crust so it cooks evenly, browned on the bottom and air bubbles on top, 3-4 minutes.

Transfer pizza to baking sheet browned side up. Spread 2 TBS of basil pesto on crust and top with sliced tomatoes. Don’t cover entire pizza or it will be soggy.  Season with salt and pepper and dot with the cheese.  Slide pizza back onto the grill, close the cover and rotate pizza so it cooks evenly and cheese begins to melt – about 3 minutes.  Lift back onto baking sheet. Repeat with each pizza.

Roasted Heirloom Tomato Butter

Roasted Heirloom Tomato Butter


1 very large or 2 medium-sized red Heirloom tomatoes

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1TBS chopped thyme or oregano

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the tomatoes cut side down onto the paper. Roast until the skins are wrinkled and blistered, and the tomatoes are very soft, 30-35 minutes depending on the size. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Place the tomatoes and any juices in the bowl of a foodprocessor. Process until very smooth and no seeds or large pieces of skin are visible, 2-3 minutes; stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl frequently.

Add the butter, salt, and pepper, and process until blended, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl, 2-3 minutes. Then, stir in the thyme and scrape into a small bowl and cover. (Or, make a log of butter by spooning it onto a sheet of waxed paper, folding the paper over the butter and rolling it gently until you have a sausage shape; twist the ends to seal.)

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 4 days. You can also wrap the log in foil and freeze for up to 3 months; thaw it in the refrigerator.

**Melt this concentrated compound butter over grilled steaks, toss it with flame-kissed vegetables, or freeze some for a burst of summer flavor in the winter months. Use very ripe, very red tomatoes for best color and flavor.

Thanks to Gail for sending me the article on Heirloom tomatoes!

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If you are a follower of this blog, then you know we spend time on the Jersey Shore  and I have a category known as Art is Where You Find It.  Art is everywhere IF you have the eye to seek it out, the time to look for it and it helps if you have the ability to capture the sight on film or in this case, digitally.  Murray spent some of Columbus Day weekend with us and he disappeared for hours at at time, camera in hand.  Oh yes, and it really helps if you have an artistic eye for form, color and perspective.

This is the art that surrounds us;  It’s not hanging in a gallery in SoHo, we don’t have   the name of the artist but we do have the ART!

Sand Castle


Ocean Grove, Asbury Park, Jersey Shore, sunset at sea

Sunset at Sea-The Golden Hour

Ocean Grove, Asbury Park, Jersey shore, sea gull

Sea Gull and Street Lamp

jersey shore, ocean grove, asbury park

Boogie Board Art

art deco, Asbury Park, casino

Art Deco Craftsmanship-Casino Asbury Park

driftwood, solitary man

Solitary Man

Ocean Grove, Jersey shore, Canadian geese

Following the Leader

All photos courtesy of Murray Head

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Governor Chris Christie has ordered that all flags in New Jersey be flown at half-mast the day of Whitney Houston’s funeral! OMG! Are you kidding me?  

I believe flags should be flown half-mast for heroes and very important public officials of the state.  I think Whitney Houston was beautiful, talented, probably a kind and loving person BUT I do not want my grandchildren to think  she was a hero! She was a drug addict and you can call it a disease and that’s fine with me BUT it is not a disease that you contract like polio or cancer!  It is a self-induced, self-inflicted affliction and the sick person has to own that.  I tried to teach my own children to be responsible for their own actions and that every action has a consequence (good or bad).

So Governor Christie thinks she’s an icon of the state;  That’s interesting, I never even knew she was from New Jersey and I have lived in the tri-state area my whole life.  Sadly, more people associate Snooki from the show Jersey Shore as an icon and she doesn’t even come from New Jersey.  I know Frank Sinatra came from New Jersey and that Bruce Springsteen comes from New Jersey.  I loved

Governor of New Jersey at a town hall in Hills...

Image via Wikipedia

songs, I loved that he was Italian (as I am) and that he came from Hoboken, like my grandmother did but he was certainly no hero!  Whitney Houston is NOT a hero;  She was a fantastic singer/entertainer with a remarkable God-given gift and unfortunately for her and us, she took her own life and has robbed us of her gift.

I certainly hope no other celebrity dies soon, as I cherish their talents more and more each year as yet another and another slips away.  New Jersey has been the birthplace of so much talent that if we were to fly the flags at half-mast each time one of them died, we would hardly have full mast flown flags.  Here’s just a handful of New Jersey born celebrities:

Bruce Sprinsteen: 1949

Jon Bon Jovi: 1962

Kevin Spacey: 1959

Meryl Streep: 1949

Judy Blume: 1938

Joe Piscapo: 1951

David Copperfield: 1956

Dionne Warwick: 1940

Ray Liotta: 1954

Jerry Lewis: 1926

Ice-T: 1958

Jack Nicholson: 1937

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The High Line in Manhattan, New York City at W...

The High Line

Well I suppose the answer lies within me, since it’s my blog.  The Fourth of July holiday falling on a Monday was one problem, I didn’t have “the book” with me for the last couple of weeks and maybe we need a great, hot, sweet, summer theme.  Duh, that’s it!  We are halfway through the summer, it’s time to pay tribute to this wonderful time of the year.

Yes! it’s too hot some days.  Yes! It’s humid and you feel sticky all over. Yes, even though it’s vacation time, there are days when you are happy to be working in an air-condtioned office.  Yes, the traffic getting out of the City on a Friday night is wretched and yes the beaches are crowded.  BUT, the days are long and dining al fresco can be a nightly event.  The sun comes up so early JUST so we can enjoy another summer day to the fullest.

Sooooo…I would love to hear from you dear readers.  Summer is or means what to you?  Summer brings on….?  Memories from summers past, whatever – send it in and I will publish it next week.

And for inspiration, I visited the Smith Magazine  website to see if I could find some Six Word Memoirs relating to summer and post them for your review.

Sultry summer, sundresses, sandals and shades –  notjustagirlintheworld

Cicadas’  trilling making summer aurally thrilling –  Level1

I’m chasing summer downhill, no brakes –  lisamoans

Picture perfect summer High Line sunset – notjustagirlintheworld

And from yours truly

Fireflies, flashlights of a summer night – Me

The scent of low tide lingers – Me

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Father's Day Cake 2009

Image by Jim, the Photographer via Flickr

Last week I asked everyone to try and think about the upcoming (now past) Father’s Day and perhaps share some thoughts and feelings about dear old Dad, that very important person in all of our lives!  For me, some flood gate of emotion opened up over the weekend and I wrote from my heart many of the memories I have of my Dad and I doing things together.

BUT, we are never locked into just one theme here on pbenjay so I am glad to have received some memoirs dealing with different subjects.

Leonard was the best Dad ever – Gail

Road trip over.  Long road ahead. – Weez

Please, PLEASE let the fires stop! – Lorraine

Birthday looming, now I’m really old – Gail

60 years is a long friendship – Susan Celtic Lady

Can you  hear me Dad ? Thanks! – Me

Ray’s gone. Bill you’re looking good! – Me


So what shall we think/write/send in next week?  Do you need a theme? Next week is the official start of Summer, 4th of July is looming around the corner.  It’s the time of the year when I immediately revert back to my “school’s out, it’s summer” state of mind.  And what does that exactly mean anyway?  I don’t want to think/work or I envision long days at the shore soaking up sunshine and reading?  Well we’ll see as the season unfolds.

For this week, here’s a few more Six Word Memoirs from Writers Both Obscure and Famous from “the book”.

Being a monk stunk. Better gay – Bob Redman

Quiet guy; please pay closer attention – Jonathan Lesser

Oklahoma girl meets world. Regrets it. – Gretchen Wahl

Life was but a dream, merrily – Paul W. Morris

Happiness is a warm salami sandwich – Stanley Bing



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Strawberry Ice Cream with Strawberries

Sweet & Smooth Strawberry Ice Cream

Ok, so it never really went away BUT I’m just so excited that I have a few contributions from readers and that always makes blue Mondays, happy Mondays.

Wind can stop any time now – Lorraine

I used to pinch, now pluck – Susan Celtic Lady

I believe in love, that’s all – Heather

Count down, how many more days? – Susan Celtic Lady

Sweet, seductive, slippery, sexy – ice creamMe

And as I like to continue to inspire response from you all, here are some Six Word Memoirs from “the book”.  The Six Word Memoirs in this book are written by writers, famous and obscure, which category would you like to be in?

Nothing profound, I just sat around – Daniel Rosenburg

Found true love, married someone else – Bjorn Stromberg

Others left early: he continued looking – Anthony Swoffurd

Shy Jersey kid, overcompensating ever since – Ariel Kaminer

Dad died, mom crazy, me, too. – Moby

After reading that last one, it is the perfect segué to what is the obvious theme for next Monday.  Father’s Day is Sunday and I think it would be the perfect time to express our thoughts, feelings, love and emotions around our Dad, Father, Poppy – whatever you call him, please share with us some thing, some memory, some something about Dad.  We will publish them all next Monday.

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Six-Word Memoir book cover image

"The Book"

One Life, Six Words, What’s Yours?  The quest continues and the challenge remains – can you? Will you? – try to put your life into just six words, no more, no less!  Well my life, you say, is way too big and complex to distill into six words! Maybe, maybe not.  Some GREAT writers have done and each week I post about 5 Six Word Memoirs from the book, Not Quite What I Was Planning. 

Some weeks we focus on a theme and this week’s was supposed to be about FOOD, our love of, our abstinence from, from taste sensations to tasty tidbits and tasty recipes and of course the throes of dieting. WHATEVER you are thinking or feeling about food is your source of a Six Word Memoir.

This is what I received last week:

A pinch of this and that – Heather

Packing my bags. The adventure continuesWeez

Far away California, grandkids, Jersey coast – Heide

Diet ice cream flavor? Green Tea! – Me

And from the above-referenced book…

I hope to outlive my regrets. – Bob Logan

All night phone calls complete me – Harry Manning

Texas childhood can lead to wisdom – Kristen Ahlemeier-Olfe

Sweet life, good sons – I’m rich –  Roger Waggener

Barrister, barista, what’s the diff, Mom? –Abigail Moorhouse

Ok readers, I’m going to try again and this one is for EVERYONE! Mother’s Day is around the corner, let’s sum up Mom in SIX WORDS!

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