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Porter Collins: A Review

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Last weekend, I sidled over to Porter Collins, which is a newer restaurant that opened in uptown Hoboken a few months ago.  They are a part of the Pino Hospitality group, which is also responsible for Anthony David's and Bin14, which are acclaimed Hoboken restaurants.  To set the scene, Porter Collins offers a bottomless weekend brunch from 11am - 3pm.  This is accompanied by an all-you-can-eat buffet, as well as a few chef specials which are delivered directly from the kitchen.

My friend and I arrived at 12pm for a Sunday brunch last weekend.  The outside of the building is slightly industrial but definitely has a modern flair to it.  Psssst - do you see that Happy Hour sign outside?  There is a 1/2 price Happy Hour every day from 5-7pm when you order food from the bar.  One day when I am able to leave work early, I'll take advantage of this for sure!

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Upon entering, you're greeted by greenery (not pictured - there are a number of larger plants behind the hostess station) and a bar area.  There are a few high top tables as well, if you're inclined to eat there.  In the back of this section, Porter Collins also has an area that can be used for private events such as birthday parties or wedding receptions.  There is a full bar as well as the ability to set up DJ equipment for all your music needs.

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Alright, let's get down to the brunch!  The brunch is held in yet another room at Porter Collins.  This one has really cute beachy details.  They are actually looking to add even more beachy decor soon, but for now, I still think it looks amazing.  Can we just appreciate this mural for a second?

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So. Every Saturday and Sunday, from 11am - 3pm, you can hook yourself up with an all-you-can-eat-and-drink situation.  The food is buffet style and the drink options are Bloody Mary's, Mimosas, and Bellinis.  The chef's specials are included in the brunch price of $35 per person.  When we were there, some of the chef's specials were omelettes, eggs benedict, and banana pancakes!

Below are some pictures to really give you the experience --

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If you need a pick-me-up, as we ALL do on weekend mornings, there is a full service coffee bar that you can take advantage of.  Porter Collins offers both cold-brewed iced coffee as well as regular hot coffee, but if you need a shot that will be $5 please.

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Here's a glimpse at our first plates of food.  Yup.  First plates...

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And although this is not a part of the brunch, we just had to try the frose to close out this brunch!  Let it be known that it was excellent.

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OK, so I've got your recap of everything below.  There's also a regular menu snuck in there in case you are not interested in the brunch (what!?) or can't make it there on the weekends.  Personally, I can't wait to go back to try out more of the brunch items and the chef specials.  The summer menu also offers amazing options, so I'll need to book another table as soon as possible!

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*Disclaimer - I was provided with the brunch in exchange for my opinion.  All opinions above are my own.

Chicken Egg Roll in a Bowl

I just got back from Canada (ok, like a week ago, but that's the same right?) and it was so much fun!  I haven't been to Canada in a number of years when I was there before for my cousin's college graduation.  This time it was just me and a friend.  We did all the things, including visiting the Toronto Islands, eating in Kensington Market, and trekking over to Niagara Falls.

Something we made sure to do while we were there was to check out the Asian food.  Apparently Toronto is supposed to have really good Asian food.  As we were eating everything in sight already, I only ordered a vermicelli noodle dish (which I quickly ate ALL of) and it was so so delicious.  Basically, I've just been craving Asian food flavors again.

One dish that I love to eat but hate to order is egg rolls.  I love very specific fried foods, such as fried chicken.  However, most other fried foods aren't really appealing to me.  I've determined that I love the filling of egg rolls but I'm just not in love with the fried outer shell.  Enter the Chicken Egg Roll in a Bowl.  I saw this recipe posted online and I was completely obsessed with making this as-soon-as-humanly-possible!  So here we are...

 

Chicken Egg Roll in a Bowl
makes 4-6 servings

Print Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb ground chicken, turkey or pork (I used chicken)
  • 1 small to medium onion, diced
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 16 ounces bagged coleslaw mix (shredded green cabbage and carrots)
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced for garnish, optional
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds for garnish, optional
  • extra soy sauce for serving, optional

1) Pour the oils into a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the chicken and cook until done all the way through, making sure to crumble the chicken into smaller pieces.  It should take about 4-5 minutes to cook.

2) Toss in the onions and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the onions are softened.

3) Add in the garlic and ground ginger.  Stir together and cook for about 1 minute.

4) Pour in the coleslaw mix.  Add the soy sauce and black pepper as well.  Stir the mixture gently, making sure that the chicken mixture combines evenly with the coleslaw.  Cook for 5 minutes, or until the cabbage wilts the desired amount.

5) Before serving, sprinkle with sliced green onions and sesame seeds, if using.  Place the extra soy sauce on the side if desired.

--recipe very slightly adapted from Averie Cooks

Cherry Mango Red Wine Smoothie

It's time to be basic this summer.  Everyone is out here buying and making frosé (frozen rosé) and I must admit that I feel left out.  I don't typically drink rosé since it tends to be too sugary for me and gives me a headache almost immediately.  Sad panda.  (Side note - I just tried a rosé gelato today and I didn't get a pesky headache!  Which means I'm pretty sure I'll be eating it everyday until October.)

At any rate, I decided I would make my own version of a boozy frozen drink, using my current favorite beverage - red wine!  I decided I wanted to use frozen mangoes (because I like them) and frozen cherries (because they are delicious) in my smoothie.  Not only will this give our drink a pretty color, but I'm also obsessed obsessed obsessed with cherries.  More specifically, I'm obsessed with cherry flavors and not the actual fruit.  (Fun fact - I tried to eat one of the frozen cherries as-is and could.not.do.it. It's a texture thing for me.)

Throw mangoes, cherries, yogurt, and red wine into the blender and we're doing fine.  I was able to detect a slight hint of the red wine in the drink, which is really all I need.  This was so tasty that I'm hell bent on drinking this several times a week until the end of time.  I'm not exaggerating.


Cherry Mango Red Wine Smoothie
makes 1 smoothie

Print Recipe

  • 1 cup frozen mango, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen cherries, diced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1-2 teaspoons Greek yogurt

1) Add all ingredients to a small blender and blend together until it reaches the desired consistency.  Enjoy!

Peach Ginger Mint Popsicles

We are in the thick of summer.  The 90 degree weather that we've been having for the past few days tells me so.  I'm not complaining.  I'm not a fan of super hot temps, but I'm definitely more partial to heat than I am to the cold.  So let's just live our lives and whip up some refreshing popsicles to get us through this.

I went through a white nectarine phase a few years ago.  It lasted for a while.  White nectarines are my jam, since they can be crunchy like apples, but they have a peach flavor.  My biggest gripe with peaches is their texture, so I was basically able to eliminate the one thing I didn't like with these fruits.  Anyhow, for this recipe I would recommend using actual peaches, as they're softer and will be easier to blend.  The ginger in this recipe is a shining star as well.  I love a hint of fresh ginger in the summer.  So refreshing!  Also, I just can't stop with the mint.  Don't make me!

I managed to refrain from adding booze to these popsicles (I was oh so close to doing so!), but I won't be mad one little bit if you find yourself pouring in a little bit of spirits.  Live your life to the fullest.

 

Peach Ginger Mint Popsicles
makes 6 popsicles

Print Recipe

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 (2-inch thick) slice of fresh ginger, peeled
  • Four large peaches, peeled and quartered
  • 1/4 + 2 tablespoons cup lime juice
  • handful of fresh mint leaves

1) In a small sauce pan over medium heat, bring the sugar, corn syrup, salt and water to a boil.  Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves in the pan, about 2 minutes. 

2) Add the ginger to the pan and stir the mixture for 1 more minute.

3) Remove from heat and allow the syrup to stand in the sauce pan for 10 minutes.

4) Next, add the peaches, simple syrup, and lime juice to a large bowl.  Use a handheld blender to puree the mixture.  Depending on how ripe your peaches are, it may take a bit of time to break down the fruit.

5) Pour the mixture into the popsicle molds and add the sticks.  Freeze the pops until completely frozen, about 8 hours.

Slow Cooker Beef Ragu

I have a new obsession.  You may have heard of it.  It's called biking.

When I was in NOLA, my friends and I signed up for a bike tour and it was honestly the highlight of my time there. (Side note: If you are also heading to NOLA, I highly recommend Flambeaux Bicycle Tours.  Take a tour with Eric!)  I came back to Hoboken and immediately signed up to use our city-wide shared bike program.  I've been meaning to do it for the past two years but of course I needed an extra push in the right direction.

With my newfound wheels of freedom, I decided to take a leisurely ride to my neighborhood ShopRite to pick up a roast and a few other items.  Am I the only one who loves grocery shopping?  As I first started getting into cooking, I would head to ShopRite to find ingredients and it was there that I really grew to love picking out produce and stocking up on pantry items.  Yes, this might seem weird to a few of you, but I KNOW some of you get me.  And since I was so accustomed to the large selection in my big-box grocery store, shopping in smaller places nowadays just doesn't give me the exact same feeling of excitement.  I just love ShopRite so much!

OK, before things get weird (aren't they already weird though?), let's just stop there.  Suffice it to say that I am excited to be in full-on biking mode for the summer and I'm looking for any opportunity to take a bike ride through Hoboken.  Guess that means you'll be seeing even more posts about ShopRite in the future!
 

Slow Cooker Beef Ragu
makes 6-8 servings

Print Recipe

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves (or 3 teaspoons dried)
  • 4 lbs beef chuck roast, halved
  • kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste

1) Add the onion, garlic, tomato paste, and oregano into your slow cooker.

2) Season the beef with as much salt and pepper as desired.  Add the meat to the slow cooker as well.

3) Pour in 2 cups of water, cover and cook on low for 9 hours (or high for 4 1/2 hours).

4) Once done, use tongs or forks to shred the meat.

5) Serve warm on top of rice, mashed potatoes, polenta/grits, etc.

--recipe slightly adapted from Real Food By Dad

Corn & Pepper Pizza

Yup, I have yet another pizza for you guys.  I can't stop.  I'm going through a heavy carb-loading moment, soooo you're on the receiving end of this part of my life.  I've also just come back from a fabulous trip to New Orleans and I haven't quite figured out how to detox from all the rich food.  I'm thinking about it, but even on my trip back to NJ, the airplane RAN OUT OF SALADS before I could order one.  How rude.  Guess what the only other food option was...buffalo mac and cheese.  Really? Really?

Make no mistake, this is not a salad that I'm presenting to you today.  It does have vegetables though, so it's a step in the right direction.

Plus, we have to take advantage of fresh corn when we can.  Summer is here!  To give this pizza a bit of a kick, I added a few blistered hot peppers, but you could always substitute green peppers if the heat is not really your thing.
 

Corn & Pepper Pizza
makes 8"-10" pizza

Print Recipe

  • 1 package prepared pizza dough, brought to room temperature
  • 3 long green peppers
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, divided
  • kosher salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 2 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/4 shallot, diced
  • 1 cup roasted corn kernels, fresh or frozen

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

2) In a small saucepan over medium or high heat, add the peppers and 1/2 teaspoon olive oil.

3) Use a pair of tongs to turn the peppers so they blister evenly on all sides.  Sprinkle with kosher salt, then remove from the pan and dice finely.

4) Stretch the pizza dough over the prepared baking sheet until it forms an 8"-10" circle.

5) Drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil over the dough and add the garlic.  Spread both evenly over the dough.

6) Sprinkle the mozzarella and goat cheeses on top, followed by the shallots, peppers, and the corn.

7) Bake the pizza for 15-20 minutes, depending on how crisp you like your pizza.

8) Once out of the oven, allow the pizza to cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Mango Lassi

It's a beautiful day outside!  Yet here I am sitting at my computer, sipping on a mango lassi.  Casual.

I finally broke down and purchased one of those personal-sized blenders.  I've been hemming and hawing for a while (i.e. over a year) since I have limited counter space and I hate to see a lot of food gadgets sitting around.  I was finally pushed over the edge by seeing frozen mango being stocked at Trader Joe's.  For some reason, this was my breaking point.  I went home and immediately researched blenders on Amazon and picked one up.

Once the blender was in my grubby little hands, I set out to make a mango lassi because...why not?  Why else did I purchase all the frozen mango from TJ's?  This drink is cool and refreshing and exactly what I need throughout this summer.  I went a bit rogue and added a few mint leaves into the blender as well, and I'm pretty pleased with the outcome.

If you're not a fan of the ratios in my recipe below, fear not!  You can tweak this recipe so so so easily to make it your own.  Don't like Greek yogurt?  Nix it.  Do you want more mango in your drink? Add it.  You're the boss of you!

 

Mango Lassi
makes 1 smoothie - recipe can be multiplied to make several

Print Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mango
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup milk (can be soy, whole, skim, almond...etc...)
  • handful of mint leaves, optional

1) Add mango, yogurt, and milk to the blender.  Blend until all ingredients are incorporated.

2) If using the mint leaves, add them at this point.  Blend the lassi for several seconds to distribute the mint leaves into the drink.

3) Pour the lassi into a glass and serve immediately.

Green Chile Beef

Before you decide that there are simply too many ingredients in this recipe....hear me out.  I, too, felt that way at first glance, but then as I took a closer look, I realized that this is sort of a plug-an-play situation.  What I mean is that there is little prep for this dish.  Honestly...you dice half an onion and a sweet pepper and that's all the work needed.  Come on now.  Come.  On!

I am the epitome of a "laid back blogger".  You probably already know that I work a 9-to-5 job.  However, things have been a bit hectic at work recently so I've actually been dialing things back over here.  I have no plans to stop blogging anytime soon.  I've actually been making quite a few new recipes chez moi, but just haven't had the time to post yet.  So anyhow, I say this to let you know that this recipe IS actually very easy to make and I totally recommend doing just that.

I slightly tweaked this dish from How Sweet Eats since I felt the need to add in a few more seasonings and also add in corn.  What's a summer without some good old corn?  Nothing, I tell you.  Full disclosure - this is frozen corn, BUT you can definitely use fresh corn if you have some on hand.  I didn't (bad food blogger!) so I had to improvise.  All's fair in the kitchen!

 

Green Chile Beef
makes 4-6 servings

Print Recipe

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 red pepper bell, chopped
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 4-ounce cans diced green chiles, 1 tablespoon reserved
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken or beef stock
  • rice for serving, optional
  • avocado, thinly sliced for serving, optional
  • sour cream for serving, optional


1) Heat a large saucepan over medium heat.  Pour in the olive oil.  Once warmed through, toss in the onions, bell peppers, and the garlic.  Saute until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.

2) Place the beef in the skillet and allow to cook until browned, 6-8 minutes.  Make sure to break up the beef in order to cook the meat evenly.

3) Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, paprika, onion powder, cayenne, seasoned salt, salt and black pepper.  Add the spices to the saucepan with the beef and stir well to incorporate.

4) Add in the green chiles and the frozen corn.  Stir well.  Cover and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes so the flavors can all come together.

5) Remove from heat and serve over rice.  Serve with avocado and/or sour cream on the side if desired.

--recipe slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is

White Spinach Pizza

I feel as if this pizza is a great segway into summer.  We're now starting to relax a bit more and throw together recipes that don't take a lot of time.  Who wants to be in the kitchen making food when it's nice outside?  Not me!  Unfortunately this recipe does require you to turn on the oven, but it's only for a short while, so we can handle that.  I mean, this pizza has spinach on it, so it's truly the epitome of health, right?  Let's not think about the cheese and the carbs.  Just let me live!

Speaking of living, I'm visiting the American Museum of Natural History today.  In spite of living so so sp close to NYC and being in the city practically every day, I'm the absolute worst at making sure I take advantage of everything offered.  So today I am heading back to see the dinosaurs and the mummies and of course, the Hayden Planetarium.  If I'm super lucky, maybe I'll also see Neil deGrasse Tyson (!!!).  Life goals!

But first, let's eat pizza!

 

White Spinach Pizza

Print Recipe

  • 1 package prepared pizza dough, brought to room temperature
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto
  • 8 ounces frozen spinach
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/8 medium red onion
  • 2 ounces goat cheese


1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

2) Place the frozen spinach in the microwave.  Heat until warmed through.  Squeeze to remove excess water.

3) Add the garlic powder, salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.  Stir through to incorporate.

4) Sprinkle in the mozzarella and stir once again.  Set aside.

5) Stretch the pizza dough over the prepared baking sheet until it forms a 12" circle.

6) Drizzle the olive oil over the pizza and brush to spread evenly.  Add the pesto and use a brush to also spread this in an even layer.

7) Top with the spinach and cheese mix.  Add the onion slices, and then sprinkle the goat cheese on top.

8) Bake the pizza for 10-13 minutes, depending on how crisp you like your pizza.

9) Once out of the oven, sprinkle with more freshly cracked black pepper and red pepper flakes, if desired.  Allow the pizza to cool slightly before slicing and serving.

--slightly adapted from Budget Bytes

Salami Mozzarella Quiche

It's MDW weekend! (That's Memorial Day Weekend for the non-Americans.)  Why do we say MDW weekend when that's redundant?  Deep questions late on a Friday night while maybe listening to the Britney Spears playlist on Spotify.

I'm not gonna lie.  This quiche is (still!) totally inspired by that pizza I had at Harry's Italian in NYC.  What can I say?  I'm just craving this combo!  Again, I used salami because it's easier for me to find that sopresatta and, to be honest, I'm all about doing what's easy, yet tasty.

Soooo can this quiche possibly maybe help usher in summer?  I'm not sure how it's supposed to do that but I'm counting on it nevertheless.  Because it's cold outside and has been raining on and off for days.  Summer made an appearance for a few days two weeks ago (in which I sweltered nonstop), only to sneak away for some time on THE SAME DAY that I finally had my air conditioning unit installed.  I'm not bitter.  Not at all...
 

Salami Mozzarella Quiche

Print Recipe

  • 1 package store-bought pie crust
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 lb salami, diced
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh mozzarella, pulled apart
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • pinch cayenne pepper


Blind bake the pie crust:

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2) Use a fork to prick the bottom and sides of the pie crust.

3) Bake for 10 minutes.

4) Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes.  If the pie crust bubbled up slightly, just press it down gently.

 

Assemble the quiche:

1) Decrease the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

2) In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and then add the onion.  Saute until they are slightly translucent.  Set aside to cool slightly.

3) Spread the salami on the bottom of the pie crust.  Sprinkle the onions on top.  Layer the mozzarella evenly over everything.

4) In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper until just combined.  Pour the mixture into the prepared crust.

5) Bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes, or until the quiche is set in the middle.

6) Remove from the oven and allow to cool before slicing and serving.

--recipe slightly adapted from A Family Feast