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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving, two great restaurants--one new, one a little over a year old

I was just at dinner at Picnic the Restaurant located at 14-25 Plaza Road North, Fair Lawn, NJ.  The food is phenomenal.  Having been opened a little over a year, Chef Christine Nunn, chef/owner, has a fantastic flair for making classical food with a modern twist.  Her menu generally offers a good selection of fish done to perfection.  It is not kosher, but for those who eat fish out, it is a definite go to place and for those who eat meat and chicken, as well as fish, a definite dining spot.
Another restaurant, that is open just about one month, is Fin Raw Bar and Kitchen located at 183 Glenridge Ave., Montclair, NJ.  As the name suggests, they specialize in fish and seafood of all kinds.  Chef/owner Michael Juliano has a fantastic way with fish.  His selection of fin fish is wonderful and he presents it simply grilled with olive oil and lemon with a choice of sides.  If you are in the area, you really must try it.
Now, Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  For those of you who make soup as a first course and are wondering what soup to make, here's one of the soups that I made for this year's Thanksgiving extravaganza.
From our home to yours, have a Happy Thanksgiving and don't forget to give thanks for what you have and those around you.  I do, and I give thanks for my wonderful family and friends, those I know and those I have yet to meet.

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup
Serves 6
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into thick rounds
1 large parsnip, peeled and cubed
1 small rutabaga, also called a yellow turnip, peeled and cubed
2 leeks, thickly sliced
1 onion quartered
5 bay leaves
6 thyme sprigs, plus extra to garnish
4 rosemary sprigs
5 cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
Thyme sprigs for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Pour oil into a large bowl and mix with the salt and pepper.  Add the vegetables and toss until they are all coated with the oil mixture.
Spread the vegetables out in one layer on a large baking sheet.  Place the bay leaves, the thyme and rosemary sprigs under the vegetables.
Roast the vegetables for about 45 minutes until tender.  Toss occasionally to make sure they are browning evenly.  Remove from the vegetables from the oven, throw out the herbs and place the vegetables into a large stock pot or Dutch oven.
Pour the stock over the vegetables and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.  
Using a hand blender, process for a few minutes until thick and smooth.  Heat through, taste for seasoning and garnish each serving with a small sprig of thyme.

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