Here’s one guy who will be celebrating National Cheesecake Day


Today is National Cheesecake Day, a day of celebration for cheesecake lovers; but who doesn’t love a slice of this creamy dessert? We all have a favorite dessert or two or three; Cheesecake happens to be one of mine.

First, a bit of history about this dessert. Was the treat invented in New York, thus New York Cheesecake? No, it’s actually believed to have its roots in Greece. Perhaps that is why the cheesecake in Greek-owned diners is always delicious.

Alan Davidson, author of the “Oxford Companion to Food,” wrote that, “Cheesecake was mentioned in Marcus Porcius Cato’s de Re Rustica around 200 BCE, and that Cato described making his cheese libum (cake) with results very similar to modern cheesecake.”

No matter who invented it or when, each region of the country and the world has put its own spin on the dessert: baked or no-bake, New York-style or Philadelphia-style, German or Italian, plain or flavored with fruit, chocolate or peanut butter.

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Photos courtesy of Junior’s Cheesecake Cookbook/Taunton Press

Photographer: Mark Ferri

Save room for Pie On9 pie contest Aug. 1 in Ninth Square


National Pie Day might be celebrated in January, but New Haven’s celebration of the all-American dessert takes place in the heat of summer from 6-8 p.m. Aug. 1 on Orange at Crown Street. City Seed’s second Pie On 9 pie contest and block party features all-you-can-eat pie, Ashley’s Ice Cream, cash bar by 116 Crown and entertainment thanks to DJ Tootskee. And while you are indulging, you will also be benefiting CitySeed’s food stamp program.

Pies such as Shaker lemon pie are often associated with a group of people and, of course, others like pumpkin and mincemeat are synonymous with Thanksgiving and Christmas, respectively. There seems to be a pie for all seasons as well as pies for all regions. Think key lime pie and Mississippi mud pie.

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photos courtesy of Tagan Engel/CitySeed


When at Michael’s Trattoria in Wallingford, try the Eggplant Rollatini


Found: Pat Abrams of Orange wrote, “I attended the Cooking for CASA event, the fundraiser for Children in Placement where many restaurants were showcased. I would love to have the recipe for the eggplant rollatini served by Michael’s Trattoria in Wallingford.”

Pat, go buy those eggplants, because Michael Tiscia , owner/chef of the restaurant at 344 Center St., Wallingford,, 203-269-5303, was happy to share his recipe for the most popular appetizer. To see the rest of this column and recipe, please go to

Celebrate July 4th with ‘Porch Parties,’ ‘Perfect Pops,’ ‘Scoop Adventures’

Friday is a day for celebration and relaxation, whether it be participating in a parade or watching fireworks. I find something inherently relaxing about a porch, where you can chill out with friends, family or, on your own, watch the world go by while sipping a cool drink, nibbling on delicious snacks and cooling off with ice pops or an ice cream cone.

I remember those sweltering summer days of childhood, when the Good Humor man rang his bell on the bicycle-powered cart, and I would run outside to buy an ice pop. The rocket-shaped red and blue pops and the double-stick pops were my favorites. I recall making my own “homemade” pops as well, taking Kool-Aid and freezing it in an ice cube tray.

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Columnist takes us to Amy’s Bread, one of his New York City favorites

As a native New Yorker, I remember as a child, my parents taking me to experience all the Big Apple has to offer which, of course, included the food scene.

We went to the typical touristy places like Carmine’s, Mama Leone’s and Horn & Hardart, the famous automat restaurant known for its macaroni and cheese, Boston baked beans, chicken potpie and pies, all served through coin-operated doors; think a huge wall-to-wall vending machine.

We also went to many eclectic ethnic restaurants like Bernstein’s on Essex aka Shmulka Bernstein’s in the lower East Side where the kosher delicatessen served up great corned beef sandwiches and the like, as well as kosher Chinese food.

To this day, I am asked by many, “What are your favorite food places in New York City?” We are fortunate to be only a train ride away, and on the weekend, if I-95 traffic is in your favor, you can make the 80-mile trip in under 90 minutes.

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Those buttery Corn Bread Biscuits from Millwright’s in Simsbury

Found: Susan Burstein of Guilford wrote, “I recently had dinner at Millwright’s, (77 West St., Simsbury, 860-651-5500). While everything was delicious – not one complaint from our party of six – I would love to get the recipe for the corn bread, which is served in the table bread basket.

“I was disappointed at first to see what the bread selection was, since corn bread is often dry, but one taste of this melt-in-your-mouth corn bread quickly banished any disappointment. I hope you are able to persuade them to part with the recipe.”

The restaurant, a gathering spot to enjoy inspired New England cuisine in a beautiful, historic setting, was rated a New York Times “Don’t Miss” restaurant. The Hop Brook Mill, built in 1680 and now Millwright’s home, overlooks a sparkling pond and rushing waterfall.

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In the ’60s, astronauts launched Tang into product placement stratosphere

I am delighted to receive requests for columns devoted to recipes from my ever-growing vintage food product recipe pamphlet collection. The pamphlets, such as “Flavor Sparkling Recipes with Tang,” published in 1965, bring back feelings of nostalgia and thoughts about when life seemed much simpler.

What I find intriguing, is how so many of these products still exist, decades later, albeit in contemporary packaging, such as Tang, introduced in 1957, not as a juice or juice product, but as an instant breakfast drink with natural orange flavor.

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Thank Lucy Vaserfirer for all the delicious ‘Marinades’

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of grilling season and the unofficial start of summer for most of us, and that means it’s time to get fired up for the smoky flavor of food cooked outdoors.

A gourmet meal prepared in your backyard or on your deck is still an affordable luxury. Easy-to-prepare marinades are the easiest and tastiest way to make big-flavor dinners. I was inspired by “Marinades: The Quick Fix Way to Turn Everyday Food Into Exceptional Fare, With 400 Recipes,” by Lucy Vaserfirer, 2014, Harvard Common Press, $17.95; indeed, what I consider the “bible” on the sauce that will bring your BBQ to the next level.

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Try Nonnie’s Chicken from Savin Rock Roasting Company

Found: Denice Calabrese of Durham wrote, “I would love to have the recipe for Nonnie’s chicken at the Savin Rock Roasting Company, (291 Captain Thomas Blvd., West Haven, It is so spicy and so good that I order it all the time. I would love to try other items on the menu, but always go to this dish because it is so good.”

Denice, now you can order something different when dining at the restaurant since chef and owner Joe Collier shared the recipe. Actually, it is not his recipe. It is his wife Liz’s grandmother’s creation.

The manicotti is also Nonnie’s recipe. Savin Rock Roasting Company is truly a family affair; in addition to Liz, sons Tony and Ryan work there. And just like, “don’t judge a book by its cover”; don’t judge this restaurant from the outside.

Bring your appetite to this casual eatery where they slow-roast pastrami, roast beef, corned beef, ham, ribs and turkey. I must admit, being a fan of New York deli corned beef, Collier’s is a real contender. Not into meat? The diverse menu includes salads, seafood, pastas and specialty sandwiches. Once you visit Savin Rock Roasting Company, I think you will be back.

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Chef Arturo Franco-Camacho welcomes us to Beach & Barn in Branford

Editor’s note: Chef du Jour is an occasional profile of an area food professional.

Arturo Franco-Camacho, 49, chef/owner of Beach & Barn Bar and Bistro and Seawich, 1205 Main St., Branford, 203-208-0736.

Type of food served: Casual American influenced by the coast and farm. Background/education: graduate of Culinary Institute of America, 4 world tours chef de cuisine on the QE2. Former owner of Roomba, Bespoke, The Suburban, Swill and Tacuba.

How would you describe the concept of your restaurant? New England Coast meets farmers market: fresh, seasonal, easy to enjoy classics with a twist.

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