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  • If you’re so busy with life that you forgot about dinner, yet long for something homemade, then this is the perfect dish for you. Omelets are great go-to when you're out of ideas (or ingredients!) and I discovered that leeks, especially the organic ones, are at their best (and most affordable!) in the spring season. Even better, leeks are bursting with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. With an armful of fragrant leeks and a bundle of fresh jumbo shrimps, I knew I had a great thing going for a quick meal.

  • Philly Cheesesteak, Photo by Mikey Il

    Philadelphia may be the City of Brotherly Love, but when it comes to its signature sandwiches, the hoagie and cheesesteak, it’s more like a Civil War battleground.

    Why the decades-long rivalry? Maybe because both sandwiches to varying degrees reflect the city itself: Rough around the edges with a heart of gold, reliable, hard-working, and self-assured.
    After all, how do explain Pat’s King of Steaks in the heart of South Philly? This iconic Philly eatery founded in 1930 is open 24/7 (Thanksgiving & Christmas Day excluded) and boasts lines that snake around the building and spill onto neighboring blocks. It’s not because of their exemplary service, or is it?
    When first-timers go to Pat’s, as I did a couple of years ago, they’ll find the servers fast and furious, and you’d better be too. You see, unlike other sandwiches, when it comes to ordering a cheesesteak, there is a correct way to do it. Do it incorrectly, and you’ll get hollered at by the guy taking your order. Dare to disagree with him or show your snarky side, and you may even get tossed from the joint. (Note: If that happens, go across the street to Geno’s, Pat’s rival.)

  • This simple chicken dish is enhanced with wine and combined with cream sauces. It’s good for the family or great for company.

    Simply layer the ingredients casserole-style. Cook this in a crock pot or else cover and bake it in the oven. Cook it low and slow and go about your regular routine of activities. Come back to it and uncover an amazing dish filled with savory, succulent chicken simmered in wine, mushrooms, potatoes and a luscious sauce base. Serve this on a bed of egg noodles, paired with a green salad and great wine.

    Take a bow and accept the applause.

  • With National Pretzel Day (April 26) fast approaching, I have no choice but to celebrate; the Philadelphian in me requires it! I’m clearly not alone: Philly loves their pretzels so much that we apparently eat 12 times the national average.

    Pretzels have a long history in Pennsylvania, dating back to the 18th century when the Pennsylvania Dutch introduced soft pretzels to the region. National Pretzel Day was actually instituted in 2003 by none other than Ed Rendell to celebrate the importance of pretzels in Pennsylvania. Although the area is better known for their soft pretzels, legend has it that a Pennsylvania baker “invented” hard pretzels when he accidently left the pretzels in too long. Hard pretzels were also first commercially available from Pennsylvania’s own Sturgis Pretzel House in 1851.

    So what better way to celebrate National Pretzel Day than to incorporate them into a delicious dinner recipe? I used Sourdough pretzels in this recipe adapted from Country Living to make another Philadelphia favorite: Fried Chicken! This Pretzel-Crusted “Fried” Chicken is actually baked, but the pretzel crust gives the chicken a nice crunch without deep frying.

  • April 26th might be Pretzel Day, but here at Quirk, we're celebrating Pretzel WEEK. Check back for fun pretzel recipes all week long. Because hey, we're from Philadelphia. Pretzels are our thing. 

     “Tapas,” of Spanish origin, are appetizer-sized portions of anything you’d like for starters, snacks or meals. Have them at a bar or make some at home: these are as versatile as you can get. In honor of the crunchy pretzel, I've put some on these terrific tapas. 


    April 1, 2013


    Quirk Books, the independent publisher known for its irreverent reference guides and innovative works of fiction, has gone and done the unexpected once again. Effective immediately, the company is launching a new imprint that will give readers exactly what they expect. Book-lovers of the world, meet Normal Books.

    "We think that becoming more conventional is truly the most 'strikingly unconventional' move we could make," says President and Publisher David Borgenicht. "Readers have come to expect the unexpected from us, and I'm pretty sure no one was expecting this."

    The Normal Books imprint will offer a completely retooled frontlist of regular, completely straightforward books, with titles including Breakfast for Breakfast, Miss Peregrine's Home for Regular Children, and Pride and Prejudice without Zombies.

    This groundbreaking, daringly creative move was engineered with readers in mind, says Associate Publisher and Creative Director Jason Rekulak. "We’re convinced there’s an audience out there that craves the same-old, same-old,” he says. “We're excited to stop pushing the envelope, and start nudging it back into the desk drawer next to the pens and rubber bands." The concept is expected to yield a more manageable workflow as well. “The sales reps have been clamoring for less buzzworthy titles,” notes Moneka Hewlett, Senior Sales Director.

    Besides its new catalog of traditional print titles, Normal Books intends to release all subsequent books in eBook format: as plain text with no pictures and in a single small, non-dynamic font. Says Vice President Brett Cohen: "In the digital age, Normal Books will be square in the middle of the pack when it comes to using new, innovative technology. There’s no need to show off."

    Below are the titles that Normal Books will be releasing in the coming months:


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