Modern’s Tasty Fish and Chips with Malt Vinegar

Fish and Chips by Modern Day Forager

Modern’s Tasty Fish and Chips with Malt Vinegar 


2 pounds of russet potatoes, cut into 1/2  inch strips (hold in a large bowl of ice water)

Peanut oil for frying

1 1/2 pounds of haddock, (or cod) skinned

Salt and Pepper

Beer Batter:

1 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup flat beer

 Place all ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl and stir until there are no lumps.


  1. Bring large pot of salted water to boil.
  2. Cook potatoes in boiling water until just soft, about 5 min.
  3. Remove from water; pat dry and let sit at room temperature for at least an hour, up to 4 hours (or freeze for an hour, you are trying to remove as much moisture as possible)
  4. Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven to 375F
  5. (If you choose you can add a step here, fry at 350 until just brown, remove and freeze again. Then raise temp to 375F and fry for an additional 5 min.)
  6. Add potatoes, frying in batches, stirring often for about 5 minutes
  7. Remove with a skimmer or slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels. (We like to keep fries hot in a warm oven)
  8. Cut fish into equal portions (about 4) Pat dry with paper towel and then in batter, fry one at a time until golden brown about 3 min per side.
  9. Drain on paper towels.
  10. Salt and pepper to tasteServe on newspaper with malt vinegar

Fish and Chips by Modern Day Forager

Recipes by Rj of Urban Table
Photo Style & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table
Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

Modern Day Forager

Asian Short Rib Tacos

Asian Tacos by Modern Day Forager

Asian Short Rib Tacos

Bring your curbside cuisine inside to create your own table top taqueria.  This recipe is the real deal, starting with a range of flavors, a smoky sweetness with a spicy kick, sesame seeds blended to bring out the nuttiness, brightness from all of the citrus, a punch of flavor with the addition of ginger and if that wasn’t enough a crispiness from the shredded romaine lettuce, red onion and juicy tomatoes, crowned with jalapeños and cilantro, all served in soft warm grilled flour tortillas.  Embrace the taco trend and jump on the ubiquitous band wagon or should I say ubiquitous food truck.  Enjoy!

Asian Tacos by Modern Day Forager


3 pounds beef short ribs (about 11-12 pieces)

1/2 Romaine lettuce, shredded

1/2 red onion, sliced thin

2 Roma tomatoes, diced

1 jalapeño, sliced thin

flour  tortilla

Cilantro leaves to taste

2 limes, wedged


1 cup white onion
, diced

1 cup black soy sauce

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup club soda

1/2 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon freshly ginger, minced

1/4 cup sesame oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

Place all marinade ingredients and short ribs to a large zip lock bag marinade the beef short ribs overnight in refrigerator.


3 tablespoons sesame chili oil

1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice

zest from 1 lime

1/4 cups soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder

3 tablespoons  sesame seeds

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt to taste

Add all sauce ingredients to a medium sized mixing bowl and mix well. Refrigerate until use.


  1. Grill the short ribs, about 5 minutes each side
  2. Grill tortillas
  3. Cut meat of bones
  4. Place meat on the tortilla add  lettuce, red onion,jalapeño, tomato and cilantro
  5. Drizzle with sauce
  6. Squeeze of lime

Asian Tacos by Modern Day Forager

Recipes by Rj of Urban Table
Photo Style & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

Modern Day Forager

MDF’s Icy Melon Granita

Cantaloupe Granita by Modern Day Forager


Our version of a childhood summer revival with a twist, a little bit more sophisticated and all grown up.  Chill out, cool down and make the most of your long hot days.  Using white and orange cantaloupe makes for a very fragrant and well-balanced combination.   The addition of basil and the spicy, salty, sweet sugars really liven up this recipe.


  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups cantaloupe chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups white cantaloupe chunks
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • curry sugar, didi’s sugars for the spicy component and for the salty and sweet component we used “martini” from go lb. salt rim-licks.
  • chiffonade of basil


  1. In a small saucepan, stir the water and sugar over low heat just until the sugar melts.  Let cool completely.
  2. In a blender, puree the cantaloupe with the syrup and lime juice.
  3. Strain puree into a bowl through a fine mesh sieve, pressing through with a wooden spoon.
  4. Transfer the puree to a shallow container and place in freezer until frozen around the edges and slushy, about 30 minutes.
  5. Using a fork, stir the granita every 20 until it is completely frozen, about 1 1/2 hours.  Just before serving, fluff granita with fork.
  6. Scoop into bowls, sprinkle with curry sugar and garnish with chiffonade of basil.

Cantaloupe Granita by Modern Day Forager

Our good friends Liz and Aaron Ecburg own a great company, go lb salt which is a local salt bar here in Arizona and boy, do they know their stuff.  We highly recommend their website, there is a wealth of information, along with a user friendly online store,  filled with everything you could possibly need, and if that wasn’t enough they offer classes as well.   Check them out at golbsalt.  We also used another favorite resource of ours for this recipe, Didi Davis’s Food Sugar Blends.  This is a great source for all things spicy, salty and sugary, and they focus on small-batch handmade productions.  Check them out at salttraders.  So many new ways to play with your food.

Cantaloupe Granita by Modern Day Forager

Modern Day Forager

Grandma Week Wrap-up

Grandma Week Wrap-up

Grandma-isms by Modern Day Forager

It is with both trepidation and sorrow that we bid Grandmothers’ week ado!  We have had such a wonderful time just jabbering about our grandparents (hmmm… could a Grandfathers week be in the making?) and sharing just a fraction of those memories with each other and in turn our followers/you.

We started our week with a brief history of our grandmas’ and the incredible influences they had on us as people and as chefs, then we asked for your input and stories, thank you again, to those of you that shared with us.  Your stories just re-emphasized our belief that these women shaped our future, one generation at a time, from what we think to what we eat, from what we say to how we say it and the whole time with humor and love sprinkled in for good measure.

Next we dove into summer (and head first into Heather’s grandma’s freezer) with a tasty, super simple and incredibly versatile freezer jam that just may become one of the things your grandchildren look fondly back on, that you made for them every summer.

Simple Freezer Jam by Modern Day Forager

Every meal that came to my grandmother’s table included bread and butter, you may ask, “what does that have to do with the price of tea in China” let me tell you… no bread brought more smiles than fresh from the oven biscuits and oh by the way, what goes great with all that freezer jam?  That’s right…biscuits!

Grandma's Biscuits by Modern Day Forager

Grandma's Biscuits by Modern Day Forager

It didn’t take us long as we tested our biscuit recipe to decide the next recipe had to be strawberry shortcake. The biscuits make a wonderful vehicle for the sweet summer berries and will hold up to copious amounts of whipped cream and syrup.  Start with grandma’s basic and put your own spin on it.  Balsamic whipped cream, balsamic and black pepper syrup add fresh basil to any or all the ingredients, let your imagination run wild and take our tradition and create yourself a new one.

Strawberry Shortcake by Modern Day Forager

The next stop was back in my Grandma’s kitchen.  Breakfast was always a treat whether it was pancakes, waffles, eggs any number of ways (my favorite, and to this day unduplicated, a Swedish egg dish called rara) occasionally (if it didn’t break the bank) my favorite dry cereal or on the best of days… home made donuts.  Grandma would carefully make the dough, then cut them out on a giant cutting board, then fry 3 or 4 at a time in a big cast iron pot, finally setting them cattywampus on an old brown paper bag to drain … I would be in charge of bringing the warm donuts to the breakfast nook where my grandfather and I would devour them before the next batch was done frying.  I would alternate between powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar and just plain granulated sugar, the whole kit and caboodle, while my grandfather took his plain to dunk in his coffee from the percolator…how could a morning get any better?  I don’t want to sound like a broken record  (do you sense a secondary theme here) but what a great opportunity for you to put your own twist on these magic pieces of fried dough and create a tradition.

Grandma's Donuts by Modern Day Forager

We hope that everyone understands our grandmothers’ where not disciples of Julia Child, they were not gourmands’, four of these women (not Heather’s she is the spring chicken of the MDF family) lived and fed families through The Great Depression (when hand-made, home-made, recycled, re-used, and re-purposed were a way of life not a trend to be followed)  they could stretch a meal and a dollar, but that food, filled with love,  tasted so wonderful and could fill you up and warm you up like nobody’s business.  Boy do we know it’s summer, (118 degrees F today) but that warm you up feeling was truly something special and nothing did that better or said “grandma” more, than our last post, which was, grilled cheese and tomato soup.  Traci’s grandma was ahead of her time; adding different cheeses, serving sandwiches open-faced and utilizing great bread fresh from the bakery.  This is another of those traditional staples that screams for you to make your own version and pass down to the next generation.  Let us know here on MDFs comment page or on MDF’s Facebook page how you are going to put your stamp on grilled cheese and tomato soup.

Creamy Tomato Soup by Modern Day Forager

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup by Modern Day Forager

Pardon me while I get on my soapbox for a moment, I have an ax to grind, and Traci and Heather have bees in their bonnets.  These days’ families don’t spend enough quality time together and we are losing traditions left and right.  Slow the fork down and start sharing what you hold dear from your grandma’s table and start a few traditions at your table… you will never be sorry you did, you heard that straight from the horses mouth.

Just a few more things to ponder, I thought I was done but haste makes wasteThat crazy jello salad thing (Ewww)…did grandma like burnt toast or was she taking one for the team?  Did we really need rice in the salt to keep it from sticking, or the apple in the potato bag to keep them from sprouting?  The bread in the brown sugar sure worked though, so did that tip about putting vinegar in a pie crust to make it flaky.  Does warm 7-up really fix anything that is wrong with your tummy?  Bacon grease, who didn’t have a can of it under the sink and a tupperware in the ice box

Ok, we have to skedaddle… no more piddling around with this post…Monday’s post is waiting to be photographed.

Things grandmas say by Modern Day Forager


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Grandma’s Donuts


Recipes by Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography


Donut or Doughnut …no matter how you spell it, there may be nothing more satisfying to put in your mouth than a hot and fresh one of these old fashioned, hand-cut pieces of fried dough.


  • • 4 cups flour
  • • 1 cup sugar
  • • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • • 2 tablespoon baking powder
  • • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • • 1 cup milk
  • • 2 eggs, beaten
  • • 1 quart oil for frying

Powdered sugar and/or cinnamon sugar (I liked to switch off, while grandpa stuck with plain dunked into his coffee)



Pre-heat oil in a large Dutch oven or pot to approximately 375 F.

Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and nutmeg.

Stir in milk and eggs.

(This step was done by hand on a large floured cutting board in grandma’s kitchen) Divide dough into easy to work with portion and spread out to about 1/4 inch thickness.

Cut out donuts (Grandma use two biscuit cutters to cutout donuts. She did not make donut holes so she just kept re-using the center piece.)

Once you have cut out all your donuts drop them into hot oil, just a few at a time. Fry about 3 minutes, turn and fry for about 3 more minutes or until golden brown.

Drain: (Grandma always tore a brown paper bag and set that on a plate to drain the donuts… never really a necessary step since my grandfather and I ate them as fast as she could make them, which always created plenty of giggles.)

Sprinkle with powdered sugar, cinnamon-sugar, or neither, just plain.

Eat and enjoy! 


Modern Day Forager

Wrap Up for Tomato Week


Make your own Bloody Mary Mix

Just in case you missed anything this week, here is a wrap up of the week for you.  We sure enjoyed bringing you a start to summer with all of our tomato recipes.  Summer means so many different things to each of us.  For Heather its all about the bounty of what the season’s gardens have to offer.  She remembers all the time spent at her grandparents, picking vegetables from their garden.  Tomatoes were always a favorite treat.  There is nothing better then the smell and taste of a fresh picked tomato.

Traci and Rj spent summers in the Midwest and have wonderful memories of homemade ice cream and great times by the lake.  Grandmothers gardens and all the wonder that it has to bring.

We thank you once again for joining us.  We loved bringing you the start to summer for us.  Have a wonderful weekend.  Please stop our Facebook page and share with us some of your favorite eats and treats from your weekend.


Tomato Lardon Jam


Golden & Red Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette


Fried Green Tomatoes and Classic Remoulade Sauce

Modern Day Forager

Brunch Week Wrap Up


Recipes by: Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by: Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by: Heather of Heather Gill Photography

Brunch ahhh, who doesn’t love brunch.  Our second week post is filled with drink recipes that work well these dishes.  If you need cocktail recommendations please look back at last week‘s post.  Thirst quenching and mouth watering sips with a twist.

We live for making food and sharing it with those we love.  It is what we do.  We also live for lazy summer days and sleepy Sunday mornings.  Here at MDF, we have been sharing our fondest childhood memories of weekend soirees and brunch.  Our breakfast backstory….how did these gatherings shape us….can you feel the nostalgia coming on?

For Heather her memory takes her back to french toast piled high to the ceiling.  French toast and milk go hand-and hand for Heather, it is the perfect breakfast duo.  Heather’s grandparents had mountains of blackberries in their yard and her grandma would collect the backyard bounty and produce batch after batch of this thick rich syrup to pour over the top of this yummy  goodness and if that wasn’t enough, then she added a light dusting of powdered sugar over the stacks of golden bread to make it even more special.

Weekends meant sleeping in for Rj and brunch meant spending that last day of his week at his favorite place, his grandmother’s house.  A sensory overload of sorts, the sights and smells of his grandma’s waffles is still a family affair that he carries on and continues with his children today.

And as for me, it takes me back to comfort food and family; our house had an open door policy, a haven for good food and breaking bread.  Food was the draw, always plentiful and the weekend just included even more family and even bigger sense of community.

Our coddled egg recipe is reminiscent and reflective of days gone by.  It is a recipe that gently immerses the egg just below the boiling point and slightly cooks and coddles the egg.  We encourage you to try this old time favorite and this is a great addition to any recipe collection.

The blueberry jam is our go to pantry staple and extremely versatile, so keep the recipe handy for when all that fresh little fruit is at your farm stand.

The french toast is big and bold, sophisticated, with the unique splash of citrus bitters, rich flavorful filling, a perfect balance of sweet and savory, and the quintessential brunch favorite.

We think that the grapefruit is just a fresh take for a tried and true breakfast classic.

Don’t keep these recipes all to yourself, share with your closest friends and family.  Really that is what food is for, sharing.

Last, but surly not least, the cold brew.  Ahhh, coffee, our morning ritual, our daily rocket fuel, we all have a jars , with this robust, smooth and deeply intense flavor, chilling in our iceboxes.  We are prepared for the hot desert days ahead in sunny Arizona.  You can find these way cool mason jars (shown below) at JAM for ten dollars.  JAM is located at 6938 E First Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, 480 522-5410.

Thank you for joining us again this week.  We would love to connect and hear your fondest childhood morning memories of breakfast and brunch in the comments or on our Facebook pages.


Cold Brew Coffee


Glazed Grapefruit with Ruby Red Grapefruit & Hibiscus Sugar


Stuffed French Toast


Elegant, yet Simple Blueberry Jam


Coddled Eggs with Bacon & Chevre

Modern Day Forager

Modern Cocktail Week Wrap Up


Recipes by: Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by: Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by: Heather of Heather Gill Photography

So what did you think of Modern Cocktail week?  We had so much fun coming up with the recipes and photographing details.  Oh and tasting everything too!  That was the most fun!  If you weren’t able to join us for the whole week here is a recap of what we did this week.

ModernDrinks-19Violet Prosecco Cocktail


Watermelon Cucumber Cocktail


The Paloma


The Crazy Jane


Jack Sour with Chocolate Covered Bacon


Sweet & Salty Nuts


Olive Tepanade


Stilton-Pear Crostini

When we started working on the theme for this week we thought about a party we might like to have or at least be invited to.  We imaged this as a lovely party with drinks and appetizers being served on a lovely patio overlooking a lovely sunset.  Yes, that is a fantasy but we can dream.  With a bit of prep time, not much, you could have this party with your friends over the weekend.  Most of what we gave you can be made ahead of time so you will only need to do last minute details like the crostini, but really just assembly.

We love bringing you our stories of food but we want to hear from you.  What are some of the theme you would like to see from us?  Please connect with us in the comments or on our Facebook page.  Have a wonderful weekend.  We will be back next week with another theme.

Modern Day Forager

Zucchini Week Wrap Up


Recipes by: Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by: Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by: Heather of Heather Gill Photography

Wow, what a week! We are so grateful for all the likes and comments.  We certainly had fun putting this together for you.  So if you missed anything let’s do a recap of what we did.

We started with dessert first, because life is short and needs to be savored.  So first up was Lemon Zucchini Cookies.


With that we had a wonderful Zucchini Slaw to go with all the cookouts you will no doubt be doing very soon if not already.


Next up was a wonderful chilled soup.  Chilled Zucchini Soup for those hot days this summer.


We followed that up with a hummus.  Grilled Zucchini Hummus can be served warm or chilled.  And we liked it with crisp fresh vegetables or pita bread.


And finished the week at the grill with Herbed Parmesan Grilled Zucchini.


We had a wonderful time this week.  Please join us again next week for our new ingredient.  We are looking forward to connecting with you.  If you have had the time to make any of the recipes, please let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page.  Have a wonderful weekend.  See you Monday!

Modern Day Forager

Grilled Parmesan Zucchini

zucchini-18Recipes by: Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by: Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by: Heather of Heather Gill Photography

We figured since you were already grilling you might as well make another side dish.  This just jazz’s up regular grilled zucchini.


Here is what you need for this recipe.

Grilled Parmesan Zucchini

3 medium zucchini cut lengthwise

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons oregano

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 teaspoon rosemary, fine dice

salt & pepper

freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat grill brush zucchini with olive oil.
  2. Sprinkle both sides of zucchini with oregano, garlic, rosemary, salt & pepper.
  3. Grill until zucchini is tender, about 4 minutes each side.
  4. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.



Thank you for joining us at the grill today!  We hope you enjoyed it.  We would love to hear from you.  You can connect with us in the comments section or on our Facebook page.

Modern Day Forager