The MidPod’s Best Food Moments in NJ-11

Recipe:  Runner’s Omelet with Mills Corn and Bean Salad

In winter of 1779-1780, nascent America faced one of is darkest moments.  Washington and his aide-de-camp Alexander Hamilton settled 13,000 starved, poorly clothed troops into 600 acres of a Morristown, N.J. woodland called Jockey Hollow, where they were to face the most brutal winter of the 18th century. In debilitating snows and glacial temperatures, the Continental Army barely hung on and Washington strategized.    

 Wick Garden

Wick Garden

Nicie and I wandered Jockey Hollow in August; we opened the creaking Latch Gate of the Wick Garden, densely tangled with late summer vines.  Shining yellow squashes, their papery blossoms still attached, secreted in the leafy shade beside rows of satiny spinach and chard.   Head-high corn stalks ruffled in a light breeze. The mammoth leaves of Pie Plant and clumps of New Jersey Tea plant, each well marked, thrust us into Colonial history.  

The story goes that in May 1780, the Marquis de Lafayette arrived at Jockey Hollow, and stood with Washington in this garden.  Among the pea shoots and sprouting lettuces Lafayette presented the news that France would be sending 6,000 troops to assist in the battle for independence.  In Lafayette’s account, Washington’s eyes filled with tears.  Morristown, NJ, as they say, is where America survived.  

Nicie and I survived very well in New Jersey.  We were moved by Washington’s awesome courage and endurance, and then we were moved by the awesome citizens and candidates we met - the way so many people had radically interrupted their lives for their country, demanding better representation from their Congressman, holding informational townhalls in their communities, and even running for office.  We were also deeply moved by the immigration stories here; the story of Karol Ruiz’s family’s courageous fight to find a good life. 

 Raul's Empanadas

Raul's Empanadas

In and around looking for and listening to those stories, we discovered Raul’s Empanadas in Morristown, a tip from Karol Ruiz.  This place was lifesaving gem one day.  A small, cheerful space where, for about $6 ($3 each) you can have two warm, handmade (to order!) empanadas filled with beef, chicken, vegetables and even pumpkin.  (Two is really too much, but it’s impossible to choose one filling.) If you are anywhere close to Morristown, NJ at lunchtime - even dinner - find Raul’s.

Nicie and I had two - yes, we went back the next day - TWO - great breakfasts at the Morristown Pancake House.  This is the clean, well-lit place in Morristown where the pancake stacks are high, the omelets fluffy and ample, and Huevos Rancheros bueno.  Clearly, this is where Morristown - high school kids, a single policeman, young mothers - goes for breakfast.  We enjoyed talking to our waitress, Chardea.  Chardea, we hope you’ve found a way to connect again to voting, and maybe even mobilize your friends.

 Avocado Toast at The Artist Baker

Avocado Toast at The Artist Baker

If you listen to our NJ-11 podcast, you will learn all about the peach pie we had at the Artist Baker, a Morristown culinary destination.  Artist-baker Andrea Lekberg, has a medaled baking resume, but, what makes the shop and the cuisine incredibly special is that artist part.   Lekberg is a super skilled baker, but she never stops being a philosopher/artist, too.  That reflects in the aesthetic of this tiny restaurant - appointed in a battery of tea cups, antique cake stands and tin pie plates - but it also appears in the abstract.  Lekberg has at times invited a pop-up bike shop and a florist into her bakery. 

We visited Linda Mills in her 18th century Harding farmhouse, and spoke with her and friend Elaine McHale about the discreet discomfort Republicans in this town had been feeling about the way their Congressman (and neighbor) Rodney Frelinghuysen has been voting - in line with Trump’s agenda, appearing more and more like an enemy of the environment and women.   Linda and her husband were guests the next night at our Morristown potluck dinner.  Linda contributed a “Mexican Corn and Bean Salad,” an ideal recipe for New Jersey corn in its August glory.  

 Hewitt's -Runner's Omelet- with Mills Mexican Corn Salad

Hewitt's -Runner's Omelet- with Mills Mexican Corn Salad

The seasoning makes this salad a happy side dish to so many things, including Martin Hewitt’s “Runner’s Omelet.”  Hewitt is running for Congress, and he’s a runner.  Again, in the podcast you will hear about Hewitt’s path to candidacy, and you will hear his infectious voice, part scholar, part humorist, part citizen.  Along with being a husband, dad, attorney, and Congressional candidate, Hewitt, as a runner, is promising to run races in all 54 municipalities in the district before the June 2017 Republican primary.  (How’s that going, Martin?)   It turns out Hewitt cooks with as much vigor as he runs for office.  Runners love a good protein-packed recipe.  Hewitt shared his most recent runner’s meal with me, avocado-and-vanilla yogurt-filled omelette.  The creaminess, the slightly sweet and slightly savory elements here win, but I decided it’s even better served with the heat, spice and texture of Linda Mill’s Mexican Corn Salad.  


Great Places in NJ-11

Raul’s Empanadas - empanadas

The Artist Baker, Morristown NJ  pies, cakes, macarons, scones, avocado toast, lunch

The Morristown Pancake House  pancakes and omelets

Swiss Chalet Bakery & Cafe - coffee and pastries, interviewing candidates

Mills Corn and Bean Salad

(adapted from

Serves 8 approximately

Salad Ingredients:

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained or use dried beans soaked overnight and cooked

1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained or use dried beans, soaked overnight and cooked

6 ears of fresh corn

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 orange bell pepper, chopped

1 medium red onion, chopped

1/4 cup cilantro

Dressing Ingredients

¼ cup olive oil

½ cup red wine vinegar

2 T fresh lime juice

1 T lemon juice

1 T sugar

½ t salt

½ T ground cumin

½ t ground black pepper

½ t chili powder

1 dash hot pepper sauce (if you like it spicy, otherwise omit)


1. Boil a large pot of water for the corn. Once it boils, add the shucked corn and turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and place in ice water to cool. Drain.

2. Add the 2 cans of drained, rinsed and dried beans to a large bowl.

3. Cut the corn kernels from the cob and place in the large bowl with the beans.

4. Add the chopped green, red, and orange peppers to the bowl.

5. In a small bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, olive oil, lime juice, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and black pepper.

6. Pour dressing over the vegetables.

7. Add the chopped cilantro and mix.

8. Chill and serve.


Martin’s Hewitt’s Runner’s Omelet

Serves 1 generously


11/2 teaspoons butter or ghee

2 eggs, beaten

¼ of an avocado, sliced approximately ¼ “

½ cup vanilla non-fat Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon honey

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a small bowl beat together eggs.

  2. Heat a small to medium skillet to medium high heat.  Melt butter or ghee.  When butter is foamy, add beaten eggs and let set on the bottom, about 1 minute.  When the pan-side of the eggs are solid with a bit of runniness on top, spread the yogurt on one half of the omelet.  Lay avocado attractively on top of the yogurt.  Drizzle honey over that, and then salt and pepper.  

  3.  Fold other half of omelet over the yogurt and avocados.  The eggs should be mostly set by now.  Let cook for another 30 seconds to a minute, depending on how dry you like your omelet. The bottom should be nicely browned.  

  4.  Slide onto plate and serve immediately.