Local legal eagles are sharp in the kitchen
Every column that I write has a birthing tale. This one is no exception. More than a year ago, my husband, Jim Waehler, an Ocean View attorney, suggested that I contact the staff at Ray Tomasetti’s law firm in Fenwick Island because, during lunch, Ray had told him that his staff were all good cooks. Jim is always looking out for me.
I contacted Irene Bunting, who wears many hats at the firm, and although she and the staff had good intentions, the column didn’t materialize. Fast forward to May 2012. I received an email from Irene, describing her boss, Ray Tomasetti, as “a chef disguised as an attorney.” Plus, Ray’s law partner and nephew, Charles “Chip” Armbruster, is also a good cook.
Ray Tomasetti Jr., was born in Wilmington, Del., and grew up in Claymont. He has practiced law in Delaware for 32 years, with offices at 14 West Market Street in Newport (302-995-2840) and at 1209 Coastal Highway in Fenwick Island (302-539-3041). The firm provides legal services for real estate settlements (both residential and commercial), estate planning and estate administration, as well as providing guidance to clients in other general law-related matters.
“I came to Sussex County as the result of the law practice of Richard Goll, who opened his law practice in Fenwick Island in 1978,” Ray said. “I practiced law with him until August 1989.”
As a point of local interest, Camp Barnes is named after Ray’s great uncle, Herbert Barnes, former head of the Delaware State Police.
Ray took an interest in cooking after he married his wife, Christine, in 1979. Christine worked long hours as an accountant at the Franklin Mint, and their deal was that whoever arrived home first was responsible for putting dinner on the table.
“My efforts at cooking were primarily taking recipes and adding my own touch to them,” he said. “And my staff in Fenwick Island are excellent cooks. They have shared their favorite recipes with me, which I’ve tried to duplicate at home.”
Ray and Christine, who have been married for 32 years — happily, he noted — and have two grown sons, Michael and Christopher, now share kitchen duties, since Christine changed careers and is now a sixth-grade science teacher with more reasonable hours than her husband. Christine now does much of the weeknight cooking and Ray takes over on weekends. He is quick to tell you that his favorite ingredient is crabmeat.
“I have never taken any cooking classes,” he said, “but I enjoy watching most television cooking shows.”
Although he works long hours, he does like to work in the garden and enjoys Major League Baseball and college and professional football. He also enjoys traveling throughout the United States and going to see Broadway shows in New York.
Ray shares two recipes with us: Delmarva Linguini with Crab for Two (Ahhh, I visualize candlelight, starched white tablecloth and napkins, and hear soft romantic music in the background); and Ray’s second recipe, Chicken Fenwick Goes Hawaiian, took first prize in the Relay for Life Chicken Cooking Contest back in 1996.
Delmarva Linguini with Crab for Two
? 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
? 1 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic
? 1 teaspoon chopped fresh shallots
? 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half
? 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
? 16 ounces jumbo lump crab meat
? 4 ounces white wine
? 1/4 cup tomato sauce
? 2 servings linguini, cooked and drained
Method for Ray’s Delmarva Linguini
with Crab for Two:
Cook the 2 servings of linguini while preparing the crab mixture.
In a large frying pan, sauté the garlic and shallots in the olive oil over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for about another minute. Then add the crab, parsley and white wine. Cook for about another minute and then add the tomato sauce. Cook for about another 2 minutes. Add the cooked linguini to the frying pan and toss to coat. Let stand for about 2 minutes before serving. (Ray’s minute-by-minute instructions equal 8 minutes.) Yield: 2 servings.
Chicken Fenwick Goes Hawaiian is cooked on a grill; and please plan ahead – the strips of chicken breast must marinate overnight before continuing with the rest of the recipe.
Chicken Fenwick Goes Hawaiian
? 4 boneless chicken breast halves cut into strips and/or cubes
? 1 small bottle of Kraft Lite Italian Salad Dressing
? 2 fresh pineapples sliced lengthwise
? 1 pound fresh crab meat
? 1 pound cleaned shrimp
? 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
? Red, green and yellow bell peppers cut into small pieces
? 2 tomatoes, chopped
? 2 small zucchini, chopped
? Chopped fresh scallions
? 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
? 4 tablespoons butter
Method for Chicken Fenwick Goes Hawaiian:
Add the chicken strips and/or cubes to the Italian dressing and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
Slice the 2 pineapples lengthwise; be sure to reserve all juice as you carve out a bowl in the body of each pineapple half. Cut the carved-out pieces of pineapple into slices; reserve juice in a bowl.
Drain the salad dressing from the chicken. Place chicken pieces into a bowl along with the pineapple juice. Then add to the bowl the crab meat and cleaned shrimp. Add a teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning and mix well.
Mix the chopped vegetables and parsley and mix these into the chicken/crab/shrimp mixture.
Place the butter in a frying pan over a hot grill; put chicken mixture into the pan and cook until chicken is browned. Place cooked mixture into pineapple “bowls” to serve. Yield: 4 servings.
Attorney Chip Armbruster was also born in Wilmington, the oldest child of Charles T. and Patricia Armbruster, with two younger sisters, Katie and Carrie.
“For roughly 10 years, I escaped from Wilmington to Bloomington, Indiana,” he said, “for undergrad studies and a stint as an athlete. But somehow, I managed to get shipped back east closer to my family and eventually found my way into pursuing a legal education.”
Chip began experimenting with recipes when he was a sophomore in college, cooking for tailgate parties, “to raise expectations of the experience,” he said. “I’m still not sure I know how to cook, but people keep eating what I am serving.”
During the summer, Chip enjoys smoking all types of meats — low and slow — while enjoying the company of good friends. But when he moves indoors, he has developed a fun approach to cooking that continues to increase in popularity.
“I ask my friends to pick a protein (meat, poultry or fish). I purchase the protein and perhaps a fresh vegetable that goes well with it. When I arrive at their home, I raid their pantry to come up with the rest of the ingredients to complete the meal.”
Chip is a 30-something single attorney who works long hours in different offices at opposite ends of the state, so he must plan meals well in advance.
“I’m currently sharing cooking duties with a lady friend; however, she prefers that I cook dinner on most occasions,” he said. “Cooking is how I relax. It truly shuts off my brain, and I just react. I don’t get to do that all the time because of my busy schedule, but I try to make meals that will also provide some lunches during the week.”
One of Chip’s favorite foods is fried cheese curds. For the uninformed (count me in here) cheese curds are the solid parts of soured milk. According to Wikipedia, fried cheese curds are very popular in the Midwestern states (remember, Chip lived in Indiana), often found at carnivals and fairs and local non-chain fast-food restaurants and bars. Deep-fried cheese curds are covered with a batter like that used for onion rings, or are breaded, and are then placed in a deep fryer. Irene-of-many-hats has done her homework.
“The Blue Moon Restaurant at 35 Baltimore Avenue in Rehoboth Beach serves Fried Cheese Curds as an appetizer,” she said. I wonder how long it will take Chip to ante up to the bar for his favorite Midwest treat.
Like his Uncle Ray, Chip hasn’t taken any cooking classes, but he too is a “sucker for Food TV.” He is also a runner, and enjoys working out and learning.
“My parents and family refer to me as a professional student. And being related to Ray, I also tend to spend a lot of time going to sporting events,” he said.
Chip also shares two recipes with us — Black Bean Hummus, and Grilled Shrimp & Vegetable Orzo.
“I knew that Ray would be giving you crab meat recipes,” Chip said with a smile, “so I stayed away from crab.”
Black Bean Hummus
? 1 can (15 or 16 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
? 2 cloves garlic, peeled
? 2 tablespoons olive oil
? 1-1/2 tablespoons cumin
? Pinch of cayenne pepper
? Salt according to your taste
? Fresh cilantro for garnish
Method for Black Bean Hummus:
Put the rinsed and drained black beans into the bowl of a food processor. Add garlic cloves, olive oil, cumin and cayenne pepper and puree until smooth. Add salt according to your taste. Put hummus into a bowl and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips or warmed, sliced pita wedges.
Grilled Shrimp & Vegetable Orzo
? 1 pound (21-25 count) shrimp (jumbo)
? 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
? 3-1/2 to 4 tablespoons basil pesto, divided
? Juice of 1/2 of a fresh lemon
? Salt and pepper to taste
? 1/2 red onion, peeled
? 2 zucchini (do not peel)
? 1 yellow squash (do not peel)
? 1 red bell pepper
? 1 brown paper bag
? 30 grape tomatoes, halved
? 1 box (16 ounces) orzo pasta, cooked and drained
? Parmesan cheese
Method for Grilled Shrimp & Vegetable Orzo:
Heat grill to medium-high heat.
Peel and devein shrimp and wash thoroughly. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons olive oil with one tablespoon basil pesto and the juice of the 1/2 lemon. Toss the cleaned shrimp into the mix and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes.
While the shrimp are marinating, coat the outside of the 1/2 red onion with olive oil, salt and pepper. Slice lengthwise the zucchini and squash and coat the flesh with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables over medium-high heat for 15 minutes or until they reach desired tenderness. Once grilled, set aside to cool.
Coat the red bell pepper with olive oil and charcoal the waxy skin, rotating the pepper until all of the skin is completely charred. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in a brown paper bag. (The paper bag will aid your efforts in removing the charred skin from the pepper.) After the pepper has cooled, remove skin, stem and seeds and chop the pepper into bite-size pieces.
As the vegetables cool, grill the shrimp over medium-high heat. Once they are cooked through, remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Cook the orzo according to package directions; drain and set aside.
Chop all of the vegetables into bite-size pieces and halve the grape tomatoes.
In a mixing bowl, combine 1/8 cup olive oil and 2-1/2 tablespoons basil pesto, mixing until well incorporated. Add the freshly cooked pasta, cooked vegetables, grape tomatoes and shrimp, mixing thoroughly. Season with Parmesan cheese and serve either warm, or after 2 hours of refrigeration, or even overnight. Yield: 4 servings.
(Editor’s note: If you have recipes to share, or recipes you want, contact Marie Cook, Coastal Point, P.O. Box 1324, Ocean View, DE 19970; or by email at ChefMarieCook@gmail.com. Please include your phone number. Recipes in this column are not tested by the Coastal Point.)