March 12, 2018This is about...
IRISH Soda Bread---YUM!!
I HAVE MIXED FEELINGS ABOUT ST. PATRICK’S DAY. My family is part Irish. Ok. But,
my mother would always dress me up for school in
“THE WEARIN’ OF THE” --- ORANGE. Yes orange. You see, we were Irish Protestant—orange Irish. The first year I really understood what that meant was in 3rd grade.
There I was in my orange dress surrounded by a sea of green.
AND, THE TEACHER DECIDED TO TURN ME INTO A LESSON PLAN, explaining the conflict between the predominantly northern Irish Protestants and mostly southern Irish Catholics though my clothing.
All I wanted to do was crawl under my desk. From then on....
March 5, 2018This is about...
Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms---YUM!!
I HAD NO IDEA THAT MUSHROOMS CAME OUT OF THE DIRT WHEN I WAS A KID.
I thought they were some canned things you got at the supermarket. Nowadays, there are lots of varieties to choose from, some domesticated-- like white buttons, and shiitake. And some wild--- like morels and hen of the woods.
PORTOBELLOS MAY LOOK LIKE THEIR OWN CATEGORY OF MUSHROOM, THEY’RE ACTUALLY NOT.
They’re part of the largest family of domesticated mushrooms, the white button. They’re just allowed to hang out in the earth a lot longer--
all grown up into an adult-size.
CREMINI’S, TOO, ARE THOSE SAME BUTTONS, their growing time midway between the small white ones and the largest brown ones.
Amazingly, the caps of
the portobellos can spread out as big as 6 to 8 inches in diameter .....
February 26, 2018This is about...
Honeyed Ginger and Turmeric TONIC---YUM!!
THE FLU! IT’S EVERYWHERE! I think everyone I know was knocked over by it this winter----except me—knock on wood.
Keeping your body alkaline with a battery of green veggie juices is one way to help fight it off. ANOTHER IS THIS POTENT, IMMUNE-BOOSTING, TURMERIC TINTED, GINGER TONIC,
guaranteed to clear out your head and combat any sniffling/sore throat action that you may feel coming on. If you like, adding the optional chiles will clear out the congestion even faster.
IF YOU HAVE A PRESSURE COOKER OR AN INSTANT POT, THIS IS A GOOD TIME TO PULL IT OUT. Actually, this was the maiden voyage for my instant pot. Purchased way back in April when I was in Portland, OR ....
February 19, 2018This is about...
First, here’s a little story:
“FANTASY OF THE AIR" PERFORMED SEVEN SHOWS A DAY, 5 DAYS A WEEK.
While a live orchestra played, a muscular Barney would swing on 2 rings suspended from the ceiling, while a petite Minnie would hang off of him striking pose after pose –in a kind of air ballet.
AT THE END OF EVERY PERFORMANCE, HE WOULD LET GO OF HER LEGS AND IT WOULD LOOK LIKE MINNIE WAS DOOMED TO FLY HEAD FIRST INTO THE FILLED SEATS!
A drumroll kicked in,
THE MUSIC WOULD SWELL,
and at the very last moment....
February 12, 2018This is about...
Even though I’m not a football fan,
I ALWAYS WATCH THE SUPER BOWL FOR OF THE OTHER STUFF that goes on. Who’s singing the national anthem? Will the commercials be funny and clever this year? Will I like the half-time show? It’s also one of those nights where
I always feel like, (along with everyone else,)
I’ve been given permission to indulge in a lot of junk food while I watch.
SINCE I’M ALWAYS LOOKING FOR AN EXCUSE TO GO OFF MY “HEALTHY” DIET, I’M IN! Of course, there’s a little regret the next day, but those organic cheese doodles, that donut and the dish of cappuccino kahlua crunch ice cream were well worth it.
After my super bowl deep dive into junk food land,
I’m vowing to be good until another day, when I can convince myself that a few “guilt-free” indulgences are warranted ---guess what?
February 5, 2018This is about...
Red Wine MEATLOAF--YUM!!
RED WINE AND MEATLOAF? Admittedly,
it’s a bit unusual.
A LOT OF YOU HAVE PROBABLY EATEN MEATLOAF SLATHERED IN KETCHUP, OR MADE WITH SLICES OF BACON covering the top.
But, pouring red wine all over it while it bakes is a new take for me. And, this version from Lynne Rosetto Kasper veers away from the basics, not once, but twice, soaking the bread in the wine too.
MEATLOAF IS A PEASANT DISH, inexpensive and
an easy way to use up scraps of food that you already have in the house—a stale piece of bread, half an onion, some slices of carrot or pepper, cheese, herbs ready to turn or
HOW ABOUT WHAT’S LEFT IN THAT BOTTLE OF WINE. All of these little additions are what make any meatloaf so tasty. The wine is no exception. Although it shouldn’t be a surprise....
January 29, 2018This is about...
The MIRACLE BOULE--YUM!!
OK---THERE’S NO DENYING IT---IT’S FREEZING IN WOODSTOCK.
We’ve had a week’s worth of days below zero. AND, I WOKE UP ON THE FIRST DAY OF 2018 WITH NO HEAT —
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ME! The locals up here say that
this is the REAL Woodstock weather. Having lived up here for
the last 10 years, I’ve apparently only experienced a lot of mild winters---
an aberration---global warming so to speak. Whatever. BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE!
Being a warm weather lover, you’re not going to find me out on the slopes. Nope, I’ll be in my nice warm kitchen cooking up some comforting stews and soups. So far, I’ve made a lot of those this winter. But
THERE'S ONE THING THAT’S BEEN MISSING....
January 22, 2018This is about...
Lainey’s Roasted Winter Vegetables with Rosemary and Kalamata Olives---YUM!!
ROASTING IS ONE OF THE BEST AND EASIEST WAYS TO COOK VEGETABLES. The high heat of the oven intensifies their flavor, making them sweeter and more delicious. You can pretty much use any veggies you want, although
winter root vegetables are especially suited for this kind of cooking. Just toss them onto a rimmed sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with some salt and pepper, and the oven does all of the heavy lifting.
IT’S YOUR JOB TO OCCASIONALLY GET IN THERE AND TOSS THEM AROUND, so they roast evenly.
My friend Lainey turned me on to this recipe. She found it online.
What makes it a standout are.....
January 15, 2018This is about...
James Beard’s Pound Cake---YUM!!
MY VERY FIRST TASTE OF A POUND CAKE WAS FROM THE FROZEN FOOD SECTION OF THE SUPERMARKET. My mother didn’t bake—so
Sara Lee was her go-to. It really wasn’t a traditional version, being much lighter and finer in texture, but it was what I knew. And, it was a delicious cake, which to this day, is surprisingly pretty much the same.
STILL, I LIKE BAKING “FROM SCRATCH.” So, making a homemade one is my go-to. I’ve got a bunch of pound cake recipes in my repertoire, but
this is my hands down favorite---James Beard’s version from his classic cookbook, “American Cookery.” His, is again, not following the basic pound cake rules.
A TRADITIONAL POUND CAKE IS USUALLY JUST THAT....
January 8, 2018This is about...
STEW!---just saying the word congers up homey, comforting, a kind of relaxing and letting go. Not only does its soothing aroma spread everywhere as it cooks, but the anticipation of A LONG-COOKED SIMMERING ANYTHING IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER CAN SOOTHE MANY A WEATHER-WORN SOUL. This stew, a rich, long-cooked goulash, does all of that. The beef is slowly simmered with a lot of bright orangey-red Hungarian sweet paprika, lots of onions, carrots, and a hint of caraway. At the very end, it’s brightened up with a squeeze of lemon or some cider vinegar.
Years back, when I was performing in Prague, goulash was everywhere, and I ATE A LOT OF IT. Interestingly though, the eastern Europeans are all about ....
December 31, 2017This is about...
BAKING with OPRAH’S INTENTION!! and A NEW YEAR’S TOAST!
I THINK WE CAN SAFELY SAY THAT OPRAH IS HARDLY THE FIRST PERSON THAT COMES TO MIND WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT GREAT BAKING. But, she is an expert on inspiration and passion.
NOW, I DON’T KNOW OPRAH—just from the TV, like everyone else.
But she more than anyone else has given me the tools I needed
to define what my own passion really is. She calls it
“PURPOSEFUL INTENTION.” I would go one step further and call it
“LOVING, PURPOSEFUL INTENTION.”
One of her most important mantras, that I completely take to heart, is that
you must be very clear about...
December 25, 2017This is about...
IT’S A WHITE CHRISTMAS!!! and “SNOW!”
Photo by david L. Brown Photography
IT’S A WHITE CHRISTMAS!
It’s been years since the last time this happened. And in honor of this unusual event,
I’ve posted my favorite picture of all time.
IT WAS TAKEN BY MY FRIEND, DAVID BROWN.
We both lived on the Jersey shore in funky Victorian houses, up on top of a hill with a view of the harbor below.
and his wife Michele’s
WAS BRIGHT PINK AND PURPLE...
December 18, 2017This is about...
Dreamy LEMON PAVLOVA and New Year’s Resolutions!
IT’S GETTING DARK IN WHAT SEEMS LIKE THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY NOW. With the clocks turned back, the sun is being forced to yield to night way to early. Still, I do love winter sunsets with just the outlines of the trees etched out in Paynes Gray--my favorite oil paint color.
AT THIS TIME EVERY YEAR, it’s always the same for me. I START TO GET MORE THOUGHTFUL, more appreciative,
After a crazy summer of running around like a chicken with its head cut off, the cupcakes flying around me in every which way,
I finally have the time to “catch up” ---refocus, reevaluate,
and ask myself the question---
“WHAT IS IT THAT I DO WANT??” ....
December 11, 2017This is about...
Mini Holiday CHEESE BALLS---YUM!
THE HOLIDAYS ARE A CRAZY, BUSY TIME FOR ME!
And whenever I’m invited anywhere, I always bring something homemade with me. Most times it’s something sweet, but occasionally I like to switch it up with something savory.
I WANT IT TO BE SIMPLE, QUICK, EASY TO CARRY, AND OF COURSE, DELICIOUS.
These mini cheese balls are just the ticket.
I LIKE THAT THEY’RE ONE BITE, so much better than a large cheese ball that can be hard to navigate. And the cute pretzel stick makes them easy to neatly pick-up. You can whip them up in a flash,
NO FANCY PREP WORK REQUIRED. You don’t even have to go near a stove.
Plus, the variations are endless. Here’s a festive red and green version. The sweet pop of the pomegranate seeds and the hint of onion from the chives complement the cheese really well. These will get you going. Then you can take it from there.
December 4, 2017This is about...
Holiday COOKIE BARK---YUM!
’TIS THE SEASON ALREADY! Immediately after Thanksgiving is over,
I always feel like I’m behind. Too much to do and too little time.
OWNING A SHOP IN WOODSTOCK MEANS THAT YOU HAVE TO DECORATE WAAAAY IN ADVANCE.
And I’m usually one of the last-- which means the weekend right after turkey day.
I ALWAYS LIKE TO HAVE A FEW HOLIDAY OPTIONS at Peace, Love and Cupcakes. Every year there’s
“The Peppermint Twist”—a chocolate cupcake with a peppermint patty baked inside and topped with a swirl of vanilla/peppermint buttercream. Then there’s
“The Ginger Baker,” a spicy gingerbread cupcake that’s topped with cream cheese frosting. But
I ALWAYS LIKE TO HAVE ANOTHER FUN OPTION. One year it was big gingerbread men cookies. Another it was homemade caramel popcorn. And
this year, it’s.....
November 27, 2017This is about...
The Day After Thanksgiving TURKEY STOCK!
IT’S THE DAY AFTER THE BIGGEST FOOD DAY OF THE YEAR, AND MANY OF US WILL HAVE LEFTOVERS.
Some of us, like me, even plan on it by making extra.
ONE OF MY FAVORITE “LEFTOVER” MEALS, actually a required one each year, IS MY ROAST TURKEY SANDWICH. There’s nothing unusual about this creation—just a yummy construction of Thursday’s turkey, good mayo, crunchy romaine on some softer than chewier white bread, all sprinkled with salt and pepper. Beside my sandwich are 2 sides—stuffing and cranberry sauce. Ok, maybe some reheated mashed potatoes too, and gravy? Then of course, the finale--Pie.
An over the top starch-fest if ever there was one. YUM!
I always try to send everyone home with their own “day after” feasts. And,
BEING THE KIND OF PERSON WHO CAN NEVER...