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July 2, 2018
This is about...
Watermelon Margarita POPS!!
        I CONFESS, I’D MUCH RATHER EAT MY CALORIES THAN DRINK THEM. So, wine, beer, or a even beautiful cocktail are all ok. But, put a slice of pie or ice cream in front of me, and that’s a whole other story.
        These spiked watermelon pops are a fun, easy option for someone, like me, who would prefer to eat their alcohol. THEY TASTE LIKE AN ICE COLD WATERMELON MARGARITA, with the added bonus of being able to eat it ON A STICK. They’re best served chilled right out of the fridge or freezer. And on a hot summer’s day, or for a 4th of July picnic, there’s nothing more refreshing.
        THIS RECIPE IS PRETTY MUCH A NO-BRAINER....

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June 25, 2018
This is about...
Parmesan Crisps---FRICO!
        PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO CHEESE IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE FOODS ON THE PLANET. Just snacking on small nuggets of it--- perfection! I LIKE TO MAKE THESE THIN, LACEY CHEESE CRISPS with it too. In Italy, they’re CALLED FRICO. They’re the perfect jewel to set atop any spring salad. And they couldn’t be easier....

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June 16, 2018
This is about...
Father’s Day Pulled Pork with Man Slaw!
        FATHER’S DAY HAS A WHOLE DIFFERENT VIBE THAN MOTHER’S DAY. Instead of flowers and buttery croissants with homemade jam, it’s all about primal cuts of meat and beer. To follow in that tradition, here’s a stick-to-your-ribs pulled pork sandwich topped with a spicy-sweet jalapeno coleslaw, both KICKED UP WITH A GOOD BOTTLE OF BEER---IPA OR STOUT.
        Now you may take Dad out for dinner, but if he’s opted to stay home, then I’m figuring that Mom will be doing the cooking. So, I’ve taken that into account, and I'M GIVING HER A LITTLE BREATHER, by making the pulled pork in a slow cooker with very little effort required. The coleslaw, tangy with a hit of that celebratory beer in the dressing, will come together pretty easily too.
        PULLED PORK SOUNDS A LITTLE INTIMIDATING TO MAKE AT HOME. But...

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June 12, 2018
This is about...
Vegan Strawberry “ICE CREAM”---YUM!
        SPRING NEVER HAPPENED IN WOODSTOCK. We went from a freezing cold winter to a sizzling hot summer to a in a heartbeat. LAST WEEK I WANTED BEEF STEW, TODAY IT’S A WAFFLE CONE filled with cappucino kahlua crunch. When the heat’s on, I can justify indulging in an ice cream sundae or cone every once in awhile. BUT NOT ALL THE TIME!
        So, this “ice cream” “churned” from frozen strawberries and coconut cream covers all the bases WITHOUT A LOT OF THE GUILT after that last lick. And, this is the big news, NO ICE CREAM MACHINE IS REQUIRED!

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June 5, 2018
This is about...
Coq au Vin Blanc!---YUM!
        TRADITIONALLY, COQ AU VIN, CHICKEN IN WINE, OR TECHNICALLY COCK OR ROOSTER IN WINE, IS MADE WITH RED WINE, usually a burgundy. And the older the rooster the more flavorful the dish. Nowadays, any high quality chicken will work. The classic version is Julia Child’s from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Now, I won’t argue that IT’S DELICIOUS. BUT IT CAN BE A REALLY FUSSY DISH TO MAKE, requiring a lot of time over the stove, moving ingredients in and out of many pots.
        Here’s how her recipe starts. She boils the lardons (bacon pieces) before browning them. Boils, freezes, then peels and sautes tiny pearl onions. Browns mushrooms, and makes a beurre manie—a butter flour paste. And all of this done separately, before we’ve even gotten to the chicken. Plus, she sets the dish aflame!.....

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May 25, 2018
This is about...
My Fave PICNIC POTATO SALAD!---YUM!
        I LOVE POTATO SALAD. I love it so much that I only make it once a year, for fear that I 'll eat bowls and bowls of it. The only exception is a family picnic or holiday celebration. anywhere where I know I won't be left alone with it sitting in my fridge just calling out to me. IT'S MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND----THE PERFECT EXCUSE!! .....

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May 21, 2018
This is about...
PIZZA! with a Cauliflower Crust---YUM!
        EVEN THOUGH CAULIFLOWER IS ALL THE RAGE TODAY , it was hardly popular when I was growing up. IN FACT, I DON’T EVER REMEMBER EATING ANY OF IT UNTIL I WAS WELL INTO MY 20’S. But now, I’ve definitely made up for lost time. “EAT LESS STARCH” is one of my current mantras. SO GRAINS AND POTATOES ARE ABSENT FROM MY DINNER PLATE. And in their place?--- CAULIFLOWER. I use this plain jane veggie as a substitute for mashed potatoes or rice. Finely ground and steamed, it stands in as bread crumbs. And then there’s my favorite way—as a pizza crust.
        It’s taken some research and a few tries to get it to work. Most recipes can crumble as you pick up a slice—that’s a fail for me. If I’m calling it pizza, then it better act like pizza! ....

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May 11, 2018
This is about...
Mother’s Day Vanilla CONFETTI CAKE!---YUM!
        EVERYONE IS TOUCHED BY A MOTHER IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. Maybe you’re a mother, or at the very least a mother had you. MANY TIMES THERE ARE GENERATIONS OF MOTHERS IN ONE FAMILY That was the case for me. And since I was at the bottom of that totem pole, the elder mothers and grandmothers were celebrated and I was pretty much ignored—doing the cooking or making the reservations. I DIDN’T REALLY MIND. But....

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May 8, 2018
This is about...
Homemade SPRINKLES!---YUM!
        AS FAR AS I’M CONCERNED, PUTTING SPRINKLES ON ANYTHING MAKES IT A PARTY! But I’ve never been really happy with their flavor. SO HERE’S A SOLUTION. MAKE YOUR OWN! OK, they do take a little more effort than opening up a jar, but unlike those dry, waxy, store-bought ones, homemade sprinkles are delicious.
        A piping bag with a small round tip is the easiest way to go. But a quart size freezer bag with a tiny piece of a corner cut off will work in a pinch. You’ll be making long lines of frosting, but don’t worry about perfection here. IF THERE ARE BREAKS OR WIGGLES, YOU’LL NEVER SEE THEM WHEN THEY’RE BROKEN INTO PIECES. For me, I love to keep them a little longer than the regular size, making for a dramatic presentation.....

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April 30, 2018
This is about...
Fresh Strawberry Pie---YUM!! (and UH-OH---The 2108 “Dirty Dozen”)

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April 16, 2018
This is about...
Quick Pickled Spring RADISHES---YUM!!
        I’VE HAD MY FILL OF GREEN LEAFY SALADS for a while now. So, I’ve been continuing my quest on how to dine on my vegetables in different ways. Lately, these quick pickled radishes have been calling out to me. Since peppery radishes are one of the earliest planted, and fastest growing vegetables in the spring garden-- only four weeks from the planted seed to harvest-- ‘tis the season.
        THE HARDEST PART OF THIS RECIPE IS THINLY SLICING THE RADISHES. Once they’re layered in a canning jar, there are lots of ways to flavor them. This time around, I chose some black peppercorns and fresh dill.
        Standard pickling procedure takes over from there, pouring a homemade brine to cover, screwing on a tight-fitting lid and chilling them. Homemade brine?? Don’t worry,.....

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April 9, 2018
This is about...
Quick BLACK BEAN SOUP---YUM!!
        If you’re one of those people that leans towards VEGETARIAN OR VEGAN, YOU EAT A LOT OF BEANS. Although, I’ve cooked many beans “from scratch,” ---from their dried state-- it’s time consuming and, sometimes, depending on the age of the beans, they never even soften for you. SO, I ALWAYS REACH FOR THE CANNED ONES now, which lets you make a hearty soup in about 30 minutes.
        This one is PACKED WITH FLAVOR. Garlic, onions, jalepeno and bell peppers, as well as a healthy dose of cumin and coriander to bring it all together. A light saute of the veggies is all that’s needed. Then, just dump the rest of the ingredients in the pot, simmer for 20 minutes and you’ve got dinner. You can choose to make it creamy, by blending it, or keep it chunky, or anywhere in between.
        Now even though canned beans are my favorite for this soup, not all canned beans are created equal....

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April 2, 2018
This is about...
GREEK SALAD---YUM!!
        It’s that time of winter (it's too cold to be spring yet, even though it is) when I’VE REACHED MY BREAKING POINT WITH GREEN LEAFY SALADS!. I need that CRUNCH of summer, AND I NEED IT NOW! Give me anything but microgreens, romaine, radicchio, arugula and spinach. I refuse to buy one more green leaf. My boycott has led me to more substantial composed salads, like this Greek salad. It’s a mix of chunky crisp veggies—cucumbers, peppers, red onion and tomatoes all tossed with briny Kalamata olives and chunks of salty, tangy feta cheese. To make the veggies pop, the dressing is infused with garlic, red wine vinegar and dried oregano. It’s bright, crunchy AND THERE’S NOT A GREEN LEAF IN SIGHT! ....

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March 26, 2018
This is about...
EASTER CARR0T CAKE---YUMMY!!
        EASTER IS ALL ABOUT THE BUNNY. And bunnies are all about the carrots. AND IN OUR FAMILY, when I was growing up, EASTER WAS ALL ABOUT CARROT CAKE. It was a religious holiday in my house, but for my sister and me, IT WAS ALL ABOUT THE SUGAR. That morning, ALL WE EVER LOOKED FORWARD TO WERE THE LITTLE BASKETS OF CANDY HIDDEN all around the house by the “EASTER BUNNY.” We’d scour both floors looking inside and behind every curtain and door. And somehow, we would always miss one or two baskets, hidden in plain sight—tucked behind a drape or hanging high up on a curtain rod. That frustrated us, but cracked up our parents.
        AFTER SITTING RESPECTFULLY, STONE-FACED IN CHURCH, WE’D ALWAYS HEAD OFF TO GRANDMA’S FOR DINNER. By the time we arrived, my sister’s and my blood sugar levels were flying off the rails---we loved it!   And although....

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March 19, 2018
This is about...
FISH EN PAPILLOTE---YUM!!
        YOU CAN FIND FRESH FISH UP HERE IN THE SUMMER, BUT THERE’S NO HOOK, LINE OR SINKER IN FEBRUARY. And although Woodstock may turn into beachfront property sometime in the future, there is still no ocean in sight-- just yet. The only place to buy decent fish in town is the MEAT MARKET. It’s frozen, not fresh, but it is WILD CAUGHT from as far away as New Zealand—and it will still be delicious, especially the way I plan to cook it-- EN PAPILLOTE.
        SOUNDS FANCY, doesn’t it? But it’s not. IT JUST MEANS “IN PARCHMENT” ---- simply wrapping up meat, fish, vegetables, or even fruit in a packet of parchment paper or foil, and then baked. What you end up with ....

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March 12, 2018
This 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....

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