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May 15, 2017
This is about...
Easy Homemade Chicken Pot “Pie” ---YUM!
        I’M TRYING HARD TO GET IN THE MOOD FOR SPRING, BUT I JUST CAN’T. It’s too darn cold and damp around here! The calendar says it’s the middle of May. But what we’re experiencing is more like the middle of February, 45 degrees and rainy. And you’re not going to tell me that snowflakes falling on the mountain tops is typical May weather here—because it’s not. I was even wearing a winter coat and earmuffs 2 days ago.
        So, I’M STILL CRAVING ALL THAT’S WARM AND COMFORTING. A cold, fresh radish and arugula salad—nope. An early spring pea soup—nope. I want a homemade chicken pot pie for dinner. I know it’s more of a wintry meal, but I’m going for it, even if it is almost Memorial Day.
 
May 8, 2017
This is about...
Raspberry Rhubarb JAM!
        IT’S RHUBARB SEASON! When I was a kid, we grew it on the side of my house. It came up every spring like clockwork. And we always did the same thing with it. We’d cut off the leaves, cut up the stalks, and cook it down with some water and a lot of sugar. After it chilled in the fridge, WE HAD A FRUITY PUDDING. We didn’t have many plants, so it was a special treat we only had a few times a year.
        We never used the leaves. My Mom told me THEY WERE POISONOUS, but I never knew why. I did a little research and learned that the leaves contain HIGH AMOUNTS OF OXALIC ACID, which can be VERY TOXIC to humans. SO DON’T EAT THE LEAVES! But, the stems have ALMOST NO oxalic acid in them, so they’re PERFECTLY SAFE to eat.
        Over the years, I’ve expanded my rhubarb repertoire. I really like...
May 1, 2017
This is about...
Spring AT LAST!   Roasted ASPARAGUS!
 
        IT WAS A PRETTY ROUGH WINTER UP HERE. And I’ve been more than a little gun shy, bracing for just one more snow storm. So, even though the local shops have been sporting tons of spring produce for weeks-- asparagus, strawberries, ramps and early peas, just to name a few, I’VE BEEN IN NO MOOD FOR ANYTHING EVEN REMOTELY SPRINGY. Warm and cozy was all that I could think about.
        But now, thank goodness, the daffodils and crocuses are in bloom. And, with the thermometer having boasted a few 80 degree days in Woodstock, albeit sandwiched between some below freezing ones, I think it’s safe to say that WINTER HAS LEFT THE BUILDING.
        We’ve made it—SPRING AT LAST! And it’s May First-- MAY DAY!   My cravings have finally shifted from those dark meaty long cooked stews to everything colorful and fresh. WHAT COMES TO MIND FIRST? bright green ASPARAGUS....
 
April 24, 2017
This is about...
REAL New Jersey CRUMB BUNS---YUM!
 
        I’ve lived in Woodstock for a long time now, but DEEP DOWN I'M STILL A JERSEY GIRL. There are a lot of things that you can only find in the Garden State. THE BEST TOMATOES come from there. SPRINGSTEEN, the sweetest BLUEBERRIES and SALT WATER TAFFY come from there. And then, there’s THE CRUMB BUNS!
        EVERY WEEKEND OF MY YOUNG LIFE, my sister and I went to stay with our maternal grandparents. And every Sunday morning, WE HAD CRUMB BUNS from the local bakery. They were the BEST! A thin, yeasty layer of cake topped with a lot of tender sweet crumbs that had a slight crunch on the top, all dusted generously with powdered sugar.
        Being young, I JUST ASSUMED THAT THEY WOULD ALWAYS BE A PART OF MY LIFE....
 
April 17, 2017
This is about...
Quick and CREAMY ZUCCHINI SOUP ---YUM!
 
        FOR ME, EVERY HOLIDAY and I mean every holiday, IS AN EXCUSE TO go off course and EAT ANYTHING I WANT. Whatever celebratory occasion is up next--it’s Easter this time around—I think that that’s my green light to eat the cake, cookies, ice cream, buttery, and fried, salty stuff, that I normally try to limit on the non-holidays. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this practice. But that doesn’t justify me doing it—does it? EVEN THOUGH I TRY TO BE GOOD there’s so much temptation surrounding me, that I usually give in to some of it, if I don’t completely fall off the cliff.
        Once the day is over though, and I’m living in the real food world again, I TRY TO JUMP ON THE BANDWAGON AS FAST AS I CAN. I know from years of experience, that if I explain away the leftovers, as “ONCE THEY'RE GONE, I'M DONE!” that that just leads me down A SLIPPERY SLOPE STRAIGHT INTO A BAG OF FRITOS
 
April 10, 2017
This is about...
Sarabeth’s CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE CAKE!---YUM!
 
        HAPPY EASTER!   "TIS THE SEASON FOR CHOCOLATE in any and every configuration --- bunnies, eggs, dipped marshmallows, caramel, peanut butter and cream filled, you name it. My contribution to this chocolate parade is SARABETH LEVINE'S IRRESISTABLE CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE CAKE. Years back, she almost bought my vegan cookie business, Kollar Cookies, to add to her NYC restaurants and preserves line. They were sold in her bakery case too, just so that she could eat them.
        I've always loved her homemade desserts. So, when her BAKING BOOK was published, I was ONE OF THE FIRST in line TO GET IT. This cake is rich, crackly, creamy, and super chocolatey--- the perfect Easter treat. The original version had a tiny bit of flour in it. Over the years, I’ve chosen to substitute cocoa powder instead, which makes it FLOURLESS and KOSHER FOR PASSOVER TOO....

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April 3, 2017
This is about...
Susanna’s GREEN SMOOTHIE---YUM!
 
 
 
        MY BIG ANNUAL CLEANSE at We Care Spa was a few weeks ago. This being my sophomore visit, I had a little experience under my belt. So, I didn’t feel like I needed to lug my mandolin this year. But as a safety precaution, to keep my mind off of eating, as I WAS SUBJECTING MYSELF TO what some people might construe as ONE FULL WEEK OF TORTURE-- an all liquid fast-- I still brought along my knitting and my computer. No idle hands allowed here.
        UNFORTUNATELY, it appears that You can't teach an old dog new tricks. And just like last year, IN THOSE LAST CRITICAL MOMENTS OF FOOD FREEDOM....
March 27, 2017
This is about...
Comforting BRAISED Short Ribs---YUM!
 
        ASPARAGUS AND EARLY SPRING PEAS MAY HAVE ARRIVED UP HERE , But I'm SO COLD, I can't even think about them. The calendar says IT’S SPRING! But YOU COULD HAVE FOOLED ME. The thermometer has plunged into the single digits again, leaving my fingers frozen to the bone, and I’m still staring down over 2 feet of the white stuff in my backyard. Spring is nowhere in sight.
        As a result, I ONLY WANT TO COOK UP WARM AND COZY. And slow braised short ribs sound like just the ticket. I had planned to make these during THE CRIPPLING BLIZZARD! last week, but my "dependable"  generator   LET ME DOWN! -- leaving me with no oven. That was more than a bummer. Now, another deep freeze is here, and OPPORTUNITY HAS KNOCKED at my door AGAIN....
 
March 20, 2017
This is about...
The Garden Cafe's WINTER KALE SALAD---YUM!
 
       HAPPY SPRING?! Well, it may be the first day of spring where you are. But in Woodstock? It’s FREEZING!! and I’m surrounded by two feet of snow! So here’s one more—-maybe the last-- winter recipe with a slight nod to spring. HAPPY SPRING EVERYONE!

        I"M SICK OF KALE. It’s been around for way too long, touted as one of those healthiest of vegetables. YOU SEE IT EVERYWHERE- in salads, sautes, soups, those YUCKY chips, and my LEAST FAVORITE, in green drinks. I’ve made all sorts of kale recipes, some good, some bad. The Most successful ones SLATHER IT IN BACON FAT or RUB IT IN OIL, COOK IT TO DEATH, or boil it with ham hocks and basically mask it’s taste, all in the hopes of getting you to say “I ATE KALE!” And don’t tell me you love raw kale, I wouldn’t believe you. You’re just pretending to be healthier than the rest of us.
        So, for a kale recipe to take A SPOT OF HONOR IN MY RECIPE BOX, it’s gotta be REALY GOOD.And frankly, THERE'S ONLY ONE KALE CREATION that has ever landed there—THE GARDEN CAFE'S WINTER KALE SALAD....
 
March 13, 2017
This is about...
Individual Cranberry Orange SODA BREADS---YUM!
 
        ONE DAY A YEAR--ST. PATRICK'S DAY-- I think about corned beef and cabbage, Guinness and of course IRISH SODA BREAD. The traditional recipe is a simple, heavy loaf-- just flour, baking soda, buttermilk and salt. Although I start with those basics, that’s just the beginning for me. I always add butter, sugar, an egg and some kind of dried fruit.
        Here, I’ve added DRIED CRANBERRIES and taken it one step further with some GRATED ORANGE PEEL. Although it’s a REALLY, REALLY EASY RECIPE, it’s also REALLY, REALLY MESSY. Soda bread is a very wet dough, more like a batter. In most traditional recipes, you’re instructed to dump the dough onto a board/counter covered with alot of flour, kneading that flour into the dough before placing it onto a baking pan. Believe you me, it's almost an IMPOSSIBLE TASK....