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October 29, 2018
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SPOOKY Witches Fingers---BOO!
        Here’s A FUN LITTLE TREAT for Halloween---SCARY GREEN WITCHES FINGERS. They’re very easy to make and very fun to eat. Just grab some pretzel rods, white candy melts or chocolate chips, some creepy green food coloring and toasted sliced almonds. A QUICK PRETZEL ROD ROLL IN THE GREEN COATING, SOME WRINKLES DRAWN FOR KNUCKLES, AND A SLICED ALMOND MANICURE ARE ALL YOU NEED. —Stick them into the tops of cupcakes, on the top of a spooky cake, or coming out of the top of carved mini pumpkins----they’re guaranteed to spook out anyone that comes close!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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October 22, 2018
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Easy Curried Butternut Squash Soup---YUM!
        COLD WEATHER AND ALL SORTS OF “HARD” SQUASHES GO TOGETHER. Nature knows best, always ripening what works best with the season. THIS SOUP USES BUTTERNUT AS ITS STAR, with a supporting cast of curry powder, onions, garlic and if you like it spicy, a bit of Thai red curry paste. It’s warming, earthy, easy to make and a great gateway soup into the winter ahead. And, unlike most butternut squash soups which tend to be sweet, this version is A CURRIED SAVORY TAKE on that classic.
        Although I love winter squashes of all kinds, peeling them can be a challenge unless ...

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October 8, 2018
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End of Summer Vegetable TIAN!
        Here in the Hudson Valley, WE ARE STILL IN “SO MANY VEGGIES, SO LITTLE TIME” MODE---completely up to our ears in bushels of tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini. With such an embarrassment of riches, I’m constantly thinking of different ways to use them up.
        HERE I’VE MADE A TIAN. WHAT’S THAT?

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October 1, 2018
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Grandma’s PLUM CAKE!
        THERE’S THIS NEW YORK TIMES RECIPE, ORIGINALLY POSTED BY MARIAN BURROS, in September of 1983, that has continued to make the rounds in the newspaper for decades. It’s her recipe for a “Plum Torte.” She got it from her childhood friend, Lois Levine, and it ran in the newspaper every fall for years, until one year it just stopped. The readers freaked! So back it went into the NY Times cooking pages. It’s such a simple recipe and SURPRISINGLY, IT HAS BECOME THE MOST REQUESTED RECIPE IN NEW YORK TIMES HISTORY.

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September 17, 2018
This is about...
CHIMICHURRI---MY WAY!
        HOMEMADE CHIMICHURRI IS A DELICIOUS WAY TO USE UP ANY OF THE FRESH HERBS IN YOUR FRIDGE OR GARDEN, even if they are starting to fade a bit. It’s a tasty, herby, green, spicy, tangy sauce traditionally served over grilled steak, BUT DON’T STOP THERE---USE IT EVERYWHERE--- over veggies, fish, chicken and grains.
       Typically, this Argentinian sauce includes fresh parsley and oregano, chili peppers--fresh, dried or both-- some fresh garlic, cumin, a fruity oil, and the zing from some red or white wine vinegar. But, I like to switch it up from the original, by usually adding some mint, cilantro, and lime juice—even a few drops of honey sometimes. My way is not a true chimichurri, but it’s still a delicious green sauce. AND, IT DOESN’T HURT THAT IT COMES TOGETHER IN A FLASH --- simply a whizz away in your blender or food processor.
       Like I said this sauce is considered an Argentinian creation. BUT GUESS WHAT?

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September 3, 2018
This is about...
Black Bean TARTINES --YUM!
        SADLY, SUMMER IS ALMOST OVER. BUT HAPPILY, THIS IS THE TIME OF YEAR WHEN WE HAVE AN AMAZING ARRAY OF FRUITS AND VEGGIES TO CHOOSE FROM. And, this black bean salad makes use of a lot of this season’s harvest. Packed with fresh corn on the cob, red bell peppers, scallions, and parsley, it’s dressed in a bright, tangy vinaigrette of lemon, soy sauce and mustard.
        THIS RECIPE IS INSPIRED BY ANNEMARIE COLBIN. Back in the day when I was singing TV jingles in NYC, --Fa La La La--, I’d fill in the holes of time between sessions with a bunch of fun cooking classes, all taught by her, in her apt bldg. on West End Ave. That was BEFORE THE NATURAL GOURMET COOKING SCHOOL BECAME WHAT IT IS TODAY....

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August 27, 2018
This is about...
PEACH COBBLER with a Hot Sugar Crust--YUM!

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August 20, 2018
This is about...
Chicken MILANESE with Tomato Arugula Salad--YUM!
        I DON’T CRAVE A LOT OF PROTEIN WHEN IT’S HOT OUTSIDE. But lately something crunchy with a fresh salad on top has been calling out to me. TRADITIONALLY, A MILANESE IS MADE WITH VEAL, BUT I ACTUALLY LIKE IT USING CHICKEN EVEN BETTER.
        Even though it requires a frying pan, and some breading, the process goes by pretty quickly. And, the CRUNCH is so worth it. This bright, peppery salad with a summer’s harvest of arugula, tomato and red onion is a simple and delicious pairing. I always like to add a little squeeze of lemon over the chicken just before serving too....

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August 13, 2018
This is about...
Green GODDESS Dressing--to be or not to be vegan--YUM!
        SUMMER. It’s Wednesday afternoon, and I’m strolling through the Woodstock Farm Fest— OK, IT IS WOODSTOCK, WE CERTAINLY CAN’T CALL IT JUST A FARMERS MARKET and of course, I want everything. Weighted down with a treasure trove of organic fruits and vegetables is a weekly occurrence for me, this and every summer. ONCE BACK HOME, I’M CONFRONTED WITH 2 VERY IMPORTANT QUESTIONS. First, what am I am going to make with all of this stuff, because inevitably I buy way too much. And second, how am going to use up all of this produce while it’s still at it’s peak. Let’s face it...

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August 6, 2018
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Corn on the Cob with Fresh Herb Butter and Parmesan ---YUM!
        I’M A CORN ON THE COB SUPER FAN! And even though you can make so many other recipes with summer’s fresh corn, I never get past eating it right off the cob. I always slather it with a lot of unsalted butter, and sprinkle it with a healthy dose of flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
        This recipe is just one scrumptious step away from my basic, butter, salt and pepper version. But the effort-to-reward ratio is huge. THERE’S A LITTLE ELBOW GREASE INVOLVED --- mincing some herbs, stirring them into some softened butter and grating some parmesan. But that’s it. Then, all you have to do is wait for the corn to finish cooking.
        I LOVE A LOT OF FRESH BASIL, PARSLEY AND A SMALLER AMOUNT OF ROSEMARY FOR MY HERBS, but you can use any combination that you like. And if you need more.....

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July 30, 2018
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Olive Oil Cake with Summer Berries ---YUM!
        I CAN’T HELP IT! There are so many beautiful fruits out there right now, that I HAVE TO MAKE DESSERT---AND A LOT OF IT!   I especially love all the berries of summer. And even though I thoroughly enjoy eating them just as they are, I want to turn them into yummy pies and cakes and bars and pavlovas and ice creams. The only dilemma? There’s sooooo little time!
        THIS IS A LUSCIOUS BERRY CAKE WITH A TWIST. It’s filled with plenty of raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, but instead of the usual butter in the recipe, this is going all out with extra virgin olive oil. The advantage of the EVOO is that IT KEEPS THE CAKE VERY TENDER AND EXCEPTIONALLY MOIST. And, the tartness of the berries with a hint of lemon, pairs so well with the oil and the sweet cake. Plus it’s a delicious cake with no “olive oily” taste....

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July 23, 2018
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Broccoli PESTO Pasta---YUM!
        RIGHT NOW, FRESH BASIL IS EVERYWHERE! Give it a whizz in the food processor or blender with some garlic, toasted nuts, olive oil and parmesan cheese and you have the quintessential basil recipe---pesto.
        For me, IT’S A TOTALLY UNIQUE CONDIMENT THAT’S A MUST TO MAKE EVERY SUMMER, Dollop it on chicken, fish, or mozzarella and slices of fresh picked beefsteak tomatoes, stir it into pasta, slather it on slices of bread instead of mayo, just to name a few--- I never get tired of it.
        But there is one big stumbling block that may pop up when making it. It’s distinctive jewel-like, emerald green color is a big part of its appeal. So, WHEN IT TURNS INTO AN UNAPPETIZING BROWN, IT’S A REAL BUMMER. WHAT TO DO?

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July 16, 2018
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Zucchini “BLONDIES!”
        I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE PROBABLY THINKING---A BLONDIE OUT OF ZUCCHINI? I actually thought the same thing. We’ve all heard of baking zucchini into a sweet tea loaf or something savory. But a brownie-like blondie? That sounded like one step too far off the beaten path, even for me. BUT WHEN YOU’VE GOT BUSHELS OF THEM STARING YOU IN THE FACE, YOU START TO THINK OF CREATVE WAYS TO USE IT UP. And this is certainly a creative way to do that.
        These were a total surprise. I HAD VERY LOW EXPECTATIONS, UNTIL....

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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
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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
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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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