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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
This is about...
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
This is about...
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
This is about...
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
This is about...
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
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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