Sunday, November 9, 2008


"There's election results, and then there's the stuff that transcends political issues: like, will our food supply be safe for our children and their children? I encourage you to take a look at, which aims to provide a clear statement of what kind of food policy is needed now. It is endorsed by a broad base of organizations, like Slow Food USA, and individuals with a long-established commitment to a healthier food and agriculture."

The issue of food safety and sustainability is one that's near and dear to my heart. I am quite passionate about spreading the message of the benefits of local foods.

I am now on a subcommittee of the Board of Directors of the Suffern Farmers Market and am happy to be serving to further this cause. Please check out and endorse or comment on the declaration.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fresh local holiday turkeys


These incredible grass fed turkeys are
naturally raised, free-range, and organic.
They are also antibiotic and hormone
free, from Hemlock Hills Farm.
They will be fully processed the day
before delivery to your door on or the
day before Thanksgiving Eve, and will
arrive in a silver insulated re-usable
shopping bag with frozen gel packs.
Prices are based on $5.75 per pound and
do not include a $15 charge for packing,
handling & delivery to Westchester or
Putnam county. Please order by
November 17th to ensure the size you
want is reserved for you.
• 12—14 lbs. $ 74.75
• 14—16 lbs. $ 86.25
• 16—18 lbs $ 97.75
• 18—20 lbs. $109.25
• 20—22 lbs. $120.75
• 22—24 lbs. $132.25
Delivered to your door on or before Thanksgiving Eve (Wednesday, Nov. 26th)
Quantities are limited...Reserve yours today!

22 Roma Orchard Road, Peekskill, NY 10566 􀁺 Phone: 914-293-0701
Email: 􀁺

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pumpkin Applesauce Bread

It's fall. When I was younger, I hated fall because it marked the end of summer. But as an adult I have come to love all the colors and flavors of fall.

I had some pumpkin puree leftover from another recipe and wanted to make some pumpkin bread. The leftover pumpkin was only about one cup and I wanted to make two to three loaves. So, here's what I came up with.

Pumpkin Applesauce Bread

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon of salt
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup pumpkin purée*
1 cup natural applesauce (or an additional cup of pumpkin puree)
1 cup olive oil
4 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (mixture of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and allspice)
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

* Canned puree can be used, but if you prefer to make the purée from fresh pumpkins, cut a pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy insides (saving the seeds to roast of course), lie face down on a sprayed baking sheet. Bake at 350°F until soft, about 45 minutes to an hour. Cool for about a half hour and then scoop out the flesh. (Or, work with pumpkin pieces and roast or boil them until tender, then remove and discard the skin). You can freeze any pumpkin that you don't use.

1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda.
2 Mix the pumpkin, oil, eggs, and spices together, then combine with the dry ingredients, but do not mix too thoroughly. Stir in the nuts.
3 Pour into three greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pans. Bake 50-60 minutes until the center of the loaf rises and becomes firm or cracks and springs back when touched.

Give one to your neighbor and enjoy the other two!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Locavore Thanksgiving

From a press release from Maryanne Hedrick at (, 914-293-0701)

Thanksgiving celebrates the joys of harvest and is just about the last time of the year that you can assemble a complete meal using local produce and locally raised organic turkeys. Hey – that’s just what the Pilgrims did in 1621!

Busy Thanksgiving hosts can order their locally grown Thanksgiving turkeys, vegetables, grains, cheeses, and breads from Our turkeys are organic and come from Hemlock Hills Farm in Cortland Manor. We are accepting custom orders until November 17, for delivery to your home or office on Tuesday or Wednesday November 24 or 25.

Why bother going local, you may ask – especially since there’s often a price premium involved. Here are some good reasons that we think you should consider a Locavore Thanksgiving:

Local food tastes better– even better than organic food that is not local.
Local ingredients are healthier for you and your family – they’re fresher.
Local food supports local farmers, who actually really need the help.
Local farm food help to preserve open space – Westchester County has pitched in to guarantee that the few farms left in the County actually stay here.
You deserve it! is an online farmers market that offers the best produce and artisanal products available from small farms in the Hudson Valley region. Shoppers order online and deliveries are made weekly right to your doorstep! Delivery area includes Westchester and Putnam counties, as well as parts of Rockland County and Stamford and Greenwich CT.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Food news this week

Liz Johnson posted information about the Suffern Farmers Market Soup Contest. Here is her post:

There's a good blog post from about the importance of locally grown foods:

And an almost disturbing post from the same blog about how many animals we carnivores consume in a lifetime:
(Reposted here)

630 animals for dinner
By Green Living Tips Published 09/10/2008
Visualize 8 cattle, 36 sheep, 36 pigs and 550 poultry birds. That's the number of animals the average person in Britain consumes in a lifetime according to this article in The Guardian. Scarier still is British meat consumption isn't as high as it is in the USA or Australia.

Meat consumption in the UK is now 50 per cent higher than it was 40 years ago the article says. When you take into account recent increases in other countries where meat features heavily in diets, and then you throw in emerging markets such as China and India, it's hard to comprehend that many animals being produced and slaughtered for our tables - not to mention the production and slaughter practices themselves are often quite cruel.

The Guardian article states that in Britain alone, 1 million tons of beef, 1.3 million tons of pork products and 1.8 million tons of poultry are consumed annually.

I'm a meat eater, so this isn't about a vegan bashing those who are yet to be converted :). I'm a sucker for steak, a fool for a fillet and go head over heels for a hamburger. If I could eat meat 3 meals a day, I would (and I have). I once lived on chicken for a month; breakfast, lunch and dinner - and very little else.

Having now established my carnivore credentials, it's becoming increasingly apparent to me that this is not only unhealthy, I'm likely supporting the inhumane treatment of animals and I'm certainly contributing significantly to environmental problems including deforestation and global warming.

Several studies have pointed the finger at the livestock industry as being the primary culprit for greenhouse gas emissions - more than cars, more than coal. That's how much meat we eat.
While I'm still pretty much of the belief that we are omnivores and most of us need meat, if we're serious about greening our lives, then this is an area where many of us can make a difference. I've made a few improvements, but still have a really long way to go.

Learn more in an article on cutting meat consumption.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Suffern Farmer's Market Harvest Soup Recipe Contest 2008

The Suffern Farmers’ Market is happy to announce their first annual recipe contest !

Show off your cooking talents with local, seasonal ingredients from the Market in your favorite soup recipe. The Suffern Farmers Market provides fresh, local, nutritious produce, unique farm products & hand-made goods for the community.

The Market serves to:
§ support local farmers, thus promoting and maintaining a healthy regional agricultural economy
§ educate consumers about eating seasonally and locally through the interaction of growers and shoppers
§ foster social gathering and community activity
§ encourage pedestrian traffic in our downtown business district

Great Prizes !
First Prize: $100.00 in Market gift certificates; 2- $25.00 gift certificates for lunch at Marcello’s Ristorante; copy of Marcello’s new book on Italian cooking
Second Prize:­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ $50.00 Market goodie bag; $50.00 gift certificate for Ravi Restaurant;
$50.00 goodie bag from MyPersonalFarmers.Com
Third Prize: ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­$50.00 Market goodie bag; Rockland County Health Dept goodie bag

A distinguished panel of cooking and food media professionals will be judging the final recipes:

Liz Johnson, food editor, The Journal News
Michael Gross, owner Relish Restaurant, Sparkill
Tina Anderson, cookbook author & photo director, Family Circle Magazine

September is a bountiful time of flavorful soup ingredients available at the Suffern Farmers’ Market:
winter, squashes, herbs, zuchinni,
pumpkins, meats, peppers,
tomatoes, apples, beets,
onions, leeks, wine,
potatoes, eggplant, carrots,
garlic, cabbage, broccoli,
greens beans ... and more!

Who can enter: The contest is open to all with the following exceptions: members, employees and vendors of the Suffern Farmers’ Market or Suffern Civic Association and cooking professionals are not eligible. Only one entry per person.

How to enter: Entry must include your name, address, daytime and evening telephone numbers and an e-mail address at the top of the page. Recipe must be original, not previously published in print or online. Recipe must include no less than five seasonal ingredients from the Suffern Farmers’ Market or other area markets. Recipe may not include convenience food products, such as soup bases or canned broths.

Recipe must be submitted using the following format:
Begin by listing the ingredients with specific measurements (measurements must be fully written, no abbreviations). Ingredients should be listed in the order they will be used.
Follow with the recipe instructions, including temperature settings, if necessary, the length of cooking time and the number of servings.

Entries must be submitted via e-mail to and received no later than Friday, September 12th. Call for information or with any questions: 914-906-9680.All entries will become the property of the Suffern Farmers’ Market.

Final Judging:Six semi-finalists will be notified via e-mail no later than Friday, September 19th. Three finalists will be chosen from the six.

Final judging will be held at the Suffern Farmers’ Market on Saturday, September 27th, 2008, at 10:00am. Contestants must arrive for the final judging no later than 9:15am. If the soup must be reheated for the final judging bring the completed soup in a cooking vessel. (Please keep any garnishes separate.) A burner for heating the soup will be provided.

By participating, contestants agree to these official rules and to the final decision of the judges.

Good luck!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fresh from the farm

It's been a while since I've posted and if anyone missed me, I apologize. I have been working on a book and corresponding book proposal which has been taking up all my free writing time. More on that later.

I discovered several great sites for local food enthusiasts and I would like to share them with all of you. One that I discovered last night is The bonus here is you can sign up for local chapters of their "eating liberally" or "drinking liberally" groups and meet up with like-minded people in your area.

Speaking of meeting people, if you live anywhere near the Bedford, NY area, you must check out Richard Gere's new restaurant at The Bedford Post Inn. I have - as has Liz Johnson from the Journal News and Martha Stewart. I have been there twice. The first time I just HAD to try the octopus which was very tasty! Check out Liz Johnson's Small Bites blog for more

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The importance of eating local foods

Event announcement from a press release from


Maryanne Hedrick, owner of, is a guest speaker at the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture, speaking on the importance of eating locally, ways to do so within the Hudson Valley, and the importance of helping Hudson Valley farmers continue their food farming. Her innovative company connects consumers to local farmers and is helping to create a true local food web.

Light refreshments will be served. Although there is no charge, advance registration is recommended at

Date: Saturday August 23

Time: 1-2PM

Location: Stone Barns Center for Agriculture
630 Bedford Road
Pocatino Hills, NY

For more info:

Let them eat cake

My two-year-old loves Blue and Barney almost as much as she loves Mommy, Daddy and her brother. For her birthday I made her two cakes - one on her actual birthday and one on the day of her party. The Blues Clues cake above was easy to make. I cut an image of Blue from a coloring book, layed it on the cake and sprayed Wilton Color Mist Food Color Spray around it. I removed the coloring book image and filled in the space with blue icing mixed from white icing from a can and food coloring. I mixed a tiny bit of pink icing for the tongue. This cake was much easier than the cake I did for her party which featured Barney, Baby Bop and BJ. I had to cheat and use some plastic cut-outs for that one.

Southern summer BBQ extravaganza

My daughter's second birthday party inspired me to put on a Southern comfort food feast. Being from the Northeast, I don't typically prepare these foods, but I was looking for some inspiration to get me out of the burgers and dogs rut. The Suffern Farmers Market has some interesting offerings, including a stand that sells spicy barbeque sauce, ribs and brisket. I decided on a Southern BBQ theme. That's my Pineapple BBQ chicken (above) adapted from a recipe I found here. I left out the flour but drained the pineapple.
Here is some good 'ol homemade, super creamy mac and cheese as well as my Beefy Cheesy Corn Bread adapted from another recipe. This was posted previously on this blog here. In the slow cooker pot are my BBQ Turkey Meatballs which I adapted from a recipe I found here. I left out the tapioca and substituted apricot jelly for the apple jelly. My mother said they were the best meatballs she ever had which she felt bad saying since my grandmother in heaven can hear her.

I also served baked beans, burgers and hot dogs as well as all the yummy dishes brought by friends and family including those below.

My aunt made a delicious red potato salad. If I get the recipe, I will post it. (She also brought her kids who are teens/young adults and a source of entertainment for my daughter so I could cook and clean!) My sister-in-law brought the appetizers - a layered taco dip with whole wheat tortilla chips, spinach dip in pumpernickel bread, and some hot hors d'oeuvres. My other sister-in-law brought a pasta salad as did my mother-in-law who also brought a chick pea salad. My parents brought a cheese and fruit platter.

It was a feast. My biggest mistake was preparing a chicken leg quarter for each guest. Every family left my house with chicken in a baggie. The good news is we have been enjoying the leftovers every day since!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Free cupcakes and cookies at Connie's in Mt. Kisco

Tomorrow, Thursday, June 17, is free cupcake and cookie day at Connie's bake shop in Mt. Kisco, NY. Connie's is a "socially responsible" bakery that gives 100% of profits to charity and hires people who have met obstacles in the past and gives them a one year baking apprenticeship. Take a look at their website for location and more information.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Public interest groups call for system of tracking produce

In the wake of recent massive food recalls, two public interest groups are calling for a system of tracking produce.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Consumer Federation of America, in a letter to the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), argue that if produce can be tracked through the supply chain back to the farm, investigators would have an easier time nailing down the source of outbreaks of Salmonella, E. coli, and other dangerous pathogens.
Using the same system that allows a supermarket cashier to identify a piece of produce at the checkout counter could also allow investigators to trace the origin of unsafe food, the two consumer groups say.

They pointed to the latest salmonella crisis, in which investigators' attention has recently shifted from tomatoes to jalapeño peppers after hundreds of consumers were sickened and millions of tomatoes were destroyed.

The complete article and other links regarding food recalls can be found on

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Take me out after the ballgame

I'm baaack! Hope someone missed me! Between the end of the semester at the University and Little League baseball season for my son, I have been quite busy. But I am ready to get back to blogging ... and cooking! I have missed both as they are both good stress relievers for me.

So, down to business. Now that summer is in full swing, I have been experimenting with interesting things to do with salads - both pasta salad and green salad. My husband and I both like to eat salads for dinner, especially in summer. We are not vegetarians, but get tired of eating meat every night. Last night I opened a can of chick peas and drained them, minced two cloves of garlic and sprinkled some basil and kosher salt over them and mixed it all together. I washed some red lettuce, topped the lettuce with the chick pea mixture, slivered almonds, feta cheese extra virgin olive oil, raspberry vinegar, salt and pepper. It was a satisfying, but not too filling, meal.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Surging Costs of Groceries

Here's a link to another article, this one from the Boston Globe, that lays down the ugly facts about the food crisis.

Greater demand for local food

Maryanne Hedrick from posted a comment in response to my last post and what she wrote is exactly the point I was moving toward with my recent posts about the international food crisis: "More focus and greater demand for local food is a possible positive outcome of the food/energy/economic crisis. The editorial by Dan Barber, in this past Sunday's NYTimes on this subject, focused on this subject and really moved me," Maryanne wrote.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Global food crisis

The Washington Post is running a series about the causes and effects of the world's worst food crisis since the 1970s. A complex combination of poor harvests, competition with biofuels, higher energy prices, surging demand in China and India, and a blockage in global trade is driving food prices up worldwide. Some countries, especially in Africa, are facing an increasingly dire situation while even consumers in wealthy nations are being forced to adjust. It's well worth a look:

Local food is becoming more than just the latest buzz. It may very well be a necessity as other sources of food diminish or become too pricey. It looks like we are making a shift back to basics which is better for our bodies, our planet and now our wallets.

Why Local Foods? Why Now?

A friend and colleague is giving a free talk. If you live in Westchester and are interested in local foods, I highly recommend this event. It will be a review of the cultural phenomena surrounding the trend to eat more local foods, with added perspective on the farming trends in the Hudson Valley


Hudson Valley Hospital Wellness Club
Cortland Town Center (next to Marshalls)
Mohegan Lake, NY

Date and Time: May 28, 2008 10:30 AM, for 1 hour

Other: Free to the public, no reservations necessary. Samples of local foods will be available for tasting.

Sponsored by: and the Hudson Valley Hospital Wellness Club

For more information please email, or call 914-293-0701.

"The closer the farm is to your home, the fresher and better tasting the food is on your table."

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Burger - Fred Fredburger that is

Here is the cake I made for my son's 10th birthday. If you don't know who is featured on the cake, you don't have a fourth grader. Meet Fred Fredburger. He likes to spell his name, he says "Yes!" after everything and he like nachos. He is an offbeat character on "The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy" on Cartoon Network. As you can tell, I do have a fourth grader. The truth is, I kind of like Fred. The cake I made for the family party a few days later also had Fred Fredburger's mug and said, "Fredburger for President '08." I can't take credit for that slogan though, I actually saw it online.

Anyway, I printed a picture of Fred from here: and then cut the outline out, laid the makeshift paper stencil down on the already iced cake (which is easier to do if the icing has dried a little, so the paper doesn't stick) and sprayed Wilton Color Mist Food Color Spray ( around the outline and then removed the paper. I piped blue icing around the outline of Fred and filled the rest in with vanilla icing lightly colored with green food coloring. Very easy - and fun!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Drink wine for charity

It's been about three weeks since my last post and I sincerely apologize to all you fans out there. Hello? Hello?? Did anyone hear that? I can pretend, can't I!?

Anyway, I would like to share news about a fundraiser for a good cause in Westchester. I read about this on Liz Johnson's Small Bites blog on You can drink wine for charity... does it get any better than that?

Fourth Annual Wine Tasting Raises Money for Local Organizations

WHAT: Chappaqua Rotary and Hilltop Wines are once again teaming up to present a festive, entertaining and delicious evening of wine tasting that serves as a fundraiser for local organizations supported by the Rotary Club of Chappaqua.

Attendees can sample more than 100 wines from around the world and enjoy hors d’oeuvres provided by Crabtree’s Kittle House. The wines are also available for sale, with 10% of the profits donated to the Rotary for distribution to their charities.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 2, 2008, 7 to 9:30 p.m.

WHERE: Crabtree’s Kittle House, 11 Kittle Road, Chappaqua, NY

WHY: “This is a unique opportunity to sample wines from around the world, enjoy excellent cuisine and benefit so many organizations that are important to the community, including the Chappaqua Volunteer Fire Department, the Hillside Food Pantry and the Northern Westchester Women’s Shelter, just to name a few,” says John Buckley, President of the Chappaqua Rotary. “We are pleased that this event does so much to help these groups provide their essential services to those in need.”

MORE INFO: Tickets are available for $75 in advance and $80 at the door, with all proceeds benefiting Rotary charities. They can be purchased in-person at Hilltop Wines, 423 King Street, Chappaqua; or reserved by calling 914-238-8422 or via email at

Maybe you'll catch Hill and Bill there, although I doubt they are doing much campaigning in their hometown right now!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Healthy version of buffalo chicken with blue cheese dressing

I am trying a diet called "carb cycling" so I now alternate between low carb and high carb days. Last night I was craving something a little more interesting than tuna and bunless burgers. So I decided to attempt a buffalo chicken salad. I sliced a boneless chicken breast into thin slices and then dipped them in flour, egg and Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs and fried them in a small amount of extra virgin olive oil. The panko crumbs are so flavorful and crispy, they give the illusion of deep fried texture. When they were cooked through, I cut the chicken into small chunks and tossed them in a bowl with hot sauce. In a separate bowl, I whisked together about two tablespoons light mayo with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and then mixed in some crumbled blue cheese. Mmmmm. I mixed up a simple salad of iceburg lettuce and croutons with some extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and seasoned it with garlic powder and salt. I topped the salad with the chicken and the homemade blue cheese dressing. Delish. And a fraction of the fat and calories of a restaurant version.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Definitely not yucky!

I finally made gnocchi. If you say it fast it almost sounds like the work "yucky" but it is anything but! I have been too intimidated to make it not only because it looks complicated, but because it is my mother-in-law's specialty. Now that is intimidating. My mother-in-law is the Italian Martha Stewart and the expert of all gourmet Italian cooking.

Well, I did it and it came out pretty darn good! Look for the recipe in my March column on

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Indoor Farmers Market at the Westchester County Center

If you live in the NY metro area and are looking for a taste of spring, check out the indoor farmers market in Westchester, a monthly event that features fresh produce, delicious baked goods, maple syrup, honey and jams, meats, wines, and dairy products. The event takes place Sundays, March 16, April 20, and May 18, 10 am. to 3 p.m. Free Admission, Parking $4. For more information, visit . The Westchester County Center is located at 198 Central Avenue, White Plains, NY 10606; Phone - 914-995-4050.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hot tamale!

Ususally when I buy more than a pound of ground beef in one package, I split it into smaller portions before I freeze it so that I am not thawing more beef than I can use at once. But recently I bought some meat on sale and just threw it all in the freezer. I made burgers and potatoe skins on Monday and I had some extra ground beef in the fridge. I was looking for something more exciting to do with it than make burgers, meatballs or chili, so I looked in one of my gazillion cookbooks. I found "Beefy Corn Bread" in a book called Family Meals by Borders at Home. I threw this recipe together in the morning and just had to heat it for 10 minutes when I came home at night. It was a surprisingly nice combination of salty, sweet and a touch of spice. It reminded me of a tamale without the wrapper. Below is my adapted version. The original called for cumin which I left out and I added a pinch more taco seasoning instead.

Beefy Corn Bread
10 oz. extra lean ground beef
1 teaspoon chili powder (I used a taco seasoning mix)
1/2 cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed (I used canned corn, drained)
1/4 cup salsa
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 tbsp. sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 beaten eggs
3/4 cup fat-free milk (I used 2%)
2 tbsp. cooking oil
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preparation: In large skillet, brown the beef and add the seasoning. Drain any excess fat. Stir in the corn and 1/4 cup salsa. In medium bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, milk and oil then add the flour mixture until just moistened. Spray a 2-quart baking dish (I didn't have this so used a one-and-a-half quart baking dish and baked for an extra 5 minutes) with non-stick spray. Spread half the cornbread mixture in the bottom of the dish. Spoon meat mixture over batter and sprinkle with half the cheese. Spoon remaining cornbread mixture on top and spread to cover meat. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees F for about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Serve with 1/3 cup heated salsa. (I forgot this step, but it was still yummy). Makes 6 servings.

They recommend topping with fresh cilantro and jalapeno slices if desired, but I don't particularly like either, especially cilantro, so I skipped it. I might in the future try baking some jalapeno into the bread since I find jalapeno corn bread without meat is tasty.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Chick pea salad

Delicious, nutritious and easy. I found a recipe on the can of Goya chick peas and had all the ingredients so I made it with dinner last night and my husband took the rest for lunch today with a salad. The great thing is it is served chilled or at room temperature making it a great side for entertaining or to take to work for lunch. It can be made a couple of days ahead of time but if you do that, be prepared to double the recipe or there will be nothing left when you go to serve it!

Here's my adapted version:

Chick pea salad
1 15.5 oz. can of chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup roasted red pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 small cucumber, chopped
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
Garlic powder and salt to taste

Toss ingredients together and serve.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The best homemade brownie recipe

Although I have made brownies from scratch countless times, I always go back to the ones you make out of the box because I have found that they are inevitably more fudgy with richer chocolate flavor. But, I finally found a recipe that I like (and so does the family) and they only have 6 tablespoons of butter! I made these last night.

Adapted from a recipe in All You magazine:
Fudgy Brownies
Prep: 20 min.
Bake: 25 min.
Yield: 16

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped (semi-sweet chocolate chips also work)
1 large egg plus 1 large egg white
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preparation: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with foil leaving a 1 inch overhang. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Melt butter and chocolate until smooth in a saucepan over low heat. Set aside to cool slightly. Combine eggs, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and stir in chocolate and butter mixture. Add dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Add chocolate chips. Pour into pan and bake until set in center, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool. Place plate over pan and turn upside-down to release the brownies. Cut into small squares.

The addition of the chocolate chips was not in the original recipe but I added them in case the recipe by itself was not fudgy enough. The recipe calls for baking 20 to 25 minutes. In my experience (depending on your oven of course), 20 minutes is plenty and more would make them dry.

I have seen brownie recipes call for foil in the pan before and thought it would be a mess with batter seeping under the foil and making it all stick together, but this batter is very thick, so it was not a problem and in fact, removing the brownies was so easy, I may do it this way every time. I sprayed my foil with baking spray to be sure it didn't stick. I saw the Neelys on Food Network make their brownies with foil in the pan the same day I tried this, so thought they all can't be wrong! Enjoy!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Wine and Food Festival

I am very much looking forward to this year's bigger better greater NY Wine and Food Festival event organized by the Journal News. The event will take place in April at the Doubletree Hotel in Tarrytown and will feature tastings, celebrity chefs, competitions and more. For more information or to buy tickets click here

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dine out to end hunger in NYC March 2

Invite your friends and family to dine out on March 2 for the fifth annual Time Out For Hunger campaign in partnership with Time Out New York magazine. More than 80 restaurants will donate 10 percent of the day’s proceeds to help New Yorkers at risk of hunger. For more information, visit

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Secret to the Perfect Omelet

I have discovered the secret to the perfect omelet and it's not onions, peppers or cheese - it's a stainless steel pan. Most of my life I have cooked with non-stick pans, mostly because they are affordable and I didn't know any better! I have slowly been discovering the joys of cooking with stainless steel since my father bought me a beautiful set of stainless pots and pans for Christmas. So, this morning I sprayed my 8 inch pan with olive oil and heated the pan. Once I added the eggs, the omelet cooked quickly and evenly and flipped easily. I'm never going back.

Another cooking tool I am learning I can't live without is a good knife. I spluged on one when I hosted a Pampered Chef party a few months back and I now relize I have been chopping with a handicap for years. Good knives are worth the extra money.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

L'Absinthe - French Restaurant in NYC

I had the pleasure this afternoon to enjoy the best of NYC cuisine at a french restaurant called L'Absinthe located in Manhattan's east side. I was meeting some media contacts so had an excuse to have a decadent lunch. I ordered the cheese platter as an appetizer. If I was stranded on a dessert island, and I could choose one food it would be cheese! Pasta would be nice, too. But anyway, the platter was a wonderful selection of hard and soft cheeses inlcuding bleu cheese and brie. The platter came with mixed greens with oil, vinegar and a pinch of salt, and walnuts and dried apricots, so was the perfect blend of sweet and salty. My second course was vine ripened tomatoes with lentils and cucumber "tagliatelle" topped with bleu cheese. I must admit, I was initially disappointed when the dish came and I saw how little bleu cheese was on it - it was topped with a finely grated dusting of the cheese, but I came to appreciate the subtlety of the flavor. It was not at all overpowering. The restaurant is offering a special menu for Valentine's Day - a three course menu for $90. The restaurant is located at 227 E. 67th Street, NY, NY 10021, 212-794-4950. More details at or

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Winter market to sell New York's Hudson Valley's local foods

If you are like me and longing for Spring and signs of the first blooms - and the first farmer's markets - here's an event for you that I read about in the Poughkeepsie Journal. Winter Sun Farms will sponsor a Winter Market from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. this coming Saturday at Deyo Hall on Broadhead Avenue in New Paltz, New York. The market will feature Hudson Valley products and fun family demonstrations. Participating farms include: Taliaferro Farms, Four Wind Farms, Phillies Bridge, Brook Farm, Grey Mouse Farm, Veritas Farms, Acorn Hill, Conuco Farms, Bradley Farms, Pika's Quiches, Threshold Farm, Wild Hive Bakery and more. Winter Sun Farm was launched by Jim Hyland, in order to create a line of frozen vegetables under one label that are being sold in a community-supported agriculture model. For information: E-mail; call 845-255-1699; or visit

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Tomato Sauce with Pancetta

This past Christmas, I made food gift baskets for all the grown-ups in my family. I sent one to my aunt and uncle in Michigan and they sent a nice note of thanks a while back and asked for the tomato sauce recipe. So, here I will hit two birds with one stone and make it my blog entry for today. I loosely based the sauce on something I saw Giada DeLaurentiis make on her show before the holidays. Here's my version:

Tomato Sauce with Pancetta

Two cans tomato puree
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lb. pancetta (which is like Italian bacon and can be found where prosciutto is)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 or 3 large carrots, grated
1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
Dried basil, parsley, thyme, salt and black pepper to taste

Preparation: Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add pancetta and cook until browned slightly. Add onion and cook until softened. Deglaze the bottom of the pot with the white wine or broth. Add tomato puree, carrots, herbs, salt and pepper and simmer on medium heat until thickened and the flavors are blended, about an hour. Pour over pasta and top with pecorino romano cheese or pour into a jar and save. This sauce can be frozen until you are ready to use.

Monday, February 4, 2008

My new column on My Personal Farmers has launched!

I was honored when I was asked to write a monthly column on and this month is the first. The column appears on the recipe page ( and while it was a time consuming process to create and test the recipes and then write about them, it was quite fulfilling as it is the first food writing (outside this blog) that I have done that is all about my own cooking. I am honored that they thought I was skilled enough to tackle such a project. Check out this month's entry for information on nutritious red foods and my recipes for Beet and Yam Won Ton Ravioli (which I served the parents as an appetizer on Saturday) and Wilted Beet Greens with Apples and Walnuts.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Go Giants!

Friends of ours have a Super Bowl party every year, no matter who the teams are that make it in. This year, we in the New York area all have Super Bowl fever as we root for our very own NY Giants. My friend likes to keep junk food to a minimum at her parties, so she asked me to bring fruit. I was trying to think of creative ways to jazz up fruit when it hit me that I had seen a photo of fruit kabobs in a magazine and decided to see what fruit I had around to make kabobs with. I made fruit kabobs with pineapple, strawberries and orange slices. I arranged the kabobs in a plastic bowl in the center of a platter and surrounded them with slices of pound cake. I sprinkled the cake with team colors - red, white and blue sprinkles - and topped the platter with a plastic Super Bowl decoration from a supermarket cake we had the day before.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Today we are having all the parents over - four from my side, two from the Cea side - to celebrate three birthdays. I decided to cook a Puglisi - or maybe it's Masullo (mom's side) - family favorite that we call Genoese sauce. I imagine it was originally Genovese sauce, so I have named it that below. Anyway, it was always a special treat when Grandma decided to make this dish. The base of the sauce is a pot roast which is cooked for several hours. I can remember Grandma Puglisi standing over a hot stove for hours. I have neither the time nor the patience for that, so I cook mine in a slow cooker. The one I am serving today cooked yesterday for 8 hours on low with all ingredients added from the start.

Genovese Sauce

3 to 4 lbs bottom or top round (pot roasted)
1 pkg onion soup mix
6 or 7 small chopped onions
2 carrots chopped
1/2 lb proscuitto

Preparation: Pot roast meat in oil and water (simmer covered for a couple of hours until brown; keep adding water and turning). Season with salt when cooked. Pour in cooked onion soup and add vegetables and proscuitto. Simmer uncovered until thick (about an hour). Note: I have also used wine for the liquid which adds nice flavor. This time, I used chicken broth and skipped the onion soup mix. Next time I am going to try beef broth.

Serve over a pound or two of spaghetti topped with lots of pecorino romano cheese. Buon appetito!

Friday, February 1, 2008

When Pigs Fly

I just ate at the Flying Pig in Mt. Kisco because I am writing a feature story on the restaurant for the Mt. Kisco and Pleasantville Examiner papers. What an experience! The service was superb - that of an elegant restaurant. The food was unique, healthful and completely organic and local. From their website: "The Flying Pig on Lexington is Northern Westchester's standard bearer for local, natural, farm-to-table foods. With a menu that showcases farm-fresh foods from the Hudson Valley and beyond, we capture the vibrancy of seasonal flavors." The Flying Pig on Lexington is located at 251 Lexington Avenue, at the corner of Moore Avenue in Mount Kisco. Telephone: 914-MOO-PIG5 (914-666-7445). Check out their website at

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Mini Chocolate Strawberry Tarts

I just completed my first column for and it will appear on their site in a day or two. For the column this month, I focused on red foods for Valentine's Day and came up with mini chocolate strawberry tarts that are so easy, but so decadent.

Mini Chocolate Strawberry Tarts
4 crunchy granola bars crushed or 1/2 cup granola
1 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preparation: Divide granola among 4 small ramekins. Melt the butter in the cream on medium heat. Remove from stove and stir in chocolate until melted and smooth. Pour into ramekins and chill in fridge for an hour (half hour in the freezer). Top with strawberries and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Cookbook from my grandmother's hometown

When looking for fundraising ideas for the Suffern Farmer’s Market, I came upon a website that publishes community cookbooks and one of those cookbooks was from Middleport, NY. This is a very small town way upstate in New York – near Buffalo and the Canadian border. My father and uncles grew up there and my grandmother lived there until she passed away a little over ten years ago. She was very active in the community and I hope I possess half the zest for life that she had. One of my favorite (and last) memories of my gradnmother is of she and I peeling, coring and cutting apples from my former boss' tree and making an apple pie the way her mother (a home economics teacher at a school for the blind in MI) taught her. (I will include that apple pie recipe in another post). My grandfather, Herb Halstead, passed away when my father was a child, so I never knew him but have heard often about his vivacious personality.

The following sample recipe from the Middleport Community Choir Cookbook was on the publisher's site and I felt warm and fuzzy when I saw the name - Herb - like my grandfather! Could it be a message from above? Below the recipe is information on ordering.

"Welcome Herb" Potato Salad (German recipe) By: Dorle Hirte
1kg potatoes
1 lg onion
6 T. oil
3 T. boiling water
vinegar to taste
salt, pepper & paprika
parsley, chives & dill

Boil the unpeeled potatoes until done. Peel and cut into slices. Peel onion, grate into small pieces and add to the potatoes along with the vinegar, salt, pepper, paprika and chopped herbs. Pour the hot water over the mixture and allow to marinade for about 30 minutes. Add the oil, stir well and make sure all ingredients are well incorporated. You may now add some chopped hard-boiled eggs or dill pickles if you wish.

Make check payable to:Middleport Community Choir
Mail order to:The Middleport Community Choir, Attn: Gail Kester
Park Ave. & Vernon St.
Middleport, NY 14105
Phone: 716-523-4783
Web site
Cost: $11.00plus $3.00 S/H per book.
New York residents add 8% state and local sales tax to your order.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Simple way to feed the hungry - and I don't mean your own kids!

Barilla, the pasta maker, has joined chef Mario Batali, entertaining expert David Tutera, and several celebrities to create a free cookbook with Italian recipes and décor advice – all to benefit hunger relief in America. During the month of February, go to to download the book. For each download, Barilla will donate $1 to America’s Second Harvest.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Win Cooking Classes from Woman's Day

I love to enter sweepstakes and this one I couldn't resist. Woman's Day is sponsoring the Dream Come True Sweepstakes. When you enter, you'll be eligible to win one of over 1,000 prizes including a 10-day Southern Caribbean Calypso Cruise aboard the Queen Mary 2, plus $5,000 or $25,000 cash. First prize is cooking classes, a $2,000 value. Second prize is a GE Profile Electric Range and third prize is a DeLonghi Coffee Bar and Espresso Maker. The sweepstakes ends Jan. 30, 2009. For official rules and details visit

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Decadent devil's food and peanut butter cookies

I was stuck in the house again because we are still all getting over being sick. My daughter slept for three hours on my lap, so I had no choice but to sit there and flip back and forth between E! Hollywood network and Food Network. The inevitable happened - I became incresingly hungry and wanted to cook everything I saw. Guy Fieri was hitting his usual Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and the gooey burgers inspired me to make burgers (local farm-raised, no antibiotics or hormones of course) with sauteed onions and melted horseradish cheddar. I served natural hot dogs for my son, who doesn't like burgers because I have only started serving red meat recently for my husband. My son and I usually eat turkey burgers. But I digress - I was also watching Road Tasted and Jamie and Bobby Deen were tasting some scrumptious looking whoopie pies from Maine. Of course I wanted those too, but had to make do with whatever I had in the house. So I decided to make double chocolate cookies with peanut butter filling. They turned out delish! But the one mistake I made was making the cookies too big which made them unmanageable, not to mention too filling.

Here's the recipe:
Cookies -
Devil's food cake mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp water
2 eggs
1 cup cholcolate chips or chunks

Mix ingredients together in a bowl until moist. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes.

Filling -
1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar

Cream together in a bowl until completely combined. The mixture will be stiff. Add a few drops of vegetable oil to make it smoother if necessary.

Make sandwiches out of the cookies using the peanut butter filling in the middle. The peanut butter spreads more easily when the cookies are still warm.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Stretch out that chicken soup

Now I have what my daughter has which was inevitable since I am contantly bathed in sneezes and mucus from my little angel. So, chicken soup sounded pretty good to me last night and today. Unfortunately, I had left my broth from the day before on the stove for too long with the heat too high and it cooked down to a more concentrated soup which was quite flavorful, but there was only a little of it. So, I saved it and put it back on the stove, added a chicken bullion cube and some water as well as a can of diced tomatoes. I boiled some extra noodles and voila - more homemade soup. Well, my daughter is sleeping now, so I am going to put my fuzzy slippers on and crawl under a blanket and watch Food Network.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Have a sweet tooth? Try these cookies...

My son has made a new year's resolution to cut down on sweets, my husband is getting in shape to enter the police academy, and I am still trying to lose that last 15 since my daughter's birth a year-and-a-half ago. We eat healthy meals daily, but the main challenge in our house is that we all have a sweet tooth. But, I've been stuck in the house with a sick baby all week and needed a treat. So, last night I decided to make a healthy version of our favorite cookies - chocolate chip. I adapted the recipe from the inside of the cap on my Quaker Oats box. Instead of one cup of butter or margarine, I used half a cup of olive oil and half a cup of unsweetened apple sauce. I also replaced the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. So, with whole wheat, oats, apple sauce and healthy fats in the olive oil, this recipe is a pretty healthy (and tasty) alternative to a decadent treat.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Chicken Noodle Soup

So I made wraps from leftover rotisserie chicken yesterday and then started sauteeing a yellow onion in olive oil in a large pot, then threw the chicken carcass in the pot, filled it with water, put it back on the stove and started cooking down my chicken stock for homemade soup. My mother-in-law taught me how to make soup from scratch while I was pregnant with my daughter. The timing for my soup is good today because my daughter happens to be under the weather and she loves soup - the standard remedy for a cold. As the stock cooks down, I add chopped celery, shredded carrots, a can of tomato soup and seasoning which usualy includes salt, pepper, dried poultry seasoning, bay leaves and sometimes dried celery if I don't have fresh available. I let the soup cook down for a few hours and then take it off the stove, strain the chicken bones out, and let the soup cool - overnight and in the fridge if possible. Orange colored fat solidifies on the top and that gets skimmed off before the pot goes back on the stove. In a separate pot, I cook the noodles or macaroni (any can be used, but my favorites are wide egg noodles or small dittalini pasta). I add the pasta to the soup as I serve it, that way leftover soup can be frozen or put in the fridge for another night. The noodles don't keep well in the soup. They absorb the liquid and get too soggy. I serve the soup with crackers and topped with plenty of grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese. Campell's move over!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Put that rotisserie chicken to work for you

I don't usually like to buy rotisserie chickens from the supermarket - they're six bucks, tiny and a bit too greasy for my taste - but sometimes they are a lifesaver. When you are really pressed for time, a rotisserie can be the building block of a nutritious family meal. The first night, pair it with brown rice and some steamed veggies and you have a healthy dinner. Put the leftovers in the fridge and take them out the next day and put the chicken pieces in quesadillas or chicken wraps. Wraps are a wonderful cath-all for leftovers. Take the remaining chicken carcass and put it in a pot for chicken stock. I will share my mother-in-law's chicken noodle soup recipe soon. If you don't have time to cook the stock right away, freeze the carcass until you are ready. Three or four meals from one rotisserie - not bad for six bucks.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Easy, Delicious, Nutritious

Last night's dinner was simple to cook, but the family felt like they were eating at our favorite Japanese restaurant.

Salmon - wild, not farm-raised of course - was on sale at the local supermarket, so I bought three pounds. I cooked half of it and froze half for another night. I lined my George Forman grill with aluminum foil for easy clean-up (otherwise the grill smells like fish for weeks), set it to 350 degrees, put the salmon on and topped it with a soy/ginger/garlic marinade from a bottle. It was fairly thick, so it took about 15 or 20 minutes.

While that was grilling, I put a cup of brown rice and some water and olive oil in my rice cooker to boil and topped that with the steamer tray filled with shrimp shumai. I buy the shumai frozen at my local Asian vegetable market and for $2.99 I get about three times a typical order at a restaurant for a fraction of the price. I also steamed some veggies.

The whole meal took about a half hour to prepare and was a big hit with the family. Easy clean-up too.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday Brunch

Today I had a former boss over for brunch. I enjoyed using my new tablecloth, cloth napkins and fine china. Here's where my experience in college as a banquet hall waitress comes in handy. I enjoy dressing up the table and folding my napkins professionally.

As a main course, we served quiche. Quiche is the timeless brunch staple. It's just great entertaining food. One or two standard quiches can serve a small crowd and it's one of those foods that tastes just as good at room temperature as hot so can be left on the table for a while. For a large crowd, I once made a recipe from a Martha Stewart cookbook for quiche appetizers. The recipe calls for a crust rolled out on a large cookie sheet and then topped with an egg, cream, cheese and spinach mixture. Once baked, it can be cut into about 100 squares, so serves a crowd. And quiche is one of those great dishes that can be thrown together using whatever you have in the house. Some of my favorite quiche recipes come from my mom who makes an apple and cheddar quiche which is a great use for extra apples in the fall. Swiss cheese and marinated artichoke hearts make another great combination for quiche. If you have extra peppers, onions, scallions or potatoes - throw them in a quiche. Zucchini, yellow squash or tomatoes can also be used, but sparingly as they are watery and will affect the crust and bake time. All types of cheeses work well in quiche.

My standard recipe for quiche is as follows:
One 9 inch pie pan
Refrigerator pie crust
6 to 8 large eggs
One cup milk
Cheese and other flavorings to taste

Cover pie pan with crust following package directions. Whisk eggs and milk together. Add cheese and other flavorings to taste. Bake for one hour at 350 degrees.

A few months ago, I made a "pizza quiche" that was a hit with the kids. I added mozzarella cheese on top of the crust and baked for 10 minutes and then topped that with a can of tomato soup and then the egg mixture and baked for an hour. Delish!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Don't throw away that calamari!

Last week, I did something I never did before - I saved calamari from a restaurant, fried it again the next day, and served it over linguini. It all started when my husband and I escaped for a dinner alone - one of the first since our 17-month-old was born. Our nine year old, wise to where we were going (a favorite local Italian restaurant), was a little dissappointed he wasn't coming since he loves the calamari there. I promised him I'd bring some back but by the time we came home, he was full from the baked ziti I left for the kids for dinner, so he only had a few bites. So, what to do with all that leftover calamari?? It seemed a shame to throw it all away, so I decided to put it in the fridge and see what I could do with it the next day.

So, I heated some olive oil in a pan and dropped the calamari in as is. I let it fry for two to three minutes, sprinkled some kosher salt over it and removed it from the pan. I served it over linguini with marinara sauce and it was crispy and delicious. I was afraid the calamari would become tough or chewy, but that was not the case at all. It was even crispier and tastier than the day before. My son enjoyed it so much, that he didn't want me to throw the leftovers away. So we saved them for one more day and tried it again, but that was overkill. I think the calamari really needs to be used by the next day, or it won't work.

We may be going out with my in-laws tonight to another Italian restaurant, so if there are any calamari leftovers, I'll save them and do it again. I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, January 18, 2008

New Column on My Personal Farmers

I am happy to announce that I will be writing a regular column on Since the Locally Grown contest back in Sept., I have had the pleasure of getting to know the people involved in the contest - the contestants as well as the judges. It really is a great group of people. And one of those people is Maryanne Hedrick, owner of She and I met for breakfast recently and spontaneously decided it would be fun to do a column on the site about cooking with local ingredients. And so my new column was born. More about that tomorrow.

As for recipe ideas for today, I was in meetings all day and as I was driving home from the city, my husband called with the ever-tempting suggestion: do you want to just order food? How could I resist. So, although I had a little guilt from not cooking a home-cooked meal for the kids, I thoroughly enjoyed some Mahi from our local Outback.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Welcome to the Farmer's Market Cooking blog

Hello. I am finally doing something I have been meaning to do for quite some time - create a blog so that I can share recipes, resources and stories and connect with other people who enjoy cooking with fresh, locally grown ingredients. Back in Sept. 2007, I won the Locally Grown recipe contest and cook-off sponsored by the Journal News ( in Westchester County, NY, and The Valley Restaurant ( in Garrison, NY. The pictures, recipes and video of the half hour TV program on the contest are still available on the Journal News website (see above link).

So, welcome. I look forward to getting to know other amateur chefs. Check back weekly to find new recipes and resources for gourmet cooks everywhere.

embracing a sustainable lifestyle as a Locavore ... using locally grown and produced ingredients whenever possible ...

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