The Cranberry—More than Just a Pretty Face

Fresh cranberries, sweetened cranberry nectar, and dried, sweetened cranberries

The Cranberry—More than Just a Pretty Face Long before foreign settlers came to North America, indigenous people harvested wild red berries and cooked them with venison, maple syrup, and honey.  Early settlers and explorers called the tart fruits “crane berries”, perhaps because the blossoms of the plant sits on a slender stem resembling the neck of a crane. Another version of the story holds that the berries were named for that same swamp-dwelling bird, which ate them. Either way, the name eventually became the one we know today. The Harvest…Storage… Cranberries no longer grow wild. The crimson harvest is big … Continue reading

Autumn Apples — Sweet Seduction in Variety and Versatility

Beautiful, prize-winning apples at the Pennsylvania Farm Show 2014

Autumn Apples—Sweet Seduction in Variety & Versatility Apples just naturally provoke our senses to tingling anticipation of sweet seduction.  They brag different flavors – sweet and mellow, or tart; different colors – golden, red, green, striped or mottled; and apples possess different textures – juicy, crisp, hard or snappy.  Thus never boring, this fruit offers a kaleidoscope of eating excitement, and most times seasonings and accents need to be discreet or minimal to produce the best results.      Apples are found nearly everywhere in the world.  There are cooking varieties, eating apples, the majority carrying dual purpose.  No one description … Continue reading

Welcome Bethlehem Rose Garden Farmer’s Market!

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At Home with Local Food — Bethlehem Rose Garden Farmer’s Market Local can mean picking an apple off the tree in your backyard, or plucking a tomato off the potted plant on your balcony.  But if you are interested in a way to instantly plunge into the world of fresh local food, visit your local farmer’s market.  It is the easiest way to purchase and eat food at the peak of its flavor and connect face-to-face with the farmers who grow it.  I live in southeastern Pennsylvania and our local harvest brings us life and vitality, a shared experience of … Continue reading

What’s the Scoop? Summertime & Homemade Ice Cream

Summer 2016 has arrived!

What’s the Scoop?  Summertime & Homemade Ice Cream There is nothing subtle about its seduction for summer has it all; lucent baby blue skies, honeysuckle breezes, enchanting cliff side seascapes, graceful old elms, and tantrum bursts of rain that then give way to hugging sunshine.  Summer is the season when Mother Earth beneath us is donning a dress of many colors, spreading forth in all her fruitfulness and glory.  It is a time to be aware and to appreciate the presence of life everywhere.  So, what’s the scoop? I’ll tell you, the scoop is that it is summer and it … Continue reading

An American Meal in Minutes

This country is all about regional menus!

An American Meal in Minutes      The cuisine that Americans have inherited is one of the most diverse in the world.  American cooking is complex—a product of many factors:  indigenous foods, native inventiveness, immigrant’s recipes, national pride and modern technology.  The only real constant has been change.  The beginnings…      The earliest settlers—in Plymouth, had to expand, or at times abandon, their Old World eating habits in order to survive.  They turned to Native Americans, the original American cooks, who taught them how to prepare native edibles like corn, squash, beans, turkey, crabs and lobsters, moose, cranberries, blueberries, maple syrup, … Continue reading

April’s Cold Shoulder—Coaxing the Most Out of Spring…with Green Onions and Asparagus!

Spring Favorites: Wild Ramps with roots attached, spring onions, fiddlehead ferns, spinach, red radishes

April’s Cold Shoulder—Coaxing the Most Out of Spring with Green Onions and Asparagus! In the beginning, skies are grey.  The trees are still naked.  The snow melts, and then the frozen ground gives way to mud.  Hints of balmy air occasionally drifts by reminding us of the warmth soon to follow, but all too often first days in April are cool and rainy.  And just how many of us have witnessed hosts of daffodils blanketed under a new fallen spring snow?  The weather stubbornly clings to winter, but spring fever rules, bubbling up in most people around the Ides of … Continue reading

A Ukrainian Easter For All!

Ukrainian Paska Bread--- is a work of art baked especially for the blessing of foods at church on Easter morning. Much richer than ordinary bread, it is flavored with plenty of eggs and rich melted butter.

A Ukrainian Easter For All! The traditions that originated in pre-Christian times in Ukraine echoed the religious dogma, social structure, and agrarian way of life of its people.      So often helpless in the face of nature’s power, “pre-Christian” religion evolved into various cults that worshipped natural phenomena such as the sun, moon, stars, fire, wind, and water.  There were also animal cults and cults of trees and magical herbs.  By the means of ritual dances, incantations, and special offerings, the ancient people thought they could appease and please nature. The most important season of the year in an agrarian … Continue reading

Inventive and Poetic Spring Feasts

Spring Harvests

INVENTIVE AND POETIC SPRING FEASTS      The calendar start of spring is just days away. We are leaving our cocoons of heat and artificial light, and breathing the cool fresh air while feeling the sun’s radiant warmth.  All around us the gray of winter recedes. Spring extends an invitation — an invitation to connect with the land upon which we live. Good bye wintertime…I love you dearly. But, it is time to move on…spring is here! I am extending to you 3 of my springtime signature offerings… #1 I love the deep, earthy taste of spring in a dandelion salad. This … Continue reading

Sating Hungers Invigorated by Life in a Cold Climate—with BEANS!

Locally-grown and harvested by North Star Orchard here in Pennsylvania---King of the Early Bean is a variety that holds up well in baking---perfect for baked bean recipes.

Sating Hungers Invigorated by Life in a Cold Climate—with BEANS! Mid February…wondering what I do in the depths of winter?  I burn my culinary candle, if not others, at both ends!.  You see, I think cooking takes on a more pleasurable aura in the wintertime.  Blustery winter weather makes people turn their energies inward, possibly to focus on what some might say are more serious tasks.  And yes, the need to nurture peaks and many find standing next to a hot stove preferable over most other activities.  But whether it is income tax preparation, or the outdoor combat with the … Continue reading

SOUPS: Versatile Cold-Weather Fare

"Ribollita" - A vegetable porridge of sorts that is warm and filling

SOUPS:  Versatile Cold-Weather Fare Winter is the time when Nature is sleeping and gathering energy for the spring and all her wild creatures are warm in their holes. We too need to use winter as a time to regenerate—like walking and playing in the cold fresh air, and then coming home to perhaps tea and resting by the fire.  Winter is also the time to do all the things the busy days of Fall made it difficult to do—reading, crafting, and maybe even cooking!  It is time for SOUPS! I have to admit, a hearty bowl of soup in January … Continue reading