To Recap

Friends, Readers, and Accidental Visitors:

I was reminded today that some people want to access my recipe archive without having to sign up for a wordpress account.  I’ve “unlocked” this site, so it is visible to the public, but its unlikely new posts will be forthcoming.  Happy trails, all.

My Saratoga Post

Hudson River

I recently returned from my too-short summer vacation to Saratoga Springs.  As some readers already know, I go to Saratoga pretty much every year, and it is absolutely my favorite place to be.  Its my family place, a relaxing place, a great food town, a great gambling town, a great parks town, and a great music town.  Those are basically all my favorite things.  You can see some photos from my trip by clicking the flickr box on the top right of my blog page.

This post will be a recap of my trip to Saratoga, and a potential guide of things to do (or not do) if you ever venture there yourself.
Continue reading ‘My Saratoga Post’

The Big Box Ballyhoo

This morning I was perusing my local paper (if you can call it that), The Morning Call, and felt a sinking disappointment that is hard to adequately explain.  The business beat reporter, Tyrone Richardson, devoted his entire weekly column to complaining about the lack of national chain restaurants in the Lehigh Valley.  He gives a brief mention to some local businesses that are okay in a pinch, according to him.  Now, look, I’m not saying I wouldn’t be overjoyed if Costco decided to open shop nearby, and I certainly understand why many people are clamoring for some of these national names.  But, I’m going to jump on the bandwagon that Jeff Pooley has been driving and give Tyrone a little back talk.

Tyrone, its not news that the Lehigh Valley isn’t a top destination for major retail chains, we’re not a major market.  What is news is that within my relatively-short lifetime, we in the Lehigh Valley lost our two biggest employers and somehow both Allentown and Bethlehem have managed to diversify their economies enough to not have a devastating loss of population.  As Tyrone mentions in his article, the Lehigh Valley is a growing region that attracts people from New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and elsewhere.  Both cities have abundant entrepreneurs who have literally led the way to this diversification, opening small businesses in the retail, service, manufacturing, and technology sectors that would make people in many parts of Ohio, Western New York, Michigan, etc double over with envy.  Its news that even in this hideous economy, many of these business owners are digging in and hanging on, while big name national chains like Quizno’s make their quick exits.  Its news that against all odds, new small businesses are opening, while big chains put the brakes on their expansion plans and decide to wait it out.  Just something to think about the next time you decide to devote 100% of your precious column inches to writing about big name retail and why there’s not more of it in the Lehigh Valley.

I’m preparing to leave this week for my annual vacation in Saratoga Springs, NY.  I could, and probably will have a whole separate post on the numerous reasons that this is my favorite town to spend time in, but the primary reason is the awesome power of its downtown – home to dozens of independently-owned restaurants, shops, bars, galleries, and cafes.  When I stroll down Broadway looking for Breakfast on Thursday morning, I know for sure that I’m not going to have any regrets that I can’t enjoy a Dunkin Donut.

Don’t know what to do with all your zucchini?

I didn’t plant any zucchini in my garden – I planted two yellow squash plants, which are producing at an acceptable but not out of control rate.  A few weeks ago, I traded some yellow squash for zucchini from a friend who has two zucchini plants that just basically exploded, growing full size fruits basically overnight.

Here is a solution for both of us. Continue reading ‘Don’t know what to do with all your zucchini?’

Pisto Manchego and Eggs

Its here!  Garden fresh veggies in abundance!  My squash have recovered from whatever was ailing them, and I’ve harvested quite a few, with many more blossoms growing.  The cherry tomatoes are sweet and ripe, the peas are absolutely perfect, and the peppers are crisp and tasty.

This summer I am making a concerted effort to eat more homemade whole-food meals, and not use canned or boxed foods for the most part (exceptions for whole wheat pastas, couscous, and brown rice).  The big challenge is to plan ahead so that I always have something fresh ready to be made into a meal.  Its much easier to do so when so many fresh ingredients are growing right on the back deck!

The other night, I decided to make the “Pisto Manchego” from Martha Rose Shulman’s NYT column.  I added a red bell pepper and used cherry tomatoes instead of canned.  Paired with some crispy kale, this was a seriously incredible summer meal.  Tonight I made a delicious pureed soup of corn, summer squash, hot peppers, and shallots.  Tomorrow?  Perhaps a carrot soup & a pesto & tomato sandwich.

Pizza Triumph

This week I had a plan.  Pizzas.  Fancy pizzas.  I made a DELICIOUS slow-fermenting whole-wheat pizza dough based on a Peter Reinhart recipe from “American Pie.”  Hey, look, an endorsement opportunity.  If you like breads or pizza or baking in general – go out to your library or bookstore or do some good internet sleuthing and get some Peter Reinhart materials.  You may recall that I made some delicious breads a while back from one of his books…. Every single bread and or pizza recipe I have tried of his has turned out fantastic.  You just really need to read his stuff before you ever make bread or pizza again.  These dough rounds were easily the most beautiful dough I’ve ever made.  Just perfectly supple and soft, but not sticky at all.  And they tasted awesome.

Okay Okay, enough with the gushing.  I made two types of pizzas: Continue reading ‘Pizza Triumph’

Rediscovering

I’ve been lost from music for a while.  Its the result of several factors really.  For instance, BD is a musician and as such there is an almost constant stream of music in our apartment, either that he has made or that he is releasing on his small record label, or of his friends’ bands, with the occasional Neil Young record thrown in for good measure.  I’ve become okay with that, but the result has been that when he is not playing music, I generally prefer to have quiet.

Also, this may sound ridiculous, but when my friend Jerry Fuchs passed away last fall, I think I felt that music may have been lost to me forever.  I met Jerry through one of his many bands, a band called Turing Machine – probably the least known and recognized of his recent musical endeavors, but nevertheless this was my absolute favorite band.  Their music made me feel alive, energized, invigorated.  They hadn’t played live in several years, and to be honest, most other concerts I attended paled in comparison to seeing them play.  I rarely attended a concert without thinking “boy I wish I was seeing TM play tonight.”  When Jerry died, the music was only a small part of my loss and the loss experienced by his other friends and family.  But as the months have passed by, the realization that there is no music that makes me feel that same energy, and that there may never be again has really furthered my disinterest in exploring music.

Today I had a momentary glimpse of the elation that music brings out in me.  I heard a song by a band called The Mynabirds.  Its nothing earth shattering, but something drew me in for the first time in months.  Beautiful music with catcalls to classic country & soul. I wanted to share it with you.  I found the youtube above pretty quickly, and google presents many other opportunities for tuning in.  I hope you enjoy, friends and readers.  And please, be careful in elevators.


Flickr Photos

Some kind of day for a beach hike.

Always be venturing.

LET'S - GO - OAK - LAND!

More Photos

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