Archive Page 2

Tart Cherry and Almond Pie


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.

Update in 2016.  I definitely am not keeping this blog up as a blog, but I am still cooking vegetarian and vegan food and taking pictures of what I’ve cooked, so I’m turning this blog into a repository of pictures of food I’ve cooked that I might want to cook again, so you know… you can look if you’re one of those people who is into those sorts of things.

Non-food photography still on Flickr.  

Also in nonsensical and slightly ridiculous Capri things, I made a tumblr where I post about root beers that I’ve tried and you could scope that too if you love root beers or nonsense:

PS the comments on this post got kind of spammy so I deleted them all. Reach out via other means if you want to be in touch!

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 almost 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’

My Very First Roses

This weekend my rose bush bloomed!  I planted it last year, and only got a few tiny little blossoms before the end of the summer.  But the bush did take to its new home, and on Sunday morning, I clipped my first rose!  Most of my gardening is focused on vegetables and fruits, but I do also enjoy flowers which add beauty and fragrance and attract bees and butterflies and hummingbirds and all kinds of lovely pollinators.  I’ve been warned that Roses can be difficult, but so far I’m not believing the hype!  On Sunday afternoon, I clipped a few more blooms and had a beautiful, fragrant bouquet – what a delightful way to start the week.

I thought they were so beautiful I couldn’t choose just one photograph, so here are some more:

Onion Tarts, Part Deux

Its vidalia onion time!  Vidalias are a supersweet variety of onion that originally was developed in Texas, but is now grown in Georgia.  Keep reading about Vidalias and how to make them into nice onion tarts…

Curried Red Lentils & Naan

So a few months ago, I blogged about making lentil salad, and Sarina aka Lehigh Valley Lexicon posted a comment about making a curried red lentil soup.  Well that sounded pretty delicious to me (Sarina, I’d still love that recipe if you have it!).  Inspired by the thought of that, I decided to try my hand at an indian-style dinner recently.  I kept it simple and made curried red lentils & naan.  I was most nervous about cooking the naan on a griddle instead of a tandoor oven, but it really turned out just fine.

Continue reading ‘Curried Red Lentils & Naan’

Game Night Goodies

Tuesdays has been Trivia Night for a while among my friends, but after going to various bar trivia nights for over a year, we recently decided to just have an in-house game night.  Last night I made a few different snacks for our game night.  It occurs to me as I make this post that these snacks would also make a great menu for game-nights that involve watching sports on the big screen, too.

The three snacks I made last night were a hummus plate, bruschettas, and buffalo seitan wings. BD’s brother brought chips & salsa and we were good to go!

Continue reading ‘Game Night Goodies’

North Whitehall: Prepare to never go anywhere again

WalMart is coming.  They have no intention of helping the township preserve any of its rural charm, calling efforts to improve the quality of that gray cinder-block facade “gingerbread.”  They also are brushing off the potential of a 21% increase in traffic on an already congested strip of 309, but the good news is that the company will be building a sidewalk on their block of route 309.  So, you know, when your car is stuck in a traffic jam, you will be able to safely park it in the middle of the road and walk on a paved sidwalk to get up the road.

For the record, I am almost universally in favor of sidewalks, but the idea of there being a sidewalk that runs the 2000 feet in front of WalMart and that’s it strikes me as sad more than anything else.

Brunch in the Windy City

I had the good fortune of spending the last four days in Chicago, one of my favorite cities.  Among other things, I managed to fit in two (2!) trips to the Handlebar Cafe, my favorite of the Chicagoland vegetarian restaurants.  I wrote about it last time I was in Chicago, in case you want to get caught up.  I got a buffalo “chicken” wrap and it was everything I could have dreamed of, and more!  The more was a side of aged cheddar grits that were, in quite un-grit-like fashion, super fluffy and light, and delicious.

On Sunday morning, Claudia and I went in search of brunch (my favorite meal of the week).   Continue reading ‘Brunch in the Windy City’

A Lazy Breakfast: Potatoes & Refried Beans

As I confessed previously, I like potatoes.  I also like beans.  Specifically, refried black beans (other beans also find their way into my stomach from time to time).  Anyway, over the weekend I wanted a hearty and warm breakfast, but didn’t have oatmeal or eggs, and had no intention of going to the store for either.  So I improvised, and made a breakfast that is a little on the starchy side, but is filling and satisfying on a cold winter morning.

Continue reading ‘A Lazy Breakfast: Potatoes & Refried Beans’

The Good, The Bad, and The Garlic: Sette Luna

Many local food bloggers (or general purpose bloggers) have previously sung the praises of Sette Luna, and I myself have enjoyed some delicious meals here previously, but this weekend a unique opportunity presented itself, and I decided to use the opportunity to blog about my experience.  I’ll provide links to other blog posts on Sette Luna (that I’m aware of) at the end of this post, so you can feel free to get several opinions, if you are thinking of making dinner plans.

Continue reading ‘The Good, The Bad, and The Garlic: Sette Luna’

A post of local annoyances

This post will not mean much to readers who don’t live in the Lehigh Valley, but to those of you who do, maybe you can relate.

The first annoyance is also the reason I am making this post.  I had big plans this weekend, they included a yoga workshop, a school function, and a number of other outings around town.  As of 1 o’clock today – all but one had been cancelled.  Mind you, as of 1 o’clock, there was no snow anywhere within 50 miles of me or any of my plans, just a forecast for snow and a bunch of bored newscasters with nothing better to do than predict the apocalypse in what CNN is calling a “deadly, epic storm.”  Its currently 9:37, and my Friday plans would have, in fact, been over by now, had they not been cancelled – and I have yet to see a single snowflake coming down outside my window. Instead, with nothing to do, I have been reading online news… never a good way to start the weekend.

I’m also annoyed that local animal-torturer and major polluter of North Whitehall Township David Jaindl successfully blackmailed Lower Macungie Township into letting him develop his agricultural-preservation land near Alburtis.  This is a prime example of how regional planning could benefit municipalities, so that they wouldn’t be open to blackmail attempts by jerks like this who exploit the poorly-thought-out land-use laws so often found within growing municipalities.

I’m also annoyed that the City of Allentown went through a rebranding process recently.  I’m late on this, I know.  Its not that the logo bothers me (though I don’t love it), or that the theme “City Without Limits” bothers me (though I am not on board for that either), it bothers me that there was a) nothing wrong with the old logo & theme of “Rediscover Allentown”, which uh, wasn’t that old and b) of ALL THE THINGS for the Mayor or City Council or any City employee to spend even 5 minutes on, I can think of at least 3000 things I would rather they spend their time on.  I know that City Without Limits is supposed to inspire me to think about endless possibility, but it conjures to me a very immediate and visceral image of endless sprawl.  Maybe its just me.  (Sorry Mike!).

I’m annoyed that I still watch LOST even though this show is not clever, interesting, well-written, or really enjoyable.

It really bothers me that North Whitehall Township Supervisor Jerry Joseph was elected in November, with full disclosure that he is a sane person and opposes Wal-Mart’s attempt to put in a new store on 309, a congested and overwhelmed local road connecting Allentown to points north, and approximately 6 miles away from the 7th street location, and now his fellow supervisors, all idiots IMO, want him to recuse himself from dealing with the issue.  Good government, folks.

My last annoyance is a non-local annoyance.  I am annoyed by congress. What good  is government if it is, by nature, corrupt and filled with corrupt people?  Lawrence Lessig has a more thoughtful essay on the matter.

I guess that’s enough of what annoys me for the moment.  At least its off my chest.  The good news is that my Sunday night plans include dinner at my new favorite restaurant in the LV and I expect to blog extensively about it early next week.  Can you guess which restaurant it is?

Butternut Squash Gnocchi

I really enjoy making pastas by hand, and have a fondness in my heart for gnocchi in particular.  Gnocchi isn’t for everyone.  BD hates it and thinks it has the texture of slugs.  Having never eaten slugs, I can’t imagine why he picked this, but… more for me!  Gnocchi are essentially little dumplings, and most typically, they are made with potatoes.  I have also made or eaten gnocchi made with ricotta cheese, red beets, pumpkin, and plums.  I’m sure there are many more varieties that I have yet to try, and I’m always looking out for new gnocchi opportunities.

Last week, I had butternut squash leftover from when I made the winter vegetable soup and one night I started to roast it, thinking I’d just eat it with some sunflower seeds and spices.  But once I started roasting it, I decided I was really in the mood for something a little more substantial.  Luckily, gnocchi comes together very easily. Continue reading ‘Butternut Squash Gnocchi’

The World’s Most Delicious Macaroni and Cheese

Yesterday BD celebrated his 28th birthday.  After a long day at work, his idea of a celebration was a relaxing evening at home.  I decided that I would make dinner AND do the dishes.  Hummina Hummina.  And the meal that would be most celebratory of all?  Why, Macaroni and Cheese, of course.  (I promise I’ll get back to healthier foods in my next post).  We did have it with broccoli… I’ll get to that in a bit.

Continue reading ‘The World’s Most Delicious Macaroni and Cheese’

Winter Vegetable Soup

Winter is here, and the fresh vegetables are few and far between.  But some hearty root veggies store well and make delicious soup, even in the cold of January.  This week, I made a sweet soup with some of my favorite winter vegetables.

Continue reading ‘Winter Vegetable Soup’

Pesto, Goat Cheese, Vegetable Tart

Last night I made this absolutely slammin’ tart for dinner for my friend Loraine, a recent vegetarian, and BD and me.  Does it look good to you?  If not, you may as well never return to this blog again, because it was one of the most delicious dinners I’ve made in a long while. 

This tart was in the style of “semi homemade,” a food network show that I absolutely hate and never watch, but a philosophy which I sort of subscribe to.  Sometimes, you just do not have time to make every little thing from scratch.  And there are about a zillion products at the store that are intended to make the life of a home cook a little easier.  The one I used for this tart was frozen puff pastry dough.  Easy as pie. Or puff pastry. Continue reading ‘Pesto, Goat Cheese, Vegetable Tart’

Zucchini Latkes & Polenta with Pesto

Last night I invited my mom over for dinner, and put together a hearty meal to stave off the bitter cold.  It was kind of a “hodge podge” as they say, but sometimes I think that’s the best way to make a meal. Continue reading ‘Zucchini Latkes & Polenta with Pesto’

A Holiday Feast

Okay, so hopefully my holiday dinner was no ones last supper, but it was quite a feast.  I planned this menu for months, and ended up with a pretty nice spread, if I do say so myself.

Continue reading ‘A Holiday Feast’

Hannukah (Latkes)

Yes, the festival of lights is upon us once again.  And as one of the many non-religious jews in the world, let me just say, “Hooray for Latkes.”  Hannukah actually is a great holiday for us non-believers, because its based on actual historical events rather than something make believe (I hope my bubbi isn’t reading this blog).  And best of all, it is celebrated by frying potatoes in oil.

Before I get to the recipe and latke pics, since some of my readers are people who know me in real life, I just wanted to post this picture of my beautiful sister, Jade with the following note: Growing up, would you ever have believed that she’d be the one with pink hair and I wouldn’t even use hairspray?

Happy Hannukah everyone!
Continue reading ‘Hannukah (Latkes)’

The comfort of cooking

On a personal note, I just want to thank my friends and blog readers who extended their sympathies or lent a shoulder to cry on or made me laugh and kept me company in the days and weeks after Jerry’s death. It really helped to feel as though I had plenty of places to turn when I needed to not be alone with my thoughts.

I realized last weekend that I hadn’t been in my kitchen for a while, thinking that I didn’t have the time or the energy or the presence of mind to cook myself anything.  I ate a lot of burritos and take-out pizza, and cereal, and managed to get through the last month.  But then when I thought about it, I knew I had made a mistake in cutting out my time in my kitchen.   Continue reading ‘The comfort of cooking’

Laying low for a while

I’ve been pretty busy lately, and in the last few days lost a loved one to a horrible freak accident.  Processing this loss has been complicated by a flood of news coverage about the accident and large number of calls from friends who have heard the news on CNN or read it in the newspapers.  In light of this tumultuous time, I am officially taking a “break” from this blog.  Tomorrow will be one year from the first entry I made here, and I had originally wanted to try to do some cooking to mark the occasion, but I can’t bring myself to make anything special, so I’ll have to come back to it in a few weeks.

In the meantime, I wanted to share with you the talents of my late friend Jerry Fuchs. He was an incredible drummer, and an incredible friend.  I loved him and told him at every opportunity how special he was to me.  I feel lucky to have known him, and lucky that I do not have any regrets about never telling him how much he meant to my life.  Also here is a beautiful clip from Lance Bangs’ Arthurfest feature.

Being well-fed by others: Bruschetta Pizza in California

BD and I are in California for the week, visiting our friends, and currently, spending a few days at Yosemite National Park.  I’ll have pictures up on Flickr maybe when we get back.  In the meantime, I thought I’d take advantage of the free internet and early morning quiet to tell you about some really good hospitality our friends Eleanor (commonly known as Eleanor THE BEST) and Paolo provided for us when we got to town.  In addition to putting us up in their place, they fed us a delicious dinner!  Paolo made this incredible california-style bruschetta pizza that I ate two and a half slices of even though I was kind of full! Continue reading ‘Being well-fed by others: Bruschetta Pizza in California’

Pain a L’ancienne

Yep, I baked them breads myself.  And despite the name, “Pain a l’ancienne” it was relatively pain-free….. badum-cha… okay maybe my humor is a bit off, but for real, for real, I am feeling the call of breadmaking.  And yes, Wendy, I’ll be bringing some to the office in the morning. Continue reading ‘Pain a L’ancienne’


When I think of Rosh Hashanah, the jewish new year, I think of three foods: apples, honey, and challah.  This year I decided I would make my own challah, my very first.  It was an all-afternoon affair, but the reward was well worth the time and effort.

Continue reading ‘Challah!’

Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes

Last weekend I had a task: several dozen vegan red velvet cupcakes for my friends David & Maggy’s wedding.  They had already arranged for a traditional wedding cake, but wanted to make sure they could accommodate any dietarily restricted friends & family who wanted to partake.  I had to preface my offer for cupcakes by making clear that I am not a baker by trade, and although I do plenty of baking, I definitely do not know how to frost things or decorate or make it look like a “pro” job.  But David and Maggy had no fear of my ineptitude and asked me to go for it anyway! Continue reading ‘Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes’

Summertime Harvest Risotto

I love summer foods.  I love fresh vegetables grown either in my garden or some other neighborhood locale, and I love the brightness that fresh herbs add to my cooking – although I really did not get my extensive garden into the ground this summer, I do have a pretty righteous potted herb garden, we’ll see how many of those herbs I can get to keep growing once I bring them inside…

Anyway, back to the subject at hand.  Risotto.  I think that sometimes people are reluctant to make or eat risotto in the summer, but this is my “pitch” that risotto can be enjoyed any time of year.  Yes, it is warm and hearty in the winter, but it also can be delightfully fresh flavored and is a fairly simple “one pot” kind of dish for easy summertime cooking.  In fact, if you have one of those fancy pants gas grills with a side burner, this would be a great way to show off grilled summer vegetables.   Continue reading ‘Summertime Harvest Risotto’