Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Not Why I Collect Corks, But A Great Idea, Too...

People ask me why when I open a bottle of wine, when I toss a cork into a large lidded jar at home where I keep them, what I'm saving them for. I usally tell them I'm making a boat. Typically the answer is followed by an "ahhhh..." with a nodding head, then the questions start.

My friend Patti gave me a book to read called Cork Boat, by John Pollack. Here is the Amazon page where you can read a synopsis of the book.


It is my all-time favorite book! A page-turner! Couldn't put it down!

So, my collection of corks is for something...maybe a boat, maybe not...but it sure is a conversation starter and brings the memory of the book back every time!

Here's an idea I just found from the LA Times off of Food News Journal.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wegmans - Please come to Quakertown!

I have been pining away for a Wegmans grocery store in Quakertown for about 11 years; since my first foray into their 'Marketplace' when I worked for Aetna in Allentown all that many years ago.

They have some of the freshest take out food and a variety of products that outshines most food courts! Their store section is wonderful and if you stay out of the Marketplace area, you don't spend anymore money than at any other grocery store.

It's that Marketplace that can set you back about $40-$50 or more for a quick and easy dinner idea! But, oh what great food they have! Took my sister who lives in Maine, to the one in Allentown for a field trip when she visited once. She, like me was way over stimulated on her first visit.

They have sushi, a Chinese buffet, a submarine sandwich station, pizza counter, a bakery that is simply overwhelming, a hot bar, a salad bar and a deli. There is also a cheese counter with chunks of cheese from all over the globe, an olive and pickle bain marie and fresh meats and seafood galore. In some of these places, you can get beer in PA. Of course this is well controlled with limits and can only be purchased in the Marketplace with ID.

As for produce...this is awesome at Wegmans. Both local and in season like peaches, apples, corn and tomatoes and non-local like truffles, cheramoyas, star fruit and fresh figs.

Have you shopped at a Wegmans? Every time I have, their employees have been helpful, kind and cheerful. A friend of mine told me you can take expired coupons to them and they'll give you the amount off, regardless! How cool is that for a grocery store?

I'm not getting any kickbacks nor am I trying to advertise for them, but wishing they'd open one closer to me. I like the variety and would even consider working there since they are listed as one of the best places to work - 13 years in a row!

I'd just like to have the opportunity to shop at a place that treats their employees well, has great variety and is concientous about their service.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Glass in Frozen Veggies - PLEASE READ!

How does this happen? We'll probably never know, but for safety's sake folks...read on!

Supplier recalls frozen vegetables because of glass fragments
By the CNN Wire Staff
October 17, 2010 -- Updated 1923 GMT (0323 HKT)

(CNN) -- Packages containing frozen vegetables sold by Wal-Mart nationwide and Kroger stores in the Southeast may contain glass fragments, the supplier said Friday in announcing a voluntary recall.

While there have been no reports of injuries, the Pictsweet Co. of Bells, Tennessee, is advising the public not to eat the recalled store-brand vegetables because of the potential for harm.

Consumers should return them to the place of purchase for a full refund, Pictsweet said.

The voluntary recall covers the following items:

-- Kroger 12-ounce Green Peas (UPC 11110 89736). Production Codes of 1440BU, 1440BV, 1440BW, and 1600BD.

-- Kroger 12-ounce Peas and Carrots (UPC 11110 89741). Production Codes of 1960BD and 1960BE.

-- Great Value 12-ounce Steamable Sweet Peas (UPC 78742 08369). Best by dates of July 20, 2012; July 21, 2012.

-- Great Value 12-ounce Steamable Mixed Vegetables (UPC 78742 08026). Best by date of July 15, 2012.

Consumers with questions may contact Pictsweet toll-free at 1-800-367-7412, extension 417, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Daylight Time, Monday through Friday.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dinner with Friends & Takeaway

We went out Saturday night to visit friends. My friend J, a fellow foodophile whom I worked with a few years ago and I have kept in touch through email and Facebook since I left the company, but haven't been in touch in person for a long time.

In the last year or so, I've had the experience with some dear friends I've not made the time to see as often as I'd have liked and one could say it's bitten me in the ass I've regretted that life can be too short. I have been trying hard to reconnect with those I've not been in touch with, a bit more.

J and his partner S live in a lovely home and had a fire going when we arrived to take a bit of chill out of the air. The air was fragrant with garlic and after initial greetings, we sat down to drinks and an appetizer that although I can't recall it completely it had a dill pesto - Yummy! - with a creamed egg topping on a crostini. It was a superb way to start a fantastic meal.'

When J and I worked together, I used to bring him eggs from the girls. These were eggs from my little girls...although I have one or two little silkie hens that still lay on occasion, mostly we are getting big eggs from my big chicken girls. As he always was, J was eggstatic that I brought him some eggcellent eggs along with the wine and beer we brought for sharing.

Dinner was a white sauce mushroom lasagna that melted in your mouth, shrimp scampi full of lemon with garlicy, crunchy panko bread crumbs and a side dish of a lentil casserole with a tomato base, onions, garlic and carrots. The three dishes were absolutely wonderful... I fell in love with the lentils. I'm going to try and get J to share that with us! We both agreed that lentils are an underused legume!

Dessert was a lemon mousse and Joanne who isn't a big lemon fan went back for seconds. It was like a light fresh cloud of a lemon merangue pie without the crust...fresh whipped cream and the dainty texture of fresh lemon zest added such an authenticity that it was the perfect ending to such a spectacular dinner.

It was so good to catch up on things and talk about food with such an intensity that I don't often get a chance to do in person with others who are as obsessed with food as I am. Life is good when you slow down and take time to spend it with those you really care about!

Guess what I had for dinner last night? The same thing as Saturday night! J and S sent us home with all the dishes from dinner! It was just awesome to have the pleasure a second time! And you know what they say about a dish the next day...it only gets better when the flavors marry! J can cook for me any time! Thanks buddy!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bucks County Farm Fresh Delivers To Your Door

You know, I use Facebook…just like the other 4.5 million people in the world do, and once in a while something really cool comes of it. I keep in touch with my niece and through her, the rest of my family that live in Maine. I see photos and share photos, I receive some friend requests from people I’ve not seen in ages and it’s nice to see what they are up to on occasion.

Several months ago a friend posted on her wall (that’s what it’s called) about this company her best friend’s husband had started called Bucks County Farm Fresh. I clicked on the link www.buckscountyfarmfresh.com and found it to be a local delivery service for local foods from Bucks County farms.

Once I read about them, I was curious enough to pitch a story to my editor at the Bucks County Herald and asked to do a story.

I met Mike Kemmerer who started the company with Velga a friend of his who he worked in a lab with at a pharmaceutical company where both were laid off last year.

It is awesome to see how ingenuity and necessity will make people thrive. Mike had been taking business courses at Del Val while working his full time job and came up with this business model.

Mike worked out some kinks with the help and input of his fellow co-workers for the class project. When he lost his job, he began to think this was possible to pull off as a real business and since he had the model worked out, gave it a go.

Bucks County Farm Fresh delivers to your door, local produce, meat, cheese, bread, eggs, milk and various other items farms throughout the area have to offer every other week.

As a vegetarian, I thought I’d try the Fruit and Vegetable Package and see what they had to offer. I purchased my first box about 8 weeks ago and have been ordering ever since.

Since vegetables are the cornerstone of my partner’s and my diet, we go through what the website says should be for a family of 3-4 in about 5 days or so if we are super diligent and cook everything. However, it really could last a family two weeks or so, especially now with the fall root veggies and squash coming in.

I am amazed at the amount of produce I get for $40! It is amazing and I don’t think I could go to the farmers’ market and get this much food and to have it delivered to my door is also incredible. Just look at that photo!

With fall upon us, the BCFF website is showing products such as mustards from Stonewall Kitchens, popcorn from American Popcorn works, yogurt from Allegheny Farms. It seems Mike and Velga are working at making the company continue on with deliveries through the holidays.

Oh, and they recycle by using old banana boxes from grocery stores as the delivery boxes. They ask that you save them and give them back. They also put perishables into a cooler if you aren’t home with little ice freezie things.

You can contact Mike and Velga (who I met at the Springfield Township Community Day) through their website: www.buckscountyfarmfresh.com and take a tour to see what they have, who their sources are and how you, too can participate in supporting your local farmers right from your front door!

There is no subscription. You order as you wish, whenever you wish and pay by cash/check in a cooler where you want the delivery dropped off or if you’re home, you can give it to them or pay by credit card. I mean, how much easier can it get?

Bucks County Farm Fresh is taking orders now until Monday at noon for next Thursday’s delivery!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

So Happy To Have Chickens of My Own!

Despite all the issues with having livestock such as chickens - cleaning the barn, shoveling snow to get there to feed, rising before dawn to feed before work, the occasional vermin, heavy feed bags and the like - I am glad to have fresh eggs. Now, just because I have backyard birds doesn't mean my eggs will be free of contamination and I often tell people who purchase my eggs to wash the shells as you use them if they are dirty, but I have so much more control than I would if buying from the grocery store or even the local co-op or farmers' market. Here's some quick, but eye opening reading!


Suggestions on Cleaning Produce

You know, I'm one of those people that more times than not, forgot to wash the apple I've just taken a bite from. Thinking deeper than the dirt from the field, I guess I need to be just a tad more attentive to this task as there's more than dirt on the apples!


This is a nice article I thought you may enjoy!