Category Archives: InCity Yum Yums

Get ya Kettle Corn! Every Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. …

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… in MAIN SOUTH, at:
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… behind the YMCA Central Branch on Main Street!

Support REC, which supports our COMMUNITY!  Show some love to Main South! EAT FRESH, LOCALLY GROWN FOODS!

And while you shop at the REC Farmers Market, enjoy:

FREE YOGA! Kids and adults welcome!

Free live music!

Free kids’ activities!

Arts and crafts (for sale)!

FUN!

BEST PRICES!!

– photos by Ron O’Clair

SUMMERTIME IT’S ALL ABOUT THE WATERMELON!

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Chef Joey says: SUMMERTIME is WATERMELON salad time!

Text, photos and recipes by Chef Joey

It’s the middle of the year! The irony of “mow” vs. “snow” is crazy! While we try to stay warm in the winter, we try to keep cool in the summer.  And what better way to be cool than with refreshing salads and drinks?

One of my favorite salads is a watermelon salad; it is so fresh and delicious and can be a meal in itself with cheese added for protein.

You can be creative with spices. My favorite is fresh basil. However, any FRESH spice works: cilantro, rosemary, chervil or even mint. They all sparkle with the watermelon.

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So with a rosemary watermelon I add Feta cheese crumbles and sprinkle with cider vinegar. With basil I add a touch of balsamic vinegar and crumbled blue cheese or feta.

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With cilantro I tend to use champagne vinegar and add queso blanco and a touch of salt.

They are all head turners and always a hit!

Ok here is the watermelon history part! Watermelon traces its roots to Africa, where it is found growing wild. Sometime in the the 19th century, watermelon basically was indigenous to tropical Africa.

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Researchers have found evidence of its cultivation in the Nile Valley tracing back to 2000 BC!  Watermelon seeds have been found at 12th dynasty sites and in the tomb Tutankhamun!

Watermelon is also mentioned in the Bible as a food eaten by the ancient Israelites while they were in bondage in Egypt.

In the meantime…during the 7th century, watermelons were being cultivated in India, and by the 10th century they reached China, which is now the world’s single largest watermelon producer. Spanish Moors introduced the fruit into Europe and there is evidence of it being cultivated in Córdoba in 961 and also in Seville in the 1100’s. It spread north after a stint in Spain to southern Europe, very slowly because summer temperatures were most likely a factor for good yields. The fruit had begun appearing in European herbals by 1600, and was widely planted in Europe in the 17th century as a minor garden plant.

European colonists and people that were then deemed slaves brought watermelon into the “Colonies.” Spanish settlers were growing it in Florida in when they arrived in 1576, and it was being grown right here in the Bay State by 1629, and by 1650 was being cultivated in Peru.  Even Brazil, Panama and many British and Dutch colonies discovered their love of watermelons! Never mind South America – around the same time, Native Americans were cultivating the crop in the Mississippi valley and Florida. Watermelons were introduced by the invading Captain Cook to Hawaii and other Pacific islands, where they were rapidly accepted.

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The wonderful watermelon!

Heading out to a holiday weekend celebration today? Bring FLAG CAKE!

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Chef Joey helps you make every celebration more … celebratory!  

AMERICAN FLAG CAKE!

Text, recipe and photo by Chef Joey

This is the easiest cake in the world to make!

For chocolate cake, add 6 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder.

For lemon or orange cake, add 1/4 cup juice and reduce the water by 1/4 cup and add the zest of the fruit.

For vanilla cake, add 1 extra tablespoon of vanilla flavoring.

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Basic cake:

2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar (add chocolate at this point for chocolate cake)
Sift together in a bowl and add
1 cup oil (vegetable preferred)
2 eggs

Mix the above together well. It will be pasty. Sprinkle 2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp baking soda on top.

Pour 2 cups of HOT WATER on top, then 1 tsp vanilla.

MIX BY HAND WITH A WISK UNTIL SMOOTH.

Pour into two 9″ greased and lined pans or a 9″ x 12″ greased and lined pan.

Bake at 375 for 20 – 25 minutes, depending on your pans. Test with a toothpick. Remove from pan and let cool.

Top with fresh whipped cream and strawberries and blueberries!

Enjoy! Happy Birthday, America!

This Fourth of July grill without guilt!

Black Bean Veggie Burger Credit PETA

Black bean veggie burger! Yum, yum!!!

By Heather Moore

Declare your independence from unhealthy animal-based foods this July 4, and all summer long, with a cool vegan cookout.

Charred meats can form cancer-causing chemicals, called heterocyclic amines or HCAs.

Undercooked meats can cause food poisoning — and both cause animal suffering — so it’s best to BBQ veggie burgers and other healthy, humane foods.

Vegetables and vegan meats taste great on the grill, and they’re better for you than animal-based foods, because they’re cholesterol-free and generally low in saturated fat, and they don’t form harmful carcinogens – even when they’re grilled beyond recognition!

If you’re looking for something simple, try grilling Gardein’s great-tasting beefless burgers, Boca’s original vegan burgers, Amy’s All-American veggie burgers, or any other ready-made vegan burger that’s suitable for the BBQ.

Just baste the burgers with barbecue sauce (many store-bought brands are vegan) before grilling to keep them moist. Since vegan meats are precooked, you only need to grill them for a few minutes.

If you’re feeling more ambitious, try this recipe:

Tropical Veggie Burgers

1 cup green lentils, rinsed
1/4 cup brown rice
2 cups vegetable broth
Water sufficient to cover the lentils and rice
Salt, to taste
1 1/2 Tbsp. margarine
1 onion, chopped
4 tsp. curry powder
1/3 cup shredded carrot
2 Tbsp. Sauvignon Blanc
2 Tbsp. hot sauce
1/2-3/4 cup panko
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. cumin

·         Put the lentils and rice in a saucepan with the vegetable broth, adding enough water to cover by about 2 inches. Season with the salt and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the lentils and rice are tender, about 30 minutes. Drain any excess liquid and place the lentils and rice in a large bowl. Let cool.

·         Meanwhile, melt the margarine in a skillet over medium heat and sauté the onion until tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Cool slightly and then add to the lentils and rice.

·         Stir in the remaining ingredients and season with the salt. Form into patties and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
·         Grill for 5 to 10 minutes on each side, until grill marks appear and the patties are hot.

To assemble:

1 can pineapple rings, drained
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. margarine
Kaiser rolls
Lettuce
Vegan mayonnaise

·         Slice the pineapple rings in half to make a thinner ring. Grill until caramelized, about 5 minutes on each side.

·         Grill the onion until lightly browned.

·         Spread the margarine over the rolls and grill until lightly browned.

·         Place the veggie burgers on the buns and top with the pineapple, onions, lettuce, and vegan mayonnaise.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Roast Your Vegetables!

You may also want to grill corn on the cob, potatoes, pineapples, eggplant, asparagus, or other fruits and veggies.

Roasting fruits and vegetables over charcoal caramelizes their natural sugars, and brings out their flavor. Cut all the vegetables the same size so that they cook evenly, and use a wire-mesh grilling screen so that soft foods won’t fall into the fire.

No Grill? No Worries!

Don’t despair if you don’t have a grill—PETA has a solution for that, too. Just visit PETA.org for free summertime recipes for pasta salad, potato salad, mint watermelonade, and more. PETA also has a variety of veggie burger recipes that don’t call for a BBQ, including these spicy black bean burgers:

Black Bean Veggie Burgers

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup diced bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
2 cups black beans
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp. cumin
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup flour

·         In a saucepan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoonful of the olive oil and sauté the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeño for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

·         In a mixing bowl, mash the black beans, then add the sautéed vegetables, the corn, and the breadcrumbs and mix well. Season with the cumin, cilantro, and salt and mix again.

·         Shape into 6 patties, then coat each in flour.

·         Place a pan over medium-high heat and add the remaining tablespoonful of oil. Cook each patty for about 5 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.

Makes 6 small patties

Fourth of July eats: 35 Delicious Things You Never Thought to Grill

From PETA.ORG!

There are many beloved summer pastimes, including sunset-watching, porch-sitting, sprinkler-running, swimming, basking in the sun’s heat, and grilling. But what can plant-eaters enjoy other than veggie skewers on the grill this summer? Here are some ideas for grilled vegan goodies that will impress any plant-lover or meat-eater and will also leave you with a desire to grill every night of the week:

Grilled pizza

Pizza on the Grill

That’s right—if you get store-bought pre-baked crust, it’s a cinch! Simply layer it with your favorite toppings and grill for 10 to 15 minutes. I used barbecue sauce, Beyond Meat Chicken-Free Strips, and red onion for this one.

Grilled avocado

Cut an avocado in half; sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and lime juice; and place face down on the grill for five minutes. Then fill it with salsa, vegan sour cream, and a little more lime juice.

Grilled tomatoes, onions, and zucchini in a summer stack with smoky almond cream

Grilled Summer StacksJackie Sobon | VeganYackAttack.com

Step up your veggie skewers with this creamy layer created by Vegan Yack Attack.

Grilled balsamic strawberries

Follow Treehugger’s recipe for grilled and sweetened balsamic strawberries, and top it off with your favorite vegan vanilla ice cream, such as SoDelicious’ almond, coconut, cashew, or soy picks.

Grilled banana s’more boat

Banana S'more Boat

All you need is a banana, chocolate chips, marshmallows, and some foil for this easy crowd-pleasing dessert.

Mushroom skewers

Spicy, meaty, and sweet, these skewers are great for topping rice or quinoa.

Grilled polenta fries

Grilled Polenta Fries

If you’re looking for an alternative to potato fries, cut some polenta into strips, grill, and serve with marinara.

Grilled watermelon

Slice a watermelon into triangular pieces. Coat with olive oil, a drizzle of lime, and cilantro. Grill for three minutes on each side of the watermelon.

Grilled Brussels sprouts

Grilled Carrot Hot Dog

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Here are some other ideas:

Summer days have you feeling lazy? Brush off the grill, and throw on apremade veggie patty.

Yogurt for summer beach bods!

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Summer time is here! Think … yogurt!

By Chef Joey

Summer time is here! The look and feel of a healthy body is what we all plan on and try and make happen, but then again potato chips and fried chicken are mandatory excuses to cheat.  When did “summer beach bodies” become a fad – was it Beach Blanket Bingo and the streams of the same genre movies that set the tone, or do we blame Coors light volleyball commercials from the 1980’s.

Well apparently that’s old school because the latest trend is the “dadbod”, or the dad body. It’s New York Magazine who observes the new trend, mentioning Hollywood superstars Leonardo DiCaprio, Denzel Washington and Jon Hamm who starred in the now retired Mad Men.  Istagram and Facebook let everyone know when you are at the gym and six pack abs, but 24 packs are more useful in the fridge this summer and the “Dad Bod” means ‘I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time’.

Of course, we hope that this trend also applies to women. After all, the most important thing is that you are satisfied with yourself and your body!  SO what does one do!  My summer favorite is smoothies – made with fresh ingredients, and yogurt is always a fun addition for the protein zap you need.

Last year I wrote about how Yogurt came to this country and in the 1930”s and they added the fruit to the containers.  My grandmother made yogurt all the time and so did my mother and like they say in Fiddler on the roof “TRADITIONS!”!

It is burned into my brain that it takes yogurt to make yogurt… for real!

Store bought is great, but with the rising cost of everything one gallon of milk that costs $2.30 can make 16 cups of yogurt. Yes, it is that easy.

Homemade does have a creamier consistency, and it can be a fun experience to teach your kids, nieces, nephews or just yourself as the mad scientist.  MOST IMPORTANT is the sterilized containers and spoons and proper rest time, just like humans woken up too early, yogurt will not congeal if shaken – so leave it alone, as the basic recipe says leave me alone! Good news is it really only needs 5 or 6 hours to set and does not require you to buy special equipment.  My mother would set it up at night and we had breakfast waiting for us when we woke up!

Until you nail the recipe, use whole milk …

BASIC YOGURT 

For basic yogurt, a small batch:

4 cups milk

3 or 4 tablespoons PLAIN* yogurt

*use whole milk plain yogurt for your first batches like Chiobani, Stoney Hill etc.

You can buy dry “starter” packets at health food stores but it’s more expensive.

Start by cleaning and sterilizing all your equipment and tools as well as your work areas. They can be sanitized in the dishwasher or grandma’s way: sterilize everything in boiling water.

Prepare an ice bath, filling a large bowl or sink with ice.

Attach a thermometer to a heavy, large pan and add your milk. Place the pot over moderate heat and heat the milk until it reaches at least 180°F or boils, stirring occasionally to prevent the skin from forming and making sure the milk doesn’t scald or boil over.

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If it does you have to start over with fresh ingredients.

Remove the milk from the heat and allow it to cool to 110°F to 115°F. To speed the cooling process, pour the milk into a heavy duty stainless steel bowl and place the bowl in the prepared ice bath and stir the milk occasionally. (If the milk temperature drops too low, return it to the heat.)

When using yogurt as a starter culture: In a small bowl, combine about 1 cup warm milk with the yogurt and stir to combine. Add the yogurt-milk mixture to the remaining warm milk and stir until completely incorporated. Do not whip! Gentle stirring …

If using a powdered yogurt culture, I suggest you read the manufacturer’s instructions and add the specified amount of powdered culture to the warm milk, and whisk until completely incorporated. Do not over-stir.

Once this is done, pour or ladle the mixture into glass yogurt containers or mason jars or ramekins and incubate between 110°F and 115°F for 5 to 10 hours, depending on the desired flavor and consistency. Longer incubation periods produce a thicker and sometimes more tart yogurt. Do not disturb the yogurt during incubation.

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After this is done, cover the yogurt and refrigerate until cold, 2 to 3 hours.

Now is when you can stir any flavorings into the yogurt! Like jam or honey or fresh berries just before serving. (For thicker, Labneh or Greek-style yogurt, after incubation, spoon the yogurt into a cheesecloth-lined colander or a gold style coffee filter and set over a bowl and let it drain, covered in the refrigerator, for at least 1 hour or overnight. Discard the whey that drains out of the yogurt or reserve it for another use.)

Yogurt can be stored in the refrigerator, in covered glass, ceramic, or plastic containers, for up to 2 weeks. But the flavor will be the best during the first week. As your yogurt ages, it becomes more tart. If more whey separates out of the yogurt, just stir it back in before serving.

I hear you! You ask: How do you incubate this stuff?

Line up you bottles in a pan add boiling water after the yogurt is in the containers and cover everything with a heavy cloth and let it set.  So if you do this at 6 pm, at midnight put them in the fridge and enjoy a homemade healthy breakfast.

FYI Yogurt needs to incubate for at least 5 hours, but it can set out for much longer, even overnight. Just keep in mind that the longer the incubation period, the thicker and more tart the final yogurt.

The whey that drains from the yogurt is full of vitamins and minerals and can be added to smoothies and lassies; Indian beverages- add mango, mint or sweeteners and thin with milk or water and it is so refreshing – used as a cooking liquid, or made into a simple drink with a bit of sugar or salt.

Lazy man thick yogurt can be made by whisking in 3 or 4 tablespoons nonfat powdered dry milk.

I gave you a small version to start, but like all recipes, yogurt can be doubled or tripled; increase the amount of ingredients proportionately.

Ingredients:

4 cups (1 quart) milk

3 tablespoons plain yogurt (purchased or homemade)* or powdered yogurt starter (amount specified on package)**

Flavorings such as jam, honey, dulce de leche, molasses, fresh or dried fruit, garlic, herbs, etc (optional)

Ingredient info:

*If using store-bought yogurt, choose a yogurt that tastes good to you. It’s important to select an unsweetened version that contains live cultures, but the fat content doesn’t matter.
**Powdered starters can be found at some grocery and health food stores and from online sources such as the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company.

Read the package instructions to determine how much starter to use for a batch of yogurt—many come in small envelopes or packets perfectly sized to make a single batch.

Special equipment:

Candy thermometer; yogurt maker or other incubator, such as a thermos; cheesecloth for straining (optional); Mason jars or other container for storage

Preparation:

Start by cleaning and sterilizing all your equipment and tools as well as your work surface. Most utensils and storage containers can be sanitized in the dishwasher (some machines have a sanitize setting). Alternatively, sterilize everything in boiling water.

Prepare an ice bath, filling a large bowl or sink with ice.

Attach a candy thermometer to a heavy, large pot and add the milk. Place the pot over moderate heat and heat the milk until it reaches at least 180°F or boils, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming and making sure the milk doesn’t scald or boil over. Alternatively, place the milk in a large microwave-safe bowl or a large glass measuring cup with a spout (for easy pouring) and microwave it in 2- to 3-minute intervals, until it reaches 180° or boils.

Remove the milk from the heat and allow it to cool to 110°F to 115°F. To speed the cooling process, place the pot in the prepared ice bath and stir the milk occasionally. (If the milk temperature drops too low, return it to the heat.)

If using yogurt as a starter culture: In a small bowl, combine about 1 cup warm milk with the yogurt and stir to combine. Add the yogurt-milk mixture to the remaining warm milk and stir until completely incorporated. Do not stir vigorously.

If using a powdered yogurt culture: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and add the specified amount of powdered culture to the warm milk; whisk until completely incorporated. Do not stir vigorously.

Pour or ladle the mixture into the yogurt maker containers or another incubator (if using a thermos, first warm the inside with hot tap water) and incubate between 110°F and 115°F for 5 to 10 hours, depending on the desired flavor and consistency—longer incubation periods produces thicker, more tart yogurt. Do not disturb the yogurt during incubation.

Cover the yogurt and refrigerate until cold, 2 to 3 hours. (If you used a thermos to incubate, transfer the finished yogurt to a non-insulated container for chilling so the temperature will drop.) Stir any flavorings into the yogurt just before serving. (For thicker, Greek-style yogurt, after incubation, spoon the yogurt into a cheesecloth-lined colander set over a bowl and let it drain, covered in the refrigerator, for at least 1 hour or overnight. Discard the whey that drains out of the yogurt or reserve it for another use.)

Yogurt can be stored in the refrigerator, in covered glass, ceramic, or plastic containers, for up to 2 weeks, but the flavor will be the best during the first week. As yogurt ages, it becomes more tart. If more whey separates out of the yogurt, just stir it back in before serving.

Cook’s notes:• Yogurt needs to incubate for at least 5 hours, but it can safely incubate for much longer, even overnight. If you’re using a yogurt maker with a timer and you set it for a shorter incubation (5 hours, for example), it’s fine to let it sit there for several more hours. The same is true for a thermos or other incubation method; just keep in mind that the longer the incubation period, the thicker and more tart the final yogurt.
• The whey that drains from the yogurt is full of vitamins and minerals and can be added to smoothies and lassis, used as a cooking liquid, or made into a simple drink with a bit of sugar or salt.
• As an alternative way to thicken yogurt, whisk in 3 or 4 tablespoons nonfat powdered dry milk when you add the starter.
• This recipe may be doubled or tripled; increase the amount of starter and milk proportionately.

Happy Memorial Day! … Why not serve Chef Joey’s salad at the cookout?

Super easy, for your Memorial Day get together!

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Text and photos by Chef Joey

Caprese Salad

Caprese salad can be an easy serve or a self-serve!

The Easy Way!

capreseYes, Chef Joey made this beautiful salad!

The easy way is tomatoes and mozzarella, over greens, mixed with basil and a balsamic drizzle, olive oil and some salt.

Individual Servings:

caprese2And he made this one, too! So cool!

Mini mozzarella balls, cherry tomato and a dusting of basil – speared into a half of a watermelon! Once assembled, SPRAY with an olive oil mister and sprinkle some salt.

EASY! Enjoy! Happy holiday!

Chocolate strawberries!

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Chef Joey makes all the goodies you see here! And photographs them, as he’s baking, basting, stirring – cookin’! How talented is this guy?!!?!!

First, his Mom’s Day column:

Mother’s Day

By Chef Joey

It is that time of year! Spring is in the air, lilacs are blooming and mom gets a day off.  Albeit breakfast in bed, a destroyed kitchen, or a lunch out (never dinner, for some reason) with a wait and screaming kids everywhere.  I suggest a meal at home – perhaps with combined families and a simple, easy to make, teach your kids how to cook kind of a meal.  Let’s face it – gone are the years when Grandma lived downstairs or with the family and everyone knew how to make that special perogi, meatball, roast, etc.

Anna Jarvis is responsible for the modern “American” version of Mother’s Day, first celebrated in 1908, as a memorial for her mother in Grafton, West Virginia. In 1905 she became the pioneer to make “Mother’s Day” a recognized holiday in the United States, the year her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Her personal mission was to honor her own mother by continuing work she started and to set aside a day to honor mother, “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world.” Anna’s mother, just happened to be a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the Civil War and created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues.

Due to the tenacity of her efforts, mind you pre-“Social Media,” several states actually officially recognized Mother’s Day, the first in 1910 being West Virginia, incidentally Jarvis’ home state.

In 1914 Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation creating Mother’s Day, the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers.

Great things happen and Anna soon regretted what she did – commercialize a day that companies could profit from. By the early 1920’s, Hallmark and other greeting card companies took the reins and started selling Mother’s Day cards. Jarvis became so angry by what she saw as exploitation that she eventually protested and even tried to rescind Mother’s Day! The holiday that she worked so hard for was supposed to be about sentiment, not about profit.

Jarvis’s intention for the holiday had been for people to honor mothers by writing a personal letter, since there was no email or texting… by hand, expressing sentiments like love and gratitude, rather than buying gifts and – heaven forbid –  “pre-made” cards.  She organized boycotts and threatened lawsuits to try to stop the commercialization. She even crashed a candy makers’ convention in Philadelphia in 1923!

Two years later she protested at a confab of the American War Mothers, which raised money by selling carnations, incidentally…the flower associated with Mother’s Day, and was humiliated by being arrested for disturbing the peace. Jarvis died bitter, alone and childless, hating the modern shape of the holiday.

Jarvis’s holiday was adopted by other countries and it is now celebrated all over the world.  Not exactly as commercialized as us here in the good old “Founding Country.”

So based on Ms. Jarvis’ joy-to-turmoil story, there still is a wanted need to celebrate mom, grandmother and these days great grandmother more so than ever.   Maybe we should look back to the beginning efforts and go back to maybe not hand written cards of love but hand created meals of love, with snapshots, Twitter and Facebook posts for the world to see and you create for free I believe in perpetuity. No one ever has said, “Gee that was the best Mother’s Day card,” but perhaps: “This time with you today will stay will me forever, and I can’t wait until next year to make it better”!

Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful mothers of children, pets, families, foster children, safe homes and the list goes on – you are all very special people!

Recipe: Chocolate strawberries

Strawberries

Melting chocolate

Parchment paper

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Buy melting chocolate …

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and melt over a double boiler, stirring until smooth.

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Dip your strawberries

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and place them on parchment paper.

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Let cool. DO NOT REFRIGERATE!!, as the berries can no longer “breathe” the same. … Keep room temperature (2 days MAX) cover with parchment.

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You can decorate them with squeezable white chocolate sauce!

Mamma mia! Now that’s Italian!

Chef Joey has some special treats you can cook up for Mom this Mother’s Day. The recipes are in this issue of InCity Times, on stands now! Here’s a teaser from him!

Now that’s ITALIAN!  – R. Tirella!

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Chef Joey’s favorite pasta sauce

2 large cans Pastine crushed tomatoes

5 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons fennel seed

salt and pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup water

Mix garlic, fennel and water in a food processor, set aside.

Add oil to your sauce pan and coat the bottom.

Add the garlic water BEFORE the oil is hot and when you can smell the cooking garlic (2 minutes or so).

Add the crushed tomatoes and fill each can ½ with water, swish around and add to sauce.

Heat over medium heat until very warm, stirring constantly.

Reduce and simmer for 1 ½ hour

IMG_2204-1Meatballs

2 pounds ground beef, 90 % lean

3 eggs

3 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon fennel

1 cup bread crumbs

½ cup parmesan cheese

2 ¼  cups water

Mix ¼ cup water garlic and fennel in a food processor. Put bread crumbs in a large mixing bowl and add the 2 cups of water to make them moist (it’s ok to add more so it is paste-like).

Add meat, cheese and beaten eggs.

Form into little balls with an ice cream scoop or roll out to 1 ½ inch size.

Heat oven to 375.  When hot bake meatballs for 20 minutes.

Add cooked sauce and serve!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Picnics!

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By Chef Joey

(editor’s note: yum yums pictured here made or grown and photographed by Chef Joey!)

Spring is finally here and, after the thaw, our thoughts race to outdoor activities. Of course, like holiday-time, many of those activities revolve around food.

If you go to a park, most likely there is grilling apparatus, and food can be cooked there.  Not always the case, the modern day cooler replaces the romantic baskets set in many a turn of the century paintings.

So who really started this picnicking tradition?

Well, it appears to be the French again!  The original concept was each person brought a food contribution to the meal.  Sort of our “Pot Luck” meals when everyone contributes.  Over time, it shifted to outdoors, and nowadays thanks to the 1950s and “Pick nick Tables” we tend to accept it as a casual meal outdoors, preferably in a pastoral setting vs the way it was originally planned in the 1700s as an indoor dinner provided by everyone.

Modern picnics are usually prepared by one person, and that’s a given; what matters now is the food needs to be eaten outdoors.

The word picnic first appeared in English in a letter of the Gallicized Lord Chesterfield in 1748 (OED), who associates it with card-playing, drinking and conversation, and may have entered the English language from this French word “Pique” which translates to pick – the Niqué part is probably a sing song rhyme to go with “Pique.” The practice of an elegant al fresco meal, rather than a farmer’s or “field worker’s” dinner while harvesting, and it was also connected with respite from hunting from the Middle Ages.

Some picnics are still potluck, with each person contributing from an organized list a dish to a common table for all to enjoy.

When the picnic is not also a cookout, the food eaten is rarely hot, instead taking the form of  sandwiches, easy finger food, fresh fruit, salad, cold meats and accompanied by the romantic chilled wine or champagne _ and for the young ones – soft drinks.

We are blessed with a plethora of pre-made, easy to scramble foods that can be tossed into a cooler or basket and so the fun begins! When I was younger man, we would get cheese, fresh Baguettes, tomatoes, and roasted chickens at the open market.  We then took the boat from Cannes to the Îles de Lérins (Islands of Lerins, namely St Marguerite –  home to the count of Monte Christo and the Man in the Iron Mask).  We would walk on this pedestrian Island to our vista point and have our lunch, swim and relax.  There was a group of us and it never grew old.

Now, an older man, I require a proper folding seat and a table, or some raised surface to eat at so I can potentially get up and walk off my lunch! The idea is still there and the concept has moved to “Tail Gating” and other festivities for many others out there. 

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Good bread makes for good picnicking!

So what is the recipe for a wonderful picnic?  None. This is your own creative self that takes what you like, your partner or guests like, and surprise everyone with a nifty meal that once it is eaten, can be discarded easily.  Zip lock bags are a wonder for this.  Small ones filled with condiments can have a tiny snip in the corner to dispense on the food items, such as Dijon Mustard on a pre-portioned roasted chicken.  Pre grilled Ham steaks are great.  Simple Hummus, Baba Ghanoosh

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Fresh herbs are a delight in sauces!

Tabbouleh all work great and transport well. Cheese and crackers are awesome sides, deluxe mixed nuts, trail mix and Yogurt all equal to a great time!

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Dessert, anyone? (Deluxe trail mix may “travel” more easily in your picnic sack!)