Friday, April 10, 2009

It’s All About the Sauce--Apple that is

By Millicent K. Brody

I’m suddenly beginning to notice the importance of applesauce. Regardless of what I am serving for dinner, applesauce has its place on my dining room table. It’s a wonderful accompaniment to roast chicken, roast turkey, potato pancakes, brisket, rock cornish hens, and even pork chops. I’ve even become daring. After opening a jar of Motts, I zip it up with a couple of bags of dried cranberries from Trader Joes. It’s delicious. But not as delicious as my friend Rudy Kassinger’s homemade applesauce. So, I asked him to share his recipe.

“Cooking should be instinctive,” he said. “I don’t believe we should be slaves to a recipe. Sure, it’s not the worst thing in the world to get a few ideas from a couple of recipes, but hey, you know what you like, so go do it!”

Rather than be guided by precise measurements, he adds, “I am guided by the interesting directions of an old friend who learned the following from a real old-timer who expressed amounts as, “Some, Many, Plenty, and a Few!”

For my applesauce, I’ll be a bit more precise.

And in the interest of adding a touch of “try-it, you’ll like it”, my friend Carol adds a couple of strawberries. She says, “That turns it a delicious pink!

Go elegant. Serve in a gorgeous crystal bowl. Top with dried cranberries.

Rudy’s Homemade Applesauce
Serves 8 to 10

6 apples: (Almost any variety will do. It’s even better if you choose several varieties).
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup mixed raisins. (Trader Joe’s are just fine).
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
handful of dried cranberries
hand blender

Wash,core and peel apples. Slice into wedges. (8 to 12)

Place apples, cinnamon, and orange juice into a covered pot.

Simmer 30 minutes.

Add raisins to hot applesauce.

Cool, refrigerate and serve.

Rudy’s Thoughts: “There are variations which must be addressed, Why not substitute a few pears in place of apples? You might also try cranberries or currents in place of mixed raisins. I’ve also added dried pitted prunes and apricots. As a fan of walnuts, feel free to toss in a half-cup.”

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Finish Line Wine

By Maureen C. Petrosky

Over the winter some die-hard road runners face the wintry elements, but most have been halfheartedly hitting the treadmill, and many, like myself, hung up their shoes for the season. Last Saturday many race fans, including myself, like bears after that long winter’s nap, shook off their sleepy bones and laced up for the 18th annual Delaware and Raritan Canal 5K in Titusville, NJ. Far from a warm spring day, the wind was whipping off the Delaware and the sun was nowhere to be seen, immediately chilling any exposed extremities. Sounds fun doesn’t it?

Let’s back up to Friday, the night before the race. My usual Friday evening includes a toast to the weekend. Yet, knowing I had to get out there and hustle 3.1 miles I thought better of that that second glass. Ok I had one, just to calm the pre –race nerves. The thing with a race is that you get all this nervous energy beforehand, and while boozing up isn’t the best training technique, one little sip won’t break your stride. After all, I’m not trying to win. I just like the race culture. In fact, I never even ran a mile until last summer. I knew that some of the more popular races like the Spring Lake 5 Mile or the Long Branch Marathon drew from five to ten thousand participants and I figured I must be missing out on something. I’m no athlete and I’ve never been fast but I thought, why not try it?

For me, the best part of running is not the running. Registering for a race gets me into parks and neighborhoods I too often miss because they’re right in my backyard. I’m the one with any excuse to skip exercising, so I thought of an excuse not to miss it--the finish line wine. This is a celebratory sip to toast yourself for doing something good for your community and for your health. So even if you’re not a runner, get out there, pick a race to support this season, and if you do choose to sweat, you may reward yourself with a finish line wine.

This week’s Finish Line Wine:
Aveleda Fonte, Vinho Verde- $8
It’s light and refreshing, making it perfect for someone who’s worked up a thirst. Chilled and spritzy, this young white wine is perfect for after-race brunch time fare, and seeing it’s lower in alcohol it works as a mid-day sip that won’t have you needing a nap.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spoil Yourself at Spa Week

By Brianne Harrison

If you’re anything like me, than winter’s probably done a number on your body. Skin gets dry and flaky, nails split, cuticles are a mess. What we all need is a springtime trip to the spa for some serious TLC, but in the current economy, how much do we really want to pay for it?

Well, Spa Week has come to the rescue! From April 13-19, more than 750 spas across the nation will offer two to three full service treatments for only $50. More than 40 of New Jersey’s top spas will be offering facials, massages, microdermabrasian, laser hair removal, and more. It’s not only a chance for you to pamper yourself, it’s also an opportunity to check out spas in your area and beyond—you might find a new favorite spot or treatment!

For a full list of participating spas and the treatments offered, visit

Monday, April 6, 2009

Edible Schoolyards in NJ

By Pat Tanner

Even before Michelle Obama and some local school kids took spades in hand to dig an organic garden at the White House, the momentum for a farm-to-school movement had been building. It began, of course, with the success of Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard program in Berkeley, California. (Ms. Waters, of Chez Panisse fame, grew up in Chatham. She credits childhood memories of her family’s Victory Garden as one inspiration for her life’s work.)

On Saturday, April 18th, leading school garden experts from around the state are teaming up for the first ever New Jersey Farm to School Conference. Attendance is open to anyone – including parents – interested in creating a school garden; getting healthy, locally grown food into their school’s cafeteria program; or incorporating food education into the curriculum.

A network of almost 30 groups with successful programs - including chefs, parents, teachers, farmers, and food access advocates - have teamed up for a full day of presentations. Keynote speaker will be Josh Viertel, the newly appointed president of Slow Food USA, who recently met with members of the Obama administration. He is a Harvard graduate who has contributed to the sustainable food movement as an educator, organic farmer, and activist.

The conference is being held at The Lawrenceville School, where chef Gary Giberson helped launch the school’s Green Campus Initiative a few years back and which has become a model for schools nationwide. His business, Sustainable Fare, will provide a lunch of locally sourced foods that is included in the modest conference fee.

New Jersey Farm to School Conference will take place on Saturday, April 18, 2009 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 pm. at The Lawrenceville School, 2500 Main Street (Route 206), Lawrenceville. The conference fee, which includes lunch, is $25 in advance and $35 at the door. To register, for directions, and for more information visit or phone 609.577.5113.