Friday, January 8, 2010

Fitness for Fido

By Brianne Harrison

Is your pooch packing some extra pounds? Many humans make resolutions to lose weight and reduce stress in the new year, but what about helping your pet do the same? Morris Animal Inn, a luxury pet spa and resort, is offering a “Fit and Zen” resolutions camp to help canines kick off a healthy 2010.

The camp, which will run January 11-15, features activities designed to keep dogs active, stimulated, and stress free. Spot can enjoy treadmill trots, swim sessions in the indoor pool, “Doga” and “Pawlates”, as well as pampering massages and homemade treats. The program’s offerings will be tailored to meet the particular needs of each dog, with some sessions overseen by a trainer and others offered in a group setting.

“Fit and Zen” is $49 per day or $199 for the week. Reservations must be made in advance by calling 973.539.0377 ext. 5. For more information, visit

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A New Year's Wish

By Judith Garfield

My New Year’s wish for me
Is for my best year yet
So, to make this happen
There are a few things I must get.

I want an entourage
Like that guy on H.B.O.
My very own bonafide
Loveless reality show.

People to do my make-up and hair
Would be a lot of fun.
I’d always be perfectly coiffed
For “S. and Loveless Plus None.”

Meals prepared by my own Iron Chef
And a staff to shop, cook, and clean.
I’d never lift a finger
For this fabulous cuisine.

A loyal chauffeur
With a limo in tow
Would cheerfully take me
Where I wanted to go.

And who couldn’t use a spiritual advisor
To keep me humble and make me wiser?

Oh, and I’ll need a resident geek
To help me with twitter and e-bay
And once and for all explain to me
Just what the heck is blu-ray?

I think everyone should have a crew
To do whatever we want them to do.

If you have people,
Well, Kudos to you.
Maybe this year
I’ll find them too.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

With Age Comes Wisdom

By Maureen C. Petrosky

Lately, I’ve been feeling like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz right at the part when the tornado hits. This year’s blustery winds have required the placement of Chapstick in each of my coat pockets as well as the addition of some serious winter moisturizer. The one thing I know for sure when this type of weather hits- it’s time to break out the big reds. Yet, those chaffed cheeks and less-than-soft lips aren’t my only wintry woes. Those big reds I mention are also the ones I usually lay down for a long winter’s nap, and that nap may go on for years. So do I skip them over again or is it time to start sipping?

Usually I’d say, “Life’s too short to wait for wine”. Probably because I don’t have the patience to wait for wine to age and often our serial moving pushes us to pop those bottles we’ve been saving just so we won’t have to pack them. This New Year’s Eve we celebrated with friends who also love good food, wine, and travel, so we delved into the stash and broke out a vintage Champagne we knew they would appreciate. Upon opening, the cork gave with a slight “POOF” instead of a wowing pop, but the pour proved there was life yet. In general I wouldn’t go any longer than 15 to 20 years on a bottle of bubbles. This one at age 14 had had turned from its original pale straw color to a deep gold, and the aromas were much richer than in its youth. Our guests had also brought something special to share--a 1997 Burgundy Grand Cru. The nose on this redhead was exhilarating. Its aromas were intense and in the mouth it was ridiculously luscious with a finish that massaged the palate. The point being--I’d do it all over again. I’d wait. These aged wines showed wisdom in the glass.

So this year take a few of your faves and put them aside. They don’t have to be vintage champagne or Grand Crus, but just make a few notes on what you love about them now. Then put a couple bottles somewhere cool, dark, and not too dry and add to your list of resolutions not to touch them for at least another ten years. The added element of surprise and sharing this special sip, with good friends of course, in 2020 is sure to be one of your life’s memorable moments. Be patient.

One to age this year-

Rudi Schultz Syrah, 2006, South Africa, $37- I have a friend who actually said she’d bet her right arm this would be even more awesome once it laid down for a while. I agree. This red has the structure and guts you want to see now so that it will still have that same strength- though softened- after aging.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Healthy Start to 2010

By Brianne Harrison

A new year usually means resolutions and a new start. If your resolutions this year have to do with your health—eating better, getting into shape, perhaps learning a better way to deal with stress, than this is your lucky week. Time to kick off 2010 the right way!

The Hunterdon Health and Wellness Centers in Clinton and Whitehouse Station are starting a “Take Control” program. This 12-week course is designed to help you take control of your health and offers practical approaches to weight loss and weight management. Classes started at Whitehouse station on the 4th, but Clinton classes begin January 5. Participants will receive a three-month membership to the Health and Wellness center as well as a fat and carbohydrate counter book and other resource materials. Classes are $169 for members and $299 for non-members at Whitehouse Station and $169 for members and $329 for non-members at Clinton.

Learn how to “Connect with Inner Joy and Peace” at the East Brunswick Public Library tonight from 7-8 p.m. Learn a simple technique to de-stress and gain peace of mind. For more information, call 7362.3990.6767 or visit

Explore whether or not your lifestyle choices are sustaining or draining you at a lecture by Lorraine Maita, MD on January 6. Discover how your lifestyle choices can affect your life and health. Cost is $15 in advance, $20 at the door. To learn more, visit or

Want to improve your diet? Check out “How to Eat for the New Year”, a presentation and tasting hosted by Go Lightly. Learn more about the health, environmental, humane, and economic benefits of eating a plant-based diet. Stock up on literature, nutritional guidelines, and recipes. Register in advance by calling 973.744.7889 or e-mailing

And, if you’re thinking ahead, Local Harvest: Farms, Food, and Family will be held January 16. This event brings together local farmers and food artisans for an afternoon of sampling, education, and shopping. Enjoy local meats, produce, breads, teas, eggs, and more while learning about local community supported agriculture. To learn more, visit

Monday, January 4, 2010

Salad Days in the New Year

By Pat Tanner

I seem to have once again fallen victim to both the excesses of holiday eating and the need for feel-good New Year’s resolutions, so I find myself drawn to salads. Which is why I’ve gleaned the interesting recipes below from some of the Garden State’s finest practitioners.

Michael Carrino, Chef/Owner, Restaurant Passionne, Montclair

2 heads romaine lettuce, split in half
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chopped parsley

Place all ingredients into a large zip-tight bag and allow to marinate about an hour, tossing around every few minutes. Heat grill (or broiler) to high and place the four pieces of romaine on the grill (or broiler pan) making sure they do not touch. Grill for about 1 minute then turn and grill for another 2 minutes.


Kevin Sbraga, Executive Chef, Rat’s Restaurant, Hamilton

1 cup sherry vinegar
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup olive oil
2 cups grape seed oil, or other mild oil (such as canola or safflower)
Salt and pepper

Blend the vinegar, shallot, and mustard in a food processor. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the two oils until mixture is emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Note: Recipe may be scaled down, retaining a ratio of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil. Toss with mixed greens.

Inspired by Will Mooney, Chef/owner, Brothers Moon, Hopewell

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Scant 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons membrillo (quince paste)
Salt and pepper

Combine first three ingredients in a blender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over a salad composed of arugula, sliced Granny Smith apples, toasted almonds, and Manchego cheese. Makes enough for 4 servings.