Friday, January 29, 2010

Training People

By Brianne Harrison

For anyone who’s ever wondered what their dog is really thinking (and up to during the day when you’re not home) Training People is for you. This book is also for you if you need a really good laugh (and who doesn’t, these days?) The slim tome, written by Tess of Helena, teaches dogs how to bring out the best in their humans, and includes instructions that range from choosing a human (with the pros and cons of men vs. women vs. couples) to training your human to give you want you want (the head-tilt is frequently cited as being an excellent tool, which it is, for my dogs, at least.) Along the way, there’s plenty of advice on dealing with cats (get rid of them, whenever possible) and children (learn to love them—your humans will be thankful), getting what you want, and punishing your humans when necessary. This book is completely adorable, and I’d highly recommend it to any dog lover (or, as I said before, anyone who needs a laugh).

Find out for yourself: Enter to win one of three copies of Training Humans!

In other news, a rescue team from St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center recently set out to rescue 100 puppies and dogs from several Midwest puppy mills. The dogs will eventually be transported back to New Jersey and put up for adoption, but if you’re curious to know how they’re doing, St. Hubert’s is reporting its progress on Facebook. Good luck, team!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Better Burgers

By Brianne Harrison

I’m a big fan of fish, particularly salmon, but I inevitably buy a little too much—just a little, not enough to make another meal out of the leftovers on their own. Fortunately, salmon makes a great burger when mixed with some mashed potato. Plus, since the protein’s already cooked, these are great to make when you’re a little strapped for time.

Salmon Burgers
Makes 6 burgers

1 ½-2 cups cooked salmon, flaked, skinless, and deboned (watch out for those little pin bones!)
2 medium-sized or 1 large potato, cubed
1 T. Dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 tsp. lemon juice (optional)

Put a small pot of water on to boil; boil the potatoes until they’re fork tender. Drain and mash by hand or using a ricer.

Mix the salmon and mustard into the potatoes and stir thoroughly to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. If you want to brighten up the flavor a bit, add a squeeze of lemon juice.

Shape the salmon mixture into 6 small cakes, about 3- 4” in diameter and ½” thick. Warm some olive oil in a non-stick pan and fry the cakes until they’re browned on each side (about 2 minutes per side). Serve on their own or on whole-grain rolls.

The nice thing is, these are just as good cold as they are warm, so they’re great to take along for lunch the following day. They pair wonderfully with a salad or steamed green veg (we opted for snow peas).

Healthy Roundup: Salmon has long been touted for its health benefits. It’s high in protein, low in calories and saturated fat, and loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, which, among other things, are highly beneficial to the cardiovascular system. Nutrients in salmon have been shown to reduce the risk of unwanted inflammation and support the immune and circulatory systems. Salmon is also a good source of Niacin, which has been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels in adults with elevated cholesterol levels, and vitamins B12 and D.

Mustard seeds are also a good source of omega 3’s, and there’s been some talk that mustard aids the digestion and speeds up the metabolism

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Soaking Up the Jersey Shore in Spain?

By Maureen C. Petrosky

It’s with much dismay I’ve accepted that early nineties fashion trends have actually made a comeback, but we don’t even come as close to fanatically embracing the days of acid-washed jeans and layered fluorescent tanks as they have in Barcelona, Spain. Last week, while in Barcelona celebrating my birthday and a long overdue getaway with my hubby, we basked in the amazing architecture and stuffed ourselves full of Tapas. Said to be the most progressive city in the Mediterranean, we were in awe that spray-painted jeans, wide-laced high tops, and lots and lots of leggings made up the hottest trends. Almost as surprising as the fashion—we actually overheard a group of twenty-somethings excitedly talking about the MTV reality show, Jersey Shore. A horror, even to those of us who admittedly enjoy reality shows, this pitiful production is somehow making its mark around the globe.

Though wayward in both fashion and television preferences, even the Spanish youth know gastronomy. The food scene is flooded with the tragically hip as well as the perfectly posh. Food, wine, beer, cafes, and tea houses made each day of our getaway absolutely delicious. Spanish wines range from bubbly to sweet and include every style in between. Like most European countries, drinking at lunch is obvious. Everywhere we went everyone we dined with drank. The preferred lunch sip of Barcelona hands down was Cava, Spain’s champagne. In addition, this is the traditional aperitif for dinner. With popularity spanning the demographics, it was no wonder to discover that just one of Spain’s Cava producers exports more bubbles than all of France. The winery Freixenet, with its world famous black bottles of bubbly, is situated just outside of Barcelona and makes for a fabulous day trip from the city for any wine loving adventurer. Complete with its own tram car, spiderwebbed caves, and NASA-designed technology, the mix of old and new world made for an adult Disneyland.

Staying on top of trends, this winery will be releasing a new sip for us to swirl. So keep your eyes open for Elyssia. The Pinot Noir Brut or the Gran Cuvee Brut are both ideal for your next brunch, lunch, or happy hour.

Elyssia, Gran Cuvee Brut, $18 Refreshing and an ideal change from the heavy winter reds. Pour this with seafood, shellfish, and salad for a luscious mouthful of bubbles tinted with citrus and honey.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Good Food, Good Cause

By Brianne Harrison

Restaurant weeks are a wonderful thing—they offer the perfect opportunity to try out that new restaurant you’ve been dying to go to without spending a fortune. Good food and a great price? What’s not to love?

This week, Montclair is up to bat with its second annual Restaurant Week. Their first, in 2009, was a huge success, so it’s hardly surprising that they’ve decided to do it again. But this year, they’ve added something extra. All the prix-fixe meals offered for Restaurant Week will cost $1 more this year, but that additional dollar will go towards Montclair’s largest food charities. Going BYOB? If you buy a bottle of wine at Amanti Vino, Magnolia’s Wines & Spirits, or Town House Fine Wine & Spirits and mention it’s for Restaurant Week, the wine merchants will make a donation to the Montclair Rotary Foundation. Good food, great prices, and altruism? I think that’s something we can definitely all get behind!

Montclair Restaurant Week runs through February 7. Find a list of participating restaurants and make reservations online at

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hot Fun in the Wintertime

By Pat Tanner

OK, so we all can’t head to a tropical resort this time of year. The next best thing? Revel in the cold weather, which the folks in two adjacent Delaware River towns have been doing every January for years now. Activities at the Lambertville – New Hope Winter Festival, which runs from January 27th through the 31st, span both sides of the bridge between New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Among the impressively long list of proceedings are a jazz concert, cabaret, and many other musical performances; a parade complete with Mummers; ice sculpting demos; and children’s activities.

All fun and interesting, but let’s cut to the chase: the food and drink.

Each town is blessed with its own brewery - Lambertville has the award-winning River Horse; New Hope has one of the popular Triumph Brewing locations. Both will be featured at one of the festival’s premiere events: the Sunday chili cook-off. Eleven eateries are competing this year, and ticket holders get to cast a vote for the People’s Choice Award. If chili is too hot to handle, head over to Triumph the previous day for the Rotary’s hot roast beef sandwiches, accompanied by brews and live music. Better yet, do both!

Kids will enjoy the puppet theater, the Little Rockers concert, and their own obstacle course, while adults (and more sedate children) may prefer to take in the beauty of these two historic towns via several house, museum, and walking tours.

The full schedule of happenings – and there are many more – as well as prices and ticket information are all at