Friday, February 26, 2010

A Cure for Stir Craziness

By Brianne Harrison

Going stir crazy? If you’re starting to, chances are, it’s even worse for your dog., which makes this the perfect time to consider joining the Possibility Pursuit Dog Walk this weekend.

Possibility Pursuit is an annual event hosted by Enable, which provides services, support, and living arrangements to those living with disabilities and their families throughout Central New Jersey. Last year, a group of people who rescue dogs asked if a dog walk could be included in the Possibility Pursuit. Some of the dogs that participated were themselves disabled due to injury or illness.

This year, the Dog Walk is being organized by Lynne Przychodzki, one of last year’s participants. Animal rescue groups will be in attendance, offering adoptions. Dogs who walk will be eligible for prizes for Best Trick, Best Bark, Best Outdoor Costume, Owner/Dog Look Alike, and Top Dog prize for the dog and owner who raise the highest amount of pledges. Dogs participating will receive a scarf, and owners will get t-shirts while supplies last.

Even those who don’t have pets can participate—Possibility Pursuit also includes a 5k run, which starts at 2 p.m., and an indoor fitness walk that starts at 2:05.

The Dog Walk begins at 2:30 p.m. Come out, get some exercise, and beat those winter blues!

Possibility Pursuit, Feb. 28, PEAC Health & Fitness, Ewing. For more information, e-mail or call Kirsten Yard at 609.987.5003 ex. 124.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mistakes that Work

By Brianne Harrison

Over the years, I’ve found that mistakes can frequently lead to interesting culinary discoveries and creations, both good and bad. Luckily, this time it was a good one. The mistake was: I forgot to take the salmon out of the freezer to defrost, which meant I had to completely reassess my dinner plans. I reached into the fridge and came out with a few leaves of kale that desperately needed to be used, a cup of pre-made potato gnocchi, and a couple of strips of bacon. The resulting dish was a surprising play of textures and flavors: the smoky bacon worked nicely off the slightly bitter kale, adding a hint of sweetness to the dish, and the soft gnocchi offset the crispy bacon.

Potato Gnocchi with Kale and Crispy Bacon
1 cup potato gnocchi
A few leaves of kale, chopped (you can also substitute spinach or broccoli rabe)
3 slices of bacon, chopped
Fresh-ground pepper

Cook the gnocchi according to package directions and drain when done.

Meanwhile, heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and fry until crisp. Remove to a paper towel-covered plate to drain. Drain excess bacon grease from the pan, reserving about 1/2T in the pan.

Return the pan to the heat and add the kale. Saute until wilted. Add the gnocchi and toss until the gnocchi colors slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the bacon, remove from the heat, add ground black pepper to taste, and serve.

You can easily replace the gnocchi with pasta in this recipe, and you can also use pancetta if you don’t have any bacon.

How about you, readers? Do you have any kitchen mistakes that worked?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The New Wild West

By Maureen C. Petrosky

If you’ve ever taken a yoga class you’ll know at the beginning of class the instructor usually asks if there are any injuries. Yesterday, I was surprised to hear the guy next to me say, “I got laid off”. I had never really thought of unemployment as an injury. But, I guess it’s the ultimate blow to the ego. Endless numbers of people graduate from college, maybe even grad school, take a job and then ten or twenty years later find themselves holding a pink slip. The economy is depressing but the way I see it, the playing field has blown wide open.

Did you ever hear the saying, “It’s hard to look for a new job when you’re so busy with the one you’ve got”? Well now’s the time, people. Here’s your chance to reinvent yourself. That job that just gave you the boot is a pittance compared to the opportunities that await you. Remember Silicone Valley and the dot com start-ups? Well, this time it’s far more intense. The economic downturn is not just spanning coast to coast; now it’s global.

Which brings me to a quick tidbit on wine history in America—the pioneers of the industry blossomed out of the Great Depression and then had to live through an infestation of vine-eating bugs (a.k.a. Phyloxera). But today, California wines can take on any of the globe’s greatest, sip for sip. There’s a lesson to be learned here—while some of you are wallowing, others are like cowboys on an open prairie, blazing new trails. This is the new Wild West and it’s worldwide. Beauty is in the eye of the optimist. Take your skills, your bruised ego, and go do something that makes you happy. Somewhere in the 9 to 5 you may have lost sight of the American Dream—the one about being anything you want to be when you grow up.

Why am I yammering on about this? Well, many of you know New Jersey Life Magazine has reinvented itself and moved into the world of Health and Beauty. Which leaves me to say farewell to our beloved By the Glass. No worries, you can still read me on the internet. But for now we must make room for something new. Here’s to what’s new in your life!

A Wine Pioneer—While California wine is rich in a history of hardships, here’s just one to taste for inspiration. The legacy of Charles Krug is still carried on by Pete Mondavi. so pick up a bottle and you can sip and swirl while reinventing yourself.

Charles Krug, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, $21 Even unemployed, this intense red will make you feel like a rich man. It’s got great body, luscious fruit, and a finish far from subtle.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Endless Possibilities

By Brianne Harrison

One of the wonderful things about the arts is that they frequently provide a means of expression for those who struggle or are unable to express themselves in other ways. Those with severe physical disabilities may fall into this group, but a New Jersey nonprofit called A.R.T. (Artistic Realization Technologies) helps them realize their full (and impressive) creative potential by providing them with the tools and technology they need to paint, take photographs, and sculpt. A.R.T has helped many artists create beautiful works that have been shown in galleries in New Jersey and Manhattan.

From February 25-28, A.R.T. will come to the Princeton University Art Museum with a new show entitled “A New Way of Seeing.” Stop by for the opening reception, from 6-8 p.m. on February 25, or check the show out over the weekend—admission to the museum is free, and the works will astonish you.

If you’re feeling more active this weekend, you might want to take part in the Enable Possibility Pursuit on Sunday. Possibility Pursuit includes a 5K run, indoor and outdoor fitness walks, and a dog walk. The event is geared towards persons with disabilities, their families, and friends. Pledges and funds raised will go towards supporting the services Enable provides to the disabled and their families. For more information, visit

Monday, February 22, 2010

Winter Farmers’ Market is Not an Oxymoron

By Pat Tanner

Even though this season marks the fifth year that the Central Jersey Slow Food chapter has mounted monthly indoor farmers markets in December, January, and February, many people still wonder what the heck is available when snow hugs the ground and temperatures struggle to rise into the thirties.

I attended the January market and below is a list of what I purchased. Think of it as a guide to the next market, coming up this Sunday.

1. A hunk of my favorite cheese from Valley Shepherd Creamery: Nettlesome. (Yes, it contains real stinging nettles. No, they do not sting.)
2. Packages of Simply Nic’s shortbread bars in two new flavors: winter spice and espresso with cacao nibs.
3. Empire apples from Terhune Orchards. (I managed to bypass the cider donuts and the cider.)
4. From the table of Princeton’s Whole Earth Center market, a can of Jersey Fresh tomatoes and a Colby cheese wrap. (The latter became my lunch.)
5. A hunk of the newest cheese from Cherry Grove Farm: Maidenhead, a semi soft, creamy, flavor-packed cheese washed with beer from Cherry Hill’s Flying Fish.
6. A bag of six assorted dinner rolls from Village Bakery.
7. A jar of ghee made from grassfed cow butter from Pure Indian Organic Ghee.
8. From Davidson’s Exotic Mushrooms of Kennett Square, a box of shiitakes and a box of cremini. (Which I used to make an excellent mushroom goulash.)
9. Beeswax pillar candles from Woods Edge Wool Farms. (Next time: honey.)

At that point, I had run through my funds, so I bypassed the wines of Hopewell Valley Vineyards, Catherine’s Vegan Treats, Ducky Life Teas, and a perfect antidote to winter doldrums: Stony Brook Orchids.

This week’s market will also feature live jazz and lunch offerings by Tre Piani’s Tre Bar tapas cafĂ©.

Slow Food Central New Jersey’s Winter Farmers’ Market
Sunday, February 28
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tre Piani Restaurant
Princeton Forrestal Village
Restaurant phone number: 609.452.1515
For information on the farmers market phone 609.577.5113