I found this great cranberry-quince chutney recipe which would be perfect to spice up your Thanksgiving feast. It was published in Food and Wine Magazine's November issue and I’ve already made it twice. These are the two minor changes I made: Because I couldn’t find fresh or frozen whole cranberries, I used the dried sweetened variety and only added ½ cup. The other addition I would recommend is to add cayenne (or red) pepper to give it a nice little kick. If you can’t find quinces, substitute more apples. Click on the link and adapt it as you see like:

QUINCE-CRANBERRY CHUTNEY, adapted from Food and Wine magazine

Ø      Apples for quinces if you can’t find quinces
Ø      Sweetened dried cranberries instead of fresh cranberries
Ø      Add cayenne pepper according to taste







U-PICKS (and also grapes and raspberries)
     Ithaca is apple heaven.   We do have the greatest apples here. My favorite apple source is BLACK DIAMOND FARM. They sell their apples at the Ithaca Farmers market.  And have a great web site showcasing each variety.  Every year I look forward to September and October when this farm sells their rare and heirloom varieties. The tiny treasures called Chestnut Crab are a perfect blend of crisp, flavorful and sweet. They also have other favorites with names you’ve never heard of like Engremont Russet. They have samples at the Farmers Market and if you haven’t yet visited their booth I would recommend you go and check them out. Nowhere else on earth can some of these varieties be found (at least nowhere that I know of) and these are apples that have a short shelf life so they can’t easily be transported and sold elsewhere. You need to get these babies locally!!!
 APPLES is one of the truly great wonders of Ithaca. We have Indian Creek and Little Tree Orchards where small trees are perfect for harvesting. It’s a great family activity. You can also harvest the “drops” and use them to make cider. The cider in Ithaca is also terrific. Cornell Orchards has the best in my opinion.  
New York State is the second largest producer of Apples in the United States: Washington State being number one. Cornell University has been a leading research institution in the development of new apple varieties. The Cortland apple was named at Cornell in 1915, The Macoun was named in 1923. The Empire apple, a cross between Red Delicious and McIntosh was developed in 1966. Libertywas developed in 1978 and Jonagold, a hybrid between Jonathans and Golden Delicious was named at Cornell in 1968.

U-PICKS Available NOW
345 Shaffer Rd.
Newfield, NY 14867
Apples, pears, raspberries
1408 Trumansburg Rd. (Rt. 96)
Ithaca, NY 14850
Apples, tomatoes
Silver Queen Farm
5386 Stillwell Rd.
Trumansburg, NY14886
1104 Auburn Rd.
Groton, NY 13073
20 varieties of apples
1347 Goose St.
Locke, NY
Apples (many varieties)
Davis Farms
5260 Peach Orchard Point
Hector, NY 14841
Apples, grapes
(U-pick is on State Rt. 414 near the intersection of Peach Orchard Pt.)
Glendale Farm
4590 State Route 414
Burdett, NY 14818
Organic Concord and Catawba grapes
Hoffmire Farms
6515 State Route 227
Trumansburg, NY 14886
Reisinger’s Apple Country
2750 Apple La.
Watkins Glen, NY 14891
Apples, raspberries
Twin Oaks Farms
5557 State Route 414
Hector, NY 14841
Apples, Concord grapes (last weekend 10/3-4),
Wagner Farms
1678 County Road 137
Valois, NY 14841
Concord and Niagra grapes,
2673 Sand Hill Rd.
Penn Yan, NY 14527
5876 State Route 14
Dundee, NY 14837
Apples, grapes (table and juice)

The following recipe was passed out a few years ago by Jackie Sherwin of Black Diamond Farm.  I adapted the original recipe which was from the cookbook: An Apple Harvest-Recipes and Orchard Lore, by Frank Browning and Sharon Silva
4-5 tart apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
1 cup dried apricots chopped
1 cup golden raisins
6-7 garlic cloves, peeled and mashed
2 tsp. grated and peeled fresh ginger
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups cider or red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2-1 tsp cayenne pepper
In a non-reactive pot (not aluminum or iron) combine all ingredients.  Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, stirring often.  Add more vinegar if necessary to prevent burning.  Cook for about 30 minutes until the apples are softened and the mixture is thickened.  Taste and add more salt, sugar or vinegar if necessary. 
Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.  Spoon into sterile jars and cover tightly.  Refrigerate for several days and up to two weeks to allow flavors to mellow.  This chutney can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 months.
 We have several trees of tasty apples that don’t look that great since they haven’t been sprayed.  They are perfect for making applesauce and this is one of the easiest ways to turn lots of apples into a delicious dessert. 
Core your apples (I use about 4 pounds in a 12 cup slow cooker) and cut them into large chunks.  Quartering them works for smallish apples.  Add add 1/2 cup water or apple cider and some honey and cinnamon.  Thats all.  Just turn it on to high and wait about 3 hours.  Check and see if the apples are soft and cooked down.  If not, keep cooking them and check again.  Taste for flavor and add more sugar or cinnamon as needed.  Then let cool and put the apples through a food mill. 



This recipe is adapted from a Gourmet recipe (September 1998).  It is beautiful and uses cherry tomatoes,garlic and basil, several crops that are prolific right now.  The changes I made were to cut out the stick of butter from the custard filling, add  more basil and also add some roasted garlic that is all pureed together in a food processor with the egg and goat cheese.  I also subsituted no-fat Greek yogurt for the sour cream.  This is elegant and really delicious.  It can also be eaten at room temperature or heated up.





FOOD AND WINE magazine has a wonderful corn pudding recipe that I tried tonight. It’s a “keeper”. I cut down on the butter; actually I just left it out.  And instead of 6 eggs, I used 4 because I wanted more corn flavor.  The corn is so sweet and tasty now…it’s the perfect time to try this recipe.  The cornmeal settles on the bottom so that it serves as a crust.  I loaded up with sweet Mayan onions. If you want a more elegant presentation try using muffin tins or what I did which was quite simple was to use a small cup as a cookie cutter and carved out single portions.  The picture shows this single portion presentation using chervil as a garnish.






Sorrel is a perennial herb that has been used for centuries for cooking in Europe. I grew up eating sorrel soup that my mother prepared if she could find anyone growing sorrel. Now you can find plants at the Ithaca Farmer’s Market and also at Early Bird Farm on Elmira Road in Ithaca. You just plant it and that’s it. The leaves provide a wonderful base for this sour tasting soup. The next year you find a more established plant yielding as many leaves as you’ll need. Here is the basic recipe for SORREL SOUP:
½ lb sorrel leaves, washed
2 Tbs. butter
1 medium sweet onion chopped
1 small potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
32 ounces chicken or vegetable broth
¼ cup ½ and ½
  1. Fry onion in soup pot until lightly browned and soft, set aside
  2. Melt butter and add sorrel leaves and stir them around until they are brown and wilted.
  3. Add broth and potato and cook for 10-15 minutes until potatoes are cooked.
  4. Place in blender with onions and blend until a smooth consistency
  5. Add salt to taste
  6. Reheat and add ½ and ½

Serves 4-6








(Adapted from Madeline’s version)
Serves 4
14oz. can unsweetened coconut milk (low fat or regular)
 2 Tbs. Thai roasted red chili paste (Wegman’s international: Asian section)
1 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
1 Tbs. finely chopped garlic
3 Kaffir lime leaves
5 large shallots: peeled and chopped (about ¼ pound)
2 Tbs. chopped Thai basil (optional)
1 tsp. sugar
1 to 1 ½  lbs. shrimp de-veined and shelled.
  1. Combine the chili paste, garlic and ginger in a frying pan with a little oil and fry, stirring until fragrant. 
  2. Add to crock-pot or regular pot with the coconut milk. If using a crock-pot you can put it on “high” and walk away for 2 hours while it cooks. If using a regular pot, then simmer, covered, gently for 40 minutes, checking and stirring regularly.
  3. Meanwhile fry the shallots in a little oil over med-high heat, stirring, until brown. Set aside.
  4. When the chili mixture is cooked, add shallots and remove from heat.
  5. When cool enough, refrigerate the chili mixture overnight.
  6. Before serving reheat the chili mixture, remove the kaffir lime leaves, and blend in blender until a little smoother but not too creamy.
  7. Bring back to a simmer and check for seasoning. I add a teaspoon of sugar at this point. If it needs to be a little thicker simmer without a lid for a few minutes until the desired consistency is achieved.
  8. Add shrimp and, depending on the size, simmer gently for 3-5 minutes until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.
  9. Add the Thai basil and serve with Jasmine rice.
  •  Thai red chili paste (Thai Kitchen brand) comes in a 4 oz. Jar. 2 Tbs. is almost half the jar. It makes for a medium spicy dish so you may want more or less according to your taste.
  •    Kaffir limes are hard to get right now. They usually come in a package with more than you need. Wegmans and the Asian markets carry them when they’re in season. I freeze what I don’t need. If you can’t find them, the dish will still be delicious.








1 head romaine lettuce, finely chopped
¼ head red cabbage, finely sliced
1 block marinate tofu (I use tofu kan), chopped
1 cup dry roasted organic peanuts, skin on
1 small jar marinated artichokes, chopped
1 carrot, shredded
½ cup sprouts ( I used mix sprouts)
½ tsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbs. ume vinegar
1 Tbs shoyu (or regular soy sauce)
Juice of one orange
1 Tbs. rice syrup
1 ½ Tbs. mustard (I use whole grain Dijon)
  1. Mix together dressing ingredients and set aside.
  2. Place sliced red cabbage in a bowl, mix with ¼ tsp sea salt, place a place over it and weigh it down for one hour to extract some of the liquid. (I skip this step)
  3. Mix together all the vegetables, tofu, and peanuts and toss with dressing.




I’ve been finding some very unique and wonderful salad recipes. I was fortunate to get  this recipes from Anita Devine who teaches macrobiotic cooking at GreenStar Cooperative Market. This slightly adapted salad has become an  instant favorite of our family.  This is a great introduction dish for people new to quinoa.  I haven’t yet met someone who didn’t like it.  An extra benefit is that quinoa is a  very healthy "super grain" with high protein.
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1/2  cup pecans (or I’ve had good luck substituting walnuts) coarsely chopped
3 scallions, cut into thin rounds
1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries
OR 1 cup corn, frozen or canned (I use both!!!)
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup  lemon juice
1  tsp ume vinager 
2 Tbs rice vinegar
Dash of black pepper
1. Rinse quinoa and put it in  pot with water (2 parts water to 1 part quinoa) and bring to a boil.  Simmer until water has been absorbed.  Set aside.
 2. Lightly toast nuts and set aside
 3. Combine salad dressing ingredients
 4. When quinoa is cool to warm add dressing and scallions, parsley, cranberries, nuts and corn and mix together. Taste for seasoning.





 Karen Gilman,  of  Dano’s Heuriger on Seneca was kind enough to send me this recipe from the wonderful Turkish meal they served the other day.  This soup is incredible.  Trust me.  It is truly unique and these complex combination of flavors and textures really work.  Yes, the dried mint is just right.  The only thing I changed was that I used chicken broth instead of water or vegetable broth and I added about 1 Tbs. of pomegranate molasses.  This added just a subtle tang that I needed to make it perfect.  Both the pomegranate molasses and the red pepper paste (I used Marco Polo brand red pepper spread with eggplant and garlic) can be found in the international foods section at Wegmans.  And "yes" it’s worth it to get these products and make this soup. Thank you Karen and Dano!

Red Lentil, Bulgur and Mint Soup

serves 4-6

2 tbl virgin olive oil
a large spanish onion finely diced
2 clove garlic minced
2 tbl red pepper paste turkish
1 cup tomato juice
2 tbl paprika
1/2 tsp Turkish red pepper or ground red pepper
6 cups vegetable broth or water
1 1/2 cup red lentils
1/4 cup fine bulgur
1 tbl dried mint salt and pepper
 4 tbl unsalted butter
1 tsp dried mint
1/2 tsp paprika
  • Heat olive oil; add onion and garlic cook gently over medium heat until soft not brown.
  • Stir in pepper paste, tomato juice, paprika and Turkish pepper. Add lentils and broth.
  • Cover pot bring to boil lower heat cook 30 minutes stir occasionally until lentils blend with broth. 
  • Add bulgur and mint season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes stir occasionally, if soup is too thick add more broth.
To make topping, melt butter over low heat,  add the mint and paprika and stir until mixture sizzles.
Ladle soup in bowl and drizzle topping on top to taste.



[recipe difficulty=”easy”]

(inspired by Suzanne Fine Regional Cuisine)
I have been making this soup for years but with Suzanne’s inspiration I have added star anise to my recipe and it makes for a perfect marriage of flavor. This is one of the easiest recipes and one that everyone loves. It’s my favorite way to use butternut squash.
1 medium sized butternut squash peeled, seeded and cut into large chunks (2-3 inches)
2 TBS butter
32 ounces chicken or vegetable broth
2 star anise pods
Salt and pepper
1 TBS brown sugar (to taste if necessary)
¼ cup milk or cream or ½ & ½  (optional)
  1. Fry the squash over high heat stirring frequently until the squash is slightly browned and very aromatic.
  2. Add salt and a lot of black pepper (to your taste) and fry a minute longer.
  3. Add broth and star anise and simmer for 20-30 minutes until squash is soft.
  4. Let cool, remove star anise, and puree in blender until very smooth.
  5. Adjust for seasoning and add sugar if needed.  Squash vary in their sweetness.
  6. Refrigerate a day or more for best flavor.
  7. Reheat and if you'd like,  add milk or cream before serving. I don't do think it needs milk or cream.