August 15th was Julia Child’s Birthday. On the eve of her birthday I enjoyed the movie Julie and Julia based on her life in Paris and the beginning of her cooking career. Meryl Streep was phenomenal as Julia Child. It didn’t take me long to allow Meryl to be Julia…she did such a convincing job. I went to the movie to be inspired to cook some of Julia’s recipes in honor of her birthday. 
Like many of us die-hard foodies who are in our 50s or older, Julia was a major inspiration. I have most of her cookbooks and found two recipes to make yesterday for our Julia birthday celebration. The cake was from her “The French Chef Cookbook”, based on the 119 programs in her first television series. It is called Le Marquis au Chocolat. I used a different glaze and filled it with raspberry jam and it was quite delicious. I also substituted bittersweet for the semi-sweet chocolate.  And I recommend checking after 25 minutes, because 30 minutes of baking time was a little too long in my oven.
The other recipe was from her “Julia Child and More Company” cookbook. Normally I don’t give recipes another look when they require more than ¼ cup or so of heavy cream. But in order to do justice to our Julia I knew that I needed to set aside my prejudices and my health for a day in order to make her Mousse of Scallops and Flounder layered with watercress and salmon which I must honestly confide requires two cups of heavy cream. 
I didn’t skimp on the cream but I made a couple minor changes. I used 1 ½ pounds of scallops and ½ pound of flounder instead of the reverse. I also used regular salmon rather than smoked salmon because I didn’t want the fresh fish flavor to be overshadowed by the smoky flavor of the salmon. The very ingredient in this recipe is bread crumbs.  They soak up the liquid coming from the fish and keep all the flavor in the terrine. 
 I served it cold because yesterday was really hot. And I made a sorrel cream sauce with a little dry white vermouth, lemon and some yellow beets to give it some sweetness. I garnished the plate with a few watercress leaves.



Purity Ice-Cream is an Ithaca institution. It’s been around longer than most of us …since 1936. I remember when the “Uni-Deli” on the corner of College Ave and Dryden Road served Purity Ice-Cream. When I was in “over-the-top” studying mode as a Cornell student in the 70s, the best reward for a good night’s work was a Purity mocha chip Sunday with hot fudge sauce. The best!!! I also love Mandigan Mint. They have all sorts of great flavors like The Finger Lakes Tourist: White chocolate chunks with hazelnut pieces in chocolate ice-cream. Everyone of course has their favorite but I recommend venturing out of your comfort zone to try something new. Purity also has great homemade muffins.  Expect a line on hot summer days and early evenings after soccer games or softball games at Cass Park. 
There are other great spots for ice-cream, sorbet or gelato if you venture out a bit. On Cayuga Lake in Interlaken you’ll find Cayuga Lake Creamery. This is a small Mom and Pop operation that makes all their ice-cream and sorbets on the premises.   Jeff Kostick and Judy Gonroff offer at least 36 flavors. One of my favorites is Gianduia: chocolate hazelnut ice-cream. They also make a great tiramisu and wonderful pistachio ice-cream. 
Jeff and Judymake excellent use of the Cayuga Lake wines by pairing them with fruit to make unusual and excellent sorbets.   Some of the flavors you might find are: Americana Vineyards Barn Raising Red Dark Cherry Sorbet, Americana Vineyards Sweet Rosie Strawberry Sorbet, Buttonwood Grove Winery Riesling Orange Sorbet, Buttonwood Grove Winery Blackberry Briar Blackberry Sorbet, Cayuga Ridge Estate Winery Solo Peach Sorbet, Cobblestone Farm Winery Merlot Dark Cherry Sorbet, Goose Watch Winery Strawberry Splendor Strawberry Sorbet, Montezuma Winery Cranberry Bog Orange Sorbet. Sheldrake Point Vineyard Summer Blush Chocolate Ice Cream or  Trelevan Merlot Raspberry Sorbet.
 I also recommend their homemade waffle cones.  
Skyland Farm and Gallery
One of the hidden gems of the Finger Lakes is Skyland Farm and Gallery in Burdett NY, 7 miles North of Watkins Glen on Seneca Lake. You must visit this incredible place. First of all, set in a beautiful barn and built around an oak tree, this store is filled with crafts from over 300 artists including many local crafts people. Every craft imaginable is represented here from hook rugs, to metal sculptures, stain glass, and specially crafted broomsticks. It really is more like a museum except that many of the crafts are very reasonably priced. You can savor the wonderful view of Seneca Lake as you lounge in the porch swings or on the comfortable couches spread out on the shady deck or the front garden. The landscaping is unique and really needs to be seen first hand to be appreciated. 

View from Skyland Farm and Gallerly






Berries are ripe for picking!

From top clockwise are mulberries, black currants, raspberries and gooseberries.

U-Pick Raspberries at: 


 Indian Creek Farm

Who: Alan Leornard and Stephen Cummins
Where: 1408 Trumansburg Road (1/2 mile past hospital
Phone: 273-9544, 592-2801 and 227-6147 I


Silver Queen Farm
Who: Gordy & Liz Gallup
Where: 5286 Stillwell Road, Trumansburg
Phone: 387-6502


Grisamore Farms
Who: Mary Ann Grisamore
Where: Goose Street Road, Locke
Phone: 315-497-1347
Web site: www.grisamorefarms.com






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




The Ithaca Farmers Market is definitely the “happening place” on Saturday mornings. You can still buy wintered over vegetables like parsnips and leeks but the fresh veggies are also springing up . Asparagus and spinach and lettuce greens are abundant now, as are every kind of flower and herb
Some new and many of the old favorite prepared food vendors are making the choices even more difficult. One great way to maximize the enjoyment is to have a picnic.  With a wonderful selection of wine, bread, cheese and cold cuts , you can have yourself a feast.  THE PIGGERY, which was a sometime vendor last year now have their own stall at the North end of the long arm. They are the only meat purveyor that sells fresh meat. The various cuts of pork are displayed much as you would see it in a European charcuterie. Charcuterie is the French word for both a pork butcher and the products of his labor. A charcutier takes pork and makes sausages, hams, confit, pates, terrines, etc, all of which comprise charcuterie. Charcuterie is the prototypical convenience food. A jar of pate and a baguette is lunch.
For this husband and wife team, Peggy Sanford and Brad Marshall, the Piggery is a labor of love. Brad says his work is the charcuterie business and in his hobby is taking care of his pigs. In other words he works all the time. 
Often they have little samples and I’ve tried several. The smoked sausage ("smoked grillers") are really wonderful as is the liver pate and the sliced ham. I’m hoping to see some more pates varieties made with nuts, prunes and liquors and with a little more assertive spicing.
The Piggery takes good care of their pigs. These are pasture raised heritage breeds who also get fed locally grown organic grain. Peggy and Brad are committed to sustainability and prepare their products in a specially designed off grid kitchen. 
SO….to take the European feasting one step further….buy some charcuterie from the Piggery, some cheese from one of the other vendors and a crispy baguette, and a bottle of wine and what more could you want?
FAT BOYis one of my favorites among several top notch European style bakers. Their plain and semolina baguettes are what you’d expect to find in Paris. They sell out of these treasures quickly. They also have many other varieties of bread including epi, pain rustique, mixed grain, rye  whole barley, sourdough, wheat walnut and Bavarian farm bread.   All are beautiful to behold and worthy to serve at the finest meal. Their pastries, cookies and scones are hard to pass up so my advise is to make your way through a sample of every delicacy they prepare.
And to round out your picnic, stop by NORTHLAND SHEEP DAIRY where Maryrose  Livingston makes European quality cheese. She and her partner Donn Hewes are a team; he working the farm with his team of draft horses and mules and she holding the job of  shepherd and cheesemaker. They sell several cheese varieties and always have samples to taste. I like them all and am very excited to try the Torta de la Serena which Maryrose will begin making soon. Maryrose spent part of her winter interning in Western Spain in the region called Extramadura with one of the few cheese makers left making this cheese with his own herd of grass fed sheep. If all goes well we should be sampling a young cheese in August. This is my all time favorite Spanish cheese.
The Ithaca Farmers Market is open Saturdays 9-3 and Sundays 10-3 
Check out last year’s post for some of other great food vendor tips:  ITHACA FARMERS MARKET POST MAY 08








(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.