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10 Kitchen Tips for My Younger Self

When I was 23 years old, I was asked to bring a dessert to a pot-luck luncheon at work so I decided to bring a homemade cheesecake. The night before, I got home from work late and didn’t have time to bring the cream cheese to room temperature so I took the 6 bars of Philadelphia Cream Cheese out of the refrigerator and proceeded to make the cake only to be asked the next day what the white clumps in my cheesecake were. Not one of my better baking moments but one I’ve never forgotten because I eventually learned that certain ingredients have to be at room temperature to blend properly. Read more »


“Nine Inches”

It’s easy to say you should let a kid follow his heart. But what if his heart takes him places you don’t want to go?

Nine Inches is a collection of short stories written by Tom Perrotta, an American writer, novelist and screenwriter who often writes of high school using all the drama of those years as a metaphor for life. Published in 2014, Nine Inches contains ten short stories written from the perspective of teenagers, adults, and senior citizens and, yet they all share a common theme: high school never really ends. Read more »


Lamar Briggs: 1935 – 2015

My approach to art is to open myself visually to the world around me as much as possible—by reading, traveling, collecting and just plain “seeing.”  Music and color ‘flow’ for me. I paint to music and the music and rhythm speak to me more than any external experience.       ~Lamar Briggs

My friend, Lamar Briggs passed away on Sunday afternoon. Just last week, I was in his hospital room where he sat wearing his signature cap, giving me grief about the “bird nest” on my head (his description of my poof), asking if I was still driving that “old lady car” (his words for the Caddie I bought last year), and telling me about a new CD he just received (Frank Sinatra with the Red Norvo Quintet, Live In Australia 1959) and how great it is. Although Lamar had been in and out of the hospital for the past 3 months, I knew he was feeling better because he also asked me to put a pair of bright yellow, white, and grey socks on his feet. Ever the colorist, Lamar always had a signature moment and that was the last one I shared with him. Read more »


Steve and Andy’s Candied Orange Peel

Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.                                                           ~Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The foodie world has been abuzz with talk about a Brooklyn-based company called Steve & Andy’s Organics who make organic, non-GMO marmalade, preserves, chutney, handcrafted gluten-free flours, salted lemon peel and candied orange peel. Intrigued with the idea of any product that uses oranges, I set out to obtain Steve & Andy’s Candied Orange Peel, which took some time and persistence because everyone wants this new product. Read more »


First Field Jersey Ketchup

I’m a total sucker for New Jersey. Although I wasn’t born in the Garden State, I spent most of my childhood in a suburban neighborhood across the street from a fruit orchard where I learned to climb trees and balance myself on a thick branch while enjoying a crisp apple. In middle school, I worked at the local farm stand where I became proficient in the best way to enjoy sweet corn: freshly picked, peeled, and raw. But the most important lesson I learned about New Jersey had to do with tomatoes. Read more »