Practice for Turkey Day

Using the same stuffing from the Apple Crusted Pork recipe, I had a small, whole chicken just begging to be stuffed and roasted. But in addition to what was already being stored in a Pyrex glass bowl in the fridge, I added chopped organic celery and fresh chives.

While reinventing the stuffing, the small, whole chicken was marinating in a mixture of Old Bay seasoning, Filippo Berio olive oil, salt and pepper in a round blue roaster. Pre-heat the oven at 400 degrees.

Remove the innards, stuff the chicken and put the legs under the body.

Before placing the chicken in the over, put any extra breading on top of the bird, throw in any extra chives, chopped potatoes and fresh sage.

Cook for 1 hour and 40 minutes.

While the whole chicken is roasting, don’t forget about any canine members of the family. After boiling a small pot of water, place the innards in the bubbling water for 20 minutes. Drain and cool. For an extra treat, add a fried yolk and top with parsley.

A full and happy pet

Getting back to the human eaters, as soon as the bird is out of the oven, remove the stuffing right away. Upon removing the lid, smell the Autumn aromas of apples, fresh vegetables and seasonings. Cut and serve.

Leftovers make delicious chicken sandwiches

Jewel of WNY is for dinner

It’s harvest and storage time for raspberries in Niagara County, but don’t put these tasty bites of nature away so soon! Besides using them in morning cereal, on top of ice cream or to bake with in desserts, these tiny sweet treats can be made into a delicious marinade for steak, yes steak.

If you want to pick your own raspberries, ask City Girl Country where to find a nearby farm.

Raspberry Almond Steak
½ cup fresh raspberries
Sirloin boneless steak
¼ cup sliced almonds
Filippo Berio Olive Oil

Some of the hardware and main ingredients

Marinate the steak in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper
Combine the almonds and raspberries in a mini-chop. Puree for a few seconds (until smooth with a little crunch)

Raspberries . . . yum!

Sprinkle with salt to bring out the sweet taste
Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a small skillet on medium heat
Coat the steak with the raspberry/almond mixture
Grill the steak to your liking. When you are ready to flip to the other side, make sure to coat the bottom with the remaining mixture, straight from the mini-chop

Enjoy the fresh, roasted raspberry smell –
an amazing mid-autumn aroma!

Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh basil and raspberries


Over the river and through the woods

 Just past the New York State border into Massachusetts, The Red Lion Inn has welcomed travelers to the Berkshires since 1773, during the Boston Tea Party. A charter member of Historic Hotels of America and member of the New England Innkeeper and Resorts Association, and Original Historic Inns of New England, this 108- room inn lives up to its accolades. Berkshire County’s first convention of colonists expressing dissatisfaction with Britain’s policies of taxation without representation was held at the Inn just a year later. Other meetings to rebel against Britain also took place here.

Sitting in the downstairs pub and restaurant, the Lion’s Den, you can almost see these thoughtful men, brimming with insights and American ideals. The bar upstairs is also equally inviting and true to its historical significance, with a roaring fire just off to the side in the lobby. Staying at the Inn during the right season is also important, because you cannot stay or visit The Red Lion Inn without having a cocktail on it’s large, wraparound porch. Rock in a chair, cozy-up on a wicker lounge and take in the picturesque town of Stockbridge, Mass.

Once a pit stop for stagecoaches, tavern and Inn, for passers-by along the Albany, NY – Boston route, The Red Lion Inn quickly became popular and the center of village life where townspeople would gather.

In 1893 the Inn’s operation was taken over by Mr. Plumb’s nephew Allen T. Treadway, aided by his assistant James H. Punderson, whose daughter Molly later became the third wife of famed illustrator Norman Rockwell.

A handwritten thank you note and fresh flowers are a nice touch. Treats from Klara’s Gourmet Cookies ( is also a welcome for a hungry traveler

By mid-century, Stockbridge was discovered by wealthy families who came to escape the hustle-bustle and grit of city life. They built their weekend and summer homes, and with easier travel, Stockbridge was no longer a secret.

I could have done without the old baby portrait

above the bed – creepy!

Traveling alone, I was a little timid checking into the historic inn, for although I’m not too superstitious, I heard about the ghost stories coming out of rooms 301 and 312. Supposedly a friendly ghost likes to play pranks by touching guests and opening doors, but I needed a good nights sleep to face driving in the Nor’easter the next day. I was relieved and perplexed when my room was in one of the neighboring buildings that are converted guesthouses.

A great space to write, read and reflect

In a former private residence, across from a quaint, stone church, I had a two-room suite complete with a large bathroom that contained a claw-foot bathtub. After turn down service, don’t expect a chocolate on your pillow. Instead, the staff at The Red Lion Inn leaves bedtime stories at your bedside.

The Red Lion Inn does a great job with authenticity

One of my favorite Western Massachusetts towns is just north of Stockbridge. Started as a literary colony, Lenox, Mass. is now a bustling foodie town. One of the challenges of living in the Berkshires is a limited nightlife; even going to dinner at 8 pm can be a problem, but during this recent fall trip a friend and I stumbled upon Nudel (37 Church Street). This seasonally inspired restaurant was packed and worth the wait.

Dinning on Turnip and Arugula Soup (turnip latka and herbed goat cheese) with a side of Sourdough Toasts with olive oil was enough for a meal. Although the New York Riesling is probably more appropriate for warmer months, it was refreshing after a long day.

Take a bite out of the Delicious New York State apple

Columbus Day weekend brings with it the height of apple picking season. If you are in Upstate New York, especially Western, your buckets are probably runneth over with Delicious, McIntosh and Cortlands. So what to do with all of those apples? Here are two recipes to try after a day of apple picking. Perfect for an indoor picnic on a chilly autumn night.

Apple Crusted Pork

1 boneless pork chop
3 slices, ground whole wheat bread
2 inches fennel fronds
½ coarsely chopped onion
1 coarsely chopped tart apple
2 sprigs fresh sage
1 Tbsp. ground thyme
2 tsp. brown kosher sea salt
Ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 farm fresh egg
½ lemon

1. In a mini-chop, ground the 3 slices of whole wheat bread. Put in a separate glass bowl. Combine fennel fronds, onion, apple, sage, thyme, 1 tsp. sea salt, and ground black pepper, to taste, in the same food processor until finely chopped. Mix with the bread and season with freshly ground pepper.

2. In a small-size skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.
3. In a glass bowl, whisk the egg and marinate the pork chop.
4. Coat the pork chop with the mini-chop mixture.
5. Brown the pork chop on both sides, until it’s no longer pink in the middle, in the skillet, about 10 minutes on each side.
6. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top.

Still have apples? Splurge on dessert!

Apple Crumb

Heat oven to 350 degrees
Spread in 8-inch square pan: 4 cups sliced apples
Sprinkle with mixture of:
¼ cup water
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
Work together until crumbly using pastry blender:
1 cup sugar
¾ cup sifted Gold Medal Flour
1/3 cup soft butter
Spread crumb mixture over apples
Bake uncovered about 40 minutes
Serve warm with rick milk
6 servings

Apple anecdotes

Small local apple producers tend to use fewer pesticides, especially when apples are in season.

Eating the peel of an apple is healthier for you. It contains 2/3 of the fiber and loads of welcome antioxidants.

Coco Chanel wasn’t a simple girl

And neither am I

As yet another wedding season comes to a close (at least for my own personal calendar) I successfully absorbed and dealt with the awkward questions about my single-status. Seeming to always have a date, boyfriend or “roommate” in my twenties, I suppose it was just assume that marriage would be on the horizon.

Dates today often ask me, “Why have you never been married?” I usually pause and tactfully respond with something like, “I’ve had a few long-term relationships.” But sometimes I would really like to respond with the truth, “I’ve been asked twice and turned them down?” Or “I wasted some months in my early thirties with someone totally unmarriable?” Perhaps these latter responses would make me seem like a bitch, control freak or high maintenance so I refrain.

At the start of this season’s Grey’s Anatomy, the fictional character Dr. Christina Yang is recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and accepts a marriage proposal. Unlike her true character, she is entranced by the “simple” girls, grinning from ear-to-ear in their cookie cutter wedding gowns, showcased throughout the pages of supermarket bridal magazines. “I think you’re either born simple or you’re not. I want to be the person who gets happy over finding the perfect dress.” she said.

Wouldn’t it be easy to have such a simplistic idea fill you with all the answers, happiness and goals fulfilled, even if for just a small amount of time?

Looking at some leading significant and single women, they were anything but simple. Coco Chanel changed fashion forever with an innovative and proud demeanor, ahead of her time. Oprah Winfrey never married and changed the way we view media. Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is a professor, politician, diplomat and author. No matter what your political views are, there is no denying her credentials are impressive. Actress Cameron Diaz is gorgeous and never been married. Of course she has her critics because sadly, sometimes women are just jealous. Don’t forget Janis Joplin, a rocker ahead of her time with men answering to her when she was just in her mid-twenties.

All of these women could all be described as analytical, innovative and ambitious. So why is marriage still such institution that needs so much emphasis in 2010, especially when not everyone can legally marry in all U.S. states?

In my twenties, I never thought I’d get married. I guess I was correct. Growing up in Western New York, people get married very young and it’s not the norm to be highly educated, well traveled, sane, successful, normal and single; and for some reason this scrutiny is highlighted if you’re a woman.

Wanting to achieve a high level of education, move to New York City and travel the World, these goals squeezed out potential suitors in my own personal life. Is marriage still held to a higher regard because it’s just been considered the norm? What about a celebration for those choosing to follow their goals beyond graduations?

If you’re a single guy in or from WNY or comparable areas and get similar questions, please, write in!

Stay tuned next week for how to picnic in the chilly months!