Thursday, December 17, 2015

Free Childrens Week at White Memorial

Museum Children Free Week

Museum Children Free Week
Courtesy of Tara and Arthur Diedrick in honor of Adele and Joseph d’Assern. Free admission to children ages twelve and under when accompanied by an adult.
December 21 – 27, 2016

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Savory Cheese Straws-Perfect for a Drinks Party

Easy to make and always a hit at parties

I have loved this recipe since I first learned it as a student at Le Cordon Bleu.  It makes a great Hors d’oeuvres, and is a nice little munchy at tea. Mrs. Patmore would have sent these up with the salad course or as an after-dinner savory to offer with Port. Similar recipes appear in almost all my 19th and early 20th century cook books.  Use the sharpest cheddar cheese you can find (I Love Tillamook or Cabot’s private reserve)

  • 3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 stick (3 ounces) cold sweet butter, cut into 8 chunks

  • 1 cup lightly packed grated sharp cheddar cheese

  • A fat pinch of salt

  • 1/8 tsp dry mustard

  • 1/4 tsp paprika

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese OR
    1/3 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts

  • Place rack in center of oven and Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a heavy baking sheet with baking parchment.

  • Combine flour and butter in a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

  • Add cheddar cheese, salt, mustard and paprika, pulse until all ingredients are evenly combined and mixture comes together.  Wrap pastry with plastic film and refrigerate for ½ hour.

  • Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 1/ 4 inch.  Prick all over with a fork.  Brush pastry with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and or nuts.

  • Cut into strips, lengthwise, then cut across to make rectangles or diamonds.  You could also cut the pastry with decorative cutters and re-roll the leftover dough once (but don’t top with more nuts or cheese) The dough can also be piped through a flat piping tip.

  • Transfer the cut pastries to the baking sheet and bake in center of pre-heated oven for about 10 to 13 minutes or until golden brown.

  • Transfer pastries to a rack to cool.  When cool store, wrapped in layers of waxed paper either in a cookie jar or in plastic bags.  May be made 3 days ahead and kept at room temperature.  Freeze for longer storage
  • Monday, December 14, 2015

    Black Bears In Connecticut Talk at the Goshen Library

     A talk on Black bear history, diet, behavior & current research efforts explored by Paul Colburn, certified Master of Wildlife Conservation, will be held at the Goshen Public Library on December 15th, starting at 6:30 PM.

     Mr Colburn will provide recommendations for optimum coexistence with our black bear population. RSVP 860-491-3234.

    Friday, December 11, 2015

    Local Gifts Part two-food and beverages-

    The Goshen and Litchfield area has many fine treats. Numerous vineyards, award winning dairies, chocolate shops.  Below is the list of some of my personal favorites. You can click on the name of each location to go to their web site for hours and more information.  

    Thorncrest Farms-Dairy and Chocolates-Goshen
    Creating fine artisanal "Single Cow Origin" Chocolates. Come taste the difference of our "Single Cow" origin Chocolates... for those who desire something truly special.

    The foundation for Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates is our signature milk.
    We harvest our hay and pasture our cows. This ensures they are fed the finest sweetest hay and natural feeds; from this they produce their pure signature milk.

    Milk House Chocolates brings you artisanal chocolates made in small batches one at a time with our fresh milk, cream and butter. Only all natural flavors such as fresh orchard fruits, garden herbs and honey are blended with the very best cocoa beans on earth to create these pralines and truffles. This is an amazing farmer to farmer connection.    They also offer a variety of cheese making classes..

    Arethusa Dairy Farm Store-Bantam      Located in the heart of Bantam, the Arethusa Dairy Farm Store sells not only the locally produced milk, but ice cream, butter, and a variety of cheeses.  Stop by for a cone or to pick up some of the best Eggnog around.

    Haight Brown Vineyard-Litchfield-Local wines, plus tasting and pair classes.

    Sunset Meadows Vineyard-Goshen-offers a number of whites and reds perfect for gifting. There is also a small gift shop.

    Hopkins Vineyard-Washington, CT-Tasting room, wine bar and gift shop. They also offer events throughout the year..

    Rustling Wind Creamery - They offer not only some of the best cheese in the county, but also locally made jellies, jams, maple products and hand made knit products. They also offer gift baskets.

    Nodines Smokehouse-Goshen- A Litchfield County classic-
    Nodine's Smokehouse is a family owned business based in the foothills of the charming New England Berkshires. From humble beginnings as a small, custom smokehouse in 1969, we've become a leading American manufacturer of gourmet smoked meat, poultry, fish, and cheese. We now have a production facility, and offices, in Torrington, CT, where all our work is done. Our products are featured anywhere from small, hometown markets, to high class Manhattan restaurants; You can find us in grocery stores, delis, caterers, and restaurants across the country.
    In order to supply you with the best tasting gourmet products, we use only the finest, and highest quality, federally inspected ingredients. All of our products are manufactured in our USDA certified facility. Our team of artisans hand craft all of our products in small batches. From the raw ingredient, all the way to packaging and shipping, we do it all right here, to ensure that our high standards are met. We use traditional methods, and years of trial and error has perfected our recipes.
    Ronald Nodine and his passion for top notch smoked meats are the driving force behind Nodine's Smokehouse. Ronald, his wife Johanne, along with their son Calvin, have assembled a fine team of employees, who share their enthusiasm for smoked foods. In the production facility, craftsmen are preparing bacon and ham with a smile on their face. For any questions or concerns, you can contact one of our friendly salespeople. And don't forget to stop at our retail store in Goshen, and say "Hi" to the ladies there! We are honored to serve you with our high quality gourmet smoked food products.

    Wednesday, December 9, 2015

    Shop Local for Your Holiday Gifts-Part 1

    The Goshen and Litchfield Area has many wonderful local  shops perfect for selecting gifts for the Holidays or any time. Below is a list of some local shops that I frequent.  Part two will highlight the shops that offer food and wine.

    White Memorial Museum and Gift Shop-The White Memorial Conservation Center’s Gift Shop features a broad selection of items for children and adults. You’ll always find a wide assortment of field and audio guides, Dover Books, stuffed plush animals, educational toys, posters, puzzles, and games. Our “Connecticut Corner” is stocked with a variety of unique Connecticut made-crafts. Choose from fragrant goat milk soaps and creams, maple syrup, one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces, books, and DVDs by local writers and naturalists. We also have many gifts for kids with prices starting at just $.10: figurines, stones, keepsakes, and more. Our inventory changes frequently. For an extra special gift, order a hand-decorated, custom-designed walking stick made from White Memorial saplings.

    The Abbey of Regina Laudis- Located on Flanders Road in Bethlehem. This year we will be offering our selection of specialty items, such as artisanal cheeses, sheepskins, woven scarves, ironwork, candles, jams and jellies, hot mustard, infused vinegars, herbal products, lotions, mists and perfumes.

    Our year-round Abbey staples make great gifts: the ever popular “God is the Bigger Elvis” Oscar nominated documentary about Mother Dolores Hart, and Ear of the Heart, her autobiography; plus our Gregorian chant CD’s, gift cards, Lauren Ford Christmas cards, the Cheese Nun DVD documenting Mother Noella Marcellino’s cheese expertise; and a wide selection of books on spirituality.

    The Litchfield Historical Society Museum Shop-Located on South Street in Litchfield. Has a variety of books on the history of Litchfield , cards, tee shirts and other Litchfield Items.

    Institute for American Indian Studies-Washington Depot-

    The IAIS Museum Gift Shop and Bookstore offers one of the finest selections of traditional and contemporary Native-made crafts and fine art. Choose from jewelry, textiles, pottery, baskets and fine art, crafted by artisans from the Navajo, Zuni, Hopi, Lakota, Six Nations and other tribes. We also offer one of the area's most extensive selections of books devoted to Native culture, storytelling, history, archaeology, medicine, food and spirituality. Our children's section features a variety of toys, games, coloring books, puppets, key chains, jewelry and shirts, as well as an assortment of other Native-made and Native-inspired items.

    How To Green Up Your Holidays

    8 Easy things you can do to make your holidays (or anytime of the year) a bit more green.  The Goshen area has several thrift and consignment shops chock a block with items and there are several warehouse stores within a short driving distance. Not to mention many local vineyards and chocolate shops

    From Apartment Therapy..

    Want to give the gift of green to your kitchen this holiday season? A green mindset over the holidays involves just a few simple changes; it's actually one of the easiest things to do. No, you don't need to completely overhaul your cooking routine or try to make all your favorite holiday treats vegan. Instead make a few small changes — here are 10 that are simple and effective.

    1. Clean Green

    This is a good rule to follow year-round, and not just during the holidays. It's smart for the health of your home and your family to use eco-friendly cleaning products, or even just baking soda and white vinegar for most of your cleaning needs. Plus, if you use DIY cleaners, you'll be able to save some money as well.

    2. Don't Use Disposables

    As tempting as it is to use plastic plates, cups, and utensils for holiday parties and large family gatherings, sticking to the dinnerware you can reuse will always be a greener option. If you have to use disposables, opt for ones that are made of recycled materials and can be recycled or composted after use.

    3. Buy in Bulk

    If you know you'll be baking a lot or making food gifts for many people this holiday season, plan your grocery or Costco trip strategically to buy ingredients in bulk. Not only will you cut down on the packaging used by buying bigger containers, but one big trip is better than many small trips to restock. And if you aren't buying things that are perishable, you'll be able to use them throughout the next year.

    4. Compost Your Scraps

    You'll likely be peeling a lot of potatoes, squash, and root vegetables this holiday season, but instead of putting all the scraps in the trash, try composting them. Not only will you cut down on what goes into the landfill, but you'll also help future crops or public spaces be healthier next spring. If you don't have space for a composter of your own, the Environmental Protection Agency has a tool to help you find a program in your area.

    5. Skip the Silver Polish

    If you're bringing out the silver for holiday gatherings, skip the bottle of chemical-filled silver polish and head to the shelf with your baking ingredients instead — you just need some baking soda, salt, and white vinegar (along with a little elbow grease). Use this tutorial to polish your silver the eco-friendly way.

    6. Use Glass, Not Plastic

    Whenever possible, choose glass containers over plastic. They are safe for the microwave and easily recyclable. They also won't get scratched up (and leech chemicals) from use. Plus, if you're hosting a party or dinner, encourage friends to bring a container or two for leftovers so you don't have to stock up on disposable plastic containers that you won't get back.

    7. Send Party Invites Electronically

    Yes, there's something classic about a paper invite, but for a holiday party, nothing beats the ease (and eco-friendliness) of a digital invite. We love Paperless Post, Red Stamp, and Pingg for sending beautifully designed cards and invitations via email.

    8. Cut Down on Paper Towels

    Paper towels are one of the biggest eco-offenders in the kitchen, but also one of the easiest to remedy. We love using a surprising replacement for cleaning up spills or drying your hands: cloth diapers.

    Read More: The Best Kitchen Towels Aren't Actually Kitchen Towels (or Even Towels)

    9. Shop Thrift Stores for Kitchen Gadgets or Serving Pieces

    Before you rush out to buy a new platter or loaf pan, check your local thrift or second-hand store to see if they have the item you're looking for. You can find plenty of great deals on kitchen goods — especially fun glassware — and you'll have a better story to tell if you find something really beautiful or unusual.

    10. Stock (and Give) Local Wine and Beer

    The best part of throwing a holiday party is stocking the bar. One easy way to cut down on your carbon footprint is to buy wine, beer, and even spirits from local companies. Not only will you be supporting businesses in your community, but you'll also be going green by cutting down on how far your booze has to travel. The same goes for the wine you bring to friends' holiday parties. Shop as local as you can.

    Sunday, December 6, 2015

    Parsnip Latkes

    A Wonderful recipe for Parsnip Latkes from The Ktchn at Apartment Therapy

    The History of Latkes

    Latkes — typically potato pancakes — are a traditional European side dish that the local Jewish (Ashkenazic) population adopted long ago as their Hanukkah treat. The potato's not the key here; it's the oil, which reminds us of the mythical bit of oil that miraculously kept the temple lamp lit for eight days after the victory of Judah and his band of Maccabees over Syrian-Greek rule.

    Until recently, I’ve been firmly of the potato-latke persuasion, but then those velvety winter parsnips at the farmers market started calling my name. Their naturally complex flavors produce a sophisticated pancake, especially when finished with a squeeze of lemon to play up the root vegetable's citrus notes. And, heretical as this may sound, I think their sweetness makes them an even better partner than potatoes to the customary applesauce accompaniment. They’re pretty terrific with crème fraîche, too.

    How Parsnip Latkes Are Different from Potato Latkes

    The main difference when using parsnips for latkes is that they don’t contain as much water as potatoes. Buy the juiciest-looking medium-sized parsnips you can (avoid those with cracks), but even the best ones may have large, woody cores. I’ve given a range for the number of eggs and amount of flour and baking powder in the recipe. Start by adding the lesser amount, and add the rest if the mixture looks very dry (it won’t hold together in the pan).

    Tips for Frying Latkes

    I may have become more broad-minded in my choice of roots, but I never waver from the holy trinity of great latkes: Make them very thin so they cook all the way through before the outside burns (and I do mean thin — one tablespoon of latke batter flattened with a spoon makes a three- to four-inch pancake); don’t use too much oil (not more than 1/4 inch at a time, so you pan-fry instead of deep-fry); and keep the oil hot enough, over medium heat, so the batter sizzles on contact.

    Whether or not you celebrate Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, enjoy parsnip latkes throughout the winter and spring, when the roots are at their sweetest. Parsnip latkes are delicious with roasted or braised meats and poultry, and are exciting enough to make a compelling meatless center of the plate.

    This recipe is adapted from the traditional one my family has been using for three generations, inspired by the one in Sara Kasden’s hilarious 1956 cookbook, Love and Knishes. Best of all, the recipe is easily doubled or tripled. Because who can eat just one latke?

    Parsnip Latkes

    Makes 24 latkes, serves 6

    2 pounds (900 grams) medium to large parsnips, peeled

    1 small onion

    2 to 4 heaping tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour or potato starch

    1 teaspoon kosher salt

    1/2 teaspoon baking powder

    Freshly ground white pepper

    2 to 4 large eggs, lightly beaten

    Mild oil with a medium-high smoke point, such as grapeseed, sunflower, or avocado, for pan-frying

    Coarse finishing salt, such as Maldon sea salt
    1 lemon
    Optional accompaniments: applesauce, roasted smashed apples and pears and/or crème fraîche

    Using the large holes of a box grater or a food processor fitted with the grating disk, grate the parsnips. You should have about 5 cups (730 grams). The parsnips may discolor slightly as they stand, but don’t worry. Grate the onion on the large holes of the box grater or fit the processor with the metal S blade and grate. It should look like pulp; mince or discard any large onion pieces.

    In a large bowl, stir together parsnips, onion, 2 heaping tablespoons flour, salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and a few grinds of pepper. Stir in 2 eggs. If the mixture seems dry, add the remaining flour, baking powder, and eggs.

    Line 2 or 3 sheet pans with paper towels. Place the prepared pans, the latke batter, a large spoon, and a spatula near the stove. Heat 1 or 2 large skillets over medium heat. Generously film the skillet(s) with oil (not more than 1/4-inch/6 millimeters deep). When the oil is shimmering and a tiny bit of batter sizzles on contact, start spooning in the latke batter, making sure to add both solids and liquid. Using the back of the spoon, flatten each spoonful into a circle 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 centimeters) in diameter. Do not crowd the latkes in the pan. You'll get 4 or 5 latkes in a 12-inch (30.5-centimeter) skillet.

    Cook the latkes, flipping them once, until golden on both sides, 5 to 6 minutes total. Transfer the latkes to a prepared baking sheet. Cook the remaining batter in the same way, stirring the batter before adding more to the pan and adding oil as needed at the edge of the pan.

    Arrange the latkes on a warmed platter, sprinkle with finishing salt, and add a squeeze of lemon over all. Serve with applesauce, roasted fruit, or crème fraîche as desired.

    Friday, December 4, 2015

    Area Events This Week

    Some of the area's activities and events

    Christmas Shopping Daytrip-9am-2:45pm-Litchfield CC

    Governor's Mansion Daytrip-9:30am-4pm-Litchfield CC

    Kids Night In (Gr. 1-6)-5:30-9:30pm-Litchfield CC

    Christmas Tree Lighting and Carol Sing-6pm-Bantam River Park

    Feast & Song Dinner-6:30pm-Goshen Church of Christ

    An Opera Singer's Journey-7pm-St. Anthony's, Litchfield


    Bantam FD Christmas Tree Sale-8am-3pm-Bantam Center

    Northwest Rovers FC Tryouts-9am-Forman School Gym

    Veteran of the Month Ceremony-10am-Bantam Borough Hall

    Gingerbread Nativity Making-10am-12pm-Lourdes in Litchfield

    LH Farm-Fresh Indoor Market-10am-1pm-Litchfield CC

    All About Trees Watercolor Workshop-1:30-4pm-WMCC

    ASAP Celebration of Young Photographers-2-5pm-Litch. Hist. Soc.

    Warren Holiday on the Hill-4:30-8:30pm-Warren Center

    Annual Holiday Potluck Dinner-6pm-East Litchfield Firehouse

    Feast & Song Dinner-6:30pm-Goshen Church of Christ

    Waterbury Symphony: An Intimate Messiah-8pm-St. Michael's


    Bantam FD Christmas Tree Sale-8am-3pm-Bantam Center

    Willa Cather Book Discussion Series-1-2pm-OWL

    Outing Club Walk at Topsmead-1pm-Litchfield Town Hall

    Goshen Holiday Farmers Market-1-4pm-St. Thomas Church, Goshen

    Cookies, Carols & Cocoa (Pack 28)-2-4pm-Morris Firehouse

    New England Chamber Choir-3:30pm-St. Anthony's

    Candlelight Lessons & Carols for Advent-4pm-St. Michael's

    Community Singing-4-5:30 pm-Litchfield CC

    Goshen Light Up a Life-4:30pm-Goshen Old Town Hall

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

    St. Thomas Cookie Fair

    Looking for a sweet treat, but don't like to bake? Need something to bring to dinner? Stop by the St. Thomas Cookie Fair On December 5, 2015 - 9:00am - 11:00am .     

    Starts at 9 AM and runs till the cookies run out. Held at St Thomas' hall on North Main Street in Goshen.

    Tuesday, December 1, 2015

    Bethlehem Christmas Festival

    FRIDAY, DEC. 4th, from 5 pm - 10pm
    SATURDAY, DEC. 5th, from 10 am - 4 pm
    The Bethlehem Green (Rte. 132 and Rte. 61)