Lifestyle

FROM THE GROUND UP: Apples for the season |Dec 14, 2017

When I saw them in the store, I knew I just had to have them. I don’t know if they would have turned any other heads or whether I’m alone in my obsession. But there they were, heaped up in a basket: Stayman winesap apples.

THE YANKEE CHEF: A joyous occasion deserves a sweet, decadent treat |Dec 12, 2017

Reminding you of pecan pie, this recipe is far and above better flavored, joyous to the occasion and did I mention it has chocolate in it as well? One look at the crispy, toasted and decadent topping that literally crackles as you cut it, and it will soon become a favorite this Christmas.

WINE: A witty way with wine |Dec 12, 2017

A year of good wine? Yes, please. Especially when it comes in page-a-day calendar form from the pen of Karen MacNeil (“The Wine Bible”).

HOLIDAY TREATS: Locals share the art of clear toy candy |Dec 7, 2017

Wearing a long skirt and apron, Suzanne Wainwright-Evans worked tirelessly in the kitchen of Perkiomen Township’s historic Pennypacker Mills. During last year’s Victorian Christmas, curious visitors filled the room, watching her make an old-fashioned favorite: clear toy candy.

LOCAL DESTINATION: Where sky meets water. Get to know Welkinweir in Chester County |Dec 7, 2017

Tucked in a little valley in northwestern Chester County, there’s a place called Welkinweir — “where sky meets water.” Welkinweir is the former home of Everett and Grace Rodebaugh, who in 1935 purchased the property — which includes a large, stone estate house — as a weekend retreat and summer home.

BROOKS ON BEER: 6 books for the beer lover on your gift list |Dec 5, 2017

The holidays are just around the corner. While beer is the obvious gift for that beer lover in your life — something to impress, like a winter seasonal or other specialty brew — you might consider giving them one of the many stellar beer books that debuted in 2017.

FROM THE GROUND UP: That magical time of year |Nov 30, 2017

Do you believe in fairies? Do you know someone who does? Just when Tchaikovsky’s Sugar Plum Fairy will be taking to stages everywhere comes a new book from the editors of Faerie Magazine: “The Faerie Handbook — An Enchanting Compendium of Literature, Lore, Art, Recipes, and Projects.

FOOD: Holiday-ready rolls: 3 sweet, 1 savory |Nov 29, 2017

Warm up your house and your guests’ hearts this holiday season with rich, buttery rolls — ranging from savory dill to sweet cinnamon.

THE YANKEE CHEF: Dates get the spotlight in this cake recipe |Nov 28, 2017

Although there are very few dates that can live up to Medjool’s reputation, using the cheaper, bagged variety is perfect for this recipe. Not only will it allow you to taste the orange-flavored tea, but if you were to compare two cakes side by side, one with Medjools and the other with the dates we are using, you will find the recipe below to be far superior.

FROM THE GROUND UP: Gardening gifts for the holidays |Nov 28, 2017

As much as I’d love to play Santa to everyone who reads this column, that’s just not practical. But what I can do is put together a list of some of the gardening tools and related items that I think you or the gardeners on your own gift-list might enjoy.

FOOD: Try your hand at homemade pasta |Nov 22, 2017

Celebrate fall with a homemade pasta dish that’s sure to please. Whether you’re a pasta pro or first-timer, award-winning chef, author and restaurateur Marc Vetri has you covered.

THE YANKEE CHEF: Try this light, airy autumnal treat |Nov 21, 2017

Not quite a pie, not quite a custard. This deliciously moist dessert is light, airy and bursting with that warm, “cuddly” taste, if that makes sense. There is just something about the smell of pumpkin cooking that instantly puts a smile on your face, and this treat will put a smile on even that one relative that is a little hard to crack.

Thanksgiving all-stars: Recipes from chef Jose Garces, Lisa Thomas-Laury and Philly native Frankie Avalon |Nov 15, 2017

This holiday, add some star power to your meal with celebrity recipes that will have guests giving thanks.

Newly discovered painting shows Washington’s wartime tent. Will go on view at Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia |Nov 15, 2017

PHILADELPHIA >> Philip Mead was online late one night in May, looking for possible artifacts from the American Revolution, when a painting up for auction caught his eye and got his heart racing.

FROM THE GROUND UP: Bringing the outdoors in |Nov 15, 2017

It took just that one night last week when the temperature dropped to somewhere around twenty degrees. Bam! That was it. The active growing season is over. Mother Nature has closed up her summer shop and moved it farther south.

FROM THE GROUND UP: Family vineyards hold fast in line of fire |Nov 9, 2017

The first time I went to Santa Rosa, California it was just a pop-up visit. In San Francisco on business, I rented a car for a day and drove north up Route 101 to visit my aunt in the senior-living facility she had moved into, and to see my cousin Lauren and her husband John, who live a little farther up the road near Calistoga.

FOOD: Colorful pomegranates pack a punch |Nov 8, 2017

What ingredient works equally well in a smoothie, salad, hummus or vodka? It’s pomegranate, a superfood in season now. In fact, November’s National Pomegranate Month.

FROM THE GROUND UP: Mystery caterpillar reveals nature’s intricacies |Nov 2, 2017

I’ve been on the planet for more than six decades and out and about in nature for much of that time. While I’m still often awe-inspired by a new place or plant I come across, I’m rarely surprised anymore.

Bountiful Brassicas: Don’t miss these fall veggies |Nov 1, 2017

“What IS that?” asked a skeptical shopper at the West Chester Growers Market, pointing to a spiky, lime-green cruciferous veggie.

Berks County native pens book on history of scrapple |Oct 26, 2017

“For a long time, anytime I had the opportunity to write about Pennsylvania Dutch culture and the food of my culture — I would,” said Amy Strauss, food and drink writer.

Barto native pens book on history of scrapple |Oct 24, 2017

“For a long time, anytime I had the opportunity to write about Pennsylvania Dutch culture and the food of my culture – I would,” said Amy Strauss, food and drink writer. Her first book, “Pennsylvania Scrapple: A Delectable History” hit bookshelves on Monday, Oct.

CHEERS! Scare up some Halloween cocktails |Oct 24, 2017

This Halloween, area mixologists are putting the b-b-b-boo in boozy with positively “defrightful” cocktails. And they’re sharing those howl-raising recipes, so you too can get in the spirit — starting with a Blood Orange Margarita.

THE YANKEE CHEF: Try this pineapple- and coconut-flavored delight |Oct 23, 2017

We have all had coconut cream pie and by adding the ultimate in sweet fruit to it, you have a tremendously flavored pie that is simple and such a treat!

FROM THE GROUND UP: What’s wrong with this picture? |Oct 19, 2017

My friend Pam Smyth made a poignant post to Facebook last week. Along with a photo of some of the beautiful Coatesville fields and woodlands near her home, she wrote,

Pottstown Halloween parade kicks off at 7 p.m. on Oct. 24 |Oct 19, 2017

About 350 children dressed in their finest costumes will march down High Street in the annual Pottstown Community Halloween Parade on Tuesday, Oct. 24, beginning at 7 p.m. at High and Bailey streets.

FOOD: These loaded potatoes pack a healthy punch |Oct 18, 2017

Piled high with toppings, stuffed potatoes qualify as classic comfort food. But with a few easy changes, chefs transform them into nutritional powerhouses. And so can you.

THE YANKEE CHEF: Cooler temperatures demand a ragout |Oct 17, 2017

Peppery Sausage Ragout INGREDIENTS

FROM THE GROUND UP: Area garden destination, Chanticleer, is a treat |Oct 12, 2017

If you’re looking for a garden destination while there are still some warm-ish fall days to enjoy, I can’t recommend a better place than Chanticleer. Located in Wayne, PA, the garden occupies thirty-five of the forty-seven acres of the former estate of Adolph Rosengarten Jr.

THE YANKEE CHEF: Taming the spice level on a unique lamb dish |Oct 11, 2017

Oh the spiciness of Mongolian Lamb is what keeps the shepherds from overheating in the summertime. Honestly! Those wanderers in Eastern Asia of old knew how to cook with spices.....hot spices, that is.

FOOD: Step aside pumpkin spice, maple pecan flavor is here |Oct 11, 2017

Is pumpkin spice passé? This fall, follow a certain coffee shop’s lead and make the most of maple pecan… in lattes and so much more.

Berks County woman creates app to help others transform the body and mind |Oct 10, 2017

A local trainer is making fitness accessible and convenient for her clients through an app that uses video call sessions and goal-setting practices to make the change to a healthier lifestyle that much easier.

FROM THE GROUND UP: Garden ‘weed’ turns out to be native plant and might be growing in a garden near you |Oct 6, 2017

Last week I noticed a new flowering “weed” in my garden. It’s tall, with notched, opposite leaves and branching heads of tiny white flowers. It’s also trying to take over.

FOOD: Tasty ways to try pears now |Oct 4, 2017

After stopping to greet customers, Ed Weaver continued checking the pears on display in his farm market — straightening boxes, occasionally grabbing a ripe one.

THE YANKEE CHEF: This simple bread makes a statement |Oct 3, 2017

There really isn’t anything I can say about Maine Black Bread. It is simple and sweet but without being too sweet. Reminiscent of Russian black bread, but with a Yankee flair.

‘It’s five o’ clock somewhere.’ Here are five unique tiki cocktails to enjoy |Sep 28, 2017

There’s something irresistible about a great tiki bar. Whether you’re off in the tropics or here at a local tiki joint, you’re soon overcome by sensations of sun-kissed languor and vacation ease.

FOOD: Local producers offering specialty mushrooms |Sep 26, 2017

“We still handpick all of our mushrooms,” said Linda Phillips Steller, leading an impromptu tour of the family business, Phillips Mushroom Farms in Kennett Square. “We grow shiitake mushrooms in those houses down there.

THE YANKEE CHEF: Adding more tang to a favorite dish |Sep 26, 2017

One of my favorite Asian dishes has got to be Tangerine Beef. But I wanted something with more flavor and tang. Here is the best Yanked recipe with Tangerine Beef in mind, but with a tweek.

FROM THE GROUN UP: Pawpaws bring garden club members, friends together |Sep 21, 2017

Last Saturday, my friend Sharon Richardson reached out to several master gardeners and members of her garden club who live nearby. She also reached out to me. The email subject line read, “The sweet smell of success.

THE YANKEE CHEF: This fruity treat will satisfy any sweet tooth |Sep 20, 2017

Pineapple Peach Danish Need I say more?

FOOD: Kiwi berries pack a big taste |Sep 20, 2017

Years ago, when Ed Weaver of Weaver’s Orchard in Morgantown considered adding kiwi berries, he offered samples to test the market. Many customers had never seen them before, but the response “was phenomenal,” and “the ‘wow factor’ was there.

THE YANKEE CHEF: This hearty salad hints of autumn |Sep 12, 2017

This is one of those “salads” that tastes and satisfies as a hearty side dish. Wonderful flavor, filling without feeling guilty and perfectly suited for all times of year. Just a hint of protein is all this recipe needs to accomplish all this and more.

FOOD TRENDS: Shakshuka ... the new brunch darling |Sep 6, 2017

When chef John Gorham put shakshuka on the menu at Portland’s Tasty n Sons when it opened in 2010, the dish was virtually unknown in the United States. You might spot this breakfast entree of poached eggs nestled in a savory, not-too-spicy tomato-pepper stew at an Israeli or Middle Eastern restaurant, but shakshuka was far from a weekend brunch staple.

THE YANKEE CHEF: Here’s another way of using butternut squash |Sep 5, 2017

This dish is a gorgeous blend of colorful cabbage, carrots and squash and mixed into the tastiest blend of flavors you can add to coleslaw. A must serve at that final get together of the summer.

FROM THE FROUND UP: Nature’s pinhole camera |Aug 31, 2017

On Aug. 21, millions of people in the United States, including many of us here in the Delaware Valley, turned eyes skyward to watch our portion of the phenomenon of a total solar eclipse.

THE YANKEE CHEF: A pudding that would make ancestors proud |Aug 30, 2017

The original Hasty Pudding, or Indian Pudding, is probably the very first dessert ever made on New England shores by our European ancestors. Don’t listen to other so called culinary historians when they note that Indian Pudding should be baked in order to be classic.

TRAVEL: St. Augustine: The Oldest City in America revitalizes with fountain of youth and a shot of bourbon |Aug 25, 2017

Florida and history are often viewed as mutually exclusive.

FROM THE GROUND UP: Blooming now in a garden near you |Aug 24, 2017

You’ve probably seen them — the big masses of bright, frilly flowers blooming now on tall shrubs with exfoliating bark. These are crepe myrtles and it’s been impossible not to notice them lately.

Tel Hai speaker Soren West talks about hiking the Appalachian Trail at 75 |Aug 23, 2017

Tel Hai Retirement Community’s Life Enrichment Committee invites the public to attend an educational lecture titled “The Story of Sojourner: Hiking the Appalachian Trail at 75” on Friday, Sept.

FOOD: Let veggies take center stage on the grill |Aug 22, 2017

In honor of Pennsylvania Produce Month, lighten up the grill and let veggies take “center flame.”

THE YANKEE CHEF: Craving some ribs? These are easy to prepare |Aug 22, 2017

Want ribs? Want simple to prepare ribs? Want some good ol’ tasty, simple to prepare ribs? This is your recipe. What a great flavor and you most likely have everything in your fridge or pantry already.