Author Archives: Susan Woody

Column: Step into fall – What to do for September

Inside: Dust ceilings, walls, baseboards and woodwork. This is especially important now, because dust that collects during summer is often laden with allergy-inducing pollen. A vacuum cleaner’s brush attachment or a Swiffer broom are good tools to use for this job. Clean ceilings first then work your way down. Rearrange furniture with the fireplace as… Continue Reading

Column: A quiche to last the week

I really like quiche but don’t find it much on menus when eating out and don’t seem to make it much at home. Over the summer months, I’ve been trying a new strategy to the cook-every-night or eat-out routine that we’ve started settling into. I cook on Fridays for the weekends; this seems to be… Continue Reading

Column: Prune a tomato?

Q. There is a family dispute: Must you prune suckers from tomato plants, or does it make          any real difference? A. It makes a big difference. Although they sound vaguely sinister, suckers are simply late-flowering branches formed in the leaf axils of larger stems. Removing them makes plants narrow and open,… Continue Reading

Column: Let’s talk salads

Q. Can You make a good salad using canned beans? A. Yes. Here are the secrets: Use good quality beans. Rinse the beans well under cold running water and drain. Use five flavors — vegetables, spices, herbs, oils and vinegar. A mix of crunchy veggies like bell peppers, celery and green onions adds texture. Spices… Continue Reading

Column: Gifts from the garden

With fall looming on the horizon, now is a great time to look around the yard and think about holiday gifts. Once your garden is frozen and snow is falling, you and your gardening pals can enjoy the outdoors when opening gifts made or gathered now. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking… Continue Reading

Column: A little something sweet

Strawberry Poppy Seed Crisp Cook this in a wide skillet or baking dish so that every spoonful contains a bit of topping. 1 ¾ pounds hulled strawberries, quartered ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons light brown sugar Grated zest of 1 lemon Seeds from 1 vanilla pod 1 cup almond flour 1 cup steel-cut oats 2… Continue Reading

Column: Easy trout

By now, those who enjoy wrapping worms and such around hooks are well underway in area waterways. With lots of fish stacking up in the freezer, here is an easy fish recipe that is subtle and lets the fish itself  show through. Crisp Trout If the fillets are too big to cook in one pan… Continue Reading

Column: What to do for August

Inside: Make pesto with all of your fragrant basil. Put out some new colorful placemats for the table. Wash windows inside and out; inspect windows for damage, recaulk and repaint if necessary. Don’t let all the fresh corn go to waste. Slice kernels from the cobs, and store in freezer-safe resealable plastic bags. The frozen… Continue Reading

Column: Fruit pickles

The glut of fresh summer fruit softens the blow of hot weather like a salve. The problem is that all that fruit is fleeting. Eat it, freeze it and now and then try one of these recipes. Preserve summer a jar at a time.   Fruit Pickle Brine This is an all-purpose brine for fruit.… Continue Reading

Column: Grilled salsas

I can’t wait for August. Sweet corn and Palisade peaches, to name just a few of the wonderful things in store next month. Grilling fresh peaches for this recipe or for just a quick dessert unleashes a mellow caramelized flavor that is just brilliant. Try it and see if you don’t agree.   Grilled Peach-Lime… Continue Reading

Is your kitchen towel toxic?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one in six Americans is sickened with foodborne illnesses each year. And according to evidence, most foodborne pathogens start in the home. We all know about having a designated cutting board for meats and others for vegetables. We’ve read about cross contamination when working in the… Continue Reading

Column: Grilling bird

When grilling chicken there is definitely an advantage to letting the chicken sit in a bowl of milk — or better yet buttermilk — before grilling. The lactic acid in the milk is a natural tenderizer. Once your grill has heated, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the… Continue Reading

Keeping your food dollars fresh

Part of the joy of growing your own food is eating it. Right? We all love the thought of growing, eating and possibly sharing a little of the harvest each season. Here are a few tips on how to refrigerate items to prolong their shelf life. Herbs: Keep stems in water and wrap in plastic.… Continue Reading

Column: Yes, but how does it taste?

We Americans in general are losing the war on weight in alarming numbers. In the 1980s we were sure the culprit was fat itself. Then came carbs; today it is sugar, unless you are fighting gluten that is. The truth is obesity is now closing in on smoking as our most preventable cause of death.… Continue Reading

Rock gardens

The nicest rock garden I’ve ever seen was outside of Phoenix. It was sited on a sharp incline along a busy road. What by rights should have been just a bare spot had been lovingly turned into a beautiful piece of landscaping thanks to someone who cared. Rock gardens are one of those often overlooked… Continue Reading

The sense of smell and food

I read an interesting article a few weeks ago on new data linking the ability of a person to imagine the smell of food with body-mass index, a standard measure that relates weight to height. It seems scientists at Yale University and the affiliated John E. Pierce Laboratory have found that a person’s self-reported ability… Continue Reading

Column: Summer pies

There is something special that happens to pies when they are made for when the weather is hot. Cream pies, especially banana and coconut cream are my favorites. I was at a dinner party a few weeks ago and offered to bring a pie for the hostess but she told me she had it covered.… Continue Reading

Column: The cure for the common coneflower

Echinacea — the staple of any garden — is suddenly a whole lot more interesting. For years the only color was that Pepto-pink shade. Now you can find a variety of colors to add interest to any yard. The simple Echinacea is indigenous to North America and you’ll find them growing along side highways across… Continue Reading

Column: From the waste basket to the market basket

With statistics showing that 40 percent of food in the U.S. is being wasted, (according to the Natural Resources Defense Council) the waste works out to about a $100 billion loss annually. The move toward using more of the food produced from root to stalk has become something of a battle cry. Here are a… Continue Reading

Column: The perfect tomato

Growing tomatoes is the perfect pastime for summer. From the Early Girl, beefsteak to an heirloom, getting an assortment to try is kind of like finding the perfect wine — everybody likes something different best. Years ago, a master gardener friend — one of the most brilliant MGs I’ve known — gave me a few… Continue Reading

Column: Myths, legends, half-truths, lies

You can’t cook with extra-virgin olive oil because it will either burn, burst into flames or turn into the dreaded transfat,” so says Nancy Jenkins the author of “Virgin Territory: Exploring the World of Olive Oil.” Other myths: extra-virgin oil is from the first cold pressing, virgin oil from the second. Better still: a buttery… Continue Reading

Column: Birdhouse basics

Choose a house to fit a bird’s needs. Plain, unpainted wood is the best because it looks like the real thing — a hole in a tree. Fancy birdhouses work well too, but they just take a little longer to attract tenants. Two or three basic size ranges will suit most backyard birds. The diameter… Continue Reading

Column: Go grill

We are heading into what for most of us is the ‘high season’ for grilling. Want a quick dinner? Grill vegetables and your favorite source of protein on skewers or some sort of grill pan. For those whose palette demands something just a little more try adding flavored or compound butters to the grill mix.… Continue Reading

What to do for June

Inside: On warm days keep salads and veggie plates crisp by serving them on chilled plates. Place a stack of plates in the refrigerator (not the freezer, which could crack ceramics) for an hour or more before using. Wash your windows with a solution of hot water and dishwasher detergent. Use a squeegee to wipe… Continue Reading

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