Author Archives: Susan Woody

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

Column: Veggie trays again

Years ago it was quite common to start a meal with a small veggie tray. Usually there were a small variety of fresh items and maybe a few pickeled ones for those who love that zing. Now-a-days you don’t find these small appetizer trays much and it is sad because it is a great way… Continue Reading

Column: Lost in translation

There are few things as daunting to weekend gardeners than horticultural jargon. Here is a gardener’s glossary that defines some common gardening terms. (I’m sorry to say that I don’t have the source of this list.) Flat 1. a shallow, rectangular tray used for germinating seedlings. 2. the state of your flowerbed after a black… Continue Reading

Column: Use it up

OK, we’ve talked about how to use up leftover buttermilk after you buy it to use in a specific recipe; now let’s talk sauce. This is the sauce with the unfortunate name — fish sauce. But if you’ve never used it before, you need to try it in a recipe. Fish sauce is most often… Continue Reading

Column: Summer birdhouse contest

Over the summer months starting in June, The Sheridan Press’ Home and Garden page will be sponsoring a birdhouse contest. There will be monthly winners and an overall grand-prize winner. To enter please submit photos of your birdhouse to or bring a photo to the Press office. Please explain who built the house and… Continue Reading

Column: The day after Cinco De Mayo

I hope you all went out yesterday to your favorite Mexican restaurant or invited friends over for your own favorite Mexican dish. Mexican food is my favorite; I could eat it every day gladly. The freshness of the ingredients combines to make the outcome so delicious. The variations of salsas alone could accompany any craving.… Continue Reading

Column: What to do for May

Inside: Wash throw rugs and hang outside to dry. Move indoor plants back outside gradually. If you gave up on your hanging baskets last fall, buy some new ones for the porch. Complete closet cleanups. Pack away clean winter clothes, rehang those on hangers and follow with dust covers or reuse dry cleaning bags. Clean… Continue Reading

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