Lifestyle

FROM THE GROUND UP: Japanese red maple trees still holding on to their leaves |Feb 22, 2018

My friend Jane Antley lives in the borough of West Chester. She emailed me last month with a question about leaf drop. “I’ve been meaning to write to you for several weeks about something that has me perplexed this year: the Japanese red maples.

HOME COOK: Make the ultimate Korean bibimbap at home |Feb 21, 2018

Every country has a distinctive comfort food. For Korea, it’s bibimbap, the rice bowl topped with grilled beef, a veritable veggie rainbow and a fried egg, drizzled with spicy gochujang and mixed with a spoon.

Local chefs compete with cookie-inspired dishes to benefit Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania |Feb 21, 2018

Thin Mint S’mores, anyone? How about a Lemonade Icebox Pie or Toffee Takeover cocktail?

FOOD: Two trendy kitchen gadgets to try now |Feb 14, 2018

It’s Valentine’s Day. And while kitchen gadgets don’t rate high on the list of romantic presents, here are two you’re bound to love — an air fryer and an electric multicooker like an Instant Pot.

FOOD: Surprise your valentine with homemade truffles |Feb 8, 2018

They come in flavors like champagne, red velvet, strawberry cheesecake and crème brûlée. They’re small in size, big in flavor, and they scream, “Valentine’s Day!”

FROM THE GROUND UP: Get inspired by the new All-America Selections |Feb 1, 2018

There’s a lot that has to happen before flowers come popping out in our gardens. Even before the seeds show up in store displays and garden catalogues, there are years of development, trial and error, striving for certain characteristics worthy of introducing to the public.

FOOD: 5 stellar soups to warm your soul |Jan 31, 2018

Got plans for game day? Call an audible and host your own “Soup-er” Bowl.

QUICK COOK: Try a super bowl of soup |Jan 24, 2018

January is always a time for me to set intentions for the year, to clean out my closets and my body. But cleansing does not have to be hardcore. No need for fasting or eating food that tastes like cardboard.

FOOD: Nutrition experts offer tips to cut sugar |Jan 24, 2018

There’s no way to sugarcoat it. “Most of us eat more sugar than we should,” said Judy Matusky of Athens Nutrition in Ardmore. “Where are all those added sugars coming from? And once you can identify where they’re coming from, how can you cut back?”

HEALTHY LIVING: Keep off the pounds for good |Jan 19, 2018

The holidays are over, and as the fog of eggnog, gingerbread and candy canes lifts, many people find themselves confronting the harsh reality of the bathroom scale.

QUICK COOK: Indonesian flavors spice up dinner |Jan 17, 2018

This simple, vibrant curry, which originates from the Indonesian island of Java, makes a splendid “introductory” curry. It’s mild enough for sensitive palates, since it does not include any chiles and the white pepper is optional, and it’s super easy to make.

THE TREND IS TO BLEND: Meat-and-mushroom recipes to try tonight |Jan 17, 2018

Imagine an award-winning pitmaster serves you a juicy cheeseburger piled high with toppings. Bet your mouth’s watering. But this isn’t your typical patty. There’s a twist — button mushrooms blended with the beef.

Crustacean sensation: These delicious crab cakes are easy to make and luxurious to eat |Jan 2, 2018

These simple crabcakes are easy to make and luxurious to eat. Serve them as appetizers or alongside a big, crisp salad and some garlic bread for a meal that feels celebratory.

FOOD: Area innkeepers share recipes for holiday breakfasts |Dec 20, 2017

“This is the finishing touch,” said Rick Carro of Fairville Inn in Chadds Ford as he sprinkled pecorino Romano over a vegetable frittata. “I’m going to make a second one of these later on for tomorrow morning because we have 29 guests.

THE YANKEE CHEF: Sweet cannoli for your holiday table |Dec 19, 2017

These intensely flavored cannoli are just as satisfying on any cold weather night when you can smell the house filling up with aroma of baking, but are especially pleasing when family and friends are around for the holidays.

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.

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,

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.

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.