Food Nesting aka Compulsive Cooking September 8, 2014

Filed Under: food chatter,Uncategorized - Sue Fuirst @ 11:33 am

ImageThis week I made and froze basil pesto, parsley pesto, I made and canned 12 quarts of pasta sauce from a bushel of local plum tomatoes, cooked one of the sauce quarts down to make tomato paste to freeze, baked 6 blueberry hand-pies, made and froze a dozen more mini blueberry pies and a full-sized blueberry pie, I baked peach muffins, and lastly, a batch of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.  I am definitely a nester and no time makes it more evident than the start of a new school year.

I’m not suggesting you mimic my crazy cooking compulsion, but now is the time to abandon those easy summer meals that you put together on the fly and adopt a more organized sense of meal planning. Find a good go-to meal for your family and have it handy in your freezer for busy days or keep the less perishable ingredients on hand to make it on the run.  Remember that a homemade meal is always healthier than something store bought or fast food.

Want to make your own homemade pasta sauce?  Join me Wednesday September 17.  Sign up on my “Classes” link.

Summer Lunch July 22, 2014

Filed Under: food chatter - Sue Fuirst @ 5:21 pm
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Abby and I have been eating some variation of this salad all summer long.  And it makes us happy every time.  Below is the frame work, but feel free to use what you have in your fridge or see at the farmers market.

Toss together:

2 cups cooked lentils, farro, wheatberries, quinoa or rice

1 Tablespoon finely chopped red onion or scallion

1 cup diced tomatoes, heirlooms preferred

2-3  cups chopped baby arugula

2 chopped hard-boiled eggs

1/4 cup diced mozzarella or 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 Tablespoon balsamic or red vinegar

1 teaspoon of photoany chopped fresh herbs you have on hand

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

Serves 3.



Introducing Basics Fuirst Mid-East Peace Mix June 11, 2014

Filed Under: food chatter,Mid-East Peace Mix,Uncategorized - Sue Fuirst @ 1:48 pm

International spices are everywhere and the hippest thing right now are the flavors of the Mid-East.  Moroccan, Iranian, Israeli are a sample of regions and the tastes and books like Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem and Plenty are selling like crazy.  And, as I like to do for you, I’ve simplified flavors and created my newest spice blend, Mid-East peace Mix.  Rub it on beef, lamb, duck, turkey or chicken before grilling or sprinkle on onions and vegetables while you saute them.  I also like to create a marinate using 1 tablespoon Mix-East Peace Mix,  1/4 cup olive oil and 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar.

Available by email and at the Chappaqua Village Market.

Ginger, Sporty, Baby, Scary, Posh… December 11, 2013

Filed Under: food chatter,Uncategorized - Sue Fuirst @ 9:42 pm

This past weekend an old friend told me I was a Spice Girl.  (He had been holding that joke in for a long time and couldn’t wait to blurt it out.) So which Spice Girl am I?  While you’re pondering, bake some cookies for the holiday.  Here is one of my favorite cookie recipes.  No bells or whistles – but use your best butter, great salt and restraint.

Dorie Greenspan’s Butter Sables


8 oz unsalted high fat butter, like Plugra, softened at room temperature

½ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup confectioner’s sugar

½ tsp Kosher or sea salt

2 egg yolks

2 cups all purpose flour



1 egg, beaten

decorative crystal sugar


Slowly beat butter so it’s smooth and creamy.  Add sugars and salt and gently beat again.  Add yolks. Beat at a slow speed until well combined.

Add all of the flour and beat in until just combined. Shape dough into 2 logs about 1” round and wrap in wax paper. Chill for an hour or two. Can be frozen up to one month.

Preheat oven to 350°.  Line cookie sheet with parchment or silpat.

Brush log with beaten egg and generously sprinkle with crystal sugar.  Slice into 1/4” thick rounds and place on cookie sheet. Bake 18 minutes. Cookies should be pale golden, not brown.

makes 2 dozen.


Thanksgiving Countdown… November 23, 2013

Filed Under: food chatter - Sue Fuirst @ 2:02 pm

Thanksgiving is always delicious so don’t fret.  Hosting the holiday is just an exercise in time management.   Some helpful hints:

1.  Buy your turkey now and avoid the crowds.  Stores are stock piling turkeys.  No new birds are arriving between now and Thursday.

2.  Make your cranberry sauce.  It will keep covered in the refrigerator.

3.  Bake or buy your bread for stuffing.  Cube it and freeze. Defrost Wednesday and proceed.  If it comes from a bag, buy it now.

4.  Are you roasting root vegetables, sweet potatoes or butternut squash?  Cut them on Tuesday.  Cover and refrigerate. They’ll keep.

5.  Are you sauteeing onions and shallots?  Cut them Tuesday or Wednesday.  Cover and refrigerate.  They make wilt a bit, but you’re sauteeing them – who cares.  Same goes for carrots and celery.

6.  Are you using an herb butter rub.  Leave your butter out to soften today and make the herb butter later today or tomorrow.  Refrigerate until Wednesday night.  Leave out to soften.

7.  Prep turkey Wednesday afternoon or evening.  Rinse, pat dry, season, spread herb butter.  Truss if you like.  Place in roasting pan and leave in fridge until roasting morning.

8.  Do you need softened butter for baking?  You can leave it out overnight.  I promise.

9.  Put your kids to work!  Younger kids can cut things with scissors, like herbs and peel butternut with a vegetable peeler. And they love to mash. Older kids can chop things, drive to buy things, measure out ingredients.  Even grandparents can polish the silver (ha) and set the table.

10.  Have fun – it’s only food.

Happy Thanksgiving.