good news/ouch news

So yesterday I took a tumble down the stairs and ended up in the E.R. of Chester County Hospital.  It was a somewhat full moon kind of crowd, and there was a run on sprained ankles.  I had never been inside the hospital or to the hospital, truthfully don’t do much E.R. time.

Can I just say that hospital is amazing and what a good experience I had?  The last time I had been near an E.R. was to pick someone up at Bryn Mawr Hospital and it was not like this.  At Bryn Mawr, the staff was testy to say the least, and more concerned with personal calls on their mobile phones that caring for patients.  And the place was dirty and smelled.  Chester County Hospital was the opposite of that.  The staff from checking in to checking out were so nice, and that hospital is the cleanest hospital I have ever been in.

Now that ouch is out of the way (I am o.k., just a sprain!) I got cool news today.  The people that do Bon Apetit online (epicurious.com) are indeed publishing a recipe of mine in a cookbook being released this fall !!!  You will have to wait to see what recipe it is precisely as it is now in the book but it is called “Kitchen Sink Frittata”, but I am so excited!  They tell me I will also be featured in some little online write-up September 12th too.

The book is available for advanced ordering at a discount from Amazon.com and here is what it is about:

The Epicurious Cookbook: More Than 250 of Our Best-Loved Four-Fork Recipes for Weeknights, Weekends & Special Occasions
By Tanya Steel, The Editors of Epicurious.com

Product Description

For home cooks hungry for make-again recipes, here is an impeccably curated collection from Epicurious with more than 250 of their “4-fork” recipes, conveniently compiled in a book with new photography, new headnotes, and informative user tips. Epicurious is, undisputedly, the most respected website for people who like to cook. In their first-ever cookbook, the Epicurious editors have culled their extraordinary database of 180,000 recipes and selected their most popular recipes.
Organized seasonally and by meal type, The Epicurious Cookbook offers everything from 30-minute weeknight dinners to weekend warrior show-stoppers.

Also included are comfort food favorites, small dishes perfect for parties and plenty of repertoire-building mains and sides, plus breakfasts, breads, and desserts.

All new stunning four-color photography shows Epicurious at its most irresistible. Throughout are Epicurious member suggestions for tweaking recipes, ideas for menu planning, smart substitutions, and homespun recipes from dozens of Epicurious members newly tested for this cookbook.

Recipes include: Easy comfort foods: Chicken and Fall Vegetable Pot Pie, Beef Short Ribs Tagine, Spicy Mac and Cheese with Pancetta, Deviled Fried Chicken, Chili con Carne with Chili Cheddar Shortcakes

Fast Weeknight Dinners: Quick Paella, Wild Rice with Pecans, Raisin, and Orange Essence, Brussels Sprouts Hash with Caramelized Shallots, Rosemary Lamb Chops with Swiss Chard and Balsamic Syrup, Pan-Fried Spicy Orange Tilapia

Please-Everyone Vegetarian and Vegan Dishes: Chilled Soba with Tofu and Sugar Snap Peas, Spiced Lentil Tacos with Chipotle Sour Cream, Roasted Eggplant Salad

Special occasion show-stoppers: Tom Colicchio’s Herb-Butter Turkey, Beef Brisket with Merlot and Prunes, Wine-Braised Duck Legs

American Classics Updated—Burgers, Pizzas, Salads, Pastas, and Grilled Cheese: Coffee-Rubbed Cheeseburger with Texas Barbeque Sauce; Hearty Asparagus, Fingerling Potato, and Goat Cheese Pizza; Lobster Pasta in a Roasted Corn Sweet Bacon Cream; Grilled Cheese with Onion Jam, Taleggio, and Escarole

Breakfast and Brunch Stars: Extreme Granola with Dried Fruit, Kitchen Sink Frittata, Crème Brulee French Toast, and Ultimate Sticky Buns

Decadent Desserts: Double Layer Chocolate Cake, Apple Tart with Caramel Sauce, Frozen Lemon Ginger Snap Pie, Peanut Butter and Fudge Brownies with Salted Peanuts

Destined to be that classic you’ll turn to daily, The Epicurious Cookbook enhances the very best online content in a gorgeous cookbook.


Product Details

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #284871 in Books
  • Published on: 2012-10-30
  • Released on: 2012-10-30
  • Original language:      English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: .0″ h x  .0″ w x  .0″ l,   .81 pounds 
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 400 pages

Editorial Reviews

About the Author:

TANYA STEEL is the Editor-in-Chief of EPICURIOUS.COM. Winner of a James Beard award for restaurant reviewing, and a member of the Digital Hall of Fame, Steel was previously an editor at Bon Appetit, Diversion, Food & Wine, and Mademoiselle. She is the co-author of the award-winning Real Food for Healthy Kids.
Launched in 1995, EPICURIOUS is the most award-winning food site on the web, which has received 64 awards, including two James Beards, an Emmy, eighteen Webbys, and three from the American Society of Magazine Editors.

So, how cool is this?  To be in a real cookbook?  FUN!!!! YAY!!!!!  I love Epicurious.com and am so thrilled to be part of a cookbook they produce.  As a home cook this makes me feel really good.

billboard mania: east goshen’s pre-emptive strike

Everyone knows how I feel about billboards.  I hate them.  And East Goshen must not have them too high on the lists of likes based on a notice I received today.

I see it as a *problem* that East Goshen doesn’t broadcast or seem to record their meetings in any fashion.  They are nice people who do a great job, but not everyone wants to sit through every meeting and I wish they would at least live stream the meetings, but anyway.  The point is, however,  kudos to them for taking care of business hopefully before the billboard king comes calling.  East Goshen doesn’t need the expense of dealing with the 12-year-old billboard tycoon and his little lawyer. Just ask the people of Preserve Our PA Towns  and  Scenic Philadelphia (SCRUB) (find Preserve our PA Towns on Facebook and Scenic Philadelphia on Facebook too.) Or people in Phoenixville and many, many other townships and boroughs and municipalities.

Got this notice from East Goshen Township:

Purpose of this letter is to inform you that the Board of Supervisors will conduct a hearing amending the Township Zoning Ordinance for Billboards (Off Premises Signs) on Sept 4, 2012 at 7 pm.
Read 1000 foot letter Zoning Change Billboards
Read Proposed Ordinance

Now I ran this past a couple of lawyers, and one got back to me and said:

…the proposed regulations are reasonable. The size of the signs are less than the industry standard (670 sq. ft.) and the conditional use requirement provides further scrutiny. Bottom. Line—if you don’t provide for off-premise signs somehow, somewhere, a court will do it for you.

tragedy on the tracks

As a photographer I have actually photographed the aftemath of an accident involving trains and humans. It was at Bryn Mawr station on a summer evening in June 2010. I even wrote about it for Main Line Media News as an op-ed piece.

That night, a reporter I knew phoned to say there was a fatality on the tracks. I met the reporter at the scene after they were certain the victim had been removed. I didn’t want to see that because I have seen similar scenes in the past. I used to commute to New York City years ago, and especially between Thanksgiving and Christmas there were always incidents on the tracks, as there is literally a suicide by train season. One time in particular, NJ Transit and Amtrak weren’t fast enough to clean up an accident scene. That image is forever in my mind.

After this in my editorial I wrote In addition, in spite of horrible tragedies like this, so many people go up onto or get too close to live train tracks every single day. Every summer as soon as school lets out, part of the sounds of summer nights are voices on the train tracks — usually kids. Even during the school year it happens. You see it every day when people don’t want to take the time to take the stairs at stations to get to the other side — they just cross right in the middle.

On that Friday evening in 2010 I also thought of the family who would receive this tragically horrible news, as well as a local family who did receive news like this in May 2007. That was when young Brian Breskman was electrocuted by the third rail of SEPTA’s Route 100 trolley line in Bryn Mawr. Since Brian’s death, his dad, Ben Breskman, has tried to raise awareness for the need of increased safety measures around train and trolley tracks.

While I lived along the Main Line I  asked about increasing fencing at train stations and the dangerously open in-between stretches of tracks. Every time I asked I was told it’s never going to happen; it costs too much money.

Now that I am out here, I still wonder about safety and fencing along the tracks – for passenger rail and freight.  It is not like I live with a major rail line cleaving my neighborhood in two any longer, but you still wonder.  After all when you spend the better part of 15 years shooing teenage boys from the Haverford School off the tracks during the school year, and kids in general during the summer as well as some stupid adults I saw who used the tracks as a walking path, you will always wonder every time you see a train pass.

Yesterday there was a crazy tragic accident outside Ellicott City Maryland.  I started to watch it because of the fact it was a train derailment, and also I used to have cousins who lived in Ellicott City in this crazy awesome Victorian house.

What I learned this morning is one of the two teenage girls who were messing around near the tracks on a rail bridge and killed when the CSX coal train derailed was  a granddaughter of one of my mother’s friends.  Two friends of mine told me this morning.  Not that it matters in the end, it is just mind-boggling and tragically sad to think of two young lives snuffed out like this.

These weren’t crazy kids – they were two young women who were high school pals who made a dumb and deadly choice on a summer evening before going back to college.

See that is the thing, even good kids can do dumb things.  And no you can’t wrap them in cotton wool until they reach an age certain (and what age would that be anyway?), but I have to ask again, are the railroads in this country doing their best to keep people safe?

And to *think* there was talk a couple short years ago of a walking trail alongside freight train lines in Gladwyne.

Two young girls made a dumb choice.  And now they are dead.  I think part of this conversation should be as they investigate this derailment is why ordinary people can still access train tracks and railroad bridges so easily?

I am thinking that this should be a national issue.  You can’t fence every square inch of train tracks, no, but apparently something needs to be done as people keep getting smushed by trains. And there needs to be more attention to rail safety in general.  How do we know that CSX say had the right weight to haul for those tracks?  Were the tracks in perfect condition? Will the railroad try to blame these kids for the derailment and deflect accountability?

I am sorry  but you *can’t* just fluff the issue off by saying people should have more sense.  Of course people should have more sense but sometimes human beings do dumb things. And I am sorry but human beings doing dumb things are only part of the equation in this tragedy.

Ellicott City Train Derailment Victims Tweeted From Tracks Before Death ; Two young women, 19, died in an Ellicott City train derailment.

By Brandie Jefferson, Elizabeth Janney, and Lisa Rossi August 21, 2012

In the hour before officials said parts of a CSX train crashed and overturned early Tuesday in downtown Ellicott City, two young women who died in the incident were tweeting about sitting on the train tracks.

Elizabeth Conway Nass and Rose Mayr, both 19, of Ellicott City, died in the incident, which occurred at 12:02 a.m. Tuesday, train officials said.

“Levitating,” wrote a Twitter user named Rose Mayr at 10:51 p.m. under the name @r0se_petals, accompanied by a picture of two pairs of women’s feet dangling over the street in Ellicott City.

A Twitter user named Elizabeth Nass (@LizNassty) tweeted at 10:40 p.m. that she was “drinking on top of the Ellicott City sign,” which sits under the train tracks that cross Main Street, with @r0se_petals.

Safety officials have not yet confirmed the tweets came from the victims.

The train derailment occurred at 12:02 a.m. Tuesday, according to officials.

By ALEX DOMINGUEZ, Associated Press

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (AP) — They were seemingly ordinary tweets from two friends hanging out on a railroad bridge in their hometown, enjoying one last summer night together before heading back to college.

“Drinking on top of the Ellicott City sign,” read one. “Looking down on old ec,” read another. Accompanying photos showed their view from the bridge and their bare feet, one with painted blue toenails, dangling over the edge. “Levitating,” read another tweet.

Minutes after the messages were shared on the social media site Twitter, a Baltimore-bound CSX freight train loaded with coal barreled down the tracks and derailed, killing the 19-year-old women and toppling railcars and coal onto the streets below of this historic Maryland community.

Investigators were still trying to figure out what caused the derailment. Witnesses heard squealing brakes and a thunderous crash around midnight Monday.

It wasn’t clear whether the women’s presence on the tracks had anything to do with the derailment. They were sitting on the edge of the bridge over Ellicott City’s main street as the train passed a few feet behind them, Howard County police said, and their bodies were found buried under coal. Authorities said they needed to do autopsies before their cause of death could be determined.

The victims were identified as Elizabeth Conway Nass, a student at James Madison University in central Virginia and Rose Louese Mayr, a nursing student at the University of Delaware.

The railroad is easily accessible from the picturesque downtown of Ellicott City, about 15 miles west of Baltimore, and generations of young people have played and partied along the tracks. The railroad was completed in 1830 and crosses over Main Street in the city’s historic district, following the route of the nation’s first commercial railroad, according to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum.

“We grew up running on those tracks,” said Ellicott City native Bridgette Hammond, 25. “It’s actually really beautiful up there.”

Nass and Mayr were on the dance team at Mt. Hebron High School in Ellicott City, from which they graduated, and they planned to finish college in 2014, according to friends and their Facebook pages….

A person who answered the telephone at Nass’ home declined to comment, as did a family member who answered at a number listed for the Mayr family.

The pictures and tweets from Mayr were no longer publicly available Tuesday afternoon, but friends confirmed they were hers and police said they were aware of the posts and looking into them.

Jill Farrell, who lives across the street from the tracks, said she heard what sounded liked squealing brakes and then a crash, followed by silence.

Benjamin Noppenberger was getting ready for bed when he and his wife heard what sounded like gunshots. They waited about 10 minutes before going outside.

“We could see all the cars that fell over. I just saw catastrophe,” he said.

Jim Southworth, investigator in charge for the NTSB, declined to speculate on a possible cause. He said the brakes were applied automatically when an air line used to pressurize the braking system was disconnected. He did not say what role, if any, the brakes may have played in the derailment…

The derailment also damaged some of Verizon’s equipment, disrupting land-line telecommunications services to clients.

The problems reached all the way to the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where pretrial hearings were delayed for a day for five men charged with orchestrating and aiding the Sept. 11 attacks because files on government servers were temporarily unavailable.

Gresko reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Matthew Barakat in Ellicott City, David Dishneau in Hagerstown, Md., and Karen Mahabir in Washington contributed to this report.

Two Young Women Dead in Ellicott City Train Derailment; Officials say more than 20 cars derailed.

ByBrandie Jefferson August 21, 2012

Police: Teens Who Died in Trail Derailment Were Buried Under Coal;Howard County police are revealing more details in a fatal Ellicott City train derailment.   ByLisa Rossi  August 21, 2012

just tacky

I used to live in Lower Merion Township.

Growing up, it was a marvelous place.  Nice people, clean streets, pretty houses. It was safe.  Kids could even ride their bikes on their neighborhood streets and play kick the can and other games with neighborhood kids on warm summer nights.

“Back in the day” as they say, there was still big money living there, only it wasn’t so tackily or arrogantly displayed.  I mean, you knew there were people with lots and lots of money, only it was considered somewhat déclassé to discuss it and to be so showy.

Well, anyway,  that all  has long since flown out  the window as a policy of polite behavior in polite society, and it is part of the reason why a lot of people are leaving the Main Line.  Yes there are rubes to still buy into the myth, but there are a lot of people leaving and considering getting out of dodge.

Yesterday I saw something that literally left me slack-jawed.   A press release out of my former township basically bally hooing that they have more money within their boundaries than anyone else.

In an economy where people are struggling to make ends meet, losing their homes, losing their jobs, I find such an announcement somewhat staggering.  Also interesting to note is as much as Lower Merion would like to ignore it, they have a fair amount of Sheriff Sale action in the Magic Kingdom too, and not just in the low rent district.

But in Lower Merion they have long denied this economy was a problem.  Just look at the crazy salary and benefit package they ended up giving the township manager, Douglas Cleland.  Look at the taxes all the way around. Everything is relative, and while they are patting themselves on the back, the simple fact remains that a heck of a lot of residents feel like they work to support the township.

And for this great amount of wealth they support and applaud in Lower Merion, one would think they could do the basics like keep the roads in good repair.  But they don’t.  And when you go into the business districts, well there seems to be a lot more trash around than there used to be and sometimes you can smell  certain smells on the street like you do in more urban areas. And there is crime they don’t want to talk about and a school district always teetering on disaster.  (LMSD seems to be having contract issues too, and they just made another large land purchase too.)

There are a lot of lovely places where people can choose to make their homes along the Main Line and into Chester County.  And they don’t have municipalities that feel the constant need to point out the top 2%.  And of course there is the thought process that  maybe Lower Merion should think about these residents with vast resources who don’t feel like being pointed out.

Lower Merion, you aren’t the Hamptons.  Here’s the press release:

Lower Merion Near the Top of CNN Money’s Top-Earning Communities in America

Township ranked fifth for median family income and home price  Posted Date: 8/21/2012 5:05 PM

CNN Money, an online combination of CNN, Fortune Magazine and Money Magazine, has ranked Lower Merion Township near the top of its recently published “Top-earning Towns” list – part of its ongoing “Best Places to Live” series.

Next to a photo of a student entering Pembroke Hall on the campus of Bryn Mawr College, CNN Money puts Lower Merion’s median family income at $153,309, and the Township’s median home price at $553,498.

“Part of Pennsylvania’s wealthy Main Line corridor that popped up along the rail line of the same name, Lower Merion got its start when railroad executives built massive summer homes here,” the online newsmagazine wrote. “Today, it’s an elite suburb of Philadelphia and dotted with colleges, including women’s liberal arts school Bryn Mawr, which is also one of the township’s largest employers.”

Overall, Lower Merion is ranked 5th among the 25 national locations listed.

“We have a terrific community here in Lower Merion, and a wonderful quality of life,” said Lower Merion Township Manager Doug Cleland. “Our residents already know that, of course, but it is nice to see the national recognition.”….

“Residents bring lawn chairs and blankets to twilight concerts at the Bryn Mawr Gazebo all summer long and enjoy their pick of sledding hills in the winter months,” CNN Money wrote about the Township. “The area’s 682 acres of parkland and top-rated schools in the state form a well-rounded nest for well-heeled Pennsylvanians.”

Lower Merion is the only Pennsylvania community ranked among the top 25. Ranking 2nd, 3rd and 4th, respectively, are the towns of Greenwich, Conn., Palo Alto, Calif. and Newport Beach, Calif.

There are lots of places with outdoor concerts in the summer around the area, not just next to a very contentious library re-build at Ludington Library in Bryn Mawr inhaling car and truck fumes from Lancaster Avenue.  And you could of course consider they might be speaking of sledding on the roads since Lower Merion is not always so speedy with the snow plow.

Anyway, did not mean to go off on a tangent outside of Chester County, but I just found this whole thing distasteful.  And predictable.  Personally, I prefer communities that don’t have to brag about things like how much money residents have.  I prefer communities that have local governments that just do a decent job.

Can’t say that about Lower Merion.  After all, how many years later, and there is still no new train station in Ardmore or a real “redevelopment” there is there?  Wouldn’t it be best for all concerned if Congressman Jim Gerlach who gave Lower Merion $6 million for a transit center just took the money back?  Over half has been spent, there is no station and yet little boroughs like Malvern can complete a train station makeover complete with pedestrian tunnel and Paoli can get a shovel in the ground?

Face it when it comes to dollars and cents, some local governments may see dollar signs but have no sense.

the best kind of summer afternoon

The best kind of summer afternoon involves sunny skies, low humidity, me and my camera.  Today was one of those days and I loved every minute of it!

My friend Pattye Benson asked for my help with the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust’s 8th Annual Historic House Tour that is slated for September 22nd.

So off I went to photograph to my heart’s content.  What a glorious afternoon and what a fun tour this will be!

Interested in the tour?

8th ANNUAL HISTORIC HOUSE TOUR
9/22/2012
12 Noon – 5 PM
Ticket Price $35
Prepaid Tickets only, no sales at the door

See Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust Website for more details and how/where to buy tickets!

This was much more fun than being packed in like sardines over at the Helicopter Museum to be sandwiched between foaming at the mouth tea partiers and equally foaming at the mouth Obama lovers to listen to V.P. candidate Paul Ryan blather.

Yeah vote in November, but before you have to think about that, buy tickets to the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust’s 8th annual Historic House Tour.  It is all for a great cause and historic preservation!

Keep it local, folks.  Hearth and home and history will be here long after politicians have come and gone.

 

 

 

 

 

do you love ludwigs corner horse show?

….Well if you do, they need volunteers. And after the year they have had at the hands of helpful West Vincent government types, they deserve the help!

It will be more fun than the mad cattle car crush to go see VP Candidate Paul Ryan tomorrow at the Helicopter Museum (and if you are going and have never been to one of these things they are hot and crowded.  Be prepared to stand for HOURS and for the candidate to be LATE.  This is a large group appearance so it will be hell to be in that crowd and to live anywhere near the museum.)

So anyway….If you love horses and love Ludwigs Corner, please consider volunteering Labor Day Weekend.

Please complete the Volunteer Form and e-mail it to mhflick@comcast.net.

Volunteer Flyer

Questions: Please contact MH Flick. 610-914-5270

Mailing address: Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show Attn: MH Flick PO Box 754 Uwchland, PA 19480

Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/LudwigsCornerHorseShowVolunteers

And from Chickenman:

This year the show benefits the following:

http://www.ludwigshorseshow.org/Home/Beneficiary/tabid/61/Default.aspx

Ludwig’s Corner Fire Company
Talk about supporting the public! When your house is on fire, these are the ones that come to save your family and property. Attending the
Horse Show benefits…YOU!

Horsepower of Life

“Enriching the lives of families living
with cancer”  What more needs to said?  A local non-profit that works with
families that have that huge hurdle to overcome.

Ludwigs Corner Horse
Show  Website: http://www.ludwigshorseshow.org/

gnocchi for dinner

Well I already told you how to make my Bolognese made with ground turkey, right?  Lucky you all, I will give you the quick and dirty on easy as pie homemade gnocchi. After all, they are  just  Italian dumplings, kids.

But before we get to the gnocchi of it all, I messed with my sauce today.  Did not have mushrooms, so I omitted those.  Diced up a handful (four) sun-dried tomatoes though to add another layer.

I make gnocchi when I have leftover mashed potatoes.  I learned how to make potato and ricotta gnocchi from my great aunts by feel, so the ingredients are an approximation, maybe might need tweaking (or not.)

2 cups flour (all-purpose)

1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes (they were plain mashed.  You can use sweet potatoes, and pumpkin as well as ricotta to make gnocchi but that is another conversation entirely.)

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I like the Parmesan-Romano blend)

Italian seasoning and garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

1 -3 tablespoons olive oil

Mash the flour, grated cheese and potatoes together.  Add the egg, olive oil,  and Italian seasoning and a little salt and pepper.

Do not overmix, but gather your dough into a ball, break off pieces you roll into uniform dough tootsie rolls with your hands (you know so they are round?)

Take a small sharp knife and on a board covered in parchment slice out even little bits of dough.

Lay out on lightly floured board for a couple of hours to dry a bit. I refrigerate mine right on the baking sheet.

Boil water with salt and oil, cook your gnocchi until they all float to surface (5 minutes or so.)

Scoop out gently with strainer.

Add sauce.

Eat yourself into a pasta coma.