Glowing, radiant health is the new black. Our Green Table is serving it up, for the whole body! Healthy recipes and tips, the latest on eco-friendly food and "skin food"products and a head's up on ingredient safety are all woven into family-centered stories and discoveries. Bring informed, aware and empowered looks good on everyone!

Abrazos! xox Penny

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Puppy Love

I just got home from New York on Tuesday night and was really looking forward to a little puppy love from all my dogs but especially from my Chihuahua Stu. My husband said he hadn't been doing too great, his leg was hurt again and there was a funny looking mole growing really quickly on his back. Stu was also up at 5 a.m. Wednesday morning with an upset stomach and I had to take him out twice before the sun came up. Never one to hesitate calling/going to the vet, I took him in immediately yesterday afternoon.

I have known my vet, "Dr. Laura", for about 20 years and our babies are among the original patients of the animal hospital. She is an excellent doctor and has handled both my babies and me with love and compassion. In all those years and with many a pet's problems, I have never seen her so concerned or had her say to me, "We need to say a prayer for Stuart Little."

Stubug has something that I cannot remember the name of due to shell shock, but I will get it for you so you can check your loved ones.* Every second counts in its removal and we are cuddling now as I wait to take him in for immediate surgery. If the tumor is malignant and high grade, this is potentially life-threatening. Maybe, we will be lucky and it will be benign. At this point, it is hard to tell, but three doctors looked at him yesterday and all were in agreement: Get this off now. His surgery is this morning and the results of his tumor will not come back until next week.

I took a quick picture of it...not very good and as you can tell by his ears, Stubug is not in the mood for pictures. It looks like a pencil eraser with little hairs on it and is about the same size.

I am heartsick but hopeful.

Go hug and kiss your pups and kitties and please have them send loving thoughts our way.  We'll be here for you any time you need us, too.

*What Stuart had removed is a mast cell tumor. It is noon now and he is out of surgery and did OK with the anesthesia. I hope I can pick him up late this afternoon so we don't miss cuddling tonight, although I bet he is sore. TLC for everyone. xoxoxo

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wellness Addiction

Wednesday night I took Mom to a workshop by Dr. Neal Barnard. It was fabulous! When I get home and have more than 30 minutes of Internet (Yes, I may be in Veggie Heaven but I am in Internet ****), I will tell you all about it and offer those of you who are ready a chance to join me in a "wellness challenge".

Anyway, one of the topics he discussed was food addictions. You may remember my confession upon becoming vegetarian that I was addicted to the fat in meat. I thought after I had cleansed my palate with all the veggies, I was home free. Things went along pretty well until I made the recipe in today's post. Oh my goodness, I have made it at least 4 times during the two weeks I have been here. With sun-ripened tomatoes, fresh from the field corn and basil as fragrant as a bouquet, it is positively scrumptious and beautiful. When you visit your farmers' markets this weekend, get some juicy, late season goodies and make this. You will be hooked!!! But, on a "good thing", and so I say, this addiction is OK!

This recipe and pictures are from The New York Times a couple of weeks ago.

Creamed Corn with Gorgonzola, Tomatoes and Pine Nuts

2 ears corn, shucked
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese or Gorgonzola
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 large tomatoes, thickly sliced (different colored heirloom are gorgeous here)
Fresh basil, chopped for garnish

Scrape kernels off cob. Set a saucepan over medium heat, add kernels and cream, and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover, and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in blue cheese and pepper; continue cooking uncovered, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. In a small pan over medium heat, toast pine nuts until fragrant and golden, 2 to 4 minutes. Watch carefully...they will burn in the blink of an eye!

Divide tomato slices among plates and top with corn. Top with toasted pine nuts; garnish with fresh basil. Serve 4 as an appetizer or side dish.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Rum Line

I cannot leave here without a mention of this. Even though it is the first day of fall, FINALLY, some warm Indian Summer days are ahead. Many of us still might want to sip on a nice, tall cool one as summer sets sail.

Shelter Island is a haven for a lot of things and its seclusive nature proved very helpful for a few early settlers. The first Europeans to settle here came in the mid-1600's and were wealthy sugar merchants from Barbados seeking the stands of white oak to use for their barrels. With oaks everywhere, the setting couldn't be more ideal. Soon, SI became part of the infamous rum line that built New England. I am sure a few other spirited liquid assets (remember the hundreds of potato with your potato chowder, anyone?) ran along with the rum and that a fair amount of tasting went on here, too. My favorite beach, Bootleggers Alley, was a big drop point...nice and isolated.

And so, I thought this would be an appropriate beverage to share today. Brace yourself. There is no tea in Long Island Iced Tea. This is fully-loaded, very spirited and rum rich. As I leave this part of the world, here is a tip of the glass to a famous beverage. Happy Thursday! Happy Fall!

Long Island Iced Tea

2 cups ice cubes
1 ounce vodka
1 ounce gin
1 ounce white rum
1 ounce white tequila
1/2 ounce Triple Sec
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup cola, or to taste (whoa...hard to believe!)
2 lemon wedges

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour the vodka, gin, rum, tequila, Triple Sec, and lemon juice into the shaker. Cover and shake vigorously to combine and chill. Pour the mixture, ice and all, into 2 glasses or beer mugs and top off with the cola. Garnish with lemon wedges. Serves 2.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Spot of My Own

Everyone needs a spot to call "mine"...a refuge. A place to regroup and reflect. Shelter Island has always lived up to its name...a bucolic haven for anyone who steps ashore. While a third of Shelter Island may be seniors, another third is a wildlife refuge. The other third...summer people. 'Nuf said about them.

To relieve stress and clear my head, I have two different walks. One is along a beach at the end of Bootleggers Alley shown above. The other is along a dirt road called The Serpentine. It meanders along the bluff that connects my parent's home to the beach where I hung out as a teen. The view is breath-taking.

These are my "go-to" spots where I can laugh, cry, talk to myself or most often, just walk and absorb the incredible beauty here. I love the sea and know that I have said that so often, but I do.

One of the difficult things about traveling, aside from living out of a suitcase and never having enough time with all those I love here, especially my kiddos, is not having a "spot" here at SI. My parents' home is still theirs. I cook in my mom's kitchen, sit in my dad's chair, have (tried) to turn his bedroom into a guest room per my mom's instructions and although I am very comfortable there, I am aware that it is not my home. Due to the large amount of stress I handle and diffuse here, I need a spot that I can lean on when my walks are over...just to catch me when I start to sink.

Enter Camp Quinipet...again. It is amazing what can happen in an hour!! Anyway, last week at the Senior Potluck, I saw this scruffy little table tucked, forgotten, into a corner. It sung to me. Yesterday I called the camp director and asked him about it. Interestingly, he was looking for a new "home" for it. It was not quite camp appropriate. Today I loaded up my little waif into the car. I think we are going to be really good for each other! All we both need is a little sea air. Take a look...

Where is your "spot"? Log off now and go claim it! xoxoxo

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Senior Moments

I want to give a big shout out to the "seniors" who cooked for the one of the potlucks last week. I was blown away by the food. And my plate was an embarrassment of riches. Loaded with a taste of every dish! I am willpower-less in a buffet-line.

I hope that when I am 80-ish, I am still passionate about fellowship, engaged in the kitchen and cooking up a storm. Those women and men are some great examples to follow. Many of the dishes were harvest perfect, hence the 5 or 6 beet dishes. The beets here are sweet like candy and showed up in many dishes! Mom and I also brought a beet dish, although ours was made from yellow beets. Variety is the spice of life, right? Here is a big The Red White and Food shout-out to seniors who still love to cook and share their food!

Here is Mom's recipe:

Golden Beet Egg Salad

Take one bunch of golden beets and cook until tender. Remove skins and cube. Toss with 2-3 hard boiled eggs, 1 cup of sliced green onions, sea salt and pepper. Season to taste with chopped fresh herbs like tarragon or basil. Bind salad with a generous amount of real mayonnaise and chill until serving. Serves 6.

We made extra and it was wonderful stuffed in an heirloom tomato...delicious and kind of sweet and spicy.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Great American Potluck

Such a wonderful tradition...the potluck. We were so lucky to go to two of those last week. While I am here on Shelter Island, I am getting my mom the car we go. I have a portable walker for her that is pretty light (13 pounds) and I can whip that baby out anywhere so she has access to fun. That is the tough part. On my end, I can't bear to think of her sitting alone day after day. On her end, I think she mentally limits her access a lot more than it is physically necessary. She is self-conscious about her inability to walk well and her dependency on her "wheelie".  I am trying to show her what a "natural" it can be and how many places are set up and ready for her and ones that she can get to without becoming over-tired. That is why I was so taken by Camp Quinipet. Campers of every capability are welcome there and so are visitors. I was very moved by their facility, before I even saw the view! Their gorgeous ramp is to the left.

This was the site of one potluck. A trip for any meal's provisions is a snap...usually, just a stop at a roadside stand yields a bounty of deliciousness. Here is a look at my "shopping" trip and take note of the sign...many of the markets are on the "honors" system. Incredible in every way.

For one potluck, I made the Summer Tortellini Soup from a couple of weeks ago. For this potluck, I made a broccoli and grape salad...kind of playing off the trip to the vineyard yesterday. This salad is really good and a nice one for fall. I will share another salad I took tomorrow.

Harvest Broccoli Salad

6 cups fresh broccoli florets
6 green onions, sliced
1 cup diced celery
1 cup green grapes
1 cup seedless red grapes
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sugar. honey or agave nectar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted

In a large bowl, combine broccoli, onions, celery and grapes. In another bowl, mix mayo, sugar and vinegar. Pour over veggies and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Stir in almonds just before serving. Serves 8.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Words to weekend by...

What would a trip to New York be without a mention of cupcakes? I mean...not only are they perfect morsels to munch on but look at the advice they dish out...This is from Butta' fave cupcake shop in New York. Absolutely melt in your mouth goodness.

Here is what I wish for all of you this weekend...the wisdom of that sign and this view...

This is the view from the visitor's center at Camp Quinipet. They own a magnificient piece of property that juts out into the Little Peconic Bay. It is a kids' summer camp (L-U-C-K-Y) and is also the site for some senior activities that I am trying to tap my mom into. There are a surprising number of seniors here, about 30% of the residents and what a spot to gather. Here are some shots of a fabulous tree, inside camp crafts and also some of the art there from a favorite local artist.

The event we went to was a potluck and the food was something else. I'll share what we took next week. For now, I just gotta figure out how to keep my mom going to these!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

No one asked me, but....while in "Rome"

If I am ever asked to design the ultimate meal plan, it will include red wine and dark chocolate...not as adds in but as full-fledged line items...inked in for keeps. Both are key components to well-being in so many ways.

It may come as a surprise to some of you that not only am I in Veggie Heaven, I am also Wine Country. Long Island's North Fork rivals California's Napa Valley for vineyards and amazing wines. When I was a kid driving out here with my folks, all the fields were home to either potato or duck farms. Below are the only ducks I saw...

About 30 years ago, a couple got the bright idea that grapes would be a wonderful crop for this sandy soil, lovely sea air and as-much-sunshine-as-California part of the world. They were right and from that one simple thought and single vineyard, dozens of other vineyards now dot the landscape. Long Island wine is fabulous, award-winning and there is a perfect pairing for every other local food that this rich area yields, from the jewels of the field to the jewels of the sea.

Ok, I know...I know. Most of you cannot taste this luscious crop because of restrictive liquor laws. may come to the North Fork on a wine trip after this right? I'll plan it...and throw in some dark chocolate, too. California? last year. 

Here is how the grapes looked yesterday...white on one side of the street, red on the other. It is right before harvest and they look plump and full. Hope it's a good year. From the vine, it looks like a wonderful crop.

Happy Thursday everyone...go pour yourself a new food group! Enjoy your evening. xoxox

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Vintage riches

I love prowling vintage shops and looking at all the different stories that their goods tell. While on the subject of theater and riches, I thought you would enjoy some pictures from one of my favorite places in New York City and another here on Long Island. The theater-ready purse in the last picture was a whopping $7...for a totally hand-beaded beauty! I'll tell you what...those gals in the 40's really knew how to dress.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Community Theater...Sweet

On Saturday, Mom, my sister-in-law Robin and I went to the community theater. I love theater, especially the type that we go to...kind of like a Forrest Gump box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get. Some are so well performed that you feel like you are witnessing a rising star's debut. Others are so heartfelt, but a little off-key. None the less, all are endearing. A lot of cast members are adult regulars who recast themselves into all kinds of characters. "Mom, isn't that your dentist again?" Others are from the local high schools and once graduated, are missed. There are twin brothers that I watched for 3 years who are now gone. I will be looking for them to make it big.

The theater supports itself in all the normal fundraising ways like events and mail campaigns and also in the very most traditional...the bake sale. This The Red, White and Food shout out is to all those who perform and those who support them with homemade sweetness of every kind imaginable. The star of Saturday night's show was the luscious Nanaimo Bar.

This recipe is actually from someone in Nanaimo, Britsih Columbia...the hometown of this rich and wonderful dessert. Judging from Saturday's sales at the theater, it brought in some riches, too!

Nanaimo Bars

1/2 cup butter
2 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
1/3 cup white sugar (oh well)
1 1/2 tablespoons pasteurized egg
1 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon butter
2 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate

In a saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter or margarine with 2 squares chocolate. Remove from the heat, and stir in white sugar, egg, rolled oats, coconut, chopped nuts, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Press mixture into a greased 9 inch square pan, and chill for 1 hour.

Combine confectioners' sugar with 3 tablespoons softened butter, 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla, and milk. Mix until it has an icing-like consistency, and spread it over the oat mixture in the pan. Chill for 1/2 hour.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter or margarine with remaining 2 squares chocolate. Spread over the top of the bars. Chill for 4 to 5 hours.

Cut into squares using a hot knife; dip knife in hot water, and let it melt through the chocolate. Sell lots and save the crumbs for yourself!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Veggie Heaven

You may have guessed that I am in Veggie Heaven. In my humble opinion, this part of Long Island is the veggie and fruit basket of the world. Yesterday, I took mom for a Sunday drive which included stops at two fabulous roadside markets. The exciting part was that we arrived right as a truck came in from the field...LOADED with heirloom Roma tomatoes. People swarmed the truck and in a flash, about 50 25-pound boxes were sold...a whole truck bed picked clean. It was really fun to watch and be a part of.  Like a veggie "rush". Check out these pictures...

This last picture is the view from the farm itself. The fields butt right up to the salt water marshes and the combination of salt air and rich sandy soil make for incredible growing conditions. Everything in the pictures above, even the late season berries, came in straight from the fields...just picked moments before. Freshest of the fresh!

This morning, as luck would have it, this recipe arrived in my inbox from my pal HJB. He is a fabulous cook and so I am giving this to you right from the horse's mouth. This soup seems well worth the trip, a Monday drive, to find the best of the season's late tomatoes, beautiful peppers and fragrant basil and so delicious sounding that I am not going to wait for the picture. I am just going to go grab a soup pot and dig into this recipe.

HJB's Gumbo

2 quarts fresh tomatoes
8 hot banana peppers, chopped
1 sweet onion, sliced
6 bell peppers, sliced
2 pounds of sliced okra
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
fresh basil and savory

Combine ingredients in a large stock pot and simmer over low heat...all day or as long as you have time for. HJB also uses the same ingredients to make shrimp or Italian hot sausage gumbo. YUM!