Corn season is just starting to hit high gear around Broome County. So what do you do with all those corn cobs you have left after you strip them for those luscious corn salads? Make corn Cob wine!

You really didn’t think I was going to tell you to just throw them away did you?!?!? Silly people…Waste not, want not, and this is actually very tasty! This is a fast, easy recipe that is a perfect introduction into the home wine making process.

Corn Cob Wine

Yield: One Gallon US

1 dozen raw corn cobs
1 gallon boiling water
2 pkgs yeast
9 cups of sugar

Instructions: 1. Place cobs in a container and pour boiling water over them.

2. Cover loosely with cheesecloth or a dish towel and let stand for 24 hours.

3. Remove the cobs and add the yeast and sugar.

4. Cover loosely again and let stand for 9 days.

5. Strain through cheesecloth, cover loosely, and store in a moderately cool place until it is fermented, which may take as long as 10 weeks.

6. Bottle and enjoy!

So what are you going to do with all that delicious sweet corn you stripped to get those cobs? How about a wonderful salad that is crunchy sweet and perfect paired with some gorgeous chops from McRey Farm or Laughing Crow farm or one of the others locally that have sweet, succulant Tamworth (and other heritage breeds) pork.

Corn and Black Bean Salad

1 can cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups fresh corn kernels, steamed briefly and cooled
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
2 green onions, sliced
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Toss together ingredients, except pepper and then generously season to taste. Cover and refrigerate. This salad improves upon sitting, best if made the day before.

Fresh Corn Salad

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh Florida parsley, chopped fine

1 pound salad greens, mixed
1 avocado, large cubes
1/2 cup black beans, cooked and rinsed
1/2 cup corn kernels, cooked
1/2 cup papaya, chopped or sliced

1.    Combine first seven ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate.

2.    Place prepared salad greens, avocado, black beans, corn kernels, and papaya in salad bowl.

3.    Pour dressing over salad and serve.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

So now you are armed with some fun things to try, please drop me a note or leave a comment if you try them!


The Farm at Nanticoke Creek

The Farm at Nanticoke Creek, is a small family farm in the Southern Tier of New York. Heritage breeds of waterfowl, poultry and game birds are raised, using 100% organic farming methods and pasturing.

Colleen has a long time love of food, wine, art and design and hosts the internet’s oldest, and favorite resource for the home wine maker at
Her blog and websites are viewed by thousands each day who enjoy her recipes, photographs and helpful kitchen tips.


Day 12, here we are at last. I was asked if I could make special categories for things like this, and I thought that sounded like a really good idea. If you look under the Categories tab at the left you’ll see that from now on anything that I do in a series will have its own special tab. Neat huh?

So here we are on Day 12, I really wanted something absolutely fabulous for this day, since it is our last. We have already done some pretty great recipes though so maybe some simple, super fast salads would be best to end with. I know we have all had that moment occur when you are invited to that last minute impromptu gathering and you have no idea what to bring. These salads go together in a flash and taste great.

This comes from the Florida Ag. Dept., hence the reference to florida products 🙂

Couscous Zucchini Salad

1 1/2 cups Chicken stock (remove excess fat)
1 cup couscous
1/2 cup Florida red pepper, chopped fine
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 medium Florida zucchini or yellow squash, sliced 1/4 inch thick

1 Florida serrano or jalapeño pepper, chopped fine

2 teaspoons Florida garlic, chopped fine

2 tablespoons fresh Florida basil, chopped fine

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1.Bring chicken broth to a boil. Add couscous, red pepper and cover. Remove from heat and let set for 5 minutes.

2.Heat a medium sauté pan. Add olive oil and cook zucchini until tender. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to cook for a few more minutes.

3.Mound couscous in center of a large platter. Arrange zucchini slices around. Serve warm or cold.

Simple Couscous Salad

6 ounces couscous

1 red bell pepper, medium dice
1 green bell pepper, medium dice
1 bunch green onions, sliced on the bias
6 ounces cucumbers, peeled, seeded, medium dice
4 ounces black olives, pitted
6 ounces red onion, julienne

3 ounces orange juice concentrate
2 ounces water
2 ounces rice vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
3 ounces salad oil
1 ounce honey
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped

1. Steam the couscous until tender; set aside to cool.
2. Combine the couscous with the vegetables.
3. Whisk together all the dressing ingredients.
4. Combine the salad ingredients with the dressing. Chill thoroughly before serving.

Simple Salad with Orzo and Herbs

yes, you must use fresh herbs in this salad 🙂

1 pound orzo
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces fresh or frozen green peas
4 ounces celery, small dice
12 ounces plum tomatoes, medium dice
1/2 ounce fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 ounce fresh chives, chopped
1/2 ounce fresh parsley, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
salt and white pepper, to taste

1. Cook the orzo in lightly salted boiling water until al dente. Drain in a colander and rise well with cold water. Remove the orzo to a large bowl and drizzle 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) of olive oil around the orzo and toss well.
2. Cook the peas in slightly salted boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, drain, and rinse with cold water. Toss the peas, celery, tomatoes and orzo together.
3. Combine the remaining olive oil with the herbs, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and white pepper. Pour over the salad and toss gently to combine. Serve chilled.

I will be on vacation beginning today the 3rd of July through the 7th and will return on the 8th. I hope you all have a wonderful, safe Independence Day.

Our next series of recipes will be Cordials and Liqueurs you can make at home. Some things to gather in preparation for this are:

  • 1 and 2 quart jars with good sealing lids (we will not be canning, but you’ll want good, tight fitting seals
  • 80 and 100 proof vodka various fruits, vegetable and nuts
  • decorative bottles if plan on gifting any of these
  • and a tiny bit of patience…

Many of the recipes I have you will want to double, triple or make even more than that. They are excellent, easy and fun. I promise that with several, if not all of these, you will no longer buy the actual cordial or liqueur. They make wonderful gifts too. Besides cooking, making our own wines, cordials and meads is my favorite past time.

Something I would love is to have is a visit back to these when our 4 week wait is up so everyone who makes them can share their results. So I ask this question…

Would you rather do this series as sort of a weekly or monthly make along type group or just come back and share when you can? I would just really love to know how you all like these 🙂

Let me know via comments or email and I will decide when I get back based on your replies.
Many thanks!

Just a note to let you all know that the site will be going down for some maintenance for a few days. I have the tutorial and the glossary moved here so you’ll have them. But access to the recipes will be down. I apologize for the inconvenience!

Have a great Thursday and do something delicious!

Creatively serving the Greater Binghamton area in the lovely Southern Tier of NY.

Colleen is a private caterer and personal chef, she also hosts the internet’s favorite resource for the home wine maker at Her blog and websites are viewed by thousands each day who enjoy her simply explained, illustrated and photographed recipes and helpful tips.

Rebellious dough

Day 11! We are almost to the end. What shall we do next? Pasta Sauces? How about Cordials? OOOOOHHH! Let’s do Cordials! Will all the summer fruits coming into season that would be fun! Ok…we’ll start 12 days of Cordials starting the 7th of July.  Fun!

Here is our salad for Day 11

Super Easy Grilled Tuna Salad

from the american pasta council – serves 4 as a main course 12 as a side

16 oz fusilli
12 oz fresh tuna steak, cooked rare
3 T olive oil
4 T grey poupon mustard
6 T rice wine vinegar
Grated rind of 3 limes, finely chopped
6 fresh parsley sprigs, chopped
2 T low-sodium soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 t dried dill weed
1 c  chopped red bell pepper
1 c  green beans, julienne, blanched
2/3 c red onion, pared, thinly sliced

cut tuna into small bite-size pieces; reserve. Cook pasta; drain and rinse with cold water. Combine all dressing ingredients; mix well. Toss together pasta, peppers, beans, onions, tuna and dressing. If possible, refrigerate salad overnight to allow flavors to blend. Serve cold.

The arm is bad, I won’t know anything until I get an MRI scheduled for next week. Thanks for all the emails, it’s hard to cook like this!!!!!!!!!!! (Here we go again with the whine and pity! 🙂 )

So what are you making for the 4th?  We’re having the Salad form Day 8 some nice grilled veggies and whatever meat I can get form the farms up the road or the farmer’s market. I’m so crunched for time and my schedule is making farmers market visits crazy. Plus it hurts to drive (whine, whine, whine) and I will most likely lose a digit with my newly developed Barney Rubble knife skills thanks to the pain and numbness (God, I still love that line from Top Chef-remember Casey chopping those onions?!?!?) in my arm, ughhh….whine, whine, whine, whine, whine…

All this whining gives me a great idea! Maybe I’ll sit on my behind all weekend and let the family cook and chauffeur me around and I’ll drink wine! Wine, wine, wine, wine… 🙂

Sounds like a great plan to me!

Have a great Wednesday and do something delicious!

Creatively serving the Greater Binghamton area in the lovely Southern Tier of NY.

Colleen is a private caterer and personal chef, she also hosts the internet’s favorite resource for the home wine maker at Her blog  and websites are viewed by thousands each day who enjoy her simply explained, illustrated and photographed recipes and helpful tips.

So here we are on day 10, are you inspired yet?!?!? Todays recipe is adapted a recipe by the American Pork Council and is scrumptious. You’ll make this often, trust me…it’s that good.

Grilled Pork Salad (serves 6)

3 cups grilled pork loin cut to 1/4 inch thick strips, chilled
3 cups cooked Orzo, chilled
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 cup cubed fresh pineapple, chilled
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 pound spinach leaves or purple kale
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 papaya, sliced
1/3 cup raspberry vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine raspberry vinegar, olive oil, honey and salt in jar. Cover; shake well. Pour dressing over combined pork, rice, walnuts, onion, pineapple and mushrooms. Toss lightly. Arrange spinach on large serving platter or salad bowl; top with pork mixture.

Arrange raspberries and papaya on top.

Ok…this isn’t a pasta salad but it is so good I had to post it. WOW!

Warm Beet and Onion Salad

From: Weber’s Big Book of Grilling

2   medium golden beets with leafy tops, about 2-1/2 inches in diameter each
2   medium red beets with leafy tops, about 2-1/2 inches in diameter each
    Extra-virgin olive oil

For the dressing:

1   medium orange
1/3   cup extra-virgin olive oil
2   tablespoons red wine vinegar
1   tablespoon finely sliced fresh basil
1   teaspoon minced garlic
1/2   teaspoon kosher salt
    Freshly ground black pepper
1   large red onion, cut into four 1/2-inch slices
2   hearts romaine lettuce

Trim the leafy tops from the beets, leaving about 1/2 inch attached; reserve the tops. Leave the root ends intact. Scrub the beets under cold water. Lightly spray or brush with olive oil. Grill over Indirect Medium heat until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 1 to 1-1/2 hours depending on size, turning once halfway through grilling time. Remove from the grill and allow to stand until cool enough to handle. Trim the ends from the beets and discard. Rub off the skins. Cut the beets into 1/4 to 1/2-inch slices and place the red beets and the golden beets in separate bowls (to keep the red beets from dying the golden beets red).

To make the dressing: Wash the dry the orange. With a zester, scrape off 1 tablespoon of zest. Alternatively, use a vegetable peeler to remove enough strips of zest to total 1 tablespoon when finely chopped. Reserve the zest.

Cut the remaining skin and white pith from the orange and, working over a separate medium bowl, separate the orange into sections, letting the sections and any juice fall into the bowl. Add the reserved zest and the remaining dressing ingredients to the orange sections, including pepper to taste. Gently stir to combine.

Lightly brush the onion slices with some of the dressing and grill over Direct Medium heat until tender, 10 to 12 minutes, turning once halfway through grilling time. Remove from the grill and allow to cool slightly, then separate into rings.

Rinse the reserved leafy tops of the beets under cold water. Select the smallest, most tender leaves and place with the romaine lettuce in a large bowl. Add half of the dressing and toss. Divide the lettuce mixture among four salad plates. Top with the beets and the onion rings and drizzle on the remaining dressing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings.

I missed getting in on the Daring Bakers for July, so I have wait (sniff, sniff) until August. I guess that’s ok since I am headed to the doctors today to have them look at this arm again and see what’s up. I have an overwhelming tolerance for pain, seriously, ask anyone who knows me. This arm is KILLING ME. I can’t sleep, the pain makes me nauseous, I can’t even drive my car without agony. I’ll update you after I spend the majority of the day in the Doctor’s office…ughh….

Have a fabulous Tuesday and do something delicious!

Creatively serving the Greater Binghamton area in the lovely Southern Tier of NY.

Colleen is a private caterer and personal chef, she also hosts the internet’s favorite resource for the home wine maker at Her blog is viewed by thousands each day who enjoy her simply explained, illustrated and photographed recipes and helpful tips.

Here we are on Day 8 already, think of the possibilities for the upcoming 4th of July holiday!

I received a couple of emails this past week that I thought were kind of fun, one was from Lynn in Washington state who asked what I had against mayo. I really don’t have anything against mayo Lynn, I just prefer to make a fresh aioli when needed and for the family picnic, where food service rules don’t always apply, it is safer to stick with foods that are going to weather the fluctuating temperatures well without risk. The problem isn’t necessarily the mayo itself, but the combination of ingredients it is mixed with.

I love talk of food safety when it comes to holiday gatherings, don’t you? 🙂

Another email came from roxinrox in NY and she asked about menu planning services. Folks, I’ll be the first to say that I absolutely ADORE planning menus. This makes me a bit of an odd ball but anything that gives me an excuse to sit and read cookbooks for an hour is bliss to me! I do understand that not everyone loves to do that, nor do they love to create the grocery list or do the shopping. Menu planning services can be great for that. There are several online services but frankly, after my brief review of one service just recently I was disappointed…very disappointed. They are kind of a take it or leave sort of service. The first weeks menu left me with three of five entrees a no go. One was kid friendly, and that’s cool, but we don’t really need recipes for chicken finger type meals here. Another was, well, very boring. And the last was a salad, now my husband is a very sweet and awesome guy but he is also a construction worker and if I fed him salad for dinner the left side of the refrigerator would be wiped out by the time I woke up in the morning. Same goes with my daughter, she volunteers with the horses 3 days a week and takes care of all the creatures here too…she needs FUEL! So I would nay to the standardized planning services.

My menu planning service is more client centered. This service is part of my private/personal chef services, but came into play about 5 years ago when I wasn’t able to take a booking for a party and the client was desperate for help. I put together her holiday menu for her and she had great success in pulling it off,even with very little time on her hands to do so. I have an in-depth questionnaire that helps find your families likes and dislikes, allows for special dietary needs and is tailored toward your lifestyle. Each week the client is given recipes for 6 dinners, one of which is “leftover friendly” for the seventh or shopping day, and include a detailed shopping list. I guarantee that you will not have a repeat in the menus for at least 4 months (unless you request it of course). This is great solution for the time starved who still enjoy cooking, and if you commit to 4 weeks of menus your fifth week is free. My service is priced a bit higher than some of the online services, but the personal level of service and individual attention to detail make it worth so much more.

Back to our 8th day of Mayo Free Pasta Salad!

Orzo with Spinach and Peas

(serves 8 generously, 10-12 as a side)

This was inspired by an Ina Garten recipe and is one of my favorites.

For the salad:

1 cup cooked orzo

1/2 lb baby spinach leaves
2 – 10 oz bags of frozen peas defrosted
1/2 c freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
1/4 c toasted pignoli (pine nuts)
For the Pesto

2 c fresh basil leaves (be sure to use just the leaves)
I use a combination of genovese and lemon Basil for this recipe
3 small cloves of garlic
1/2 c freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
1/4 c freshly grated romano cheese
1/4 c freshly grated asiago cheese
1/2 c toasted pignoli (pine nuts)
(toast them by lightly browning them in a small pan over medium heat, the remove from the heat and reserve for use)
1-1/2 c extra virgin olive oil

Cook 1/2 cup of dried orzo to al dente, drain and rinse in cool water and reserve.

Make the pesto first by pulsing the basil, garlic, and pignoli together in a food processor or blender until you reach a fine mince. With the food processor running. add the oil in a stream until the pesto becomes smooth and silky. It will be a bit thin and that’s ok 🙂 Add your cheeses to a bowl and then pour the pesto mixture over the cheese and blend to combine well. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Wash and spin your spinach leaves and place in a large bowl with the peas and 1 cup cooked, cooled orzo and pour the pesto, pignoli and parm over the top and stir gently to combine.

I’m making this today at some point so look for photos if my arm can handle it!

It’s bread baking day….yummm….bread

Have a fabulous Sunday and do something delicious!

Creatively serving the Greater Binghamton area in the lovely Southern Tier of NY.

Colleen is a private caterer and personal chef, she also hosts the internet’s favorite resource for the home wine maker at Her blog and websites are viewed by thousands each day who enjoy her simply explained, illustrated and photographed recipes and helpful tips.

Here we are on day 7 already, can you believe it? 7 days of Mayo free splendor!

This one I imported into my old ProChef software on my laptop. I *think* it comes from one of the coffee table book cookbooks I have laying around or from a class I took, I am wagering on a class. Some of these recipes are so old that I just never thought to write down where they came from, I certainly never thought I would find myself on year two of blogging about food and life in general. Doing a series of 12 days of pasta salad would never have entered my mind 10 or 20 years ago…even 5 years ago for that matter. Now it seems so normal, so every day. My how things change.

Speaking of change, it’s odd how my tastes in cookbooks has changed too …I used to despise those huge cookbooks and would pour through them first thing first and upload any good recipes. Then the book would be banished to my upstairs cookbook stacks (I know…it’s a problem…too many cookbooks!) where it could be laid flat since they take up so much room. An odd thing happened to me recently though, I find that I really LIKE those huge books. Maybe it’s because I am getting old and going ridiculously blind. Big pictures and text appeal to me 🙂

Back to topic, sorry for the ramble –

Day 7 is an old standby for me for parties. It feeds 50 so it’s perfect for large gatherings and it is light tasting, fast, easy and delicious. The ingredients for this salad are listed by weight. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, I cannot recommend one more. It will change the way you cook and you will become more adapt at scaling and understanding ratios and yields.

4 pounds cheese-stuffed frozen spinach tortellini (AP) (6 lb cooked)

2 1/4 quarts French Dressing
(assemble this first)

2 ounces salt (3 tbsp)
2 tablespoons dry mustard
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 quart cider vinegar
4 teaspoons onion juice
2 quarts salad oil

1. Add dry ingredients to food processor bowl
2. Add vinegar and onion juice to dry ingredients. Add salad oil slowly. Blend on high speed until thick and blended.
3. This is a temporary emulsion that separates rapidly. Beat well or pour into a jar and shake vigorously just before serving.

5 pounds shrimp (31-35 count), cooked
26 ounces celery, thinly sliced
12 ounces carrots, cut into 3/4-inch-long thin julienne strips
10 ounces green onions, thinly sliced
22 ounces water chestnuts, sliced, drained
44 ounces leaf lettuce
1 pound black olives
1 pound cherry tomatoes

1. Cook tortellini in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Drain. Place in bowl.
2. Pour dressing over pasta and toss gently to coat. Chill quickly to 41°F or less.
3. Thaw shrimp under cold running water. Drain well and add to cold pasta.
4. Add celery, carrots, green onions, and water chestnuts to pasta mixture. Toss well. Cover. Refrigerate until chilled to 41°F or less.
5. Cover plate with leaf lettuce. Portion 6 oz salad onto lettuce.
6. Garnish plate with3 black olives and 1 cherry tomato. Serve with breadsticks.

We aren’t even to the 4th of July yet and already I am craving “winter” food favorites. I think it is because I have been so knee deep into summer parties and things of that nature. Anyway, Friday’s are traditionally pizza night here but I was craving something more, well, slow. I made French Onion Soup Gratinee and roasted Cornish hens with sauteed rappi. It tasted so delicious. I roasted the hens with a scaled down version of Ina Gartens Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic so the rappi and FOS were nicely balanced with the roasted garlic. It just tasted delightful and is such an easy meal to make, and if you lay low on the gratinee it is actually a very good for you, low fat, low calorie meal that is elegant and satisfying.

Don’t forget about the cookbook giveaway! July has a bonus!

Have a wonderful Saturday and do something delicious!

Creatively serving the Greater Binghamton area in the lovely Southern Tier of NY.

Colleen is a private caterer and personal chef, she also hosts the internet’s favorite resource for the home wine maker at Her blog and websites are viewed by thousands each day who enjoy her simply explained, illustrated and photographed recipes and helpful tips.

I’m sure that you have noticed that my posts have been absent photos, and I do apologize for that. I have a torn tendon in my bicep and holding the camera at that angle is agony right now. Typing is tough (of course it has to be my right arm). even stirring is difficult, and I had to cancel my riding lesson…

Poor me…can’t you just feel the pity oooozing out? 🙂

So yesterday ended up being a good old spaghetti dinner night with a sauce of onion, garlic, basil, oregano, San Marzano’s, our own 2007 Pinot Noir and a bit of Balsamic reduction. Super luscious. And we had the ever present two-day no knead bread with it of course. Here’s a pic of that and a link (scroll down to the the post with day one in the title) if you want to try it:

So last night’s wegman’s inspired dinner didn’t happen BUT I did try something else and it was super good chilled! It is the Greek Santorini Couscous Salad! YUM! The only change I made was to chill the couscous…so delicious!

Here is a link to the recipe at wegmans’ dot com. If you live in a wegman’s free zone you’ll use non wegman products of course (I sub all the time..sorry wegman’s!) The day 6 recipe in our 12 days of mayo free pasta salad is!

Greek Santorini Couscous Salad

If making couscous is a little daunting to you try making it this way as Alton Brown suggests it really does result in a nice light fluffy couscous.

I did something yesterday that I have been putting off for a really long time…I joined the Tuesday’s with Dorie bake along YAY! I’m so excited! I love to bake but I will come right out ans say that it isn’t my strongest area of expertise. I can decorate you a gorgeous cake, make amazing little marzipan lovelies and thing like that but the actual baking is not my gig. We don’t eat many sweets so I just don’t get the practice that makes perfect, but it is something that I have been wanting to work on so away I go on a new adventure.

This is Brutis, he is very excited too. He couldn’t wait to start previewing this weeks recipe.

Check out that enthusiasm! It’s hard to be Brutis, somehow my work always gets in the way of his nap.

Just in time for summer farmer’s markets, I have my new 2008 hand soap ready to go. There are two new blends this year and the bottles will be amber with hand painted (by me of course) “label”. They are very pretty, very effective and have no nasty stuff in them…no additives, colors and artificial fragrances. Just a couple well explained ingredients and organic/wild crafted therapeutic grade essential oils. This is something I have been doing for nearly a decade and while most of my clients have been of the four paw or hoof persuasion, I have some people clients too. The hand soap is PERFECT for the kitchen. I’ll be adding a salt scrub for the hands to match each blend as well. They make an excellent gift and will be available at a few select locations around the Southern Tier of NY and also online, so look for them in a couple of days.

That’s all that is going on here. so enjoy your Friday and do something delicious!


Creatively serving the Greater Binghamton area in the lovely Southern Tier of NY.

Colleen is a private caterer and personal chef, she also hosts the internet’s favorite resource for the home wine maker at Her blog is viewed by thousands each day who enjoy her simply explained, illustrated and photographed recipes and helpful tips.