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CAPTURE CREATIVE CONNECTICUT FOOD AND FARM PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY FOR THE AGRICULTURAL AND FOOD SERVICE INDUSTRIES

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in this issue

TINY STUDIO LOVE

MARILYNN S. TURNER

SECRETS FOR PERFECT SCONES

SHERRY SWANSON

RASAM:

SOUTH INDIA’S TASTY, HEALING SOUP

WINTER CAPLANSON

THE ART OF BONSAI

CAMILA VALLEJO

MUD SEASON COCKTAILS

DYLAN JEFFERIS

GREEN WITH ENVY

OVER OLIVE EGGERS

AMY JO LABBE

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SPRING 2020 | VOLUME 20

HENRIETTA HOUSE:

FARM TO TABLE BED & BREAKFAST

3RD THURSDAY STREET FEST:

FROM WILLIMANTIC WITH LOVE

ERIN MORELLE & KAREN GILBRANSEN

COW CULTURE:

SMALL-BATCH YOGURT AT HASTINGS FARM

GENA GOLAS

HUNGARIAN BISTRO:

LABOR OF LOVE

KRISTIN L.WOLFE

FROM VACANT LOT TO EDIBLE GARDEN

MALLORY O’CONNOR

MY ARMENIAN TABLE

RUTH R. HARTUNIAN-ALUMBAUGH

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JENNIFER C. LAVOIE

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Over Olive Eggers

BY AMYJO LAB B E

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L I SA NI C HO LS PHOTOS

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s children we read

Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham, but we never realized that green eggs were real! Eggs come in an endless variety of shell colors including brown, white, pink, blue, chocolate…and yes, even green! When we started raising chickens on our homestead, our goal was to have fresh eggs for ourselves and some leftovers to share with friends and family. The real journey began as we started hatching our own eggs and selling the extra chicks. Eventually, it turned into a small business we dubbed “The Hatching House,” selling baby chicks from the farm. We now sell thousands of chicks each year, ranging from rare breeds in need of conservation to traditional heritage breeds, breeds we show, and even special, fancycolored egg layers. “Colored egg layers?” you might ask. The answer is a resounding “yes!”

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“There is not a specific breed of hen that lays a green egg. Instead, the green egg shell is the result of cross breeding.”

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We admittedly never paid much attention to egg colors when we first got started. We were always focused on beautiful birds and using our breeding skills to perfect them in their body type, genetic diversity and feather pattern. But as a small business, we have to give our customers what they want. And they kept asking for green eggs, a la Dr. Seuss. In fact, green was our most asked-for shell color in 2016. So we began our research. This was not an easy task. There is not a specific breed of hen that lays a green egg. Instead, the green egg shell is the result of cross breeding. Mating a dark brown egg-laying chicken to a blue egglaying chicken results in a chick that will grow up to lay a light green egg. You have to wait about six months for that chick to mature and lay her first egg to see what color you will actually get. (Frustratingly, one out of every sixteen chicks will grow up to lay a plain ‘ole brown egg). Eggs from this first generation of hens are most likely to be a light, almost avocado green. But, lighter green eggs are not our goal. We want a nice, rich green similar to an olive!

Eggs come in an endless variety of shell colors including brown, white, pink, blue, chocolate…and yes, To achieve that shell color, those light green egg-laying hens must then be bred to a bird with chocolate colored shell genetics, hoping to darken up the color in the next generations. And again, you wait another six months or so to let the babies grow up and see what color green you get. It’s easy for this step to go wrong, ending up with a brownishcolored egg that’s more Army green than olive. (Cue the frustrated groan).

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even green! ”

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In that case, you might breed that hen to a blue-gened chicken and wait another six months for those chicks to grow into hens and lay their first eggs. Can you see how time-consuming this project is? The ultimate goal is to create a shade as close to an olive as you can, and the actual name for this hybrid type of chicken is the Olive Egger. When we started our quest we decided to skip a step and start with the bird called the Silverudd’s Blue Isbar. This rare and endangered breed from Sweden already lays a green egg. Crossing these to Black Copper Marans, the most common chocolatecolored egg layer, enabled us to get to an olive green color much faster. To perfect our color, we crossed in other cool-toned breeds like the blue egg-laying Ameraucanas (fun fact: they also have beards) and Welsummers, which have speckles on their brown egg shells. The end result for us was a medium-sized bird with a great personality that lays a lot of eggs! The Olive Egger has become the most popular chick sold from our farm. Olive Eggers are a hybrid, with some calling it a designer breed. Each breeder has their own recipe and path to creating their olive green eggs. Once you master the breeding basics, you can have fun creating layers with lots of egg shell colors. While olive is our

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“ The Olive Egger our farm

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r has become the most popular chick sold from

m.�

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The beauty of experimentation is in the experience, the learning, and

the

colorful results!

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favorite, we have created a wide variety of egg colors over time: pastel green; deep, rich avocado; various shades of chocolate and blue; terracotta; rose pink; mauve; and lilac. We’re currently working on a platinum shell color. There are entire Facebook communities built around egg envy and creating the perfect rainbow-colored basket. There is no reason behind it other than fun and variety in your egg basket. The eggs all taste the same, regardless of shell color. The beauty of experimentation is in the experience, the learning, and the colorful results! Amy Jo Labbe and her husband Sean are farmers at The Hatching House, part of Ole Yankee Farm, located in Canterbury, Connecticut. They breed and sell both standard bred and rare poultry.

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MUD SEASON COCKTAILS WIT H DYLAN JEF FERIS

WINT ER CAPLANSON PHOTOS

Between winter and spring, lies the fifth season: MUD, in all its four-wheel drive and Muck Boots glory. 50 degrees and sunny in March feels like shirt-sleeve weather, and it’s time for the year’s first cocktail on the porch. Barman Dylan Jefferis of Brinx Kitchen & Bar in Torrington taps the flavors of the moment…wood smoke, maple syrup, dark chocolate, fresh cream, and hen’s egg, for these local libations:

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*Cherry wood smoked maple syrup: Add maple syrup to container with lid and smoke with cherry wood chips using a Breville smoking gun wood smoke infuser. Cover with lid and let the syrup infuse until you can no longer see smoke. I like to do this 2-3 times to insure smoky flavor in the syrup.

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SKI CLUB SOCIAL

Add all ingredients to metal shaker and dry shake 10 seconds. Add ice and shake 15 -20 seconds. Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice. Finish with grated dark chocolate and nutmeg.

(T HE APRI-WINT ER EGGNOG)

1 oz Braulio Alpine Amaro 1 oz bourbon 1/2 oz orgeat syrup 1/2 oz cherry wood smoked maple syrup* 1 oz heavy cream 1 whole egg

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BET WEEN

WINT ER AND

SPRING, LIES T HE

F IFT H

SEASON:

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TRUFFLE SHUFFLE 1 oz Jack Daniel’s whiskey 1 oz Genepy Amaro Barspoon honey syrup (three parts honey to one part water) Small pinch of truffle salt Laphroaig or other peaty single malt scotch (to rinse glass) or spritz glass with aromatizer. Build cocktail in mixing glass. Add ice and stir 15 seconds. Strain into Laphroaig-rinsed rocks glass over large cube. No garnish.

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IT’S T IME FOR T HE YEAR’S

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FIRST COCKTAIL ON T HE PORCH

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SEASONAL SHERRY COB 30

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1 oz Fino Sherry 1 oz rye whiskey .25 oz Trader Vic’s macadamia nut liqueur 8 mixed berries such as raspberries and blackberries 8 fresh mint leaves Barspoon date nectar

BBLER CT FOODANDFARM.COM

Add all ingredients to shaker and muddle. Add ice and shake 15 seconds. Strain into julep cup or 11 oz glass over crushed ice. Garnish with mint bouquet and seasonal berries. Finish with powdered sugar and grated nutmeg.

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DYLAN JEFFERIS CT FOODANDFARM.COM

is passionate about the methods and history behind classic cocktails: the sour, swizzle, stirred, posett, and fizz. His signature drinks are inspired by regional flavors. He crafts his own infusions, syrups, cordials, and juice blends in order to create these unique tastes, while stretching the boundaries toward the unconventional, soon-tobe classics.

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PHOTO BY WINTER CAPLANSON AT TINY ACRE FARM

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TOUGH T IMES n e v e r l a s t,

BUT TOUGH PEOPLE DO.–

Robert H Schuller

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A

Bon e h T

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� r A

nsai of

BY CAMILA VALLEJO

CARLA MCELROY PHOTOS

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Small:

an adjective often used to describe insignificance or the beginning of something expected to grow. In today’s world, we all start small: our houses, salaries and even our size. But in a quaint greenhouse off Tolland Turnpike in Manchester, small means years of dedication, culture and value - more than you might imagine. “Think small, grow bonsai” is imprinted on a nondescript postcard stuck to the entrance of Bonsai Gardens of Connecticut, a clue to the magic that waits inside. Enter the bonsai nursery and you’ll find yourself in the midst of a miniature forest of conifers, cacti, fruit trees and more ranging in rarity. If you’re already a fan of bonsai, get ready to spend some money. But if you were just driving by and stopped to see why there might be a greenhouse attached to a used car dealership, you’re like most customers and just found the “best hidden secret,” says Victor Eng, owner. He’s a bonsai specialist and penjing artist.

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“Think small, grow bonsai” Originally from China and deemed a national art form in Japan, bonsai has brought the beauty of nature to our fingertips for centuries, giving us a live, never-ending view of trees often found in the wild. And with good reason, because who hasn’t looked at a tree hovering high above with overwhelming admiration? “The whole aesthetic of bonsai is to make the plant, tree, shrub or flower look like an old tree. An old tree’s features tell you what it’s been through and how strong it is. It’s inspirational, and we replicate that through bonsai,” says Victor. Contrary to popular belief, bonsai, meaning “planted in shallow vessel” or “tray plating,” are not genetically modified to obtain their distinct size and features. Ordinary trees and shrubs are instead carefully trained and shaped in shallow pots for years on end to remain miniature. Inspired by trees that thrive despite harsh conditions, bonsai come in many styles: from those that are grown downwards, mimicking the effects of a waterfall to those swept to one side by the wind. A practice so full of care and attention, Victor refers to it as pampering the plants. He’s been mastering the skill for the last 47 years.

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“find yourself in the midst of a miniature forest...”

Despite his own Chinese ethnicity, Victor had no knowledge of bonsai growing up in Flushing, Queens. But everything changed when he stumbled upon his first tiny tree.

“I was in my early twenties, having dinner with my wife and friends when I saw a miniature tree with a tiny scene at the base. I was stunned. I wanted one for myself,” Victor recalls.

He immediately bought his first round of bonsai, which he admits to accidentally killing, and you could say the rest was history. Victor went on to study as an apprentice under Frank Okamura, bonsai master and former curator for the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Victor eventually opened Bonsai Dynasty, Inc., his first retail store in New York City - and one of the largest in the country, according to his website.

Now relocated to the Greater Hartford Area, Victor’s door remains open six days a week for seasoned bonsai owners and beginners alike. Whether you’re planning your next garden or simply want to add some greenery to your work desk, bonsai adorn any space with grace. For the average beginner, he recommends an umbrella tree or small leaf jade, both of which require minimal care. But for those willing to take on a challenge, he offers anything from Japanese red maples to calamondin orange trees - great for garnishes. And for succulent lovers, a jade or cactus bonsai provides all the same perks as the popular plants, but with the added bonus of shaping it your own taste.

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“Regardless of what bonsai steals your heart,

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“One of the reasons why succulents and cacti have become popular is because they thrive on neglect. If you don’t water an average bonsai, you might be in trouble. But succulents can be bonsai too. We have something for everyone,” Victor says. Bonsai have garnered popularity for their styling, but also their cost. An average beginner bonsai can range between $20 to $90, but with proper care and dedication its value can increase by hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The beauty of bonsai is their potential to be ageless and passed down through generations, Victor says. “If you start a bonsai right now, in your early twenties, it should last as long as you live and even help pay for your kid’s tuition,” he adds. Regardless of what bonsai steals your heart, care is key to keeping them small and healthy. Watering, fertilizing and constant pruning are all a must. But repotting is also high on the list. Luckily it only has to be done every 3 to 5 years, depending on the bonsai. For those who aren’t sure where to start, Victor hosts six small-group workshops every spring and fall, hoping to share his art with others. Shifting from store owner to sensei, Victor highlights the rich history of bonsai and helps students create their very own potted tree. Workshops range from traditional shaping methods and aging techniques to creating your own stone pot and mini bonsai landscapes - Victor’s specialty. Beyond creating beautifully sculpted dwarf trees from just about any species, Victor specializes in penjing, the art of miniature landscapes.

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“I like people Penjing elevates the traditional bonsai and creates a natural scene with the use of different colored gravel and miniature figurines. Victor can replicate a serene river under a bridge or a classic American golf scene. “Penjing uses feng shui elements to depict the harmony between heaven, man and earth in one miniature landscape,” he says. Victor’s mission is to help his customers master the art of bonsai as he has, whether it’s welcoming them to visit with bonsai issues, or boarding plants at a small cost for those on vacation. At Bonsai Gardens

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and

I like plants. People say I’m

really lucky to do what I do.” of Connecticut you’ll find undivided attention and timeless advice, often lacking at big-box retailers that might also sell these tiny trees. Bonsai is an art form, and every student needs a teacher. “Bonsai has been around for centuries and for as long as I’ve been doing it, I’m just a flash in the pan. But I like people and I like plants. People say I’m really lucky to do what I do,” Victor says. Bonsai Gardens of Connecticut is located at 1 Tolland Turnpike in Manchester, Connecticut. Hours of operation are Tuesday to Friday from 10 am to 6 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm, and Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm. For more information on workshops and services, visit Bonsai Gardens of CT on Facebook.

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Rasam SOUTH INDIA’S TASTY,

HEALING SOUP PHOTOS BY WINTER CAPLANSON

Chennai Kodi Rasam is a delicious South Indian soup, flavor-packed with ginger, turmeric, tomato, chili peppers, garlic, cumin, curry leaves, mustard, coriander, asafoetida, and cilantro. Served with steamed rice or sipped as-is, Indian families rely on it as a home remedy to cure sore throats and symptoms of cold and flu.

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CHEF PRASAD CHIRNOMULA LEARNED HOW TO COOK BY HIS MOTHER’S SIDE AS A YOUNG BOY IN INDIA.

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Rasam is also an excellent recovery food. Patients who have had a respiratory illness will benefit from rasam’s vitamins and nutrients, including thiamin, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin C and niacin - along with minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium, zinc, selenium, copper and magnesium. Chef Prasad Chirnomula, chef and owner of Chef Prasad Indian Kitchen in New Canaan, learned how to cook by his mother’s side as a young boy in India. Here he offers his recipe for a tasty, tangy and healing classic rasam:

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INDIAN FAMILIES RELY ON IT 54

AS A HOME R

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Chennai Kodi Rasam INGREDIENTS 2.5 lbs whole chicken, skinless 1 cup thinly-sliced scallion 6 ripe tomatoes, quartered 1 tsp turmeric 1 tsp cayenne 2 inches peeled ginger root Salt 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds 2 tbs fennel seeds 4 tbs coriander seeds 1 tsp cumin seeds 3 tbs vegetable oil 8 garlic cloves 1 tsp mustard seeds 5 dry red chiles 5 dry red round chiles 1/2 tsp asafoetida 1 sprig fresh curry leaves 2 cups tamarind extract 1 tbs palm sugar Cilantro sprigs, for garnish

REMEDY TO CURE SORE THROATS AND SYMPTOMS OF COLD AND FLU.

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In a Dutch oven, place the chicken, ginger root, scallions, tomato, turmeric, cayenne, salt and four quarts of water; simmer until the chicken is fully cooked. Once the chicken is cooked, add tamarind extract, remove the piece of ginger and discard, and continue to simmer on very low heat while adding the dry roasted powder (instructions below). Heat a sautĂŠ pan; lower the flame and dry-roast the peppercorns, fenugreek, fennel, cumin and coriander seeds. Once the spices are warm, remove from pan, cool off and blend to a fine powder. Add this powder to the boiling liquid above. Heat oil in a sautĂŠ pan; add in order the garlic, mustard seeds, dry red chilies, dry red round chilies, asafoetida and fresh curry leaves. Transfer this immediately to the boiling rasam soup. Check and adjust the seasoning as needed. Serve this soup with rice, chunks of chicken and tomatoes with a sprig of cilantro on top.

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A CHEF’S TENDER SECRETS {

PERFECT

by Sherry Swanson

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SCONES

Anna Sawin photos

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Scones are a gracious nibble for guests: nobs of sweet butter, nestled in ethereal layers of delicately sweet pastry. Pull these out of your culinary bag-of-tricks and your guests will eagerly return for more. Many countries claim scones as their own, including Scotland, Ireland or England, but their genesis isn’t nearly as important as their flavor and texture: wherever they came from, scones are delicious. Serve this tasty

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pastry in the morning with a cup of coffee, in the afternoon with a bit of tea, or as dessert at the end of an elegant meal. You can even use a miniature version as an hors d’oeuvre. A great host provides good food and hospitality. You don’t need a culinary degree to share great food with your friends and family, but you do need a few basic recipes and then enough knowledge to riff on those recipes.

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The perfect dish to start with is scones: they’re versatile, they can be savory or sweet, served with or without toppings, and at any time of day. And convenient, these delicious treats can be frozen. When unexpected guests drop by you can bake fresh scones and serve them warm. They can be enjoyed with jam, clotted cream or just on their own. The possibilities are endless and the flavor profiles are, too.

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There is a magic to baking, and the magic of scones comes from a super hot oven. The intense heat turns the water in the butter to steam, and lifting the flour and butter into flaky layers of buttery goodness. The interior is pillowy soft while the exterior is crisp. While they’re not difficult to make, here are few techniques that will help you create perfect, flaky-tender scones.

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SCONES ARE A GRACIOUS NIBBLE FOR GUESTS

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S

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Mix dry, then wet - Mix the dry ingredients fully, then the wet ingredients fully and then add the wet to the dry and mix.

Freeze scones for 30 minutes - If you freeze raw dough, the butter will not melt and the steam will lift the pastry into flaky layers.

Don’t over-work the dough - The more you work with the dough the more you create gluten. Too much gluten and the scones will be tough. Once you pour the liquid ingredients into the dry, mix by hand with a flexible bowl scraper so that you don’t overwork it. You want the ingredients to just bind together.

If using frozen fruit - Keep the fruit frozen and toss with a little of the flour mixture (before you add the wet ingredients)

Preheat your oven - You need a hot oven to create steam. If your oven is still preheating, the butter will melt and your scones will be flat and oily.

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Mix-in ingredients - Toss semi-wet ingredients with some of the flour (from the recipe - don’t add extra flour or the scone will be dry) If using fruit that isn’t ripe, you can roast in an oven, grill, or sauté in a pan to intensify the flavors.

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YOU NEED A FEW BASIC RECIPES AND THEN ENOUGH KNOWLEDGE TO RIFF ON THOSE RECIPES.

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BASE RECIPE Vanilla Scones

(Based on King Arthur Flour recipe) INGREDIENTS 2 3/4 cups King Arthur All-Purpose Flour 1/3 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) cold or frozen butter

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Freeze the butter for 30 minutes (or use very cold butter and work quickly); grate on the large holes of a box grater into the dry ingredients. Using your hands, toss the butter and flour mixture together until well combined. Add your mix-in ingredients and make sure they are well distributed. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the half and half, vanilla extract and any other liquid ingredients to the beaten eggs and whisk together. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Make well in

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1 1/2 cups chopped dried fruit, chocolate or other flavored chips, nuts, or a combination 3 teaspoons vanilla extract or flavoring, of your choice 3/4 cup half and half, or cream

the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Using a flexible bowl scraper, mix them until the dough starts to hold together. Place the partially formed dough on a clean counter or sheet pan, and gently fold the dough over like a book until it barely holds together. You want see streaks of butter in your dough. For full-sized scones, divide the dough in half. Form each half into a 5-6” circle (size will vary depending on the added ingredients) and about 3/4” thick. For miniature scones, divide the dough into 4 pieces and form into 3” circles about 3/4” thick.

Using a floured bench scraper or a knife, cut the circles into 6 wedges. Brush each circle with half and half, and sprinkle with coarse sugar, cinnamon sugar or turbinado sugar. If making a savory scone you can use grated cheese, herbs, seeds or nuts. Separate the wedges and freeze the scones for 30 minutes before baking. While the scones are chilling preheat the oven the oven to 425ºF with the rack in the upper third of the oven. Bake the frozen scones for 1823 minutes for the full size, and 15-20 for mini scones, or until they are a light golden brown.

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Blueberry-Lemon Scones Add 1 cup of blueberries and 2 tablespoon of lemon zest.

Glazed Scones with Orange and Cranberry 1 cup dried cranberries and 2 tablespoon orange zest. Add all ingredients to the dry mixture and combine.

Sweet

Flavor Variations

Glaze: 1 cup confectioner’s sugar and 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice. Whisk until smooth; drizzle over cooled scones.

Ginger Scones 1/2 cup candied ginger, chopped fine, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, and 1 teaspoon ground ginger. Add all ingredients to the dry mixture and combine.

Fig-Orange Cardamom Scones

1/2 cup dried figs, stems removed and coarsely chopped; 1/2 cup orange juice; 2 teaspoons ground cardamom; 1 tablespoon orange zest.

Combine chopped figs and orange juice and microwave for 30 seconds; set aside to cool. Strain the figs and discard the orange juice before combining. Add the ground cardamom to the dry mixture; zest and figs to the wet mixture.

Blackberry Lavender & White Chocolate Scones 1 1/2 cups blackberries, 1 tablespoon dried lavender, 1/2 cup white chocolate chips. Add all ingredients to the dry mixture and combine.

Glazed Apple Cinnamon Scones 1 cup chopped apple, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon Mix together the apple, brown sugar, salt and spices; add to the dry ingredients. Glaze - combine 1 cup confectioner’s sugar and 1-3 tablespoons milk; drizzle over cooled scones.

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SCONES: THEY’RE VERSATILE

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Savory 70

OMIT THE VANILLA AND REDUCE THE SUGAR TO 2 TABLESPOONS; ADD 1-2 CUPS OF SAVORY ADD-INS.

Prosciutto, Parmesan, Sage Scones 1/2 cup prosciutto, finely chopped; 1 cup grated Parmesan; 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage. Add all ingredients to the dry mixture and combine; top with Parmesan cheese.

Cheddar, Bacon, Scallion Scones 1/2 cup cooked, crumbled bacon; 1 1/4 cups grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese. Add all ingredients to the dry mixture and combine; top with grated cheddar.

Spinach and Feta Scones 1 cup cooked, drained and finely chopped spinach; 2/3 cup feta, crumbled; 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill. Add all ingredients to the dry mixture and combine; top with sesame seeds or dill.

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Butternut, Fontina and Sage Scones 1 cup roasted butternut squash cubes, 3/4 cup grated fontina cheese, 4 tablespoons chopped fresh sage. Add all ingredients to the dry mixture and combine; top with grated fontina cheese.

Pesto Scones 1 cup homemade basil pesto; add to liquid ingredients before adding to the dry and combining. Top with parmesan cheese or pine nuts.

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“TIP TOE” BY LISA STONE KIM

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“And suddenly you know...… It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of

beginnings.” - Meister Eckhart

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Tiny Studio

By Marilynn S. Turner

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Winter C

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Caplanson photos

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Do what you love and love what you do. That sums up the life and philosophy of Nicole TotinoClark of Colemama Creations, a fiber artist who has managed to joyfully combine family and art into a great big hug surrounding her life. Nicole works in her tiny studio in her tiny house nestled among the backroads of Quaker Hill, Connecticut. Her workspace is at the end of a small guest room, overlooking a wooded lot in the home that she shares with her husband, two children (ages five and eight), and the family dog. Her world is one of color, where she creates corded baskets and purses, hats, and all sorts of vessels that not only organize one’s life, but add beauty, color and dimension. “It’s all about joy for me; I love watching the rope in the dye bath. I’m color-obsessed,” Nicole said. The rope she buys? It’s a natural cotton cord, made to be used on sailboats. “I often incorporate organic linen and organic hemp into my materials. I take the cotton which I buy in giant spools - and weigh it into one-pound bundles, and then I hand-dye it. Once it’s dry, I sew it and sculpt it into a basket on my sewing machine,” she said. “I used natural dyes for a long time, but what I found is that plant dyes are not

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a

studio in a

house nestled among the backroads of Quaker Hill CT FOODANDFARM.COM

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so colorfast on plant fibers. They’re much more colorfast on animal fibers and things like silk and wool. I use something called direct dye. All my products are sourced within the U.S., and there is zero toxicity. And it is a process; each color takes about six hours from start to finish.” This self-taught artisan has been in business for five years; she started when her daughter was just three months old. “It was my escape, [and] made me feel like I had something to offer. Before that, it was all about home and organization, but I needed my house to feel like a big hug.” Nicole noted that she is a stay-athome mom who homeschools her children, and works most nights between 8:30 to 11 p.m.

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Her world is one of

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where she creates corded baskets and purses, hats, and all sorts of vessels that not only organize one’s life, but add beauty,

and dimension

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My

to workspace is perfect for me. I love 84

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“It’s all about time management, and my tiny workspace is perfect for me. I love to feel cozy and confined. All I need to do is sit at my machine, and everything I need is within reach. In three hours, I can make 15 little baskets,” she said. “I can stay home, and I create my own schedule, but it’s not about money, I feel lucky that I can do this. And that’s what I love, I can do this thing I love at night while they’re sleeping, and then I can make enough money to supplement our household so that we’re comfortable and have a little extra. And then I can be with my kids in the daytime. As it evolved, the creation of that independence and freedom has been really beautiful for me.” Nicole embellishes her work with creative touches like seashells, stones, driftwood, or funky hand-carved buttons made by two local woodworkers. Although she has an online presence and is on Instagram, she mostly sells her creations at sheep and wool festivals. And the business has evolved: “I initially started doing two to three shows a year, while selling online and doing custom orders,” Nicole explained. “That felt really chaotic.” “I decided to really focus on shows. I started doing sheep and wool festivals, and that’s when I felt like I’d really found my niche, and I think it’s because I’m a fiber artist, being a spinner and a knitter for years. When I go to the sheep

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and wool festivals, the people have such an appreciation for handmade things, and they see my stuff and know exactly what to do with it.” When it comes to show prep, Nicole shared that it takes three to four weeks to prepare for each show: “I spend one week dyeing, almost seven days, so I can do a color a day. I dye a full rainbow spectrum from red all the way to hot pink, and hit every shade in between. So with blues, I’ll do light blue, navy blue, a royal blue, teal, and aquamarine. I do a lot of different colors, and all my colors are blends of colors. I buy base colors, weigh the powders, and customize the colors which I make up as I go along. I never take notes,” she added, “because I like the colors to be ever-changing and always different.” Nicole’s next show will be on Saturday, April 25, at the Connecticut Sheep Wool and Fiber Festival at the North Haven Fair Grounds, North Haven, Connecticut.

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by Ruth R. Hartunian-Alumbaugh Lisa Nichols photos

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Traditional Armenian

cooking can be easy, with consistently excellent results. With spring just around the corner, you’ll enjoy these flavors brought here by my family, who originally came to the United States on a boat from Beirut, Lebanon. I’m first-generation, born in the United States, and the proud recipient of many recipes that have been used by my family for generations. My grandfather was a baker in Beirut, often giving away his possible profits to hungry neighbors. He taught me how to make pita bread as he did before he crossed the ocean to this country and he and my grandmother lived with us in our home in Cudahy, Wisconsin. We used to make our own baklava from scratch, including the dough, syrup and hand-chopping the nuts. Everything was done with our hands, no matter how long it took. Two 9X13 pans of baklava took four home chefs a full day to create. Between rolling out the dough and brushing each sheet with clarified butter (and there were many, many layers), it was a labor of love. Thankfully, it took far less time to consume the crunchy sweetness! We also made grape leaves filled with meat, called “sarma.” Cooking was sometimes a day-long event. To make sarma, the cooking frenzy was preceded by frequent stops along the highway to harvest the right kinds of leaves to make the dish. We had to do this for our supply since our grapevine wasn’t mature enough to harvest from our own backyard. After washing

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Food has a way of bringing back memories; I remember being part of a two-person army, jockeying the skewered lamb from the kitchen to my dad outside, where the hand-made charcoal grill and his expertise made these pieces of lamb a succulent dish. He even fashioned the skewers; being a watchmaker and jeweler came in handy with his kitchen gadget-making skills! We’d do this for a full day and then freeze what we didn’t need, so we had grilled goodness in the months ahead. Seemingly always seeking to make use of precious time, we did not cook for just one meal. You never knew who would have a need: a baby was born, someone died, was sick, someone needs a friend. Food said that we cared for those around us. So we’d make double batches of the bulghur pilaf. Eaten in its simplest form, it’s like going back to days of grandpa and grandma living with us, Armenian picnics, gatherings and church events that featured this style of rice. It was, and still is, a staple. It is a perfect accompaniment to the lamb.

these flavors Youhere “ brought ’ll byenjoy my family, who originally came to the United States on a boat from Beirut, Lebanon.” the leaves at home, the stems were cut shorter and the leaves were piled, vein side up, rolled gently and tied in a bunch to be submerged into boiling salt water to wither. When the water was drained off, the leaves were carefully separated and placed all over the kitchen table to fill with a yummy meat, bulgur (cracked wheat), and a seasoning mixture. Rolling them shut is an art in and of itself, and we’d make thousands at a time. Sarma were placed in a tall cooking pot, covered with tomato sauce mixed with water, covered with a plate on top and topped with a weight (like a clean brick!) to deter overboiling. When you could smell it, it was done. I spent many hours learning how to make traditional Armenian dishes. It’s all we ever ate. Sadly, there were times when I dreamt of mac and cheese and hot dogs instead of what I had access to. Looking back, I fondly recall the great food I enjoyed. I think the kitchen was hallowed ground. With poverty and hunger in my history, nothing ever went to waste. The phrase “starving Armenians” was for real - especially given the genocide of 1915, which my grandparents survived. When they finally arrived in this country, they even brought leftover thread from buttons that fell off a shirt; I found some, years later, in my grandmother’s sewing tin.

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y grandfa “ M was a baker in Beirut, often g

away his possible profits to h neighbors.”

It would not be an Armenian meal or gathering without coffee and some kind of sweet! When I visited Armenia in July of 2019, there was literally a coffee machine or storefront where you could get coffee without walking just a few steps. There are tricks of the trade, but know that it’s easy to make. Sometimes people would turn the cups upside down after finishing their hot, sweet drink and tell one another’s fortunes. Often coupled with dried and fresh fruit, baklava and nuts of some kind even cordials - it speaks of friendship, belonging and fellowship! Speaking of friendship, the cookie recipe below makes about ten dozen - plenty to share (or keep for yourself!). If you don’t want to make them all at once, you can keep the dough in the fridge. It just needs to come to room temperature before you roll it out and bake it. It’s a timehonored recipe, and a no-fail baking endeavor! Food is also an art in Armenia. Breads are beautiful, with decorations you’ll see nowhere else. The Armenian food I saw when traveling was astounding and delicious, making the best of what was available. It’s been said that Armenians can make soup out of stones, and I think this is right! My heritage speaks to my very being. It feeds me when I’m hungry, gives friendship when I’m lonely, and gives me a chance to birth things that nourish not just the body but the soul, too. It even extends the borders of this thing called “family.” Everyone is my neighbor. “Her-ah-meh-tsek!” Welcome to my table of Armenian foods. Try them all!

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ather

giving hungry

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Jajek

(Yogurt Salad)

2 cups yogurt 1 cup cold water 1 clove garlic, crushed ½ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon crushed, dried mint 1 cucumber, peeled and diced Place yogurt, water, garlic and salt in food processor and process for a few seconds. Transfer to a bowl and mix with mint and cucumber. Best served chilled for a few hours. When serving, add a few ice cubes for additional refreshment. Makes about four servings.

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Armenian Style Rice 1 stick of butter 2 large onions 1-2 cups fine egg noodles 3 cups bulghur (cracked wheat, larger size) 1 cup wild, long-grained rice 4 1/2 cups water, or broth of choice Optional; frozen or mixed veggies and meat, if you wish

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ENOUGH FOR ABOUT 15 HUNGRY PEOPLE.

Using a large cooking pot, melt butter at medium high heat. Add onions and saute until almost tender, stirring frequently. Add egg noodles and brown them, stirring frequently. They should look brown before you add the bulgher wheat and wild rice, stirring with all other ingredients so they all “roast” for about a minute or so.

Add the water/broth. Mixture should sizzle and steam should rise. Turn heat down to medium for about ten minutes and let it sit. Keep pot covered. “Fluff” the rice. Turn off heat and allow mixture to cook until done. Add vegetables/meat and heat through, if desired. Freezes well.

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Leg of Lamb, Armenian-Style

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1 leg of lamb, deboned and cut into two-inch chunks (ask your butcher to do the cutting!) 2 bulbs fresh garlic, peeled and chopped 1 1/2 cups fresh chopped parsley 1 cup chopped onion of your choice 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper 1 cup balsamic vinegar 1/2 cup olive oil 1/8 cup dried mint leaves Quality salt to taste

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Place all of the above ingredients into roasting pan at least two days before you want to eat, and refrigerate. Stir occasionally throughout the days to distribute marinade evenly. Once ready to cook, bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, or until meat is not red when sliced. You can also make these on skewers if you wish to go through the process of spearing the meat with other veggies to grill. Freezes well.

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Armenian Coffee

Use 1 tablespoon finely ground coffee per small demitasse cup Add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon sugar per cup Measure water using your demitasse cup Add coffee grounds and sugar (optional) to your jezveh (long-handled coffee receptacle). If you don’t have one, use a small saucepan. Bring ingredients to a boil. After it boils once, remove from heat. Immediately place it on the heat two more times, boiling and then removing from the heat. Serve immediately. Note: The long-handled jezveh is a bonus; it’s easier to pour from it into the small cups!

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Mom’s Traditional Armenian Cookies Shah/Ka/Lokh/Mahs

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1 pound unsalted butter (room temperature) 1 egg yolk (add to butter and beat until creamy) 1 teaspoon vanilla, added to the above ingredients 1 cup SIFTED powdered sugar, added to the above ingredients 5 cups pre-sifted OR scant cups of flour Gradually add flour to mixture. Dough will be stiff. If dough becomes too stiff for your mixer, use your hands! But try not to handle the dough too much. Dough works best if you can use it when it is freshly made. Variations: Add one cup of finely ground toasted pecans or walnuts. (I always do this!) Put flour on the palms of your hand as you roll out small portions of the dough into a log about 12-15 inches long and about ž inch in diameter. Cut cookies with a butter knife, every three inches on an angle. Use leftover dough for the next log that you will roll out. Repeat process until all cookies are cut and on your ungreased cookie sheet. Place them close together since they will not get any bigger than they are unbaked. Bake at 325 degrees for at least 15 minutes. Check bottom of cookie for doneness; it should look slightly browned when done. Add more time if necessary.

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“Food said that we cared for

those around us.”

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fr

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l o t t n a c a v om

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rden

Growing Community in Hartford

BY MALLORY O’CONNOR CT FOODANDFARM.COM

LISA NICHOLS PHOTOS 107


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SINCE 1972, THE KNOX FOUNDATION HAS TRANSFORMED

ACRES OF VACANT HARTFORD LOTS INTO EDIBLE,

productive gardens to combat food insecurity in Hartford. KNOX currently oversees 23 community gardens that serve more than 400 local families, but these are more than just green spaces in which to grow healthy produce. “The ‘community’ part of the gardening experience is not something to be glossed over… this is key to the value of what happens here for our culturally diverse family of gardeners,” says Kyle Borbas, who works with KNOX. In the community garden on Battle Street, many of the gardeners hail from Mexico and South America. Farmers grow heirloom squashes, melons and a wide variety of peppers that may be uncommon in America, but to immigrant farmers they are the taste of home.

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The Watkinson Garden is one of the larger gardens in the program. The expansiveness of the growing space means gardeners aren’t working elbow-to-elbow. However, “the nightclub” - an open air shed - is a place for them to get together at the end of a long day. Gardeners can decompress together, sharing stories, recipes, and produce. Many of the gardeners in Watkinson were brought up around farms in Myanmar and other areas of Southeast Asia, as well as Jamaica. Bitter melon climbs the handmade trellis built from sticks along the fence-line; here, farmers focus on using the whole space. “The cool thing about traditional farming is that it’s uniform in its approach in every single society,” Courtney Morrison, former garden director at KNOX explains. “It’s really just using the earth to provide, then giving back as much as possible to her.” KNOX is certainly giving back to the earth. In a recent study, UCONN researchers set out to see how many beneficial insects the gardens brought into the area. They found approximately one thousand different species coming in and out of the gardens in just an hour. KNOX also is home to a beekeeper,

Gardeners can ask advice of knowledgeable staff, and are provided with a resource library, free seeds, and water with hives at most of the gardens. Gardeners are offered classes on beekeeping and honey production, the latter of which is sold at the annual KNOX Harvest Market in November. Garden Coordinators work as liaisons between the gardens and the KNOX Foundation, established in the 1960’s by Betty Knox as a trust fund to help improve the city. Coordinators report back on what’s needed at the gardens, and help to direct activities such as cleanups and repairs. When the coordinator at one garden recently passed away, the community actively worked together while a replacement was being found, keeping the garden going, revitalizing it, and making essential repairs. It’s not only residents of the neighborhood that get involved. At the garden on Earl Street, parishioners at the adjacent church joined

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Farmers grow heirloom

squashes, melons and a

wide variety of peppers

that may be uncommon in America, but to

immigrant farmers they

are the taste of home.

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gardeners to construct cob ovens, crafted from natural materials. Members brought supplies and, with the help of an expert, built the ovens. Cobb ovens also stand at the KNOX gardens headquarters on Lowell Street in Hartford. “There was a bit of a learning curve,” Kyle notes, “but members are now able to cook pizzas and other recipes using their fresh produce.” KNOX sets members up for success. Gardeners can ask advice of knowledgeable staff, and are provided with a resource library, free seeds, and water. Member classes in 2019 included gardening 101, pruning, using organic methods, how to identify and manage pests and diseases, a mushroom and truffle workshop, salsa-making and canning classes. These sessions encourage growers to try new crops and gardening techniques. They also serve as an opportunity to meet members of other community garden locations. KNOX offers a sliding fee scale for garden plots which range from 300 square feet to 625 square feet. The availability of resources such as water in close proximity, compost, and maintenance - also affects the price of the plot. Members pitch in with seasonal work, cleanup, and preparation. Additional upkeep of garden spaces or the greenhouse may be contributed in lieu of a portion of the fee in the case of financial hardship. Gardeners can reserve their plots by contacting Kimberly Beal, Community Engagement Manager at KNOX, at 860-951-7694 - or visit online at knoxhartford.org.

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Farmers grow heirloom squashes, m

that may be uncommon in America, bu

taste o

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melons and a wide variety of peppers

ut to immigrant farmers they are the

of home.

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“SPRING DREAMS” BY LISA STONE KIM

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funny beauty

it’s how, when things seem the darkest, moments of

present themselves in the most

unexpected places. ~KAREN MARIE MONING, DREAMFEVER

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Hungarian Bistro Labor of Love

BY KRISTIN L. WOLFE

“Isten hozott” - or, welcome. It’s exactly what you feel when you walk into the new Hungarian (Magyar) Bistro in the basement of the Calvin Church in Fairfield. The church has been a gathering place for the Hungarian Community since the 1950s, and it’s now helping to keep the culture alive through great food. What could be better than a warm plate around a humble table, hearty dishes, and that feeling of being in grandma’s kitchen? That’s what it felt like after Judit Olah, who runs the bistro, greeted my son and I with a radiant smile and menu, and then walked us to our place at one of the many round, red and white checkered tables lining the room.

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Originally from Hungary, Chef Roland Olah spent years at the renowned Cafe Értés in Budapest, learned the classic cuisine of France and Belgium during his formal training, and cooked under industry giant Daniel Bolud in New York. The local community has fallen in love with him and his culinary touch via Martel, and - most recently - Bruxelles Brasserie in South Norwalk. A few months ago, a parishioner reached out to Roland and Judit about reviving the basement bistro. After a few short months (and giving up his one day off from cooking to...shop and cook some more) the number of diners is growing each week. They’re walking out satisfied, and importantly, feeling reconnected to their culture. Looking around the room, you see older folks, many of whom Olah says have been in Connecticut since the 1950s and 60s, and even little ones running circles around grandma or grandpa, who smile at them or yell a quick “sit down and eat” in Hungarian. In addition to a map and flag in the back of the wide room, you’ll find signatures of Hungarian culture proudly featured along the walls: rows upon rows of embroidery and pottery; stacks of porcelain dolls; piles of books on the Hungarian language or literature; and even hanging clusters of dried peppers, the capsicum annum used for paprika, Hungary’s national spice. (See the paprika lesson on page ???). When my son and I sat down, Judit placed a breadbasket before us as I peered at the clay salt and pepper shakers; there’s a different set at each table, all painted in unique Hungarian designs. “You know, Americans always look for the butter. We don’t serve butter with bread at the Hungarian table. You eat too much, then you get too full before you have the rest of the meal.” (Wow, did that make sense). “We have the bread with the meal.” And that was best understood

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eep the culture alive k o t g n helpi

through great food .�

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[pull out?]

[pull out?] Did you know there are eight grades of Hungarian Paprika, t country’s national spice? -Kulӧnleges: special quality, mild and the most vibrant red [ supposed to be an unlaut here, for some reason, I can’t find i symbol list] -Csípősmentes Csemege: delicate and mild -Csemege: more pungent than the one above -Csípős Csemege: even more pungent -Édesnemes: noble and sweet, slightly pungent, bright red -Félédes: semi-sweet, medium pungency -Rózsa: mild and pale red -Erős: hottest, and light brown to orange Here in the U.S., we mostly see the édesnemes variation.

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the

[there is it on this

Did you know there are eight grades of Hungarian Paprika, the country’s national spice? Különleges: special quality, mild and the most vibrant red Csípősmentes Csemege: delicate and mild Csemege: more pungent than the one above Csípős Csemege: even more pungent Édesnemes: noble and sweet, slightly pungent, bright red Félédes: semi-sweet, medium pungency Rózsa: mild and pale red Erős: hottest, and light brown to orange

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Originally from Hungary, Chef Roland Olah

spent

years at the renowned Cafe Értés in Budapest, learned the classic cuisine of France and Belgium during his formal training, and cooked under industry giant Daniel Bolud in New York.” when we dove into the impossibly delicious and hearty vegetable soup (Magyaros Zöldségleves). It was warm and bright, bountiful with a variety of beans and a tomato-based broth. After a shake of the paprika, it was truly like medicine. Although Chef Olah is classically trained and can wow us with technique and masterful plates, that is not what it’s about at the bistro. “It’s not about being fancy. It is about bringing back memories and a smile for our heritage,” he explains. Despite his high level of skill and the fare he provides at places like Martel or Bruxelles, it’s down to the comforts of home in the Friday bistro at Calvin Church. He thinks about his mom: “I grew up next to her skirt as a boy in her kitchen. My passion comes from her.” Even though she worked long days in a factory, Olah says his mom shopped every day for fresh ingredients and cooked from scratch. With a chardonnay and a Stella Artois, the latter going down best with our plates, my son and I marveled at the delicious simplicity: how just a few ingredients could be so satisfying and yield so much flavor. With his other demanding endeavors, Olah says they post the new menu on Tuesdays, shop on Wednesdays, and prep and cook on Thursdays and Fridays. While there, five tables were full, and a few individuals came in to pick up orders.

Did You Know... August 20 is the official state holiday of Hungary. It is known as Foundation Day, Constitution Day and St. Stephen’s Day. It’s “the day of the new bread;” it’s a tradition to cut bread on this day to celebrate the arrival of the harvest.

For the main course during our visit, diners chose from a Pepper Beef Stew (Borsos Tokány), Pork Tenderloin with Fried Potatoes (Brassói Aprópecsenye), and Egg Pasta with Farmer Cheese, Bacon, and Sour Cream (Túrós Tészta,

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memor

It is about bringing back

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ories and a smile for our heritage,�

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...the pride

this community works so hard to uphold, and the beauty of a humble, hearty plate.”

Pirított Bacon). Then for dessert, a Poppyseed, Sour Cherry Strudel (Mákos-Meggyes Rétes). Diners leave the church basement bistro with a warm, satisfied belly. Hungarians in the community have a chance to reconnect with the tables of their youth, making their past ever-present. But even those far removed from Hungarian culture will understand the pride this community works so hard to uphold, and the beauty of a humble, hearty plate.

"Köszönöm” - thank you.

The Hungarian Bistro/Magyar Bistro is open every Friday, from 12 -3:00 pm and 5:00 - 9:30 pm. Hungarian Bistro/Magyar Bistro Calvin United Church 901 Kings Highway E., Fairfield 203.345.1114 203.419.6648, for orders

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Sm

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mall-Batch Yogurt at Hastings Farm by Gena Golas with recipes from Chef Meg Buchsbaum Laurie Bonneau photos

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Back in 2009, the Hastings family was at a crossroads. They had operated a dairy farm since the 1950’s, but milk prices had just dropped industry-wide, and they found themselves needing to make a choice: sell the cows and discontinue production for local dairies, or change their business model to treat and distribute their own milk. Sisters Megan and Lauren Hastings, among the fourth generation of this family’s farmers, chose the latter. They took a one-day dairy course

at Cornell University, and made the leap into processing and distributing their own milk. Eleven-or-so years later, the farm, located on over 200 acres in Suffield, is thriving. Home to approximately 250 cows and four generations of Hastings family—Megan and Lauren’s parents, husbands, kids, and friends-who-are-like-family, all who help operate the farm by milking, feeding, making, and delivering—Hastings Farm is locally famous for their farm-

HASTINGS FARM IS LOCALLY FAMOUS FOR THEIR FARM-MADE GREEK YOGURT. CT FOODANDFARM.COM

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THE YOGURT IS MADE THREE TO FOUR TIMES WEEKLY IN SMALL BATCHES... made Greek yogurt. The yogurt is made three to four times weekly in small batches, and comes in nine flavors: plain, honey, apricot, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, lemon, vanilla, and coffee. The popular - but seasonal - pumpkin pie flavor is available each fall. The milk is first pasteurized on-site, and a few grams of culture are added. The milk is then left to sit for seven to eight hours in a milk tank, where it thickens. Megan describes how she knows, purely by smell, when the milk is ready: “it goes from warm-milky, to tart, then sweet.” Years of experience and hundreds of batches make this a more sensory, and less scientific, process. A cold day might slow the culturing, while a hot day speeds it up. At this stage, the milk mixture gets scooped out of the tank and into a cheesecloth-lined metal cart, specially designed for the Hastings by an engineer friend. The cart’s mesh screens strain the whey out of the cultured milk, leaving thick Greek yogurt behind. The yogurt is left plain, or flavored: think honey from nearby Hilltop Apiaries in Simsbury, fruit preserves, vanilla extract, or lemon curd. The result is a thick, creamy, silky, mildly tangy yogurt that’s not too sweet, even with flavor added: dig right in with a spoon, or use in your favorite savory or sweet recipe.

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At the heart of all the Hastings’ dairy products are, of course, the cows and their milk. The cows are milked twice daily and produce 600 to 800 gallons of milk each week, some of which stays on the farm to be processed, while the rest is shipped to nearby dairies in a big tanker truck. The milk that stays on the farm is pasteurized, but minimally processed and nonhomogenized, so that the 4% butterfat settles deliciously at the top of each half-gallon glass bottle. In addition to whole white and chocolate milk, Hastings offers a few varieties of farm-fresh cheese. “Cheese is the fun thing,” says Megan. “We make whatever we feel like, we don’t have a ‘brand.’” In their farm store or in the local markets to which they deliver, you might find Gracie’s Farmstead Gouda or Ginger’s Caerphilly - named, in this case, after a grandmother-andgranddaughter team of cows on the farm. Hastings also regularly makes ricotta cheese, and offers cuts of natural beef from the farm’s Hereford cows, which grow up alongside their Holsteins and Jerseys. Come to Hastings Farm to visit with the cows, get to know the family, and pick up a bottle of milk, wedge of cheese, or a pint of yogurt - or, if you prefer, try your hand at homemade yogurt with the following recipe. Then, use your yogurt in some spring recipes inspired by Hastings Farm yogurt.

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AT THE

HEART

OF ALL THE HASTINGS’ DAIRY PRODUCTS ARE, OF COURSE, THE

COWS AND THEIR MILK.

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HOMEMADE YOGURT Yield: One quart 1 quart milk (preferably raw milk from cows) 2 tablespoons store-bought, live/active culture yogurt, plain 5 pint canning jars with lids Heat milk in a stainless pot over medium heat until it reaches 180 degrees. Remove from heat and allow to cool until it reaches 115 degrees. Add the yogurt, and gently stir to combine. Divide evenly between the jars and cover. Place in a water bath that is 110 degrees, and cook for 12 hours or longer until the yogurt is set. Allow to cool and place in the refrigerator. Some “whey� may come to the top; pour off.

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For a chef, nothing compares to ingredients fresh from the farm. Here, Meg Buchsbaum, private chef and owner of Tapestry Hill Farm in Colchester, shares three spring recipes featuring Hastings Farm Greek yogurt. “Yogurt does have a shelf life,” she says, “but when you eat it freshly made, it’s a game changer! It’s not to say that store-bought yogurt is inferior; however, my example is this: a freshly-made chocolate chip cookie is so much better than a day old one.” This analogy neatly describes how products that have no delay to the consumer simply taste better. Meg’s recipes below highlight the freshness of Hastings Farm yogurt.

SPICED ROASTED CARROTS ≈ GARLICKY YOGURT SAUCE Serves 4-6 For the Sauce: 1 cup Hastings Farm Greek Yogurt, honey flavored or plain (if using plain, add 2 tablespoons of native honey) 1/2 teaspoon Za’taar spice 2 cloves garlic, finely minced 1/4 teaspoon sea salt Combine all ingredients and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer. Taste and season with more salt if needed. Letting the sauce rest allows for the Za’taar to infuse the yogurt. CT FOODANDFARM.COM

For the Carrots: 1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut lengthwise 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons honey 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a shallow dish, combine all ingredients. Toss gently to evenly coat the carrots. Line the carrots on the sheet and place in the oven. Cook for 10 minutes. Toss the carrots with tongs, and cook until tender. This will vary depending on the freshness of the carrots as well as their size.

1/2 teaspoon salt

When the carrots are done, transfer to a serving plate and serve with the yogurt sauce.

Heat oven to 425 degrees, with the rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

YOGURT

1 lemon, zested, then juiced

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PANCAKES ≈ BANANAS Serves 4

1 cup all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon sugar 3/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1 cup Hastings Farm Plain Greek Yogurt 1 egg 1 cup buttermilk 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted 1 pinch cinnamon 1 ripe banana, sliced Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, egg, and melted butter. Whisk together dry and wet ingredients. Do not over mix. Heat a griddle to 325 degrees. When hot, grease with non-stick spray or butter. Drop batter by 1/3 cupfuls, evenly spaced onto the griddle. Place banana slices on each pancake. When the edges are set and the center has a few bubbles, gently turn each pancake. Cook until golden; serve with maple syrup or butter.

LEMON YOGURT CAKE Makes one loaf

For the Cake: 1 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup cake flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup Hastings Farm Plain Greek Yogurt 1 cup sugar 3 extra large eggs 2 lemons, zested 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup vegetable oil 1/3 cup lemon juice

For the Syrup:

1/3 cup lemon juice 1/3 cup sugar

For the Glaze: 1 cup confectioner’s sugar 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 ½ x 4 ¼ x 2 ½ inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

While the cake is baking, prepare the syrup. Cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and the 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter until well incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

When the cake is done, allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully remove from the pan and place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool completely.

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For the glaze, combine the confectioners sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake after it is completely cooled.

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PRODUCTS THAT HAVE NO DELAY TO THE CONSUMER SIMPLY

TASTE BETTER

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3rd Thursday Street Fest by Erin Morelle and Karen Gilbransen Winter Caplanson photos

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Envision strolling Historic Main Street in Downtown Willimantic, immersing

yourself in a stream of musical, visual, and gastronomic delectables. Five stages offer a wide variety of musical genres, delighting thousands of smiling people at the 3rd Thursday Street Fest. You’ll find everything from Irish to neosoul; salsa to blues and roots; djs with rap and electronic beats; and cover and alt bands playing classics and new music to entertain the masses. You’ll find your kind of music and something new to make you move! The strength of Willimantic’s diversity shines in the delicious ethnic international cuisine available at 3rd Thursday Street Fests. Sample authentic empanadas, falafel, tikka masala, footlong hotdogs, sumptuous ice cream, an enormous array of creamy fudge and kettle corn, pulled pork, fried seafood, everyone’s favorite doughboys, and pizza.

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The strength of Willimantic’s diversity shines IN THE DELICIOUS

ETHNIC INTERNATIONAL CUISINE

AVAILABLE AT 3RD THURSDAY STREET FESTS.

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HUGE R

how great

AND INTRODUCED PEOPLE 156

UNFAMI

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Wash it down with micro-brewed beer, including Willimantic Brewing Company’s brews, and Hosmer Mountain’s locallycrafted soda. Over 100 vendors and crafters showcase a wealth of goods, including hand-made pottery, glass, soap, art, jewelry, clothing, purses, and semiprecious stones. Street performers play with fire, hula hoop, and juggle for the crowds while children’s activities engage and amuse the younger folk. Come dance, shop, eat and laugh with us in Downtown Willimantic in 2020 from 6-9 pm on May 21st, June 18th, July 16th, August 20, and September 17th! Contact 860-450-0918 or visit WillimanticStreetFest.com for information and the full schedule. Join us! Started in 2002 by Willimantic Renaissance, a local nonprofit organization, the 3rd Thursday Street Fests draws over five thousand attendees on the third Thursday of each month from May to September. “Street Fest has played a huge role in reminding people how great Willimantic is and introduced people unfamiliar to the town we love,” explains organizer Karen Gilbransen. She also heads up planning and execution for many other community events in

STREET FEST HAS PLAYED A

ROLE IN REMINDING PEOPLE

Willimantic, including Romantic Willimantic Chocolate Festival, Thread City Hop Fest, and Trick or Treat on Main Street.

t Willimantic is

ILIAR TO THE TOWN WE LOVE CT FOODANDFARM.COM

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Street performers play with fire, hula hoop, and juggle FOR THE

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CROWDS

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Are you interested in organizing a public event in your community? Here are Karen’s top tips: You’ve got a great idea for an event. Maybe a swap meet? A music festival? <Insert awesome event idea here!> It’s exciting, isn’t it…when you’ve got a great idea kicking around your head? You want to get going, but aren’t sure where to start. First stop? It’s almost always your town hall. Check-in with the Recreation Department if you’re using a town-owned venue; they’ll be able to walk you through the process of reserving the space and will know the town’s requirements. If you aren’t planning to host an event on townowned property, meet with the representatives of the venue you’re using. If you’re planning on having food, your next stop is the health department. Your local sanitarian will know what permits your vendors will need, and what you may need as the organizer. 166

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You want to get going, but CT FOOD & FARM / SPRING 2020


Planning on serving alcohol? You’ll either need a temporary liquor permit from the state - or a restaurant to partner with, that’s permitted to have off-site liquor. Depending on the size and location of the event, a check-in with your local police department never hurts. It’s always best to communicate your plan early on in the process. The last thing you want is to find out late in the organizing process that there are significant obstacles. Now that you’ve checked in with the appropriate authorities, it’s time to make sure you’ve secured everything else you need. First up? Insurance. Events need to be insured. The cost will be determined by the details. Attendance is a factor, and whether you’re having food and/ or alcohol. There are a lot of options to secure an event-specific policy, from local insurance agencies to online resources. You may be able to partner with a local organization, the town, or the venue itself to help offset the cost. Don’t forget toilets, handwashing stations, tents, tables, and chairs (if needed), and to set aside money for marketing. You may not want to run traditional newspaper display ads, but you can’t go wrong with posters, community television announcements, creating a Facebook event, and possibly some paid ads on social media. Most important? Have fun! It’s a wonderful thing to see people coming together to enjoy themselves and your town at an event you’ve created - and hopefully you’ll create a fun, lasting

aren’t sure where to start. tradition that people will enjoy in years to come.

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It’is a wonderful thing to see people coming together TO ENJOY THEMSELVES AND YOUR TOWN AT AN EVENT YOU’VE CREATED

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hen

e t ta i r

farm to table bed & breakfast

by Jennifer C. Lavoie Paula Deutz photos

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sparse snowflakes fell softly and silently

outside of henrietta house bed and breakfast in ashford on a february day. The chilly air made me pull my coat collar tighter around my neck as I approached the doorway, but the cold was quickly dissolved by the warmth that enveloped me from owner and proprietor Marian Matthews, and manager Jasmine Lewis. Henrietta House is a place to relax, unwind and reflect. Built in 1722, the house is surrounded by extensive perennial and vegetable gardens, a beautiful 1800’s barn, stone walls with traces of lichen bordering the yard, rolling fields and a newly planted blueberry patch. “This was the first house that said, you belong to me,” Marian explains, referring to the first time she saw the property, in 1985. It is that

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sweet sentiment that is so very apparent when you visit and stay at the house. Jasmine tells a story about their first guests from Switzerland; she began planning the full breakfast that she would serve the next day (no continental breakfast here!) but became so nervous that she accidentally made so much she had plenty to serve breakfast and then dinner as well! She laid out the surprise evening spread for them, “Beauty and the Beast style.” The guests were shocked but delighted and settled in for the night by a beautifully lit fire, enjoying wine and good company.

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Marian and Jasmine - with their easy nature, humor and graciousness - make guests feel as though Henrietta House belongs to them too. They lovingly create a farm-to-table breakfast for their guests using just about every ingredient from their farm. Jasmine explains that the first step to becoming self-sustaining is to grow or raise what you need on the farm. They started out with heritage chickens, then added goats and finally, pigs. Jasmine prepares many of the meals; though not a classically trained chef, she sure can cook like one. Guests enjoy eggs Benedict, Belgian waffles, fresh yogurt and cheese made from goat’s milk, homemade granola, ricotta cheese, and homemade pork sausage. Ingredients that aren’t grown or raised on the farm are sourced from local farmers and artisans: think smallbatch, fresh roasted coffee beans from Ben’s Beans in Pomfret, or fruit syrups from Ashford Farms.

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Marian grew up in Texas, and there are traces of her southern drawl as she explains how she fell in love with New England. She didn’t grow up on a farm, but always wanted to live sustainably. Early on, she took a Beginning Women Farmers Training Program; it helped Marian come up with holistic goals for the farm, and taught her how to bring in a profit. A local woman taught Marian how to raise and milk goats; the farm now has a herd of seven, with the newest member, Persnickety, born just a few weeks ago. If the idea of a sumptuous breakfast alone isn’t enough, the historic home is a wonder for folks who love old New England architecture. The house has many of its original features, including a traditional center chimney design. It includes wide hand-hewn chestnut floorboards, worn smooth in places by the inhabitants of this 300-year-old house;

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five working fireplaces; a beehive oven; original windows with their characteristic wavy appearance; large stone hearths; and nooks and crannies calling out for deeper inspection. “I just love this house so much. It is so comfortable,” Marian explains. “When you have a house like this, you feel you’re responsible for maintaining the history; [you’re] a curator of sorts.” The three guest rooms are all on the second floor and have modern conveniences while maintaining historic charm. Marian belongs to the Ashford Clean Energy Task Force, and has installed solar panels on the roof of the barn for both heating and cooling, providing guests with a comfortable stay. Each room has some element of Marian’s travels to Asia, including traditional Japanese clothing; silk duvets from India; and lamps, ceramics and embroidery from Korea.

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â&#x20AC;&#x153; HENRIETTA HOUSE IS A PLACE TO RELAX, UNWIND AND REFLECT.

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The larger Henrietta suite is a lovely room in the back of the house, overlooking the keyhole garden; it has a perfect view of the barn and fields, with a gorgeous soaking tub and its own entrance and balcony. There is much to do in and around Ashford, and Henrietta House staff are eager to help guests enjoy local experiences in Connecticut’s “quiet corner.” There’s fishing and swimming at Bigelow Hollow State Forest; visiting Sharpe Hill or Taylor Brook wineries; discovering the antique shops, restaurants and theaters in Putnam; visiting the UCONN Jorgenson theater; or exploring downtown Willimantic’s eclectic restaurant and art scene. Marian mentioned a book to me during my visit called The Deserted Village, written in the early 1890’s by Henry Sherman Boutell, an Illinois congressman who journeyed to Ashford. His family had in its possession a chest full of artifacts and letters about Captain Knowlton, who led the battle of Bunker Hill and the minute-men of Ashford; these artifacts stoked young Boutell’s imagination. He writes about his desire to visit Ashford: “Everyone has in mind some historic spot that seems more interesting than all others. One wants to locate the Garden of Eden…” The Henrietta House is that Garden of Eden. As a guest, you can relish and appreciate the history of the house; or take a walk on the Josiah Byles Trail, adjacent to the property, celebrating in the New England countryside. You can soak in the sun and fresh air in the beautiful gardens, pick fresh blueberries, commune with the farm animals, or simply revel in the peace and tranquility that Henrietta House offers.

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PERFECT POPOVERS:

A HENRIETTA HOUSE RECIPE ingredients

1 cup milk 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 large eggs instructions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Add milk, eggs, flour, and salt to mixer bowl. Beat to mix thoroughly, about 30 seconds; scrape bowl and mix again until flour is fully incorporated. Avoid over-beating; it reduces volume. The mixture may have tiny bumps still in it, which is okay.

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Ladle batter into well-greased custard cups, filling cups halfway. Place cups on a baking sheet and place on center oven rack. Bake for about 45 minutes. Remove popovers from oven, and serve with butter and jam as soon as possible. Makes seven popovers baked in five-ounce custard cups. Recipe can be reduced or expanded. For each egg, use 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup milk, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Serve these crisp, brown pockets hot, with lots of butter and jelly or jam.

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Behind the Pages

our contributors

AS WE PUT THE FINISHING TOUCHES ON THIS ISSUE, WE ARE UNDER QUARANTINE DURING THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) PANDEMIC. AT THIS UNIQUE MOMENT IN TIME:

Laurie Bonneau’s “to be read” pile of books is getting shorter as the days get longer. Time well spent. Winter Caplanson, photographer, is heartbroken over the cataclysmic impact to CT restaurants but ever so glad Ms. Doherty taught her to cook in high school home economics. Paula Deutz, freelance photographer, has

lived in CT all her life. The arrival of her new Nikon camera could not have come at a better time and is sure to keep her occupied while social distancing.

Karen Gilbransen, event organizer and

marketer, is very concerned for the brick and mortar businesses that line the streets of her downtown but is hopeful and has begun planning Willimantic: Open for Business to celebrate when we get through it.

Gena Golas is a pastry chef worried about the future of our industry, but is happy for extra at-home time with her two kids.

Ruth Hartunian-Alumbaugh, proud

Armenian and Chronicle Ravings and Cravings food writer, is grateful for the communities she is a part of who creatively express love and care in these times.

WINTER CAPLANSON PHOTO

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Lisa Stone Kim, photographer, is in awe of our

Rita Rivera, Connecticut Food and Farm’s

AmyJo Labbe, creative farmer, is feeling appreciative of all the old school farmers in her life that taught her to be not only self-sufficient but to share with those struggling in her community.

Anna Sawin, photographer is baking enough for all of us during our period of social distancing and wishes she could deliver Sherry’s scones to all our front-line health care workers.

Jennifer C. LaVoie, writer, is optimistic

Sherry Swanson, chef, is happiest connecting

healthcare heroes and hopes to find flour soon to keep on baking.

that we will make it through this with kindness, generosity and love. The farms, restaurants and small businesses need our support. They are our neighbors and the heart of our communities. Buy take-out and gift certificates and share a roll or two of TP if you’ve got it!

Graphic Designer, never envisioned that her apocalyptic outfit would be her Hello Kitty pajamas.

with people, whether it’s a cooking class, a wine tasting or just cooking with friends, just not right now.

Marilynn Turner, writer, and Professor

of English, has, in one short week, learned the intricacies of teleconferencing, which will permit her to have face-to-face contact with her students.

Carla McElroy is currently an unemployed photographer living her best life, eating, watching Netflix and drinking wine in self isolation with her husband, two kids and her two dogs. Awaiting the zombies, but they don’t seem to be coming.

Camila Vallejo, writer, is taking this time to

Lisa Nichols from Bread & Beast Food Photographer is grateful for all the blessings she’s been given. Be well, Everyone.

Kristin L. Wolfe, writer. Amidst this fragile

Mallory O’Connor, writer, is practicing gratitude daily with her family, spending her time at home relearning the basics: growing from seed and cooking from scratch. She’s building community and sharing the journey.

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find joy in the little things like cuddling with her cat, Niko, all day long.

time, realizes just how much the kitchen is the ever present beating heart of home; everything tastes sweeter and feels more special.

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"I’VE GOT

nOTHING TO DO TODAY

BUT SMILe" – PAUL SIMON

PHOTO 186 BY WINTER CAPLANSON AT TINY ACRE FARM

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Profile for Connecticut Food and Farm

Connecticut Food & Farm Magazine, Spring 2020, Volume 20