How To Make the Perfect Bowl of Pasta

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Sauce Expert Reveals Tricks of The Pasta Trade

Pasta is one of the staples of the American diet, but it need not taste like a staple.

“It is so much more than just grabbing a jar of generic sauce at the store, boiling some water and mixing it all up in a bowl,” said Dave Hirschkop, the namesake of the Dave’s Gourmet (www.davesgourmet.com) line of sauces and veteran pasta and sauce aficionado. “There are subtle secrets in every step of the process from choosing the sauce, boiling the water, and plating the finished meal, that can take an everyday dull meal and turn it into a gourmet dining experience.”

He should know. His sauces have been named tops in the industry by the Sofi Awards two years running, making him a recognized expert in designing the perfect bowl of pasta.

His tips include:

Choosing the Pasta

If you want a great pasta experience, choose a variety of pasta that receives the sauce and spices well. Thinner, more delicate shapes should pair with lighter, thinner sauces. Pick pasta made from durum wheat. A slightly rougher pasta or shaped pasta holds the sauce better.

Choosing the Sauce

Good marinara is made primarily from tomatoes, not tomato paste. If your sauce ingredients list paste, water or sugar as the first ingredient, then you need to put the jar down slowly and back away from it. Some sauces make a better base so don’t be afraid to doctor them with meat, cheese, or fresh veggies. Also, to keep your pasta love life interesting, experiment with different flavors of sauce (tomato cream, butternut, wild mushroom, etc.).

Boiling the Pasta

Use plenty of water, add salt to it, and never put dry pasta in the water until it has reached a rolling boil. Stir occasionally and, once the pasta nears the minimum cooking time on the package, start tasting it. Take the pasta out when it is al dente or a little firm. The pasta will continue to cook a little after you take it out.

Heating the Sauce

For an even more flavorful pasta dish, take the pasta out of the water a few minutes early and let it finish cooking in the sauce.

Plating the Pasta

When you strain the pasta, do not run water over the pasta unless you are making a cold pasta salad. Make sure to strain really well as nobody likes watery pasta. Place a ladle of sauce at the bottom of your serving bowl before dumping the cooked pasta in. Then, ladle generous amounts of sauce into the bowl, and toss the pasta so the sauce is evenly distributed. Then you can add extra sauce to each plate according to your dinner guests’ tastes. You might want to garnish each plate with some fresh basil or even parsley. Freshly grated Parmesan or Parmesan Reggiano is a great touch and tasty.

Preparing the Bread

The bread is important because at the end of the meal, a good textured bread can be used to soak up the excess sauce in the plate. To make the most of the bread, bake it for 6-8 minutes at 350 degrees. This will make for toasty nooks and crannies that will capture the sauce in your plate without letting the bread go limp or soggy. Garlic bread can also be a delicious alternative.

“A great pasta meal is all about the details and the creative flair,” Dave added. “If you take care to pay attention to those details and put forth a tiny bit of extra effort, every pasta meal at home can be a gourmet meal you can be proud of.”

About Dave Hirschkop

Dave’s Gourmet (www.davesgourmet.com) is the result of Dave owning and managing a small restaurant near the University of Maryland, which taught him a lot about preparing food and satisfying customers.

He uses that experience with Dave’s Gourmet, which after 18 years has grown into a maker of more than 70 award-winning gourmet food products.

A “Sweet” Tribute for a Good Cause

tomsadgeBy Allison Mowatt

Since 1921, the Wayne Memorial Hospital (WMH) Auxiliary has made raising money for the hospital’s enhancement its sole purpose. These efforts improve quality care for patients and allow staff to better assist them in a contemporary working environment.

Katy Wood, who has been a member for twelve years, said the organization was the first one she joined when she moved to Honesdale. “It’s a great group of women who love raising money for the hospital,” she said.

The Auxiliary has a very special event coming up on Sunday, September 20, at the Woodloch Pines Night Club on 731 Welcome Lake Road. The concert, “Tom Sadge as Neil Diamond,” will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Pittston resident, Tom Sadge, will perform a variety of Neil Diamond songs. Tom is a tribute artist known for his likeness to the popular singer-songwriter, renowned for hits such as “Sweet Caroline” and “September Morn.”

Katy heard Tom sing during an event in Hemlock Farms. She was impressed by his similarities to Neil Diamond in sound, appearance, and stage presence. Tom met the seasoned star and Neil’s been quoted saying, “This guy sounds just like me.”

This is the third time the Auxiliary is holding a concert fundraiser, and they’re hopeful for a good reception. Proceeds from the event will fund the hospital’s new heliport, which is an important element in the development of its Stage 4 Trauma Center and expected to be completed in 2016. According to Katy, the cost of the proposed heliport is $100,000, and the Auxiliary hopes this event will cover a significant portion of the cost, along with other fundraisers throughout the year. Last year, the Auxiliary raised $125,000, which funded the mobile mammography van.

During “Tom Sadge as Neil Diamond,” there will be light snacks and a cash bar. Tickets are $35 a person. There is open and limited seating so registration is suggested. To order tickets, call Katy at (570) 253-5779 or Joan Buehl (570) 226-9750. Woodloch is providing a van service at extra charge to pick people up at the Stourbridge Complex in Honesdale and bring them to the concert.

About WMH Auxiliary:

It’s one of the strongest healthcare auxiliary organizations in the state. It consists of approximately 230 local women and men who work with the Board of Trustees, its authorized committees, and Wayne Memorial Health System’s Chief Executive Officer to provide volunteer services within the system and its related corporations and to raise funds for the enhancement of health care. Every six weeks, a newsletter is sent out to inform the public about the Auxiliary’s fundraising efforts throughout the community. The group meets six times a year at the hospital and local restaurants.

How to Get Involved:

People interested in joining the Auxiliary can fill out a membership application form, which is available at The Other Shops in Honesdale and Hawley, the Gift Box in the hospital lobby, and from Membership Chair-person Joan Buehl (570) 226-9750).

More Women are Flying Solo to See the World

Elegant green baggage5 Tips for Getting Off Your Settee & Joining Them

So you’re a woman and you want to see the world – on your terms.

Join the crowd!

More and more women are traveling alone or with girlfriends, an estimated 32 million in the past year, according to the Travel Industry Association.

“It’s the new trend in travel and, really, it’s a no-brainer,” says Ruth Yunker, an intrepid solo traveler and author of “Paris, I’ve Grown Accustomed to Your Ways,” (www.ruthyunker.com), a humorous recounting of her extended stay in Paris as part-time resident, part-time tourist.

“Women hold the purse strings, so to speak, and we don’t necessarily want to see and experience our travel destinations in the same ways men do.”

The numbers tell the story:

  • 28 million single women ages 35 and older – a growing demographic, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Earnings for women with a college degree have increased 31 percent since 1979 while men’s grew just 16 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • In 2011, 28 percent of married women made more than their husbands, up from 17.8 percent in 1987.

“We value our independence and we have the means to get up and go, so why not?” Yunker says.

If you’re a woman who has dreamed of taking off on a safari, jaunting across Europe, or sampling fried seahorses in Beijing, Yunker offers valuable advice:

  1. So you want to travel. You are dying to travel. You have a list of 10 favorite places you’re going to get to … one day. Buy the airline ticket six months in advance. A non-refundable ticket. Don’t fret. Don’t get stopped by all the details. Just do it. There. You’ve taken the first step. You can, and will, worry about all the other details later. But baby, with this ticket, you are now on your way.
  2. Bring a few creature comforts from home. I bring my own pillowcase for the airline pillows, my ragged at-home comfy wear instead of new nightgowns for the hotel or apartment, and the clipboard for working crossword puzzles.
  3. Pack only clothes you currently actually wear. Do not buy a ton of new clothes for the trip. A suitcase packed with new clothes is a trip doomed to tears, trust me. The old clothes fit you now. You know without thinking how to look pulled together. The new clothes are uncomfortable. They don’t go with anything yet. And they scream brand new traveler!
  4. Bring some currency from your destination country with you. Do it. Everyone will tell you otherwise. They’ll say it’s so much cheaper to change your money once you get there. Maybe. But in the mayhem of the airport, suitcases going in every direction, do you really want to be finding the currency exchange? Just getting to the hotel/apartment will be job enough. So do arrive with Euros or whatever currency you need. It doesn’t have to be a huge sum, just enough to ease your arrival.
  5. Once at the hotel, unpack your toilet articles and arrange them in the bathroom in the same order you do at home. It makes things so much easier. It’s so nice to be able to leave the hotel/apartment without having had a meltdown looking for misplaced mascara.

Yunker04cAbout Ruth Yunker

Ruth Yunker is an author, humorist, columnist, blogger, and diehard world traveler. Her peripatetic childhood led to an adulthood always on the move; she has lived all over the United States, from Boston to Los Angeles, Brussels, Belgium and, for a short time, Paris. Her first book, “Me, Myself & Paris,” recounts her first experiences as a single woman living alone in Paris for three six-week stints. Her newest book, “Paris, I’ve Grown Accustomed to Your Ways,” continues the saga from a more City of Light-experienced perspective.

Pocono Garlic Festival

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GarlicBulbClovesNow celebrating its 21st year, the Pocono Garlic Festival is a Labor Day weekend must do that is held at Shawnee Ski Mountain area. Proud to be known as the “stinkiest” festival for two decades, the event attracts thousands of foul-mouthed diners seeking something reeking of garlic, and each year this festival happily delivers.

Attendees can expect a gastronomic garlic extravagance that can boast one of a kind garlic laced prepared foods, art, regional garlic to buy, growing seminars, and even daily garlic eating contests. (Last year’s winner ate 4.5 ounces of garlic within a minute.) The festival is also proud to be highlighting our local restaurants by hosting its second “Chopped Style” Cooking Competition and a newly added local Fire Company Grill Off.

This year, there will be just about sixty vendors paying tribute to the stinky stuff to eat in, take out, or just bask in the beauty of it. The two-day event has patrons consuming everything from the traditional garlic pull pork to the not so common garlic chocolate chip cookies. Love of garlic is very apparent with those who make this a regular pilgrimage to purchase the specialty food items only found at the Pocono Garlic Festival.

“People get really passionate about garlic. It’s infused in most everyone’s culture. If you really think about it, you can find garlic in just about every ethnic dish you can imagine: Mexican, Italian, Polish, Regional American, Thai, Greek; the list is too long to mention all, but it is a common dominator when you think about a delicious meal. I believe it’s a recipe of longevity for the Pocono Garlic Festival. Where else can taste your way around the world in just one day?!” exclaimed Sharon Rothman, 2015 PGF Communications Manager. “As every year, the festival tries to focus on highlighting local businesses. We are happy to announce some new to the line up are Garlic cupcakes from Kitchen Chemistry, Vegetarian Dishes by Quench, Garlic Scones by Cafe Duet, all from Stroudsburg, PA.”

The festival prides itself on good old family fun, and with the price of admission, people can enjoy three stages of continuous entertainment, which include local musicians, local performers, magicians, a petting zoo, a children fun area, education seminars, live native animal shows, as well as hands-on artisans’ demonstrations hosted by Peter’s Valley Crafts School.

Local garlic growers began the festival in conjunction with the region’s annual garlic harvest. Many festival goers continue to look forward to products produced by some of area Pennsylvania farms that founded the event. Patrons look forward each season to purchasing locally harvested hardback garlic, as well as locally produced products such as Rolling Hills Farm of Salyorsburg Original Garlic Vinegar, Knob View Farms of Cherry Valley garlic salt, Mountaindale Farms Garple (maple syrup infused garlic vinegar) and Josie Porter Farms garlic starter kits.

PGF founder and Brookside Farmer Carl Andrews exclaimed, “It’s amazing how large it grew from the just four farm stands; I never imagined it could be this big.” Andrew explained that the notion of the festival started one year that there was a bumper crop of garlic, which blossomed into the first festival in the back of St. Luke’s Church parking lot in Stroudsburg. He said, “We knew we had something because each year more people came for more garlic, and every year we sold out.” Although Andrews no longer has a farm stand at the festival, he is still part of the PGF and can be found at the information booth during the event. This year there will be sixteen regional farmers selling some unique and organic hard neck varieties that include names like Music, Legacy, Spanish Roja, Italian Purple, and German White garlic.

Roman Osadca is a New Jersey garlic farmer and has been part of the festival for over a decade. Osadca will be hosting a garlic growing tips seminar in their education tent. “I think that the festival infrastructure, program, and events get better and smoother each year; we just have a lot of fun with it.” Osadca’s favorite garlic advice to gardeners: “Garlics from all over the world do well in Northwestern New Jersey soils and climate. Some need several years to acclimate and grow well. Just be patient.”

The two days of extraordinary garlic laced festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday, September 5th and 6th, Labor Day Weekend. Gates open at 10:00 a.m. till 6:00 p.m. daily.

Visit www.poconogarlic.com to find out more information on entertainment schedules, food vendors, and local farms participating. Tickets can be purchased in advance online with considerable savings, Two Day Pass is $15.00 and One Day Adult $9.00/ Children $7.50 and under 4 FREE. During the event, at gate prices for general Admission are $12.50,Two Day Pass $17.00 and Children (ages 5-12) $ 8.50.

Wally Lake Fest 2015: Celebrating the Big Lake in a Big Way

 

Wally Lake Fest PageAug15By Allison Mowatt

The highly anticipated 6th Annual Wally Lake Fest is just weeks away, and excitement is mounting for this three day festival of summer fun on beautiful Lake Wallenpaupack and throughout the Lake Region with a multitude of activities for people of all ages, from sailboat rides, a boat parade, and hydroelectric dam tours to an open market fair, a tour de towpath bike ride, and a family activity spot.

Wally Lake Fest takes place August 28th through the 30th, and it’s considered the biggest festival celebrating the Big Lake and the tail end of the summer season. Residents and visitors flock to the shores and glistening waters to participate in the many scheduled water activities and have a blast on dry land.

Mark your calendars and get ready for non-stop action. It’s shaping up to be the best year yet with Yoga at Lacawac Sanctuary, a “Hemlock Hollow School 1890 Experience,” Wally Fest Express The Stourbridge Line Train, rides, free shuttle buses, and even more live music and entertainment.

The Yoga at Lacawac takes place on Saturday at noon and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. People can enjoy a restorative yoga session with Diane Rixner on Lacawac Sanctuary’s serene grounds. Classes are $8. For registration information and the option to include reiki sessions and overnight accommodations, visit Lacawac Sanctuary’s website or call (570) 689-9494.

The “Hemlock Hollow School 1890 Experience” is in memory of beloved local historian and educator, Thomas H. Kennedy. From 12 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, relive what it was like to be a student in 1890 under the tutelage of the School Master (played by Sandy Gabrielson). School is in session on the hour from noon to 4:30 p.m. This event also includes free horse drawn wagon rides and petting zoo provided by Black Horse Farms. In addition, the fun also encompasses period themed actors, activities, food, popcorn, cotton candy, a flea market, and face painting. The “Hemlock Hollow School 1890 Experience” is at 1202 Avoy Road in Lakeville. For more information, call (570) 226-2200.

Also on Saturday, festival goers can take a ride on the historic Stourbridge Line between 5 and 8 p.m. Travel to Hawley in style, just in time for the evening’s activities. At 4 p.m., climb aboard the train in Honesdale and enjoy a leisurely ride to downtown Hawley. The train departs Hawley at 7 p.m. to head back to Honesdale.

There is plenty of live entertainment throughout the weekend. Laugh your heart out with the comedy, Arsenic & Old Lace, held at The Ritz Company Playhouse in Hawley all three nights, beginning at 8 p.m. Enjoy The Young Geezers American Music Concert at the Carriage House at Lacawac Sanctuary on Sunday at 3 p.m. Listen to this melodic folk, gospel and bluegrass trio, who’ve been playing at Lacawac for the past six years.

Wallypalooza, formerly known as “Battle of the Bands,” debuted three years ago and was a big hit. On Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., a couple of bands perform right on the water on top of a floating stage in front of Dike and Visitors Center. The bands scheduled are Eric Rudy & Friends (rock and roll and classic rock) and Barely Covered (Jimmy Buffet inspired music). People are invited to drop anchor and listen on the lake from their boats, lie out on the Dike while soaking up the sun and tunes, or cruise the lake on a rented kayak or stand up paddleboard (SUP) provided by Wallenpaupack Boat Tour and Boat Rentals. One hour is $10 and is based on availability. In addition, there will be a tent and chairs set up at the beach for people to sit and listen to the bands in comfort.

The kids love the Family Activity Spot at Gresham’s Landing, which takes place on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Both days, there will be two Pirate Ship Bounce Houses, a slide, face painting, kids tattoos, balloons, and a variety of local discounts.

Other exciting events lined up are the Friends and Family Open House at Miss Elly’s Antiques/The Village Bath on Church Street in Hawley, held on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. with complimentary refreshments, discounts, and other fun things in-store, the Motorcycle “Ride for the Lake” from 10 a.m. to noon at the Wallenpaupack Area High School, the Boat, Watercraft and Outdoor Show on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., also at the high school with displays exhibits, food stands, and free face painting, and plenty of live music at area restaurants and more.

To make it possible for people to get the most out of their Wally Lake Fest experience, multiple free shuttle buses will run throughout the weekend, making a variety of stops.

Wally Lake Fest is proudly hosted by the Downtown Hawley Partnership and presented by Lighthouse Harbor Marina.

For more information, pick up a Wally Lake Fest brochure at the Lake Wallenpaupack Visitors Center and other area businesses. The brochure lists the complete schedule of events for the entire weekend. Additional details and daily updates are posted on the website, http://www.wallylakefest.com, and the Facebook page, so be sure to check it out at http://www.facebook.com/wallylakefest.