Edible Berkshires

Soup Nights Dish Up Full Stomachs and Happy Hearts

sweetCornChowder

Photograph by Matt LaBombard

The best part about working at a publishing house is that every day I look through new and exciting titles. Some books spark my literary curiosity while others inspire me to get off the couch and create something of my own. Either way, I take the opportunity to look at information in new and innovative ways.

One book that recently crossed my desk is the inspiring story of a tradition that is catching fire throughout the country. Soup Night, by Maggie Stuckey, chronicles communities and neighborhoods throughout the nation that host monthly dinner parties in which, you guessed it, the main entree is soup.

At these intimately inclusive and heartwarming dinners, the host provides the soup, or maybe two—one vegetarian and one containing meat. As the hearty scent of homemade soup wafts down the street, the host’s neighbors and friends show up bearing side dishes, salads, … Read the rest

Green Highways

Detour into vegetarianism leads to surprising pleasures

greenHwys

Recently I decided to venture off the path of my common eating routine. I had fallen into the habit of cooking the same meals and using the same familiar ingredients. I was in search of a better understanding of my “foodie self ” and, although nervous, I decided to shake things up.

My new path was simple, but unlikely for me: I would become a vegetarian.

At first it seemed crazy—a guy who is infatuated with all things culinary giving up his favorite dishes of Parmesan chicken and pulledpork sandwiches, trading them for vegetable stir-fry and lentil soup! But my habitual-self was yearning for something different. I was craving something challenging, exciting and new.

That’s when it hit me: I was going through a food phase. I started slow. First I gave up red meat, then turkey, pork and finally chicken. To my … Read the rest

Memories by the Mouthful

After unhappy homecoming, he develops a taste for the Berkshires

Orchard

June 2011 was a big time for me. I had just graduated from college and I was off to the city where my dreams were sure to come true. Soon enough, I would be a star: the next Regis Philbin. Name up in lights, photographs in the tabloids, the whole nine yards. This college graduate, with my newly received diploma in hand, was ready to take on the real world and wasn’t looking back—or so I thought. The reality was that the only time I saw my name in anything close to bright lights was on the computer screen as I repaid the staggering amounts of college loans that showed up six months post-graduation without delay. I wasn’t looking back at college, but I also wasn’t looking forward to the city. I was looking to the Berkshires; I was moving … Read the rest

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

  • 10 ounces Brussels sprouts, stalks removed
  • 1–2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 4–5 strips bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Remove the end of each Brussels sprout and slice them in half.

On a baking sheet, toss Brussels sprouts with lemon zest, olive oil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle pieces of bacon on top of mixture.

Roast for 20–25 minutes.

Note: The leaves of the Brussels sprouts can fall off and crisp up very quickly, so try to keep the ingredients somewhat close together.

Chicken Stuffed with Apples and Cheddar Cheese

Chicken Stuffed with Apples and Cheddar Cheese

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, kosher salt and pepper for seasoning chicken
  • Butter

Glaze:

  • 3 tablespoons apple preserves
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2½ tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Pound the chicken breasts until they are ½ inch thick. You can use either a meat mallet or a rolling pin. Place flattened chicken on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and place inside refrigerator.

In a dish, combine apple cubes, walnuts, cheddar cheese, kosher salt, pepper, nutmeg and olive oil.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Remove chicken breasts from refrigerator. Place the apple mixture on one half of the chicken breasts. Fold the other side of the breast over the apple mixture—the chicken … Read the rest

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