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Month: October 2011

Cape May Halloween Parade Winners Announced

Historic and Victorian Cape May’s 28th Annual Halloween Parade played host to a wide variety of costumed characters and was led by Grand Marshall Mayor Dr. Edward Mahaney, Jr., Deputy Mayor Jack Wichterman, and Councilmembers Terri Swain and Deanna Fiocca. Over one hundred costumed judging entries and a total of over 300 individuals marched along Cape May’s tree-lined streets in perfect fall weather. Thirty-five trophies were awarded to the lucky winners at the Emlen Physick Estate following the parade by Mayer Mahaney, Queen Maysea Kamryn Spicer, Miss Cape May County Jennifer Taylor, Miss Outstanding Teen Amy Philips and Miss Cape May County Little Princess Katy Wetzel and parade coordinators Terry Brown and Jean Whalen.

Entertaining the hundreds of spectators along the route and at the reviewing stand at the Pilot House were the, Lower Cape May Regional Marching Band, the Hobo Band, the Cape May County String Band, the Doctors of Rhythm, Miss Cape May County Jennifer Taylor, Queen Maysea Kamryn Spicer, the Quaker City String Band, Cape May County Gymnastics Academy, McGruff, the Cape May County Sheriffs Department, Ed Coles Band, Wildwood High School Band and Bev Carr and her Res Q  Dogs, the Fralinger String Band and Greater Kensington String Band.
Also enhancing the procession were Cape May Police D.A.R.E. vehicle, the MAC trolley with Victorian characters, the Cape May Fire Department , the Rio Grande Fire Company and West Cape May Fire Department.
This year’s parade sponsors were the Cape May Kiwanis Club, Cape May Civic Affairs Department, the Pilot House Restaurant, Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts, M.S. Brown Jewelers, Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cape May, the Cape May Police, Fire Department, Public Works Department, Fire Police and the Washington Street Business Management Assoc. and db Electronics, Jersey Cape Dance and Gymnastics School and the Joanne Reagan School of Dance.

The lucky winners are as follows:

Family – The Lisa Matusiak Family
Funniest – Violet Dales of Villas, NJ
Most Scary –Bill Hower, Cape May Court House, NJ

Best Homemade Costume – Suzanne Muldowney, Delran, NJ
Silliest – Fran Mack, Egg Harbor, NJ
Best Witch – Simcox Family
Best T.V. or Movie Character – Charity McBride, Cape May, NJ
Most Original – Bryant Mcgloin

Costume Categories
Age 3 & Under
1st – Mack Laag, Cape May
2nd – Kinsley Wilson, North Cape May
3rd – Kendyl Godfrey, Cape May

Age 4-6
1st – Gage Grossman, Cape May
2nd – Arianna Smith, Cape May
3rd – Kyle Satt, Cape May

Age 7-9
1st – Dominick Costanzo, Erma
2nd – Brianna Austin
3rd –  Lindsay Holden, Cape May

Age 10-12
1st –  Julia McPherson-Grossman, West Cape May
2nd – Mackenzie Ulmer
3rd – Zachary Moore

Age 13-17
1st  –  Barry Spaulding
2nd – Amy Mathis
3rd – Quinn Bithell, Cape May

Age 18 & Older
1st –  Embers – The Res Q Dog
2nd – Linda Ewing, Cape May
3rd – Sharon Musson, Cape May

Groups/Float
1st – Dolbow Family
2nd – Matthews and McNeill Family, Villas
3rd – Jackie Heitman Family

Themed Groups
1st – Flickinger Family
2nd – Alexandra Brand, Jeffrey Mortensen and Connor Weatherb
3rd –  Charlie & Isabella Omrod


Oktoberfest 2011

When the temperature goes from 90 degrees to 60 degrees in 24 hours – you know it is a sign that the Oktoberfest is going to be well attended and everyone clamoring for wurst, kraut and beer. And that is exactly what happened. As an added bonus, the Oom Pah Pah Band played and our sources claim to have even seen a dog doing the polka in the middle of Jackson Street.


For Ghosts, Halloween is Just a Nightmare

For ghosts, Halloween isn’t just a bad dream, it’s a nightmare.

Americans seem to be obsessed with ghosts and hauntings, especially this time of the year. We talk about them. We write about them. We chase them with meters and equipment, probing and prodding, searching all of their safe hiding places until we find them. Then when we finally do find one, we scream. Whoever thought up the idea of Halloween was obviously not a ghost.

October. The air begins to chill, slowly, first at night, and then during the day. The leaves start their colorful dance ushering in the final stage of their existence. Nature begins its preparation for a long winter’s nap. Everything alive seems to go to sleep or migrate south. Only we humans seem to stick around for the colder months. October, with its warm days, cool nights, and colorful displays of foliage, is a favorite month for many―many of the living that is. For the dead, the month signifies an unwanted awareness by the living that the dead may be lurking around us. Those feelings build to a pitch as we approach Halloween. The dead are just not safe in October―and they know it. The living simply don’t understand the dead. When it comes to a haunting, we take it very personally, even when it has nothing to do with us. October just gives ghosts nightmares.

As a Medium, I sense energies. I have had the ability to do this since I was young. In my early years, I had no idea that I had a gift for such things. The ability ran down both sides of my family, but like many families that have the “psychic gene,” mine never mentioned a word about it. Part of this gift allows me to sense the souls of the dead. They come in two basic forms, the first being the souls of loved ones who have crossed over to Heaven and have returned to guide and help the living, and the second, the souls of people who have never left. They have some unfinished business which keeps them tethered somewhere between Heaven and Earth. We call these souls ghosts.

Ghosts are often misunderstood by the living. Television and reality shows lend a hand in helping to distort our perception of these unseen souls. Most ghosts are not out to “haunt.” They have chosen to remain where they are out of devotion to some unfinished task, material attachment, or emotional tie to the living. If we happen to get in their way, we may cause a disturbance in their existence. Some ghosts simply move in another direction to get away, while other, more strong-willed ghosts may push back. The former is much more common than the latter.

Our existence and a ghost’s existence can be much more entwined than we think—and we may never even realize it. The living and the dead move within the same space, but seldom collide. When I work as a Medium, I have to move my consciousness into the ghost realm, the plane where ghosts exist,  in order to read their thoughts.

Rarely seen, but often felt, ghosts realize encounters with the living are inevitable. They were once alive themselves. They know their ghostly world is constantly playing bumper cars with the living. It is usually the living who are taken by surprise by ghosts. On some TV shows, paranormal investigators interview “victims” of a haunting to gather first hand accounts of strange encounters at a certain location. If you watch carefully enough, you will realize that most of these encounters are nothing more than chance meetings between the living and the dead.

I am often called in to investigate a haunting. If the story is good enough, I may even add the experience to one of my books. Many of my investigations end with a big―yawn. Just another “garden variety” haunting. Someone hears “phantom footsteps” in their home and feels the ghost is trying stalk him or her. People never think that a ghost may just be walking around their former home. Another common report from the living is feeling a cold spot and taking it as a sign of a paranormal attack. A ghost’s field of energy is thought to interact with our own field of energy and create a feeling of coldness. It is some simple, natural interaction that we do not understand, not a ghost blowing its icy breath down our necks. Unfortunately, most people feel its all about them, and every paranormal encounter is a personal affront. Those folks need to take a reality check, or at least come to a better understanding of why ghosts haunt.

When I work in the field as a Medium and enter a haunted location, I may sense ghosts or I may sense residual energies left over by the living. Residual hauntings are psychic imprints left by living people after a trauma or period of high emotional output. Residual hauntings are not ghosts at all. Intuitive people may sense the energies, but can never interact with them. Should I sense a ghost, I can try to interact and open a line of communication, but the ghost must meet me half way. Some ghosts seize the opportunity to communicate with the living, others walk right out, some even run.

I sometimes get the feeling, in Cape May, that my picture is on a “Watch Out for this Guy” poster in haunted houses all over town. On more than one audio recording, EVPs (electronic voice phenomena) have appeared on my tapes with various voices saying, “He’s the one!” I seem to be equally well known as the Ghost Writer in Cape May by the living and the dead. I have been to many locations in Cape May where I have sensed a ghost, and within minutes, the energy is gone. Some ghosts just don’t want to be bothered. They don’t throw furniture at me or push me out the door. They just leave.

In 400 Years of the Ghosts of Cape May (which has now sold out, and will be replaced by a new coffee table book next spring,) I wrote about an old Victorian home on Broadway in West Cape May that I had investigated. The “Purple House” definitely had a presence when I arrived. We brought in some equipment, and I first sat in the living room. I opened a line of communication by clearing my mind and focusing on the energies in the house. I sensed that this presence was possibly a male, and he was upstairs. We set up equipment in a room on the second, and then the third floor. I asked a few questions, and we heard audible footsteps on the stairs and doors banging. No one else was in the house at the time. Finally, we heard steps running down the stairs and the sound of the front door opening and closing. Had the ghost booked on me? I think he did. Some ghosts do not want his or her stories told. Period.

A paranormal television show cast may have reacted with delight at all the ghostly manifestations of footsteps and doors slamming. I was depressed. The entire reason I was there was to talk to the ghost. Behind every haunting is a ghost. Behind every ghost is a story. I want to hear the stories, not sounds caused by hasty paranormal exits. Sure, I said the classic paranormal reality TV line, “Did you hear that?”, but in reality, I wanted to hear more with my mind than with my ears.

Many people take ghostly manifestation very personally. Don’t get me wrong, there are strong personal encounters between the living and the dead. Most of these visitations come in the form of dreams. When we dream, there is a suspension of disbelief and the lack of realization that we are speaking to a dead person vs. a living one. Ghosts and Spirits of loved ones from Heaven communicate with us in our dreams. It is just easier than trying to do it face-to-face in the light of day. I think it could also be the only way they can communicate. Psychic communication is mind-to-mind, not face-to-face.

At the Emlen Physick Estate, I do a few “Midnight” events each October. Twenty-five lucky people get to join me at the old mansion on the property and follow me room to room and hear my psychic impressions. The event finishes with a séance in the parlor, where I attempt to communicate with these energies. Some years, the house has been extremely active with noises and ghostly sounds, other years it is quiet as a graveyard. Just because it is the week before Halloween does not mean the ghosts want to come out and play. One could have just as strong an experience in that old house in April or July as in October. Ghosts do not only haunt during Halloween season. They exist, and can be active, all year around. It’s the living that seem to love to go hunting for ghosts exclusively in October.

Ghosts and Halloween will probably be forever linked. However, the truth is most ghostly encounters around Halloween are simply creations of over-active imaginations. We not only expect to see ghosts in October, many crave it. For fans of the paranormal, Halloween without ghosts would be like Thanksgiving without Turkey. Luckily, places like Cape May have plenty of ghosts to spare, and your chances of having an encounter at America’s oldest seaside resort are quite good.

October is also a great time to visit Cape May. A seaside setting in the autumn is just beautiful, and Cape May is quiet and tranquil in October. The crowds are gone and the town is calm. Looking for ghosts? Try fall and winter in Cape May. Halloween may be the appropriate time for ghost events, but if you really want to experience something paranormal, try Cape May in the off season.

Ghosts were once people too. They follow old footsteps and stick to old habits. Personalities never die. When the body finally gives up, it also gives up the ghost. Who we are survives death. Each ghost retains its personality from life. There are happy ghosts, and there are unhappy ghosts. Should you be lucky enough to have a ghostly experience of your own, remember these two things: Ghosts are really not trying to “haunt.” They are clinging to some part of their previous existence. You just happen to be in their way. Second, it’s not always about you (or me). Most hauntings have nothing to do with the people experiencing them. As human beings, we seem to make an art out of taking everything personally, even ghosts. Maybe we just watch too much reality TV.

I wish you all a Happy Halloween, and I hope to see many of you at my fall events. You can read more about what I do and where I will be on my website.

Happy Haunting!


Winged Wonders

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2010 issue of Cape May Magazine. Photos courtesy of Patricia Sutton www.patandclaysutton.com

Tiger Swallowtail

Butterflies flutter by, and many are butter yellow in color, hence their name – butterfly! This is true of the Orange Sulphur, a very common butterfly in the Cape May area because of all the farmlands and places like Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area where alfalfa and other clovers flourish – the plants on which Orange Sulphurs lay their eggs.

You might see over 100 different kinds of butterflies in Cape May County, but only if you explore spring through fall and only if you visit as many different habitats as possible: overgrown fields, grassy pastures, wet meadows, salt marshes, freshwater marshes, pine-oak forest, wet woods, and of course public (and private) butterfly gardens. Often the big and showy butterflies catch one’s eye, like Tiger Swallowtails.

Monarch

A butterfly’s drink of choice is flower nectar, though not all flowers are butterfly-friendly. Over the years old-fashioned flowers have been replaced with cultivars that may look pretty to the eye, but no longer satisfy butterflies. That, coupled with the disappearance of grassy wildflower meadows, explains the low numbers of butterflies in so many places. But here in the Cape May area, we are fortunate to have high numbers and high diversity because so many natural areas have been preserved, allowing butterflies to survive and flourish.

Butterflies and plants are intimately linked. Not only do they obtain nourishment (nectar) from flowers, all butterflies lay their eggs on plants to create the next generation. Watch a butterfly lay an egg, and treat yourself to a close and personal look. Focusing on the Question Mark (so named for the silver “question mark” or half circle and dot on the underside of the wing) let’s look at the amazing life cycle of a butterfly. Question Mark eggs look like jewels and can be stacked one upon another. The caterpillar hatches from the egg and begins to eat the plant it finds itself on, in this case Hackberry, a common tree in the Cape May area. This caterpillar is quite ferocious looking, all the better for survival, since many birds are looking for just such a tasty morsel to feast on or to feed to their young. Just a few butterflies winter over as adult butterflies, seeking refuge in wood piles, under shutters and shingles, and in hollow trees – the Question Mark winters in just this way. It is seen late into the fall and is one of our first butterflies of spring.

Common Buckeye

With fall upon us it’s time to enjoy Common Buckeyes nectaring on one of our loveliest wildflowers, Seaside Goldenrod. Many Common Buckeyes migrate south through Cape May, heading to coastal North Carolina and further south. Sometimes in the fall we also see huge numbers of Painted Ladies. They too survive the winter by migrating south, but in the case of the Painted Lady they migrate all the way to northern Mexico where they can safely winter.

We all eagerly anticipate the autumn Monarch migration through Cape May, a world-famous natural history phenomenon. Monarchs can carpet the dunes nectaring on lushly blooming Seaside Goldenrod. They might come in ones and twos, sailing over rooftops and down the dune line. Many of them find their way into butterfly gardens planted with nectar delights like New England Aster and Tropical Milkweed.

Migrating Monarchs roost in a red cedar.

Waves of Monarchs migrate south, arriving on the coattails of gentle north and northwest winds. Hundreds, and some days thousands, travel south down the Cape May Peninsula to the tip, where they gather in huge numbers. They nectar by day, but by late afternoon you are likely to find them roosting on trees and shrubs in or near lush vegetated dunes.

New Jersey Audubon Society’s Cape May Bird Observatory (CMBO) has studied the fall Monarch migration since 1996 by tagging and weighing thousands upon thousands of these amazing lighter-than-a-feather butterflies that make the greatest migration of any insect in the world. Nearly 40 Monarchs that were wing-tagged at Cape May have been refound at their winter home in the mountains of Mexico. Free “Monarch Tagging Demonstrations” in September and October are offered by CMBO (call 609-884-2736 for details).

The towns of Cape May Point, West Cape May, and Cape May probably have more private backyard butterfly gardens than any other similar sized area in the country. Many of these private butterfly gardens are not your typical everyday garden, but instead over the top! Butterfly gardeners are a unique breed. They tuck nectar and caterpillar plants into every available sunny spot, often right up to the road edge. They feel compelled to garden furiously for butterflies since many yards offer so little to these winged jewels.

Right now waves of migrating Monarchs are dropping into local butterfly gardens, drinking nectar, tanking up, spiraling up into gentle north winds, and letting those winds carry them a bit further south on their way to Mexico.


It’s Howl-o-Ween!! Give Your Dogs a Paw-ty

Wow! It’s Halloween! Or is that “Howl-o-ween”! Time for Tricks and Safe Treats and “Paw-ties”!

A doggie howl-o-ween paw-ty can be so much fun for you and your dog(s) as long as you plan ahead and plan for safety. Here are some hints for a successful gathering and some recipes for safe doggie treats. Remember, NO chocolate and NO candy with artificial sweetener “xylitol.”

Invite your dog’s(s’) friends. Dogs who already know each other will minimize the stress for you and the dogs and will allow you the freedom to take care of other needs rather than have to have everyone hovering over the dogs. Let the dogs run and play together without leash. If there is a shy dog, arrange for a slower, more managed meet-and-greet time so that all of the invited guests will be happy and comfortable. The object is to play and have fun.

Plan your paw-ty for any day, but Halloween so that you, your 2-legged guests, and your 4-legged guests are not interrupted by knocks on the door or the door bell. Be sure your invitation includes your start time and your end time. Keep your paw-ty long enough to have some fun and treats, but short enough so that the dogs don’t get to worn out. Your invitation should also include whether or not your 2-legged guests and/or your 4-legged guests should wear costumes.

Decorate your paw-ty area using your howl-o-ween theme and continue the theme into your treats and people foods – shape foods like bones, skulls, pumpkins, bats, etc. While decorating, keep safety in mind – keep decorations high enough so doggies can reach them to chew, no candles which could be tipped over in the fun, no electric cords which could be a chewing hazard, and no sharp edges on decorations which could cut or splinter in a run by. As for foods, doggie and people foods can be purchased or, for even more fun, make your own. When purchasing or if making your own, if there are any ingredients/foods you are not sure of, either check with someone who knows, or just don’t include it.

If having any or all guests wear costumes, you can have prizes for best costume in various categories such as scariest, funniest, most creative, etc. Though you’ll want to plan on one or two games, have the costume contest first, in case any of the attendees prefer to play sans costume, or in case they get so into the games that the costumes are left in the dust.

And, take pictures/videos! You can enjoy the fun over and over, share pictures with your attendees, or use them on your next howl-o-ween paw-ty invitations!

Pumpkin is the fruit of the season, and dogs not only love pumpkin, but it’s good for them, too. I also associate sweet potatoes with the howl-o-ween season. My dogs, Jameson and Guinness, both love sweet potatoes, too. Here are two of my favorite recipes for fall doggie treats.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Edible by dogs and people, too!

Cups/Shells

  • 2½ cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup whole rolled oats
  • ½ cup natural, crunchy, peanut butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Roll out onto a floured surface to ⅛ inch thickness. Cut 24 to 28 rounds with 2-inch round cookie cutter or jar lid. From leftovers, cut 24-28 mini-circles for decoration. Grease mini-muffin pan. Lay large circles over and press into pan. Lay mini-circles on cookie sheet. Bake both for 26 to 30 minutes. Remove and cool completely.

Cream Filling

  • ¾ cup natural pureed pumpkin (fresh or canned but not pie filling with spices)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature

Mix ingredients well. Put into cake decorator or pastry bag (you can also use a sandwich bag with the corner cut off). Fill cups. Decorate with mini-circles. Refrigerate in sealed container to store.

Sweet Potato Crispees

Slice raw sweet potatoes to ¼ to ⅜ thickness. Place on non-stick or slightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 250 degrees until “dry,” turning over after tops appear dry. Cool completely. These last longer if dry and crispy – nutritious and delicious.

Linda's Recommendations

Izzy and Lenore by John KatzMy Good Read recommendation for the month is Izzy and Lenore by John Katz, a great book about help and hope.

Speaking about help and hope, and I’ll probably mention this again, I’d like to make you aware of an awesome organization which could use your help and hope. Lindsey and Jim Stanek, Rio Rancho, New Mexico founded Paws and Stripes, a non-profit that provides service dogs to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury. The dogs come from shelters and are provided to vets at no cost. Check them out at www.pawsandstripes.org I think you’ll see that this helps both the dogs and the people. Maybe you’ll care to help by sending in a donation. This information was taken from Best Friends Magazine. Thanks!


Chowda’ Chat

When the time comes to pull sweaters and winter clothes out of the closet, it is also the time to get back in the kitchen and cook. Fall foods are some of my favorites. Big bold and hearty flavors in the forms of stews, chowders, and braises reenter the kitchen after their summer hiatus. Of all the seasons to cook in, fall is my favorite. There is still a variety of fresh produce to work with and the cooler temperatures make it a pleasure to be in the kitchen.

Chowder may be my favorite type of fall soup. Rich and hearty, chowder can be enjoyed as a soup or a meal unto itself. What constitutes chowder is often debated. The strict interpretation of the word, as defined by puritanical New Englanders, is a thick shellfish stew that must contain dairy, potatoes and salt pork/bacon. Away from Harvard Yard, chowder is any thick soup containing potatoes. Corn chowder is a common variation that can also be made with or without shellfish.

Regardless of the ingredients, the technique for making a wicked good chowda’ remains the same. When using a pork product such as bacon or salt pork, it must be rendered first. Rendering uses low heat to slowly melt the fat releasing all its rich flavors and it leaves behind the crunchy meat which adds texture to the final product. The rendered fat is then used to sweat the vegetables.

Regardless of the ingredients, the technique for making a wicked good chowder remains the same.Sweating is the key step to developing the flavor of your chowder. Done over low to medium heat the purpose of this step is to soften the vegetables and extract the flavors melding them together. Adding salt during this phase aids in extracting the liquid from the vegetables as well as building flavor. The next step is adding flour to form the roux which will provide the chowder with its viscosity. Add enough flour to absorb all the fat, then cook the roux out over medium heat. Slowly add in the stock, whisking to ensure a smooth texture. The next step is to add the potatoes. Red, Yellow, Purple – skin on or off – are all personal decisions the cook gets to make to add their unique spin to the chowder. The one rule that must be followed is to cut the potatoes uniformly. This will allow them to cook evenly providing a palate-pleasing texture. When the potatoes are three-quarters cooked, add the clams (if making clam chowder) or other proteins that will toughen with prolonged cooking. When adding dairy, either milk or cream can be used depending on your diet or cost parameters. Cream is my personal preference because of its richer fuller flavor. It also provides a smoother texture to the chowder. That is chowder 101.

Following a basic blueprint in cooking allows the cook to experiment with the flavor profile of the product while being assured the basic structure of the dish remains sound. In making a new chowder, I might simply add roasted garlic to the base chowder recipe. This will result in a completely different flavor profile while the steps in making it remain the same.

In that same vein let’s say you really enjoy clams casino. The basic clam chowder recipe can be enhanced by adding red and green pepper to the celery and onions while sweating. Adding garlic and oregano will further build the “casino” flavors into the soup. This approach to cooking allows for many variations within the same recipe structure. To take the casino idea to the next level, garnish with fresh bread crumbs toasted in olive oil and fresh herbs.

The best way to “create” new chowders is to take something familiar and build that concept into the base recipe. By adding sautéed, thinly-sliced beef mushrooms and onions and also incorporating provolone cheese, you now have Cheesesteak Chowda. Certainly heresy in Beantown, but if made well, it just might inspire Brotherly love at home. Not everything translates into a good soup. I worked with a sous chef that tried Rueben Chowder one day with disastrous results.

This month try some Chowda variations that will have your friends and family wondering when you became so creative in the kitchen. Apple-Bacon-Cheddar Corn Chowder and Clam Casino Chowder will hit the jackpot with your family. Until next month, Bon Appétit.

Clams Casino Chowder

  • 2 dozen top neck clams, steamed in 2 quarts water, reserving the “liquor”
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 green peppers, diced
  • 2 red peppers, diced
  • 4 shallots, diced
  • 4 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • ⅓ cup olive oil, plus more for the bread crumbs
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 4 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 12 strips bacon, diced
  • 1 quart clam liquor
  • ½ cup flour
  • 3 Yukon Gold potatoes, small dice
  • 1 pint cream

Garnish

  • 1 cup French bread, ground into bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon oregano

Toss bread crumbs with olive oil, parsley, Parmesan cheese and oregano. Toast at 350 degrees for 6 minutes. Cool. Reserve for top of soup.

In large soup pot, heat oil and render bacon until crispy. Remove. Save for garnish. In remaining fat, sweat shallots, garlic, onions, peppers and celery until soft. Add oregano then dust with flour. Add clam liquor slowly to avoid lumping. Add potatoes. Cook until tender. Temper in cream. Bring to boil. Add Parmesan cheese. Reduce heat. Add clams. Simmer 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning to serve. Garnish with crispy bacon and garlic-herb bread crumbs.

Apple-Cheddar-Bacon Corn Chowder

  • 12 strips thick cut bacon
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 ribs celery
  • 4 ears roasted corn, scraped from cob
  • 3 Fuji apples, diced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1½ pints cream
  • 4 large potatoes, medium dice
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded
  • Salt pepper
  • 3 ounces butter
  • ½ cup flour

In soup pot, melt butter. Add bacon. Cook until starting to crisp. Add celery and onions. Sweat five minutes. Add thyme then dust with flour. Whisk in stock. Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer. Add apples and potatoes. Simmer 15 minutes until tender. Add cream. Bring to boil. Slowly whisk in cheese. Season. Add corn. Serve garnished with fresh parsley and warm sourdough bread.

 


Apples are in season

Trees laden with glossy red apples are a beautiful sight in orchards along country roads throughout southern New Jersey. Stands are heaped high with baskets of apples and customers flock to buy and taste those first crispy, juicy delicious apples of the season. Apples have come a long way from the sour, little fruits on the trees planted by Johnny Appleseed for “cider.” Trees are grafted with choice varieties that produce tasty and beautiful apples that are delicious to eat right from the tree. Apples are also a favorite for cooking and are delicious baked, stewed or fried

Bright sunny days and cool nights are just perfect for growing apples says Franklinville orchard man Joe Nichols who worked with his Uncle Chet growing apples since he was 10 yeas old. Now Nichols farms about 50 acres of fruit trees on rural Royal Avenue in the same area that his great grandfather had orchards more than 100 years ago.

Many orchids now use drip irrigation to water plants when needed and windmills with gasoline-powered engines to move air on frosty nights in April and May. Weather and temperatures are very important to an orchard man and just a one-degree drop in the early morning hours at the wrong time of the year might ruin a crop.

Apple season often begins with Mollie Delicious in mid-summer, followed by Gala, McIntosh, Cortland, Jonathon, Red and Golden Delicious, Empire, Mutsu, Fuji and Rome. These are at most local farm markets. Since people are looking for a good taste, which is the result of  fruit allowed to mature on the trees a little longer, local apples are quite popular during fall.

Many remember being told as children, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away:” Considering that they are high in fiber, low in Sodium, cholesterol free, rich in Potassium, high in Vitamin C as well as Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin A, Phosphorus, and Calcium there just might be something that rings true to this. Since there are only 80 Calories in an apple they make a great snack for kids and adults. Apples are one of the most popular fruits for eating and baking, but in the fall the popularity prize for pies, cobblers, cakes and sauces.

Using Apples

An apple can be sliced and put in a microwave with just a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon for a quick dessert that makes the whole house smell wonderful. People on low-sugar diets can skip the sugar or add just a pinch of sweetener after the apple cooks. Nothing is nicer than a pan of baked apples in the oven to make the house smell warm and cozy. Core apples for baking, but leave the vitamin and fiber-rich skin on. Fill the cavity where the apple has been cored with a mixture of equal parts of white sugar, brown sugar and flour. Chopped nuts may also be added. Pour some maple syrup over each. Add more of this mixtures and top with a generous pat of butter. Add a cup of water to the pan and bake at 350 degrees until the apples are soft. Each variety has a different time at which it softens when cooked. Theses keep well refrigerated and can be warmed in the microwave.

Chop apples with skin on and add to any type of salad. They add a tart crunch that makes a green salad alive! Apples are a natural with cheese and kids especially love them candied on a stick.

To make a delicious hot apple beverage that will make your home smell like autumn, try this. Bring to a boil about 6 cups of water, add 2 pounds of tart apples that have been sliced but not peeled, Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, add 6 three inch cinnamon sticks. Let settle for about 10 minutes and serve warm with a cinnamon stick. Apple slices may be served in beverage or eaten as dessert.

A little bit of trivia to remember is that about a quarter of the apple’s volume is air. That is why they float and became popular in the old Dunking for Apples game that kids used to love to play at parties.

Apples have been around for over 4,000 years, and there are now literally thousands of varieties of apples worldwide. The apple is native to Europe and Asia, and is now also grown worldwide in temperate regions. The United States produces approximately one-third of the world’s crop.

Apple history tells us that apples probably originated in the mountains of Kazakhstan. It is supposed that people traveling the silk route might have picked up apples and helped to spread the seeds. Since apples do not come from true seeds, anyone who wants edible apples, plants a tree that has been grafted. In the first century A.D., the Roman Pliny the Elder listed 36x varieties of apples. Apple trees can live for hundreds of years.

The Pilgrims brought the apple to the United States in 1620 and French brought the apple to Canada. One of America’s fondest legends is that of Johnny Appleseed. There is truth behind this treasured story. John Chapman, born in Leominster, Massachusetts in 1774, is credited with planting over 10,000 square miles of orchards, but they were all from seeds. The trees yielded an assortment of sour apples good only for cider, which soon turned to alcohol. A wonderful read with fascinating details on this and much more about apples is found in Michael Pollan’s book, The Botany of Desire.

Early settlers grew apples because they stored well and had many uses. Every one drank cider (“hard” as it might turn), ate apple butter and, of course, pies were also favorite foods. Apple bees were a festive occasion where the participants cored and dried apples for storage.

Today homeowners might want to wrap apples that have no blemishes and store in a cool place that will not freeze, such as a root cellar, attic, and porch. Certain local apples keep well into winter if stored in a cool place.

It is not too late to plant a few old fashion apple trees in a sunny spot. The county extension service has pamphlets on home orchards.

Apple Butter

(Yield: 2-1/2 cups)

  • 2 cups unsweetened applesauce (recipe follows)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • Pinch ginger
  • Pinch cloves

In a saucepan, combine the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Cool. Serve as a spread on toast, ginger snaps or cake.

Unsweetened Applesauce

Wash and core apples, cut and simmer with a small amount of water to keep them from sticking. Pulverize in food processor or blender. Can also run through a food mill. Measure amount needed for butter; enjoy the rest as a dessert or side dish.

Favorite Yummy Apple Dumplings

Dough

  • 4¼ cups flour
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1¼ cups Crisco
  • 1 stick butter, crumbled
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 large egg

Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Cut in Crisco and butter. In a small bowl, beat together milk, cider vinegar, and egg. Add this to dry ingredients (sometimes a few more drops of milk might be needed). Mix only till moist.

Divide into 4 flat balls, wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Roll from center out on a floured board to about ⅛ thickness.

Filling

  • 6-8 medium apples
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter

Peel and core apples. Set aside. Boil water and add sugar, brown sugar, and butter to form a syrup. Cook about 10 minutes. Cool.

Assembly

Roll out pastry and cut into 6-8 inch squares. Place apple in center. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, allowing the cavity to fill up. Dot with butter. Pull up opposite corners of dough. Moisten with water or hold together.

Lift carefully to a deep baking dish. Pour syrup around the dumplings. Bake at 425 degrees on bottom rack for 30 minutes. Reduce oven to 350 degrees for another 30 minutes. Serve warm with cream or ice cream. 

Red Cabbage, Apples and Sausage

(Yield: 4 to 6 servings)

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil rendered bacon fat
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 4 tart red apples, such as Jonathan, cored and sliced thin but not peeled
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • *1/2-teaspoon caraway seeds
  • *1 to 1½ pounds German- or Polish-style smoked sausage links, or bratwursts
  • 1 pound new potatoes
  • Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup beer

*Optional ingredient

Melt the olive oil or bacon fat in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sugar and cook, stirring often, until the sugar browns, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the onion, and saute it until it is golden, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage, apples, vinegar, and caraway seeds, and stir to blend.

Place the sausage links and the potatoes on top of the cabbage mixture. Season with salt and pepper and pour the beer over all. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. Taste, adjust the seasonings, and serve hot.

Double Crust Apple Pie

Crust

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup shortening
  • 5-7 tablespoons COLD water

Mix shortening, salt, flour with a fork until crumbly. Add 5 tablespoons water and mix well, adding more water if too dry.

Apple Filling

  • 8-9 tart apples (Gala, Fuji, Macintosh, Granny Smith)
  • 1 lemon
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar to sprinkle over filling
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or margarine)
  • 3 tablespoons of maple syrup

Pare, core, and thinly slice apples. Toss with juice of a lemon. Sprinkle with sugar, flour, and cinnamon, and then mix well. Take half of the pastry and roll flat with rolling pin. Line a 9″ or 10″ pie plate with the pastry. Fill with apple mixture. Dot with butter (or margarine).Take the remaining pastry dough and roll flat. Place dough on top of apple pie mix. Crimp along edges creating a scalloped edging. Take a knife and cut slits into top pastry for steam to escape. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 50 minutes or until crust is brown. Let cool and serve.

List of apples grown locally

Cortland: A medium-to-large red-and-green-striped apple, it is crisp, juicy, and sweetly tart. Because of its white flesh resists browning, Cortland’s are favored for salads and fruit cups.

Golden Delicious: Grown in most regions across the country, The Golden Delicious (or Yellow Delicious, as it is sometimes called) was discovered in West Virginia in 1914. A medium-to-large pale yellow apple that is mild and sweet, it is crisp when harvested in September and October, its pale flesh often becomes dry and soft. Its skin shrivels when not kept under refrigeration. Particularly desirable for snacks, fresh desserts, and salads it is a good all-purpose apple.

Red Delicious: Is grown throughout the U S and is America’s most popularly grown apple. It is crisp and juicy when harvested in September and October, but its sweet and mild-tasting flesh is all too often a mealy when found in winter in the supermarket. It is best used for snacks, salads, and fruit cups.

Empire: The New York State Agricultural Experiment Station introduced a cross between Red Delicious and McIntosh, the Empire into commercial production in 1966. Grown mostly in the Northeast and upper mid-western states, this medium, red-on-yellow (sometimes all-red) apple is crisp and juicy. With its sweet and spicy flesh, it is one of the very best for eating out of hand, in salads, and in fruit cups.

Fuji: Was developed in Japan in late 1950s and by crossing Ralls-Genet and Red Delicious the popular variety has yellowish green skin blushed with orange-red stripes, it has crunchy, crisp, textures and is sweetly tart. Fuji retains its flavor even when stored at room temperature and develops a better flavor when held in long-term storage. This is one of the best apples for eating out of hand, or use in any recipe.

Gala: Developed in New Zealand in the 1930s, it is a cross of Kidd’s Orange Red and Golden Delicious. The thin, red-orange skin with red striping over gold is fragrant and fresh tasting, crisp and juicy, it is a good apple for eating out of hand, for salads, and with soft, mild cheeses. Makes good pie, cake and cobbler as well

McIntosh: John McIntosh discovered this apple in Ontario, Canada, in early 1800s now in the top three grown in the U.S. It is a medium red-on-green apple that is sweet, crisp, juicy, and smells like and apple! They are a favorite to eat fresh in autumn, but later they are best used for sauce. McIntosh apples collapse when baked whole or in pies.

Wine sap: The native originated in New Jersey in the late 1700s, it is one of the oldest apples still in commercial production and is a favorite in the Mid-Atlantic States. A medium size fruit with a thick red skin, crisp, crunchy, juicy fleshed wine sap has sweetly tart flavor that some say has a winy aftertaste. This is a good all-purpose apple.

Mutsu: a dense, juicy eating apple maturing in late October. It is greenish yellow that shows a light reddish blush when ripe. A large apple this one is good for eating fresh or in recipes.

Granny Smith: A good cooking apple that is often eaten by folks who love tart, green apples