Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Entertaining: Cambridge Style Entertaining: Cambridge Style

I lived in India in the late 1970's early 1980's. While there, I learned to love and cook Indian food. The unique blend of spices (sweet, savory, and hot) give a sensory sensation like no other food does. For Christmas I received Madhur Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking and have been experimenting ever since.

To test my skills, I invited some friends over for a 3 course meal on Saturday night.

The menu was simple northern Indian style and consisted of:
Saag Goshi (Lamb with Spinach)
Taridar Chukandar (Gently Stewed Beets)
Masoor Dal (Red Lentils Tarka)
Basmati Rice
Green Onion Chutney

Photos: By John Carlson

It was not difficult to time the meal and when guests arrived at 6:00 pm, everything was just finishing.

Photos: John Carlson

Sharing this meal with friends was wonderful. It was hot and spicy but the yogurt gave a cool break.

Photos: John Carlson

Here are the Recipes. Most of the spices can be found at the Village Store Coop or any good spice retailer.

Beef or Lamb with Spinach


Saag Goshi (Beef or Lamb with Spinach)

1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach
1 large onion (about 10 ounces) peeled and coarsely chopped
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
6-8 cloves garlic, peeled
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 bay leaves
10 cardamon pods
8 whole cloves
2 2-inch sticks cinnamon
1 1/3 pounds stewing beef or boned shoulder of lamb, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1+ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on how hot you want it)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala


Following the instructions on the package, drop the spinach into boiling water and boil just until it is defrosted. Drain and squeeze out most of the water.

Put the onion, ginger, and garlic into the container of a food processor and pulse, starting and stopping with great rapidity until finely chopped.

Put the oil in a large pot and set over high heat. When the oil is hot, put in the bay leaves, cardamon posd, cloves and cinnamon sticks. Stir once or twice and put in the finely chopped onion, ginger and garlic. Sir and cook over high heat for 5 minutes. Put in the beef or lamb, the spinach, 2.5 cups of water, salt, coriander, cumin, and cayenne. Cover, securely and bring up to full boil over high heat. Now lower the heat to simmer and cook (lamb for 1-hour/beef for 1.5-hours). Remove the lid and add the garam masala and bring the contents to a boil again. Cook uncovered, stirring gently over high heat for 7-10 minutes or until the sauce is reduced and thick.

Masor Dal (Red Lentils Tarka

1.5 cups red lentils (masoor dal)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1.25-1.5 teaspoons salt
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee
Generous pinch of ground asafetida (this spice can be found in most health food stores)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3-5 dried, hot red chiles.

Pick over the lentils and wash in several changes of water. Drain. Put in a heavy saucepan. Add 5 cups water and the turmeric. Stir and bring to a simmer (do not let it boil over). Cover in such a way as to leave the lid just very slightly ajar, turn the heat to low, and simmer gently for 35-40 minutes or until tender. Stir a few times during the cooking. Add the salt and mix. Leve covered, on very low heat, as yo do the next step.

Put the oil in a small frying pan and set over medium-high heat.
When the oil is hot,put in the asafetida; then a second later, add the cumin seeds. Let the cumin seeds sizzle for a few seconds. Put in the red chiles. As soon as they turn dark red (this takes just a few seconds), lift up the lid of the lentil pan and pour in the contents of the frying pan oil as well as spices. Cover the saucepan immediately to trap the aromas.

Taridar Chukandar (Gently Stewed Beets)

2 pounds beets without stems and leaves
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
1 cup canned chopped tomatoes or lightly drained canned whole tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt

Peel the beets and cut into 1-inch chunks

Put the oil in a wide, medium-sized pan and set over high heat. When the oil is hot, put in the cumin seeds and bay leaf. As soon as the bay leaf darkens slights (this takes just seconds) put in the tomatoes, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, cayenne, beets, salt, and 1-1/2 cups water. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover, turn the heat to low, and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the beets are tender.

All dishes serve 4-6 people.

We added a nice red wine to the table.

Monday, February 23, 2009


The Democratic candidate for the 20th congressional district seat that was held by Senator Kirstin Gillibrand will be in Cambridge tomorrow, February 24, 2009*, to meet and talk with us about his priorities and his vision for the District as a whole.

Location: Rice Mansion Inn, Cambridge, NY

Time: 5:00 - 7:00 pm.


*We apologize for this late notice - the abbreviated nature of this campaign cycle has made scheduling a bit of a challenge!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Where Can I Find That? for 2/18/09 Where Can I Find That? for 2/18/09

Logo design by Debra Pearlman of Pearl Productions LLC


I am dreading the thought of spring because when the snow is finally gone I am going to have a big mess, both inside and out. My family seems to collect lots of stuff and since my husband and I both work we don’t seem to have time to do more than maintain. Spring sports are going to start and our live are thrown into complete chaos. Can you help us find balance with cleaning and gardening?

Thank You,

Dear Chaos,

Wow, it is true the snow will melt and spring will be here in no time…Yikes. I went on line and found a few useful sites that claim to help bring balance into the unbalanced home – not sure what reality those writers live in, but it is not mine! Sort of like the reality dating show where they fall madly in love after a few weeks of being wined, dined, pampered and shuttled to exotic locations – no reality. However, a few helpful hints I did find:

Every day try to:
1. Load and run the dishwasher
2. Clean up the kitchen
3. Do at least one load of laundry including folding and putting it away
4. Work as a family pick-up before going to bed
5. Clean the bathroom once a week.

Feeding the family is where I struggle, so cook in bulk entrée items that can be recreated into new dishes.

My search locally did not generate any cleaning services, so I would suggest posting a notice in this paper and talk to your friends (that is how I found my home cleaning management specialist!). It is amazing what a great feeling it is to come home to a clean house. For working, busy families it is a luxury that I encourage you to find in your budget.

For the outside I was able to find the following:

1. Davis Family Enterprises 518-677-8003;
2. J&W Landscaping, LLC 518-222-3321 or 518-677-2389
3. Green-Springs Landscaping, LLC 518-692-7915
4. Jeff's Lawn Care & Snowplowing 518-339-0606.

Once the greenhouses open there are great growers with knowledgeable staff to help you select the right items for your yard.

Here are a few:

1. Stannard Farms is off Rt 22
2. Gardenworks in Salem off Rt 30
3. The Greenery off Rt 29 between Greenwich and Salem
4. Hands off Rt 29 in Greenwich

The Farmers Markets in Cambridge, Greenwich and Salem all have local growers. I would also check out your local hardware store for plants and the tools necessary for proper planting. Often when I am driving I will see farms that have greenhouses with items for sale, stop look and ask questions. Hubbard Hall has been doing a series of gardening forums, and I would also suggest checking out Gardenworks. Another thought that my neighborhood did was jointly hire a teenager to assist with outside chores. We each took a day and time slot and had a variety of tasks for the young man to do for us including weeding, raking, and painting.

However you decide to tackle your spring cleaning chores, remember to keep checking the Cambridge Buzz for the dates of Village Spring Clean-up - when they will pick-up your yard debris, if you bring it to the sidewalk.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cambridge Area Historic Maps Cambridge Area Historic Maps

I just came across this Linkpendium website which links to some fascinating historic maps of Cambridge and other communities in Washington County. I love to look at maps, including Google Maps, which shows satellite maps fo the entire world, as well as "street views" of many urban areas, including Saratoga Springs.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day Happy Valentine's Day

Stevie Wonder's "You are the Sunshine of My Life." Let's see some more sunshine!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cambridge Life: Wondering about design Cambridge Life: Wondering about design

I admit it. I'm in awe of the designers who work at Macintosh. I mean the designs of their products (iMac, iPhone, iPod) have literally changed how we use everyday things. So, just how do these products get made? Documentary filmmaker Gary Hustwit asked this question, "How many manufactured objects did you touch this morning, between waking up and leaving your house?"

I loved objectified.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Where Can I Find That - Valentines Day Special Where Can I Find That - Valentines Day Special

Logo design by Debra Pearlman of Pearl Productions LLC


Valentines Day is coming up and I always seem to get myself in trouble with my wife. Seems I fail miserably with my offerings of love, not sure why she does not appreciate the pneumatic nail gun since it is going to hang her crown molding. So I am seeking your advice to guide me in my efforts to show my love.


Dear James,
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to guide you and the oh so many men like you, sorry guys, in the right direction and help you show your love properly.

According to Wikipedia, in the West, it is the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other by sending valentine's cards, presenting flowers or offering confectionery. The holiday is named after two among the numerous Early Christian martyrs named Valentine. The day became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

So with this information here are a few things to consider when selecting a token of your love - LOCALLY.

Flowers are the logical choice, but did you know that flowers not only look and smell wonderful, but also say something. For instance a Red Rose = passionate love and a Pink Rose = friendship, a Red Tulip = declaration of love and a Yellow Tulip = hopelessly in love and a Yellow Chrysanthemum = Secret Admirer. You might think about the dozen roses and then add a little color and tell her with a yellow tulip you are hopelessly in love. The Garden Shop in Cambridge 677-3035, North Country Flowers in Greenwich 692-8462 and Laura's Garden in Salem 854-3833 can all satisfy your floral needs.

Confectionery, candy, chocolate, cookies, and other edible, sharable, delicious delights. Do not mail order or go to the mall! In Greenwich think about Beth's Café, 692-2668, who is now taking, orders for almond stuffed chocolate dipped strawberries and raspberry lintzer cookies. Twelve flavors of homemade fudge and Asher's Chocolates can be found at The Country Peddler, cookies, pies and other treats at the Washington County Deli, and Dan's Chocolates at Greenwich Local Market. The Ice Cream Man, 692-8382, just outside the Village on Rt 29 will have ice cream cakes that you can personalize with hearts and sayings. In Cambridge boxed and individual chocolates can be found at The Garden Shoppe, West Village Market, 677-2777, makes amazing cookies and a chocolate, butter toffee that is pure joy. Salem has Xavier. Steiningers, 854-3830, located on Salem's Main Street is the creator of fine homemade chocolates and sauces. A divine treat would be dish Ice Cream Mans danish cream, generously covered with Steiningers Fudge Sauce, crumbled toffee from West Village Market and a side of strawberries from Beth's Café.

Next week we will further help James with local jewelry, dining and escapes. However, Fort Salem Theater is taking reservations now 854-9200 for Songs of Love and Romance.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Ice Breaker Winter Festival Wekend Ice Breaker Winter Festival Wekend

Cambridge Winterfest Weekend
Saturday & Sunday

February 7 & 8, 2009

Saturday, February 7:
6:30 am-ish Hot Air Balloon Launch- weather and wind dependent Call 518.677.5945 after 630a for launch location and weather information.
Shhh...if the weather is really good we will also launch on Friday evening.

Cambridge Freight Yard

9:00 am
Fire Up the Bread Oven to bake Pizza in the afternoon
Presented by Tim Holmes of Spoonful Catering and Rod Wilson

Beacon Feed

Cheese Basket Making Workshop
Learn to make a lovely hexagonal open weave basket with flat reed. Each student should bring a pair of sturdy, non-serrated scissors, several spring type clothes pins, a pencil and a tape measure. Leave your right angles at home! Appropriate for students aged 11 and up. Taught by Bliss McIntosh. 9am-12noon Pre-registration required; space is limited. Call 518-677-2495 to register. Cost: $30 ($27 for HH members) plus $5 materials fee

1-3p Natural History of Cambridge w/Howard Romack. Trek around Cambridge and discover the animals we share our Village with and their habitats including hibernation and trees overwintering.

3-4pm Natural Bird Feeder craft with Gina. A parent-child project for all ages, presented by the Hubbard Hall "Art-full Family Fridays" Program.

12:00p Pizza Making with Tim Holmes of Spoonful Catering
12-130p Stories and Music with Bernard Ouimet
12-130p Stories with Memere Catherine Charron
1:00-4p music by the Guy Bedard Group

Outside Lovejoy

12-4p Snow sculpting - bring your sandcastle building tools
For a full listing of activities visit our website at

* Please dress warm for trek and playing in the snow and note there is A LOT of snow to play in! YEAH!!!!

Please note Full Moon Trek at Battenkill Valley Outdoors has been cancelled

Saturday Evening 7:30 p.m.
Pompanuck Farm
494 Chestnut Hill Rd, Cambridge, NY 518.677.5552 ADDIE & OLIN-UNLEASHED! "Love Tour"
Valentine's Day Concert
Whoopee jazz, funky folk, Irish fiddle tunes and soulful klezmer on sentimental love songs to passionate instrumentals with originals that are unleashed, unbridled, uncut and unglued! Plus vaudevillian humor and zany stage antics. Groovey, jumpin' no jivin' hot tunes with wild warbling accompanied by Olin's jazzed fingerpicked guitar and Addie's "cool school" soprano saxophone, flute, concertina, button accordion and piccolo with her hipper than thou shades to the squarest of saddle shoes. Plus vaudevillian humor! Fine desserts, including gourmet chocolate desserts, available. Tickets are $12 and $15 at the door

Sunday, February 8th

Pompanuck Farm

1-4:00 p.m.
1:00-2:00 Gather in the Roundhouse for warm drinks and yummy snacks
2:00-3:00 Eric Geoffrey with High Peaks performance - juggling, story-telling and music

3:00-4:00 Guided hike around Pompanuck's grounds where you can look for our winter feathered friends. Stop at Battenkill Books on Cambridges Main Street and check out their large assortment of Bird Books.

4:00-6:00 Bonfire, stories and the full moon rise

Ice Breaker Winterfest Ice Sponsor & Fire Sponsor: