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Food / Dining

This Oct. 20, 2014, photo shows lightened pumpkin crunch in Concord, N.H. Instead of relying on tons of cream and egg yolks for a smooth texture for the pumpkin chunch try silken tofu. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

Chef’s Best: A little protein makes pumpkin pie a lot healthier

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The holiday season just isn’t the same if I don’t stuff my face with pumpkin pie. There, I’ve said it. Judge if you must, but then read on to hear my secret for pumpkin dessert goodness with fewer calories and better nutrition. First, I make a pumpkin crunch instead of a pumpkin pie. Why? Because while I love the buttery …

Chef’s Best: 10 fresh ways to doctor stuffing mix

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Let’s be clear about something. ... When making stuffing, it’s always better to slice and dry your own bread cubes. Hands down, the taste and texture are better. But let’s also be realistic. In the chaos of getting the many components of Thanksgiving dinner on the table in a timely manner, many of …

Carr’s Ciderhouse in Hadley carves its place in the new and fast-growing cider market

Monday, October 27, 2014

Comparing apples to apples is just good practice. Do it for 20 years, and you’ve got yourself a tradition. The 20th annual Franklin County CiderDays runs from Friday to Sunday and features classes, hangouts, talks and tastings throughout the Hilltowns. This year they’ve added a Friday-night kickoff reception at the Blue Heron restaurant in Sunderland that will focus on local hard cider. That …

The best of all words Taking a culinary trip to the wonders of Myanmar

Friday, October 17, 2014

To understand why Burmese food is my favorite cuisine in the world, all you have to do is look at a map. Burma, which is now known as Myanmar, is nestled cozily between Thailand, China and India. Think …

Wine to try: 2012 Pio Cesare Barbera d’Alba

Friday, October 17, 2014

A WINE TO TRY 2012 Pio Cesare Barbera d’Alba Region: Piedmont, Italy Price: About $20 Style: Bright and chiseled. What it goes with: Salumi, braised beef, pasta with meat sauce, hearty soups, mushroom dishes This Barbera from one …

Lou & Lucy’s Leftovers: Lou makes paella

Friday, October 17, 2014

After years of languishing at the bottom of my seven-shelf-high bookcase in the kitchen, my carbon steel, 13-inch paella pan has gotten quite a workout the past two weekends. First up for the pan was a stove-top mixta paella, which is basically made with meat (chicken thigh pieces, …

Valley Bounty: Greenbeans

Friday, October 17, 2014

GREEN BEANS Hard frost has not yet arrived in most of the Valley, and as a result green beans are still coming in strong. They bring a vibrant green color to fall menus and are wonderful additions to …

Go green with pistachios

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Healthful, delicious and growing in popularity, pistachios make green look great. Finding new fans around the world, this California tree nut with the distinct color and taste is on a roll. (And it’s not just comedian and pistachio …

Back on the scene: Former owner of Northampton's C. McD’s Cafe, Caroline McDaniel to open ConVino wine bar in Thornes Marketplace

Saturday, October 11, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — As a restaurant consultant in New York City during the 2000s, Caroline McDaniel watched dozens of wine bars open in the Big Apple. The Smith College graduate, who at the time frequently returned to Northampton for …

Pumpkin pie spice isn’t just for fall lattes

Friday, October 10, 2014

It’s officially fall. And for many, the seasonal change has nothing to do with the weather or a date on the calendar. Fall is here because Starbucks is once again offering its signature pumpkin spice latte. Never mind …

Break out of your dinner rut

Friday, October 10, 2014

On Sunday nights this summer, I would often stare at a blank sheet of paper as I tried to plan a week’s worth of meals. I would try to think up something new to cook for dinner. Often …

Wine to try: 2012 Chateau Thivin Cote de Brouilly

Friday, October 10, 2014

A WINE TO TRY 2012 Chateau Thivin Cote de Brouilly Region: Beaujolais, France Price: $20 to $25 Style: Supple and nuanced What it goes with: Grilled steaks, pork chops, sausages Year in and year out, the Geoffray family …

Spiced Candied Pecans

Friday, October 10, 2014

1 hour, 15 minutes. Makes about 1 1/2 quarts candied nuts 4 cups sugar, divided 3 cups water 1 pound raw pecan halves 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon 1½ teaspoons ground ginger 1½ teaspoons ground nutmeg ¾ teaspoon ground allspice 1. Heat the oven to 275 degrees. 2. In …