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APPETIZERS FOR A LAZY DAY

BROCCOLI PATTIES AND OVEN BAKED PLANTAIN FRIES

Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

Nowadays I have much more time to spend cooking. I’m trying to limit exposure and only going to the supermarkets when necessary, getting what I can find then using it all up! I was in a snacky mood wanting something different. I had one green plantain thinking i would make tostones but decided to try making oven baked plantain fries (which I have not done before). There was also a nice large crown of broccoli that needed to be used. Alright how about some broccoli patties? Sounds good to me!

The broccoli patty recipe was made up according to what was in my fridge. I decided to use 2 organic carrots, had no onions but found a medium sized shallot, grated pecorino romano cheese, a couple baby peppers and eggs.

I rinsed the broccoli, cut into chunks using the stem part also (no waste), wash carrots, peel if you want (vitamins in skin), destem baby peppers and peel shallot. Add to the food processor, pulse to a finer consistency rather than chunky but not mush. You will need to do a couple batches. Once processed empty into a large bowl, add 1/2 cup grated cheese (helps to bind), a few turns of the black pepper mill and I needed to use 4 eggs. Mix together well. I did not add salt because of the cheese, instead sprinkle on salt if desired after cooked. Put the bowl in the refrigerator while you preheat pan. I used a copper infused fry pan. Add oil to cover bottom of pan, I was out of avocado oil so I used coconut oil. Place a large tablespoonful of mixture into pan flattening down lightly, as many as your pan accommodates, don’t crowd pan. Fry until brown then flip over gently with a spatula. When ready place on a wire rack. Return bowl to refrigerator in between frying batches.

Time for the plantain fries. To peel first cut off the ends then make a slit running down the length of the pantain careful not to hit the flesh. I actually make 3 slits down the raised seams on the plantain. Peel by hand or I prefer to use a butter knife along the slits and pry off. Once peeled cut into 3 equal chunks then slice each chunk into fries. Place in bowl, add about 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil, season to taste. I tried salt, pepper. onion and garlic powder. I wanted to keep it simple for my first time, see how they come out then adjust accordingly for future recipe. Mix together then place on a baking sheet, put in a preheated 425 degree oven. Turn after 12 minutes, cook about 8 more minutes.

You can serve these with just about any dipping sauce of your choice. Using what I had on hand, I mixed some Mr. Peppers hot sauce into Primal Kitchen avocado oil real mayo. I like a little kick! It was great with both of them but particularly the plantain fries!

All in all I was happy with the outcome. Next time I will do the broccoli patties using an onion instead of a shallot. Felt like I missed that oniony flavor. Or try using both. I’m definitely doing the plantain fries again (as in buying several on my next shopping spree!). One plantain did not go very far, my boyfriend enjoyed them too. I liked the spices that I used for the plantain recipe but going to also add some paprika next time, how can that be bad! Thanks for looking in, let’s make the best of what we have and all be safe and healthy!

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SUNDAY “ISOLATION” SAUCE

COMFORT FOOD FOR A RAINY DAY by Toni Hoyos/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

Neil Miller/The New York Extra/The NYExtra.com

Here we are on this rainy Sunday practicing social distancing with no place to go. Thus let the cooking begin! I needed to utilize what was on hand so I foraged the kitchen to see what was in stock. The man was craving comfort food. Found 2 different jars of tomato sauce and one bag of pasta. Luckily there actually was meat in the house, bingo! Sunday Sauce! Something I hadn’t made in years, hopefully the touch was still there.

Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

I had 2 lbs of grass fed beef chop meat and a 6 pack of Premio sausage. Open and rinse off sausage, pat dry with paper towel and place on small sheet pan, set aside. For the meatballs I used a medium onion and 3 cloves of organic garlic which I pulsed a few times in the food processor. I added that to the chop meat in a large bowl along with 1 large egg, dried basil, dried parsley, salt and pepper to taste. In lieu of breadcrumbs I used 2 slices of whole wheat farmhouse bread soaked in almond milk which I shredded by hand into the chop meat mixture. Once again I was utilizing what was available to me in the house, normally I like to use fresh herbs when cooking and I improvised with the bread and almond milk, you can use any milk, bread or breadcrumbs. Mix by hand until everything looks incorporated (but do not overmix) and form into meatballs of your size choice, place on lightly greased sheet pan and spritz with oil (I used avocado oil). Place meatballs on bottom rack of preheated 400 degree oven and sausage on top rack. Cook sausage for about 12 minutes, turn over, cook about another 12-15 minutes. Flip meatballs with a metal spatula after 20 minutes and cook an additional 15-20 minutes until brown.

To start the sauce I pulsed a medium/small onion, 4 cloves of organic garlic and a small organic carrot which I sauteed in a large sauce pot using organic extra virgin olive oil over medium/low heat. Sautee approximately 5 minutes stirring when needed, adding more olive oil when needed. I’d say I used about a 1/3 a cup of oil if not a little more. Once sauteed I added the 20 oz jar and the 24 oz jar of tomato sauce to the pot then added in the meatballs and sausage. At this point it looked like there wasn’t enough sauce in the pot to cover the meat so I went searching in the cabinets to see what I could find. Found 2 8 oz cans of Best Yet no salt tomato sauce,added them to the pot along with a cup of water. Sprinkle in some dried basil (about 1 teaspoon) and let simmer for at least 2 hours stirring gently every 15-20 minutes.

Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

I have to tell you the aroma of that sauce cooking was delectable, heavenly! A scent to soothe the soul. I just wanted to grab a chunk of bread and dip it in the sauce!

Once the sauce is ready make your pasta according to directions, drain, place into a large pasta bowl or return to cooking pot, toss with cooked sauce, plate and serve. I served it with salad and olives. If I say so myself it was delicious, guess I didn’t lose my touch Hope you enjoy it as much as we did, Bon appetit!

SOCIAL DISTANCING by Toni Hoyos /The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

AN OBSERVATION ON COMPLIANCE OR DEFIANCE

Maintaining a distance of at least 6 ft between each other,,,something we are not used to doing, something that is not our norm but something that is mandated due to the coronavirus pandemic. Something we all must heed in order to flatten the curve, help prevent a breakdown of our healthcare system and keep ourselves and others safe. This is serious business , have Long Islanders rose to the challenge?

On my strolls throughout various Nassau county parks most everyone seemed to be upholding the distance directive. Families with children were together while keeping away from others. Couples out walking, those on bicycles all seemed to be allowing space for each other while trying to be “normal” in an “abnormal” situation.

I encountered more of the same compliance in assorted supermarkets. Many people darned masks and gloves. A few like myself also had Lysol wipes on hand to clean the shopping cart (a very hot commodity at the moment). For the most part everyone was respectful of keeping their distance in the aisles, waiting on line and not encroaching on someone while they were shopping in a certain area.

I did however find those defying the rule in a certain store on Old Country Road in Plainview. I do not know if it was cultural or just plain disregard for others. I do know it was very uncomfortable to witness, unsafe and just stupid. I did hear someone mention the 6 foot distance but no one moved. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

This is a difficult scary time for all of us but we must join together for the good of everyone. Practice social distancing, be respectful of others and keep ourselves and loved ones SAFE. If we don’t it will get much worse before it gets better.

COOKING WITH LEFTOVERS

MAKING THE MOST OUT OF WHAT YOU HAVE by Toni Hoyos/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

Now’s the time to try and utilize what we have and not be wasteful. People are not working, money is tight, stores are not fully stocked and who the heck wants to keep making trips to the supermarket. So I looked into my fridge to see what was hiding in there. Found some leftover asparagus, half of a large cooked sweet potato and a couple tablespoons of roasted red pepper. Hence the idea of an omelette was born!

I diced up a small red onion, sauteed it in a pan for a few minutes with some ghee. Then diced and added in the leftovers, asparagus, sweet potato and roasted red peppers. Let cook for 2 minutes then sprinkle with Trader Joe’s taco seasoning, stir and add 4 organic/pasture raised eggs. Cook over med/low flame for a few minutes then flip over with a spatula. Cook for 1 additional minute. Plate it. I found some green and Kalamata olives in the fridge along with some scallions. So I diced them up and scattered on top of omelette. It was pot luck and really yummy. I was quite pleased with the outcome!

ESCAPING COVID19: SHIELDED FOR A DAY

A FEEL SAFE HAVEN By Toni Hoyos, Editorial Advisor, TheNew York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

Video of visitors to Jones Beach State Park 03/15/2020 Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

Blue skies, sunshine, mild temps and low winds, the perfect winter day for a stroll on the boardwalk at Jones Beach State Park. An ideal place to walk, see the ocean, feel the sun on your face breathe fresh air and feel shielded from coronavirus. At least that was the general consensus among those walking the boardwalk.

Ginger Bonner,a Bellmore N.Y. resident, At Field 6 Boardwalk, Jones Beach State Park, 03/15/2020 / Neil Miller/The NewYork Extra/TheNYExtra.com/copyright 2020

Ginger Bonner from Bellmore felt the boardwalk was a “Corona Free” place” and expressed her feelings about the coronavirus pandemic had changed “I’m not the same person I was last week” and now she wasn’t taking it so lightly.

Field 6 parking lot was full on this beautiful Sunday. Families, couples, bicyclists, kids on scooters, all were out on the boardwalk holding hands, talking and smiling. The outdoor open area was one where you could breathe freely and feel secure.

Alison Lubell, Manhattan, and James Hammond, London England, at Field 6 ,Jones Beach State Park, 03/15/2020 /Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com /copyright 2020

Manhattan resident Alison Lubell was happy to be out on this “gorgeous and beautiful day” and felt people needed to be “aware and responsible”. James Hammond hailing from London England felt the situation was “fanned 80% by the media and 20% concern” he said “being on the boardwalk sure beat the subway crowds” which he found to be terrifying.

Jones Beach video of Alison Lubell and James Hammond /Neil Miller/ The New york Extra/TheNYExtra.com/copyright 2020

Tony and Pat Brinkmann of Sayville were enjoying the “fresh air and sunshine”. Tony expressed he felt it was a safe environment and that’s why they came today, there was “plenty of open space to not be crowed by people”.

Tony and Pat Brinkmann from Sayville N.Y. at The Field 6 Boardwalk ,Jones Beach State Park, Neil Miller/The NewYork Extra/TheNYExtra.com /copyright 2020

Video of Tony and Pat Brinkmann, at Jones Beach Boardwalk 03/15/2020 Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com /copyright 2020
Video of Ginger Bonner,Bellmore N.Y. Jones Beach State Park Boardwalk ,03/15/2020 Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

The coming weeks will tell what lies ahead concerning Covid19. In the meantime the smart and responsible thing to do is limit your exposure, the tried and true method of wash your hands don’t touch your face and social distancing. This is for the good of all and will help prevent what could have a devastating effect on our healthcare system. The opportunity to be outside on this beautiful day yet feel safe was one many of us took today.

86th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2020 by Toni Hoyos ,The New York Extra

Can you imagine 86 years! What a wonderful tradition for the town of Huntington. Started in 1930 by the Huntington Ancient Order of Hibernians [AOH] they have generously organized and paid for this event every year since [except during WWII]. Leading the parade was this years Grand Marshal AOH long time member the Honorable W. Gerard Asher.

The Hon. W. Gerard Asher/Neil Miller/The New York Extra /copyright 2020
The NYPD Emerald Society P&D/Neil Miller/The New York Extra/copyright 2020

Several traditional pipe and drum corps were in attendance including the Emerald Society of NYPD, AOH Huntington and Saint Anthony HS South Huntington to name a few. There was also a motorcycle escort, talented bagpipers and several other entertaining bands.

Street vendor/Neil Miller/The New York Extra/copyright 2020

Thousands of spectators lined the streets of the parade route commencing at Huntington train station proceeding down New York Avenue and Main Street. Push cart vendors selling festive St. Patrick’s day goods, hats, light up necklaces, horns, balloons, flags etc. and of course hot pretzels for a tasty treat. A family friendly, pet friendly event for all to enjoy. Need I say the many restaurants and pubs were open for business and booming! Oh and there was Guinness, lots of Guinness.

David Bayley, uncle and Nick Jr. Godfrey/Neil Miller/The New York Extra/2020
Above gallery ,Happy parade viewers enjoy the parade/Neil Miller/The New York Extra /copyright 2020

So next year grab your date, the family, friends, cousins and even Gramma with a folding chair and come on down to Huntington for a fun filled day. We are all Irish on Saint Paddy’s Day!

Quick Simple Healthy Meal

Welcome Back! On my quest to simplify healthy meals my first discovery is Amy’s Lentil soup, canned yet clean ingredients. All you need is the Amy’s soup, some fresh baby spinach [or veggie of choice] salt and pepper to taste and/or a little hot sauce. Shake Your Mama’s Bootie Mr. Peppers Hot Sauce Co is a great find, no preservatives, sugar or bad oils, use it on everything! [caution a little goes a long way]

Neil Miller/The New York Extra
Neil Miller/The New York Extra

Simply add soup to a pot, throw in 2 cups fresh baby spinach and heat until spinach is wilted. Season to taste. If you do dairy sprinkle with some grated cheese. As an accompaniment I used Mary’s Gone Crackers superseed everything , gluten free, crispy and tasty! Smear a little grass fed butter on them for a real treat. To finish off the meal add fruit of your choice. I used ready cut fresh pineapple and organic blueberries, delish!

This meal was really super quick, 10 minutes from pot to table. On those crazy busy days when time is of the essence ,with a little forethought and smart shopping options one can eat healthy, considering the alternatives. So don’t stop at those fast food chains or restaurants, lets shop around for healthier possibilities together. Be back soon!

Neil Miller /The New York Extra

TIP OF THE DAY: Trader Joe’s Green Goddess Salad dressing made with avocados is a real crowd pleaser. I use it for a dip with crudite. Plan on seeing this on future posts, I’m still thinking of its many possibilities.

2020 The Quest to Simplify Healthy Meals

Welcome 2020! May this year bring many blessings for us all! Im looking forward to new and exciting adventures and positive changes. One change I will be implementing is to SIMPLIFY. Time constraints have interfered with shopping, prepping and cook time. I usually spend several hours on my days off preparing healthy meals for the week. Well that’s not always going to be possible.

Neil Miller/The New York Extra

Though I always recommend first and whenever possible to eat clean, organic home prepared meals and snacks, I do realize with our busy schedules that’s not always feasible. Therefore my quest to simplify was born and it is a work in progress, Please take this journey with me. In order to simplify and as much as this pains me to say that means utilizing healthy prepared/packaged foods. It does not mean highly processed foods , preservatives, added sugars or unhealthy fats. Ha Ha,,, I know not easy.

Neil Miller/The New York Extra

Open the door and surround yourself with a rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s easy to grab an apple, banana or any fruit, they transport easily. Humus with Mini cukes, rainbow carrots and bell peppers are good to go. Pack some olives or raw nuts of your choice in snack size baggies. Keep a jar of seed or nut butter on hand with some precut celery sticks, a quick and easy snack.

I go forward now in search of elusive healthy packaged foods. What will I find on my journey?? Stay tuned for upcoming dinner recipes. Be back soon! Wishing you peace.

Neil Miller/The New York Extra

TIP OF THE DAY: Stringless Snap Peas from Whole Foods and Galil Organic Roasted Chestnuts. Totally portable and easy peasy!!

Amazing Chocolate Seed Treat

Neil Miller/The New York Extra

HEALTHY ALTERNATIVE TO STORE BOUGHT SWEETS

My friend turned me on to this delicious chocolate treat, now I’d like to share it with you. It’s quick, easy and very yummy! Great to give out as holiday gifts or a hostess gift any time of the year. Just use appropriate holiday/occasion wrapping of your choice! This recipe is courtesy of Dr. Eric Berg DC, you can find it on You Tube. Check it out to watch his video if you like visual aspects.

This recipe calls for 5 cups of raw seeds. Seeds are high in protein, fiber and healthy fats, they also do not irritate the gallbladder. If you wish you may use any combination of seeds and nuts for this recipe. I would recommend using a food processor to break down large nuts like walnuts and almonds. A quick pulse or 2 just to have smaller pieces.

You will need 5 cups of seeds [or combination seeds/nuts] , 1 9 oz bag Lilly’s dark chocolate chips, 3 tablespoons coconut oil [to thin out and make chocolate spreadable] and approximately 1 tsp pure Vanilla extract, a large bowl for the seeds and a prepared large baking pan lined with parchment paper.

Neil Miller/The New York Extra

Melt chocolate on stovetop using a pot with some water in it and a smaller pot that will sit into the larger one , pour the chocolate into the smaller pot and stir on medium heat until all chocolate is melted.Once melted pour chocolate over seeds in bowl, add 1 teaspoon vanilla and stir together. Pour seed/chocolate mixture onto prepared parchment lined pan. Spread out using a spoon or spatula to a very thin layer then freeze for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes remove from freezer and break into small pieces. Taste and enjoy! Careful though, I find these treats addicting, YUM!

Neil Miller ?The New York Extra

TIP OF THE DAY: These chocolate treats make for great gifts with a homemade touch. I’m making up Christmas bags for everyone to enjoy! Store in the refrigerator or freezer. I like to eat them straight from the freezer.

Christmas Continues on Long Island by Toni Hoyos, Foodlady7

THE 24th ANNUAL DICKENS’ FESTIVAL

Neil Miller/The New York Extra
Neil Miller /The New York Extra

This past weekend December 7th and 8th commenced the 24th annual Charles Dickens Festival in the village of Port Jefferson. It was a weekend filled with holiday cheer! Starting it all off was the grand opening ceremony parade followed by an opening ceremony at The Village Center.

The Kuveikis Family of Pt Jeff Station comes to the Festival every year Neil Miller /The New York Extra
The combined families of the Badolato and Zimulis from Huntington ,N.Y. enjoy the happenings today Neil Miller/The New York Extra
Ben with his two dogs Chess left and Duke on Main street today Neil Miller/The New York Extra

Gallery /Neil Miller /The New York Extra

Volunteers dressed in time period appropriate wardrobe strolled the streets, there was Father Christmas, ghosts of Christmas past, present and future and the beggar boy to name a few. We encountered carolers Chercy, Cheryl, Keeley and Savannah from The United Methodist Church of Bayport who graced the streets with their singing. There was musical shows to enjoy such as a men’s choir, bands, Port Jefferson Elementary Chamber Choir and Orchestra, Christmas concerts and various street performances by Pirates of Fortunes Folly among others.

Family and children oriented activities included ice skating, a fire pit to roast marsh mellows , magic shows, holiday sing a longs, cookie making at Cookie Land, a Chocolate Extravaganza, horse and carriage rides with Oreo and friends. Plenty of hot chocolate and roasted chestnuts for your enjoyment! Tickets could be purchased for renditions of The Nutcracker performed by Harbor Ballet Theatre at PJ High School or A Christmas Carol at Theatre Three.

An event schedule and map of activities/performances was available at the Village center. There was something for everyone. Truly a good time to be had by all ! I’ve already made a notation to return next year as should you! The festival concludes with The passing of the Lantern of Life, a fabulous Pickwick’s Puppet Parade followed by a closing ceremony at Village Hall. Don’t miss out next year it is fun for the young and old alike!!