Chef Jams Conroy, director of prepared foods for Food Circus Supermarkets, with some of the produce department’s assortment of fresh winter greens. Photo by Andy McDonoughFall and winter meals aren’t just about comfort foodby Andy McDonoughWhen the weather turns cooler it’s time to think about all the great cold weather comfort foods, like butternut squash soup, apple cobbler served up warm with a scoop of ice cream and aromatic pumpkin pies with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.But hold on — I may put on a few pounds just writing that sentence. Let’s consider that eating well should not be a seasonal event. The cooler weather has plenty to offer for home chefs past the comfort foods in which we love to indulge, many of which we know are more about tradition than good health.What about salads? Are we done with them at the end of August? No, and not by a long shot. When the summer salad joins our memories of sand and surf is when things start to get interesting in the salad department.It’s true that through the miracles of the modern supermarket produce department we could have lettuce and tomato salads year-round, but if you believe that the summer salad has had its day you’ll welcome the bold tastes and new textures that winter salads have to offer.Winter salads can’t rely on ripe tomatoes and delicate butter lettuce to make them shine. Instead, it’s hearty greens, salty cheese, and crunchy nuts make distinctive winter salads delicious. The tastes are bold and offer lots of interesting combinations to explore. Use the building blocks below to create your own perfect winter salad or try out the recipe at the end of this article.It’s an easy and distinctive Radicchio Hazelnut Blue Cheese Salad, perfect to accompany a hearty cold weather meal or stand on its own.Start With Hearty Greens, Chicories or Cabbages – Avoid the wilted lettuces and mesclun mixes in plastic bags or flown in from around the globe. Go instead with the hearty greens, the crunchy chicories, or the crisp cabbages that flourish in the fall and through winter. Your wondering, what a chicory is, right? Belgian endive, escarole, and radicchio are all chicories. Related to, but bolder than lettuces, chicories have sturdier leaves and a more assertive flavor famous for its bitter edge. Use their distinctive flavors to add a bright, bracing element to your salads. Best of all, they are a fall and winter crop and are available fresh locally when lettuces are not.Speaking of alternatives to lettuce, many of the greens you may be used to cooking (chard and kale in particular) are delicious raw and make for great salads. Buy small-leafed versions or cut larger leaves into bite-size pieces or ribbon-like shreds.Add a Hit of Salt – Heart greens and chicories can handle a lot of flavor, including plenty of salt if you’re so inclined. Feta, cojita, and blue cheeses are all great matches for winter salads – just crumble them to taste. Olives, either whole pitted, or pitted and chopped, are also good bets. You can even create your own Green Olive Dressing mixing in some minced green olives. Don’t overdo it with mixing salty players. Pick one and let it stand out.Toss In Something Crunchy – Winter greens have a lot of body and textures of their own, so feel free to add some serious crunch if you are so inclined. Nuts, seeds, croutons, slices of radish, pieces of fennel, slim cuts of uncooked carrot – anything that will give that crunchy element to the dish.Don’t Forget the Sweet Option – The bitter edge that underlies winter greens and chicories can benefit from a little bit of sweetness. Roasted beets and apples are good to use for balance, as are winter fruits like pears, oranges, kumquats or dates. Dried raisins, cranberries, blueberries and other fruits can add distinctive texture and sweetness, too.Or, Lose the Leaves Entirely – Don’t forget that some of the very best summer salads, like a Marinated Green Bean Salad, don’t always involve leaves. Some of the best possible winter salads don’t involve greens of any sort. Roasted beet salads, Celery Red Onion Salad, Celery Root Salad, or Lentil Salad are great and don’t need a leaf.Here is a versatile gem of a salad is crisp and boldly flavorful. It’s easy to put its few key ingredients together in minutes, but tasty enough to impress.Radicchio Hazelnut Blue Cheese SaladThe secret to this salad is the balance of its three strong players: the standout taste of radicchio; the bold, salty flavor of blue cheese; and crunch from the hazelnuts. If you’re not a fan of blue cheese, substitute a cheese you like or just leave it out. The radicchio and hazelnuts are a great combination and can carry this dish on their own. Nut allergy? Then, by all means, loose the nuts. The strong flavors of radicchio and blue cheese balance each other nicely, but you don’t leave out the crunch entirely. Try it with sunflower seeds or pepitas (pumpkin seeds).Prep Time: 10 minutesTotal Time: 10 minutesYield: 4 servingsIngredients:1 head radicchio1 shallot (optional)2 Tbsp. agrodulce or 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar plus 1 tsp. sugar2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oilSalt1/2 cup toasted, chopped hazelnuts1/4 cup crumbled blue cheesePreparation:Trim and chop radicchio. Wash and dry and set aside. Meanwhile, mince the shallot and put it in a large salad bowl. Add agrodulce (a traditional sweet and sour sauce in Italian cuisine) or vinegar and sugar and let sit 5 to 10 minutes, whisk in olive oil and add salt to taste.Add radicchio to salad bowl and toss gently but thoroughly until leaves are evenly coated with the dressing. Now you can either add the hazelnuts and blue cheese and toss everything together, or divide the radicchio evenly among 4 salad plates and sprinkle with its share of the hazelnuts and blue cheese for a more elegant presentation.
By Chris Rotolo |FAIR HAVEN — At the borough’s annual reorganization meeting Tuesday, Mayor Benjamin Lucarelli predicted the potential future rehabilitation of the iconic Oceanic Bridge will be one of Fair Haven’s top issues in 2018.The 2,712-foot span linking neighboring Rumson and Middletown became a topic of discussion among locals in December, when area residents were invited by Monmouth County to give input on what should be done about the aging structure, built in 1939.Over 200 responses from area residents have been published on the county’s informal website, MonmouthCountyOceanicBridge.com, with many of the respondents expressing their wishes to maintain the personality of the overpass as a low-altitude drawbridge, rather than a raised, fixed-span construction that could potentially impact the scenic views of Navesink River homeowners.Reports from Monmouth County and the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority show the bridge is effectively failing. Combinations of age, deterioration and traffic volume have led both agencies to search for a replacement.Still, others hoped the remodel would not interfere with their ability to bike and walk over the structure.“Fair Haven prides itself on being a walkable and bike-friendly community,” Lucarelli said. “In 2017 we adopted a new transit plan as part of our master plan. So in the new year, we’ll continue to advocate for biking and pedestrian facilities on the new bridge.”“Whether it’s a fixed-span that’s raised or a drawbridge, that’s yet to be seen,” Lucarelli added, stressing that to have a biking and pedestrian-friendly construction “is our main mission.”Christopher Rodriguez is the Borough Council’s liaison to the county committee in charge of the Oceanic Bridge’s reconstruction. The Democratic councilman was due to be sworn in on Tuesday after being elected in November to a three-year term. However, he was out of state and absent from the reorganization session.Rodriguez’s fellow incumbent, Susan Sorensen, was on hand, and the Republican councilwoman was sworn in to a three-year term of her own.The governing body also elected John Peters as Borough Council president. He has served as the head of the finance committee.Lucarelli also oversaw the appointment of a new municipal court judge, Peter Lucas, whose son Peter Lucas Jr. was just named to The Two River Times All-Area Football Team after rushing for 2,196 yards and 31 touchdowns for Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School. Anthony Vecchio was appointed as the new municipal prosecutor.Also recognized at the reorganization session were Fire Company officers Matthew DePonti (Fire Chief), Christopher Schrank (Deputy Chief), Matthew Bufano (First Assistant Chief) and Kevin Countryman (Second Assistant Chief), as were First Aid officers Katy Frissora (Captain), Dan Kane (1st Lieutenant) and Roxanne Keane (2nd Lieutenant). Fire Police officers Douglas Anderson (Captain), Marty Coy (1st Lieutenant) and Daniel Chernavsky (2nd Lieutenant), and Water Rescue Team Members John P. Felsmann (Unit Coordinator), Michael Wiehl (Deputy Coordinator), Jim Cerruti (Operations and Training) and Tim Morrissey (Maintenance and Repair) were also recognized.This article was first published in the Jan. 4-11, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.
FERNANDO PEREZ, LOST BUS, WINNER: “She ran well last time but even I didn’t know she was going to run this well in here. I got a clean break, I took her to the lead and she was comfortable the whole time and at the end, she was still trying.“Corey (Nakatani, on Finest City) was pushing me. We were bumping a little bit down the stretch, but not much to be honest. He just had to take the shot to see if he could get the disqualification.“I didn’t even see Mike (Smith, on favored Tara’s Tango) at the wire. I was too busy fighting with Corey and trying to beat him. I needed to get that done first.” NOTES: Winning owner Terry Lovingier resides in Long Beach. JOCKEY QUOTES TERRY LOVINGIER, OWNER, LOST BUS, WINNER: “I’m kinda lost for words. I didn’t expect this and not too many others did either; she was 60-1. We claimed her (for $32,000 three starts back on Nov. 19) because she battled quite a few times with My Fiona (stakes-winning filly owned by Lovingier) when they were both 2-year-olds. I don’t claim that often anymore, but I did claim quite a few horses before I started breeding them.” GARY SHERLOCK, LOST BUS, WINNER: “This race was a Grade I when I won it last time (with Intangaroo in 2008). Lost Bus was pretty much going to run before I learned Sunday Rules wouldn’t be entered, but I was running for third, and it turned out better than that.“There wasn’t a lot of speed in the race, and I told Fernando to go to the front.”Asked about her next race: “She’s a Cal-bred, so there are plenty of options.” MIKE SMITH, TARA’S TANGO, THIRD: “I tried to get her out of there quickly today and we did much better (than usual) but we couldn’t quite keep up with that forty-four pace. I was having to really, really pedal to stay head and head with them and that’s a long way to be on her, that hard, the whole time. I couldn’t keep her in a hard drive.“I thought I could let them go, give her a bit of a breather and then go at them again on the outside and it worked, but, I just didn’t get there in time.“You just try and do the right thing and sometimes when it works, you’re the hero. Sometimes though, if you don’t win, you don’t look so good.” TRAINER QUOTES