Archives for April 2011

Chili Peppers and Burning Calories

From Time Magazine:

It’s long been known that spicy red peppers can help suppress appetite and burn calories. But most scientific studies of red peppers’ properties used quantities of the stuff that were too large to be applicable to Americans. Now, researchers report that even a reasonable amount of red pepper consumption may do the trick.

In their study, Richard Mattes, a distinguished professor of foods and nutrition at Purdue University, and doctoral student Mary-Jon Ludy found that eating a moderate amount of dried cayenne red pepper — less than a teaspoon — boosted calorie burn and reduced appetite, especially for people who didn’t typically use the spice.

The experiment involved 25 normal-weight participants — 13 who liked spicy food and 12 who did not — who spent six weeks sprinkling cayenne pepper on their food. Those who were already accustomed to hot flavors used 1.8 grams of cayenne per day; those with more tender tongues used 0.3 grams.

Read more:


Beneficial Green Bug Is Not an Ash Borer

You’ve probably seen what looks like a small purple box kite stuck up in some of the trees around the area.  These are to trap the Emerald Ash Borer, (Agrilus planipennis or Agrilus marcopoli) an invasive (and beautiful but destructive) bug that is having its way with the ask trees and more in the area. 

This fellow at right is not to be confused with the also beautiful and beneficial six-spotted green tiger beetle whose picture appears below. The explanation that follows is from University of Maryland Extension and the experts therein.


There are multiple species of tiger beetles in Maryland. Species vary in color, but most have a metallic hue to them, and all are predators. At this time of year and for the next month or so you will frequently see the six-spotted green tiger beetle (Cicindela sexguttata) active on hiking and biking trails in wooded areas, especially in sunny spots. As you approach them they will take flight and land about 5 to 10’ away. Unlike assassin bugs or preying mantids which are “sit and wait predators”, tiger beetles are “active hunters”. They actively stalk, chase, and capture their prey along the ground. Tiger beetles have quite

long legs for running and large eyes that enable them to search their surroundings for any signs of movement which would indicate potential food or danger. Their jaws are powerful with very prominent “teeth” which they use to grab and crush their prey – yikes! Both adult and immature tiger beetles are carnivorous. The eggs of tiger beetles are laid in the soil where, once hatched, the larvae build an underground burrow. The larva waits in the burrow for an unsuspecting prey to pass by. When this happens the tiger beetle larva jumps from its burrow and grabs the prey, pulls it into the burrow and enjoys a feast. These beautiful insects are interesting to watch, but if you have the need to catch one beware – they have been known to draw human blood.

To learn more about the green tiger beetle visit the following web sites.


Gypsy Moth Update from UMD

The gypsy moth is still by far the most destructive pest of forest and shade trees in Maryland. The caterpillars eat the leaves of oaks and other hardwoods in May and June. Heavy populations of caterpillars will eat most or all leaves on a tree. Large outbreaks have affected hundreds of thousands of acres statewide. We checked with the gypsy moth division of MDA and the gypsy moth larvae have not hatched yet, but they should be soon.

Coordinator Weekly IPM report:

Stanton Gill, Extension Specialist, IPM for Nursery, Greenhouse and Managed Landscapes, 301-596-9413 (office) or 410-868-9400 (cell)

Regular Contributors:

Pest and Beneficial Insect Information: Stanton Gill and Paula Shrewsbury (Extension Specialists) and Brian Clark (Extension Educator, Prince George’s County) Disease Information: Karen Rane (Plant Pathologist) and David Clement (Extension Specialist)

Weed of the Week: Chuck Schuster (Extension Educator, Montgomery County) Cultural Information: Ginny Rosenkranz (Extension Educator, Wicomico/ Worcester/Somerset Counties) Fertility Management: Andrew Ristvey (Regional Specialist, Wye Research & Education Center)

Design, Layout and Editing: Suzanne Klick (Technician, CMREC)


Pay What You Can for The Grateful Bowl

This from the LA Times food section: The Grateful Bowl

There’s one dish at Café Gratitude, the new vegan restaurant on North Larchmont Boulevard in Los Angeles, that stands out from the others. It’s called the I Am Grateful bowl. Piled high with shredded kale, quinoa, black beans and garlic-tahini sauce, it’s filling, flavorful, healthful and free.

That’s right. $0. The cafe says it’s the “community supported grain bowl” and lists the dish’s suggested value ($7) but doesn’t require payment. You can order the dish and pay nothing or something, or pay the suggested value and add a donation for those who can’t pay. It doesn’t matter how much is in your wallet.

One customer, Daudi McLean, a vegan chef himself, made his way to the cafe when it first opened. He, his wife and five kids were eager to try what the new eatery had to offer. But the gratitude bowl is what has him returning now.

Recently, McLean’s family found themselves without the money they once had. Due to a bad business deal they could no longer maintain the same lifestyle. Since their first visit, they’ve found themselves back again a couple of times — eating once for nothing, then for only $10.



Easton Farmers’ Market Features Variety of Local Foods

A farmers’ market is more than a place to buy local produce. It’s a place to connect with the community. There is live music from 10:30-12:30 which makes it festive. Stroll through the stalls admiring and inspecting what’s on offer on the tables — eggs, locally made soaps and cheeses, baked goods, locally grown organic and heirloom vegetables,  locally grown bison,  a healthy alternative to beef . While you shop, you will also run into friends and neighbors, make plans, catch up, and walk away with a full shopping bag and a lifted spirit. Bring your wallet, your straw hat and your smile to Harrison Street Public Parking lot on Saturdays 8am-1pm from now until December 19th.


Just a few of the local vendors:

S.B Farms, Inc., 7010 Hynson Road, Hurlock, MD – Featuring Bison Meat and Products. 410-754-5821. E-mail:

Old Style Sauce Co., P.O. Box 953, Stevensville, MD – Featuring award winning marinades & meat sauces. E-mail:

Valerie Jones, Centreville, MD – Decorative Artist. 410-758-5476

Thelvia Gaulden –  Basketmaker. 410-822-7678

How-Wood Products, LLC – Functional Art, Wood Products individually crafted by Howard H. Hughes of Easton. 410-819-8115.

Daisy Designs – Handmade Baby & Children’s Accessories. 410-924-6913 E-mail:

Provident Organic Farm, Bivalve, MD – Dedicated to safe, just and sustaining food system. 410-873-2942 & 410-860-9850. E-mail:

Chapel’s Country Creamery, Easton, MD – Local Cheese made with all natural ingredients. 410-820-6647.

Flower Moon Soaps, 8192 Bakers Lane, Chestertown, MD – Handcrafted soaps, lotions, bath salts, honey, lip balms. 410-810-2882 or toll free 888-489-9090.

Celtic Bakery & King’s Creek Gourmet-to-Go – Scones, Cheesecakes, Soups, Quiches, Custom orders and gift baskets available. 410-770-8744.

Oxford Day Starts with Pancake Breakfast

Oxford’s 17th annual Oxford Day will kick off with the community breakfast at the Community Center on April 30, 7:30-10 am. Adults $7 per person and $5 for  kids under 6. This all-day all-family event celebrates Oxford’s history and offers a host of events to excite everyone in the family.

For details on additional Oxford Day activities, visit online at


2nd Annual Winefest at St Michaels

In what will feel like a First Friday gone viral, the town of St Michaels is hosting its 2nd annual ‘Winefest’ from April 29 -May 1. It’s about wine, and so much more.

There will be pouring venues for Maryland Wines as well as those from wines from eight countries.  Regional chef demos of the Chesapeake’s incomparable regional food include  St Michaels Harbour Inn’s Executive chef David Hayes, Robert Morris Inn’s chef proprietor, Mark Salter, Bartlett Pear’s executive chef and owner, Jordan Lloyd, and Tilghman Island Inn’s  executive chef and owner, David McCallum.  There will be chef dinners, cruises, entertainment, special sales and promotions at local businesses, music, & art exhibits. Wine and beer tastings and dinner featuring signature chefs from surrounding areas will be held at several restaurants and aboard the Patriot Cruise Ship. Tastings take place at several venues conveniently located throughout town where wines will also be available for purchase.

Bella Luna's chef/owner Barbara Helish

Winefest Winebasket Raffle – over $1,000 value. Includes Wines, Spirits, Overnight Stays and Cruises. Tickets available by purchasing at Winefest Retailers.

Gate price will be $50 for one day, $85 for two days. Advance ticket purchase recommended, since some things are selling out.  410-745-5554. Advance tickets available at

The winefest is a 501C3 charity event supporting 6 local charities including:

The St Michaels Community Center * The Benedictine School * The St Michaels Food Bank 
Project Healing Waters * The Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence * St Michaels Family YMCA


Marc Castelli at MASSONIART

On the Friday, May 6, 2011, Marc Castelli’s annual one-man exhibition, Between the Moon Monster and the Wind, opens at MASSONIART in Chestertown, Maryland.  There will be a Preview Reception in the Gallery on Friday from 6-8 pm.  An Open House will be held on Saturday, May 7, from 11 am – 3pm.  In addition to Mr. Castelli’s watercolors, a selection of art glass by Hegland Glass will be on display.  An Artists Talk is scheduled at 12 Noon on Saturday when Marc Castelli and Patti and Dave Hegland will discuss their work and answer questions.

The title of this year’s show refers to the vagaries of the conditions watermen contend with in the struggle to keep their industry viable on the Chesapeake Bay.  In this collection of new watercolors, Castelli reminds us of the hardships facing these men.  Not only must they deal with environmental degradation and the onerous regulations that govern their trade – something as variable as the moon in the night sky – “ring around the moon, storm coming soon” – or the direction of the wind – “when the wind is in the East, the fish bite the least” – as passed down in the folklore of the region, may ultimately be the determining factor in their catch.

November 1/Thomas Clyde on 6 Foot Knoll

Castelli has been painting the watermen for over twenty years.  He is known for his intimate perspective of their lives, a perspective gained by his active involvement on their workboats.
“No artist on the Chesapeake scene covers the waterfront better than Marc Castelli,” author Tom Horton wrote in recent article, Truth in Painting.   ‘I want to paint the truth of their lives. I see them as the last of the free ranging cowboys. I don’t romanticize them or pretty them up,’ explains Castelli.  Indeed, it’s the finely rendered detail that sets Castelli apart – from the rust and grime on the workboats, to the concentration on a deckhand’s face as he untangles a rockfish from a gill net. In those minutiae he captures the essence of being a waterman.”
Castelli works side by side with the men, in all seasons and in all weather endeavoring to capture the essence of their world. “Marc gets on the boats, so you don’t get a detached view,” said Pete Lesher, chief curator of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.  “You get the view of an active participant.”   In the last five years, Castelli has also become something of a political activist on behalf of the watermen’s cause, appearing before legislative committees and speaking out in venues all over the state.  “There are many people who are not watermen who want to see the 400 year old heritage of the state’s seafood industry continue.  It’s a tradition.  It’s a culture here.” Castelli testified.

But it is ultimately through the language of painting that Castelli finds his power. “Painting is a language,” Castelli explained paraphrasing Andrew Wyeth.  “The longer you spend at it, the more fluent you become.”  Castelli has been practicing this “language” for over thirty-five years.  “One of the wonderful by-products of this intimacy of language,” Castelli shared,  “is that your skill level goes up and results in the ability to reach into the viewer’s experience and have them find like experiences with which to resonate and relate to your images.”  The confidence he feels in using his paintings to reach others is attained by the daily pursuit of his skills as a painter and his personal growth as a human being.  “It always surprises me when a viewer relates their experiences to me using my images as a starting point.  In some small way, I was able to get them past the “clichés” and get closer to something they have never experienced or seen.”

In the last year, Castelli has been honored with two major exhibitions and several lectures at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum; the premier of the Simison Collection of his paintings at the Kohl Gallery at Washington College through the auspices of the Center for Environment and Society; the selection of his watercolors for the 2010 and 2011 Maryland Public Television’s Chesapeake Bay Week Poster; and with numerous articles in regional and national print media.  He has also participated in exhibitions at the National Maritime Historical Society’s annual meetings in Washington, DC and at the Annapolis Maritime Museum’s fundraising event.

Between the Moon Monster and the Wind opens on Friday, May 6 and will remain on exhibit through June 25, 2011.  The contemporary kiln-formed art glass of Patti and Dave Hegland will be available throughout the exhibition.  Gallery hours, directions, and additional biographical information on Marc Castelli and the Heglands can be found on the MASSONIART website.

MASSONIART is located at 203 High Street in historic Chestertown, Maryland.  For inquiries please call Carla Massoni at 410-778-7330.

Sunday Cooking — Asparagus, Spring Harbinger

It’s one of those culinary harbingers. Juicy, crisp local asparagus, cut that day or at most the day before, barely steamed and dipped in mayo mixed with curried mustard, it’s the perfect hors d’oeuvre with a glass of wine while sitting outside before the skeeters emerge.  One of the inexpensive but rich pleasures in life. Asparagus sprouts wild along the highways and the ragged edges of fields. True country foragers like my husband note where it waves feathery fronds in June, then return the following year to clip the shoots as they come up. Easily cultivated, it annually reaches green fingers skyward from perennial roots that can produce for 25 years or more.

Asparagus is full of vitamins A and C, and is a minor but delicious delivery system for riboflavin, phosphorous and calcium.  And one cooked cup is only 30 calories. Of course, that’s before the hollandaise, the curried mayo dip, or asparagus quiche with cream and gruyere. Never mind. There’s only a three-week or so window for fresh local asparagus, and whatever you do with it is probably well worth the calories.

Like many vegetables, asparagus can be a superb side dish, simply grilled or roasted and spritzed with lemon juice, or lightly tossed with butter or olive oil and garlic.  Or it can be more.

Take the same grilled or roasted asparagus, drizzle it with vinaigrette and top with chopped hardboiled eggs for a more substantial lunch or roll it into an omelet or add it to a little chicken and sautéed mushrooms in a crepe.  It’s a nice addition to stir-fried veggies (asparagus, pea pods, scallions, tamari and sesame oil) and makes a pasta primavera truly spring. Asparagus soup, which can be both delicious and low-cal, only takes about fifteen minutes to make. (Visit the link below to see Spy Illustrator, Jean Sanders’s and my entry in Amanda Hesser’s Whole Foods asparagus contest.)

Asparagus can also be a featured ingredient in something more elaborate; Silver Palate Good Times cookbook has a recipe for a layered chef’s salad with homemade tuna mayonnaise dressing that is both dramatic – especially if you make and serve it in a glass trifle bowl – and substantial. I make it religiously once a year at least. It’s a great make-ahead meal for a garden party, a dressed-up Sunday brunch or a satisfying supper on a steamy evening.

The food network has a bunch of delicious-sounding ideas for asparagus – so many recipes, so little time! — including grilled asparagus with creamy tangerine dressing and green bean and asparagus tempura (the beans aren’t in yet, but tempura’d aspergrass sounds terrific).  One party hors d’oeuvre I’ve had several times lately and have had to yank myself back from the table to keep from scarfing the lot is asparagus wrapped in phylo. Local caterers, Sisters by Chance, do it from a Paula Deen recipe and it’s crisp, light tasting, and beautifully salty with grated Parmesan cheese.


To keep it for a few days, we put asparagus in the crisper in an open-topped plastic storage bag. Others keep theirs upright in a jar of water. To do this, wash asparagus gently in cool water, cut or break off the bottom ½ inch and put them upright in the frig in a tallish plastic container with about 2 inches of water in it.

Nancy’s Asparagus Soup:

Asparagus in phylo:

Burnt Offerings posted what sounds like a fab recipe at Whole Foods.


Amy Correia May 13

Bluesy singer-songwriter Amy Correia will be stopping by in Easton to perform at the Stoltz Listening Room on Friday, May 13 at 8pm.

Correia delivers songs with a raw power that’s both vulnerable and fierce. That musical honesty has drawn comparisons to Tom Waits and Michelle Shocked and The New York Times calls her a singular talent.”

Her fans agree, pitching in to raise more than $35K to make Correia’s third record, You Go Your Way. Independently released last year to critical acclaim, American Songwriter writes she’s “back in top form with another rootsy gem of an album..Correia shows off her Rod Stewart-meets-Lucinda Williams pipes on Powder Blue Trans Am.” The New Yorker calls You Go Your Way “a fine record, with spare, sharp rhythm parts highlighting the strong, bluesy vocals, and featuring uncommonly effective string-quartet arrangements.”

An early convert to the “fan-funded” album after two major label releases with EMI (“Carnival Love” and “Lakeville”), Correia recently finished a 28-city tour of the U.S., opening for legendary frontwoman of The Pretenders, Chrissie Hynde. Hynde and her musical partner, JP Jones, hand-picked Correia to open for their new project after seeing Correia perform live. (Her live show is not to be missed!) Accompanying herself on piano, ukulele and guitar, Correia has also toured extensively with Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Marc Cohn (Walking in Memphis), opening shows and performing as a member of his stellar band, appearing on Good Morning America, Ellen Degeneres, The View and The Today Show. Her new album You Go Your Way is available at (and digitally at I-tunes and Amazon).

Tickets $20