Friday, 12 May 2017 10:12

Pea Shoot Pesto

By Chef Dan Spitz


* Ingredients can be found at the market

- 1 cup, packed, of fresh pea shoots*

- ½ cup of fresh parsley leaves*

- ¼ cup of fresh mint leaves*

- 2 garlic cloves, smashed and roughly chopped*

- ½ cup grated parmesan*

- ½ cup lightly toasted walnuts

- 1 cup good quality olive oil*

- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

- Salt and pepper to taste


1. To make pesto using a food processor or Cuisinart, combine the pea shoots, parsley, mint, garlic, and 2 oz of olive oil and pulse until nearly smooth. 

2. Continue by adding the parmesan and walnuts, pulse again until combined. 

3. Then, while the machine is running, slowly pour in the remaining olive oil and a pinch of salt and fresh cracked pepper. Turn off and taste for salt and lemon.

Enjoy on eggs, sandwiches, salads, pasta, and just about any savory breakfast, lunch, and dinner dish. Buon Appetito!

Friday, 31 March 2017 10:02

Getting the Scoop

Hello my Foodie Friends. Among my “many talents” is the natural ability to tell a good story.  Many of my stories are from my parents, relatives and siblings and are based on gatherings of family events that have occurred over the years. Getting the scoop on family stories is something we do beginning in our childhood and continues through our years with our own children. Family stories are a collection of tales about people, places, and events related to your family and your ancestors. Every person has a story to tell.

The memorable stories of our lives and of others in our family take on special importance, even if everyone tells different versions of the same event. These tales are family heirlooms held close to the heart. They are a gift to each generation that preserves them by remembering them and passing them on to future generations, and will become some of the most valuable and exciting information you can document about your family history. By getting the scoop on your family stories, and learning more about the personalities and heritage of your ancestors, they become more than just names and dates. They become real people with real struggles and dreams and triumphs in their lives just like you.

This week’s top cooking tool is the portion scoop.  This is one item that we love in the kitchen.  Portion scoops are standard-sized scoops used to measure out food, both cooked and uncooked. They look like ice cream scoops and have a spring release that scrapes your food/ice cream/cookie dough out of the scoop once it has been measured. The odd thing about them is that they come in strange sizes, like #16 and #24, rather than in sizes that you might ordinarily associate with cookie baking, such as “a 1-inch ball” or “a rounded tablespoon.” The numbers on portion scoops refer to fractions of a quart (32-ounces), or the number of scoops of a particular size it takes to make 32-oz. With this system, you know that a #16 scoop is 2-oz and a  #24 is 1.5-oz. The general rule is the larger the number, the smaller the scoop, and when you are picking out a scoop you can simply choose one based on the size of the cookie you’d like to make (or whatever else you might be portioning out).

Portion scoops are designed for kitchen professionals to standardize their products and to keep a handle on costs. These scoop sizes ensure that they get exactly the same number of servings (or balls of dough) per batch or per recipe without wasting any product – and that the customers always get the same amount of product for their money. And it is how they keep the cookies in a bakery display window looking so perfect, too.


There are so many innovative things to make with a scoop. Here are 10 things to make with a Scoop

1. Assemble sandwiches. Whether you’re making chicken salad sandwiches or ice cream sandwiches, a large scoop will give you just the right amount of filling. Smash it a little, and add the top of the sandwich. The same idea applies for homemade ravioli, enchiladas, stuffed zucchini or peppers, and pot stickers.

2. Form cookies. This works whether you’re making no bake cookies or ones that need to be cooked. All of the cookies will be perfect circles if they start out as nice balls, and since they’re all the same size, they’ll all be finished cooking at the same time.

3. Fill muffin tins. Whether you’re making muffins, cupcakes, or eggs in your muffin tin, a scoop will give you the same amount of batter in each cup. No one will fight over whose cupcake is bigger!

4. Make pancakes. It’s nice to not worry about the size of each pancake. If you use the same scoop for each pancake, the finished products will all be exactly the same size. Or, if you use a smaller scoop and a larger scoop, you can easily make a Mickey Mouse pancake.

5. Make easy truffles. Start with a simple chocolate ganache. I use 6-8 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips, 3 tablespoons of butter (cut into small cubes), and 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Mix that together and microwave in 30-second increments until you’re able to stir it into a smooth, creamy liquid. Then let it cool, just enough that it will hold its shape. Use a scoop to form balls of chocolate, and then roll them in powdered sugar, colored sugar, chopped nuts, sprinkles, cocoa powder, or whatever you want.

6. Brownie lollipops. This is a fun recipe where you start with a slightly cooled pan of brownies. They need to be warm enough to work with, but not so hot that they fall apart. Using a small scoop, form brownie balls (avoid the hard edges; eat those instead). Insert a stick into each one, and then dip it into melted chocolate. Finish the lollipops off with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, colored sugar, sprinkles, or other garnish.

7. Dessert balls. What little athlete wouldn’t like a baseball made from Rice Krispies? Or a soccer ball made from a brownie and decorated with frosting? Or even a basketball made from cantaloupe? Use a scoop to make the balls.

8. Meatballs. Honestly, Paula makes her meatballs by hand. However, when she has to make large amounts for a large gathering, she uses a scoop to form them into perfect balls. You can also use a scoop to form crab cakes (press the balls down a bit) and hamburgers (press them down a lot).

9. Form dumplings. When I was little, my mom made dumplings to go with stews. They’re basically balls of dough dropped into hot broth towards the end of cooking. 

10. Fill your decorator. I use my smallest scoop to fill my decorator with frosting for making cakes and egg yolks for filling deviled eggs. I use a larger scoop to fill my cookie press. I use a scoop because the spring makes the sticky stuff pop right out into the decorator or press easily, and I don’t have to dirty a bunch of spoons.

Here is a delicious recipe that many of my Italian family members would make using a portion scoop: 

Orange Drop Cookies


2/3 Cup Shortening

3/4 Cup Sugar

1 Egg

1/2 Cup Orange Juice

1 Zest of California Naval Orange

2 Cups Flour

1/2 Tsp. Baking Powder

1/2 Tsp. Baking Soda

1/2 Tsp. Salt



Preheat Oven to 400 Degrees

Mix shortening, sugar and egg

Stir in orange juice and orange zest

In a separate bowl, stir dry ingredients together

Add dry ingredients slowly to wet ingredients, gently mix by hand

Scoop mix down with a spoon and drop onto an un-greased baking sheet

Bake each tray for 8 - 10 minutes, or until lightly browned on edges

Add Icing

Mix 2 1/2 Tbsb. of soft butter, 1 1/2 Cups Confectionary Sugar, 1 1/2 Tbsb. Orange Juice and drizzle over cookies

These are so yummy. I remember as a child, loading my pockets with these cookies and handing them off to my brothers and sisters while my mother and aunts were in the kitchen making tons of Italian cookies for a family event. Well, that’s another family story I have!! Stop by Compliments to the Chef located at 46 Marion Avenue. We have a variety of scoop sizes to meet your culinary needs. During the times you are in the kitchen cooking and eating with your family, get the scoop and share family stories. Your family stories are guaranteed to become absolutely priceless possessions in your family for many generations to come. Remember: “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” Take care, John and Paula 

Trusts come in many different forms and serve multiple different purposes.  Whether a Trust should be included in your estate plan is something you should discuss with your attorney.  To aid you in your discussion, here is a primer on the most common types of trusts used in estate planning. 

What is a Revocable Trust?

A revocable trust holds property for you during your lifetime.  You can revoke the trust and take back ownership of the property at any time that you choose.  Revocable trusts are sometimes used in the place of Wills in order to avoid the probate process.  If avoiding the probate of a Will is your goal, you should take care to ensure that all of your property is held by your revocable trust or is otherwise held in a non-probate form, i.e. as joint property with a spouse. 

What is an Irrevocable Trust?

An irrevocable trust cannot be revoked by the creator, and is often used in asset preservation planning to assist the creator in later qualifying for Medicaid.  Anything transferred into a properly drafted irrevocable trust more than five years before a Medicaid application is filed will not be counted as an asset of the Medicaid applicant.

What is a Supplemental Needs Trust?

A supplemental needs trust can be set up for the benefit of a disabled person by a third party.  For example, a father may set one up for his disabled child in his Will, so that money will be available for the child’s care after the father’s death.  A supplemental needs trust does not affect the eligibility of the disabled child for governmental benefits, such as SSI or Medicaid.  One of the advantages of a third party supplemental needs trust is that the principal of the trust can be left to other family members after the death of the disabled person.

What is a Special Needs Trust?

A special needs trust is similar to a third party supplemental needs trust in that it does not affect the eligibility of a disabled beneficiary for governmental benefits.  In contrast to a third party supplemental needs trust, a special needs trust is set up with the disabled person’s own funds – sometimes from the proceeds of a personal injury settlement.  In addition, funds left in the trust after the disabled person’s death must be used to pay off any lien Medicaid has for providing medical care during the disabled person’s lifetime.

What is an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust?

An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) is often used to assist with the payment of potential estate taxes.  When the ILIT is established, the creator gifts money to the Trust to purchase a life insurance policy on his or her life.  Over the course of the creator’s life, he or she gifts additional money to the ILIT to pay annual premiums, keeping the annual gifts below the annual exclusion amount for federal gift tax purposes.  This allows the value of the insurance policy to grow outside of the taxable estate of the creator.  Upon the creator’s death, the death benefit paid under the life insurance policy is not part of the creator’s taxable estate and is therefore available to help pay any estate taxes that are levied on the creator’s estate.

In addition to the trusts mentioned above, trusts may be used by estate planning attorneys for a variety of other reasons.  Quite commonly, trusts are used in Wills to control the distribution of money to children.  For example, you can set up a trust in your Will to hold money for your child until they reach the age of 30, while allowing your Trustee to distribute funds to your child for purposes that are worthwhile, i.e. for education or the purchase of a new home.  This control of funds on a child’s behalf can help prevent money from potentially being dissipated on less worthy “needs” like sports cars or luxury vacations.

Whether a trust should be part of your estate plan is a discussion you should have with your attorney.  As you can see, trusts come in a great variety of types and serve many purposes.  An experienced professional can help you make the right decisions based on your personal circumstances.

Matthew J. Dorsey, Esq. is a Partner with O’Connell and Aronowitz, 1 Court Street in Saratoga Springs.  Over his twenty years of practice, he has focused in the areas of elder law, estate planning, and estate administration.  Mr. Dorsey can be reached at (518)584-5205, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and www.oalaw.com.   

Friday, 27 January 2017 10:29

New York’s Runner of the Year

Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, the New York State Sportswriters Association announced, Saratoga Springs sophomore Kelsey Chmiel has been selected the New York girls cross country runner of the year by Gatorade after winning the NYSPHSAA and Federation titles this past season and finishing second at the Nike Cross Nationals regional meet. Chmiel, who placed fifth at the national Nike meet in Oregon, is the first runner from the powerful Blue Streaks program to earn the honor, though Gatorade did not start picking recipients in the sport until 2007. She set course records at Saratoga Spa State Park enroute to her league championship and at Chenango Valley State Park while capturing the NYSPHSAA Class A meet title. She also shattered course records at meets in Virginia and Georgia. Chmiel was selected the New York State Sportswriters Association runner of the year at the conclusion of the season.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Ten new buildings, a five-story hotel, more than 400 residential units and nearly 30,000 square feet of retail space may soon rise from the rustic landscape of the city’s west side. The city’s Land Use boards are evaluating two projects that seek to develop a stretch of vacant land from the south end of the Saratoga Springs train station to Washington Street/ Route 29, and just west of West Avenue.

“You are looking at significant development,” said Bradley Birge, administrator of planning and economic development for Saratoga Springs. The Station Park project, which would be built out over five phases, calls for two buildings to be dedicated as a mixed-use space with each building housing 36 residential units, and a total of 22,000 square feet of retail space.

The 72 residential units would be for-sale condominiums, said Lou Giardino, chief development officer of the project for Top Capital of New York. The Rochester-based firm has secured a purchasing option on the 17 acres of the land where it would develop the $80 million project, if the city grants its approval. Additional development would include two buildings - each providing 57 units for senior housing and 33 units for senior assisted care, a 110-to-120 unit five-story hotel and spa, a pool and fitness center, and a free-standing building with an additional 6,200 square feet of retail space. Nearly 600 parking spaces would span across the location to cater to residents, retail workers and shoppers. “We’re anxious to get started,” said Giardino. “We have to go through the process and it’s contingent upon approval, but we’re excited about it.”

The second proposal, submitted by the Missouri-based Vecino Group seeks to develop one three-story building and three four-story buildings to stand just east of the Station Park proposal and near the Washington Street post office. The 160 apartment units contained within seem to fall in the “workforce,” or “affordable” housing categories, although detailed information has yet to be released and phone calls made to the Vecino Group and their local partners at the LA Group that sought comment about the project proposal were not returned. “They’re two separate and very independent projects coming forward at the same time,” said Birge. “They don’t come as a partnership, but we’ve tried very hard to encourage them to collaborate and at least share their plans (with each other) so that we can approach them in a comprehensive manner.” “We’ve met with the Vecino Group and support their project,” Giardino said.

According to city officials, two additional firms are also currently readying proposals for further development in the immediate vicinity of the Station Park project, although the size and scope of those two potential projects are not currently known as those plans have yet to be submitted to the city. The west side build-up is intentional and by design, said city Mayor Joanne Yepsen. “When we updated our Comprehensive Plan – the first new one in the city in 14 years – we identified West Ave as a growth area, along with Weibel Avenue and South Broadway,” the mayor said. “We’ve also been proactive in looking for a partner who would be involved in affordable housing.”

The Vecino Group project would seem to answer some of the city’s affordable housing needs. The West Avenue corridor has witnessed an increase in development over the past dozen years. In 2004, a $6 million renovation project was conducted at the Saratoga Springs Train Station. Three years later, The YMCA of Saratoga opened its $10 million, 75,000-square-foot community and fitness center 1/4 mile south of the Saratoga Springs Junior-Senior High School. And in 2009, Empire State College completed its Center for Distance Learning facility at its West Avenue property, located a few yards from the college’s graduate studies and international programs building, which was built in 2004. 


- Thomas Dimopoulos

SARATOGA SPRINGS — In order to prepare for their upcoming season, the Saratoga Springs High School girl’s basketball team hosted a scrimmage against Amsterdam on Tuesday, November 22. Although no running score was kept, the game was competitive in its entirety, and gave the team a chance to test their skills in a game-like setting. The Blue Streaks will hold eleven players this season. Of those eleven athletes, seven are returners. Of the remaining four, two were pulled up from JV late last season, and two players are completely new to the varsity game. One of the challenges for the Blue Streaks will be being competitive during each game that they play. Said head coach Robin Chudy, “we want to be able to win each game that we know we’re capable of winning, as well as compete against some of our tougher opponents.” Those tough opponents include Shaker, Albany, and Shen. The team will look for major redemption against these three teams this season. Last season the three teams handed the Blue Streaks six of the team’s nine total losses. In order to avenge these losses, Coach Chudy hopes that this year’s roster will provide a more balanced game with the addition of more shooting guards. She will also be looking for certain players for leadership this season. On the offensive side of the basketball, junior Briann Barringer will provide a dominant presence under the glass Recalls Chudy, “Briann is able to grab boards and rebounds every game, which will really help our offense.” Sophomore Kerry Flaherty will be a major contributor to the Blue Streaks. She has been a member of the varsity squad since she was in eighth grade, and each year she has never failed to impress. Says Chudy, “Kerry will be a major factor in our offense. She can help control the tempo of the offense each game for us.” The team’s season opener is scheduled for Friday, December 2 at Saratoga Springs High School. Tip off is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.
Friday, 28 October 2016 16:16

Edna M. Mulrain,

WILTON — Edna M. Mulrain, 86, a former resident of Wilton, passed away Monday, October 24, 2016 at the Saratoga Center for Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing in Ballston Spa. Born February 23, 1930 in Saratoga Springs, she was the daughter of the late Linus and Nettie Bain Barber. Mrs. Mulrain enjoyed playing Bingo, dancing, and spending time with her family. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her husband, Richard T. Mulrain; one daughter, Roxanne Mulrain and her six siblings. Survivors include her children Howard (Candy) Mulrain of Colorado, Linda (Wesley) Feathers of Saratoga Springs, Steven (Alice) Mulrain of Schuylerville, and Glory (Stuart) Forbes of Michigan, several grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews. A graveside service was held Thursday, October 27, 2016 at the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery in Schuylerville; the Rev. Virginia Cornell officiated. There were no calling hours. Arrangements are under the direction of Flynn Bros. Inc. Funeral Home, 13 Gates Ave., Schuylerville, NY 12871. Memorials can be made in her memory to a Disabled Veterans Agency or the Wounded Warrior Project. Online remembrances can be made at www.flynnbrosinc.com
Friday, 23 September 2016 09:45

Janice Morgan Thurston

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Janice Morgan Thurston of Prestwick Chase passed away on Monday, Sept. 18, 2016 after a brief illness. Born on Dec. 17, 1923 in Utica, she was the daughter of the late William and Susan Morgan. Janice graduated from Utica Free Academy in 1941, attended Cornell University and Katherine Gibbs before graduating from Syracuse University in 1966. She worked in NY City before her marriage in 1948 to Robert T. Thurston of Lorain, OH. The couple were married for 66 years until Robert’s death in 2014. Spending much of her adult life in Syracuse, Janice worked for Literacy Volunteers. She enjoyed gardening, reading, painting and playing bridge as well as arts and crafts. Janice and Robert built a camp on Cranberry Lake and enjoyed summers there for over 40 years. In addition to her parents and her husband, she was predeceased by her brothers Jack (twin), Pete, Dick and her sister Dorothy. Survivors include her two children, Jeffrey A. (Ellie) Thurston of Santa Fe, NM and Susan T (Ron) Morris of Saratoga Springs; her grandchildren, Christopher R. Morris of Saratoga Springs and Kimberly A. Morris of Sherman Oaks, CA and numerous nieces and nephews. Services will be private at the convenience of the family. Arrangements are under the direction of the William J. Burke and Sons/Bussing and Cunniff Funeral Homes of Saratoga Springs. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in her memory to Community Hospice of Saratoga, 179 Lawrence St., Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. Online remembrances may be made at www.burkefuneralhome.com.
Friday, 16 September 2016 09:48

Week of September 16th

COURTS Ramiro Loachamin, Sr., 44, of Ballston Spa, pleaded on Sept. 2 to attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance, a felony. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 18. Anthony L. McKinney, 44, of Cairo, N.Y., was sentenced on Sept. 2 to five years in prison and three years post-release supervision, after pleading to attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance, a felony. Jeremy A. Laparl, 34, of Watervliet, was sentenced on Sept. 2 to 1-1/2 to 3 years in prison, after pleading to criminal contempt, a felony. Dustin R. Baylis, 28, of Ballston Spa, pleaded on Sept. 2 to knowingly making or possessing prison contraband, a felony. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 18. Shaddin J. Brennan, 30, of Corinth, was sentenced on Sept. 2 to one year in jail, after pleading to burglary, a felony. Matthew J. Werner, 29, of Corinth, pleaded on Sept. 7 to first-degree sexual abuse, a felony. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 2. Joshua J. Smith, 35, of Schenectady, pleaded on Sept. 7 to criminal possession of a controlled substance, a felony. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 2. Michael W. Winchip, 39, of Schenectady, pleaded on Sept. 7 to the following felonies: burglary, robbery, two counts grand larceny; the misdemeanors petit larceny, and unlawful imprisonment; and harassment, a violation. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 2. Robert J. Daniels, 43, of Schenectady, was sentenced on Sept.7 to 1-3 years in prison, after pleading to criminal possession of a weapon, a felony. Robert J. Duval III, 53, of Saratoga Springs, was sentenced on Sept.7 to 1-3 years in prison and three years conditional discharge, after pleading to driving while intoxicated, a felony. Christina A. Cabrera, 26, of Troy, was sentenced on Sept. 8 to five years of probation, after pleading to identity theft, a felony. Peter J. Rupp, 37, of Saratoga Springs, was sentenced on Sept.8 to 1-1/2 to 3 years in prison, after pleading to attempted burglary, a felony. Joseph P. Jannicelli, 51, of Cohoes, pleaded on Sept. 8 to driving while intoxicated, a felony. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 10. ARRESTS Brian C. Maxwell, 43, of Ballston Spa, was charged on Sept. 5 with two misdemeanor counts DWI, operating an unregistered vehicle on a highway, and passing a red traffic signal light. Harold J. Thomas, 24, of Ballston Spa, was charged on Sept. 4 with the misdemeanors DWAI, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, and the vehicle violations of improper lane use, and a parking violation. Jesse J. Lena, 43, of Saratoga Springs, was charged on Sept. 4 with misdemeanor assault in the third degree, and disorderly conduct. Timothy J. Lenzi, 31, of Clifton Park, was charged on Sept. 4 with two misdemeanor counts of assault in the third degree. Hope L. Cristantiello, 52, of Auburn, Jeffery S. Iacovelli, 56, of Ithaca, and Brendan J. Kretchmar, 48, of Clifton Park, were each charged on Sept. 3 with one count felony criminal possession of a controlled substance. Donna M. Salvo, 61, of Ballston Spa, was charged on Sept. 3 with misdemeanor petit larceny. Sudeashwar Surujballi, 23, of Schenectady, was charged on Sept. 3 with the misdemeanors petit larceny, and criminal tampering. Shawn M. Johnson, 34, of Saratoga Springs, was charged on Sept. 3 with criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor. Steven F. Watts, 44, of Saratoga Springs, was charged on Sept. 3 with the following felonies: attempted burglary, criminal mischief, assault; and the misdemeanors of resisting arrest, and menacing. Pamela F. Kakely, 52, of Saratoga Springs, was charged on Sept. 2 with criminal mischief, a misdemeanor. Kara M. Montville, 25, of Saratoga Springs, was charged on Sept. 2 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree, a misdemeanor.
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