Make This Warm White Bean, Tomato, and Basil Bowl for Dinner

Adobe Stock / timolina

The easy, late-summer recipe is a terrific way to make the most of the Hudson Valley’s tomato harvest while incorporating pantry staples.

My tomato harvest has been very skimpy this year—the polar opposite of last year’s overwhelming bonanza, when my friends and neighbors started to avoid me in case I pressed them to take a few more pounds. I grow heirloom varieties and somehow got the tags mixed up when I started the seedlings in spring. Of course, it turns out that the biggest, best, juiciest, most hurricane-proof tomatoes in my meager crop, ones that I’d really like to be able to identify, are labeled “Mystery.” Oh well! I’ve already saved seeds to grow them again next year, and they’ll be called Mystery from now on.

This recipe blends the classic summery flavors of tomato and basil with warm white beans. It’s a tasty side dish (I often serve it with Moroccan-style chicken), and it’s a good centerpiece for lunch. Just add some crusty bread, maybe a green salad, and a glass of white wine—bon appétit. Use any fresh tomato (not the tasteless ones from the supermarket) and the last of the basil before it goes to seed. Everyone I’ve served this to asks for the recipe, which comes, slightly altered, from The Brilliant Bean. It’s a breeze to prepare.

Warm White Beans, Tomatoes, and Basil With Cheese


4 or 5 medium red, ripe tomatoes, chopped coarse
¾ cup chopped fresh basil
½ cup light virgin olive oil
½ cup grated Parmesan
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tsp minced garlic
2 cans cannellini beans, 15 oz. each, undrained
½ lb. Fontina cheese, cut into ¼-inch dices


Combine the chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil, salt and pepper in a bowl with the olive oil. Cover and leave at room temperature for about three hours, mixing every once in a while. (It smells wonderful.)

Put the beans and their liquid in a saucepan with ½ cup of water. Slowly heat through at a fairly low temperature (you don’t want the beans to break up).

When the beans are hot, drain and quickly rinse them under hot water and put them in a serving bowl. Immediately add the cheeses and toss gently until they start to melt. Stir in the tomato-basil mix. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Related: Healthy Taco Salad With Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing

Try This Heavenly Banana Bread Recipe for an Easy Treat

Got ripe bananas? If so, we have the recipe for you. Adobe Stock / FomaA

Utilizing ingredients found in most pantries already, moist banana bread is a delicious way to make use of bananas that are well past ripe.

If you are a novice baker and want to try your hand at something eminently doable, banana bread is good choice. (A peel-y good choice, one could say.)

First, a bit of history about everyone’s favorite quick bread. The U.S. saw the arrival of bananas in the 1870s, but it took a spell before they appeared as an ingredient in desserts. The spread of baking soda and baking powder in the 1930s helped banana bread become popular and a standard recipe of American cookbooks.

A moist, sweet, cake-like quick bread, banana bread is made with fully ripe, mashed bananas. There are many different variations of the traditional recipe, so feel free to throw in a ⅓ cup or so raisins, nuts, or chocolate chips. Feeling extra indulgent? After baking, toast a slice, then top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for an easy dessert that you and your guests will love. Because this recipe is a breeze to pull together, it’s a good one for little bakers who want to help mix and scoop as well.


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Banana Bread

Makes 12 servings


½ cup butter or shortening
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
3-4 very ripe bananas, crushed
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda dissolved in cold water
⅓ cup raisins, nuts, or chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Grease the bottom only of a 9” x 5” or 8” x 4” loaf pan with cooking spray or shortening.

In order listed, mix together all ingredients.

Bake for 40 minutes.

Related: Make Baked French Toast and Strawberry Smoothies for a Better Brunch

How to Include Your Email on Wedding Invitation RSVP Cards

Adobe Stock / ksyusha_yanovich

Planning a Hudson Valley wedding? Take the eco-chic approach and ask guests to RSVP via email on your invitation cards.

Love the idea of handwritten wedding invitations complete with swirling calligraphy and embossed paperwork? So do we. What you might not love, however, is collecting one RSVP after the next as return letters make their way to your mailbox. To skip the stress (and the piles of paper), make a point to include your email address on your wedding invites instead. Not only is it an easier way to keep track of responses, especially if you create a designated email address for your ceremony, but it’s also eco-friendly. Plus, your guests will love the convenience of sending a quick email to confirm that they’ll be there to help celebrate your big day.

Dear Wedding Guru:

“I’m getting ready to put together my wedding invitations. What’s the best way to include the option of RSVPing via email in my response cards?” — Tech-Savvy Bride

Related: 6 Easy-Peasy Ways to Cut Your Wedding Costs in the Hudson Valley

Wedding invitations
Adobe Stock / ksyusha_yanovich

Dear Tech-Savvy Bride:

On the bottom of your response card, try the following wording:

The favor of your reply is requested by {date written out in full}
via {your phone number}
or {your e-mail address}

This order tells guests that you prefer that they respond by phone and, if not, by email. If you prefer an email response first, simply put it above your phone number. If you prefer the traditional return mail RSVP, and simply stop after the date. If you have a dedicated wedding website with the option to RSVP directly online, you can also list the full website URL in this section for added convenience.

P.S. Want to take the next step toward a “green” ceremony? Send your invites via email, too.

Related: The Wedding Checklist Every Bride (and Groom) Needs

This Spiced Pear Cake Is the Sweetest Winter Weekend Baking Project

Adobe Stock | Photo by manyakotic

This delightful pear upside-down cake recipe combines wintry mulling spices with a sticky-sweet molasses topping that everyone will love.

Spiced Pear Upside-Down Cake

Ingredients for spiced pears:

3-4 organic pears
1 tsp organic cinnamon
1/2 tsp organic ground cardamom
1/4 tsp organic cloves, ground
1 Tbsp organic sugar


Peel and core pears. Slice thinly using a mandolin or sharp knife. Place in a bowl. Mix spices and sugar, and massage onto pears. Set aside.

Ingredients for sauce topping:

1/2 cup organic sugar
1 ½ Tbsp organic molasses
1/4 cup organic butter


Blend sugar and molasses in a food processor.

Grease the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with butter, then line with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper with butter to ensure an easy release later. Melt butter into molasses mixture on low heat, stirring constantly.

Pour into parchment-papered cake pan, evenly coating the bottom. Arrange pears over the sauce in a fanned-out design. Heat your oven to 350 F.

Ingredients for cake:

1 ½ cups organic all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder (aluminum-free)
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp organic cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground organic cardamom
1/8 tsp organic cloves, ground
3/4 cup organic butter
3/4 cup organic granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk


Combine flour, baking powder, salt and spices in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Incorporate eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

After eggs are fully incorporated, add the vanilla. Beat until blended. Add the dry ingredients and coconut milk alternately in small batches. Use a rubber spatula to incorporate all ingredients. Mix for approximately 2 minutes.

Pour batter over the arranged pear slices.

Bake at 350 F until a toothpick tester comes out clean (about 65 minutes). As soon as the pan is cool enough to touch, place a plate over the cake and invert the cake onto the plate. Run a butter knife around the sides of the pan, then gently shake the pan to release the cake. Carefully remove any parchment paper that sticks. Let cool and serve.

This recipe is provided by Caren Sachs, RDN, of Elements of Nutrition.

Related: This Poached Pear Recipe Is the Perfect Fall Dessert in the Hudson Valley

Make This Perfect Peppermint Bark With Just 3 Ingredients

Adobe Stock | Photo by MSPhotographic

Nothing is as festive as peppermint bark during the holidays in the Hudson Valley, and this recipe is as easy as one-two-three.

This red-and-white holiday sweet is all bark and no bite (well maybe a bit of a minty one). Plus, it’s perfectly giftable for family and friends during the holidays. Simply break it into pieces, then place in a seasonal tin or gift bag.

Peppermint Bark

Makes 3 dozen small pieces


About 6 candy canes
1 package (12 oz) white chocolate chips
1 tsp peppermint extract


Place candy canes in a sealable plastic bag and hammer into small chunks (about 1/8 inch.)  This should yield about 1/2 cup. Separate 1/3 cup of the candy cane pieces.

Line a small cookie sheet (about 13” x 9” in size) with parchment paper, so that the paper completely covers the bottom of the pan and hangs over the sides.

Combine the peppermint extract and the white chocolate in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds.

Stir thoroughly, then microwave for 25 seconds. Stir thoroughly again. The chocolate is ready when it is smooth, so it may need a few more seconds, but be careful not to over-microwave. White chocolate “clumps” quickly so as soon as chocolate is smooth, stir in 1/3 cup of the candy cane pieces and pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.

With a rubber spatula, spread quickly until it’s even and about ¼ inch thick. It will cover about ¾ of a 9” x 13” cookie sheet. Sprinkle the remaining candy cane pieces on top.

Refrigerate bark for at least one hour, or overnight. Break into pieces. Prepare for gifting or store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Related: Where to Find Creamy, Dreamy Hot Cocoa in the Hudson Valley

6 Succulent Centerpieces That Make Hudson Valley Tables Pop

Loftus Design LLC, original photo on Houzz

These miniature gardens bring a ton of life and color to any space, and will be guaranteed conversation starters at your next home gathering.

Why bother with flowers when you can have a fresh focal point that’s just as beautiful but lasts for years? If you haven’t already hopped on the succulent bandwagon, perhaps we can convince you with this roundup of six stunning and diverse succulent centerpieces.

Perfect as a display on an outdoor table or an accent on a sunny windowsill, these miniature gardens will be guaranteed conversation-starters at your next party. Best of all, they’re much easier to put together than they seem and require very little care to maintain.

Jessica Risko Smith Interior Design, original photo on Houzz

1. Simple and elegant. The designer of this Santa Barbara, California, backyard used a low wooden trough to hold a mix of succulents running down the center of a trestle table. The design is both simple and timeless — fitting well with the modern farmhouse-style dining set.

To re-create this look, choose a neutral-toned container, ideally with a narrow rectangular shape, and a subdued gray-green color palette for the succulents, such as pearly echeveria (Echeveria spp., USDA zones 9 to 11) and silver-coated cobweb houseleek (Sempervivum arachnoideum, zones 4 to 9), both pictured. The plants seen here would grow best in full sun to partial sun exposure.

Shades of Green Landscape Architecture, original photo on Houzz

2. Vibrant vignette. Bring a hit of color to your patio with a vivid combination of red, orange, gold and chartreuse succulents. For outdoor displays, choose succulents that deepen in color when exposed to sunlight, such as some varieties of echeveria and hens-and-chicks (Sempervivum tectorum).

This bright mix in a San Francisco Bay Area backyard includes orange ‘Sticks on Fire’ milk bush (Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Sticks on Fire’, zones 10 to 11), lime green watch chain (Crassula muscosa, zones 9 to 11), orange-tipped hens-and-chicks (Sempervivum tectorum, zones 3 to 8) and gold ‘Angelina’ stonecrop (Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’, zones 3 to 11). All succulents pictured thrive in full sun.

Hillary Thomas Design, original photo on Houzz

3. Architectural statement. For a real eye-catcher, choose a focal-point plant with height and an interesting form for your succulent centerpiece. This potted snake plant (Sansevieria bacularis) underplanted with succulents makes a graphic statement from across a room. Up close, one can appreciate the cast-stone vessel and pale stones nestled around the base of the plants.

When combining taller plants with succulents, be sure that they have the same light and water needs. The snake plant works well since it can tolerate very low water and variable light conditions.

 Living Gardens Landscape Design, original photo on Houzz

4. Contemporary beachy. In this Southern California backyard, a trio of repeating succulent arrangements forms a laid-back yet contemporary centerpiece. The plantings include two types of echeveria (Echeveria glauca and E. glauca var. pumila) as well as Crassula ‘Blue Waves.’

Landscape designer Sacha McCrae offers a tip to re-create this lush look at home: “Fullness is key,” she says, “so we squeeze the plants in — no soil should be showing when you are finished.” She also recommends limited water and positioning the centerpiece out of direct, baking sunlight to help the tenderer succulents retain their pearly-gray color. This particular arrangement receives morning sun.

Loftus Design LLC, original photo on Houzz

5. Mermaid-inspired. Instead of using a ceramic container for this succulent centerpiece, designer Bridget Gasque used a giant faux clamshell to put together a beachy indoor arrangement. She planted a variety of succulents, including maroon-tipped echeveria and green-and-white-striped zebra plant (Haworthia fasciata, zones 9 to 11), and filled in the gaps with clumps of preserved moss.

While the succulents need only minimal water, the preserved reindeer moss will retain its soft texture with misting every few days. The succulents would grow best placed on a windowsill with bright indirect light.

Chango & Co, original photo on Houzz

6. Repetition. Sometimes the simplest centerpiece designs can be the most effective. In this Litchfield, Connecticut, backyard, a lineup of five knobby containers, each planted with a green aeonium (Aeonium sp., Zone 9), forms a charming tabletop display. One’s eye is drawn to the repeating form of the chunky containers and fleshy succulents — both of which have a strong tactile quality.

To recreate this look, position a trio or quintet of the same containers (perhaps varying the heights) planted with a single variety of succulent, such as rosette-forming aeonium, echeveria or tiny tree-like jade plants (Crassula ovata, zones 10 to 12). Aeonium, like the ones pictured, would grow best in filtered sunlight.

Related: Spruce up Your Outdoor Living Space in the Hudson Valley

Serve This Fresh Zucchini Slaw With Creamy, Spicy Dressing

Adobe Stock | Photo by Noirchocolate

Make this healthy and refreshing side dish for outdoor barbecues and lunchtime snacks alike to improve on the store-bought stuff.

If you’re looking for a colorful, crunchy way to add more veggies into your life, look no further! This easy-to-prepare slaw is a must for summer barbecues and light lunches when the temperatures rise.

Zucchini Slaw With Creamy Spicy Dressing

Serves: 4-6 as a side dish


2 medium zucchini, ends trimmed
2 yellow summer squash, ends trimmed
4 carrots, peeled and ends trimmed
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded
4 scallions
2 Tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
½ cup light mayonnaise
1 Tbsp mustard (I used Dijon; cut it by half if you don’t love mustard)
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper


Using either a mandolin fitted with the thin julienne blade, a julienne peeler or a sharp knife, cut the zucchini, summer squash, carrots, and red bell pepper into 2-inch pieces and place into a large bowl.

Chop the scallions by hand and add them and the chopped parsley.

Combine the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl using a whisk.

Pour over the julienned vegetables and toss well. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately or chill until ready. Slaw keeps in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Enjoy!

Note: Recipe adapted from Fresh Every Day by Sara Foster. I doubled the amount of carrots, halved the amount of mustard in the dressing, and halved the black pepper. Find the full version of this recipe, along with more photographs, here.

Felicia Levinson is the founder of Unwritten Recipes, a blog about her adventures in baking and cooking. She was a professional dancer, toured 42nd Street, and has taught at dance studios in New York and the tristate area. When not experimenting in the kitchen at her home in Larchmont, Levinson writes musicals, comedies, dramas, and revues with her partner of more than 20 years.

Visit 14 of the Hudson Valley’s National Historic Places

Photo by Andy Wainwright

Choose from more than 1,400 scenic locations on the National Register of Historic Places to explore right in the Hudson Valley.

What makes a property a historic place?

The criteria for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places are admirably broad-based, encompassing—as per the official website— “districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects” that hold some sort of historical significance. How, then, does the Register define what’s historically significant?

That, too, falls under an elastic array of guidelines: the site could be linked to a person of historical interest, associated with a distinctive design important to the development of a town or region, or boast a high standard of artwork or craft. The properties highlighted here only represent a small fraction of Hudson Valley Historic sites (there’s nearly 1500 across the region!).

Olana State Historic Site
Wikimedia Commons / Daderot

Olana Historic Site

5720 State Route 9G, Hudson

Frederic Church, the 19th-century Hudson River School artist, lives on not just through his art, but through the magnificent Olana, a 250-acre estate that Church created as a lasting, living source of sublime beauty. Olana can’t be experienced all at once; it may take several trips to take in the landscaped grounds, distinctive house, and gallery, plus any enrichment programs that may be taking place.  It is a cultural and educational hub that is rooted in the contemporary world as well.

Listing date: 1966

Troy Savings Bank Music Hall

30 Second Street, Troy

The Italianate music hall dates from 1870 and serves as a dramatic representation of 19th-century Troy’s industrial heft and prosperity. Troy has been working its way up and out of the decline of manufacturing; the functioning music hall is a potent symbol of a revitalized town, boasting — among other attributes — a mammoth pipe organ. The music hall is not simply of historical interest; it’s an active concert venue with truly eclectic offerings, including a recent appearance by Puddles the Clown. Did we mention eclectic?

Listing date: 1989

New York State Capitol Building
Adobe Stock | Photo by Demerzel21

New York State Capitol Building


New York boasts one of the country’s most distinctive seats of government, the architecturally imposing, dome-less Capitol Building. Constructed over a 30-year span, the Capitol was declared complete by Governor Theodore Roosevelt in 1899. The decades-long building process — and change of architects — explains the blend of architectural styles. If you’re looking for the time capsule that was stored in the original cornerstone, forget it; its locale has been lost in the mists of time.

Listing date: 1971

Playland. Photo courtesy of Westchester County Parks
Playland. Photo courtesy of Westchester County Parks


1 Playland Parkway, Rye

“America’s Premiere Playground” (as it was billed when it opened in 1928) is the nation’s first planned amusement park. Playland still retains its unique Art Deco construction—“a hands-on, living, working museum,” in the words of one of its directors. Not surprisingly, numerous filmmakers have made use of Playland; It’s where Tom Hanks had his final encounter with Zoltar, the fortune-teller, in Big. (There’s even a Zoltar machine near the park’s iconic attraction, the Dragon Coaster.)

Listing date: 1980

Poughkeepsie City Hall

228 Main Street, Poughkeepsie

Poughkeepsie’s 19th-century City Hall building is no longer the headquarters of city government (it houses the Dutchess County Commissioner of Jurors). The site serves as a visible reminder of Poughkeepsie’s history; when the City of Poughkeepsie came into formal existence in 1854, this was the seat of government. Poughkeepsie was part of the Civil War-era whaling industry and so, for a time, City Hall also included — in what was certainly a boon to satirists — fishmongers selling their wares.

Listing date: 1972

Saugerties Lighthouse
Photo courtesy of Saugerties Lighthouse Conservancy

Saugerties Lighthouse

168 Lighthouse Drive, Saugerties

The Saugerties Lighthouse is symbolic of the city’s historical role as a thriving 19th-century port. The lighthouse eventually fell victim to more sophisticated technology in 1954 and, after subsequent decades of abandonment, was saved from demolition and beautifully restored. Visitors can explore and, if they choose, stay at the bed & breakfast. What is it about lighthouses that are so evocative?

Listing date: 1979

Upper Nyack Firehouse

330 North Broadway, Upper Nyack

The restored Upper Nyack Firehouse, originally built in 1887, is a wonderful example of Queen Anne architecture and even features a bell tower. The structure served a dual purpose, functioning — up to the 1970s — as both a firehouse and city hall. It is still very much in use by the Empire Hook & Ladder fire company.

Listing date: 1982

First National Bank of Brewster
Photo by Daniel Case

First National Bank of Brewster

1 Main Street, Brewster

Perched opposite Brewster’s train station is this Queen Anne–style building that served as the town of Southeast’s town hall and still houses local governmental agencies. Its original incarnation was the First National Bank of Brewster, built in 1886. Besides its architectural significance, the bank enjoyed the odd distinction of being cited in Ripley’s Believe it or Not! as the only bank entirely surrounded by street. (Although exactly how they verified this is another matter entirely.)

Listing date: 1988

Putnam County Courthouse
Photo by Jimmy S. Emerson, DVM

Putnam County Courthouse

44 Gleneida Avenue, Carmel

Until the Putnam County Courthouse was closed for repairs in 1988, it had been in continuous operation since 1814, a record for New York State. The Greek Revival building’s stately silhouette masks its formidability; for many years it housed a jail. Reopened in 1994, it’s no longer the county’s primary courthouse, but does still function in an official capacity.

Listing date: 1976


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Bear Mountain Inn

3020 Seven Lakes Drive, Bear Mountain

The Bear Mountain Inn is the jewel in the crown of the massive Bear Mountain State Park. The inn opened in 1915 and played host to various dignitaries, entertainers, and sports teams, including the Brooklyn Dodgers. Extensively renovated, it now boasts superior lodgings and dining, all encircled by the beauty of its natural surroundings.

Listing date: 2002

Woodward Road Stone Arch Bridge

County Route 20B, Cornwallville

There are some stone arch bridges, a 19th-century innovation, that are extant in New York State. The Woodward Road bridge is a prime example. Documentation is sparse, but this and the other bridges — in the words of a local historian — “are believed to have been originally of the classic dry laid stone design.” The fact that these bridges still exist at all is something to marvel at.

Listing date: 2009

Huguenot Schoolhouse
Photo by Daniel Case

Huguenot Schoolhouse

25 Grange Road, Huguenot

Among the more interesting chapters in the Hudson Valley historical mosaic was the influx of Huguenots, the persecuted French Protestants who sought refuge here in the 17th century. This classic one-room brick schoolhouse — which, incredibly, functioned as a school until 1961 — is now the Town of Deerpark Museum.

Listing date: 1997

Paramount Theatre

17 South Street, Middletown

The Paramount Theatre, with a seating capacity of over 1,000, is a venue for first-run and classic films and an array of live events. This is accomplishment enough as cultural centers vanish from the landscape, but the theater has historical significance as well. Opened in 1930, the Art Deco structure is a wonderful touchstone to the vanished days of elaborate live entertainment — and has current resonance as well.

Listing date: 2002

Adriance Memorial Library

93 Market Street, Poughkeepsie

The Adriance Memorial Library, in all its Beaux Arts glory, was dedicated in 1897. A public library was (and still should be) a sign of civic enlightenment, and the library’s grand appearance reflects this. The Adriance is the oldest tax-supported public library in New York and one of the oldest in the country. The library — and the Mid-Hudson Library System as a whole — offers a wealth of accessible information, culture, and knowledge.

Listing date: 1982

To view the more than 90,000 listed properties on the National Register of Historic Places, go to

Related: Hudson Valley Day Trips

The Origins and History of Corned Beef and Cabbage

Adobe Stock | Photo by Brent Hofacker

Here’s how the humble meal of hearty protein and vegetables became a “traditional” Irish dish and a part of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Even if you aren’t Irish, you’ve probably enjoyed, or at least heard of, corned beef and cabbage — a dish traditionally eaten on St. Patrick’s Day. I’m Irish and every March 17th, my mom cooks corned beef and cabbage, with a side of potatoes, and bakes Irish soda bread. I felt it was safe to assume that since St. Patrick’s Day is the only day of the year we eat this meal that it was a traditionally Irish dish. To my surprise, corned beef and cabbage did not originate from Ireland – and the meal isn’t actually Irish at all. Here’s exactly what corned beef and cabbage is and why we eat it on St. Patrick’s Day.

Corned beef is a cut of meat similar to brisket that has been salt-cured. The term “corned” comes from the usage of large grained rock salt, called “corns,” used in the salting process. Today, salt brines are more popular.

Corned Beef Sandwich
Corned Beef is also excellent in place of pastrami.

Corned beef and cabbage’s popularity took shape during Irish immigration to the United States. Pork was the preferred meat in Ireland since it was cheap — if you’ve ever been to an Irish diner you’ve most likely seen Irish bacon on the menu. In Ireland, the high price of cattle meant the animals weren’t slaughtered for food unless they were old or injured; they were too important for milk and dairy production and farming. In contrast, beef was inexpensive in the United States.

When the Irish immigrated to the U.S., they often faced discrimination and lived in slums alongside Jewish and Italian groups. It was at Jewish delis and lunch carts that the Irish experienced corned beef and noticed its similarity to Irish bacon. Cooking the corned beef with cabbage was another choice based on cost efficiency. Even better, the entire meal could be cooked in one pot, making it cheap, easy to prepare, and, let’s not forget, — tasty.

Related: Get Your Soda Bread Fix at These 5 Local Bakeries

Make the Yummiest Thumbprint Cookies for Every Season

Photo courtesy of Josephine D’Ippolito

The buttery shortbread cookies are incredibly versatile and easy-to-prepare treats that will please your entire family throughout the holidays.

Thumbprint cookies, in their endless varieties, are a staple during the holidays. The sky’s the limit on creativity when it comes to thumbprints, which can be assembled with chopped nuts, shredded coconut, even crushed candies, but sometimes, simple is better. As uncomplicated as it gets, this cookie features cream cheese and strawberry jam. It’s a classic combination that comes together in less than an hour and is a hit with everyone, adults and children alike.

Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies

Makes five dozen cookies


1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 oz cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
½ tsp vanilla
2 ½ cups flour
½ tsp salt
Strawberry jam

Strawberry thumbprint cookies
Photo courtesy of Josephine D’Ippolito


Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Using an electric mixer, mix butter and cream cheese until fully incorporated. Add sugar and mix. Add egg yolk and vanilla. Gradually add flour and salt, scraping down sides of bowl in between mixing. Mix until dough comes together easily when picking up a small handful.

Roll dough into small balls (about ¾-inch in diameter) and place on cookie sheet. For small, consistent cookies, use a small cookie scoop and then roll into balls, making sure the dough is perfectly smooth when rolled.

Press fingerprint into center of each ball and fill with 1/4 teaspoon jam.

Bake for 9 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms are just barely start to color. Allow to sit for at least half hour before serving.