Clovelly Vineyards Holds Small Plates Wine Pairing Tasting


Join Clovelly Vineyards for an exclusive wine tasting event on Saturday, August 22 from 5-8 PM. Enjoy sweeping views of the vineyard and the Chester River, sampling five of our select wines paired with carefully crafted small plates. Sip a glass of wine while you watch the sun sink low over the horizon in one of those famed Eastern Shore sunset moments.

Experience the best of the Eastern Shore with a summer-inspired menu including Clovelly’s own prime Black Angus steaks, local vegetables, and Maryland crab cakes.

A full array of cheeses and fruits will be available in addition to the five plate pairings. This event is the official release party for our much anticipated Devils Reach Red, a rich, oaky blend of Clovelly’s Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Be the first to try this limited release wine and to share in this truly unique Eastern Shore experience. You’ll never forget the view!

Tickets are $100 per person and include a full tasting of Clovelly wines, wine by the glass, and five small plate courses. Wine club member price is $90. Tickets can be purchased online at and at any of our farmer’s markets and events. Reservations are limited, so purchase your tickets early. For questions please contact Tara Holste at 410-708-1775 or

July Pet of the Month: Dyson


Unless looked straight in the face, fear can be incredibly debilitating and prevent us from having the life we want. Unfortunately, shelter life for many pets is scary, as it’s an enormous change from their past home routines. Such is the case for three-year-old Dyson, who writes little reminders on the backs of his paws to encourage himself to be brave, even though staying all alone in the shelter kennel makes him uneasy.

HSKC_Dyson_20150415_0478What carries Dyson through each and every day is realizing that “The One” is out there. Dyson knows with all of his heart that there is one person/family meant for him, and he understands that he must confront his fears in order to meet that special person. So, each morning, when he’s taken for his first walk, he shakes off all his negative thoughts and struts outside, charging ahead and hoping this will be the day he meets the person meant just for him.

When Dyson is out of the kennel, he is an entirely different dog. He stands taller and the light returns to his eyes. He loves to be near people, and he will physically and emotionally lean on the person closest to him. His soft coat and pleasing personality make this adorable pup a pro snuggler. He’s big on adventure too, always champing at the bit for a ride in the car, no matter where it may lead!

A Heinz 57 breed, Dyson lived with other dogs in his former home, but he was surrendered for marking in the house. At HSKC, he was neutered, solving the issue immediately. Dyson now takes his business outside, walking well on a leash and listening to commands.

This young pup gets his thrills from romping with other dogs and playing games with people. He’s not a big fan of cats, but Dyson can be quite friendly with dogs, especially female ones. He would thrive in a home with a family as long as the children weren’t too young for his active personality.

Are you the best friend Dyson is searching for? Stop by and meet him at The Humane Society of Kent County soon to see if you’re “The One”! Learn more about Dyson and all of HSKC’s adoptable pets by visiting, following the organization’s Facebook Page at or by calling the shelter at 410-778-3648.

Food Friday: Enjoying the Heat?


I can barely walk Luke the Wonder Dog in all this heat. We open the front door, only to be blasted backward with eyebrow-singeing heat waves. He has figured out how to walk in the shadows cast by buildings later in the afternoon, but the 11:30 walk is brutal. The sun is relentless and steadily broils the tops of our heads as we scurry around the clumps of blooming crepe myrtles, through a parking lot shimmering with heat, around the corner, through the sun-crisped weeds, trekking over the undulating brick sidewalk, and eventually pull ourselves back into the coolth of the house. The walk only lasts about 20 minutes. He lies panting on the chilly tile bathroom floor for half an hour, and I change out of my literal sweats. Again. Remind me in the dead of winter how much I enjoy summer, please.

Luckily, when I am barely strong enough to turn another page of my current mystery novel, I have a cool summer dinner strategy. I have a stash of farm-fresh vegetables, some good bread, with a couple of bottles of cheap white wine cooling merrily in the fridge. There are Popsicles in the freezer. I can check dinner off the Worry List – it can practically make itself. The trick is to acquire and actually use fresh vegetables. All too often I forget about the cucumber, and a week later I find a baggie of green goo in the bottom of the vegetable bin. It is a sad business when a cucumber oozes away.

Here is a list of summer vegetables and some staples I try to have on hand to relieve my heat prostration:

Onions (green, purple and Vidalia)
Green peppers
Red peppers
Jalepeno peppers
Habanero peppers
Tomatoes (heirloom, Roma, Campari, canned)
Zucchinis (this is summer after all, and folks will soon be piling these home-grown
beauties, anonymously, on your front porch, in the dead of the night!)
Basil, basil, basil
Lime juice
Feta cheese
Mint leaves
Olive oil
Sea salt
Anchovies (I’d rather not, thanks)
Serano ham
Manchego cheese
Bacon (because you can add bacon to just about anything and make something

And here are some lovely, cool and easy recipes. The Chez Panisse Ratatouille is listed in case you need to show off and don’t mind standing at the stove for a little while. We are having some business acquaintances over for dinner next week, so I think we will try to impress with that. But if it is too hot for me to abandon Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers with that nasty trip wire murder in Essex, I think the Little Observationist Gazpacho will fit the bill admirably. I might up the dessert ante a little bit, though, and slice some peaches over bowls of vanilla ice cream. Yumsters. I do love summer. Remind me again this winter…

We like this salad, but surprisingly, Mr. Friday (who is such a caper devotée) prefers it without the capers. You try it and let us know.
Panzanella Salad:

If you have ever longed to live a charmed life in London you should visit this highly entertaining blog: Ex-pat Stephanie travels, takes excellent envy-inducing photos, wines, dines and gets to preview the Royal Chelsea Flower Show among her many London adventures. It is one of my favorite blogs. This is a recipe she shared this week when her husband prepared Jorge’s Refreshing Summer Gazpacho:

Our super cool friends at Food52 are always looking for new and quick and tasty. We love this Fresh Hot Salsa with some warm tortilla chips and some cold beer:

It can’t get much easier or tastier than this Rachel Ray Tomato and Onion Salad:

The Smitten Kitchen even helps us combine dessert fruit with the main course, cutting down on the number of dishes to be washed and overall prep time, Chopped Vegetable, Watermelon and Feta Salad:

Slice and dice to impress with Chez Panisse Ratatouille:

“Summertime, oh, summertime, pattern of life indelible, the fade-proof lake, the woods unshatterable, the pasture with the sweetfern and the juniper forever and ever . . . the cottages with their innocent and tranquil design, their tiny docks with the flagpole and the American flag floating against the white clouds in the blue sky, the little paths over the roots of the trees leading from camp to camp. This was the American family at play, escaping the city heat.”
― E.B. White

The Foodies of Cambridge: Patrick Fanning


Due to the work of some remarkably creative people, a dose of good luck, and a very supportive community, Cambridge has risen to the top of the Eastern Shore food chain of good eating in a remarkable way over the last ten years.

Starting with the Thomas Keller-trained Ian Campbell setting the bar with the opening of Poplar Bistro, followed by places like Jimmie and Sooks, the High Spot, and Cranium at the Beach, among quite a number of others, the momentum continues to grow.

And one person behind this big “mo” is Patrick Fanning.

Fanning, a native of a Fall River Massachusetts, and armed with a culinary degree from Portland’s Western Culinary Institute, and a resume that includes being the former executive chef at Salisbury’s Sobo’s Wine Beerstro, quickly realized how strong the Cambridge restaurant market had become.  Starting with The High Spot in 2011, and then Stoked on Muir Street, and more recently adding Black Water Coffee and Bakery, Patrick has started to build a small empire of popular and extremely well-received dining venues.

In his Spy interview (the first of a Spy series on the Cambridge food scene), Fanning makes it clear that he is not done yet with Cambridge.  In the months ahead, he plans to open at least one more restaurant in downtown, in addition to new retail gift shop with his wife. He also envisions a steak place with butcher store as well as a pub with a focus on specialty food found in American sports stadiums.

This video is approximately six minutes in length

Chesapeake Cats and Dogs Plan for New Home in Wye Mills


Chesapeake Cats and Dogs, the Stevensville, MD based, non-profit animal shelter, has announced their intention to purchase a property behind Chesapeake College in order to expand their operation into a pet sanctuary.

According to Kathy Thomas, President of Chesapeake Cats and Dogs, the new venture will be called the Tree of Life Pet Sanctuary. “This is an exciting new direction for us that will allow us to help area residents by providing a safe haven for their dogs and cats if they should be unable to care for them due to health and personal issues, or even the death of their owner”, said Thomas.

The new location consists of more than 5 acres and a c.1900 farm house. Future plans include the building of a large sanctuary that will include indoor and outdoor living spaces for the animals, a multi-purpose room and a place where Chesapeake College students can take a break from their studies to commune with the animals.

There is a Indiegogo fundraiser page here

Food Friday: Festive Fourth of July Feasts


There are a couple of paths that national holiday foods take here in the United States: hidebound and family-centric, or casual and open-to-suggestion. On Thanksgiving we gather closely together inside the confines of a house to share a bounty of foods with our nearest and dearest – and every year everyone brings the exact same dishes (and baggage) to the table. Mom always brings the pearl onions. Ken always mashes the potatoes. Peter is loathe to let anyone else lovingly baste the turkey. We have assignments and mutual expectations for the annual ritual. Each year we tell the same stories, and most likely, engage in the same jawboning arguments. We get increasingly snappish with the each glass of wine. Turkey and tiffs, they go together.

The Fourth of July reliably brings back free and happy plein air-y summer memories of childhood. A general feeling of freedom and bonhomie presides over the Fourth of July. We rid ourselves of tyranny, so now, let the games begin! We’ll be eating outside, waving sparklers, cooling off with a hose and being impatient for the fireworks to begin. We play baseball and horseshoes or even croquet! We share a collective memory of sitting on a blanket, waiting for dusk to fall, trying to catch fire flies. The blanket is on the damp grass in a lumpy, bumpy field surrounded by small clusters of friends and family and strangers. There is always a baby who is startled by the unexpected noise, and then, hopefully, is charmed by the magical streaking lights in the sky. By the time the grand finale rolls along one hopes the baby is a fireworks convert. If not? There is always next year.

Unlike Thanksgiving there is no set-in-stone food item on the Independence Day menu. You can let your imagination run riotously through the grocery store aisles. Instead of staid turkey you can rustle up a veritable cornucopia of delights. You can have hamburgers, hot dogs, steak, fried chicken or brats. I daresay some folks will be grilling lamb chops, barbecued ribs or shish kabobs. And what about shrimp and paella? Opportunistic vegetarians can toss any number of veggies onto the barbie. Grilled corn! What a summer treat! Baked beans! Potato chips! Potato salad! Cucumber salad! Pickles! A clambake! Lobster! Crabs! The picnic table can be a veritable groaning board on the Fourth of July, and it is up to you to explore the possibilities! And best of all, there is no good china to wash, or silver to polish.

The New York Times has a mind-boggling array of Fourth of July food ideas:

Our clever friends at Food52 also have a compendium of inspiration:

All of our grill masters have their own secret hamburger grilling practices, but we found advice from an unusual source: Popular Mechanics!

There are some among us who dote on deviled eggs, and the Fourth of July is the perfect time to whip up a batch or two:

Here is an idea for sprucing up the corn on the cob ritual, grilling instead of boiling or steaming, and adding some lime juice and a dusting of cheese:
Or this way with ginger bacon butter!

Drinkwise, I think filling a galvanized tub filled with ice, glass bottles of Coke, a few beers, some Prosecco and a big fat watermelon is quite enough for a perfect Fourth. But you might want to try some of these festive Fourth of July-themed cocktails:

I am going to try my hand at this impressive Food52 American Flag Cake:
All I ever usually manage is a vanilla sheet cake, slathered in whipped cream and artfully decorated with a square of blueberries and some wobbly, waving strawberry stripes. It is always delicious, it is a kid crowd pleaser, and it is easy peasy, which as you Gentle Readers know, is my kitchen mantra. Yumsters!

Have a happy and safe Independence Day!
From your friends in the Spy test kitchens!

“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.”
-Erma Bombeck

Food Friday: Easy Peasy, No-Bake Summertime Desserts


One of my favorite, best-thumbed, dog-eared, crumb-y cookbooks is Peg Bracken’s The I Hate to Cook Book. Partly because she is so funny, partly because of Hilary Knight’s charming illustrations, and partly because Peg Bracken is so right. It is stinking hot, and because we are middle class folks, we seem to think we need three meals a day to exist. Didn’t we just eat supper last night? Do we really have to cook again? Right now, I just hate to cook.

I have been running out of ideas for supper. I could be very happy with a Popsicle or two for supper at this time of year, but then I am afraid the wine to Popsicle ratio would get out of whack and I would gain a reputation. Bread and cheese would be a clever alternative, with a sliced apple or a pear, but we are being warned away from wheat flour and unless we pick those apples ourselves on a certified organic farm, who knows what petrochemicals lurk beneath the skins?

Last night we made nachos for dinner, which was a pretty basic meal. The most labor-intensive action was browning the meat, followed by grating some sharp Cheddar cheese. Dicing the onions and jalapenos required little physical (or mental) effort. Opening the can of refried beans was a breeze. And then we sat at the kitchen counter, with two candles as our gesture toward romance. We couldn’t even stagger into the dining room it was so hot, and we were worn to a frazzle.

I hate some of the magazine recipes that sound so breezy and self-assured. Especially the ones that claim that you can make them with the ingredients already in your kitchen. I once went to a highly deceptive cooking class. It claimed to teach you how to make the perfect emergency recipe, if people stopped by around the cocktail hour. You could whip this up in a jiffy with the basic stores every decently-run household keeps on hand. To which I had to say, “Ha!” If my friends stop by at the cocktail hour, they know that their best shot at getting hors d’œuvres or an aperitif would be a handful of Planter’s Lightly Salted Peanuts or maybe some aging Doritos. (These friends who stop by at the cocktail hour would be well advised to bring along some chilled, cheap white wine.) I do not keep frozen shrimp in the fridge (unless it is bait). I have never bought fois gras. Chervil? Figs? Mascarpone? I do have a large jar of capers, though. And cornmeal. And olives. OK. I could do a 1950’s relish platter. I have pickles, olives, celery and carrots. But the celery is looking a little limp…

I found this recipe while trolling around, and it could almost be classified as one you could make with ingredients on hand. Ostensibly. Raspberries are in season. Heavy cream is easily hunted and gathered. Many households stock graham crackers, although my kindergarteners are out of college right now. And chocolate chips. If you have them, great. If not, I bet this would still be divine. It is almost like a berry shortcake, but without having to turn on the oven to bake the shortcake. And it would work with different fruits, too. Strawberries, blueberries, peaches, plums. Maybe not rhubarb. But I digress.

Here is the recipe the way I found it – then I will tell you how I changed it to fit us.

No-Bake Strawberry Icebox Cake
Serves 8 to 12
2 pounds fresh strawberries, washed
3 1/4 cups whipping cream, divided
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon rosewater (optional)
4 sleeves (about 19 ounces, or 24 to 28 whole crackers) graham crackers
2 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped

Take out a few of the best-looking strawberries and set them aside for the garnish. Hull the remainder of the strawberries and slice each berry into thin slices.

With a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, whip 3 cups of cream until it just holds stiff peaks. Add the confectioners sugar, vanilla, and rosewater (if using) and whip to combine.

Spread a small spoonful of whipped cream on the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan, or a similarly sized platter. Lay down six graham crackers. Lightly cover the top of the graham crackers with more whipped cream, and then a single layer of strawberries. Repeat three times, until you have four layers of graham crackers. Spread the last of the whipped cream over the top and swirl it lightly with a spoon. Add a few more strawberries.

No-Bake Berry Refrigerator Cake, à la Spy

1 16-ounce container of fresh raspberries (or blueberries, or a mixture)
1 pint heavy whipping cream (do NOT use Cool Whip)
1 tablespoon (if you must) Confectioner’s sugar
Graham crackers to fit (I used about a sleeve and a half)
2 ounces Ghiradelli 60% Cacao bittersweet chocolate chips
2 ounces butter
1 splash of Bourbon or Crown Royal (This is what we used to make ganache, and we still have no idea where the bottle came from. Nobody remembers buying it.)
1 brownie pan

Rinse the raspberries, carefully.
Whip the cream until stiff. Add the Confectioner’s sugar, if you want to. The berries and the graham crackers are sweet enough, in my opinion.

Lightly slather some whipped cream in the bottom of the pan. Line the pan with 1 layer of graham crackers. You will have to break them up a little bit to fit your pan. Add a layer of whipped cream; add a layer of raspberries.

Repeat: graham crackers, whipped cream, berries. I got to about 3 layers of graham crackers, but I have a deep brownie pan. Finish off with whipped cream and a presentable arrangement of berries.

Now melt the chocolate and the butter together in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring constantly, so the chocolate doesn’t scorch. Stir in the splash of Crown Royal, or not.

Dribble the chocolate ganache over the top of the heavenly mixture.

Pop in the fridge to cool. Then cover, and keep in the fridge for a few hours to let everything ooze and mingle and meld.
Serve. And eat deeply of summer.

“How sweet I roamed from field to field, and tasted all the summer’s pride.”
-William Blake

Say What? Skipjack Rosie Parks Plays Role in Producing Special Balsamic Vinegar


In cooperation with the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Olivins Fine Olive Oils and Vinegars is producing its 2015 reserve cast of balsamic vinegar that will age at an accelerated rate aboard its namesake, the skipjack Rosie Parks. With limited bottles of the specialty vinegar available by Thanksgiving, a portion of each sale will benefit the children and adults served by the CBMM’s education, boat restoration, and exhibition programs.

On June 18, 2015, six small barrels of the specially blended balsamic vinegar were placed in the hull of the 1955 skipjack Rosie Parks, where it will remain over the next five months. During that time, the vinegar’s aging process will be accelerated by the gentle motion of the boat, which is seen dockside at CBMM, and under sail at the annual Choptank River and Deal Island skipjack races.

CBMM shipwright apprentices Hans Wagner, left, and Jack Roesner, center, joined Olivins owner Bill Acosta, right, to move six barrels of 2015 reserve cast Rosie Parks balsamic vinegar aboard the Rosie Parks to begin an accelerated five-month aging process.

CBMM shipwright apprentices Hans Wagner, left, and Jack Roesner, center, joined Olivins owner Bill Acosta, right, to move six barrels of 2015 reserve cast Rosie Parks balsamic vinegar aboard the Rosie Parks to begin an accelerated five-month aging process.

In November, Olivins will remove the barrels from aboard the skipjack and package the reserve balsamic vinegar in six-ounce bottles, which will be available for purchase at Olivins and the museum’s store.

According to Olivins owner Bill Acosta, the oak barrels used for the vinegar are made specifically to expand and contract as the temperatures rise and fall during the aging process, infusing the specialty vinegar with undertones of toasted oak.

“Aging barrels aboard boats started out in history as a necessity, as most trade occurred over waterways,” explains CBMM’s Chief Curator, Pete Lesher. “A boat’s movement can speed up the process of aging, whether it’s spirits, vinegar, or another liquid.”

“Last year’s cast of Rosie Parks vinegar was our first, and several of our regular customers—including myself—commented that it tastes more like a balsamic aged over 35 years,” said Acosta. “Last year’s cast sold out very quickly, so we’ve increased the reserve from two to six barrels this year.

“The skipjack Rosie Parks has such rich history on the Chesapeake,” continued Acosta. “We not only wanted to create a special balsamic vinegar that gives people a real sense of place—with an exceptional taste—but also to support the museum in a meaningful way.”

The Rosie Parks, built in 1955 by legendary boat builder Bronza Parks for his brother, Captain Orville Parks, was named for their mother. CBMM purchased the Rosie Parks in 1975 from Captain Orville. Only 20 years old at the time, Rosie had a reputation as both the best-maintained skipjack in the oyster dredging fleet and as a champion sailor at the annual skipjack races at Deal Island and Chesapeake Appreciation Days at Sandy Point. Now fully restored after a recent three-year restoration, the Rosie Parks serves as an ambassador for the museum, and the dwindling skipjack fleet, with the museum racing her in the annual Deal Island and Choptank River skipjack races.

Profile: Crow Winery’s Winemaker Catrina North


There comes a moment in the life of a young winery when a decision is made to hire a full-time winemaker. It is a seminal point for most, representing a big step into the big leagues of wine production with that kind major investment in one person, rather than part-time consultants or amateur instincts, to decide what wines to grow and when to harvest.

Crow Winery in Kennedyville crossed that threshold a few months ago when they brought on Catrina North to head up their growing winery and vineyard. The product of a grape-growing family from upper New York State, trained in Australia, Napa, and the Finger Lakes District, and most recently in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Catrina brings a level of expertise to the Kent County winery that clearly indicates Crow’s intention to be serious player in the fledgling Maryland wine scene.

In her Spy interview, Catrina talks about her background, some of the bias she has developed in producing good wine, and her aspirations for Crow Winery. She also talks about the challenges Maryland wine faces as being the relatively new kid on the block next to New York and Virginia as well as its great potential on the East Shore.

This video is approximately six minutes in length