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Gnocchi with tomato sauce

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When it comes to Italian cuisine, there’s no shortage of dishes to warm your belly and lift your spirits on a dreary day. This pillowy gnocchi is no exception.

Start to finish: 2 hours 30 minutes (1 hour 30 minutes active)
Servings: 6

Ingredients

Gnocchi
• 4 russet potatoes, washed but not peeled

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1 cup all-purpose flour

• 1 egg, lightly beaten

Garnish
• 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

• A few fresh basil leaves

Sauce
• 1/4 cup olive oil

• 1 can San Marzano tomatoes (28 ounces)

• 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

• 4 sprigs Italian parsley

• 4 sprigs of fresh oregano

• 2 sprigs fresh rosemary

• 4 sprigs fresh basil

• 1 onion, diced

• 4 cloves garlic, minced

• 1/4 cup heavy cream

• Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Poke potatoes several times with a fork. Bake directly on the rack for an hour.

2. In the meantime, pour the oil into a deep pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add the fresh herbs to the pan, and fry lightly for about 5 minutes. Remove the herbs and discard them. Lower the heat. Add the onions and cook without browning. Add the garlic, and cook for another minute. Salt and pepper to taste. Add the tomatoes and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for about 45 minutes.

3. Remove the potatoes from the oven and peel them immediately (wear oven mitts to avoid burning yourself). Place the potatoes in a large bowl and purée them with a potato masher. Sprinkle with salt and let cool to room temperature.

4. Add the flour and egg to the bowl. Mix with your hands until the dough has a smooth texture, but don’t overwork it. Place the dough on a floured work surface and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Use your hands to roll out each piece into a long rope (about half an inch thick). Use a knife to cut the ropes into half-inch pieces.

5. Pour the cream into the sauce and mix well. Use a wooden spoon to break up any remaining chunks of tomato. Add seasoning as needed.

6. Cook the gnocchi in two batches in a large pot of salted water. Once they float to the surface, wait another 2 minutes before removing the gnocchi from the water and placing them in the sauce.

7. Mix the gnocchi and sauce well, then pour into a baking dish. Sprinkle the mixture with Parmesan cheese and set the oven to broil until the cheese is golden brown. Garnish with fresh basil.

For beautiful gnocchi worthy of a five-star restaurant or an Italian grandmother’s kitchen, use a fork or wooden gnocchi board to shape them.

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Food

Maple matcha tea latté

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It’s Maple Syrup Season!

Prep time
10 minutes

Cook time

5 minutes

Servings
4

Ingredients
• 4 cups of milk
• 2 tablespoons matcha green tea powder
• 2 tablespoons maple sugar

Directions
1. Pour milk into a saucepan. Warm over low heat until simmering.
2. Put matcha green tea and maple sugar into a teapot and mix together well.
3. Pour in half of the heated milk and stir into a creamy latté.
4. Froth the other half of the milk with a whisk.
5. Serve in attractive cups, garnished with foam.

This tea can also be served cold.

Source: Pure Maple from Canada / puremaplefromcanada.com

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Food

Maple zucchini ricotta roll-ups

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It’s Maple Syrup Season!

Prep time
15 minutes

Servings

4

Ingredients
• 2 zucchinis (about 2 inches thick), green or yellow
• 1 cup ricotta
• 2 tablespoons maple syrup
• 1/4 teaspoon salt (or less)
• 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
• 2 tablespoons chives, chopped
• Ground pepper, to taste
• Espelette pepper

Directions
1. Use a vegetable peeler or mandoline to slice the zucchini lengthwise into ribbons about 1/16 inch thick.
2. Place the zucchini ribbons onto a clean cloth and allow them to dry.
3. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, maple syrup, parsley, chives, and salt and pepper. Adjust the seasonings as you see fit.
4. Spread a thin layer of the ricotta mixture onto each zucchini strip. Roll them up and place them vertically onto your serving plate. Sprinkle with Espelette pepper and garnish with sprigs of parsley or chives.

Created by Stéphanie Côté, nutritionist

Source: Pure Maple from Canada / puremaplefromcanada.com

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Maple mania: How to turn your home into a sugar shack

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It’s Maple Syrup Season!

As the ground slowly begins to thaw in the weeks leading up to spring, the starches stored in maple trees during winter turn into sap. In Quebec, Vermont and other maple producing regions, this period of warming signals the start of the sugaring-off season.

Far more than your average agricultural event, the making of maple syrup is a cause for celebration. This is especially true in Quebec, where families and couples head out into the wilderness to visit producers, sample syrups, and enjoy a hearty brunch doused with plenty of the sweet stuff.

Fortunately, the tradition of sugaring-off is starting to spread across North America, and you can now enjoy the flavors of the season in your own home.

To recreate the cabane à sucre experience, you’ll need the following:

• Copious amounts of maple syrup. (It’s impossible to have too much.)
• A variety of brunch foods including scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausage, bacon, and ham.
• One or more traditional salty dishes. Think savory meat pies, baked beans, cretons, and pickles. Salt will help cut the sweetness of the syrup.
• Beverages of your choice. Coffee and juice are traditional, but mimosas are more fun.
• Hungry friends, family members, and neighbors.
• Lively music and a roaring fire, if possible.

Ask guests to arrive in their comfiest jeans and lumberjack shirts.

After everyone has eaten more than their fair share of the maple-infused food, it’s time for dessert. Indeed, no sugaring-off experience is complete without sampling a bit of maple taffy. Simply fill a bowl or baking dish with fresh snow and drizzle thin ribbons of hot maple syrup on top. The syrup should be heated to about 240 F. Let the syrup cool for a few seconds, then twirl it onto wooden popsicle sticks.

Bon appétit!

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Maple “shepherd’s pie” dessert

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It’s Maple Syrup Season!

Prep time
15 minutes

Cook time

5 minutes

Servings
4

Ingredients
• 1 cup maple syrup
• 1/4 cup cocoa powder
• 2 cups plain bran cereal (such as All-Bran)
• 2 mangoes, cubed
• 2 cups Mediterranean style plain yogurt
• Maple sugar (for decoration)

Directions
1. In a saucepan, pour maple syrup and add cocoa. Mix well and cook over medium heat for 1 minute.
2. Remove from heat and add cereal.
3. In 4 glass dishes (dessert bowls, mini Mason jars, or other), preferably wider than higher, assemble “shepherd’s pie” in successive layers: cereal mixture for meat, mango cubes for corn, and yogurt for mashed potato.
4. Sprinkle with maple sugar and serve.

Source: Pure Maple from Canada / puremaplefromcanada.com

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Heart-healthy roasted butternut squash with red onion and tahini sauce

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This heart-healthy, vegetarian-friendly recipe, adapted from Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, features roasted butternut squash, which is naturally rich in potassium to help regulate blood pressure.

Butternut squash is also high in insoluble fiber, which helps control blood sugar and promote fullness. Tahini-based sauce, made from sesame seeds, is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Olive oil is used to roast the squash and contains omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation and improve cholesterol. The result is a sweet, flavorful, warm side dish, perfect for a simple, healthy, filling meal. Za’atar spice is available in the international section of many grocery stores or Middle Eastern specialty grocery stores.

Ingredients
1 large butternut squash, peeled and sliced (discard seeds and pulp)

2 red onions, cut into wedges
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/2 tablespoons light tahini paste
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon za’atar spice
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped parsley (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.

Toss squash and onion in a bowl with olive oil, 1 teaspoon sea salt, and some black pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until the vegetables have taken on some color and are fully cooked. The onions may cook quicker and need to be removed earlier than the squash. Remove the sheet from the oven and let cool.

For the sauce, whisk the the tahini, lemon juice, water, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until you have a liquid the consistency of honey. Add more water or tahini as necessary.

To serve, spread the vegetables on a serving platter and drizzle with the tahini sauce, followed by the za’atar and parsley.

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Maple-nut caramel corn

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It’s Maple Syrup Season!

Prep time
15 minutes

Cook time

8 minutes

Rest time
30 minutes

Servings
4

Ingredients
• Canola oil
• 2 cups popped corn
• 1 cup your choice of mixed nuts
• 1/2 cup maple syrup
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions
1. Brush a cookie sheet with canola oil.
2. In a large bowl, mix together popcorn and nuts.
3. In an 8-cup bowl, combine the maple syrup and butter. Use a little butter to baste the inside rim of the bowl and prevent the caramel from overflowing while cooking. Microwave 8 minutes.
4. While stirring vigorously, add baking soda, then pour the caramel over the popcorn and nuts. Mix to coat well.
5. Immediately, spread the mixture on a cookie sheet, then leave it to harden for 30 minutes. Break the caramel corn into small pieces and munch away.

Source: Pure Maple from Canada / puremaplefromcanada.com

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Upcoming Events

Mar
3
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9:00 am Community Blood Drive @ Front Royal Fire and Rescue Department
Community Blood Drive @ Front Royal Fire and Rescue Department
Mar 3 @ 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Community Blood Drive @ Front Royal Fire and Rescue Department
The Front Royal Police Department is sponsoring a blood drive on Wednesday, and all eligible donors are encouraged to log onto redcrossblood.org to schedule a donation of the GIFT OF LIFE! Jeff Farmer and the[...]
9:00 am Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Mar 3 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free tax preparation will be available again this year through the AARP Tax Aide at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Front Royal, Monday and Wednesday mornings beginning Feb. 15th. To make an appointment, please call[...]
Mar
9
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6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 9 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Mar
13
Sat
10:00 am HSWC Polar Plunge @ Culpeper Lake at the 4-H Center
HSWC Polar Plunge @ Culpeper Lake at the 4-H Center
Mar 13 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
HSWC Polar Plunge @ Culpeper Lake at the 4-H Center
The Humane Society of Warren County “Polar Plunge” delayed from February 20 due to “too-polar” weather here in northwestern Virginia has been rescheduled to Saturday, March 13 – Don’t worry, it will still be a[...]
Mar
16
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 16 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Mar
23
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 23 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Mar
28
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2:00 pm Pictures with the Easter Bunny @ Warren County Community Center
Pictures with the Easter Bunny @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 28 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Pictures with the Easter Bunny @ Warren County Community Center
Come join the staff of Warren County Parks and Recreation and get your picture taken with the Easter Bunny! Pictures will be taken and printed on site; upon departure you will be given an Easter[...]
Mar
30
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 30 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Apr
3
Sat
12:00 pm Egg-stravaganza! @ Sky Meadows State Park
Egg-stravaganza! @ Sky Meadows State Park
Apr 3 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Egg-stravaganza! @ Sky Meadows State Park
Eggs are popping up all over Sky Meadows State Park. Visit our egg-laying free-range chickens by taking our Chicken Walk. Go on an egg-citing Geocache adventure. Kids, use your scavenger hunting skills using clues from[...]
Apr
17
Sat
all-day Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
Apr 17 all-day
Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
This tried and true Epic 24-hour AR will test your biking, paddling, trekking, and navigation skills as you explore two state parks (one of them brand new!) and national forest lands. Join soloists and teams[...]