Jen Laskey’s Projects in Progress

Jen’s Candy Jar: Artisanal Candy Recipes for Holidays and Special Occasions
By Jen Laskey

Jen's Candy Jar

My eBook of artisanal candy recipes was recently published by Story Machine Studio. Jen’s Candy Jar is available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Smashwords for just $4.99.

“There’s nothing I look forward to more than a handmade gift from Jen Laskey. Jen is the ultimate culinary craftswoman, and her candies and treats are always divine. From salty caramels to addictive spicy-sweet pecans, Jen’s Candy Jar is a greatest hits collection of her most delicious creations. I know these treats will be the starring attractions at my next party.” — Erica Duecy, author of Storied Sips

Jen’s Candy Jar is a unique collection of recipes that celebrates the comeback of the artisanal candy-making tradition and embraces its author’s distinctive taste in sweets. Artisanal candy-maker and author Jen Laskey has honed in on her 10 favorite confections and given them a distinctly epicurean upgrade. This 78-page, richly-photographed eBook provides easy-to-follow step-by-step recipe instructions, candy-making tool and tip suggestions, as well as guidance on how to vary the base recipes with extracts, herbs, botanicals, nuts, seeds, spices, and spirits, to create your own unique confections.

The homemade confections in Jen’s Candy Jar make elegant gifts for birthdays, holidays, weddings, and anniversaries. They also make decadent party favors, hostess and “thank you” gifts, and marvelous bite-sized desserts. And really, no one will blame you if you decide to keep all the candy for yourself. After all, Jen’s Candy Jar offers something satisfying for every sweet tooth.

Inside, you’ll find:

  • What you need to know to get started, including candy-making equipment and techniques.
  • Ten carefully-selected recipes
  • Tips for adding your own flair and experimenting with flavors to craft your own variations
  • Handmade gift-wrapping ideas to share your artisanal creations

Learn more at Story Machine Studio.

August 2015

Photo by Matthew Taylor-Gross Photo by Matthew Taylor-Gross

New Orleans institution Commander’s Palace, now run by cousins Lally Brennan and Ti Adelaide Martin, was built in 1880 by Emile Commander. Brennan and Martin like to say that while they hold the keys to Commander’s Palace, the landmark restaurant really belongs to New Orleans. Similarly, the family home next door, which was also built in the 1800s, is occupied by two of the original proprietors of Commander’s: sisters Dottie and Ella (Ti’s mother) Brennan. But the house, they say, belongs to the whole family.

The interior of the Brennan family home has all of the grandeur and French charm that you would expect from a historic 19th-century house in the Crescent City’s Garden District. The rooms are large and airy with high ceilings and exquisite plaster mouldings. The hardwood floors feature multicolored decorative inlays. And each room is beautifully appointed with antiques, art, and other collectibles. While the kitchen doesn’t get much use (meals are prepared at Commander’s), the rest of the opulent rooms are always ready for entertaining, with heirloom plates, Baccarat crystal decanters, and vintage shakers. Here are some of the things that make the historic Brennan house so special. Read more in SAVEUR magazine.

July 2015

Photo by Matthew Taylor-Gross
Photo by Matthew Taylor-Gross

Last night, New Orleans nightlife was catapulted into another universe with an epic Tales of the Cocktail party hosted by William Grant & Sons. The theme? 2084: Welcome to Yonderyear, where anything is possible. “We wanted to dive into the unknown, and give everyone a chance to see how we would envision the future, before it even happened,” said Charlotte Voisey, the company’s portfolio brand ambassador. The grounds of the National WWII Museum were transformed into a landscape of futuristic wonderland-themed pop-up bars manned by bartenders clad in costumes that ran the gamut from retro-futurist go-go chic to post-apocalyptic dystopian desert dwellers. Read more in SAVEUR magazine.

July 2015

Photo by Matthew Taylor-Gross
Photo by Matthew Taylor-Gross

Pastry chef Tariq Hanna has called New Orleans home for 9 years. The executive pastry chef and co-owner of the Sucré mini empire, which includes three “sweet boutiques” and the Salon by Sucré tea room, restaurant, and lounge, lives with his wife, Jennifer, and three French bulldogs in a raised Creole cottage in East Riverside. It was the old commercial 8-burner stove that immediately drew Hanna to the house, but its history was also a big selling point for him and Jennifer—it was the first residence built in the neighborhood, erected in the 1830s for the caretaker of the Delachaise sugarcane plantation. Fitting, that a house built on sugar should now be occupied by an award-winning pastry chef and master confectioner. After the caretaker, the house stayed in one family for the next hundred years. “The house is officially haunted,” says Tariq. Read more in SAVEUR magazine.

April 2015
Beyond That Bass: The Story Behind Nantucket’s Pop Sensation
Meghan Trainor What a year it’s been for Meghan Trainor. The Nantucket native has gone from cutting her teeth as a teen at the Chicken Box and the Muse to selling out venues from New York to Tokyo. Her breakout hit, “All About That Bass,” has been certified six times platinum, hitting number one in Canada, the UK, Australia, and Germany. Here in the States, she knocked Taylor Swift out of the top spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and remained there for nine weeks. Her second single, “Lips Are Movin,” which she reportedly penned in just eight minutes with her co-writer, Kevin Kadish, shot up the charts to number four, while her full-length album, Title, sold 238,000 copies in its very first week. By the end of 2014, this young Nantucket talent was nominated for major music awards, most notably two Grammy nominations for Best Song of the Year and Best Album of the Year. Walking the red carpet at the Grammys with her father, Gary, Meghan Trainor had officially arrived. In the course of the year, she’d become a worldwide pop sensation. Indeed, Meghan Trainor has become one of the most famous names on the planet. Read more in Nantucket magazine.

March 2015
Living and Eating in Queens
Flushing Xian Famous Foods Spicy Curry Lamb Noodle Soup Brooklyn has been holding its own as a hotbed of coolness, particularly in the gastronomic realm, for more than a decade now. The boon of farm, ocean and forest-to-table eateries—not to mention the coffee, tea, and matcha cafes, the trucks that dole out steamed, grilled, and fried food all hours of the day and night, the artisanal bakeries, the gastropubs, wine bars, dessert bars, microbreweries, distilleries, and cocktail-slinging speakeasies with their herb-infused simple syrups and their small-batch liquors—has lead to a culinary explosion that now extends far beyond Kings County.

But the brooklynisation of America that has influenced the eruption of white subway-tile clad, reclaimed wood-countered, dimly Edison-lightbulb-lit, urban-rustic-chic eateries and drinkeries from Williamsburg (Brooklyn’s epicentre of hipness) to California is old news. What’s new is that Queens, long considered Brooklyn’s almost entirely un-compelling sidekick to the north, has recently thrown its chef’s hat into the ring.

Food writers from the New York Times and other food-focused magazines and blogs have been evangelising about Queens cuisine with regularity for sometime now, but the borough has largely remained under the radar for most. However, with Queens topping Lonely Planet’s “Best in the US” list for 2015, our humble borough’s secret is out. Now even international tourists know that we have world-class museums and sculpture gardens, an east coast Tinseltown, a colourful music history, a surf scene, a county farm on the ground and a few more up on the rooftops. And being one of the most ethnically diverse places on earth, we’ve got food that will blow your mind. Read more on the In Search of Taste blog.

Spring 2015
Digital Health Awards 2015 - Silver Medal
My “What Are You Craving for Dinner?” Diabetes Decision Tree Quiz, which I created for Everyday Health, won a silver medal at the 2015 Digital Health Awards. Check out the quiz in Everyday Health’s Living Better With Diabetes center.

January – May 2015
My Well-Being
I have been a regular contributing writer to the health and wellness site,, since 2013. Here are some of my recent articles:

Guide to Rejuvenating After the Holidays
Nurture New Intentions for the New Year
New Year “Detox”
How to Challenge Mindsets That Are Holding You Back
Practicing Forgiveness
Quit Procrastinating!
Winter Skin Care Tips
Anti-Aging Skin Solutions
Health Benefits and Risks of Alcohol
How Winter Affects Sleep
Tips for a Healthy Retirement
What You Need to Know About Alzheimer’s
Avoiding GMOs: Everything You Need to Know
Nipping Spring Allergies in the Bud
Spring-Clean Your Makeup and Beauty Products
Sweeteners: Which Ones Should You Use?
8 Tips on How to Maintain Good Eyesight and Eye Health
Why Vaccinations Are Important
10 Ways to Improve Your Digestive Health
4 of the Healthiest Foods for Women
How to Strengthen Your Willpower
8 Ways to Get Inspired in the Kitchen
How to Cultivate Bliss: Tips from a Happiness Expert
Are Self-Tanners Safe?
Shingles: Everything You Need to Know
What to Eat Before and After a Workout
What You Need to Know About Age-Related Hearing Loss

December 2014
Everyday Health
Everyday Health Since its inception in 2005, I have been a regular contributing writer and special executive-level editorial consultant for Everyday, the #1 consumer health and lifestyle site on the Web and largest provider of online health solutions. Here are some of my recent articles, quizzes and assessments published by Everyday Health:
Top 6 Reasons We Love Meredith Vieira
Alzheimer’s at Age 30: An Old Person’s Disease Hits A Young Family for Nikki Dodson
Treatments for Bipolar Disorder
“Bipolar Disorder: What It Is and How It’s Treated” Infographic
Meeting Special Needs in the Classroom for Dr. Sanjay Gupta
When Heartburn is a Sign of GERD — or Worse for Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Understanding the Anatomy of Heartburn for Dr. Sanjay Gupta
“Are You Prepared to Care for Your Loved One With Schizophrenia?” Quiz for Dr. Sanjay Gupta
“Spotting A Schizophrenia Relapse” Q&A for Dr. Sanjay Gupta
“Are You Prepared to Care for Your Loved One With Schizophrenia?” Quiz
“What Kind of Diabetes Snack Are You in the Mood For?” Quiz
“What Are You Craving for Dinner?” Diabetes Quiz — 2015 Digital Health Awards Silver Medal Winner
“How Treatment Decisions Are Made for Ulcerative Colitis” Quiz
“Are You Bored With Your Rheumatoid Arthritis Exercise Routine?” Quiz
“Are You Bored With Your COPD Exercise Routine?” Quiz
Psoriasis Treatment and Management Guide: Minimizing Psoriasis Flares
Psoriasis Treatment and Management Guide: Scratching the Psoriasis Itch
Psoriasis Treatment and Management Guide: Seasonal Skin Care for Psoriasis
Psoriasis Treatment and Management Guide: Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriasis Treatment and Management Guide: Psoriasis and Heart Disease
Psoriasis Treatment and Management Guide: Severe Psoriasis and Type 2 Diabetes
Psoriasis Treatment and Management Guide: Dealing With Psoriasis and Depression
Psoriasis Treatment and Management Guide: Managing Psoriasis and Stress
Psoriasis Treatment and Management Guide: Getting the Support You Need

November 2014
Secret Sushi
Secret Sushi “Sushi is sexy, and we’re going with really sexy, visually beautiful, creative, yet simple and healthy fresh food at Café V Sushi,” says couture shoe designer, hotelier, and restaurateur Vanessa Noel of her newest venture. The island’s new year-round sushi hotspot opened under the radar and without any fanfare (not even a sign with the restaurant’s name outside) smack in the middle of tourist season this August. “We wanted to creep onto the scene,” Noel says. “We did absolutely no advertising for over a month.” Sure enough, the buzz caught on and people started making their way to the latest incarnation of the Chestnut Street spot that’s tucked into the tiny house adjacent to Noel’s shoe boutique and hotel. Read more in Nantucket magazine.

November 2014
My Well-Being
I have been a regular contributing writer to the health and wellness site,, since 2013. Here are some of my recent articles:

Healthy Eating Tips for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Day Survival Guide
Mindful Walking on Thanksgiving Day
The Importance of Being Kindmdash;to Yourself
Sustain Your Holiday Spirit With Affirmations
Healthier Holiday Cocktails
Make the Holidays Twice as Nice With Spice
Enjoy the Holidays Without Overdoing It
How to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick
7 Lucky New Year’s Foods

6 Classic Comfort Food Makeovers
Do Rituals Make Food and Drink Taste Better?
Eating With Passion
15 Fortifying Fermented Foods
Foods That Boost Immunity
7 Kitchen Tools That May Change Your Life
5 of the Best Herbs for Your Indoor Herb Garden

How to Be More Passionate About Your Health
Better Sleep Guide
Minerals Decoded
Vitamins Decoded
Home Remedies for Headaches and Migraines
Most Popular Complementary and Alternative Therapies
Tackling Autumn Asthma and Allergy Triggers
Prepping for Cold and Flu Season

Overcoming Winter Hibernation
Is Food Giving You the Blues?
Using Psychotherapy to Improve Your Quality of Life
How Do You Know It’s Depression?
How to Be Comfortable With Making Change

The Benefits of Bicycling
Boost Your Physical Fitness with Healthy Yard Work
Revamping Your Fitness Routine for Fall
4 Tips to Keep Cool During Your Summer Workout

Getting the Spark Back
7 Ways to Encourage Intimacy
Prescription for Passion
How to Recover From an Infidelity
How to Comfort Someone Who Is Grieving
How to Be A Resourceful Caregiver
A Caregiver’s Checklist to Age-Proof Your Home

5 Types of Apps to Streamline Life
Managing Your Digital Afterlife
8 Tips for Staying Cool This Summer
Frugal Tips for Living Within Your Means
How to Organize Your Clutter
World Class Educational Opportunities Are Just A Mouse-Click Away

June 2014
Sky is the Limit
Skyler Wright by Kit Noble Not every sixteen-year-old can say they’ve done a feature film with John Travolta, but Nantucket-raised actress Skyler Wright can. The young performer, who honed her acting, singing, and dancing skills on island stages throughout her childhood, recently wrapped up her first principal role in The Forger, a movie star- ring John Travolta, Jennifer Ehle, Abigail Spencer, Christopher Plummer, and Tye Sheridan. Wright plays Sheridan’s girlfriend.

Wright admits that working alongside such big stars was intimidating at first, but she says that both Travolta and Sheridan were very welcoming and put her at ease on set. “John could not have been more amazing,” the young actress says. “The second I met him, he had a big smile on his face.” She adds that between takes Travolta chatted her up, asking questions about school and her parents, and if she was having a good time.

Breaking into film as a teenager may seem daunting, but this young starlet already has years of acting experience under her belt. Wright has played the lead in more than a dozen plays, many of them on Nantucket. “My first ever acting experience was in a musical theater class on Nantucket taught by Laura Gallagher Byrne,” she says. At the end of the term, the class put on a short musical. “To make the [casting of the] show fair, we picked our parts out of a hat.” As luck would have it, Wright ended up pulling the lead role. At the end of the show, Gallagher Byrne was so impressed with Wright’s performance that she walked up to her mother, Amber Cantella, and exclaimed, “Where has this girl been all my life?” And with that, a star was born. Read more in Nantucket magazine.

Spring 2014
The New Guard: Winemakers, Sommeliers, and Chefs Under 40
The New Guard The passions and ambitions of the under-40 set participating in the Nantucket Wine Festival this year reflect a growing trend of increasingly younger wine and food enthusiasts that are pervading the culinary landscape both domestically and abroad.

Nantucket chef Tom Berry of The Proprietors attributes this trend to a level of food saviness and a demand for better dining that he feels has been increasing exponentially over the last twenty years and that now provides many new opportunities to chefs and beverage professionals. “The [culinary] industry offers an exciting alternative to the ‘traditional’ 9-to-5 lifestyle and it allows people to do something they love for a base of customers who truly appreciate it,” says Berry. “It’s as much a lifestyle choice as it is a career choice, but one that can be super rewarding to those who seek it.”

Michael Madrigale, the accomplished young head sommelier for three of Daniel Boulud’s New York restaurants agrees that the food- and wine-loving public are savvy and quite educated at this point in time and that this has enabled young food and wine professionals to create real change in the industry. “Authentic is the name of the game,” says Madrigale, “and I think the people who make their mark in the industry today are those who recognize that.” Under-40 winemaker Austin Peterson of Ovid enjoys the enthusiasm that his peers are generating. “There is a great energy to try new things and push new boundaries,” says Peterson. “Great things are bound to come from it.”

There will be at least 25 winemakers, sommeliers, and chefs under 40 at this year’s Nantucket Wine Festival. Here’s a brief introduction to five of the movers and shakers who are currently transforming the wine and food scene as we know it.

Read more in Nantucket Today magazine:
The New Guard — Page 1 [PDF]
The New Guard — Pages 2-3 [PDF]

November 2013
Alex Kopko by Kit Noble With big blue eyes, freckles and a flirtatious smile, twenty-two-year-old Alexandra Kopko has a very girl-next-door look, but she’s hardly your typical girl next door. When the stage is set and the mic is hot, Kopko is a showstopper, commanding audiences with all the range and panache of a headlining diva. “I don’t think I ever thought I was going to do anything else,” Kopko says, cupping a mug of tea at the Bean on Centre Street, “it was just always assumed that I’d be some kind of performer.” Now, after receiving a bachelor’s degree in theater arts and a minor in musical theater from Marymount Manhattan, this Nantucket native is setting off, like so many hopeful thespians and vocalists before her, to pursue her dreams in the Big Apple. Read more in Nantucket magazine.

November 2013
Rolling Back the Years
Darcy Creech by Kit Noble Darcy Creech is an entrepreneur and a philanthropist, and when she gets it in her mind to do something she goes at it full speed ahead. Creech has launched her own line of designer hats, opened retail locations for her Peter Beaton studio on Nantucket, raised money to build water wells in Africa, and founded a credit card processing company that enables merchants to reallocate processing fees to charities. This year, Creech made it her mission to breathe new life into one of Nantucket’s most underserved demographics: our disabled elderly.

Moved by an online video about a man who developed a wheelchair bicycle so that he could continue riding with his wife who was suffering from Alzheimer’s, Creech set out to raise $35,000 in thirty-five days to purchase three custom-made tandem “Duet” bikes (along with helmets, insurance, liability costs, and cab fare) for elderly and disabled residents on the island. “It was such a beautiful video and I thought it would be an amazing thing to bring to [retirement centers like] Our Island Home,” Creech explained, citing how old age and disability can be emotionally and physically isolating and de- pressing, especially when one loses the ability to be mobile. Read more in Nantucket magazine.

October 2013
Scallop Season on Nantucket
Scallops With its long stretches of pristine beach, yacht-filled harbors and sailing buffs, rose-trellised cottages and meandering bike paths, most people think of Nantucket as a summer destination, but gourmands know that come October another very important season begins on “The Faraway Island”: Nantucket bay scallop season.

No scallop is more revered than the Nantucket bay scallop. These succulent little bivalve mollusks are considered a delicacy the world over, and can be spotted on menus in upscale fish markets and restaurants from coast to coast (and beyond) from fall into early spring. The cold, northern Atlantic waters and eelgrass habitats around Nantucket yield tender, silky bay scallops that are small in size (even when mature), but incredibly rich in taste—buttery, sweet, and truly melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Some native Nantucketers say they’re best just eaten raw with nothing but a spritz of lemon; others swear by more traditional recipes that involve sautéing, baking, broiling, and even frying. Read more at Fodor’s Travel.

October 2013
A One-Day Tasting Tour of Piedmont Italy
Villa Tiboldi & Malvira Vineyard Piedmont is a paradise for culinary hedonists, especially those who admire the Italian life. This region is home to some of the world’s most sought after gastronomic decadences, including Barolo—the “king” of Italian wine—and tartfufo bianco, the white truffle that’s practically worth its weight in gold.

The real challenge is narrowing down the stops on your food-and-drink-fueled itinerary. We recommend starting a culinary quest at the Villa Tiboldi in the Roero, meandering through the Langhe’s Barolo zone, and finishing off with dinner at the Michelin-starred Castello Grinzane Cavour. Read more at Fodor’s Travel.

Summer Season 2013
Recent Articles in The Inquirer and Mirror Newspaper
[A Dow Jones Local Media Group Publication]

The Inquirer and Mirror [logo]

Feeding the Family: Restaurant Staff Meals [PDF] – October 3, 2013
Topper’s Wins Its 17th Straight Grand Award from Wine Spectator [PDF] – August 22, 2013
Colonial “Shrubs”: A New Trendy Drink [PDF] – August 8, 2013
New Sommelier Takes Over Island Wine Shop [PDF] – August 8, 2013
The Sweet Life of A Beekeeper: David Berry [PDF] – August 1, 2013
Cocktail Party Trendspotting with Island Caterers [PDF] – July 11, 2013
Recreating the Italian Aperitivo Experience [PDF] – July 11, 2013
Drinking With Men: A Q&A with NYT “Drink” Columnist Rosie Schaap [PDF] – June 20, 2013
The Gift of Bourbon for Father’s Day [PDF] – June 13, 2013
Wines to Enjoy with Your Memorial Day Cookout: Picks from Local Purveyors [PDF] – May 23, 2013
The Education of A Wine Lover: My Apprenticeship with Malvirà’s Roberto Damonte – May 16, 2013
Q&A with New York Times Wine Critic Eric Asimov – May 16, 2013
Celebrating Cinco de Mayo North of the Border: Cocktail and Small Plate Pairings – May 2, 2013
Spring Wine Picks for the Perfect Picnic – April 25, 2013
Daffodil Day: Picnic in A Jar – April 25, 2013

August 2013
Swim Across America: Making Waves to Fight Cancer One Stroke at A Time
SAA by Beverly Hall Swim Across America (SAA) is not your typical swim competition. It’s a swim for a cure—a cure for cancer—and the awards go to the top fundraisers not the fastest swimmers. SAA returns to Nantucket this August for its second year thanks to an enthusiastic group of islanders who are swimming hard for a cure for cancer. Read more in Nantucket magazine.

August 2013
Knit Pick: Let Charlotte Hess Pull the Wool Over Your Eyes
Charlotte Hess by Nathan Coe When Charlotte Hess is flitting about town, she’s usually wearing something that makes you want to reach out and touch it. If you’re acquainted with her, you probably have given her chunky infinity scarf “plait necklaces” a squeeze, caressed her meshy, cotton cover-ups, or run your fingers through the fringe on her ponchos.

Even if you don’t know her but have seen her, it wouldn’t be surprising if you, too, have found yourself unable to refrain from stealing a quick graze of one of her knitted creations as she passed. Charlotte’s knitwear designs aren’t like any other sweater, scarf or woven dress you’ve ever seen. They’re wild and irresistibly tactile. Read more in Nantucket magazine.

August 2013
Everyday Health
Everyday Health Since its inception in 2005, I have been a regular contributing writer and special executive-level editorial consultant for Everyday, the #1 consumer health and lifestyle site on the Web and largest provider of online health solutions. Here are some of my recent articles, quizzes and assessments published by Everyday Health:
The Importance of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in a Heart-Healthy Diet
Living Well with Low Testosterone
“Which Choice Is Better If You Have Diabetes?” Quiz
“Take a Breather” Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Trivia Quiz
“My Cholesterol Check” Assessment

July 2013
The South Beach Diet Gluten Solution
South Beach Diet I recently oversaw the development and launch of The South Beach Diet Gluten Solution Program, the new gluten track of the South Beach, which is an extension of the original South Beach Diet. It is designed to help members figure out if they have a sensitivity to gluten. If they are gluten sensitive, the program will teach them how to make the best food choices for better health.

Sample content from the new South Beach Diet Gluten Solution Program:
Gluten-Free Swaps for Some of Your Favorite Foods
“Are You Gluten Sensitive?” Quiz
“Test Your Gluten Smarts” Quiz

July 2013
A Mid-Island Oasis: Patrick Ridge’s Island Kitchen
Nantucket Today - July 2013 What gets you out of bed—and out of the house—in the morning? These days, the answer may be brunch at Patrick Ridge’s Island Kitchen.

In late May, the talented, young culinary veteran from Le Languedoc Bistro launched his own restaurant, and it began, strategically, with breakfast service. Roosting in the former Hen House on Chin’s Way, Island Kitchen started luring Nantucketers back to the convenient mid-island location with classic brunch entrées like eggs bene with lemony hollandaise, fresh veggie and cheese omelets, French toast, and bottomless cups of Carrabassett coffee along with more gastronomically intriguing dishes like soufflé pancakes, polenta with blue cheese and shiitake mushrooms, and breakfast sandwiches made with chorizo, egg, avocado and Manchego. Read more in Nantucket Today.

July 2013
The Voice: Meghan Trainor
Meghan Trainor by Nathan Coe Meghan Trainor is blazing a trail from Nantucket to Nashville—and soon, Sweden, leaving scores of love songs and catchy pop tunes in her wake.

For most people, trying to “make it” in music is a long and arduous road, but this 19-year-old singer/songwriter is paving the way with one success after another. Just last year, the Nantucket native signed a publishing deal with Big Yellow Dog Music, an award-winning music publisher in Nashville. Read more in Nantucket magazine.

June 2013
Everyday Health Facts on File: Joy Bauer’s Health Guide for Crohn’s Disease
EH Joy Bauer's Health Guide for Crohn's For a number of years, I’ve been a contributing writer to Joy Bauer’s online content. Bauer is one of the nation’s leading health authorities. She is the nutrition and health expert for NBC’s Today Show, founder of, a New York Times bestselling author, and a contributing health expert for Everyday Health. This is a recent digital magazine about Crohn’s disease I worked on: Joy Bauer’s Health Guide for Crohn’s Disease

June 2013
Travelogues: Chefs Inspired by Travel
Nantucket Today June 2013 cover Sampling pintxos (Basque-style tapas) and txacoli (the local white wine) in San Sebastian; learning about sustainable farming, hydroponic gardening, and cheese-making in Maine; exploring Vancouver and reconnecting with an old mentor in Boston; a family trip to D.C. and a last-minute sun-seeking excursion to Puerto Rico; and a quest for plancha grilling techniques and some of the world’s best shared plates in America and western Europe…. These are just a few of the ways that Nantucket chefs spent their time “off season” and gained inspiration for their 2013 menus. Read more in Nantucket Today or download a PDF of the article.

May 2013
My Recent South Beach Diet Summer Features
The South Beach Diet It’s that time of year again, when we suit up (a.k.a., strip down!) and head for the beach, local pool, or a nearby swimming hole. If the bathing suit-shopping ritual is somewhat traumatic for you (like it is for most of us), you can start breathing a little easier. This year’s styles include plenty of body-shapers, bust-boosters, hip-slimmers, and leg-lengtheners to camouflage your problem areas and show off your best assets. Check out The Season’s Hottest Bathing Suits for Your Body Type.

Eating a wide variety of delicious whole foods, including vegetables and fruits, whole grains and legumes, lean protein, and healthy unsaturated fats is key to getting the maximum amount of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other disease-fighting nutrients. But a few whole foods are true standouts, packing in exceptional amounts of vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds called phytochemicals, which can help lower your risk for numerous health conditions, including cancer and heart disease. Here are 8 Superfoods to Add to Your Diet — Now!

If you find yourself eyeing something starchy, salty, fatty, or sugary, your best bet may be a South Beach Diet-friendly “swap.” Check out our suggested “swaps” for taming common temptations. Learn about 10 Healthy Ways to Swap That with This.

We’re two weeks away from Memorial Day weekend—the traditional start of bikini season—so it’s a good time to take your fitness up a notch, get toned, and begin showing off your new body. With just a yoga mat, towel, chair, and exercise ball, you can easily follow this core-strengthening workout to get fit and beach-ready in no time. Read more about 6 Core-Strengthening Exercises for a Beach-Ready Body.

May 10, 2013
Fodor’s Travel and Nancy Bean Toast to the 2013 Nantucket Wine Festival
NWF Mark Goldweitz and Nancy Bean (courtesy of NWF)

Hop on the train, catch a ferry, or just pop over in your private jet to Nantucket for the Nantucket Wine Festival’s grand annual 5-day wine and food fete. From May 15th to 19th, you’ll be clinking glasses with winemakers and chefs from around the world and living it up with both locals and visiting wine enthusiasts in the storied summer destination of the rich and famous. We caught up with Nancy Bean, Executive Director of the Nantucket Wine Festival, to get a taste of what’s happening and what’s new (a lot!) at this year’s festival. Read more at Fodor’s Travel.

May 2013
The Widow’s Work: Veuve Clicquot’s Cave Privée Vintages
Veuve Clicquot - Photo by Cary Hazlegrove for Nantucket magazine The sparkling legacy of Veuve Clicquot has made its way into clinking glasses around the world, and is sure to fill many more at this year’s Nantucket Wine Festival. But champagne connoisseurs take note: The real toast of the town will be two of Veuve Clicquot’s coveted Cave Privée vintages.

Whether at polo matches or fashion shows or fine French restaurants, Veuve Clicquot’s yellow label is synonymous with luxury. And yet despite its wide acclaim, only a handful of non-French speakers could tell you that “veuve” actually means “widow,” as in the Widow Clicquot Ponsardin, the champagne’s legendary namesake. The year was 1805 when a twenty-seven-year-old widow named Barbe Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin convinced her father-in-law to let her take over her late husband’s small champagne house. The move was unprecedented, this at a time when French women rarely ran their own businesses, let alone in the male-dominated business of champagne. Better still, she renamed the champagne after herself: Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin.

Against all odds, not only did the widow Clicquot turn the small champagne house into a world-renowned brand, but she revolutionized the way champagne is made. Today, while Veuve Clicquot’s yellow label continues to be the toast of the luxury market, an exclusive, limited selection has recently risen to the top as their best bubbly. Costing between $200 to $250 a bottle, Veuve Clicquot’s Cave Privée Collection has been carefully cultivated and aged for twenty to thirty years—some, even longer—under the most ideal conditions in their cave privée, or “private wine cellar,” in Reims, France. The collection was first released in Europe in 2010 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Madame Clicquot’s premiere 1810 vintage. Read more in Nantucket magazine.

May 10, 2013
Intoxicating Recipes: Food and Wine Pairings from Nantucket Chefs
Intoxicating Recipes - Photo by Nathan Coe for Nantucket magazine The arrival of spring brings with it a whole new seasonal bounty for Nantucket chefs to draw inspiration from. Here, Evan Marley of Pi Pizzeria, Michael Getter of Dune, and Erik Stenfors of Met on Main offer up spring-inspired food and wine pairings with recipes that feature fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and the chefs’ suggestions for the perfect bottle to serve alongside them.

Read more:
Intoxicating Recipes — Page 1 [PDF]
Intoxicating Recipes — Page 2 [PDF]
Intoxicating Recipes — Page 3 [PDF]
Intoxicating Recipes — Page 4 [PDF]

April 2013
A Selection of My Recent South Beach Diet Quizzes
South Beach Diet “Are You Getting the Biggest Nutrition Boost in Each Bite?” Quiz
“Is Your Lifestyle Hampering Your Weight Loss?” Quiz
“Are You an Emotional Eater?” Quiz
“Is Your Workplace Making You Fat?” Quiz
“Is Your Body Aging Faster Than You Are?” Quiz
“Are You a Savvy Grocery Shopper?” Quiz
“Are You Getting Enough Quality Sleep?” Quiz

February 11, 2013
The New York Women’s Culinary Alliance’s All-American Whiskey and Cheese Tasting
American Whiskies and Cheeses - Photo by Jen Laskey Spirits and cocktail writer Kara Newman and cheese expert Diana Pittet recently hosted a “Toast to Presidents’ Day with American Whiskey and American Cheese!” at The Flatiron Room, a new whiskey parlor in Manhattan. The all-American tasting event was attended by 19 NYWCA women and one male guest (a gender reversal of the venue’s typical whiskey tastings, we were told).

Diana Pittet and “whiskey sommelier” Heather Greene teamed up to create the pairings and lead the tasting. Nicole Austin, whiskey maker at Kings County Distillery, later joined them and brought her own whiskey for us to sample. Read more on the New York Women’s Culinary Alliance site.

December 27, 2012
Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal
Reader's Digest - Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal Reader’s Digest’s best-selling book, Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal, which focuses on the connections between diet and chronic health conditions, was recently revised, updated and redesigned. The new book explores nearly a hundred different health conditions and features about 150 foods that can help improve these ailments (or, as the case may be, make them worse). More than 7 million copies have been sold since the first edition was published in 1997. I was a contributing writer and editor on the newest edition.

November 2012
Coq au Vin
Coq au Vin at Pazzo - Photo by Kit Noble for Nantucket Magazine The band, Coq au Vin, has taken Nantucket by storm with an eclectic repertoire that includes everything from Django-style gypsy jazz, Eastern European and Russian folk music to French chansons, Cuban songs, American blues—and a little bit of pop. Since launching the band last spring, they’ve become the most sought-after show on the island. “We played eighty gigs in ninety days this summer!” exclaims Ingrid Feeney, the band’s singer.

Coq au Vin’s bandleader, Nantucket- born Caleb Cressman is a musician, composer, ethnomusicologist and organic farmer. He plays an array of different instruments—Irish fiddle, flamenco guitar, mandolin, sitar and percussion— in a wide range of musical styles. The accordion is his newest instrument, and that’s what he plays for Coq au Vin. Cressman also composes all of the original music that Coq au Vin performs. Read more in Nantucket magazine.

November 2012
An Artist at Ninety
Maggie Meredith - Photo by Kit Noble for Nantucket Magazine At ninety years old, Maggie Meredith is the oldest working artist on Nantucket. A painter, poet and rug maker, Meredith is the matriarch of a creative island family whose legacy continues to flourish on the island.

Maggie Meredith is best known for her whimsical cat portraits, acrylic paintings of fancifully dressed felines. She has painted hundreds of them. And then she has her whales. “I painted my ‘happy whales’ for years in all kinds of human situations,” she says. “They were fun and they make people laugh, which I like to do.” The paintings beam with color and revelry, reflective of Meredith’s vibrant personality. “You’ll see she always has the word love on everything,” says her son, Chris Meredith. “That’s been a big part of her. She is that type of giving, loving, nurturing person.” Read more in Nantucket magazine.

August 2012
The Bee Team
Beekeeper Dylan Wallace - Photo by Kit Noble for Nantucket Magazine There are millions of honeybees living on Nantucket today, and their collective hum can be heard around the hives that dot backyards and farms across the island. For some, the buzz of a single bee is grounds for retreat. Yet, for beekeepers like Ted Anderson, Jim Gross, Christin Hermansdofer, David Berry, and Dylan Wallace, the buzz of a honeybee is a sweet sound of success.

Honeybees are truly fascinating creatures with a complex and self- sustaining colony structure. The queen is at the top. She lays all the eggs and is supported by thousands of devoted female worker bees. The rest of the bees are male drones, whose sole purpose is to find and mate with virgin queens. And after their “glory moment,” as David Berry puts it, these male drones die. David has thirty hives placed in different locations around Nantucket. Each of them contains fifty to sixty thousand honeybees and yields about sixty pounds of honey a year. “Honeybees are gluttonous for honey,” says David. “Fortunately for us, they make and collect a lot more than they need to sustain themselves.” Read more in Nantucket magazine.

July 26, 2012
Nantucket Wine Fest-Inspired Places to Eat & Drink
Photo courtesy of the Wauwinet Each year, hundreds of wine enthusiasts, winemakers, and chefs travel 30 miles out to sea to kick off the summer season with the Nantucket Wine Festival. If you happen to land on Nantucket the weekend before Memorial Day, you and your taste buds can go on a wine tasting trip around the world without ever leaving the luxury island digs that host the 4-day smorgasbord. Even if you missed the fete, you can still taste many of the festival’s wine and food faves at the island’s most gastro-forward restaurants. Here are 7 sensational places where you can find Nantucket Wine Fest culinary luminaries at the helm and wine luminaries in your glass this summer. Read more at Fodor’s Travel Blog.

July 2012
Cru d’Etat
Cru Raw Bar - Photo by Kit Noble for Nantucket Magazine There are unique challenges inherent in creating a new restaurant in the space of an old Nantucket standby. Nostalgia runs deep on the island, and the Ropewalk enjoyed a large and loyal following. So when Jane Stoddard, Carlos Hidalgo, and Erin Zircher took over the waterfront space and opened Cru, they had big shoes to fill. Like its predecessor, Cru is a seafood restaurant, but it is part of a new generation that has transformed the dining experience into something that goes beyond fish and chips and clam chowder. Ingredients are locally and seasonally sourced whenever possible. Every bottle and individual glass of wine or beer, and each cocktail, is selected to pair with dishes on the menu, and attentions are paid to even the most minute design details — from the stylishness of staff uniforms to whether a beachgoer’s legs are likely to stick to the upholstery. The result is a restaurant at the same location, yet miles away from its predecessor.

Read more:
Cru d’Etat – Page 1 [PDF]
Cru d’Etat – Page 2 [PDF]
Cru d’Etat – Page 3 [PDF]

June 2012
The Black Swan
The Black Swan of Nantucket: Benjamin Millepied - Photo by Alexander Wagner for Nantucket Magazine AT JUST 35 YEARS OLD, Benjamin Millepied has already long been known as a rising star and visionary in the dance world. In 2010, his talents reached an even larger audience when he choreographed and starred (with his now-wife, Natalie Portman) in the film Black Swan. Here on Nantucket, Benjamin has made a name for himself as the Artistic Director for the Atheneum’s celebrated Nantucket Dance Festival, which takes place July 24th-28th. Read more in Nantucket magazine.

April 2012
Tag Team Tasting
Nantucket Sommeliers: Jenny Benzie, Joy and Hieu Tran, and Ieva Aldins HAVE YOU EVER suffered through watching someone swirl a glass of wine, take a big sniff, a sip, and then start extolling a string of adjectives — anything from raspberry, rosehips, and hibiscus to wet rocks, rubber tire, barnyard, leather, or cat pee — and wonder if they’re just full of it?

Wine can seem overwhelmingly esoteric (and yes, sometimes pretentious) if you’re not an insider, but it doesn’t have to be. After all, the best thing about wine is drinking it! The pleasure can be taken to new levels, however, when you begin to understand more about what you’re drinking, and eventually learn how to identify those elusive flavor characteristics that sommeliers and other wine pros sniff out so easily from every glass. A simple crash course of the basics can transform your wine drinking experience and help you learn the difference between a bottle of Two-Buck-Chuck and something that’s really worth savoring. A fun and effective way to gain more knowledge about wine — at any level — is to host your own wine tastings. Here to help are some of Nantucket’s top sommeliers. Read more in Nantucket magazine.

November 2011
The Siren Returns
Greta Feeney - Photo by Kit Noble for Nantucket Magazine Why is world-class opera star, Greta Feeney, turning the tides on her performance career to run a nonprofit music and arts organization on Nantucket island?

Her singing has already taken her all over the world to perform with major symphony orchestras. She has attended top conservatories like Juilliard and Mannes. She was selected for the prestigious Adler Fellowship with the San Francisco Opera, where she starred in main-stage productions for six years. She has performed at the renowned Spoleto USA Festival twice — the first time as a young singer in 2001, and again, earlier this summer, when she sang the role of Papagena in the festival’s hit production of The Magic Flute. A winner of the Schwabacher Debut Recital Award and an Intermezzo Recitalist at Spoleto, she is at the height of her powers as a concert artist and on the verge of receiving a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree. Despite all this, opera diva, Greta Feeney, recently made the biggest decision of her life — to take everything she’s learned and bring it back home to Nantucket. Read more in Nantucket magazine.

April 28, 2011

My friend Fabrizia is an award-winning documentary filmmaker from Turin, but we became friends while she was living in New York. These days she’s living and working back in her hometown. I was delighted to learn that she’s sussing out a project focused on the wines of her region, so when I went back to Piedmont after VinItaly, I invited her to drive out and meet some of the winemakers I was interviewing. This is her account of our wine-tasting day in the Langhe. (It’s in Italian, but you can use Google Translate — just be warned that the translation will be a bit comical and not especially precise.) Read Fabrizia’s post on NY Soundbites.

April 21, 2011
Food Republic Every year, approximately 4,000 exhibitors (mostly, but not all, Italian) descend on Verona to showcase their best selection of wines and spirits, and in some cases, gastronomic foodstuffs at VinItaly, the world’s largest wine and spirits exhibition.
Read more in “Your Daily Wine” on Food Republic.

March 25, 2011
My new column “Après” just launched in Elevation Outdoors, a Rocky Mountains-based lifestyle magazine for outdoor adventurists. Après is a monthly cocktail column that redefines and revels in the après as an all-season and all-sports tradition. April’s cross-country skiing après: The Spruced Collins by Mark Stoddard (Bitter Bar, Boulder).

March 22, 2011
Aperitif Alchemists The Aperitif Alchemists transform cocktail hour into an artisanal affair with delectable hors d’oeuvres and luscious libations. Inspired by the French apéritif and Italian aperitivo, Erica Duecy and Jen Laskey have taken up catering to help champion a new aperitif tradition in America. Check us out!

January 31, 2011
The Lengths I Go To For An Amazing Glass of Wine

I live on a freelance writer’s salary, so if I want to drink really, really good wine on a daily basis, I pretty much have to go to work in a winery, which is what I did last fall. I went to the Piedmont region of Italy, which is home to two of the country’s most prized (and most expensive) gastronomic products: Barolo, arguably Italy’s best wine, and the Alba white truffle.

It wasn’t just my lust for fancy wine (or tartufo bianco) that compelled me to go to Piedmont. A year earlier, I completed my advanced certification course with the London-based Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and I took a celebratory research trip to the area with my friend Erica. Visiting the wineries in the Langhe and Roero zones was inspiring, and after all of my book and class work, I decided that I wanted to help build my wine-writing repertoire by taking my learning to another level. Read more at Frugaltopia.

January 1, 2011
New York, New York

It’s deep winter here in New York City, and I’m still daydreaming about my harvest season in Piemonte — the landscape, the vineyards, the nebbiolos, Piemontese pasta, mountain cheeses, Alba white truffles, the exceptional people I met, and even the work. Much of the time, it was a lot of really dirty, physical work, but my responsibilities at Malvirà also included controlling the fermentation of all the new vintage wines, acting as an English-Italian translator, conducting daily wine tastings and vineyard/cellar tours for guests, and attending local wine and food events, such as the opening of the Barolo museum, the Salone del Gusto, and Terra Madre.

Since I returned, I’ve been writing about everything from winter cocktails, holiday food gifts, and new year’s bubbly to embarrassing skin problems, heart health, diamonds, and blizzard preparedness (during a blizzard). In my spare time, I’m chipping away at my personal projects, including a series of personal essays about the harvest.

Wishing a happy, healthy, inspiring, productive, and prosperous new year to all!

September 15, 2010

We’re two days into the grape harvest at Malvirà winery, and documenting it has been a hands-on experience — sometimes so hands-on that it’s impossible to take notes, photos, or video, and not just because my hands are occupied, but because when we’re pressing grapes I am up to my elbows (shoulders, really) in sticky grape goo. The idea, though, is to take a vacation from my regular work and experience the harvest firsthand while documenting and writing about it. I wonder if by the end I will want to trade in my laptop for grape-cutting shears and a pair of rubber boots for good?

September 10, 2010

Today, I am returning to the Piedmont region of Italy to apprentice with a winemaker during the grape harvest, study the Slow Food movement, indulge in another intoxicating truffle season, and write about my adventures in Italian gastro-land.

January 5 through February 13 & June 2010

I’ve been in Abruzzo, Italy, researching regional dishes and wines for my Abruzzese cookbook.

In addition to dining at Brancaleone, hanging around the kitchen, and working with Sabrina Di Renzo (cook and proprietor) on recipes, I’ve also been visiting local wineries, including Masciarelli, Pasetti, and Zaccagnini. And I attended an inspiring event in Chieti — a panel discussion featuring Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food movement and author of Terra Madre.

Abruzzese Vineyard Abruzzese vineyard with Gran Sasso in the background

Brancaleone Restaurant in Terranova di Roccamontepiano

Brancaleone Restaurant in Terranova di Roccamontepiano Brancaleone Restaurant in Terranova di Roccamontepiano Masciarelli in San Martino sulla Marrucina In the wine cellar at Azienda Agricola Masciarelli Pasetti in Francavilla Tasting Pasetti’s Pecorinos Zaccagnini in Bolognano In the wine cellar at Zaccagnini with bottles atop a sacrificial altar (Sculpture by Pietro Cascella)