Realistic Resolutions for 2016: Basics and Trending at the BCAE

Posted by Kim Wieczner on Fri, Jan 22, 2016

2016 may be already be a few weeks old, but for us, that's when the real work starts. Don't worry - not the scary, stress-inducing kind of work, but the positive, productive, exciting stuff. Sure, talk of resolutions happened way back in December (only last month but still it feels like a while, doesn't it?), but the actual achieving of the lofty goals we set for ourselves is a trickier task earning plenty of procrastination. So with February just about staring us in the face, we realize that, "Oh yeah I better start thinking about my resolutions...what were they again?"

In thinking about it, we realized that resolutions often fall into one of two categories:

1) Doing something new (often something you've been meaning to do for a while)

2) Doing something you already do, but better

As a result, we decided that the new year was also a perfect time to introduce two new groupings of classes that we'd like to start focusing on - now and into the future. If you've seen the January/February catalog, you'll notice two new pages at the front: All About Basics and Trending...

All About Basics
is the answer to the "I've always wanted to try..." and "I've been meaning to improve..." - and a reminder that many of our classes are designed for students of all levels, starting at the very bottom. Think Sewing for Beginners and Cake Decorating Basics. This 2016, we're daring you to dive in headfirst and leave your regrets back in 2015. Check out some of our constantly changing offerings right here and check something off your list today.


Trending...these are the classes that keep you current and might push you out of your comfort zone as you jump on board the hottest trends for 2016. Think Urban Beekeeping and DIY Dog Treats. Make your mark on the new year, try something new and fresh, and be a trendsetter. See a little of what we mean here.

You'll continue to see these pages in future catalogs, and the web pages will be continually updated so your resolutions can last well beyond January. Happy resolving!



Topics: BCAE, BCAE classes, BCAE cooking classes, New Year's Resolutions, Boston art classes, cooking classes, BCAE basics, BCAE trends, BCAE art classes


Posted by Kim Wieczner on Mon, Nov 16, 2015


BCAE: How did you get started writing poetry?

TOM: I began writing, without much of a disciplined approach, poems that reflected teenage angst. I dabbled, as teenagers tend to do, in writing poems positively plump with grand metaphors and abstractions, and not yet understanding, as Paul Valery is said to have quipped, “It is a hundred times easier to be profound than to be precise.”

In my first encounter with Sylvia Plath’s poetry in a creative writing class in college, I received a potent antidote to the abstractions and the grandiosity when I came upon a poem called “Point Shirley.” The poem is an account of Plath’s return to a seaside house her grandmother had lived in. The visit occurred years after her grandmother had died. The subject is sentimental (nostalgia for the old days—Plath even manages to talk about her grandmother’s “wheat loaves and apple cakes”), but the treatment is anything but sentimental. Stones on the beach are said to be “bickering under / The sea’s collapse.” Plath characterizes the sea as “sluttish,” the setting sun as “bloody red.” If Grandmother had a flower garden, a series of storms kept invading it. At one point, Plath tells us, a “Shark littered in the geranium bed.”  

Having lost my own grandmother just around the time I discovered the poem, I was astonished at the way in which Plath could be simultaneously reverential and tough on the subject of her loss.  The stones on the beach, which had been used in the construction of the house, become the central metaphor, and the poem ends in a blast embodying wistfulness and savagery.

Ever since then, I have sought to read and write poems that follow Robert Lowell’s definition: “A poem is an event, not the record of an event.”

BCAE: How long have you been teaching at the BCAE?

TOM: I started teaching in the summer of 2004. I had taken several workshops with Ottone Riccio, who led the BCAE poetry workshop for over thirty years, at the BCAE, and still recommend his book, The Intimate Art of Writing Poetry, to workshop participants, as one of the finest books on the subject. Riccio was a participant in the workshop itself when it was the place to be for aspiring poets in Boston. Anne Sexton and Maxine Kumin workshopped their poems for the first time here, and both went on win the Pulitzer Prize in poetry.

Riccio was followed by Jennifer Badot, who pulled me aside and said that I really should be leading the workshop, not taking it. She eventually turned the post over to me, and I have been here ever since.

BCAE: How have you built such a loyal following?

TOM: I try to maintain a workshop that is both collegial and challenging. I give in-depth exercises, using close readings of the works of a particular poet each term, as voluntary prompts. I try to cultivate respect among the participants, and insist that every critique of a poem start with what works and why. Rather than narrowly focusing on a description of the shortcomings of the poem, we try to explain what we would do differently if we were revising the poem.

I try to cultivate a deeper appreciation of a range of poetries by having participants read a poem they admire at the beginning of each meeting of the workshop. We learn a great deal from each other in this way—I am constantly being exposed to poems and poets that I had not encountered and find delightful and inspiring, as is the entire workshop.

Each week, I re-read the poems people have brought to the workshop, and select a poem by an established poet to bring to each participant the following week by way of response. The poem I choose resonates in some way with the workshop participant’s poem, either in theme, style, content, or sensibility.  I spend quite a bit of time each week looking for poems that make this kind of match.

I also run an informal salon before the workshop begins, in which anyone interested in participating generates the beginning of a poem based on a prompt I give. From time to time, we discuss the tactics one must employ in publishing poetry as part of this salon, and issues such as writers block, lack of inspiration, and trouble with revising.

The act of writing poetry is a solitary, sometimes lonely act, and often the poems come from emotional distress the poet or her/his subjects have experienced. While I maintain a respectful stance, I also try to alleviate the gloom one can imagine might descend on a workshop full of such poems by leavening my pedagogy with a little humor. Someone posting online once quipped about my teaching—“Even if you don’t like his comments on your poem, you’ll find him entertaining.”

BCAE: What is your favorite thing about getting new students in the mix? If anyone is nervous, how do you help cure those nerves?

TOM: New students always bring a new perspective, a new appreciation of the work we do in the workshop. While a core of participants returns to the workshop each session, the new voices help to invigorate the sense of collegiality which is, hopefully, always a hallmark of the workshop. Their particular take on other poets’ work, their idiosyncratic sensibility, enriches the experience of working together to help each other write better poems.

Bringing one’s poems, which are often written in isolation and out of a place of vulnerability, to be evaluated can be a daunting task. I don’t underestimate how hard that can be, especially the first time. But I try to explain that everyone is an equal in the eyes of the workshop, that everyone will get the same amount of time, the same careful consideration. I try to be careful to commend the impulse, even when the realization is not producing many successful results yet, and to remind new participants that the best poets achieved excellence only after a long apprenticeship in the workshop of craft making. 


SIGN UP NOW for Tom Daley's next workshop!

Topics: BCAE, BCAE classes, BCAE Instructor, Boston classes, poetry class, BCAE poetry

RECIPE: Roasted Vegetable Tart with Ricotta, Mascarpone & Herb

Posted by Kim Wieczner on Fri, Nov 06, 2015

For those who attended Monday's sold-out "A Little of This, A Little of That: A Pairing Party at the BCAE," you, you may have been fortunate enough to sample Chef & longtime BCAE Instructor Diane Manteca's Roasted Vegetable Tart! Wish you had the recipe? The wait is over because here it is! Enjoy!


  • one package frozen puff pastry
  • 1 pound whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces marscapone cheese
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup fresh herbs, chopped (basil, thyme, rosemary)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups roasted vegetables or roasted peppers and sauteed vegetables
  • cooking spray and 12 cup muffin tin
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  spray muffin tin with non stick spray.
  2. Cut puff pastry sheets into 6 pieces (so a total of 12 pieces using both sheets).
  3. Place in muffin  tin and push/ tuck in so it lines each muffin section.
  4. Mix ricotta, marscapone, grated parm, salt and pepper in a bowl. 
  5. Fill the puff pastry about half way up with mixture. 
  6. Top with prepared vegetables. 
  7. Bake for 40 minutes or till golden brown on the bottom of the tarts.

Learn more great recipes from Chef Diane by taking one of her many classes at the BCAE. Click here to browse all of our offerings.


Topics: BCAE, BCAE Instructor, Recipe

Fall-spiration: Get Excited for Fall with a Little Help from the BCAE

Posted by Kim Wieczner on Thu, Oct 01, 2015

Saying goodbye to summer is just as sad every year. Somehow we just can't seem to get used to it -- shorter days, colder nights -- but it is often easy to forget that while we say goodbye to one glorious season, we say hello to what may be the most glorious of seasons here in New England, fall!

We swap our swimsuits and flip flops for sweaters and boots, switch from iced drinks to frothy hot ones, and we go apple picking surrounded by stunning postcard-perfect scenery. Yes, it means 1 step closer to winter, and after last year's winter, we're not sure we can survive another one, BUT it's fall's job to help ease us into the chillier weather. It's fall's job to get us excited for scarves again, and soup, and hot toddies...and all the other glorious things that keep us living in a 4-season climate, and prevent us from buying that 1-way ticket to Florida and never looking back. Having trouble getting excited for fall this year? Here are some bits of fall-spiration from us here at the BCAE.

TOM: Countdown to Christmas, proving that winter isn't just something to dread, grin & bear

I love the fall because as the weather gets cooler, I actually seem to find new energy for cooking and house projects. I love to kick-off my holiday prep by making a fruitcake in early October.  In particular, I love its weekly feeding of brandy.  For me, that’s the real countdown to Christmas.

BROOKE: Family & food-- don't worry bathing suit season isn't for a long time...

Every fall I go to the Topsfield fair with my family and eat a bloomin onion, a corn dog, and fried dough. It’s a tradition! We don’t even go on the rides…


JAMIE: So many things to do and see and taste! Embracing fall with all 5 senses.

Apple picking – we go annually, have a picnic, then make boatloads of apple sauce, apple cake, and apple pies.
Football – hosting and going to Pat’s parties
Warmer clothes – the bite in the air and needing to layer and BOOTS!!
My front steps – pumpkins, hearty mums, trick or treat signs
Halloween – decorating, costumes and taking Meredith out around the neighborhood and to other Halloween events around…like Zoo Howl!
Leaves – we take leaf walks and pick out all the colors we can see (yes, I have a toddler), and rake a billion bags of leaves even though there isn’t one tree in our yard and then jump in them.
My dad’s cooking – he goes crazy in the fall and winter with hearty soups, breads, desserts, casseroles, you name it. 

KIM: Clichés aside, it really is all about the pumpkin.

When asked what my favorite food is, my answer is pumpkin anything, regardless of the season, but for some reason this "seasonal" flavor is "limited time only." Fall is the one time of year when pumpkin flavored everything is everywhere, and it is therefore acceptable to incorporate pumpkin into all things cooking (finally!). For me, it's not about the faux pumpkin syrups and coffee drinks, etc., but all about the real stuff. Sweet? Of course. Pies, cakes, breads, muffins, cookies, brownies, bread puddings. And savory for sure. Pasta, chilis, soups, sauces, and sides. The kitchen has cooled down from summer so bring on the baking & cooking (and yeah, eating)!

ANDREW: Football, smoked meat, and acting like a kid again.

Most Sundays in the fall I meet up with a group of friends, make smoked meat, and drink a couple of beers while watching football. This may seem like a less than cultured way for grown men to spend time, but there’s something beautiful about trying to get the temperature just right on the meat smoker (about 225 degrees) while that crisp fall air—air that seems to almost have a personality-- reddens your cheeks and you sniffle from the cherry wood smoke that wafts with the wind and inevitably blows directly in your face.  You hear a faint roar from inside and rush to open the sliding glass door to trade high fives with friends when the Patriots score another touchdown. There’s something beautiful about not forgetting how to play.


Still struggling to get inspired? Browse our fall classes to find one that suits you and join us in the excitement!

Topics: BCAE, fall activities, Boston, boston things to do, fall in Boston, fall food, fall classes, fall cooking

5 Dining Experiences Worth Escaping the City For…

Posted by Kim Wieczner on Wed, Aug 19, 2015

We like to think that here at the BCAE we know a thing or two about food...and that knowledge goes beyond our classes. We asked our resident food expert, Food & Wine Program Coordinator Brooke Barsanti, to share some of her out-of-the-class expertise. So here's a little something to keep you going in between BCAE classes...

5 Dining Experiences Worth Escaping the City For
By Brooke Barsanti

In the summer Boston blooms with roof decks, patios, waterfront views and picnics at the park! Don’t even get me started on the abundance of fresh seafood! While summer in the city is a BLAST for Bostonian food lovers, expand your horizons and explore outside city limits. For your reference (and pleasure), I have highlighted five travel-worthy restaurant experiences:

  1. Lobster Lunch and BYOB at Roy Moore Lobster Company
    39 Bearskin Neck, Rockport, MA 01966
    (978) 546-6696

    Take the Newburyport/Rockport line from North Station to Rockport. A quick walk down Bearskin Neck will lead you to a TRUE hidden gem; inexpensive seafood directly from the source – and BYOB to top it off! Don’t worry if there isn’t room on the picnic tables, walk further back and create your own table and chairs with lobster traps! How New England of you…


  1. Drinks on the beach at The Galley
    54 Jefferson Ave, Nantucket, MA 02554
    (508) 228-9641
    Take the Plymouth/Brockton Bus from South Station to Hyannis. Hyannis is home to the Steamship Authority and Highline Cruises - both charters bring you to the little Island of Nantucket! Just outside town resting on a beautiful beach is The Galley. Relax on lounge chairs in the sand while being served upscale cocktails and watching the sun set. Once the sun hides behind the water the entire restaurant claps!
  1. Dinner on the docks at Vic’s Boat House
    86 Wharf St, Salem, MA 01970
    (978) 745-3400

    From Boston’s Long Warf take the Salem Fast Ferry to Blaney St. Pier. Sitting on the docks, hidden among the boats is a Salem staple. Boasting seafood, steaks, bar food, and live entertainment, Vic’s Boat House is known for the best waterfront dining on the North Shore! Lobster quesadilla + a mudslide = a dreamy summer night!


  1. Raw Bar at Victor’s
    175 Bradford Street Ext, Provincetown, MA 02657
    (508) 487-1777

    Skip the traffic and take the Provincetown Ferry from Boston’s Long Warf. Just outside town away from the commotion of Commercial Street you’ll find a quaint yet lively restaurant called Victor’s. The raw bar is fresh and delicious, the craft cocktails range from spicy to sweet, and the ‘sunset special’ from 5:00pm – 6:00pm is 20% off the entire dinner menu!


  1. Dinner at The Matunuck Oyster Bar
    629 Succotash Rd, South Kingstown, RI 02879
    (401) 783-4202

    Locally grown vegetables, locally caught fish, and locally harvested oysters (most of it by the owner himself)! The mecca of seafood sustainability, with flavor and fun to boot! Waterfront views are as guaranteed as the one hour wait to be seated. If you leave without eating the bourbon oysters (pictured above) – you’ve made a massive mistake. There is no easy way to get to South Kingstown, Rhode Island – the Amtrak from South Station can get you as far as West Kingston, while the Providence/Stoughton line can bring you to Wickford Junction…but then you need a car (cabs aren’t easy to come by in these parts). Long story short, rent a car – it’s worth it!

Topics: things to do in Boston, Massachusetts dining, restaurant recommendations

Introducing...$5 BCAE Pop-Up Classes in Downtown Crossing!

Posted by Kim Wieczner on Tue, Aug 11, 2015


This summer, the BCAE is teaming up with the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District (BID) and taking to the streets! Every Tuesday, starting August 18th, we will be offering 15 minute crash courses during your lunch hour right in the heart of downtown crossing! Our promise? Each class will be no more than 15 minutes in length, and only $5 or $10...the extra $5 covers necessary class materials. Better yet? Participants will receive a coupon for the amount they paid toward a future BCAE class! Spend 15 minutes of your lunch break with us -- here's how:

WHERE: 1 Summer Street - in the heart of Downtown Crossing. Look for the BCAE tent!

WHEN: Four chances to participate each week! Each of the following 15 minute classes will run on its scheduled date starting at 11:30AM, 12PM, 12:30PM, and 1PM -- pick the time that works best for your schedule.

CLASS OFFERINGS: Click the titles below for more info & to sign up! Sign-up will also be available at the tent.

Instructor: Dana Jay Bein | Tuition: $5
Instructor: Gail Gardner | Tuition: $5
Instructor: Amanda Poggenburg | Tuition: $10 (including materials)
Instructor: Anthony Gangi | Tuition: $5
Instructor: Evan Northrup | Tuition: $10 (including materials)
Instructor: Gary Tucker | Tuition: $10 (including materials)
Instructor: Kelly Fey | Tuition: $5
Instructor: Christopher Padgett | Tuition: $5

Click here for more information on the full series, including all class details and registration info.

Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram using #BCAEDTX and join the Facebook event to stay up-to-date with the goings on of this series!

Topics: BCAE, BCAE classes, Boston classes, BCAE pop-up, Downtown Crossing, Boston lunch break

A Rosé by Any Other Name...By BCAE Wine Sponsor 90+ Cellars

Posted by Kim Wieczner on Mon, Aug 03, 2015



BCAE wine sponsor 90+ Cellars shares some tips on how to drink smart this summer, and save some $$ doing it...

A Rosé by Any Other Name

Shakespeare was probably not thinking about branding and AOC regulations when he penned one of most frequently referenced quotes in literature, but Juliet’s words have relevance in today’s wine industry. Once a wine finds its way into a glass, does the name on the label change the way it smells? When it hits your palette, does the appellation on the bottle change the way it tastes? For any of us who have sat through a blind tasting, we know all too well that the preconceived notions created by a label just distract us from the true enjoyment of a wine... and usually cost us a pretty penny. But f you are like me and care more about what is in your glass, not what’s written on the bottle, then you will share my excitement about enjoying elegant “Sancerre” and high quality “Chianti” for around $15 a bottle.


Let’s start with the concept of Sancerre. Marlborough, New Zealand may be the trendiest place to find quality Sauvignon Blanc, but Sancerre is where serious oenophiles look for more mineral-driven examples of this expressive grape. Not only is the Sancerre region famous for its soils and climate, but it’s also fun to say. Sadly, its limestone and flinty soils, along with that whimsical name, come with a steep price tag. A short trip north, down (yes, technically down) the Loire River to the villages surrounding the town of Gien lands you in the Coteaux du Giennois. The area shares the same soil composition, microclimate, and many of the same producers, without the added notoriety. Sauvignon Blanc from this region is essentially Sancerre for those who want to drink a glass as opposed to serve a glass -- at a fraction of the price.

Now let’s talk Chianti. Even if you’re too young to remember candlelit dinners with bottles in straw baskets, you probably still knew the name before your first sip of wine. In Tuscany, Sangiovese has as many historical names as it has regulations regarding the wines produced by it. Fortunately, Italians enjoy breaking the rules as much as they delight in making them. Many famous ‘Super Tuscans’, such as Sassicaia, have exemplified what can be achieved when a rebel has a cause. Although most of these ‘declassified’ Tuscan wines have focused on creating fruit forward, modern style blends, some producers have used to the opportunity to create higher quality, traditional ‘Chiantis’ by sourcing the best grapes from different areas in the region. These are wines out there that, under current law, could technically be labeled a “Chianti”. Thankfully, their producers sometimes feel it necessary to look outside the borders of the region to find the best grapes to make an exceptional, modern-style wine that still expresses its food friendly side.


I’m not trying to sell you on the fact that Atlantic City is the same as Las Vegas, but a ten will get you to black jack just as well as any face card. If you’re looking for a Sancerre or Chianti to enjoy with dinner or share with friends, try losing the labels!


Stay tuned for opportunities to taste 90+ Cellars wines at upcoming BCAE events!

Topics: wine, wine advice, 90+ Cellars

4th of July - BCAE Style

Posted by Kim Wieczner on Fri, Jul 03, 2015

The 4th of July means a lot of things to a lot of people, but I can pretty comfortably say that for most it means a day or so off of work, time with friends or family, and a true kickoff for summer!


For me, it has almost always been time at my family's house on Cape Cod -- friends and boyfriends have come and gone throughout the years, but the traditions have stayed fairly constant. Swimming, sailing and kayaking at the pond...and catching frogs in the earlier years. Family bike rides, always with a mandatory ice cream stop. In the more recent years since my sister and I have gotten older...Cahoon Hollow Beach in Wellfleet with the legendary and iconic oceanfront Beachcomber bar & raw bar. And of course, there's food. Lots and lots of food. It all started with the concept of a barbecue on the back deck with the whole crew. Steak skewers or burgers, Mom's famous BBQ chicken wings, corn, the works. Then my sister became a vegetarian (or "pescetarian").Things changed...slightly.

The grocery store by our house does this pretty cool thing where you can order lobsters, by the pound, cooked and made hot & ready for your designated time of pickup, and for cheap (real life). So when my sister asked for her BBQ entree to be lobster, the rest of us were up in arms. "Aw man, if she gets lobster, I want lobster...and a burger...hmm." The result? It has now been a frequent, if not regular, tradition to have a "cookout" with burgers AND lobsters, and of course Mom's famous BBQ chicken wings...even if they are for snacking throughout the week/weekend hot or cold at any time of day.


So I got  to thinking...if these are my traditions, what do other BCAE-ers have to share about their own?

BROOKE, Food & Wine Program Manager
What her 4th of July looks like: Hanging with friends, eating and drinking outside in the sunshine, and ALWAYS decked out in red, white & blue Americana attire.

ASHLEY, Program Manager
What her 4th of July looks like: Crafting red, white & blue beverages, and then enjoying them of course!

JAMIE, Marketing Manager
What her 4th of July looks like: A cupcake decorating contest! She bakes off chocolate cupcakes and frosts them with buttercream. Then people decorate them with flags, red, white & blue sprinkles, stars, etc., and then present them to the group while “singing” happy birthday America!


ANDREW, Program Manager
What his 4th of July looks like: Dinner with friends in Boston (dining spot of choice for 2015 still TBD), then watching the fireworks from the Mass Ave Bridge.

SUSIE, Executive Director
What her 4th of July looks like: A day packed with traditions from start to finish – American Flag goes out and up first thing, on to the local Horrible’s Parade and Arts Festival with the not to missed noon-time lobster roll. Pack up lots of goodies and head out to the boat to decorate for the festivities, and then be ready to welcome everyone aboard for an evening of fun, laughter, and celebration with friends for dinner, harbor illumination, and fireworks!


We'll be off celebrating for a bit, and we hope you will be too, BUT classes start back up Monday July, 13th so sign up now and hope to see you soon. Browse our July/August catalog now.

Topics: Staff Stories, 4th of July, summer

BCAE Feed Your Brain Series: The Strawberry - Recap & Recipes

Posted by Kim Wieczner on Tue, Jun 02, 2015

Last week, we kicked off the first installment of our Feed Your Brain series, a collaborative effort with the Massachusetts Horticultural Society (Mass Hort) and the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) focusing on four of our favorite garden items and why they truly deserve the spotlight. First up: The Strawberry!


Master Gardener Susan Hammond shared her wealth of garden expertise (and even gave each student a strawberry plant to take home!), and Dr. Barbara Shukitt-Hale, PhD–Neuroscience and Aging Lab gave us a million reasons why we should 100% make sure to eat plenty of juicy strawberries. Our very own BCAE Chef Instructor Leah Dickerson was there to help us do just that, preparing a light, fresh, summery strawberry feast.

Susan Hammond

Susan Hammond started off by going over the anatomy of a strawberry plant, then dove into the different varietals. She gave all the need-to-knows about picking berries (both how to pull from a plant and how to select the perfect berry), and about planting your own. For the city-dweller with limited ability for growing, she spoke about the fantastic "pick your own (PYO)" option available at many local Massachuetts farms. She even had handy tips on how to store and preserve strawberies for maximum freshness (and flavor, of course!). Did you know you can use an ice cube tray to freeze individual berries?!

Barbara Shukitt Hale

If we weren't already sold, Dr. Barbara Shukitt-Hale gave us hard evidence for the overwhelming health benefits of strawberries, and why we should eat lots of them. Among many other reasons, they have proven memory benefits, and can help balance your diet when eaten alongside other less healthy foods.

strawberries and bread

We got reason after reason to eat as many strawberries as we can, and thankfully Chef Leah Dickerson was there to demonstrate and cook us some tasty fruity treats.

strawberry bellini

To kick things off, Leah poured us a delicious fresh strawberry bellini to sip on while some strawberries went into the oven to roast. Check out all of Leah's recipes below...

Strawberry Bellini


1 Bottle of Prosecco (we used Ruffino)
1 Lemon, zested and juiced
1 pint of strawberries, hulled and very roughly chopped, reserving a few to use as garnish, if desired.
Sugar, to taste


Toss strawberries with scant ¼ cup of sugar or to taste (Note: I usually don’t measure the sugar, I sprinkle to taste based on the sweetness of the strawberries that are being used).  Set aside to let the strawberries masticate. In the meantime, zest the lemon using a microplane. Juice the lemon, watching and removing seeds. Add all of the lemon juice and a small sprinkle of the zest to the strawberries. Place in a blender (or food processor) and puree until smooth.  If desired, strain the puree through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove the strawberry seeds. Pour the strawberry puree into a large pitcher and top with Prosecco right before serving (Note: the ratio will be about 1:3 strawberry to Prosecco). Stir gently to combine and serve immediately in champagne flutes. Optional garnishes include quartered strawberries, lemon peel, mint, or edible flowers.


Strawberry Bruschetta wiith Lemon Ricotta


1 really good baguette, sliced on a diagonal (Iggy’s is Leah's favorite)
½ pint of strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
Full fat ricotta cheese, bout 8 ounces (try to find one without added gums or stabilizers)
Lemon zest


Preheat oven to 400 or put on broil. Spread sliced baguette in a single layer on a baking sheet, using two as needed. Toast until golden, watching carefully t prevent browning. While the bread is toasting, add the lemon zest, salt, and pepper to the ricotta cheese. Stir to combine and taste for flavor. Pull the bread out and allow to cool slightly. Spread a layer of ricotta on the toast and top with a few strawberry slices, as desired. Drizzle lightly with olive oil (if desired) and sprinkle with salt and pepper (if desired). Serve immediately.

Leah Dickerson

Lemon Feta Orzo with Roasted Strawberries and Toasted Pecans


1 package orzo
Olive oil
1 Pint strawberries, hulled, and spilt into two equal amounts
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Finely chopped pecans, lightly toasted in a dry hot pan (raw and unsalted, if available)
Full fat Feta, for crumbling
Chiffonade of mint or lemon balm (if available)


Place a large pot of water over high heat to boil. Salt the water generously and add the orzo. Reduce the heat and simmer until al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain pasta and toss liberally with olive oil, tossing to coat the pasta. Place in a large bowl and add lemon juice while the pasta is still warm, to add as much flavor as possible. While pasta is cooling, roast the strawberries. Preheat the oven to 400. Slice about half of the strawberries and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and bake until roasted, about 35 minutes, tossing halfway through to prevent browning. While the strawberries are roasting, roughly chop the rest of the strawberries. To combine: toss the orzo with the raw and roasted strawberries, pecans, feta, lemon zest to taste, feta to taste, and pecans. Add more olive oil, salt, and pepper, if desired. Top with herbs before serving. Best when served immediately at room temperature.


Thank you to Susan, Barbara, Leah, and all of our students for a fun, engaging, and tasty evening! We hope you can join us for the remaining installments of the Feed Your Brain Series. Registration for "The Tomato" will begin later this summer, so stay tuned.

THE TOMATO | Tuesday, September 15, 2015
THE HERB | Wednesday, November 4, 2015
THE MUSHROOM | Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Topics: BCAE, BCAE classes, Leah Dickerson, cooking, Barbara Shukitt-Hale, massachusetts horticultural society, strawberries, Tufts, nutrition, Susan Hammond, recipes

Inside Look: BCAE's Urban Beekeeping Class with Best Bees

Posted by Kim Wieczner on Wed, May 27, 2015

You may have seen "Urban Beekeeping" listed in the BCAE course catalog for a while now, but do you know what "Urban Beekeeping" really entails? Up until recently, I didn't. A few weeks ago, we were lucky enough to get an inside "staff" look at what one of our more unusual classes. Behind the Scenes: Urban Beekeeping with Boston's Best Bees!

Best Bees is located in Boston's South End, right by Boston Medical Center. Believe it or not, it actually shares building space with an auto body shop! Odd combo, right? But it makes more sense than you might think. Both businesses need outdoor as well as indoor space, and both tend to be, well, messy. The fact that the place is home to thousands of bees and their honey is readily apparent (and all the more fascinating).

Coming around back (behind the auto body show) to the Best Bees entrance, it is hard to immediately realize what you're seeing. Nestled next to a couple rows of parked cars are row upon row of wooden hives, swarming with bees - the busiest we'd ever see them we were told!


They were everywhere! While slightly terrifying for bee-fearing folk like me, despite immediate assurances that the bees were non-aggressive, the shear amount of lively buzzing activity was enthralling.


We then ventured inside what feels very much like a Best Bees "workshop," complete with a fully functioning kitchen just for our BCAE beekeeping students. We got up close and personal with the product of the busy, buzzing hives - fresh, sweet, local HONEY! We tasted it right from the honeycomb, already perfectly deliciously sweet...sticky on our fingers (and on the bottoms of our shoes).

Noah Best Bees Boston

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Noah Wilson-Rich, gave us the tour, weaving through stacks of hives while telling us all about starting the business, the booming success of it all, and a lot of fun and interesting facts about bees. Check out Noah's book, The Bee: A Natural History, for bee facts and much more. All students who take the class get loads of this bee knowledge, some hands-on experience, and to take home a beehive frame like Noah is holding above (without the honeycomb), beeswax lip balm, and honey (when in season).

shelves and suits

Craftiness taken to another level: the shelves featured above left were hand-built as well, just like the kitchen counter! And don't worry - there are plenty of protective suits for safety when handling the hives directly.

painted hives

Looking to upgrade your urban beekeping experience? Best Bees' "Resident Artist" has designed hand-painted equipment in stunning color and detail. These can sell for a pretty penny but are truly works of art.

Best Bees Boston

Thank you to the kind and welcoming Best Bees team for showing us around their fascinatingly cool space and teaching us things we never knew before! Don't pass up an opportunity to see them in action - sign up now to take Urban Beekeeping! The next sessions are Thursday, June 11th and Thursday, August 13th.

Topics: BCAE, Best Bees, BCAE class, Boston, beekeeping, urban beekeeping, bees