Major Changes at Hope Farm Press

Just to make it official, folks. After 58 years of book shop operation, Hope Farm Press will only be selling Hope Farm imprints online. All my other titles have been sold to Inquiring Mind Book Store of Saugerties and New Paltz.

You can still order my titles from this page:

and they will still be available wholesale to bookstores.

I thank you all for many successful years and many happy relationships. It really was a wonderful run. Now, at the age of 69, I’m looking forward to being employed part time only. Of the 2500 titles I catalogued, only 25 will be available from me from now on.

Thank you all again.
Richard Frisbie, proprietor

I’ll continue posting my musings to my blog:

And we can remain connected via:

where links to my culinary travels articles will appear.

Posted in free lance writer, journalism, New York History Books, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Saugerties Pro Musica Concert Sunday

The Boston Trio Sunday 9/17 @ 3 pm


Pianist Heng-Jin Park – cellist Jonah Ellsworth – Violinist Irina Moresanu


Praised by the Boston Globe after their Tanglewood debut at Ozawa Hall, “Whenever this trio plays, drop everything and go hear them!” The Boston Trio has established itself as one of today’s most exciting chamber ensembles.

Jennifer Higdon: Piano Trio
Korngold: Piano Trio, op. 1
Dvorak: Piano Trio in f minor, op. 65

Violinist Irina Moresanu, cellist Jonah Ellsworth and pianist Heng-Jin Park have distinguished careers as soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, and have appeared with major orchestras and premier chamber music festivals throughout the United States and Europe. Please join us for their return engagement on Sunday, September 17th, 2017, at 3 p.m. in the Saugerties United Methodist Church.

The Trio has coached chamber music at the Tanglewood Institute of Music and served as Ensemble-in-Residence at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge from 1997 to 2004. They were also in residence at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School. Recent concerts include performances at UCLA, Detroit Pro Musica, University of Arkansas, Maui Classical Music Festival, Rockport Chamber Music Festival, Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, Virtuosi Concerts in Winnipeg, performances of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with the Boston Classical Orchestra, and nationally televised performance at Belgrade Music Festival at Kolarac Foundation Hall in Serbia.

The individual members serve on the faculties of the New England Conservatory, the Boston Conservatory, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They are committed to bringing chamber music to a broader audience and are in demand as master class teachers throughout the United States, Asia and Europe.

Concert times are 3 p.m. Sunday afternoons at the United Methodist Church, on the corners of Washington Avenue (#67) and Post Street in Saugerties. Adults $15 and Seniors $12. Students are always free. Call 845-679-5733 or email for more information. Visit our website for the most up to date programming schedule:

Save the dates:

The Harmonic Brass of Munich on October 15th, Bard’s Ludwig Piano & Cello Duo (please note program change) on November 19th, the Strawberry Hill Fiddlers return to start the New Year right on January 21st, Saugerties’ own, tenor Thomas Leighton, comes home on February 18th, Yalin Chi returns on March 18th, Iva Bittova & Tony Fajt make a rare appearance on April 15th, and we close the season with the cello ensemble of Ani Kalayjian and Friends on May 20th. A season ticket for all 8 concerts is $75.

Saugerties Pro Musica is a 501 (c) (3) not for profit organization.

Posted in concert, Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains, music, Saugerties Pro Musica, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Still Star-Crossed in Trujillo, Spain


StillStar02On a recent visit to Extremadura, Spain – that region of natural beauty and unsurpassed food that lies along the border with Portugal – I stopped in Trujillo. It has a large square with a statue of Francisco Pizarro (he was born there) below and outside of the old walled city. The ancient stone ramparts and structures rise up behind the walls to an old Arab fortress on the hilltop. Everything is so perfectly preserved that you could walk the streets and think a time warp had sent you traveling back to the 12th century. It is an amazingly beautiful town.


So much so that two movies were being filmed there earlier this year. The castle on the hilltop is the home of one of the families in Game of Thrones to be seen next year. Before that – tonight, actually – ABC TV will air the first episode of Still Star-crossed, a show that picks up where Romeo and Juliet left off. It begins as the Capulets and Montagues are still feuding and a fight breaks out at the funeral of Romeo and Juliet. Where it goes from there is anyone’s guess.


The reality of this period piece is enhanced by the medieval setting that is Trujillo.  Two of the photographs I included are of the old cistern on the hilltop next to the castle. With a few additions it was made to look like a Venetian fountain where one of the scenes from Still Star-crossed takes place. The other two are of the castle itself. One is from the road up and the other from the top. The aged stonework, scarred with lichen and centuries of use, really sets the mood for the films.


And, when you are done with the film tourism, visit one of the Paradores, Spain’s reasonably priced historic hotel chain, for a peek at what the insides of those old buildings look like and a taste of their fantastic food!



Posted in cheese, Culinary, dessert, dessert, Entertainment, Extremadura, Farm to Table, film, Stand-In, pilot, food, Game of Thrones, historic preservation, Paradores, Spain, Star-crossed, tourism, Travel, Trujillo, Uncategorized, wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vinegar Braised Chicken


For a couple of years I’ve been making my own red wine vinegar. But, since my SO prefers apple cider vinegar, I’m always searching for recipes that help me to use up all my very tasty, homemade vinegar.  It goes in my bbq sauce, my mustard, and now in this go-to braised chicken recipe from Bon Appétit.

This dinner almost cooks itself. It had to. I was outside gardening on May Day. (Where else would one be on May 1?) And rather than follow the recipe as written, which would mean shopping for ingredients I didn’t have, I substituted what I did have.  Turns out, it is a very forgiving recipe.


You can follow the link above to read the whole recipe. This is just what I changed.

Instead of 4 chicken legs I used a whole 4 lb chicken, quartered.

Instead of 4 medium shallots I used one large onion.

Instead of 8 dried shiitake mushrooms I used 8 oz of fresh white mushrooms.

Instead of 2 3-inch cinnamon sticks I used ½ tsp cinnamon.

Instead of 1 red chile I used a jalapeño.

Instead of 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth I used the whole 14.5 oz can.

The other 8 ingredients I had.

Then, of course, I also altered the directions for 2 reasons: I’m lazy and I didn’t want to eat all that fat. That meant using only one pan and separating the liquid. So I browned the chicken in the Dutch oven and simmered it with the herbs and spices in the vinegary broth as they said to do. While the chicken cooked I simmered a multi-grain rice mix so both were done at the same time. I set the rice to warm while I rested the chicken on a plate, separating out the solids from the broth and removing the fat. Putting the chicken back in the Dutch oven I crisped and browned it under the broiler. Then the chicken was back on its plate in the now warm oven while I reduced the defatted braising liquid.


The bowls for the chicken & rice were warmed in the oven, too, while the plates had a small salad built on them. To serve – place the hot bowls on the room temperature salad plates, put the rice in the bowl, add a piece of chicken and a large serving of the reserved solids and pour a generous amount of broth over them.

Cooking & prep was about 2 hours, most of it unattended. The vinegar braised chicken looked good, smelled great and tasted fantastic! Thank you Bon Appétit!



Posted in Culinary, food, recipe, slow cooker recipes, soup, recipe, smoked food, stew, stew, Uncategorized, wine | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Torta del Casar – Cheese of the Gods


At first glance I thought this cheese of the Extremadura region of Spain was the cheese of Caesar. With its creamy dippable interior barely contained in the bulging low walls, the rich flavor seemed clearly meant for the most exalted leader. That’s what happens when I let my eyes and my mouth translate. It is, in fact, the cake or loaf (of cheese) from the Caceres area, along Spain’s border with Portugal; a sheep’s milk cheese from the shepherds, using vegetable (thistle) rennet and traditional cheese-making processes to create a most flavorful ivory-colored runny cheese.

I first encountered this at the international food show Salon del Gourmet in Madrid in 2005, with the top removed from a low, round wheel of cheese inviting bread to be dipped in for tasting. Delicious! And so unusual! Instead of the usual hunks of cheese I was served a smear resembling melted cheese in consistency, but not heated at all, merely kept at room temperature. It was like having a Swiss raclette or a fondue without the need for a heat source to melt the cheese. It was heavenly!

At the Eat Spain Up! event in October in New York I had another encounter with Torta del Casar, unfortunately not an edible one. I was flipping through a copy of the cookbook Extremadura – Cuatro Estaciones, and landed on a page dedicated to the region’s best cheese. Now, at least, I know where it comes from. But finding the cheese in local cheese shops, even good ones, is unlikely. La Tienda, here I come!

In Spain, a PDO is a Protected Designation of Origin, meaning specific criteria must be met to use that designation – sources, aging, processing and appearance are all controlled. This is true for cheeses, hams, olive oil, breeds of animals and agricultural products. Torta del Casar is one of many products so protected in Extremadura and throughout Spain. When traveling in Spain, seek out these local foods, the unique PDO flavors that brand the culinary heart of the place, and you’ll taste the terroir along with the flavors of centuries of tradition.

Posted in cheese, Farm to Table, food, Spain, tourism, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Slow cooker Smoked Turkey & White Bean Stew


This is a riff on a Basque dish I was served in Spain. The original uses the great local smoked sausages found throughout the region. I’ve replaced them here with smoked turkey so all my friends could enjoy the dinner. I cook a watered down version of this as a soup using kale instead of Napa cabbage at Hudson Valley Dessert Company. This is a richer, thicker version of that soup.
1 lb white beans overnight in water
Roast @ 350 for 1 hr
1 whole head of garlic, top cut off, drizzled with olive oil, wrapped in aluminum foil. cool
Put in a 5 qt slow cooker
1 smoked turkey leg
1 med onion diced
Soaked white beans drained & rinsed
1 stalk celery diced
2 medium carrots diced
¼ head napa cabbage chopped
1 Tbl smoked paprika
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
Cayenne pepper to taste (I used 1/8 tsp)
1 head of roasted garlic (squeeze out of skins)
1 qt chicken stock plus enough water to cover (or one 14 oz low sodium can chicken stock plus two cans of water)
Start on high for 1 hour, turn to low for 8 hrs.
After 7.5 hours carefully remove turkey leg, de-bone and skin. Return shredded meat to stew. Adjust seasonings and serve with fresh homemade bread.

Alternately, four 14 oz cans of white beans with liquid could be substituted for soaked beans. Adjust chicken stock and salt to compensate when using canned products (canned foods contain sodium already) and only add liquid to cover.

Posted in Farm to Table, food, free lance writer, recipe, slow cooker recipes, soup, recipe, smoked food, stew, Spain, stew, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Buffett Rule

Warren Buffett is asking each reader to copy and paste this into an email and send it to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise. In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.


Here’s where the cuts in the Federal Budget should be made!

Salary of retired US Presidents .. . . . .. . . . . .. . $180,000 FOR LIFE.

Salary of House/Senate members .. . . . .. . . . $174,000 FOR LIFE. This is stupid

Salary of Speaker of the House .. . . . .. . . . . $223,500 FOR LIFE. This is really stupid

Salary of Majority / Minority Leaders . . .. . . . . $193,400 FOR LIFE. Stupid

Not here:

Average Salary of a teacher . . .. . . . .. . . . . .. .$40,065

Average Salary of a deployed Soldier . . .. . . .. $38,000

Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:

“I could end the deficit in five minutes,” he told CNBC. “You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election”.

The 26th Amendment ( granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds ) took only three months and eight days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971 – before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year or less to become the law of the land – all because of public pressure.

Congressional Reform Act of 2017

1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman / woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they’re out of office.

2. Congress (past, present, & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 3/1/17. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women.

Congress made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and go back to work.


If you agree, pass it on.

Posted in congress, Political Reform, Politics, Uncategorized, Warren Buffett | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Arzak – Back of the House


I spent an unprecedented amount of time touring Arzak, the 3 Michelin Star Basque Restaurant in San Sebastian, Spain, Veuve Clicquot calls one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, and interviewing Elena Arzak, which they call the 2012 World’s Best Female Chef, before I wrote an 1800 word article about it.


Vacations Magazine bought and published 900+ words of it, all the front of the house stuff, and the rest languished. Here’s the dope on how a world class restaurant is set up and run that I picked up during the 20 course meal and the 90 minute interview with the chef.

The misnamed wine cellar is on a floor above the restaurant. It is a massive zinc-walled repository for 2300 wines from around the world, with room for 100,000 bottles and her father’s cigar collection, kept at 80% humidity with a temperature of 16 degrees (centigrade) and cool, non-damaging LED lighting.

The test kitchen, located on the top floor, was created in 2000 and redesigned in 2015. It has three chefs, a nutritionist, a resident culinary student using their research library for his studies, a wall of 1000 described spices and flavors, a dehydrator & a freeze dryer (because both processes create different flavors), a futuristic looking rotating orb on a glass tube in a machine that captures the essence of a substance, a computerized database of flavors, plus all the high and low tech devices necessary to cook their creations.

The fact that the test kitchen works ahead of the seasons to be ready for seasonal menu changes means they have to start with hard-to-find ingredients that will be plentiful when they are on the menu . Then when the ingredients are in season, they have to deal with fluctuations of quality as the season waxes and wanes.

Of all their technical work Elena said “Machines can help you to get a result, but taste is not important to a machine. If we don’t like the taste we throw it away. What we keep, we design into a meal, then draw a schematic to let other chefs know how to cook each dish, and finally let our customers taste and comment, adjusting and correcting as they do until the recipe is finished.”

Elena describes their food as “signature cuisine, Basque, research-based, evolving to cutting edge. We cook for today.” Of women in Basque society she says, “The Basque people are matriarchal. I grew up with no concept of limits to women. I have opportunities here that men have elsewhere.”

Elena said that she likes to travel, and that “wherever she cooks she brings her ideas and Basque sensibility to the local ingredients.”  Except for garlic and parsley, “I don’t know how to cook without them.”

Of her clientele, ”We serve people from all over the world. About 60% are locals (within 200 km), the rest are foreigners.”

About her employees, “We look for motivation and imagination in the kitchen staff – someone who likes food. Not all are young or culinary school graduates; we have all ages and backgrounds working here -90% are Basque. When someone leaves they usually recommend their replacement.”

“There is no budget for research and development, rather it is all part of the whole restaurant budget. R&D is an expense, but it is not expensive because without it you will not change.”

About specialty foods she said, “We do not have the room to bake our own bread here.” The test kitchen chefs “developed a bread recipe that a local bakery bakes and delivers each day 20 minutes before we serve dinner.”  In that vein Elena also said, “We have our own wine label, Arzak, a white rioja, bottled especially for the restaurant.”

Now you can appreciate the level of detail and thought that goes into running Arzak. What was the most fun was eating there.  From clever and wacky food presentations to incredible taste combinations, my meal was beautiful, delicious and probably the best I’ve ever eaten. Vacations Magazine  ran that part of the story with my photographs. I hope you like it.

FUNNY STORY – a few year’s back I was in Madrid attending the Salon Del Gourmet, an international Food Show. My base at the show was a popup restaurant run by Elena’s father. Great food even there, and wonderful hospitality. We are pictured below.


Posted in food, Spain, tourism, Travel, Uncategorized, wine | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to fix Windows 10 error message: “invalid IP configuration”

When Windows 10  could not get me connected to the internet the other day, troubleshooting showed me this reason: “Ethernet does not have a valid IP configuration” That really ticked me off! I erroneously thought that when Time Warner switched to become Spectrum they changed the IP settings. I was wrong. My computer screwed up all on its own, and I had to fix it. Here’s how I did it:

I went to my gurus (I’m fortunate to have great ones) – The Computer Guys – on Main Street in Saugerties, and told them the message. They immediately knew about this glitch with Windows 10. They gave me a printout of the steps to fix it.

So – when you run into this problem you’ll know what to do even if your gurus aren’t as smart as mine are.  It means being familiar with command prompts and some DOS to use the netsh.exe program, but – even without any knowledge of DOS – you can just follow these instructions and you’ll do fine. Note: the quotation marks are not typed, I used them to show you what you would see on the screen.

#1 – In the lower left corner of your screen click on the windows icon and scroll down to “Windows System”. Right click on “Command Prompt” then left click on “more” and finally on “Run as Administrator”.

#2 – at the C prompt “C:\WINDOWS\system32>” type:

netsh winsock reset catalog

and press (keyboard) ENTER

You’ll get “Successfully reset the winsock catalog. You must restart the computer in order to complete the task.” And another prompt – type:

netsh int ipv4 reset reset.log

and press (keyboard) ENTER

You’ll get a whole list of resettings (not all will work) and another restart the computer message before a final prompt.

#3 – Close that box and restart your computer

That’s all there is to it. Be sure to use correct spelling and spacing and you’ll do fine.

I was connected to the internet as soon as the computer came back on.

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I write Cruise Port Excursions

Outside the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain – photo by author

Among many other hats, I wear that of a freelance writer and editor. One of my clients sends me 300-400 cruise Port Excursions a year to write/rewrite. You know, you’re taking a cruise and at each stop there are tours you can take. I’m hired to make the descriptions of those tours desirable – punch them up, so to speak – and make needed corrections. Here’s an example I just finished on a port I’d visited several times and knew intimately – Bilbao, Spain.

First – this is what they sent me:

Bilbao, the industrial and financial capital of the Basque Country, is situated between two ranges of hills and on both sides of the River Nervion. The iron ore mines near the city were discovered by the Romans, who paved the way for the numerous foundries later built on both banks of the river. Today, the city is undergoing a spectacular transformation: factories and port installations are being renovated into spectacular urban projects such as the ultra-modern Guggenheim Museum.

On your exclusive shore event today enjoy a sampling of historic buildings and the opportunity to explore the city’s main attraction, the Guggenheim Museum on this half-day excursion of Bilbao which also includes a chance to discover the famous local gastronomy.

Depart the pier for the scenic drive through the outskirts of Bilbao and continue down the city’s main thoroughfare, the Gran Via, which reflects Bilbao’s 19th century mining and industrial prosperity.

Enjoy a guided visit around the outside of the hugely popular Guggenheim Museum which opened to international acclaim in October 1997.  The building is the work of architect Frank O. Gehry and is an architectural masterpiece in its own right.  Covered with a dazzling 30,000 sheets of titanium, this monumental masterpiece became Bilbao’s main attraction overnight. The great titanium, stone and glass sculpture houses nineteen galleries of modern and contemporary art collections supplemented by works from the Solomon R. Guggenheim. Museum of New York.

Following your outside explanation enter the museum to visit the exhibitions. The enormous atrium, more than 150 feet high, is connected to the nineteen galleries by a system of suspended metal walkways and glass elevators. After your guided tour, some free time is provided to explore the museum at your leisure.

Continue to Bilbao’s Old Quarter with its famous ‘Seven Streets’, interesting architecture and medieval heart. The heart of this industrial, port city is the Old Quarter, where the narrow streets are lined with Renaissance, Baroque and Modernist buildings.  Here you can discover the Basque Country’s gastronomy. In the Seven Street’s area pause at one of the various Tapas Bars and sample some of the popular local specialities – the pintxos – like “finger food“, a type of “tapas”, served on a slice of bread, usually cold, which makes them much like canapés, and are known as the “miniature“ cuisine. Following your refreshments rejoin your coach for the return transfer to the ship.

Notes: Basque is not a “Country”, “today” is not 20 years ago, and Bilbao has no “Tapas Bars.” Plus, the repetitive writing had to be cleaned, converted to American spelling and reduced from 395 words to 300-350

This is what I returned:

Bilbao, once the industrial and financial capital of the Basque region of Spain, is now a culinary and cultural destination featuring the ultra-modern Guggenheim Museum, arguably the most visited museum in the world. Bilbao is in a “bowl” on a bend of the River Nervion between two ranges of hills. With iron ore mines famous since Roman times, Bilbao grew into a ship-building capital and busy industrial port. Today, the port is moved downstream and the cleaned up river is a boating and recreational asset to the city.

Your (company name here) begins with a scenic drive through the outskirts of Bilbao upriver to the city’s main thoroughfare, the Gran Via, which reflects Bilbao’s 19th century mining and industrial prosperity.

Your first stop, the Guggenheim Museum, which opened to international acclaim in October 1997, begins with a tour of the magnificent exterior.  Architect Frank O. Gehry created this architectural masterpiece of stone and glass covered with 30,000 dazzling sheets of undulating titanium. It is surrounded by fountains and reflecting pools dominated by Louise Bourgeois’ gigantic “Spider” sculpture guarding the beautiful Nervion riverside walk. Streetside, the massive topiary by Jeff Koons called “Puppy” patiently sits by the entrance.

Inside, the enormous atrium, more than 150 feet high, is connected to the nineteen galleries by a system of glass elevators and suspended metal walkways, one of which offers the best view of Richard Serra’s sculpture collection called “The Matter of Time” – massive steel ellipses housed in a room built for them. After your guided tour, some free time is provided to explore the museum at your leisure.

Your next stop is the Old Quarter, Bilbao’s medieval heart located further around the bend in the river. The pedestrian-only narrow streets are lined with Renaissance, Baroque and Modernist buildings. Here you’ll visit one of the many small bars for the Basque version of tapas called “pintxos” and a local beverage. Following your refreshments, you’ll rejoin your coach for the scenic return to your ship.

There – now you know what I do. What do you think? Which version do you like better? Which would make you buy the tour?  Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below. It will help me with my work.

Posted in Cruise, Culinary, destinations, food, free lance writer, journalism, Spain, tourism, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment