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There’s no other way to start this out but with gratitude for those that have supported me all of the way through this endeavor. It’s possible that in several minutes you will wish that I had been made speechless by this honor, but please bear with me.

First, thank you to Executive Director Peter Baynes and the most accomplished and gifted staff I’ve ever encountered. Your team exemplifies excellence in every application of the word. Thank you for cultivating an organization that cares for the individual needs of each community and is the motivating force for the aggregate. Thank you for accepting me, for nurturing me, and being patient with me.

Thank you to outgoing President Dick Donovan, and those that came before you, that set the tone and direction of this organization. Dick, your energy and resolute integrity have inspired all of us. You have carried our message to every corner of this great state. You teach us to never back down from our conviction that the state MUST respond to the needs of local government in order to forge a bountiful and sustainable future for all.

Thank you to my fellow executive board members for your warmth and welcome. I look forward to our regular meetings throughout the year much like children look forward to the holidays. I no longer think of my relationship with you as one of service. I think of you all in a very real way as family.

Which leads me to my Amsterdam family. To Congressman Paul Tonko, thank you for never forgetting your hometown while fighting in Washington DC for a stronger nation. I aspire to follow your example, with your ceaseless passion for public service and your vision for a revitalized Amsterdam through waterfront rehabilitation and heritage expression.

To Mary and Gerry DeCusatis, thank you for your years of friendship. To Mary, thank you for creating a loving haven for my children when I had nowhere else to turn and for your incredibly giving nature. Your home is a reflection of your generous heart and I love you for it.

To Gerry, my Corporation Counsel and my best friend, thank you, thank you, thank you. Years before the decision to run for office, we spent hours in the living room weaving the tale of how our city would thrive if we ruled our small world. You are the reason my administration works and the reason I can make it through the toughest hours. I love your resolve, your zany humor and your endless tolerance of my quirkiness. You are doing a fantastic job and are the best thing that ever happened to Amsterdam. If our local media pundits don’t know it, now 200 new people in this room do.

And now for the wellspring from which I emerged, my real family, people that are eloquent, hard headed and fun. With me today are several of the women in my family that sport the same obsessive drive to perform well, the same vibrant interest in politics, and the same easy laughter. My aunt, Mary Lou Andersen, was a true feminist in the 60’s. She showed us that women not only belonged in a world dominated by men, but that we would flourish there. My attraction to public service began as I watched my aunt’s weekly commute from Delaware to Washington DC. Thank you Aunt Mary Lou.

To her daughter, Joan, thank you for being here. You know you are much more a sister to me than a cousin and that the bonds we share probably flow deeper than this corporeal reality. I love you. To my cousin, Caroline, that religiously follows me and fights for me on Facebook from Florida despite the 50 years since we last met, thank you! I love that you are here!

To my mother, Peg Tigue, I am so glad that God chose you as the vessel that gave me life. You’ve taught me to be strong in impossibly difficult times, to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us, and that if everyone else can’t see that beauty, we do and we will make it so. My mother’s presence is felt across the City of Wilmington, Delaware – from its tall ship and waterfront redevelopment to the preservation of its most valued historical properties to the restoration of neighborhoods one house at a time through Habitat for Humanity. My mother is a crusader for urban revitalization. I don’t fall far from her loving branches and am so grateful for her particular genes. I love you, Mom.

To my husband, Peter, thank you so much for the life you’ve given to me and for the home you sustain. You are my harbor, my balance, my boxing partner and my hero. You provide me a safety net when I fall, constancy when the political world shreds at my will, and quiet dignity through every difficult bump in the road. You teach our beautiful children and me that honesty and loyalty are all that matter, and that family come before all else. Thank you, Pete, for staying the course through all of the toil, turmoil and sudden smiles. I love you.

To all of you in this audience, I love you for sitting through this speech so far!

It’s such a pleasure to look out over all of the faces gathered here today at our annual meeting. Yours are the faces of true leaders: intelligent, creative and committed to your communities in ways that few can understand until they’ve walked in your shoes… until they’ve received the call at 2am about a factory fire that’s consuming an entire city block in one night and will smolder for a month, or the call that the river is rising by several feet an hour and that you’ve got to evacuate several thousands of people before the devastation hits, or the call that two teenagers have been murdered in an inexplicably violent manner by two kids of the same age and the community is on the verge of rioting, or the half hour phone call describing the six-inch pot hole in front of an elderly constituent’s driveway.

Your commitment is astounding. You patiently endure council meetings that are contentious, labor negotiations that are highly challenging, lengthy budget sessions that are taxing in more ways than one, and manage to steadfastly oversee the ins and outs of daily departmental operations. You gracefully persist despite the biases of local newspapers, uninformed radio hosts, bloggers and Facebook hot shots.

Give yourself a hand. It’s the shared experience of the people in this room that give me the courage and inspiration to get up every day and once more do the job of mayoring.

I am extremely grateful to NYCOM for their guidance on this joyous and sometimes difficult journey into local governance. I think my first experiences with this organization were in rooms very similar to this one as I found my way to the ample well of knowledge provided in these training sessions. My first year in office was one of wide-eyed idealism and I burned like phosphorous that first year, soaking up anything and everything I could to bring new light to years of darkness that had plagued the City of Amsterdam. I immersed myself in Internet searches, online tutorials, budget workshops and, of course, regularly scheduled training opportunities through NYCOM.

In 2009, I received a call from now-Assemblyman John McDonald inviting me to serve on NYCOM’s executive board, a prospect that was both enticing and terrifying at the same time. I guess you can say I still had freshman jitters, but a good friend had given me sound advice in the beginning and I continue to chant this to myself to get through any challenge choice may bring me: “Put on your big girl panties and just do it.” It’s great advice and I encourage you all to fall back on it in times of trouble, no matter your gender.

NYCOM Executive Board meetings are generally around an assemblage of tables to accommodate 25 or so very smart, very savvy staff and board members with a combined experience level that spans decades and distance. They are congenial, knowledgeable, brave and amazingly apolitical. It is at that table, both then and now, that I witness some of the highest functioning governance, anywhere. I wish my council or the state legislature could attend to see how effective shared vision, ample research, probing discussion and working toward the common good benefits all involved.

Because that’s what our highest purpose is, in NYCOM and in life, to work collaboratively so that our communities thrive.

Certainly, we here at NYCOM have our work “cut out for us.” Local governments are under siege by a State government that sees us as frivolous and in need of guidance. Rather than make difficult decisions that may cut into campaign coffers, they underfund us year after year and shift the heavy cost of state legislative and budgetary inaction to the backs of counties, cities, towns and villages. This sluggish response to real need at the local level cannot be managed by capping our revenues.

We need the state to cap our costs!

Cap my costs and my budget will take care of itself, thank you very much!

And please, we are quite familiar with sharing services. We’ve been sharing and consolidating and creatively partnering for years. The fact of the matter is that our budgets are not fat and we’ve been balancing delicately constructed budgets with the provision of services without falling back on gimmickry since the inception of public service. At our level, the impact of our decisions about a pothole, a police vehicle, a fire hydrant, a city playground or an abandoned property is immediate and noted by our consumers, the voters that put us in office to properly manage their money. Believe me, if we do not meet the expectations of those voters, the consequences are harshly personal.

It is this personal message that must resonate in both chambers of the legislature and echo down the hallways of the capital building.

In order to make this message heard at the state level, we must redouble our efforts to educate our constituents and our state representatives. The beauty in NYCOM’s reaction to the persistent budgetary problems faced by the state is that, not only can we identify the origins and intricacies of these troubles, but we offer sound, innovative solutions as well. We are here to help!

The difficulty for us is communicating our message of hope effectively. And this is where you all come into play. We need YOU, the representatives of 582 member municipalities, to be the loud and insistent voice for responsible stewardship of our tax dollars.

We need YOU to loudly witness for the 11 million people we represent. We must understand the legitimacy and power that we posses when advocating for 11 million residents. Our interests cannot be ignored. We speak for 11 million of the 19 million people that live in New York State. Let that knowledge empower you when discussing local issues with your state senators and assemblymen. Let that knowledge drive your determination when speaking to the press, labor unions and state agency representatives. Let the destiny of those 11 million souls inform your actions when you return to your hometowns after this conference.

The future of NYS is in each of your hands and here’s a shared service we at NYCOM encourage you to take back to your constituents: Share our message. Be a catalyst for REAL change. Make it your personal responsibility to understand the NYCOM platform. Talk about mandate relief to everyone you can. Build coalitions with your neighboring municipalities, counties and school districts. Utilize our staff and resources, both printed and online. Follow the NYCOM example of setting political partisanship aside for the betterment of our communities. Be the leaders you had promised to be when you sought office.

I read a quote this morning by a very famous fellow named Anonymous which, I think, speaks perfectly to our situation. It said, “Put your future in good hands — your own.” I can’t think of any better advice… Just couple it with the panties.

In closing, own this: WE, the members of NYCOM, are THE force in this state to be reckoned with and we will have this our way.

Thank you again for this great honor. I look forward to working with you over the coming year.

Click on this image to see the Word Cloud of this speech:
Wordle: NYCOM Acceptance Speech

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Thai Green Curry With Seafood
Bon Appétit | May 2009
by Jeanne Thiel Kelley

When the topic of chowder comes up, debates rage about the merits of the creamy New England style versus the red, tomato-packed Manhattan version. We’d be hard-pressed to choose a favorite, but one thing is for sure: We love chowder. It’s comforting, hearty, and full of seafood. The same can be said of Thai-style seafood curry. Coconut milk stands in for cream, and curry paste packs a warming punch. It’s global chowder— and it’s delicious. That’s something we can all agree on.
Yield: Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons unrefined peanut oil
5 green onions, finely chopped, dark green parts separated from white and pale green parts
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
1 1/4 cups water
1 13-to 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
2 small fresh red Thai chiles or 1 red jalapeño chile

2 kaffir lime leaves
1 tablespoon fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
1 large carrot, peeled, thinly sliced on diagonal (about 1 cup)
4 cups thinly sliced bok choy
8 ounces uncooked medium shrimp, peeled, deveined
8 ounces bay scallops
1 pound green or black mussels, scrubbed, debearded
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
2 cups (about) steamed rice

Note: Thane eliminated the mussels and doubled the shrimp and scallop quantities.

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add white and pale green parts of green onions, 1 tablespoon cilantro, and garlic; sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Add curry paste; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 1 1/4 cups water, coconut milk, chiles, lime leaves, and fish sauce. Bring to simmer. Add carrot; cover and cook until carrot is just tender, about 5 minutes. Layer bok choy, shrimp, scallops, and mussels in pan. Cover and simmer until mussels open and seafood and bok choy are cooked (discard mussels that do not open), about 5 minutes. Stir in dark green parts of green onions, 2 tablespoons cilantro, and basil.
Divide rice among 4 shallow bowls. Ladle curry over rice and serve.

Ingredient tips:
Unrefined peanut oil can be found at natural foods stores and Asian markets. Thai green curry paste, coconut milk, and fish sauce are sold at many supermarkets and at Asian markets. Look for fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves at Asian markets. If unavailable, use 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon grated lime peel for each lime leaf.

Epicurious.com © Condé Nast Digital, Inc. All rights reserved.

Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/printerfriendly/Thai-Green-Curry-with-Seafood-352634#ixzz1xRAEtUGf

String Bean & Arugula Salad
Epicurious | May 2012
by John Schlimm


Grilling Vegan Style
In this unusual pairing, the string beans and baby arugula work wonders for each other. Wilting the arugula with the hot, garlicky grilled beans is a nice trick for bringing the two together. While you can use regular arugula if you must, baby arugula is far milder in flavor, so try to find it if you can.
Yield: 3 to 4 servings

3/4 pound green and/or yellow string beans, trimmed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
2 cups baby or regular arugula, trimmed and chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the grill to medium-high.
In a large bowl, toss the string beans with the olive oil and garlic. Let the beans rest for 10 minutes or so, then place the beans on a large square of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Fold the foil over the beans and fold down the ends of the foil twice. Place the foil packet on the grill, seam side up, and grill for 25 to 30 minutes. Let the beans cool for a few minutes, then combine them in a roomy bowl with the arugula, lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste, tossing until the arugula is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.

Note: Thanes only tossed for a minute or so, and went for a livelier arugala leaf.

Source Information
From the book Grilling Vegan Style: 125 Fired-Up Recipes to Turn Every Bite into a Backyard BBQ by John Schlimm. Reprinted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2012.

Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/printerfriendly/String-Bean-Arugula-Salad-51100200#ixzz1xR9lJTLd

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The photo below is of a lovely meal had on Friday night, the star entree being skillfully prepared by Manfred and Susan Phemister: BEAR! I have to admit that I had some trepidation in the days before our adventure, but the meat was darkly rich and completely delicious. Thanks to the Phemister family for a great time of feast, beast and the best of conversation. What a great get-together.

When Cooking Bear Meat, Remember to Keep It Moist and Tender
By Lorelie Scorzafava

Bear meat, if cooked properly, can be every bit as tasty as beef. Those who have harvested a bear and brought it to the table can attest to this. Bear meat is actually leaner than beef, because the fat is on the outside and can be cut away. As a result, once you remove the fat, it has fewer calories and is lower in cholesterol.

But the lean meat can become tough and dry if it’s not cooked properly, due to the lack of marbling. To make sure your bear meat doesn’t dry out, it should be cooked in such a way as to preserve or add as much moisture as possible.

It’s important to remember that unlike other game meat, bear meat must be thoroughly cooked. Bear meat, like pork, may carry trichinosis.

If you remove the fat before cooking, you can tenderize and moisten bear meat by marinating in lemon juice or an oil-and-wine mixture before cooking. To imbue the bear meat with flavor and moistness, baste it often while cooking. Or, cook bear meat in a closed environment, such as a Dutch oven, roasting bag or braising liquid. Bear meat is darker and may be stronger than other game meat. It is a coarser, heavier meat that may take more seasonings or sauces, and more cooking time, to tenderize.

Below is a bear meat recipe that produces fully cooked, yet tender and moist bear meat.

Braised Bear Roast

Slow braising in a Dutch oven tenderizes this shoulder roast. You may substitute any large roast if you don’t have a shoulder left in the freezer.

1/2 c. flour
Salt and pepper
1 tsp. dried thyme
3-4 pound beat shoulder roast (at least 2 inches thick)
Vegetable oil (for browning)
1/2 pound diced salt pork or thick sliced bacon
1/2 stick butter
2 large onions sliced
1 large apple peeled, seeded, and sliced
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 12 oz. bottle of dark beer or beef broth
1 small can tomato sauce
¼ c. apple cider
1 bay leaf
2 cloves of garlic

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix the flour, thyme, and salt and pepper in a large paper bag. Add the roast; and shake to coat. In Dutch oven, on the stovetop, brown bear meat on all sides in oil over medium heat. Remove bear meat; set aside. Add the salt pork to the pan and fry until brown and crisp and fat is rendered. Remove salt pork pieces from pan and reserve. Add butter to the drippings in the pan and cook the onions and apple slices until soft. Add sugar and cook and stir until onions are browned. Add beer, tomato sauce, and cider scraping any bits from the bottom of the pan. Return meats to the pan. Add bay leaf and garlic cloves. Cover; bake until bear meat is tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Serve sliced with mashed potatoes and pass the pan juices.

For an autographed copy of Lorelie’s award winning cookbook Gourmet Gone Wild, go to http://www.radicalbowhunter.com or visit your local bookstore.

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recipe

Best Chicken Saltimbocca EVER.
Serves/Makes: 4 | Difficulty Level: 3 | Ready In: 1-2 hrs

Ingredients:
4 chicken breasts (5 oz size)
4 thin slices Prosciutto ham
1 tablespoon fresh sage
3 ounces olive oil
1 ounce all-purpose flour
5 ounces artichoke hearts, quartered
1/2 ounce capers
4 ounces white wine
2 ounces fresh lemon juice
2 ounces heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon salt

Directions:
Lightly salt chicken breasts. Sprinkle evenly with chopped sage. Place sliced Prosciutto on top the chicken and pound it into the breast until the thickness of the chicken measures 3/8-inch.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a saute pan. Lightly flour chicken pressed with prosciutto. Place in heated oil, Prosciutto side down. Brown one side, turn and brown the other side. Drain off excess oil, and deglaze with white wine.

Add artichokes, fresh lemon juice, cream and butter and cook until sauce is thickened.

On a large platter, place chicken breasts topped with reduced sauce and garnish with capers.

Recipe Location: http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/567/Buca-Di-Beppo-Chicken-Saltimbo100527.shtml
Recipe ID: 71400

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christmas fixin’s

This was crazy good tonight, so I’m passing it on…

Roast Beef with Dijon-Caper Sauce

Ingredients
Roast Beef:
1 3-pound eye of round beef roast, trimmed of excess fat and sinew
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Sauce:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
2 cups low-salt beef broth
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons drained capers

Preparation
For roast beef:
Sprinkle beef with 1/2 teaspoon salt; let stand 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix thyme, basil, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in small bowl. Heat oil in large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef; cook until browned on all sides, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with herb mixture. Transfer skillet to oven. Roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meat registers 130°F, about 40 minutes. Transfer to cutting board; let rest.

For sauce:
Place skillet with juices over medium-high heat. Add butter; stir until melted. Add flour; whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk in broth; bring to boil. Boil until sauce is reduced to 1 1/4 cups, whisking often, about 6 minutes. Whisk in mustard and capers. Season sauce with pepper.

Cut beef crosswise into very thin slices. Transfer beef to platter. Serve with sauce.

Test-kitchen tip:
Eye of round is not the most tender cut of beef. For the best flavor and texture, be sure to slice it very thinly.

Yield: Makes 6 servings

Bon Appétit | January 2009

p.s. Not to be outdone:

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Cilantro-Lime Chicken Fajitas with Grilled Onions

1-1/4 cups coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup olive oil
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-1/4 teaspoons ancho chile powder

6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
3 large poblano chiles, seeded, cut into 3/4-inch-wide strips
3 large yellow bell peppers, cut into 3/4-inch-wide strips
2 red onions, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds

12 8-inch flour tortillas

Optional toppings: purchased salsas, guacamole, sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro, sliced green onions, and chopped serrano chiles

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Puree first 5 ingredients in processor. Season marinade with salt and pepper.

Place chicken in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Pour 1/3 cup marinade over; turn to coat. Arrange poblanos, bell peppers, and onions on large rimmed baking sheet. Pour 1/2 cup marinade over; turn to coat. Sprinkle chicken and vegetables with salt and pepper. Reserve remaining marinade.

Grill chicken until cooked through, about 7 minutes per side. Grill vegetables until tender, turning frequently, about 15 minutes for onions and 12 minutes for poblanos and bell peppers. Grill tortillas until charred, about 1 minute per side.

Transfer chicken to work surface; slice crosswise into strips. Fill tortillas with chicken and vegetables; drizzle with reserved marinade. Serve with toppings.

Bon Appétit | July 2005

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Sometimes it is necessary to veer off of the serious path that we pursue in our everyday lives and settle on a subject that we all find comfort in: food. The following is what we are having today in Shangri-La for dinner. It is always a family favorite.

Salmon and Corn Chowder

1 lb. boned, skinless salmon fillet
4 cups corn kernels
6 cups liquid (3 cups chicken broth and 3 cups water, or 6 cups salmon
or fish stock)
6 thick slices of bacon
2 Tbs. butter
1 cup chopped leeks
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup finely diced red peppers
1 lb. peeled potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/2 – 1 cup heavy cream
salt and freshly ground pepper
chopped chives (optional)

Remove any pin bones from the salmon and cut the fillet into 4 equal
pieces. In a food processor or blender, purée 1 cup of corn kernels and set
aside.

Pour the 6 cups of liquid into a wide sauté pan and bring to a boil.
Drop in the salmon pieces, reduce the heat to just under a simmer, and
poach the salmon for 8 minutes. Remove the salmon to a plate to cool,
and reserve the poaching liquid.

In a soup pot, brown the bacon. Remove the bacon to brown paper to
drain, and discard all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat in the pot.
Break the bacon into small pieces and return one-quarter of it to the
pot. Add the butter to the pot and let it melt. Add the leeks and
celery, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the red peppers, potatoes, the
remaining 3 cups of corn kernels, the puréed corn, and reserved
poaching liquid, and stir. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat,
and simmer, partially covered, for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes
are tender.

Flake the salmon into 1-inch pieces. (You will have about three cups.)
Add the salmon to the pot, along with the amount of heavy cream you
prefer. Heat gently and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Sprinkle with chopped fresh chives, if you like.

Serve 6-8

Author’s note:
– If you prefer to omit heavy cream, purée 2 of the 4 cups of corn
rather than 1 cup as above. The additional purée will thicken the soup.
– Omit bacon.

BUY THE BOOK!
Victory Garden Fish and Vegetable Cookbook
Marian Morash
(page 74)

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