Fourth annual SNA cook-off competition features squash as main ingredient

Participants sample one of the squash offerings at Seven Stars bakery.

More than 50 people crowded into Seven Stars bakery on Hope Street Oct. 29 for the Summit Neighborhood Association’s fourth annual cooking competition whose unifying ingredient was, appropriately, squash.

There were about 15 different dishes using it and a panel of three experts to judge them. In addition, there was a people’s choice determined by paper balloting by everyone who got to sample the offerings. Prizes were gift certificates to local businesses.

Rounding out the culinary nature of the evening were beer tastings presented by the Berkshire Brewing Co. brought in by Swan Liquors and olive-oil samplings from Olive del Mondo, both Hope Street merchants.

First prize, a $25 certificate to Seven Stars, went to a squash/garlic dish made by Dan MacLellan. Second, $25 to Olive del Mondo, was for farro by Meg Griffiths and third, $20 to Kreatlier fabrics, for triffle by Lexi Dantzig. The people’s choice award was a tie between roasted butternut squash lasagna by Elise Meyer and butternut squash hash by Kim Ahern and Jenna Lafayette, so they each got certificates, one to Frog & Toad gifts and the other to Stock kitchenware.

The judges were Jan Faust Dane, of Stock, Peter Kammerer, of The Sandwich Hut, and Sandy Kohring, last year’s first-place winner.

Recipes for the winning dishes are below. Next year’s main ingredient is open to suggestion.

Dan MacLellan - first prize

Squash & Garlic

Peel two yellow squash or whatever kind you like.

Heat a large frying pan, add extra virgin olive oil and put in 10-14 cloves of garlic, letting them turn golden brown but be careful no to let them burn.

Add slices of squash and saute slowly on both sides, turning after about 12-14 minutes.

Grate fresh cinnamon all over squash and don’t be afraid to use a lot. Also salt and pepper both sides. When squash is tender, put in half stick of unsalted butter and stir.

Taste and add cinnamon if needed.

Serve with risotto, mashed potatoes, rice, fresh peas or pasta such as orzo as this is a dish from the Perugia province of Tuscany in Italy.

Meg Griffiths - second prize

Sweet Potato Butternut Squash Hash



Sweet potato, cubed

Butternut squash, cubed

Onion, diced


Olive oil




Crisp bacon in fry pan, remove, set aside to cool and chop into small pieces.

Saute onion in the bacon grease, setting aside when soft.

Melt butter in a fry pan, add sweet potato, butternut squash and olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste and sauté covered until soft.

Mix in the onion and bacon and crisp in the hot skillet.

Serve with fried egg on top.

Elise Meyer - people's choice co-winner

Roasted Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Lasagna


9-12 whole-wheat lasagna noodle sheets (preferably no-boil)

1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 2 cups cubed)

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 1 1/2 cups cubed)

12 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 shallot, thinly sliced

3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed

1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

bunch of sage leaves

olive oil for drizzling


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lay cubed squash and potatoes on baking sheet and drizzle with a bit of olive oil (only about 1-2 teaspoons). Hand coat squash and potatoes with olive oil, then sprinkle with nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

Roast for 50 minutes, tossing about every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool, then mash with a potato masher or fork.

For mascarpone filling, heat skillet over medium heat and melt butter. Add shallots and garlic, and whisk every 30 seconds or so for 2-3 minutes. Butter should brown and shallots and garlic should be fragrant. Be careful not to burn butter. If it does burn, start over (totally worth the effort). Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

In a bowl, combine mascarpone, 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, remaining salt and pepper and the shallots, butter and garlic. Mix until somewhat smooth and spreadable.

Spray non-stick coating in 8×8 pan and lay in 2-3 (depending on size/brand) lasagna noodles. Spread half of the squash mixture evenly over top, then spread/crumble half of the mascarpone on top of that. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella and remaining parmesan on next, then repeat with one more set of noodles, squash, mascarpone and cheese.

Top with sage leaves that will crisp up and bake for 45 minutes, or until cheese on top is golden and bubbly.

Kim Ahern - people's choice co-winner

Farro Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash


1 medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds)

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 cup semi-pearled farro

1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

3 ounces ricotta salata (about 3/4 cup)

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon water

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Peel squash, then halve lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Cut into 3/4-inch chunks.

Coat large baking sheet with 2 tablespoons oil, spread squash in single layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast until tender, about 30 to 40 minutes, turning pieces over halfway. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, toast the farro in a large pot over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 4 minutes.

Stir in 1 1/2 cups of water and pinch of salt, cover, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until grains are tender and most water is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and cool.

While farro simmering, in a small bowl whisk together vinegar, water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and granulated sugar until dissolved. Stir in onion, barely be covered by vinegar mixture. Cover and set in fridge until needed with 30 minutes ideal.

In a large bowl, mix butternut squash, farro, onion and its vinegar brine, crumbled cheese and pine nuts. Toss

SNA to host informal forum for City Council incumbent, write-in challenger

Kevin Jackson, the incumbent member of the Providence City Council, and Marcus Mitchell, the write-in challenger, will appear together at an informal forum to answer constituents’ questions at a forum sponsored by the Summit Neighborhood Association at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, in the main dining hall of Summit Commons, 99 Hillside Ave. Light refreshments will be available.

Here are write-in instructions from the Rhode Island Board of Elections.

What if the candidate I want to vote for does not appear on the ballot?

A vote for someone not shown on the printed ballot is called a “write-in.” The write-in option cannot be used during primary elections. You must do two things to cast a “write-in” vote.

  1. Print the name of the person on the blank line labeled “write-in,” and
  2. Complete the arrow pointing to the person’s name next to the write-in line.

4th Annual Fall Cookoff

WHEN: Wednesday October 29th 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Seven Stars Bakery, 820 Hope Street

Come out and bring your best squash dish.

No Dish? No problem. Come taste everyone elses!

No entry fee.

Families & costumes encouraged!

  • Prizes for best dishes
  • Judges from local eateries
  • People’s choice awards
  • Awards for best costume
  • Wine and olive oil tasting

Sponsored by the Summit Neighborhood Association

Annual yard sale gets bigger this year with more sellers plus music and ice cream

Buyers and sellers converge on the yard of the Church of the Redeemer on Hope Street.

The annual fall yard sale put on by the Summit Neighborhood Association seems to be catching on.

This year the event, held Saturday, Sept. 13, in the yard of the Church of the Redeemer on Hope Street, had 26 registered sellers, up from a mere 24 the previous year.

In addition, this year featured music by Rising, a performing songwriters’ organization whose foundation is the mentoring of teen and young adult singer-songwriters. Led by Daniel Durand from the band PhenixAve, two young performers entertained with old standards and their own songs.

Adding to the mix was a tricycle cart from Ellie’s Bakery downtown, selling gourmet ice cream sandwiches.

But the main attraction was the wide variety of no-longer-needed items from people’s basements and attics that turned into treasures for the throng of buyers who started arriving well before the 10 a.m. opening. Although the sky alternated between sunny and cloudy, there was no rain to dampen spirits and transactions continued until the 2 p.m. closing. Offerings ranged from golf clubs and vinyl records to party clothes for kids and fancy coats for adults.


Fifth annual Summit Music Festival draws hundreds to rock out in Lippitt Park

Festival band highlight Red Baraat gets music lovers to their feet.

More than 800 people, plus six hot bands, played in the park Saturday, Aug. 23, at the fifth annual Summit Music Festival.

The personal project of Summit Neighborhood Association President Dean Weinberg, who put in countless hours to put it together, the free musical extravaganza held in Lippit Park also included a 40 foot-by-8 foot art wall, face painting and other activities for children, a beer and wine garden from Trinity Brewhouse for adults, plus a long string of craft vendors and a vast collection of food trucks and carts that supplemented the park’s playground, fountain, hummingbird habitat and expanses of green open space.

The weekly Hope Street Farmers’ Market in the morning contributed to the festive atmosphere, as many people stayed for the music that started at 1 p.m. and went until just after 6 p.m.

After a welcome to the crowd by master of ceremonies Weinberg, Dr. Jones and the Shiners, a Providence-based folk-rock band led by Kate Jones, opened the show.  The band represents a sort of folk supergroup for Providence, featuring members of The Sugar Honey Iced Tea, The Mighty Good Boys and Moga.  Bassist Ollie Williams is also a member of Smith&Weeden, which played later in the day.  Jones’ distinctive vocals, backed by the plucking of her ukulele, mixed well with the guitar playing of Benny Tilchin, who is her off-stage sweetheart.

Next was the first of two appearances by 16-year-old singer-songwriter Emeline Easton, who was a sensation at last year’s festival.  Easton worked through a few tunes, including originals and a cover of Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” The audience response to Easton last year all but demanded she be asked back this year, and she delivered two sets worthy of that praise.

Following her was another Providence band with promise, Smith&Weeden. Members Jesse Emmanuel Smith, Seamus Weeden, Ollie Williams and Dylan Sevey ripped through a set featuring tracks from their newly released, self-titled album.  They had the crowd on their feet with fists in the air as they performed their versions of gritty Americana bar rock.  This is a band with promise, and had the audience praising the set throughout the rest of the day.

As the stage was reconfigured, East Side piano teacher Johnny Lingo led a variety of duets with three of his students, including Summit resident Amelia Gold.

Then from Tampa, Fla., came the Selwyn Birchwood Band. Selwyn Birchwood is a young electric blues guitarist who has been sweeping up awards all over the world in the last two years. The quartet of seasoned bluesmen proceeded to rain a powerful and electric set over Lippitt Park.  They fit the gig into a tight schedule, playing the festival on their way to a show that night in Boston.

Easton did her second set and stayed on stage to help SNA members Weinberg, Sheila Perlow and Anneliese Greenier with drawing names for a raffle of prizes from local artists and craftspeople.

The top-billed attraction for the day, Red Baraat, a unique blend of Indian percussion, brass and funk from Brooklyn, then took the stage and immediately brought listeners to their feet.  And the crowd, nearly 1,000 strong by this point, remained on its feet for the 75-minute balance of the event.  Having last performed in Providence when they headlined the FirstWorks Festival two years ago, Red Baraat has only gotten tighter and more energetic.  They had the crowd bouncing and grooving until the end, and then some.


5th Annual Summit Music Festival

A friendly reminder that this Saturday will be the 5th Annual Summit Music Festival, held at Lippitt Park from 1-6pm.

This is a FREE event, presented by your Summit Neighborhood Association, along with the sponsors listed at the end of this email.

Aside from our world-class music line-up this year, we will be featuring a Beer & Wine Garden by Trinity Brewhouse, as well as various Food trucks and Craft Vendors.

We will also feature Kid’s Activities, including a 40-foot long, 8-foot tall Art Wall for a community collaboration (for kids and adults)!

The music this year is very exciting.  We were able to bring in Red Baraat and their unique blend of Indian percussion, brass, and funk.  From Brooklyn, NY, red Baraat has not played in Providence since being featured in the FirstWorks festival a few years ago.  Since then, they have traveled the world and honed their sound.  They are a musical force, and it should be a high-energy set.  They end the day, starting their set around 4:30pm.

Another highlight is the Selwyn Birchwood Band, playing just before Red Baraat.  Selwyn Birchwood is a young electric blues guitarist from Tampa, FL, and he has been sweeping up blues awards all over the world in the last two years.  His band plays Boston’s Regatta Bar the night of our festival, and we were able to convince him to stop in Lippitt Park for a set on his way through town.

Aside from our two national headliners, we also have some of Providence’s best locals on stage: Smith & Weeden and Dr. Jones & the Shiners.  Between sets we’ll have Johnny Lingo leading duets with his piano students, and back by popular demand, 16-year-old singer-songwriter Emeline Easton.

We hope to see you at Lippitt Park on Saturday, starting at 1pm sharp with Dr. Jones & the Shiners!

Lastly, a huge Thank You to the 2014 sponsors:

HealthSource RI
Empire Guitars
Seven Stars Bakery
Mortgage Network
Sandwich Hut
The Rhode Guide Real Estate Co.
Daniele Foods
Frog & Toad
The Camera Werks
Hope Street Merchants Assn.
Hope Street Farmers Market Assn.
and of course, The City of Providence

SNA’s Rhode Island Gubernatorial Forum

On Wednesday, July 30, 2014 the six candidates from the two major parties vying for the opportunity to run for governor of Rhode Island came to Summit to ask for support.

On stage at Summit Commons, 99 Hillside Ave., Republicans Ken Block and Allan Fung joined Democrats Todd Giroux, Clay Pell, Gina Raimondo and Angel Taveras in a question-and-answer forum sponsored by the Summit Neighborhood Association and attended by about 135 residents, supporters and news-media members.

Video courtesy of Steve Ahlquist.

Aspirants to be governor come to Summit seeking support at second political forum

Candidates, from left, Ken Block, Allan Fung, Todd Giroux, Clay Pell, Gina Raimondo and Angel Taveras appear at the second of two SNA-sponsored public forums.

See the video of the event by Steve Ahlquist…

On Wednesday, July 30, the six candidates from the two major parties vying for the opportunity to run for governor of Rhode Island came to Summit to ask for support.

On stage at Summit Commons, 99 Hillside Ave., Republicans Ken Block and Allan Fung joined Democrats Todd Giroux, Clay Pell, Gina Raimondo and Angel Taveras in a question-and-answer forum sponsored by the Summit Neighborhood Association and attended by about 135 residents, supporters and news-media members.

Introduced by SNA President Dean Weinberg, board member and moderator Thomas Schmeling, assistant professor and chair of the political science department at Rhode Island College, posed a series of questions developed by SNA with input from residents and audience members. The forum, which came a week after one featuring Providence mayoral and District Four General Assembly hopefuls, began at 7 p.m. and lasted until about 9 p.m.

The candidates were allowed two-minute opening statements as well as two-minute closing statements. In the opening salvos, Block stressed his intention to change the way the state does business, Fung emphasized his financial stabilization as mayor of Cranston, Giroux noted his working-class origins, Pell cited his non-elected background and new ideas, Raimondo pointed to her problem-solving record as state treasurer and Taveras recalled his mobilization to stem a $110-million deficit in Providence.


Primary election candidates make appeal to residents at first of two forums

Representative candidates, from left, Aaron Regunberg, Miriam Ross and Heather Tow-Yick at Summit Commons.

About 150 neighborhood residents and political advocates gathered in a large, muggy room Tuesday evening to hear the candidates for Providence mayor and District 4 representative plead their cases.

Democrats Jorge Elorza, Brett Smiley, Michael Solomon and Christopher Young, all vying in the September primary for the chance to run for mayor, joined fellow Democrats Aaron Regunberg, Miriam Ross and Heather Tow-Yick, who will face each other in the primary for the General Assembly seat vacated by Gordon Fox.

Held at 7 p.m. in the main dining room of Summit Commons at 99 Hillside Ave., the forum was the first of two sponsored by the Summit Neighborhood Association. The second will be Wednesday, July 30, and feature both parties’ candidates for governor in the primary. The Democratic opponents for state senator are unable to attend.

At Tuesday’s session, SNA President Dean Weinberg introduced SNA board member Thomas Schmeling, associate professor and chair of the political science department at Rhode Island College, who was moderator. He posed a series of questions developed from topics submitted by neighborhood residents. The first part of the forum was devoted to the General Assembly race.

Responding to the issue of the local economy and what specific proposals they support, Ross, speaking first, cited her support for small businesses and vowed to get rid of regulations that hinder their growth. Tow-Yick urged increased public education, municipal services and support for small businesses. Regunberg denounced the “let’s make a deal” system and called for more investment in education and a bottom-up economic system.

On public education and the controversy over the common core curriculum and standardized testing, Tow-Yick stressed her experience in running Teach for America, Regunberg urged getting rid of the top-down administrative system and Ross said she would make sure adequate funding is available and suggested vocational schools.

All three candidates said they do not support a constitutional convention but would work to repeal the law requiring identification at the polls for voters.


Neighborhood photo contest winners

First Place - Snow Fun by Douglas Itkin

Second Place - Mike Bryce, Local Artist by Barbara Leach

Third Place - Scorching Summer Music by Dylan Itkin

The results are in and the top three photographs of SNA’s “Streets of Summit” contest are here.

They are: First Place – Snow Fun by Douglas Itkin; Second Place – Mike Bryce, Local Artist by Barbara Leach; and Third Place – Scorching Summer Music by Dylan Itkin.

The contest, the brainchild of SNA board member Joan Retsinas, asked for pictures of favorite people, places or things in the Summit and Mount Hope neighborhoods and there were 11 photos submitted. They were judged by Lisa Newby, a picture editor and page designer at The Providence Journal, and Steve Mason, a professional photographer. Cash prizes were awarded to the top three finishers and gift certificates to local photo stores went to the four honorable mentions.

All of the pictures will be on public display during Miriam Hospital’s Gallery Night, Tuesday, July 29, starting at 6 p.m. when refreshments will be available in the Hurvitz conference room.

The Summit pictures are included in a presentation on the hospital’s extensive collection of Judaic art, especially “The Seven Festivals” by David Sharir, in Heritage Hall dedicated to Miriam’s Jewish roots and culture.

There will various experts on hand to discuss the display, including Carl Smith, who was instrumental in reinstalling the body of work donated to the hospital.

All of Miriam’s neighbors are invited to the free evening event.