Gretchen McKay

Pizza on the grill is easier than you think

I love BBQ chicken, burgers and hot dogs as much as anyone, so long as the meat is juicy and charred and the franks are the good ones — all beef and kosher. Yet every summer for the past few grilling seasons, I’ve vowed to learn how to cook something a little different on my trusty Grill King gas grill. A few […]

Into the woods in Cook Forest

LEEPER — Summer weekends in Cook Forest, a registered national natural landmark known for its old-growth hemlocks, usually involve this: Paddling or tubing on the lazy Clarion River. Climbing the teetering, 87-foot fire tower built as a firemen’s lookout in 1929 and then scrambling across the rocky ledges at nearby Seneca Point Overlook. (You can see for miles at both […]

Bruschetta: Carbs on the grill

  Fresh vegetables are starting to roll into local farmers markets, and what better way to whet summer appetites than by firing up the Weber for a quick and easy appetizer? You know you want to be outside after sitting behind a desk all day, and carbs on the grill are so much easier than you […]

Boston: The cradle of liberty still rocks

BOSTON — It was by happenstance, really, that we came across the memorial. This was a trip to see the historic sights and taste the seafood for which this capital city is famous. Our hotel was on Copley Square, a name that sounded vaguely familiar. Coming up from the subway station with our bags, peering […]

Joey Fatone gets ‘N Sync with City Chicken

Like so many Italian-Americans, Joey Fatone didn’t just grow up eating tomato sauce made from a recipe handed down over the generations — he helped his parents make it. His entertainer father, who performed with the doo-wop group The Orions, was something of a whiz in their Brooklyn kitchen, and nothing made Joe Sr. happier […]

Blue Ridge “Hi!”: The pleasures of Roanoke beckon

ROANOKE, Va. — Its heritage is tied to the railroad. Yet even before Norfolk and Western Railway’s steam locomotives rolled into the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, this picturesque little town was a happening place. A hub along the long and bumpy Great Wagon Road that brought 18th-century settlers from Philadelphia to central North […]

Pittsburgh marathoners get help up The Hill

For a city that’s as famous for its big hills as its 400-plus bridges, today’s Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon and UPMC Health Plan Half Marathon will offer its 27,700 runners a fairly level course. Which is not to say it won’t have its challenges. Chief among them is The Hill, that daunting stretch of […]

Marathoners: Take these recipes and run with them

  A big bowl of pasta one or two days before a big road race is a time-honored runners’ tradition. Carbs are the body’s primary fuel source during endurance events such as a half or full marathon. So thinking runners load up on them beforehand to ensure there’s at least a little gas left in […]

Pittsburgh Food: Family puts its eggs, other holiday fare in one basket

  Sometime around 10 a.m. on Sunday, Stella Woytovich and her daughter Justine will gather with family in their neat-as-a-pin Baden home and, as they have on more Easters than anyone can remember, dig into a huge brunch. There will be a ham glazed with bourbon and brown sugar, paired with buttery scrambled eggs or […]

Female runners self-defense: Stay aware

It was a beautiful, sunny day when Leah Yingling set out on June 15, 2010, for what she thought was going to be a routine three-miler on one of Johnstown’s most popular running trails. If only. As she recounted at Pittsburgh Marathon’s inaugural Safe Strides self-defense course for female runners at Bakery Square on Feb. […]

Sexy cookbooks provide recipes for a hot meal

  Sex and food have been intertwined ever since the first man got evicted from the Garden of Eden, just for accepting an afternoon snack from a naked woman. Entire volumes have been written about the power of aphrodisiacs, those irresistible substances that many are convinced will make sex more pleasurable, not to mention easier […]

Chocolate for dinner

  The love-struck will express their dying affection with more than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate come Valentine’s Day. Actually, the cocoa route isn’t a bad one if you’re hoping to stir up those lovin’ feelings. Simply put, chocolate makes us feel good, and not just because eating it causes the brain to release […]