Monday, October 05, 2009

flower stand haul, oct 3

got what felt like a thousand flowers from Lebak Farms this weekend, mostly dahlias. family businesses rule.

"i can't get into a bed without you, I stack up all the pillows and imagine that you are there" painting by Lauren Vincelli.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Transposition Trailer up!

I've been working with the charming and talented Juliette & Cooper Richey-Miller on producing their latest documentary - Transposition, a portrait of a working-class artist's struggle to balance a blue collar job with his passion for jazz. This lyrical double portrait is in the early editing stages - here's a trailer for you!

Transposition - Trailer from Juliette Richey on Vimeo.

Transposition is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions in behalf of Transposition should be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

illegal gardening

adventures in fire escape gardening-
arugula covered in cayenne in an attempt to keep squirrels away. mostly it works!
the spinach in late may. see the red chard spouts behind it? we let it take over...the red chard harvest of this week - a good fist full, maybe a $3 bunch at the farmer's market, but about one serving in the pan. but i grew it!

Monday, April 27, 2009


oh spring, you have finally arrived. with spring, apparently in NY culinary circles (or more commonly in West Virginia) comes ramps, wild leeks, Allium tricoccum. Super pungent wild member of the allium fammily, tastes like a garlicky spring onion. I'd never eaten them before, but I'm seduced. Apparently its not possible (or preferred) to cultivate them, so they must be hunted on semi-wild lands which, naturally makes them cost more. I'm sure I paid too much for a wild plant that i could find if I only had a place to look, but alas, i don't. They're only available a few weeks a year, which is now, at the Park Slope Co-Op, or from the nice meat-sellers at the Prospect Park farmer's market (i think it's these guys: maybe some other places. I jumped on a bunch from the maple sausage guys at PPk (another temptation for another post); thought i could find them growing wild in Prospect Park (fail), and had to buy them again at the Co-op today. Thought I'd post recipies:

Spaghetti with Ramps - this seems to be one of the more common recipes i saw, so i made my own adaptation - sauteed chopped ramps in olive oil (yep, the whole plant) tossed w/ hot (drained but not shaken) pasta, a hunk of goat cheese swirled around to melt onto the pasta, salt, pepper. Good but lacking sparkle, some lemon, red pepper flake might help, and maybe some butter to add some fat to dilute the ramps (does that work?).

Avocado-Ramp Potato Salad - this for dinner tonight w/ homemade blackbean cheeseburgers (it's hot almost like summer here i wanted picnic food). very pungent! with garlic instead of ramps, this is my favorite pasta salad dressing. about 4 side servings.
put 1 lb potatoes on to boil
mash 1 avocado in a large bowl, dress with juice of 1 lime (or lemon), ~1/2 C olive oil
fine chop root end and stems of about 5 ramps & toss in bowl
add fistful of basil, finely chopped & ~1tbsp salt (way more than you think you'd need but the avacado seems to want it), hearty grinds of pepper. stir, let sit while potatoes are cooking.
when potatoes are fork tender, drain and chop in to bite size pieces, add hot to avaocado dressing.
mix potatoes & dressing w/ spatula. season to taste w/ S+P.
now, you can dress with any number of additions; we put in sugar snap peas, feta, capers.
other good additions might include artichoke hearts, tomatoes, good tuna chunks, blanched green beans, pickles, pickled beets? pickled okra? Anything with flavor strong or different enough to combat the ramps. if you wanted milder flavor, you could saute the ramps, i'm sure that'd help at least a little bit, but part of their charm i think is that they're stinky.
serve and kiss the person you're eating with because they have ramp breath, too. it doesn't matter.

apparently, according to JR, the WVA way to eat them is to fry them in bacon grease (like everything else), but we haven't really committed to a baconatarian lifestyle yet. they seem to be often eaten with hashbrowns & eggs, which sounds like an awesome breakfast, too.

any other suggestions? i've got a few left!

p.s. - photo by Dave Smooth, naturally.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Wintery Orchid

it snowed on Saturday, the same day the orchid finally bloomed. this a kaleidoscope orchid from jen from about two years ago that came back from near-death.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Green Bean Pizza (for ohyouknowocto)

by request, here's last week's pizza dinner:sicilian style with a pesto base, onions, greenbeans, mushrooms, garlic, some kinda spanish goat bleu cheese, swiss and hazelnuts on thick homemade white-wheat crust - delicious!

i was craving the supremely greasy and delicious green bean-hazelnut-smoked mozz pie from my former pizza slinging days, but compromized by using ingredients in the house, including hazelnuts picked out of some mixed nuts. nuts on a pizza? yes!

sadly, the old joint no longer serves that, their best pie, so if you want it, i guess you'll have to hook it up yourself. I think their secret was that they roasted the green beans w/ lots of garlic and oil in the pizza oven. what's your latest homemade pizza?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Atheist busses in London

saw on boingboing today that there are atheist-advertising busses roaming the streets of London - 800 of them that say "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." this intended as a 'positive counter response' to fear-mongering ads about sinners/non-Christians going to a lake of fire, etc.

as an agnostic, and a strong freedom-of-religionist, I'm just not sure how i feel about this. Although I appreciate and empathize the "enjoy your life' message, my gut is that it's the same as the fire&brimstone kinds of ads, and for those with strong faith (of any stripe) potentially just as offensive. Is it proper to advertise for religion (or lack of?). is this a good use of funds (in a recession)? The campaign raised £135,000, significantly more funds than their target in a very short period - thou no one should dictate what the best thing to spend ones money on, if you were going to promote your own brand of belief in a way to reassure others, is this the most helpful thing you can spend on?

I know I would like this campaign a lot better if they'd gone guerilla, graffitti or any other less commercial route - why is that?

Apparently the American Humanist Association has a separate campaign busses in DC saying "Why believe in a God? Just be good for goodness' sake" any of you DC folks seen these?

if only freedom of religion was the same as freedom from religion...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

a delicious year

2008 although strange & difficult in many ways, was a great year in the kitchen for us. Aside from simple meals like cheese grits with Uncle Bruthas hot sauce, desserts containing booze, meals with friends that make us say 'we are so good at this!' & a tattered Joy of Cooking bringing the old fashioned American baked goods like biscuits & pie crust back into our house, there's been a number of all-day cooking extravaganzas and adventures in eating this year. Partially, I think this is because of our decreased pocketbooks and increased interest in sustainability, self-sufficiency, and decreasing the amount of food waste we create. Partially, it's because of our gastronaut leanings, wanting to explore all the kinds of things we can eat and prepare and the challenge of stretching a meal or ingredient as far as it will go, deliciously.

Best things I ate this year that I didn't cook (in no order):
Cheese Columbo with Eggplant from Coppola's (Richmond)
Virginia's Japanese Pickles (so spicy! send reinforcements!)
Juliana's French Onion Soup (blissfully vegetarian and so cheesy!)
Mom's biscuits (why are they so much better than mine)
Conner+Ben's PB Fudge
Baked Tagliolini with Mushrooms at Ciprinani's
Bonnie's Veggie Burger is still the best I've found in NYC & their fries w/ chipotle mayo (suggestions on competitors welcome)
hibiscus beer on tap at Beer Table - wish i could remember what it was called!
wild figs from Virginia's yard
lavender donuts from Donut Plant
Dave's lavender butter on apple pancakes (this recipe from a dream)

... probably there's a lot more that time and shoddy memory are forgetting... so to all those that fed me well this year - many thanks! come on over and we'll cook you up something good in return.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Thanksgiving kitchen-a-thon

although it was just Dave and I in Brooklyn for thanksgiving, we still managed to cook nearly all weekend. I recently, gratefully acquired a friend's Tassajara Bread Book which is by far the best bread book I've encountered (introduced to me by Brigette's Open High baking class!) for beginners and experienced bakers alike. Although the recipes require significant patience and all-day rising - they're worth it.
Although im pretty sure this glass bowl from ikea will break every time i use it (so far, many years later, it still hasn't) it's awesome for showing off the airy rise of this whole wheat dough. According to Tassajara this is because we used a starter and kneaded it till, as Brigette would say, it was smooth like a baby's butt.

This oat-molasses bread was just what we were craving and went great with the pear-apple butter.

The pie crust above was filled by dave with a banana cream pie. I'd never baked just a pie shell before - it's not the prettiest, but it did taste good! (Especially filled with pie!)

also on the cooking list for the weekend - yeast starter, and later the beer-to-be for a Red Lager (turned ale since we don't have lagering ability) - here's the mash:

also on the thxeating menu: mashed potatoes+carrots, and 'celebration roast' with delicious vegetarian gravy.

gravy makes everything good.

Friday, January 02, 2009

November - Pear-Apple Butter

i get it in my head that i'm going to can something for friends & family for holiday presents. Last year we made tomatillo salsa from our Lovejoy garden plot bounty, this year we have no such garden - damn brooklyn living. but we do have the benefit of supercheap produce from the co-op. Apple Butter sounds appealing and cheaply made, so I call Alan the produce guy who suggests Jonagold apples, which are HUGE (easy for peeling) and Bartlett pears which are so juicy they nearly melt in your hand.

I find this fine lady's recipe online (pictured, thanks folks!) and with the Ball canning guide proceed (in our usual makeshift fashion, since we don't really have the proper tools)

Some friends come over and we wash, peel, chop and then boil the fruit for hours standing on a makeshift stool so us short girls can reach the bottom of dave's giant beer pot to stir without falling in. We drink wine and eat cheese and bread and takout chinese food and stir and stir and stir. We stir for HOURS. Finally, we think that it's done, it seems to be mounding on the spoon like she said it would and jar it in a boiling water bath.

About 20lbs of fruit led to 4 quarts & 8 pints of butter, only about $50 including the jars & a saturday night for the entire process - well worth it. It had a proper debut at both dave's family's xmas lunch by the spoonful and my family's xmas dinner atop field roast and lamb, and was delicious! it probably could've boiled another while or so for the thickness you find in other apple butters, but no complaints so far!

September - Delicious Monster Fruit

at work, i get a pic mail from dave that says: 'I bought us a delicious monster.' fearfully, i look this monster up online. it's weird. i'm afraid. it's at my house. and it's shedding it's skin.

Monstera Deliciosa or Mexican Breadfruit is the fruit of a split-leaf philodendron, native to Central America. It's covered in green, vaguely poisonous scales which must be allowed to fall of on their own. (So, in addition to having a monster in your house, you must wait patiently for it to be ready to be eaten so it won't injure you). The monster sat shedding & emitting a funky odor on our counter for a few days. That weekend, Dave deemed to ready to eat and cut into it....

you know me, i'm an adventurous eater, but i'm having flashbacks to durian and thinking, am I really up for this?

Dave flicked off the scales ready to fall and cut a slice. Its smells okay, vaguely tropical and citrusy. he bites into it, i'm poised with camera for reaction shot (& phone for poison control) and.... he likes it!

okay. my turn. im skeptical. the black flecks remind me of the myth of black seeds in bananas being tarantula eggs, but i am bold. i bite, and... yeah, its okay. kinda like banana+pineapple, only with kernels, somewhat like corn. it'd probably be a good addition to a fruit salad. there's big seeds in it which are a surprise. the back of my throat is a little tingly. I've eaten it and i lived. the other half rots in the fridge. sorry.

another exciting day in eating, another strange thing from the produce aisle eaten. but, probably not again.

What was the best thing you ate this year?

I'm reliving my year in food in prep for your enjoyment, and wanted to know - What was the best thing you ate (drank?) this year? Please respond in comments! xo!