Out Of The Smoke And Into The Fire

May 9, 2010 by

Those of you bloggers out there might be familiar with the slump that procedes that initial blogging fervor, where you go from “postpostpost!facebook-we-have-new-posts!-post” to “meh, I could expend extra time and effort and brain cells writing a post, or I could catch up on Real Housewives of New York City.” Well, I haz it. Still. But, after:

  • 8 weeks of stress-fractured-foot-induced lassitude.
  • 4 sojourns south (New Orleans) and east (Italy) and still east(Boston) and more east(ditto) again.
  • 5 million reminders that a) we have a blog, and b)we ARE posting again. and again.

I’m back.
With a post about Times Square, because its recent near-immolation made me see it in a kinder light. I’m lying, actually. Times Square is a horrid, soulless, chain-filled wasteland, but it is in this post, because this post is about my walk from work at 4 Times Square to our apartment in Cobble Hill.
One-way walks, when you can fit them in, are so satisfying—your backdrop never repeats, and every step is taking you thatmuchcloser. This one hits all the major squares in lower Manhattan: Times, Herald, Madison, Union, and Washington, plus Tribeca and the Brooklyn Bridge. In total, it’s a bit over 5 miles, so get your good shoes on player, and get ’em tied up tight. Va be’? Andiamo! Read the rest of this entry »


the state i am in

May 6, 2010 by

Our kitchen goes through states, which may or may not reflect the general life states the roommates are going through. Right now, in general, there is a sense of unexpectedness, of disorder, of a little anxiety of what’s to come for all of us. (See: canning.) Usually our kitchen is a near perfect balance between cleanliness and disorder, not so clean you feel like you have to pick up every crumb you spill (well, god knows I don’t) but not so dirty you don’t want to spend lots of time there, either cooking or hanging out. Because we do, we love to spend time together in the kitchen.

The other night the kitchen was cluttered, it was filled with canned goods and rice and dirty dishes and my computer and shredded coconut and the millions of water glasses I am currently going through.  The next morning it was a little better, as all cluttered nights feel better after you sleep on it. And I think as the week goes on, it will most likely stay on the cluttered side, but I kind of like that. Life is never a shiny, clean kitchen. Especially when you’re graduating. But regardless, even the most cluttered kitchen has the potentiality to produce the best kind of cookie: Coconut Oatmeal white and chocolate chip. Yeah. These cookies go into the baked goods hall of fame.

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what to do when your roommate starts canning compulsively

May 4, 2010 by

Zoe called it a “canning bender.” I called it “preparing for the apocalypse,” because that’s exactly what it looked like Zoe was doing each time I would come home to yet another set of canned goods. But really, as far as different methods of dealing with one’s anxiety go, this is by far the most productive.

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bought marmalade? that is rather feeble.

April 27, 2010 by

I’m on a canning bender. No rational reason really applies: it’s not canning season, and I don’t have a lot of free time on my hands. Suspicion was aroused on day 2 of the bender when caramelized onion relish and lemon curd joined the pickled asparagus in the growing pile of jars on our counter top. I want to have lots of good food from home to bring when I move upstate. That sounds so reasonable in my head! I think it’s really an expression of not-so-secret anxiety, an unconscious choice to substitute boiling of water baths for boiling over of tempers.  When I say I’m canning because I’m worried about leaving the 24 hour delis, the grocery store within walking distance, Jakes for meat, I really mean I don’t want to leave my roommates. I don’t want to leave our apartment.

What if I miss out on collapsing in Prospect Park on hot days? What if I miss out on how long the daylight gets between the end of work and bedtime and how much fun can fit in there? What if I miss out on living with Liz again, or another really great sub-letter? What if I miss out on the list of summer concerts Nicole is currently compiling? The condition is called FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), and right now I’ve got it bad. Luckily, this is a regular occurrence for me, and soon after I leave, I’ll realize there is grass to nap in out there, roads to bike and hopefully a good bar or two. That the sun sets only 2 minutes earlier today in Tivoli than in Brooklyn, which means there will still be those long summer afternoons.  I hope there will be friendly people to meet up where I’m moving … and if not, I know I’ll come back to this city, not so long from now that my friends will be gone … and … there are some great videos on Youtube on learning to knit I’ve been meaning to watch.

Anyway, canning is the perfect cooking project for anyone who suffers from FOMO. You can catch produce at its peak, press pause and keep it for a bleaker season, or a bleaker moment in the contents of your cupboards. Right now, asparagus and ramps are the way to go, locally. Citrus has been on my brain too, because even organic citrus is so so cheap right now!

So today, marmalade.

And yesterday, deep purple onion relish with red wine and vinegar and a pale yellow lemon curd (made with yolks from such pretty blue eggs!).

And the day before, asparagus.

And tomorrow? Who knows what we’ll add to the pile. Ideas?

Recipes (and basic jar-processing instructions) after the jump …

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cheesy dreamy

April 26, 2010 by

There was some protest to the photograph I chose to lead my last post with, so this begins with a picture unarguably adorable. Looking at pictures of cows, being around cows, listening to cows moo, these things all make me indescribably happy. So you can imagine the state I was in the other week when I went to visit Hawthorne Valley Farm with Zoe. (We also took a visit to Zoe’s new home and I got a preview of her awesome new digs!) I was doing research for a piece I’m just finishing on the raw milk movement in New York City. Hawthorne Valley Farm, at 2 and a half hours away (if you don’t get lost, but that’s a different story), is the closest place for New Yorkers to legally buy raw milk. A lot of raw milk is delivered from various upstate farms into the city through the ‘raw milk black market’ (not making this up) but in the State of New York, the only way to legally purchase it is buying straight from the 20 or so farms with a milk permit.

There are a lot of legal issues, heated emotions, debatable health risks and debatable health benefits behind raw milk. After speaking to many, many people on the issue, I’ve come to something of a conclusion. I believe you take a risk drinking raw milk comparable to the risk you take eating ground beef from the supermarket. As long as the farm your milk is coming from is clean, small, and humane, the milk you’ll get is going to be good. It’s a great way to support local dairy farms, as milk is one of the few real money makers left for smaller farms. And, raw milk just tastes incredible. After you’ve tried it, ultra-pasteurization seems like a criminal thing: milk is not supposed to be watery and bland! It’s just not, and that’s that. And oh yeah, raw milk makes awesome cheese.

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comings and goings

April 23, 2010 by

It has been a long semester, in both wonderful and challenging ways. It began, honestly, with this blog. We had been planning to write here in previous months, practicing our camera work and recipies, brainstorming blog names and themes. I got my beloved Canon Rebel for Christmas (thanks, mom and dad!) took a few pictures of the mason jars in our kitchen, borrowed the name Zoe cleverly thought of, and here we are. It’s overwhelming, really, to think of where we are now. I have a job! After many many many months of not knowing where to go after graduation, I have been lucky enough to get a job I am really, really excited about. And will keep me in Brooklyn. So I’m not going anywhere.

But roommates travel, leave, and hopefully come back. Not all of us are staying in the city, but I think you find something really wonderful around here after you put enough time in New York to call it home. Every time you leave, it feels like a breath of fresh air, but nothing is like returning to New York. Even if only to visit, the cold city becomes welcoming, friends from all across boroughs gather to reunite, and adventures happen. This post is about an adventure we had my first night back in New York this past semester, our last semester. And yes, it has something to do with food.

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six week muffins and a quick trip to the bay

April 20, 2010 by

This past week I booked a last minute ticket home to the Bay Area. While my visit wasn’t under the most ideal of circumstances, it turned out to be a great week. In addition to spending some quality time with the ‘rents, I got to celebrate with Katie for her 22nd birthday, watch Jill and the rest of Cal crew dominate Stanford and Wisconsin at the Lake Natoma invitational races in Sacramento and experience the infamous “Around the Clock” Happy Hour in Berkeley at the Bear’s Lair. My mom, who has perfected the art of taking a butter, cream and/or sugar-laden recipe and adjusting it to be more healthful and less caloric while still maintaining it’s flavor and integrity, shared with me an awesome muffin recipe that I will be very quickly adopting. Read the rest of this entry »

driving me bananas

April 16, 2010 by

(Photo Credit: Dan Fuerst)

I just read an article today that had to go on this blog. It’s about recipes.

“The recipe book always contains two things: news of how something is made, and assurance that there’s a way to make it, with the implicit belief that if I know how it is done I can show you how to do it. The premise of the recipe book is that these two things are naturally balanced; the secret of the recipe book is that they’re not. The space between learning the facts about how something is done and learning how to do it always turns out to be large, at times immense.” – Adam Gopnik

Read more here.


April 14, 2010 by

Photo Credit: Channing Kehoe

“This might be the last group trip we ever go on,” Sami and I told ourselves, climbing into the tour bus. We remembered field trips, overnight camping trips in middle school, community service trips, study abroad … we’ve sure been lucky in quantity and quality of trips. This recent spring break trip was through the Gallatin Deans Honor Society, a lofty name for a group of kids and professors that meet every other week to discuss, well, this year, Greece. And then we got to go there. So that was great.

Inspired before we even packed our bags, we experimented with dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), and brought them to our meeting for everyone to try. While these stuffed grape leaves grace many a standard salad bar and can be purchased in the frozen food section of your local grocery store, the homemade version is a different experience altogether. Ask Sami, who wouldn’t even try them the first time we made them — her experience up to that point with the dish was with the dense, turdlike dolmas, which seriously resemble in appearance and texture those owl pellets we used to dissect in science class. But ask her again now, three or four batches in.

What makes these so special? They are orphanos, or meatless — but hold your association with gelatinous rice filling — ours are stuffed with brown rice steamed with onions, garlic and dill, mixed with chopped raisins and toasted pine nuts and drizzled with olive oil and lemon. And they are remarkably airy inside (due to what many consider a dolma making faux pa, but I would call a fresh idea).

At the bottom of this post we’ve shared our recipe. But first — a little bit about our travels.

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in protest of those roommates not posting!

April 13, 2010 by

The average person passes 1/2 liters of fart gas per day, over an average of 14 daily farts.