Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

the state i am in

May 6, 2010

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.



what to do when your roommate starts canning compulsively

May 4, 2010

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.


bought marmalade? that is rather feeble.

April 27, 2010

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 …


cheesy dreamy

April 26, 2010

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.


comings and goings

April 23, 2010

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.


driving me bananas

April 16, 2010

(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

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.


in protest of those roommates not posting!

April 13, 2010

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

on why chickens make me happy

April 12, 2010

And so we’re back…


a long but insufficient excuse

April 9, 2010

We’ve been gone too long — I couldn’t remember our password.

Here’s a short explanation why, though  it’s not a real one … the real one has more to do with laziness, with collective angst about the future, and with the amount of time second semester college students spend in bars.

We last posted a month ago (less one day).

The month has been challenging, in exciting ways, difficult ways, and scary and sad ways. What follows is  a list of the more fun ones — but part of our hearts are at home right now with the people we love.

Since then, one roommate has traveled to Berlin,

one to New Orleans,

one to Paris,

two to Greece,

and two to Far Rockaway.

Since then, we have discovered the joy of duty free.

Since then, the contents of our fridge has dwindled to its current state (maple syrup from our CSA, bright pink broth Sami made with beets, butter, ketchup, 2 PBR tall boys, yogurt, a large quantity of souvenir cheese, and half a bag of lettuce)

Since then, one roommate got the ultimate full time job – can’t give more away, she’s got to do this post!

Since then, one roommate got a part time job researching and writing about something we all love.

Since then, we’ve cheered for the Healthcare bill, and stopped planning rushes to nasal drip specialists etc. to squeeze the last drops out of our plans. (Except nobody told Nic — she is currently at the eye doctor.)

Since then, one roommate has logged 200+ miles of bike training, not including commutes to school.

Since then, the roommate who sometimes tags along has logged about 40.

Since then, after ceaseless berating — one roommate has finally purchased a helmet.

Since then, the last of the roommates passed their colloquii after much diligent preparation.

Since then, our relationship with the bartender downstairs has evolved, especially after he chatted with one roommate’s mother and played game of banana grams on the floor.

Since then, one roommate earned a killer never-have-i-ever point.

Since then, at least one more roommate has developed a fanatic appreciation for Taboo.

Since then, one roommate kugeled around the kitchen all weekend to prepare a seder for a Swede, a South African, a Frenchie and two Stahls but not Val.

Since then, we have received threats of various levels and sincerity about our blog’s paralysis.

Since then, one roommate turned 22 dressed like it was 2001, and was on a beer run during her birthday song.

Since then, we sang again!

Speaking of singing … we’ve hosted several sing alongs in the past weeks.

Since then, we’ve cooked dolmas twice, chocolate peanut butter cupcakes, flourless, dairyless chocolate cookies, egg salad and vegetable barley soup.

Since then, we’ve eaten a whole cheesecake.

Since then, we made hard choices and pared our tupperware collection down to several dozen.

Since then, we’ve hosted more than 12 guests, including 3 Couchsurfers — from Germany, Rochester and Montreal — and 2 old friends who feel more like 6th and 7th roommates.

Since then, two roommates planted 4 rows of carrots.

Since then 4 of us left for the weekend, but the remaining roommate wasted no time finding replacements.

Since then, one roommate got to be the cool older sister, changing the date on a bus ticket among other bad-ass crimes.

Since then, we’ve collectively purchased 6 bus tickets to Boston and 4 to DC.

Since then, two families met for Easter with minimal dysfunction and a great game of charades.

Since then, a Crop to Cup opened a shop down the block, but we still sometimes go to Henry’s Express.

Since then, we’ve seen the sun come out, the days get longer, and the ice cube trays get re-filled three times as often.

And now we’re back, maybe sporadically, but we really don’t have much else to do anymore … so we’ll be filling you in over the next few days about some of the stories above that beg for expansion.