Monday, Monday– or 7 truly random links reflecting the scattered nature of my mind this morning

portrait of Obama by John Hart

The world’s tiniest portrait of President Obama was made by John Hart, a professor of engineering at the University of Michigan using some kind of crazy laser technology. To the naked eye, they evidently look like tiny black dots. (Photo courtesy John Hart via NPR)

And with that, I welcome you to the wonderful world of nanoart.

When you’re feeling the need for a clarifying detox, you may not need to look further than your own fridge.

This doesn’t help me (or my fellow iPhone users) but you Android people should check out Unclouded, a brilliant new app that helps clear out the clutter in your cloud. (I can’t believe I just wrote that…)

I’m not sure why I am linking to this, but if you want to feel kind of badly about how you’ve been doing, read this New York Magazine piece about how the .00003% live, and weep.

Phew! Modern Farmer has finally investigated how to farm a clam that can grow 3 feet long and live for over a century.

OK to make up for the absurdity of the last link, here’s something useful… 28 fall weeknight meals you can make in under an hour. Thanks Bon Apètit!

I forgot how hilarious Robin Williams is in Mrs. Doubtfire

Happy 5775!

honey apple brandy cocktail

I lifted this photo from Bon Appetit… which should be obvious from the carefully cut out star pattern in the perfect apple slice. I don’t think I could even pretend to have the patience to garnish my drinks like that. Perhaps in my next life…

So here it is, the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year.

I am not Jewish, but my husband is and our daughter proudly embraces pretty much any religion that involves gift giving and/or the eating of sweets, which makes for a busy holiday season. It begins now and basically slides on down the slippery slope through Yom Kippur into Halloween, Thanksgiving and then the holy grails of Christmas and Hanukkah. We finally get to rest our wallets (and our sweet teeth) in January.

One of the great things about being a multi-faith family is that we are able to pick and choose our favorite bits from all of the traditions we grew up with and create our own mixed green salad of celebrations. And one thing I think I may add to the pot this year is the above pictured absolutely delicious looking drink I saw on the Bon Appètit website yesterday.

It’s got apples (in the form of cider and brandy) and honey (for a sweet new year) some bourbon to add extra kick and some citrus to help ward off the early autumn colds. In short, everything you need to help start the new year off sweetly.

Here’s what you need:

INGREDIENTS
SPICED HONEY SYRUP
2 cinnamon sticks
3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
3 whole allspice
¼ cup honey

ASSEMBLY
6 ounces fresh blood orange juice
4 ounces applejack brandy
4 ounces bourbon
8-12 ounces hard cider
Apple slices (for serving)

And here’s how to do it:

SPICED HONEY SYRUP
Bring cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, honey, and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Let cool, then strain into an airtight container; discard solids.

ASSEMBLY
For each cocktail, combine 1 1/2 oz. blood orange juice, 1 oz. brandy, 1 oz. bourbon, and 1 Tbsp. spiced honey syrup in a cocktail shaker. Fill shaker with ice and shake until outside of shaker is frosty, about 30 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice and top off with hard cider. Garnish with an apple slice.

Or go straight to the source and see it on Bon Appètit!

Another thing I really don’t need but totally want regardless

wooden rulers by Hay

Do you think if you get rulers like these, your kids would automatically understand the metric system of linear units of measure?

OK so part of my (seemingly endless) de-cluttering project has involved discovering just how many versions of single items I actually have. Lets not get into how many blank pads of paper (of various sizes) or scotch tape, or half empty bottles of Elmer’s glue, or scissors I have unearthed… And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Turns out I have 4 or 5 rulers, of various sizes. But none of them are as happy as these Geo-metric rulers by Hay that my evil husband had the nerve to point out to me the other night. He claims to want to help me to minimize my possessions, but I’m not so sure. Luckily, the site is in the UK, so maybe I can’t get my hands on them after all.

Oh no wait, they ship internationally, for a small fee.

Rats…

Monday, Monday (on Tuesday, but whatever) bringing you a few more links about climate change

People's Climate March poster

As a mother, this particular People’s Climate March poster really speaks to my heightened concern for the future of our planet. When you have a kid, the whole situation becomes extremely personal.

It would be amazing if we could just look back on Sunday’s approximately 400,000 person strong People’s Climate March and know that the job is done, the tide has turned, and global warming has come to a screeching halt.

No such luck. But hopefully some of the grownups at the UN climate summit are now considering listening to the population rather than simply the gas and oil industry.

And in the meantime, we can all become better informed, and then, if everybody pitches in just a tiny bit (be it with a check or a petition or changing some of our bad habits) the wheels will start spinning and we’ll be off to the races.

Here are a few links to get your juices flowing:

Read what the Huffington Post had to say about Sunday’s big march. And here’s what they said (plus a lovely slide show) over at The New York Times.

If you’re looking for the front line, in depth news on the fight against climate change, check out Think Progress’ section on the climate.

At 12:50 today, President Obama is going to announce an executive order that requires all federal agencies to factor the impact of climate change into the design of international development programs and investments. Watch the speech live here.

What the hell is global warming, anyway? The NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) breaks it down for us all here. And you can dive deeper with this great bibliography of all NY Times global warming coverage.

Check out this list of 10 easy things you can do yourself to combat global warming. Doing just one or two can make a huge difference.

In case you were wondering where all the money is going, listen to Hayride Casualties‘ Dan Asselin singing about ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson.

But not all oil people are bad guys. In fact, the Rockefeller family, who made the vast majority of their fortune with Standard Oil, are now getting out of the carbon fuel business. Woo hoo! Thanks guys…

Yesterday, at some point…

People's Climate March NYC 2014

We spent the day with almost 400,000 fellow citizens of the world speaking out and voicing our concern about the state of the global climate and demanding that the powers that be begin to actually do something to turn the tide of global warming before it’s too late.

My phone was full (of course) so I went old school and shot polaroids of some of my favorite signs… there was so much energy on the streets of Manhattan and it made me feel like we might actually make a difference. Plus it’s so important for our kids, the next generation of leaders, to grow up understanding the importance of speaking out for what you believe in.

I went to bed last night exhausted but happy.

For more info, photos, inspiration, etc, check out the People’s Climate March.

Monday, Monday– or more links about back-to-school and all that entails…

hershel's backpack

Somehow, unbeknownst to me, a tradition of getting a new backpack every year has entrenched itself in our family. Unbeknownst to the little one, a tradition of giving away our excess of lightly used backpacks is about to begin as well. Above, this year’s model, from Hershel’s.

First off, my apologies for being a bit slack last week. I had all of these plans to come back from Maine with a barrage of posts, but instead, I spent the entire week (when I wasn’t remembering how to pack lunches and adhere to strict schedules) gathering the images I need for an artist’s talk I’m giving at the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton this Friday. I have handed them in (woo hoo!!) and am now able to get back to the business of clearing out clutter, not getting enough sleep and assuming that everybody is doing a better job than I am at ushering their kid into second grade…

Mid-September also marks the beginning of sweater weather… and with sweaters comes soup, in all of its glory. Here are over 30 great new recipes to try out while you’re trying on your wool scarves and leggings during these next few weeks.

And while we’re on the topic of food, here are the 15 recipes every parent should know, according to Dinner a Love Story…

OK OK I admit it, I scrolled all the way through this whole post on Refinery 29 because I actually wanted to know what all of the other Hogwarts grads are up to these days.

Oh my God I think this might be the Best. Thing. Ever.

An interesting post about an interesting book about the best way to study

Please oh please oh please do not let my daughter end up in a school like the one featured in Spike Lee’s School Daze. Please…?

Yesterday, at some point…

redbook oct issue

I knew it was coming (the photo shoot and the interviews were back in mid July) and I’d even seen a digital version (the photo editor sent me a pdf of our page a few days ago.) But it somehow didn’t feel real untill my mother walked in with the October issue of Redbook in her hands. And there we were, all smiling and made up and happily sharing our family beauty secrets with the world.

I loved meeting the other families on the shoot and feel honored to be in such good company. The Redbook crew couldn’t have been lovelier or more professional and Andrew Eccles is a world class photographer who has been shooting beautiful portraits since the olden days of film. But best of all was getting to hang out and play dress up with my mom and my daughter, whose company I adore.

So a big thank you, Redbook, for giving me the opportunity to remember how lucky I am to have such inspiring women around me!

___________________________________
Yesterday, at some point is a series of photographs that describe a moment I experienced during the previous day. The posts are meant to be stand alone images, though at times I can’t control myself, and I end up expanding the caption into a more lengthy bit of text. Hopefully the extra information is useful, or at least interesting. If not, feel free to ignore it.

The more things change…

9/11 missing signs

These are 9 of the 240 SX-70 Polaroids I took of signs people put up after their loved ones didn’t surface from the bombing of the World Trade Center on Sept 11, 2001…

Thirteen years ago, I was in a cab crossing the 59th street bridge, cursing the traffic, when I turned to look downtown and saw the World Trade Center burning. By the time I’d delivered my assignment (I was shooting fashion week parties for style.com at the time) the whole world had turned upside down as we realized that a brutal act of terrorism can actually happen right at our front door.

For the next few days, I was marooned in the west village with my then boyfriend (now husband) and my SX-70 Polaroid camera (not sure why I had it with me, but there you are.) We spent lots of time wandering the streets, and I found myself compelled to photograph the missing sings that people were beginning to put up– evidence of a desperate optimism that was unfortunately largely unfounded.

And now we listen to President Obama talking about beginning yet another War On Terror against a new mutation of Al Qaeda that threatens to put us all back in the same place we were over a decade ago.

I know that history repeats itself, but it seems to me that the cycles have become unsustainably short.

May all of the once and future victims of this horrible chapter in history rest in peace and may we eventually learn how to live with each other in such a way that we do not feel compelled to blow our fellow man into oblivion every time they stray from whatever our chosen value set might be.

Gone fishing…

It's almost over...

It’s almost over…

We are finally packing our bags and are going to be enjoying the last burst of summer on a tiny island in Maine. It’s completely off the grid, with no cars, barely any internet (smart phones have managed to find a way to function, but the service is, thankfully, spotty) lots of lobsters and long walks in the woods and collecting of rocks. It’s our annual moment to recharge as a family.

We’ve got friends in our house, so the plants will be watered and the fish will be fed. I’ve got autorespond vacation messages on my e mail, and I will be unplugging for the better part of the next 10 days.

So go make some cobbler and drink some honey punch and enjoy these last few lazy days. I’ll be back in business around the 6th of September and can’t wait to share all sorts of nonsense with you all then.

Take it easy…

The best clam chowder ever

My very own clam chowder. That I made all by myself. With the help of Mr Sam Sifton of the NY Times.

My very own clam chowder. That I made all by myself. With the help of Mr Sam Sifton of the NY Times.

I’ve had the NY Times article with this recipe open on my browser for a couple of weeks and have finally (FINALLY!) gotten around to making it. I’m not sure why, but I have always considered New England clam chowder to be something that one orders at restaurants. I am happy to report that I have now become a person-who-makes-their-own-chowder.

And I couldn’t be happier, because this soup is seriously delicious. And easy to make. Plus it’s hard to go wrong when bacon is a main ingredient.

The recipe is below, or you can go straight to the source, and admire their far superior photograph while you’re at it.

Sam Sifton’s New England style clam chowder

TOTAL TIME
1 hour

Ingredients

24 medium-size quahog clams, usually rated ‘‘top neck’’ or ‘‘cherrystone,’’ rinsed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 pound slab bacon or salt pork, diced
2 leeks, tops removed, halved and cleaned, then sliced into half moons
3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups cream
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped parsley.

Preparation

1. Put the clams in a large, heavy Dutch oven, add about 4 cups water, then set over medium-high heat. Cover, and cook until clams have opened, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. (Clams that fail to open after 15 to 20 minutes should be discarded.) Strain clam broth through a sieve lined with cheesecloth or doubled-up paper towels, and set aside. Remove clams from shells, and set aside as well.

2. Rinse out the pot, and return it to the stove. Add butter, and turn heat to medium-low. Add bacon or salt pork, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat has rendered and the pork has started to brown, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove pork from fat, and set aside.

3. Add the leeks to the fat, and cook, stirring frequently, until they are soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in potatoes and wine, and continue cooking until wine has evaporated and the potatoes have just started to soften, approximately 5 minutes. Add enough clam broth to just cover the potatoes, approximately 3 cups, reserving the rest for another use. Add the thyme and the bay leaf.

4. Partly cover the pot, and simmer gently until potatoes are tender, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, chop the clams into bits about the size of the bacon dice.

6. When potatoes are tender, add cream and stir in chopped clams and reserved bacon. Add black pepper to taste. Let come to a simmer, and remove from heat. (Do not let chowder come to a full boil.) Fish out the thyme and the bay leaf, and discard.

7. The chowder should be allowed to sit for a while to cure. Reheat it to a bare simmer before serving, then garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with oyster crackers.

YIELD
8 to 10 servings