98 articles

I am no longer afraid of butternut squash.

Thanks to this brilliant video I just watched on Food52. You should all watch this and then prepare to make all sorts of stuff out of those butternut squashes you have sitting on your counters from your CSAs that you have not touched because they are such a pain in the neck to deal with and you are too lazy.

And by “you” I of course mean “me”.

Or rather, the “me” of the past. Because the new me is going to make some bad ass soup out of this million pound baby we got in our box last week. See photo of aforementioned mutant squash below:

butternut squash and feet

A very mysterious and painterly iphone photo of the squash next to my feet, so you can see just how HUGE it really is.

I promise to tell you all about it if it’s delicious.

Wrapping it up

sandwich wraps on provisions by food52

These sandwich wraps from Provisions for Food52 are the perfect combination of stylish and sustainable. (ugh. that sounded like a magazine caption…) Photo courtesy of Food52.

I save and reuse my zip-loc bags. It drives my husband crazy, because I wash them and hang them up like flags all over the kitchen to dry. They are plastic, and hence automatically evil, I know, but they are damned useful. And I figure if I am using them over and over again, they’re less wasteful, right?

Kind of right. But really, if I could figure out some way to eradicate them from my kitchen drawer without sacrificing functionality, I would be a happy woman.

Turns out, I’m one step closer to Nirvana now that my friend Deborah Copaken Kogan tipped me off to these sandwich wraps from Food52′s online shop (called Provisions, which is kind of confusing for me as that is the name of the health food store I love in Sag Harbor, but whatever.)

Made in Georgia out of vintage fabrics (but with a stain resistant nylon interior) these wraps are machine washable and built to last. Plus they are pretty enough to cheer a person up when he or she is all groggy making lunch for the kids before everybody wakes up and the chaos of the day begins.

I haven’t gotten any yet, but I’m totally ordering myself up a set just as soon as I work out why the image isn’t loading properly for this post. I swear.

Monday, monday

Listen to gardener/activist Ron Finley talk about planting food in South Central LA and then go grow your own food.

Who knew that fermented food is amazing for supporting your digestive system? Turns out, fresh isn’t the only thing to look for when it comes to eating right.

I am totally going to try this recipe for braised pork loin. No for real. It looks delicious and evidently it can’t be messed up…

My favorite kids cookbook these days.

Just think about how much cuter my grains would look if they were stored in these jars

We all know that drinking soda is bad for us, and worse for our kids, right? (Please say yes…) But did you know that soda is actually making our kids more violent?

And, for no good reason, I am including this article I just read a few minutes ago listing the 20 cities most vulnerable to flooding given the current state of the world. Which scared the bejeezus out of me, by the way, and made me wonder why oh why am I so attached to NYC?

Shelter Island deliciousness

Reddings pizza

The pizza menu at Reddings Market on Shelter Island.

This week, we visited some friends who are renting a picture perfect house, right on the water in Shelter Island. It has everything you could want… a big yard for the kids to run around in, equipped with an amazing old fashioned wooden playhouse (with real window boxes, a toy kitchen, a picket fence– the works!) Plus, right out front, the beautiful bay with a sweeping view of both sunrise and sunset.

If you looked up perfect childhood summer memories in the dictionary (remember dictionaries?), the first photo would be of this place.

The only thing they don’t have on site is an endless supply of food. For that, we headed over to Reddings Market, a great local gourmet market that alone makes the ferry ride worthwhile. — Read more

Buy the right stuff

Bi Rite grocers

The Bi Rite store in San Francisco looks like a little unobtrusive grocery store that’s been around for half a century, and yet…

When I walked into this little market on Dividsadero in San Francisco, I was suddenly overcome with the desire to take out my camera and photograph everything. And then I realized that I’d had this exact feeling before, in this exact place, about 7 years ago when I was last in the city by the bay.

Much like Diner (and Marlow & Sons, and Marlow & Daughters, etc etc) Bi-Rite is actually an empire disguised as a little neighborhood market. But what a lovely empire it is. — Read more

Grown-up soda

brooklyn soda works

In an attempt to keep this delicious soda all to myself, I told my daughter it was “for grown ups” and that she probably wouldn’t like it.
No such luck.

This blue bottle of heaven from Brooklyn Soda Works arrived with our CSA bounty this past week. Who wouldn’t be excited about drinking Apple & Rosemary soda? To wit: the scene at the dinner table last night wasn’t pretty, with my husband and daughter almost coming to blows over the last few drops.

Which of course sent me, in a panic, to brooklynsodaworks.com, desperately searching for information on how I can get more of this stuff into our lives. Especially after I heard mention of flavors like hibiscus & mint, or grapefruit, jalapeno & honey.

Of course you can’t just get some at your nearest Whole Foods, but if you happen to be in Williamsburg on a weekend, stop by Smorgasburg or the Brooklyn Flea to fill up. Or order one with a meal at Parish Hall, Blue Hill or a number of other small tasty eating establishments around town.

In the meantime, I will now try to figure out how to become best friends with them, so they’ll deliver straight to my door. I’ll let you guys know how I make out…

So fresh and so green

netdoororganics csa bag

Here’s what was in our bag a couple of weeks ago… when things were still “lean.” Can’t wait to see what a “bountiful” bag looks like.

It is the glory days. The season of the CSA. For the past couple of years, we had the good fortune of belonging to a CSA (community supported agriculture… ie buying food directly from the farmer) that was run by an old friend who had decamped to western Massachusetts to run his family farm.

Well he’s since married and had a kid, and has very realistically decided that running a high end food delivery service for his pals in NYC wasn’t what he wanted to keep doing. So he shut down, much to my dismay. I actually thought it was all over, until I saw a sign for Nextdoorganics at Egg, one of my favorite local restaurants.

And now, for $25 – $50 a week, I get an abundance of delicious greens, veggies and fruit fresh from local farms. I can pick it up a few blocks from my place, or for an extra $5 they’ll deliver. Plus, I can add on extras like kombucha, garlic paste, eggs… soon meat and fish will also be options.

There’s also an active twitter feed where fellow CSA’ers share recipes, a newsletter where resident Chef Chrissy breaks down what’s in each weeks packages and gives her own tips for how to enjoy the bounty.

The best part? You pay by the week. So if you’re not going to be around for a week (or 4) you can let them know. They won’t pack a bag for you and you don’t have to pay. Oh yeah, and they operate year round (woo hoo!!)

If you live in Brooklyn, or the lower half of Manhattan, there is no reason not to check them out and join up.

You won’t be sorry.

Sweets for the sweet

artisinal marshmallows by wondermade

Your grandmother would definitely recognize all 6 ingredients in these babies.

I have gotten into the bad habit of arriving every afternoon at my daughter’s school with some kind of treat. And by treat, I of course mean some kind of sweet thing. Not blackberries mind you (though she loves those, too) but something that falls into the forbidden-fruit category of — dare I say it — candy.

And as I am one of those parents who puts a limit on the amount of sugar ingested by my child every day, this has begun to pose a challenge. I am not so hard core as to turn my nose up at all sweets, but if we’re going to eat ice cream, let it please be from the artisinal homemade indie ice cream truck, not Mr Softee, if you know what I mean.

And we live in a town that makes this kind of discretion easy, thank god.

So imagine my delight when, after eating a delicious breakfast at Alice’s Arbor in Bed Stuy, I sidled up to their little grocery counter and discovered these homemade, all-natural-ingredients marshmallows by a company called Wondermade. It’s the perfect after school bite: A box full of 16 tiny bits of sweet soft deliciousness, without the high fructose corn syrup I have been so studiously avoiding since I became a parent.

Made by a couple on Orlando, FL, they come in all sorts of off beat flavors like orangesicle, root beer and lemonade. They even have a special 4 pack for Father’s Day consisting of bourbon, coffee, guiness and maple bacon. How cool is that?

And if you don’t happen to see them in a store in your hood, you can always buy them online. (just like you probably buy everything else, anyway…)

An indoor herb garden

cult evergreen planter

Now even I, whose Native American name should be plant-killer, can keep my thyme alive.

I don’t know about you guys, but it drives me crazy to have to buy a big bunch of, fresh thyme lets just say, only to use a sprig or two before the rest of it dries up and shrivels away. Such a waste of thyme and money. Plus there’s all that packaging that ends up primarily in the landfill.

This year, I resolved to do something about this horrendous problem. Blissfully on my way (in my mind) to becoming an indoor year-round herb farmer, sprinkling good taste wherever I go, I bought a thyme plant, potted it, and killed it within two weeks.


But then, enter my husband, with the most perfect birthday gift ever (also typical). The idiot-proof-and-also-attractive square planter from the Swedish company Cult. Here’s how it works:

The top part is made of unfinished terra cotta, natural, absorbent, historic (in constant use for 5000 years!). The plant lives in there. The bottom part is glazed, and the water lives in there. Once a week or so, you fill the bottom with water, and these canvas straps soak it up and transfer it to the hungry roots living in the top part. The plant drinks what it wants, when it wants, and you barely have to pay any attention to it at all.

Except for when that recipe calls for a sprig of thyme.

(Continue on if you want to get one of these things RIGHT NOW! Like for mother’s day… hint hint?) — Read more

Tea for flu


Cold and flu season has hit us hard this year. Just about everybody is sick, was just sick, or feels like they might be getting sick. Plus the temperatures around these parts are barely reaching 20 degrees, which makes for a brutal combination.

So what do you do besides get enough sleep, take your vitamins and wash your hands like a maniac? Oh and get the flu shot, if you are so inclined?

DRINK TEA. And lots of it.

Here are my three favorite teas for battling this onslaught of viruses. All delicious, all effective and all kid friendly. Because lets face it, your kids spend all day in a petrie dish… oh no wait… school… and are bringing all sorts of stuff home with them besides homework.

Elderberry: According to a 2001 study from Jerusalem’s Hadassah University Hospital, this herb activates the immune system and may be effective against over 10 strains of flu– considerably more than the annual flu shot. (Just sayin’…) In fact, it has been used for centuries by Native Americans to reduce fever and other symptoms. It is rich in both antioxidants and vitamin C, which we all know are super helpful in fortifying the system against catching colds and flu. And, if you are unlucky enough to come down with something, drinking this tea can significantly reduce the time you are sick. Like in half. Which doesn’t suck. Plus it is delicious and sweet, making it super easy to convince the little ones to drink it. Add a spoon of honey and it’s basically candy.

Ginger: Widely known to ease nausea, Chinese herbalists have long used this root as an antihistamine and a decongestant, two substances whose services are much in demand around this time of year. My favorite way to make ginger tea is to roughly chop up a good sized root, put it in a pot of water (3 or 4 cups) boil it till the whole kitchen smells like ginger (20 mins or so), then pour it into a mug, adding the juice of half a lemon, a big spoonful of honey and a pinch of cayenne pepper. I drink loads of this whenever I feel a fever coming on and I swear it makes me feel better.

Lemon balm: The anti-viral qualities of this herb make it ideal to drink when you are feeling under the weather, and it has been found to combat mumps as well as to bring on a sweat that helps reduce fever. A member of the mint family, this herb is really easy to grow, so you can easily keep a fresh supply going in a pot in your kitchen. It is also known to be a bit of a tranquilizer, so it helps you get the sleep you need to heal.

Oh and if you want to know where to get this great teapot pictured above (a favorite holiday gift from one of my husband’s colleagues) read on… — Read more