31 May 2012

a peace treaty

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Wishing I could invest in one of these large, soft-looking, colorful scaves from A Peace Treaty. I'd love to keep one with me always, wrap it cozily around me in the air conditioned movie theater, use it to dress up a simple black dress or as a cozy shawl with sweatpants.






Found via Destined to Design.
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29 May 2012

rhubarbia

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Last summer, when I was busy hunting down pretty little heirlooms for tomato cobbler, I always had an eye out for rhubarb. I keep glimpsing dark red stalks at farmers markets, and I would race over to find out they were invariably rainbow Swiss chard! Curse you, chard, and I'm only slightly sorry that I now have an unreasonable grudge against you.

Anyway, last weekend I went to the Union Square Market, fully confident that rhubarb victory would finally be mine....but the person at the information booth informed us that rhubarb season was almost over. What?!? Again? It seems like farmers markets only just opened for the spring! She told us two or three stands might have a few stalks left, but that we'd better hurry.

After a race against time, I couldn't believe my luck when I just happened to look to the side and spot a lone basket labeled "Rhubarb, $5," and filled to the brim with tall green stalks. Hell. Yeah.




Why my desperate obsession? Well, rhubarb is not only tart and fresh, but as far as I'm concerned, it's basically the gustatory embodiment of that spring-into-summer feeling. And I've never made a rhubarb dessert on my own before, or even held the fruit (vegetable?) in my hand. It was an interesting experience — as I chopped it up, I felt like I was literally making a celery crisp.

I hadn't known there were different varieties of rhubarb, but hey, my green rhubarb tasted just as it was supposed to — and even made for a stunning red-and-green bowl after I stirred in some strawberries. (Adding berries to a rhubarb dessert is generally what adds that red color anyhow, as rhubarb tends to go kind of beige after baking.)

If there isn't a dire rhubarb shortage where YOU are, maybe you could give this crisp recipe a try. I based my recipe on Smitten Kitchen's (but couldn't resist adding brown sugar, oats, vanilla, etc. etc.)



Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp 

(adapted from here)

Serves 6-8

For the filling:
1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb (roughly 1-inch pieces)
1 quart strawberries, hulled and quartered
Juice of 1/2 a lemon OR 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract, diluted in 1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour

For the topping:
1 1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 heaping tablespoons granulated sugar
3 heaping tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cold
Heat oven to 375° F. Prepare filling by mixing rhubarb, strawberries, extracts, sugar, and flour in an 8 x 8 inch pan. Set aside.


In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugars, oats, salt, vanilla, and cold butter by using a pastry cutter, two knives, or even your hands. Work until everything is incorporated, the mixture has a sandy texture, and the butter bits are about pea-sized. Sprinkle topping evenly over the fruit filling, then pop in the oven.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbly. Cool slightly and serve with vanilla ice cream, or fizzy white wine.

Enjoy!



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25 May 2012

heading west

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(Some photos from my recent travels. Maggie the puppy isn't so little anymore, is she?)


I'm climbing aboard another airplane this weekend, and this time I'm westward-bound. My love and I are meeting halfway (ish?) in Colorado to spend Memorial Day with some great friends, and I'm ecstatic. I was able to visit Boulder in July 2009 for my cousin's wedding, and I remember its enchanting beauty well.

See you next week, when I'll either be glowing from the mountain air or still panting from altitude adjustment.




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23 May 2012

a foodie spring

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In honor of spring's imminent departure (sob), here are some of the things I got up to this easy breezy season....




Watched some kites swim through blue skies at the neighborhood park.
Made monster cookies. Multiple times.
Swung at a playground with my best friends.
Met the resident cat at Brooklyn Brewery.
Crossed the Brooklyn Bridge on a Saturday (oy); made it all better with frozen yogurt.
Scarfed dumplings while watching bike polo. (Seriously! A nerve-wracking sport to observe.)
Explored the rest of the Botanic Garden (the desert greenhouse was my favorite).
Ate the best ice cream at Ample Hills Creamery.
Attended an event at Nighthawk Cinema, where they screened '80s cartoons, provided an all-you-can-eat cereal bar, and served cereal-inspired cocktails (note our Cocoa Puff-spiked White Russians).

Finally, last weekend brought mac-and-cheese adventures at the Hester Street Fair, and a fruitful (ha) hunt for rhubarb. More on that later...

So there you have it. Another non-representational spread of photos that make my life look more thrilling and food-filled than it is. But I'm nonetheless proud that I got off my butt and made some use of the gorgeous, allergy-inducing weather.

And hey...maybe sometimes, my life really can be pretty great.
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21 May 2012

mix no. 13

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Creeping just under the wire with this one....summer is on its way. (Got my first sandal tan of the season today.)


(P.S. Sorry that pretty much every mix of mine ever will feature a song by Tennis. #sorrynotsorry)


Tracklist:

01.  It's Real - Real Estate
02.  Deep in the Woods - Tennis
03.  Stitch the Hem - Bowerbirds
04.  Angel Baby - Rosie & The Originals
05.  Lazuli - Beach House
06.  Young Folks (Peter Bjorn and John Cover) - Traffic Nightmare
07.  Only the Lonely - Roy Orbison
08.  Don't Watch Me Dancing - Little Joy
09.  Betty Wang - Hospitality
10.  Elephant Gun - Beirut
11.  Borderline (Madonna Cover) - Steve Mason
12.  Hideaway - Dreamtapes
13.  Going to California - Led Zeppelin

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09 May 2012

going home

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This weekend I'm going home — to North Carolina, for my sister's graduation. Then to Virginia for a few days to spend time with my family.

I find myself anticipating the weekend with bittersweet feelings, which is strange because I've been so excited about this trip for weeks: escaping the city, seeing my best friends, basking in the springtime sun of my two home states, playing with this puppy, reuniting with fam from far and wide, ignoring responsibilities for at least a little while.

But last night an amendment was added to the North Carolina constitution, by popular vote, that will not only diminish the rights of same-sex couples, but also could harmfully affect those in civil unions, victims of domestic partnership violence, and the children of unmarried or single parents. I'm devastated and disappointed by these results, by the fact that those who voted FOR this amendment outweighed the thousands of passionate people who worked so hard to keep it from passing. I still have faith in North Carolina and believe this can be overturned, that justice will prevail in time — but it's hard not to get disheartened when facing how far we still have to go to ensure basic rights for everyone, not just in North Carolina, but in places all over the country and all over the world.

I choose to leave you on a cheery note, just as I'm sure my visit to NC will leave me renewed with hope. So here are some pictures of the cherry blossom trees at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. We visited two weeks ago, right at the end of their peak, when the flower petals were dusting down over the heads of happy chatting families.

I never understood the fascination with cherry blossoms until now. They're certainly breathtaking...though the best part is watching cute kids shaking the branches, dancing in the petals and crying "It's snowing! It's snowing!"


Update:  May 9, 2012: President Obama takes a definitive stand for same-sex marriage — the first U.S. president ever to do so.




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02 May 2012

breakers

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III

You see those breakers coming around Pigeon Island
bowing like nuns in a procession? One thing I know,
when you're gone like my other friends, not to Thailand
or Russia, but wherever it is loved friends go
with their different beliefs, who were like a flock
of seagulls leaving the mirror of the sand,
or a bittern passing lonely Barrel of Beef,
or the sails that an egret hoists leaving its rock;
I go down to the same sea by another road
with manchineel shadows and stunted sea grapes
dwarfed by the wind. I carry something to read:
the wind is bright and shadows race like grief,
I open their books and see their distant shapes
approaching and always arriving, their voices heard
in the page of a cloud, like the soft surf in my head.


from "The Acacia Trees" by Derek Walcott

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