Places to shop in Kyoto: ToryBazar

From DW:

My friend Sophie describes me as an “epicurean”,  a generous way of saying that I will spend my last dime on something beautiful. That is why I suppose,  I find myself cycling around  Kyoto. I am here to escape the realities of New York, albeit financially and practically as unreasonable as can be. That is also why, I happened upon the irresistable shopping oasis of ToryBazar-a perfectly curated shop filled with affordable and interesting common things to Japan. I could not resist several simple objects;  hand-carved cherry spoons for sugar, beeswax lip balm in a tiny wooden vessel, and a small brush that’s specific use is yet to be determined.

inside torybazar

a selection of handmade brushes

contraptions to cover your cakes

contraptions for covering cheese and cakes

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A Moment in the Kitchen: Moroccan Salt-Preserved Lemons

From JH:

preparation

Citrus sits especially well with me during the holidays. As does canning. The obvious next step: Moroccan Salt-Preserved lemons. After consulting recipes from  Anthony Bourdain, David Lebovitz, and Epicurious, I dove into a slightly modified version of their useful recipes (yes to cinnamon and cloves; skip the bay leaves and black peppercorns), and then waited 30 days before presenting them to my curious holiday party hostesses and colleagues. What does one do with salt-preserved lemons? I steep them in hot water with a bit of honey and make tea, but they’re traditionally used in Moroccan tangines, and I imagine they’d make a delicious accompaniment to extra-sharp cheeses, too. It’s times like these that I envy those out in California. Remember this?

30 days after sealing, the lemons have softened

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Filed under Cooking Chronicles, Do It Yourself, Gift Ideas, On the Cheap, Raw Materials

From Amsterdam, With Love

From JH:

tulip bulbs

What’s the best organic-matter gift one can smuggle in from Amsterdam? Tulip bulbs from the floating flower market, no doubt. These are going in the ground today, and because I’m not sure what variety they are (maybe parrot?), I’m already looking forward being surprised in the spring. Thank you, FK!

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Filed under Flora, Gardening, Gift Ideas, Raw Materials, The Growth of a Garden

The Holiday Train Show in the Bronx Botanical Garden

From DW:

manhattan

If you are as inamorate of  miniature  things as I am, theHoliday Train Show at the Bronx Botanical Garden should become a holiday ritual. Because…

Trains schmains! I go for the exquisite tiny models of NY landmarks made with painstaking attention to archituctural accuracy by Paul Busse and his Kentucky-based firm Applied Imagination.

manhattan, NE Side

Buy your tickets here!

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The Lunchbox: 5 Good Reasons to Bring your Lunch

From DW:

leftovers for lunch

1. $10 a day x 5 days a week=$2600 a year. That could buy birthday dinner for 4 friends and myself at Masa (NYC’s most expensive prixe-fix), that Isabel Marant leopard coat I am lusting after, a yoga trip in the dead of February for two to Playa Venao, or an EOS Canon Rebel with a few lenses.

2. My diet plan of eating light lunches inevitably fails when I am starving. To avoid that, I am now eating breakfast and bring my lunch. The food I make tastes a million times better than Fritos and M&Ms.

3. Risk of exposure to H1N1 and other seasonal flus and colds at buffet-style delis…eeks.

4. Adorable bento boxes and amazing lunchboxes. I’d eat anything packed in these!

5. Think of all the time I will save not having to decide on what I’m going to eat, and how. Time better spent stalking cyber-stalking blogs, planning a vacation, or reading something inspiring.

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Filed under Cooking Chronicles, Do It Yourself, On the Cheap

“Paesines”

From DW:

florentine marble landscape

Four years ago, on a night wander through the Saint Germaine area of  Paris, I came upon the most spectacular gallery. Illuminated in the window were what appeared to be tiny, beautiful paintings of seascapes and landscapes. Closer inspection revealed they were made of rock, not canvas, and in fact they were not painted at all. But how were they made?  I was captivated.  I was also leaving town, and they were closed. Foolishly, I did not write down the name or address, but they stuck with me.

So last week, after meandered for hours in Saint Germaine, I stumbled (purposefully this time) upon the same spot––Galerie Claude Boulle! And they were open! And Claude was there! Turns out, he is a geologist, and he showed me pictures of his digs in Tuscany and Bristol, and, in broken English, explained to me that the Paesine––or “tiny landscape”––is made from a slice of polished marble. Over the course of thousands of years magnesium and iron oxides trickled through Eocene limestone to create this painted effect. Sigh.

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A Moment in the Kitchen: Mint Tea

From JH:

a moment in the kitchen: mint tea

homegrown and handmade

In my ongoing effort to use all of summer’s mint before winter gets it, I dried a bunch and rigged two dozen tea bags. Hang the mint upside down for two weeks. Then, when it’s so dry it crumbles, bundle 2 tbsp-doses in double-layered, extra-fine cheesecloth, and secure the pouches with kitchen twine.

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Filed under Do It Yourself, Gift Ideas, On the Cheap, Raw Materials, Reimagining