Monthly Archives: October 2009

Epicerie of Curiosities

From JH:

epicerie of curiosities

a must-see in the marais

Last week I went to Paris on whim for reasons entirely un-food-related, but my favorite find there was Izrael, a specialty spice market in the Marais off the St. Paul stop on Metro line 1. My god, what glorious edibles they have in this shop:

epicerie of curiosities

inside izrael

I bought black sel, and smokey sel, and fleur de sel in beautiful glass vials. I bought long peppercorns that look like stretched acorns. I bought violet-seasoned sugar pieces that resemble chunks of amethyst for DW. And dried button roses for cake decorating. Had I had a few more days in Paris to consume them, I would have bought bags of the stores dried fruits and deserts, too.

epicerie of curiosities

the details

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Filed under Aspirational/Inspirational, Gift Ideas, Raw Materials

Why We Should All Go Work on a Farm…

From JH:

At last! I can tell you about my recent week away in VT now––I was here, at Luna Bleu farm in South Royalton, “wwoofing” (willingly working on an organic farm). For anyone looking to learn more about growing food and raising meat and dairy animals, this is the way to do it. Find a host farm through Worldwide  Opportunities on Organic Farms (wwoof.com) and go get your hands dirty. I can say without hesitation that the experience changed my life. Most profoundly, it changed the way that I think about food, and how much work goes into growing it, and the great amount of energy that can be gotten from it…Not to mention how much of that energy we waste in our country everyday, which taught me a great deal about what I can do to be less wasteful and more energy-efficient in my every day. Simply put, I’m finishing my dinner these days. And what I can’t consume, I try to pack-up and preserve, or re-purpose. Heck, I’ve asked for a compost bin for Christmas, haven’t I? I’m canning. I’m making small-batch sauce and freezing it for the winter. When I think about it, I’ve never eaten better.

Below are scenes from my week on the farm.

heirloom house and lettuce rows at luna blue

heirloom house and lettuce rows at luna blue

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herloom tomatoes

heirlooms and red slicers

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chard, corn, and the cherry house

cabbage patches, corn, and the cherry tomato house

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the sau

the sau

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just-picked leeks

just-picked leeks

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renegade spinach seedlings

renegade spinach seedlings

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the most you'll ever see of me

early evening

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luna bleu farm on a full moon

luna bleu farm before a full moon

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Filed under Aspirational/Inspirational, Gardening, Simple Syrup

Micro Farming: Food-Growing Made Simple

From JH:

micro farming from austin, tx

coming to you from austin, tx

Down in Austin, TX Lucas Brower and Jesse Kamm have started a genius company making and delivering Home Grow Micro Farms––self-watering garden boxes that yield a variety of seasonal, organic vegetables over the course of 3 months.

It works like this: You pick a box from their site’s monthly planning menu (in November, for example, you have a choice between 4 boxes; one’s filled with salad greens, another has beets and Chinese cabbage, etc.), then order it online, or by phone. Brower and Kamm deliver your box in their veggie oil-powered car, and do all of the installing for you (you need only to provide them with an outdoor water spigot, or, maybe you collect rainwater, and would prefer to hook it up to your well? Even better.). Give your box a lot of sun and reasonable TLC, and in approximately 30 days it will be ready for harvest.

good eats

good eats

Then, when 3 months has passed and you’ve eaten through your Micro Farm, Brower and Kamm will come collect the exhausted box and replace it with a newly seeded one. 1 box is only $30/month! Get your rotation right (i.e. have a new box returned and delivered every month), and you’ll have fresh, seasonal vegetables everyday, year-round.

Really, it’s so easy. It waters itself. It’s already seeded. It’s harvest without the hassle. And home-grown without a required green thumb. Get in touch with Brower here.

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Filed under Do It Yourself, Gardening, Gift Ideas, Raw Materials

Another Moment in the Kitchen with More Green Tomato Pickles

From JH:

ready for gifting

ready for gifting

Same great recipe. Just a new, more polished look. The labels, I bought at Kate’s Paperie, but they’re made by Cavallini Papers & Co. After dressing the tops of the jars with everything from ticker-stripes to chintz, I decided that I still like the natural burlap and kitchen twine best. Should you, like me, be opposed to buying over-prized burlap, I suggest hitting up your neighborhood restaurants for empty potato sacks. I’d bet they’re free.

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

A Moment in the Kitchen: Roasted Tomato Sauce

From JH:

roasted H&O tomatoes

roasted H&O tomatoes

With the very last of my garden’s ripe tomatoes, I decided to make sauce. And because these tomatoes weren’t the sweetest (cold weather is the culprit, I suspect), I chose to roast them before turning them into a pomodoro. My recipe is an on-the-spot improvisation. I used:

As many tomatoes as you see above (a mix of Jersey Devils, Tommy Toes, Austin Red Pears, and one San Marzano)

4 cloves of garlic (stiff-neck, my new favorite), smashed

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red wine (Cote-de-Brouilly Beaujolais, specifically, but any hearty drinking wine will do)

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Put the tomatoes and garlic on a baking sheet, and drizzle them with olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt. Cook them in the oven on the center rack for approximately 20 minutes, or until some of the tomatoes are brown and others look like they’ve “popped.” Transfer the tomatoes/garlic and their oil to a large sauce pan, smoosh them until they’re saucy, add the wine and cracked pepper and bring to a boil. Once the sauce begins to boil, turn the heat to Low, and let simmer for 30 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Add salt to taste.

I must say, I’m pretty pleased with how my sauce turned out. Again, that it was made from tomatoes that I grew myself makes it even more delicious. And to make that satisfaction last just a little bit longer, I chose to freeze the sauce for later. Won’t it be so wonderful to have summer tomato sauce on a winter’s night not too far from now. Yes, I think it will.

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Filed under Cooking Chronicles, Do It Yourself, On the Cheap, The Growth of a Garden

The Growth of a Garden: Part 14

from JH:

long john cayenne peppers

long john cayenne peppers

Look what finally decided to join us, at last! To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to do another Growth post this year. These past few weeks, little by little, JB and I have been dismantling the H&O garden. Most of the raised bed is clear, and in an effort to use as much of the mint as is humanly possible before winter strikes, I’ve been continuously picking and consuming it (mint in my tea, mint in my salad, mint with my tomatoes, mint in my rice, mint bouquets all over the apartment…a girl can only use so much mint). The tomato trellises are all that’s left, but before we take those down, I needed to gather the last of the kinda ripe ones (look up), and the abundance of green ones that don’t stand a chance in New York’s now 40-degree days (winter in October? Seriously?). But look how many:

green tomatoes

green tomatoes

Seems I’m in for some more green tomato pickles. Thank goodness for Mrs. B’s recipe!

p.s. The chili pic is my very modest ode to the late, very great Irving Penn (1917-2009), still-life photographer extraordinaire and inventor of fabulous picture dreams. No one’s done food better than you, Mr. Penn.

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Filed under Find & Fix, Gardening, The Growth of a Garden

Deal of the Day: J. Crew Poplin Cargo Jacket

From JH:

in utility green, $49.99

on sale in utility green, $49.99

Guys, I bought this jacket at full price ($98) early in the summer. It is perfect, and even more perfect on sale for $50. Don’t ask me how I know, but cargo jackets like these are going to be very popular very soon (OK, anyone who’s spent enough time on style.com can tell you that), but you have my word. If army-green’s not your thing, it comes in camp yellow, too.

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Filed under Clothes and Accessories, Raw Materials