Category Archives: Do It Yourself

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

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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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

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

Osborne & Little “Kishangarh” Wallpaper

From JH:

in blue

in blue

I’m feeling it’s time to replace the wallpaper that I have framed in my living room with something new. Osborne & Little’s new Sariskar Collection by Henry Wilson is outstanding, I think. And the Kishangarh composition of perfume bottles set against a trellis is so delightfully bizarre and beautiful to me. But blue? Or coral?

in red

in coral

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Filed under Do It Yourself, Raw Materials, Simple Syrup