Category Archives: Simple Syrup

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

Cherry Blossom Tea

From JH:

flowers for breakfast

flowers for breakfast

I found this at the market on Granville Island in Vancouver, BC. Sweet Sakura Cherry Blossom Tea is, essentially, flower water. In the box, five air-tight pouches contain four tiny wet blossoms that expand when you steep them. It tastes OK––mild and garden-y. A terrific party trick or novel gift, if nothing more.

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Filed under Flora, Gift Ideas, Simple Syrup

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

Back from BC, Back to the Blog

From JH:

the coast of cortes

the coast of cortes

OK, true: I’ve been back in the States for almost three weeks now, but circumstances––an assignment in VT, more work in NYC––made posting impossible. I do plan on catching up over the next few days, but in the meantime, can we just enjoy the view from what was my skiff? Yep, it looks just like the Discovery Islands Atlas images, I know. Only the atlas doesn’t say that the beaches on Cortes Island are terrific spots for oyster fishing, I found out. I make it sound like a sport. It’s really just a matter of reaching down between the rocks and pulling them up in numbers. The glassy water makes the oysters’ gnarly shells easy to see from above. Catching fresh Pacific oysters for an early supper? Highly recommended. Cooking instructions and sauces to come…

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Filed under Aspirational/Inspirational, Simple Syrup

The Summer Soiree Revisited

From JH:

the audubon center boathouse in prospect park (photo courtesy of prospect park)

the audubon center boathouse in prospect park (photo courtesy of prospect park)

It’s hard to believe that the big Soiree was only one week ago (feels like yesterday, sigh). Though the evening didn’t look quite as idyllic as the event’s location shot above (translation: it poured rain, then poured more rain on our party that night), we still had a hell of a time. Just check out all of the beautiful, park-loving people who came by!

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Filed under Aspirational/Inspirational, Simple Syrup

Prospect Park Summer Soiree

From JH:

hot diggity dance hall, july 23 @ the audubon center boathouse

hot diggity dance hall, july 23 @ the audubon center boathouse

To all you Brooklyn folk, the Prospect Park Summer Soiree––a Prospect Park Alliance Junior Committee party that raises money for our grand ole park––is just one week away. Sure, the theme is a bit hokey, but it is a LOVELY party (my favorite every year), and if you live in Brooklyn, or don’t live in Brooklyn, and love the park you will not be disappointed. Tickets can be purchased here. The details are:

Prospect Park Summer Soiree

Hot Diggity Dance Hall

July 23, 2009

7:30-10:30

Prospect Park Boathouse

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Filed under Simple Syrup

An Evening in Full

From JH:

Sometimes there’s nothing better than a night to oneself. Having had a very full day, I decided to get off the F train in Dumbo, 3 stops away from my own station, and walk home. I wanted to clear my head, get some air and exercise, and I happened to be wearing comfortable enough clothes in which to do all of this (in a perfect world I would always wear clothes that are beautiful and suitable enough to walk a mile in, but alas, this is not my reality right now). The weather was gorgeous. ‘I’ll get a pedicure,’ I decided, switching gears towards Court Street. A pop-toned raspberry-red was the color I had in mind.

Passing the used book store on Court I spotted a first edition copy of Tender is the Bone by Ruth Reichl, the former New York Times restaurant critic and current editor of Gourmet, in the windowsill. $6, the clerk told me (suggested retail $23). Sold.

Next, at the nail salon, I cozied up to the August issue of Vanity Fair, specifically the story about Julia Child (“Our Lady of the Kitchen” by Laura Jacobs), and then, feeling polished and happy, I headed home, grabbing the laundry and a bottle of fairly cheap Montepulciano d’Abruzzo on my way.

The plan was to order take-out from Fragole, but after all of that culinary reading I was feeling inspired. I had wine and intention. What else does one need to cook a meal, really? OK, food, preferably fresh food. A look into my refrigerator revealed:

1 bag of of wilty-stemmed radishes, 1/2 jar of week-old tomato salsa, lots of bread-and-butter pickles, 1 head of bib lettuce, chipotle peppers in adobo, 4 strips of bacon, 1/2 bag of organic green beans, 5 flour tortillas, 1 pad of the simplest goat cheese, a brick of cheddar, and some fresh herbs (parsley, mint, basil) from the garden.

A Bacon-and-Bibb Salad was my first thought. Just cut the bacon into bits, fry them, blanche the beans quickly, toss the lettuce, beans, and sliced radishes together with chopped parsley and basil (p.s. some are weary of pairing bacon with basil; personally, I think the combination of these two dominant flavors is bold and delicious)…

…then toss the salad (lettuce, radishes, beans, parsley, basil) with olive oil and champagne vinegar to taste. Top it with the bacon and two dabs of goat cheese, some salt and pepper, and serve with some of your best linens and a book:

dinner for one

dinner for one

It’s no Julia Child (sigh), but it’s not a bad way to end the day, either.

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Filed under Aspirational/Inspirational, Cooking Chronicles, Simple Syrup