Category Archives: brooklyn

Overheard in Brooklyn, junior scientist edition.

On Union Street in sudden warm weather. A girl of about five, pushing her scooter along, her father walking beside her. Insistently: “The SUN doesn’t move. The EARTH moves.” Geez, Dad.


Breakfast life musings.

I woke up on this bright morning, came into the kitchen, and was delighted to see that (unusually) I’d done all the dishes last night and my sink was clean and empty.  I made pancakes and sat down with them, coffee, and the Internet.

An hour later the sink was full: two pans, two bowls, whisk, turner, and tongs, measuring cups and spoons, plate, fork, knife, spoons; and I had listened (via Twitter) to an extended conversation about moles and molecatching in the farmlands of England.

What, I ask myself, does it all mean?



I had my Brooklyn cousins over for dinner last week. It turns out that three of my four first cousins once removed (the children of the children of my father’s sister) are living in Brooklyn now; we agreed that the fourth (with her new husband) could be honorary Brooklynites.  Including one more husband, there were seven of us in all, so too many for my dining table, but no one objected to laps and coffee tables.  The menu included this parsnip and carrot soup from the New York Times, which was the hit among the set, I think, gently anise’d by tarragon.  I brought leftovers to my friend C’s Sunday movie night (NORTH BY NORTHWEST, as fabulous as ever; I had never before tallied how much it is about Modern architecture, and transportation).  Then we had the mushroom lasagna from Smitten Kitchen that I’d made for the shapenote gang, and a root vegetable fattoush from the same source.   Both fine, though I think the latter could have used more of the sumac I bought just for this. G brought green salad; J brought fudge and D and M, rugulach, which was fortunate as I never managed to make the plum torte I’d had in mind.  Saskia served as additional entertainment.  Thanks for coming, cousins!

Kale soup and harbor view

Sadly, I have pictures of neither.  (Well, kale soup isn’t very attractive, actually, but I’m sorry I can’t show you the view.)  I went down to Fairway in Red Hook this morning, my mouth still sore and sour from some hardcore dentistry on Thursday, intending to buy coffee and olive oil and root vegetables for mashing.  Soft foods, you see, are called for.  I dithered and wondered in front of the vast display of olive oils; no samples had yet been set out.  Gloomy, uncomfortable, and indecisive, I decided to have a cup of milky coffee at the café, look out at the view of New York harbor, and read my library book, To Eat by Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd.

The wind was blowing hard from the east, pressing wavelets out of the water; further out a low mist hung over the bay, and dark clouds towered on the southwestern horizon, while others moved quickly westward.  Dock cranes in New Jersey traced white on the dark.  Big barges moved up the river.  Gulls struggled into the wind or found a way to glide, and a couple of ducks flew close to the water.  Everything was damp, the red bricks of the dock warehouses darkened.  When I turned away from the view, I read Eck and Winterrowd’s chapter on chard, which includes a short, simple recipe (from Beatrice Tosti di Valminuta) for Passato di verdure, greens soup, and decided I should have some of that.  My tooth stopped aching.  I finished my coffee, went back inside, tasted a bunch of olive oils and made a decision, backtracked to the produce section and picked up shallots and kale for the soup, and headed for the checkout lanes and home.

The soup is delicious.  The book, too, is charming.

(How to make the soup? Put chopped carrot, chopped onion, chopped shallot, garlic, and shredded greens in a soup pot with olive oil and sea salt, cover with water and simmer an hour or an hour and a half, then blend. The recipe calls for celery, Swiss chard, spinach, and kale, but says you can choose whatever greens you like; since I’m making it just for me, I didn’t feel like getting four different kinds of leaves, so just used regular old kale.  You are specifically not asked to sauté anything but since I threw the vegetables in as I got them chopped, the alliums and carrot wound up cooking for a while in the oil.)

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Happy owlending.

Remember Owl Jolson? He (or she) has flown free.

Listen to some Saw-whets here.

New header photo, Nov 2012

A detail of a photo of euonymus in fall color, by my Twitter pal Flatbush Gardener (his blog is here). Chris, I did ask but didn’t hear back, hope you don’t mind my borrowing a snippet of your lovely image.

Hurricane baking

So far includes a loaf of bread (yesterday) and blondies (today). Which means that I’m okay and have power. I found the storm itself surprisingly terrifying, worn down as I was by anticipatory anxiety (did I make the right decision to stay home? What if I needed to get to work on Tuesday? — a question that seemed absurd by Monday night, but on Sunday seemed worth considering) and little sleep, and the long wait. The winds howled, strange lights flashed through the skies, trees scratched and flying objects banged, the streets’ quiet was broken only by emergency vehicles. My bedroom, with its windows on three sides, felt like a turret at the end of the earth. In the morning, I learned that the water of Buttermilk Channel rose over the piers and the street as far as the corner building. But I was hugely lucky.

I still can’t understand that Avenue C flooded. And 125th Street. I sort of understand the tunnels all filling with water, although it’s never happened before — they are low, after all. Well, we’ll all have our points of bafflement.

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Was it an elm?

Walking with Z in Prospect Park, I poked myself in the eye with a tree.

Dangerous thing, Nature.

No serious harm was done. We saw a bridge, a wedding party, a construction site, carved fruits, and some trees (most of them non-violent), and then we ate vegetarian roti on the next block after the Holiest Block in Brooklyn, with six storefront congregations.



For the first time in my life, I made pickles.

Carrots and radishes

Pretty, right? Even more so in person, where you can tell that some are orange and some a delightful Pucci pink. Maybe I should make the headline “Mod” instead of “wholesome.”

On the one hand, I feel productive and housekeepy. On the other, “pickles” was not on the very long list of things I meant to do on my day off.

Recipes: carrots from my unmet pal Deb at Smitten Kitchen, radishes from my long-lost cousin David Lebowitz.

New header, April 2012

The new lilacs are borrowed from flickr user lakewentworth.  The lilacs are coming into bloom in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, where I saw them on Tuesday.