Tag Archives: brooklyn

Fib.

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People lie, have you noticed? Cell phones open a new channel for the untruth observer. Yesterday afternoon, for example, I was riding the Number 61 bus placidly towards home when the phone of the woman behind me rang. She started telling her caller about some bureaucratic errand she’d been on and then said, “I’m waiting on the sixty-one bus.” Did I hear that right? I thought. Maybe she said sixty-three? But no, she repeated, “I’m waiting on the 61 bus,” and while my mind spun trying to derive a scenario where one could legitimately be waiting for a bus while riding it, she doubled down by adding, “But not long, it’s moving out soon.” So no, it was just a lie; perhaps to confuse her caller about when she’d be home, or something. I don’t know.

The toy dragon is just for fun. I found him on the street. Rawr!

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Overheard in Brooklyn, Prospect Park edition

elmblossomAll these within a minute or so on a single path in Prospect Park:

“‘Bunnies and Twinkies,’ she said to me, ‘bunnies and Twinkies, that’s all I want you to think about.'”

“I could do the dark road, too, another time.”

“To steal a Monet . . .”

Witch hazel, red maple, elm, and cornelian cherry are in bloom. (Photo borrowed from the City Birder.)

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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.

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Back in November . . .

Considering there were just two of us, I made a lot of different things for Thanksgiving. And practically everything had its own sauce. I made horseradish sauce for the roasted parsnips and carrots (ground horseradish, yogurt, cider vinegar — tangy) and “gorgonzola” cream for the butternut squash using leftover soft, stinky cheese (equal amounts butter & cheese, garlic, pounded with a pinch of salt; this was delicious). And for the steamed cauliflower, a whole tiny one, very cute: wait, what is this “sauce” on my list? Apparently I was supposed to remember and find the recipe. Hah! However, as I had two kinds of cranberry sauce and mushroom gravy in addition to the sauces above, I guess we were sufficiently sauced. So to speak. (I got the sauce ideas from Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Literacy, a book I had better buy so that I can quit renewing the library copy.)

The cocktail was cranberry shrub with seltzer, vodka, and Dutch’s Spirits’ Prohibitters (part of a set of three bought at the Hudson Valley Wine Festival last year); appetizers were radishes with butter & salt, olives, and artichoke hearts marinated with olive oil, lemon, and chopped olives. For soup we had passato di verdure from Beatrice Tosti di Valminata, mentioned here. Along with the parsnips, cauliflower, and squash, I made a rather unsuccessful, mostly classic stuffing using a nice bread from Mazzola’s, celery, onions, and vegetable stock. (It needed more stock, since turkey juices were not available.)  Z brought red Philippine rice and Mama Stanberg’s cranberry relish; the other cranberry sauce was the classic plain with a little medium hot pepper. We drank a granacha from Navarre, Lurra, with a sheep on the label.

I was going to make an apple crisp but in the end we ate some leftover mini pumpkin cupcakes and a Blanc de Calville apple from the Samascott orchard in Kinderhook. Oh my god, I bored everyone with my enthusiasm for this apple. Crisp with a bursting juice, and a winey tang.

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Crunching and jamming.

You remember that pear-ginger conserve I made, out of Melissa McClellan’s FOOD IN JARS book? Well, I made another recipe, nectarine-lime, and it was maybe even more delicious. It came out a gorgeous purplish-red color, too, surprisingly, suggestive of cherries or raspberries, but I figure it was all due to the nectarines’ skins.  The minced lime zest gave it a little sharp nip.

I had all the ingredients (except the millet, procured for 26 cents at the organic store on Court Street) so I made Smitten Kitchen’s vegan, gluten-free, nut-free chocolate granola bars.  So far I have not encountered any of my acquaintance with all those requirements, but the non-sensitive to whom I’ve offered the bars have enjoyed them. There are a lot of variable slots in the recipe: I used pomegranate molasses for the sweetener, tahini for the nut butter, coconut oil for the fat, dates and dried cranberries for the fruits.  Even cut with (gasp) corn syrup the pomegranate was, as I feared, somewhat overwhelming; if I make these again I will use honey and will change up the fruits, maybe to raisins and apricots. I’ll also reduce the chocolate further (I used a little less than the cup called for).  In pursuit of effective congealment I adopted the technique from the comments of heating the syrup briefly and melting the oil and tahini into it.  I baked at night, refrigerated the tin, and cut the bars in the morning, and they held together quite well. Half the batch is keeping safe in the freezer, individually wrapped purportedly for travel snack use, though I had one frozen last night.  I’d say they were a success, but not such a stunning one as to put paid to any thought of alternatives.

I’m giving you just a thumbnail photo, because why make an ugly picture any easier to see?

Granola bars. They taste better than they look.

Granola bars. They taste better than they look.

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Better macaroons.

betteroons

betteroons

In previous years I’ve used David Lebovitz’s recipe for macaroons, which calls (extraordinarily, I haven’t seen this anywhere else) for lightly cooking together the ingredients in a skillet before baking. This year I didn’t look up his recipe and just used the universally approved method that simply mixes the egg white with the dry ingredients and bakes.  And I have to say, they’re NOT AS GOOD. This morning I made a tiny batch of the Lebovitz method — of course I left out the flour; otherwise the only differences are the process and the addition of a little dab of honey — and they are not as macaroon-looking but they are charmingly juicy with a caramelized edge.  So good.  Thanks, David, it’s well worth dirtying a frying pan.

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Continuing the Passoverian theme

Should I have a tag for “Bad Pictures of Baked Goods”?

maca-maca-roon

maca-maca-roon

This morning I made a batch of coconut macaroons. It’s embarrassing how easy coconut macaroons are.  Almond ones, for some reason, cause me much more trouble, but I’m going to try for some of them later today or in the passover season and also want to make tish pishti, but these may have to wait, as I am required to produce a vegetable kugel for tonight,

Some of these macaroons have a little nutmeg and cardamom sprinkled in, with some coconut extract added. Nice, I think.

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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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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.

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