You would have thought that being out in the country would yield more food options than the big bad city we live in. Farms, local producers and all that? Nope. What we got was the venerable Food Town (where getting mint is a stretch) or the meager farmer's market that opened this weekend and had only doughnuts.
So we had to be a little imaginative and also cater to the myriad dietary requirements of the team of nine – three vegetarians, one lactose intolerant and a shellfish allergy. Thank God pizza stepped in to save the day.
Before going on a day trip, I had my first go at making pizza dough. Unfortunately, when we got back, four hours later, the dough had not risen at all. We used it anyway, and got five more pounds of dough from our beloved Food Town.
Inspired by this recipe in Gourmet, which we made, we kept going and going with our seven pounds of pizza dough. Here's what we made:
Gorgonzola dolce, caramelized onion
Bresaola, parmesan and arugula
Buffalo mozzarella and cherry tomato
Eggplant and tomato sauce
Ramps, mixed wild mushroom and parmesan
Grilled vegetables and tomato sauce
Salami, buffalo mozzarella and tomato sauce
Correct me if I have forgotten any, youse people. I'm still getting over eating that much pizza in one sitting. Well two, we had the rest cold for breakfast the next day. It was a really lovely communal event, all of us coming up with different toppings. Thanks to Tom who ruled on oven rotation duty!
I had a blissful Memorial Day with the people I call my good friends – you know these guys, some of these guys, some of them. Amongst just sitting in the glorious sunshine and reading, we saw Indiana Jones, walked around an architectural masterpiece, played Scrabble, hiked to Doodletown and went to Millbrook Diner.
It was a wonderful long weekend filled with silly amounts of eating and a fair amount of cocktail dabbling. Melissa made smooth mint juleps, Cindy potent scorpinos, Jenn kickass lychee/mint martinis and I herby pink grapefruit/rosemary martinis. Hence the fact that I really can't talk about it, I can just show you pictures. Words just don't do it justice.
And armed with canvas bags, we were ready and willing to buy 15-20 tomato plants in anticipation of eating only tomato sandwiches for the duration of the summer. Alas this wasn't to be, so we consoled ourselves by watching the British peeler-man hawk his wares. We, like everyone else, are mesmerized by his speech and deft peeling skills, but, like everyone else, have never bought one. I am always too shy to step forward in front of the crowd and hand over my five bucks.
Until today! After our fruitless (he he!) search for the tomato plant lady we returned to 16th Street and there he was, alone, no crowd, just quietly munching on a carrot. A little star struck (I'm so sad) I triumphantly made my purchase. Along with ramps, fiddleheads, rhubarb, sorrel and mustard greens it was consolation for the absence of tomato plants.
Oh yeah, and I had a pumpkin doughnut too.
Ah chocolate cake. I make it all the time, but it rarely lasts long enough to photograph. This poor piece was the lone survivor of a recent cake massacre. Natasha rescued it from a sad fate of joining its cakemates as additional padding around my thighs. This particular incarnation of chocolate nirvana was a standard chocolate chiffon with added sour cream for moisture and tanginess, instant espresso powder to accent the chocolate, and a box of pudding because, well, why wouldn't you throw pudding into a cake? Not wanting to stick with the usual vanilla or chocolate frosting, I tossed two teaspoons of cinnamon and a pinch of salt into the standard buttercream base of butter, powdered sugar, and milk. The result was an intensely cinnamon and spice frosting that played incredibly well against the dense chocolatiness of the cake. (If I do say so myself.) Ah chocolate cake, once is never enough. Off to make another!
Founded in 1924 by immigrants longing for a taste of the homeland, Germack Pistachio Company knows how to process a nut.
Located in the heart (or rather, it is the heart) of Detroit's historic Eastern Market, the Germack Co. has been turning out perfectly roasted pistachios for over seventy-five years. Mild, salty, and crunchy they are the perfect companion to almost any drink, but their charm is especially apparent when paired with beer. Next time you are visiting the Motor City be sure to swing by their roasting plant and pick up a five pound bag. Or a ten pound one. You won't be disappointed.
Here is my project for the Bring it to the table exhibition. I have had a lot of fun playing with sugar in all it's forms! See below for the outcome. Hope to see you on Sunday at the opening – spring, 126a Front Street, Brooklyn, New York, 11am-2pm.
Sugar is a food product that teeters somewhere between good and bad. Like salt, it is a product that is used by most of the world, regardless of development, infrastructure or GNP. However, its production has led to exploitation and clearing of forests to make way for planting more sugar cane in developing countries and its growth in popularity has led to the onslaught of obesity in both children and adults in developed countries. Conversely, sugar cane has also been developed as a feasible alternative energy source, making its very existence something we may depend upon more heavily in the future.
Considering the many faces that sugar takes, Natasha Chetiyawardana has explored sugar in its many forms for Spring gallery’s Bring it to the table project. Taking sugar in its original form, a pen was whittled from a piece of sugar cane, ready to chew on in that moment of thought and contemplation, hopefully there to provoke thought itself. Secondly, a sugar bowl was made from the by-product of sugar production, bagasse, the fibre that is left when the juice is extracted from the cane. The fibers were mixed with soy resin to create a new life for a waste product that is usually just burned. The third exploration was looking at sugar in its usually-consumed form, the sugar cube. As a nod to the ships that haul sugar across rivers and over oceans, a small boat made of sugar floats momentarily on the foam seas of a cappuccino and eventually sinks. A sugar man sits on the precipice that is the edge of a cup, dipping his feet into the drink to test the waters. A little poke from a sugar-hungry finger pushes him over the edge.
The first of a few of the pieces we are exhibiting on Sunday at spring that I thought you foodies would be interested in.
CHOW CHART by Brett Snyder, Designer, Visiting Assistant Professor, Pratt School of Architecture and The University of the Arts, www.chengsnyder.com
The food we eat is part of a vast network of global production and consumption. On Chow Chart, a placemat, adjacent maps trace the path, from farm to table, of the ingredients in a typical home-cooked dinner. Total mileage that ingredients have travelled are represented by the color coded ‘spokes.’ These distances comprise only a portion of the whole story. Once food is consumed, the by-products continue on various trajectories, from the network of sewage pipes, to water treatment facilities, to landfills, and to recycling centers where discarded food packaging material is transformed once again. Chow-Chart suggests that in addition to measuring food by cost and calories, we may also begin to think about food in terms of its global impact.
spring is a gallery in DUMBO, Brooklyn whose next show stems from the table as a place where we sit, eat, discuss. The need to readjust and focus towards a more enjoyable, clean and responsible way of living is best represented by the philosophy behind projects as such as slow food and how it reflects a collective, contemporary thinking that can be applied to other disciplines; the slow revolution! Through curation, Anna Cosentino and Steve Butcher of spring would like to 'bring to the table' results of successful collaborations, examples of design that gives back, show the importance of artisanal skills and their application in design and art; and ultimately the new interpretation of luxury. Featured in this selling exhibition are the brilliant paintings by Justin Richel (see images above) and the much-lauded Sorapot (images below) by Joey Roth.
Alongside this show is an exhibition co-curated by Michael and I with spring. Reserving a space at the table for a group of designers, artists, art directors and thinkers we have asked them to bring something to the table to provoke thought/discussion/action. We are very lucky to have the following people participating (and more may be added to this list): Ralph Ball; Davide Cantoni; Will Carey; Peter Cole; Heather Cox; Otis Kriegel; Michael McGinn; Maxine Naylor; Stijn Ossevoort; Brett Snyder; Cecilie F. Egeberg; Jessica Peterson; Rob Price; Douglas Riccardi; Charlie W. D. Marshall; Rich Brilliant Willing; Zoe Sheehan Saldana. This exhibition explores creative thinkers' approaches to the table environment and their work will be exhibited along a dining table. I'll post some of the pieces involved tomorrow. If you are in the new York area, come and join us this Sunday, May 18th from 11am-2pm for some bloody marys and see what we have at our table!