I keep getting asked why I'm not blogging. Unfortunately it's because I have been working like a dawg, and I have the bags to prove it. And they aren't worth blogging about, because they're under my eyes and on my arm. Yup, we work on things other than our little blog!
Therefore the weekend away was all the more needed – sunshine, lots of food and perhaps too much alcohol, some sleeping and a little splashing about in the pool. And most importantly it was spent with friends. The food? Roasted tomato and basil tart, chicken with clementine, olives and thyme, haricots verts with poached eggs and cinnamon scones for breakfast. Oh...and most importantly, my new cocktail concoction, the Green Garrison. In fact, I have some vodka infusing in the fridge! Excuse me a moment, perhaps I will go and take a picture of it...
We got to Red Hook later than we expected. The day was blazing hot. Natasha was hobbling, I didn't have enough sunblock, and the lines were so so long. But we had such a hankering for huaraches, tamarind juice, and tacos and we had driven all the way there in the heat that we just decided to stay. We decided to divide and conquer, each taking one line. Drinks are much faster than food. After nearly forty minutes in line (Who waits forty minutes for food? Okay, me. Frequently. But not in 97 degree heat!) and we finally ordered. Minutes later my arms were filled with amazing looking food. Huaraches made with oversized handmade tortillas filled with zucchini, mushrooms, onions, beans, queso fresco, and mouth-blistering hot sauce. Washed down with hibiscus tea and tamarindo, it was easily worth the wait.
Since updating my Adobe CS2 to CS3.3 last week, it seems as though almost all of my creative time and energy has been spent reading tech blogs, downloading patches and updates, resolving conflicts, getting advice from geeky friends and asking myself, why so many bugs?
After all, we do pay a hefty price for these licensed products, but still, it is not remotely close to the price I have paid in terms of billable hours and emotional stress. Good lord, is this the plague we have brought upon ourselves? Are the four horsemen now called; Update, Restart, Patch and Crash? Is Adobe a cleverly conceived acronym for the Antichrist? Are the locust coming trough the Airport Extreme?
Thankfully my soul was saved during rebooting pilgrimages to our terrace to enjoy the analog world of our garden. While observing the tangible fruits of my labor, the result of simple mulching and watering, I was met with more bugs. Dragonflies to be precise. (Not to be confused with the damselfly, which holds their wings behind them when at rest, while the dragonfly keeps them perpendicular to their body.)
Although ancient and sinister in appearance (compared to the modern and inviting branding of the Adobe Suite), these cold blooded creatures are a welcome sight since they spend their days devouring mosquitoes, midges and various other insects that hurt our plants and give Natasha giant throbbing welts all over her body. And unlike Adobe Suite, they are friendly, helpful and don't waste my time or money.
There's nothing like a seasonal fruit pie to bring people together. I was lucky enough to be joined on my roof by a handful of friends willing to share it with me and to stick out the 100 degree weather we are having in New York.
"I wish the pie was bigger", I said. "Bigger, like the size of a Volvo" said Melissa. Yes.
On a busy avenue in a nondescript neighborhood that's not quite the East Village and definitely not Gramercy Park, Amai Tea & Bake House is an oasis of taste. While they offer a wide array of tea and herbal infusions, the real star is the baked goods. Tea is incorporated into most of their handmade goodies, but the infusion is subtle and never heavy handed. The slight bitterness of Earl Grey accents the sweetness of the currants. White tea mellows a strawberry cookie; rooibos tea and vanilla are incredibly smooth and sweet. My all time favorite? Hojicha sesame. A winning combination of roasted green tea and carmelized sesame seeds. Not too sweet, a little savory, perfect with a cup of anything. And the packaging is beautiful, too, making Amai's cookies the perfect present to pick up on your way to a dinner party, baby shower, or for movies in the park with friends.
I made flatbreads the other morning before going off for a consulting job, as these guys were coming over for dinner that night. Good thing I did – they came straight from the Fancy Food Show and brought with them about 10lbs of paté. And 8lbs of Valrhona chocolate. I'm going to make flatbread more often if that's what I get in return!
Shukshuka; A Little Love from the Middle East
Late morning, July 4th. Consumed by fatigue, dehydration and light headiness brought on by a lack of sustenance. Racked by the din of mixing mixers, a churning ice cream maker and the pumping beat of Crazy Penis, a subtle knock on the door. A peep through the peep hole revealed none other other than our man from Tel Aviv, the architect of better living, the father of two and a half, Dedy.
I opened the door, and with outreached arms he offered up the best thing to come out of the Middle East since the pizza bagel. Behold Shukshuka, a balanced mixture of tomatoes, onions, peppers, spices and herbs that is completed by a special buried surprise in the form of an egg with yoke intact. A side of houmous and a piece of perfectly grilled bread rounded out this moment of divine intervention. A simple dish, a simple gesture to savor and celebrate.
How I brought myself to share this bounty with Natasha is beyond me, but I did bite for bite. It was just enough satisfaction and energy to keep us going until our 4th of July all-American pork fest on the terrace. Just another example of our building being the gastronomic heart of Brooklyn. What a country, what a building, what a dish.
"How good is she?", to borrow Darren's often used phrase when referring to his lovely Lizz, creator of this blueberry-a-licious muffin. Brought to our door at 8:45 yesterday morning, this gorgeous piece of baking was just further proof that we live in the best building in Brooklyn. While most New York apartment dwellers can barely trade glances or "good mornings", we exchange baked goods, vegetables, recipes and dinner invitations. Hell, we have even gone on vacations with our neighbors, our friends.
Lizz is one of the best bakers I have ever known as was evident by this light and delicate muffin packed with sweet juicy blueberries picked in Pennsylvania this weekend. Could I ever leave this building, this cornucopia of gastronomic interchange? I'd rather see a church burn.
Seeing as we were going Carolina-style for our Fourth, we made some good ol' fashioned watermelonade. Sure, there were some bottles of Sancerre knocking around but they were swiftly displaced by some bottles of beer, courtesy of my intervening other half. Who can blame him?
For the watermelonade, just hack a watermelon to pieces and blend it with a squeeze of lemon, a tiny bit of sugar and a handful of mint. Sieve. Serve over ice. Perhaps add vodka. It tastes just like summer should.