The recent signs of spring are so small that, if I wasn’t desperate, I might not have noticed them at all. A little more light, a little later in the day, and I’m a completely different person. Once a layer comes off, I find it impossible to put it back on. Even with the frequent temperature drops, I stubbornly leave my gloves at home and my puffy coat is not coming out again until next year. All of which leaves me cold but determined. I’m also taking advantage of the break in the weather to enjoy my neighborhood in a way that I haven’t for a very, very long time. I reference Brooklyn in my posts often but the changes in the last few years can sometimes feel like a cautionary tale about getting everything you wish for.
Posts tagged ‘Brooklyn’
February has been bittersweet. Back from an amazing research trip to Miami, I was looking forward to celebrating my birthday back home from home in New York when it was swallowed by Nemo. Still I can’t complain and was beyond grateful that my friends were still willing to celebrate with me against all sense. I was lucky not to have any damage, though it is a reminder that recovery is ongoing for my neighbors. If you haven’t already seen it, Zac and Cat Overman have put together All Hands on Deck, an e-book to benefit Restore Red Hook. From Baked to Cacao Prieto to the Ball Field’s El Olomega, it’s a great collection of recipes for a good cause and – as they’d say in Sweden – så Brooklyn. Read more
I went for a run this morning when I decided to go left to the Brooklyn Promenade instead of my usual route over the bridge. Because of the day, I stopped to take a few pictures of the Statue of Liberty but couldn’t get close enough with my iPhone. Heading into Brooklyn Heights, I found this Lady Liberty in tree grate and loved her Patti Smith slouch as she holds up the torch – a little tarnished perhaps but very much who she is. Have a happy fourth of July wherever you find yourselves!
I wasn’t really excited about summer (too hot, too soon) until I finished my run this weekend and stopped by the Grand Army Plaza greenmarket on my way home. Seeing some chives in full bloom, I asked the vendor how they could be used. Holding on to the stem, he gently twisted off the light purple puff at the top and presented me with a handful of blossoms – suddenly I could see weeks mint tea, ripe berries, fat peaches and green tomatoes spreading out before me and couldn’t wait to get started. But, before I get lost in the corn fields, I wanted to catch-up on some articles that popped up in May. Read more
This is a last minute post about last minute shopping. Pressed for time and more importantly money, it’s tempting to play it safe. Buy something you know they want, a gift certificate to a store they love, or the safest of all – not picking an item or even a store – just a pre-paid tab anywhere Master Card, Visa or American Express is accepted. All are good options and if any of them is waiting for me under a tree – thank you, I love it! But if you’ve waited but still want to find something bigger than an envelope and smaller than a bread box (or an actual bread box), I scouted out a few stores in my neighborhood that have never failed me. With little time to spare, I want to know that I can still find something thoughtful, unique, or beautiful whenever possible. Here are just a few stores where I found all three. If you can’t make it Smith Street before Christmas, they’re definitely worth a visit soon if only to use those handy gift cards. Read more
Arroz con coco rates high on the long list of things I should have tried sooner. A staple of Caribbean cooking, especially along the coast of Colombia, it’s essentially white rice cooked with coconut milk then served with fried fish, plantains, avocado. Deceptively simple, I used equal parts canned light coconut milk and water for the first attempt, combining all the ingredients and bringing them to a fast boil. The result was great if I was going for rice pudding but otherwise too sticky and un-fluffable. Trying to get the proportions and the timing right, I used a second can and sautéed the rice with a little bit of oil before adding the liquid. It may have worked but I let it go too long and the amount of rice was way off, so it burned before it cooked. Read more
I’m not actually going to do it although my dog has already tried. I debated the practicality of putting up a tree I can only enjoy for a couple of weeks before I return to Miami for Christmas. I decided to be sensible and forgo it until the sweet Vermont hippie who sells trees at the end of my block offered me a little Charlie Browner as fat as it was tall. It just had to come home with me.
It was few years before it occurred to me that I could put up my own tree. Growing up, I’d always thought home would be my mother’s house in Miami until I started my own family. Eventually I sent myself to school in New York and stayed there. Still, the original concept I had as a child lingered, like an idea that only has its own word in a dead language. With every passing year in my Cobble Hill apartment, it felt less temporary and more like home. I stopped saving Christmas for a few days in Miami.
I only let myself buy ornaments after December 26th each year so I have a mix of overlooked but still very pretty decorations, like orphans from central casting. The tree itself is so chubby that I had to bury a lot of the figures just inside the branches so they peek out. I love everything about this tree. I love the floating mandarin in the mushroom hat, I love the mouse in snow boots, I love the polish black and white glass balls, I love the dancer en pointe, I love the peacock…
My tree is sweet just to the point before it becomes saccharine. So naturally, I now want to eat it. But since that would hurt, I’m having people over to enjoy it with me instead. Before everyone goes there separate ways for Christmas, I decided to have a few friends over for a buche de noel. I’ve been dying to make one and it is the traditional time for it. Not being french, it’s not my rule to break.