Sunday, July 26, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
He lived in this very lovely building in Brooklyn Heights. Wow! What a beautiful area. I hadn't been to Brooklyn Heights before. In fact, when I lived across the river and on the other side of the island in the 1980s, I never ventured over to Brooklyn once. My story of 1980s NY is similar to and different from my mate's. I'll leave it for another time.
Let me give a little texture to our trip. The day was simply perfect. The weather this summer is really astounding-- low humidity, intemittent rains to keep my garden fresh, sparkly blue skies, low 80s. Needless to say, Brooklyn Heights felt and looked as good as I think it ever could--bustling, sun-dappled, urbane and aristocratic- just dreamy.
That's the thing about food right? It is so much more than sustenance. Often the mind and heart of the eater color the reception of the ingredients and preparation and flavor. Certainly the case here--everything tasted right, as we watched the daily goings on at the intersection of Montague and Hicks. After the kind of lunch that you see in the movies, we started the trek to the Brooklyn bridge. My mate intended us to walk the bridge to Manhattan (as he often did from home to work back in the day) and then play our next move by ear.
Oh yea, the bridge itself ain't nothing to sneeze at. It's big and impressive.
After this hot walk we rambled into the subway to get over to the west side. Sure we could have walked. In my younger days I might have insisted to do so, but heck I wanted a cool drink and a Central Park greenspace and fast. We ended up taking a train to one of my undergrad. alma maters, Hunter College,then moved ever west towards the park. On the way we asked a doorman where the closest coffee shop might be. Espresso, on the corner of Madison and 64th, he claimed. After looking around this address several times we finally found it, and walked in to find, hmmm, how to describe it?? Super chic,mod, rich and hushed with a hostesses at the door. She informed us that there was a 15 minute wait for a table, we split. I mean really, this is just coffee we're talking about right? We found a little bakery coffee shop down the block and hoofed it over to the park. I forgot to take a picture of the cute peach berry tart, cookie and coffees we imbibed, but here are the remains.
And then collapsed in Sheep Meadow.
It was a day weighted by memory and rich with the present.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
After a round of drinks and appetizers, we hit the fields for a rousing game of Bocce. I can't, or don't want to, remember who won. All I know is that my team put forth a noble effort, even as it became almost impossible to see the pallina.
Post-Bocce, all the kids pitched in to get dinner on the candlelit table (set by the expert mixologist).
The menu included two kinds of pasta, one with pesto, one with a sausage sauce, roast chicken, salad, and bread. Despite the hearty appetizer offerings and many pre-dinner drinks, everyone ate like they needed a good meal.
The party concluded around 12 am, after we noshed some unbelievably delicious packaged cookies brought by AM and some other sweet things. Luckily for me SM hit the dishes like a professional and put my kitchen in order before she left. God bless her, since I would have had to face those nasty dishes and pots alone, the next morning.
It is my habit, after a night of drinking, to get up pretty early and wander around. And so I did the next day. As I cleaned up the dessert dishes, I got to thinking about,what else??? Food, of course. Perusing the party remnants, I spied a basket of leftover French bread and thought: French toast.
Topped with some leftover blueberry compote and served with a side of turkey bacon. Right on!
C'est La Vie is owned and operated by a real French dude. Going into his bakery is really like going to France. There's just something very European about the place. And his croissant, brioche, etc. are f'in good, as is his coffee which is always just the right temperature and flavor. I'm one picky coffee drinker; he rings my bell every time I go.
You might note the prominently displayed travel mug in the photo above. My mate is adamant about not using paper cups. I, as you can see, am not. It is a bit of a religion for him. I am slowly being converted.
After all this eating and drinking, I retired to the couch for the greater part of the day. My mate engaged in some project, I dunno what and really couldn't have cared less. I was tired and well fed.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
I blanched some fresh green beans and tossed with a very little oil and salt. I think I liked these more than the salsa cruda. I must say that I did enjoy the sauce when sopped up with bread. It tasted like the bruschetta I often order at our favorite local eatery, Bell's Tavern in Lambertville NJ.
Anyway, a few of my most favorite little friends stopped by for a visit at the end of the meal. We played and took a wander through my vegetable garden.
Sometimes people are way more fun than food. Happy summer, ya'll.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Back again with news about food and flowers and other growing things. This week I decided to plan a menu. I cook alot more often and consciously during the summer, because I am less busy (no work for teachers in the summer, it is the absolute benefit of the profession for those who care to take advantage). Here's the menu thus far.
Sunday: Veg and tofu fried rice (a good way to get rid of old vegetables and rice)
My flowers are like old friends, they come around every year. They don't need extra special tending: water, weeding, mulch, deadheading. That's it. There are enough of them that if a disease or bug infestion occurs, someone will be blooming if another isn't. I can trust them and they trust me. Vegetable gardens are different. They are emotional, whimsical, and susceptible to predation. They don't return each year, like my predictable perennial flowers. They need the right soil, the right amount of water, protection from bugs and molds. They are high-maintenance friends. I've tried year after year to grow vegs and have failed. Maybe my soil is too acidic or too alkaline, I dunno. But do you see what I'm saying, they ask to much of my brain. I want to only use my body and my heart in the garden, not my head. That's why I love the garden, it silences my analytical tendencies that are in overdrive during the academic year.
Thusfar, I planted beets, cucumbers, zucchini, arugula, cantalope, bush and pole beans, broccoli, various herbs, and tomatoes; I think that's it. We'll see what happens. Some critter is lacifying the arugula and broccoli, and the tomatoes aren't progressing at a timely clip, but who knows what the future holds. That' s the thing with vegetables, they keep you in suspense. For those of you who successfully grow vegetables (without chemicals), I would love any advice. I can't say I will follow it, but I will read attentively.
Oh yea, the menu for the rest of this week includes: pasta tonight and fish, veg coconut curry on Thurs. Friday is open. I'll keep you posted.