Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sad Truth

USA Today reports that last year we Americans spent $147 billion -- billion! -- on conditions related to obesity. Obese persons have medical bills 42 percent higher than those of normal weight. The surge in obesity may be related to modern industrial agriculture, including the use of chemicals such as endocrine disruptors. So the ag system produces cheap food, yes, but may impose other costs -- time for a rethink.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Attempted to make hummus this weekend. Succeeded. For the most part. Our Cuisinart makes anything pretty idiot-proof, but as it turns out, I am able to muck anything up. Even hummus in a food processor. The recipe we completely nuanced without consulting any (oh, thousands of years of) recipes was simple. We knew we wanted white beans. We could not find dried white beans, which was the original plan, and, given the blazingly disgusting heat of the weekend, we settled for not boiling our own and buying two cans of cannelini beans.

First things first, you probably don't need two full cans of beans. It filled our food processor to the top and made way too much hummus. I always over-make. But, as we started to add stuff I forgot about quantity and focused on quality. We simply added fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic.

Then we added more garlic.

Then more garlic.

Then more. When he wasn't looking, I would throw more in and when I wasn't looking, he'd throw more in.

The whole head of garlic went into the hummus in the end. While delicious, it was way way way way too garlicky. And also the consistency wasn't up to snuff--a bit too runny. I like thick hummus. If anyone has suggestions, they are more than welcome. Attempt number two will certainly involve dry beans and less garlic. But it was hummus! It was definitely hummus. And it was eaten on the stoop with cucumbers, tomatoes, pretzels and toasted peasant bread on a classic NY summer day.

Friday, July 24, 2009


My birthday dinner last night was absolutely impeccable. The best thing in the world is when a restaurant opens in your neighborhood, doesn't have their liquor license yet (and is therefore BYOB) and serves amazing Italian fare, including brick oven pizzas. Um, oh yes. I was a happy gal.

The service was sweet and genuine, the server made great recommendations and the atmosphere is carmely soft and dreamily fuzzy. I could not find, online, a great picture of the bar, but they have done a bang-up job fixing up what used to be Queen's Hideaway. The kitchen is right out in the open, the chefs cooking behind a pretty low counter, a beautiful wood-fire oven blazing away behind them. It is all remarkably lovely. They have a great garden (weather did not so much permit last night, so we sat inside).

For an appetizer, we chose the bruschetta of the day -- three gorgeous toasts tiered with traditional chopped tomato bruschetta topping, then eggplant parmagiana slices, then melty mozzerella, then topped with a fabulous fresh pesto, all drizzled with olive oil and fresh basil tearings. There was nothing done wrong here.

I love the little perks at Anella too... they bring you, unfailingly, a small teaser plate before your appetizer arrives. This time it was a crostini topped with a hummus-like white bean puree. Completely inspired us to use the Cuinsinart to make white bean hummus this weekend. Terribly delish.

Main courses, we chose pizzas! Though they do have fish + meat + pasta selections that I am sure are lovely.

I had a meatball pizza with the softest, must succulent slices of meatball flayed down the center of the pie, combined with a concentrated garlicky tomato sauce and mozz. The crust is slightly salty (in a good way), thin and crispy-soft at the same time. Adored this pizza. H had yummy three chese topped with beautiful parsley.

The best part of all, maybe, however, was the roasted rooftop vegetables we ordered as a side! Yes, many of the veggies/herbs we ate came from the rooftop garden and they were just so damn good.

Happy birthday to moi. :)

Pics of Anella courtesy of NYMag.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Trip to the Rooftop Farm in Greenpoint

As stated a couple posts ago, I ventured out into my community to be with the people of New York for a workshop at the rooftop farm in Greenpoint (my neighborhood): http://rooftopfarms.org.

I find that, in life, there are not many experiences where one has an idealistic view/image/idea in mind upon approaching them and, lo and behold, that image matches perfectly with reality. This was one of those rare and epic scenes of life: rows of plants, vegetables, edibles all perfectly nestled on top of the most expansive, well curated and fascinating building tops in the city. It was astounding, to put it most simply.

The workshop that I arrived a bit late to was given by Annie, one of the farm's main ... farmers. Annie, who studied chocolate agriculture and worked at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, told us what it means for their farm to be organic. Though the farm is not 'certified organic' and has no plans to be (Annie called the paperwork, time and money it costs to have the measly, slowly-growing-meaningless label of certified organic "horseshit" -- and I have to agree) the only means of getting rid of pesky bugs and diseases is by:

-Hand Weeding, Picking Frequently
-Diluted Copper
-Diluted Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap
-Coffee Grounds
and they were potentially considering doing caterpillar juice.

The farm uses a specific blend of rooptop soil and I was also lucky enough to participate in their first compost bed lay, done with compost that they made themselves from the refuse of local restaurants (Annie said the compost was almost combustible, white hot when they dug it out of the bin that day!). What an amazing cyclical gesture and symbiotic style, though.

Think of it: They grow vegetables and food for Marlow and Sons, for example, this food is prepared/eaten and then discarded into a compost bin which the farm itself picks up from the restaurant, the compost goes back to the farm to fertilize future vegetables. It's an incredible cycle of foodiness. Obviously, I adore this.

Without further ado, a few photos:

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Greenpoint Rooftop Farm

I was very excited to learn recently that there is an enormous rooftop farm in Greenpoint (my neighborhood). Who knew! How did I not know this? Check it out: http://rooftopfarms.org/

Apparently, it's pretty amazing. So, I will be there this Sunday for a volunteer/sale/information session to learn about the farm and potentially volunteer. If nothing else, I will definitely check out their produce and learn about their processes.
It's hard to 'garden' in New York precisely because it's so unlikely that you will even end up living in a space with a 'garden'. I don't even have roof access, but if I did, I'd definitely green that sh*t up. According to my architecture friends who are in the LEED know, etc, it's apparently pretty easy to lay down some seed and sprout a grass or whatevs you're into on a roof. Just takes a little time to get going, but after that isn't too tough to maintain. Man, it would be amazing to have a little farm on your roof! Think about it. Take a class on it. Give it a shot if you have the means!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I have searched the internets for various reports on MJ's favorite foods and this is what I have come up with:
The general consensus is that his favorite food was "Mexican Food", but other speculations came up as well including M&Ms, KFC, spicy food and sushi.

UPDATE: Michael Jordan just confirmed at the Michael Jackson Memorial that he ate KFC with Michael Jackson on the floor of Neverland Ranch. And they laffed.

FURTHER UPDATE: That wasn't Michael Jordan, it was in fact Magic Johnson.