Leisure

31 Aug

We’re good New Yorkers.

The view from Fairway

We rely on public transportation to get around. I’m nice to tourists. He walks incredibly fast. We indulge in real estate porn. I have a favorite spot in Prospect Park, he has one in Central Park. We know how to tell if a taxi is available (and share this knowledge freely). We love Grandma Slices and know who Dr. Z is. I do the bulk of my shopping at Greenmarkets and bodegas. I haven’t been to a Wal-Mart in more than a decade. We don’t own a car.

Can you guess what I am?

And so, like many, many, good New Yorkers, come tomorrow morning we’ll be jumping in a rental car and glomming onto the good will of two friends who own a country house to revel in the last days of summer. God I love three-day weekends!

And yet…. I’m a little sad that summer’s ending. It seems to have been less profound out here by the water in Bay Ridge. It’s amazing how much less painful 100° days are when you’re not spending them boiling to death in a 350 square foot, east-facing oven with no cross ventilation.

Wires

We’ve only used the air conditioner once this year. And yet… I’m still bummed. I didn’t do a lot of the things I thought living out here in the “suburbs” would allow me to do. I never once sat on the stoop and read the entire Sunday Times cover to cover. We never pulled out the teeny tiny barbecue and grilled anything. We never picnicked in the park at the end of our street and I haven’t gone swimming once this year.

Sad

Yes, yes, there’s still time to do all these things, and let’s be honest, September is the greatest month of weather in New York City (those planning vacations to Gotham take note of this insider gem) and therefore ideal for many of these activities. And yet… I feel it’s somewhat hasty to be heralding the end of a season I kind of feel like hasn’t even gotten started yet.

Locks

And so I’m going to kick back and hope for good weather up in the mountains. I hear there will be beer, and maybe some vintage baseball and definitely some grilling and if it’s hot enough even a trip to the town pool.

I won’t be laboring very hard and I hope you won’t be either, so I’ll leave you with three incredibly easy recipes for enjoying Summer’s bounty.

Teeny Tiny Salted ‘Taters

Buy really, incredibly tiny red potatoes, wash them and then cook them in the saltiest of boiling water until tender. (For more detailed instructions see the recipe for Salt Potatoes).

Teeny Tiny 'Taters

The traditional way to eat these would be with drawn butter alongside a heaping platter of clams. But why not toy with tradition and eat yours with romesco sauce or Viking-style with mustard and dill?

Teeny Tiny 'Taters

Panzanella

Like your tomatoes with bread? Tired of sandwiches (is this even possible?)? Too hot to try Luisa‘s amazing sounding soup? Why not try a tomato and bread salad! Those crafty Italians gave it a fancy name so you can serve it to people without saying, “It’s, uh, tomato and, uh, stale bread, uh, salad.” Instead you can walk up to the table with a big bowl and say to everyone in your finest Sophia Loren accent, “It’s Paanzaneeeeellla! Prego! Go! Dig in! Everyone eat! Mangia!” and be adored. God the Italians are brilliant.

Panzanella

To make it crush a few cloves of garlic in a garlic press, toss them into a bowl with a healthy pinch of salt, a luxurious glug of olive oil and splash of red wine or sherry vinegar (please, no balsamic). Cube up some of your prettiest heirloom tomatoes, toss them in, mix and add some roughly chopped basil. Grind in some pepper and mix it up again. Add cubes of stale bread, toss one last time and serve with a smile.

Squash Carpaccio

I was at the Greenmarket a few weeks ago at the same stand where I bought the eggtoes. And see, here’s another thing that makes me a good New Yorker. There was a guy buying some so I briefly told him about my recipe, he said thanks and I walked away feeling good. I was buying Avocado Squashes because they were pretty and I’d never heard of them before. I walked up to pay and the lady in front of me turned and said, “Ooooooh those are delightful prepared like carpaccio!” Really? I asked. “Oh yes,” she said, “Just slice them very thin and dress them with lemon juice and olive oil.” Thanks! I said, and I actually meant it. She’s a good New Yorker, too.

Avocado Squash Carpaccio

So I took her at her word and boy was she right.

Avocado Squash Carpaccio

To eat her good advice simply slice a few avocado squash very thinly and arrange on one plate per person. Sprinkle with a little salt and some freshly ground pepper and dress each plate with the juice of half a lemon, a healthy glug of the very best extra virgin olive oil and a few capers. Top with a handful of arugula dressed with lemon juice and olive oil and a few shavings of Parmesan and more freshly ground pepper. Your vegetarian friends will thank you, but so will everyone else!

So get out there America! Go grill some steaks, prop your feet up on a cooler and enjoy this last weekend of Summer.

This good New Yorker will be right alongside you. Just don’t work too hard doing it, that would be unpatriotic!

P.S. I just noticed that my little stats counter says I’ve had my 100,000th visitor. What a milestone!  Whomever you were, thank you so much for stopping by! The same goes to all of you, from the first to the last, who have made my little blog so much fun and so fulfilling. You guys rule!

12 Responses to “Leisure”

  1. Lydia August 31, 2007 at 11:20 am #

    You need to save some wonderful things (grilling, stoop sitting) to do next summer, too! It’s nice when summer flies by and you don’t even realize it. Means you’ve been having a good time.

  2. Julie August 31, 2007 at 11:28 am #

    Avocado squash? Just one more thing you can find in NYC that you won’t find in Baltimore. (Dammit. because your squash carpaccio sounds good.)

    Summer ending always makes me sad too and there are always summer things I didn’t get to do (visit the ocean, go to New England…) but September in the mid-Atlantic is (weather-wise) like an extension of summer. It’s a good time for stoop sitting.

  3. Miriam August 31, 2007 at 11:37 am #

    This was a wonderful post, and a very enjoyable blog. You make me miss New York. You also made me hungry. So I tagged you for Blog Day (http://www.blogday.org/). I look forward to reading more!

  4. ann September 1, 2007 at 9:00 am #

    Lydia — Indeed, you are right. Thanks for putting some perspective on it!

    Julie — I bet you can find them in Charm City! I do love September it is the best time for stoop perching, you’re right.

    Miriam — Thanks for the tag! I havent had time to do the blog day thing, so just check out the links in my delicious module. I love your icon btw.

  5. Christina September 1, 2007 at 5:53 pm #

    That dog gets me. I want to take him home.

    Thanks for the bright, lovely looking recipes. But, even more importantly, enjoy your long weekend away. I hope it is wonderful.

  6. izzy's mama September 1, 2007 at 8:04 pm #

    Thanks for giving me something to do with the bowl of tiny taters in my fridge..I photographed them but then didn’t cook them.

    Lucky for you that it is breezy in Bay Ridge. We made it the entire summer with no A/C and it sure isn’t breezy where we are (lucky we were out of town for the worst of it).

    Stoop sitting is fun and you can still do it thru Autumn…I never get much reading done, just people watching and Izzy entertaining.

  7. Miriam September 2, 2007 at 12:33 pm #

    After tagging people, I learned that unfortunately WordPress was making it difficult for people to figure out who I am! Sorry! I’m at http://www.crafterbynight.com. Cheers!

  8. ann September 4, 2007 at 6:42 am #

    Christina — They’re the best. They’re so fluffy and friendly and trapped in this endless yard of broken-down cars under the BQE. Every time we walk by it’ all I can do to keep myself from breaking into the junk yard and stealing, I mean, rescuing the three of them.

    Izzy’s Mama — That’s a great point. Thanks!

    Miriam — Thanks!

  9. s'kat September 5, 2007 at 7:34 am #

    I can’t believe it’s September already! Luckily, that means cooler weather and comfort food season is just ahead.

    In the meantime, thanks for the lovely roundup of end o’summer’s best!

  10. ann September 5, 2007 at 7:57 am #

    s’kat — I hope you get some comfort food really soon. Sounds like you’ve had a rough week.

  11. Golly September 12, 2007 at 4:40 am #

    That tomato salad looks divine, perfect for idly snacking on whilst reading the paper outside! Here in the UK we have really missed summer this year, so we’re making th most of what little September sun we have. I hoping it stays warm enough to ripen my tomatoes or it’ll be green tomato chutney with everything for the next nine months.

  12. ann September 12, 2007 at 8:05 am #

    Hi Golly! — Green tomato chutney doesn’t sound so bad! I’m having tomato troubles of my own here in Brooklyn so I feel you’re pain. I hope the sun comes out for you!

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