Things I’m Loving

6 Jul

It’s been a very easy summer to complain about.

The weather has been dreadful and the hours at work long and exhausting, and that has meant that finding the time to keep the Granny Cart up to date has been nearly impossible.  I begin a post and then it sits for a week, sometimes two, until I find the time to complete it.  And then, when the post is finally done, it’s nowhere near as good as I had hoped it would be.

So, in an attempt to not dwell on the negative, allow me to paraphrase Juliet:

Swear not about the rain, the near constant rain, that daily changes good dirt to mud, lest my prose prove likewise dour.

In a move that may surprise those that know me in real life, I’d like to stop complaining for a minute, and focus on the good things, because in the rare moments when the rain has stopped, it’s actually been quite an awesome summer.

So, in no particular order, Things I’m Loving, Summer 2009.

The Red Barn‘s Tiny ‘Tinis. 2 oz Martinis. Perfect in both concept and execution.

Another Fork in the Road Diner. Seasonal, local food done oh so very very right.  Anyone that reads this blog for the food should be sure to stop at this new diner for breakfast or lunch the next time they find themselves on the Taconic State Parkway (be sure to note their hours though, no dinner).

Pasta with Peas and Greens. We’ve tried every combination, Peas and Lettuce, Radicchio and Peas, Kale and Peas, Lacinato Kale and Peas, Turnip Greens and Peas, Arugula and Peas, and every one of them has been delicious.  Make sure to change up the seasoning based on the flavor profile of the greens though. Radicchio needs taming, so use long-cooked garlic and some anchovies and lots of ricotta.  Peas need nothing more than a hint of garlic and lemon juice.  Kale can stand up to lots of garlic and chile flakes and Parmigano-Reggiano.  Wilt the greens, add the peas and toss with pasta.  Couldn’t be simpler, couldn’t be tastier.  Makes an excellent lunch to take to work too.

This tart. I made mine with some pate brise I had stored in the freezer, and if I made it this way again, I wouldn’t use the egg wash. It made the crust too chewy.  But do make this tart. It is so easy and beautiful and will impress the hell out of house guests, or if you’re the guest, your host.  Serve with delicious, loosely whipped cream.

Seeds and Plants from Christina, My garden is bursting at the seams, and though I’d like to chalk it all up to my superior gardening skills, I’m smart enough to know that it helps to start with good product.  The beautiful Blue Coco beans and various greens and herbs good blog friend Christina sent me as a house warming present are growing their little brains out.  It’s so fun to muse on the flexibility of nature.  The seeds she sent me were grown in such a different location from where they’re growing now.

Monticello, And then there’s the mutability of time that seeds provide.  The seeds that I bought from Monticello are descended from stock first grown in the United States by one of our country’s great men, Thomas Jefferson.  Without meaning to sound like too much of a teenager, I mean, that is like, so cool!

and Silver Heights. And finally there’s the variety of nature, evident in the varying sizes and shapes and foliage of the tomatoes and peppers and eggplants and squash that I picked up from Silver Heights after weeks of agonizing over who to choose.  Not every plant is turning out to be ideal for my garden, but it’s a fascinating experiment.

Grazin’ Angus Beef. Beautiful steaks and “interesting bits” from cows I can see from the road and pat on the nose if I ask nicely.  The steaks aren’t cheap, but you know what? They shouldn’t be.  Most people eat too much meat as it is. I mean, this weekend I was in a Price Chopper and they were selling 18 chicken legs for $3.  How is that right?  I’d rather they sold 18 eggplants for $3.

Ocean State Job Lot. From pricey to crazy cheap, I love this weird store.  It’s like an old fashioned Woolworth’s rolled in with a Trader Joe’s and Century 21.  Some things are well priced, others are loss-leaders and some are just outright plays for money, but it’s worth the trip for the cheap terracotta pots and excellent cracker selection.

Flickr. My deep appreciation for this photo-sharing website grows on a weekly basis.  I love being able to keep track of my friends’ lives in a visual way. I love being able to leave little notes for people and to hear feedback on my photos.  If you’re on flickr too, I’d love to be a contact.  My username is martine266.

Equine Advocates. I just started doing volunteer work at this equine sanctuary, and ye gods! it’s good for the soul.  If like me, you need a horse fix, but don’t have the time/money/physical strength/balls to ride anymore, volunteer here.  A few hours once a week, or more if you have the time, is good for you and great for the horses.

Borage in my Cocktails. Pour a large shot of Lillet into a high ball glass.  Add two shredded leaves of borage, a dash of Peychaud’s bitters, a dash of lemon juice and three ice cubes.  Swizzle and then top with seltzer.  Swizzle again.  The cucumber flavor the borage imparts is refreshing and surprising.

So that’s it!  Well, of course that’s not actually it, there are many other things keeping me happy on a daily basis, too.  There’s Isaac, of course, and my family with whom we’ll soon be spending our annual week up in the mountains, and my friends and the birds up at the house and here in the city (the chipmunk that insists on tearing up the pots of herbs on the patio is, however, not making me happy) and iced coffee and sunsets and runs in the park and so, so, so many more things.

So I ask you: What’s making you happy this summer?  Please feel free to share in the comments.


14 Responses to “Things I’m Loving”

  1. cherokeebydesign July 6, 2009 at 7:55 am #

    Work does take a toll on the things we enjoy doing.

    Great photos.


  2. Kevin Kossowan July 6, 2009 at 10:39 am #

    What’s making me happy? Rain. Lots of it after a long drought.

  3. Christina July 6, 2009 at 11:28 am #

    Well, the fact that the seeds are growing well for you is one thing that is making me very, very happy. Blue Coco is wonderful–it’s such a pretty plant too! Other things that are making me happy: funny chickens, running, not having to get up in the morning at insanely early hours, an upcoming visit to NY (woohoo!), books, the funky sandal tanline on my feet, and all sorts of other things. Ah, summer. Thank God it happens every year.

  4. Madeleine July 6, 2009 at 4:55 pm #

    I love Ocean State Joblot too; I go whenever I visit CT. On our last trip there I got organic potting soil, mustard, weights for working out at home ($3 each!) and I’m sure a few other random things. A lot of the stuff is just awful (revolting acrylic bathmats, etc.) but I have never left there empty-handed.

  5. Lisa July 6, 2009 at 6:21 pm #

    I can’t speak for everyone, but whenever you don’t feel like talking, your spectacular photos of the sky are more than enough for me. And thanks for reminding me that I need to hang out at Flickr more often. See you soon, I hope!

  6. Lindsay July 7, 2009 at 1:21 am #

    Beautiful photos. :)

  7. WillB July 7, 2009 at 6:03 am #

    Day lilies!!! Great photos as usual…enjoy the mountains.

  8. Margaret July 7, 2009 at 8:20 am #

    Equine rescue! I did something similar while I was in California for a stint; it was great. But your Taconic refernce got me thinking- I recently discovered (online only unfortunately) Innisfree, which is located in upstate NY, a little far for a day trip for me in DC, but probably within reach for you on a weekend. Just Google Innisfree New York, and you’ll see a wonderful escape vehicle for those who love pondering Nature and Humans’ effect on it. Thanks for the upper!

  9. ann July 7, 2009 at 7:55 pm #

    Raven — I love your pictures! Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing them with us.

    Kevin — So funny! You celebrate rain, I celebrate the end of rain. :-)

    Christina — You coming to NY is making me happy too. Tan feet also make me happy. It seems so decedent.

    Madeline — You should see the shirt our house guests bought us when I took them there. All I can say is tie dye, animal rears and rainbows. Just too much! You need to take the good with the bad at OSJL.

    Lisa — Awh gee shucks! Thanks :-) We need to get together again soon!

    Lindsay — Thanks! Back atcha, and please send jam, it all looks delicious! (just kidding :-)

    Will — Day lillies make me happy too. They’re so cheery and bright. Now if I could just keep the deer from eating them …

    Margaret — Oh. My. God. Innisfree! How have I never heard of this place! STUNNING. I certainly know where I’m stopping the next time we have a long weekend and a leisurely drive up state. THANK YOU for sharing!

  10. bloglily July 14, 2009 at 2:21 pm #

    This made me happy. I loved hearing about greens and peas! I haven’t yet settled into summer — except to notice that things are a little slower at work, and people are not so demanding. And that’s a happy thing. Have a great vacation!

  11. gabriellemarielopez July 15, 2009 at 12:36 pm #

    As someone who has a full-time job (count my blessings) and one who blogs I feel you’re exhaustion. I also feel the joy this city brings! The rain has begun to clear and the weather has been beautifully temperate. I joke that it followed me here from Southern California. Thanks for sharing the tings that make you happy!

  12. marilyn July 24, 2009 at 7:02 pm #

    The highlight of my summer is having a farmshare at ALLANDALE FARM, the last working farm in boston. This week, the romano beans, beets, potatoes and watercress, among other offerings, were outstanding! I made a potato-beet salad with pickles, scallions, dill and a sweet/sour dressing that made me very happy! And not one to let those beet greens go to waste, I sauteed them in olive oil with spring garlic and golden raisins to toss with pasta, adding a sprinkle of parmesan cheese!
    Your photos are exquisite, as always! Thank you!! marilyn

  13. marilyn July 24, 2009 at 7:09 pm #

    P.S. There is more…….how could I have forgotten??? A friend gave me 2 quarts of gooseberries and a simple recipe for jam, along with a warning that i MAY NOT like the unique flavor of these beautiful berries.
    I LOVED the jam! Have you ever made it? marilyn

  14. ann July 27, 2009 at 6:25 am #

    Lily — A slow summer sounds dreamy to me!

    Gabrielle — Thanks for stopping by, and for bringing the weather :-)

    Marilyn — Gooseberries! I saw some this weekend and contemplated buying them and making jam. Maybe next weekend after your excellent recommendation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: