Archive | September, 2009

The American Wing

30 Sep

I love the Met.

After 9/11, the Met was a major source of solace for me. I don’t remember, but I think for awhile they waived the entrance fee and I would just go to the Islamic Wing and contemplate what could make a culture that created such beautiful art do such an ugly thing. I know that there can’t possibly be any direct correlation, between art and the acts of a few people, but I needed to find some peace and some answers and I found them there.

The Islamic wing has been closed for several years and will be for several more. I miss it.  But judging from the makeover the American Wing just got, the wait will be worth.  Because despite what I’ve just said the American Wing is actually my favorite part of the museum.

I love the paintings and the silver and the jewelry and the stained glass and the furniture and the room vignettes and the bears sculpture, and despite the atrium’s gaudy makeover, I still love that too.  But why I love it even more now is the newly opened Luce Center.

No trip to the Met is complete without a spin through the Temple of Dendur. Join me for one below.

Colorful Food

30 Sep

Many of the dinners we’ve eaten this summer have been rather monotone.  There’s been lots of green punctuated by little stripes and dots of red pepper.  It’s been a season devoid of the wild colors of heirloom tomatoes.  But this weekend, when we stayed in the city, we hit the greenmarkets and bought every colorful tomato we came across, and then I took them home and roasted them.

For years now I’ve seen recipes for oven-roasted cherry tomatoes on blog-after-blog but I never made them. The cool weather just never seemed to coincide with the end of tomato season.  But in this weird weather year, the conditions I’ve been waiting for have finally occurred and I made up for lost time¹.

We roasted some wickedly sweet little round red tomatoes on Saturday, then drizzled them with good balsamic and ate them with roasted duck breasts and yet another version of that gorgeous squash soup (this time with white beans for creaminess and a purple opal basil yogurt crema).  And then on Sunday I roasted a mix of colors and shapes and served them over smashed red bliss potatoes alongside a pan-roasted fillet of Spanish mackerel and another purple opal basil crema made zippy with one third of a Jawala pepper.

And now, after having had two dinners in a row graced by oven-roasted tomatoes, I can say this to you: Do not make my mistake! Roast when it’s roasting out if you must, but do roast some of your most perfect cherry tomatoes and serve them with whatever you’ve got .  Pasta, duck, fish, salad, beef, pork, chicken, polenta, rice, bread, quinoa, kasha, grits, jerky, tofu, ostrich, cardboard.  Anything.  Just make them.  You can thank me later.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————-

¹ Set the oven to 325°F.  Wash a few handfuls of cherry tomatoes, put them in an roasting dish or dutch oven, coat with a few glugs of olive oil, a pinch of salt and a minced garlic clove or two and place in the oven.  Roast the tomatoes–scoot them about the pan with a toss or a spoon once or twice–for an hour or so until they’ve collapsed in on themselves, taken on a burnished hue and released their juices.  Remove and mix in a handful of torn basil.  Enjoy!

Croquet

29 Sep

We stayed in the city this weekend, and on Saturday went for a walk in Central Park.

As we turned a corner a field full people all dressed in white, came into view. “Oooh! Look they’re playing cricket.  How civilized!” said Isaac. “Funny, whenever I’ve seen cricket matches in the Park they’ve been further south,” I replied.  And just as I had gotten that out, Isaac chuckled and said, “No, not cricket … croquet!”

And he was right.  There, on a perfectly manicured emerald square were a dozen men and women wearing white from the tops of their hats to the soles of their shoes, sipping coffee and warming up for a croquet tournament.  Stumbling upon the match from Alice in Wonderland would have been only slightly more surreal than our real world discovery.

But don’t go running off to the park with your whites and mallet.  As with most highly civilized pursuits there’s a high degree of bureaucracy involved; all players are required to carry a permit.

P.S. Here’s a couple great articles about the croquet, and some information on how to join in.

From the New York Times: Killer Croquet Games in Central Park and Crisp Whites, and the Crack of the Mallet.

And How to Get Involved from the New York Croquet Club.

Short & Sweet

23 Sep

I’m back, and I’ve got a little something up my sleeve.

Shorter, sweeter, lighters posts, and more of them.  I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why I was having trouble keeping the Granny Cart fresh, and it came down to one thing: length.  The posts were too long, too ponderous.  I felt heavy thinking about them and trying to write them.  I felt constrained by their length and the necessity of keeping photos on a theme.  So I’ve chopped that up completely and given the site a new spin.

And so you’ll find a little post about peppers, and one about a fuzzy new friend, there’s a brief little vignette from a funny little restaurant, a view of the city from a friend’s rooftop and how scars heal in the garden. There’s also a jig of a recipe for eating a novel part of the Brussels sprout and photos from a paddle I took in my new kayak where I spied on an Osprey.

I hope you like the new feel.  It’s early goings for me, but so far, I’m liking it a whole lot.  Please let me know what you think.

Falstaff

21 Sep

Over any other vegetable in all the world, Isaac loves Brussels sprouts.

So when we were planning the garden, there was little doubt that we would need to plant a little plot of tiny cabbages.  But I wanted to grow something different.  We settled on Falstaff.

Falstaff is in my opinion tied with the Blue Coco bean as the most beautiful plant in our garden.  It is a red-purple sprout (apparently the color becomes more intense after a frost and is retained in cooking), and the leaves are just gorgeous.  They remind me of stained glass.

Got sprouts? Eat the leaves!