Travel

Octopus 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

7.22.15 Foreign Markets

A number of you expressed dismay when I mentioned the lack of fresh seafood in Greece, so I want to let you know that I did see a lot of beautiful fish, squid and octopus glistening on ice in the central market of Athens. I like nothing better than getting lost in one of these big foreign food markets (like this one, here and here; and this one) and Varvakios Agora did not disappoint. It was sprawling, bustling with shoppers and filled with what the locals eat every day. Worlds apart from an American grocery store, there was an intimacy—between the vendors and the buyers, between the people and the food—that was beautiful to behold. 


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Greek salad1 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

7.17.15 Meet Me at the Greek

In many ways, Greece was as I had imagined it. Athens was hot and bustling, with the presence of the ancients hovering everywhere. (More about that soon.) Syros, a small island next to Mykonos, was even hotter, with quaint stone streets and sun-bleached buildings against the dazzling blue of the Aegean. What I didn't expect was an almost total lack of fresh seafood. Whether it's because tourist demand exceeds the supply, or the waters are regulated due to overfishing, we saw only frozen octopus and no fresh fish on the menus. Only once, when we were on Syros, did we enjoy wild mussels and red shrimp, which were truly wonderful.  So for much of our time in Greece, we stuck to a classic that never gets old: Greek Salad.


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Tagged — salad, feta, Greek salad, Greece
Rose 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

7.15.15 How Dry I am

I've got so much to share with you, so many new discoveries and ideas and resources on my mind, that I've decided to try to post shorter pieces more frequently. Back in the early days of this blog, I used to post almost every day! And some people really liked that. We'll see how this works out.

 

This unusual plant is something I picked up from an herbalist in a very cool health food store in Athens. He described it as a "Jerusalem rose," but that's actually a different plant, more commonly known as Rose of Jericho (Anastatica), native to the Middle East and North Africa. This one is Selaginella lepidophylla, another type of "resurrection plant," so-called because it can survive almost total desiccation. 


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Paris 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife (many with iPhone)

7.13.15 Travelogue: Beirut (but first, Paris)

Travel is not what it used to be. No more steamer trunks and parasols. No more dapper Don Drapers suiting up to fly PanAm. These days it's all hustle and long lines, cramped seats and synthetic blankets. Hordes of massively irritated people feeding cheapie bags of cocktail peanuts to snotty-nosed kids. At least there's no more smoking on planes. Here is one instance when it's best to disregard the journey and focus on the destination.

 

Traffic out of New York City was so terrifically bad that we missed our flight to Beirut and had to take one to Paris instead. Jetting to The City of Light for a day sounds much more glamorous than it actually is, especially given that the flow at Charles de Gaulle airport is so ill-conceived that it took us more than two hours to funnel out of the main door. Once outside, there were about 200 people—all cranky and bleary-eyed after overnight flights—waiting for taxis. But on the drive into the city, the mood shifted. The beauty of Paris overcomes all.


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Hummus1 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

7.7.15 Remember Me?

Forgive me, reader, for I have sinned. It's been more than a month since my last post. And still no pictures from my trip to Lebanon and Greece! It's not exactly mea culpa. My husband's laptop died on the way home and it's taken several weeks to recover the data, including all the photo files downloaded during our travels. (But kudos to the geeks of Tekserve for recovering everything!) So, images of the Aegean are forthcoming. And as penance for my long absence, I am considering not taking the month of August off as I usually do. To further placate you, I come bearing the definitive recipe for hummus, one that is so light, fluffy and creamy, you will feel instantly transported to the Middle East, where, wearing rustic leather sandals and a smock of gauzy linen, you will recline in the shade of an ancient olive grove and be soothed by balmy breezes.


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Peony bud 790 xxx
iPhotos by gluttonforlife

6.5.15 Greece Is the Word (& June Hot Links)

Farewell is such sweet sorrow. I'm leaving on a jet plane, just as the garden kicks into its full glory. While I'm away, the peonies are going to bloom in a burst of pink and white fireworks. The jasmine will waft its sweet fragrance all over the yard and into the open windows of our tiny cottage, but I'll be in Greece. Which will certainly be no small consolation for missing one of the prime moments of the season in our little corner of the Catskills. I've never been to Greece before but my suitcase is packed with all things blue and white in anticipation. Last night, only half joking, I made a Greek salad for dinner. Priming the pump. New sights, new sounds, new tastes, new friends: here I come.


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Redbud 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife and friends

5.28.15 Spring Things

Do you want the good news or the bad news? Let's get the bad news over with. The beautiful little eastern redbud tree (Cercis canadensis) outside our kitchen window gave up the ghost. Its vivid pink blossoms, one of the earliest harbingers of spring, failed to appear last year. We chalked it up to the same late frost that destroyed many apple blossoms, since the tree eventually leafed out, its broad, heart-shaped greenery a welcome source of summer shade, But this year, there were again no blossoms and no leaves either. Further investigation revealed deep vertical cracks running up both sides of the trunk. Apparently, it's not entirely unusual for strong winds to cause this, though it certainly feels deeply unjust. The skeletal branches are a sad reminder of how much I will miss our dear tree, a friend to birds and butterflies, and a bosom companion to this solitary writer. Now, on to the good...


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Sand 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

3.3.15 Running Hot & Cold

Sand between my toes is but a distant memory. The crunch of snow underfoot is what greeted me after my short vacation in Antigua. But I'm not complaining: I was lucky to get away and even luckier to return to my tiny cottage in the woods, my geriatric kitty, my cozy kitchen and everything I hold most dear and famliar. All the little routines—my meditation, watching birds in the yard while drinking my morning cup of tea, cooking dinner—these incremental steps in the journey of life bring me the most happiness. (Mary Oliver says it so much better.) I have some photos to illustrate the transition from island paradise to winter wonderland, and a few ideas for cold-weather cooking, and I've cobbled them together here into a long, image-studded meandering that ends in a recipe for duck confit that is so easy and so delicious you just have to make it.


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Antigua 790 xxx
photo from the inter webs

2.18.15 Cold Comfort

This past Sunday, the day we were slated to fly out of Newark airport to meet G's extended family in Antigua for our much-anticipated winter getaway, great gusts of snow were billowing across the unplowed roads of our town. Miraculously, our anxious pre-dawn drive gave way to a nearly-on-time departure and a touchdown, a mere four hours later, beside the preternaturally blue waters of this island paradise. The news from home continues to bear glacial tidings, with record-low temperatures predicted, along with more snowfall, into next week. By that time, I'll be back in Sullivan County with only a little sand in my shoes to remind me of balmier climes.


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a short film by gluttonforlife

1.20.15 Get Your Goat (& a short film by GFL TV)

I'm thrilled to debut a short film we made about goats. I hope it inspires you to learn more about these delightful creatures and to enjoy them in the fields and on your plate—remembering that, if you like goat cheese and goat's milk yogurt, you contribute to a more sustanainable system by eating goat's meat, too.

 

Here are a few recipes for cooking with goat's milk, cheese and meat:

Cajeta (Goat's Milk Caramel)

Phyllo Triangles with Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese

Birria Jocotepec (Mexican-Style Braised Goat)


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Tagged — Mexico, video, GFL TV, birria, goat
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