Ls cocktails 790 xxx
photo by samantha goh

11.24.15 Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)

Another month has passed. Are you the same? I'm not. I feel my roots shifting and it's exciting and scary. My jaw sometimes feels weird when I wake up in the morning and I know I have been clenching my teeth as I sleep. Change is good but it can wreak havoc. I have started to emerge from behind my desk, making forays into the world beyond just sending my words out to be read. There I am, above, serving cocktails at an event created by And North; read about it here and check out the cocktail recipes here. Saying yes to many things also entails saying no a lot. Does that make any sense? Redefining your life is a process and I feel like I am approaching a tipping point.

Mouse 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

10.22.15 Go and Do

Forgive me, dear reader, it's been seven weeks since my last expression. In that time, I've fostered six cats, flown to France, cooked a feast for 20 people, held two demos at the farmers market, created custom cocktails for an event and worked my regular job as a freelance writer. For these and all the wins of my life, I am truly...oh, never mind. The point is, I'm deeply sorry to have neglected my blog the last couple of months but I've been dancing as fast as I can. The good news? I'm going to catch you up with a series of mouth-watering photos. Starting with this one of Mouse, the sweetest, fluffiest kitten that ever lived. She was the runt of a litter of five born to Janet, a gorgeous black cat who came to our door in July, turned out to be preggers and asked for shelter. What ensued was generally chaos, but all turned out well, and we eventually found loving parents for every last one of those adorable interlopers (after they were weaned, ate us out of house and home and chewed everything in sight). I miss them like hell and am so glad they're gone. Another of life's endless paradoxes.

Mastiha 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

9.1.15 What a Sap

Traces of my recent trip to Greece still echo through my kitchen. The Greek salad simply does not grow old, and I now crave the strong herbal presence of fresh oregano, something I previously shunned. Another very particular flavor I discovered and adore is mastiha, "mastic" in English. This natural sap that weeps from the lentisc tree (Pistacia lentiscus), known as "the tears of Chios" (pronounced "hee-os"), is found only on that particular Greek island. Sun-dried into brittle, translucent bits of resin, mastiha becomes soft and gummy when chewed. In fact, its name derives from the Greek word meaning "to gnash the teeth," and is related to our "masticate." Used since antiquity for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, mastic has a sharp, piney aroma that reminds me of the rosin string players use to treat their bows. Its flavor is equally pungent and strangely compelling.

Serve 790 xxx
photos by george billard

8.13.15 In Person

In one month, I will celebrate six years of living full-time in Sullivan County. We bought our tiny cottage as a weekend place in December 2005 and I never could have envisioned the life we would make for ourselves in this area. My visits to the city are now mostly out of necessity and the only thing I really miss are my friends. (Talking on the telephone seems to be a thing of the past and for those of us who grew up during a time when marathon phone chats were a regular bonding activity, texting just doesn't cut it.) Five minutes from our little hamlet of Eldred is Barryville, a town on the Delaware River that is host to our farmers market every Saturday. This year, for the first time, the market is offering hands-on demos from local chefs and purveyors, and I was lucky enough to be invited to participate. 

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. 

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.