Travel

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
The line 790 xxx
photo courtesy of the line hotel

12.8.14 The Sun, the Moon & Thou

I was born in Los Angeles. In Van Nuys, to be precise, which is in the valley and not very glamorous. Flying towards LAX, you gaze out over the vast urban sprawl punctuated with gawky palms, framed by stately blue hills and filmed with a dull yellow haze and you realize just how unsustainable it all is. Between the fault lines, the fracking, the pollution and the drought, can this desert dream really be long for this world? And yet, once you're on the ground, you are blinded by the sunshine and beguiled by the balmy air and you want it to go on forever. I have a soft spot for the City of Angels, even though it was here that my husband died of cancer and grief invaded my bones. I don't return with the same frequency I once did, but my visits always include sweet reunions with dear friends and family, hikes in the canyons and hills, and as many new food experiences as I can cram in. This time, we started out with a few days at The Line Hotel, a new boutique hotel in Koreatown where we had a room with a view (above).

Before we get into that, though, I'm a bit late announcing the winner of my giveaway copy of Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving. It's Jonathan Epstein! Please email your address to me at gluttonforlife@gmail.com. I can't wait to send you this wonderful gift.
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Room 790 xxx
iPhotos by gluttonforlife

10.27.14 Mood Indigo

This weekend I attended a workshop to learn how to dye with indigo. It was put together by L'Ecole des Beaux Arts, an arist supply and housewares store founded by Brooklyn artist Sara Moffat, and held in a lovely, airy space upstairs at Isa restaurant on Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg. For a couple of years now, I have been very focused on the idea of learning to dye with natural dyes, and have gone so far as to acquire several books on the subject, and even grow a few relevant plants in my garden, but I never seemed to be able to find the time to launch myself into an actual project. So, when I found out about this opportunity (on Instagram!), I signed up right away. In just a couple of hours, I was able to learn a bit about this beautiful pigment, explore some shibori/tie-dye techniques and come away with a couple of transformed pieces of clothing.

Being in Brooklyn on a Saturday, also meant I was able to visit Marlow & Daughters, a favorite market; have oysters and salad sitting alone at the bar at Marlow & Sons; and visit Brooklyn chocolatier Mast Brothers, where I was dismayed to learn they are no longer selling their enormous chocolate tablet, but did inhale the unbelievably intense smell of cacao beans being roasted right there. In addition to their elegant factory (tours are available), they have also opened a new Brew Bar, where you can indulge in hot- or cold-brewed chocolate.
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Milkweed 790 xxx
photos by george billard

10.14.14 Catskills Getaway

This past weekend we took off into the Catskills to celebrate our anniversary (lucky seven!), visit friends and explore some new territory. The fall colors were at their peak. Birds, bugs and bees filled the skies, harvesting whatever remains before bunkering down or heading off to warmer climes. The air was crisp, the skies turquoise and the colors of the leaves more nuanced than a Missoni sweater. Fields of milkweed exploded in a profusion of downy, winged seeds. I find few things as uplifting as piling into the car and hitting the road when the destination means new experiences, old pals, wild beauty and delicious meals. And so it was.
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Harvard 790 xxx
iPhotos by gluttonforlife

9.25.14 Fellowship

This past weekend I attended my 30-year reunion at Harvard. It seems almost inconceivable that so many moons have gone by since my classmates and I were unleashed into the world, for that sounds like a lifetime ago and I remember it as though it were yesterday. The passing of time was never more apparent than when I stood with my freshman roommate and her son, now a junior at Harvard. It seemed both impossible and inevitable. In three decades we have all endured much, changed in a thousand ways. And yet it was remarkably easy to recognize each other, even with the new wrinkles and scars. The love was palpable, and the gratitude. As I learned five years ago at our 25th reunion, there is an overwhelming sense of joy in just being alive and present—in this moment and in the past. It was a golden time and that time is not yet over.
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Opening 790 xxx
photo courtesy of The Warwick Advertiser (remaining photos by gluttonforlife)

5.27.14 Fork in the Road

Last year I drove to Warwick, NY, (about an hour from me) to have lunch with Kim Gabelmann at her newly opened café and juice bar, Conscious Fork. Kim had graduated from selling juice at the local farmers market to a cozy place off the beaten track where she was serving lunch to health-conscious locals. I was impressed with what she was calling "vegan comfort food" and apparently her customers were, too, as this spring Conscious Fork has moved to a much bigger place in a more prominent location in downtown Warwick. Kim, seen above (black t-shirt, strawberry-blonde hair) with members of the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, a self-confessed "enthusiastic member of the rat race," walked away from corporate life to follow her dream of what she calls "slow living." Now, a certified health counselor and graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, she is not only pursuing her own wellness and balance but helping others do the same by offering them the kind of nutritious and delicious food that supports radiant living and a healthy planet. Kim calls this "nourishing the mind, body and soil."
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Landscape 790 xxx
photos from the interwebs

4.1.14 Make Peace

As I write this, there are two tiny ants crawling around on my desk: proof positive that the world is waking up and spring is imminent. I heard the low trill of an Eastern screech owl the other morning and witnessed four robins sprinting across the lawn. There have already been rumored sightings of bears. Soon the frogs will come out of their deep thaw and the woodland orgies will commence. Tempers can run hot at this time of year, as even emotions lie dormant and come bubbling up as we begin to move and shake our creaky limbs. Be gentle with yourself, and with others. Stretch. Stimulate your blood flow by taking a natural bristle brush or a dry loofah and brushing your skin in long strokes toward the heart. Lighten the load on your organs (especially the liver and gall bladder) by eating fewer processed foods and meat and increasing your intake of greens, especially the bitter ones like dandelion and the chicories.

I was lucky enough to jumpstart my seasonal transition with a few days at Kripalu, a wonderful yoga and wellness center in Lenox, Mass. I've been there several times and really appreciate all it has to offer: yoga, massage, hiking, meditation, privacy, community and delicious, healthy food. As it happened, my reading for the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers took place there on the last day of my stay, so it was incredibly serendipitous and convenient.
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