August 2009

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photo by george billard

8.30.09 Got Tomatoes?

I can't stand the rain. OK, not true, but it did wreak a lot of havoc this summer. It was not the year for tomatoes, as you may have heard. Ahem. As you can see here, we started out with some very promising plants. They produced tons of big, gorgeous heirloom specimens that had us dreaming of fresh salads and BLTs and even an aspic or two. BUT THEN THE BLIGHT HIT. And wiped us out. That's right. All that compost and pampering amounted to a hill of beans when the torrential rains hit and the fungus came to town. (It's a strain of the very thing that wiped out all those potatoes in Ireland causing the famed famine.) From one day to the next, we went from tomato-rich to tomato-destitute. No love apples for us. One plant of yellow cherry tomatoes survived, bless her feisty little heart. If you've been luckier, then this recipe is for you.
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8.28.09 Elixir aka Adult Soda

I feel a soapbox moment coming on again. Sorry. But I just can't remain silent when it comes to soda because IT'S THE DEVIL. Why would you want to drink anything that falls under the category of "soft" drinks, anyway? Gross. Did you know that soda is not only worthless to your body, it actually causes actual harm?! I'm sure you've heard by now that soda consumption is linked to type 2 diabetes and obesity. The sugar it contains combines with bacteria in the mouth to form acid, and even the diet version contains carbolic acid—this means weakened enamel and more cavities! The phosphorous and caffeine contribute to osteoporosis. And I just read that soda consumption may be linked to chronic kidney disease, development of metabolic syndrome (a heart risk) and fatty liver, a chronic liver disease. YUCK! SPIT IT OUT! AND DON'T LET YOUR KIDS NEAR IT!
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8.22.09 The Bounty

I wish I could say I was responsible for any of this glorious produce but it was actually grown up the road from us here in Sullivan County, at River Brook Farm in Cochecton to be precise. (Wait—I did grow the cucumbers!) They've been certified organic since 1997, and in addition to all these amazing vegetables and fruits, they also have free-range chickens and the most lovely and contented pastured lambs and goats. The owners, Alice and Neil, have to be two of the nicest and hardest-working people you could ever hope to meet. Their soil is like bittersweet chocolate and everything that grows in it is truly spectacular. They grow 11 varieties of potatoes; 8 kinds of heirloom tomatoes; rare heirloom beans for drying; 9 varieties of winter squash; tons of greens including amaranth and tatsoi; collards; and lacinato kale (cavolo nero), my absolute favorite. Can't use just hear the anti-oxidants screaming at you from that photo?

8.17.09 Killer Pickled Okra

My friend Carolyn’s old girlfriend Mimi, a Jew from Texas, first turned me on to pickled okra with this very brand. After encountering a beautiful crop at Juno's Farm in the Union Square farmers' market, I was inspired to replicate them. I wish I could say I grew my own but the truth is that one lone okra plant is all that survived this year's torrents. It did produce some gorgeous creamy flowers and a few long, elegant pods but not enough to put up.
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8.3.09 Green Juice

I get a little overheated when I start proselytizing about green juice. (Sorry about the blurry photo, I'm still trying to figure all this out/coerce G into shooting for me.) I owe my conversion to Sally Kravich, an amazing nutritionist who practices in both L.A. and New York. Her book, "Vibrant Living" has set a lot of people on the path to radiant health. (It was my great friend and longtime hairstylist, Sarah Mills, who turned me on to Sally but she's a whole other story.) Among other things, Sally uses iridology to help with her assessment of your health, and it freaks me out every time. How can she look at my pupil and know that my neck hurts??