March 2012

Fall 790 xxx
photos courtesy of ayumi horie

3.29.12 A Hudson Valley Home

In September of 2009, after nearly 25 years in New York City, I decamped for the little cottage in Sullivan County that had been our weekend escape. It was among the best moves of my life. Recently, I read in World of Interiors magazine (one of my greatest sources of inspiration) about an artist residing in the most spare and beautiful cottage on the rocky coast of England. She said that being so far from the city enabled her to resist the trends and tug of consumerism so present in a throbbing metropolis, and fueled her artistic endeavors. Like her, I often go all day without speaking to anyone, except perhaps Titi, my boon feline companion. I am more in touch with my self and my creative impulses than ever before. I ebb and flow with the rhythm of the seasons now; the natural world is compelling and so alive to me. If this sort of existence tempts you, consider making a move of your own. There is an amazing little compound with a Victorian church for sale in the Hudson Valley that could be the answer to your dreams.
Vegetables 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife & george billard

3.27.12 Best Lei'd Plans

I was hell-bent on eating poi during my Hawaiian vacation. You know me, always determined to have that authentic experience. Guess what? No luck. The restaurant scene on the Big Island is kind of bleak. The place voted the island's best was resoundingly mediocre. Lilikoi (that's passionfruit) is ubiquitous, except it wasn't in season and overly-sweetened concentrate was being used for everything from cocktails to custards. Just not the same. And why not serve the amazing guavas, mangoes and strawberries that were colossally fresh and delicious? Well, because many Hawaiians, like their fellow mainlanders, have let go of much of their traditional, locally grown food and now rely on processed crap. Poi, a starchy paste made from fermented taro (or sometimes breadfruit), and traditionally eaten with fish was not on any restaurant menu. I didn't see it at any of the markets we visited, either. Foiled! We ended up cooking at home quite a bit since our rentals were equipped with pretty good kitchens and we ate well, mostly thanks to the beautiful farmers market in Hilo.
Pololu 790 xxx
photos by george billard

3.26.12 Nature Calls

Hawaii's Big Island was full of impressively lush vistas like this one. For the first part of our stay, we were on a wonderful private ranch at the island's northern tip, near Hawi. Horses, chickens and a sweet dog roamed the property where our group of six inhabited two separate bungalows. Ours had a hot tub and a resident spider (see below). There were avocado, mango, macadamia, guava and papaya trees and an organic vegetable garden. From our high bed we could look out over blooming violet jacarandas and golden-green meadows to the ocean in the distance. It was heavenly.
Hellebore 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

3.23.12 Weekend Update: Jiggety Jig

Home again, home again. As much as I love to travel, sometimes I think coming home is the best part. Especially when the transition from balmy Hawaii to balmy New York is so smooth. (Minus the jet lag, of course.) Our trip to the Big Island was extraordinary, and I plan to tell you all about it, but I hit the ground running and have not yet had a chance to sort through all the photos, much less my thoughts. So that's for next week. For now, a few glimpses of spring's first signs—it's arrived fast and furious in these parts—and links to some of my latest discoveries. I'm chomping at the bit to start foraging and have a long list of wild edibles I'm determined to find this season. By the way, I've missed you madly and realize all over again what a wonderful creative and social outlet this blog is for me.
Snowdrop 790 xxx
photo by gluttonforlife

3.9.12 Airborne

With the equinox less than two weeks away, spring is in the air, quite literally. It smells of change, a watery freshness that has beckoned the migrating birds, the slumbering bears, the silent buds. The ground was speckled with an ethereal frosting of something this morning—teensy hail? powdery snow?—that's already dissipating as I write this. The first sign of the new season, fragile yet hardy snowdrops, have popped up beneath the river birch. I leave for Hawaii on Sunday. With a couple of posts in the hopper, the blog won't be completely silent this week, but travelogues won't post until my return. This is a vacation, and vacation I will.
Shrimp bisque 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

3.8.12 Bisque Quick

We leave for Hawaii on Sunday and I can't think of a time when I was more in need of a vacation. A long and unsatisfying winter (virtually no snow) has left me eager for outdoor adventure. The Big Island is full of volcanoes, caves, black sand beaches and pristine rain forest and I want to see it all! Millions of things to get done before I go, so today's post will be a short one. I've been wanting to tell you about this great way to use up shrimp shells. I always buy whole shrimp, wild-caught and not previously frozen if possible, and I save the shells in a bag in the freezer. Sometimes I use them to make a quick stock for seafood stews and sauces, but the other day I had so many that I was able to make an incredibly rich and flavorful soup from just the shells plus some vegetables and aromatics. My riff on stone soup.
Blood orange rind 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

3.6.12 Bloody Good

I've been feasting on blood oranges lately, ever since I ordered 20 pounds of gorgeous Taroccos from here. Many consider this small, thin-skinned variety the best because of its beautifully balanced sweetness and copious juice. It is seedless and incredibly high in vitamin C, with a gorgeous burgundy interior that develops its color when temperatures drop at night. That's why winter is the time for this fruit, so take advantage now. It's among the season's finest treats. Wondering what our little family of two was doing with 20 pounds? Read on.
Tofu2 790 xxx
photo by gluttonforlife

3.5.12 Slim Fast

Last week's visit to my nutritionist was extremely edifying. Sally is such a font of wisdom and information, I always come away feeling energized, newly motivated and armed with a plan. I brought a food log that chronicled every morsel I had ingested for the week prior and we discussed my ongoing uphill battle with my weight, as well as with a general malaise that I could describe only as "a loss of faith." Sally advised me on food, supplements, exercise and meditation, and then she practiced iridology. This is similar to reflexology, in which the feet are held to contain a blueprint of the body, except for the blueprint is in the irises. It's truly amazing what can be discerned through this ancient practice. Sally also uses kinesiology to gauge food sensitivities and supplement doses. If you have no idea what I am talking about or think this all sounds nuts, I recommend you check out Sally's book, Vibrant Living, and her series of DVDs, which fully explain her holistic approach to health and wellness.
Lslamb 790 xxx
photo by janet

3.2.12 A Good Week

I awoke very early this morning to a melodious cacophony right outside the bedroom window: scores of red-winged blackbirds! They migrate back at this time of year, arriving as spring's heralds, their brilliant flashes of scarlet so striking against the recent snowfall. It was the perfect cap to an overflowing week that included a trip to the city and another to the Berkshires. Lots of driving, but the white wintry landscape was poetic after so many drab grey weeks. I got infusions of culture and nature in equal measure, including deeply satisfying snuggles with a few newborn lambs. What could be better?