basil pistachio pesto

At some point, around the middle of last week, I felt like I should start carving marks in the kitchen wall for each day I managed not to quit Weight Watchers. It felt so much more challenging than when I gave it a go twelve years ago. Then I reconciled within myself that this will be a marathon, not a sprint. Life is just busier now than it was then, but I’m not as physically busy as I was then. Moving away from city life the past year has meant that I need to actually work at being active. Before it was a given. I walked most places, even on the coldest, slushiest of winter days. Continue reading »

city girl, country kitchen {homemade violet syrup}

Spring has finally sprung upstate. It was a long, cold winter, and many of us thought it would never end. The wonderful thing about living in the Northeast is that we have seasons. The not so great part of that gift is that the contrasts between summer and winter are brutal. Spring and fall aren’t always a guarantee. Often, they feel like blips on the radar of Mother Nature, and yet there are people who still question the direct correlation of how we use our planet with climate change (a conversation for another day).

Everything around is coming to life. The raspberry bushes are snaking their way through the side garden. I’ve been told they’re like weeds, and indestructible. I hope that’s true since I have much to learn, and my thumb is far from green. There’s a single rose bush along the house, too. I can’t help but think of M when I see them. He took such loving care of the ones we had at our old apartment on Henry Street.

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easy peach jam

It happens like clockwork every year, that moment when the first whisper of fall comes crashing in. The calendar may not have officially changed seasons yet, but the breezy winds, and cooler nights made their way to the Cape a couple of days ago. This has been the pattern for most of the 18 years I’ve been coming here. Of course, summer doesn’t disappear without a fight, especially back in New York City. I’m sure we’ll be swapping sweaters for swimsuits again next week.

The change in weather gave me a bit of a panic attack the other day. We’ve had some wonderful trips this summer, but all the packing, unpacking, on and off planes, means I missed a good deal of my local growing season. Translation: my cupboards are dismally low on home-canned goodies. Thankfully, I stumbled upon some incredible peaches at the farmers’ market in Provincetown this past weekend, proving the window has not yet closed on my canning opportunities. Continue reading »

just her imagination {roasted rhubarb jam}

Someone mentioned seeing rhubarb at the farmers’ market this weekend. Well, actually they heard from someone else that there was a rhubarb sighting at the Grand Army Plaza market. I went to the Union Square one with the girls, and while I’m tempted to jump the gun and say there was none to be had, the truth is I wasn’t looking for it, so I don’t know.

Rhubarb wasn’t on my radar, and my visit to the market was with laser sharp precision, hitting only the stands I needed since I was short on time. Now I know to keep an eye out for this weekend. This simple tangent led me to another thought. How much are we missing out on, in the intensity of this 24/7 world? Just because we can do something every second of the day, doens’t mean we should. There’s so much to be said for unplugging, and savoring life’s smaller moments.

I thought I had mastered this long before Mikey died. I always prided myself on being the mommy who didn’t overschedule her family. I only accepted one birthday party invite per weekend, and that was only on Saturdays. Sundays were strictly mommy, baby, bella and daddy day. We often set sail in the car on Saturdays, with no goal in mind, except to have fun together.

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clementine rosemary marmalade {day 175}

Week 24 kicked my ass. There’s no way to put it nicely. It’s as though a storm cloud settled over my emotions when the first snowfall came a week ago, and it took the better part of the week to dig myself free. I’ve undoubtedly had many moments the last 175 days that have tested my resiliency, but I’m generally good about shaking them off, rolling up my sleeves and tending to the work at hand.

Not this week.

Mikey’s birthday is weighing heavily on my mind. On February 7th, he should be turning 52.

Should, but now his ashes are ageless. No wrinkles to be seen. No more flecks of silverish-grey to slowly weave their way through his dark brown hair.

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preserving cherries {part three}

I promise you we're getting closer to that cherry slushy I keep promising you. I must confess, this whole idea of posting a series on cherries seemed like a good idea when I first started out. The problem is I get easily distracted by all the new finds at the farmers' market each week. I'm also a little distracted after the past weekend's festivities. Those of you who made it to Big Summer Potluck this weekend know what I'm talking about, and if you didn't, then I've got some lovely people to introduce you to soon.

But back to the cherries, before the season ends.

This week's theme for Summer Fest 2011 is…drum roll please…cherries! So not only do you get the joy of making this conserve, but you get a whole list of links for more cherry recipes too. It's a win-win, when you think about it.

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preserving cherries {part two}

I lost my maraschino virginity about seven years ago.

I remember the day, as any girl would one that changes her life forever. I'd been browsing through Barnes & Noble when I saw a new cocktail book, and immediately recognized the name. It was by Nick Mautone, the guy who gave me my break in the New York City restaurant scene. I saw an ad in the New York Times back in 1999 for a hostess and reservationist opening at Gramercy Tavern. I'd been personal cheffing for a year, and decided it would be a good idea to learn some front of house skills to roundout my knowledge of what it takes to feed people.

Restaurant experiences are about so much more than the meal. I appreciate this now even more when a sitter is on the hook for $15 an hour.

But I digress.

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preserving cherries {part one}

This blasted heatwave has me worried, and not for the reasons any sane individual would think. Frankly, it's cramping by canning schedule. Who wants to boil pots of water to properly seal jars?

Not me.

Next week we'll talk about making maraschino cherries and an irresistable cherry conserve, which is the base for making homemade cherry slushies. Today calls for something that doesn't require adding more heat to fan the flames of the sun's rays.

Thankfully there's more than one way to preserve a cherry (and strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, really the list goes on and on). When I remodeled the kitchen a few years back, I purposely sought out a fridge and freezer that could hold my half sheet pans. I'm really glad I thought ahead, because right now chances are you'll find a tray in my freezer, similar to the one you see above, at any given moment.

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