A Tree on Broadway

April made this tree in a mere three days!

Day 1:

IMG_9226

IMG_9227

Day 2:

IMG_9270

IMG_9271

IMG_9272

And Day 3:

photo 1

photo 2

photo 3Way to make it just in the nick, Springtime.

 

 

Advertisements

Fare Thee Well, Winter 2014.

The-Day-After-Tomorrow-PSIt’s been a long, cold winter, completely void of writing as our CSA has been inexistent. But after a treacherous and interminable winter, SPRING appears to have arrived. The city is lighting up – both literally and figuratively – New York’s farmin’ cityfolk are back, and ahh, the season has sprung…

In memorandum of the painful winter we’ve endured, I’ve put together a small list of things that will no doubt go remembered (or more likely forgotten) from Winter 2014:

  • Alternate parking in NYC was suspended for a whopping 22 days in a row this year.
  • We ran out of Velveeta. Which is fine, so long as we don’t suffer a national shortage of Spam.
  • People literally skied to work.
  • Our new mayor brought shame to his family’s name by eating a slice with a knife and fork.
  • House of Cards took over our lives, for the second time.
  • While in the Northeast we could seriously have used some of Sriracha’s heat, Southern California apparently had had enough.
  • We passed a farm bill, and the reaction fluctuated around “meh“.
  • For the 29th consecutive year I successfully avoided the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  This year, Guinness joined me.
  • On Evan and my second wedding anniversary there was a snowstorm so big they closed down all the restaurants at 7pm, so we ate ravioli and went to bed at 9.
  • The most publicized traffic jam in the history of the Tristate area gave us our yearly dose of New Jersey political corruption.
  • A mouse infestation forced New Yorkers back into the Dark Ages when the cafe that invented the cronut was shut down for a weekend.  Never has a donut seemed so unimaginative.
  • And Pharrell made us all feel pretty lousy for feeling “just okay”.

No doubt spring will bring its own series of less than notable events. But that is all for now.

Dabbled with Apples

Apple!Rumor has it that this year’s apple crop is going to be the biggest in years. So it may have been a little shortsighted of us to go apple picking. Surely our CSA will be throwing more apples our way than we could possibly know what to do with in mere weeks time, but oh well: a-picking we shall go.

New York state puts us in a stellar place to take advantage of apple season. NY is second to Washington state in apple production, and we have literally hundreds of variations to choose from. So we, tra-la-la, took the Metro-North upwards a bit, met a loved one, and made a day of it.

Paige and Evan Promenade

Paige and Evan Reeaaach

Up iN that tree.

Maggie+Apple+Paige=<3.

Evan will tell you that no trip to an apple orchard is complete without (at least) one apple cider donut.

Cider Donuts

Hello Autumn

Hello big pumpkin.Back home, we contemplated what to do with our big ol’ bag of apples. A few years back we wrote Appletopia with a few good ideas, but this year, what with the apple palooza ahead, we might have to get creative.

If you caught our recent post on canning, this might not seem like such a shocker, but we decided to kick off the apple season by making and canning apple butter. We cut up all the apples (at least the ones that didn’t get snarfed down with crunchy peanut butter) and put them in a dutch oven.

IMG_6761

Ok, so here’s where apple butter gets really tricky. Put the apples in a pot, walk away, and leave them on low heat for several hours.

No, seriously, that’s how you make apple butter. A chimp could do it.

IMG_6765

Exiting Appleland

Disclaimer: No offense to chimps intended. They’re actually very intelligent animals. Like the majestic platypus.

Tomato Season!

Lest we should ever forget Annette Bening’s famous Kids Are All Right rant about heirloom tomatoes: “I just can’t.  With fucking hemp milk and the organic farming and if I hear one more person say they love heirloom tomatoes, I’m going to fucking kill myself, okay? And did you know that we’re composting now? Oh yeah. Oh no, don’t throw that in the trash. You have to put it in the composting bin where all of the beautiful worms will turn it into this organic mulch and then we’ll all feel good about ourselves.”

Well, sorry Annette. I flipping love heirloom tomatoes. (And you.)

It is officially tomato season! And what better way to start the celebration off then by visiting the farmer’s market and surveying the lumpy, bumpy, freaky-deakies and bringing them on a picnic with us for lunch?

Tomato Picnic Lunch

Paired with Humboldt Fog cheese, a scrumptious rye, and some mesclun with balsamic, tomato has never shone so bright.

Heirloom Tomato Insides

And in related news, our own window garden granted us our very first ripe cherry tomato this week! It’s of the less-bumpy variety, but just as juicy and just as quirky. Next year, we’ll give heirlooms a try.

(You’ll live, Annette.)

Windowsill Growings-Ons

We’ve made some mentions lately of goodies from our garden being thrown in our meals, like scallions in our peanut noodles and chives in our eggs, et cetera, but it’s been a while since we’ve given a progress report on our window garden’s goings-ons.

Our cherry tomato plants we were so dubious about are actual tomatoes… or tomatoes of the not-red-yet variety.  They’re cramped and could definitely be happier – drought not helping – but they’re fruiting, so I, for one, have big plans for their future.

Cherry Tomato Plant

Cherry Tomato Plant

We have added zucchini to our plot, knowing that it tends to grow copiously. And copious it has been! The zucchini greenery has spread like mad, and we now have little zuchi flowers a-bloomin’!

Zucchini Flowers

I’ve heard rumors you can cook with the flowers, but haven’t heard of any appealing recipes. Would be delighted by contributions.

And a certain someone demanded we have a lemon tree. I have no clue on earth how a lemon tree will survive in our apartment come winter, but I assume we’ll find out. And it must be going well enough as little buzzy bees have been visiting our windowsill!

Lemon Tree BeesAnd as our last addition, we grew some berries! They’ve quickly gotten squiggly with the heatwave we’ve been suffering, but when we get to them in time they’ve been a stupendous treat.

Strawberry Plant

In less good news, our spinach totally kicked the bucket. It was a comic failure. As were our mustard greens. And our mint has on days and off days. But I’m taking the optimistic view that for our first window garden ever, things are going in our favor.

Patriotic Muffins

Patriotic Muffins

We’ve gotten blueberries three weeks in a row from our share, which can only mean a clear blinking roadside sign that says “MAKE MUFFINS”. Which we did.  And are glad about it.

Blueberry muffins are the happiest way to celebrate the summer, and an even happier way to celebrate our independence. And brilliantly, our farm had a muffin recipe up on their website. We skipped their lemon-sugar topping, but used their ingredients as inspiration and were granted a spirited flag to top ’em off.

Our Share’s Muffins:
•    2 cups fresh blueberries (from the farm!)Patriotic Muffin Insides
•    1 1/8 cups sugar plus 1 teaspoon
•    2 1/2 cups of flour
•    2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
•    1 teaspoon table salt
•    2 large eggs
•    4 tablespoons of unsalted butter , melted and cooled
•    1/4 cup vegetable oil
•    1 cup buttermilk (or 3/4 cup of yogurt)
•    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Num num num…

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden. Serve with sparklers and a side of fireworks.

Fireworks on the Lake

Afternoon What Now?

Cucumber ToastWho says cucumber sandwiches have to be an upper class treat? Notorious for their place next to afternoon tea, cuke sandwiches have a nasty reputation for gracing the tables of the elite. But, as cucumbers came in this week’s share, along with this dazzling pile of delicious –

  • a head of lettuce
  • bok choy
  • swiss chard
  • escarole
  • zucchini
  • snap peas
  • cilantro
  • cucumbers
  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • eggs

– we have decided to prove that afternoon tea comes in many forms. I’ve long since ditched the crustless, white bread, triangle-shaped cucumber sandwiches, and adopted a simple rendition of cucumber slices on buttered toast doused in salt and pepper, which in the painful 99° weather this week, was heavenly. Paired with a glass of water with extra cuke slices in it, we managed to fend off the heat for at least the extent of lunchtime.

Cucumber Water

Tea on another day perhaps. A day significantly cooler.

Foot-by-Foot Gardens

Our effort is to increase farming and gardening in the city by planting our own window garden and supporting rooftop gardens, urban farms and farmers markets. But sometimes we can’t help but escape to where the farming and gardening already is. Especially in the summer, the two of us find ourselves sneaking away to help family members with their gardening projects, and spending oodles of time hidden in the country jumping in lakes.

The Lake

It’s likely that we’ll be posting a handful of things that look decidedly un-New York this summer.  But we will continue to bring farms to city folk. For our first un-NY offering is a “foot by foot” garden project that we lent a hand to and think can offer ideas to apartment dwellers on how to grow a reasonable amount of food in a small amount of space – like a window.

My mum started a garden this year where she diligently divided her planter up with rope to section off 12″ by 12″ spaces and plant within each square.

Foot-by-Foot GardenShe’s growing lettuce, swiss chard, beets, peas, broccoli, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, strawberries, various herbs, and other glorious goodies!

Beets

Despite our teenie-weenie apartments, we all have one foot to designate to greenery.  So grow stuff!
(Keep it up, Mom.)

Season 2. Episode 1.

Farm EggsOur CSA is finally here! And there was a lot of spastic celebratory dancing on West End Avenue this Wednesday evening as a result.

Rather than collect our share bi-weekly or go through the process of pairing with an anonymous CSA member, we decided to rope our friends Tyler and Brittany into splitting a share this year. I think they’ll agree it was a good decision.

In just our first week we accumulated a whoppin’:CSA Share!

  • head of lettuce
  • broccoli raab
  • huge (but not genetically mondofied) radishes
  • arugula
  • mesclun
  • kale
  • rhubarb
  • strawberries!
  • and this year: EGGS!

We uncontrollably nibbled the minute we were inundated with farm food, but managed to control ourself enough to try some concoctions. Like! Wrapping strawberries in the surprisingly peppery arugula for a gnarly Ratatouille-like explosion (think cartoon rat, not tomato and zucchini). Very enjoyable and highly recommended.

Strawberries and Arugula

Below is our complicated exchange of vegetables on the street corner – less highly recommended. Soon to find a better solution.

Meet Tyler and Brittany

**It should be noted that right after this photo was taken a wide-eyed little boy walked by us, gawking at the 6-foot-4 Tyler, while the kid’s mother whispered to him, “Go ahead, honey, say hi!  Say hi to him!”
We all think you’re Superman, Tyty. Each and every one of us.

And so, the season begins!