Spring Musings

April 7, 2009

It turns out that I’m actually a morning person. I had my suspicions that the wee hours of the day might be for me, though I fought it for a long time. But there’s nothing like house-breaking a dog and a few writing deadlines to make you jump out of bed before the alarm goes off. So now that the deadlines are finished and I’ve trained Daisy to go outside and come back in for a morning nap from 5:30-7:00, I find I have a delicious window of free time. It’s enough time to make coffee, put away dishes, turn on the MacBook and do some writing. Granted, it’s a small window of time, but I’m finding that I’m actually more productive in short limited bursts than long infreqent blocks of time.  Duh. Why has it taken me so long to figure this out?

Speaking of short bursts, I went to stay with a friend in NYC for one night and two whirlwind days of eating, shopping, and getting lost. We discovered a mighty fine vegetarian kosher Indian restaurant in Murray Hill called Pongal where we ate crispy spinach fritters and dosas. Who knew? I’d spent time in mid-town before, but I didn’t realize that there were cute little neighborhood cafes tucked away. Like Penelope, for instance. Did I mention the Nutella french toast and the egg and cheese and pesto on a croissant? Delish. Plus, a great place to see the up-and-coming next generation of financiers in their Burberry coats and Tods.

So now I’m home and my crocuses are up and my tulips appear poised for action.  Fingers crossed that we don’t get any of that snow because I refuse to shovel anything that’s not dirt.


California Dreamin’

March 17, 2009

I’m back from six days in San Francisco and still adjusting to life on the east coast. Or rather, I should say I’m adjusting to my own house again after a glorious hotel, my own kitchen after restaurant delicacies, and teaching my students instead of hitting unknown streets in search of urban adventures.  What does all of this mean? It means I’m back to making my own coffee and my own bed.  I’m back to writing on the board and reading drafts and attending department meetings and answering emails.

Needless to say, my head is not back quite yet and I find myself dreaming about Vietnamese coffee (slow brewed over an inch of sweetened condensed milk), Chez Panisse (my own personal pilgrimage to the foodie mecca), steep hills bustling with people from all over the world, the sounds of sea lions in the early morning down at the pier past Fisherman’s Wharf, the chocolate cupcake from Miette bakery, the crispy shredded papaya salad at The Slanted Door, the mango crab wonder at The Naked Fish, the dry martinis at Tosca, I could go on, but it’s making me too hungry and nostalgic for a city that isn’t mine.

But the best part was re-connecting with old friends from both high school and college and the comforting fact that everyone–to the person–looked exactly the way I remembered them. It’s nice to know that even though we’re getting older (and wiser?), we’re still the same and we’re still friends and I can still handle my gin.

So it’s back to the grind for a bit now. And probably time to check in on my house trap and figure out the paint color I want for the bathroom and maybe even clean out the garage so I can find the garden rake.  But until then, I’m going to think about fresh spring rolls and the shumai place in Chinatown and the French cafe on Bush Street with the strong dark coffee and buttery croissants served warm in a basket lined with linen.


Cupcakes for The People!

July 13, 2008

I spent yesterday in a bubble of baking and catching up on my Splendid Table podcasts.  To celebrate my birthday, I invited folks over for a late afternoon cookout and wanted to make sure there were plenty of cupcakes to go around (and  extras in the certain event of spilled or dropped cupcakes).  Success!

We drank Fizzy Izze pomegranant juice mixed with champagne, lounged in the yard, and enjoyed the cool breeze. All in all, a good birthday. And I’m still not 40!

Hot Summer in the City

June 16, 2008

I just got back from a whirlwind trip down to the big apple with one of my oldest and dearest friends. We took the train in from Poughkeepsie and proceeded to eat our way through downtown. In the past I’ve stayed in midtown and gotten stressed out from the pace, the people, the traffic, and the pollution. But this trip was different.

We stayed at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Tribeca–very clean and very close to a lot of things. They do have the world’s smallest bathroom, but we made do just fine. Here’s a rundown of the hightlights: dinner at Red Bamboo (delicious spring rolls and vegan dumplings) one night and Caravan of Dreams the next. (I’m fascinated by raw food and my friend’s gone vegan, so that might explain the restaurant choices).

Tired of having to choose between chocolate and almond croissants? For a stroke of pure genius, try the chocolate almond croissant at Bouley’s, then try the #9 at Hampton Chutney and prepare to blow your mind with spice. Which you can then cool off with iced coffee and a spelt chocolate cupcake from Babycakes.

On Saturday we headed to Brooklyn for the indie craft show-the Renegade Craft Fair–but first checked out the famous Greenmarket at Union Square and loved it.

Less Lawn

April 24, 2008

Inspired by Michael Pollan and the importance of local food, I’m considering turning part of my front lawn into a vegetable garden. I was imagining a half-size picket fence around some kale, lettuce, and spinach, but then I learned about Edible Estates and see that the possibilities are endless!

Other Pursuits

February 13, 2008

When I’m not busy training Pasha or conferencing with students about their memoir projects, I like to go all Betty in the kitchen. Here’s a shot of a recent Butternut Squash galette that I made courtesy of Deborah Madison’s uber cookbook.  I’m the first to admit that I’m no Smitten Kitchen (her food pictures are AMAZING), but it did taste really, really good.



December 5, 2007

Why is it that nothing says “holiday” quite like ham?

For this year’s first annual Housegirrl Holiday Party, I plan to explore the world of spiral pork that only requires me to to put it  in the oven. I did this once before–after slathering its pink hiney (wait–is the whole thing a hiney? What the hell is ham?) with some kind of glaze. Add some piping hot cheddar dill scones and we’re talking happiness.

It’s high time for some parties around here and I’m hoping that the party will be a chance for me to gather my peeps together under one roof—mine–and celebrate the end of a very, very long semester.

So here’s to ham for making our holidays delicious and fatty:)