Summer Meals

It’s too hot to cook inside.  I try to resist and do it anyway (i.e.: a quiche for a friend’s shower, a lemon custard cream pie with graham cracker crust), but each time the apartment gets so hot my guests aren’t very appreciative of the food I’ve made.  So here are a few summer meals I CAN make inside, involving limited stove time but that seem just a good tasting as regular dishes I’d make.

Quinoa with asparagus, summer squash, avocado, spinach and an egg.

Boil the quinoa (I boil it with veggie broth for more flavor), the sauté cooked quinoa with other ingredients and finally one egg, which gives it texture and a little fat, so you feel full.

Broccoli, carrot, cabbage and avocado salad.

So, this one’s the best.  The cabbage can be bought pre-shredded at Trader Joes and the broccoli can just be washed and cut very fine (with scissors, which I think is the best way to cut it).  Mix it all together in a giant bowl with some sliced or food processor purred avocado and you’re set.

Quinoa and salad together.

Lemon in absolutely everything.

It makes everything better, from quinoa to salad and event water.

Strawberries in fresh vanilla cream

Since pie crusts are now officially out, I try to just keep fresh fruit and cream on hand, which is easy to do, and if we get dessert cravings I just make some whipped cream and dice up some berries.

Beer.  Beer makes it all better.  Much, much, much better.

Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe

This past week I played hookie for a day and met Moses in Washington Square Park for a picnic.  Though I spent the morning feeling horribly guilty, I kept reminding myself six days a week of work is hardly “normal” and everyone’s entitled to a day off (with no pay).

I have this totally weird thing about “packed” lunches.  I find them repulsive and have since I was a really little kid.  From what I can piece together, I have a super developed sense of smell (I’m a super hero), and when things are packed in one small container for a few hours, they take on the muddled smell of EVERYTHING in the bag/basket/cooler.  In short, this leaves one with the equivalent of edible garbage and I can’t eat it.  So I always ate “hot lunch” (equally gross but different) as a kid.

So for this picnic I tried to beat the system by being innovative.  I packed our main dish in a big mason jar with a cloth lid in the hopes the smells wouldn’t get muddled.

I’m acutely aware these pictures aren’t a smashing representation of my efforts, but still, my heirloom tomato pasta with basil, oil oil and red peppers turned out pretty delicious (and odor free).

I also brought vegan chocolate chip cookies made from quinoa (instead of flower), which didn’t fair well in the sun due to the carob, but did taste good.

And, though I’ll never be the best “worker bee” in the hive, I’m fairly sure I throw a mean picnic, and that’s really what it comes down to in the end right?  How many wonderful random “dejeuner sur l’herbe(s)” you threw for your petit ami?  Maybe next time I’ll even stage a Manet recreation sitting, but I doubt I can find anyone willing to be the random naked girl in front…

Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe, Eduard Manet

And there’s your culture for the day.

The Urban BBQ.

It’s raining here this afternoon, thank goodness, because it’s been unbearably warm the last few days.  But of course, now that I’m tucked away inside enjoying being able to cook at home for the first time in a week (an oven on in an already hot apartment is just awful), I’m half wishing it were sunny and warm so we could talk someone into having a bbq.

Ready for a surprise?  I think I actually prefer cooking out in New York MORE than LA.  Or, at least, I appreciate it more.  In LA we cooked out so often it just felt like an outdoor kitchen, but here to be invited out for a cook out is an “event.”  It also feels so urban and impossibly quaint, to be precariously situated between huge buildings with beautiful little gardens.  Most of these photos are from our friends Hollie and Sean’s garden, which is the best I’ve ever seen in Brooklyn.  Lucky for us, it’s just down the street.

And while I’m at it, another thing New York does best is stoops.  I love them.  Stoops are the one aspect of New York I had high expectations for and have absolutely NEVER been let down.  Every time I see one I think about how it looks like I’m in some great “New York” movie (the picsuresque ones like “You’ve Got Mail”) and I remember to be excited I’m fortunate enough to live here (even if there are garbage cans concealed cleverly just out of sight-range).

Alright.  Soon enough it will be hot and sunny all over again, so for tonight I’d better just enjoy the cozy rain.  Tomorrow I start my new job.  I’m very nervous/excited, and starting anything is always stressful.  I hate walking around and being told the names of a million people, only to retain zero.  So tonight I’ll have a nice dinner (Moses and I are making civiche and fresh chips) while enjoying our new wine club latest from Lindcourt.  Can’t wait.

Flowers for Sale.

I tend to love anything under the header of “domestic.”  Cooking, baking, folding laundry (not kidding, I’m an amazing folder)–pretty much everything but playing bridge, which my mother tried in vain to teach me (and I always resisted).

This week I tried my hand a flower arranging, inspired by access to a slew of Time Inc. Magazines (the one perk to counter act two months of Sunday’s spent in a sky scraper in Midtown while everyone else has fun) and years of randomly buying fresh flowers from any farmer’s market I stumble upon.

Easy (free) access to Real Simple, Southern Living, Cooking Light left no shortage of reading for the domestically inclined.  Fortunately Real Simple even had a step-by-step and flower identifier.  Lucky me.   And now I want to be a florist (with a bakery), because every time I get into something new I totally decide that’s my vocational calling (and it hardly ever is).

I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep.

Flavorwire posted some amazing photos of Eames/Herman Miller office designs from buildings in Japan.  Having always been more into history than the present, it’s an understatement to say I’m a fairly nostalgic person.  But really, isn’t it obvious people used to just…care more?  These office sofas have throw pillows, for heaven’s sake.  When was the last time you saw anything more individual than a magazine and copayment sign in a waiting room?

I’ve been charmed by Charles Eames since an antiques dealer in Glendora told us the Herman Miller/Eames Company gave a rocker to each expecting employee with a plaque on the back specific to their child.  Now days you have to take disability payments because companies don’t pay you for maternity leave—let alone give you a chair to rock the baby in.


all images from flavorwire.  Orignial post here:

A color wheel…of cake

There are very few things I love more than pretty cakes.  Miraculously, (or fortunately), cake isn’t my favorite treat (pie crust, please), but there’s nothing more visually stunning than a good cake.  Check out these amazing rainbow delights.

My favorite, hands down, though, as is often the case with colored icings, pretty though they be, some colors I’m not comfortable putting in my face.  Blue is among them, as  I was taught this color was for Windex, Spic-and-Span hard action bleaching crystals and gritty limestone pieces found in Comet.

all photos from Babble.com

After years of crummy office jobs I attempted to indulge my own baker’s spirit and become a professional.  Two jobs later I discovered only one thing can kill the warmth of a giant oven and baked goods: crazy people.  Maybe that means I don’t love baking enough?  So onto bigger and better things: like libraries!

Sing Star.

One of my favorite things in the world is karaoke.  Not a lot of subterfuge here: I love singing and had my gawky teen years not lasted until my early twenties, I might have had the courage to try to find myself a band to stand in front of (as I never mastered the art of playing guitar and singing.  Patting your head and rubbing your tummy is NOT my strong suit).  While I have a few specific favorites and always, always have karaoke remorse (my friend Christine can sing Billy Idol and make a whole bar feel they’ve just never heard how good it can be ’til RIGHT then.), Joni Mitchell usually pops into my reserve, despite being neither a crowd pleaser or particularly easy to sing, but hey, I can’t always do Rod the Mod and Cher.

images boosted from ax+apple’s blog.

In the event I HAD mastered guitar and vocals I’d have preferred to go the Joni Mitchell route.  The older I get the more awesome I know she is.

And  for those lucky enough to have witnessed the few public performances I did as a teen, god bless you.  The McClung Park Recreational Pavilion and the now defunct Silverado Cafe on High Street will go down in history as having had 16 year-old me as a headliner…black eyeliner, Mudd jean bellbottoms, bare midriff and all.