Skywriting, Watercress, and Monks

Sky Writing: NY and London

I was at a day long meeting down on Varick Street today. I snuck outside for lunch, looked up and saw planes drawing: N Y - L O N D . . . It was "New York" and "London" -- two favorite/favourite cities for me and R*.

Pretty good picture for a camera phone, I thought. (It was an ad for EOS airline.)

Speaking of the Brits and trying to stick to the cooking theme of my blog, I've wrote two posts this week about watercress, a very British veg, over at Apartment Therapy: Kitchen. I learned that some say eating a whole bag of watercress is a good hangover cure and I shared my recipe for steamed spinach and watercress as inspired by the Holy Cross monks.

Mom and I are spending Memorial Day weekend with the monks. Looking forward to it.

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Congratulations on your cookbook, Sara Kate


My copy of The Greyston Bakery Cookbook by Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan just arrived. Sara Kate is my editor at Apartment Therapy: Kitchen. I'm going to sneak out for a longish lunch to enjoy the sun and her new book.

The cookbook shares recipes and stories from Greyston Barkery, a Yonkers, NY shop that employs local community members who may not otherwise have jobs.

Greystone's mission statment says: "For two decades, Greyston Bakery has blended ingredients - creamy butter, personal transformation, and community renewal - in Yonkers, NY . . ."

I met with my friend AS, a priest in her early 30s ("my age!" as We Like Sheep likes to exclaim), yesterday for Thai food in Hell's Kitchen. We talked a book she's working on and about my interests around the intersection of faith and economoics, the meeting of good business and good works. Greyston Bakery is a delicious example of that.

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Googling Mark Bittman

I have no idea if he is or isn't (I am), but one of the top keyword combos that send people here is "Mark Bittman, gay."

Mark Bittman writes The Minimalist column for the New York Times and his How To Cook Everything is one of my favorite cookbooks. He's an excellent food writer and I learn so much from him.

Some people doing that "Bittman, gay" Google search are probably looking for a food writing hero of sorts, a cool gay guy making waves in the field. Anyone have favorite out gay food writers?

R* and I made Bittman's anchovy pasta sauce on Wednesday night.

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Ask NYC restaurants to support The Tap Project

Over 21% of children living in the developing world
do not have access to clean water.
That’s more than one billion people, or one in five children.

I do not usually talk about my work life here, but I'm working on a fun, important new project at work. I think it should be especially interesting to cooks and food bloggers, so I wanted to share.

I'm the online marketing manager at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF in June. At work I'm exposed to the great need of children around the world every day.

I also see the great opportunity, the potential to change these horrible statistics. While a billion children around the world don't have access to clean water today, it just doesn't have to be that way forever. We can make a difference and the dollars donated to organizations like UNICEF have a direct impact.

I'm working on a new program here at UNICEF and I wanted to make sure I shared this with my food blog contacts too. It's called The Tap Project.

On March 22, participating restaurants in New York City will ask diners to pay $1 for the same tap water they normally serve for free. The funds collected will support UNICEF water programs, which provide safe drinking water for children around the world.

Here's how you can help:
If you're in NYC, you can help by asking restaurants to participate in this program. I've reached out to a couple of my favorite places and I've asked them to participate. I hope you'll do that too.

Also, mark your calender for 3/22/06 -- World Water Day. Check the Tap Project site and dine at a Tap Project restaurant that night. That night, please thank the restaurant for supporting UNICEF's work.

If you're aren't in NYC, you can support this program by making a donation or volunteering for UNICEF. Also, the program will be national next year, so sign up now for more information.


Pork for New Year's Day

A long time ago my mom told me that someone told her you can't eat chicken on New Year's Day, you'll scratch and scratch all year. (And you have to say scratch twice. "Scratch and scratch all year" is part of this menu choice.)

For the past couple of New Year's Day, I made happen John, following a Lee Brother's recipe from The New York Times, but I decided to try something new today.

I bought one of those large club-like pieces of pork that are always on the bottom shelf of the meat cooler in my local grocery stores. It's amazing that they are under a dollar a pound. I probably don't want to know why its so cheap.

Last night I made a paste of seeded dried smoked peppers, garlic, oil, cider vinegar, oregano and a pinch of cinnamon, working very loosely from a Pork Adobo recipe in the new Joy of Cooking. I rubbed the paste all over my six pound leg of pork or fresh ham.

This afternoon, I cooked two onions for about five minutes in some oil, added a can of vegetable stock and then the pork and all the paste on top. It cooked for about four hours in my huge dutch oven until it was close to falling apart and easy to pull into strings with a fork.

Then I pulled it out of the pot and let it cool.

Then, while R* and I watched the HGTV Dream House (ugly blue kitchen counters, yuck) I made us some pork sandwiches. They were tasty, delicious. The meat was moist, good texture. I especially liked the edges of the meat where the spice sauce really sunk into the meat. Pulling all the meat off the joint made a big mess and I'm not sure what I'll do with all that pork? More sandwiches maybe?

Anyway, since we had pork (and I had crabcakes and eggs from the diner on the corner), let's hope we won't scratch and scratch all year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR . . . and happy blog-birthday to me. It was a year ago today that I got so pissed at the disgusting Shirley's Tunnel of Fudge Cake that I started this blog.


Party's over people

Originally uploaded by electric stove.

We had a great holiday book party. I'll post more pictures and recipes soon.

C and R*


More for Repeal Day

Don't miss Lobstersquad's post about Hendrick's gin.

I can't stand gin. Yecch, it's like licking the bottom of the Christmas tree. Tell me all you want about juniper and botanicals and I still wont' like it. Put me in a room full of my Brit friends and my R* eating cucumber sandwhices and gin and tonics and I'll pass on the G&T's.

But I love Hendricks. There is something so rose-y, so fresh, complicated but clean. I must buy a bottle and some cucumber and lemon garnish.

Happy Repeal Day

It was 73 years ago today that Prohibition was repealed. Dewars and The New York Times used this occasion to print a creative two page spread in today's paper. Too bad the nytimes.com/repealday link from the ad just goes to a lousy, slow-to-download PDF . I was expecting something as exciting and well designed as the ad in the paper. Opportunity lost for Dewar's, but R* and I are already customers. We might go to Johnny Walker's tastings, but we drink Dewar's.

In other Repeal Day related news, I decided on the punch recipe for my Holiday Party. We'll serve Lemon Drop Champagne Punch. Thanks for the recipe, Martha. We usually make "pour whatever people bring in the punch bowl with some pink lemonade punch" but this should class things up a bit.

Lemon Drop punch should fit my food inspirations for the party: British holiday cooking and citrus. I learned last week that the Brits are one of the largest per capita champage consumers in the world