an urban chick adventuring around

Found some more of those ever elusive sour cherries this morning.  Have been told by aficionados that there are sourcherryhoarders out there!   I’m not quite at that level, but I do have a couple of pitted pints in the freezer for future use, and will probably add three more the icy mix this week after what may be my last sourcherryhaul of the season.  Because I can.  

Made it up to the "If You Build It" installation in Sugar Hill this afternoon.   155th & St. Nicholas.  Have been cycling by this black & funky residential building on my daily work commute for quite some time - with its irregularly shaped, deep-set windows — watching it emerge from the ground over the last 18 months….my assumption was that it represented more condos in Harlem.   I’ve since learned that it will actually be one hundred percent affordable housing stock  - complete with an early childhood education center and a new museum of art & storyteling — and the first tenants are due to move in this fall.  Meanwhile, there’s an art installation on a few of its floors this summer.   There’s a lot of work of wildly varying quality & substance, but the views from the 9th floor are fabulous and the visit to the apartment which houses an exhibit by Dominican York Proyecto Grafico was my hands-down favorite.  Those folks are doing some really wonderful printwork.  Pictured above is a linoleum cut called “Habichuelon” and serigraph titled “Habichuelas con Dulce,” both by Carlos Almonte.  I also had a peek via a storefront window on St Nicholas side of the building depicting a cool sugar city created by a couple of Irish artists.  One of the greeters at the show told me they had just rushed off to LA to create another sugar metropolis for a movie out there…

Also made my first baba ganoush in a long time.  Thanks to Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem, I was inspired to do this version with chopped parsley & mint, garlic, olive oil and salt & pepper.    Creamy, slightly charred, nicely tangy and completely satisfying. 

Made these tonight - LOVE. THEM.

(via Recipe: Kimchi Pancakes (Kimchijeon) | The Kitchn)

Spent a couple of days out by the Delaware Water Gap, all in the name of being in close proximity to the place where the kid is taking glider lessons in Blairstown, New Jersey.   We overnighted at a quirky but beautifully sited little hotel.   It has a very grand name for a decently maintained joint that is a total throwback to another era  - Wolf Hollow at Water Gap Country Club. Set high on a hill with sweeping views of the area, the grounds are sprinkled with Adirondack chairs for taking in the sunsets.   In the space of 36 hours, we managed to fit in 3 soaring lessons for the kid, some poolside relax time, some beautiful biking along the Delaware, a chance encounter with a piece of the Appalachian Trail, a tasty egg cream at Zoe’s Ice Cream Emporium at the Castle Inn, a totally unplanned visit to the Blairstown Farmers Market and some good family bonding time (including some fun, loud car fights - our family’s particular specialty). 

We are all in awe of the kid’s flight instructor, Jim Angelou.  He’s a very talented pilot and gifted teacher and all around great guy.  His operation, Yards Creek Soaring, is where T. and the kid are making twice weekly trips (weather conditions permitting) for soaring lessons this summer.    My iPhone doesn’t really capture great video of the whole flying experience but we learned of another student’s youtube channel with GoPro footage shot from inside the cockpit and, wow, it’s pretty cool to watch:  http://bit.ly/glidersamplelesson

We came home to a kitty who was very happy to see us.  After scarfing down two tins of catfood, Mici promptly settled in for a nap in a nest of weekend papers.

OH now THIS is muy muy muuuuuy PELIGROSO...

Sunday evening fun. Seared scallops with garlic, fresh oregano and white wine; penne with zucchini and ricotta; and a whole lotta of potted sour cherries for later use …

Part 1 (of 2) post documenting a great day in early June.    Food, clothes-shopping, food, art and more food, all surrounded by fun bike riding on a glorious late spring day.   Even ugly things look beautiful on a day like that.   Took the west side bike path down to the village and then started heading east around 16th Street.   Which inspired a slight detour & window-gazing pause at Empire Cake’s enticing storefront.   Front & center was a NYC-themed multi-tiered extravaganza cake with fondant metrocards and hotdogs and skyscrapers and orange safety cones and and and…  WOW.

Back on the saddle and eastward bound again, I stumbled across the entrance to Breads Bakery which I’d been hearing about and wanting to visit.  Completely smitten upon entry.   Greeted by a smiling young woman bearing a tray of freshly sliced, still-warm, chocolate babka - one of this spot’s signature offerings (among many delights both sweet and savory).  It took great restraint to not reach for 5 more helpings.  Got a cretzel for the kid (figured this cross between a croissant and pretzel would keep in my carrier bag until end of day) and picked up a pretty cellophaned sack of mini palmiers to enjoy with my friend later in afternoon, as well as a gorgeous sandwich from their back counter to have while sitting in Union Square Park (just a block away).  

All of above took place just after a leisurely stop at the agnès b. across the street from the bakery.   Ah, the joy of not having the kid or the spouse tapping their feet and rolling their eyes while I am browsing.  The ‘soldes’ were just starting and I ultimately walked away with a beautiful twisty scarf in soft tans, mulberries and browns and a simple black boatneck tunic.  Also fell for a little peter-pan-collared eyelet blouse in a muted gold/bronze tone that cast a spell when I tried it on….and later returned to the same shop two weeks later when it was drastically marked down (score!).   

So, after a short picnic on a bench to keep me fueled up, I kept pedaling eastward.   Lots of glimpses of things I’d never really seen before (which is just one of many reasons why city-cycling is so rewarding).  A highlight was ‘discovering’ Stuyvesant Park and the amazingly beautiful St. George’s Episcopal Church at 16th & Rutherford Place (Rutherford Place - who knew?!).   Figured out that this was same ‘hood where Friends Seminary School is located, too.  Started dreaming about what some of the homes lining the square might be like on the inside, and then had to tear myself away and start biking again…

Crossed the Williamsburg Bridge for the second time ever, marvelling at how wide the bike path is and how scenic and funky the whole crossing is via that route.  Got yelled at by a hipster cycling by with a massive something on his back when I had stopped midway to shoot this little video of the surroundings.

OK - stay tuned for 2nd post that follows this one and describes some highlights from the BKLN side.

The first sour cherries are starting to appear around town and I nabbed a bunch last weekend.   Decided to do a riff on a recipe I found online that basically stayed true to the steps for making the filling, but zipped it up by adding fresh minced ginger.   Glad to be able to take advantage of a box of puff pastry dough that was languishing in the freezer.   And although the ginger sour cherry turnovers are long gone, I still have a glass jar filled with leftover ginger sour cherry sauce that will get drizzled on vanilla ice cream tomorrow for the 4th of July — thrown together with blueberries on top, it’ll be INSTANT INDY DAY happieness!

The math on this recipe cracks me up.   Indicated yield is 12 turnovers.   My yield was exactly 4 fat turnovers.  

Blueberries are running 3 pints for $5 right now.  The kid can easily snarf down that amount on a daily basis.  We had some friends coming over for dinner the other night so I decided to buy 5 pints and reserve a couple for this enticing recipe on the Food52 site:  a blueberry galette with rosemary crust…YUM!  Had never made a galette before and am still a little intimidated by crusts.  This one was fairly easy although my ‘roll out’ was not picture perfect … Lisina, the recipe author, replied to my query about this concern in the recipe’s comment section by wisely suggesting that the dough probably just needed a bit more water to come together.  But given how naturally ‘rustic’ galettes are, the craggy rounded perimeter worked out fine in the end… 

It got properly snarfed up by all five us, save one last sliver.  And then that sole surviver was gobbled by T once we’d closed the apartment door after saying goodbye to our guests.  All in the name of streamlining clean-up, of course.

Great road trip up to Burlington, Vermont and then the northern Berkshires last weekend.   Spent the first two nights at a lovely spot in Essex Junction.   Weather was glorious and the days were long (solstice!).   There was even a bonfire on Saturday night on the hotel grounds and the kid and I enjoyed the chance to toast a few marshmallows.

A real highlight was getting a chance to ride the full Island Line Trail — a spectacularly sited bike trail on an old railway line that skirts along Lake Champlain and actually has you riding for a number of miles ON the lake over an old railroad causeway that has been converted for recreational purposes.   The views and whole experience were amazing.   See this view...and then this one   [VIDEOS].    Once on Grand Isle, just north of Burlington (after crossing the causeway’s “cut” via a cute little ferry ride), we cycled up a couple miles to the Accidental Farmer, a small roadside shack serving great burgers.   Made from meat sourced on the next island up, we were told.

Blown away by the beauty of the Vermont countryside.  Burlington area was especially lovely pick as we were surrounded by vistas of the Adirondacks due west and the Green Mountains due east. 

Soaked up more of the very pretty farm-saturated surroundings and rolling hills on day 3 as we started to slowly wend our way back home, with a stopover by early afternoon in North Adams, Massachusetts.   Stayed at a very cool little inn created from converted old housing stock and repurposed with humor and style and comfort.   Great saltwater pool out back at the base of a leafy hill, plus a house kitty in the lobby.   Lots of relax and soaking time, plus fit in a bike ride over to Williamstown via Route 2, with a spin through the Williams College campus.  Hey, does that count as our first college tour?  

Before leaving, I managed a quick visit across the street to see MassMOCA.   Three floors of Sol LeWitt:  early, mid & late career.  Whoa.