Nothing is growing. The Squirrels hid all the bulbs. School started last week. I stay inside because it's cold so I see nothing. I don't know what else to post except BREAD success!! I got a beautiful Kitchen Aid mixer for my birthday last week and I made a sad little loaf over the weekend but last night I made a plump and delicious loaf topped with black salt. As per a recommendation from Jason, I watched Alton Browns bread episode and definitely learned a good lesson. The key: letting the bread rise twice in an extremely humid environment. His method: take a deep baking tray and place it on the bottom shelf of the oven and then fill it with boiling water and set the bread on a shelf above the hot water to rise. It takes about 2 hours and I also added fresh boiling water in the middle of it. It is delicious.



I sometimes forget that I have access to the worlds tastiest watercress. It's a slight exaggeration since I haven't sample the earths entire offering of watercress but out in the woods where I grew up there's a fresh water stream that wanders in and out of the properties, it's ground/spring water that's a steady 45 degrees all year round and this particular watercress thrives in it. I was walking by it yesterday and was reminded about this delicious beauty in the hot summer. You can see in the above photos that this coming springs new growth is starting to perk up. If black pepper could be a leafy green it would be this. Has any one else had any run ins with watercress growing in cold water in the northeast?



Monkfish are so amazingly ugly and delicious. I made a really basic Mario Batalli monkfish recipe and it turned out so simply delicious - I'll definitely be making monkfish again. Slight change: The almond "sauce" mix doesn't stay in the desired texture for long (pesto like) so I am going to keep in the food processor even longer with a little extra oil and keep it on low heat while the Monkfish is getting ready. When I made this the other day the almond mix turned into a sponge and absorbed the wet ingredients immediately.
Make sure to cut away any of the darker membraney pieces of the fish before you dredge them in the flour. Other than that...eat up:

Monkfish with Almond Sauce:
1 cup sliced almonds
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/4-cup
1 lemon, zested and juiced, plus 1 lemon, juiced
1 pound cleaned monkfish, cut into medallions 1-inch thick
1 cup all-purpose flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped to yield 1/4 cup

In a blender, pulverize the almonds. Pour into a mixing bowl and add
the mustard, cayenne, and cheese and mix well. Add 1/4-cup olive oil,
juice, and zest. The sauce should be the texture of pesto. Set aside.

In a 12-inch, non-stick saute pan, heat the remaining oil until just
smoking over medium heat. Dredge the monkfish in the seasoned flour
and place in pan. Saute until golden brown on one side, about 7
minutes, and then turn. Add the wine, remaining lemon juice and butter
and cook until wine is nearly evaporated and fish is cooked through.
Add the parsley to the pan and swirl through. Place the fish on a
serving plate. Cover with almond sauce and remaining pan sauce and

whats been going on the in world of parasites?


Camellia Pruning in todays Q&A

self destructing palm

The link above is about an amazing new palm discovered in Madagascar that exerts so much energy when flowering, that it ends up killing itself.

For a little reference,
Here's a general picture of what most palm flowers look like, small and ususally on the underbelly of the foliage:

And here is the Madagascar palm...that flower spike is HUGE and its torn straight through the top and center of the plant:


Who allowed this?!

In last weeks NYT magazine there's an article in the food section written by Patricia Marx and it's one of the worst things I've ever read and this woman should never be aloud to write about food. In short it's about her preparation for a dinner party and how she thinks food is yucky, her adventures gathering the ingredients up and down the east coast and how her mom and her friend "Chy" have late night phonecalls masterplanning the PERFECT DINNER PARTY MENU. What an asshole. How can you write an article in a food section and start off in the first paragraph basically saying you hate food? If I was given the option of hanging out with this lady and her bourgie friends for a night OR spending the rest of my life alone and eating only toast...I choose toast.


A delicious Baltimore crab house

We stopped by LP Steamers for lunch as per a recommendation from a friend. This place specializes in crabs, clams, oysters and some great sides and crab cake concoctions. Its a very simple paper on the picnic table family establishment that I wish New York had more of. It sits right near the water and has a nice old world feel to it and the owner and his grandson are extremely friendly. They aren't catching their own but they have a connect with some boats in the Carolinas. verrrrrrrrrry tasty

This could be the vampire that kills us all

embassy of finland

I know that fine design out of scandinavia is nothing new, but while cruising DC yesterday I couldn't help but fall in love with the Embassy of Finland. It is definitely the nicest modern addition to all of the embassies. What really did it for me was the metal trellising along the front exterior. I can't really tell what is growing there but from the picture, it could be trumpet vine. It really looks like a special place and highly recommend doing a drive by next time your in DC.



meatballs recap

I wanted to put an update up about this meatball recipe that I posted a while back from a Jim Harrison book. I'm really starting to think that everything Jim Harrison does is golden. My boyfriend made this recipe for a New Years dinner party and they are indeed delicious. This is a really special meatball recipe. I had them with ground veal and some pinenuts as a nice special addition. The key to these meatballs is that a thin outter layer of the ball gets brown and crispy before being pulled out of the oven. This is the last meatball and sauce recipe you will ever need. Here it is again:


Pour a liberal amount of good olive oil in the bottom of the baking pan. Halve a dozen or so tomatoes and place them in the pan. Sprinkle them liberally with chopped garlic, fresh basil, and thyme. Cook for about an hour at 325 F. Chop this roughly and you have your sauce.


1 pound ground chuck or veal
2 beaten eggs
5 cloves garlic
1/4 cup parsley
3 or 4 anchovy fillets, preferably salt-packed
Ample extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup to 1 cup freshly made bread crumbs

Saute the garlic, finely chopped, in olive oil until translucent. Add the anchovies and let melt, then add the parsely and wilt; let cool. Mix the meat with the eggs. Add the cooked garlic, anchovies, parsley, salt and pepper, and bread crumbs. Form your meatballs, but not too large or they will crack. Brown in olive oil, then cook slowly. Mix in your roasted tomato sauce."

wild america

Check out these photo's of a hawk gnawing the head off of a squirrel on the upper west side. AMAZING:


fake spring

How about this weather....I was in the garden today and noticed that everything was just as fooled as I am about it. These little hydrangea leaf buds are going to get stung with some cold weather for the next 3 months. Ugh, 3 more months until its real....

NYC hydro update

It looks like NYC Hydro is offically open for business, judging by the newly merchandised shop and the updated website. They also have a nice mix of tropicals and natives growing in a tank on display in the front window. The cedar has grown dramatically since my first post about them.


tacky development

This is just so amazing; Alot of people have already posted about the Argyle the new condo being built on 7th street and 4th avenue in Park Slope, but I walk by their sales office on 5th avenue almost everyday and I keep seeing the ads getting bigger with the same dumb slogan "it looks good on you." It amazes me that the Argyles branded-package-image that lacks any inventive thought is what is going to lure people into this place. The general nature of this project is just really horrible, the size of it, the general interior design choices, everything... but I don't even want to get started on that. It's the name and the images and the selling a 4th avenue location on 5th avenue is what amazes me. I'm just a renter and I definitely don't have any park slope pride so i don't really care about all of the crappy condo projects littered all over brooklyn these days but it's the tacky advertising and the sort of person it's marketed towards is what really scares me.