Monday, July 21, 2014

London Calling

While London has a reputation for its rain, the British brand Boden can brighten up the grayest day. I just flipped through the fall preview catalog and there are brights, stripes, and patterns that had me dog-earring page after page. Even sweeter is Mini Boden - the selections for babies and kids. If you don't know already know it, check out their website. It makes going back to school much more palatable (and preppy)!

Halibut Ratatouille

Halibut Ratatouille

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoon butter
1 yellow onion, diced
4 oz. carrots (about two carrots), diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz. eggplant (about 1 medium eggplant), diced
8 oz. zucchini (about 2 small zuchinni), diced
2 tsp. fresh marjoram
5 oz. grape tomatoes
1 lb. halibut, skinless (or skin on if preferred)

To make ratatouille:
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat, add onions and carrot, stir and cook until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Add in another tablespoon of olive oil and butter to pan and heat, add eggplant and stir occasionally, until golden, about 5-7 minutes, transfer to carrot mixture. Add zuchini to pan, stir occassionally until tender, about 2-4 minutes, then transfer to carrot mixture. Add tomatoes and marjoram to pan and cook just until tomatoes blister, then transfer to carrot mixture. Set aside and keep warm.

To cook halibut:
Add in remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and olive to skillet pan over medium high heat, add in halibut (skin-side down if not using skinless), cook for about 7-9 minutes on each side or until golden brown and halibut is cooked through. Serve with ratatouille as cut pieces or slightly shredded and mixed in with ratatouille over pasta (or better- zucchini noodles from the spiralizer).

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Boat House

Eager for a sunset paddle but don't have a boat in your backyard? Find a local boat house, where you can rent a watercraft. Driving to the farm to pick up my CSA box the other day, I came across the Cranford Canoe Club. The boat house is situated on the Rahway River. Open to the public, you can rent a kayak or canoe for a two hour trip up the river. Meandering through the quiet waters, it was the perfect place to spend a late afternoon. And because it's community run, it's very inexpensive. If you gather a group of friends they even have a grill on the deck where you can hang around after for sips and snacks. Happy paddling!

Snap pea, Watermelon salad with Sesame Vinaigrette

This week's CSA box is filled with snap peas, watermelon, shallots, and squash. Searching for a new way to prepare our produce, I found this recipe on Joy the Baker. Summery and savory? Looks delish!

For the Salad:

1/2 pound sugar snap peas, ends trimmed and sliced
2 cups shelled edamame, thawed from frozen by rinsing under warm water
2 cups cubed fresh watermelon
1 cup finely chopped spinach
3 tablespoons minced shallots
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

For the Dressing:

1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
pinch of salt and 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

First assemble the salad. In a large bowl, combine chopped snap peas, edamame, watermelon, spinach, and shallots. Toss lightly to combine. Sprinkle chives, sesame seeds, salt and pepper over the salad and set aside.

To make the dressing, in a medium mason jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine vinegar, sesame seeds, garlic, mustard, soy sauce, canola oil, and sesame oil. Add salt and pepper. Place the lid on the mason jar and shake vigorously until mixture is emulsified, about 2 minutes. Taste and season with a bit more salt and pepper as necessary.

Pour about 1/3 cup of the well shaken salad dressing over the prepared salad. Toss to combine. Add as much dressing as you’d like In my experience, the dressing makes enough for two salads and can be stored in the mason jar in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Enjoy the dressed salad immediately.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Music Monday: Chapel of Love (The Dixie Cups)

Weekend Wandering: Sunset Sailing

This weekend we experienced New York City in a way I never have - aboard a classic wooden sailboat. This elegant, 80-foot, 1890s-style pilot schooner is a gem that docks at Chelsea Piers. The Schooner Adirondack features plenty of seating, teak decks, and mahogany trim. With a few dozen passengers and even more bottles of champagne, we departed the dock at 6:30 and observed the piers of Hoboken before launching our sails down to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The wind was in our favor as the boat danced around the harbor. The sun began setting on our way back up the Hudson, which cast a pink hue upon the buildings of lower Manhattan. Whether you're a tourist or a have called the city home, this is a must do. Book your trip here. When you get off the boat, walk a block over to the Highline and along the park in the sky or pop in Chelsea Market for its excellent food options (which you can take back to the river for a waterside picnic).

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

An Oasis in the Desert

Imagine wandering through the Mojave- some stretch of desert between Joshua Tree and Apple Valley - and discovering a private pool, inviting you to wade in its waters. This very scene was imagined by Austrian artist Alfredo Barsuglia, who was a resident at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles. His public art opened last weekend. 
But it's kind of a secret.

This single, diminuitive swiming pool is open to the public, but in order for visitors to access it they need the key that unlocks it (it is kept covered) as well as the GPS coordinates. Only once you have the key, which is kept at the MAK Center, are you given the coordinates. And you don't exactly drive up to it- it takes a trail hike to find.

The art is called "Social Pool" and there really is just one key. Visitors are allowed to check the key out for 24 hours and participants are asked to bring a gallon of water to replenish the pool. Afterall, evaporation is inevitable in the desert. Crazy? Charming? It's all about the chase. 
Learn more at MAK.