October 31, 2012

Illustrations by Becca Stadtlander

Illustrations and patterns by Becca Stadtlander. I love seeing work that is so deeply influenced by nature and the seasons.

October 29, 2012

30 / Sandy

Celebrating my 30th very much indoors on this stormy, stormy full moon day, in our apartment a few blocks from the water, barely in zone B, with lots of extra water, flashlights and snacks. And homemade pumpkin bread and roasted sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts, and hummus and soup on the way. Stay safe, everyone in the Northeast + NYC.

October 25, 2012

My house is skinner than yours

Photos by Andreas Meischner for the NY Times

Polish architect Jakub Szczesny designed a 35-inch wide house in the space—or as he calls it, "appealing cushion of air"—between two buildings in Warsaw.

This reminds me of the phase of my life in the mid-to-late 90s when I loved to talk about "interstitial spaces."

[Full article + Slideshow via NY Times]

Mt. Sanitas in Autumn

Though we were mainly in Boulder hanging with nieces and celebrating birthdays, we did steal off for a quick jaunty hike up part of Mt. Sanitas -- dressed inappropriately for climbing steep red rock. (We were there last winter too -- while it was covered in snow). If you're in Boulder, it's a fantastic trail at the end of Mapleton with immediately pleasing views that goes in a big loop that you can attack from steeper or slower elevation climbs. 

October 24, 2012

Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi

If you ran in to me between October of last year and July of this year, there's a pretty good chance that the first thing I told you about was Yotam Ottolenghi's cookbook PLENTY. Ottolenghi is an Israeli born chef with an eponymous restaurant in London and is a regular food columnist for the UK Guardian. For 4 years, the column was called The New Vegetarian although he's not a vegetarian because he did such profound and tasty things with vegetables.

I have a lot of cookbooks, I read a lot of cookbooks, I use a lot of recipes -- this one is the best, yet. (Dessert and baking books not included). The recipes here are all vegetarian, vegetable and grain heavy, and of the 30 or so dishes, dips, appetizers, roasts, grain salads, and more I've made from this book, none have let down. One of the best meals Jacob and I ever made together was his Black Pepper Tofu + Mango and Coconut Rice Salad (hands down).

Ottolenghi has a new book out, Jerusalem, and he'll be talking about it with Jonathan Safran Foer at Strand Bookstore tomorrow evening, from 7-8 p.m., as part of his North American book tour. I'm sad to miss it (Girl Walk screening tomorrow night! $5), but encourage you all to go.

Made a Mano tiles

Made a Mano is a Danish company that crafts incredible handprinted and free-hand-drawn tiles made from lava stone and terracotta. I'd love to replace the faux marble bathroom tile in our rental with a few of these. 

October 23, 2012

Mexico, 1968

Incredible design created for the 1968 Mexico Olympics. I love the use of concentric lines and the broad primary color-driven palette. (via Graphic Ambient where you can see how expansive the design and branding systems truly were.)

Program Director
Pedro Ramirez Vázquez
(Chairman of the Organizing Committee)

Design Team Directors
Urban Design: Eduardo Terrazas
Olympic Publications: Beatrice Trueblood
Student Design Team: Manuel Villazon
Special Projects: Peter Murdoch
Graphic Design: Lance Wyman

Graphic Design Team
Lance Wyman, Beatrice Colle,
Jose Luis Ortiz, Jan Stornfeld

October 17, 2012

A fish dish

(Artwork by Andrea Mae Miller)

Cooking fish intimidates me and so do broilers, so I generally avoid both. Sunday night I was heading home from Union Square and found myself standing at a fish counter with one eye on fish filets and the other on the epicurious app.

In that crucial moment of seafood counter / iPhone app need, it pointed me to this Miso-Glazed Sea Bass with Asparagus. 8 ingredients, 12 minutes of cook time. It seemed like a good starting place.

The recipe calls for filets of fish with skin on, which I found is essential. They were out of sea bass, so I went with tilefish, which I have no previous experience cooking with. But I can say: if you're going to gamble on a white fish that isn't sea bass, tile fish is delicious. It's a firm, but meaty and mild whitefish.

Miso - Glazed Tilefish with Asparagus + Mushrooms (adapted from epicurious)
2 Tablespoons white miso (I used this kind)
1.5 teaspoons brown sugar
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon water
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
chunk of garlic (thumb sized), finely chopped
Olive oil for greasing pan
1-1.5 lbs of tilefish or sea bass (I'd estimate 6 oz per person, so for 4 people, you want 1.5 lbs)
1 pound thin asparagus
1/2 lb mushrooms (I used a combo of baby bellas + criminis from the W'burg farmers' market)
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
pinch of chili flakes

Preheat broiler and lightly oil a large, shallow baking dish (a cookie sheet with sides works well).

Cut your fish into the number of servings you are trying to make and lightly salt and oil both sides ont he pan, then place fish skin-side down. Whisk together the miso, sugar, lemon juice, water, pepper, garlic and ginger. You should have a paste-like consistency.

Wash + snap off ends of asparagus. Wash mushrooms and cut the larger ones in half. Coat veggies in sesame oil, salt and pepper. Add a pinch of chili pepper flakes.

Spread the miso paste all over the filet side of the fish. Spread the veggies evenly around the rest of the pan. Broil for 10-12 minutes, about 10 inches from the broiler. Make sure you check around 8-9 minutes to make sure the tops aren't scorching.

Note: the base of my recipe is the same as epicurious's, but I added more lemon and generous amounts of crushed garlic and ginger. I also added mushrooms to the pan alongside the asparagus. I also made a pan of these honey and soy glazed carrots, which I roasted (not boiled) for 45 minutes at 375 before putting the fish in, and also gave a good serving of chopped ginger. All in all, fear of broiler + fish combatted, husband happy, dinner delicious.

October 16, 2012

Of a Kind Cookbook, Vol. 2

Friends Claire & Erica at Of a Kind have released a new cookbook full of recipes contributed by the designers they work with. Brownies from Annie Larson of ALL Knitwear, Basil Pumpkin Seed Pesto from Lisa Levine, Pea Shoot Salad from Lauren Moffat, Hibiscus Fish Tacos from Rachel Rose. These recipes, and dozens of others, can be downloaded for free right here.

October 15, 2012

Outside Chatham

I thought I'd posted these photos long ago, but turns out I"d forgotten. But, one afternoon in the summer we stopped at Sam P's mom's house upstate. From the outside, her house is overgrown, quite ordinary, wild with nettles and weeds and flowers and vines. On the inside, it's like a Japanese treehouse: all windows and wood and canvases and paint and boxes upon boxes of medjool dates and open spaces. Calming, zen, earthy, spare.

She told us that one day, back when the house still had walls and she used to wear ballgowns to dinner, for fun, she decided she'd had enough and put on rollerskates and took a hammer and started knocking it all down. There's no dishwasher or couch or tv or even an oven. There's a small toaster where she bakes and makes chocolates. There's a hot plate. There's champagne. There are large pillows.

The dining table has no legs because she thought it looked nicer on the floor. So we ate on the beautiful table, but sitting on the floor. She served us spicy radishes with greens torn up in her hands and lots of garlic and lemon. We had huge plates of avocados with balsamic so aged it was sweet and more like syrup than vinegar. We had burrata dripping with olive oil and flecked with salt and pepper. It was soupy. It was copious.

We had olives, walnuts, chocolate cake (baked in the toaster) with rose petals and blueberries. We all said, "it's so indulgent." She said, "it's so therapeutic" and then taught us how to spin when we woke up to wield off vertigo and invited us all to have a dance party in her home.

October 12, 2012

David Byrne's Office

A and I had tickets to the St. Vincent / David Byrne show on the Williamsburg waterfront a few weeks back and were hurrying down to the show, frantically trying to park bikes when we saw our friends Sam and Viki scurrying in. They'd just been handed free tickets from a woman on the street, while hearing the lyrics to This Must Be The Place emanating through the windscreens in the fence -- the same song Sam's sister read as poetry this summer at their wedding. The moon was bright and full but unknowable with the cloud cover, the rain just barely holding off, sending in a cool, breezy, early autumn air in its place. 

David Byrne has, as anyone who has seen him perform live knows, what is fondly known of as stage presence. White suit, signature dance moves, impeccable crown of shock white hair. That VOICE. After the double encore and the uproarious applause, the moon peaked out for just a fleeting moment, revealing it to be full and hued with orange, only in the final seconds of the show. It was one of those New York nights where all of the day's serendipities add up to overwhelming feeling of total cosmic alignment.

Gil Inoue offers us a glance into David Byrne's studio with a brief series of photographs on his website. It's a minor revelation into the work of a man who bares himself in such a multitude of mediums, but ultimately makes us feel best for not being afraid to dance like no one else does. (Inoue also has other fantastic portraits, essays, commissions and fashion photos on his site). 

Evenings at home.

We're still unpacking, the bikes have no home, we don't have a dresser and hang our clothes on various doorknobs, and there are a million changes I'd like to make to our apartment. But after many months of nomadism, it's still a glorious place to be at any hour of the day, most especially as we watch the sun set and the boats cruise by over the East River and the light winnows down and casts a shape show against the western wall.