Ok, so that wasn’t the best play on the famous Wizard of Oz mantra, but I tried. This weekend is choc-full-of exciting events here in New York. Saturday and Sunday is the World Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science. Be prepared for reclaimed disaster relief housing, vertical gardens, and robots that teach you things. I’m nerding out over the whole event, but I’m easily most pumped for BUST Magazine’s sub-section Craftacular! (Also, keep an eye out for the Oct/Nov issue of BUST! Yours truly wrote the feature story on urban farm women in NYC!)
Craftacular is BUST Magazine’s outdoor shopping village featuring 50+ vendors, deals, and demos. Check-out hand weaving, mozzarella making, and more!
Purchase tickets to Craftacular and the Maker Faire here. See you there!
Do you like honey? Do you like the beach? If you answered “yes” to these questions, then let me propose this: what are you doing tomorrow, Saturday September 17th beginning at 10AM? It’s the premier of the NYC Honey Festival at Rockaway Beach, sponsored by rooftop farm Brooklyn Grange, and featuring one of the women I interviewed for my BUST Magazine article, the wonderful Meg Paska of Brooklyn Homesteader.
So what can you expect: beekeeping demos, food raffles, cooking demos with the folks at Brooklyn Kitchen, honey-beer brewing with the guys at Sixpoint, honey mustard pickles from Horman’s Best Pickles, and a honey-themed dinner on the boardwalk after dark. Pack some sunscreen, a bathing suit, and your beekeeping veil and head down to the Rockaways for a new twist on a day at the beach. For more information, visit http://www.nychoneyfest.com.
In other food news, the Nation magazine premiered its annual food issue. This is an important one for the food world, as it carries pieces on food economics, crisis, and the environment. The 2011 issue features a roster of a who’s who in food systems celebrity, including articles by the likes of Michael Pollan, change-maker Vandana Shiva, Raj Patel, Frances Moore Lappe, Anna Lappe, Eric Schlosser, Daniel Imhoff, and Civil Eats editor Paula Crossfield. Check-out the full list of articles here, and be sure to pick-up your copy on newsstands today.
Americans waste half a billion pounds of food every day, which amounts to about 160 million dollars a year. The average New York City household throws out over two pounds of food waste per day. These numbers are huge. (A recent book by Jonathon Bloom titled American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It) spends a little under 400 pages exploring why we waste so much.)
I realized that I was contributing to this number in throwing away my inedible veggie parts and food scraps (the stems of kale, garlic and onion skins, coffee grounds, tea bags, etc.) into the regular trash. But these kinds of scraps can be put to more efficient and responsible use elsewhere: compost. This is an almost effortless and cheap way to reduce waste.
What is compost? In the simplest terms, it’s a nutrient rich, dark soil that improves plant health – an organic farmer’s fertilizer. Composting is the act of breaking down the organic material (kitchen scraps in this case) often with the help of trusty, and hungry, worms. Now, it may seem a bit ridiculous to suggest that you start keeping a storage bin of rotting food in your apartment or that you breed worms in a 2′ x 3′ plastic container…or is it?
The least offensive way to keep discarded food in your apartment is to collect them in the freezer in a bucket, plastic grocery bag, or a compostable bag. There are all kinds of biodegradable bags available. I use
Bio Bag, which you can buy at Whole Foods and most other grocery stores. They are a little bit pricey, but they come with the added convenience of, well, being biodegradable.
Now what do you do with your bag of frozen scraps? For those of you not interested in keeping worms, you can drop off scraps every Sunday from 8AM to 5PM at the Lower East Side Ecology Center Community Garden (7th Street between avenues B and C). For the uptown (relatively) crowd, the LES Ecology Center has a drop-off station at the Union Square Greenmarket every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 8AM to 5PM. This is my preferred composting route because I can drop off scraps and then do my vegetable shopping all in one place.
Of course, there are drop-off sites in all five Burroughs that are associated with NYC Waste Less, a program run in conjunction with the LES Ecology Center and funded by the NYC Department of Sanitation, Bureau of Waste Prevention, Reuse and Recycling. The LES Ecology Center & NYC Waste Less hold educational composting workshops, as well provide resources for those who are interested in worm-bin indoor composting.
The most confusing aspect of composting is knowing what you can and can’t compost. Here is a simple list, taken from the LES Ecology Center’s website:
NOT TO COMPOST
And that’s it! Happy composting!
Ahhh yes. Thanksgiving is upon us again. As a vegetarian who has a passion for food, this holiday is both exciting and frustrating. Frustrating because, well, my food choices are usually limited to the selection of sides during this turkey-centered meal. But it’s also exciting because of this seemingly limiting fact: I get to make my own menu and show my relatives that vegetarian food is more than just hummus and raw carrots, which is especially difficult considering Filipinos don’t even have a word vegetarian. I haven’t finalized my menu yet, but I’m definitely going to make roasted brussel sprouts, my absolutely most favorite food, and a pecan pie. I’d like to do some kind of root vegetable or soup as well, but those are unfinished thoughts as of now…
Need some inspiration? The New York Times has a beautiful interactive piece on vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes, including a recipe for Maple-Roasted Brussel Sprouts. In fact, the Times’s Well Blog has a collection of vegetarian-Thanksgiving-related posts!
A pumpkin, three Honeycrisp apples, a bunch of kale, a loaf of bread, two ears of sweet corn, a handful of cranberry beans, two large carrots, and a 1/2 gallon of apple cider. These were the things I was carrying home from the farmers’ market in Union Square, which is the closest greenmarket to Gramercy. As I was walking on 17th street between Park and 3rd avenues, I noticed a man blatantly laughing at me. My curiosity surpassed my sense of acceptable social interaction:
“What?!” I asked, laughing back at him.
“You’re not sharing that with anyone!” I looked down at my arms and realized I was cradling my cider.
“No, I guess I’m not!”
Stone Ridge Orchard makes my favorite apple cider, but at $7.50 a gallon, no I’m not going to share it with anyone.
These brownies can only be baked in the fall and can only be eaten with Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale while listening to the Avett Brothers. Period.
Ok, I guess you don’t have to save these brownies for the colder months, and I guess you can pair them with something besides pumpkin beer…anddd you can eat them while listening to anything you want, but I highly suggest the Avett Brothers. The Mountain Goats will suffice as well. But the dense texture of these brownies (think flourless cake) coupled with the generous addition of cinnamon make these perfect for rainy, crisp, fall evenings. Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale is a sweet and actually pumpkin-y brew – as opposed to other pumpkin impostors like Blue Moon’s Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale (although I love the Neil Young reference). So invite some friends over, roast a few squashes, carve a pumpkin or two, and chow down on these Autumn Brownies. (Recipe below.)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbls. cinnamon powder
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 stick unsalted butter (at room temp.)
1/2 stick salted butter (at room temp.)
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract (optional: if you don’t have any almond extract, just substitute with vanilla)
1/2 cup lukewarm water (as needed)
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
9 x 13 glass baking dish
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter the baking dish with the butter wrappers or cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, and cinnamon and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together butters and sugar with a hand mixer, standing mixer, or just your plain ol’ hands. When the butter is in small clumps, mix in the eggs one at a time until you have a smooth batter. Mix in the vanilla and almond (if using) extracts.
4. Add the flour mixture in three parts to the egg batter. If the batter is too dry, add the water a little at a time until you have a smooth batter again. Mix in the chocolate chips.
5. Pour the batter into the baking dish and even it out. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top of the brownies are no longer shiny.