Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Bacon wrapped dates with goat cheese
Anchovy lemon dip with fingerling potatoes and green beans
Polenta squares with mushroom ragout
Manchego quince paste napoleon
Peking chicken summer rolls
Cayenne apple cake
Pistachio dark chocolate tuiles
Cranberry orange pistachio cookies
Asian pear 'sandwich' with praline mascarpone filling
Plum pudding tartlets
Kumquat, olive and other candied fruit tarts
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
And here is a view from Steve's position, sitting on the toilet. The wood soffit will be painted, not tiled. The column in the corner will now be the pretty glass tile, which will also be a 6 inch band going around the near-top of the room. The walls and top of the tub will be white. The floor, and sides of the tub, will be brown. We were putting up durock from 6pm until 10 pm Friday, 7am to 9pm Saturday (well, also doing other things like prying up the durock that we'd put on the floor since the tilers are going to mud in the floor tile), and Steve was working Sunday and I finished things off for three focussed hours on Sunday evening.
Here's the tile itself, and a closeup of the shower. That shower pan took 6 months to build. Six. It would take a professional half a day probably.
We were going to have the glass tile on the shower floor, but Tiler Charlie says that's not going to work, so now we're doing brown on the shower floor. Brown will also be the floor tile in general, and go up the sides of the tub. The top of the tub and walls are the white long tile, and then the glass tile will be an accent -- as mentioned, a band around the room and then a column.
It is already so much better than last week: Remember? Toilet in center of room. Temporary bathtub on left. Nasty rug only slightly better than nasty plywood subfloor, no sink. We really lived like that for, three years?
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
So I had this great plan. I'd till the ground, amending with nice rich compost from the nyc giveback. I'd smooth it out and reseed. And then sit back next spring as the lawn created itself lush, deeprooted, and carefree.
But alas, I've waited too long. Average first frost date in NYC is apparently October 27, and while global warming and this fall in particular has made things darn balmy, that's definitely less than the four to six week window recommended for little fresh grass seedlings to take root. So I guess I'm going to be watching the bald spots til spring. For the record, last frost date in NYC averages April 13.
Or maybe I'll find myself a tiller/cultivator (or convince a bunch of people that it won't be that much work if we all pitch in), and just do it anyway. Enzo and I did go out to Staten Island Saturday and got a big garbage can full of compost.... stay tuned for details.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Starting off from Sunset Park it's down to the promenade bike path, recently redone. On the vista and looming closer and closer is the Great Verrezano, starting point of the NYC marathon.
The path goes under the derriere of Brooklyn, a bit through Coney Island and Brighton Beach. I'll admit, it's a pretty ugly urban stretch (cutting through the Home Depot parking lot, for example). But being Coney Island, there are sometimes surprises. Or pirates. These guys look like they're in lockup after a rowdy Saturday night, eh Captain?
Then it's out of traffic and onto the bike path, and just as frustration heightens at being so close to the water without seeing it, a bridge. On the left, inches and a very frail guardrail separating the mangled sidewalk "bike trail" from the Belt Parkway. On the right: Behold.
Yes people. We are still in New York City. At this point, I think we've passed into Queens. But New York City.
That's the turnaround point. My Sunday loop is out and back, so it's more glory on the way back, hopefully with a tailwind. But at the end, coming back up the waterfront towards Sunset Park, a great view of the harbor, the bright orange ferries headed past the Statue of Liberty, and of course, the great island of Manhattan. Thirty-five miles round trip.
The poet wrote:
Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt;
Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of a crowd;
Just as you are refresh’d by the gladness of the river and the bright flow, I was refresh’d;
Just as you stand and lean on the rail, yet hurry with the swift current, I stood, yet was hurried;
Just as you look on the numberless masts of ships, and the thick-stem’d pipes of steamboats, I look’d.
I too many and many a time cross’d the river, the sun half an hour high;
I watched the Twelfth-month sea-gulls—I saw them high in the air, floating with motionless wings, oscillating their bodies,
I saw how the glistening yellow lit up parts of their bodies, and left the rest in strong shadow,
I saw the slow-wheeling circles, and the gradual edging toward the south.
(from Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, Leaves of Grass, 1900)
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Monday, October 1, 2007
And then there are these guys. Morning glory, I'm assuming because they've got those flowers and heart shaped leaves. Suddenly appeared a week or so ago -- who knew they were even growing. A surprise. They're helping cover the ugly fence, so I don't mind at all.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Just ignore the ratty scarlet runner bean that I half-hoped might succeed in a pot, and go straight up to the top: Pentas. Star of the show, if you will. It is in the pot that used to have the avocado that Thammie and Frangos gave to us to rescue, which well, I killed. And then most of this summer had weeds. But attractive weeds. Some of which were the quinata from Debbie up the block. I kept the quinata to wind in the railing, and of course the Pentas. Deadheading works on the Pentas, by the way. Next year I won't wait to do it.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Of course, a couple weeks later and nobody back there is very happy. I think the heuchura is dead, and the sorrel looks very unhappy. The hosta is limp, but then again, how much do I care about it? Not that much. Not that in love with the Hosta.
The border, by the way, is leftover slate floor tile from the house. I'm not in love with it, but it helps keep Enzo from peeing back there. Can't speak for the stray cats tho.
Steve built that planter out of teak. We saw some strawberries last year and got them, and although they go through ups and downs, they bounce back. We planted some berries in a pot for neighbor Elia, and they're starting to sprout now. The big planter of Lavender on the patio was fountain grass last year, but it didn't make it through the winter. Beware the end of season sale!
In front of the planter is poppies (planted in late April, didn't bloom until July). I don't know why they're white, they were supposed to be multicolored. Next to them is Bee Balm (Monarda “coral reef”), a late addition which adds much needed color. Other stuff planted there failed and failed and failed. To the rear you can see a Mole plant. I got it less for the moles than because it was vertical and fun and I thought would also make a good deterrent to Enzo. You can also see the red guys I can't remember the names of, and then peeking over some of the fun yellow balls (maybe a gaillardia variety?) that did so well in the other part of the garden, but suffered in the cement block for lack of soil.
You know what did really, really well in the cement block? Cosmos. They died back in August, but they were so much fun. The Cleome was very similarly tall and spiky, and survived a bit better in the cement block. But so similar to the Cosmos.
There are also a lot of bulbs planted in this bed but obviously they're gone by late September. You can see some of the leftover foliage. It's fun for texture.
Here's another view of the area, including some of the bed by the fence (see the peas and how they cover the fence? You can also see the Clematis, which is sparse but getting bolder; it blooms in late June)) You can also see the birdfeeder our friend Amy Adams of Perch made. It looks so great in the yard! You can also see the windowbox planter. It is perched on a little table that just consists of four supports from our staircase (now gone) and a tin tray. It's been there since 2006 -- even survived the winter! In it are flowering chives, which came back. They bloomed late -- July. Peeking behind you can see a bit of the grass and stuff growing in what will next year be referred to as the "sunny raised bed".
Here is the view from the back side. You can see the Lavender, and the strawberries. Also some Pampas grass -- pretty much the only perennial planted in the "raised bed"; I rescued from the Home Depot clearance section and is so far pretty much the only ornamental grass that's doing ok. Enzo likes to snack on it.
And last but not least, in this area is the tomatoes. These are in a bamboo planter, another Steve original. It's doing great. Not so much for the tomators. Last year the squirrels ate them. This year I don't think I watered enough. Next year they either need to go in the ground, or maybe out front where I can see them and water more often.
The spiky iris bulbs form a natural separation between that area of the bed and the next spot. I've tried planting a bunch of stuff here, some has stuck, some hasn't. In the rear of this one you see the flowering quince bush, one of the very first plants to go into the garden in spring 2006. It has pretty peach flowers that last about a week in early spring. In front of that I have tried a bunch, what's blooming now is Rudebekia (the yellow ones in back), from Maine this year. Behind them is Salvia. And in the foreground is the oh-so-terribly-successful Lantana ("silver mound"). It says it's perennial! As you can see, the theme here this season was yellow. That's partly the reason for putting the salvia here, a bit of variety.
Speaking of fence cover? Here is what is working to some extent: climbing peas. They needed a lot of support to get going (and wound their way around some plants that then got a little strangled), but eventually did well when they found the fence and climbed. Very late in the season they put forth pretty red flowers (here wound in with the honeysuckle on the other fence), that then turned into giant pods.
Like this guy. A favorite. A bit overshadowed by the puffy yellow balls of his cousin, that I planted behind him (I had just cut them back when this pic was shot, Maybe coreopsis? Or Gallardia maybe)? I gotta find the tag. Not sure. I loved him. Also tucked in there is a hydrangea that was in the store's window, and which I took home to plant and hope for the best. It looks to be surviving ok.
The amaranth was one of the things that took off in the garden. I planted these from seeds. It took a while for them to grow tall, but they're all over, providing nice bright red plants. I have to say, maybe a bit overkill this year, but they did do well without much attention, that's for sure. If I do it again, the message is thin those buggers out! They do much better when not competing against each other.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
And the garden as it is now, same view. Other than just the cleanup, you can see the two main beds. The one on the left I refer to as the "bionic bed." I went and took advantage of the city compost in spring '06 and dug it in. Everything that grows there gets huge. On the right, I had already planted stuff, so wasn't able to dig in the same way.
In the back, we cleaned up the brick raised patio area a bit. Steve hates it, mostly because it is uneven, and on the right bricks are missing and it is very sloped. We're eventually going to put a deck back there, at an angle.
One of the first things I did was dig out some of the concrete block on the left, under the tree. That was really hard work. Now it's what I refer to as the "shade plot." Not so successful. On the right, I created something of a raised bed, but haven't done anything with it yet.
Here's another view (if you click it gets big and you can see lots more detail):
Now I can start to talk about what I've planted!
Monday, September 17, 2007
The green thing was sort of a ramshackle shelter, on a patio, in the rear of the house. In the back, there were two poles in there sticking up, maybe for a laundry line? In the rear, there is a bricked over patio, it's raised up about a foot. The pile of stuff that looks like old plumbing? That's the old plumbing.
Eventually they overtook the backyard, we got a weed whacker, and whacked. And then discovered that pulling was just as fast, less messy, and more effective. Whatever.
It's all about dog butt for the canines -- but you probably want to see his mug: therefore...