Thursday, December 31, 2009
But first, let's set some goals first. Instead of one resolution that I will surely break after a couple days, I will try to set ten so I can pick and choose what I feel like striving towards, given the day and mood I'm in. I think this year will be all about choices, so having a choice of resolutions seems like a good start.
1. Most important. Be. On. Time. Stop being late for everything.
2. Eat better. (A bit subjective. Can refer to quality OR quantity.)
3. Cook more new dishes. (Bonus point if it overlaps with #2.)
4. Learn to walk in heels. And be a more sophisticated lady. This, obviously, can only be expected to occur once every month or two.
5. Get more tech savvy. (Blogging right now! That will be an easy one.)
6. Stop backdating blog posts. Eventually there will be a reader and they will notice.
7. Try to keep up with writing.
8. Thank more.
9. Love more.
10. Be happier than last year.
I already am. Happy New Year!
It was a rough one. I quit my waitress job just before the recession hit hardest. I spent months afterwards scrambling for employment, and learned that pride and impulsive decisions pay a higher price than stability. But they also keep you fighting.
However, good things came out of that situation. Learning to live close to the belt, or at the very end of the buckle, is an excellent test of discipline and character. A year of eating ramen and mac and cheese has given me a whole new appreciation for food, but also an interest in learning how to eat well on a limited budget- something a lot of us could use help with.
I learned that sometimes it is worth it to just barely get by, but to truly enjoy the work that you do. I taught cooking at an after school program in the Bronx with about 100 amazing kids who roused my curiosity in the kitchen, which had become comatose. I wrote more. I learned to rock climb, and fell into a world of adventurous spirits and new friendships. My old friendships deepened tremendously. I went to California for two months. I did a lot of soul searching. I learned a lot about my father through an epic move. I started blogging. And I'm reinventing my New York experience.
I have no idea what is in store for the next year- if things will get easier, if my career will clearly define itself, if I will get it together and make the right choices. All I know is I will trust that the path is my own. I will try with all my might to keep approaching food, pastry and life with a sense of curiosity and adventure. I hope you do the same as we embark on this new year together.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
It's been one of those days where I'm trying to get a million things accomplished and I'm not sure if I'll get through even one. I'm waiting for trains far longer than usual, and when they finally roll into the station at their own leisurely pace, I get pushed on by the angry mob behind me. Oh, why must bad moods be more contagious than the swine flu? A New York bad mood is probably a whole lot sicker.
On days like this, there is only one thing that can help: junky ice cream. I like to keep really good ice cream pure by eating it when I'm in a decent mood, so I don't associate it with being cranky. So for today, junky it is. I discovered this junkiest of junky ice creams at my local Key Foods. The flavor is called- wait for it- Party Cake.
I know. I would judge me, too. But if you've ever had cake batter ice cream (the flavor, not actually ice cream made of cake batter, or is it?), you will think differently. Think vanilla, with a little more milk and a butter aftertaste. It's fantastic, and for high brow foodies, you can find it at really great homemade ice cream shops. If you don't mind getting a little gritty, then there's always Party Cake.
Even better is that the brand is called Turkey Hill, which is an odd visual for a dairy product. Notice the neon-colored swirls in the bottom photo, reminiscent of the bubble gum ice cream I used to get at the Ice House when I was a kid (I would pick out all the gumballs and save them for later, leaving delightful rainbow swirls).
Keep in mind, the Brooklyn Tart's philosophy is to appreciate food on all levels.
Let's get this party started.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
The JC does have some incredible views of the city, simply breathtaking at night or dusk:
Here's a view from the tip of Liberty State Park. If you look closely, you can see the edge of Lady Liberty's arm peeking from behind the water tower.
At that same park, there's a cool old Colgate clock, which is nicely juxtaposed against the backdrop of Manhattan.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
First, the ganache: one part cream to 2 parts chocolate, add a little liqeuer for flavor and a little butter for smoothness.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
You can imagine my surprise at the invite, especially considering that my presence at last year's Christmas party turned into me arm wrestling everyone at the bar ... and WWF wrestling some people in the street at the next bar. But then again, maybe that's the exact reason why I was invited back this year.
Here's me and my lovely date, who also happens to be one of the sweetest people on the planet:
Let the wine flow, the lasagna be served, and the party begin!
I can vouch that the lasagna was terrific. We all made our mass pilgrimage to our favorite dive bar, Commonwealth, afterwards, but that seems to be the last thing I remembered from the night. And I thought I was on my best behavior after the antics of last year.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
It all came to a head for me last night at rush hour when I was on a 1 train so packed with people that a woman actually blocked any more people from boarding. She started pushing everyone back like a lunatic, while people on the platform insisted on trying to make room. It's times like that I was lucky to have a seat, or this shaky domino would have toppled over in a second.
So we're down to the wire, we're all working hard and ready for a break, we have to be emotionally prepared to face our families in a couple days, and there's still a ton of shopping to do. The streets of Manhattan are jam-packed, oh, and there's heaps of snow, making us cold, wet, and late for everything.
I get it. I really do. I have even been known to throw some elbows on the train (which is my own personal indicator for when I know it's time to get out of the city for a couple days). But at the risk of sounding obvious, what about the Christmas spirit? Does everyone get asshole allowance until the streets are properly plowed and all our purchases are made? It seems that everywhere I turn, someone has their own Christmas grumble and list of grievances.
So let's make that our own personal indicators- that when you are pushing on the subway, you should treat yourself to a cab ride or walk a few extra blocks. If you're cold, have a hot chocolate and put on an extra layer. When you are tired of waiting in lines and are snappy at the store clerk about getting too many ones back, then stop shopping. Take a deep breath. Put down the credit card. We have morphed the meaning of this holiday into a warped tribute to consumerism, with lots of competition thrown in.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and can't bring yourself to spread Christmas cheer and kindness, at least try not to knock over the ornery dominoes. Maybe we can't love our fellow men every day, but pushing them off the train is not the answer!
I wish all of you happy holidays and success in tackling those never ending to-do lists. But if you need to set the list down for a minute just to get into a happier mental state, then I beg you. Please listen to your indicators.
No photos for this post, so for a look at better dominoes to knock over, check out this video here.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Meet Bob, my friend Coty's wonderful bulldog. I'm his occasional nanny. Bob loves to party, even more than I do.
Our friend, Sarah, made her delicious secret artichoke dip recipe. I couldn't get her to dish it out, but she did let me know the ingredients:
Saturday, December 19, 2009
The big draw this visit was the Tim Burton exhibit- I was lucky I got there right when the doors opened at 4, or I wouldn't have gotten a time slot on my ticket. The exhibit was so crowded, lots of the Friday night crew gets turned away. This featured the artist's work throughout his life, including sketches and early videos he made as a child and young adult. In addition to being a genius director and producer, Tim Burton is an incredibly talented writer, illustrator, and photographer. Wish I had some photos to share, but there was a very strict no-camera policy by the gestapo security guards.
I was allowed to take pictures everywhere else:
An added bonus is the gem of The American Folk Art Museum, just next door. This is a real treasure, not so hidden in Manhattan, but very often overlooked. And it's also free on Fridays, often with live music and receptions. Don't miss the enormous crocheted rug discovered in a woman's attic, made entirely out of recycled Wonderbread bags.