Monthly Archives: June 2009

Elsewhere

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– The India Street Mural Project was great success!

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– As for the murals, they are almost finished!

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– I discovered some amazing artists at the Crest Hardware Art Show such as the stencil collective Broken Crow, the 3D artist Andre Kutscherauer, painter Beth Livensperger, and jewlery designer Ciara McKeown (who is also an organizer of the mural project). Not to mentio Crest Fest had some amazing music performances by the likes of Twin Shadow and In Cadeo.

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– Today’s special at Beautiful/Decay: the colorful tripped out soft sculpture installations of Sarah Moli Newton Applebaum.

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Pollinator Week: Beekeeper Ball and Honey Fest

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The third annual National Pollinator Week ignited much buzz and festivities throughout the week starting off with the first annual Beekeepers Ball hosted by South Street Seaport’s Water Taxi Beach. I attended the ball clad in a too short and too tight modernesque yellow and black dotted dress wearing heels too high and flamboyant.

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That didn’t stop me from chowing down like a starved fatboy on passed hors d’oeuvres including honey glazed donut hamburgers (mushy, odd, short of gross, not a match made in heaven), honey glazed ribs (undercooked but soft and chewy), chicken skewers (dry but sweet), honey glazed roasted veggies (didn’t taste the honey, a bit bland), and honey mustard hot dogs (my favorite from the menu, simple and spicy sweet).

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Guests seemed very giddy with an excuse to don costumes ranging from Cinderella the bee princess, the trashy and pregnant queen bee, the green mutant construction worker drone, handsome flashy white suited beekeepers, and jumpy sand ecstatic kiddy bees. Many others wore wings and antennas and celebrated the event with much food and laughter.

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There were tables set up with local extraordinaires such as Long Island Meadery who served honey wine (sweet wiht a hint of berry) and my new favorite ice cream servers (next to Van Leeuwan) People’s Pops who handed me a very refreshing and healthy tasting strawberry rhubarb and honey popsicle with chunks of fruit. It was divine. There was also an author selling her book about beekeeping, a venture I’m curious about as I learn about the importance of these local pollinators and their vital role in contributing and sustaining an urban natural environment from gardens and farms to parks and sidewalk botany.

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Honeybees help in producing a thriving and healthy local economy and with their recent disappearance due to colony collapse disorder, these heroes need our help in building colonies so they may contribute to an urban agricultural system. They help grow fruit, flowers, vegetables and of course, honey. It is illegal to keep bees in NY unlike other progressive cities such as San Francisco and Seattle and Just Food alongside David Yassky is busting butts to legalize beekeeping and have been gathering signatures to petition for a reversal of law. You can do your part by signing the petition here.

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The Honey Fest at Union Square yesterday wasn’t as eventful, I was expecting a myriad of local honey to indulge in but there was only Stone Barns offering tasting of local honey, but I can’t complain because it was beautifully textured with a bit of grain and the rest a smooth flow down your happy throat. There were mostly info desks from the folks at Just Food, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, and NYC Beekeepers Association. There were petitioners clad in bee costume calling in a crowd that seemed more willing to contribute and learn than I would expect from a disgruntled New Yorker, especially on such a humid and sticky day and that sure put a smile on my face. Jacquie Berger, the executive director of Just Food informed me we can be very hopeful of seeing positive effects from such loud community efforts that’s been buzzing around town.

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Click on the links below to see pictures and learn more about the importance of legalizing beekeeping in NY!

– Beekeeper Ball pictures. I’m in there somewhere.

New York Times, Light Hearted Locavore, Serious Eats, Time Out New York, Associated Press, and WNYC keep the buzz alive.

– Jacquie Berger interviewed for NYT and on Brian Lehrer

A few more images below:

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Pollinator Week June 22 – 28

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Sometime last year people were freaking out about the disappearing bees in NY. I never gave it a second thought not realizing their vital role in sustaining a healthy and thriving urban environment. Without their contribution to gardens, farms and parks we would be short of helpless. That is why I will be pairing with Nicole of Sweet Contemporary to celebrate Pollinator Week, a week long honey infused event organized by the good fellows at Just Food.

I will be attending the kick off beekeepers ball at the new Water Taxi Beach at South Street Seaport. There will be food drizzled in honey and bee costumes. I actually don’t have a date so if you’d like to join me buy a costume and lets buzz on over!

Also all week long various chefs & mixologists will create special honey incorporated dishes & drinks. A list of restaurants where you can expect to find me can be found here.

Then Friday the 26th is Honey Fest, a day long festival at Union Square Farmers Market where you can taste sweet local honey, meet beekeepers and learn about NYC beekeeping efforts and organizations.

There’s plenty of honey to go around next week, so make sure to support Just Food and their efforts in cultivating a sweet and sustainable NY and join in the fun! If you’d like to join me in any of the tastings shoot me an email.

You can also take action by rallying in City Hall to send the council a message to legalize beekeeping and get your friends to sign the petition.

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Elsewhere

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– The North Brooklyn Public Art Coalition is holding a fundraiser next Wednesday and we’re working our ASSES off preparing for it. So please do me the favor and tell me its worth it by ATTENDING. With a $20 ticket you’ll get drinks and participate in a silent auction with works by the artists of the mural project. You can also get a haircut by a sculptor/inventor and get your portrait painting on found objects. It’ll be all fun and games you’ll be supporting a good cause, that of beautifying North Brooklyn with public art.

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– Today’s special at Beautiful/Decay: Jane South

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Unleash, a holistic and cage-free daycare and boarding center opened last week. It’s a breathtakingly huge and awesome place.

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Bake That JoJo at Crest Fest

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A few weeks ago I received the OK to set up a bake sale at Crest Fest. This was an exciting moment and my mind started wandering into endless daydreams of building a baking empire. So I urgently came up with a “business” plan that would allow me to function in the form of bake sales at markets, festivals, openings, and events of all types. I’ve done a couple bake fests for the mural project and was confident enough to turn it into a project. Trying to come up with a name was the hardest part and I’ve asked many for their suggestions and came up with a list of possibilities. Eventually Bake That JoJo! was christened and I asked an artist to make the logo and within hours I had a blog and an email address.

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I searched far and wide for recipes that would be intriguing, different, summery, and sellable and came up with a list too overwhelming to even state here. This could not have been done without my dear friend who not only came up with the name during our costco adventure but provided input in narrowing my menu options. For the next 24 hours I baked and baked and baked and baked and baked into the wee hours in the morning sprawling out on the floor for brief moments while the cookies and pies were in the oven, overtaken with exhaustion but too excited and funked out to do anything else. The morning of the festival I printed fliers and had my precious sister come over and help slice strawberries and carry everything over to Macri Park.

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For the rest of the day I was zinged out from my lack of sleep and if it weren’t for the amazing pumping music that kept my toes tappin and my head boppin I wouldn’t have been a pleasant sight to see. I was feeling chipper and was super excited to see people peek through each cookie bin and choose and munch to their hearts content. I priced the cookies at $2, brownies at $3 and tarts and pies at $4 which definitely turned people away but I rationalize it this way: I’m using high quality ingredients and have busted my friggin’ balls baking these and would love to at least break even with the money made from the sale. In the end I didn’t profit but covered enough costs to keep me from being discouraged to continue in the future.

But enough babble, onwards with the rundown of goods:

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The most challenging to make were the classic Italian rainbow cookies. I grew up with these and have always loved the mushy and thick consistency and figured it’d be the perfect opportunity to try out a recipe and distribute in a once and somewhat still Italian laden neighborhood where the fest was held. I found a recipe by smitten kitchen and trusted her wisdom enough to try it out. Boy was I in for a challenge!

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The recipe itself is not difficult, it’s the layering itself that kicked my ass and almost gave me a nervous breakdown. I didn’t want to risk breaking or misplacing a layer and even though it wasn’t completely even I succeeded in stacking and flattening these precious almond based, apricot layered, chocolate covered cookies. The end product was super if a bit too doughy and moist and the almond base a bit too strong. This didn’t stop me from sampling nearly an entire row and humming in satisfaction.

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These madeleines are getting better each time I bake them in terms of holding their shape and tending to their simple, soft and bready consistency. This is one of the goods I can’t not bake because of their neat shell shape and their unassuming humility. The recipe here.

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These white chocolate chip, macademia nut, coconut cookies were the best sellers at the festival and I don’t blame anyone. The chewy dough were compilmented with savory nuttiness and the sprinkle of coconut added just the perfect amount of texture. Recipe here.

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The coconut macarons dipped in chocolate is officially my signature cookie. I dip them in bittersweet chocolate is the perfect combination between a refreshing bite of gooey coconut and smooth chocolate. Recipe here.

I also made buttermilk bacon pralines and there so unpopular both with me and those at the fest that I forgot to take a picture of it. I think it will help to get a candy thermometer when caramelizing sugar, especially for a recipe like this where ingredients get complicated and level of sweetness and richness is key to perfection.

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Another not so favorite recipe are the linzer cookies. The taste is delicious, the walnut based cookie with jam sandwiched between, each bite a thin layer of crumbly warmth will make anyone swoon. My problem is getting each path to be the same thickness and avoiding uneven crispness. Recipe here.

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These classic walnut brownies were so tender they nearly crumble when you pick them up. They are not light to taste though, rather they are rich and chewy, fudgy and gooey. mmmmmmmmm. Recipe here.

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I’ve been using Dorie Greenspan as my main resource and have not yet been disappointed with any recipe, including these chewy, chunky blondies. I’ll admit though they are a bit too decadent and rich and would probably be more tolerable if there wasn’t so much chocolate and butterscotch chips involved. They were still damn good though. Recipe here.

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These are simply the tartiest lemon tart you’ll ever taste, with chunks of whole lemons incorporated into the filling, you’ll be puckering and smiling with each bite. Recipe here.

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This was the first time I worked and tasted rhubarb. Can you believe it? I never knew what rhubarb was or looked like and was disturbed to find them to be celery-like painted in red. But it was the rage during a dinner and I had to find what this magic ingredient was and do something with. This double crisp pie uses mashed strawberries and chunks of rhubarb as its filling and it wasn’t my favorite but I loved the different textures of slimy rhubarb and a toasty layer. Recipe here.

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And last but not least, nutella dolloped strawberries. I wasn’t so great with dolloping nutella on top of the chocolate and in the first try my little sister kicked ass and is officially the strawtella master.

And that’s all for the bake sale launch, there’s more coming up for sure so…be prepared.

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Helle Mardahl

Today’s special at Beautiful/Decay: Helle Mardahl

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The works of Helle Mardahl vary in medium with paintings, sculpture and collaged photographs addressing human fallacies and inventive absurdities. The artist’s background in fashion is demonstrated by the precise coordination and arrangement of shape and color embodying the figures.

Read the rest here please.

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Victor Timofeev

Today’s Special at Beautiful/Decay: Victor Timofeev

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Victor Timofeev literally fell into drawing a few years ago after a horrid skateboarding accident and began using art to pour out frustrations that were simmering inside. Since then he has developed an amazing vocabulary incorporating perspectival, architectural and geometric patterns that engulf a space with sharp precision and confounding visual illusions. Where his earlier work incorporated obsessive and repetitive text as the base for color and form, he now builds a platform where physical and architectural objects plunge into geometric abstraction and the two forces coerce into infinite and poetic narrative.

Read the rest here.


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