Pimm’s is the taste of a British summer, and any pub will serve it by the jug once the weather heats up. Every end-of-term summer party at Cambridge was a shameless Pimm’s-fest, usually mixed strong and sweet with garden of fruit in it, strawberries, citrus, and herbs. The one non-negotiable, in my book, is cucumber, which brings out the grassiness of the drink, and I like it less sweet now. Since what Americans call lemonade (tart, still, strong) is quite different from its British cousin (sweet, sparkling, weak), and because the minimalist recipe on the back of the bottle calls for it, I made us Pimm’s with a weak ginger ale (homemade ginger syrup + sparkling water). With ice, cucumber, and lemon, it was vegetal and refreshing.
It was a fine accompaniment to cold poached salmon, insanely easy and perfect for a day when you can’t bear to turn a burner on for longer than five minutes. Continue reading
Before I met my husband, who basically has a second stomach just for oysters, I’d eaten them once in my life. I might have tried them when I was younger, but I’m pretty sure I’d been overwhelmed by the smell, the texture, and the general all-or-nothing, down-in-one commitment that they took. You can’t nibble the corner of an oyster to see if you like it. The first time I remember eating oysters and enjoying them couldn’t have been more absurd, and perfect. It was at a friend’s extremely fancy Cape Cod wedding, where there was a raw bar and champagne after the ceremony, and what could I do but pretend like I belonged there? As a handsome waiter watched, I did my best impression of a WASP to the manor born, and learned the value of a squeeze of lemon on hand.
I’ve gone from cautious to obsessive at warp speed. Oysters make anything an occasion, and now, for us, it’s not really an occasion without them. Luckily New York is in the midst of a full-on bivalve infatuation, and there are dollar-oyster happy hours all over the city (and of course, a website devoted to them.) And Astoria, I’m happy to report, is getting a dedicated oyster bar. Mar’s isn’t fully open yet, but it has a raw bar and fabulous cocktails (my friend had a Martinez with Dorothy Parker gin, which she–no martini novice–pronounced perfectly dry and balanced, and I tried the Negrosecco, a dangerously delicious Negroni variation with Prosecco). It made for the most decadent of midweek happy hours, with deep, creamy little west coast oysters and flat, briny east coast ones, served with a house-made horseradish, a deconstructed mignonette (vinegar separate from spices) and lemon. They’re certainly among the best I’ve had.
Beth & baby Geoffrey show off the Greatest Sign Ever, in the sculpture garden at MoMA this evening. I would follow that arrow anywhere. There was live music, there was espresso gelato, there was wine, and my dear friend in town for just this one night, from Michigan. Summer in New York is sticky, muggy, and stinky, but when it brings impromptu music, a stroll up Fifth Avenue with your best girlfriends, and a long, gossipy dinner, I’ll take it.
Posted in love
Tagged New York, summer
This very quick recipe is for the lady at the farmers’ market last weekend who saw me buying rhubarb and wanted to know how to cook it. I don’t think I steered her too wrong. Rhubarb is another of those fruits (vegetables?) that I *hated* as a kid (hello kale) that are now everywhere, and some of my very favorite things. I know fashion influences what we find attractive, but it’s a bit more disturbing to think that it influences how we taste, although I’m sure it does. I don’t know what it was about rhubarb that I used to hate. Probably the texture, and the slightly cloying smell, or perhaps there was too much or too little sugar in the rhubarb crumble we got at primary school. I loved rhubarb and custard sweets, though (sorry, teeth).
(See how much prettier things are with the good camera? Man.) As a compote, poached in the simplest way, this has been a lovely breakfast all week (once again inspired by the Paris market, where the stalks were twice the size). Even though the rhubarb stalks from the Socrates farmers’ market were a bit wilted in the afternoon heat, once washed and sliced into one-inch pieces, all streaky green-and-pink, they looked fine and fresh. In a medium pan, I half-covered them with water and sprinkled them with about a quarter cup of sugar, and heated them gently until they did their thing–obligingly collapsing together into a a lovely rosy orange mush. I turn off the heat while there are still a few visible chunks, so this takes about ten to fifteen minutes. I had nothing on hand to jazz them up – orange juice and/or zest, fresh ginger, or strawberries. But chilled and served in glop over plain yoghurt and sprinkled with granola, they don’t need anything else.
I don’t come from a sporting family. My dad loved Formula One, and didn’t think any sport worth watching that didn’t have a machine involved. My mum would get caught up in the pageantry of the odd World Cup or the Olympics, and my brother played and followed rugby. But we all paid attention to Wimbledon, and it was as much about the ritual as the game–although I’ve come to love the game, in all its elegant simplicity, much more in recent years. Although I know it’s statistically unlikely, I remember Wimbledon as happening in hot weather, sitting inside on the floor in front of the TV with the curtains closed, getting caught up what actually seemed to me to be drama, unlike any other sport that laid claim to that. When we were eleven, my best friend Lucy and I worshipped fifteen-year-old Jennifer Capriati and used her multiple earrings as evidence that we, too, should be allowed to get our ears pierced. I rooted for young players, good-looking players, flamboyant players, humble players, players who were polite to the ball kids and players who yelled at the umpire, players who threw their rackets to the ground and players who jumped in the air.
I never had a British player to root for, really–I know tennis players grow up, but Henman to me never quite outgrew the petulant boy who whacked a tennis ball at a ball girl, and his sheer middle-England namby-pambyness and all the “Henman Hill” nonsense made me secretly happy when lumbering Sampras shellacked him every year. But this year… we were up at nine and it was over in straights that felt like they went to five sets. Well done, Andy – hope you are good and drunk somewhere right now, and you get to enjoy this for a little while, no matter how much you pretend you don’t (good Scottish lad that you are.) I’ll be catching up on the Guardian’s play-by-play… not quite ready to let it go for another year.
It’s hotter than balls in New York right now, but it’s cooler by the river, in the evening, if you can fight off the bugs. I’m writing a piece for my dear friend Ali’s fantastic online art review Artvehicle about the current exhibition at Socrates Sculpture Park (which will have a more decorous lede) so this evening I walked down there to take some pictures. I’ve written about Socrates many times before, and it might be my favorite outdoor space in the city. I love the combination of a community-minded space and a genuine curatorial vision; I love being able to visit a farmer’s market in an outdoor gallery, and I love the juxtaposition of picnic space, views of the city, and weird, challenging, quirky, colossal, and silly art.
Here were some of my favorite pieces from the main show, Do It (Outside), conceived and curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, which presents a series of instructions from artists on how to create a piece of art, which cannot be permanent and must be dismantled at the end of the show. It raises all sorts of questions about creation vs. “realization,” and highlights the importance of space, collaboration, serendipity… plus, there’s candy (courtesy of Felix Gonzalez-Torres) and lounge chairs. Continue reading
It’s hot & sunny & humid, and we’re celebrating the holiday by just lying around, reading & enjoying the quiet. The patriotic display at the Cazenovia Yacht Club, last summer:
So, obviously, since I was just in Paris (I swear, those pictures are coming) I am even more obsessed with French cooking than I was before. I’m trying to master Julia Child’s French omelette recipe, which you can watch on Youtube here. No amount of transcription or description could do it justice; you just have to watch and learn how to swirl and then jerk the pan just so. I sprinkled mine with dill rather than parsley because that’s what I had (my cookbook will be called That’s Just What I Had in the Fridge: What? It’s Just As Good, And I’m Too Lazy to Go to the Shop)–and it was delicious, although I am still, apparently, too tentative in my wrist action. I shall have to do as JC preaches, and practice with a panful of dried beans.
Anyway, I had no video for this, and was short one egg and a blender, so this is not the glorious puffy clafoutis it should be. More of a claflatis. But it is tart and berry-saturated and I am looking forward to it for breakfast tomorrow:
Here’s the New York Times recipe that adapts JC, which I followed to the letter except for being short an egg and using a hand whisk instead of a blender. Don’t do either of those things! As usual, I also pulled back a bit on the sugar, so this packs a pretty intense blueberry punch in a chewy, creamy, custardy base.
These are kids’ sandals, really, but I started noticing them on various stylish grown-up ladies in the city, and they have proved to be a great little summer investment. They’re designed to be worn in & around water (hence the name) but they’re surprisingly comfortable for running around town in the summer, a season that, after all, kids have figured out best. They’re less than $40, and you can get them here.