Thursday, September 24, 2009

Brand-new borough

I haven't been posting in awhile, but I've been a little preoccupied. Last night I signed a lease on a new apartment, in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx. I'm pretty excited to 1) no longer have a 2 hour long commute (each way) to work, 2) be closer to the city in general, and 3) have a huge apartment with hardwood floors and no mold. (Sorry to say that the house I'm in now has not fared well in the extremely wet summer.)

Not too long ago I spotted this tote bag for sale, and now that I will be a Bronx resident I sort of want to buy it. Although I would feel a little weird carrying it around in the Bronx--kind of like the guy who wore the shirt of the band he went to see (anyone remember PCU? Don't be that guy!). But I'm loving all of the little symbols, like the giraffe for the Bronx Zoo and the slice of pizza for Arthur Ave. And I have to say, this design is really the best one of all the other cities, and I'm not just saying that.

So, posts might be sporadic until I get more situated, but after that expect a flurry of posts about my new apartment, neighborhood, and borough.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Homemade black bean burgers

So sad that summer is coming to a close--especially since it barely even started. One of the summery foods we've started making recently, and which I think just may continue on into the fall, is homemade black bean burgers. Recipe from How It All Vegan (yes, ridiculous name for a cookbook):


1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 small jalapeno pepper, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium red pepper, diced
1 can black beans, drained
1/2 cup corn niblets
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 tsp cumin (I always add more)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp chopped cilantro

Saute onion, garlic, oregano, and jalapeno in oil until the onions are translucent. Add the red peppers and saute another 2 minutes, until pepper is tender.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mash the black beans with a potato masher or fork.

Stir in the vegetables (including the corn), breadcrumbs, cumin, salt, chili powder, and cilantro. Mix well. Divide and shape into patties.

3. Cook on a lightly oiled frying pan on medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes or until browned on both sides. When almost done, top with cheese and continue frying until melted.

Only problem is now I feel I can never go back to the old store-bought Morningstar Farms veggie burgers (which were always good for throwing together a quick meal after a long day at work). No matter--this is just that much better.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cinnamon chip muffins

A few weeks ago I wandered into a grocery store I'd never been in before and discovered that they sold the elusive Hersheys cinnamon chips. So despite the fact that I had no real use for them I decided to buy them, because who knows when I'll have the opportunity to do so again. I found this recipe for cinnamon chip muffins on Cookie Madness (good for more than just cookies, apparently!) and doubled it. Along the way I noticed the lovely way the light was hitting the kitchen counter and couldn't help but photograph the steps.

1 cup boiling water
2/3 cup rolled oats
4 tablespoons butter, cut up
1-1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup cinnamon chips

In a medium sized mixing bowl, thoroughly mix flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

In another mixing bowl combine boiling water, oatmeal, and butter. Let sit for 20 minutes.

With a spoon, beat the eggs and vanilla into the oatmeal mixture.

Stir oatmeal mixture into dry ingredients until mixed.

Stir in cinnamon chips.

Place paper liners into muffin pan (wasteful, maybe, but it beats cleaning the pan--one of these days I'm going to buy some from Bake It Pretty) and spoon the batter into the cups. Bake 18-20 minutes in 400 degree oven.

Let cool slightly and transfer to wire rack.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Weekend in Long Beach Island

Every year around Labor Day Dave's parents rent a house on Long Beach Island, NJ, for about a week. We usually end up down there for a long weekend.

Saturday the beach was lovely and warm and we went swimming several times and dried off reading on the beach in the sun (not escaping without a burn, I regret to report). But on Sunday, the day these photos were taken, it was cloudy and windy and cold and gloomy.

We took a nice walk on it anyway.

Hard to believe this place was hopping with people only a day before. Other than a few troopers, like these kids fishing, the beach was deserted. For the 3/4 of a mile we walked along the shore we only saw two people swimming.

I love the way the jetties look, jutting out into the ocean.

Besides the beach, one of the best things about the shore is the treats. We couldn't help but get a box of fudge. I like the lettering on the package.

Though not as much as the contents. We went with chocolate peanut butter and triple chocolate. Can't go wrong there.

And a trip to LBI would not be complete without an ice cream cone from Skipper Dipper. I can remember going there as a kid nearly 20 years ago, when my family owned a boat that we kept docked not far from there. So maybe I'm a little sentimental--either way it's good ice cream.

Located at 9305 Long Beach Island Blvd. I really like the font on these numbers.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Embroidered lockets

I'd been trying to figure out what to put into the locket of this beautiful Erica Weiner necklace, ever since I got it last Christmas. I didn't want to go with the traditional photographs of relatives, but I just couldn't decide what it should be.

Once I started playing around with embroidery, I realized what I should do. I'm actually not sure these particular designs are going to be the permanent candidates. I was going for a kind of abstract nature theme, but I'm clearly no embroidery expert just yet so they seem a bit sloppy. But I'm happy with it for now.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mystery plant identified

When Dave's mom asked us what plants we wanted her to buy for us at the Master Gardeners fair (we were going to be out of town that weekend), one of our main requests was for cilantro. I love the flavor (especially in black bean tacos), but at the grocery store you have to buy so much of it that you can't possibly use it all before it goes bad. So being able to pick a handful at a time from a live plant seemed like a very good idea.

Unfortunately, whatever she bought did not look like any cilantro I had ever seen (though it was, in her defense, labeled as such). Perplexedly, we watched it shoot up, towering over the rest of the plants, wondering what we were going to do with it. Finally, after doing some wikipedia research (haha), I realized it was a coriander plant. Of course, I still didn't really know what to do with it. Then it occurred to me that I should pick the seeds and try to roast them and grind them into coriander powder. Obviously.

So, I set out picking a few clumps of seeds here and there and putting them in this jar. I'm not sure how it's going to work out, but it sure looks pretty in the window.