Monday, April 29, 2019

Dead Horse Bay on May Day

Workers of the city, rise up from your desks and walk out into the dandelion wilds this May Day (otherwise known as midweek Wednesday)! Dead Horse Bay is alive with spring things, including carpets of dandelions and violets.

...and sheep sorrel.

We will explore the grassy paths before finding ourselves on the beach (our visit is timed for low tide), where the famous bottles and bits of vintage detritus clink as the baby waves wash over them.

This weird urban habitat feels very jungle-wild and shows us everything from invasive  edible weeds (like garlic mustard, above) to shoreline natives like bayberry whose flavors sing of the Northeast.

Our wild-inspired picnic (the one above is from our foray last September) will be shared in the dunes.

Dead Horse Bay is accessible by subway and bus, and there is parking across the road at Floyd Bennet Field. You can also ride with me from Windsor Terrace, I have space for two more.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Stolen Schwinn

I just took the trash out and discovered that my beloved Schwinn bicycle has been stolen.**

[***Update: our Korean downstairs neighbor just texted me. They saw an "Asian guy in his 20's to 30's" walking the bike away around 9pm. The cops, when I reported the bicycle stolen, said that there is a trend to steal bikes for food deliveries - so please eyeball your delivery guy's bike...]

It was locked to the wrought iron railing in front of our building in Windsor Terrace. Sometime between 5.50pm and 9.30pm the lock's cable was neatly cut. 

My Schwinn has seven gears, a removable black pouch behind the black Schwinn seat, a black bell. It's in great shape.

The thief would quickly remove the vintage wooden crate from the back. The crate has steel corners.

I loved this bike. It was the best gift, ever, from the Frenchman. 

I went from walking and subwaying everywhere to pedaling with wings. It took me everywhere. I sometimes think it saved my life. 

It was an excellent forage bike, transporting elderflowers... 

...and cattail shoots (foraged by invitation when the bog needed thinning).

And fragile giant puffballs. 

It carried glassware and porcelain, props for the food photos in Forage, Harvest, Feast.

And took knives to be sharpened. 

And delivered laundry in the snow.

It fetched pots from the Gowanus Nursery when I dug up our whole garden for the plant party, when we moved from 1st Place.

Please share this post in NYC. Of course there is a reward. And a pair of bolt cutters for the thief's balls, or for what passes for them.

Because in this twist: it seems this bike was left in its place. A few feet away, unsecured. WTF?

And is this your bike???


Saturday, April 20, 2019

Wild Dinner and Walk at Stone Acres Farm, Connecticut

On Thursday I am driving up to Stonington, Connecticut (in our beloved Ntiniwe), to forage in New England's early spring. It will be like going back in time - further south we are several weeks ahead of the Connecticut shore; how often is one allowed to rewind spring? Very exciting.

Roast ramp leaf oil from Forage, Harvest Feast

On Friday evening those forages, and the ones chef James Wayman and his crew are preparing this week, will come together at Stone Acres Farm in a fireside evening inspired by my book Forage, Harvest Feast - A Wild-Inspired Cuisine.

Vermouth from the Mugwort chapter

There will be feral cocktails, regional vermouth, and flights of wild treats, ranging from local shellfish (clams, oysters), to grass-raised beef, and desserts featuring regional native herbs like spicebush and bayberry.

James is the founder of Mystic's stand-out eateries The Oyster Club, Engine Room, and Grass and Bone, and is the visionary behind the local farm to table, field to table, and sea to table movement, where he is literally helping shape the food scene, bringing regional and ethical fare to local tables. He is an avid forager and a real food hero and I am thrilled to be cohosting this spring fling with him. Copies of Forage, Harvest, Feast are included in the ticket price.

If you'd like to make a weekend of it, stay over and come foraging with me the next day, too. This is a gorgeous part of the world (and the shoreline, oysters and outstanding restaurants are worth the trip, even if you can't make this date.)

Stone Acres Farm, Stonington, CT
26 April 2019
6.30pm - 9.30pm

Please book here

And on Saturday the 27th, I will be back at Stone Acres Leading a forage walk at in the morning, where we collect the fixings for our lunch, which follows. Yes, you get to cook your own wild lunch. I promise it will be OK.

Please book for the forage walk and lunch via the Yellow Farmhouse Education Center.


Saturday, April 13, 2019

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Spring Thugs Walk

What is a botanical thug? What is a weed? And why?

Join us on a spring stroll this Sunday in Prospect Park to count the edible weeds beneath our feet, and talk about why we decide to poison some plants, but not others.

Highly invasive Japanese knotweed (Reynoutria japonica) tastes like a cross between rhubarb and sorrel. It is crisp when raw, meltingly soft when cooked. It is sour. In Forage Harvest Feast I wax rhapsodic about its culinary potential via recipes ranging from pickles to slow spring stews. Come and learn to identify its spring shoots, so asparagus-like in appearance at this time of year, and explore ways to eat it at home.  

We will also meet and greet day lilies, dead nettle, field garlic, dandelions, ground elder, lesser celandine, garlic mustard and mugwort.

The wild-inspired tasting picnic will feature, you guessed it: weeds.


Book a Spring Walk

Sunday, April 7, 2019

The delicious spring

Edible weeds in the afternoon light of April. The purple flowers belong to henbit (Lamium amplexicaule). The white flower stalks beside them are pennycress, a species of Thlaspi (they taste hot and a little garlicky). The pile below is chickweed (Stellaria media - tasting just like cornsilk smells) to the right and the fine flowering stems of bittercress (Cardamine hirstuta - peppery and nutty). All went into fresh summer rolls for yesterday's walk and forage picnic in Central Park, on a very beautiful spring day.

The next walk is on the 14th in Prospect Park and is all about edible botanical thugs (which we will most definitely eat on the picnic!). You can book via the link below. I have also added two Connecticut events to my late April calendar - a dinner with local food hero James Wayman at Stone Acres, near Mystic, and a walk and lunch the next day, where we tramp the farm for edible goodies and make lunch together.


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Central Park Spring Walk

After a rooftop garden appointment on the Upper East Side (where espaliered peaches were blooming) I veered west into Central Park's early spring. This Saturday's forage walk and picnic will be my first here in 2019 and I wanted to see what was growing where - every spring is different. Right now, the season belongs to Cornus mas - cornelian cherry. It is an eastern European species of dogwood, and blooms in balls of yellow between the much earlier witch hazel and the imminent spicebush.

My walk took me from East 75th Street up to the top of the park - 35 blocks, three-and-a-half miles, with all the zigzagging. These weeks belong to city-cab yellow. Manhattan forsythia blooms a week before Brooklyn's.

In the North Woods invasive lesser celandine (Ficaria verna) blankets the ground in places, its tiny bulbs and leaves smothering the natives that might try to raise their shoots above ground.

And in sunny spots purple dead nettle (purple dead nettle) is in bloom.

The spicebush (Lindera benzoin) buds are opening (spicebush will feature in the picnic's dessert on Saturday - you will find the recipe for these delicious olive oil loaves on p386 of Forage Harvest Feast - and you can buy your dried spicebush berries from Integration Acres; it is the best spice you have never used).

And another notorious invader has just emerged: Japanese knotweed (Reynoutria japonica). As the shoots grow taller and green, they resemble asparagus but they taste like sorrel married rhubarb.

Monday, April 1, 2019