Posted by: Rachel | April 8, 2015

halve your cake and eat it, too

Yes, that’s what I mean.

At a recent gathering, a friend showed up with this beauty of a cake presented on a stunning cake stand. It was (almost, mind you) too pretty to eat. I begged the recipe, and although I haven’t actually baked it myself (we’re still eating it!) I had to share. Mmmm…

I know she made hers with a GF flour mix. She said she used an AP GF mix and substituted it exactly measure for measure. The finished product was moist, tender, and tasty. Put me in mind of a well-spiced pear Tatin. I say again, mmmm…

This makes a large cake with a beautiful presentation. I mean, this makes a very large cake. We were seven and still had more than half of it left, not for lack of trying to finish it! I’m here to tell you it was just dandy the next morning with coffee. Mmm…

Here’s the recipe as it was given to me. If you want to make a GF version, substitute as above. Invite friends over and enjoy – and if they are good friends and you are a generous person, share the leftovers as well! Mmm…

Pear Upside-Down Spice Cake

finished cake

finished cake – good enough to eat!

Makes one 10-inch round cake, about 12 servings

For the topping:
4 tbsp (½ stick; 2 oz) unsalted butter
½ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup honey
2 to 3 large ripe but firm Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and sliced vertically into 1/2-inch thick slices
1 cup walnut halves and pieces, lightly toasted

For the cake:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
8 tbsp (1 stick; 4 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 large eggs, at room temperature

Make the topping:
Center the oven rack and preheat the oven to 350F before you start making the topping.

In a well seasoned 10-inch cast iron skillet, melt the butter over moderate heat. Swirl the skillet to coat the bottom and the sides with melted butter. Add the brown sugar and honey and simmer, stirring, until most of the sugar is melted, about 2 minutes. Take off the heat. Arrange the pear slices decoratively in concentric circles over the melted sugar. Sprinkle the walnuts between and over the pear slices. Set aside while making the cake batter.

Make the cake:
Whisk the flour, cardamom, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

In another bowl whisk to combine the sour cream and vanilla extract. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer for a few seconds, until creamy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the honey and continue mixing for another 2 or 3 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the sour cream, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape the bowl as necessary, and beat only enough to incorporate the ingredients after each addition.

Spoon the batter in dollops over the pear slices in the skillet. Spread the batter evenly without disturbing the pears, and bake the cake until nicely browned and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, for about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool the cake in the skillet on a rack for 15 minutes.

Run a thin knife or offset spatula around the edge of the skillet and invert a large serving plate over the skillet. Wearing the oven mittens and keeping the plate and skillet firmly pressed together, invert the cake onto the plate. Carefully remove the skillet and let the cake cool on the plate on the rack. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.
***

Lots of work, but well worth it – especially since, in this instance, you can halve your cake and eat it too!

Posted by: Rachel | March 22, 2015

just add water!

Today, March 22, is World Water Day. A seemingly innocuous holiday, but water, well, water (and lack thereof) as a concept is mind boggling.

I turn on my tap and, while I try not to waste it, I assume I will get fresh clean safe potable water. I mean, here in central Texas the “cold” water is pretty tepid towards the end of summer and sometimes it does taste a tad muddy, but I trust it. Why wouldn’t I?

I use it for bathing, cooking, drinking, watering my plants (which I then wash in it and eat, again trusting) and I (even though I am cognizant of our current drought situation) don’t give it much thought. Good heavens!

I try to drink a good amount every day, I keep a fresh bottle (refillable, not store-bought, thank you) in my car, I take it kayaking (never mind the water I’m kayaking *on*!); here in Texas I joke (sort of) about not going out to see if the mail has come without a water bottle!

And of course I replenish my fish tanks…

It is the base for many of my soups, I must have it to make bread, we simply cannot exist without drinkable water. OK, you know all this, as do I but how often do you think about it? This isn’t a rant of any sort, I just want to say thanks for our water and I will try to pay even more attention now.

To fete the day, here’s an easy yummy healthy water-based soup for you. Remember that smoked turkey wing I used a few posts ago? I got another one this week and here’s what I did. Mmmmm and slurp:

Turkeylicious Kale and White Bean Soup

olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 smoked turkey wing
1 good bunch of kale, rough chopped
WATER
2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper

Add olive oil to a deep heavy Dutch oven. Sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned. Add the turkey wing, kale and beans. Add water about half-way up (the kale will wilt down). Once the kale has wilted add more water to barely cover if needed. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and simmer for about 2 hours. Remove the turkey wing, cool and remove all the meat from the bones. Return the meat to the pot and stir well to mix everything. Salt and pepper to taste but remember, this will be more flavorful (and saltier) tomorrow. Mmmm…

before adding water

from this

finished soup

to this!

Just add water…!
***

Posted by: Rachel | March 4, 2015

well, that was fun!

There is a company here in town that offers cooking classes. Oh yawn, you may say, but wait! They are offering classes in French, Spanish, and Chinese cooking, but taught in French, Spanish, and Chinese! Yup! They focus on the food and the culture of the countries represented and I think it is a great idea!

They have been around for 4 years or so, and how I missed them until now I cannot tell you. However, I got a coupon deal for a class and went last night. What fun!

There were six students, our “prof/chef”, and one other person from Cooking Up Cultures. It was a two-hour class and we managed to make all the components of a croquembouche! I’ve seen them do this on TV, and was amazed and delighted with how we were whisked (no pun intended) through the various steps involved.

I’m not going to try to tell you everything we did. And I very much doubt that I will ever undertake making one of these at home, but I had a blast. It takes quite a bit of planning and work. Basically you make a pâte à choux (puff pastry) which you bake as tiny balls, a crème pâtissière (pastry cream) for the filling, and then caramel for the “glue”. Whew! Mmmmmmmm!

Granted, our final product looked more like a Soviet housing block than an elegant representational Christmas tree… but it sure was tasty and no one was harmed by flying caramel, so I think the evening was a great success!

My friends and I had no trouble following the flow of French directions, but then I went with two good friends who are both fine French-speakers and seasoned (so to speak) cooks in their own rights. I hope to get to take another class through this group. Now if I only spoke Chinese… hmmm…

Here’s what some of the activity looked like.

madly making the pâte à choux

madly making the pâte à choux

whipping the pastry cream

whip that cream

pastry balls in the oven

allez-puff!

filling the balls with pastry cream

stuff ’em

stacking and "glueing" the balls

stack ’em

Have you taken any cooking classes? What did you make? How did you enjoy it? I always learn something new, and last night was no exception!

Until next time, a bientôt et bon appetit!

Posted by: Rachel | February 21, 2015

winter…

On the theory that this blog is all about using everything to its fullest, and because I just wrote this and am not feeling further inspired at the moment, I offer you the piece I read to my writer’s group this morning.

Our prompt for this month was “And then it was winter.”, a fitting theme even though it is nearly 75F today in central Texas! Ah well, I hear we should expect winter to be here (again) tomorrow… and perhaps an ice storm on Monday although I don’t believe it.

In any event, here’s what I came up with. Enjoy (and dream with me…)!

***
The island is quiet now. No tourists, the ferries run less often and the packet boat only comes once a week. The hotels are nearly empty, and some of the restaurants in the port close completely. Our big grocery is open, but even there the shelves are less than full.

I’ve learned to plan ahead, though, and we are well stocked.

The cafe my uncle left me is a pleasant place. White stone front, a few tables outside under the big plane tree just in sight of the bus stop catch the tourist’s eyes in the summer months. Sometimes, after a ramble in our hills they sit and cool off with a fruit drink and a salad or a bit of cheese and bread. I’ve even learned to make iced coffee, if you can imagine it, for those rare Americans who wish it.

Inside the cafe there is a bar and again just a few tables. The walls are whitewashed, clean, with a stone floor that is easy to mop even if it is hard on the occasional cup or plate that falls.

The only ones who eat here are my husband and his mother and myself it seems. Still, occasionally someone wants a full lunch and we are happy to oblige. Now though, the season is over for a few months. I’d be surprised if we see anyone much before April at the earliest.

It is cloudy most days, rainy often, the hills smell of fresh earth and young plants. I wouldn’t call it cold, but I spent winters in Canada those few years, taking care of my uncle. Now that was cold, and dark early, and snow in dirty piles for weeks – I never saw the ground! Here the old women grouse and pull on their black woolen shawls and the old men wear extra sweaters and sit about indoors, waiting for the hot months and the sun that warms their bones.

I love to walk the hills in this weather. The earth is soft underfoot and giving, and I snip herbs to bring home and dry, chamomile and thyme, and trailing plants to put in the stone horse trough turned planter near the cafe window. It will be so pretty in the summer and the tourists will ask what is that plant? Something like oregano or sage, but not quite…

The short days are peaceful. I get my chores done early; the only problem is the washing. These rainy days I have to dry the bed linens inside and be mindful of my cooking or the pillowcases will smell of fish! Still, that isn’t so very bad.

The fireplace gets a workout on drying days. Even if it isn’t cold enough to actually need it, the heat pulls the water out of our clothes quickly and leaves just a tiny hint of wood smoke that fades with the scent of the cedar that lines our armoire upstairs in our apartment.

My kitchen, the cafe kitchen my uncle built, is a wonder. Large windows open to the plaza, with a double wide sill for serving. That way the summer trade can watch me cooking and have a clear view of all the beautiful old copper pans my aunt used for so many years that hang on the back wall. Many’s the tourist that has offered me a pittance for the pots and pans thinking they were a decoration I wouldn’t miss. Oh no, they stay here! I love them and wouldn’t part with them even if I didn’t have need of them!
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I have the big oven of course, a gas stove top, and several small burners for making good coffee. If it is a quiet day and someone seems truly interested, I may invite them back into the kitchen to show them how a proper cup of coffee is made. I enjoy the company and they go home with a story to share.

Still, I love my rambling days best, I think. I mean, even with our huge windows and open doors and the breezes we tend to get up here in the hills, summer can be stifling. Last spring my husband and I bought a used ice cream freezer. Now we can offer bars and cones to the tourists and even to the occasional kiddo who has the money for a treat. It has nearly made up for its cost already from the tourists last summer and we look forward to stocking it again when the weather changes.

For now, though, it is time for stews and soups and hearty great pots of food that can be reheated easily any time of the day. Bones from lamb or goat, for the flavor and a bit of meat, lots of beans and whatever greens I forage make a fine evening meal. Even though it isn’t cold like when I was taking care of my uncle when he got so sick after he went to Canada to work, we still need our strength.

This is the season for repairs and painting, for pruning the bougainvillea and getting ready for the summer, for planning menus, for gathering and drying herbs, for cleaning the cafe until everything sparkles, and perhaps, just perhaps for a short vacation on the mainland, for now it is winter.

Winter Lamb and Fennel

1 pound of white beans
several pounds of meaty lamb bones
olive oil
1 pound each of onions and fennel, peeled, cleaned and chopped
3-5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large bunch kale, chopped
last night’s red wine
water
bay leaf
thyme

Soak the beans overnight. Drain and set aside.

Brown the bones in a deep pot, remove and set aside. Add the olive oil and the onions and fennel. Saute for 5-10 minutes, do not brown. Add the garlic and mix well, saute for another 5-10 minutes over very low heat. Add the chopped kale and cook down for 5-10 minutes. Add the drained beans. Add the wine to cover. Place the bones back in the pot and add as much water as needed to completely cover.

Add several sprigs of fresh thyme and a bay leaf, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 2-3 hours. Enjoy with good bread, good friends, a good fire and rough red winter wine.
***

Mmmmmm…. hungry now! I think I’ll have a light salad (and maybe some Greek yogurt) while I wait for winter to come back. Be safe and warm, and enjoy the season!

Posted by: Rachel | February 7, 2015

crêpes all week!

Apparently February 2nd is crêpe day in France. Did you know this? I did not, at least not until this year. However, I certainly felt a need to celebrate it!

Happily, I found a very easy crêpe recipe that makes a batter that just lasts and lasts. I know this because, well, crêpes for 1 is just not an option, but if the batter is at the ready I can have one most any time. Mmmm…

I made a simple blender batter. You can add a bit of sugar if you feel certain that you will be eating your crêpes for dessert or breakfast (ie, with jam or sweet stuff of some sort) but I wasn’t absolutely certain, so I left the sugar out.

I have a smallish blender with a decent pour spout, so that makes this about as simple as it can be. Oh, and did I mention I got a very nice non-stick seemingly brand new crepe pan at my local thrift store recently? Meant to be!

I used Alton Brown’s recipe. I trust him to be accurate and to keep it simple. Yup. Mmmmm!

Here’s all you need to do:

Crêpes All Week

finished crepes

mmmm!

2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons melted butter
oil, for coating the pan

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and pulse for 15-20 seconds. Place the crepe batter in the refrigerator for (at least) 1 hour. This allows the bubbles to subside so the crepes will be less likely to tear during cooking. The batter will keep for 48 hours (or longer!).

Heat a small non-stick pan. Add a small bit of oil to coat. Pour 1 ounce of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds and flip.

Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to the cutting board. Lay them out flat so they can cool.

Continue until all batter is gone. After they have cooled you can stack them and store in sealable plastic bags in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to two months. When using frozen crepes, thaw on a rack before gently peeling apart.

*Savory Variation Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, spinach or sun-dried tomatoes to the egg mixture.
*Sweet Variation Add 21/2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of your favorite liqueur to the egg mixture.
***

The most important thing is to know that your first crêpe won’t be beautiful. I don’t know why; it just never is. Don’t worry. And, oil the pan between each crêpe. Oil it then swab it with a bit of paper toweling. Or, as one of my French friends down, cut a potato in half, stick a fork in the uncut end, and dip it in the oil to coat the pan. It seems to work.

In any event, enjoy these nearly all week. The batter has lasted me 5 days I think, just keep it in the fridge. Mmmm… fill ’em with anything you like and everyday can be crêpe day!

Posted by: Rachel | January 4, 2015

a soupy two-fer

A friend called me last week to say she had made soup and wanted to offload share some with me. Do I ever say no to an offer like that? Nope…

It was wonderful. Smoky, rich, stewish, hearty, cockle-warming, year-starting soup. Made me happy, and I asked for the recipe. (Did I remember to take pictures before I scarfed it all down? Nope. Sorry!)

Here’s the recipe as she sent it (title is my own doing, though):

Celestial Potato Soup

One onion, diced
5-6 potatoes (I prefer red), wash (duh), but don’t peel, diced to bite-size (use an apple corer/slicer, if you’ve got one)
Some carrots, diced
3 – 4 stalks of celery, diced
8 cups of chicken broth (or however much needed to cover everything)
Ham bone with plenty of ham still on (what’s left after your holiday eating is done)
1 t salt and several grinds of fresh pepper
1/2 t caraway seeds
1/4 t fresh nutmeg
1 c milk
3 – 4 T cream cheese (or sour cream would probably be good, too.)
Several handfuls of frozen spinach

Sauté the onions in olive oil.

Add the carrots and celery and potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, and let that simmer, covered, until the veggies are tender. But while it’s cooking add the ham bone and meat, salt and pepper, caraway seeds, and nutmeg.
When you’re just about done add the milk, cream cheese, and spinach.
Adjust seasonings.
Bet it would be good with a parsley garnish, but I was in too much of a hurry to go gather some.
***

Delicious. However, if you want to try this and don’t happen to have a leftover hambone around (as I did not), I have a suggestion/solution. I got inspired by her recipe and took off in a slightly different direction.

The Fiesta near me sells smoked turkey wings and drumsticks. Aha! This is the answer – not quite as salty as ham but plenty flavorful, inexpensive, always available (at least here in central Texas) and yummy. I honestly can’t think of anything better to do with a smoked turkey wing than to make this soup (she said modestly).

Now if you know me, you know that I am certainly a fan of potatoes, but I am even more of a fan of beans. So, here is what I did:

Terrestrial Bean Soup

1 smoked turkey wing
2 medium onions, rough chopped
2 large carrots, cleaned and diced
water to cover well (about 3-4 quarts/liters)

4 cans of beans, drained and rinsed*
1 tbsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tbsp ground dried porcinis

a few slices of slightly stale bread, cubed

Break the wing into sections, put it in a deep Dutch oven, add the carrots and onions, cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for two hours. Skim any flotsam or jetsam if needed.

Remove the wing, let cool a bit and pick any meat off. Return the meat to the pot, add the beans (*I used 2 cans of cannellini (white kidney) beans, one can of chickpeas, and one can of something called pink beans that looked like pale kidney beans), spices, and ground mushrooms. Stir and simmer an additional hour. Add the bread and simmer 1/2 hour more. It will dissolve and thicken the soup. (For a gluten free version mash some of the beans and do not add the bread.)

Check for salt if needed. Enjoy over the next few days – it just keeps getting better! Mmmm…
***

A hearty start the the new year, either way! This makes a fine lunch or dinner, with or without that crusty bread we keep hearing about (grin). And, both of the above recipes are no more than jumping off points for the soup you want to make… enjoy!

Mmmmmm… be warm and safe and happy new year!

Posted by: Rachel | December 23, 2014

simply splendid!

OK, so now that we have all that candied ginger, what are we going to do with it?

I’ve been known to eat it plain (shhhhh…) like, well, candy, but since it keeps well and since we have so much of it, I’m always hunting for ideas.

Mostly I use it in baking. This season I’ve been taking macaroons to parties. I got the recipe from The Splendid Table and I am here to tell you that if Lynne Rosetto Kasper says it is good and easy you can believe her. At least, her idea of easy and mine seem to be about the same. This isn’t always the case with “celebrity chefs” but that is another story…

Anyway, I found this truly quick and easy recipe for cookies that just happen to be gluten free as well. Mmmmmm…

You can read the Splendid version here, or you can just trust me that these are truly splendid!

Now, at the bottom of their recipe page they offer a few options. I read them all and, since I love chocolate and ginger I figured why not add both – so I did. So far no one has complained (grin).

Here’s all it takes to make about 35 or so cookies:

Simply Splendid Choco-Ginger Macaroons

2 large eggs, well beaten
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2-3 heaping tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2-3 heaping tablespoons candied ginger, chopped very fine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spread a sheet of parchment paper over a large cookie sheet. 

IMG_3234

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, salt, and extract. Add the cocoa powder and ginger and mix well. It will look shiny when it is mixed enough. Stir in the coconut until it is completely moistened. This is not supposed to be a batter, but rather well-moistened clumps of coconut. If it looks “runny”, add more coconut.

Mmmmm - and they're not even baked yet!

Mmmmm – and they’re not even baked yet!

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the parchment on the baking sheet, and bake them 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer them to a rack to cool. When completely cool, package in something airtight (bag or box) and try not to eat them all before the party. Mmmmmmmm…
***

I got a “double ginger cookie” recipe from a friend recently. I think *one* of the gingers will be the candied stuff I have in the fridge. Watch this space… (grin) Mmmmmm!

Here’s hoping for a slightly spicy, totally splendid holiday season for all! Be well, eat well, and enjoy!

Posted by: Rachel | December 19, 2014

that’s pretty spicy, Tom said gingerly

If you know me at all you know I love ginger. I love fresh ginger, ginger drinks of various sorts, crystalized ginger, ginger candies, most any sort of thing gingery. So, when I found a recipe for ginger brandy, well… you can imagine.

Listen, if you want to try this, you still have time to make a nice batch before the winter drinking baking season is done. I’m pretty happy with what I made and it couldn’t be easier!

Buy a bottle of decent but not expensive brandy. I’m not talking about great great great grandfather’s bottle from Napoleon himself, I’m talking middle of the road drinkable, OK?

Buy a pound of fresh ginger. Not the wrinkly-skinned sad stuff, I mean the really fresh light tan not too knobbly kind that snaps rather than bends when you try to break it.

Peel the ginger. Scraping with a spoon works well for this – really, not a knife, if it is as fresh as it should be. Cut it into even thin (about 1/8-inch or just under .5 cm) slices. Put the sliced ginger in a clean glass jar that is large enough to accommodate the ginger and the brandy, and that has a nice tight fitting lid.

Pour the brandy over the ginger (but keep the brandy container and screw top). Close the jar tightly and store it in a darkish quiet cool corner. Turn the jar just to move the brandy around a tiny bit (no shaking) every day for 10 days to two weeks.

After about 2 weeks, taste the brandy for strength (yes, you must). It may taste a little “raw” but that’ll smooth out, I promise. If you think it seems right, gently pour the brandy back into the original container (funnel highly recommended!) and cap. Mmmmmm and voila… ginger-infused brandy!

Now, about that leftover ginger. I mean, you know that *nothing* goes to waste here if I can help it, right? And, wow – brandy-infused ginger? Good heavens! I couldn’t help it – I decided to try to candy/crystalize it. Easier than I thought!

I followed pretty exactly what Alton Brown says to do. Here’s his original recipe:

Alton Brown’s Candied Ginger

Nonstick spray
1 pound fresh ginger root
5 cups water
Approximately 1 pound granulated sugar
Directions
Spray a cooling rack with nonstick spray and set it in a half sheet pan lined with parchment.

Peel the ginger root and slice into 1/8-inch thick slices using a mandoline. (this part is already done, right?) Place into a 4-quart saucepan with the water and set over medium-high heat. Cover and cook for 35 minutes or until the ginger is tender.

Transfer the ginger to a colander to drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.

Weigh the ginger and measure out an equal amount of sugar. Return the ginger and 1/4 cup water to the pan and add the sugar. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar syrup looks dry, has almost evaporated and begins to recrystallize, approximately 20 minutes.

Transfer the ginger immediately to the cooling rack and spread to separate the individual pieces. Once completely cool, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
***

I’m keeping my ginger in the fridge in a zip bag and I think it will keep for a long time. I’ve used it chopped up on oatmeal (mmmmm – goooood morning!) and in macaroons. Happy, happy…

And, as I am not really a brandy drinker and Texas isn’t usually cold enough to warrant “strong waters” I’m thinking that the brandy will also last a loooong time. I plan to use it to drizzle on pound cake or perhaps over ice cream or maybe for a poke cake recipe or something. All I can tell you is that it sure is good (she said modestly)!

Let us know if you try this, OK? And, if the brandy part doesn’t interest you, you can still make the candied ginger – it just won’t have quite the kick (grin). Actually, I’m pretty sure that the 35 minutes of cooking renders that ginger “harmless” but, well, it sure tastes stronger than anything I’ve bought in the store ever… mmmmm!

Safe and happy holidays to one and all, and look for part two of this coming soon, OK? Mmmmm…

Posted by: Rachel | November 21, 2014

oops…

Today we went to Roosevelt Island. I’ve been curious about it for a long time but the last few visits just haven’t been conducive to visiting (remember that hurricane?). This time, though, we finally made it!

It wasn’t quite what I was expecting.

I thought that most of the island was a park, but apparently that’s the other Roosevelt Island.

Did you know that there are two Roosevelt Islands? You could’ve said something…

This one is in the East River between Manhattan and Queens. The other one is in the Potomac. Really. That one is Teddy, the one here in New York is Franklin. Good heavens.

In any event, we had a great day. You can get there by subway but I wanted to take the tram. What a ride!

And the island itself is lovely, if not very parklike. The rather manicured “park” at one end features a massive block of (I think) granite, with FDR’s “Four Freedoms” carved on it. If you can’t read it in the photo, it’s worth looking up I think.

The tram ride was surreal. Here’s how we spent the afternoon:

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Quite a day, even if it wasn’t at all the Roosevelt Island I thought it was. Oops! Maybe someday I’ll visit the other one…

In any event, we certainly had fun. And, as to that, here’s a thought:

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Stay warm (and have fun!)!

Posted by: Rachel | November 19, 2014

to market, to market…

So far this visit to New York has been astonishingly uneventful. Trust me, having been here for hurricane Sandy a few years ago, I like uneventful!

Today, despite temps in the 20s (brrrrrr…) we walked over to the Union Square Market. Oh la la… I think these’ll give you a little taste:

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I must say, though, that my favorite of all the signs was this one. Why, it’s almost as if they were expecting us! (Mmmmm…)

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Stay warm and safe, and enjoy the season! Mmmmm…

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