inspired adjective
- of extraordinary quality, as if arising from some external creative impulse

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Back to Portland

Mike and I were lucky to be able to make a trip back to Portland this past Spring. It had been just about a year and a half since we  packed up the car to make the move back to the East Coast, after an amazing year of dwelling in this magical corner of the country. We relished being embraced by the surroundings we had so missed over the past year and a half: mountain views, forest roads, tall trees, and misty air. The days filled with bike rides along the water, long hikes to mountain-top picnic spots, drives to the coast, and a good fill of favorite craft ales and local food. It was a healthy dose of nostalgia as we revisited all of the places that had made such an impression on us when we considered ourselves halfway locals. The beauty of the Pacific Northwest is something I will forever be eager to return to. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sense of Wonder

Oceanside, Oregon - April 2013

“What is the value of preserving and strengthening this sense of awe and wonder, this recognition of something beyond the boundaries of human existence? Is the exploration of the natural world just a pleasant way to pass the golden hours of childhood or is there something deeper?

I am sure there is something much deeper, something lasting and significant. Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life. Whatever the vexation or concerns of their personal lives, their thoughts can find paths that lead to inner contentment and to renewed excitement in living. Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for the spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature–the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.”

Rachel Carson “The Sense of Wonder”, 1956.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Few cities are as charming, welcoming, and full of character as Charleston, South Carolina. This was a weekend getaway trip last fall that I am still savoring.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Biking to Red Hook

There are certain meals that immediately bring up the conversation that, should you ever be able to decide what your last meal would be, this would be it. For me it is the chicken wings and sticky rice from Pok Pok--a celebrated Thai restaurant in Portland, OR that has now, to my great excitement, claimed its spot in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The new location does not stray from the original in quality or character and it is by far worth the trip to this quirky Brooklyn neighborhood. Nothing better than a late summer Sunday bike-ride along the East River that concludes in whisky cocktails and last-meal-worthy dishes. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm

This past weekend the wonderful people at Google NYC hosted a Farm Fresh event at Brooklyn Grange, the largest rooftop farm in the city. It was a privilege to spend time with Anastasia, the Managing Partner of the farm, and hear her story of how the one-acre-large farm came to be two years ago. Surrounded by perfect view of Manhattan, we shared ideas on the future of sustainable cities through efforts like green rooftop farms over a meal of fresh greens, local cheese, and heirloom tomatoes.

The vision behind Brooklyn Grange is a community-based, financially and environmentally sustainable farm focused on growing delicious, fresh, real foods within the urban environment. It was amazing to see the passion, resourcefulness, and dedicated hard-work that goes into making this farm a reality. Capitalizing on unused space of city rooftops, Brooklyn Grange and similar initiatives simply make sense if we are to realize more efficient, sustainable, and live-able cities. It was encouraging to see what a few dreamers are doing to truly make a lasting difference in this community despite the challenges or difficulties they may come up against.

Something about being among chickens, soil, and beds of peppers while the city skyline loomed in the background was a welcomed change of pace. It is fantastic to see growing support for green roofs and urban farming and the potential for these efforts to increase as they become more and more a staple of the city. Being able to spend time and learn from the people championing these efforts---all while sharing in a meal at their table--was quite a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Recreating My Favorite Kale Salad

A few weeks ago I met my friend Mary Kate for brunch at Northern Spy Food Co, an East Village Slow Food restaurant I had been wanting to try for awhile. We both ordered the Kale Salad that Northern Spy is well-known for and enjoyed it so much I have found myself craving it ever since. In an effort to eat more kale, I decided to try to recreate Northern Spy's delicious salad this past weekend.

Northern Spy's Kale Salad, Recreated

1 bunch of organic dinosaur kale, stems removed and chopped
1 medium size butternut squash
1/2 cup chopped Gruyere or aged sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of almonds
1 lemon
Extra-virgin olive oil, salt & pepper
1 teaspoon organic virgin coconut oil (my favorite)
1 teaspoon honey

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400. Peel the butternut squash, scoop out and discard the seeds, and chop into cubes. Toss the cubes with a little of the extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet (lined with aluminum foil for easy cleanup). Roast in the oven for about 45minutes, tossing every 15 minutes to ensure even cooking.

2. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet in the same oven for about ten minutes, making sure to move them around every couple of minutes and watch them so they don't burn. When they are done, let them cool for a couple of minutes and then chop into pieces. In a small bowl, mix the honey and coconut oil and add the toasted almond pieces to coat them. Sprinkle with salt.

3. In a large serving bowl, combine the kale, cheese, toasted almonds, and roasted squash. Drizzle with olive oil (about 2 tablespoons), and the juice of one lemon. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss and serve.

I think this would be a great side dish to bring to a picnic, or to eat by yourself for dinner for the next few days like I have been. You can also top with an over-easy egg and have this for brunch. Because that is always a good idea.