a p p a r e n t l y

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Paradise Escapes Me

Bon Appetit magazine publishes a column called RSVP, where readers write in to rave about some fabulous dish they ordered at a restaurant and to ask the magazine to procure the recipe. I actually sent a request once, for the white bean soup with arugula and pumpkin oil from MOMA’s Terrace 5, but as far as I know, it was never pursued or printed. I have a feeling that my next must-have recipe would go unnoticed as well.

The Apparently family has been to Woodstock, New York three times. First we spent a lovely babymoon in a charming house with an enormous bathtub. (Yes, that’s the primary thing I remember. I was eight months pregnant, and it was February. I spent the long weekend in front of the fireplace and in the tub.) Last fall we enjoyed a delightful week at a house up on a hill, and it was on that trip that we discovered Sunfrost Farms, a local, independent market with excellent produce, a juice bar, a quirky selection of groceries, every spice you could require on a weeklong vacation, and most importantly, a little house-made treat called “Organic Chocolate and Raw Fruit Paradise.” A package contains about 16 one-inch squares of chocolatey, nutty goodness, and I can’t get enough of them.

Wait. Stop. Now I have to go eat one. Look at this picture while I go to the kitchen.

deliciousness.

When we returned from our trip, I scoured the web trying to find a recipe that approximates this deliciousness, but I came up empty-handed.

Last week we had the good fortune to visit with friends in upstate New York. We followed a roundabout and exploratory route back to the city, both for pure exploration and in an attempt to keep Apparently Jr asleep in the back seat for as long as possible. I drove, and Mr Apparently navigated. He may have had a plan, and I suspect it had to do with coffee and baked goods rather than vegan date bars. But when I realized we were driving down Tinker Street in Bearsville, I couldn’t contain my excitement:

We have to stop at Sunfrost and buy the chocolate sunflower bars!

I sent Mr Apparently inside without clear directions, because although I secretly wanted him to purchase every package of organic fruit and nut paradise in the store, I didn’t want to be responsible for the actual eating of that much chocolate. I mean, of course I did, but…you know exactly what I mean. So he returned to the car with two packages (one marked carob, if I recall correctly – that one is gone) and a week later, after much self-control on all of our parts, we are down to the last two squares.

I need to find a recipe.

These may be close:

1. Raw Vegan Mango, Date, and Sunflower Tropical Energy Balls

No chocolate, but the base of fruits sounds right

2. Chocolate Date Balls (no cook!)

Closer, closer…

3. Sunflower Coconut Balls

Perhaps if I swapped out chocolate for the peanut butter? But the peanut binder may be the binder in this recipe.

Is this ringing any sort of bell? I am so serious when I say that if you send me a recipe that makes these little bites of yumminess, I will send you the nicest thank-you present. Perhaps even a batch of your very own.

Cheese, Glorious Cheese

Hello, again. Let’s not comment too much on my absence and just say that it takes a good seven days to recover from a twelve-day trip. I don’t know where the other week went.

Our local farmer’s market has been rather consistent over the past year. Except for Ballard’s Honey, no new tents popped up when the market reopened in June. So it was with great delight that I noticed two or three new vendors this past Saturday. And I can’t tell you who all of them were, because everyone else was overshadowed by the offerings of Ardith Mae Farm. Shereen and Todd Wilcox milk about 40 goats in Hallstead, Pennsylvania, and the resulting cheese is some of the best I’ve ever tasted from a sheep, goat or cow.

At this point I should note that the Apparently family doesn’t know a great deal about some foodie topics that people really pride themselves for enjoying, like Burgundy vintages or heirloom beans or cacao percentages. But we know our cheese around here, and this is the good stuff.

We tried the chevre, which was a solid, delicious offering, but it was a single taste of a peppercorn pyramid that won me over. Mr Apparently and I tried to make this piece of cheese last for more than two meals, but it was simply impossible. With its subtle bloomy rind, spicy peppercorns and fluffy, chalky center, the half-pyramid that we purchased was devoured within 24 hours.

You can find places where one can purchase Ardith Mae Farmstead Goat Cheese here, or just head to the Sunnyside Greenmarket!

Also, thanks to the NY Department of Agriculture and Markets for rescinding their ridiculous decree handed down in June (or rather, suddenly enforced after 40 years on the books) that prohibited artisanal cheese vendors from slicing and packaging cheese to order at markets. Customers and headline writers are happy once again.

 

Renegade Craft Fair 2011: [Silence]

I’ve had quite a lot to say in the past regarding the Renegade Craft Fair. Last year I wrote a five-part series covering everything from my favorites and purchases to the sponsors and the economics of participating in craft fairs. I’ve spent many, many hours thinking about this stuff. So what do I have to say this year?

Nothing. I didn’t go to the Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn this year.

Why?

It didn’t really cross my radar. And by the time it did, I had other plans. Plus, thundershowers were predicted.

Seriously, I was not inundated with blog posts in my RSS reader as in years past. CRAFT Magazine didn’t send me emails about the fair, and I never saw a post on Facebook. I realized it was the weekend of Renegade just a day or two before, and my “hey, let’s go to the craft fair” date was out of town. MrApparently doesn’t really enjoy the craft fair, and Apparently Jr just wants to run around the field and eat whoopie pies. So we went to our local park, and I didn’t give it another thought.

That seems weird to me, and I’m sure says something about the evolution of the Renegade Craft Fair and my relationship to the selling of artisan goods in general. But you know what? I don’t really want to analyze that. Maybe next year.

Judging Wines by Their Labels

According to Matthew Latkiewicz at Grub Street, I like my wine French, Letterpress or Pottery Barn Catalogue.

He says, “I have gone into the field and done some research. I wanted to know whether I could identify the types of labels I liked and which turned me off. I think I have identified seven major wine-label groupings along with several subclasses. I also tasted a bunch of wines according to their labels and have made wildly ill-advised extrapolations about what the label means for your drinking experience.”

The Wheel of Wine Labels

 

Sloshed: Maybe We Should Be Judging Wines by Their Labels — Grub Street New York.

I Have No Opinion About My Neck.

nora ephron

I’ve just finished reading Nora Ephron’s new book, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman. Of course, this book is not actually new. It came out in 2006, but I got pregnant the same month it hit the shelves and so I’m several years behind on all popular media and culture. Yesterday at the gym I finally saw a Lady Gaga video.

I came across Ephron’s book at the library and felt I should read it based on the fact that it is dense with stories of living in New York City, which are exactly the sort of stories that I love, and also because I sat next to Nora and Rebecca Pidgeon at a Ricky Jay performance in 2009, on the day my cat died. The cat is irrelevant to this story but I’ve just read two hundred pages of Nora Ephron and so extraneous details are bound to make it into whatever I have to say for the next forty-eight hours. I also have no great love for Rebecca Pidgeon, but as long as I’m name dropping I might as well get Nick Pileggi, Nora’s husband, in there as well. He sat to her left.

Another reason I thought I should read this book is that Nora’s two favorite topics at the moment are aging and New York City, and since I am not getting any younger and live in Queens I thought she might have some erudite advice. It turns out, however, that Nora Ephron is not like you and me. She may rationalize all her purchases based on amortizing them to the cost of a cappuccino, but she still owns a home on the Upper East Side and has her hair blown out twice a week.

I like the way Nora thinks, but perhaps I’m just not old enough for her insight yet. I’m older than twenty-six, the age at which she feels, in retrospect, that one should parade around wearing a bikini as often as possible, but I’ve yet to replace all my shirts with black turtlenecks. I do, however, agree that “The reason you’re waking up in the middle of the night is the second glass of wine,” and I currently have a blackberry-yogurt pie with a Keebler graham-cracker crust in the oven, because “There’s no point in making piecrust from scratch.”

In writing this post, I discovered that Nora has a new book, by which I mean one that came out last year. It’s apparently about aging and memory. I hope to read it before 2015, but only if I can remember.

Are You Into Graphic Novels?

nathan sorry

Because I’ve just finished reading the story-so-far of Nathan Sorry, a nebbishy junior Wall Street paper-pusher whose plans go awry on September 10, 2001. Author and illustrator Rich Barrett evokes the tense, nihilistic mood of that fall while revealing the story of a displaced man hiding out under an assumed identity. Five chapters are available online, and new pages are posted every couple of weeks.

You can read Nathan Sorry online, or purchase the first volume in a trade paperback.

Full disclosure: Mr. Barrett may or may not be the Creative Director at the firm where I may or may not have been (and remain somewhat) employed. This should not have any effect on your thorough enjoyment of his fine work. I just read all 83 pages in one sitting.

When It Rains

That’s proverbial, as in…it pours. Suddenly I’m working on three custom hats and sent off two pincushions in one day. I also delivered a stack of summer hats to our local children’s boutique and am trying to plan three summer trips.

owl hat

swirls hat

Every year I make my son a new sun hat. This year he chose the fabrics himself, and so he’ll spend his summer topped with butterflies. He just got some boyish blue sunglasses and several pairs of plaid shorts, so he’ll be rocking the prints this season.

The lining of this reversible hat is the white butterfly print. He likes to turn it inside-out. I find it so sweet that my four-year old loves butterflies and can’t be bothered with superheroes. Yet.

 

 

Sew, Mama, Sew’s Giveaway Day!

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to #29, Maureen!

sew, mama, sew!

Welcome visitors from Sew, Mama, Sew! Today is one of my favorite days in the blogosphere, because I discover new-to-me crafty people from around the world. I’m looking forward to spending a few hours this week exploring all sorts of endeavors, from sewing and knitting to pursuits I know much less about, like dyeing and upholstery.

emma's star

I’m giving away this lovely hand-knit beret. I must confess that I originally intended it as a present for myself. I carefully selected the pattern from Rocket Boy Knits and the superwash merino wool yarn from Black Sheep Dyeworks with plans to knit myself a three-season hat. And I truly enjoyed both the pattern and the luscious variegated yarn. But it turns out that I’m not a beret person.

If you can stylishly sport a beret, and you’d like a chance to win this one, please leave a comment below. You can comment on anything: your latest project, where you’re from, thoughts on my Etsy shop…whatever you like as long as it’s fun for me to read. I read all the comments, and a plain old “enter me” is no fun on my end. I may even send a second prize to the most delightful/entertaining comment. The giveaway will close at 10pm EST on May 25, and a winner will be chosen at random.

As a thank-you for stopping by, I’ve set up a special offer for free shipping on any item in my Etsy shop, Petite Legume. Use coupon code SEWMAMAMAY for free shipping within the U.S. through the end of May.

(The giveaway is open internationally. If you’ve been to my local post office you’ll understand why I simply can’t offer free shipping around the world for my shop. It would mean hours in line at the post office, which is staffed by a gaggle of slow-moving, cranky individuals. I’m extremely thankful for online methods of shipping packages!)

Thanks for visiting the land of Apparently. Come back anytime – I usually blog about making stuff, but occasionally I diverge to such topics as growing butterflies, visiting museums, other cool stuff I’ve found online, and falling in love.

Now go check out some more blogs!

Remember the Marshmallow?

Some months ago I posted the beautiful little thing that is a single marshmallow roasted over your gas stove burner, resulting in 25 sticky, gooey calories of pure deliciousness.

Last month we were at the ginormous behemoth of fresh grocery retail, Stew Leonards, where we came across this magnificent thing.

You can’t tell from the photo how big these marshmallows are, but here’s a blog post that shows a “giant roaster” next to your garden-variety regular specimen.

Now, my post was supposed to be about how Mr Apparently roasted one of these beauties last week and it was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever eaten. The extra mass means more of those delicious melty internal sugars. At 90 calories this is more of an actual dessert commitment than a guilt-free snack, but since it’s about all one needs to eat post-dinner for an entire evening, it seemed completely worth it.

But tonight I had another one, and I’ve felt ill ever since. Clearly these supersized sugar bombs should not be eaten straight, but rather tempered with some chocolate and graham crackers.

A Rainy Day Project: Felt Butterfly

munchie prep

Another rainy day in the Northeast. Apparently Jr’s latest issue of Your Big Backyard arrived yesterday, and it features both a story about a little caterpillar named Munchie and a craft project about the caterpillar-to-butterfly process. The cruel irony of my parenting life is that little Apparently isn’t very interested in art projects, but I can occasionally drum up some enthusiasm if the art is secondary to a greater theme of space, insects or dinosaurs.

munchie

You may not be surprised to learn that I have a drawer full of felt, and so when he said, “Let’s make Munchie!” I leapt at the opportunity.

This was a super-fast project, and it would have taken even less time if we’d used glue. But we found that glue seeped through the felt and was generally messy and gross. (Also, we have no hot water today thanks to some boiler repair, and so minimal clean-up was not such a bad idea.)

munchie

We agreed to glue only the googly eyes and sew the rest on the sewing machine. (Apparently Jr and I have an agreement at the sewing machine; he gets to press the reverse button.) Using thread rather than adhesive made the toy stronger, and we were able to play with it sooner.

munchie

Completed just an hour ago, this little guy has emerged from his chrysalis at least seven times and an entire play has been performed in his honor. I need more science-based art projects, as they keep us both very happy!

chrysalis

You can download the instructions and templates from the National Wildlife Federation’s website. Let me know if you make one, too!