Tuesday, May 21, 2013
A cardboard box containing three freshly baked loaves of Ezekiel Bread. An empty retro rucksack. A camera bag with a camera and an extra lens. A canvas book bag containing a few books and other things. An empty dough rising bucket.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
"Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them."
All of these photos except for one were taken at the beautiful Forest Lawn Cemetery here in Buffalo. The remaining photo (pictured above) was taken in the garden of my place of employment. Hence the title, Seven Angels plus One. I find cemeteries oddly beautiful, reflective, and peaceful (click here for shots from Père Lachaise Cemetery on my trip to Paris last summer). And in this case, the faces of the statues which watch over graves, I find incredibly moving. Timeless. The compassion in their eyes, at times, and their soulful expressions, I find breathtaking. While some are depicted as females, they are not necessarily so. The look more androgynous to me...simply angelic beings guarding souls. I took these while on a "short cut" through the cemetery yesterday while doing errands (the above photo I took the day prior). It was a beautiful spring day and had my camera so stopped and shot a few photos. And it was interesting, while I had stopped to take one of the photos there was a wedding party having photos taken next to one of the ponds (it may seem odd, but this cemetery is that beautiful...rolling hills with multiple ponds and streams). I was standing at a crossroad; the wedding party was to my right, and at the same time a funeral procession passed me on my left. An odd but incredibly beautiful juxtaposition...two major life events at the same time. Anyhow, I thought I'd share the photos. Click any for a larger view.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Okay, so you're going to love this. It's a type of homemade Lebanese cheese that is easy to make and super flavorful. It is different from labneh (which is simply strained yogurt) in that it is cooked. It's more along the lines of a homemade Italian ricotta or Indian paneer, only instead of being made with just milk it is made with yogurt...and this is what gives it such a lovely tangy flavor. Herbs and spices are often added to it either as it cooks or shortly thereafter (smoked paprika is my personal addition, and if you do not care for spicy food omit the crushed hot pepper). And then after it is formed, the balls are rolled in an herb and spice blend known as za'atar (which is usually available at most Middle Eastern or ethnic grocers. Anyhow, the resulting cheese is truly addicting. It can be eaten as is, or also as a salad topped with tomatoes, onions, lettuce, parley and a liberal coating of good quality olive oil.
(Lebanese Yogurt Cheese)
Makes about 2 dozen small balls
3 quarts plain yogurt
1 cup water
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon crushed hot pepper
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
za'atar seasoning for coating
Combine everything except the za'atar in a heavy pot. Slowly bring to a boil, stirring only a few times. When the curds separates from the whey strain it through a colander that has been lined with cheese cloth. When the cheese is cool enough to handle, shape it into small balls (for a smoother texture pulse the mixture in a food processor first). Dust a plate with za'atar and roll the shanklish in the spice to coat them. Refrigerate before serving.
Friday, May 17, 2013
Here is Today...thoughts on time, a couple quotes, an excellent video, and a link that sort of blows my mind.
"Time is an illusion.
As I get older--as time marches on--the passing of it (time) really blows me away at times. Now that I'm in my 5th decade on this planet it's odd at times to think of something that seems recent but may in fact have happened decades ago. I won't wax philosophical about it, but when I came across this page today it sort of blew me away. It's really cool; it puts time into perspective (it also makes me feel small, which isn't a bad thing, I think). Click the okay button at the page and you'll see what I mean. But before you do, I leave you with another quote an accompanying song, which is one of my favorites by David Bowie.
"Time may change me, but I can't trace time."
Thursday, May 16, 2013
#486...$74.65 in groceries and sundries, a full gym bag, and a double order of Chinese takeout.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
On the bike....photos of bikes carrying things on bikes being carried to an art gallery by one of the bikes in the photos carrying and being carried by bikes.
If you are in the Buffalo area and are at all interested, I'll have a few photos from the Things That Can be Carried on a Bike series in the below show.
Main (St)udios Buffalo
515 Main Street
Opening Friday May 17th, 2013, 12-2PM & 7-9PM
Runs through May 30th, 2013
The show benefits Go Bike Buffalo.
Monday, May 13, 2013
I made this for dinner tonight and it was another one of those meals where you look in the fridge and realize there's not much there. In this case I usually either put it (whatever I happen to have) on a pizza, make a sandwich out of it, or toss it with pasta (which is pretty much 90% of my diet). Anyhow this is really easy (and really delicious) and this is how I made it.
I started with a whole wheat dough which I let rise while I went out to do a few errands (I used 1/3 of this recipe, which has step-by-step instructions with photos). I then layered it with tomato sauce that I had in my freezer (use jarred or make your own in twenty minutes). I then separately cooked asparagus and spinach aglio e olio (with garlic and oil...here's a really easy recipe). Lastly, I topped it with four cheese.
This may seem complicated but it's really not when you break down the steps. And this, of course, is simply a guide...use whatever ingredients you have at hand or those that you personally like.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
I've mentioned in previous posts but not in quite a while that one of the things I really like about riding a bike is that I am an active part of the environment around me, that I am out in the elements. But even more than that, when I'm on a bike I see things that I really do not think would be possible if I were in a car. Today was a good example, but I'm getting ahead of myself as I sometimes do. I first have to preface this brief story by saying that being a cyclist (and I know that I am not the only one thinking in these terms) makes me keenly aware of the weather before I leave my house. The past two days, for example, have been really weird weather...autumnal-like temperatures (I have my wood stove burning as I type these words) and a near constant fluctuation of rain (sometimes light and other times crazy downpours), blinding hail, and sun. So as I was about to leave the house earlier this evening I see that it is hailing and raining at the same time, so I waited about 10 minutes and it stopped. Then, as I began my short ride to the health club, the sun came out and the pavement beneath me began to steam (from the cold hail, I suppose). Everything was covered in a light steam about six inches deep. At one point when I stopped for a traffic light and put my foot down fog-like steam swirled around my foot and tires. It was like being on a movie set (unfortunately I didn't have a camera on me for fear of it getting wet). When I came out of the health club an hour later I could see that I must've just missed another hail/rain storm (my bike and the ground were covered in tiny pellets). But now the sun was shining brightly and everything had small droplets attached to it. When I arrived home I snapped a few photos in my front yard and a neighbor's; it was as if things were illuminated. From now on when someone asks me why I choose to ride a bike I think I'll answer simply, "So I can see things."
Saturday, May 11, 2013
This post could easily be titled "more things (or another thing) I saw while riding my bike today." I love seeing nature in the city. It is all around us all we have to do is look. And often I don't see it, or at least take it for granted. This morning, for example, while I was riding around taking these photos, I stopped at the edge of Hoyt Lake and sat on a stone wall to rest for a few minutes. And as I sat there my mind was preoccupied and elsewhere (as is often the case) and knew that there was a small gaggle of wild geese nearby but paid them no attention. They were eating dandelions and one came so close to me as I sat that I could hear it chewing. I turned and looked and saw a dandelion hanging out of it's mouth (or is it beak?), pictured above. I snapped a shot and it turned to me a started squawking (pictured below) then went back to eating weeds. It made me laugh. It didn't seem to be afraid of me so I snapped a few more. It was a pleasant respite on a cool spring day.
So if you've been to this blog before you know that one of my favorite pastimes is to take picture of things I see while riding my bike(s). This is a third installment of a series that really interests me (click here and here to see the two previous posts). Basically, I take photos from a bygone era and try to replicate them by standing in what I believe to be the same spot the original was taken, or at least close to it. I'll carry the photos with me and hold it up (as pictured above) to try to locate the same location. I have to say with all seriousness that I sometimes get goosebumps when I snap the photos...knowing that a photographer was doing the exact same thing in the same spot more than a hundred years ago. Anyhow, the locations are as follows...
Above and the first image below are Lincoln Parkway. The next two pairs are two different views of Albright Knox Art Gallery. The one below that is the Buffalo Historical Society (note the highway that now cuts through the park thanks to Robert Moses), and the last photo is a stone bridge in Delaware Park. Click any image for a slightly larger view.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
These photos were all taken today in the course of running errands and just basically living life. May is National Bike Month and I couldn't help but think as, I was peddling around town today, that if I drove, all the times I would have had to not only get in and out of a car but also find a parking space (and pay for parking as well). The first part of the day was rainy (indeed, on my way to work I got soaked), but then it cleared up and the second half of the day was sunny and cool. If felt--as usual--really good to use my own energy for propulsion, and I loved being out in the elements on a cool spring day...yes, even in the rain.
Anyhow, here are some but not all of the things I carried on a bike today in the course of my day...
Boxes full of leftover food for a local food pantry, 80lbs. of topsoil, six live tomato plants, a book bag full of books, two pints of arroz con frijoles and a couple chive crepes stuffed with Beef Storganoff, three large photos (hot off the press) and one of them custom matted, a camera bag with a dslr camera and two lenses, fruit, vegetables, juice, a bottle of hot sauce, two bottles of red wine, and a gym bag full of wet clothes.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Despite a light rain, it was--after spending a hot and bustling day in the kitchen--a lovely evening to be on a bike.
I've posted this recipe before but not in quite a while. It is an excellent spring soup and can be served hot or chilled. The only variation in the recipe (there always has to be one) is that I did not include a recipe for the parsley puree. This is done easily by combining washed parsley and plain yogurt in a blender and pureeing until very smooth. And the images below illustrate how to garnish it as if it were served in a restaurant. The only tools you need are an ordinary squirt bottle and a knife. There are plenty of designs and this is a simple one. Draw lines in the soup and gently draw the tip of a pointy knife back and forth through the puree.
Carrot Soup with Ginger, Curry and Yogurt
Yield: 2 quarts
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1-2 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoon honey or sugar
1-1/2 pounds peeled, diced carrots
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plain yogurt
Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a heavy soup pot. Add the onion, ginger and garlic; sauté for 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the curry and honey; sauté 2 minutes. Add the carrots, broth, and salt. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower it to a simmer; skim any impurities that may rise to the surface. Cook the soup for approximately 45 minutes, or until the carrots are very soft. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the yogurt. Transfer the soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor and purée until very smooth. Return the soup to the pot and warm it, but do not boil (boiling it may curdle the yogurt). Serve hot or chilled.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Okay, so yes, I realize that I sometimes get carried away with photos of flowers. But I can't help myself...their incredible and natural beauty blows me away (especially when looked upon through a camera lens or close up). All of these flowers are growing in my next door neighbor's front yard (thanks Melissa!). And I'm pretty sure that other neighbors on the street--by now--know me enough and are not alarmed at seeing me crouched down in the yard next door with my camera. At any rate, after a busy and hot day in the kitchen, coming home and shooting these photos was like therapy for me. I hope you enjoy them as well. Click any photo for a slightly larger view.