As soon as the sun shines.

Today is the kind of day that makes you fall in love with New York all over again. Winter here can be brutal, as you know, but this year it seems as if the city has pardoned us in some way. Not only has there been no snow accumulation to speak of, there has been sun, blue skies and mild breezes that smell faintly of green and flowers and warmer weather to come.

Today--beautiful, warm, 55-degree today--feels exceptionally amazing, even during this very kind winter.

It smells like the Hudson River (and that's supposed to be a good thing, although if you live by 'real' bodies of water I'm sure that idea is repelling in every way). 

People are walking a little faster and shedding layers of cardigans, scarves, and puffy coats. 

Fresh salad seems more appetizing than hot soup. 

I tried to get a tan through my office window. True story.

And of course, nothing says spring is (almost) here than a crisp, refreshing...cocktail. 

This rose-colored concoction is borrowed from one of my new favorite sites, Design Sponge, who were inspired by a cozy little bar called Apothecary, based in Philadelphia. Although pink drinks are typically reserved for cocktails with girlfriends, I like to think this libation is suitable for the guy who's confident in his manhood. As yours is, I'm sure. 

But keep an extra jigger of gin on hand in case he needs more convincing. 

Cheers and let the springtimes roll!

Cardamom Rose Cocktail:
1.5 oz of Hendrick’s gin (this is a rose & cucumber infused gin)
.75 oz of Rose syrup (make at home with rose water and simple syrup or buy locally)
.25 oz of Fresh lemon juice
.75 oz of Fresh grapefruit juice (ruby red preferably)
2 dashes of Peychauds bitters (Peychaud is credited with first creating the cocktail)
1 Cardamom Pod
1) Lightly muddle 1 cardamom pod at the bottom of shaker (not too much muddling or it will overpower the drink)
2) Add the rest of the ingredients
3) Add ice
4) Shake for 20 seconds
5) Strain over fresh ice to remove the cardamom pod
6) Add a splash of seltzer water
7) Garnish with rose petals or fresh lemon wedge 

NOTE: If the idea of muddling cardamom pods is off-putting, opt for fresh, organic mint instead. 


Choosy Eating

Not only as Americans, but as citizens of a first world country, we are showered with options when it comes to almost every aspect of life. This is certainly most evident when we sit down to eat. Three times a day we are faced with the same question (what to eat) and three times a day, sometimes more, our appetite is satiated by our whims and desires. 

While the government-assisted family and the business men who indulge in three-martini lunches share almost nothing in common, we all share the same responsibility of choosing how, what and from where to feed ourselves.

McDonald's vs. Black Label burger. 
Tuna salad vs. Tuna sashimi. 
Iceberg vs. Endive.
Entenmann's vs. LadurĂ©e. 
You get it.

Every Sunday I walk to the farmer's market at the corner and scope out the produce of the week. Most of the farmers and vendors at Greenmarket are local and as soon as you walk from table to table, you understand exactly what that means. That means root vegetables and lettuces in February (and any other month that ends with an 'r'.) No sexy strawberries or tomatoes. No juicy figs or zucchini. Just plain 'ol potatoes.

Eating local means we are at the mercy of what our land offers up that month. That's not hipster talk, that's the absolute truth. The influx of options at Whole Foods makes it too easy to forget that most of the food we purchase has traveled 1,500 miles before it hits the shelves. Which of course affects fuel, the environment, labor, freshness, preservatives in the food, etc. So many choices can also numb us to the fact that there are many people on the globe that eat what they can grow or find. That's it.

Such a simple idea can sound so revolutionary. That's exactly why Alessandro Porcelli, formerly of renowned restaurant Noma in Denmark, organized a global event called Cook It Raw. Noma restaurant is known for serving only what the chef and his team can forage in Denmark. Denmark. And we're not talking about tropical fruit and exotic seafood. Think mushrooms, root vegetables and gamey animals. 

Porcelli assembled 14 of the world's accomplished chefs and hosted them first in Denmark and then in Italy, to forgage, prepare and be inspired by all that nature offers. Even surrounded by seemingly uninteresting landscapes, beautiful food is created. 

I'm not suggesting that we all explore our backyards for dinner tonight. (Which would leave me foraging my fire escape.) But maybe we can get to know our farmers a little. Maybe we can trying eating food that is indigenous to our area and find creative ways to prepare it. Maybe we can even wait until blueberries are in season before topping our oatmeal with them. 

We choose, we spend, we eat, and we silently vote for what matters to us. 

What matters to you?


Soup's On.

I've made it my mission to cook more this year. Yes, I blog about cooking, but over the past few months there have been too many meals out. Although they were delicious, there's something even more gratifying about making your own feast and sharing it with family/friends/spouses at home.

Oh, and it's healthier. And cheaper. Do you know what's not gratifying? Having an amazing meal at home and then facing a kitchen filled with dishes, pots and pans to wash. Suddenly, the euphoric food coma evaporates and you're breaking a sweat trying to scrub every last corner of the stove.

Enter my reignited love for one-pot dishes--soups and stews, specifically. Throw everything together, season well, decide if you want to blend or not and start chowing down. Love it.

This recipe is definitely hitting our table this weekend. Comforting, protein-filled and fiber-rich, this lentil soup is all kinds of delicious.

And since there will only be one lonely pot waiting for me, I'll have extra time for dessert. Naturally.

Vegan French Lentil Soup
(Courtesy of Robin Robertson)
Serves 4
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons dry sherry or white wine
1 cup French lentils
1 14.5-ounce can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 cups vegetable broth
4 cups baby spinach

What You Do:
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in sherry, then add lentils, tomatoes, herbes de Provence, salt, pepper, and broth.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the lentils are tender, about 45 minutes, adding more broth if needed. Taste and adjust seasonings. About 5 minutes before serving, stir in the spinach. Serve hot.