This morning I was perusing my Twitter feed and came across this tweet by Leda Meredith, a food preservation expert and forager here in NYC—she mentioned juneberries:

I followed the link to her blog post, where she talked more about juneberries. She mentioned that they were also called serviceberries, which triggered a memory of hearing about serviceberry trees not far from my apartment, and since it was still early enough in the morning, I headed out to find them.

When I arrived in the area I thought would be home to the serviceberry trees, I didn’t see them at first, and was a little bummed out… until I looked further down the hill and saw a tree full of berries—and there were a lot of them.

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Our first share of the 2015 Hellgate CSA season, in a rad new space.

This week marks my tenth season with the Hellgate CSA, a community supported agriculture organization that I helped establish up in northwestern Queens. A little history: it was originally called the Ravenswood CSA, based in the Ravenswood Houses senior center, and as CSAs work in NYC it was passed on the following year from the Americorps member who staffed it, to an all-volunteer team. The members interested in forming the core group all lived above the GCP, so we brought it north.

I was a core member for eight seasons (2006-2013) and am happy to see the CSA still going, well-managed by the current core group. I left the core group for a variety of reasons, one being my desire to move on and make room for new experiences. But I wanted to remain a member, so here I am.

(The other day I realized I’ve been a member of a CSA on and off for about 24 years; my first CSA experience was with Full Belly Farm in CA, which started my love of CSAs and eating seasonally.)

We’re also in a nice new space, away from the elements, and with a lot more room than we’ve had in the past.

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For a little while now, I’ve seen this fancy-looking yogurt in specialty shops in NYC—White Moustache brand. It comes in glass containers, has a hip look (moustaches are big in NYC these days), and is made Persian-style, which is a thick, strained-type yogurt (think FAGE). While shopping at Murray’s Cheese on Bleecker Street, I came across it and decided to take the plunge—and boy, am I glad I did.

This is the best yogurt I’ve ever tasted—even better than the strained raw yogurt I make at home. It has a wonderful texture—smooth and creamy, yet light, and was perfectly balanced in the sweet/tang department. You’d that that even with sweetened sour cherries, the yogurt would taste more sour than most, but this did not have any harshness to it whatsoever. The natural sweetness of the milk is clear in the taste of the yogurt.

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The yogurt itself takes three days to make, and is truly handcrafted. They fill each container by hand and make all the fruit/veg elements. A jar at Murray’s was priced at $5.99, and I think with all things taken into consideration, it’s worth it.  Continue reading…

Making Berbere and Melekesha, Two Traditional Ethiopian Spice Blends

November 10, 2014

I’ve mentioned it before—both here and various other places over the years—that Ethiopian food is one of my favorite cuisines. I first tasted it when I lived in Berkeley, and fell in love immediately, in particular with the spiced red lentil dish called Yemesir Wot, also known as Mesir Wot. My first tastes were during […]

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The Flavor Project

November 1, 2014

  Meyer lemons, which are great for making preserved lemons. Over the years, I’ve encountered ingredients that have intrigued, delighted, and/or piqued my interest and palate, but for some reason, I only just considered them or enjoyed them for a short time, usually at the time I’ve tasted them. I’ve decided that I’d like to […]

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Intrigued by the 2014 Thaithentic Food and Culture Festival

August 10, 2014

A Google alert brought me to the site for Thaitentic, a Thai food and culture festival, apparently the first of its kind in NYC. I love the flavors of Thai food, especially kaffir lime leaf, and have eaten a lot of American-style Thai food, but I’m curious to learn more about the cuisine, especially flavor […]

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Mid-Summer Update

August 1, 2014

Watermelon Salad at The Queens Kickshaw—one of the best things I’ve had all summer. Well, it’s been a while since I gave my poor blog some attention. Perhaps this will be the beginning of its resurrection, maybe not; I won’t make any predictions. Things are going well—I’m writing a lot on We Heart Astoria and We […]

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