Listening from Head to Foot


Currently I don’t practice yoga but regardless, I’m a fan of things Om-related.  The whole Tibetan/mystical/artistic and, for some, spiritual gamut is brilliantly presented at the new Rubin Museum exhibition, The World of Sound.  (The Rubin itself is often overlooked among NYC museums as it’s on West 17th Street in the space that once was Barney’s, neither part of the uptown Museum Mile grouping nor downtown like the Whitney).

The show is a stunner—elegant and absorbing for eyes, ears and total body (sounds like one of those immersion tanks but trust me, it’s not.) Works of art from the Rubin’s permanent collection are displayed like the small, gold Milarepa, a statue of someone

Milarepa–listening to own singing

listening to himself while singing, from 15th-16th century Tibet as well as painted mandalas and the sound of OM made visible. Everywhere you turn is sound; walking up or down the spiral staircase where “drone” (not the aircraft) sounds wax and wane; inside smaller spaces and even in the restrooms.  The experience is soothing and pleasant, a sort of inside- your- head white noise. Quoting Risha Lee, the exhibition curator, “sound is not limited to what we hear with our ears. It is composed of vibrations that resonate in our body…” Yes indeed, Risha.

Couch trumpet

The leg bone trumpet is pretty cool as are the sounds it makes which are heard via headphones. Next to it are other kinds of trumpets with their own headphones and their own, distinctive sounds. There is a space devoted to “Deep Listening” and an area where visitors can lie on a leather sofa and take in sounds.  I wish the entire experience could be transported to my living room or, better yet, to a bubble I could carry around as I walk through noisy New York.

The only food with sound that came immediately to mind is Snap—Crackle—Pop and somehow Rice Crispies are too banal to go with such a beautiful exhibit.  Instead, here is a recipe for Curried Potato Salad said to be positively Himalayan.  Stay tuned because I’m going that way in very late autumn.


Curried Potato Salad- Saveur Magazine


2 lb. Yukon gold potatoes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

13 cup olive oil

4 fresh small red Thai chiles, roughly chopped

34 cup plain Greek yogurt

12 cup tahini

12 tbsp. curry powder

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

13 cup roughly chopped cilantro (I omit as I don’t like it)

2 scallions, thinly sliced


Boil the potatoes in a 6-qt. saucepan of salted water until tender, about 45 minutes; drain and chill. Peel and roughly chop the potatoes; place in a large bowl and set aside.


Heat oil in a 10″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add chiles and cook until golden, about 1 minute; let cool. Transfer oil and chiles to a blender with the yogurt, tahini, curry powder, zest, juice, salt, and pepper; purée until smooth. Pour dressing over potatoes and stir in half each of the cilantro and scallions. Garnish with remaining cilantro and scallions.


I’m betting beer is a good drink with this and more appealing than  that Himalayan fave, yak butter tea.



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Oh to Be in England

Bet I’m one of a small group of people who returned from London and parts of SW England with a sunburn. The first few days of the trip were cool; then temperatures soared into the mid- and upper- 70s—a situation that this land of fog and gray skies doesn’t experience often.

The Penn Club

My abode in London was the Penn Club, a well-located spot in Bloomsbury frequented by academics (it’s close to the British Museum) that serves a great breakfast and makes one think Miss Marple is about to pop around a corner. Unless you’re a slave to elegant digs, the place is highly recommended.

Also commendable: the tube. It’s fast, quiet and efficient. Note to New York’s MTA: why not install, as the London tube does, a barrier separating people walking in one direction from those going in the other? It is, as the Brits say, brilliant. And pretty simple. When I think of the melee at Union Square here… well, I try not to.

The trains are also terrific. I bought a Brit Rail Pass before leaving  which saves money and time. True, the train returning to London from Hampton Court was delayed due to a switching problem but on all other trips everything worked exactly as it should.

En route to Chawton, Jane Austen’s home, my companion and I hopped off the train in Winchester, walked a short distance to the bus station, got on and went…into the town of Alton having overshot the stop.  Blame the bus station that gave us misleading info. Back we went to the correct stop, crossed over the “dual carriageway” and arrived at Chawton where Jane lived her last eight years. Some items in the house are “similar to those Jane would have worn/used/known” but most are the real thing including her (tiny) writing desk;

Jane’s writing “desk”

turquoise and gold ring, muslin shawl she embroidered with itsy-bitsy, beautiful stitches and a stunning quilt she made that’s still in remarkable condition. Any Austen fan (or even a casual reader) would be rewarded by visiting here.

Earlier, as part of my “author’s tour,” was a lovely lunch at Charles Dickens’ London home—he lived here from 1837 to 1839 while writing Oliver Twist, The Pickwick Papers and Nicholas Nickleby.

I found some British food carb-heavy although there are zillions of ethnic restaurants and takeaways that can balance this. High- end food is stylish and much lighter. Pub grub is delicious but of the carby fish-and chips nature. Scones, often eaten with clotted cream and fabulous raspberry jam are TDF and round, not triangular like their American cousins. So…

Proper Scones (say ‘scon’)

scone (with clotted cream and jam)

2 cups cake flour, more as needed

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

3 tablespoons sugar

5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

1 egg

½ to ¾ cup heavy cream, more for brushing


  1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Put the flour, salt, baking powder and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal.
  2. Add the egg and just enough cream to form a slightly sticky dough. If it’s too sticky, add a little flour, but very little; it should still stick a little to your hands.
  3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead once or twice, then press it into a 3/4-inch-thick circle and cut into 2-inch rounds with a biscuit cutter or glass. Put the rounds on an ungreased baking sheet. Gently reshape the leftover dough and cut again. Brush the top of each scone with a bit of cream and sprinkle with a little of the remaining sugar.
  4. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until the scones are golden brown.

I like scones so well I could  eat one anytime. Brits usually reserve them for afternoon tea, made with leaves not a tea bag. Use a strainer. Pour the milk into your cup first. You don’t take milk? Clearly not British.

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Briefly in Bosnia


Crossing the border between Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, (the crossing a non-event), is like going from the dazzle of Tiffany’s into a dark dumpster.  The countryside gets less lovely.  Once in Mostar, the difference between countries is marked by greater poverty (there are kids begging on the famous Stari Most Bridge)

Stari Most Bridge

and many signs of the 1990s war including buildings with highly visible holes from mortar shells.   Apparently there is a coffee culture and various local foods but the lunch we had (sausages and chopped meat, presumably beef,  shaped like a cigar) was greasy and heavy although the grilled sort- of- pita bread that came with it was marvelous.

The interior of the rebuilt 1618 Koski Mehmed Paša Mosque is crude although the fountain outside and the setting right on the river’s edge is lovely. Back in the day the gardens must have been delightful.  For me, the highlight was visiting the Turkish House (Kajtaz’s House) in the Muslim quarter where a bell summons the woman next door who is wildly enthusiastic about the property and has a personal connection which I didn’t fully grasp.

The house was built in the late 16th century and belonged to the Turkish Governor who lived there with his four wives. Outside is a high wall, both to keep out the intense summer sun and to ensure that men couldn’t see in. Color is everywhere—on kilim rungs, pillows, table cloths and hangings –along with examples of clothing of the period.  Our guide relayed several charming anecdotes including one about the husband leaving a rose outside wife #1’s door—only if she accepted it was he permitted to enter her room while the other wives accepted the signal to mind the kids.  The small, low dining table encourages family closeness (small is an understatement); sitting around it with crossed legs beneath you encourages moderate eating as one feels replete early on –Weight Watchers take note.

The famous bridge was blown up in 1993 and rebuilt using mostly the original limestone dredged from the river.  In warm weather young men dive off the bridge into the cold water beneath—it’s dangerous and must be frightening to even watch. The river’s edge is lined with restaurants and cafes making it a nice spot for a meal or drink. The lead up to the bridge is lined with shops selling cheap scarves, carvings and every imaginable souvenir, sort of a gauntlet you have to run to get to the bridge itself, now a UNESCO site.

There are other parts of BH that attract visitors and it’s unfair of me to judge the country on a one-day, one-city visit. However, I’d say don’t rush to this part of the world for Mostar alone but, if you’re in the area and can spare the time, a visit here is a great way to see another culture.

Having already dissed the food, this is a fallback to hummus, served here as an appetizer. Trust me, homemade hummus is a different beast than the stuff in the plastic container at the store.

Hummus and Pita Chips

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon)

1/4 cup well-stirred tahini (you can omit this but it adds a deep note I like)

1 small garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt to taste

2 to 3 tablespoons water

Dash ground paprika, for serving

Get out the trusty food processor and put the lemon juice and tahini in; blend. Add the other ingredients, ½ the chickpeas at a time. Scrape down bowl sides a few times to be sure everything is smoothly incorporated. And voila. Serve with pita chips (whole wheat pita cut into triangles and toasted.) Find BH on the map. Yes, there next to Croatia.


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Zesty, Zippy Zagreb and Zadar

Awoke in Zagreb and stepped outside into the daily market right outside our door, bursting with fruit, flowers and all manner of Easter decorations, presided over by this statue of woman carrying bread on her head. Like Italians, (not surprising since Croatia and Italy are next door neighbors), Croatians drink strong dark coffee in tiny cups. Zagreb has a real city feel with bustling shops, people on bikes and immense energy.  As is true all over Croatia, good design is appreciated and nurtured with small shops devoted to the work of local artisans. (As is also true, there is a wealth of kitsch especially small red hearts initially crafted of gingerbread, today many are plastic.)

Zagreb is divided into an upper and lower section accessible by funicular which was temporarily out of commission so we walked up. The upper town is straight out of a 19th century operetta with cobbled streets and St. Mark’s Church with blazing mosaic roof. Upper is where you find the Museum of Broken Relationships, better in the idea than the reality as most of the stories told and depicted with one “telling” artifact are depressing whether they deal with romance or family.


One night we went to the opera in the Rococo cream puff of a theater where Verdi’s Don Carlos was playing. Surprisingly, there were supertitles but as the English was in tiny yellow type on black, I gave up trying to read and just enjoyed the music—all four and a half hours of it. The Hemmingway Bar,  across the street from the theater, pays tribute to Papa with a rhino head over the bar and French-ish art.

Zadar is a totally different experience. A Roman city with very modern touches, one of the highlights is the Sea Organ, an art installation at the water’s edge that uses a system of pipes to make music from waves and wind. Very cool. Also terrific: the Museum of Ancient Glass, housed in the 19th century Cosmacendi Palace with a very recent modern addition and a fantastic, multi-media exhibit of glassware from today and ancient Rome, especially containers ladies of that period used to store cosmetics. Estee Lauder couldn’t improve on them.


Throughout Croatia food is delicious and relatively cheap, even in good restaurants. Wine, very good, is almost free.

First photo is smiling pickled onions from the Zagreb food market, too cute to pass up. Second is Dalmatian prosciutto, known as prsut, very close to its Italian cousin.


To duplicate, buy prosciutto and drape it over good bread with a side of drained white beans and red peppers that you either char yourself or buy. A drizzle of top quality olive oil and you have a great first course or light lunch. No idea how to say ‘cheers’ in Croatian but you get the idea.






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Sort of a Pilgrimage

In preparation for its annual Sacred Sites Open House Weekend, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, where I volunteer as a writer/researcher, held a kick-off event at Temple Emanu-El. We strolled around the gigantic sanctuary that can hold 2500 people with Art Feminella, who talked about his work as conservator for the stained glass windows of the Sanctuary and Beth El Chapel. I’d interviewed Art by phone so it was nice to meet him in person.  Later we went into Greenwald Hall, a chapel with wonderful landscape windows including two by the Tiffany Studios, for a talk by Peter A. Rohlf, CEO of  Rohlf Stained and Leaded Glass Studio restored them.

Established in l845 at a gathering of 33 Jews from Germany, Temple Emanu-El held its first services in a second floor loft at the corner of Grand and Clinton streets on the Lower East Side. Then began the trek uptown; by 1868 the temple built at Fifth Avenue and East 43rd Street. In 1927 Emanu-El, which had consolidated with Temple Beth-El, built its present house of worship.  In addition to everything else about this grand building, it has a nifty museum with permanent and changing exhibitions as well as an excellent library.

A few days later, it was up to St. John the Divine to see the newly re-installed Barberini tapestries.  These were produced in Rome between 1644 and 1656, woven by handpicked weavers for Francesco Barberini, the nephew of Pope Urban VIII, in his own tapestry workshop and originally installed at the Vatican and Barberini palaces.  Factoid: Barbarini, the nephew of Pope Urban VIII, was known as a cardinale nepoti;  the Latin word nepos (nephew) became the coined word ‘nepotism.’ Family climbing aside, think of hanging these textiles in your palace, both to admire and to keep out some of the brutal

Francesco Barberini after being made cardinal


detail from one of the Barberini tapestries

The artistry at both sites reminded me of how little I know about conservation which seems fascinating with its intersection of art, history and science. I bet the demand for skilled craftspeople in stained glass and textiles (as well as other fields) are huge as there is a shortage of highly trained workers.

This recipe for Carciofi alla Giudea (Jewish-style artichokes) requires a little work what with the hot oil but if you persist it’s worth it.



Carciofi alla Giudea (courtesy Williams Sonoma who have simplified the operation.)

Serves 4

4 artichokes (regular globe ones) If you want to hunt down the little ones, there’s a lot less cleaning as there are far fewer outer leaves. Buy about a pound or even more.

3 ½ cups olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 lemon

Remove the hard leaves from the artichoke. Cut stalk leaving about an inch and a half.

With a very sharp small knife, cut off all the leaves leaving the soft, underneath ones. Put each artichoke when trimmed into the water with juice of one lemon and repeat the operation for each artichoke.  Start heating oil in a pan.

Drain artichokes, dry on paper towel and  press them lengthwise on the table to open the leaves, again, one by one.

Season insides of artichokes with salt and pepper. Dip artichokes into the boiling oil with the stalk up and  cook about 10 minutes; turn over and cook other side for about same time. Drain them on more paper towel. Serve hot or room temp.

If you use the big ones, it’s one per person. Small can be a great first course; if you make even more they could be the basis for lunch with bread, cheese and a salad.

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Korean in Two Hours

Responding to a pop-up email, I went to a (South) Korean evening on West 35th.  Welcomed by three lovely women in gorgeous hanbok, (their national dress), our small group saw two documentary films – one about the wonders of the country including a sacred bell that out- rings any bell anywhere; the development of the Korean alphabet that based the consonants on sounds made by our speech organs and astronomy with constellations like the “Celestial Orchard,” a new one for me as someone who has always had trouble finding Orion’s belt.  The second short film heralded Korean medical care and shipbuilding.  Yes, proselytizing but very low-key. The sponsoring organization is a Buddhist group but other than a brief mention religion didn’t come up.

The Korean women “modeled” their handbok complete with norigae, a hanging decoration that used to have a function  but today is a good-luck decoration—each different. The skirts are

The others were orange and yellow/ pink and green–all stunning

puffed out by a sort of crinoline beneath; these were silk but fabric choice is dictated by the season.

Afterwards, we shared a really good Korean meal, piling our (disposable foam—too bad, planet) plates with sweet potato noodles, kimchee, something like a scallion pancake, Korean barbeque, rice, salad and a bean sprout dish and washing it down with a  drink of fermented barley that tasted much better than it sounds.


Dessert was various nibbles including caramelized walnuts.

The group was interesting, especially a young Dutch couple visiting the U.S. for a few weeks. Emma could be from anywhere; Bass (‘Boss’), her boyfriend, is straight out of Rembrandt if you take away his contemporary clothes and haircut.  The pair loved being in NYC and Boston; their education (paid for almost entirely by their government) sounds exemplary and both have good jobs.  Oh, and speak Dutch, English, German and French. They wish the Netherlands were less homogeneous. I almost wept.

I’m not about to attempt a Korean recipe nor are you. This for candied walnut is a cinch— and makes a great snack, nibble with drinks, delicious on ice cream etc.

Candied Walnuts

½ cup sugar

½ cup walnut halves

1/8 tsp kosher salt

(Some recipes call for cinnamon as well but that gives a very different taste.)

Preheat oven to 350°.  Lay walnuts out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 5 minutes. Test for doneness. If not quite toasted enough, toast for 1 or 2 more minutes. Be careful not to burn. Remove from oven and let cool in pan on a rack. (Frankly, this toasting step is not entirely necessary. Your call.)

Pour sugar into a medium heavy saucepan with a thick bottom. Cook sugar on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until all the sugar has melted and the color is medium amber. Then add walnuts to the pan, stirring to coat pieces as sugar thickens.  As nuts coat, spread out on baking sheet lined with parchment (or a Silpat non-stick mat). Sprinkle with salt, let cool and that’s it.

Makes 1 1/2 cups.  Store in a tin box but you won’t as they’ll be eaten in no time.


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A friend is a flamencist, (I know this isn’t an actual word; the correct term is closer to flamenco aficionado but so what?)  Said friend really loves the art, an involvement she shared with her late husband.

She took me to the brilliant Flamenco Origenes, a far cry from snapping castanets and pounding heels as the concert did not involve dancing but rather vocals and instruments. Led by Javier

Javier Limon

Limón, an eight-time Latin Grammy winner, currently the artistic director of the Berklee Mediterranean Music Institute and an accomplished guitar player, a group of six young musicians played instruments and sang, sometimes solo and sometimes together. The performers come from Israel, (Tali Rubenstein); Dubai (Shilpa Anath who is Indian); Bagdad-born and raised in Beirut (Layth Al-Rubaye) and other parts of the world–a  true multicultural medley.

Flamenco  originated in Andalusia; from the eighth to the fifteenth centuries, when Spain was under Arab domination, the original music and instruments were modified and adapted by Christians and Jews and later by gypsies, incorporating sounds and structures from these cultures.  The concert made these interlinking connections very clear as the musicians played frame drum, violin, guitar, hand drums and various wind instruments including one, played by Rubenstein, that resembles a wooden leg. (How she alternates singing while summoning the breath to play a wind instrument is beyond me.) I also admired Layth Al-Rubayered-headed Al-Rubaye who plays the violin and sings and Brazilian hand-percussionist Negah Santos, a wonderful musician with a brilliant smile.

Before the concert, we ate dinner at the very appropriate Andanada where the tapas included the best tiny, fried artichokes I ever ate. Ole indeed.

More in keeping with the music. this recipe is for Flamenco Eggs, a wonderful brunch dish that brings Spanish flavors together.

(recipe courtesy Anne Burrell  via the Food Network)

High quality olive oil

1 onion, diced

Kosher salt

2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped (you know me, maybe one clove)

1 cup (1/2-inch) diced Spanish chorizo

1 teaspoon pimenton. (Pimenton is Spanish paprika that comes in various degrees of hotness. You can substitute regular paprika although the end result won’t be quite as authentic. If you’re going to buy the real thing, get the ‘hot’ version.)

1 (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped with their juice

8 eggs

1/2 cup finely grated aged Manchego cheese

2 tablespoons chopped chives

Coat a saucepan with olive oil, add the onions and bring to a medium heat. Season the onions with salt and cook 7 to 8 minutes or until the onions are soft and very aromatic. Add the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. Add the chorizo and pimenton and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and season with salt. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust, if needed.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Oil a flat oven-proof dish large enough to hold what you’ve cooked plus the eggs. Fill dish about halfway with the tomato sauce. Break eggs into dish and sprinkle with grated cheese. Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny, about 8 minutes.

When the eggs are done, sprinkle with chives and serve.

Bring  the dish to the table as it’s so attractive and serve from there. Spanish wine? Why not? Sherry beforehand? It’s your party. Get out your mantilla.

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The Greatest Show on Earth

In another life I spent lots of time in Sarasota, FL as my first husband’s family lived there. Fast forward to a recent trip to Longboat Key visiting good friends from Canada. Blessed with spectacular weather, we took a little time out and, partly in homage to the announced closing of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, went to the Ringling complex.

Full disclosure: I’ve always been something of a circophile as I went regularly with my father as a child and, even by myself as an adult, never missed the show’s annual appearance at Madison Square Garden. Something about so much spectacular all at once that appealed to my multi-tasking self.

We went to the Circus Museum that houses the enormous Howard Bros. Circus Model, a 44,000-piece re-creation of the circus from 1919-1938 when it played one-night stands all over the country. The model is terrific, depicting the gigantic cook tent where thousands of meals were served daily; rehearsal areas, tents devoted to circus horses, raising the big top and more.

Small section of the circus model

Adjacent displays include several calliopes, costumes, posters, circus wagons and memorabilia including enormous rings, exactly like one that the “World’s Tallest Man” nonchalantly slipped off his finger and into my hand so I could wear it  as a bracelet.  There are videos of famous circus acts including the Flying Wallendas, Clyde Beatty and Gunther Gabel Williams, both of “wild” animal training fame. I loved the poster of one of my fave acts, the seal who played the horn (does anyone remember the song–could it have been My Country ‘Tis of Thee?) Sadly, there was no mention of another act I loved, Unis, the man who balanced on one finger wearing top hat (never removed) and tails.


I remember the pre-show fun of going downstairs to feed the elephants and see Gargantua, the gorilla who hulked in his specially air-conditioned cage. I found him terrifying as I was always sure this would be the day he’d break free and crush me to death –not very Jane Goodall but that’s nine years old for you.

In May Ringling Bros. will close, partly due to rising costs, partly to animal activism and probably also because entertainment is now available at the touch of a button on an electronic device. Despite all the work it took to arrange and perform, the  circus remains a romantic, romanticized part of American history.


Popcorn is an integral part of circus lore. Herewith, Popcorn Cauliflower:

Florets from 2 cauliflower hearts–if florets are too big cut in half.

1 tsp salt

2 tsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1/2 tsp. paprika

About 6 Tbls olive oil

Preheat oven to 450. In large bowl combine everything except the cauliflower and mix. Then add cauliflower and toss to coat well. Place in single layer on a cookie sheet and roast uncovered for 30-35 minutes, tossing pieces occasionally.

And that, ladies and gentlemen and children of all ages, is it.  Pink lemonade is the time-honored  circus beverage  but if this veggie will be part of dinner, how about a cold white wine?  A toast to Ringling and his confreres.

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Q and other New York Stories

For those non-New Yorkers, the Q is the just-opened Second Avenue subway. Construction of same has been going on seemingly forever, wrecking businesses along the avenue, adding to traffic congestion in the area and generally driving everyone mad.

The three-stop  new line opened New Year’s Day; as I was going to a party ‘up the line’ I took it. Talk about small worlds: I got off at my stop and ran into people I know. While we chatted we took the very long escalator to the top and ‘ran into’ my (non-New Yorker) older daughter and her significant other coming down the opposite escalator. The Q is what the rest of our ancient subway should look like–clean, shiny, laden with interesting art and pretty nice all around. Sadly, two days later when I took the Q again, soil was beginning to build up although it has a long way to go to match the rest!

The second Q trip took me to the Museum of Art and Design, a truly great venue that doesn’t get enough visitors. I’d planned to go to the  current show’s opening reception but got stuck in traffic so this was my exposure to the current exhibition devoted to the work of five artists.

A work from Crochet Coral Seas

Crochet Coral Seas: Toxic Reef is made up of crocheted yarn combined with plastic trash from the ocean to point up the stress living reefs undergo due to global warming. The exhibit, the work of sisters Margaret and Christine Wertheim as well as other crafters, is gorgeous, colorful and uplifting as well as upsetting when you think of all the junk in our waters. Another work on view is Forbidden Fruit by Chris Antemann who works in Meissen porcelain–I don’t usually think of porcelain as sexy and

Not your average porcelain teacup

lascivious but here it is. Both shows close pretty soon so get to MAD if they interest you. While there, drop into what is absolutely the most wonderful museum gift shop in the city– while very little could be characterized as inexpensive, everything is stunning.


On Saturday, during our biggest snowfall  this winter so far, there was a sign- making workshop for the upcoming Women’s March Saturday, January 21 from 11-4. It’s going to be a zoo but it’s a once in a lifetime (let’s hope) thing. There will be similar marches in DC, others US cities and many in other parts of the world; this is the link if you want to sign up and take part:

Not your average porcelain teacup


Were you marching and afterwards could make your way back to my home, I might serve you:

WHITE BEAN SOUP WITH SAUSAGE AND COLLARDS (this amount feeds 6; just double for 12)


1 package frozen bulk sausage, thawed

1 medium onion, chopped

2 packages frozen chopped collard greens (or substitute frozen chopped spinach or kale)—do not thaw

2 cans cannelloni  beans, drained, rinsed and slightly mashed

Salt and pepper

1 Tbls. red wine vinegar

Cook sausage and onion in a large pan over medium heat until sausage is all cooked through to brown and crumbled into bits.  Try not to let bottom of pan burn.

Add collard greens or spinach, beans and 4 cups water, season with salt and pepper. (About 1 Tbls. salt –add, taste and add more depending). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until soup thickens a little, about 8 minutes. Stir in the red wine vinegar.


Serve with crusty bread and a salad. Drink to getting through the next four years.


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Verona: Cut the Capulets, Cue the Culture

Please click above to go to the article on my October trip to Verona, (Venice, second part of the trip, will come later), published 12/09/16 on Go Nomad.

Now for  an accompanying recipe. You didn’t think I’d be nutty enough to give you a recipe for donkey as in the article did you?  These meatballs are easy and can feed a crowd as part of a buffet or a small group as dinner.


Lamb Meatballs with Spicy Tomato Sauce

for meatballs:

1 onion, peeled and chopped very small

1/4 c heavy cream

2 egg yolks (recipe says extra large but use what you have)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon cumin

pinch red pepper flakes

pinch cayenne pepper (if not around, use a good grind of regular pepper)

2 lbs ground lamb (or the pork, veal, beef mix you can buy to make  meatloaf)

Kosher salt, more freshly ground black pepper

1 c bread crumbs

1/4 c chopped parsley

Heat broiler. In bowl mix onion, cream, egg yolks, cinnamon, cumin, red pepper flakes,  and cayenne or other pepper. Add lamb. Season well with salt and pepper. Add bread crumbs and parsley and combine well. Make meat into balls just a little bit bigger than golfballs.

Grease baking pan with olive oil and put meatballs on it, spacing evenly. Put in broiler and cook, turning once or twice until brown, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven.

Make sauce:

28 oz can whole tomatoes

3 Tbls olive oil

dash of rosemary (sprig of fresh; pinch of dried)

1 med onion peeled and chopped

1/4 tsp thyme

pinch cinnamon

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp white sugar

1/4 c orange juice

3 inch  strip of orange peel with white under part removed.

Chop tomatoes or use blender to chop. Put olive oil in medium saucepan, heat a minute, add rosemary, red pepper, blend.Cook another minute, then add onion, thyme, cumin, bay leaf and cook about 7 minutes. Add tomatoes, sugar, orange juice and peel. Cook about10 minutes over medium-low heat. Add salt if needed.

Pour sauce into a big baking dish (a lasagne pan works fine) that can go into oven. Put meatballs in sauce. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes until sauce bubbles and meatballs are cooked through. Serve w feta crumbled on top.  Toast meatballs and Verona in Valpolicella. Or your house plonk.





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