Thursday, July 21

The art of gathering

Lately, Jill and I have been ravishing in the beauty that is Kinfolk magazine. Incase you haven't yet discovered this magazine, you can see all that it is, on the Kinfolk website!
Pages 138-139 of the Kinfolk magazine; beautiful!
Kinfolk shares similar values as Jill and I, and all of our dear friends, in the importance of small gatherings. I have nothing more to add at this point, because instead of reading me talk about it, I do hope that you just check it out yourself!

We hope you love these pages as much as we do.

Friday, July 15

Stoop kids

While I tend talk very highly of the garden unit (as there are many things to speak highly of), there also exists some limitations. For instance, while the alternative apartments in our building have balconies and sky view windows, we are balcony free and look out to the street. However, if you look at our unique situation from a slightly different angle, it becomes clear that such "limitations" are not limitations at all, but rather have lent us to situations that are great reward. For instance, our street view windows allow us to look out to lovely flowers and plants landscaped along our building. We can often see as friends and roommates approach, and thus can greet them with great joy! Similarly, our lack of balcony has lent us to another great reward; the discovery of our front stoop.

Lately, myself and the other current garden unit residents, Jill, Bridget and Alex, have been spending much time on the front stoop outside of our humble abode. Decorated with potted plants that we have added, the stoop has become our summer hangout.

Over the past couple of days, I have filled some of my free time reading Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac (for the third or fourth time, might I add!). In it, Leopold beautifully records his observations of the patterns of nature, that he observes from his farm in Wisconsin. Through many years of observing, Leopold and his family comes to expect the bloom of certain wild flowers and the arrival of various birds and animals throughout the year. As I read through the months of his record, I began again, to feel limited by my urban home. Though I love the city so much, I was feeling a bit sad that I was so removed from the natural cycles of nature.
As I sat on the stoop this afternoon, however, I realized how silly my longing for natural cycles were. While sitting on the stoop, I had several conversations with walker-bys, none of which I knew personally; and all of which would not have happened if I were in the country or even perched on a second story balcony. Then, as I sat longer, I watched as a pair of friends walked by. I realized that I see them every day, from the stoop, walking and talking together just as they had for the past who-knows-how-long. Alex came home and left, my neighbor Jordan came and left, a passerby asked me for directions. All the while, I sat on the stoop, enjoying the nice weather and the company of the cycles surrounding me!

It seems that the cycles of life, that Leopold writes about, exist all around us. How silly of me to be blind to them. I hope that you too have not been blinded by the hustle bustle of the city, to dismiss the beauty that exists within the urban cycles.

Thank goodness for stoops!

Tuesday, July 5

Happy National Culinary Month!

Who knew! My dear friend Alex just informed me that it is National Culinary Month, and what better way to celebrate than by cooking?! Alex also just shared with me a wonderful resource for historic recipes, that is filed at the Milwaukee Public Library. Stored in an online database, you can search and prepare many different recipes that are unique to the different cultures of Milwaukee from over the last 50 years. A neat compilation of recipes, I am quite excited to explore the database more, over the next month.
A picture from last year, with my dear friend Glynnis, 
at Strawberry Festival in Cedarburg
Going with strawberry season, which is quickly coming to a close, I have selected a few strawberry recipes that I hope to try within the near future: 
Recipes courtesy of Milwaukee Public LIbrary;
Click the photos to jump to the site! 
Happy National Culinary Month!

Monday, July 4

Happy Independence day (with mulberries)!

It has been a while since I last wrote about food and it is about time to share some tasty summer recipes! Lately, we have been enjoying our homemade lemonade, especially since it has been quite hot here in Milwaukee. Yesterday it was up to 96 degrees! Besides lemonade, we have been enjoying plenty of desserts, including frozen lemonade, homemade ice cream, and loads of fruit pies and cobblers!
fresh from the tree!
Since through the winter we survived primarily on canned fruits and citrus, fresh fruit and berries are quite a treat, to say the least. Last weekend, we enjoyed strawberry season with fresh strawberry pie. The strawberries were harvested by our dear friend Alicia, and prepared into a tasty pie by Jill, Alicia and myself. Then, today, Jill and I, and several friends that are visiting for the holiday weekend, went down to the garden where the mulberries are in full abundance. It is a beautiful sight, to say the least!
Strawberry Pie
1/2 cup of flour
1/3 cup of honey
3 cups of fresh strawberries

1. Prepare a pie crust, bake it empty and let it cool. Meanwhile, mix together all of the ingredients for the filling and pour into baked crust. Sprinkle with homemade granola or a crumble of sorts, which could be made out of sugar, butter and cinnamon!

2. Bake for about 40 minutes at 400 degrees. Share with your friends!
Peach-mulberry Cobbler
4 fresh peaches (mine are straight from Georgia!)
2 cups of fresh mulberries (right from the tree!)
2 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of flour
A sprinkle of cinnamon
Half and half

1. Slice the the peaches into thin wedges (about 10 wedges per peach) and line them in a casserole dish, and create one layer. Lay down a layer of mulberries and another layer of peaches and another of mulberries until all of the fruit is in the pan.

2. In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients, adding just a smidgen of butter and a splash of half and half. Pour over the fruit evenly. Top with unbaked cookie dough (we used this sugar cookie recipe from last year, and blended in mulberries for some lovely colors!). Bake at 400 degrees until the fruit filling is bubbly and the cookies are baked.

Happy eating and happy fourth of July weekend!