Saturday, May 24, 2014

New York


We spent a quick five days in New York for my brother-in-law's graduation. It was my first trip, and despite my deep desire to do so, I didn't do any research before we went. I wanted to just enjoy our time with family and experience Zach's New York. I usually do a ton of research on restaurants, but I left it all in Zach's hands this time. We had the best time. Seriously, THE.BEST.TIME!

Friday, May 23, 2014

TGIF


We are back from a whirlwind trip to New York for my brother-in-law's graduation. I'm happy to be home and back with the girls, but I sure wouldn't mind being able to head to this little gem after work today.

My brother-in-law brought us to so many cute bars with amazing cocktails, but this one was my favorite. I drank New York Sours, and I honestly can't really tell you what was in it, but it was divine. The perfect balance of flavors made even more pleasant by a table in front of the window watching the world go by (or in our case, the dogs of New York).

Friday, May 16, 2014

San Isidro Labrador Feast Day: Blessing of the River and Hope for the Future


May 15 is the feast day of San Isidro, the patron saint of farmers. Yesterday, in Agua Fría, a small town just down the road from Santa Fe, we joined friends as the community celebrated this feast day and performed a blessing of the Santa Fe River.

We gathered in front of the old church for vespers, and then we were each given handfuls of flowers to carry on the procession. We walked down the middle of the street singing the Alabado de San Isidro (processional hymn) behind a large banner of San Isidro. The priest blessed the River, and because there was no water flowing, someone filled buckets from upstream to pour into the river bed. We threw flowers into the channel as we sang.


I had been looking forward to the blessing, but I was surprised by how moving it was. I was toward the front of the procession, and it was such a beautiful experience to arrive at the river and turn around and see the street filled with community members playing guitars, singing and carrying flowers. I was thankful to feel so welcomed in this tradition.

The natural springs have dried up and the River no longer runs regularly through this small community although it once supported a pueblo with more than 500 rooms, a bosqué with cottonwoods and small ponds and irrigated fields of corn, alfalfa and wheat fed by a system of acequias. Water is a precious resource in New Mexico, and its presence has significant cultural, social and economic impact on human activity and settlements. The residents of Agua Fría settled here, like all settlements in the arid Southwest, because of the water - auga del vida, the lifeblood of the community. 

I have had the joy of working closely with the people of Agua Fría to restore the River in this community. My favorite part of my job is working with people, working for people to implement projects that will benefit the community, building consensus, fostering connections, building relationships. The people of Agua Fría are a strong people who have endured the theft of their water by the utility company and threats from the encroaching city. I have found them to be sharp and discerning the way downstream users need to be. They are dedicated to their community's history and traditions. Their families have lived here for generations. They are deeply connected to their land. They have a generosity of spirit that is infectious. They are an inspiring people.

The Santa Fe River has been impounded in the upper watershed for decades to use as drinking water. I can't even tell you how sad it makes me to know that most people in Santa Fe don't know where their drinking water comes from. Most people in the City don't even know that we have a Santa Fe River. Santa Fe has turned its back on the River, a resource that allowed humans to settle here in the first place. We've lost so much by abandoning our River. It has become a dry arroyo, a dumping ground, a flood control system. 

Luckily this is changing. The city, county, non-profits and dedicated community groups are working hard to restore the river. The City passed a Living River ordinance to allow up to 1,000 acre feet of water per year to flow through the River for the sole purpose of fostering a Living River. Restoration work has been successfully funded through bonds approved by voters. The tide is shifting. 

One of my dreams for Santa Fe is to see the River restored. Trash removed from the eroded, incised channel. A meandering river bed. A healthy riparian environment. A greenway of parks and trails. Water flowing at least part of the year. It will never have the significant agricultural role that it once did, but reviving its role as a a focal point of the community will be a great achievement and asset for Santa Fe.

Looking upstream from San Ysidro Crossing.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Spring Brunch Menu


I made this menu for Easter/Elsa's birthday brunch. She got to start the day with some bacon grease on her food so she was a happy camper.

happy puppy

Spring Brunch Menu

Blackberry Lavender Scones from Joy the Baker



Bacon

(Virgin) Strawberry Rhubarb Sangria

Lime Tart with Fresh Berries and Gingersnap Crust

...

I liked the scones, but the lavender was too subtle and I could barely taste it. I also thought the scones were a little dry, like scones usually are, and I prefer scones with heavy cream like these and these.

The strawberry rhubarb sangria was fun to sip on while getting everything ready. I couldn't find fresh rhubarb in the store yet so I tried frozen, and it turned out really good. I made this sangria virgin because we were planning to hike after brunch, but you could easily add white wine and booze it up.

I wanted to make a citrus tart for dessert but wanted something a little different than our normal lemon tart. I liked the lime with the ginger crust, and the fruit on top was a nice addition. I made a little glaze with some jam and brushed it over the fruit so it wouldn't dry out.

Virgin Strawberry Rhubarb Sangria 
Adapted from here

1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
8 ounces frozen rhubarb (or fresh if you can get it)
2 oranges
1/2 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered
Sparkling water, orange flavored

In a small pot, combine sugar and water and bring to a rapid boil. Add rhubarb and reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes smashing rhubarb with the back of a wooden spoon. Strain and cool for at least 30 minutes.

Cut each orange in half. Juice three of the halves and thinly slice the fourth half.  In a pitcher combine orange juice, sliced oranges, strawberries, and rhubarb syrup. Add the rhubarb syrup slowly and taste. I didn't use all of mine because I don't like very sweet drinks.

Pour into glasses and top with orange flavored sparkling water.

Serves 2-4.

Lime Tart with Fresh Berries and Gingersnap Crust
Adapted from here and crust from here

Crust:
8 ounces gingersnap cookies (about 32 cookies), coarsely broken
3/4 stick salted butter, melted

Lime Curd:
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

Topping:
Fresh berries of your choice such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries or strawberries. (The raspberries are particularly good with the lime curd!)
1 Tablespoon berry jam (I used raspberry because that's what we have.)

For crust: Preheat oven to 325°F. Finely grind gingersnap cookies in processor (yielding 1 1/2 to 1 2/3 cups). Add melted butter and process until moistened. Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter tart pan. Bake until crust is set and firm, approximately 15 minutes.

For curd: Whisk eggs, egg yolks, and sugar in bowl of a double boiler. Whisk in lime juice. Set bowl over saucepan of gently simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk constantly until curd thickens and instant-read thermometer inserted into curd registers 178°F to 180°F, about 6 minutes. Add butter to warm curd; let stand 1 minute, then whisk until blended and smooth. Refrigerate or chill in an ice bath until cool, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Pour curd into prepared crust, smoothing out the top with a spatula. Refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.

Decorate top of tart with berries. Place jam in glass bowl and microwave until melted, about 15 seconds. Whisk with a fork until thin and syrupy. Add a teaspoon of water if it is too thick. Brush the glaze over the fruit on top of the tart.

Keep refrigerated.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

72 Hours in Santa Fe, NM {Staycation}


We recently spent three indulgent days staycationing while my mom was visiting. This was a good excuse to try some things we've been wanting to do and to rediscover some of our enchantment with New Mexico. New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment, but people always joke that once you move here it becomes the Land of Entrapment. My friend has launched a campaign to re-ignite her enchantment, and this weekend we brought the campaign chez MeghAndrew too.

As you would probably suspect, this Santa Fe weekend is heavy on eating and drinking. We don't normally indulge this much, but it was so fun to just be tourists for three days. Whenever I need to go downtown for a meeting, my heart often fills with jealousy for all of the strolling tourists who are trying to decide where to stop for lunch at 2:00 pm on a Tuesday. This time, I was one of them!

This is an incredibly long recap of the staycation weekend, but it occurs to me that I've never really written much about our favorite Santa Fe restaurants. We visited many of them this weekend so they are included here.
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