Every week the plants in my garden seem to grow 30% bigger. This city guy is learning a lot about plant care (and that my garden neighbors are probably going out of their way to help me out – I really shouldn’t have this much success….)
The first of the crop that I can actually use are my herbs (cilantro and parsley) Butter Lettuce and some Red Russian Kale. Again, my neighbors reminded me to start harvesting the lettuce leaves from the outside so new growth can come in.
I am amazed at the growth of my garden. In just a few weeks, the starter plants have really filled out and are racing toward the sky. I even had the opportunity to take a few lettuce leaves, chives and cilantro and add to sandwiches and guacamole. Pretty exciting start to the season.
There are about 20 other planter boxes in the garden so I have been taking the opportunity to see how everyone else is doing. The range of vegetables is fun to see. Everything from collards to tomatillos, sunflowers to strawberries. The garden community also decided to put in a raspberry bush, peach tree and grape vines for everyone to share.
In the city that never sleeps, there is a 200 acres oasis that sits right at the top of Manhattan: Inwood Hill Park.
Space comes at a premium in New York; we all know this to be true. Large outdoor park spaces such as Van Cortlandt, Central, Prospect, Latourette and Kissena are weekend havens for the millions of residents who live across the five boroughs.
In addition to public parks, there are community gardens interspersed in neighborhoods around the city. These gardens will generally have time scheduled for the general public but they also contain planter boxes for individual use.
You look up and your eye follows the length of the train bridge overhead. Above you, passing on those tracks are Metro-North trains taking passengers up to White Plains, along the Hudson and over to Connecticut.
Your lower your gaze and it front of you is a long path of greenery, found at the Urban Garden Center. It is a garden of eden on 116th street and Park Avenue. Surrounded by the city, you are standing amongst trees, flowers, succulents, vegetable and herb sprouts.
I think cauliflower might have replaced kale as the new ‘it’ vegetable (Nashville for example has all the cauliflower dishes you could ever hope for.) But don’t worry, kale had it’s time in the sun and in case you aren’t ready to make the switch I put together a kale salad for you below.
The kale in this dish is lightly cooked so it retains a little bite and is complimented with the slightly sweet shallots. You can pick up some duck eggs at the Union Square farmers market. They have a rich yolk which is the perfect compliment to the salad and brings the whole dish together.
No surprises here but New Yorker’s talk about food a lot…..like a lot a lot. Where to get the best sandwich, why we are refusing to eat carbs, where there is a new gelato spot that imports their milk from real Italian Tuscan cows. The Tuscan cow thing peaked your interest, right?
I was eating a banh mi sandwich and wanted to do a version that used all the flavors of the fresh veggies and cilantro. I decided to use Mahi-Mahi and in place of the baguette picked out some butter lettuce leaves. The result is a dish that would be perfect for a NYC rooftop bbq (if that is permitted) or get your cast iron skillet.
Cold Spring is a town of about 2,000 located right on the Hudson River and a 70 minute train ride from Manhattan. It is no secret to people in the Hudson Valley and NYC but if you haven’t made the time to visit, be sure to schedule a 3/4 day visit in the immediate future.
Did you know the house where Edgar Allan Poe lived and worked for the last three years of his life is in the Bronx? Well, believe it and get ready to hop on the D or 4 train up to Kingsbridge Road.
Ask for a restaurant recommendation in New York and get ready to start Google mapping locations. People in the city love to tell you their favorite haunts from brunch to borough for specific cultural dishes. They will tell you what to order, what to expect and what time to go. It’s quite impressive. My trip down south had many similarities to this NYC approach.