Sunday, September 23

Lifestyle: Living in the Catskills

In an age where we as a society are shunning all things natural for all things touchscreen it was refreshing to read this NYTimes Home & Garden article on Jared Handelsman and Portia Munson, a couple of artists building, (sometimes growing) their home into the land of their 83 acre plot in the Catskills. I'm supremely jealous of their treehouse turned camera-obscura and their bathroom covered in reclaimed birch bark not to mention the beautiful blue and yellow tiles covering their kitchen. Below are some of the images of their home and land, you can click here for the full article and set of images!

Saturday, September 22

Newspaper Clip of the Week: The Writing Revolution

So this isn't usually something that I would talk about on the Bamboo & Fern blog, but as many of you are parents I thought you might be interested. As someone who hasn't always had the greatest confidence in this government's educational system, particularly in the english department, it is a relief to see that someone is trying a new formula. Below is an excerpt of the story of how New Dorp High School was able to turn itself around. If you'd like to read the article in it's entirety click here!

"For years, nothing seemed capable of turning around New Dorp High School’s dismal performance—not firing bad teachers, not flashy education technology, not after-school programs. So, faced with closure, the school’s principal went all-in on a very specific curriculum reform, placing an overwhelming focus on teaching the basics of analytic writing, every day, in virtually every class. What followed was an extraordinary blossoming of student potential, across nearly every subject—one that has made New Dorp a model for educational reform."

Friday, September 21

Lifestyle: Movie to see this week

Today the film Diana Vreeland: The Eye has to Travel has been released in NY and LA. If you are lucky enough to be in the area do try and see this vibrant documentary on the woman who shaped fashion as we know it today.

Here are some of my favorite Diana Vreeland quotes

"The only real elegance is in the mind;
If you've got that, the rest really comes from it"

"The best thing about London is Paris"

"Never fear being vulgar, just boring"

"I'm a great believer in vulgarity - if it's got vitality.  A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika.  We all need a splash of bad taste - it's hearty it's healthy, it's physical.  I think we could use more of it.  NO taste is what I'm against"

Thursday, September 20

Things to Do

We are so lucky to live as close as we do to the Watchung Reservation, this weekend take your dogs, kids or a book and hike the trails in the Deserted Village! It's an amazing time of year to watch nature start to change drastically as it prepares for the fall. Last weekend the pup and I took a walk near the Trailside Nature Center, here are some pics that I took along the way!

After cooling off in the stream we had to dry off in the sun!

Wednesday, September 19

Music: Rainy Day Playlist

As yesterday was a very rainy day, I was inspired to create a playlist that went along with the wet and windy weather. I've posted the playlist on youtube for you guys to take a listen to and one of the videos from it below so you can get an idea of what's on the list, to hear the whole playlist click here!

Tuesday, September 18

Food: Greek Burger

It's September again and apart from back to school, this time of year means only one thing to my family: The Greek Store in Kenilworth is open again! After a month long (painstakingly long for it's customers) vacation The Greek Store opens it's doors again! I thought that we would celebrate with a totally greek dinner this past weekend. I found this great recipe off, my go to recipe book. It's simple, fresh and very greek. Try it out for yourself!

Here's what you need:

  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/3 pounds ground lamb
  • 4 hamburger buns or small ciabatta rolls
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1 1/3 cups crumbled feta cheese
  • 4 1/4-inch-thick red onion slices
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

  • Here's what you need to do:

    Mix first 4 ingredients and 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in medium bowl; mix in lamb. Shape into four 3/4-inch-thick patties. Cook patties in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 4 minutes per side for medium.
    Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Broil buns until golden, about 2 minutes. Top each bun bottom with burger. Toss spinach, feta, onion, vinegar, and 11/2 tablespoons oil in bowl. Place salad atop burgers. Cover with bun tops, pressing firmly to compact.

    Monday, September 17

    What's in Now: Bison Greeting Cards!

    This past July the buyers at Christoffers were able to attend the Atlanta Gift Show where vendors, artists and business owners from all over shared their products and ideas. One of the great finds were the paper goods made by Bison Bookbinding & Letterpress. And the fact that all of these beautiful products were made in an earth conscious way makes them even better!

    Sunday, September 16

    Weekend Inspiration

    Found this while on the net the other day and I thought that I'd share it with you folks, hope you enjoy it as much as do!

    Saturday, September 15

    Things to Do This Weekend

    Looking for something different and family friendly to do this weekend? Try heading out to the Dekalb Markets in Brooklyn this Sunday! There's great food, shopping and a community like no other, full of artists, musicians and much more!

    Friday, September 14

    Happy Friday!

    Happy Friday everyone! So glad for the weekend to start, I plan to spend as much time as possible outside. On Sunday I'll be experiencing something new -a Yankee Game! Not much of a baseball fan, but I expect it to be lots of fun, how can it not when you're outside and surrounded by your friends. Here's a song that's been on repeat at my house this week, hope you enjoy!

    Thursday, September 13

    Food: Baked Fontina

    This summer I vowed to explore all those cookbooks that have been collecting dust on my shelf. It's an addiction of mine that I completely admit to. No matter how many months (err years...) go by without me trying one of them out, it inevitably grows larger each year. So this season I put a stop to such nonsense and have been doing quite well! This weekend I tried a recipe for Baked Fontina from the Barefoot Contessa's How Easy Is That? cookbook. I've had this book for two years now and am only just now finding out just how easy her recipes really are. This took all of about seven minutes to mince, slice and cube the four main ingredients, take a look at my results below!

    I was lucky enough to have all the herbs required in my garden, saving me a few bucks!

    After cubing the cheese put it in an oven safe dish (I used an iron skillet) and sprinkle the cheese with the herb garlic mix.

    And a few minutes later it was done! This is a great recipe to use if hosting a party, little effort on your part and because of how rich it is, it goes a long way!

    1 1/2 pounds Italian Fontina Val d’Aosta cheese, rind removed and 1-inch-diced
    1/4 cup good olive oil
    6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
    1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
    1 teaspoon kosher salt (I used half and was thankful!)
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 crusty French baguette

    1. Preheat the broiler and position the oven rack 5 inches from the heat.

    2. Distribute the cubes of Fontina evenly in a 12-inch cast-iron pan. Drizzle on the olive oil. Combine the garlic, thyme, and rosemary and sprinkle it over the cheese and olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and place the pan under the broiler for 6 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling and starts to brown.

    3. Serve the baked Fontina family-style right out of the oven in the cast-iron pan with crusty chunks of bread for everyone to dip.

    Wednesday, September 12

    What's in Now: Cheese Lovers Spread!

    Cheese lovers rejoice! Last month Christoffers received a shipment of gorgeous cheese boards. The best part? They're echo friendly! The company that makes these fabulous finds is Europe2You, they spend their time traveling to sites around Europe that are about to be demolished, claiming anything that they can.

    We also have a great selection of books including this Cheesemonger's Kitchen: Celebrating Cheese in 90 Recipes, below are some pics from inside!

    This is another great product that we just got in, Cheese Papers, sounds odd I know, but how many times after a party have you had to get out the cling wrap for that Brie you didn't finish? This paper unlike the cellophane is made to keep your cheese fresher, longer. It's also not a bad way to wrap cheese you're bringing as a gift! They even come with To and From stickers!

    Tuesday, September 11

    Ideas For The Home: Kitchen

    Look at this yacht inspired kitchen that I found on the House Beautiful website today! Designer Gary McBournie got inspired by the 1920's, bringing the wooden grills on the cabinets back in this Palm Spring home! I especially love the high vaulted ceilings with the driftwood look, it's really different from anything I've seen!

    Monday, September 10

    Product of the Week

    This fall Christoffers has brought in a whole new selection of bags and mens accessories from the Canadian Brand Herschel Supply Co. It's still a young company, and is just beginning to integrate itself into the US. Being a small company ourselves, this is just the sort of company that we love to associate with! Along with men's wallets we carry an array of different backpacks! Below are pictures of just some of the choices! You can also click here to read GQ interview with Lyndon & Jamie Cormack, founders of HSC.

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