Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Free Margaritas" for Single Females in Bathing Suits (Must have ID)

     There's nothing like climbing (a few) mountains to get your appetite revved up. I am talking about food here people! What did you think I was talking about? Get your heads out of the gutter! What happens in the tent stays in the tent. 
     Picture this: a nice drive to Alder Lake in the Catskills for some wilderness camping. (That means no bathroom, which means the most serene number two situation you can dream of. Think cool breeze in your tuchus.) We found our campsite; the only site left which had totally been trashed by a bunch of dirtbags. We are talking extreme filth. Clean up time was worth our very hidden campsite. 
     Campsite: The Big Lebowski. Each time we walked with a carload of supplies by our neighbor he gave us a friendly wave. He was living full time on his campsite which was pimped out with a dartboard and surrounded by tiki torches. I love saying hi to people. I have zero shyness about waving to everyone and even though most people in New York are horrified by my friendliness and don't wave back; I am never discouraged.
      Our neighbor was my kind of man: old, hairy and crazy. He was basically the Dude from Big Lebowski, only skinnier and long bearded. Very dude-like. He offered us his wheel barrow. I still think Markus should have taken him up on his offer. I really wanted to be his friend and you will see why. 
     Campsite The Hangover. We walked by the ultimate party campsite on our way to collect water from the natural spring. Let's put it this way: beer funnels and toilet paper everywhere.
     A little lunchy time. Roasted eggplant dip with a hard boiled egg on a potato roll. A true delight with a cold Negro Modelo. Let's call this the culinary height of our camping. It was all down the mountain in terms of food from here.
A little relaxation lakeside and a walk downstream. Great day. 
     Campsite Eastern Promises. Brighten Beach was also camping on Alder Lake, with no shirts on and huge handsome German Shepherds. On a stroll around the lake before dinner; the Eastern Promises crew was screaming profanities across the lake at The Dude, trying to get him turn his radio down. Eastern Promises, I recall your jerks where chainsawing firewood all afternoon. Who does that? And what is wrong with Guns n' Roses' November Rain? I'd rather hear music than your dumb fat voices cursing like animals. We were looking forward to a nice hike up and away from all the riff raff.

 Dinner that night was good. Thanks Trader Joe's for the surprisingly decent boil bag Indian Food. Markus was very happy eating his baby poop. I think he even ate my baby poop. That sounds weird.
     We watched Fantastic Mr. Fox on the tiny iphone screen and thats how our campsite got its name. Best line in that movie and in any movie: "I can't help it, I'm a wild animal." Love it!
    Sunday was hike the crap out of the mountain day. We collected some water and met some camper's from Camp Sideways (I could smell the Pinot Noir on their breath), who told us that there was a BEAR! near the spring trying to get at the hanging food bag that belonged to the camper's who were staying in the lean-to. Let's call their campsite The Edge
     I am deathly afraid of bears ever since I watched The Devil Bear Scoopy Doo episode as a young child. I kept calm and hiked. 
     Along the way we actually met The Edge hikers who started bragging about the bear as if its cool to have a bear stalking and killing you in the middle of the night. Not for me, thanks.
     A girl described him as, "so cute, splashing in the spring." 
     "Nice to know you guys!"
     They didn't have a chance.
     The 7 mile hike up with 30lb packs on our back was grueling! But well worth. At the top of the mountain was a fire tower, where you can see 360 degrees around the entire mountain range. New York is hell of a green state. 
     The evening festivities were cocktails and appetizers at 5pm at the fire tower then dinner reservations at a new Thai place at 7pm. Yes, whiskey flask, cheese and crackers. No complaints out of either of us. One of those most romantic dates I've been on yet. 
     Thai is so hit or miss in general. It really was the most unrewarding dinner I ever ate after the longest hike up a mountain ever! Your Pad Thai, Trader Joe's, should be discontinued.
     That night we camped in a random spot  we chose in the woods below 3500 feet elevation. Up past that you can't camp or build fires. We figured out why: everything was so dry up there; it was a breeze to light a campfire, while down the mountain in our lakeside camp was not as easy. Hence the fire tower. 
     We found a nice spot out of earshot of the another set of lean-to campers. Campsite My Cousin Vinny: two guidos and one guidette. Unfriendly. Most likely from Howard Beach, Queens. They were very neat and the next morning the lady looked like she was hiking out of the beauty parlor. Hair perfect. Nails done. By then I looked like a total hag. My hair was so greasy I think it was flammable, especially at that elevation.
    That night we watched The Edge, a movie about camper's stranded in the Alaskan Wilderness who are being stalked by a man eating bear. Not a great idea for someone who is such a wimp when it comes to bears or any suspense thriller. 
    That night our mountain campsite got its name: Campsite Alvin and the Chipmunks (are douche bags) because we undoubtedly camped on top of a chipmunk rave party. All night they were scurrying around our tent all high on something. And after watching that scary movie they sounded much bigger than chipmunks and I wish I wore diapers that night because I could not step foot out of that tent to pee even though Markus reassured me whatever out there was tiny. A combination of fear and tree roots up my butt, (even though I spread a foundation of moss under our tent), made for a restless night.
    Next morning we hiked back down the mountain and to camp Fantastic Mr. Fox again. On the way I met a frog. He was the laziest, fattest, wartiest, cutest thing I have ever seen. 
    By the end of the hike, we were eating nuts and dried berries nothing worth mentioning, but this is when the camping got really funny.
    It was a hot Memorial Day and there were a lot of young lakeside bunnies in bikinis enjoying their day off. The dude wanted some company so he posted a classified ad outside of his campsite that said:
"Room and Board for Single Females. Free Lobster if you make me smile." Yes! The Dude. I was starving and I know I could make the dude smile, but when I mentioned to Markus I wanted to go he silently shook his head in disapproval most likely for fear of my life. And he loves lobster so it says something that he didn't pimp me out to the Dude for some free lobster (even though I was ready to pimp myself out.)       
    The Dude, knowing that the bunnies might not pass his campsite, also wrote an enticing message on his van in the parking lot that read: "'Free Margaritas' for Single Females in Bathing Suites. Must have ID." He mispelled suits and what does the "free margaritas" in quotation marks suggest? I so needed to be the Dude's friend. It would have been a perfect time to borrow his wheel barrow, too. Now that sounds creepy. I am definitely one to get myself into bizarre and ridiculous situations, but even I was not ready to walk into that campsite. I would have been asking for whatever was coming.
    On our final trip to the car, we stumbled upon the My Cousin Vinny campers. They were changing in the parking lot car side. Wise thing to do. As we are walking toward our car, one of the guys bent over right in sight of us and pulled down his pants and bear assed us. Fat and hairy and beary! Wow! I never in my life thought I would see that from that angle, ever! It was definitely not the view I was expecting to get when Markus asked me to camp with him on Alder Lake, thats for sure. I will sure never forget it, though.
   Five hour car ride home in holiday traffic plus a 5 Leaves dinner equals an awesome end to an awesome camping trip.

Roasted Eggplant Dip
1 egg plant cubed
2 shallots chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic whole
tomato paste
ground cumin
balsamic vinegar
cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
olive oil

    In a 400 degree oven roast the eggplant with the shallots, coated in olive oil and salt and pepper until soft. About 5 minutes before they are done, add the garlic cloves. In a food processor blend the roasted eggplant with the rest of the ingredients to taste so that its a sweet and sour balance between the vinegar and the honey. Enjoy with bread.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Why I love you ...

... because you made me born.

And, on Rocco day you said this on Facebook:

"I was thinking about getting an Apple computer but once I heard that they are made in a labor camp with 20,000 guards I decided to tell Steve Jobs who first claimed that he did not know and then said that it was a nice factory to fuck off and keeps his ishit made by slaves. Some workers' paradise. They are in bed with capitalist PIGS! Screw them all."

And you commented:

"Do not buy Apple until they treat workers right. And as for the PRC what can one say they have no respect for humanity."

I am reiterating: "iShit!"

I heart you YD!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I see a lot of horns!

I'm in Texas. They are not Italian horns. So while I'm here stuffing my face with beef, be offended and enjoy the perverted and demented blog called Island Insania. It's definitely not for kids or the faint of heart but it's really funny.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Can you recommend places to eat, stay, shopping, things to do and places to go see music? Thanks!

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Bitter Truth About Canning

     Fear. We evolved with this emotion for survival purposes but it holds us back and can make life boring. Fear of failure (which is the same as fear of success, think about it), fear of rejection, fear of being alone, fear of intimacy, fear of commitment, fear of death and the worst fear of all: FEAR OF CANNING.
     I admit I was very very afraid. Like a little girl with goosebumps sticking her big toe into the frigid waters of a swimming pool. So cold, but I'm going to try. I bought books, but when I read about botulism and air bubbles, I had to put it down. Another poolside day for me. Canning seemed like a lot of steps, a lot of hassle, a lot of a lot. And the fear of death by jam or worse killing others, was a turn off.
When Maura invited me over for a Canning Party that was sponsored by Ball, I had a fear of commitment spawned by the overall fear of canning. Its a vicious cycle that must stop. The invitation said, "bring jars, food, knives, cutting board." There would be some major chopping going on. And canning.
     Maura is a lady with no fears and because of that does a lot of cool stuff. She is the friend to whom you find yourself saying, "you are doing what? Really?! Well how in the world did you work that out?" And she flashes that gorgeous smile and says something really simple like, "I just asked," with a shrug of her shoulders. She somehow managed to get Ball to send her all this Ball shwag, (repeat: Ball shwag) including one of those gigantic expensive canning pots.
I got there a little late and I pride myself on punctuality. Maybe I was busy or maybe I was delaying the inevitable: facing my worst fear.
    When Maura answered the door in her berry stained apron and welcomed me into her awesome garden apartment in Brooklyn Heights (would you like some botulism, jam Maura?) I was all, "Here's some wine. I'm just observing."
An observer who asked a lot of annoying questions and took a lot of annoying pictures.
    When I got there they had just gotten started. A lot was going on, but it wasn't scary at all. A few familiar faces and lovely new people to chat with and it was more about socializing than canning. I can get into this. Just my style. Lots of fun and lots of food.
Ann Apparu, chef of the 18th Restaurant, returned with her hands stained black from a morning of mulberry picking. What's a mulberry? Ever walk down a city street and see those berries on the ground that stain the cement? You can eat those. We had a giant mulberry tree in the yard that I could pick from on top of the tree house that Rocco built for us. They are the size and texture of raspberries but not as sweet with a deeper flavor that is very distinct.
Alex made a salted lemon preserve with bay leaf and cinnamon and the girls made a hot jalapeno plum marmalade and pickles.
I was wishing I had brought over the rhubarb that was slowly becoming more and more limp as the days passed.
Like a good little teacher Maura went step by step through the gigantic canning presentation manual Ball sent. She is elegantly using the stem of a lily as a pointer. She was so professional about the whole thing and I was so surprised to learn it was her first time canning, too!

Well we won't know if the preserves will kill anyone for a while, so there is time to mark my fears as having been warranted, but I did leave with a new confidence in canning. It was fun and really easy. To watch that is. Thats the bitter truth about canning. Nothing to fear.
   I felt so bold that the next day I opened my fridge and said, "rhubard, I'm not gonna let you die evening if by canning you, you might kill me!" and I made a too sweet chutney that would be perfect for some roasted rosemary lamb chops. When I went to can I didn't have a big enough pot. How convenient. But I did march over to the parental units and scored a huge pot, which will be perfect for the even more rhubarb we are getting in this week's share. I'm gonna jam this week! Pineapple Rhubarb Jam to be exact. Breathe. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rocco rant: "Bacon marmalade; it's enough to give me suicidal ideations."

I had to repost Rocco's comment from the most recent post in which I delighted in Bacon Marmalade on Pizza with an Egg:
"Pizza with bacon marmalade and with an egg! You got to be kidding me. Pizza, that most sublime of all Neapolitan foods gets it's strength from it's simplicity. Use the freshest and best ingredients and it will delight. Leave it to the Americans with their sometimes misguided sense of Yankee ingenuity to mess things up big time. There is nothing like a good margherita the question is where can I find one. So far my search has yielded all sorts of "creative" mishaps that are actually insulting. I may be from Sicily but I love Naples. Please keep it simple so this monument of culinary excellence may be fostered and preserved. Bacon marmalade; it's enough to give me suicidal ideations. As we say in NY: "enough already." 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


    Do you start your week off organized with your head on straight then somewhere it all gets thrown out the window? Every Sunday I clean my bedroom, do laundry, get everything ready for the week, then by Friday my closet looks like someone ripped everything out with a rake, I can't find anything to wear and I am lucky if I bring my trifecta with me out the door: keys, wallet, iphone.
     Not only do I feel like a disaster, I know I look like one. Monday I have mascara on, some lip gloss and cute earring, by Friday I'm lucky if I'm showered for work. 
    My eating habits take this cliff dive somewhere, too. Usually after a weekend of eating like a pig, I swear that I am going to eat better, lots of greens and grains, a glass of red wine with dinner, then the weekend comes and I let it all hang out: cocktails, fried food and dessert. And the cycle continues.
     Follow me on this journey. I started off the week neat and healthy. I went to EAT with Amy, a wholesome farm to table restaurant in Greenpoint. Try it! Its cheap and delicious and BYOB. Amy is my restaurant adventure partner. We always try new places together that we go back to, like Rye. I was feeling great and inspired

    After I got my big vegetable share I made a Local Spelt, Red Bean and Spinach Salad with Thyme (and bacon), similar to a dish I had at EAT, plus a Red and White Radish Salad with Spring Garlic and Dill from the garden.
    I was still on track when I visited  the parent's the following evening but guess what Mommy did? She made the most delicious Strawberry Shortcake with strawberries from our fruit share. MOM! And Rocco doesn't skimp on servings and I was all, "This is way to much, I can't eat all this." And I kept saying that until it was all done. One serving of Strawberry Shortcake is okay. But wait, it gets crazy.
    It was one of those weeks when my running routine just barely evened out all the very fat things I ate. Don't get all, "Come on!" You know I am not a dieter, in fact I encourage overindulgence. You only live once, but sometimes I need to check myself. I guess the one redeeming fact is that it was all local. So even if I am destroying my "figure" (what a silly thing to say) I am not killing the ecosystem.
    By Thursday it was a visit to Paulie Gee's. He has Bacon Marmalade Pizza with Egg on the menu. Get it! Pizza is not bad, but when a mistake pie ends up in front of you are heading for disaster. At this point things aren't totally out of control.
     Saturday was the Belmont Stakes. Deviled eggs and Fried Green Tomatoes. Not so bad, except when two people consume a half dozen eggs after a double egg and potatoes breakfast. Sorry, Mr. Cholesterol. Did I mention there are eggs in the batter for the tomatoes? As in the batter I used to fry the crap out of them. This is where I take off in the wrong direction and don't look back.
    I don't know how the Southerner's do it, in fact I never had a "real" fried green tomato as in one made by a Southerner, but am I right in saying they need something? Like a dip or sauce. I whipped up a funny sweet and sour sauce: ketchup, hot sauce, honey, soy sauce.
    A bike ride sounded like a good idea. To the best local Old Fashioned Ice Cream joint Eddie's Sweet Shoppe in Forest Hills. The place is a mess; its run by teenagers. The cups are piled to the ceiling and it looks like they had a sprinkles fight. It doesn't stop us from getting a Banana Royale. A Banana Split has two scoops of ice cream. Thats not enough. We needed a Banana Royale: three scoops, a pound of whipped cream, chocolate sauce, nuts, sprinkles and the cherry on top of course. Markus pointed out the "responsible" one cup servings the other patrons at the bar had enjoyed, then we returned to our double wide, double decker royale and could only shake our heads in shame, because our mouths were filled with ice cream! How we rode home is a mystery.
Sunday was (re)spaetzle time. Check out the first spaetzle success. At Prime Meats with Jules we had the most licking-the-plate-clean delicious Spaetzle with Mushrooms and Bacon. So Markus and I tried to mix it up a bit. We used the new spaetzle making tool Santa gave Markus, which is basically a potato press. It was faster than cutting each individual piece of spaetzle into the pot, but it just made giant globs of spaetzle dumplings that Markus later suggested we mold into a meatball then deep fry. Why do I like that boy? Oh, thats why.
   The addition of the mushrooms into the classic spaetzle recipe was another major success. And the little gruyere we topped it with had a nice stinky cheese flavor that we enjoyed. Next time we should stick to the old method and send the press back to the North Pole. Stupid Santa.
   The week isn't over. It comes full circle. Remember the Strawberry Shortcake? Now every time I visit my parent's house there is Strawberry Shortcake happening. Its totally crazy. I was just picking up mail and before I knew it I was doubling up on cream and berries. I felt like I had been drugged and woke up with dessert in my mouth. Heavenly dessert.
   So its a new week, a new start to get things together and eat better. It won't last, who am I fooling? The first inkling: on the way to picking up our share this week, which happened to include strawberries, Rocco got a curious call to pick up some heavy cream and lemon juice on the way home. I wonder what that is for? I am steering clear of that house ... well at least until the weekend.

*All ingredients from this post are local.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


       Thats one idea for staying cool on this (what Sicily feels like in August) Sunday. And if the Sirocco, the hot, dry and sometimes sandy wind off of Africa is blowing into the home town, you feel like you just stuck your head into an oven. The wind is said to drive Sicilians even more crazy than they already are. Example, they still cook over there in this heat. How unreasonable. And how do I know I have Sicilian ancestry? I have mushroom spaetzle plans later. Are we sure we want to turn on the oven? 

   In the meantime, I have a few ideas in case you are reasonable and want to stay cool and for reasons only you know have no air conditioning:

Live in a cave or hang out with someone who does
    The real estate people call it a "walk-in apartment," my friends call it a basement, as in, "you live in a basement!" (and then I cry) and I take it to the most primitive level and call it my cave. Call it what you want but in the summer my cave is about 15 degrees cooler than outside and even when its ninety degrees out there I don't have to turn on my A/C. Make sure you are under 6 feet tall if you move to a cave or you could end up feeling really tall. And if you like a lot of light then a cave is really not for you. The dark makes for good cool summer sleeping in. 

Watch a cold movie
     Last night we watched North Face about crazy climbers who attempted to scale an unfathomable man swallowing mountain in the Alps. There was a lot of bivouacing while nursing black frost bitten limbs and trying to stay awake in order to not freeze to death on the side of razor sharp cliffs while enduring the frigid winds of a snow storm in July. Look it up. I didn't know what a bivouac was either.

    I'm not 9 anymore and my Mom can't send me to Rob and Holly's house down the block in my Alf infant size life preserver to swim in their 4 foot over ground pool. (Why was Alf always on the telephone?) By nine years old I should have been trusted to safely swim because I totally had (and still have) a kick ass doggy paddle and I should have been over 4 feet tall at that age (and now) so instead of drowning I could just stand on tippy toes. 
    You don't even need to go to the park and share the sprinklers with pee pee brats, just walk down a nice block and someone will surely be watering their lawn. Or do what Marcy and Rocco did when they visited the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. When warned that the rose garden would be watered, they still went in, had the gorgeous garden to themselves and frolicked in the mist like teenagers. Thats just cute.

Clean out your fridge 
     Its probably not great to keep the fridge open on a day like today for danger zone reasons, but sometimes who cares? You'll live. So cool your brain and make room for more food you won't cook in the heat.

    This is old news but new to me. Just look at it. The Japanese made them 8 years ago. Freakish, yes, but they just stuck still growing watermelons in square cases so they grew that way rather than splicing Sponge Bob DNA into them. Sigh. You know you want a juicy slice of watermelon. And unless you're a Japanese billionaire sunning on your yacht, you want a round watermelon slice, because a square watermelon costs $80 bucks!

Watch a hot movie
Get fresh and re-enact the ice scene between Mookie and Tina in Do the Right Thing. Nuff said.

Make Iced Tea
   There is no other drink I want on a hot sticky day than some cool iced tea. Ice tea memories are summer afternoons at childhood friend Monica's house. She to this day makes Lipton Iced Tea from the powder that tastes exactly as sickeningly but amazingly sweet as when we were kids. In addition to the sugar powder from the canister she added about a gallon of granulated sugar. No wonder why we were able to roller skate like maniacs around the block four hundred times. 
   I stay away from the sugar juice these day and take the opportunity to make tea out of the collection of tea bags I amass in my cupboard over the winter. I buy such weird tea. And its nice to infuse the tea with fresh mint from the garden and sweeten it with honey while its hot. I just finished a batch of Earl Grey Green Tea Iced Tea. 
   Anyone have any good Southern Sweet Tea recipes? I had some for the first time at the GFM; the Southern chick above was serving it and warned me how lip puckering sweet it was. It was outrageously delicious.

Lie on marble
Take a cue from your kitty cats. Marble is super cool. And if you live in a guido neighborhood your home comes standard with a slab of marble somewhere. 

Make a salad
      Erik's famous Broccoli Salad: raw brocolli, veganaise, apple cider vinegar, red onions, red peppers, chopped pecans, sunflower seeds, and the secret ingredient, some good old sugar.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


     Today's post brings me to my favorite of favorite words: funktionslust, which is taking pleasure is doing something because you are good at it. I think even the word itself was thought up for shits and giggles; even the sound and look of the word are satisfying to my brain. This word is not necessary to life, like water or food, it goes beyond the mundane, and describes what transcends the everyday.
     Even in simple tasks we can experience funktionslust, like when we have to go back to the house because we have forgotten something and we sprint to the door and double up the steps, not because we are in a rush but just because we can. And we stop for a moment, a little out of breath and feel alive and good.
      I discovered this word in a book about the emotional lives of animals called When Elephants Weep. Its kind of nerdy with lots of scientific reference, but if you love animals its a great read. Animals experience funktionslust, too. A lion in a zoo who gets fed giant slabs of meat may not be as fulfilled as a lion who gets to hunt for his food. Hunting may be an end in itself for the lion. He enjoys hunting because its an ability he can perform very well. He is meant to hunt.
     This brings me to my little hunter, my jaguar cat Bean. I lent Bean out for the second time to be a mouser. Now I won't reveal who has the mouse problem, but I will say they do live in Brooklyn.
     I have been criticized for lending my cat out as if I am giving my child away, abandoning him perhaps. I don't see it this way. I feel that I am giving him the opportunity to experience funktionslust, be a hunter, which is written in his DNA. I really want him to catch a mouse. I would be so proud of my little Bean Burrito.
     So we had a little local farewell party for my Beanershnitzel.
     We started with some Local Mint Juleps with mint I planted in the yard last fall. These are so fun! Make mint infused simple syrup by boiling one part water with one part sugar then throw some mint in. To make the cocktail, put ice in a glass, add your bourbon and some of the syrup and garnish with mint dusted with powdered sugar.
     There was also some delicious bread from the Farmer's Market along with some nice cheese, but that got eaten before a photo op of course.
     I made a Spelt Herb Salad with Tomatoes and Strawberries. Simple: cook the spelt according to the directions and remember you need to soak it for a few hours before you boil it. While the spelt is warm add some fresh spring garlic and scapes, shallots, lots of garden herbs, like tarragon, thyme, parsley and basil, then throw in some fresh tomatoes and strawberries. Season it with salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
        I also made a Lentil Salad with Roasted Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes and Pineapple Sage from my garden. I soaked the lentils overnight then boiled them for about and hour then seasoned them with salt and pepper. Meanwhile I roasted asparagus with olive oil and salt and pepper. Then I tossed the lentils, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, diced shallots and sage together with olive oil and salt and pepper.
      Dead mouse count is zero for the Beanernator, but just his kitty presence is enough to scare away pests. If you need to borrow my cat, he will be available at the end of the week. He just requires, food water, love and the opportunity to experience funktionslust, which for him seems to be sleeping in the linen closet on a fresh pile of clean laundry.
*All ingredients are local. 

Rocco says, "They are too organic"

     Yesterday was the first pick-up for the Forest Hills CSA. This season we abandoned Woodside. I pride myself on being uber loyal but last year Rocco complained weekly at how small and pathetic our shares were.
    "What is this?" he would say staring at wilted greens, or "two beets, what am I going to do with two beets?" If he hadn't been on pick-up duty, I might have ran out to the supermarket to pad the share just to keep make him happy.
     I tried to defend Woodside; Sergio the farmer was named Sergio and that is enough to win me over and it was the CSA's first season so there would obviously be kinks to work out, but when I visited the Farmer's Market where Sergio had a stand, there were beautiful bounties of things we weren't getting, like huge green cucumbers and heirloom tomatoes. So when I got into Forest Hills, I didn't feel that bad.
    For the first pick-up, I met Rocco in Forest Hills Gardens, which is the most picturesque neighborhood, huge old mansions on gigantic winding tree lines streets, not too shabby a place to get veggies. I wanted to run Rocco through the drill and make sure he didn't do anything crazy.
    Rocco was very happy. The quarts of big juicy strawberries were certainly to his liking and I had to almost slap his hand away as he grabbed berries from other quarts to, "top off" our quart while the volunteers looked on in horror. Let my eye rolling begin.
    "See Jen, just pick up a few from the others so we have more. See that?"
    "What I see if you stealing from other people's fruit shares, Dad." Smile.
     We moved onto the vegetable share which thankfully came pre-packed in nice cardboard boxes. It was overflowing with fresh local vegetables. We got so many things, huge heads of boston and red leaf lettuce, spinach, arugula, white and red turnips and some rhubarb. Half of this share is more than what we got in a full share at Woodside.
     As we left Rocco agreed to volunteer a few weeks, rather than perform other acceptable duties, like take photographs of the CSA events. Rocco is a professional photographer.
     Before the doors closed behind us and I said good night to the friendly smiling and very helpful volunteers, Rocco said, "I am not taking pictures of these people, I can't even look at them. They disgust me. They are too liberal. They are too organic." And he laughs amused at himself.
     I looked at him, not sure how to respond to the insanity and he said, "Boy Jen, these vegetables are nice. I am glad we went with the Forest Hills CSA. I am going to make a big salad tonight!"