Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Upsy Daisy

Returning from three days of snow and lake-whipped winds up in Rochester, it actually came as a complete surprise that today is, in fact, March first. As in coming in like a lion, going out like a lamb. As in, next door to April. As in, nearly spring!

Of course, reading the posts I was writing last year at this time, there should be plenty of chilly, wet, and generally filthy weather ahead before we get to the sticky little leaves of spring and the hordes of nodding daffodils and all that. But still--not February, March! And there are lots of things to look forward to, to wit:

First Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum, Sat. March 4, 5-11pm. The museum gets shaking to a Cajun/Brazilian beat this Saturday, with live music, samba lessons, Cajun storytelling and performance, art projects for kids, tours of the museum, and more. I seem to remember plastic cups of red wine in here, too. Really fun, FREE, and filled with a roaming cross-section of happy Brooklynites.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden's 25th Annual Making Brooklyn Bloom, a day of lectures, panels, and workshops, is happening on Sat. March 11, from 10am to 4pm. This year, the theme is Keeping It Fresh! City Gardeners Grow Food--a subject always close to my country-yearning heart. The workshops will cover all kinds of cool stuff, from container gardening for fruits and vegetables to an agricultural history of New York City. Plus canning! Show up at the Palm House at 10am for coffee and registration.

Trader Joe's, opening March 17th (according to the Post, and what, you'd doubt them?) next to PC Richards at 14th St and 3rd Ave in Manhattan. Oh joy. Will they be as good and as cheap as they are in San Francisco? I don't need to take the enamel off my teeth with 2 Buck Chuck, but their house-brand dried fruits and nuts, their juices, their wine and cheese and crackers and pantry staples--they're all good.

And on March 13 and 14, Purim! Which means--hamentaschen!! (My religious affiliation? Baking Jew.) There's a recipe here from last year (look in the archives under "Queen Esther", 3/23/05) that's always worth making, especially if you go to Sahadi's on Atlantic Avenue, get a little cellophane-wrapped packet of apricot paste (they're to the right of the main door, on the lower shelf) plus some prunes and raisins from the bulk jars, and make your own tasty lekvars.

Happy as I've been with my usual recipe (from Marcy Goldman's excellent book, A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking) still I yearn for that one true best-ever hamentaschen. Right now I've got a very simple, pastry-style dough chilling in the fridge, with prune and apricot fillings cooling on the counter. Will report back and post the recipe, if it's tasty. Next up: Goldman's orange-and-oil (no butter) version, which I'm hoping might survive the 10-day trip to K. better than a typical butter cookie. Are there many Jews out there on the base? Probably not, I'm guessing, but you never know. Might just have to throw in a couple of noisemakers, just in case.

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