I thought it was time for a little sign of life here on the blog. I have not forgotten about this place and you guys. I am just laying low in the spheres of social media and blogging. The sun is out and the days are long, so I am dedicating more of my free time to the outdoors, friends and the lake. And, I have to tell you, it feels really good, so I will keep on doing this for a little bit longer.
Fresh lemons are one of my favorite ingredients. Their fresh, tangy taste is the epitome of summer. After finding a particularly lovely batch of organic lemons at the market, I decided to try and make some preserved lemons in order to store the taste and smell some for autumn and winter.
After browsing some recipes on the web, I realized that it is super easy to preserve lemons. The methods generally don’t vary that much and while many add spices like clover or cinnamon, I decided to try a very simple version using sea salt only. Learn how to make preserved lemons in this post.
How to make a Jar of Preserved Lemons
What you Need
For one jar of preserved lemons, you’ll only need these three things:
A bunch of very fresh, organic, unwaxed lemons (depending on size 4-5 should be enough)
Coarse or fine sea salt (approx 1/3 cup)
A clean, sterilized and sealable jar
How it’s done
Scrub the lemons under warm water and dry them off. Using a sharp knife, cut them into quarters. Fill some salt at the bottom of your jar and start adding the lemon quarters. Here you’ll want to work in layers, one layer lemons, one layer salt. Squeeze the lemons tightly into the jar so that they lose some of their juice.
When the jar is completely filled with lemons, add some more salt on top and seal the jar. Leave the jar at room temperature for about 2-3 weeks. You might want to shake the jar from time to time to dissolve the salt and lemon juice evenly. Afterward, store the lemons in your fridge. They will stay good for up to a year!
How to Use Preserved Lemons
There are many ways to use preserved lemons. You can take a quarter from the jar, slice it into tiny nubs and add them to a salad dressing, vinaigrette or a simple yogurt dip – they will add a tangy and salty taste at the same time. Or, you can make a simple pasta dish by just adding some olive oil, garlic and a couple of slices of preserved lemons. They also taste great in a marinade for grilled chicken, as an addition to home-made french fries and other roasted vegetables. Hell, you even put them on pizza, especially when you make one using feta instead of mozzarella.
Today I compiled a little playlist in anticipation of our upcoming trip to Pantelleria. It’s filled with summery tunes that I believe will fit perfectly well to days spent looking out onto the sea. I will be back with more posts from the trip, I promise. Until then, happy listening!
Did you know that in Japan hydrangeas are almost as beloved as the cherry blossoms? While the cherry blossoms represent the beginning of spring, hydrangeas are inextricably connected to the rainy season in June. To celebrate the beginning of the new season, people venture to temples and parks to see the hydrangea flowers. If you find yourself in Tokyo in June, do it like the locals and keep your eyes open for these gorgeous flowers. Or, better yet, visit a hydrangea festival or Ajisai Matsuri as they are called in Japan.
Impressions from the Hydrangea Festival at Hakusan Shrine
One popular Ajisai Matsuri happens at Hakusan Shrine in Bunkyo every June. Thousands of hydrangea plants are on display and there are stalls selling drinks and food, as well as a couple of other festivities. I went there with a friend on a sunny Saturday in 2017. As you can see in the pictures below, we were in for a blissful sight. The huge bushes on the grounds of the shrine were in full bloom and many people were out and about, marveling at their beauty and trying to ban it on camera – just like me.
My last visit to New York was ages ago, but the city is still vivid in my mind. Looking through pictures I have taken in NYC, I started compiling a list of places in New York I would like to revisit on the next trip to NYC. The High Line came to mind immediately. So, I noted down some thoughts on why I love the High Line and some things to do nearby.
The High Line is no secret and on weekends it can overflow with New Yorkers and tourists alike. But, even then it offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. It is a very contemporary and yet nostalgic place. Walking amongst the young trees and bushes, looking down on the streets of Lower West Side and the Meatpacking District, I cannot help but wonder what the place must have been like before it became a park. What with the freight trains still frequenting the High Line and the warehouses still used as slaughterhouses and packing plants. While today more hypermodern buildings are springing up next to the tracks – especially in the northern parts. When the light is right, the place can genuinely feel like a rendering of a city from the future.
See Manhattan from a Different Vantage Point
In any case, walking along the High Line gives you a completely different perspective on Manhattan. Climb up one of the many stairs leading onto the tracks, and you suddenly find yourself 6 to 9 meters above street level. Here you can enjoy unique views onto the urban canyons of Manhattan and the buildings lining the former viaduct.
See NYC Stories Unfold on the High Line
The High Line is also a place where you can see NYC stories unfold. Just sit down on one of the benches or loungers and start observing the people populating the park. I am confident if you were to write a book about a sunny weekend or late weekday afternoon on the High Line, it would be full of entertaining stories and anecdotes.
Close Your Eyes and Forget that You Are in Manhattan
The soundtrack to all these stories is a mix of murmurs, screaming, and laughter. Close your eyes, and the place can sound like a public swimming pool or the shore of a lake. The chatter of the people, the splashing, and gurgling of water from one of the many fountains, the rustling of leaves in the wind. The sirens and noises from the traffic, so ubiquitous to Manhattan, suddenly start to feel very distant. For a moment you might forget that you are sitting in the midst of this densely populated island.
Remember to take a deep breath before you jump back into the fray!
Things to do near The High Line
The southern and middle part of the High Line goes right through the Lower West Side and Chelsea, so there are many things to do and see in the park’s surroundings. You will find an abundance of shops, restaurants, cafés, and bars in the vicinity. These are a couple of things I think you should not miss:
Visit the Whitney
In 2014 the Whitney Museum of American Art moved from its location on Madison Avenue into this building designed by Renzo Piano. While I have not yet had the chance to visit the museum at its new site, I have been to the old one, and the selection of art they had on display was stunning. If you are interested in American Art from the 20th and 21st century, this is a must see when you come to New York.
While you might not be able to afford most of the art on display at the art galleries in Chelsea, you might be able to purchase an artist book at Printed Matter Inc. The store is full to the brim with various books and printed publications, each of them an artwork in itself. You can spend hours browsing the store, and it’s worth coming back, as the stock is continually rotating. If you don’t have any space left for books in your luggage, don’t despair. They also sell tote bags, as well as postcards.
Chelsea Market is a vast indoor food hall can be super packed, but it’s worth a visit nonetheless. Grab a bite at one of the many food stalls – we tried the Tacos atLos Tacos No. 1, and they were very decent. Or, shop some delicacies to cook in your Airbnb or bring back home, or find some souvenirs in one of the non-food shops.
Calliope is the store of jewelry designer and Instagram Maven Caroline Ventura and her husband, Michael. In the store, they sell all kinds of contemporary and mid-century items made by artists and designers from around the world. Browse the store to find books, art, furniture or lightning and more. Also if you are lucky their super cute dog, Darryl might be there to greet you at the store.
The Empire Diner is an iconic New York City with a beautiful Art Deco Exterior and a lovingly restored and modernized interior. They serve classic American fare and prepare everything with high-quality ingredients. Try the Burger, the Sourdough Pretzel Fried chicken or the New York Pastrami Sandwich. Also, don’t miss out on the cocktails! As it’s a rather small space, you might want to get a reservation in advance.
When the evening has arrived and you still find yourself close to the High Line, head to the Jane Hotel for drinks. The whole hotel is unique, and if you are into the movies of Wes Anderson, you are in for a treat. While you might find better drinks in Manhattan, it’s the interior that makes this bar so very special.