Archive for the ‘food/drink’ Category

grilled cheese & pickle party, plus…

June 15, 2011

This coming Monday, come get your fill of grilled cheese, pickles & beer accompanied by the sounds of a live bluegrass band. I’ll be there selling my Raganella’s Botanical Solutions goods, including my new summer soothers & savers line of sunscreen, bug spray & salves.

Full details:

Grilled Cheese & Pickle Party!

(the first event in the emerging Homemade Fair series)

Jimmy’s No. 43 Restaurant
43 E 7th St NY, NY 10003
Monday, June 20

Guest Chefs: Corey Cova (Earl’s Beer and Cheese), Morris Grilled Cheese

Pickles: Sour Puss Pickles, The Pickle Guys, Divine Brine, Millport Dairy

Cheese: Coach Farms, Saxelby Cheesemongers, Millport Dairy, Ardith Mae

Bread: Hot Bread Kitchen, Bread Alone, Buon Pane

Featured Beer: Barrier Brewing Selection – Barrier Slightly Sour Ale and Barrier Belgian Ale

Live Bluegrass Music: The 2nd Avenue Mountain Boys

Featured vendor: Raganella’s Botanical Solutions (that’s me!)

an exercise in mindful living

January 6, 2011

If you’ve started down the path of “greening” your home or making your lifestyle more eco-friendly you may have noticed how easy it is to get caught up in minutiae. Maybe you’ve faced dilemmas like, I want to buy the locally produced organic butter but it’s sealed in a plastic container or These vegan shoes aren’t made with organically grown cotton canvas and the soles are made of some kind of synthetic material.

I’ve fallen into this trap of analyzing every little thing I purchase to the point of feeling either paralyzed into inaction or guilty once I’ve deemed my choice was the “wrong” one. This is obviously not helpful. Beating ourselves up or racking our brains over every choice we make is neither productive nor healthy.

Instead, I prefer to look at things more holistically and globally, which is why I’m working on a tool to help heighten the awareness that each of us makes a difference in the world. Essentially, the method is based on permaculture’s zones of use and a series of questions that arise when thinking about our place and choices in the material world.

We are at the center of our own little universe. What we give spirals outwardly and what we receive spirals inwardly. Each level of the spiral gets physically further than the personal, yet there is clearly still a connection to our daily lives even as the spiral emanates away from the self. The following are some of the questions that arose as I thought of each level. You may arrive at more and deeper questions as you perform the exercise. If you do, please share them in the comments. May it be of benefit!

level 1 – me

What goes in my body?
Is it nourishing me?
Is it poisoning me?
Where and how was it grown?

What goes on my body?
How does it make me feel?
Do I recognize the ingredients (body care)?
Do I recognize the material (clothing)?
Can I trace its origin?

level 2 – my home

How do I fill it?
How does what I have in my home make me feel?
Is it comforting?
Is it harmful?
What is it made of?
Where does it come from?

How do I maintain it?
What do I clean my home with?
Is this harmful to me, my family, my pets?
How do I heat/cool it?
Where does the energy come from?

level 3 – my garden

(this represents where your food and other plant-based goods come from)

How are the plants grown?
Is the way they are grown beneficial to the soil? to the ecosystem? to the people around them?
Are there healing plants and foods growing?
How near to my home are they grown?

Who is tending the garden?
What is their life like?

level 4 – my community

How do I support it?
Do I shop at small, locally owned shops or use local services?
How am I involved in community organizations?
Schools? Gardens? Neighborhood committees?

How does it support me?
Do I have all of the services I need nearby?
Do I earn a living in the community/neighborhood?
Do I find joyful activities in my community?
Do I have meaningful connections in my community?

level 5 – the world

What do I contribute?
How do my habits benefit the world?
How do my choices have any negative impacts?
Who am I supporting with my choices?

What does it give back?
Are all of my basic needs (water, sunshine, food, shelter) met?
Do I feel connected to or isolated from the world around me (ie, nature)?
Am I healthy?
Do I enjoy life?

at every level…

I also like to ask the questions: Do I really need this? and Is it of benefit?

Did you come up with any other questions? Please leave them in the comments!

farm city, here i come!

September 9, 2010

I’m super excited to be participating in the Farm City Fair this Sunday (9.12), part of the larger 2-week-long Farm City event. I’ll be leading a worm composting demo and tabling all day alongside the NYC Compost Project in Brooklyn. If you come to the event you’ll also get a chance to learn some other great DIY skills from some of my favorite people, like:

  • Foraging with Leda Meredith (Leda’s Urban Homestead)
  • Pickling with Kate Payne (Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking)
  • Honey Extraction with Meg Paska (Brooklyn Honey)
  • Sausage Making with Tricia Okin (BK Tactical Meet Labs)
  • and much more!

(Thanks to Adriana Velez & BFC for making it possible!)

Full details on the day’s events below:

The Fair is a wild new take on the traditional County Fair.

Join us for a day-long celebration of art and food grown in Brooklyn!

The Fair aims to collapse the boundaries between consumer and producer, reducing disconnect between city dwellers and sources of our food stuffs.

Festivities engage all the senses:

Featured artists premiering new works include:

Featured Chefs putting Brooklyn into the local diet include:

  • Sean Rembold, Marlow & Sons;
  • George Weld, Egg; and
  • Chris “Ted” Jackson, Ted & Honey;
  • Tom Mylan, Famed Butcher from The Meat Hook

Sunday, September 12, 2010
11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Invisible Dog Art Center

51 Bergen Street, Brooklyn 11201

(Except for The Food Experiments, where you can also have some fine libations courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery)

eco fun in greenwood, brooklyn

July 7, 2010

Come out to Greenwood Brooklyn this summer for some fun hands-on workshops for kids of all ages!

I’ll be co-leading a workshop on worm composting on Saturday, July 17. We’ll show you how to set up an indoor composting bin and how to care for your new friends, the red wigglers.

our future, our food

May 11, 2010

Curious about growing food in the city? Want to know more about the strong community focus of gardening in an urban setting?

Next Wednesday, May 19 from 6 to 7pm at the Manhattan location of the New York Botanical Garden…

Our Future, Our Food: The Role of Community Gardens in Urban Agriculture

Presented by urban farmer Karen Washington, the lecture inspires growers and consumers to use gardening as a tool to educate and enrich their local communities.

Karen Washington is a garden advocate and community activist who for 25 years has been helping people cultivate healthier foods and neighborhoods in the Bronx, in part through a City Farms market that she launched. She’s also a member of the New York Botanical Garden’s Board.

Register with the New York Botanical Gardens at their new site: with class code 104GAR 805 Section B or call 800.322.NYBG (6924) for more information.

• 104GAR 805 Section B: Wednesday, May 19, 6–7 p.m., Manhattan (20 West 44th Street, Midtown)

worms are going to eat my garbage!

April 23, 2010

I’m very excited. Today, I got worms. Red wigglers. The kind that eat trash – food scraps to be exact. Now I won’t have to cart my compostables to the Union Square Farmers Market (a train ride away).

I’m a little concerned about the timing, since we’re heading to Milwaukee tomorrow to attend a Growing Power workshop. But I think I set it up so they’d be cozy enough until our return.

The worm condo

The future bedding

Worms need water, too

This isn't milk

It's full of worms who've been in there for 3 days!

All ready for the wormies!

My new pets

Worm food, aka frozen coffee grounds

I put in a few other little scraps of food for them. I hope they like their new home enough to not crawl out while we’re away!

queens gets its first food co-op

April 19, 2010

When you’re living near THE infamous food co-op in Brooklyn (you know the one) and around the corner from one of the best farmers markets in town, and new CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture outfits) are popping up all around, it’s easy to forget that some boroughs are less fortunate when it comes to having access to local farm-fresh food.

One such borough, Queens, is about to get their due. The Queens Harvest Co-op in Sunnyside is about to break through the great food for a great price barrier that (most of) Queens has been experiencing. Their plan is to open in the Fall of 2011 (I know, a long time to wait – but you know it’ll be worth it!), and if you want to learn more about their plans, check out the Queens Green Drinks event next Monday, April 26th. Details below:

Monday, April 26th
6:30 to 9pm

4602 Skillman Ave
Sunnyside, Queens

Queens Green Drinks
Hosted by Queens Harvest Food Co-op in Sunnyside!

The Queens Harvest Food Co-op is a new community driven venture into the world of fresh, high-quality food at affordable prices. They will be a member-owned and controlled market that puts community before profits. Anticipated opening in the Queens Plaza area in 2011. Please come and meet the members of the Queens Harvest Food Co-op on April 26th at Claret and/or go to for more information!

Learn more about this meetup on Facebook.

riffing on an already improvised recipe

March 30, 2010

Waking up to the pitter-patter of raindrops on my window, slowly getting out of bed, looking out to see the dark day – I knew this was a day for muffins.

What kind of muffins was the question. Looking in the fridge and cupboards, I saw I had the makings of something interesting. I did a quick search and found something close to what I wanted to make. Something with beets, apples, olive oil, and maple syrup. Something dairy- and egg-free, which is something I haven’t yet dared to attempt.

I found a recipe that was an improvised version of another recipe, and I improvised on that using local and/or organic ingredients. I like to try new things in the kitchen with whatever I have available, and I’m usually pretty lucky with the results. Here’s the recipe I concocted, based on this one here.

Improvised beet-apple-orange muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
    (I used 1/2 cup spelt & 1 cup half white bread flour, both organic Farmer Ground Flour from NY State)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of mace
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup hemp milk
    (you could use almond or soy)
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 1 cup shredded apple
  • 1 cup roasted shredded beets
  • juice of half an orange
  • cashew pieces

Mix dry ingredients, except for sugar. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients plus sugar. Combine dry and wet ingredients, just coating the dry ones (don’t overmix). Fill a greased or lined muffin tin. Drop some cashew pieces on top for some extra flavor and crunch.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes (my oven took 20 minutes).

Enjoy your pink, healthful & delicious treat!


sun in bloom eco-eatery

March 26, 2010

I just came from Sun In Bloom, my friend Aimee’s new holistic eco-eatery on the border of Park Slope and Prospect Heights, where I had a delicious live vegan burrito made with sunflower seeds, yummy spices, cabbage, avocado, and more goodness packed in to a sprouted grain wrap (or you can go all veg with a cabbage wrap). I’m amazed at what she’s put together in just 3 short months in the old Organic Heights location on Bergen Street.

The menu is an all-day feast of breakfast-inspired treats and sandwiches, wraps & salads – like the burrito I had. Plus on the weekends there are items like do-it-yourself gluten-free pancakes and other brunchy tasties. Not to mention the delicious desserts, all vegan, some gluten-free (I hear the cashew-based cheesecake is divine). Oh yeah, and it’s all organic and/or locally sourced.

In affiliation with FRESH the movie, Sun In Bloom is hosting two food-centric events (see below). A good time to taste the living vegan menu and mingle with passionate foodies! See below for full details.

FRESH Farm to Table Dinner Event

Saturday, April 3 2010
7:00 PM

Sun in Bloom
460 Bergen St, Park Slope Brooklyn, NY 11217

You are invited to a LIVING vegan EXPERIENCE for your FRESH Dinner at Sun In Bloom, a new Holistic Eco-Eatery in Park Slope. This unique restaurant provides a loving and inviting space that nourishes the community. Sun In Bloom’s menu offers affordable and accessible organic raw cuisine and macrobiotic dishes, along with outrageous vegan and raw desserts. The dinner will start with a sampling of our signature appetizers, a choice between two entrée options, finished by a tasting of our outrageous vegan and raw desserts, such as our amazing strawberry shortcake. To make the night even more special the owner and chef, Aimee Follette will be sharing the journey that lead her to open Sun In Bloom and the overall vision of the positive impact she is passionate about making.

Tickets: $50 At this event you will receive a movie voucher to see FRESH at Quad Cinema from April 9-15.
For Reservations, call Sun in Bloom at 718-622-4303.

*FRESH Farm to Table is sponsored by Clean Plates NYC, Manhattan’s only guide to organic, local, sustainable and delicious restaurants for both carnivores and vegetarians.

FRESH Living Raw Cuisine Tasting Event

Saturday, April 10 2010
7:00 PM

Sun in Bloom
460 Bergen St. Park Slope Brooklyn, NY 11217

Come to Sun In Bloom, a new Holistic Eco-Eatery in Park Slope to enjoy the divine pleasure of a LIVING vegan EXPERIENCE! This unique restaurant provides a loving and inviting space that nourishes the community. Throughout the evening you will be surprised with a variety of our signature raw hors d’oeuvres, which we will describe while you sample. To give you a small preview, Sun In Bloom’s famous kale chips are marinated in aphrodisiac ginger sesame dressing and then dehydrated to make the perfect guilt free and delicious snack. And, we could not end the night without a tasting of our irresistible and gluten-free raw desserts. You will not want to miss the amazing strawberry shortcake, chocolate-chai spice cake, and chocolate truffles to name a few!

Tickets: $36. At this event you will receive a movie voucher to see FRESH at Quad Cinema from April 9-15.
For reservations, please call Sun in Bloom 718-622-4303.

big river, big dead zone

March 3, 2010

What happens when loads of nitrogen from chemical fertilizers get washed from commodity crop farms down the Mississippi and into the Gulf of Mexico? A big fat dead zone is what happens. A dead zone roughly the size of my home state, New Jersey, where no marine life can live because of decomposing algae that suck the oxygen from the water.

You may have already heard about this problem, but now there’s a film. From the guys who brought us King Corn, comes Big River. Catch a snippet below, come to a screening on March 15th, or host your own.

Learn more about the dead zone:

Dead in the Water (from EWG)

What is the Dead Zone? (Science Museum of Minnesota)