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Enjoy your turkey!

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We went apple picking this weekend but came up short on my favorite variety to bake with: Golden Delicious.  As a substitute, I left with Ginger Golds and Cortlands.

The Ginger Golds didn’t hold their shape when cooked, but would make a delicious, sweet apple sauce.  They also didn’t brown, which is a big plus when baking, especially when you step away for an hour to enjoy a bowl of homemade chili.  I’ll try the Cortlands next.

I don’t have pics of the crisp, but will leave you with something else that’s golden:

The Friends of the Farmer Festival got some love in the NY Daily News recently.  As did my favorite sausage-maker Pigasso Farm.  As did the beloved Columbia Land Conservancy, whose efforts to protect local farmland from development has apparently produced a bumper crop of second homes in the area.  I don’t know that “Attract Second Home Owners” fits anywhere into CLC’s mission, but I do know that their work is a big part of what drew Anuj and I to Columbia County.

That and the food.

The Friends of the Farmer Festival goes from 11am-11pm on Saturday, July 30 and includes an antique tractor parade, a libations tent (beginning at 11am – hooray!), an egg toss, WDST live broadcast, food tastings, product demos, panel discussions, a square dance and a Mexican BBQ.

Proceeds from the event will go to establishing the “Friends of the Farmer Scholarship” – a fund aimed at assisting Hudson Valley students studying agricultural sciences.

If you’re in the area, join us at the Festival.  You’ll find me at the libations tent soaking up the farm fresh fruit cocktails.

Read the Daily News article.

Buy Festival tickets.

Photo: Robert Sabo/Daily News

Yay!  My design world meets my real world in this design*sponge post.  They did a pretty great round-up of places to eat, visit, and stay in The Berkshires.  I left a little note in the comments giving a shout out to a few places mentioned – most of which you can find right here on my blog.  I love to see the area generate excitement among young like-minded folks, especially savvy d*s readers.

What did they leave out?  Any comments of your own?

We should campaign for a Columbia County guide next.  Hudson alone deserves a guide.

Back in May, we were given three heirloom tomato plants by a friend of a friend who had grown them from seed in his East Village apartment.  We decided to keep the plants in the city, where we could water them more frequently.

Two of them didn’t make it through the heat wave of June.  One little guy persisted.  By August, he’d grown pretty tall, but only had a few flowers.  Anuj thought it was dunzo.  I had faith.  We continued to water him (it?).

By September, the tomatoes appeared.  More followed.  At one point I counted 14.  We just needed them to ripen before it got too cold.  Last night it was time to harvest.

Allow me to present: our very first tomatoes.  Ever.

Better late than never.

(now what to do with them…)

I’ve just returned from Anuj’s parents house in New Jersey where we spent the day in a cooking class with Anuj’s mom.  My belly is full, my hair smells like roasted cumin seeds and Anuj is sleeping beside me (it’s only 8:30).  I’d say that makes the day a success.

Stupidly, we didn’t take any pictures of the process, but I did get about a half a dozen recipes for Gujarati lunches and dinners and a goody-bag of spices to go with them.  This was an event Anuj, his sister and I have longed for for years, not only to watch exactly how their mom whips up her delicious dishes, but to capture the measurements and techniques she carries in her head so we could try them ourselves.  You see, my mother-in-law (and many Indian women, it seems) don’t use recipes – they’re taught how to cook staple dishes at a young age, and make them enough over time that it simply becomes habit to repeat them.  So today, it was my sister-in-law’s duty to convert the ‘pinches’ and ‘handfuls’ to ‘teaspoons’ and ‘cups’, and my duty to take precise notes (and then eat the results).

In my post-gluttony reverie, I came across this Mumbai shopping guide at design*sponge, which reminds me I never posted about our trip to India in February.  That’s a big to-do, considering all of the design inspiration I came away with.  I’ve got 1,000+ pics to show for it, but I won’t break them out now.

While we didn’t get to Bombay (this is how Anuj’s family refers to it, despite the recent push to go back to the original name) on the February trip, there are a few stores mentioned in design*sponge’s Mumbai guide that we visited in other cities, like Jaipur and Delhi.   The stores include:

Fab India – this was the first store we stepped foot in in India, as it was right around the corner from where we were staying in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, where Anuj’s parents are from.  According to their site, “Fabindia links over 40,000 craft based rural producers to modern urban markets, thereby creating a base for skilled, sustainable rural employment.”

I bought my favorite piece of clothing from the trip here, it’s a raspberry silk kurta with gold detailing (similar color and fabric to my wedding dress).  They also have great home furnishings, at a fraction of the cost of buying similar items in the U.S. (this is a frustration you must quickly abandon in India or else you’ll go nuts.)

Anokhia friend recommended Anokhi to me before we left, and I’m so glad she did.

To me, Anokhi is India’s version of J. Crew: colorful, fashionable, mid-range in price, and it’s everywhere.  Their pieces are made by local artisans using hand-block printing, an Indian tradition that has become popular with contemporary craftspeople around the world.

Shopping fanatic that I can be, I had to go into every Anokhi we came across (four) so I could see how they were different.  The one in Jaipur is easily the best, both for its size/selection and organic cafe.

Soma – This was not on the design*sponge list, but I can’t imagine they aren’t in Bombay.  Another high quality brand that sells hand-block textiles made by rural villagers, Soma was my favorite store on the trip.  Their items for the home were so beautiful that I barely looked at the clothing, and left their Jaipur location with a queen-sized bed spread, tablecloth, cocktail napkins, pillow covers, scarves, and a few small gift items.

I will post photos of the city neighborhoods, forts and palaces we visited on our trip someday soon.  In the meantime, what are you favorite Indian dishes to eat or cook?

Images: Julia Rothman for designsponge, fabindia, anokhi.

What’s Doing in Columbia/Berkshire County

Find out what's going on in Columbia and Berkshire county:

Columbia county: CoCo To Do

Berkshire county: Rogovoy Report

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