It was Easter. It was (is) Pesach. It was a super moon.

As tradition dictates, I spent the Sunday that is Easter with my grandmother on Long Island. I’ve written a post I think each year about this and the various shenanigans we get into. For instance there was this retro easter cake debacle I wrote about four (!) years ago.

Earlier this week I was flipping through the latest Bon App and came across a recipe for a very springy Rhubarb Cake (p. 66 of the April 2015 version if you have the hard copy). That’s it! Perfect, I thought. I’d make that for my grandmother, a woman who loves tart rhubarb baked into pies and cakes.

But of course neither the Union Square Greenmarket nor the Park Slope Food Coop is carrying rhubarb yet. Duh. It’s the first week of April. I think it may be another two weeks away. I picked up the organic blueberries on sale at the coop for $2.99 a pint in a pinch, hoping it would be an adequate substitution.

The blueberry was a hit. I’d still like to try this in a few weeks with the season’s rhubarb but I will definitely make this version again.

P.S. – I reduced the sugar quotient from the original recipe because blueberries don’t need to be offset the way rhubarb does. I also substituted 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour with spelt flour, because, well, regular flour is a little boring, and spelt flour has a subtle depth or nutty flavor I like.


Blueberry Almond Cake
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Serves 8

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter*
1/2 cup raw cane sugar
2 pints blueberries, rinsed
1/2 cup spelt flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (would be fine to use all-purpose flour only, 1 1/4 cup)
3/4 cup blanched almonds
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (1/2 tsp vanilla extract if you can’t find vanilla beans)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup Greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a tart pan (or small rectangular baking dish) and set aside.

In a blender or food processor, pulse the flours, almonds, baking powder, and salt until the almonds are finely ground.

Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Scrape the little black seeds from the vanilla bean and reserve the pod for another use like making vanilla-scented sugar. Using your electric mixer on high speed, beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Don’t cheat. Add the eggs one at a time to fully incorporated and then some, about another 3 or 4 minutes.

Reducing the speed to low, add the dry ingredients, and then the yogurt. Fold in half of the blueberries (one pint) and pour into the pan. Arrange the remaining blueberries on top.

If using a tart pan place this on a baking sheet (to catch any juices that may escape) and bake for approximately one hour, or until the cake is cooked through (comes clean with a toothpick) and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

*A note on butter: the quality of butter matters here. I use Kerrygold because it’s made with milk from grassfed cows and is the same price and sometimes cheaper than Kate’s butter from Maine.



No doubt chia is trending. By now you’ve probably heard it’s packed with fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, and, like flax, can be used as an egg substitute for vegan baking. I love it for breakfast, a late-afternoon snack. It’s the new oatmeal. Or yogurt. Or something.

The gelatinous quality of the gel, which is formed by combining the seeds with liquid, slithers and satisfies, but may not be for everyone. My stepmother, when I texted her a photo of the pudding, asked if it was for eating or facials. It took me a while to drink kombucha with chia seeds but now I like the slimy seeds sliding down my throat.

There are infinite substations you can make here, using your favorite spices, berries, sweetener. You could add pepitas, almonds, sunflower seeds; cardamom instead of cinnamon; agave instead of maple syrup. You can add more or less vanilla and cinnamon, to taste. I make this pudding incredibly not sweet, and I’ve had some with no sweetener at all—both are good. Adjust to your taste. You want approximately 1 cup of liquid per 1/4 cup of chia seeds — and beyond that you can decide what kind of milk to use, or yogurt. I like the combination here of almond and coconut milks.

Oh and since the ground is still frozen here in New York, and berries are a mere dream of a food I once tried long ago, I used frozen blueberries here. Worked like a charm. Now thaw, ground, thaw.


Chia Seed Pudding
Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 1/3 cup almond milk (my recipe for homemade here)
2/3 cup coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp maple syrup, more to taste
1/2 cup chia seeds
coconut chips

In a blender combine the almond milk, coconut milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and maple syrup and blend just until smooth. Place the chia seeds in a medium-sized bowl and add the liquid mixture. Stir until combined and let sit for a minimum of a half hour, or as much as overnight. To serve, transfer to a bowl or small jars and layer with the blueberries and coconut chips. Keep refrigerated and eat within a few days.

Pic below from an exhibition on plastic at Mass MoCA in North Adams, Mass.


Kehinde Wiley show at the Brooklyn Museum, opened last week.


Chinese New Year, on Pell Street in New York’s Chinatown last weekend.


Snow reflecting on the mirror inside La Colombe, some of the best coffee in town. Lafayette Street, New York.



I’ve been in Munich for about 36 hours. 3 museums, 8 miles, 0 pretzels, 1 yoga class, and about 100 dankes.

I kind of love it here. I know it’s easy to make such bold statements after a very short amount of time—couldn’t the same be said of just about anywhere after only a couple of days? Er, no. But I have thought the same of Tokyo, Istanbul, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hong Kong. How many cities have three different Jivamukti Yoga studios? Come. On. Parts of the city have felt like Brooklyn to me, others like Rome, and parts that have felt like no other place I’ve been. And there’s no dog crap on the ground. Anywhere.

Back home in New York, my friend Misha has been singing Germany’s praises for years, from Berlin to Hamburg. I’d never been to Germany so I didn’t get it. I’ve often teased him that, as Jews (part-Jew in my case), we just aren’t supposed to like it here. But that sentiment is so off, limited, antithetical to my core, yet still. I know plenty of Jews in the U.S. who don’t so much as to like hearing German being spoken within earshot. Understandable of course to a certain generation. (And i wonder how many Jewish expats there are here. So far all the expats I’ve met are decidedly not Jewish.) And yet, walking around the English Garden this afternoon I felt at home; strolling through Schwabing, going to yoga, eating brunch at Occam Deli, I constantly felt both unfamiliar and familiar. Or maybe it’s just because, as Monocle magazine declared, this city is just so freaking livable.

As a U.S.’er I find it’s important to get out of the States as much as one can. Roam abroad. Hear other languages being spoken. I live in Brooklyn and hear and see many cultures around me all the time. But there is intrinsic value in leaving one’s land (especially if that land is the U.S.), to breathe different air, to fumble with the language being spoken (especially if you only speak English). It’s humbling, if nothing else.

There has been so much to like in my short time here so far. I did a lightning round of museum touring yesterday afternoon coming off an eight-hour redeye from JFK.


-At the Pinakothek der Moderne, the Linna Bo Bardi architecture show: “Brazil’s Alternative Path to Modernism.” She was a badass architect ahead of her time (see photos below), practicing architecture in an all-boy’s club in the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s, building large public buildings and private residences in Sao Paolo and beyond. It’s an architecture povera — not impoverished, but simple, for the people, unfussy, and super integrated its environments whether forest or concrete. The exhibition design was unusual too – exhibition povera. Wall text that was handwritten on the walls, sometimes with errors crossed out in plain sight, beautiful models, and Brazilian music. I thought, there really should be more music curated into visual art shows.

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-The Canaletto show at the Alte Pinakothek. (For 12 Euro you can get into 3 of the Pinakotheks on the same day.) Born Giovanni Antonio Canal in Venice, he masterfully painted sweeping landscapes throughout the 18th century. You could spend an hour taking in each canvas. Master of light, shadow, detail.

-The Lenbachhaus! Home of the world’s largest der Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider) art collection. Turns out, I do still like Kandinsky. I just hadn’t seen as much of this early stuff, very folksy, not precise at all, with chunky sweeps of oil paint crossing the canvas. Below is a photo of the new addition, built in 2012 by Norman Foster, signage by Thomas Demand. Below that a photo of the interior lobby with a permanent installation by Olafur Eliasson.

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This morning I attended a class at the Yoga Loft, taught by the lovely Kari. She told me the buchhandel & coffeeshop I liked so much yesterday—Lost Weekend—was opened by one of the Jivamukti founders here. Of course. Hip setup, vegan food, good music, students on Macbook Airs, well-curated artsy book shop.

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Today, eating pancakes at Occam Deli in Scwhabing (where the photo above was taken), I watched an older woman (in her early seventies I’d say) eating a plate of bread, cheese, and gherkins while listening to music from her iPhone on rather large white headphones, flipping through a fashion magazine contentedly. I wish I had gotten a photo. If this place had been in Fort Greene or Park Slope in Brooklyn there would only be people 25–45 years old. Not here. The ages ranged from about one to eighty.

That’s all for now, tomorrow I start meetings at Prestel, where I recently began a new job as full-time Acquisitions Editor. I’ll be back to this city at least twice a year. Thankfully. Because it doesn’t look like I’ll be making it to the Haus der Kunst or the Brandhorst Museum or or so many other things this trip. Peace out, as they say in German.

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