And I’m back!

My three-week summer sojourn came to a close this Sunday when I returned to Brooklyn. My travels took me to Vermont; Northampton, Mass.; Woodstock, NY; Philly; and a stop-over in Westchester for a weekend-long Indian-Domincan wedding on the Long Island Sound with lots of teary speeches, delicious dahl, and of course, dancing. Each guest got his or her own mason jar to drink from.

The following day, on our way up to Woodstock for Jivamukti’s annual August yoga retreat, Melony and I got off the Thruway just so I could go to Lagusta’s Luscious, a vegan chocolate shop in New Paltz. I’ve been reading Lagusta’s blog, Resistance is Fertile, for the past year and told myself the next time I pass through NP I’d have to stop by. We pulled in when a downpour began, and picked up the almond and lavender cupcake below—which we ate in the car—in addition to a few chocolate truffles. All vegan and sooo good.

I always love my time in Vermont and this last visit was no exception. With sun gold tomatoes ripening in the garden, swimming holes around every bend in the road, bon fires in the mountains, and a mangy mutt at my side (my sister’s dog Julius), my two weeks in the Champlain Valley were a summer idyll. As much as I love ocean (Fire Island, the North Fork), there’s no place I rather be in the summertime than Vermont and Lake Champlain.

I was lucky to be there for blubbery season, a good two or three weeks earlier than previous years because of the dry, hot summer Vermont’s been having. My sister and I picked seven pounds of blueberries at Pelkey’s in Charlotte, with my friends Aimee and Matt in tow from Brooklyn. Once home, some got frozen, but most got eaten.

One evening my friend Kate came over with lamb from Duclos Sheep Farm in Weybridge. We wanted to grill lamb burgers for dinner, served with a salad of tomatoes, cukes, and corn, all from the garden except the corn which I got up the road.

We prepared the burgers with a generous spoonful of goat cheese in the middle. I chopped up some fresh herbs from the garden (parsley, mint, chives) and blended with the cheese before filling the burgers.

 

You make really thin patties, place a spoonful of the herbed cheese on top of each one, then place another thin patty on top, pinching the edges to make for one seamless burger. When grilled they are delicious — we got rained out on that particular evening so made do with browning them in a cast-iron skillet on the stove then finishing them off in the oven at 400 degrees. We served them on baguettes with pickled tomatoes.

I was more than happy to come home to NYC for Monday night’s concert of The Very Best and Seye at the Gramercy Theatre. Here’s a link to a 30-second video I took at the show, it gives you a sense of how much fun they’re having on stage.

The Very Best is an Afro-Pop duo that has an infectious, joyous, jubilant, bouncy quality to their songs. The front man is Malawian, and his DJ/producer is from Sweden. Seye, a British-Nigerian musician, is along for the tour.

Yesterday began a month-long trial as per my naturopath to get to the bottom of some health stuff. This means, for four weeks, no wheat, dairy, soy, corn, caffeine, refined sugar, eggs, citrus fruits, or seafood. At least I get to take advantage of the best month all year at the farmer’s market. I’ll be eating lots of  greens, peaches, plums, tomatoes, beets, blackberries, eggplant, cabbage, melon, fresh herbs. If I can come up with an enticing enough recipe that excludes all the things on my do-not-eat list I’ll be sure to mention it here. (I’m thinking a peach pie with gluten-free crust, coconut oil instead of dairy, and no sugar…)

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