The first time we got kohlrabi in our CSA box, I had no idea what it was. I’d bought a large kohlrabi bulb once before at a Brooklyn farmer’s market a few years ago, but that one had come already trimmed, and was twice the size of the kohlrabi that showed up with the rest of our produce. There have been a handful of veggies in our box so far that I haven’t immediately recognized. I like this--the farm that feeds us makes a point of growing some lesser-known edible jewels. I keep reminding myself to drop a note in their proverbial suggestion-box (aka voicemail) suggesting they include some kind of weekly key with their pre-selected produce drops. In the meantime, I’ve just been throwing caution to the wind and cooking the items I can’t name in whatever way seems most appropriate. In the case of our first several CSA kohlrabi, however, my method fell short; after some deliberation, I cut the greens from their stems and their big, bulbous ‘root’ and sautéed them up solo. The rest went in the trash (we really need a compost bin). The greens were good, but we were missing out. When our next kohlrabi shipment arrived last week, I had a sudden brain flash and realized what I’d done.
I flipped through my go-to produce basics bible, From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce, and landed on the K’s. Bingo. Turns out, as I suspected, that the big cabbage on the end of the kohlrabi greens is indeed a cabbage itself, and can be eaten cooked or raw. The book recommended shredding it into a slaw as its most straight-forward preparation.
A few nights later, as I pulled chicken sausages out of the freezer for a lazy dinner, Aaron reminded me that sauerkraut pairs well with sausages, “you know...for next time.” We’d plowed through most of our vegetables for the week, and I didn’t have much on hand to serve up with the sausages, let alone sauerkraut, which I’ve purchased maybe once in my life. I pulled the kohlrabi out of the fridge and whipped up this sauerkraut sub (here’s to veggies in drag) in a matter of minutes, using a few other random ingredients we had on hand. Aaron ultimately said it was more of a slaw than sauerkraut, but we both agreed it suited the sausages nicely.
Take a walk on the wild side and pick up some kohlrabi when you next see it (and if, like me, you won’t know it when you do, study up here). Then shred up some slaw/sauerkraut and let me know what you think!
Aaron's nomadic cousin Adrain, who'll make his way to Antarctica next month, stopped by to stay with us for a few days last week. He and Kaspar are total bro's.
In New York, we were guaranteed visits from otherwise far-flung family and friends on a semi-regular basis. The combined factors of The Big Apple’s universal appeal and its sky-high hotel rates made for many an overnight guest (lots of day visitors, too). We showed a German relative around Times Square, Soho and Ground Zero—her requests— tourist traps I normally side-stepped, but actually enjoyed exploring with our out-of-towner (because who doesn’t love a naked cowboy?). We took friends and fam out to favorite restaurants, to live jazz in a jam-packed Harlem apartment with tin ceilings, to dance parties at PS1, to The Strand, the Village, Korea Town. And sometimes guests took ME out, to exhibits, the opera, to see the Rockettes at Radio City (that last one was actually a serious snore… sorry folks). Whatever we did, seeing the city through the starry eyes of passers-by always gave me a fresh perspective on the amazing metropolis in which we lived, on the many different worlds pulsing within it. And while I don’t pine now for life in New York (for living there, that is), I do miss being at the center of the passing-through universe, where face-time with our people, who live all over the world, was a reliable luxury.
Kaspar, my cousin Sep and live rockabilly sounds on S. Congress (Spring '11).
Given that Austin’s not, well, the center of the passing-through universe (except during South-By), or on the way to anywhere (except maybe Mexico), we’ve had an impressive number of visitors here, too. Our company’s just that good! All kidding aside, guests here definitely get a better Newman-guest experience (not that pop-up cots in the kitchen weren’t cool), and we still reap the rewards of showing our gypsy callers around town. While New York’s sights and sounds are infinite, Austin’s highlights can be counted on a pair of hands (though the number is growing), but seeing them with out-of-towners makes them extra fresh and fun for us, and reminds me of how unique this little city is, deep in the heart of Texas. I dare say I’ve acquired some ATX pride. Also, while we do travel whenever we can, getting off the ground takes a little more planning these days; we get our wanderlust fix vicariously through our guests between excursions of our own.
Kaspar also scores when guests come through. Since they’re usually here primarily to see us, rather than, say, us and The Statue of Liberty, and since Austin feels kind of out of the way, guests really focus in while they’re here… especially on the little guy. Just as we enjoy getting a taste of the transient’s take on our town, our traveler friends seem to savor the householder’s pleasures of home-cooked meals, couch-side conversation and (the ever popular) toddler bedtime.
Here's my brother's wife, Cate (who lives in Boston), reading to a very-smitten Kaspar before bed, several weeks ago:
Sometimes we get a date night out of the deal (suhweeet… Austin’s night-scene is really very fun), but we try not to rope our single-wanderer friends into more family time than their systems can handle (I well remember that while I always liked kids before having one, I also always liked giving them back). But our friends and family consistently request Kaspar time, and he adores the attention. I adore looking on. I’ve always felt it’s important that my kid(s… plural as in someday) be exposed to a wide array of positive, daring adults who show, through example, that there are many ways to walk this Earth (it takes a village and all). Luckily, we know a lot of positive, daring people who are walkin’ the Earth in style, both locally and remotely. It’s extra fun when the far-away ones walk this way.
Btw, if any of you readers ever come through Austin, let me know! We’ll show you the hottest playgrounds (literally) and the tastiest taco trucks.
My massage school schedule has been kicking my ass these past few weeks. I could have actually gotten a sense of what it’d be like by checking its layout sometime prior to orientation (it was sent to me months in advance as a PDF), but I was busy then with work, family and cranking through the science courses required for my certification. It’s worth noting that if you’re too busy to even glance at near-future scheduling commitments, you’re probably too busy to commit to them, but… this is how I roll. Sink or swim. Emphasis on the swim. If I stopped to consider that sinking is really possible, I probably wouldn’t get wet at all. Instead, I go into everything assuming I’ll finish unscathed (if soaking). And that's usually how it works out (though sometimes I do level with myself and say ‘no’ to things that are crazy).
Anyway, with regard to this fall’s class schedule, I neglected to look closely upon committing; I reasoned that since I've been a partial student for a year, the fall's hands-on curriculum wouldn’t be super intense. Um, wrong. As it happened, the school administrator lady went ahead and enrolled me with an ‘accelerated’ class. These people are rocking their entire MT training in three months, start to finish, by way of all-day classes, every day, for that duration of time. I’m not enrolled in sciences with them, but I have spent many long days in class since this all got going. I've been reading, taking tests and, of course, massaging pretty much constantly, which has been a little grueling, given how much I've got going on.
Ultimately, however, it’s for the best; although I’ve been away from Kaspar more than I’d like (we got childcare going just in time, and Aaron’s been picking up the slack... Thank you, Aaron!), not to mention my actual job (which luckily runs on something of an annual schedule, with fall as its slow season), and also working late into wee hours for weeks (just wrapped up that big freelance project, though, yay!), I am pushing through the final phase of Operation Massage School. If the schedule's going to suck, now’s as good a time as any. I think said admin lady knew what she was doing throwing me in the deep end without my water wings. (She’s also a mom who left the corporate world to do this; she knows what's up).
I’m usually a little wary of free curbside furniture. Seems like a sure way to welcome bedbugs into your home, although some New Yorkers swear by trash day in certain upscale neighborhoods as the fast track to furnishing fancy-like and on the cheap. There is, of course, a first time for everything, and I recently plucked this bedside table from the curb while on an unrelated Craigslist pick-up mission; the table was actually right beside the driveway belonging to the people we purchased Kaspar’s bike trailer from. Their home did not look bed-bug prone in the least (plus, the table offers little hiding room for insect stowaways). It’s not a particularly fancy table—in fact, it was kind of cheap and unattractive, and Aaron questioned my enthusiasm in adopting it into our home—but I needed a bedside table, and I had a vision for this one.
I have a thing for bold colors, clean lines and interesting accents; handles or knobs can make or break cabinetry, you know? If I were a hoarder, and had time for flea markets on the weekends, I’d surely sport a collection of cool and unusual drawer pulls, doorknobs, etc. I don’t have a collection like that, but I’d recently seen this cool owl-pair drawer pull at a local shop. The table brought it to mind, and gave me an excuse to claim it as my own with the intent to bring the two together.
This pull is actually silver (or pewter or whatever), not gold. The photo lies.
I ordered some turquoise Real Milk Paint (we also ordered some French Gray for our bed… I think the colors will compliment each other nicely), which is non-toxic and fume-free (though it does contain lye, which is highly corrosive, so it’s important to take caution not to inhale it while mixing). It comes as a powder, lasts for up to a month once you’ve mixed it (with water), and far longer than that just stashed on the shelf in its unprepared form. I sanded the table down and got to work this morning, with Kaspar sitting beside me on the back deck, drawing with crayons. The paint dried quickly, and I applied a few coats, attached the new pull, and—presto, change-o— my project is done. Take that, Anthropologie! I’m now on the hunt for just the right table lamp. I’ll someday read in bed again while closing out the day (lately I’ve been working every night until I collapse around 2… but this is a particularly busy phase that will eventually pass), and when that day comes, I’ll be ready for it with my fun and feminine nightstand.
I haven't been neglecting you, blog. I've been busy working, and playing nurse to the Newman boys, who're finally up and running after a series of unfortunate germ-battles that felled many a diaper before making their departure at the end of this week. But depart they did. And we partied on. Here's Kaspar on his way to a fete this afternoon (French Cannes Cannes, I know about that little thing that goes over the e... I just don't know how to type it. Do tell.) Enjoy the video. And turn down your volume FIRST if your babies are sleeping.