Cultural New York, Recipe, Uncategorized

The Changing World We Live In

img_0172

In these challenging times remember to go out and enjoy the natural world we live in.

img_0131My favorite photo I took.  This girl was lining up at Starbucks. I asked to take her photo.  The youth are living in a new reality.

 

As the world watches American leadership make history with their cruel, unnecessary, executive orders, they also see their people rise up against injustice. Even though this devastating change of power has risen up against everything this great, democratic country has fought for over the last 200 years, the resistance movement will make sure that every human being is treated equally and that the environment will not be damaged any further by this party’s lack of belief in climate change.

 

The people elected this demagogue, but his charismatic, strong rhetoric convinced people that he would repair this country and bring about amazing changes. We know the jobs immigrants perform are low paying and hard labor. No American wants to work those jobs, I am sure they can have them if they wanted. We watch immigrants work hard and long hours so that their children have the opportunity to go to college and along with their parents work ethics they strengthen this country. Diversity in any country brings a far more interesting culture to the world. Who truly believes a land filled with only white people could be interesting?

 

Last weekend I went to the women’s protest march on Washington. I spoke to so many Americans from different ethnic, financial, educational and regional backgrounds. I loved the conversations filled with love and hope. I came home charged and ready to resist. With this week’s executive orders and being back in my day-to-day life I started to feel hopeless again. But social media keeps up the resistance and facts for all to follow and participate in. We ALL have a voice and we ALL have a responsibility to sort out the truths from the lies. Holding everyone responsible to report truths and not alternative truths, from both sides.

 

As well as being involved in protests it is my duty to ask our local democrat senators to vote and stand up for their constituents. The party needs to find their backbone and leadership to gain the respect they have lost. So many democrats refused to vote in this election as they have lost faith in their party. Let’s not allow that to happen in 4 years time. Or even on the local level in 2 years.

 

Putting my work hat on, I am so proud to be both a personal chef and health coach. Watching my colleagues on social media resist this new regime and make statements to their followers urges me to not only make my statement but keep up going to protest marches.

 

Having lived here peacefully for 35 years as a resident alien from the United Kingdom, yesterday I filed my immigration papers to become an American citizen. This current state of affairs has strengthened my love for this country and the people in it. This era will make us stronger and shows the youth of today, who have only known the gentle Obama years, what can happen in a democracy, and the need to stand up to power.

 

On a working note, my book will be published May 1 and yesterday I shot the cover photo for my book. Here is a rough mock up I did last night. The fonts will change once I have hired a graphic designer.

 

God bless America and all her people. May we find our strength through these changing times to unite as one and keep our focus strong.

no-name-on-this

My book’s cover photo.  Taken by me in the studio.  So excited this is coming together so well.  My favorite recipe in the book is Salmon Salsa Verde.  These are the ingredients for the dish.

 

Advertisements
Standard
Cultural New York, Uncategorized

My review of Springsteen’s autobiography: “Born to Run”

From left to right: Patti & Bruce with Evan and Jessie at the fair in NJ

Patti and Bruce with Evan and Jessie in the concorde lounge at JFK on the way to Sweden to begin the 1992 tour.

Evan’s birthday at the house in Rumson 1992.

All photos taken by me.

 

Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, Born to Run, is an honest depiction of his life, and his written tone is exactly how he is in person. I am impressed that he kept his style and didn’t have the book edited, but having known Bruce, this is hardly surprising, due to his need for control.

I enjoyed the book on many levels, having worked and lived in his home for a year, I got to know Bruce really well, as you can see, he is a friendly, introspective, cautious and an extremely sensitive man, who struggles like many of us, with his own demons.

The book begins with a cultural look at growing up poor in Freehold, New Jersey in the 50’s and 60’s.   The class divides are stronger than the multi-cultural divides when you grow up on the streets. He also describes the start of the musical revolution, where musicians were allowed to be more sexually provocative, Bruce describes himself as a misfit who suddenly comes alive when he sees Elvis, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones etc. performing on the television for the first time, “it lights a fire in” his “belly.”

The reader understands from Bruce the struggle to make a buck and be prepared to live and breath music in order to succeed at your craft. He explains how he understood the importance to be his own entity and have the band work for him. His honesty about all the different personalities and his personal intimate relationship with each member of the band is honest and interesting. For a musician trying to keep his own identity, and believing in what he is producing, and his intuitiveness that goes into the formation of his songs are all described in detail in the book. Everything Bruce does comes from his gut and he isn’t afraid to talk about it and stand by his convictions.

Family is a large part of his story, his place within his family, the parents before him and then being a parent. His feet are firmly on the ground in the rightful place of passage. At his age now he has finally come to terms with his past and has worked really hard to remain sane within the loving arms of his family and workers.

The fact that he returned to his place of origin – the state of New Jersey, and raised his kids on familiar territory has certainly paid off. They are one famous family that remains completely normal in regards to having a semi-private life.

I loved the epilogue where he rides of into the sunset on his Harley, that is such a Bruce thing to do.

 

Standard
Cultural New York, Uncategorized

Walk in the Sunlight of the Spirit, during these changing times

img_1366My friend Olive and myself at the beach, on a windy day in the Hamptons.  iPhone selfie.

 

I have been remiss about writing my blog;  after promising myself to write weekly posts my life got busy, but now I am back to keep that promise. Since last posting, we now live in a changed America, the New Yorker Donald Trump is our President elect. A frightening prospect not only for America but the rest of the world.  As a Bernie supporter, this election has been all about helping the Americans struggling to survive without job prospects and find a solution for the many Americans trying to scrape by on very little whilst the wealthy gain more wealth.  The democrats shoved Hillary Clinton at us, saying she will do, even though she had no connection to the extreme poverty in this country.  Hillary is also a New Yorker, so we have plenty of local happenings around these two politicians. The day after the election, Hillary was photographed, by Bill,  with a mother and child who ran into them both walking their dog on a local hiking trail.  The photo went viral because it humanized her, after such an arduous battle, enjoying the same interests and terrain as we “Westchesterites”do. Meantime,  Trump is perched in his gold- gilded building, high above New York, impulsively tweeting away, and professing his deep understanding and concern for the American “deplorables.” His golden tower has turned the midtown christmas festivities into a complete security nightmare, whilst costing the city a fortune to protect him.  Streets are closed and businesses are struggling to survive. This being a huge inconvenience to New York visitors and locals alike.  As we all wait to see him “make America great again.”

Now that Trump’s elected and the shock has subsided, I have thought long and hard about what is my responsibility, as an individual, and how to participate in the conversation about the policies that I understand to be important.  On a national level, we have no idea what we will get in the next 4 years, but we are guaranteed change.  Having read Trump’s policies, some make sense to me, so I leave those political discussions to others, my concern are the food, immigrant & environmental policies he will try to change.  As far as the economy goes, we all suspect there will be a boost in the economy as the Republicans lower our taxes and dump money we don’t have into rebuilding the infrastructure, and creating many jobs.  However, after this huge spending takes place,  we will be left with a huge inflation.  As our most important commodity is food, my concern is to get involved at a grass roots level to make fruits and vegetables affordable to all Americans, especially with the impending outcome set out for us.

Having received full UCLA scholarships, I became a proud English major, having studied at the university whose English department ranks #8 in the world. My specialty being Post Colonial Literature, I learned, from some of the top professors in this field, about the plight of the immigrant diaspora. I now have a thorough understanding about the struggles and concerns immigrants face throughout the world. Largely due to the many writers who opened my eyes and heart through humanizing their fictional characters. From James Baldwin’s lively and colorful African American characters in 1960s Harlem, to Zadie Smith’s harmonizing the characters of multicultural London of the 1980s, to Jamaica Kincaid’s juxtaposition of imperialistic characters affects on Caribbean Americans, and the fabulously talented writer Caryl Phillip’s novels about identity within the African diaspora. Armed with a full heart of hundreds of fictional characters who taught me about race and identity and the post-colonial times we are living in, I am absolutely certain we cannot return to the reign of the crusty old white guys!!

I urge everyone to sign up on twitter and follow the powerful voices from both political parties, the writers and journalists you admire and trust, and the organizations supplying the correct information about what is happening at this moment in time.  This isn’t a time to be complacent.  Yes, we are lucky to live in New York, shielded from the extreme poverty and anger that has created this possibility for Trump to become President, but as democrats, we have also become unbending and narrow minded, believing we are the smart, philanthropic, sympathetic, open-minded, liberals and they – the republican supporters are greedy, selfish, racist, misogynist, bigoted people.  How wrong have we been by stereotyping and not listening or discussing other people’s point of view.  What has happened to the art of debating.  We certainly didn’t see it with our political candidates.  It is time to come out of the ‘ivory tower’ and help make a difference for the next generations. The white Americans who want to return to the 1950’s need to remember there are many different cultures who weren’t welcome in that time period.  And we are certainly not returning there. Big change is coming and there will be a new democratic party emerging in four years.  That is democracy.

img_1224

For this week’s recipes, I am doing roasted brussel sprouts with chopped hazelnuts

1lb of small brussel sprouts

1 garlic clove crushed

1 tbsp olive oil

large handful of hazelnuts

place brussel sprouts, garlic and olive oil in a roasting pan and roast in the oven, uncovered at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

sautee hazelnuts in a frying pan until lightly browned, rub in a towel to remove some of the skin and chop with a knife

once brussel sprouts are roasted, toss in the hazelnuts and serve as a side dish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standard
Cultural New York, Recipe, Tilapia

Jet Skiing around New York City Harbor,Current Exhibits at The Whitney & Peanut Crusted Tilapia recipe

 

Processed with Snapseed.
Processed with Snapseed.

Jet skiing around the New York City harbor was both exhilarating and terrifying.  I had seen Facebook photo of a friend doing it, and immediately knew it was something I must do. I asked a couple of friends, who thought I was bonkers suggesting it, and then Fiona immediately responded “but of course”.  As with most impulsive decisions I make, I hadn’t thought about asking anyone about the process of riding a jet ski, or what is required.  I also hadn’t anticipated how choppy the water is once you leave the land surrounded Hudson.  Setting off, I couldn’t keep my “nose”straight and kept getting turned around.  Everyone else in the group went flying off as my control issues kicked in big time.  It took me a good 10 minutes to get grip on how to handle the beast I was driving.  Once I was off and driving then the choppy water demanded me to speed up.  That was another thing to negotiate.  However, when you see the majestic beauty of the Statue of Liberty and what she represents, the fear subsides and the fun begins.

img_0959

“New York-based artist Virginia Overton explores the contrast between the concepts of the “sculpture garden” as a cultivated setting for contemplating artworks and the “garden sculpture” as a vernacular ornamental object. Taking inspiration from the Museum’s windy rooftop site, situated between the High Line and the Hudson River, Overton has installed two towering windmills pumping air to multiple ponds planted with a variety of aquatic flowers and greenery.” from The Whitney Museum of Modern Art.  Photograph by me, taken from the 6th floor.

The Whitney Museum is one of my favorite places to visit in the city.  I love this contemporary space for not only the art installed in the museum itself but the outdoor spaces which integrate art with the activity and culture of life in the city and on the Hudson River.  Once again, I get to glimpse the majestic statue from this fabulous location.

img_0934

A delicious new recipe I made this week: Peanut Crusted Tilapia with Frizzled Scallions and Ginger. Photo by me

 

  • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil
  • 3 medium scallions, cut lengthwise into fine matchsticks (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into fine matchsticks (about 1/4 cup)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup salted peanuts, finely chopped
  • 2 skinless tilapia fillets (about 4 ounces each)
  • 4 tsp. seasoned rice vinegar, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper

In a 10- to 12-inch, heavy, nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the scallions and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re just golden, 2 to 4 minutes.

Transfer the vegetables to paper towels to drain and toss them lightly with salt.

Line up three wide plates. Put the flour in the first; beat the egg in the second; put the peanuts in the third. Season the tilapia fillets with salt. Dredge one fillet in the flour, then dip in the egg, then coat it with peanuts. Set the fillet on a plate and repeat.

Add the tilapia fillets and cook until golden on each side and the flesh is opaque, 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
Put the tilapia on dinner plates, sprinkle with the rice vinegar and pepper to taste, top with the frizzled vegetables, and serve immediately.

 

 

 

Standard
Cultural New York, Recipe, Uncategorized

The Boss, The End of Summer, Stone Barns & Spiralized Zucchini with Pesto

The kids go back to school today, the daylight is getting shorter – no more walks at sunset after work, and the rental of water sports equipment on the Long Island Sound are being removed on Monday. Time to get into fall mode. I love the East coast summers, everyone goes out on the water and gets out their convertibles, the wealthy coastal areas come alive. There is an underlying sexiness to the balmy evenings and summer clothes. Men are flexing their muscles and women are showing their assets. But fall is around the corner, I love that even more, a sense of calm settles in and the red hues are breathtakingly beautiful, almost surreal. The cooler days and nights inspire us to anticipate the winter months of blue hues and white grounds. I love the different seasonal colors.

My summer highlight was seeing Bruce perform in New Jersey. The photo above was taken by me in 1992. Those 2 children are now in their twenties. I follow Jessie on instagram, she is an amazingly, happy, driven young lady. I can see she has a sparkle of fun like her mother. She is an avid horse jumper and is respected by her peers. The Springsteens are a great example of a family who balances fame with private life. Bruce kept his children away from the spotlight because he believed it was his choice to be famous, not theirs. Now Jessica and Patti show us glimpses of their private lives through social media. I enjoy seeing their unglamorous, family life. When I worked and lived in Beverly Hills with them, Bruce always said he would raise his kids in New Jersey, he knew they would be better watched over in the area than in LA. He said the local police and schools would be more aware if there were issues and he could keep control of them better. I definitely see this has paid off tenfold. There is a sense of unrestricted attention and care with rich kids in LA, the lack of boundaries and regulations can be unnerving at times. Prince, Michael Jackson’s son told me that he was the only boy in the class that didn’t smoke pot, and that there was tremendous peer pressure to do so. He was 15 at the time.

IMG_0575

For the last day before school starts, I took the boys to Stone Barns, for those of you who have never been there it is a farm which was once a Rockefeller estate.  The farm and the Rockefeller State Park are located beside the Hudson River, 15 minutes from my home. The top restaurant in New York – Dan Barber’s Blue Hill Restaurant is located on the farm and all the produce and animals are grown at the farm for the patrons.  As most haute dining experiences these days, the restaurant has a vast tasting menu for $300.  Whilst wondering around today we found these eggplants being charred outside, ready for that night’s feast, I was salivating at the prospect of eating them that night. Alongside this fire pit the staff were making their own charcoal.  I am not sure what that entails.

13129553_255671304782827_253920546_n

For my recipe this week let’s discuss spiralising, the new trendy alternative to eating pasta using a spiralizer with either sweet potatoes or zucchini.  A healthy non carb option for a delicious base.  Here I suggest making spiralised zuchini and home made pesto.  An adaptable recipe for pesto:

3 handfuls basil leaves

2 tablespoons almonds

1 lemon juiced

2 garlic cloves

4 tablespoons olive oil

Add all these ingredients to a blender and blend on high

Remove and place in a bowl.  Add 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast, mix well and add to zucchini “spaghetti”.  Eat immediately or it will soften.

IMG_3173

 

 

Standard
Cultural New York, Recipe

Bruce, Bowls and Intellect

Moving to New York nearly 4 years ago was a drastic shift in lifestyle for me. Leaving behind a big circle of British friends whom I had known for many years was the hardest decision. Having loved Los Angeles for 28 years, I had embraced the culture, the friends, the self nurturing environment, the weather, the creativity, and the laid-backness to life, however, I decided I was ready for a change of scene. Not fully understanding why I was making this decision, I took the action and left the thinking and desire to a later date. Discovering 2 1/2 years later why I made such a drastic, life changing decision in my 50’s, I now realize I didn’t feel grounded in Los Angeles, I loved the glamor and artificialness but never felt that I fully fitted in with that world.

My time spent studying English at UCLA changed my perception on life and what I wanted to grow into for the latter part of my life. I longed for an environment with greater cultural interests, more nurturing, people living a simpler, family existence, closer to Europe, seasonal climate changes and the intellectual stimulation of New York City on my doorstep. My ultimate goal was to go to NYU and obtain a PhD in Post colonial Literature, but this dream is not financially feasible. Saying this though, living in Westchester does afford me the ability to study later on in life at East coast universities. This is a huge draw for me, to this area. I am somebody who continually takes classes and loves broadening my learning skills. For example this year I am learning nutrition and wellness via a health coach training program. Which I am thoroughly enjoying and looking forward to implementing in the future.

The last time I lived on the East coast was the summer of 1992. I was employed by Patti and Bruce Springsteen to take care of their children, and travel on tour with them, supervising and managing the well-being of 2 small children, enriching their lives on a physical, emotional, creative and intellectual level. On Tuesday night, I was back in New Jersey, watching Bruce perform in his home territory. The memories of people, places and things flooded my psyche, reminding me what a huge imprint on my life that year meant to me. Although my job with them was based out of Beverly Hills, we often headed East. Bruce was the first boss who didn’t ever talk with a tone of knowing more than others and genuinely listened and thought about what he discussed. A man with limited education, but a vast amount of knowledge and life experiences meant that he is extremely wise and introspective. I remember at first thinking he wasn’t very bright because he didn’t talk eloquently, but I soon learned that talking a lot doesn’t mean you are smarter than others. It is what is said that provides the best wisdom. My greatest problem with East coasters is the continual banter and the insecure need to have others believe they know everything. There is an incredible insecurity to feel stupid. Whereas West coasters generally respond only when they have knowledge and expertise in a topic, they are keen observers of other people’s experiences. I am much more an observer than a talker. And often find myself being talked to in a haughty tone for not being versed in a topic of which I have little interest.

This week I am writing the bowls chapter of my book. I have procrastinated on writing this chapter because I need to keep it simple but also understandable for my readers. Bowls are my favorite way of eating, especially when I am in one of my vegan moods. The beauty of eating several different food groups in a bowl means lots of different flavors and plenty of nutrition. Also the ability to eat 1/2 uncooked and 1/2 cooked food at one sitting proves desirable to me. My bowls usually contain:

a protein – prepared meat, fish or protein
a cooked veggie – for example brussel sprouts, spinach, green beans,
salad – arugula, tomatoes, onion, avocado etc.
sauerkraut or pickled vegetable of some type
a grain – sprouted mungbeans, green lentils, rice, barley etc
a topping – ground nuts, nutritional yeast and garlic mix
a sauce – for example a light tahini mix with water, tamari, fresh orange
and a sprinkle of fresh herbs

Bowls are nutritious, healthy and fun. Preparing several different veggies,salads, etc and leaving in the fridge makes meal times simpler.

Photography by Caroline Gray. Food prepared by myself.

Standard