Leda’s Peaches & NYBG’s Edible Garden

cornyToday I got to play in The Edible Garden demo kitchen at the New York Botanical Garden. It was tremendous fun. I did two cooking demonstrations/local foods talks/book signings. I think I recruited a few folks who had never before thought about why it matters where their food comes from.

Here were the parameters they gave me: 1. theme ingredient is peaches 2. you need to fill at least 45 minutes of stage time 3. you need to make your three recipes and enough of them to provide taste samples for the audience 4. we’d like you to cover all the reasons why local/sustainable is important, but 5. keep it light and entertaining.


This was one of those times when I was really grateful for my first career (dance and theater). At least I don’t freak out when the sound technician hooks me up with a microphone and the audience starts wandering in.edible-garden

Anyway, it did end up being great fun. I got to combine four of my favorite things: cooking, teaching, performing, and supporting a cause I passionately believe in.

The recipes I did were a basic peach salsa, peach-salsaa variation that incorporates grilled corn (in peak season right now along with those peaches), and a peach chutney. The recipes will be up on NYBG‘s web site tomorrow (Mon. 8/16/10).

Hope your summer is going well, and that you’re making the most of summer’s abundance.

Fun stuff I’ve got coming up this week:

Food Preservation at NYBG Weds. 8/18/10

Wild Edible Plants and Mushrooms for Green Edge NYC 8/21/10

Hope to see you at one of those, and hope your summer harvests are proving bountiful.


The Locavore’s Handbook: The Busy Person’s Guide to Eating Local on a Budget

Botany, Ballet, & Dinner from Scratch: A Memoir with Recipes

Foraging on a Rooftop Farm

There is something magical about walking between rows of beets and cucumbers while looking across the East river at the Manhattan skyline. Eagle Street Rooftop Farm is one of my favorite places to visit, and it was a pleasure to spend the afternoon there teaching a workshop on edible weeds.eaglest3

Urban farmer Annie Novak had her workers refrain from weeding for days in anticipation of my event. Even so, there weren’t very many weeds. That’s a problem I do not have in my garden, and I was able to bring samples of a dozen “volunteer” edible wild plants that are common in the city.

At the farm, we did find some amaranth, purslane, lamb’s quarters, and mugwort. I did a garlicky stir fry with the amaranth greens, and a salad with the purslane for everyone to sample.

The farm produces an impressive amount of food in just seven inches of soil. Along with their CSA, workshops, and providing produce to several restaurants, on Sundays they have a small market. The market is indoors where the temperature is cooler than under the blazing sun on the roof.eaglest-market

In addition to the rows of vegetables and herbs, there are also beehives maintained by Megan Paska, chickens, and rabbits. bunny

All of this on a rooftop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn!

eaglestThe farm is open to the public on Sundays, and there are many wonderful talks and workshops as part of their partnership with Growing Chefs. Definitely worth a visit if you are in NYC.

The Locavore’s Handbook: The Busy Person’s Guide to Eating Local on a Budget

Botany, Ballet, & Dinner from Scratch: A Memoir with Recipes