— Noted.

MJ’s To Do List

Very excited that this portrait series of four sisters, taken over 40 years is on view at the MoMA till Jan, 4 2015.

More info on the exhibit here.


Summer is officially over and I’m clinging to corn and tomatoes like it’s the end of the world.

I’m conveniently channeling this impending expiration of summer produce into 2 new obsessions. Galettes and roasted tomatoes.

First, galettes. How is it possible that I have not been eating galettes until very recently? If you have not been introduced to the galette, do it here and now. To avoid the nagging sensation of life regret, I’ve started making galettes at home, which turns out to be very easy. I have limited prior experience in baking a pie. The good thing is the galette celebrates imperfection and does not require a pie pan. The other good thing is store-bought frozen pastry dough is really up to par. I’m told that pie crust is not hard to make, but with a tiny Brooklyn kitchen and the lack of interest, my focus has instead been directed towards the question: puff pastry or pie crust?

I conducted a recent test using a Dufours Puff Pastry vs a Trader Joe’s pie crust. Both were extremely easy to defrost and already in a rolled-out state that easily transferred onto a baking sheet with no need of a floured surface or rolling pin. I gave both to my parents to eat for dinner and the unanimous results were that the puff pastry is a better galette crust. I should also note that I used the same exact savory recipe from Smitten Kitchen: Burst Tomato Galette with Corn and Zucchini (and Green Onion).


The recipe relies on scallions and parmesan. I would tell you they are essential:




Crust folded over into position. All ready for the oven:

What I am now curious about is whether that buttery pie crust would actually do better in a fruit galette. Stay tuned for that…

Second. Roasted tomatoes. After much research on different cooking sites, I landed on this advice from NPR that no matter which recipe you follow when it comes to oven temperature and how many hours to slow-cook, it really doesn’t matter and that they all work. That being the case, I went with David Lebovitz who split all extremes with an oven at 325° and a 2-hour cooking time. There is nothing as sweet as the taste of a perfectly ripened summer tomato, except maybe those that are slow-roasted and reduced to all that is necessary.

Recipe: David Lebovitz, Oven-Roasted Tomatoes


I’m a follower of Nicholas Kristof‘s column and the Half the Sky movement he has led with his wife, Sheryl WuDunn. After reading the book, I was inspired to sponsor women in Rwanda through Women for Women, and educated on
the potential of a girl’s education, despite the threat it poses. While this past Sunday’s column comes off as a softer subject in the midst of his usual reporting on inequalities around the world, it takes one to know Kristof to understand he actually really wants us to visit the far-off places, for the far-reaching potential that it would make the world a better place.

Read it here.



And, adding no. 53 of this to my to-do list.


Faroe Islands. Photo by Hans J. Hansen.


Back from a splendid vacation in Palm Springs, and I can’t stop thinking about the chilled corn soup I had at this Austrian restaurant. I know what you’re wondering — corn soup, Palm Springs, Austrian food? But it all made sense at the time (could have been the 112° desert heat)! Found a recipe to try to replicate:

From Bon Appetit:

Chilled Corn Soup with Lobster Salad


Photo by Ditte Isager


Speaking of chilled soup makes me think of my all-time favorite, first tasted when traveling in southern Spain. It’s a creamy version of a standard gazpacho, but made creamy by adding bread. Recipe here!

Gazpacho Andaluz from Saveur


Just when you think web design really can’t get all that exciting, a site like this comes around. Simple, but really beautifully executed. From COS:

To celebrate our arrival in the US, we’ve gathered a collection of things we love from across America – people, places and objects from each of the 50 states.

Explore the project: http://projects.cosstores.com/50things


And, looking forward to seeing COS in America. For a mass brand, I’m impressed by the level of consideration they put into everything they do. Curious as to how well they will do on this side of the pond.

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I am so excited about the latest book from Maira Kalman and Daniel Handler, Girls Standing on Lawns. Because wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to visit the moma with Maira Kalman and ask her what she thinks of all these photos? And it makes me wish I had access to my own family albums, to assess all the photos that were taken of me growing up, all pretty much on the same spot in our yard. And a new item for my to-do list, her paintings on view at the Julie Saul Gallery, ending soon on June 14.

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I once had a boss who would invite his team to his house for an amazing holiday dinner every year. We would walk in, smell the Christmas tree, drink some festive cocktails, and sit down together for a family meal that was the perfect counterpart to spending the holidays with actual family. We always did a very cheesy office secret santa with a $5 spending limit, but it always followed with the promise of our boss giving us individually selected books, mostly beautiful art books that us young kids could only enjoy otherwise as an indulgence. At the end of the night, most of us would get back on the Metro-North for the 2-hour ride back to Grand Central. Along that way, we obsessed over our new books and nervously analyzed out loud why he had given each of us the specifically selected book we were given. If the book wasn’t serious enough, or expensive enough, or heavy enough, or on a subject that one could not personally relate to, the timid insecurity we all had would ring out into the stale train air, “My boss hates me.” You could say we (like small children) really vied for his affection.

One year, I received Sugimoto’s Architecture of Time. I proudly showed off the cover of my book when my colleagues inevitably asked, “What did you get?”

He adores me and thinks I’m perfect.

Then there was the year I received Gregory Crewdson’s Twilight. This was my first introduction to his highly produced photos of suburbia and I remember slowly flipping through the book, horrified at the analyses that I knew would await me on the long train ride home. Does my boss think I’m sad? Lonely? Dark and soulless? So fake, that the fakeness was real? OMG. He thinks I’m a freak.

I remember the first time I saw a real Gregory Crewdson photo. It was enormous and absolutely spectacular. I could see how beautiful these images were, and that they had nothing to do with me, and everything to do with something unlike I had ever seen before in photography.

This all flashed up in memory because I see that Gregory Crewdson is having a show at Wave Hill of pics he took more than 15 years ago of fireflies. Fireflies also on my mind because they make appearance in Tinybop’s Plants app at dusk, a beautiful surprise for those who are curious enough to discover them.



Pictured above: Gregory Crewdson, Untitled, 1996. Silver Gelatin Print. 6 3/8 x 9 5/8 inches. © Gregory Crewdson. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery.


I made the crepe flower! (See my post below this one if you’re not up to speed).

These are the things I learned:

– There is one store in NYC (out of nearly 10 or so that I either visited or called) that sells crepe paper.

– Floral wire is also an elusive item to find in NYC (granted I did not try very hard and was convinced copper wire from the art store would be just fine – which it was).

– Why aren’t my petals as big and beautiful as the ones in the step-by-step picture? OH. Because I’m using the crepe paper you use for birthday parties, not the high-end stuff. (I couldn’t find green crepe paper so I actually made my leaves out of crepe STREAMERS. If there was extra credit for this, I have won it all.)

– Do not drink iced coffee before sitting down to work with fragile cheap crepe paper and scissors and glue.

– Do not expect mom to gush over the paper flower. Don’t get me wrong, she liked it, but she was not GUSHING which is in fact, totally NORMAL.


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All in all, it came out OK. I even made shortbread cookies to go with. A very good and easy recipe by smitten kitchen here.



My new to-do list item is to buy the high-end crepe paper (via the internet) and give it another go.


I stumbled on the instagram of Blooms in the Air, and have to say that I am not one who is too easily impressed by flowers that aren’t real. But these paper flowers are stunning.

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Nosing around some more, I saw this oh-too-perfect gift for mother’s day that combines a peony with shortbread cookies from Matchbox Kitchen. Yes, please! Perfect! Oh, no! Turns out they’re all sold out.

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Do not fear, I discovered this interview with Ji Kim, the creator behind Blooms in the Air. She shares instructions on how to make your very own peony. I so appreciate the beautiful work of a talented craftsperson, and inspired even more by the openness to share the how-to. I am going to attempt to make mom a peony! The good thing is I know she’s is going to like it even if it’s not as beautiful as Ji’s, because that’s what moms do.



Photo by Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times.

Garlic? Anchovies? Egg yolks? Red pepper? Hot sauce? Fish sauce???

I will be making this recipe by Melissa Clark.


UPDATE: I made this. It was good, but I’ll be going back to my standby recipe by Mark Bittman the next time I am craving a giant bowl of anchovy pasta:

Pasta with garlic, anchovies and tomatoes