Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Vegan Dinner Party



Sorry ya’ll! So so crazy busy at the moment that days become nights and night become days! I promise to stop being such a turd about posting on Mondays!

I have to leave like now… So I will just copy and paste the menu for a vegan, gluten free dinner I made over the weekend. It was for 16 people! So I just tripled everything.

Okay! Till next week! Hopefully I will have some time/sanity! Maybe not!


Winter Squash and Wild Mushroom Curry

INGREDIENTS
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 10 ounces butternut or other winter squash, peeled and diced in 1/2-inch cubes
  •  Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 or 2 small whole green chiles, such as jalapeño or serrano
  • 3 medium shallots or 1 small onion, finely diced
  • ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  •  Handful of fresh or frozen curry leaves, optional
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  •  Pinch of cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 pound mushrooms, preferably a mix of cultivated and wild, trimmed and sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • ¾ cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  •  Cilantro sprigs, for garnish

PREPARATION
  1. In a wide skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add squash cubes in one layer. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes, letting cubes brown slightly, then flip and cook for 2 minutes more. Use a slotted spoon to lift squash out, and set aside.
  2. Cut a lengthwise slit in each chile to open it, but leave whole. (This allows the heat and flavor of the chile to release into the sauce without making it too spicy.)
  3. Add shallots to skillet, salt lightly and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves and let sizzle for 30 seconds, then add garlic, coriander, cayenne, turmeric and chiles. Stir well and cook for 30 seconds more.
  4. Add mushrooms to pan, season with salt and toss to coat. Continue to cook, stirring, until mushrooms begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  5. Return squash cubes to pan, stir in coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Lower heat to medium and simmer for another 5 minutes. If mixture looks dry, thin with a little water. Taste and season with salt.
  6. Just before serving, stir in lime juice. Transfer to a warm serving dish and garnish with cilantro leaves.


Chana Punjabi

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil or other vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 small Thai bird chili, chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or as needed
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
  •  Cooked rice for serving (optional)

PREPARATION
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, heat oil and add onion. Sauté until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and chili, and sauté until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook until tomatoes are very soft, about 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
  2. Purée mixture in blender or food processor until smooth. Return to pan and place over medium heat. Add paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, coriander, the garam masala, turmeric and lemon juice. Add chickpeas and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
  3. Cover and simmer until sauce is thick and chickpeas are soft, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir pan about every 10 minutes, adding water as needed (up to 1 1/2 cups) to prevent burning. When ready to serve, sauce should be thick. If necessary, uncover pan and allow sauce to reduce for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until desired consistency. Stir in cilantro, adjust salt as needed and serve with cooked rice, if desired.

Cucumber And Cilantro Raita (Not vegan)

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  •  Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallion
  • ½ cup finely diced peeled cucumber
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

PREPARATION
  1. In a medium bowl, combine yogurt and salt. Mix well. Add scallion, cucumber and cilantro. Mix again, and transfer to a small serving bowl.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad With Cilantro and Mint

INGREDIENTS
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 Persian cucumbers, chopped
  • ½ small white onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped purple or green basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon dried mint
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red chili powder(or ancho chile powder)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

PREPARATION
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl; toss, and serve.


Apple Crisp (Substitute vegan butter)

INGREDIENTS
  • 6 cups peeled, cored, sliced apples or ripe pears, 2 to 3 pounds
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon, or more to taste
  • ½ cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 5 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • ¾ cup oats
  • ½ cup walnuts or pecans

PREPARATION
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Toss fruit with half the cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar, and spread it in a lightly buttered 8-inch square or 9-inch round baking pan.
  2. Combine remaining cinnamon and sugar in container of a food processor with butter, oats and nuts; pulse a few times, just until ingredients are combined. (Do not purée.) To mix ingredients by hand, soften butter slightly, toss together dry ingredients and work butter in with fingertips, a pastry blender or a fork.
  3. Spread topping over apples, and bake about 40 minutes, until topping is browned and apples are tender. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Sick Of It All




The last two weeks I have been sick. The last week, actually really sick. It’s that time of year when your immune and will to live basically dies and you either embrace it or pretend it’s not that bad, thus making the damage prolonged.

During my invalid state, I had a lot of time to just mull around all the things I am sick of and below is a quick list because does any of if matter anymore! Also, yes I know this is a day late. Who cares?!

Things I’m Sick Of:


Texting – I feel like those (…) will actually make us all insane.

Potatoes – Sometimes I just can’t stand the look of them.

Podcasts – I listen to too many and they are melting my brain.

Eating – I’m in the, I hate food vibe, just give me a nutrient nugget and let’s call it a day.

Shitty Friends – Friendship is a type of labor.

Men –Such disappointments.

Artists – Blah blah blah, okay we get it.

Socks – Somehow they seem like they should be easy but they are not!

Drugs – Not sure what the point ever was.

Catching up – We are all bored of each other, let’s not waste each other’s time.

Memes – Cool.

Bagels – Sometimes too much is too much.

Walking – Put me in a cart and dump me in the ground.

Making things comfortable for others – At least give me a tip.

Trump – Everyone is obsessed and he’s obsessed with Obama. Unhealthy.

! – I use this way too much and mean it only like 2% of the time.

Meat – Sometimes if just freaks me out.

Treating people – They will never, ever get you back the next time.

Saying Hi – Can’t we all just agree that eye contact is sufficient?

Dating – You are all so fucking boring.

Making Amends – I wanna make amends by putting my face in a lemon meringue pie.

Believing in things – What. Does. That. Even. Mean?

Long Time, No See – Is it just me or is this phrase freaky?

Nicotine addiction – Self-harm is a bitch.

Underwear – What’s the point even?

Exercise – Don’t do it but still sick of it.

Art Talk – Only enjoyable with someone who doesn’t use proper nouns.

Politics Talk – Only enjoyable with someone who knows how to spell Beto O’Rourke.

Talking in general – My body language is telling you everything you need to know.

Holidays – Can we just skip it and get to April already?

TV – The internet is melting our brains.

Twitter – I’ve always hated it.

Guilt – I hope by 2060 women are free of this burden.

Monday, October 1, 2018

R.I.P. Phyllis Kind


Phyllis Kind and Roger Brown

I got a message the other day that Phyllis Kind died. For those of you who don’t know who she is, you should. She was a gallerist and a personality unlike anything the art world had before.

Her gallery, Phyllis Kind Gallery, was the first job I ever had in New York. It is the job that made it possible for me to move/live here and it has influenced my approach to art in ways I probably still do not understand.

She originally started her space in Chicago, selling prints and such, and then she got into the thick of it and is the reason why The Hairy Who, the Imagists and “Outsider Art” has the influence that it had/has and is finally being paid its dues.

I started working for her as an intern while still in college, commuting from Rutgers to her Greene Street location once a week, then worked full time as a gallery assistant. It was the end of the grand ol’ days as this was sometime around 2003, but for a total art newbie, entrance into her multi-level Soho space was both intimidating and wondrous. She lived in the back of the space so the mixing of business and personal overlapped in inviting (sharing Chinese takeout at her kitchen table) to rattling (potatoes being thrown at your head during an outburst.) But it was a type of education that was beyond impactful.

Under her tutelage and observations, I learned how a gallerist is more than just a person in the art business but a character of sorts. Anyone who knew Phyllis would be swirled into her vicinity and it was up to you if you could stay a float in her currents. Her mind was sharp, her tongue sharper, and the mixture of hard and surpassingly generous softs showed you the depth and complexity of what it meant to be a gallery owner and human being.

The thing that I learned most, the thing has is a base of so much of how I operate and think about art today, was her unwavering way of thinking and seeing art and who makes it. Her mixing of insider, outsider, has been talked about in many different circles, but Phyllis truly loved art in a way that seems cliché. She would get so excited and thrilled about an artist, she made it her business and passion to make sure that people saw, people understood, people opened their eyes to what she was seeing.

In addition to her authentic passion for art/artists, she played the gallery game so well. In the 80s she was a force that was recognized and feared at times. She was all New York brashness with a mind that could remember any date and name and eyes that could pierce any undeveloped soul. But through it all she remained herself and unnegotiating on what she thought art could look like and who were valid in making, buying and seeing it.

I hadn't seen Phyllis for years, after she moved to the West coast, but her name and the links I have made from my time with her still connect. She had that ability to create a sense of family. Dysfunctional in many ways perhaps, but she was this mighty force, glue, magnet that kept everyone connected. I guess that’s because if she saw you, if she took you in, that meant something.

Phyllis Kind. What a legend. What a shame that gallerists and key players fade away the way they do, but I guess that is normal. Even so, her legacy will still remain because the work people are just starting to remember now is what she loved and supported decades ago.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Octopuses on Ecstasy




I am way too busy to blog today so I will pass along this article which multiple people passed along to me, haha. We should all be hugging each other more.


On Ecstasy, Octopuses Reached Out for a Hug
By JoAnna Klein, September 20, 2018, The New York Times

Octopuses are smart. They open jars, steal fish and high-five each other.

Though interactive, they’re generally asocial, and temperamental, with unique behavior patterns, like those shown by Otto, who caused blackouts at a German aquarium and Inky, who famously escaped a tank in New Zealand. They learn through experience and observation, forming lasting memories with brain-like bundles of hundreds of millions of neurons in each arm and a centralized bundle in the middle.

A desire to understand the evolutionary underpinnings of this brainpower led scientists to give octopuses ecstasy. Yes, ecstasy — molly, E, MDMA, the party drug, which in humans reduces fear and inhibition, induces feelings of empathy, distorts time and helps people dance to electronic music all night.

And under the influence of MDMA, the researchers report in a paper published Thursday in Current Biology, asocial octopuses seemed to become more social.

“Even though octopuses look like they come from outer space, they’re actually not that different from us,” said Gül Dölen, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who led the study with Eric Edsinger, an octopus researcher at Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole.

They also found that humans and octopuses share parts of an ancient messaging system involved in social behaviors, one enhanced by the presence of MDMA in both animals. These shared lineages may have been conserved to reduce fear and enable social behaviors. And although preliminary, the authors think octopuses present a promising model for studying MDMA’s effects on the human brain, treating PTSD and better understanding how the brain evolved to conjure social behaviors.

MDMA helps release, among other chemicals, serotonin. That ancient molecule is involved in regulating mood and social behaviors in invertebrates like locusts as well as vertebrates, like fish, dogs and humans.

For Dr. Dölen, who is interested in evolution of social behavior, the octopus offered an interesting test of MDMA and serotonin, because it is separated by 500 million years of evolution from humans, but also has complex behavior.

Octopuses suspend their aggression for a few minutes to mate, perhaps accessing an otherwise switched-off neural signaling system — potentially similar to the one that helps humans behave socially, she reasoned. And any similarities in octopus and human genetic code related to this system could help her understand how the brain — down to its tiniest bits — evolved to govern social behaviors.

Like a wedge in Pac-Man’s mouth, MDMA fits inside a protein that moves serotonin in and out of neurons. The drug eventually causes a flood of serotonin between synapses, increasing its signals. When the researchers compared the genome of the California two-spot octopus (Octopus bimaculoides) to those of other animals, they discovered humans and octopuses could both make this protein, and it was nearly 100 percent similar at that special Pac-Man spot.

But would that protein on ecstasy also make octopuses social?

They put the octopuses in the center of a three-chambered tank where they could explore a Star Wars figurine on one side or another octopus on the other (it was contained beneath an overturned orchid pot with holes, in case the MDMA hadn’t worked and violence ensued).

Undosed, octopuses of either sex spent more time with the toy than the other octopus (if it was a male; they seemed less concerned when it was female).

But after soaking in low-dose MDMA-laced baths, the octopuses seemed to relax. They spent more time with the male octopuses on the other side of the tank.

They also hugged the pot with several arms, showing off their ventral ends, or mouths, almost like how the Larger Pacific Striped Octopus, the only known social octopus species, mates beak to beak in an eight-armed hug.

Though they tested only a few octopuses and MDMA likely acts on more molecules than serotonin, Charles Nichols, a pharmacologist at the Louisiana State University School of Medicine, was impressed: “I’ve been giving psychedelics to fruit flies for years in my lab, but had yet to have seen one given to an octopus.”

And David Nichols, his father who pioneered studies of MDMA for therapy, wonders how the drug might help untangle the fear circuitry in octopuses: “Connecting the dots in the octopus may lead to scientists being able to connect the dots, so to speak, in other species, including man,” Dr. David Nichols said.

Though just beginning, Dr. Dölen is hopeful: “We need to be taking full advantage of these compounds to see what they’re doing to the brain,” she said.

She added that when the octopuses came down from their serotonin highs, they acted completely normal — for an octopus.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Things That Made Me Happy


Call Me By Your Name


So most of the time I feel like a do some variation of whining, judging or kvetching about one thing or another on this thing. This week I will give you (and myself) a break from all the gloom-doom, gripe-fest and give a quick jot of things that actually made me (gasp) happy this past week. Life is long/short. May as well smell the roses sometimes!


Finishing a Book – I read a lot but lately I’ve been skipping around, reading multiple things at once and it is driving me nuts. I sometimes attempt to be the type or reader who can juggle multiple titles at once but I can’t. I’m a one book pony and I guess I should just finally embrace it. I finished Michael Pollen’s new book on psychedelics, How to Change Your Mind for my reading group (it’s always best to have peer pressure to make you finish something) and I liked the book well enough but I felt so satisfied when I completed it without much effort and time, proving to myself that yes, I’m literate and yes, I can read voraciously when I focus.

Kids Playing At The Beach – I guess in connection with the book above, this past weekend I was watching this little boy, about 2-3 years old playing at the beach at the water line and it made me think about some of the ideas in the above book (saying young children are basically high in terms of their neural path developments) and how true it is. He was so adorable in the classic little kid way but he had this precociousness and awe of everything, the sand in his fingers, his feet touching water, it was like watching a little guru, alien life totally absorbed yet exhilarated. All kids are like this but trust me, this was like some strange universe he was inhabiting and it was so heart filling to observe it even if it was only from outside in.


Henry Slesar's "The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross" – I listened to this by chance while getting ready to leave the house the other day on WNYC’s Selected Shorts Program. It was apparently a Twilight Zone Episode too. It’s about a guy who can barter something he has for something that he wants. He is doing all this for the affections of his long standing crush, it doesn’t work out of course but the turns of self improvement, the efforts and the strategies to get there are twisted, familiar and in plain language revealed.

Call Me By Your Name – This movie! I can’t believe I only just saw this movie! It’s so lush in cinematic eye (almost too lush) but the tones, the long edits, and the acting, especially by Timothée  Chalamet, is heart rending. For total romantics this movie crushed you in that bitter sweet way that only the want and depth of love can make you feel.

Gallery – I never talk about this but I love running my gallery. I feel so lucky and grateful for all the people I have gotten to know through it.

Instant Noodles – I watched a quick TV episode on Ramen and then I was like ‘I must have ramen,’ for 48 hours after. I didn’t manage to get the real thing but it’s pretty amazing how easy it is to get instant noodles, a few vegetables, one egg and voila, you are a baby chef for under $3. Amazing.

Beach – NYC can be a real god-damn-slog but the fact that you can get to the ocean via train is pretty miraculous. Summer...Don’t go!

Fingers and Toes – Yo, seriously, if you have 10 of each you are pretty freaking lucky. In seriousness though, we, who have so much, often forget all we have and that is something I have been trying to re-align myself with. It’s amazing what we have.

Morning Glories – Seeing those delicate vines climb on fences, gates, gutters, wherever they can and those brilliant, impossibly thin and easily bruised trumpet like flowers just peeping out at you is like seeing constellations in cement.

Cats – Cliché, cliché, I know but having a furry friend(s) is the best type of company sometimes. That thing they do when they can sense when you are sad or crying or feeling blue and they come up to you and nudge you and curl up comfort you by just having their tiny beating heart near yours. It’s a type of companionship that is literally beyond words.

Art Season – I was going to see so much art the past few weekends but life circumstances happened and that’s okay but yeah, I’m very excited to see the shows up and about to be up. It’s funny, you think it would get boring but somehow every fall there is this tingle of newness and possibility. I am thirsty for it and can’t wait to see it all and think about it all and probably complain about it all on this thing.