Saturday, February 1, 2014

are you vealin’ it?


Some folks might be tempted to name this baby calf.

I’d prefer to eat him. 
Veal calves are delicious, so let’s braise a young veal breast. 

The breast is a very inexpensive cut of meat because it is fatty and full of cartilage and bone, but oh, so full of flavor.
It comes from just behind the front legs and continues to the rack of chops.

It's that gelatinous cartilage that informs the silky gravy these critters can produce. Start with shallots and mushrooms and thyme.

I have clarified goosefat onhand from Christmas, so I’ll use this glorious fat to brown the shallots.

Now sear the meat on all sides until it is also brown and crispy.

Put it all into the pot with some thyme...

...and then dump a bottle of pinot grigio on it. Or any white wine that’s not too sweet.

Carrots will add sweetness, but not until about an hour before serving.

I also added about a pint of homemade chicken stock, then covered it and set it to simmer gently for about three or four hours. 

Then the carrots and mushrooms go in for another hour or so. 

That’s it. It falls apart.


The gelatin in that young rack thickens the sauce naturally to a wine and thyme-scented, white gravy.

Just roast a few winter potatoes, and you are good to go.
 To everything, there is a season. ing. 

Friday, January 31, 2014


well in hand

I jumped at the chance to relight the Bronx Children’s Museum rolling bus exhibit.

How often do you get to cast light upon a beaver?


Working with Program Director and artist Natalie Wood, we removed legacy incandescents that were too hot for the snug interior.


We used LED’s instead. 

Lot’s of them. 

Inexpensive, very low energy, long lasting and best of all, little heat.

Long strips of LED were also mounted high on the ceiling, the full length of the bus.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

I don’t always cook a human heart

But when I do...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Like to fly?

Me too.

Air travelers love to bust the TSA, but they were productively busy last year according to their blog.

First, they screened almost ⅔’s of a billion people, 
an actual 638,705,790.


That’s amazing, about 1,700,000 people every single day. 

And it appears to pay off.

They averaged 5 guns a day, 1,813 firearms kept off planes in 2013.

And they are getting better at it, too. They even find them hidden in metal toolboxes.

That’s a 16.5% increase over last year.

Where do they confiscate the most guns?

They also find explosive vests,


loaded starting pistols,


And my personal favorite, swords hidden inside canes.

If their invasive pat-down pisses you off, maybe you’d prefer a plane the TSA did not check before going airborne.

I’m just sayin’.

Monday, January 27, 2014

the butler did it

and did it first.
When the Dakota was completed two years before our 1886 ClockTower it was so-called because it stood so far away.

It might as well have been built “in the Dakota’s.”
So, too, was our Bronx’s Butler Hall. 

It was built all by itself in 1859, not close to anything.

Re-named for Charles Butler-- a New York City council member who lobbied successfully for the building’s preservation-- it was originally designed as a mansion for a wealthy manufacturer named William Henry W.T. Mali.

Mali purchased land high on a bluff in University Heights near what is now 180th Street, overlooking the Harlem River and Manhattan.

You can see the influences that led up to the ClockTower brickstyle 26 years later: arch topped windows...

corbeled brickwork...

...and the show-off brick detailing highly prized as evidence of prosperity.

By 1892 New York University had moved into the area and purchased the site for a campus. 

According to this 1894 New York Tribune article, the original University Heights parcel was assembled to house NYU’s undergraduate program. Butler became a dorm and a language classroom.

No less an architect than Stanford White was retained to build a fantastic circular library right next door in 1897.

But by the 1940’s there were already 40,000 NYU students crammed on that campus. NYU sold to the city in 1973 and moved to the Village around Washington Square Park.

In the fall of that same year, Bronx Community College set up on the 55 acre site and has been educating students ever since.

But Butler Hall got there first by a long shot. 

It might as well have been in the Dakota’s.