color testing with katy

Katy has a very good eye for color. I was determined not to make another color blunder, so I lured her over here with the promise of a relaxing afternoon pouring over a stack of paint chips and a nice lunch. Katy examines each paint chip intently and shuffles them like a deft croupier. She flutters around the rooms holding them up against curtains and in different kinds of light. She is honest and precise. We marvel at the technology we can use to enhance the search. We play around with color apps. Then, we go to the computer and pull up the Benjamin Moore color search tool. We decline going through the rigamaroll of registering on the site so that we can choose favorites. Instead, Katy says “open up a bunch of windows so we can look at the colors side by side”.

She thinks that our first idea for the living room color needs to change now that the entryway is a medium teal blue. We originally had a color in the blue family in mind for the living room. Now she thinks maybe a fresh green would be the ticket. We agree. We take a trip to the paint store for in-person color selection.

The master bedroom walls are painted in Benjamin Moore Venetian Marble. It is a pale color that is almost luminescent and is impossible to name. It changes with the light. Sometimes it is the palest lavender, sometime grey and sometimes it has a pink glow so that it is almost like the inside of a seashell. It is a gorgeous color and someday I will use that color again in my house. But now, I feel the bedroom should be darker and cocoon-like. Katy suggests a dark lavender. We test. I like Benjamin Moore’s Queen’s Wreath.

Painting by Anne Delaney

Katy is still pondering what color I should paint the metal apartment door that will complement the teal blue stucco veneziano in the entryway. What do you think? Can you beat her to the punch?

oona makes mangú

Mangú is mashed plantains. Green plantains are starchy like a potato, so the dish is like mashed potatoes except that it goes particularly well with eggs and is very filling. For that reason, many people really like it for breakfast. It is a great side dish for brunch.

Plantains are an important food staple in tropical regions of the world because the trees fruit all year long and they are very high in potassium and other vitamins and minerals. They are versatile and can be eaten green, or ripe. They can be an appetizer, main dish, side dish or dessert. They can be mashed, fried, baked, grilled or added to other foods in many creative and delicious ways. My ex-mother-in-law taught me how to make it. Mangú is what they call mashed plantains in the Dominican Republic. In Cuba, they call it Fufú and in Puerto Rico it is known as Mofongo. There are many ways to make it, all of them, delicious. Sometimes pork is added. My mother-in-law’s version is vegetarian, made with lots of sauteed garlic, red and green peppers and onions.

I’d just seen the first ramps (wild leeks) at the Union Square Greenmarket. Truly a sign of spring, ramps feel like the first fresh leafy food to appear in the northeast that does not come from a greenhouse. I bought two bunches.

Oona decided to use the ramps for the mangú because onions are not her friend. Since she doesn’t like peppers either, the mangú was just plantains, ramps and lots of garlic. The flavor of the ramps is delicate so that the plantains were the star.

Here is Oona’s recipe for Mangú with Ramps

4 green plantains, peeled and cut into chunks about 3 inches long
1 lime or lemon
lots of garlic
1 bunch of ramps (about 2 cups chopped)
good olive oil to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Boil the plantains until they can easily be pierced by a fork (just like a potato) in salted water with a lime or lemon cut in half.

Chop the ramps (cut off the roots) and use both the green leaves and white bulb and mince your garlic. Sauté the garlic (don’t let it brown) and lightly sauté the ramps till the greens are wilted but still bright.

Drain the cooked plantain chunks and save some of the water. Mash the plantains, adding some of the plantain water to moisten. Add as much olive oil as you like. Add the sauteed ramps and garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot. If you have leftovers, reheat by steaming or microwaving with a bit of water to soften the plantain mash.

Serves six

cut the plantains into 3 inch chunks for boiling

chop the ramps and mince the garlic

a healthy spring brunch: turkey sausage, eggs and mangu

loisaida spring

Loisaida is blooming. We have the highest concentration of community gardens in the US. Here is a peek at our spring.

budding weeping willow at the Plaza Cultural de Armando Perez on Loisaida Ave

jasmine blooms heavy with scent

Plaza Cultural de Armando Perez gazebo