2012 flew by. I can't believe it's already time to celebrate a new year. It feels like I was making my 2012 resolutions just days ago. 

While bedridden with the flu, I've spent the last few days thinking about what I want the new year to bring and I thought I would share a few of my resolutions with you (if only to have it in writing and be accountable for them a year from now).

1) Take more risks.  I feel like my 20s are years where it's okay to take risks.
2) Find the work that I can't not do. I know there is something out there that will allow me to go to bed feeling like I have made an impact on the world; I just have to find it. This year will be a year of self-examination and discovery for me.
3) Be grateful/accept things as they are. I am blessed with so much, but I tend to dwell on what could be better more than what is already good. There's a really good post on zenhabits (one of my favorite blogs) by Leo Babauta about how happiness lies in recognizing what you already have. I am going to strive to do that more in the new year.

Taking the time to write down your resolutions and sharing them with others will help to make sure you stick to them. I would encourage you to email your resolutions to your friends or family. When this time next year rolls around, you will have something to reference as a benchmark to see how far you have come.

I don't have a good transition from resolutions into the recipe, but my brother and I roasted this marvelous duck with a pomegranate red wine glaze for our holiday party. It was fantastically tender and succulent. We got the duck from the Redding Terminal Market in Philadelphia. It was so hectic before Christmas that I forgot to get the name of the farm. Although, they did tell us the duck was from Lancaster and antibiotic/hormone free.

 
 
Moving is a bitch. Moving to a different city is even more of a bitch. Moving to a different city when your building's management company sucks balls is a serious bitch. As a result, I have spent very little time at the farmers market, and consequently very little time in the kitchen. So when Simi suggested lunch at Casa Mono to get my mind off of the headaches of moving, I was a little too excited. After a semester abroad in Madrid, I have a soft spot in my heart for tapas and Spanish food.

I love Casa Mono; their food is phenomenal. They are on the expensive side, but after the moving ordeals that I have been going through I think I deserve a good meal. Just like Northern Spy Company, Casa Mono features their menu on Real Time Farms, so you can see which farms they source from. They have a whole section of the menu dedicated to dishes made from whole organic animals that are pasture raised on small farms in the Hudson Valley and butchered in-house. They also have some really cool green initiatives, and are a certified two star Green Restaurant. I definitely recommend checking them out.
 
 
You know what I hate more than anything in the world? People who recline their seat on an airplane. They suck. They suck hardcore. I am SO close to stealing the pillow of the guy in front of me and punching him in the face. Sorry, flying makes me a bitter person. Anyway, before I left for LA, I met up with Jen and Victor for dinner at Bareburger, one of my favorite burger places in the city. They are so passionate about sourcing sustainably; even their decor is made out of reclaimed material. Most of their meat (except their bison and elk) comes from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. 

The cool thing about them is that they have something for almost every diet. I don't think there has been a single person that I have taken to Bareburger who doesn't like it. They have gluten-free options for someone like me, by offering a gluten-free tapioca bun or a lettuce wrap (I prefer to go with the lettuce wrap). They also have vegetarian and vegan options, by offering a dairy-free, nut-free veggie patty or a portabella mushroom burger. And best part, they are pretty affordable for organic fare. If you haven't checked them out already, I highly recommend it. They are awesome. 
 
 
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Today was my last day of work. It was totally bitter sweet. A part of me was excited for the new opportunity and move to Boston, but then a part of me was sad to leave a place where I had gotten so comfortable and made so many friends. It's especially sad because Megha, one of my really close friends from college has been working with me for the past two years. We used to be notorious for taking coffee breaks, roaming the halls, and going on vacations together. But it is time to move on, and keeping with the bitter sweet sentiments of the day, I thought I would make a blackberry cobbler - using the sweetness of the honey to balance out the bitterness of the blackberries.

This cobbler is such a crowd pleaser. I've made this before for a family party, and if I can please 20 Indians with a sugar-free/grain-free dessert, you know it's a winner. I also made one for Rachel (my roommate). She couldn't reheat it because our oven is totally jank, but apparently it still tasted heavenly even when served cold! 

For this cobbler, I got the ingredients from the Union Square Greenmarket. The blackberries are from Phillips Farm, the egg was from Central Valley Farm, and the honey was from Andrew's Honey


 
 
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Eating local doesn't mean you are always stuck in the kitchen. There are plenty of restaurants around New York that source locally and are proud to say it. Northern Spy Food Co. (12th between Ave A and B) is one of them, and they are fantastic because their online menu links you directly to the farm that their ingredients are sourced from. I wish more restaurants would do this.

Not only are they transparent about where they get their ingredients, but also their food is fantastic! Simi and I went this weekend and had marinated beets, fried green tomatoes (after New Orleans, I can't get enough of these), tilefish, and pork. Funny enough, their pork is from Flying Pigs, one of my favorite farms at the Union Square Greenmarket. All of it was so delicious, and I was so full after dinner that I didn't have room for dessert (that rarely happens). 

 
 
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I wanted to make these during the week, but with all of my going away madness* and my brother leaving for his freshman year at UCLA**, I just didn't get a chance to be in the kitchen. Anyway, since I am going to LA on Tuesday***, I thought I would get rid of all of my local produce in the kitchen and cook these stuffed zucchinis to last me for lunch today and tomorrow. I got the pork from Violet Hill Farm at the Union Square Farmers Market. I have gotten chicken from them before, but I usually get my pork from Flying Pigs. I actually really liked the ground pork that I got from them this time, and I will probably put them into my rotation more.

The zucchini turned out excellent. The tanginess of the mustard combined with the sweetness of the zucchini made a wonderful and totally yummy combination. I don't think it lacked a sauce, but a sauce would have taken it up a notch.
 
*My coworkers and I may have taken #YOLO to a whole other level.
**I could not be anymore jealous. The kid lives the dream, all day everyday.
***Unfortunately, I am going to have to take a week off from the Locavore Challenge since I am going to be traveling, but when I come back I will have a week off of work (that hopefully won't be taken up with apartment hunting in Boston) to prepare lots of recipes with local ingredients!


 
 
As you know, I signed up for the NY 2012 Locavore Challenge. It is a month-long campaign to encourage consumers across New York to eat local foods. Over the 30 days of the challenge, they propose a different mini-challenge everyday. Today is Day 4 and today's challenge is to "share the challenge via social media." I decided to share it with you guys, and talk about 3 reasons why you should source locally.

1) Eating local foods means eating fresher foods. Since the food is not spending time in transit or being cold-stored, the food is fresher. Fresher food means better taste and more nutritional value. Next time you are at the farmer's market, ask the farmer how long ago his/her produce was picked. Most produce at a farmer's market is harvested 24 hrs before it is sold. This means that the produce is picked at the peak of it's ripeness. 

 
 
I wanted to have a very New York Weekend this Labor Day weekend, and everyone knows you can't have a New York Weekend without doing brunch. Ishita, my partner in crime and amazing food blogger, suggested Tom Colicchio's Riverpark for brunch. Riverpark is known for it's farm right next to the restaurant and views along the east river. This was perfect since I signed up for the 2012 Locavore Challenge. What could be more local than a restaurant that sources from a garden in it's own concrete backyard? We had an amazing watermelon dusted with merken to start that was picked from their farm. Unfortunately, they would not disclose the purveyor of their meat. I hate when restaurants do that. I just kind of want to be like, "why are you being so shady?"