A Wednesday Wander: A Cosmic Park in Jaipur, India

A Wander From Jaipur, India in December 2012

As a little girl, I did my fair share of cloud staring, but what really sparked my curiosity were spaces and design. I channeled most of my musings into drawings and living room theater productions. Whether it was the religious backdrop of my childhood or my natural inclinations, science was sort of lost on me. For that reason, I am in awe of the intense, sky-staring curiosity that manifests as a park of mammoth instruments… à la Jantar Mantar in Jaipur, India!

Astrology Park and Fort

Jantar (“instrument”) Mantar (“calculation” or “formula”) is an astronomical observation site. It constitutes the most significant and best preserved set of fixed monumental instruments built in India in the first half of the 18th century; some of them are the largest ever built in their categories. Designed for the observation of astronomical positions with the naked eye, the monumental masonry installations embody several architectural and instrumental innovations.

To this day, the observatory is used by astrologers, for instance to calculate the auspicious date for weddings. Students of astronomy and Vedic astrology (Jyotish) are required to take lessons at the observatory, and it can be said that the observatory is the single most representative work of Vedic thought that still survives, apart from the scriptures.

(Learn even more here)

Astrology Park_Observatory Deck

Rashivalaya Yantras (pictured above)
A group of twelve instruments, with a graduated quadrants on both the sides, used to find the direct determination of celestial latitude and longitude.

Astrology Park Jai Prakash Yantra

Jai Prakash Yantra (pictured above)
A map of the visible heavens is inscribed on the inner surface of the bowls, with additional scales (including the zodiacal divisions of the year) around the rim. A small ring is suspended from cross wires. Its shadow projects the position of the sun onto the inscribed celestial map.

Astrology Park Observatory

In the midst of meandering amongst all these scientific, cosmological structures, I found my way into an Aquarian corner. While we’re talking heavens and stars (and maybe love and life?), how about a little astrological musing for my fellow Aquarians?

Aquarius Quelcy

Your romantic side is flying high today, Aquarius! The opposite sex in general, and your own partner in particular, are going to seem especially attractive to you. You could also see in an entirely different light in someone you think of as a friend. An increasingly busy social life is in the air, so expect some invitations to parties or other social events.

Your work ethic is especially strong today so use it. You have the stamina to put your nose to the grindstone for many long hours. Work overtime if you can. The rewards will be plentiful and it will certainly earn big points with the people in charge.

Pretty good, right?

Single-Grain

Here’s to the Heavens!
Quelcy

A Wednesday Wander is a way to revisit journeys past and work my way through my many photos and journals that might otherwise collect proverbial dust. Thanks for wandering with me!

Picolé de Milho Verde (Icy Cold Corn Popsicles)

 July 2014

Knee-high by the 4th of July, as the corn growing saying goes, means I am seasonally jumping the gun with these icy cold, corn popsicles. However, once I saw this recipe, the notion of corn for dessert was too tempting to wait for late summer’s bounty. I took advantage of the grocery store’s first kernels, yielding a pop so sweet and creamy, I’m dreaming of the 2.0 version to come when husks and tassels fill the farmers markets.

Mold and Popsicle

I altered the recipe below ever so slightly from Food52. The author’s adaptation referenced a popular Brazilian dessert, but being of Nebraskan roots, I like to think of this refreshing treat as a way to use more of summer’s sweetness in a day. You do know you can take the girl out of Nebraska, but you can’t take the Cornhusker out of the girl, right?

Corn Popsicles

Picolé de Milho Verde (Corn Popsicle)
adapted from Food52
makes 8 popsicles

Ingredients

4 ears of organic and/or local corn
2 cups organic, full-fat coconut milk
4 Tablespoons organic agave syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 400° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Slice corn kernels off ears and put on baking sheet. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, or until soft and starting to brown. Remove from oven and cool.

Stir agave and vanilla extract into coconut milk and microwave for about 30 seconds, to dissolve the sugar.

Use a food processor or blender to combine corn, coconut milk, agave, vanilla and salt until as smooth as possible.

Pour liquid into pop molds.

Freeze overnight, and then enjoy the sweetcorn goodness!

Single-Grain

Go Huskers!
-Quelcy

Instagram Lately: We Humans Are A Funny Breed

July 2014

Overheard this past week:

“Excuse me, how do we get to the goats?”

“Quiche- it’s the only vegetable that begins with a Q.” [said in all seriousness]

“I’m leaving for my trip on the next Full Moon.”
“Oh? I’m leaving on the next New Moon.”

Pie and Greens

We humans are a funny breed, both for what we say and do. We bring goats to a field of invasive plants and pretend it’s an innovative idea. We shed tears over a ball kicked by the wrong feet. We torture our pups for the perfect picture of pie. We perch on ladders precariously while texting and tagging, and we merge meals into one beautiful excuse to take everything slowly on Sundays.

Gold Gold Props

…but these are the funny, quirky moments which keep me going, keep me snapping pics and keep me blissfully feeling creative and inspired, and keep me wishing Quiche were a vegetable.

What do your Instagrams reveal lately?

Single-Grain

Cheers,
Quelcy

P.S: You can follow my Instagram adventures here.

#TBT: Pause for Living

July 2014

Do you ever feel stuck in a week that seems to lag and lap you all at the same time? Welcome to my July 7th through present moment. In the spirit of such a sprinting stasis, this vintage Coca Cola publication delivers a wonderful reminder to…

IMG_0722_edit

In between attempts to fire off a few more emails, edit a few more photos, and spray paint a few more fronds, I’ll pause and appreciate the visit I had with the best friend from out of town, the unexpected burger dinner with my dad, and the massive party I’m going to work/attend on Friday (hence the fronds). If only I could pause for a little lady luncheon like this…

IMG_0730_edit

#TBT (Throw Back Thursdays) glimpse into the vintage visual feasts in my personal collection of food and entertaining books.

Single-Grain

Happy Pausing!
-Quelcy

A Wednesday Wander: Produce in Puerto Rico

A Wander from Rincon & San Juan, Puerto Rico in September 2011

When you see a rather peculiar man, on the side of a busy road, wielding a machete, do you stop to say hello?

The Coconut Stand

If that man is wielding that machete to cut into coconuts, then hellllll yes (but you still might want to adhere to the buddy system just in case the coconuts are a trap…a refreshing, tropical trap)!

Quelcy and the Coconut Stand

Bananas are another story. I’m not one to nick a ‘nana from a laden truck.

Truck o Bananas

Had it been a mango truck, this may have been a different story.

Single-Grain

Bon Voyage!
-Quelcy

A Wednesday Wander is a way to revisit journeys past and work my way through my many photos and journals that might otherwise collect proverbial dust. Thanks for wandering with me!

Instagram Lately: Farms, Fireworks & Freedom Ringing

July 2014

Business loving, acronym fools love to preach the merits of setting S.M.A.R.T goals:

Specific: Target a specific area for improvement.
Measurable: Quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
Assignable: Specify who will do it.
Realistic: State what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
Time-related: Specify when the result(s) can be achieved.

Farm and Food

This 4th & 5th of July, I should have received a trophy, a ribbon and my name on a plaque for the achievement of my S.M.A.R.T goals. If I had had to submit a goal proposal, it would have read something like this:

Specific: I would like to make a cherry pie. 
Measurable: I would like to make one pie and eat a hamburger and corn on the cob on a sunny deck. I would like to see at least one fireworks display.
Assignable: I will make a pie. Chris will grill organic, grass-fed, free-range, hand-formed hamburgers. Thommy will make a patriotic gathering to keep the party going. Dana will make sure my minty bourbon cup runneth over. The city will fire off smiley faces and weeping willows and saturns over the rivers and bridges.  
Realistic: I’m ambitious. I will achieve all of these goals!
Time-related: These goals shall transpire for the 4th of July, and while we’re at it, let’s just keep going on the 5th and then lazily enjoy waffles on the 6th, while basking in the glory of our goal achievement.  

4th and 5th of July

Baaaaaaam! Success! Woooooohoooooo!

[this might be why I don't work for corporate America]

Did you achieve all your Independence Day goals every so smartly?

Single-Grain

Ever so ambitiously yours,
Quelcy

ps: You can follow my Instagram adventures here.

Mash Tour: The Brooklyn Brewery Comes to Pittsburgh

June 2014 

When I had a day job with a 401(k) and all that responsible “stuff,” I shared an office with a Brooklyn transplant who felt a burning desire to tell me the numerous reasons why I was living in the wrong city. Am I a diehard Pittsburgher? Not at all. Does Brooklyn make my heart melt? Sure. Do I want to live there? Of course. Do I want to pay rent there? Hell no. Do I need someone telling me daaaay in and daaaaay out why my Brooklyn clock is ticking? No thanks, I’m good.

Though I doubt he’ll read this, what I want said officemate to know is, “guess what! Brooklyn came to ME!” [shit-eating grin fills face]

Brooklyn came to PITTSBURGH!

Mash

This summer, Brooklyn Brewery hit the road on their Mash Tour, and Pittsburgh was one of the destinations- a testament to the many changes that have transpired in the city’s food & drink scene.

“What’s the Mash Tour,” you ask?

MASH\m’aSH

n.1: The first step in the brewing process; mixing malted barley with water, then heating to extract its sugars.

n.2: An adventurous mix of emerging culture from our neighborhood and yours; dinner parties, concerts, comedy, readings and humanity’s favorite beverage.

Blackberry Meadows and Brooklyn

Though I am a novice in beer drinking, there is something appealing about drinking a cold beer on a hot summer day, and nothing channels summer for me like a good ol’ farm dinner. Combine cold beer, talented chefs, picnic-style dining, music and mingling, and you have a Brooklyn Brewery Mash kickoff event, and you have these folks rocking the picnic look like champs…!

Picnic Style

Dinner on the Farm and Shrub

I drank beer, and I enjoyed it! This was a truly momentous day indeed! As such, if I liked Brooklyn Brewery’s Summer Ale, I imagine you beer drinkers might want to take a sip or two or three. I also snuck a sample of Wild Purveyors‘ new Shrub flavors, and I highly recommend purchasing those for summer sipping.

Cheese Plate Remains

Chef Justin Severino of Cure, Chef Mike Poiarkoff (a Pittsburgh native!) of Vinegar Hill House and Brooklyn Brewery Chef Andrew Gerson collaborated to feed us picnickers using Blackberry Meadows’ beautiful wood-burning oven.

Chefs at Work

In the spirit of eating on a farm, the dinner felt much like sitting at a table full of growing boys. Squawking or staring at the clouds, or maybe pointing a lens at the clouds like yours truly, instead of finding your way into line, resulted in a picked-over spread. However, there was still beauty in the remnants and in the act of very generous picnic sharing smoky, roasted potatoes with me.

Come and Get It

“Cooooome and get it!”

Roasted chicken

Roasted Potatoes

wild mushroom aioli and bacon

Kale Salad
white miso vinaigrette, golden raisins and shallots

Roasted Bok Choy
charred scallion buttermilk sauce, torn mint and basil topped with pickled chiles

Grilled Garlic Scapes
roasted green garlic and scape oil

Food and Music

Sometimes it just takes an outsider’s perspective to show you the cool elements of your own city. Thanks to the Mash Tour, I discovered the strummings of local band Union Rye. Both their tunes and attire were the perfect fit for a sunny Sunday on the farm, and I hope to hear them again soon!

Union Rye and Beezus Kiddo

Greenhouses Row

Olive Oil Cake and Whipped Sorrel

After learning my line lesson on the savory courses, I was quite sure to be at the front of the dessert line for the olive-oil corn cake with rhubarb jam and sorrel whipped cream. The idea of sorrel whipped cream had my brain whirling with herbal ideas.

Fence Coil and Barn

I had sun on my shoulders, music in my ear, and flavorful food on my plate. It was the perfect summer Sunday, and it happened in Pittsburgh. It was especially exciting because there was still more of this Brooklyn-Pittsburgh hybrid in store. Stay tuned!

Single-Grain

Santé to Summer Sipping!
-Quelcy