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-Emily K.

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Pasta primavera with smoked gouda + cauliflower cream.

The photography of my artist friend, the talented and hugely awesome Johnny Tang, was selected for this year’s Mass Art Live Auction, and this past week I accompanied him to the opening reception celebration. Johnny’s work — particularly his “World of One” series — has a real verve to it. It’s beautiful and strange and thoughtful — three things great art should be. I am always impressed to see a new piece, and, since I started editing his blog a couple of months ago, I’ve been lucky enough to get special sneak peeks. Even so, even though I generally find him to be impressive, I was honestly blown away by the scope of this auction. I realized within a few minutes of stepping into the gallery that to be selected for this auction is sort of a big deal. Which was perfect, because so is my friend.

[Leaf Parade. Pasta primavera with smoked gouda + cauliflower cream.]

Full disclosure: I am an awkward introvert and do not do particularly well in uncertain social situations. Making small talk with complete strangers — I really just don’t have it in me. So I was truly delighted to see two huge cheese spreads on either end of the gallery to keep me looking busy while Johnny did a bit of schmoozing with fellow artists and potential bidders.

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Happy little Sunday things.

This time of year, every weekend feels like the best weekend ever. This one was not any different — it was full of many new things, a sure sign that spring is here and that we are ready for it.

1. A few weeks ago, I cut my long hair to just above my shoulders and, while it was nice for awhile, I found myself wanting just a bit more taken off. But then I thought: What’s the sense in taking off a just a bit when I could take off quite a bit instead? So I opted for the latter. And I have never before liked a haircut so much. I bow down to Nina at Asa Hair Design.

[Leaf Parade. Happy little Sunday things.] [Leaf Parade. Happy little Sunday things.]

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Project Bread’s 45th annual Walk For Hunger.

On May 5th I will be participating in Project Bread’s 45th annual Walk For Hunger, a 20-mile trek around the Greater Boston area that promotes awareness of hunger in our communities. Last spring, I joined 43,000 walkers, and together we raised $3.6 million. For those of you who don’t know, Project Bread supports a wide variety of programs across the commonwealth of Massachusetts, including community-based meal programs, early childhood and school nutrition initiatives, creating better access to fresh local food resources, and more.

[Leaf Parade. Project Bread's 45th annual Walk For Hunger.]

Since 2005, there has been a 23% increase in public assistance requests made to the Greater Boston Food Bank. This figure is significant, especially when you consider that our nation’s food industry is prolific enough to feed every person in this country 3,900 calories each day. Though our food culture is one foregrounded by notions of ‘excess’ and of ‘plenty,’ thousands of people are forced to choose between food and rent, food and heat, and food and healthcare. And this problem doesn’t just affect adults — according to the GBFB, more than 125,000 children are at risk of going hungry on any given day in eastern Massachusetts alone.

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Falafel, reimagined.

Let’s face it. I could, at all times, be eating something. Especially falafel. In fact, if I could be in a constant state of eating falafel, I would be. It’s so good, right? So balanced in so many good ways  — the smoky with the snappy, the fresh with the flagged, the light with the leadfooted.

[Leaf Parade. Falafel, reimagined.]

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Simple garden hash with poached eggs.

[Leaf Parade. Simple garden hash with poached eggs.]

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, every summer when I was growing up, my father grew a vegetable garden. I used to watch him early each spring (all suited up in ridiculous white overalls) pull the rototiller out of the garage and wheel it to our side yard. For hours, he’d till the soil until it was, at long last, coaxed out of its winter-long hibernation and breathing once more. He would then carefully edge out the garden patch with a spade, stand back with his hands on his hips, and admire his work.

My father and I have always had what one could most certainly call a strained relationship. It’s sort of a thing, and it’s too bad. As a child, though, I admired the heck out of him. His ability to hold his breath underwater. How the dog loved him so much more than she loved anybody else. The magical way in which he managed to turn a small patch of dirt into salads, into bouquets of flowers, into Halloween jack-o-lanterns.

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Crustless spinach + cheddar quiche.

[Leaf Parade. Crustless spinach + cheddar quiche.]

The very first time that I decided to bake a quiche, my ingredient and methodology requirements were very different from what they are today. What do I mean? I was looking to make myself a dinner that was a) vegetarian, b) on-the-cheap, c) composed of ingredients that I could readily identify and locate in a Swedish grocery store.

Please remember back to a couple of weeks ago to when I told you about my first experiences shopping at my local Uppsala grocery story. Many a confused afternoon I spent lost in those aisles, wondering where they had hidden the peanut butters, considering the merits of buying my yogurt in a large bucket (complete with a handle), and hugely underestimating the difference between mjölk and filmjölk.

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Happy little Sunday things.

[Leaf Parade. Happy little Sunday things.]

My Easter weekend was the best. I headed home to Connecticut to spend the holiday with my family. It was two days full of cooking, eating, catching up, and talking about how nice it is to finally see some sunshine. Remember all that talk a couple of weeks back about lions and lambs? Here’s to lambs. And here’s to April.

[Leaf Parade. Happy little Sunday things.]

1. The weekend’s sunshine really got us all thinking about talking a lot about warmer weather things. On the way to my mom’s house, my sister and I made a shopping pit-stop, and I found myself buying shorts and dresses and skirts, trying on sandals and, yes, even bathing suits. Bathing suits. We talked about summer barbecues and our upcoming July trip to Block Island, and it all seemed so nearby, so realizable. It’s funny what a little sunshine will do — it so much invites a looking forward, a considering of days and weeks (and months) to come. And all at once, all with such fervor, such rabidity. Sun is here and we want more of it — can’t live without it now. While en route Friday afternoon, I found myself actually worrying that I hadn’t packed my sunglasses with me. These are the kind of late-March emergencies that would have seemed so impossible just a couple of weeks ago. The first bites of spring are the most delicious — they make you want to toss off your wool cap with reckless abandon, to boldly put away the ice melt for the season, to roll the cuff of your pants and let your ankles breathe for the first time since their early fall hibernation. Glorious.

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Overnight oats with coconut, almond, and cacao.

[Leaf Parade. Overnight oats with coconut, almond, and cacao.]

If you had been in my kitchen at 6 o’clock this morning, you might have seen me sneak in in my socks, pull down a tub of shredded coconut from my cupboard, and go at it with a spoon for a minute or two (or ten). This is the kind of thing that I do — my at-home behavior is characterized by my constant opening of kitchen cabinets for oh, just a spoonful of coconut flakes, for maybe a nut or two, for just a very small handful of rolled oats. I am a domestic scavenger.

I bought the shredded coconut the other day in the bulk dry goods section at my co-op and, as usual, wrote the wrong PLU number on the container. The cashier was looking at his computer screen with noted confusion as he typed the same four numbers over and over on the keyboard. “This is probably not a grapefruit, is it?” he asked. And we both agreed that, if it had been, it was the oddest looking grapefruit either of us had ever seen.

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Thoughts from the bike lane.

I know I have a bad habit of sometimes over-exaggerating how wonderful certain things are (like my salad spinner — sorry about that one), but I am actually having trouble fully coming to terms with how much better my life has become now that I own a bicycle — and it’s only been a few short days.

[Leaf Parade. Thoughts from the bike lane.]

I have lived in this city for almost two years now, but I’ve never seen it this way before. I’m a walker — so much a walker — and while that’s such a great way to get to know a place, it’s all so different on a bike. My walk to work used to be one of my favorite parts of the day, but now — zipping my way along the Boston Esplanade, seeing all the happy runners, the crew boats ticking like perfect little metronomes, the pretty, fluffy, funny-faced buckets of white clouds — I’m not sure if it actually gets better than this.

It’s all so simple. You get yourself a bike with a big strong basket and bell that chirps like a little tin bird and you just go go go until you get somewhere. And the going‘s not about the getting, really. Which is to say, without quite saying, that it’s not about the destination. On bike, there is a sense of a journey — a sense so otherwise absent in this ridiculous, humdrum, featherbrained world of ours. And I’m just so in love with it.

Today, my bike and I celebrate our one week anniversary. Things have been great so far, but I think that the best is only yet to come.