Monday, July 27, 2015

High Summer

This is the third in what will hopefully be a four-part series on The High Line. The first part can be found here, and the second part here.

Summer is definitely here and, a few weeks ago, I knew it was time to get back up on The High Line. I was a little anxious - it was going to be fairly hot and sunny, with the potential of being very uncomfortable, to say the least! Thankfully, the humidity was low and there was even a slight breeze, which was just about perfect for this trip. And, as usual, there were beautiful things to see right from the beginning, like this tangerine-hued butterfly milkweed:



Among numerous varieties of aster, this large specimen was playing host to a hungry butterfly of its own:



There were a number of echinaceas to enjoy as well, and they looked handsome planted together in large groups:



The foliage had definitely grown and filled in since Spring, and tracks that were easily seen before looked like a more jaunty and colorful rendition of when they were still abandoned:



As with previous visits, there were things I had never seen before, like the pointed and somewhat alarming buds on this compass plant, which bloom into quite innocent-looking yellow flowers:



And this rattlesnake master, with its milky blooms and open growth habit:



One of the best things bout The High Line is precisely its elevation. It gives even the most mundane objects a new perspective, like this skybridge calmly basking in the sunset:



It was a wonderful day, but I'll tell you a secret: I have a feeling that Fall might turn out to be my favorite time on The High Line, even though the other seasons have been tremendously enjoyable, too. I'm already planning my next visit - after all, it's just a few months away. And, as always, I hope I've convinced you to give it a go yourself, no matter what the season :-)



>o<

Monday, July 20, 2015

Easy Does It

Sometimes, a recipe can be so incredibly easy, it's also incredibly easy to forget. You stare at your cupboards, wishing for something delicious yet simple to make, but can't for the life of you think what it could be. You know you're missing the trick, because you keep catching glimpses of it in the back of your mind. But then one day, you remember: those meltingly smooth little cheesecakes that take only minutes to prepare, but deliver big on cheesecake flavor. Bliss!



Individual Cheesecakes

Ingredients:
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a standard muffin pan with six muffin liners; set aside.

Beat sugar and cream cheese together in a medium bowl until fluffy. Stir in egg and vanilla until smooth. Divide batter evenly among muffin liners, and add about 1/2 inch of water to the empty cavities. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until cheesecakes are set (do not overbake). Remove to a rack and let cool completely to room temperature, then store in an airtight container overnight.

Notes: These do need to chill overnight, as this will help them set completely and develop their flavor, but don't worry - it's perfectly acceptable to serve them for breakfast! These are heavenly with fresh summer berries, and certainly a chocolate or caramel sauce wouldn't go amiss, either. The recipe can definitely be doubled, and I highly recommend doing so :-)


>o<