The idea for Tangra Summer came about a few months ago. My friend Chitra Agrawal, founder of The ABCD's of Cooking and a cooking teacher who specializes in Indian food, had suggested we team up to create a pop-up dinner to celebrate local food in Brooklyn. A farm-to-table dinner with a twist. Instead of New American cooking, we could combine our respective backgrounds in Indian and Chinese cooking and create a cross-cultural vegetarian dinner highlighting seasonal food in Brooklyn.
It took me about half a second to say yes. And so Tangra was born.
Named after a Calcutta neighborhood home that was the birthplace of Indian-Chinese cuisine, Tangra will be held once a season to celebrate farm fresh produce. Our inaugural dinner, Tangra Summer 2013, will debut August 25th at the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum, a Dutch farmhouse that dates back to 1652 and is New York's oldest surviving structure. The dinner will take place inside the historic farmhouse, with dishes served family-style, featuring vegetables grown onsite from head Wyckoff gardener Jason Gaspar and beers from our sponsors Big Alice Brewing out of Long Island City.
Last month Fast Company published a great short piece entitled The Hidden Link Between Breakfast and Productivity. But it's not about filling your stomach or nutrition, though those factors are also important. Rather, it was about how having at least one thing completely figured out in the morning leaves you more mental energy for the rest of your day.
Or, as writer Drake Baer put it, "if you don't decide on how to make decisions, you'll be exhausted by the time you finish that bowl of cereal."
I'm one of those people for whom decision-making is usually pretty exhaustive. (A maximizer, according to The Paradox of Choice.) I research every purchase carefully, from important ones like jobs and apartments to minor ones like brands of environmentally-friendly dish soap. And as a food writer, well, friends often leave it up to me to decide where to go for dinner, for occasions big and small. Let's just say I (needlessly) feel the pressure and can spend way too much time cross-referencing 80 restaurant reviews before coming up with some place for a quick bite on a Tuesday night.
Ever since I bought a blender a few months ago, I haven't gone a day without using it. There were weeks when I bought so many bags of frozen blueberries that my favorite grocery store would run out. When I'm working from home, I'd make 2 or 3 smoothies a day. But, I guess, there are worse things to be addicted to.
Now that fresh berries are in season, the smoothie making has gone into overdrive. There is no time that's inappropriate. Sometimes I'd even make one at 11pm, to sip on the couch while reading a book or catching up on Mad Men. (Sorry, neighbors, for the extra-loudness of my blender.)
I mean, with fresh strawberries that look like these, how can you not?