Friday, November 19, 2010


I love to make cranberry sauce. I have nothing against the straight out of a can kind, I'll eat it and enjoy it, and I think it looks cute sitting in a bowl in its can shape, but making it at home is so easy, and it makes the whole house smell great.

I tend to glance at a few recipes for some basic parameters and then do what I want. This year I made a ginger-honey-apple juice version. I put in fresh, grated ginger as well as powdered, and a few shakes of cinnamon and cloves. I based my amounts of liquids on a recipe I found online, and I think the juice quantity was really too much - a cup and 3/4. It didn't gel like I'd hoped, but it is tasty.

I'll also make a batch of what I think of as the straight stuff: cranberries, sugar & water. For the non-spicy among us.

Friday, October 15, 2010

time, time, time, see what's become of me

Middle of October already! It feels like I have to get a number of things accomplished in the next two-three weeks: Make the Mama Calendar! Get ready for the Bookfair! Choose a Halloween costume! Collaborate on a Voter Guide! And they all feel equally urgent...

For your part, you could move things along by submitting something for the Mama Calendar. Now! This weekend! The deadline is Monday.

2011 Call for Submissions! pass it around!

the 2011 Mama Calendar is getting underway! people, mothers, fathers, partners, kids, friends & allies, the mama calendar is what it is because of your words, pictures, dreams, visions, rants, raves, recipes, recipes for revolution. send me your best stuff, by October 18, to

the mama calendar coleen murphy PO box 741655 new orleans, LA 70174

at this stage, emailing in digital photos in the highest resolution you can get is the best choice. when in doubt, just send it! I'll see what I can do.

calendars will be available on November 6, 2010, in person at the New Orleans Bookfair for $10 a piece and via email & the US mail for $12 a piece, payable by check, cash, money order or paypal. advance orders are what make the calendar project possible. ask about wholesale pricing for orders of ten or more.

the mama calendar is a community building-consciousness raising resource by, of, about and for progressive, feminist, activist mothers and their families, friends & allies everywhere. it is a celebration and a call to action, a thing of beauty to last the year. edited by coleen murphy, the calendar features photos of mamas, babies, children, youth, dads, and friends, as well as a guide to mama-made zines, alternative parenting resources, recipes, recipes for revolution, great dates in radical mama herstory, and the work of numerous artist/activist/mamas. recent editions have featured ayun halliday, victoria law, jessica rigney, nina packebush, brendan flannelly-king, james smith, laurel dykstra, sonja smith, trula breckenridge, china martens, nicholas meyer and heather cushman-dowdee, among others. many others! maybe you!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

ferry princess

A few months ago, in Brooklyn, I watched this fellow have a hissy fit when the bus driver wouldn't let him bring his dog on board with him. I was telling John, later at dinner, that in New Orleans you aren't allowed to have or do various things on the bus or streetcar - no pets, no eating, no drinking, no smoking, no playing music - but on the ferry, you can pretty much do anything.

John was like, so you do it all, all at once! And then I added, but the ferry ride is only five to ten minutes long, so he replied, you do it all, all at once, in a big hurry! Hah. Yeah, sometimes.

I love the ferry. It delights me now just as much as it did when I first took it over here to see if Algiers might be the place for me to live, almost nine years ago now. I love seeing the river every day and although I don't smoke and haven't had a need to bring my dog on the ferry, I do often eat and drink on board. I appreciate the space, the taking of some time to get across the Mississippi.

I have this fantasy that some bright entrepreneur will start up a coffee cart just outside of the station... well, and also that we could have actual restrooms there. And that it could be made to smell nice, have comfortable seating, a newsstand, heck, how about wifi... but I also love it just as it is. Grubby and smelly and all.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ginger is the thing

A few years ago, Rachael, the brilliant herbalist at the Common Ground Health Clinic, advised me to increase the ginger in my diet, as a corrective to being "a little too yin." So, I try to have some every day, in one form or another, to bring some internal heat and improve my circulation. Lots of days I just drink some ginger tea, and add ginger into any stir fry or peanut sauce I'm making. This winter, though, I've branched out a little.

For our Yule Ball this year, I made these chocolate ginger cookies and WOW. I am not vegan but I have had many a vegan cookie in my day (good, bad & ugly), and these were by far the best I've tasted. That's right, not just the best vegan cookies I've ever made, but the best I've ever tasted.

I've also been making an extra-gingery version of the African groundnut stew that I've been eating at camp every summer for several years. I've seen a lot of different recipes for this stew, but I use Rowe Camp chef Dan's basic recipe as my starting point:

Oil. Onions. LOTS of Garlic and fresh minced Ginger. Sweet potatoes and I'll dice up some yukons and carrots to make it thick by the end. Veg stock, diced tomatoes in juice and some apple cider for sweetness. Some PB. Stew til its how you like it and season w/ S & P, Sriracha if you want, and fresh cilantro. YUM! garnish w/ more cilantro and toasted peanuts.

So, no amounts listed, I just eyeball things. Also, I usually make a day ahead, which improves the flavor, I think. For a big pot full of stew, I use about 4 sweet potatoes, 2 yukons, 2 carrots. 1 onion, lots of garlic and even more ginger. 1 big can of diced tomatoes, 1 big can of crushed tomatoes. 1 box of veg broth & another of water. When I add the PB, I pour hot broth into half a jar of PB, stir it well. I don't use cider or cilantro, but I add a little cayenne. Also, when it's mostly soft, I use a potato masher on it for a bit, so it's thick yet still chunky.

I sometimes have it over rice. I always have it with salt and sometimes with peanuts and lime juice.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Love Letter to Brooklyn

I've never lived in Brooklyn. I probably never will. I identify so strongly with the south, I don't know if I ever would really feel at home long term somewhere else. But anyway, for the past eight years I've spent 2-5 days a year in Brooklyn, as part of my comings & goings to/from camp in Western Massachusetts (another second (third?) home), and it's become a favorite, full of favorites.

Nash & I just got home Friday night from three days in Brooklyn, in Crown Heights, Prospect Heights & Park Slope. We revisited old favorites - the Superhero Supply Store, Tom's Diner, Chevella's, Naidre's - and had some new adventures. We schlepped to Fort Greene to shop at Green Light Books, to Williamsburg for coffee at Second Stop, and all the way out to Queens to visit the NY Hall of Science.

We didn't have time this trip to go to that cafe in Boerum Hill where I've had the best Thanksgiving dinner themed sandwich ever, or into Manhattan for borscht at Veselka, or down to Coney Island or out to see our friends who live in Bushwick... but it was good. We saw friends and bought books and ate well everywhere we went.

In my neighborhood, Algiers Point, there is a brochure that calls Algiers "the Brooklyn of the South." I have no idea who coined this or what it is supposed to mean, but I have experienced Brooklyn as a friendly place, way friendlier than, say, New England tends to be. Last summer, Liam & I were in the city for two days, just the two of us, staying with a friend in Fort Greene. We had to take the bus somewhere, and though we'd been told to have "exact change", we both imagined that that meant what it does in New Orleans: A combination of paper dollars and coins that add up to the exact amount required. Not so strange an idea, right?

But, no. We got on board and were told that we needed coins or a metro card and we had neither and I felt a little panicky - going to the park to meet up with friends was totally not going to be worth whatever weird bus humiliation was about to take place! But, again, no. The bus driver said, Are you from out of town? Yes. Then why don't you just have a seat and enjoy our New York hospitality!