Saturday, November 20, 2010

On Ravenswood

I've got Portage Park on the brain as we prepare for home ownership in a new neighborhood, but I think it's important to take some time to reflect on the great years we've spent in Ravenswood. Being in a slightly undiscovered area of the 'wood we've had the privilege of being walking distance from Lincoln Square, Andersonville, and the heart of the neighborhood, but tucked away in a little quiet corridor where yuppies and puppies are scarce and upscale, overpriced restaurants are non-existent. Here's what I think I will miss the most about my block:
  • Garcia's
  • The nice Indian guys at the little liquor store
  • Garcia's
  • The odd demographic on the block of latinos, lesbians who can't afford A-ville, and millionaires with babies
  • The Crafty Beaver around the corner
  • Three full store-fronts of knitting yarn. Actually, strike that. Arcadia just closed and I can't say I'm all that surprised because, come to think of it, there was not very much yarn in there for three store fronts and the ladies were mean. But since neither impacts their new business plan as an online store, I wish them all the best.
  • and, Garcia's
So long, old pal. You may be seeing me anyway from time to time, if for no other reason than to secure a late night burrito the size of my head with extra avocado. mmm.


** You may not think this directly relates to the primary content of this blog, but fear not. Ravenswood is an inspired neighborhood of forward-thinking urbanites who cherish their neighborhood gardens, green home design, and post-industrial flair. It is a place where you can walk safely through alleys and find raspberries, pole beans and roses growing freely. It is the people of this great place that inspire me to grow things and make things and cook things and I will miss it. However, we are on to the next chapter of our lives, to a place where I don't have to keep my bikes in my bedroom or ask my land lady if I can put a compost bin in my yard.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pass the syrup

I get a hankering for pancakes about every other week. A peculiar pancake craving came over me yesterday morning and, alas, there was no syrup in the pantry. Channeling my inner Better Crocker I converted the logic of a simple syrup to brown sugar. I could not tell the difference, and in fact, I may save myself $7 for a 12 oz. bottle of maple syrup and make it this way all of the time...

Brown Sugar Pancake Syrup
1/2 cup of pressed brown sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 cup hot water (not boiling)

  1. Pour hot water into a small sauce pan containing brown sugar and cornstarch. Set heat to medium-high and whisk until sugar dissolves.
  2. Stir constantly until boiling.
  3. Continue to boil for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly
  4. Pour into serving pitcher and enjoy hot or cooled.