The road trip is over, for now. I was driving over the Staten Island Bridge heading into Brooklyn when my trip meter wound past 6,000 miles. What a long drive and how exciting to be home – however temporary that home may be.

We hauled my suitcase, my watercolors and my books up three flights of stairs. After a few days of getting settled in, we headed out on a Friday morning to visit my old park friend The Highline. It was a very different scene than I when I visited back in December. It’s great to see a public space so well used, with flowers and people everywhere you look. But I have to admit I did like the reclusive feeling I had when I was there in the winter and no one was around.

I am now cooking in a kitchen with 12″ of counter space and incredibly limited equipment. No measuring spoons, no mixing bowls, no whisk, let alone fancy mini appliances like a blender. Cooking here will be challenging, but they say a good cook never blames the equipment. New York is expensive though and I am determined to make us good food at home, so we can eat well without going into debit.

Searching for ideas, I discovered one of my favorite cooking columnists, Mark Bittman or “The Minimalist” from the New York Times, posted a story a couple years ago called Summer Express: 101 Simple Meals Ready in 20 Minutes or Less. I made number 26 for us to take along to the park, where we had a lovely picnic lunch. Here is the recipe:

  • Brown chunks of Italian sausage in a bit of olive oil
  • Add in chopped onions and peppers
  • Cook until sausage is browned and peppers/onions are tender
  • Fill into sandwiches

As with most things in cooking, the better the ingredients the better the end product. We bought a rosemary and garlic baguette from Dean & Delucca, an upscale grocer, along with a small container of giant olives. The filling went into the baguette and the olives were a side snack. It was delicious and cheap! We even had people at the park ask us where they could buy one.

My summer posts will most likely involve recipes for simple cooking and some fun sight-seeing things related to plants. Although I am enjoying my time here, I had to admit to feeling a bit homesick for my garden and chickens.

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Written by Renee Wilkinson