Oh words! I’ve waited for months and months to share about The Vessel in New York City and the time has finally come. My beloved Glassmoyer Girls were in town and we ascended and descended all of those stairs and posed on all the platforms! (You can zoom in and find us). I just love that its name has so many meanings. And very much like the stairs and landings in the actual structure, the definition is a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure.’
ves·sel | \ ˈve-səl \
definition of vessel
1 a: a container (such as a cask, bottle, kettle, cup, or bowl) for holding something
b: a person into whom some quality (such as grace) is infused: a child of light, a true vessel of the Lord— H. J. Laski (REMEMBER THIS ONE…)
2: a watercraft bigger than a rowboat
3 a: a tube or canal (such as an artery) in which a body fluid is contained and conveyed or circulated
b: a conducting tube in the xylem of a vascular plant formed by the fusion and loss of end walls of a series of cells
Thomas Heatherwick is the architect who brought this beauty to our city. I love that his Vessel, located in Hudson Yards, is a container that sort of resembles a ship. It sits just off the banks of the Hudson River and looks like it could easily be an arc or a Viking ship ready to set sail. It also looks like it’s pulsing with arteries and blood vessels.
What I find most interesting about this new landmark is that it is a container with holes in it - things can easily flow into it as well as easily flow out of it. No one wants a container with holes it (🎼There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza...) but the concept of flow, and temporarily holding something, is what captures my thoughts.
Even though this copper colored structure seems strong and permanent, the honeycomb-like holes give it a sense of vulnerability. The webbing symbolizes possibility. The possibilities of unknown elements and visitors passing through. Or the possibilities of unexpected views and pathways to new heights.
The older I get, I know I grow more like myself. My structure grows strong and permanent. More set in my ways. More steadfast in my beliefs. More hardheaded and stubborn. I think ritual, routine, and habits are the culprits there. But all of those can be adjusted and realigned. I can adopt the idea of being open to the flow and consider the impermanence of things. That’s good news!
I’ll admit, this season of health “unknowns" that I’m going through has perforated me. I, too, am more vulnerable. I’ve softened and surrendered. With every blood test, CT scan, and ultrasound I’m left a little more exposed. My human body vessel and my mind and soul vessels now have these tiny holes in them.
I welcome this time, this transition from dis-ease to ease. And I’m excited for the new vessel that I am to become. “A person into whom some quality (such as grace) is infused - a child of light.”
Recently I was given the opportunity to christen a new home with my food. Friends were hosting a dinner party to welcome guests into their new home (also a magnificent structure just off the banks of the Hudson River.)
My friends’ new home was accented so thoughtfully and with the highest quality of choices. Every doorknob and light fixture seemed like accessories for the Gods. Fabric choices and paint colors came together with perfect precision. The dinner menu chosen reflected the design. We accented with fois gras, morsels of lobster, and our centerpiece was a mushroom and truffle risotto.
Despite our decadent meal, I take inspiration from the late chef Laurie Colwin. She says, “I do not think you need to spend a lot of money to eat well, but there are things it is worth spending money on. These are the accessories of cooking, the culinary equivalent of the beautiful handbag or wonderful shoes that make everything else look better. Sweet butter and really good olive oil are worth the money...”
Thank you to Pomora for supplying my kitchen with their high quality olive oils. Everything I make for my clients is kissed with a little bit of Italy. And that is priceless.
Truffle Risotto With Mushrooms
When I was taught to make risotto, I learned that it is a labor of love in the kitchen because it requires no less than 22 minutes of constant stirring to break down the starches in the rice and to fully incorporate the liquid. That may not seem like a great deal of time, but I dare you to pick up a wooden spoon, set the timer and stir. It is eternal. Your loved ones are worth it!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup white wine
6 cups porcini mushroom stock
2 cups chopped and sautéed mushrooms
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves
5 tablespoons truffle butter
salt and pepper to taste
3 ounces truffles***
In a tall sided pot, heat olive oil over a medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sweat for 3 minutes until onions are translucent. Add rice and lightly toast in oil for 2 minutes stirring frequently. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add wine, stirring until completely absorbed. Continue adding stock 1/3rd at a time stirring until each additional 1/3rd is absorbed. Once all liquid is absorbed, remove from heat and stir in mushrooms, Parmesan, parsley, and truffle butter. Drizzle in the truffle oil.
Divide into 6 serving bowls and top with shaved truffles.
***Black summer truffles are infinitely cheaper than the winter white ones. Their aroma and flavor bloom when they are cooked, whereas the white ones intoxicating aroma and flavor are best shaved raw as garnish. I bought 2 black truffles, one I cooked into the risotto and one I left for shaving on top as a garnish. If truffles are not in your budget or found in your region, by all means still make risotto! Just use mushrooms!