Monday, June 29, 2009

Mother Kitchen

I see the kitchen as the embodiment of a huge smiling woman
A stove for her big belly and a refrigerator for her grand smiling mouth
Her large arms and legs enfold me. Bringing me closer to her heart
I feel safe here
More so than I did with my very own mother
My mother kitchen doesn’t judge me or have expectations of me
She requires and deserves only respect and above all, use
She smiles and her warmth heats me to the deepest part of my senses
She allows me to be free and express myself
She doesn’t indulge in my successes or my failures
She stays steady, ever warming, ever loving and always there

Friday, June 26, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A garlic dream

Last weekend was the first of the season’s Farm Table Dinners. By all accounts it was a success! The theme this month is garlic. Back in the day (when I lived in my fantasy world) we used to grow garlic but in all honesty I lost the seed stock in the “divorce”. Luckily a farmer’s market vender Joyce Chillingsworth who bought some seed stock from us a couple years back, had plenty of all of my favorite heirloom garlic that I have come to love so dearly. It was really exciting to see and taste all the different varieties. Even though I didn’t grow them myself, the culinary excitement has been in high form! I may have even overdone it a little in the taste testing department. Haven’t had a mosquito bite yet!

At the new farm there will be plenty of room and better soil to grow garlic so that’s good news for sure!

The first dinners for me are always nerve wracking. I want the place to look absolutely perfect. Not a blade of grass out of place, every flower blooming, all the animals’ friendly and ready to charm, you know the perfect picture of a farm. I found out that doesn’t really exist other than on the labels and cartons of dairy products in grocery stores. The one thing I’ve finally come to realize is this place is truly a working farm 24/7. So that being said, you might find your occasional tangled up fencing or un-weeded vegetable beds. Barking dogs will greet you as you arrive, and you might smell the fresh and clean smell of manure. The goats may or may not want anything to do with us and this time of year its hot.
But……it’s good. It’s beautiful in a farmy kinda way, but more than anything it’s real. Which is something I have come to appreciate this year. I have never been so proud of the garden! All of the plants have never looked healthier.
So guest arrived had cocktails (berry mojito) and a tour of the farm and this is what we had for dinner. Life is so good!

Garlic Lovers Dream-Living Kitchen Farm and Dairy June 20th

Creamy roast Sicilaino garlic and candy onion bisque with salsa verde and braised chard
Garden delight salad:
Fava beans with burgundy garlic, Armenian cucumber in yogurt sauce with
Red Toch garlic
Marinated beets and sweet onions with French Tarne garlic
Marinated homemade goat milk feta With Tuscan garlic
Garlic intermission
Our raspberries and lime ice
Beef involtini stuffed with homemade chevre, shantung purple garlic and sage. Spanish Roja spiced wine sauce and roasted vegetables with Inchilium Red
Chocolate goat milk crème custard with berries and crystallized Vekak garlic

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A morning of reflection and gratitude

Sometimes were faced with unfairness. It’s painful and it stings in places so deep within us the origins can’t always be defined. Somehow through this injustice we strive for grace. The human spirit, striving for dignity. We reach with an uncertain righteous belief that we are good, and that we didn’t deserve it. And we keep the faith that even though the injustice cannot be undone somehow grace will prevail. We allow ourselves to believe that better times are to come even though they might seem far off in the future and when there is doubt we remember the truth that more often than not better times do come and every day we are recipients of the many blessings of this life.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The first squash!

The other night when the sun started to go down and it was pleasant enough to walk through the garden without breaking a sweat, I wandered through to see what I could make for dinner. I picked my very first squash of the season! I picked a handful of two patty pan varieties that were ready. One is called sunburst and its bright yellow the other is called flying saucer and its yellow with green tips. I didn’t harvest any blossoms because you need to do that in the morning. I wandered down to the pea patch to see if any peas were ripe for the pickin’. I managed to harvest a good handful of peas too, then I went about robbing the potato beds but had no success I got two tiny little spuds, not enough to make it in the meal.

For me, the best feeling in the whole wide world is to prepare and eat something I grew. Something I raised up from a wee little seed into something that will nourish me and bring joy to my table. There is a process I love about growing food: First, it’s getting the soil ready, this happens far before the seed is planted or in some case even ordered. Then there is planting the seed and watering it to keep the soil moist to ensure germination. Then miraculously the seed sprouts and now the task becomes about protecting it from the weeds and other things, (like cut worms) and watching it grow.

Then just when you’ve almost forgot why you even planted your garden you see the first blossoms, then it’s the fruit. And then comes the long awaited harvest and soon after comes preparing something wonderful. But, were not finished there; then it’s about continuing to harvest and water and keeping the plants free of weeds and such. And like all life on this planet eventually the seed that became a plant to feed me must die. I take all of the dead plants that gave so much to me and compost them to someday be food for other plants. This I love, from start to finish I love.

I’ll be honest I love greens but it was really exciting to eat something else! Greens on my end are almost though their cycle and soon the beds will become beans, more squash and more corn. Can’t wait to pick my first tomato!
Here is what I ended up making for dinner. It’s real simple and gets you outside with your grill.
1 pound or so of patty pan squash
6 oz fresh English peas or tender shell peas
2 lg cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon nice olive oil
A Good pinch of sea salt
A couple of turns of the pepper mill

Toss all this together and wrap tightly in foil and throw on the grill. Now, if you happen to be grilling steak or something, the squash will take a little longer so keep that in mind. I estimated the squash will take about 10-15 minutes. You want to hear it sizzling in that foil. Be careful upon opening the foil, steam burns hurt!
Top with a couple of ounces of lavender chevre (or should I say lavender "fish bait") ask for it by name at my booth at the cherry street market.