Saturday, July 31, 2010
In the kitchen, some of the leaves are severed from the stems. The sharp edged pizza wheel will fill the air with the scent of the herb's essential oils.
Into the Baby Cuisinart goes 1/3 cup butter. Whir.
An equal part of sun dried tomato spread- Whir.
The handful of shredded basil leaves- Whir.
The spread's color is not unlike peanut butter- only the aroma.
There is nothing to suggest childhood treat. This is a dish best savored in adulthood.
Served as it is now- slathered generously across torn off chunks of a crusty multi-grained loaf of bread fresh from the oven- it would make a man afraid of commitment so weak in the knees he would get down on one to propose.
But I'm already married. So I made something I don't do often these days. Something that keeps my man remembering why he keeps me when I can be so much trouble. Fresh pasta.
Baby Portabella mushrooms are sliced and sizzled with black olives and pine nuts while the pasta comes to life in a quick boiling bath of water. A generous dollop of the roasted tomato butter is thinned with a touch of cream- and all tossed together. Allowing freshly fallen grated flakes of Parmigiano-Reggiano melt onto the mound of pasta....
Elegant and rustic. Divine yet earthy. A dish of quiet elegance that speaks on every level of love.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
What do all Southern hostesses know? Nothing says welcome like counter tops groaning under an abundance of food.
The Chick Flick night menu was planned and presented to show the guests how much their friendship means.
|3 bottles of bubbly to split between 4 ladies, iced|
Summer Fruit Salad
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Please share some aspect of what aims you.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Velvety peaches, juicy blackberries, an image of a wasp so real it looks like it could fly away: the cover of Allegra Goodman's novel looks like a food book. Yet the pages are filled with something more tasty: human nature. Sweet, salty; pure and adulterated. The flavors of life are gathered in a book you won't want to put down: you won't want it to end.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
The summer garden is radiant as a pregnant woman about to give birth. Full of life, she restores balance to lives too easily rushed through.
The garden blushes with promise of what might be. She teaches to be careful: guard against disappointment when "things" don't go our way. She teaches that we should remain in a state of gratitude. The grapes- even if the birds pick away the sweetest fruit- the leaves can be used to display cheeses on- or perhaps to feast on by stuffing with lamb.
Society garlic- Delight diners with an unexpected presentation. The blossoms make the loveliest garlic toast. Just mince the blossoms instead of the usual cloves and broil as usual.
Yesterday, the first tomato was ready to pick. Thanks partly to Mr. Cooper Hawk's daylight surveillance and the coyotes nightly vigil against critters scurrying in the night, this year we tasted this bounty before any bunnies.
Yesterday is done. Tomorrow, I cannot control. But I can welcome whatever it brings, for it will begin in my garden.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
There he sits, my summer infatuation. The one my husband doesn't mind that he brings out my inner stalker.
"My" Cooper Hawk drops in at brunch. Relaxes on my patio bench with his come-hither stare.
I have never had a bird of prey so patiently pose.
Some day he'll do what summer loves do. He'll leave.
Until then, I am enamored that this sweetheart is fearless at my approach. I dream he'll let me stroke his back before he goes away with some other girl who is more his type. And size. And everything else which goes with compatibility.
Happy hour finds him in the tree.
When he tires of this place, I know. I will miss him. But unlike my first summer love, at least I have photos in remembrance of just how handsome he was.
When life consists of incidents of inconvenience tumbling with real tragedy, I yearn to climb under my desk and just stay there. Then just a glance at what glory I am surrounded by, and in an instance depression lifts and I am filled with gratitude to live in such glory.
Acquaintances think I made this garden. But really, this garden made me.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Have you noticed some of the most beautiful skies come with the most beastly temperatures?
Diamond Bar was more fortunate than "up the hill" - the local euphemism for the high desert communities. No lightening hits here. In Lancaster the storm knocked out power. 1.000 homes are expected to be without air conditioning through Sunday.
There is an upside to this weather my husband is fonder of than I. What Chicago winters does for Illinois residents- these days of Mercury Rising does for us. In little gestures, like ice in the dog dish and welcoming our neighbors over to share our air conditioning for the afternoon- we are nicer people for the inconvenience.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
I hadn't planned on writing this afternoon. But the visitor (on the right) in the garage convinced me I really rather be here in the house. Just in case there are more of him from whereever he came from.
I haven't shared yet the fabulous summer salad Gene Sasse recently whipped up for us.
Gene being a photographer, you can count on any presentation he makes being beautiful. But the taste- Wow! No need for a fancy recipe. Just think of it as a rule breaking bounty of the garden creation.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Holidays punctuate the seasons. We stop: dote on details. Enjoying honored rituals, the whole beauty of individual decisions brightens in clear focus.
Our backyard began with not much more than a lawn the previous owners outlined in big-box store roses. From the start, avian insect-connoisseurs have been happy.
Popular with builders at the time our house was christened , a pine tree feeds seeds to scrub jays and gives dove a place to coo from.
The first water feature was crafted from an exposed segment of irrigation drainage: lined in concrete and cast-off stone. Relatively deep and at ground level, large avian through carnivores belly-up to this always- open watering hole.
Over time, other water features were added. Our flying friends may now choose to quench between still or bubbling waters.
Back in the beginning, a seedling silk floss tree was slipped into a small hole. Since then, its splayed arms have opened broadly into a sturdy welcoming gesture. Finches flirt within fern-like foliage fanned by cooling breezes . In summertime, the blooming puffs entice flocks of hummingbirds.
To the side, stations of bird feeders are set to to please every culinary desire of the most discerning songbirds.
A Coopers Hawk has taken notice.
The first time it swooped down to find a Tweety to gorge on- the natural urge to be squeamish squeezed screams from onlookers. It took awhile to accept this part of the natural order.
As the late season iris salutes sends up its final salue for the season, from my garden to yours, may your Fourth of July be happy and blessed in abundance.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Doug Green is a writer's writer. He articulates clearly and provocatively. The current oil disaster in the gulf led him to pose the question: Just how do employees of companies, like British Petroleum, sleep?
I committed to posterity, thoughts which I expect can make me something writers hate to be: really unpopular. But they are that thing which is the Holy Grail of writers: The Truth.
Let British Petroleum and the crew of individuals, states and nations get to the work they want and need to do. The men who lost their lives out there deserve nothing less than the acknowledgement that we are in this tragedy together.
You can read the actual question and responses at: