Satsuma mandarins...the perfect winter snack, gift, everything!

Satsuma mandarins...the perfect winter snack, gift, everything!
peel, eat, repeat

Monday, September 14, 2009

a ripe Brown Turkey fig

She stood looking at the tree, eyes squinting against the blazing sun; hand over them, shielding the glare so she could see the luscious purplish black, sack like orbs, stem bent just at a perfect angle for twisting off the tree. Late summer heat waves radiating off the ground as well as from an impossibly blue sky and every other angle were quickly coaxing the figs to perfect ripeness. White milk gushes from the stem as it is separated from the tree, sticky nectar on her willing fingers. Gently splitting open the fig with her thumbs always steals her breath momentarily at the sight of the shades of deep magenta, illegal reds and soft green, a flower unfurling in her hands. With quickening heart and racing pulse she moves the fig closer to her mouth, imperceptibly, shaking with anticipation of the smooth, slippery texture that will move through her lips and onto her tongue, willing the assault of sugar, chocolate and berry onto her taste buds. Trembling slightly she closes her eyes and with a will of their own her hands bring the fig into her warm, waiting mouth and once again she is shocked, dazed as bliss over takes her and she slowly releases a held, exotically perfumed breath, her first taste of Burt’s amazing, ripe, Brown Turkey fig, of a long Brown turkey fig season filled with every concoction she can imagine in her fig wild head.

Honey thickened and rosemary scented balsamic syrup drizzled over a fig half, gently, lovingly stuffed with a pinch of fresh goat cheese. Placed on a fig wood fired grill just long enough to let the cheese believe it is melting. Pushed into a thin, soft layer of hard wheat dough, showered with prosciutto, Manchego and caramelized onions, breathing in intoxicating smells as the pizza bakes only to be dusted with fresh picked thyme and sea salt out of the raging oven.
Another one out of hand, she is still profoundly, physically affected by the texture, smell and taste of that Brown Turkey.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

aahhh......butternut squash

Butternut squash has always been a pivotal vegetable for me. The presence of this squash in the garden and at the market indicates a rising level of excitement in the air. My heart starts to race and I always get a little dizzy and out of body when I think about the risottos and lentils to be concocted out of this smooth amber, elongated treasure. It is hard to imagine that it was almost a year ago that I made butternut squash and orange soup and the pristinely cubed and roasted squash that my son refers to as butternut candy. Just cut the ends off and peel the squash with a vegetable peeler. Slice lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Cut into small cubes and toss with good olive oil and kosher salt and roast at 400* for about 20 minutes. The sugars all get released and start to caramelize and it is a fine little addition to any salad, sauté or just eaten by itself it will give you goose bumps.
It never ceases to amaze me that as soon as my eyes come in contact with the butternut squash, the weather starts to become a ruling factor in my life. All of the sudden we go from the take it for granted hot, to a daily weather event. I find myself saying over and over again how much I adore this time of year around here. The shadows at any given time of day are amazingly different than they were last week. The garden is perking up and losing the washed out look of late summer heat. The air is crisper and I find myself sighing with a smile when the slightest breeze touches my skin. It makes me feel celebratory and I usually throw a party this time of year.
The cooler season vegetables are saying the same thing. The lettuces are sweeter and perkier. The colors and hues are brighter and more pronounced. One can start to imagine the salads that can be created with the baby arugala and frisee, the red leaf Lola Rosa and romaines. The thought of current crop olive oil and new cheeses make me want to sing out loud. Add some fresh walnuts or almonds and pears or apples and well let’s just say it is something that is to be shared with a special one or twenty.

When I am hiking in Briones or the Laffayette hills the colors that come out at you are astounding. On the top of a high ridge I sat down to have a luscious snack of some Alhambra Valley Bartlett pears and blue cheese and after I had taken a few bites and I was able to focus, I looked around and I was sitting in the middle of the orb weaver spider’s commune. There were literally hundreds of these tiger eye colored, huge spiders, one to each web just hanging out probably wondering which one had invited me to their party. The sight of it and the realization of their numbers actually stopped me from eating for a minute.

Pomegranates are in the markets and the fuyu persimmons are already here. I always love to see the scarlet orbs of the pomegranates hanging in a tree next to a persimmon tree. Such contrasts are special to me and never fail to keep me looking in people’s back yards when I am out walking in the neighborhood. don't look in peoples back yards...liar!

Starting to be a nice time of favorite!

the eat in and other school food related stuff

The Slow Food Eat In, Delta Diablo Chapter style was a success by our standards meaning that there were not hundreds of people but the ones that did show signed up to join our Slow Food chapter and become involved in some action! Yay! We had a nice crowd and some delectable offerings and the big shade trees at Las Lomas provided awesome lazing about on a hot day atmosphere. I will say that I am disappointed that Las Lomas felt that they had to charge us a rental fee to use such a small area of a public school for a school related cause. Andy at C and M party Rentals gave us the use of tables and chairs for our event FREE! Whole Foods and Frog Hollow Farms donated some amazing Frog Hollow peaches and Kristie Knoll from Knoll Organic Farm donated the biggest treasure of all, her incredibly sought after figs. So why the school felt the need to force us to dip into our meager funds and pay them almost 400 bucks that would have otherwise been spent on our Diablo Community Day School Garden. This is the school in the area where the students attend that have been expelled from all other schools. Sort of a last ditch effort and we have built, with the students help as well as funding from Kaiser, Slow Food and Orchard Nursery, an amazing garden! That money should be there instead of in the coffers of the school district. After all we had our own insurance....

Anyway we got a whole of signatures for the Child Nutrition Act petition

Gail Wadsworth is the muscle behind our chapter and maintains the blog and without her and her husband Peter as well as head tabler Lucy, this event would not have been possible. Thank you!!!