I have started this post exactly five times, and I have decided that I’m not erasing the first line again- come hell or high water. Phew, now that’s done, I might finally be able to tell you how thrilled I am to write, today. I’ll start by telling you that today is the two-year anniversary of The Tomato Tart and I’ll be sharing a recipe for a simple and fresh plum caprese. It’s perfect with autumn’s juicy plums, those lovely dark stone fruits that stubbornly linger well into fall.
The other exciting thing is pretty big and pretty awesome. Since July, I have been working with three fantastic women to launch Bloggers without Borders as an organization which raises funds and awareness for food-related nonprofits. On Tuesday, we officially launched with our first nonprofit partner, WhyHunger. As many of you know, I work with nonprofits for my day job and have done so for more than seven years. The Online Bakesale for Japan was the first time I combined my blog with my passion for creating positive changes in the world. Bloggers without Borders is a way for me to do that every day. I invite you to learn more about our project, attend an event, or be a part of our tribe.
Now, back to the blogiverssary, while I considered baking a cake or a tart for the occasion, the truth is, I’d rather eat salad than almost anything. Besides, it’s not just a salad, … get the recipe
There are times when life seems to wind along at a Sunday driver’s pace and then there is now. It seems I was just pondering how on earth I could find yet one more way to cook a beet and now, I’m harvesting spring peas from my own little garden.
When things are moving quickly, I try to remember to savor the sweet little things. A meal at home with my husband (on the rare weekend we’re in town), a flower popping up in a field of urban fennel, a snuggle with my pup, days warm like summer, fits of giggles, and fresh fava beans, shelling peas, and garbanzos whose seasons are so short.
Last week when I returned home from an amazing trip to Healdsburg in California’s Wine Country (can’t wait to tell you all about it), and the first thing I did when I got home was head straight for my garden. Joshua had taken great care of it, and the mini-heatwave we’d had didn’t hurt either.
I was excited to see my purple kale bursting from its pot, and my newly planted spring wildflower seeds growing like… well wildflowers. I also saw a few little pea pods on my vines- one was even fat with peas. Thrilled as I was, I realized then, that I did not plant enough peas to do anything other than eat them straight out of the garden. A trip to my local co-op helped my “harvest” along beautifully and I returned … get the recipe
I wouldn’t be a good ER doctor if I didn’t ask, “Are you safe at home?” I chuckled & winced a little. Of course, physical abuse is far from funny, but this is not the first time I’ve been asked.
Long before I knew my husband, a doctor asked me if I was safe from my parents. I guess the story that my baby brother had broken my foot with a hammer seemed a little improbable. My chart may have had some red flags, especially considering that the year before I’d sprained my ankle and broken my pinkie in the span of one week. My story? I was tackled while playing flag football (the pinkie) and I fell off a curb while walking home from school (the ankle).
As I had all those years ago, I assured the doctor that I was, indeed, safe. I told the handsome young doc that Joshua actually rushed home from work when I called in hysterics to tell him I’d broken my foot. I reassured him that the marks on my chest were actually burn scars from hot butter, not bruises. He smiled, gave a little wink, and said, “I figured, he seems really great.”.
Handsome young doc, had no idea how great. There, in the ER, it was well-past midnight, and not the kind of place I’d like to ring in my 40th birthday, but Joshua never complained. He smiled and joked and took good care of me.
I promised that … get the recipe
I know you hear this from an awful lot of girls (and boys), but I have to say it anyway. I am in love with you. But, California, before you dismiss me as just another of your millions of admirers or, worse yet. one of those interloping social climbers, please hear me out.
While many are seduced by your Hollywood glamour or your Silicon Valley connections, don’t worry, California, I know that’s not what makes you tick. I am rather attracted to your curves and those sheer… cliffs you’ve got going on but how can you blame me? I’m only human? You sure have a fabulous way with food and wine, and these things I definitely find appealing.
There are certain things that drive me wild, California, like when you seem to spring into your full bloom while everyone else is still half asleep. How you’re simply radiant and glowing and every hill, mountain, stream, and tiny flower reflects that brilliant glow. How when you’re grey and misty, that misty fog seems expansive and enveloping all at once.
I love that in all the years I’ve known you, I still haven’t gotten to know you all the way. I’ve seen your highest peaks and your lowest valleys (take this as you will), but I have so much more to explore. Others have given up on you, California, saying it’s too hard to be with you. There’s no denying, you’re one expensive love affair to maintain, but I am … get the recipe
Home. It feels really good to be here. It’s funny how, even after just a few days away, I appreciate the safety, sanctuary, and calm that Home provides. Oddly enough, 48 hours ago, I really didn’t want to be here.
Friday night, in the midst of the first real winter storm we’ve had in California this year, we hopped in the car for a vintage Sabrina & Joshua-style road trip. Everything about our trip, from leaving a little too late, to the dramatic weather was perfect. We reminisced about the days when we lived in Southern California and made that drive back and forth to the Bay Area more times than I can count- only then it was often in a classic Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham.
In 1999 we were a couple of broke kids who had just moved in together in a sweet little apartment in Venice Beach. Joshua’s dad lived on Naples Island in Long Beach. He had a little sailboat where we would sometimes go and spend the night and go for a sail the following day. I’d always bring a homemade quiche and bottle of port. Before heading off to sleep on the boat, Joshua, his dad, their longtime friends, and I would sit around the house on Ravenna Street and have a jazz jam session, passing the bottle until late into the night. I still think of these salad days as some of the happiest of my life.
The last twelve and a half years seem … get the recipe
Almost exactly one year ago, my back was so bad that I took three months off work. I considered back surgery, and really struggled with what it meant to be unable to do the work I’d done my entire adult life. While I was off work, I also had a cooking accident, which almost cost me a fingertip. It was a rough patch to say the least.
A few weeks ago, while getting ready to have my friends Lani and Tom for dinner, something snapped in my back. I acted fast this time, going on steroids, getting an epidural shot right away and doing pilates at home as well as my physical therapy exercises that I’ve become all-too familiar with.
Then came another cooking accident- this time a burn from hot butter and spices, stretching from my neck to my solar plexus. It looks like a map of Hawaii, and it hurts like mad.
Worse than the pain, is the fear. I’ve been here before, and I am not the kind of person who likes to be in stasis. Recently, I’ve let this fear completely paralyze me. There have been no posts here, no meals photographed, no recipes written. I’ve been stuck, and unable to push myself from the ledge.
I keep thinking of my friend Michael Procopio. We dined together a few months ago when he was suffering from a bout of writers block coupled with a case of serious perfectionism. I went back to reread the … get the recipe
Today, is a lovely day in California. The sun is shining and it is unseasonably warm. It is also a special day because I am guest posting on one of my favorite blogs, Kitchen Corners. If you don’t know Da, I’d like to tell you a bit about her. She is warm and kind and generous, she makes beautiful food, and even more beautiful babies. She is from Brazil, lived in the states for many years, but recently moved back to Bahia, Brazil for a year.
Da has the best taste in design and kitchen tools, and guest bloggers. No, not just me! Head over to check out her 31 Days of Salad. I’ve contributed a Radish & Purple Potato Salad with Lemon & Mustard Vinaigrette, but there are already 8 days of salads I’m dying to try, I’m sure you’ll love them too!
When I was a kid, I remember loving the way radishes looked. What was not to love about the way the prettiest of roots appeared, all round and pinkish red on the outside and crisp white, almost translucent on the inside? The problem, however, was that my love stopped there. Every time I ate one, the first taste on my palette was good slightly sweet, with a hint of cruciferous funk, but then the scorching heat and bitterness hit. I swear it would have caused a less precocious child to spit.
Radishes, however, were pervasive in my life. They were pink-ringed dots in gorgeous green salads, bright spots on long wooden tables, and buttered lovelies at breakfast in France. Being rather like a bird, attracted to pretty shiny things, I kept trying radishes, but it was not until I pulled one from the ground at my Auntie Gilda’s house in Napa that I loved a radish.
For years after that, I always ate my radishes uncooked and rather plain- maybe with sea salt or in salads or with a bit of butter and more sea salt if I was feeling decadent. There was a week in New York at my friend Joey’s where I lived on mostly olives and radishes and it felt like heaven on earth. Then, about a year ago, I learned about roasting radishes and a whole new world opened up.
This roasted zucchini and radish salad is served warm with mint and chive vinaigrette and finished … get the recipe