July 2013

Tempura scallion flowers 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

7.31.13 Garden of Eatin'

As I prepare to leave you for a month (my last post until after Labor Day will be on Friday), I realize I have shared very little of this summer's garden. I've spent so many back-breaking hours weeding it, and almost as much time picking off the great variety of insect predators that seem to be assigned to each tender vegetable and herb, that I haven't had much occasion to just wander through with my camera. It's bigger and more bodacious than ever. My favorite thing is to take friends on a smelling tour: lovage, anise hyssop, four kinds of mint, wild bergamot, sage, lavender, roses, chamomile, lemon verbena...it massages the senses. But wait. That might be my second favorite. Because what I like best is eating our bounty straight from the ground, still cool from the earth and vibrating with sunshine. And doing things to it first in my kitchen.
E.W. Howe —
There is something in the red of a raspberry pie that looks as good to a man as the red in a sheep looks to a wolf.
Bite3 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

7.29.13 Quite a Handful

Who says you can't take it with you? The hand pie is eminently portable and designed to accompany you to the beach, on picnics, in your lunch bag... It's the perfect combination of food porn and wanderlust—a crisp and golden crust that gives way to a glistening jumble of seasonal fruit, and the whole thing fits perfectly in your hand. Now that's a hot pocket.

You know I don't do much baking, and when I do it's gluten-free, so I'm always a bit nervous about my skills with pastry dough. But I really have to hand it to Lena Kwak, who was the R&D chef at the French Laundry when she came up with the winning formula for the Thomas Keller-produced C4C gluten-free flour mix. It can be subbed directly into recipes for baked goods and makes a tender, credible crumb. Whether or not you are gluten-free, and even if you have a fear of dough, these hand pies are for you. Let me lead you into temptation...

Buddha —
Temperance is a tree which has for its root very little contentment, and for its fruit calm and peace.
Drink 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

7.26.13 Muddling Along

In the midst of all the glories of summer—the deliciously cool mornings, the lingering evening light, the sound of the crickets, the smell of crushed tomato leaves, the feel of bare toes in prickly grass—life continues to have its challenges. For me, that means too much work tethering me to my desk and a wrenching sense of always feeling caught between what I want to do and what I have to do. Sometimes, those two things overlap but I often feel like there are simply not enough hours in the day. August is just around the corner though and that means a break from my blog. (I'll miss you!!) This year, I'm going to experiment with going dark on Facebook for the month as well.

I'm also trying something else that's new: when I wake up, instead of immediately obsessing about everything I have to get done that day, I take a little time to just lie there and review everything for which I can be grateful. Yes, I count my blessings. Inevitably, it begins with the man asleep a few inches away, whose love and support never fail me. Sometimes, I let my mind roam into the scary places and, even there, if I stay anchored, I can tap into the strength and the resolve to push through. I am no Pollyanna, believe me, but this little ritual really helps me start the day with optimism and joy in my heart. As for how I reward myself at the end of the day, the photo above should give you a clue.
E.M. Forster —
Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.
Spoons1 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

7.24.13 Spoon Fed

Ten years ago, I made the journey upstate to Sullivan County for the first time. I was visiting my good friend Scott at his beautiful off-the-grid cabin. I had just moved back from Los Angeles, still shell-shocked from the death of my husband, and the area had a profound effect on me. The winding mountain roads and tall pines reconnected me to my childhood in Santa Cruz, and the sights and sounds of nature soothed me. Scott, an absurdly talented stylist and designer, with a uniquely rich and eclectic sensibility, had opened a little roadside boutique where he was selling exactly what you would want in your country cabin: linen blankets, cedar-scented candles, fresh peach pie, local goat cheese, striped hammocks, handmade spoons. So, naturally, I went shopping, and the beautiful spoons and tongs I picked up then have literally served me well.
Peaches & Herb —
There's one perfect fit and, sugar, this one is it...
Syrup 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

7.22.13 Peaches & Herb

Inspired by this lovely post and remembering my own successful version from years past, I decided that a dozen small, fragrant yellow peaches gently poached in white wine with Thai basil would be the perfect finish to a meal of this grilled chicken. Nothing could be simpler. Or more coolly satisfying on a sweltering summer night. Or more seductive, slipping down your throat with a little sweet syrup. Drop in a few fresh raspberries and top with a dollop of whipped cream, though this comes dangerously close to gilding the lily.
Lovin' Spoonful —
Hot town, summer in the city/Back of my neck gettin' dirty and gritty