09
Jun
11

lots of food, no posts

It’s not like we haven’t been eating lately, and cooking good things.

There was the week J-P was in Boston, and I breakfasted on beans almost every morning.
beans for breakfast

There was J-P coming back and telling me that my kaddo bourani is better than Helmand’s.

There was the day in early May when the Neufeld Farms fruit stand started its annual spring conversion from dried fruit to fresh with a load of apricots.
expanding farm stand

There were the crushed raspberries topped with a quick, Mark Bittman-style chocolate mousse.

There was Alex’s party and my first-ever angelfood cake, which we grilled, also on Mark Bittman’s excellent advice.

There was the day J-P asked me to think of something to do with the snap peas, and I pulled a homemade pie crust out of the freezer and some cheese left over from the party out of the fridge and made a quiche. There were extra peas, so I steamed those and made a sauce for them out of white wine, shallots, mushroom stock, and butter.

There was our picnic with Heidi, where she brought German potato salad and her first strawberry-rhubarb pie, and we brought sausages and a salad I’d created from green beans, shallots, and yellow tree oyster mushrooms.

I repeated that salad, bulked up with a little bacon, later in the week. We were low on all of the usual grains that might have made it a meal, so I cooked some bulgur with vegetable stock and a parmesan rind, which turned out delicious.

Even later that week, J-P got us to eat the leftover bulgur by serving it under slices of pork chop seasoned with chile powder and a plain omelette cut into strips. There were steamed snap peas drizzled with butter on the side, and the whole plate sprinkled with lime juice.

There was the Cookie Club gathering at which Heidi, Kiri, Sarah, Bridget, and I learned that French macarons are a pain to make. The pastry bag was difficult, we all got tired of whipping egg whites, and the fancy rose petal sugar was oddly flavorless, at least in a buttercream. We learned a new appreciation for bakeries and think we’ll try the 15-minute oatmeal lace cookies next time.
macarons

And there’s been out new garden plot in the Potrero del Sol community garden. I am trying beets, green beans (the pintos turned out to be duds), peppers, and zucchini right now. So far, California has been doing its best to make a fool of me. For instance, it’s rained a lot the last couple of weeks, but I looked on the bright side by thinking that at least I didn’t have to go to the garden every other day to water it. I didn’t count on the weeds. Now at least I know that the plot will feed me with lamb’s quarters, purslane, and nettle if I let it.
lamb's quarters

While I was weeding yesterday, a fellow gardener came up to introduce himself. He was a large, dark man in his fifties or maybe sixties, wearing a red and blue plaid shirt that reminded me of one my father would wear.

“Hello,” he said. And then, “How are jou?”

“I’m good. What’s your name?” I answered.

“Antonio.”

“Antonio,” I repeated, then offered, “I’m Esther.”

Antonio cocked his head to the left and narrowed his eyes, both slightly, and considered me for a moment. “Ester,” he said, Spanish-style. And with a period, not a question mark.

“Ester,” I conceded with a little nod.

The garden has white, English-speaking gardeners and brown, Spanish-speaking gardeners. So far, no one from either group has suffered more than a moment’s hesitation figuring out how to speak to me—and the answer is always in their own language.

Modesta hesitated much less than Antonio, who comes across as a pretty deliberate guy, anyhow. Modesta said hi in English and told me her name. I had barely finished repeating it back to her before she beamed and said, “Que bueno que sí habla español!”

Antonio and I talked a bit, about what I was growing, and whether it wouldn’t be better to weed with a hoe, rather than pulling them all by hand like I was. Little did he know he had walked up just as I was abandoning the superbly romantic notion of lunching on a salad of lamb’s quarters and purslane.

Even so, I said that a hoe would be better in the middle, where I wasn’t growing anything, but not along that side where I have—

Here I finally, really saw the weedy wreckage I was gesturing at, and sighed—had, where I had beans.

He went off to weed a common area, and I went off to get a hoe from the tool shed.

Later, we talked about his love of the outdoors, his recent retirement, and how he wants to move back home to Cuernavaca. I met his wife, Carmen, who was cleaning nopales with a machete, and saw their plot, where they have nopales, tomatillos, tomatoes, summer squash, corn, a little lettuce, a teeny red rose bush, and a well restrained avocado tree.
antonio and carmen's plot

Advertisements

2 Responses to “lots of food, no posts”


  1. 1 Jon
    June 11, 2011 at 11:55

    The concept of intentionally growing prickly pear remains foreign to me.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: