Sunday, May 24, 2009

Local love

We eat seasonally and locally. We are not one of those trendy restaurants* with the "we buy local and organic produce whenever possible" tagline on their menus. I've worked at some of those, and found that cost or inconvenience too often override the declared intent.

But at home, we are authentic**, and pretty quiet about it. We try to honor our bodies, our community, our soil, our beliefs, and our neighbors--and we try to shut up about that with our friends.

Instead of the evangelism, we dish out food.

We try to hook the devoted grocery store shoppers on green garlic, local lamb, fresh tomatoes. We try to make them part of the loop--to make explicit that connection: soil, water, seeds, spirit, farmer, food, table...

And if they want a little of the joy in their own lives, well, we've done something right.

I imagine, those of you out there with more traditional faiths than mine, that this is a familiar feeling.

This recipe--another version of the classic asparagus/egg combo--is spring. Easy and epic. Try it now, before summer is in full swing and asparagus is a memory.

Don't you dare use grocery store asparagus in November or jumbo-pack eggs for this one. It is largely unadorned and depends on freshness.

*Ah, restaurants. Oven-branded forearms, coke and testosterone, bands of misfits united against the unsuspecting customer. I get nostalgic every once in a while.

**Authentic, not perfect. We all snack on bananas from Trader Joe's. We buy potatoes and onions and garlic and citrus all year. Other than that, each season brings a new, eagerly awaited treat: Asparagus and favas and onion scapes. Peaches and tomatoes. Hot chilies and tomatillos. Winter squash and escarole.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Holy crap CSAs, with the sugar snaps and snows and shellings! We've done salads (potato and green) and stirfries and snacks and shelling-to-freeze. We've done pasta with ricotta and bacon and carmelized onions and sugar snaps.

Any ideas?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Self, with gin

Almost summer here, and hot hot. So...

...naked baby hammock swinging.
...gin and tonics.

...lounge pants the color of a cold cold Southside.
...barbecues of lamb kabobs and flatbread and tzatziki that I enjoyed without the camera.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Baked eggs

In the past week, I have
  • hit two major deadlines at work, barely
  • finished a final project for my graphic design class
  • had our childcare provider in the hospital
  • seen my checking account hit $9
  • called the pediatrician on an early weekend morning about a scary vaccination reaction
  • experienced our first two-year-old public meltdown while in line with a cart of fabric cut to order (stranger reaction was equal parts cold, cold judgement and the kind of sympathy that brings me to tears)
  • had three diapers fail to contain my child's monster pees, each one while she was sleeping on MY bed
  • caught puke in my hands
Yes, a shitload of screw you from the universe.

At least there were eggs. Baked with radish leaves and onion scapes and Parmesan and lots of butter and cream. With home-baked bread (yes, like the famous no-knead--with a more whole-grain modification of dough stored in the fridge). And potatoes fried in duck fat.

And we count our blessings.

It's hard to see when you're covered in puke or are trying to hold on to 27 pounds of screaming, scratching, squirming child while pulling out your debit card. Or when you are crossing $2 items off your grocery list. Or when you have heard "NOOO!!! Papa do it!" for the 200th time by 9 am. Gratitude can be slow in coming.

But our stuff, so far, has been nothing.


We realize how extraordinarily lucky we are right now. We consider it an obligation to appreciate the fresh eggs a coworker brings, the downy hair of a feverish toddler, the smell of jasmine on our patio. Beauty can be so fleeting.

And ohh, those eggs.

Baked eggs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Set your ramekins on a cookie sheet--one for each egg, so do as many as you think you'll eat. (I eat one and the baby's leftovers; W. likes two.) Put a thin pat of butter and a splash of cream into each.

Add a bit of thinly sliced radish leaves. Break one egg into each dish. Sprinkle with thinly sliced onion or garlic scapes, grated Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.

Bake until whites are set and yolks are still runny, 10-15 minutes.

You will have to figure out the timing particular to your oven and your egg preferences. I'm a bit fussy about this. I hate runny whites and hard yolks. W. has been very patient with me and has found a sweet spot at about 13 minutes.

This is one of those recipes that can be endlessly varied. Just an egg and some butter and whatever bits of deliciousness you have lying around: spinach, proscuitto, tomatoes, feta...

Monday, May 4, 2009

When I'm not in the kitchen...

I used to spend my time reading, but now I’m teaching myself to sew—a process my mom started oh, about 30 years ago, when I was too much a perfectionist to deal. Crooked seams didn’t seem far off from end of world back then.

In fact, it took having a child to realize that the process is the point. And that I’ll never, ever be perfect.

Nothing like a colicky infant to hammer that home.

So lately, the 1943 Singer and I have been collaborating on outdoor curtains with buttons along the hems, a reupholstered chair rescued on the San Clemente trash day a decade ago, the famous Amy Butler lounge pants