figs in season

Fall figs

We’ve never had figs in the fall before.

It’s not that we’ve never eaten figs in the fall before. Our fig trees have always produced fruit during the summer, just as they did this year, but they’ve never produced fruit in the fall. If you’re a symbol-oriented person like me, you might wonder if it’s a sign or something. Or, you might be logical and say it’s just that the trees have matured to the point where they’re able to produce two harvests, as certain types of fig trees do. Maybe though, it’s possible that the answer lies somewhere in between those seemingly opposed perceptions. After all, as Solomon, a king of Israel from 970 to 931 B.C. wrote; “God delights in concealing things; scientists delight in discovering things.” 1

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recovery is on the way

I’m still recovering from the flu that snuck up on me at the beginning of this second week of Christmas vacation, but it’s been the perfect opportunity to be able to just completely relax, read, and sleep. While I drank many cups of this soothing ginger honey lemon tonic, I made a commitment to do something I’ve been thinking about doing for awhile, and so I’ll share more about that next week. In the meantime, enjoy the weekend, and keep warm!

keep calm and cook on…

Between my two food jobs, you could say the above slogan pretty much sums up my existence right now, and I don’t mind one bit. But it also means I don’t have a recipe to share today, and I apologize if you’ve been looking forward to that as a follower of this blog. Between work, life, and a short trip that included four solid days of driving, I just plain ran out of time to try to pull together a recipe post. I do think I need a time management plan to get everything done, so if any of you out there have any helpful suggestions, please feel free to send them my way. Seriously. I’ll be back next month with a new recipe, so until then, keep calm and cook on…

taking time to plant

We’ve fallen behind in starting this year’s garden, with both of us working, but as soon as we can corral ourselves for an afternoon, we’ll do some planting. Though I’ve got a tray full of herbs, I’d still like to get a few more, including sorrel, with its sharp, lemony flavor, good for sauces, soups, and pestos. Currently packed on the tray and awaiting their new locations in the garden is Thai basil, along with the standard Genovese, a spearmint to go with a chocolate mint; lavender, oregano, onion chives, thyme, Italian parsley, French tarragon, rosemary, sage, and my husband’s favorite mint tea sweetener, stevia. 

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innovation is in the air

I’m of the persuasion, as abstract as it may sound, that great ideas somehow float in the air around us, waiting to be discovered by an open, attentive mind. I heard a friend say this many years ago, and I immediately thought it to be true. Even so, discovering, or should I say, receiving a creative idea doesn’t always come quite so easily. And often, it’s because things just get in the way. It’s encouraging, though, when the channels are open, because innovation is an exciting thing, and it’s desperately needed to help solve the problems that exist in this big world of ours. 

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follow your heart

follow-your-heart

The guiding precepts for my goals for 2013 are only two: to simplify and to savor, however, whenever and wherever possible. I hope this opens the door for more inspiration, and that what you read here will inspire you too. Though it’s a new year, it’s easy to follow old routines; sometimes it takes a little extra effort to shake things up or take a path not traveled before. I hope you’re able to find your way a little better this year, and I offer this thought for your consideration: Don’t follow the money, follow your heart.

11 kitchen tips

eggs

Every kitchen has its own rhythm. It takes time to create a flow, and to become accustomed to a new pattern when you move to a new place. After awhile, with practice, you move through your space without having to think too much about it. What was once like a rehearsal, with repeated stops and starts, eventually becomes like a well-performed dance from refrigerator to pantry to stove to sink. I love the kitchen dance. I don’t feel alone when it’s a solo turn, because I’m surrounded by the smells and sounds of food, and I get to play with whatever colors my cupboard holds. Sometimes, with two people in the kitchen, the dance is a duet, and sometimes it’s a competition. With several people, it’s a choreographed piece that goes smoothly if everyone remembers their moves, or quickly whirls out of control if someone forgets their place. You might think, in these days of celebrity chefs, or on a very good day in your kitchen, that the cook is the star, but you’d be mistaken. It’s always the food. In my kitchen, I’m just happy to be a part of the show.

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good medicine

The beautiful and often overgrown herb garden, the one that Hiro our dog protected so well, is now only a memory. It’s been pulled up because we are moving to a new house, and the spinach, kale, collards, chard and mustard greens I planted in August are all that remain. In a few days, the greens will be pulled up too. I gave away the bulk of my herbs to a local restaurant, earning myself and my husband an invitation for a free meal, and am drying what was left on homemade drying racks, perched high above on the top of the kitchen cabinets of the rental house.

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out here where you can breathe

There are some days when it just seems like you need a small adventure or a short trip. But with current fuel prices, you need a good reason to waste the gas it takes to get there. I needed milk. Right now, at the local farm I buy milk from, the most productive milking goats are waiting to have baby goats, which in turn means the supply is very low until the end of October. After a search on realmilk.com, I found a farm, about an hour’s drive, that sells fresh milk from a type of dairy cow called Brown Swiss. Visiting a farm out in the country always has a particular pull for me, and so soon I was on my way. 

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hiro and the creatures in the garden

I admit, the whole incident was probably my fault. I’d let the herbs overgrow a bit too much because I just didn’t feel like dealing with them. Even though I usually keep a tidy garden, and an eye on those wayward mint roots and the sneaky grass weeds, the abundance of herbs has been overwhelming. As it turns out, it’s a good idea to keep things trimmed on a regular basis, because you never know what will decide to take residence among the overgrowth. When you have a garden, some creatures are to be expected, and even welcomed, and others, well, not so much.

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