5.30.2015

Finally.

 Well the windows are open. Finally. And the air wafting in is fresh with the scent of springtime….a casually blended mix of freshly dug earth and expectant blossoms. And I am relishing every moment.




The Baltimore Oriole swoops down in an incredible curved path, headed straight for the top of the knotty old apple tree. He sings from the top. It's a song of pleasure. And then off he flits, disappearing among the unfurling leaves of a nearby tree. I wonder about their existence. Their brains.Their habits. Their purpose. Just as Darwin may have puzzled over the many varieties of finches on the Galapagos Islands. The migratory pattern of these birds amazes me. Can that not be called intelligence? That innate ability to travel thousands of miles to a place that offers a space to nest and  food to gather?





I realize that spring has not only awoken the part of my brain that likes to dream of lush gardens filled with bountiful crops and arms full of vibrant flowers….but the part of my brain that thinks and reasons. Nature has a way of allowing its simple existence to permeate the snow-covered cobwebs of my mind and allows me to launch fireworks that spark my inquisitive, curious, hopeful side.


As I water the radishes and early lettuces, a yellow-tailed hawk flies several feet over my head. I duck as the bold shadow momentarily blocks the sun. The hawk quickly perches on a barren branch at the top of a pine, his loud predatory call telling me there are babies nearby, and he is the protector. I finish my watering and head back up the hill, knowing that I am just a guest in this place on the edge of the woods where I push seeds into warm brown earth.





I sleep better these days. Maybe that's what happens when you fall asleep and wake up thinking about wild flower meadows and the cry of the catbird .





You just cannot help thinking about the path life is carrying you on. 
And somehow I think my answers are an arm's reach away….


Whatt does springtime mean to you?




5.28.2015

Serenity

A repost: Please read and support a new Boston restaurant:

On Sunday, 
I spent the afternoon and evening
out in the country, wandering through greenhouses,
chatting with new friends,
playing with flowers,
and sampling
amazing food!
(ok, and a fabulous cocktail or 2)



It was a Kinfolk Magazine
event: A Flower Potluck.
How unique!

Each of us brought an
armful of spring flowers
to a farm owned by
Eva Sommaripa, Eva's Garden, in Dartmouth, Massachusetts
(my hometown).





The weather, more like a crisp fall day than a late April one,
blessed us with clear blue skies 
and just a touch of wind.





I decided to attend
at the last moment, 
encouraged by my husband who offered
to drive me, as my night vision is horrendous!

For those of us who
love to garden, it was love at first sight.
Rows of garlic, thick and healthy...
and way ahead of ours....



...beautiful structures
around every turn....


....greenhouses as far as the eye could see...
This one was wall to wall with Pea Greens...
soft, lush, and incredibly tasty.
(I believe this is Eva's top seller in the commercial end of the garden.)
Cozy place for a nap...no?




Former executive chef at Boston's Beacon Hill Bistro, and owner of Bread and Salt Hospitality, 
Joshua Lewin, with his partner Katrina Jazayeri, 
set up a perfect, rustic chic scene in an
open area overlooking the kitchen gardens.

(Update 5/28/15: Josh and Katrina could really use your support as they build their latest destination eatery,"Juliet". Click here to support them!

Katrina's talent for 
"setting the scene" was apparent....hand-stenciled butcher paper
on the picnic table,
vintage silverware, glass jars with spring buds,
tealights, silver trays full of 
"Marie Antoinette" glasses....the details
made the scene
 pastoral, and easy.
(Thanks Katrina!)



There was a 
simple bar area
set up for cocktail hour...

San Pellegino Orange
Gin
Sliced Cucumber

Fresh, crisp, perfect.


Eva supplied us with
edible flowers...pansies, nasturtium,
and others I can't recall the names of....



Baby lettuce, so perfect,
lay in one of the
greenhouses,
awaiting a local chef's
plan...though nothing fancy
 needs to be 
done
to make Eva's greens taste amazing.


We scurried around,
picking seasonal flowers,
daffodils and forsythia....


We combined
our new finds
with the blossoms
we had supplied...
keeping in mind our springtime May Day theme...
thoughts of delivering a bouquet to a friend
or a posy to a loved one.

Again, Katrina had remembered
the details,
supplying  us with canning
jars and  spools of twine to allow
our arrangements to 
seem
part
of the landscape.





Josh delivered an afternoon
of culinary delight, 
preparing and serving us 
fresh, local flavors
from Eva's gardens.



We nibbled on the crusty bread,  gravitating towards the
 fire as the sun dipped down, 
bringing a chill to the air.

It was a treat to watch Josh preparing
our meal in Eva's massive brick oven.



First a Chilled Spring Greens Soup, topped with 
Shy Brothers Cheese (one of my favorites...love their Hannahbells!)
The cool, crisp flavors, melted with the cheese, creating a creamy, palette pleasing experience.


Whole Chicken Poached in Plugra and Fenugreek,
cooked in the brick oven, was amazing. The crispy coated chicken,
perfectly cooked, and fork tender, was accompanied by
Brussel Sprouts with Sumac and Apple, and



Wood Roasted Fava Beans
Piment d'Espelette.

I am looking forward to cooking our fava beans this way...
the beans had loads of flavor. The French infused spice
gave one of my garden favorites a new slant.


We also had bowls of fresh greens 
which I think had a warm
dressing drizzled on them.





I left a bit earlier than the others,
yes, just as dessert was about to be served...
I believe they were creating an
amazing crust in the outdoor oven, with cheese and fig and raisins...
not sure, as I think this was a last minute creation.

I was tired at this point, my toes were frozen, and
I knew I'd be getting up at the crack of dawn, as school vacation
had screeched to a halt. And my lime green chariot was awaiting me(with husband at the wheel).

It was a lovely afternoon and evening of new acquaintances,
beauty of the natural landscape, and 
proof that simple, fresh ingredients, 
can change the way we look at 
food. ( Of course it helps if you are an amazing chef.)

Next time (hope there is a next time)....I would love a chance
to pick Eva's brain...when to plant, where to plant....how to expand,
how to know what direction to take. Eva gave an amazing description of bronze fennel, its flavor, the intensity of its flower, the ability to use the pollen as a condiment...
now that's what I need to know!

Now this is Serenity.

Please support Josh and Katrina in their latest venture, here!

5.07.2015

The Golden Hour

  We went for a ride to the lighthouse last night.


Now that my 16 year old son has caught the photography bug, we watch for the best light, otherwise know as The Golden Hour ( or Magic Hour).




We arrived at the lighthouse a little bit before 7:00pm. 


We snapped a few shots, then waited.








We waited for the time when the sun, ( after sunrise or before sunset), casts a warm glow across the sky and ocean and everything in its path.







It's a subtle glow at first.




Then it crawls up and over…..




and fills your world with a giant hug.







And there's no question about if it's there. 


It's unmistakeable.



And depending on the direction you are facing,


the light casts new glimpses onto once hidden treasures...




…and causes you to stop and enjoy the new view.


I've never shot the lighthouse from down on the rocky shoreline below, but suddenly the sky was an amazing blue and the lighthouse basked in warm light.




I found the only problem was my shadow kept trying to steal the spotlight.



But I worked around it,


enjoying the peace and quiet of the waves lapping the shore, 


….and extra time with this handsome son of mine...





….adoring that we share a love of the world around us….



…especially at The Golden Hour.









5.02.2015

first glimpse


nature’s boutonnière



sits proudly waiting





color washed 


from a long hidden palette




glimpses of life
of dreams
of memories




chartreuse versus indigo






a debutant
a novice
 



 

an apprentice....
carving
molding
sculpting
 



glimpses of grandeur
 



in a once barren landscape
 




Nature’s Triumph
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