20 September, 2009

chocolate and kiwi

And Jasmine tea. I have been haunted by the chevre cheesecake from Rustica. Each time I return, hoping to meet it again, I find other selections available, but nothing comparable to the cheesecake. On inquiry I learned that they cycle through their dessert selections every 3 months. It seems like an awfully long time to wait...I googled for a recipe, but nothing quite the same as the creation living in my memory. There are so many variations of the chocolate tart and after a fashion they all begin to taste the same. I am eating more Zespri kiwis to strengthen my immune system. And the combination of the chocolate and crunchy fruit was satisfying. Complex. Worth pursuing, but....always "but." I kept imagining the kiwis with the chevre cheesecake. And frustration set in. I've put myself on the waiting list, requested the recipe, and notification when it is next available. Worst case senario: I will ask to special order one for Sunday brunch. Until then the photo must sufice. 


Sunday brunch has come to be a high point of my week. All events lead to this one meal. We've tried many venues with great success but decided to give it a try at home. Adam exchanges his services for massage time, which supports his running recovery and I provide the ingredients. We limit the budget somewhat and come up with a menu as if we were offering it for a catering. I invite guests, let him know the numbers shop with him if appropriate and sit down at 11:30, ready to relax and enjoy. Maggie and Gabe, Jonathon, Adam and I shared this arrangement of fresh figs,  Zespri
Kiwi, and St Andre. It was bliss. The nutty seeds of the fruit and the triple cream of the cheese were a perfect compliment to the more savory selections. Individual blue cheese and green onion quiches, cucumber and chevre sandwiches, and scones preceded the fruit and cheese. Jonathon brought an Indian desert and real chai tea. It was an experiment worth repeating and the goal is simply to get together and share ideas, and stories, and relax. Try new ideas, and not create a lot of stress around eating and food. Last Sunday we ended up at Grand Cafe eating Eggs Cocotte. Always fantastic also a little pricey. So we will try to get the recipe and the ramekins, and do it here for ourselves. It is my idea of luxury to have a personal chef, even if it is only for one meal. And as I am still working 6 days a week, this Sunday commitment is part of my self care routine. So far it is working.  As important as the food is the conversation. And our conversation today led me back tho the memory of the first time I read "Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon". I moved back from beautiful Napa Valley, post divorce, having lost an important friendship, I was experiencing some anger and grief. Cynical, feeling unlovable, my failure inescapable Jorge Amado and his lovely characters came into my life and seduced me back. They convinced me that love triumphs. endures, and finds a way. So when my Brazilian friend spoke about his country, and particularly the area of Bahia, the longing cam flooding back. We discussed going  there together. To be continued...

10 September, 2009

turtle flower

A lovely creature, looks like a member of the dragon flower family. I was drawn to it immediately as it seems so happy in the shade and not all of them are so content to be in limited light. Something of a wallflower, I guess. Next year they will grace my humble garden and that is something to look forward to during the cold and frosty winter. The seasons are so dramatic here, yet it doesn't seem to bother the flowers, they just nod their heads and smile. Their confidence is inspiring, yet it doesn't seem to be contagious. I wish to possess such incredible trust and security. Never second guessing themselves, they bloom where they are planted, without a lot of fuss or demands. On the other hand, I have become high maintenance, constantly seeking reassurance that I am acceptable, and loved, if not by me then by someone wiser with more prestige or notoriety. Someone with a touch phone of one kind or another. I am going through a whiny phase, I'm not sure why, I'm not sure if it matters why...It's just there and I'm trying not to pay too much attention or give it too much air time. Station KFKD is so busy handling requests from other listeners that they really don't need my song and dance. It's impossible to be in the flow when you are busy complaining about it. Too cold, too hot, too fast, too big, there is just no limit to noticing what something is not, and a huge distraction from what something actually is...and it's value...and it's meaning. And even then it's easy to stop and get all stuck in it and miss the movement of the musical phrase. Give those notes only the indicated value no more, and no less, without being seduced by the interpretation or the texture or the quality of the sound. Go for the big picture and your contribution to the tapestry. So it is with the turtle flower, up close it has individual grace and personality, distinct from the other varieties in the garden. But once it joins the chorus, it's power is magnified exponentially.

chevre cheesecake

A creation of Rustica Bakery, served with fresh blackberries. Slightly sweet, definitely tangy and so creamy that you can't stop, or in most cases you won't want to stop. I wondered how it would taste with other berries, perhaps raspberries or huckleberries? The blackberries were not as flavourful as I imagined. They were layer on the sponge cake crust and garnished the top of the generous individual portion I purchased. I couldn't finish in one sitting, and my family helped devour the creation through out the day. The next day I decided to go "sugar free" just to see how I would feel. Would I have headaches? Uncontrollable cravings? It is the end of my second day. No headaches but unexpected depression and a feeling of failure, or deprivation, or sensory deviation. I just don't feel as happy as I did three days ago. And I'm beginning to wonder if this isn't more than a little too extreme.  I think of my friends sitting in LaDuree in Paris eating rose cream pastries and I wish I were with them. The longing, and the memory permeates my dreams and I wake to the new day determined to join them.  Imagining their surprise when I arrive, I brush my teeth. Planning what to pack, I drink my Jasmine tea. Greeting my first client, my fantasy slips away, simmering somewhere on the back burner, or stored in the freezer. I have bills to pay, appointments to honor, and a week in Arizona around the corner. Rose cream will wait, and in the meantime, there is Rustica.


In a pot decorated with fish, petunias and marigolds co-exist. As we move into fall I am happy to have their hardy blooms in my life. Inspiring me to trust the wisdom of the unfolding universe. And to stop messing up with the flow of grace, to just allow the sun to rise and the moon set without stressing over my part in it's progress. Surely I can manage to stay out of the way, and participate by observing, by receiving. How hard could it be? For some of us active busybodies it is an effort of sheer strength and endurance. We are more comfortable jumping around, rescuing, adjusting, and re-arranging with delight and abandon. And where does it take us? Soon we are exhausted, depleted, and somewhat bewildered. Wondering how we arrived at this point, with a few regrets, and shattered dreams. Pausing, remember those marigolds growing with the petunias...not needing too much but simply soaking up the sun and waiting for moisture from whatever source appears. Until the cold arrives, and it is time to drop seeds and let go.

07 September, 2009

Jack in the Pulpit

I never knew what happened to Jack until Saturday. And now I can see how stunning he becomes...Perfect for a relatively moist shade garden. I was inspired to go back to my own little patch of dirt and clean it up. This was shortly before I read an e-mail from two college friends on their way to Paris. They had told me they were going. And they had told me the dates". And they had invited me along. I just didn't believe they were serious at the time and then I forgot about it, I made a vow I wouldn't travel before Christmas and put it out of my mind. Then last week I started reading about Messiaen's composition of "Quartet for the End of Time" and someone suggested I visit St Gervais in Paris to study chant, and I ate a lovely Chevre cheesecake that melted in my mouth and I thought of LaDuree and French cakes and I had Paris on my mind. And while my timing is off, I think I must go there soon. In the meantime, my nose is to the grindstone, while I hope I will end up with more than a bloody nose. I am tempted to go on sabbatical, but how would I be able to afford it? After all, I am not married to a doctor! Not that that is the only way to get to Paris, of course! And not that Paris is the only place I would like to go visit...However, first things first and that means Quartet for the End of Time: February 14th, 2010! First movement: nightingales and blackbirds, masks and wings!