I have been meaning to give you this recipe for a few weeks. Not yet having done so, I find myself in the unusual state of hoping winter will stay and chill us just a few days longer, until I can share this recipe with you. As such, my heart saddened a little as I saw the pale pink blossoms while walking with Elinor through the park a few days ago. But I was fortified to see the daffodils with their green blades still merely stretching for the clear, blue sky, not yet smiling up at us with their open-topped top-hat blossoms. A false prediction of snow last night, what would have been the first in 35 years in San Francisco, was also encouraging. So I have made it, pushing the “publish” button while it is still a nippy 40 degrees outside,
Category Archives: Vegetables
Oregon—Portland, specifically—is home. Growing up, it meant summer afternoons spent picking from neat rows of small, glossy strawberries or tangles of blackberries, which left my hands stained purple and forearms stinging from crosshatched scratches. In the winter, we would trudge up snowy forest roads deep into the Mt. Hood National Forest, insulated bottles of hot chocolate (and the requisite permit) in tow, until we found the perfect Christmas tree. The ocean, mountains, high desert, and idyllic pastureland were all within an hour or two, and we took advantage of them all.
Originally known as “Ouragon,” Oregon is beautiful country, but I left it in 1998 in exchange for a state known
My 11-month-old daughter has developed a reputation in our neighborhood. Mind you, we live in a densely populated, urban neighborhood, so this is not an easy feat. And, while she is out and about three times most days, she is not outside for that long. But each neighborhood has its characters, even if you only see them every so often. We have the compact septuagenarian with a stern gait, undoubtedly a former dancer, who walks her twin black Scottie dogs several times a day. Without fail, she is adorned in black tights, a black wool topper, and a cloche hat (yes, also black). There is also the heartbreakingly skeletal woman who used to inch along alone on her spindly pilasters of legs, but walks these days with her blond Labrador Retriever service dog. Now, apparently, there is also Elinor. While she was at the park admiring dogs with my parents, a woman announced, “There’s the naked baby again!” (“The naked baby,” as in a baby that has been previously specified as naked: people are talking about her. This is quite different from the indefinite “a naked baby,” as in, “Is that a naked baby working on her tan?”)
There’s a dirty little trick to recipe writing used to draw in the unwitting cook. At first glance, the cook sees a reasonable number of ingredients, say, eight or ten. But as she reads down the list, she sees that the last two ingredients are proper nouns referring to other pages in the cookbook, meaning that the once-manageable recipe now requires three recipes and no less than 15 discreet ingredients. This is such a recipe.
See, I really had no choice but to make this, and neither do you. What was I to do when one small farmer at the market presented me with truly fall ingredients, like the beautifully knobby winter squash tucked into an old wooden apple crate, while the late summer bounty—mounds of bold, glossy dry-farmed tomatoes and bunches of basil stuffed tightly into galvanized-steel buckets—beckoned from the next?
After I took the bar exam, we spent a couple weeks in Provence in a house that Van Gogh painted. Each day was slow and languid and developed organically; we seldom thought beyond what we wanted to do in that instant. Sometimes it was wandering through the Roman ruins across the way. When the sun was blazing, we would follow our gravel road to its end and hike, with branches and leaves cracking underfoot, through the pine-forested foothills. And when relaxation got the better of us, we would walk next door to tour Vincent’s cloister in the the asylum—with a view of our little stone house in the distance—and thumb through the artwork of the current residents, who were apparently welcome to roam the gift shop. “Américaine?” a toothless octogenarian shrieked, not two inches from my face, before deftly turning away, her pastel cotton nightgown floating ethereally behind her.