Saturday, August 29, 2009

Heaven = Big Sur

Live from Big Sur. This place is so beautiful that it practically restores my faith in the human race and this gorgeous planet that we live on. Somehow mankind hasn't managed to ruin all of it just yet, and I feel very lucky indeed to have finally, finally made it here. How did it take me so long? I'm not sure. But I know that now that I've found this place, I'll be needing to come back again and again and again. Heaven on earth turns out to be a mere three hours from my home in Oakland.

The place that we're staying is like a treehouse in the redwoods. It's so beautiful in an of itself that you could just check in and not even bother to venture out to check out the scenery down below. But oh, you'd be missing out on something amazing if you didn't drive along the coastline and take in the bluest waters, the whitest waves, the clearest skies. It's been a long time since I found myself having my breath taken away like this at every turn, and I have been drinking it in.

Tonight we could have gone out to any number of restaurants with delicious (albeit VERY expensive) menu items to choose from, but we wanted to maximize our time in the treehouse. So we bought some pasta and an onion and some garlic, and used it, along w/ the goat cheese & aged gouda we'd brought from home, and the passel of ripe, juicy tomatoes from our garden, to make a perfectly delicious dinner to enjoy on a hot, hot summer night in a treehouse way up in Palo Colorado National Forest above Big Sur. And it knocked our socks off.

If it seems like goat cheese and aged gouda are a weird combination, just have faith. Think of the aged gouda as if it were parmesan, which you could certainly use if you so desired. But we just used this cause we had it, and it worked beautifully.

This is more of a guide than a recipe.

First, dice half an onion. Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Pour some olive oil into a skillet and slowly saute' the onion with a little salt. Keep it over low heat and stir it occasionally while you're chopping the tomatoes. I used about a dozen cherry tomatoes cut in half, plus three whole tomatoes diced into bite-sized pieces. Then I chopped four large cloves of garlic.

After a little while of cooking the onions, they started to slowly turn golden and soft. I splashed a little red wine into the skillet and kept stirring. I probably would have used balsamic vinegar, but didn't have any, so just used what I had on hand. Kept stirring occasionally over low heat.

Meanwhile, I tossed a small handful of the raw tomatoes into a big serving bowl along w/ a splash of olive oil and a little bit of goat cheese, the creamy kind.

Once the pasta was added to the boiling water, I added the garlic to the onions and kept stirring for a few minutes, then added the remaining tomatoes.

About ten minutes later, when the pasta was done, I added it to the bowl with the raw tomatoes & olive oil & goat cheese. Then I stirred in the skillet full of tomatoes, onions & garlic. And added salt & fresh ground pepper, a little more goat cheese, and a topping of the grated aged gouda. And it was heavenly. The perfectly heavenly meal while visiting heaven on earth. I can hardly think of anything better.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Story of an Artist by Daniel Johnston

Weeks, months fly by. I just got back from a week in Ohio hanging w/ my parents, soaking up the humidity, making pot after pot of soup, and cherishing every moment spent.

The video I'm posting here is apropos of nothing, but tonight, this song came up on my I-tunes and it just slayed me. Split my heart wide open. And I had to share.

Luckily, I've spent much of my life feeling very supported in my attempts to be an artist. But even despite that, I've had moments where I felt like this. I bet that more than a few of you out there can relate.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

How My Garden Grows

I don't know how it's possible that it took me 40 years to become excited about gardening, but I am so thrilled to have finally arrived at this place. I know that to many people out there, having a garden is just second nature, and I've always admired those kinds of people, although I never thought I would be one. Some people who've known me for many years have been known to refer to me as "the black thumb", because I was too lame to keep even a basic houseplant alive. But I guess that lameness was something left behind in the dirty thirties, because now, I've got a garden, and it's growing and thriving!

I've never tasted a cucumber as good or as sweet and crispy and bursting with freshness as the ones I've been delightfully picking from the garden lately.

And the tomatoes are plumping up and growing redder by the day, and the zucchini have already become challenging to keep up with, but that is absolutely no problem in my book, because I never tire of zucchini!

The chard is recovering and the arugula is perfect for the picking. The lettuces overflow and the herbs have grown wildly, calling out to be made into herb butter and pesto and salsa verde.

The peppers are still tiny but seem to be making good progress.

And every day, I am so tickled to watch it all grow. And I'm very thankful to my honey for being motivated enough to get us to the gardening store a couple of months ago so we could get everything planted, and for showing me the steps needed to make things flourish and thrive... I mean, it seems so simple now - you just have to plant the seeds, provide water, expose to sunlight, pull the weeds, and pay a little attention. But for some reason, that process always felt like a mystery to me in the past. I'm glad to say that those mystery days are behind me, and am totally excited to discover what other treats I'll have the good fortune to grow as the seasons pass.  And I must say that the whole experience is very good medicine for me at this particular point in time, and for that, I am even more thankful.