There was last Monday. The first day of our family road trip. The anticipation of joyful moments, picnics, walks, meals and laughs. Looking forward to the unsuspected. The discovery of new places.
The bright crisp air of the central coast of California. Ocean and
country. We are surrounded by beautiful gardens. I wake up and feel compelled
to go explore what the early morning sun brings out of this gorgeous
vegetation. I want to go out and see the light. See nature. Capture it. My mind
is clear, light, peaceful, inspired. Unencumbered by the everyday. All it is
interested in this morning is witnessing the surrounding beauty. It is not
interested in the forest, it is interested in its trees. Perhaps that is the
meaning of Zen.
And there was this morning. Back to “real life” and its
burdens, deadlines, obligations, fires to put out. But in fact, it is less real.
My mind projects into an uncertain future, is flooded with worries and doubt. I feel
down, anxious, guilty, overwhelmed, helpless. It’s uncomfortable and downright
depressing. I try to talk myself out of it. It doesn’t work. What I try to
teach my son I must practice myself: just be with my feelings, without
judgment, without solution. Just be with them. It’s difficult.
Some time ago, this morning would have paralyzed me. Kept me
from doing anything. It would have been all-consuming. And for several minutes,
Then I just go on anyway. I have been away from this haven
of a blog for a week, too long. I have so much to share. There’s an
effervescence around it: a wonderful stay at a lovely goat farm I want to tell
you about, the first anniversary of this blog coming up in a few days, cherry and berrypicking field trips, and an
exciting new collaboration with my favorite goat cheese maker. There’s going to
be a lot of talk of goat around here in the coming weeks, so I hope you’re
ready for that 🙂 Til then, sharing our week’s menu with you.
Looking back at these photos of last Monday, I read life
into them. Patches of color. Bright or dark. Growth, that sometimes bears fruit.
Lots of blur. And some clarity too. Perhaps that is why I felt so inspired that
morning. Why I wanted to share them here with you. Perhaps you will see some of
your life in them too.
On to the week’s menu.
Cheeses of the week: Following French tradition, I always offer a little bit of cheese at the end of every meal, between the main course and dessert. Rotation this week: Comté, Port Salut (cow cheese), fresh goat cheese.
Desserts: At lunch, I offer a fruit yogurt (or plain yogurt with fresh fruit), but at night, I prefer sticking to plain yogurt (regular homemade* whole milk, sheep’s milk, goat’s milk and Greek yogurt for extra protein) to avoid too much sugar before bedtime.
If you would like a particular recipe on the menu, feel free to contact me! (I marked with a * the recipes that will be the topic of upcoming posts).
Appetizer / Finger Foods: New potato, Italian parsley salad with poached egg
Main course: Smoked salmon, avocado
Goûter (4pm snack) – White nectarine
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Persian cucumber salad in creamy yogurt tarragon sauce
Main course: Pan-fried leg of lamb, cannelloni beans, lettuce & vinaigrette
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Cauliflower, tomato salad
Main course: Sauteed lemon shrimp
Goûter – Strawberry rhubarb compote + plums
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Sauteed rainbow chards, orange, goat cheese salad inspired by Vanilla Bean
Main course: Braised ham-wrapped endives au gratin
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Grated carrots French-style
Main course: Steak tartare, butter lettuce with herbed hazelnut vinaigrette
Goûter – Apricots
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Green beans, cauliflower, chives salad
Main course: Roasted chicken, zucchini eggplant au gratin*
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Mixed quinoa, crudités, beans salad
Main course: Ham, leftover zucchini eggplant gratin
Goûter – White peach
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Authentic Greek salad
Main course: Dover sole fillets with spinach-broccoli puree
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Sauteed watermelon radishes & romano Italian beans inspired by Gourmande in the kitchen
Main course: Chicken liver salad with raspberry vinaigrette
Goûter – Cherries
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Greens soup (from carrot, beet, radish greens)
Main course: Bison patties, baked yams
Lunch – We’re going cherry picking at Copeland Cherry Ranch
Packing a picnic with feta chickpea salad, cherry tomatoes, melon and prosciutto, cheese.
Goûter – Cherries!
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Yellow heirloom tomato gazpacho
Main course: Leeks lemon feta quiche with mâche salad
Goûter – Cherry clafoutis*
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Artichoke custards
Main course: My mother’s oven-roasted ribs, peas and carrot jardinière