Saturday, August 6, 2011

Things I Never Want to Take for Granted

I had planned to write here regularly, using this blog as a way to find a voice I may have lost, or perhaps using it to develop a voice I never had in the first place. In any case,  I haven't written for months. Since my last post, life has taken several unexpected turns, all of which have required large investments of time and energy, as well as a high degree of discretion. Late at night awhile back, unable to sleep, I counted sheep and decided to spend more time thinking about all the good stuff. For instance.....

Last week, during a girls-only cabin getaway, my daughter and I gathered two weekend meals at the Mendocino Farmer's Market. We puttered up and down the block-long double row and found locally-raised pork, beets, baby summer squashes, green beans, wild salmon, rhubarb and strawberries.

That night we enjoyed pan-seared pork chops, balsamic-dressed roasted beets and greens, and home-baked focaccia. The following evening we cooked ginger-glazed wild salmon, rice pilaf, and the variety of Lilliputian garden squashes, some with blossoms still intact.

And blackberry pie! After Friday's market we rode our bikes for miles out the old logging road above Big River , where we picked two quarts of blackberries along the way.

This took some focus, since the berries are slow to ripen this year. If you happen to take that trail in a couple of weeks, pack containers for the later-season berry bonanza.

Out this road, coniferous forests frame misty vistas, helping an infrequent bike rider to forget her sore butt and increasingly unyielding bicycle seat.
Surprisingly few bicyclists were out that day, but those who were commented longingly.

"Did you bring ice cream?" a guy hollered as he sped down the path.

"Berry picking," one teenage boy said to another as they passed within earshot alongside an especially fruitful bramble, "I love berry picking."

And why wouldn't you love berry picking, when these can be the results?

We nearly ate the entire berry pie ourselves so we needed to make another for the boys when we got home. Second pie? Strawberry-rhubarb, which my son helped me assemble -- he wove the lattice with bravado, a job I anxiously approach. Homey fruit pies always remind me of my grandmother, who taught me much of what I know about pies. I hope I'm passing that along.


  1. Hurray for Grammy and pies! I think I gained a few pounds just reading this post!

  2. OMG, pie. Don't they say pie fixes everything?

  3. Oh Hugh, remember the wonderful food Grammy turned out of Havabrook's kitchen? Yesterday at lunch I was thinking about her bread and butter pickles. She was an effortless teacher, and she was wonderful about showing us how to do things. As long as we kept our grubby paws out of the kitchen during off-limits hours :)

    Roseana, pie is a great fixer. Sure loved the one we made together in Mendo. I still haven't figured out how to firm up rhubarb filling -- the lattice crust helped but didn't solve the problem entirely.

  4. Yeah, I guess we're gonna have to consult Alton Brown on the water content of fruit problem. But I would kill for some rhubarb about now. My farmer's market has no such. I went there week before last, inspired by our Mendo jaunt. Oh, it wasn't the same.