It’s a great year for the miniature lupines that I’ve only found in one patch along the trail. I was challenged to find information online about it, but then I was grateful to remember I have a book! So I turned to Weber’s Colorado Flora, and from there was able to locate it online as Lupinus lepidus. It was years before I even noticed this little flower, and the patch just keeps growing. When the seedpods burst they can shoot up to twenty feet. I’m definitely going to collect some seeds to sow in the yarden this summer.
It’s a sad truth that the smaller, more delicate, and more sparse plants on the forest floor are the natives, and the much more prolific, prickly or gaudy plants are invasive exotics, like this weedy alyssum below. Carpets of it all going to seed! Sure, it looks like a fairy land in the right light, but drop a match or catch an ember and it’s nothing but tinder. Everyone is thrilled about all the green everywhere, and though I’m not obsessing over it, I can’t help but think often about how as soon as summer dries it out we’ll have ten times the wildfire fuel on the ground as we did last year.
I AM grateful for all the green in the garden, though. Lettuce, arugula, and orach are bountiful now. I’m so glad I made time to plant arugula and lettuce under plastic hoops in late winter, and also that I let the orach go to seed last fall and it self-sowed.
I’m grateful to have found Hook & Loom rugs a couple of years ago when I was looking for a new, environmentally friendly kitchen rug. I bought a couple of small throw rugs then, too. I’m grateful to have remembered Hook & Loom when I started shopping for a new living room rug last month. I ordered some swatches to better determine what I want for the new, streamlined aesthetic now that I don’t need all my beautiful maple flooring covered with rugs to protect my dear departed old Stellar dog from slipping and sliding. After a day with them on the floor, I’ve only eliminated two options, but here they are all together. Three are wool, one is organic cotton, and the rest are recycled cotton. Wren can’t decide her preference either, though she has certainly enjoyed skidding around on all of them. We’ll decide by the end of the week.
I’m grateful for sweet potatoes, and for a snow-day lunch today of a baked sweet potato and a bowl of garden beans. I finally shelled the rattlesnake pole beans last week, and only got a small bowl full, so I soaked them overnight, sautéed a small garden onion, and tossed in some Scotch bonnet pepper flakes from last year, and a healthy shake of Penzeys Arizona seasoning, for a hearty bowl of beans to accompany the buttery tuber. So simple, so delicious!
I didn’t grow up cherishing the ‘whoopie pie,’ in fact I’m not sure I ever ate one. But for some reason this recipe caught my attention, and I had everything I needed except the oatmeal. My Personal Shopper picked up a carton of ‘traditional old-fashioned’ oats, and neither of us was sure if that fit the bill for ‘rolled oats.’ I’m pleased to announce that it did! I searched it and found a site assuring me that there’s absolutely no difference between rolled and old-fashioned oats, and was grateful to confirm that when I opened the can to bake this evening. (I also did not grow up eating oatmeal, or I might have known this.)
The recipe calls for dried cranberries to go in the basic cinnamon oatmeal cookies, and for canned whole cranberry sauce for the filling. I guess I could have bought both of those ingredients also, but decided instead to use up the last of the dried sour cherries, handpicked by John, that were given to me a couple months ago. Was it that long ago? Time flies, whether you’re having fun or not. I’d been nibbling on them, and used them as a martini garnish, but had enough left to bake these delicious cookies. Instead of the cranberry sauce in the filling, which was otherwise just a basic cream cheese-buttercream frosting, I used a few cherries and a tablespoon of the raspberry syrup I made earlier this fall. So simple, so delicious. I’m grateful for the gift of sour cherries, grown with attention, picked with love, and given with generosity.
I’m grateful for this moment, this evening, stepping outside onto the deck to witness the aspens gloried up on Mendicant Ridge with cumulus clouds above and a light shower farther east, with junipers under my protection in the foreground. I’m grateful for Living Inside the Kaleidoscope.
I’m grateful for this moment, having stuffed two Sirenevyi sweet peppers with leftover mushroom stuffing from the other night, grateful for parchment paper which makes life easier and cleanup quicker, grateful for the source of the paper, for the growth of the peppers, the water to grow them, the time to attend to them… grateful for the nourishment of a simple vegetarian meal.
I’ve not been a fan of stuffing in turkeys, or outside of turkeys, at holidays; nor have I stuffed a lot of things. But I have been stuffing the occasional mushroom since the Colonel first introduced me to the idea of popping a little blob of bleu cheese and a dab of butter into a button mushroom and broiling it for a few minutes. What a great appetizer! So simple, so delicious. And in recent years I’ve been grateful for stuffing larger mushrooms, usually portobellos. When I was searching stuffed pepper recipes a few weeks ago I ran across one which used riced cauliflower instead of regular rice. I couldn’t find it again when I went to stuff these gorgeous portobellos for lunch today. But I riced some cauliflower, sautéed some kale, grated some Mexican cheese, chopped a Chimayo pepper, a Sirenevyi sweet pepper, and the first ripe tiny Tabasco pepper, and the last fennel bulb, and mixed them all together with one beaten egg. Oh, and some spices. I scooped some of the flesh from the center of each mushroom and stuck it in the freezer for stock later, then plunked the stuffing into the mushrooms, topped with grated mozzarella, and roasted them at 400℉ for fifteen minutes. To serve, I topped them with a roasted tomato and some crumbled bacon (the fat of which I’d used to sauté the kale). Not so simple, but not so hard either, and so delicious.
I roasted a bunch of ripe and extra-ripe tomatoes this morning, and when they cooled slipped them into a freezer bag. There are so many green tomatoes left on the vine, and I worry they won’t ripen before the first freeze. Already I’m bringing in Biko, as when the weather forecast says 46 it’s been 38 overnight, and the past two nights it’s predicted 42. Can’t take the risk of freezing the tortoise. He can stay out to about 40 degrees but can’t handle much time at anything much lower. And I wonder about the green tomatoes and peppers, whether with these abruptly cold nights they have just stopped ripening. We’ll know more later. Anyway, I’m grateful for stuffing. This one was low-cal and fulfilling.
And in other news… A friend’s sister and her family lost everything in two homes in Ft. Myers in Florida during Hurricane Ian. Storm surge to the ceilings. As climate chaos continues to fuel more destructive storms, fires, heat waves, etc., all of us will be touched from three or two degrees of separation to no separation at all. Sherry visited here a few years ago, a lovely woman and a fine artist. Her life’s work, not to mention her husband’s shop and her daughter’s home also, gone. We so often feel helpless when tragedy strikes. This feels like a good way to contribute my little bit to the herculean recovery efforts underway in Florida and the US southeast coast, donating directly to a family and knowing they will get every penny. If you feel so moved, please join me, and share this link:
My guilty pleasure. I can’t think about where it comes from. Though I do buy local ‘happy pig’ bacon when possible, and otherwise the most ethical available. Which isn’t very. This is why it’s a guilt trip for me; and an indulgence.
When I want bacon I manage to automagically separate the food from its origin as a sentient being. My mind disassociates. Today I’m grateful for the first batch of homegrown jalapeño poppers. So simple, so delicious.
I’m grateful for my tiny crop of small Fuji apples, which I rescued the other day from magpie predation. This morning I turned most of them into this Jewish apple cake for Boyz Lunch. Not simple but so delicious.
This little yellowjacket didn’t want to budge from the base of a chimayo pepper, so I let her stay, happy to share sustenance. She won’t eat much, the pepper will ripen and soon join the harvest basket. Just a handful of yellow beans, jalapeños and a few other peppers this morning, but enough new arugula to make another batch of pesto. There are still loads of green tomatoes and unripe peppers to come, but with this cool spell everything has slowed down. I’m grateful for a rainy day predicted tomorrow. I’m through teaching on Thursdays for awhile, and love the prospect of an empty day in front of me to catch up in the kitchen, and hopefully to start a pet project on the computer that I’ve been procrastinating on for years. We’ll know more later!
I’ve read about cabbage steaks and finally decided to try some. I had a couple old pieces of sourdough bread, and plenty of chickpeas on hand, so I made this, and wow! Next time I’ll use less salt, but otherwise this was a delicious and healthy dinner. I burned most of the croutons but that was just as well, who needs the carbs. Chickpeas roasted to perfection, and the mild seasoning with cumin and coriander went well with the lemony mayo dressing. I chopped up the leftover roasted cabbage, grated a carrot into it, and put in the fridge for coleslaw for the week.
I’m grateful for the first Boyz Lunch in a month yesterday. All is well and we are reunited on the patio. “Three is good,” said one, but it may as well have been the other. I tried out a zucchini lasagna on them, and even though I thought it was too salty they loved it. I’m grateful that almost every dish I cook for them they rate in the Top Five. This zucchini lasagna was a blend of three recipes I found online. I sliced a large zucchini thinly with a cheese slicer and layered it with a faux-ricotta blend (substituting cream cheese when I found the ricotta had turned pink), last year’s tomato sauce simmered with browned sausage, and shredded cheddar and mozzarella. Three layers deep in the baking dish, with the top layer latticed, a delightful frill.
Sprinkled with seasoned breadcrumbs and grated parmesan, then baked for half an hour, it was sizzling delight.
Boyz Lunch on Saturday with sourdough biscuits, then double dessert. I’m grateful for zucchini lunch. I served chocolate zucchini cake with Bello’s frozen cappuccino on the side. “All you have to do is…” he says every time. So simple, so delicious!