signs of spring- catching up…

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Dutch windmill in SF- first bloom of tulips- “dedication of love” and “heralds of spring”

Catching up since October… spring has sprung!

Wow it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged but I’ve been snapping shots and recording memories in my mind for that precious luxurious day when I can sit and ponder and write about what I’ve been doing, my commitment to myself to preserve memories to share (which I have been keeping alive somewhat on my Facebook page)… in a way that is fun and descriptive. Since I cook from inspiration and what’s around, it’s not often I can share exactly what I do (or remember)- which is why I take the pictures. To remember by pictures. I do believe that a picture is truly worth a thousand words and when I started this blog, that was my goal. To share stories and process with pictures, but not make it about the exactness of cooking- that’s what a cookbook is for. Spring is here and I’m always enamoured by the loveliness of the flowers that bloom. Hence the inspiration for this post. I read a fantastic book earlier this year that was a holiday gift – the Language of Flowers. Fascinating that flowers can have a language all of their own and were used in the Victorian age to share emotions, feelings and communication- imagine if we did that instead of texting! But I digress…  my inspiration of flowers is around this post, instead of food.

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Not only are the sign of spring, but they are also my abso fav as my special someone knows.

 

Since my last post in October, for certain one of my “milestone” moments (or hours rather) was my very first turkey dinner on my own for Thanksgiving. The meal turned out so perfect and the turkey and gravy so incredible, my eyes literally welled up, as I thought about that meal and just how much I had to be thankful for. 2014 was an incredible year for many reasons, and Thanskgiving celebrated with my mother in town from Ohio and the man in my life and his mother, was a true reason to take a step back and be grateful.  But I’ll not get into too  much detail because several of the dishes and the experience itself deserve a blog post of their own.

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The “magnificent beauty” and simplicity of the calla lily at Juniper Serra park.

Realizing I have a forte for a few dishes, that I can craft without even thinking- is a great motivator for me to play in the kitchen. To be true, I don’t think much when I cook, I get into the “zone” – I think this is similar to this “runners high” I hear people speak about. I just do it, and start creating. Very rarely am I disappointed, but I can say my former disappointments were around the baking experiences. Since the Kitchenaid 5 quart professional mixer (always my dream product that of course since I bought has even more options) even that has gotten better- I am excited to expand it’s capabilities into pasta making and icecream soon. It is a true workhorse and I have no idea how I got along without it.

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Buckets of lavendar at the Fort Mason farmers market – lavendar language is confusion, “serenity, grace, calmness and distrust” – guess it depends on what you want it to mean!

The key thing I’ve learned in my cooking adventures is to know your kitchen well- no matter what it’s like – you can work with anything you have. Understand your oven temps, how you cookware heats (my Le Crueset cast iron takes a while to heat but when it does the temperature stays consistent) and how long it takes to hit what you are looking for in both temperature and taste. Know how your knives cut and what tools you can work around to make things more efficient. A personal fav of mine is a chopper I bought years ago from Pampered Chef. That thing is a work horse for mincing- especially spices! A big tip I learned on my cookware as the color I chose was end of lifed- is that it’s actually not end of lifed, it’s alive at the Le Crueset factory outlet! But I’ve already thought about expanding into other colors if I need to- I like options and not everything really has to match.

So on to the blogs that I’ll soon to post using this weekend to get started, for example today we took on the port challenge and cooked a feast using port that was purchased during a lovely trip to Paso Robles- some recipe for the basis (tart) but additions and embellishments alongside that made everything delightful. Enjoy this lovely spring and please let me know what you are doing, so I can continue to learn and please share- what inspires you?

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Flowering icep plant, graces many coasts in CA, here in Santa Cruz, on the West Cliff Drive walk.

 

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