Category Archives: Uncategorized

no, YOU’RE awesome

The DIY approach has reached a critical pitch, and it reflects a self-responsibility that bodes well for our future.  Who can remain unimpressed by the small-scale efforts of so many, which have revived archaic practices like fermenting, knife-making, baking in community ovens, etc?  Combining our present tech savvy with rock-solid techniques handed down from previous times is a winning combination.  If we can keep it from becoming something out of the pages of the J.Crew catalog (im thinking Kinfolk here), we might be home free.  To the point: one hopes to see these trends culminate in an egalitarian foment, reflecting the polytemporal, multi-species diversity which all previous times seem to lead, if not aim, towards.

Thursday Dinner

Spring time.  Good friends.  Impromptu dinner out of doors.

I made one of my favorites, long-simmered lamb and cauliflower stew.

Jodi brought some kale and garlic that we sauteed with nama shoyu and a little green tea oil.  A salad was tossed with a nettle pesto vinaigrette I whipped up along with a giant patch of pesto last week.

Anouk brought a great Italian red, Il Trullo from the Co-op in Ashland.  I was inspired to make this peanut and cabbage slaw.

Jodi still isn’t eating chocolate which inspired me to find these really neat rye crumble bars which were filled with last summers Italian prune plum conserve.  Altogether a lovely evening.

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The Almanac of our Future Consciousness

Collage: this is where we have arrived after so much work and aspiration. It swallows up our conceptions of art and gives us something that is commensurate with our age. The music heads can tell you: some of the best music going cant be heard on the radio. Its on the internet, where the sound collages of DJs and mashup artists circulate freely, like one long avenue of late-night clubs that keeps getting longer. The art historians saw it coming: because art goes first, and culture follows behind it en masse, an awesome elephant-train that sways in the weight of its docile, flap-eared inertia. Can we call this good or bad? Does the art of humans move into parity with the artifice of biology as we get closer to something like A.N Whiteheads idea of concrescence? One imagines the hi-pitched ear-ringing tension of science and art ready behind the curtain, prepared to reveal that they are the same person, like the vaudeville performer who looks like a man from one side and a woman from the other. Perhaps collage is art played at its highest stakes, like the jigsaw of DNA that conjures life-giving and life-taking organisms. Someone very clever said, “Everything we see is only a mirror of our own limited thinking”, and to embrace this notion is an empowering expression of maturity. But we cant stop wondering, can we? Q.R. Markham was recently outed as a longtime plagiarist after his new spy novel, ‘Assassin of Secrets’ was discovered to be cribbed from more than thirty different sources. This singular literary artifact is the kind of road sign we see lately. Works by Quentin Rowan (his real name) are selling online for more than their original price. McLuhan would ask, “what does it say about the quality of time we live in?”.  Perhaps we glimpse in these works a strange almanac of our future consciousness.

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Renewing America’s Food Traditions

This book is devoted to some of the little things that make life really magical: the distinctive foods of the USA.  Im talking about foodstuffs, the actual ingredients that come from nature, which invariably astound in all their distinctive colors and permutations.  Every single food in the book could spin into a rewarding career for an assiduous ‘foodie’.  {Speaking of ‘foodie’, this term generally condescends of late.  Im assuming it comes from an anti-elitist standpoint, and thats understandable, but the grief that seems to accompany it is a little sad. }  Osage Red Flint Corn, California Mission Olives, Pre-Civil War Peanuts, Ossabaw Island Hogs… each of these foods are both ‘new’ and old.  There are hundreds in this book, and each one has the potential to re-invigorate local ecosystems and economies.  Refreshingly, there is no distinction drawn between native and non-native food traditions.  One of the beans originally comes from Russia, and the California Mission Olive came here with the Spaniards.  If its a food that has made its home here, it is regarded as part of our ‘Food Tradition’.  As a lens through which to view our history and possible future, this work is unsurpassed.  Expect to be overcome with a mild sylvan optimism while slowly working your way through this book.  Gary Paul Nabhan has been editing and compiling this kind of information for years.  For those who think the times ahead will be dim, stewarding one or two of these plants/animals may be the just the thing.  Truly an impressive work.  Renewing America’s Food Traditions – Saving and Savoring the Continent’s Most Endangered Foods (2008).  p.s.  it seems that all of the websites for these kind of vanguard groups are shabby and under-developed.  The tech girls/guys could really help the scene out by lending a hand. 

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Critique Of The Prevailing Coffee Dogma

Its easy for most people to get on board the whole coffee thing: it tastes awesome, it gives you a nice boost, it makes your teeth sweat, etc.  And the dopest coffee companies have pioneered a business model that rewards far-flung regional growers around the globe, making coffee explorers out of all of us.  The idea that artisinal craft can thrive in the modern economy is proof that the future works.  We have the small independent-minded coffee companies around the world to thank for the excellent state of what PG Wodehouse would refer to as ‘a cup of the steaming’.

Now for the critique: maybe don’t tell people what to do.  I posit that the efforts of a good coffee house should culminate in the enjoyment of its customers.  I’m starting to think the rules surrounding the preparation of drip, french press and espresso have become dogma.  I know its best for my car if I change the oil every 3.000 miles.  I know i shouldn’t scratch my scabs.  Except wait- that’s my business.  More to the point: im not a fan of the 140 degree cappuccino thing.  I respect it as the temperature that best does something or other and I’m sure the coffee heads are totally on-point about it.  If i ask for a ‘capp at 160’ i want a smile and my total, thats all.  I like that I’m crafting my life and future with my choices, and I’m stoked about living in a time and place where its possible to do just that.  From Tokyo to Oslo to the Bay Area, coffee houses have become so juicy and rewarding for everyone involved!  i can take it from here.

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happy new year!

our impromptu new years eve dinner was fabulous over at betsy and jims.  it was nice to be with good friends sharing food and happy memories from 2011.  first course was sesame crusted ginger salmon and salad with ginger & honey infused apple cider vinegar (have i posted that recipe yet?)!  second course:  cider braised ham hocks (woah, betsy, incredible job!), with garlic sauteed kale and our savory quince & onions.  we opened the last bottle of pommeau (sweet indulgent nectar!); it’ll be at least another year before the next batch is ready.

we enjoyed the rest of the chocolate spiced pudding for dessert after watching ‘Margin Call’ (stellar flick).  its one of those all-too-true, intriguing movies that riles the viewer up (at least some of us were riled up)!

short creek hill was my walking/meditation spot this last year.  i kept returning day after day to hike up the hill.  there was always something curious or beautiful to see… fresh bear, skunk, bobcat and fox tracks, the ephemeral dew-specked dragonfly,

a pair of golden eagles, the valley sandwiched between high clouds and tule fog,

flocks of ruby-crowned kinglets and bush tits in the blackberries, frost covered sunrise and this, the last sunset of 2011:

wishing you, all the best, health and happiness in 2012

–r

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supper…

mostly it was a simple affair:  butternut squash soup with summers’ roasted tomatoes and peppers with braised leg of lamb, both reheated from previous nights.  served along side a heap of bright winter salad greens (thick and sweet from the long cold nights) topped with the still-amazing moroccan beets.  since its discovery in early summer, we return to this dish over and over.  i stuck to the recipe precisely, except, tonight, i skipped the cumin.  instead, imagine dry sauteing some peppinos (pumpkin seeds) until golden then adding a splash of olive oil and nama shoyu right at the end.  it looked like this: salad greens topped with moroccan beets topped with ‘carmelized’ peppinos!

meanwhile, we have one and a half dehydrators filled with the last of the asian pears from betsy’s orchard.  are you wondering about the other half of the dehydrator?  not to worry, its has yogurt (the homemade kind), which needs to stay nice and warm for the next eight hours.  add to that 6 ramekins and 3 half pint jars chilling in the fridge filled with a spiced chocolate pudding.  keeping my fingers crossed that it will turn out just as good as the first and will turn into the next recipe post over at wonderful ingredients!

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