It’s that time of the season, folks. Time for the rain to pummel, and the wind to blow, and the tender, green stalks of asparagus to do their glorious thing. This is the dawning of the Age of Asparagus. Oh yes I did.
We hosted a baby shower Saturday for our friends Kristina and Ian, who are expecting a stork delivery sometime around the Fourth of July. Although my plans for a sunny spring shower on our patio were dashed (soaked?) by the rain, nonetheless, it was a wonderful time. The guests each brought a spring-focused dish to share. Naturally, asparagus was in attendance, making cameos in a scrumptious shallot and ricotta tart my friend Jenny made, as well as in a pasta salad riddled with asparagus, peas, feta, chicken, and herbs that Glenn whipped up. Rich and Jen made ramps empanadas and two types of foccacia, a savory ramp & bacon and a sweet rhubarb.
There was also a lovely fruit salad, a delectable pasta salad with broccoli and grapes, some deftly sautéed bok choy with shiitake mushrooms and ginger, a beautiful berry and nut platter, and a tasty corn salad. I made these cupcakes (Ian is grain-free and these were a perfect fit for his dietary needs, not to mention an ideal marriage of sweet and tasty). Their nursery is decorated with a hot air balloon theme, owing to their home lying in the path of a local hot air balloon business. With that in mind, I found some paper lanterns online as well as some handmade paper hot air balloon cupcake toppers from Etsy. The day was filled with silly games, tasty eats, and loads of love. Huxley had so much fun, and played so hard, for so long, that he completely collapsed in his p.j.’s in his tiny rocking chair.
Yesterday, all plans I had for an outdoor foraging class and chat were quickly laid to rest by the intense deluge that pounded the area for over 24 hours. I think every creek in the area turned into a river, including those that flank both sides of our house (thankfully we live on a knob, so all water flows down and away from us), and every river flooded its banks. It was crazy. Huge wind gusts, rain that found the one loose shingle on the roof and shimmed down into the ceiling in Huxley’s room (the roofer just repaired it and left about 30 minutes ago), and the need for a Cinco de Mayo fire in the wood stove, all of that happened yesterday.
Our friends Rob and Karie came over, braving the rain, equipped with their mini espresso makers and the fixins required to make us maple lattes. Glenn made his trademark Strata Frittata, a double layer of crepe-like sheets of omelets, riddled with wine-braised asparagus (I told you it’s the Age!) and cojita cheese on top, and smoked salmon, blue cheese, capers, and Herbs de Provence on bottom. Have mercy. We sipped our lattes, enjoyed some mimosas, noshed on the frittata, listened to the rain, and caught up with each other over a long, lazy, lingering brunch. Just like I like it.
So, while things didn’t go quite according to my plans this weekend, they certainly surpassed my expectations. If we can’t learn to bend in the breeze and enjoy the rain for the healing, restorative balm that it truly is, then we’ll always be swimming upstream. As for me, I’d rather ride the current and see where it takes me.
Here’s hoping the week ahead is filled with health, happiness, and harmony, for you and yours, from me and mine.
Image by Tiffany Daudelin
Happy Friday, friends!I really don’t know what’s up with the weather lately. I suppose it’s just that it’s spring and it’s fickle and highly variable, and that’s about all there is to it. One day I’ve got the windows open, hoping for a breeze to cool us off, and the next I’m bundled again in fleece and flannel, eyeing the wood stove. It’s hard for me to ever want to gripe about the rain, though. It’s always such a gift, rain, so fussing about it is senseless. I just learn how to accommodate and move on.
I’ve got two posts up this month in Verve. In my English Lessons column, I’m chatting about the all-consuming nature of mama love. I’ve also profiled my buddy Janelle and the incredible Urban Farm School she’s about to launch.
In other news, here’s a smattering of this and that’s that caught my attention this week:
*This honey soap-making kit is too cute.
*Twenty-two alternatives to punishment (this is how we do it with Huxley).
*Maybe this primal fudge will turn out better than the traditional fudge I’ve always failed at making.
*How wonderful are these prints from Small Adventure?
*Camille’s honey-pickled beets sound amazing.
*Looking to buy some gorgeous land in nearby Madison County? Here you go!
*Baking these divine sounding cupcakes today.
*Rohan’s forest food is my kind of eats.
We’re hosting a baby shower here tomorrow for some dear friends. I’m super excited to enjoy good food, happy company, and the love that is palpable between these friends of ours and their imminent arrival! Sunday, despite a bit of a chilly, rainy forecast, we’re still planning to host the wild foods walk, chat, and lunch with herbalist and permaculture educator Keri Evjy. We’ll just don boots and raincoats and dodge the rain drops!
Wherever you go this weekend, whatever you do, and whomever you do it with, may it be grand!
*I always post a photo of Huxley here each Friday because, truly, he’s what his Papa and I dig the most. During our last visit to the Biltmore Estate, photographer Tiffanie Daudelin took some candid images of Huxley on a tractor (his very favorite thing on Earth, next to his toy lawn mower and weed eater). She sent Glenn the images this week, and I cannot tell you enough how very much I love them.
I’ve been feeling a little bitter lately, friends. Not of the grudge-holding variety , though (I’ve never been one to hang onto perceived grievances, sometimes even when maybe I should’ve!). No, I’m talking about bitterness of the hooch persuasion.
My new, new book (I’ll have two books publishing in 2014, one in the spring and another in come autumn) deals with beverages. To that end, I’m toying around with four seasons worth of bitters. Pictured above are (left to right): rhubarb, berry, pear, and orange. They’ll steep over the next three weeks, and then I’ll add them to four seasonally-themed cocktails. I’ve been having so much fun concocting them. Makes me feel like a kitchen alchemist, or a green witch. Whatever it is, I like it.
Why get mad, when you can get bitter?
That’s right. Farm Burger recently opened an Asheville location (they’re based out of Atlanta) and Glenn, Huxley and I have been crushing hard ever since that first fateful bite. As you can see from the top photo, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill burger & fries place. Far from it. Farm Burger is committed to sourcing from local purveyors, seeking out the freshest, most sustainably-raised and grown beef, pork, chicken, produce, eggs, and dairy available in the area. It’s mission statement gives you a clear indication of their business philosophy and commitment to ethical, responsible eating:
Farm Burger is defined by its mission, its farms, its team, and its community. We depend on local farmers, ranchers and land stewards to make your burger as good as it is. From our beef to our tomatoes to our compostable containers to our owners, Farm Burger is sustainable, local, humane, and helping to reroute our food system to function more like an ecosystem than a corporation. Our goal is to connect soil, animal, plant, rancher, butcher, chef & you…all in a simple wire basket.
Not only is it exceedingly delicious, it’s super creative, too. Where else can you get things like house made pickles, smokey paprika mayonnaise, oxtail marmalade (fer serious), apple slaw, a farm fried egg (!!!), pork belly, beer-battered onion rings, and aged smoked gouda on your burger? Or have a side of seasonal slaw (since we’ve been going, it’s been a kale-based slaw that is marinated in a mayo base to perfection), deviled eggs, boiled peanuts, or bone marrow (as in, marrow, inside a bone) as a side dish? Or slurp up a chocolate milkshake (topped with creamy, freshly whipped cream) that transports you to your happy place in seconds flat? Or offer your child pasture-raised chicken “lollipops” with honey mustard? See what I mean? You can read the full menu here.
We’ve been going a good deal since they opened. In addition to delectable eats that are served quickly at open, communal seating, the place has a comfort and informality to it that invites easy dining. I’ve met friends there to celebrate one of their birthdays, stopped in with my sister when she was visiting last month, and popped in with Glenn and Huxley for meal that meets all of our culinary preferences, and then some. There’s even an indoor bocce ball court, that, when no one is using it, makes for a perfect setting for 2 1/2 year-olds with energy to burn to run free in.
You’re crushing a little bit too now, aren’t you? It’s alright. I’m not jealous. We’re not exclusive, me and Farm Burger. I’m happy to share.
Maybe some of you look at these photos and simply see dandelions and violets. And while that’s true, you’d be remiss in only seeing the flowers themselves. What I see, more so, are possibilities. Wine, liqueur, jelly, syrup, fritters, candy, vinegar, and so very much more are all resting latently, silently, stealthily in these two bowls.
Oh, yes. Possibilities, possibilities.
*Yes, I referenced a Lykke Li song from New Moon. I’m a proud fan of both.