Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Garden Time 2013

It is time. This year into the escape garden will go some climbing roses, some lavender, and a wisteria vine. I found a small lilac that will grow in a container as well. Fuck it, I am going to take this to 11.

The greatest part of my day is checking in on the two mourning doves, Habigail and her boyfriend Nanook sitting on a couple of eggs in the old ceramic windowbox my thyme usually dies in. See her or him up there sitting on her or his nest? I read that they take turns sitting on the huevos, she by day, him by night. It's like when they cast twins to play the role of "the baby" because of child labor laws. You are tricked into thinking it is "the baby" since they never show up at the same time, early Olsen twin like.

Habigail and Nanook and the huevos

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Spring Duck and the Mis en Scene

Some Springy rosy, sweet-savory deliciousness to a pan-seared duck breast, first you know, start with a fat little duck breast. 
*Score with a criss-cross on the fatty side, kosher or sea salt & crack some pepper on it and place it fat-side down a cold cast-iron skillet. 
*Bring the heat up to medium and let the fat render slowly, as the fatty side browns.
*You'll need to drain the liquid fat coming off it carefully into a jar for later good-use.
* Now flip over and let the other side brown as well. If it's thick, which it should be, you can hold with tongs while browning the edges as well.
* Create the honey-rosy sauciness sauce above, thinning the viscous consistency of the rose syrup and the honey with a bit of chicken stock, maybe 1/4 c or so. Heat quickly in microwave (which I did) or gently on stove-top if you're a purist.
* Pour onto the fat side and then immediately pour off into a little bowl as it glazes the pan a bit. Save while you finish off the duck for a bout 8-12 minutes in a 400F oven for medium-rare, 6-8 minutes for rare. Pour the lovely sauce back on, let rest for about ten minutes.
*Slice and love it.

This was our Easter dinner served with pureed white beans with a dollop of fresh mint chutney (secret ingredient was feta, garlic, mint) and some fresh peppery greens. While prepping the beans I made a few easter eggs because who doesn't have food coloring lying around for no good reason and what adult would reject a sick colored dark green and red egg as their place setting?

The first signs of Spring come in pale purples, always reassuring another winter is over. We have triumphed! With purple and with duck! Fin.

Spring Somewhere Else

Last year, a little earlier than this time, we followed a 24-year old man named Mohammed into an orchard in Morocco just this side of the Dades Gorge, into a village orchard where no one bothered us and we had a picnic with him. We stopped at a village market, shown below, at a baker for bread, at an olive seller for olives, at a fresh cheese seller for cheese. He guided us into the orchard actually and we talked about his life mostly and he asked us some questions about ours. He had a sweet disposition and wore a winter jacket even though the sun was hot that day. 

 I remember he told us his grandmother had died the week before who he said he loved very much. But he was smiling and cheerful and when he said "this is life". I wondered about cultures with built-in systems for the acceptance of death and loss and about my own mechanisms to deal, which don't seem that well-equipped. He seemed remarkably well-equipped.

The morning market where Spring was apparent in baby dogs and baby goats and camels, and abundant vegetables and fruits: peas ("from Agadir" he explained), oranges ("from Agadir"), olive saplings ("from Agadir"). The best gets trucked in from Agadir.

 In the evening, we sat on our guesthouse roof and I thought, how is it we got so lucky and so unlucky at the same time to have so many choices, to have so much, to be so far away from our origins? I fell in love extra-strong that night with possibility, and every day a little more after that, with gratitude for the simplest of what is taken with you, from far away from home, from anywhere in this world. My navigation through the abstract country of figuring out what there is to give, why does that seem so difficult to figure out, what is it and is it enough? 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A New Bonbon Oiseau Pop-Up Shop

A new little shop where you can find some very limited edition bonbons. And when they run out, I'll replace it with some new colors, some new pieces. It's exciting. It just launched today, my birthday.

And if you want to help a sister out, go to my new 
Bonbon Oiseau Jewelry page on Facebook. 
Like it. Enter the little giveaway on the top post there 
to win yourself a set of bonbons. You just have to  leave me a comment and tell me what your favorite color is out of all the new Golden Lining Necklaces in the Pop-Up. 
Instructions are there. I can't tell you anymore. Just trust me on this one. And by helping me understand what colors you like, I also know what new colors to keep going with and maybe which ones not to. Thanks friends. 
Love, bonbon