Pasta with Bolognese sauce is nothing out of the ordinary for my family. But I don't make it every time we eat it, that takes too long. Leftover sauce from the freezer works just fine. This recipe is unusual because it uses white wine, milk and chicken livers. I've never purchased chicken livers before, at least not without most of the rest of the bird attached. And I still haven't, because I sent my husband to do it while I prepped everything else.
This recipe is from our Frog Hollow Farm CSA newsletter and uses arugula. A little bit of sweet, a little bit of meat, a little bit of heat. Yum! No, the kids will probably not love it, so I'm serving it with a good loaf of Arizmendi bread and our usual favorite cheese on the side. It's an easy cheat.
I've been wanting to practice my charcoal lighting skills, so tonight I'm grilling flank steak with a new marinade recipe from Saveur mag: a spicy, chinese inspired mixture reinterpreted from Mei Chin's 1980s childhood.
This July, as usual, we finished eating up the arugula growing in our garden. It is always gone by mid-summer. Arugula is a remarkably easy crop to grow - as long as it doesn't get too hot or too dry. I try to start it at the beginning of each new year, out in the garden under a cold frame, which is essentially a miniature greenhouse.
This year I made my desires for Mother's Day known well in advance: no gifts, just a day at home in the garden and a big dinner, cooked as a family. It was delicious, and I got gifts anyway - three of Andy Goldsworthy's books, much loved by my kids after we watched his Rivers and Tides together a week or two back.
I finally figured out, after making a wrong turn on my way home from Berkeley last week, how to find Golden Gate Fields. This is where my friend Geoff, from the Edible School Yard, sent me to remedy my compost problems. My compost has been neglected for weeks now, growing slimy, stinky, and buggy, after running out of its only source of "browns" - a season's worth of dropped leaves from our ancient apple tree.
"It's just gone to seed", my mother would say, shaking her head and referring to areas of our town she no longer liked, when they had passed out of fashion or become unacceptable. "Don't touch anything, its so seedy!" She would shout about an untouchable location, like the public bathroom at the playground. Now my lettuce and arugula plants are going to seed. They are bolting, shooting up and flowering. After dinner tonight I can tell you for sure that they are no longer good to eat. Tougher, less flavorful, a little more difficult to chew than I like my salads to be. But they make a nice bouquet.
My preschool daughter recently spent an afternoon with some classmates making homemade pasta - fettuccine, spaghetti, a few ravioli. Her instructor said they made pasta for about an hour, then went off to play. Around five o'clock all the children's parents and siblings gathered to eat dinner. Dining together with other families from her preschool was really wonderful, especially since the kids had made our meal. We vowed to do it again and all went home to sleep.
I love rosemary because it is so ubiquitous. In San Francisco it grows, honestly, like a weed. It is a perennial, so you only need to plant it once and year after year it just keeps getting bigger and woodier, constantly producing fresh growth for cooking and reliably flowering with miniature blooms, some pink, some white, some a vibrant blue. It lives in my garden right between the lavender and the sage, and like the lavender, it needs no care at all - no water in our dry summers, no fertilizer in our sandy soil, no protection from our tenacious slugs.