Around these parts, it feels like the glory days of summer. The tomatoes are (finally) ripening! The Nuni has finished summer school and is now living out my nostalgic old-fashioned childhood summer dreams at day camp where she gets to swim and ride horses and do archery and build forts and generally have a grand old time. We have been working diligently at our summer bucket list (last weekend: farmer’s market and train ride. Next up: s’mores, and the obligatory weekend hammock time). Hard to believe we are back to school in a month!
1. From the archives:
Tomatoes are finally peaking at the farmer’s markets (and if you planted yours earlier than I did mine, in your garden), and now is the perfect time to capture that ripe goodness in a jar. Sweet tomato jam might sound weird, but the flavor is just wonderful – familiar and exotic all at once. This one tastes exactly like the one my great-grandma used to make.
Get a look at this amazing house (just purchased by Andy Samberg) in LA’s Beechwood Canyon featured on Curbed LA. Mary Astor and Charlie Chaplin once lived there, and it’s a Moorish fantasy, with ornate ceilings, Moroccan tile designs, stained glass, a door with carved camels on it(!) and a cave(!!) near the swimming pool. There also appear to be white subway tiles in the kitchen, if you’re worried about the hipster cred. I’ve been totally obsessed with Moroccan tile designs lately, so this is right up my alley and some serious eye candy.
If you haven’t read Bossypants by Tina Fey, you have to. Rebecca Traister (whom I have long loved) wrote a great piece on being a woman in a man’s world that’s worth a read, and makes excellent use of one of my favorite anecdotes from Bossypants.
I wear glasses almost every day (my job involves a lot of computer time, and if I wear my contacts, I’m crying uncle by 4 pm), and have to recommend these frames. First of all, Zenni is generally awesome -I buy prescription glasses from them all the time, but these, which I totally bought on a whim, get complimented EVERY SINGLE TIME I WEAR THEM. Seriously, I have gotten compliments on them from the other moms at daycare, my daughter’s teachers, my boss, the checkout guy at Trader Joe’s, my dental hygienist. And they only cost me $50, WITH LENSES.
I know the World Cup is over and nobody in the US cares about soccer anymore, but I, for one, have a newfound love of the sport. It’s so dramatic! Every time a player gets a scratch it’s a federal offense! It’s a lot like living with a seven year old, frankly. Anyway, NPR covered this phenomenon beautifully, and asked the question: What if we lived life as if we were in the World Cup?
It’s the summer solstice! The longest day of the year! The official first day of summer, which, by some magic, is also Midsummer. No matter how you slice it, today is the day when even your most pedantic friends can’t deny that summertime is here, and with it, summer cooking. We’ve already been going crazy with the stone fruit in our house (my children are fruit bats, and I keep finding half-gnawed nectarines in the oddest places) and last week I broke out the first official BLT.
Here’s a list of great Savour Fare recipes to get you in the mood for cooking this summer!
Summertime! And the living is easy! And the drinking should be, too. This Trader Joe’s Cheap Wine Pick is one of my favorites, and has been a staple of my summertime tippling for several years.
Wine: Espiral Vinho Verde Region: Portugal Style: Crisp, refreshing white with effervescence Price: $4.49 a bottle
I first discovered Vinho Verde when I lived in New York, and it was one of my favorite wines for a New York summer. Nothing cut through those muggy days like a nice cold glass of vinho verde - super crisp and refreshing, with d just a few bubbles. When I moved back to LA, I was thrilled to find this great (cheap!) Trader Joe’s version for only $3.99! (Though I think the price has gone up this year to $4.49). Vinho verde originates in Portugal, and refers to a region and a style rather than a specific grape. Vinho verde wines are made with very young grapes (hence the nice acidity you will find in most vinho verdes) and have a slight sparkle to them (that wikipedia tells me originally came from malolactic fermentation, but is now usually a result of artificial carbonation.) It’s low in alcohol – the Espiral Vinho Verde is only 9% ABV – so it’s great to drink in hot weather without getting that sticky feeling you can get from too much of the hard stuff, and it’s a nice mixer for some of the lighter summer wine-based aperitifs, like a kir. It’s nice citrusy flavors pair well with a lot of summer food – fish, grilled chicken, tomatoes, pesto, pasta. Eminently quaffable!
It’s after Memorial day, the Nuni has finished first grade (!) and summer vacation is in full swing around these parts. I am kicking off the summer by breaking my pinky toe and going slowly insane because my children are whining. You?
1. From the archives:
I don’t know about you, but our zucchini plant is growing like crazy. Instead of drowning under a bushel of zucchini come July, pick them while they’re tiny and make these fried zucchini blossoms.
2. Fashion Find:
I bought two pairs of these shoes and they are super cute and super comfortable. Yes, they are made of pleather, and yes, they will probably fall to pieces after about 3 months but for $23, what do you expect? Red shoes!
3. Let’s Get Serious for a Minute
I don’t know if you’ve been following the #YesAllWomen movement, but in the wake of the Isla Vista shooting and the misogynistic hate screed that accompanied it, women are stepping forward to tell their stories. It’s both depressing (so much to be done!) and inspiring (women having a voice!) It’s worth checking out the feed, and if you have something to add, posting.
4. Best of the Blogs:
My friend Rachel Cedar runs a very successful parenting consulting business in New York. In February, she ran a great series with a bunch of talented writers on playing with your kids, called 28 Days of Play. With the long days of summer vacation looming, the series is worth revisiting. (Rachel is also a go-to for very sage parenting advice, so check out the rest of her blog, too).
5. Funny of the day:
Mindy Kaling gave a commencement address at Harvard Law School and knocked it out of the park. This pushes so many of my buttons: Mindy Kaling (love her), lawyer jokes (funny because they’re true!, but I’m only allowed to say that because I’m a lawyer) and just a touch of anti-Harvard bias (go Bulldogs!). So many good quotes, but I particularly love this one:
“You wrote the Terms and Conditions that I scroll through quickly while I download the update for Candy Crush. Terms and Conditions are the only things keeping us from the purge, everybody. I don’t read them—I just hit Accept. iTunes may own my ovaries for all I know.” (OK, this might only be funny to corporate lawyers)
The speaker, a slight woman with dark hair and the faintest trace of an accent, was talking about beauty. I gazed behind her through wide glass doors at a stunning vista of hilltops and trees, clouds chasing the sunlight through the sky. There was the faintest scent of lavender in the air, and vases full of perfect roses, alliums and hydrangeas dotted the room and the picturesque patio beyond the windows. It was the most beautiful of settings, and beauty seemed a fitting topic.
This weekend, I attended the second Big Traveling Potluck, in Murrieta, California. The word “Conference” seems too sterile to describe this event – I see mental images of gray business suits and fluorescent lights. “Workshop” is better, but is too taxing. There were workshops – writing and photography and packaging darling gifts of food and love – but the weekend as a whole didn’t feel like work. “Retreat” implies withdrawal and quiet. We were not quiet.
Perhaps I’ll just return to “Potluck”, which is, after all, the name given to this weekend by its creators. At a Potluck, you bring something to share, and you partake of others’ offerings. It can create great anxiety - Will my dish be enough? Will it be popular? Will it pale in comparison to the dishes of others? But in the end the act of sitting down and sharing tends to eclipse any fears. After all, what is more communal than sharing a table?
I dislike those recaps of blogging conferences that show fabulous pictures of fabulous things and fabulous people that leave you wildly envious that you weren’t there yourself. There were lovely people and lovely things and lovely food, but I can’t share that with you directly. I can’t bring you to the Potluck with me, but I can share some of what I brought away with me. I can give you a seat at the table.
Beauty needs ugliness to make itself known. The real beauty of blogging isn’t in perfection – in the light and the shoulds and the immaculate food and the gorgeous writing, and the SEO and the sponsorships – the real beauty of blogging is sharing the reality. You may wake up one day and realize that your blog (or your life) don’t really reflect the whole you, but you can change course. Success is defined however you want, and you should celebrate your successes. Give yourself. Share yourself. Be yourself.
I attended the Big Traveling Potluck last year, and I found inspiration and motivation. But this year I feel like I found bits of myself that I didn’t know I had lost. I try, here at Savour Fare, to reflect the reality. I know you know my life isn’t perfect, my food isn’t perfect (and we ALL know my photography isn’t perfect. But I don’t always share. In that light-filled room, in that most beautiful of beautiful locations, I realized anew that the beauty is most apparent in the imperfections, and the flaws. That this place should be a window into my life, my whole life, with its messiness and its grace. This is my place, my space, my story to tell.
I’d like to tell it to you.
Won’t you sit at my table?
Note: my potluck contribution was these bourbon balls, only I gave them a little extra kick by adding 1 tsp each of ground Saigon cinnamon and ginger, and 1/2 tsp. of ground chipotle. Keeping it real? They were awesome.
Based in Los Angeles, Savour Fare is the home of Kate, a working mom who is low on time but high on life. I hope this site helps you find ways to make your life richer, easier, more beautiful and more delicious. You can read more about me and the site here and feel free to email me with any questions or feedback!