Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Book Club -- The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Living 25 curvy miles away from the 15 other Book Club members, haven't hosted Book Club in the past five years. (Not to mention our little mountain cabin is in no shape to host guests at present.) Felt like I owed the ladies something special after their hosting many wonderful, memorable nights. So, I hauled my wedding china to work, where 12 were hosted.

My husband noted that the ladies in my Book Club don't eat much, many of them are slim. Last book club some wanted to stick to the appetizer plates instead of moving to the dinner-sized plates to help them with their portion control. That got me thinking, I could get away with just using my salad plates, instead of hauling dinner, appetizer and dessert plate along the twisty-turn-y roads!

The book the Nightingale is about two sisters in World War II occupied France. One works in the resistance and the other copes living on old family land in a small Loire Valley village. As things during the war start to get dreary and messy, the elder sister Vianne makes a Sunday picnic and a "normal" Sunday meal. These contrast to future war rations (as one Book Club member pointed out).

Therefore I made Vianne's dinner for her family (as described on page 10): pork tenderloin in thick-cut bacon (at eight o'clock--right on time--), apples glazed in a rich wine sauce, browned potatoes, a bowl of fresh peas swimming in butter seasoned with tarragon. Of course baguette, and for dessert ile flottante (toasted meringue floating in a rich creme anglaise).
One part of the book that stood out to me, was when the sisters were disappointed with a ration of octopus they received when things were tough. After standing in line for hours, with the food supply dwindling during WWII, makes one reflect on our modern conveniences.
The Nazi officer who lived with Vianne would give her daughter Sophie chocolates. I happened to find one that had a French-sounding name and made in Germany, thought it appropriate. I placed a bowl of a few MandMs on the table, maybe to give a small sense of scarcity during the war.

I think the 12 lovely ladies were happy. Hoped for a beautiful, relaxed feeling one might get as a visitor to Vianne's home during better times. The Book Club members were so kind to help with 100% of the clean up (just like the clean up in the book after dinner).

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Live Earth Farm, Watsonville, CA

Our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) hosted a Fuji Apple and dry-farmed tomato u-pick. Although the weekend was busy, I made the time to drive an hour to Live Earth Farm to pick the apples. We love them and it was the only opportunity this year to do so. Last year's apple u-pick was rained out, and they won't be combining the Harvest Festival October 29 this year with the apple u-pick. The apples are crisp, sweet and juicy. Very flavorful.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Ad Hoc Restaurant's 10th Birthday

My dear Ad Hoc Restaurant's birthday is September 16. They threw themselves a festive 10th Birthday Party in the back garden for about 300 people on the previous Monday, September 12, 2016. We were greeted at the sign-in table with a giant art chalkboard and a pulled pork waffle cone. Platters of mini lobster rolls came from the kitchen. There were three food stations outside in the back garden: oyster and prawn cocktails; baby roasted piglet, corn on the cob and wood-fired pizzas; finally there was fried chicken, beans and the fixings. Later, there was a large dessert buffet table. Wandering inside the kitchen there was a birthday cake displayed made by The French Laundry. Inside the restaurant a charcuterie platter, cheeses with bread were available. It was a lovely party.