Tools are lined up. The artichokes are being given a soaking in the background.
It’s a beautiful day. As Christmas approaches, we are collecting our thoughts and preparing to take a few days to devote to our family and friends. For me, that means baking cookies, planning menus and moping the floors.
For Paul, that means planting carrots.
Garlic and leeks are next to the open beds, ready for the carrot seeds.
This contraption will plant three rows of carrots to a bed.
The seeder in action, first dropping seed, then the basket-like wheels roll over the seed, covering it with soil and tamping it down.
These carrots will be ready in the spring.
Conveniently, next to the carrots being planted are 5 beds of carrots almost ready to pick.
We’re so excited to be hosting Christmas for the first time ever. Lots of my family are coming to town, spending time in Sonoma. We’re all avid cooks and this is certain to become a wonderful holiday to engage and enjoy each other. It’s sure to live on in my old memory bank as well.
This sprouting broccoli is thriving after the very cold weather. Other varieties of broccoli have really suffered.
I salted, let sit for 30 minutes and rinsed these cubed squash and eggplant. Here they dry on a towel.
Ratatouille is a wonderful way to use summer vegetables. This recipe is different than my usual, long-cooked style. It calls for cutting summer squash and eggplant then salting it, letting it sit for 20-30 minutes, then rinsing and drying it. I’d never done that before and I think it must allow the dish to cook a little faster.
The onion and peppers cook first.
The onions and peppers saute in olive oil. It called for just sweet peppers but I added a poblano not only for the deep green color but also I wanted a bit of heat. They cooked for about 7 minutes. Then I added saffron with the prepared eggplant, garlic and squash.
Chopped garlic, julienned basil leaves
Everything simmers together.
The recipe said to cook it a few minutes but I don’t like undercooked eggplant so I cooked it about 10-12. It suggests deglazing the pan with Pernod and Voigner neither of which I had on hand, nor did I have any white wine so I splashed in some Mirin once and a couple splashes of water. Everything softened nicely.
It's a wonderful sidedish, hot or room temp.
At the last minute I added some seeded tomatoes and basil. And more salt and pepper. Oh it’s good.