[Sun at Limantour, November 2007]
Today is a day heavy on the coffee because I woke up early this morning to talk to NPR a little bit about my quinoa-love. And by "early" I mean "5:10 a.m.," which, well ... I don't know about you, but that's pretty early for almost anyone, I think; it's certainly very early for me. But it was fun, and it was totally worth it, and if you want to listen, click that first link and go in a few minutes and there I'll be.
So after all that mooning on about summer last week, I finally felt ready to face fall. I mentally prepared myself for the early-dark (my least favorite time of year), but weighed it against the upcoming holidays (one of my favorite times of the year -- all those cooking opportunities!). I pulled out some of my thickest sweaters, readied my winter boots, and brushed off my heavy coats -- and then yesterday I wore shorts. What?
It was a balmy, almost-spring day out at Limantour and I really can't complain about it at all, mental preparedness or no. We brought cheese-and-tomato-cucumber-sandwiches, chips, fruit, and chocolates for a picnic on the beach, read the Sunday Times in the blazing sun, and almost managed to forget we'd 'fallen back' an hour.
Sunday's bit of sloth was countered by Saturday's cooking frenzy, during which I found myself planted firmly in the kitchen for a good few hours (happily so, I shall add). Here is the proof:
[Upside-down pear cake, from Deborah Madison's "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone," half of which was packed up and taken to Inverness.]
[Vegan blueberry muffins, from the "Candle Cafe Cookbook."]
Not pictured: roasted vegetable and barley soup; dog biscuits; a cranberry bean sautée with baby chard and red pepper; and roasted fingerling potatoes with garlic.
So it was a good weekend for kitchen-stuff -- if my pots and pans got an extreme workout -- and a good weekend all 'round (of course, any day I get to go to Pt. Reyes/Inverness is a marvelous one). I played with the dog, had a wee dram of Jameson on ice, and talked of all sorts of things in the house in the woods before the drive back into town through the silent, sleeping hills.
Though I've been living back in California for about a year-and-a-half now, I'm still quietly so glad that I'm here. There may not be the glorious abundance of fall colors one might find in Ohio, say, or at my aunt's place in Barre, Vermont, but the ocean and its environs have a special beauty all their own -- and one which completely satisfies me. Trees may not burst into brilliant reds and yellows as their leaves drift down to earth, but an impossibly blue Tomales Bay, as seen from the Inverness ridge in the late-afternoon sunshine, comes awfully close.
What can I say? I'm a Californian, through-and-through; I'll always love this place.
[Pomegranate on the beach, November 2007]
Here's a recipe I've meaning to post for ages; it's appropriate at any time of year, and at any time of day. You may substitute any berry in for the blueberries, and feel free to play around with the flour -- also, it's one of those lovely vegan recipes which calls for using a whisk rather than an electric mixture; meaning, of course, a little less effort and definitely less dishes.
Yummy and Delicious Vegan Blueberry Muffins, adapted from the Candle Cafe Cookbook
2 cups flour (can mix wheat/white)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup veg. oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup blueberries
Oven to 350 F. Grease a muffin tin or line with papers.
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk oil, maple syrup, soy milk and lemon juice until foamy. Pour wet ingredients into flour mixture and mix until batter is smooth. Fold in blueberries.
Bake in muffin pan for about 20-25 minutes until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Variation: substitute one cup of the flour for cornmeal.
Note: the muffins are more crumbly than "regular" muffins, but they have a certain addictive consistency all their own, once you get used to them.