Persimmon salad


5 or 6 Fuyu persimmons
most of a fennel bulb & some of the fronds
about half a small red onion
4 or 5 purple & pink radishes, of various sizes
seeds from about a quarter to a third of a large pomegranate
microplaned zest of 1 Meyer lemon, & a little bit of the juice
1 shallot

Mandoline persimmons, fennel, onion & radishes. The persimmons & fennel can be marginally thicker than the onion & radishes, which should be as thin as possible.

Combine everything in a bowl, except for the fennel fronds & shallot. Put the shallot shavings in a bit of sherry vinegar & leave for a few minutes, then add olive oil, salt & pepper. Mix together, pour over the rest of the salad, & toss to dress.

Spread out prettily in a large, shallow serving dish & decorate with fennel fronds.



I summon passing neighbors & strangers alike, to come & stand under it, listen to the bees buzzing… & inhale deeply.

It’s that good.

What to do with leftover mac & cheese

It’s so much fun being a foodie in the Bay Area. You can have your mind blown when you least expect it. This time, it was a grilled mac & cheese sandwich, courtesy of The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen. Yes! You heard me right! Mac & cheese where normally just cheese would be! I only got to sample a quarter of a sandwich—such a tease—& then I couldn’t stop talking about it & thinking about it, until finally I went to Homeroom to scratch at least the mac & cheese part of the itch. As usual, I ate half of my mac & cheese & brought the rest home.

So just what do you think happened the next day? Duh….


not quite spring


Almost two whole weeks without my main camera now. I had to send it off to the camera hospital. Fortunately still under warranty. But it’s surprising me, how much I’m affected by not having it. I feel kind of at a loss, oddly disabled. Does this mean I have actually become a photographer?

The little point & shoot has to suffice for now; I remind myself that good pictures are possible with any camera. Even with as mild a winter as we’ve had, this time of year is usually hard for me. In the past, it has brought much more severe forms of deprivation & disability, so I’m grateful that this time is just coping without a favorite tool.



Inspired by Whitney Chen’s biscuit wisdom, I made these last weekend. For some reason, I don’t remember ever making biscuits before. Maybe because when faced with that kind of butter to flour ratio (not for the faint of heart—literally), I’d usually opt for a pie. Good to step out of old habits once in a while; these came out deeelicious! Half whole wheat, half white flour, milk.



My granny is one bad-ass urban homesteader.


She’s been farming the hell out of her backyard patch of Phoenix desert for 40+ years.


I don’t know how much longer she’ll be able to keep doing it.


For now, though, she sent us home with a suitcase full of veggies.


Ah, the photogenic popovers in winter sunshine, with narcissus shadows…


This winter is so much nicer than the last two.


Remember all that unrelenting gray rain?!


Hardly Strictly


Perfect, sweet Bay Area fall weather for Hardly Strictly... as usual, there is no possible way to see everything: when informed via text about Gillian & Dave joining Robyn Hitchcock on Candyman, I thought, arg, another one gets away! Until last night at the Fillmore when I got to see it from the second row. Bliss! Gillian wore a beautiful new pair of caramel-colored boots with her name in cream mirror-image script. (Image pinched from the Indiana Daily Student)

Happy Birthday Gillian! Thank you Warren!


Every September I take a picture like this, but this year we have something new: peacotums! That’s peach + apricot + plum, the latest in the explosion of pluots, plumcots & apriums that we’ve been enjoying for the past decade or so. Blossom Bluff has been working on these babies for a few years & this is the first season they’ve brought them to market. Instantly addictive, like an extra-sweet pluot, & beautiful to boot. They’re the ones on the river rocks in the middle & lower right. The upper right rock has Flavor Grenade pluots on it.


Today I pulled out the dried-up old sweetpeas & planted sunflower seedlings. The padrón pepper plant is finally giving me a few peppers at a time. Purple string beans are going strong & the cherry tomato is gangbusters. This afternoon I found a sneaky overgrown squash.

Then I picked blackberries & made a pie.

faithful as can be

Been a while since we had a nice salad. This one comes to you courtesy of a fierce cilantro jones that seized me last week. First I found this yummy chicken biryani recipe via gojee & was “as faithful as can be—for me”* to the recipe, which meant I used mild peppers instead of hot, & about twice, maybe thrice, as much as cilantro. That jones, you know.

I liked the raita so much that I wanted to put it on everything. Salad dressing? Of course. Blueberries & cilantro are a cool-as-a-cucumber match made in summer heaven, so there you go:

Cilantro Loves Blueberries Salad

feeds 2 serious salad-eaters, 4 normal folks

Little gems &/or other mild green lettuces, a few large handfuls

Blueberries, a large handful

A small splash of olive oil

Avocado slices

Raita (adapted from the biryani recipe above):

1 C cucumber peeled, seeded and finely chopped

1/2 C plain yogurt

2–3 T cilantro minced

2 T mint minced

1/2 t cumin seeds

1/2 t salt

fresh ground black pepper to taste

(You will have a lot of leftover raita!)

Wash & dry the lettuces & blueberries & throw em in a bowl. Dollop a couple of generous spoonfuls of raita on top, followed by a small bloop of olive oil. Toss well. Plate with sliced avocados on the side.

*I’ve always loved this song. You notice they never actually resolve the problem? Heh. Quote is at 0:39.


Bay Area blackberry lovers, listen up!

The blackberry season may be late this year, but it promises to be the most slammin bumper crop I ever did anticipate. The blossoms are so big, they’re bouquet-worthy. In June they covered the brambles in pinkish white masses.

The bees have been on them like nobody’s business.

If you only go blackberry picking once in your life, let this be the summer. Put it on the calendar for 3 or 4 weeks from now.

That’s all I gotta say.


Listening: Girl Talk. I just wish this spiffy visual breakdown included dates for all the sources, because I strongly suspect I’m getting a remedial crash course on all that happened in pop music for the past quarter century while I was busy listening to the likes of Cachao & Gillian Welch.

Reading: Ingratitude: The Debt-Bound Daughter in Asian American Literature by erin Khuê Ninh. Everybody should read this. (Especially if you’re suffering any form of Tiger Mom Fatigue. Don’t know about you, but the Fatigue hit me pretty much the first moment I heard of her.)

Drinking: variations on carrot juice

Eating: Peas! Peas! Peas! How about a simple recipe?

Cheesy Peasy

(serves 1)

2 slices Alvarado bread

medium sharp cheddar

about 2 pods’ worth of English (shelling) peas

Cover one slice of bread with cheese. Dot peas all over. Put the other slice of bread on top & hold it together carefully (no escaping peas!) as you place the sandwich in a sandwich grill or press of your choice (we use a George we found on the street). Grill til cheese is melty. Yay, cheesy peasy!

(Edited to add picture)