Thursday, August 22, 2013

Gimme all your produce

Red Earth Farm is owned and run by our friends Katie and Larry in the Sierra foothills, and it is a magical place. Katie and Larry are not only two wonderful humans, but they grow food that is so delicious and nutritious that people clamor to buy it, all while raising two unimaginably delightful children. It boggles the mind.

Last week was Katie's birthday, so we headed out to the farm to celebrate. Now that I am 30, I get a sense of satisfaction every time a friend joins me in old age, because I am a really good friend. Welcome to 30, Katie! Mike and I packed the California Raisin (which will soon go to car heaven - more on that in a later post) full of homebrew and warm-weather clothes - see ya later, Fogust! - and drove east.
Nestled in a cooler alongside the bomber bottles of Chocolate Orange Porter and Semillon Saison was my contribution to Katie's potluck, a homely fig and almond cake. You know when something comes into your life and is just what you need at just the right moment, kismet? I had placed my first order with Good Eggs (thanks to a $25 off coupon), and when the delivery arrived, it turned out they were out of lemon verbena, but gave me a beautiful basket of ripe figs to make up for it. The figs were plump and squishy and perfect, and after gorging myself, I turned to this fig and almond cake recipe, which came together quickly and turned out beautifully. I didn't photograph it, alas, but it looked exactly like the one in the New York Times, sans the fancy lighting and charmingly rustic tablecloth.

In Sonora we drank and ate and played with kiddos (Mike ably handled balloon-inflating duty), and at some point in the night I got bit on the lip by an unfelt and unseen bug. Ice and Benadryl were not match for the swelling; by midnight I looked like the below, and by the next morning my left eye was almost swollen shut as well. I had a little snout. It was very attractive. At one point Mike said, "You still look beautiful." "Aw, thanks babe," I said, leaning in for a smooch. He jumped back in instinctive horror and went "Oh, no, yeah, no." It cracked me up - he looked terrified, like monster lip was catching.
By midday on Sunday I was back to normal, though I am pleased to note that the little ones didn't react to my puffyface at all. Thank you, Avery and Una. In tribute, please enjoy this series of Una photos, in which she is the cutest little nosepicker the Jamestown Historic Steam Train has ever seen.
The farm has gotten bigger and more impressive year after year, and now they've added meat to the mix. Meet Stinkerton, who is supposed to root up the johnson grass until he becomes dinner, but mostly just wallows around in the mud and eats melon rinds.
It wouldn't be a trip to the farm if we weren't spoiled with mounds of produce upon leaving, which this time included squash, peppers, Armenian cucumbers (crunchy, sweet and divine), stone fruit, grapes, and the preciousest eggplants I've ever seen. They're called Fairytale Eggplants, and you can see why.
When we got home, I made a tasty riff on bi bim bap, with crunchy-bottomed coconut rice (a first for me - so easy! just plug in coconut milk for half the water), quick pickled cucumbers, chickpeas (canned, but fried up in oil and spices), garlic sauteed kale, grilled fairytale eggplant, peppers, jarred artichoke hearts, and basil and parsley. I could eat this every. day. 
Then we went to watch the Giants get spanked by the Sox from fancy club-level seats. At least the moon looked good. Way to go, moon.


MDS said...

I see those seared padron peppers -- love them!

GGB said...

Seared padrons with lots of salt are just about my favorite snack.