Friday, July 6

Dolmas and Broccoflower Couscous and Neighbors of the Mayacamas

I don’t like traditional dolmas very much. They taste vinegary and mealy, but these live-food Dolmas with Dill-Sour Cream Sauce were crispy and fresh with a delicate sweetness. The “rice” in the dolmas was the ever-popular pulsed parsnip which I am finding in so many of Roxanne's recipes and I could not find dried currants so used fresh ones. How the coconut and cashews could wind up tasting like a dill sour cream sauce was pretty amazing to us all. But when I do the recipe again (and I will!) I won’t bother with the sauce, the dolmas were so delicious they didn’t need a sauce. Thank you to Sarahndipity for the photos.

I served this on the 4th of July when we were up at our Sonoma place and invited our crazy neighbors Karen and Jannell over. Karen, a product of the Berkeley-Hippy era who still lives by the finer virtues of that time, and Jannell who lives next to her in a tiny cabin and grows a sprawling and beautiful flower and vegetable garden. They brought over the illustrious Ricky, master-of-all-things-at-age-24 and a few other friends. Sarah and William have been up planning out their huge deck that will surround a tree, and we had Cath, a prior guest at Cinque Terre also there with her faithful dog Molly to grace our table. What a party.

Couldn’t find broccoflower, so did the most logical thing and simply mixed cauliflower and broccoli heads. No champagne grapes so used red grapes. The curry oil finished the recipe, giving it the spicy flavor it needed to not be bland.

Being up on top of the wine country in the mountains is a sublime and cleansing experience. The atmosphere is wild and wonderful, as are most of our neighbors who I refer to as the “Smiling Eyes Tribe.” To see the fireworks we all piled in the car (including the dogs) and drove along the incredibly bumpy and dusty road over to Random Ridge, Bill Hawley’s place which sits up on the southwest side of the mountain and overlooks the entire Bay Area and downtown Sonoma. Since Bill is a grape grower, there was plenty of his wine flowing, I had my wands glowing and we all enjoyed the fireworks show from our tailgates.

I never made it to the soups and looks like I’ll be taking tonight off too. Still recovering from the alien party in my gut, I guess.

Heirloom Apricots Losing Ground

Ever heard of Blenheim apricots? They’re only grown down in the Santa Clara Valley region and anyone who’s tasted one says they are the best tasting apricot in the world. Forget the bland Turkish apricots with the great shelf life. But sadly these dreamy fruits don’t travel well and Blenheims often have green and yellow colors on their skins, which fool consumers into thinking they have no flavor. People just want to buy the pretty rosy-orange apricots, but if they took one bite, they would be so happily surprised!

Slow Food has added the Blenheim to their endangered list as farmers throw in the towel when competing with the visually perfect and tasteless apricots at our groceries. And we lose so much farmland to developers too. Luckily Nancy Kux invites me each year to accompany her to a farm where we can either pick, or simply buy a nice quantity of the Blenheims. This time we were directed by Blenheim Apricot advocate Barbara Anderson to Bertuccio’s in Hollister.

We toured their facilities and came home with 25 lb boxes of the little jewels. Pictured here drying. I’m giving them away like crazy as they don’t last long. They are an ‘eat now, always remember’ fruit. I hope the few of us who trek down every year, and those who buy the dried Blenheims will be enough to keep a few orchards in business.

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Internal FireWorks make Holiday in my Gut

I’d like to say I took it easy over the 4th of July holiday. Instead I invited aliens into my house for a party. Aliens being bacteria and house being my stomach. Can you say food poisoning?

Should I blame it on the evil beef burger or the killer squash blossoms?
Here I’ve been on this insanely healthy diet, feeling so energetic and healthy and then I had a beef burger at a friend’s party. Could it be that it was such a shock to my body?
Or could it be that the raw food I didn’t wash harbored the bad guys?
Nobody knows but my innocent and suffering intestines, but I confess I suspect the innocuous-looking, delicate squash blossoms. Look at them, so colorful and pretty. Those deceptive little imposters.
Photo courtesy of:

I consider this rude experience (yes, I writhed in pain on a public bathroom floor for 45 minutes, unable to move) to be a sort of graduation, an awakening if you will of the degree of respect I must now have as a raw foodie. I’ve always been so cavalier and trusting about the cleanliness of the produce I buy. When the squash blossoms came in a shrink wrapped container (and knowing that I did not want them to wilt for the photo I would be taking of them shortly) I skipped over my usual step of soaking produce in a solution of grapeseed extract water.

Verily, verily I say unto you: many foreign hands hath touched thy produce. Lo, false prophets shall attack your belly if you do not obey the god of sanitization (sanity?).

Even (and especially) sprouts need to be washed. Those tiny hard-to-wash onion, daikon or sunflower sprouts apparently love to harbor unfavorable bacteria.

The bacteria party is over, but my cells are still sweeping up, repairing the damage and pulling the house back together. And who knows, a lot of the time people need antibiotics to recover from food poisoning, I didn’t. Maybe all this healthy eating put my body in a better position to ward off the evil aliens all on it’s own. That’s what I’d like to believe.