I love breakfast

Sometimes my house turns into a greasy spoon: fried taters, spinach, egg and lots of grated cheddar

I’ve always been a breakfast eater.

When I was a little kid, my mom would sometimes sneak into my room before I woke up and leave a bowl of cereal, a pitcher of cold milk, and a glass of juice by my bedside. It’s one of my favorite childhood memories.

Throughout high school, when many teens traditionally eschew breakfast, I would make the same thing every morning for a month or two, before tiring of it and switching to something else: breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs, potatoes, hot sauce and ketchup; bagel sandwiches with fried eggs, grainy mustard and gruyere cheese; oatmeal with bananas and cinnamon.

Vegetable stew, scrambled eggs and feta on crushed tortilla chips (with cheese and hot sauce, naturally)

The apotheosis of the morning meal, and one of my all-time favorites, is the venerable English fry-up, complete with fried eggs, fried mushrooms, fried tomatoes, fried bread, sausage, bacon or ham, fried bread, and sometimes baked beans.

Although my breakfast selections tend toward the savory, I also love pancakes, fruit and yogurt, cereal or toast with lots of butter and jam. If there’s leftover cake, pie or cookies in the house, I’ll eat those too.

A hot drink, or course, is absolutely essential: coffee (black, french press) or tea (black, strong, one sugar, whole milk).

What’s your favorite breakfast?

Mmmmm pancakes

Tomatillos

Tomatillos are magic. Hard, astringent green globes wrapped modestly in papery husks, they don’t really seem like food – until they’re roasted.¬†Then their tart firm flesh is transmuted into something altogether different: silky, complex with a sweetly umami tang. I roasted these tomatillos and added finely chopped onions, cilantro and a pinch of salt for a simple and satisfying salsa verde.

Salsa Verde

Two pounds tomatillos

1 small bunch cilantro

1 small onion

1 garlic clove

1 jalapeno (optional)

Kosher salt

Remove tomatillos from husks, cut in half, and place them face-down on a lightly oiled cookie sheet; roast in the upper third of the oven at 400 degrees until they are soft and lightly charred (15-20 minutes). Set aside. Finely chop the onion, garlic, cilantro and jalapeno, if using. Blend tomatillos in a food processor until they reach the desired consistency (you can make it smooth or leave it chunky, depending on your preference). Stir in the other ingredients and salt to taste. Makes about 1 quart.

Notes: tomatillos should be firm and green to yellow-green.

Lunch at JT’s

On a sunny Tuesday, I’d cleaned my house, gone for a walk, and was wondering what to do with the rest of my day.

The phone rang. It was my friend, and she desperately needed a cheeseburger. Did I want to accompany her to the diner? I did.

We hopped in her truck and drove to town, where we discovered that the diner wasn’t serving hamburgers – the grill was out of commission.

“Of all days!” My friend exclaimed, simultaneously amused at the irony and totally crestfallen. I suggested that we continue ten miles down the highway to Cahone to eat at the new place, JT’s.

Winsome decor

In stark contrast to the bland generic ambiance of the diner in our town, JT’s was cozy, inviting, and charmingly decorated to resemble the home of a warmly industrious and exceptionally cheerful grandma. And it smelled really good.

That’s right – 75 cents for a pound of peaches!

As well as a diner, JT’s is a store, offering basic groceries (including locally grown beans and peaches for an unbelievable 75 cents per pound), candy, jam, assorted tchotchkes, beaded necklaces, books, purses made from old cowboy boots, carefully handmade aprons and quilts.

Crafty
Ellen was on the TV

It was a delight to browse the store’s offerings (I couldn’t contain my excitement when I found the most beautiful apron in the world), but the greatest pleasure came with the food.

Simple, honest, satisfying – iced tea and lemonade, onion rings, fries and the platonic ideal of a cheeseburger. Perfectly cooked, locally raised beef, all the fixins, American cheese, and a toasted bun. Dessert was peach cobbler, apple cake with caramel frosting and butter-pecan ice-cream (all made in-house, naturally).

My friend was still raving about her cheeseburger hours – and days – later.

Peach cobbler, good coffee
Biscuits and gravy: cheaper than a bagel and cream cheese!
Real food.

Harvest day

Kaya celebrates diversity

My last day on the farm this season was beautiful, sunny and not-too-hot.

Lunch was a gloriously vibrant spinach salad with sauteed leeks, potatoes, goat cheese and sweet pepper jam; dessert was baked pears with ginger, raisins and walnuts  pecans, and small glasses of cold, clear ouzo. It was a fittingly sweet and wholesome ending to a sweet and wholesome season. Thanks, farm crew!

Harvest crew
Bounty ready to be boxed
Tomatillos
Kale
Leeks
Squash
Onions
More (and stranger) squash
Colorful sustenance
Sweet ending