Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Merlot Kind of Week

Am I the only one who is a nervous wreck here? What with the failing banks and the cartwheeling Dow and a presidential race focused on the little people---named Sarah and Joe and George. Big ideas and steely judgement would be more helpful than fussing about plumbers I think. (I know plumbers and they are a godsend , but they're not going to fix these problems.) Does anyone notice how much the Feds look and sound just like they did during the other disaster --the one called Katrina.

But I digress. As I write this I'm enjoying a pleasant affordable Merlot, which is getting better as it breathes--and I type. Merlot is not a challenging Zin or a subtle Pinot Noir, but that's okay. I'm less in the mood for sophisticated flavors right now --and more for a calm, mellow, unexciting wine (or a stiff drink with many olives). Perhaps you feel the same.

Did I mention that my most extravagant spendthrift friends are hiring someone to teach them how to grow vegetables in their new garden patch? They don't cook, they didn't even have a garden patch 'til last week, but they are growing their own food, for god's sake. Times must be tough. Anyway, a friendly Merlot may not be trendy, but it's pretty good with garden veggies tossed on the grill with a bit of olive oil and garlic. Also, that puts me in a mood for soups with late harvest tomatoes, white Italian beans, seasoned with bay leaves from the local Laurel trees. All of which goes beautifully with delightfully boring Merlot.

And, as you know, sitting does not help stress. So go look at the moon on a walk after dinner and do some restful stretches when you turn off the laptop. Some of the best moves are stretching your arms high and behind your back and bending your neck back and forth (do it now!) Even better is putting each leg up on a chair and slowly bending over --to get at that tight hamstring. Do it a few times after you've had a shower or been moving around. It releases some serious tension.
Just like a bit of inexpensive Merlot.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Ode to Orange

October already. sheesh.
Orange is the color of the season -- for the designer types as well as for the autumn vineyards. There is always plenty of orange around our household lately because of all the oranges falling from the trees and stacking up in baskets on the dining table and in the back of the refrigerator. The founding fathers of Healdsburg who planted citrus trees all over the place had no idea what they started.
A pal who just returned from New England points out that they pay a dollar for an orange back there. (I'd be rich!) But they get fresh maple syrup from the family "sugar shack" for free. And she gave me a jar... Amazing stuff.
Then the two thoughts collided. The result: The Maple - Orange Smoothie. Non-fat milk, a ripe banana, a whole, peeled, very cold orange from the back of the fridge, a spoonful of real maple syrup. Blend it all together with lots of air and a sprinkle of nutmeg. It's the perfect treat for after a hike up a hill or two to gaze at the beginnings of fall color--or at least our wimpy California version of fall color. But, admit it, you EastCoasters, our russet leaves might not impress, but you can't beat our oranges.