Monday, February 23, 2009

Rosemary and Lemons

We’re happily watching as the rain soaks our town – and floods the backyard garden patches that I’ve been diligently ignoring – and I’m wondering how my pooch and I are going to get enough exercise. But when we do manage to get out on short, soggy walks I’m struck by how well the lemon trees and rosemary are thriving in the older neighborhoods. It’s not just me. An arty couple we know from Nebraska (yes, I know it sounds like a contradiction) bought and fixed up a Healdsburg cottage as a winter respite from the snow. They planted the entire backyard with a few patches of lawn and a stunning design of lemon trees and rosemary bushes. Talk about low maintenance art.

In that spirit, I’ve been cooking a lot lately with lemon, rosemary and Savignon Blanc—soups, stews, rice. My favorite is simple roasted chicken or game hens with lemons slices and sprigs of rosemary in the cavity, tucked under the wings and legs and mixed with potatoes in the roasting pan. Splashed with wine before, during and after the cooking. Served with a generous glass of Sauv Blanc or Fume Blanc, local greens, apple slices and sourdough. Anyone could do it.

But back to the exercise problem. Here’s two tricks that help. First, I rented a documentary from NetFlix about the history of Broadway musicals. Now, it’s easy—and interesting—to get up and move to the tunes while I learn about Fanny Brice and George M. Cohan. Probably any film about music would work as well. Second, for those boring (but important) floor exercises and stretches, I go for sensual over the practical. A fluffy white sheepskin on the floor in front of a crackling fire in a dim room – makes all the difference in the world.
My pooch is on her own.
Cheers, Joan