Alice in Topangaland

Recently I came to a realization: that I had chased a big white rabbit, fell into its hole for many years, and was pulled out by a caterpillar.

When I shared this with my astrologer friend Alex, she said, “I know, I watched it happen.” And my thought was, “I know, I watched you watch it happen and I had a real enjoyment knowing you could see!” She wasn’t there from the beginning, but she caught on when she did, and popped in and out in such delightful timing. One time, she popped in while I was hiking. “Kali!?” I was overjoyed! It’s easy to spot a red hat in the forest.

I showed her the direction where the secret spot for a lot of pearly everlasting exists. Turns out, it was both our favorite flower, and she’d been dying to know the name of it. I said, “it smells like heaven orange”, she said, “it’s definitely waffles and maple syrup”. We’re both right!

I have journeyed like a lost Alice, pain in my heart and soul, ready to heal. And yes, I was chased by cards with swords (It’s complicated to explain who had the cards and who had the swords- but they were there).

IMG_6958

                                                     

Coincidentally (or not) I played Alice in a play when I was 9. It was a great role for me, but I so wanted to be one of the Orphans. The Orphans were a room full of my Acting class friends, and playing Alice felt pretty lonely.  I only got to dialogue with, grown up Actors, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. Not getting to be one of the Orphans with all my friends, who intuitively shared dreams together in the night, felt a little like I do now; a lonely Alice. The play was called Orphan Dreams, Directed by Elisabeth Brooks, and I was Alice in Wonderland in one of the dreams.

When I was 20, I was in the movie The Helix, which was a spoof of The Matrix. You can see it on YouTube, starring Vanilla Ice. I played a prostitute, and my soon-to-be-first-husband played The Rabbit, in a rabbit suit, in one of the scenes. A lot happened behind the scenes of the film. It was pretty hilarious. I won’t get into the story about the Hulk, or what we did with the Rabbit head in Venice Beach. Just know that I followed that bouncy Rabbit down the rabbit hole.

My friend Corey and I ran into Laurence Fishburne in Venice during the making of the film, and told him about that Matrix spoof. He was very nice about it, and told us to be careful crossing the street. We were.

Then there was this music video I did when I was 19, which reminded me of a life experience years later. It was so strange to uncover this video, and realize how similar the video was to a future experience. As a method actress, I guess I was drawing on future experience rather than past experience, as one would expect. But time is relative anyway, so I guess that makes sense.

Screen Shot 2018-10-14 at 9.24.57 AM 

 

Luckily for me, not all of the films or plays I did had immediate relevance to my life away from the stage or camera; otherwise I’d be dead at 15, survived tackling a vampire, I’d be Helen Keller, a prostitute in downtown, and a lesbian talking to an imaginary girlfriend in a pink and white striped sweater. And I’d have been caught sucking on a frozen popsicle on the Playboy channel (Oops! Actually, that was a reality show and that did happen).

Just a day after writing this, I was in the parking lot of Mimosa Cafe when I looked at the car parked next to me and saw a pink and white striped fabric. I thought, oh that kinda looks like that sweater I was talking about. Wait, that’s pretty much exactly like the fabric of the sweater I was talking about.

IMG_7110

What I want to know is what this random chicken egg was doing in the forest, why it was still there yesterday, and why I’m craving chicken when I stopped eating meat? I was told a story this morning about a girl named Love Chicken. And why last night I was intuitively guided to notice an egg in one of my Uncle’s paintings. And then, sadly, I saw a road kill chicken on the freeway today. It had quite beautiful feathers. This may be why people think I’m high all the time, but the reality is I don’t use weed, hallucinogens, alcohol, nothing. I can’t even eat chocolate without shaking!

IMG_7079

There was a time when I used to think shrooms should be micro-dosed daily. I didn’t do the experiment, I just thought people would like it better than coffee. That was before I was pregnant  with my Son, and began waking up in incredible trance states of awareness that were totally natural to me. I was young and enthused by the discovery of the magic mushrooms. The things I saw, the things I did… it was all pretty interesting.

Have you ever been sucked up a portal? There’s nothing like that sound and the way people look, when you’re watching them from above and inside a portal. It’s like a tube mirror (while feeling the sucking feeling of the tube) that distorts their face, a little like they’re the one in the portal getting their face sucked in the air. This is not an easy experience to explain; I’ve really tried.

Through my own experience, I believe that we can achieve great states of consciousness without the help of the more intense plant medicines. I especially felt that way when I was pregnant, waking up in wild, hyperactive states of consciousness.

Like that time I did a liver flush and I went from feeling low and not so good, pretty weak, and, as you can see in the middle of the video, I go into a trance where I talk about purple stars, and at the end of the video I look pretty lit up. This was over about a 2-week period of time. 8 days for the flush. My Brother said, “maybe you’re cleansing the ‘shrooms from your liver.” It definitely felt like it.

I’m already so sensitive to everything and everyone, that I can really feel it if they are taking anything. If people are drunk, I feel it,  and in some cases, even have fun without the painful effects on my body.

And all I can say now is, there was a time I left behind some shoes as a symbolic representation, actually two times now, once with the caterpillar, once with the Rabbit, and today I have new shoes. The best, most comfy ones so far. I think that about sums up years of pain, struggle, and heartbreak. More will be revealed.

May all beings be free of pain. May all beings be well fed. May all beings climb out of the pain of loneliness. May all beings find safety. May all beings be blessed, especially my son’s cat! That miracle cat might be the next story.

 

Stay tuned…

Love,

The Soup Sorceress

Advertisements

MOMENTS FROM THE EVOLUTION OF THE SOUP SORCERESS

 

The First Soup:

mollycookbook

I was 11 years old when I made my first soup.  

It was a simple recipe from the American Girls Molly’s Cookbook. I was so excited. I clearly remember the love I felt cutting each vegetable and putting it into the pot. I took each step seriously. Looking back now, after a lot more experience,  I’m happy to say I don’t think it wasn’t a good soup recipe.

These days the cutting of vegetables doesn’t give me the same pleasure, because I make soups on a slightly bigger scale. I also don’t really do recipes anymore, I create synchronistically, which is far more satisfying.

First Lesson From The Soup Man:

soupman

I was 16 years old, visiting New York City for the first time on a school trip with my Counselor, Ms. D, who was also a psychic, and my friend Rosemary (what a great name). We went to the Soup Kitchen International soup shop on West 55th street made famous as Seinfeld’s “Soup Nazi”: “No soup for you!”

rosemary
Rosemary

I waited in that long New York City lunch-rush line, and for the life of me I couldn’t find the signs for the soup flavors. When it was my turn, I walked up to the counter and innocently asked the Soup Man what soups he had. He immediately yelled, “next!” It broke my heart a little, and I stepped aside. I finally found the signs describing the flavors, and I waited my turn again.                

Once that initial pain in my heart came up when he said “next”, like I was just a foolish teenager from the valley of LA on a School Thespians trip,  I immediately felt a real sense of appreciation for what he had done. I liked his boundary, it was an impactful moment of growth for me. Once I got serious about soup, 15 years later, I understood even better, why he reacted that way. It’s a work that’s easily taken for granted.

I speak positively of the Soup Man, in relation to a set of experiences that taught me about boundaries, and the positive effect it has on the integrity of soups and life. I feel like I know how he felt. He’s the OG Soup Man!

I’m one to be very serious about what goes in the pot, more than anything, in regards to where I’m sourcing my vegetables.

The First Sorceress Hats:

mimosa

Cafe Mimosa in Topanga,  is where I first started selling soups, thanks to the wonderful owner Claire who supports locals, and has a heart of gold. One of my intentions for doing it came from the desire to make more friends, and I did. A couple years ago, I was sitting at the Cafe, very stressed, because I needed help getting to the next level. I had many people telling me the soups were the best, and I was trying so hard to get across to everyone the difference between large farm organic and small farm organic, and why it mattered to me, without being boring, and somehow having the proper promotional material, on a no more budget left to do it scenario. All the money went into the pot. I needed help.  It was an interesting sort of stress, because, while I felt horrible, I was also aware that the discomfort had put me into a heightened state of awareness, like I was leaning over the edge of a cliff.

My friend Joseph the tarot reader entered and sat down next to me. It had been about 10 years since I let someone else read tarot for me. I trusted in the synchronicity. I was delighted by the things he picked up on. He mentioned my Uncle, my Grandfather (my “Papa”), and what to do next.

One of my regrets was that I didn’t go visit my Papa before he transitioned, even though he lived a mere 20 minutes away in the Pacific Palisades, because having a Son, I was concerned with spending the gas money. Joseph told me my Papa was with me. I told him, “I know”.  Joseph also said, “Deceased elders want to see their lineage connect”. So I set off on a drive by myself, in spite of the gas money and 6 hour drive, to visit my Aunt in San Mateo. I hadn’t done anything like that for myself in many years. Being a Mother and Wife, my main focus was them, and their needs, not what I wanted to do. I just wanted to take a little trip, feel a different environment, and see my Aunts.

There was a black hat laying perfectly flat on the dresser of the guest room. I looked at that hat a lot, throughout the short visit. I could tell it was my Grandmother’s hat, who lives in LA. I could feel it in me, that I was supposed to wear that hat, it was the right timing. I didn’t have any hats, I wanted a hat for a long time, and that one was like a Sorceress hat.

img_0985

I walked out of the house with it on my head, and kept wearing it almost every day. It was transforming. I just knew it was there to be the next phase in awakening this character. It was also the house where the Cambpells soup lithographs are.

A quick background on the pictures. My Papa had fine art on his walls, including my Uncle Judson Huss, and the Andy Warhol lithographs of Campbells Soup cans. We just never understood why anyone would put those cans on their walls. I did eat a lot of Campbells tomato soup when I was a kid. Then, later in life, I became absolutely, positively, without a doubt in my mind, very serious about creating the best, most healthful, organic soups imaginable. Those lithographs are at my Aunt’s house now. 

IMG_4242

It’s funny to think about these things, because that soup can was dialed into my subconscious since I was a wee one. So were my Uncles paintings, which had a huge impact on how I create in all areas of my life. The way he authentically and intuitively portrayed creatures in the world was very real for me. 

Uncle Judd the hunter

The Red Hat: Last Christmas, I opened my Aunts gift. She sent me two hats made of wool! I was really impressed with how she found those hats in particular, and that she cared enough to understand how special that would be for me. I pulled out the red hat while we were on facetime. We were both uncertain. She made a strange look on her face, and my Mom tried to play it off like she thought it was pretty. It was a strange moment, because my Aunt didn’t realize it would be so red.

IMG_6124

By the next day, I embraced the red redness, ended up loving it, wore it almost every single day, and everywhere I go someone loves the hat. There was so much power in it, and radiance. It flew off my head a few times. I danced in the rain in the middle of a random summer storm with it on. I’ve been stopped over and over just to talk about the hat. The hat was cut into shreds in front of me, piece by piece by piece, like shards of glass, which shortly after, led to my separation. He said, “you’re secretive, you’re just hiding behind this hat”, and some other things most of which were too hurtful and ridiculous to share. I bought a new one after that, but it wasn’t the same, just close enough. It reminded me of my first little heartbreak as a teenager, when I bought myself a red suede long jacket to celebrate my next phase in life. It’s also a little like the moment The Soup Man hurt my feelings, and I was into the next phase. A separation is much more complicated, frightening, and impactful, but I see these moments as the pivotal ones. 

IMG_6408

(Topanga Sage in the Hat.)

To red hats, transformations, Campbells shitty red tomato soup, to my Uncles Incredible Art, my Papas awesome taste, my Grandmothers taste in hats, my Aunts hospitality, to Joseph who read my tarot and told me my soups were medicine, to Mimosa Cafe, to the end of a cycle when the hat was in pieces. And dancing with the new hat in the storm, thanks to Topanga Magic. And heart breaks that break the spells of the past and forward us into the next paradigm. May all beings be blessed, and free to express their heart and spirit in its whole, complete form.

IMG_9274

There are more scenes like this, there’s more to share, there’s more to create. I left behind a sinking pirate ship, and I’m still shaking outside of the cold water, with the courage to get through battles and healing, I never saw coming. And I’m good at seeing things coming, so long as it’s day by day.

Rainbow Tower Salad

If you want toasted sesame seeds, make sure to toast them yourself, instead of buying them toasted. They are so much more delicious! It’s worth the minute.

Have you ever been through a long period of time that feels like it may never end, that was so devastating, you lost inspiration?

I tried to reach at my inspiration again. Where was it? I was too devastated. I was curled into a ball, crying, imagining, resting, and healing. Each step of healing was a reason to celebrate. I really did. The way I used to get my inspiration was changing.

Food changed. I used to do so many experiments, whatever came to my mind each day. I ran out of the budget to do that, and even a kitchen.

I landed in a kitchen, where I was yelled at for being specific about my food choices.

And the inspiration just kept wilting, the sadness and pain improved.

For the sake of my health, and lowering food costs and mess in the kitchen, I began to eat extremely specific and minimally. I could feel my body vibrating more clearly, as I spent four months this way. I felt like I was failing as a cook though.

Everything I thought I was doing right, and how I was on the way up, was put away. Part of my path was to see things in a new way, and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I almost forgot that spirit was guiding me when I created all those crazy soups. Mixed with my own creative impulses, and ability to listen, take signs, use what I had available, share resources, on and on, but most importantly, was to realize that the whole journey started because I decided to let go and let spirit guide me. Taking a hike every day was essential.

Only recently, like today, have I realized, some of these important cosmic memories.

I was sick of soup, and taking pictures of soups. I wanted to like it, but I didn’t feel good about it. The world wasn’t exciting, and I didn’t have my own kitchen to harness my magic in. Have you ever gotten sick of hearing the same songs? Even though all the soups were different, it felt like the same songs. Nothing really wrong with the song, but you just don’t feel it anymore. It’s not the songs fault. What’s actually happening, is that I’m waiting for the next evolvement to happen.

Here’s the recent things that inspired this today.

Today, someone asked me, “is all you cook soup”?!  I was thinking, oh my gosh, I am so much more creative then this, why am I trying to play it off like I’m just doing soups, or even just cooking, for the sake of trying to make my instagram all about soups, so that I could be consistent.

I bought a papaya for this salad. Doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I can’t remember the last time I bought a papaya, except a babaco papaya from a local farm. I bought one at Whole Foods today. It felt good not to be so concerned about it, and just accept that sometimes I’ll add a non local ingredient.

I started making croissants for a friend who helped me in huge ways, confirm what I had been saying silently in my mind, which was awakening and heart wrenchingly challenging, in a way that only he could do. It’s inspired me because it took me out of my fears of using certain food ingredients, reminded me that I have the ability to be calm and patient, feel my body again, and I’m doing something that is new and enjoyable with food, instead of trying to just perfect soups. It’s a pattern interrupt, which helps to re-enliven things.

I did it for myself. The nature of cooking for other people is that they’re paying for it, so you want to please them. I’ve gone into this new thing, even when I’m making food for someone else, that, I’m pleasing myself while making it. It feels better.

I remembered the reason I was inspired in cooking. It was the connections, the friendships, the stories, the feelings, the symbols, creatures, attitudes, the evolvement of seeing myself in new ways, synchronicity’s, and creating new characters in me. And when that was taken away from me, and I thought I was dying, what could I do then besides accept and heal.

Sometimes it’s easier to silently forgive someone for acting in an un-evolved, hurtful way, then to have to explain anything to them. I know that they don’t actually want to respond that way. It’s ok to have boundaries, to take space without reason, it’s ok not to respond, it’s ok to shake your booty any time you want to. Things look scary, but I’ve had to take a risk at having boundaries. I had to jump off a cliff, let the tower crumble, and burn the pedestal. There was something that everyone did right.

And that’s how I came up with this thai inspired salad today. It’s not soup! I blessed the salad before I took the picture, and then again after I took the picture. I just can’t help but to feel that every time I take the picture I want to honor the food, and then recharge it again because I just took a piece of it’s soul when I took the picture.

IMG_5748

Ingredients: Red Cabbage, Papaya Chunks, Fermented Watermelon Radish, Paper Thin Sliced Cucumbers.

Dressing: 1 bunch cilantro, olive oil, fermented turmeric sauce (available at www.savraw.com), smoked sea salt, black pepper, chipotle powder, chili powder, lime juice, mustard, and a little juice from the fermented watermelon radish.

Shower the tower in freshly toasted sesame seeds. Eat the rainbow tower, be grateful. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Soupe De Potiron

IMG_1069

IMG_1064

When I was in High school, at Hollywood High Performing Arts Magnet, I started a petition to try to change the School lunch program into something healthier.

I realized pretty quickly that wasn’t going to happen so fast, or from a petition. I consider it a step in the right direction, when I visited there this year, and saw several benches were torn out where we used to hang, and were replaced with garden beds.

Less then a decade later, my Son, Zane Allister, was in Kindergarten at Topanga Elementary, and I wanted to do something about lunches. I realized at some point, that if it was illegal to donate and create a salad bar for the lunch program, but Parents were allowed to bring cupcakes inside the class on their kids Birthday, then I could bring salad anytime I wanted. Often my son would walk out of class with a cupcake loaded with high fructose corn syrup, from a Birthday celebration. I tried not to make a thing about it, but I wanted to donate vegetables for the kids.

I asked the teachers each year if I could, and once in a while I donated to the class. I washed fruits and veggies, shaved the carrots, cut the celery, prepared cucumbers. Simple fruits and veggies, direct from local, organic farms, to provide the kids with some extra nourishment in the middle of the day, inside the classroom. The Teachers were happy about it, and the kids walked out of the class with eyes wide open, thanking me.

Once my Son was in 5th grade and wanted to be a part of the play, I was asked to be the Assistant Director, which also gave me the opportunity to provide organic fruits and vegetables for after school snacks.

Today, Zanes in 7th grade, and it was my turn to make lunch for the school at Topanga Mountain School, where he attends.

Two days ago, I sent a picture on instagram, of the 2 surprise Snowball Pumpkins that popped up in  the middle of a sweet baby pumpkin field at T & D Farms. My Aunt made the comment….

“Soupe De Potiron”??? (also called “Potage Aurore” or “Dawn Soup”). A wonderful blend of pumpkin/potiron and tomato with thick cream, dash nutmeg, according to cookbook written by my grand-mother La Mazille…she was a big time “Bonnes Soupes” maker.

My Aunt Isabelle was the wife and muse of My Great Uncle (by blood), and one of my favorite artists, Judson Huss. So I was pretty happy to see her comment about soup art.

IMG_1023

I gathered anything the farms that I already buy from weekly, were willing to gift to the School. I normally don’t ask farms for donations because I want them to receive more, but in this case, we were all happy about this possibility.

I realized, even though I had a different type of winter squash, I pretty much had the ingredients for the soup she mentioned.

Which squash did I have!? The coolest one, of course! It’s name is, “Sweet Candy Roasted Georgia Squash”. From “The Garden Of” farm.

 

IMG_1056Some people like more or less cream, some like leeks, some don’t, some want a few fresh tomato chunks, some are willing to try my side of fermented salsa. The point is, I don’t have a measured recipe for this soup, but you’ll know what to do for your own. Here’s my current version of “Soup De Potiron”. It couldn’t be a better time of season for a blend of heirloom tomatoes and pumpkin. Tomatoes will be out soon, and winter squash will still be in. So if you wanna do this later, freeze some tomatoes from Tutti Frutti farm! You can get #2 heirlooms, for $10 per 10 pound box, best deal for incredible tomatoes!

IMG_1076

~Heirloom Tomatoes

~Sweet Candy Roasted Georgia Squash

~Raw Organic Pastures Cream or Nut Cream

~Cilantro

~Leeks

~Himalayan Salt

I laid it out for the kids, so that they could pick out their own toppings, and mixings. Most wanted the cream! Some didn’t, so it’s good to give them the option. Same with the squash, some just wanted plain tomato soup, not squash, tomato soup.

IMG_1071

The squash was roasted in chunks.

The heirloom tomatoes, were pureed and then simmered. I lost two liters while simmering, and stirring, so that it would be less watery. I only added rice vinegar and himalayan salt.

Sautéed leeks on the side, sautéed some corn, cut fresh tomatoes, and basil from home greenhouse. The kids just grabbed the toppings they wanted, and all seemed happy and nourished with the lunch. If they wanted cream, they could just stir some in.

IMG_1062

 

 

 

 

Seasonal Sipping Broths

I created different flavors of vegetable broths, that you can drink cold or warm, or flavor your own soups, stews, chilis, or stir fried veggies.

IMG_3384 (1)

 

IMG_7205

After a year of a tough and painful healing journey for my son, and myself, one of the things that came out of all of it, is this drink. I really looked at what I could drink that would provide me with the nutrients my body was asking for. I researched like crazy, experimented, cooked, listened to the answers that were coming to me, looking for the healing I needed. While, spending every day helping my son through his challenges, which lead us to a Chiropractor that changed our lives.

I had to break away from drinking organic yerba mate cold teas. I thought I could handle it, since I ate healthy. However, when my emotions were struggling, and I crashed hard in the middle of the day, and woke up dizzy and hazy, it was time to quit all caffeine, sugar, and alcohol. The sugar was easy, because I never liked it, the caffeinated teas took me some time.

I made a vegetable broth with medicinal mushrooms, turmeric, and other medicinal spices and herbs. From plants that were in my garden, to foraging, and from our local farms.

Many large organic suppliers aren’t fully trusted as much as small organic farms. When it comes to a fully integral food product, I want it sourced from the farms that I love, directly! This is a challenge for other large food suppliers, but I can get into that later.

The broth is such a great flavor, I love drinking it cold or warm. It’s great to flavor vegetables soups, stews, chilis,  and stir fried veggies.

My life has guided me to this piece of art in a way I couldn’t have dreamed up. It’s been a wild and dynamic journey.

For years I have walked down the super market shelves frustrated that most, if not all large food suppliers are using the same ingredients all the time. That doesn’t fit into supporting small, local, farms and eating in season. I was also frustrated with the amount of coconut drinks, and maca, when there are so many medicinal foods we have that grow here! Fresh herbs from small farmers, medicinal mushrooms harvested in California, and even simmering onion skins are said to be medicinal.

Here’s some examples of flavors.

Chaga, Curry and Turmeric. Jujube, Honey, and Cardamom. Shitake and Curry. Lions Mane Mushroom and Shitake. Reishi and Nettles with Beets. Cocoa and Spicy Peppers.

IMG_7173

Papa’s Guacamole

I have a vivid memory of my Papa’s guacamole during a super bowl party when I was a kid. I don’t know who it was that I can actually credit for making it, but I credit my Papa because he brought people together. A friend of his caught eye of my young, captivated attention, directed into the bowl, and let me ask him questions. I’ve been trying to make guacamole that good ever since.

img_6718

It was 7pm and I was rustling together a few things to be sure I had the proper foraging gear, while finishing a soup with pickled rainbow carrots, making my Cousin a leather wrist cuff for her Birthday, and feeling like, “Am I really doing this?”

YES! I’m on a mission to find medicinal mushrooms!

Magically, a friend showed up at our door and agreed to stay and watch our cat. He helped me make soup for my Aunt, and ate the soup I had left over in the fridge. By 8pm, my son and I were on the road to San Mateo (about a 5 hour drive up North), leaving the house a bizarre looking mess. Between the biggest storm we just had, in which we had to bring in boxes of stuff from outside to the living room, and the ridiculous amount of mess it takes to create one big soup and a leather bracelet, it looks like a storm in my house.

horsesalad

(Horse salad for some Topanga horses, from left over scraps making the soup.)

We arrived at 1:30am, fell asleep. My son made breakfast in the morning, as I anxiously waited for him to finish, so I could get on a trail and search for mushrooms in the forest. My body was so ready to move and explore after a long drive.

zanesbreakfastZanes breakfast. French toast logs with chocolate hazelnut spread filling. They were worth the wait.

My Aunt Caroline came with me, and did a really good job at pointing out little side areas off the trail, that I should go look. She exercised the trail, while I got deep in the redwoods. Which led me to finding a little bit of several different varieties, until I got lost, and eventually found her again.

foragingsanmateo

This is witches butter. It’s a squiggly yellow fungus, and feels slimy.

witchesbuttermushroom

When we got back, my friend Joseph, who was staying at our house, sent me a text. “Your food is magical….You make medicine soups.” He was enjoying my vegan borscht with chaga mushroom powder. It gave me some encouragement.

img_6654

Last minute, we asked my Aunt Gretchen and Uncle Paul to come over for dinner. My Aunt Caroline, who’s always kind and supportive, was happy to let me cook for everyone.

The Teenagers, my three Cousins, all had their own thing going on that night, so it was just us Adults and  my son,  Zane, who will almost be a teenager.

I quickly went to Draegers Market to pick up stuff for Tacos. On my way, my Aunt Caroline reminded me to make guacamole.

Doing my best to keep a big dinner at a reasonable cost, I wanted to buy only exactly what we needed, and not go over the top. I looked at the $50 a pound chanterelle, and morel mushrooms for a moment, wishing, and then grabbed some little $6 yellow ones.

I had my Papa’s guacamole in my mind while I shopped.

I was worried about not having enough tortillas, so I bought too many. I didn’t know who would want corn tortillas and who would want flour tortillas. When I brought everything to the kitchen counter, spread out, my Uncle Graham (who always walks in the room full of charisma and energy) came in the kitchen asking, “how’s it going?”.

“It’s ok, I think I bought too many tortillas though”, I said nervously. I didn’t know how any of this would turn out, only that I cared deeply that everyone enjoy the dinner, and no one left hungry.

While we ate tacos, Uncle Paul, who has a lot of cool things to say about foods he’s enjoyed; talked about a guacamole contest he went to. He said everyone agreed this one Woman who won, had the most insanely best guacamole. He described her as very shy, while everyone hovered over her guacamole, going nuts over it.

“What was in it?!”, we all wanted to know.

I know the secret ingredient now, I don’t want to share it yet. Actually, I want to have a Topanga town guacamole contest.

Although, there wasn’t a farmers market that day, and I was 6 hours away from my walk in fridge of produce, I found a few variety of vegetables that made me happy to work with.

I charred shishito peppers with olive oil, salt and topped it with a little truffle oil. Fried the mushrooms. Made skirt steak , shrimp with chili powder, mango salsa with orange heirloom tomatoes. Sliced watermelon radish, soaked in lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. A cabbage salad with sliced fennel, little bit of watermelon radish, lemon juice and oil. The guacamole was put together by my son, who was the best sous chef. He even cut the shrimp and the mango perfectly. We sliced some heirloom tomatoes and used torpedo onions in the guacamole, some lime juice and salt.

img_6709

My Aunt Caroline said, “green onions are healthier then regular onions”. I guess anything that’s green is healthier. She also told me that when cooking garlic, slice it and leave it out for 10-15 minutes and then cook it. For some reason, that’s how to do it when you want to keep it’s medicinal properties if you’re  cooking it. The book “Eating on the Wild Side” explains it in depth.

My Uncle Paul, seemed interested in what I was doing in the kitchen, which made me feel like I was doing something right. I didn’t know if they would like the shishito peppers, or the watermelon radish. He said they were some of his favorite things. My family knows good food.

dinnerfamily

My Uncle Graham and Zane, talked numbers, and Zanes career plans, while my Aunt Gretchen and I talked about the importance of small farming. She said something like, “I’m old enough to have lived in a time, where it was the norm, everyone knew their farmer, and then farming became industrialized….” She has a wealth of information, and ability to clearly explain it all to me. I just said, “I wish I was recording this.”

After we ate, my Aunts and I were in the kitchen, and I told them I just learned yesterday, of a mushroom called, Laughing Mushroom, that makes people laugh uncontrollably. The night ended with my Aunt Caroline  saying, “that’s my favorite song!” While singing the Mary Poppins song, “I love to laugh”, as three ladies burst into laughter!

That’s medicine!

img_6717

We were on our way home at 10pm. I didn’t get hungry the whole ride.

Maybe the teenagers will join us next time,

if they don’t have something cooler going on. 🙂