Monday, July 8, 2013

Pairing Pleasure + the Palate | My Epicurean Summer

Sometimes my body is craving some one on one with the sun (meow!).  Not only does this
extra heat give us warm bodies, but our muscles are a bit more loosened up as a result!
Is it hot in here or is it just me?! We all know "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."  Well, this lady lioness has been all about the turning the heat up (way up!) in and out of the kitchen.  What is life if we aren't treating ourselves here and there, am I right?  One way to fire me up?  Light my palate!

Food has always been pleasurable for me, but I always thought of it as a "guilty pleasure."  While interning at Earthly Delight's Farm last year, Casey explained soil as "seductive" + farming as "highly sexual."  The farm was oozing with sex!  (see No. 1 - Sex Ed in my Recap of my Internship Blog Post)  It was a euphoric experience all around to connect with the soil + play a role in the local food movement. How she portrayed the farm as being pleasurable to all of the senses was something I completely understood as that is exactly how I feel about food + cooking!  I found that there was no need for shame nor guilt in what I love most + as the season ended, my journey to please myself through the best food and drink began.

Read the inspiration behind all of this, an article linking Pleasure + Metabolism. It's quite fascinating!

Certain food aromas + flavor, like certain songs, words + images, can take you back to a certain place + time in life in an instant.  Food becomes bonded to memories that can bring you back to when you felt love at first bite.   While the heat takes over, I'm only warming up with creating summertime memories!  Let me fill you in on the best food, beverage + other life indulgences that has got this little mama feelin' so hot hot hot!

Breakfast Sensations
Because cold cereal is for the boring!  

Olé! Tacos for breakfast with fresh cilantro, rainbow chard scramble with cumin, smoked paprika + chipotle chili powder gives me the same pleasure as a chorizo + eggs breakfast burrito!  What a spicy way to start the day ;)
If you wake up feeling hot hot hot + needing something light, a smoothie is filling without being too heavy.  With greens, greek yogurt, almond milk, fruit + flax seed, this drink goes down nice + easy.  Great for getting your protein in, which keeps your hunger satisfied longer

For an extra special treat, warm up a slice or two of your fave pizza (pictured is Gorgonzola + Arugula) in the oven while frying an egg, you'll have gourmet in minutes!  In a hurry?  This doesn't take long to cook nor eat :) 
Outdoor Adventures 
After a light bite or sip in the am, I've found it's the perfect time to get out, bike, hit the trails or just soak up the sun. Breathing in the fresh air, letting it flow through your body - this is a guaranteed way to relax + feel incredible.

Hiking around Hull's Gulch provides excellent views + becomes an exciting way to build up appetite!
When hiking solo, I tune in to some awesome beats + let the music take me where I need to go!
Sweet view after conquering a great trail right around the Rattlesnake Station off of Highway 20. 

If in need of a break from the heat, grab your favorite snuggle bunny + surrender to the hammock!  Let the shade blanket your skin + the shadows of the leaves dance all around you.

My Sunday morning volley with my tennis partner brings us to courts all around North Boise. Great views + good games leading up to a yummy post-tennis brunch...yes, please + thank you!!

Chicka what?  Becoming quite comfortable with my backyard trails!
Embracing all the energy at the top of a hike with some powerful,
mindful meditation.
Take it in! The views on our ride out to Lucky Peak made it so enjoyable.
Bike lane up to Lucky Peak :)

CSA + Season's Eatings
If you haven't eaten a vegetable picked right out of the are missing out!  The first farm-fresh carrot I had convinced me that FRESH IS BEST!  Just-plucked out of our voluptuous organic soil at Earthly Delight's Farm, briefly-dusted, taste-tested + quickly-approved, this carrot was the most tasty root veggie I've ever had!
After my internship, I decided to support my farm by becoming a CSA member.  Money paid up front for the 2013 crops has gotten me many weeks of the valley's most sensational veggies!

Pictured with the second year of my Drunken Woman Frizzy Headed Lettuce
crop and a beet-brewed beer, not an uncommon scene on Thursday afternoons.
Every week at CSA Pick-Up-slash-Ladies Beer Social I take an hour or two
to kick back, catch up, have a cold one + collect/snack on my share with Casey,
Ron (the new farm dog) + often times, my CSA partner/roommate/better half: Megan!
Isn't she a beaut?!  I get huge satisfaction knowing this baby was grown from seed saved by yours truly from the crop
I grew last year!  It was love at first sight - Drunken Woman Frizzy Headed Lettuce, ladies + gentleman!

I fell for two greens last year:  Arugula + Sexy Mama Collard Greens.
Arugula is a little spicy with a bit of nutty.  This delicate leafy green sent me
to PleasureTown for sure!  Due to the extreme heat early on in our spring,
the arugula was pulled quickly + when a 4 lb bag of it was available for the
taking, I biked my buns over + swept it off of the ground to come home
with mama!  After a 2 hour bath + a good sorting through, I packed some away for
future meals + with the remaining heaping mound, I made this gem:
ARUGULA PESTO!  Holy heaven on earth!!

What I'm taking home:  Onion, Pea Shoots, Lettuce, Mustard Greens, Rosemary, Sorrel, Lamb's Quarters, Turnips, Bok Choy, Garlic, Chives + if you're as lucky as I am a silky smooth brewski!
What I'm whipping up in the kitchen:  Cold Soba Noodle Slaw

Also what I'm fixin' with my share:  Veggie Wraps with a creamy herb green dressing w/ Sunflower Seeds! Mama mia! 

Home Is Where The Heart Is 
...Also, where dietary restrictions are not!
It's like being on some sort of culinary temptation island whenever I visit.
I bring bags full of local produce, homemade oat milk, specialty items like beers, meats + cheeses.  I try to plan for simple eats, but in the end we end up feasting like kings + queens!

From under the hen herself!  Farm-fresh eggs don't get any fresher than this!  What a delicacy!
A visit to the family ranch means Adri is bringing a goody bag with my favorite local beer!  Payette Brewing for the win!
Not pictured is the ultimate Payette Beer:  Mutton Buster! MMM MMM!
Speaking of mutton...mouthwatering Lamb Burgers with sautéed morels, garlic + gernika peppers made by yours truly! Yum-A-Rum!! 
My Grandpa's turn on dinner duty:  One decadent Cornish Hen garnished with local thyme plated over a bed of local sautéed greens + paired with a fantastic glass of white. Well done, sir!
Not shown:  my Grandma's mashed potatoes (Paula Deen has NADA on my grandma's comfort food!)

All of these fancy meals make me one smiley gal especially when they fuel my incredible hikes!

Birthday Treats 
Birthday gifts are still my thing, but with much, much less sugar (none - if you don't count alcohol!) :)  It's a gift to myself to give gifts to the people I love most of all!

As I knew I couldn't attend Robin's Saturday night birthday bash, I put together a seductive little setup for the next morning!  I pampered the birthday gal with a "Hair of the Dog" birthday gift bag!  This little queen bee received:  a fabulous 4 pack of Sofia Coppola Sparkling, the BEST Raw Coconut Water to boost them electrolytes, fresh strawberries (to pair with the champy), gouda cheese + exotic black rice crackers.  I put the plate together for her (live show!) as she sipped on some sparkling + we danced + laughed the morning away!  What hangover?!
Boy did I go out of my way for this one!  I was avoiding a sugary assault like the last "gift" I brought to the farm (the dirt cake!).  I made Raw Vegan Gluten + Grain Free  Mini "Oreo" Birthday Cakes.  Dates, raw cacao, cashews + vanilla made up simply sugarless layers with a coconut butter frosting colored with an all natural carrot coloring! Alongside the guilt-free cakes I made banana oat shakes made with homemade oat milk + frozen bananas! MMM! As this was for Casey O'-Birthday Girl-Leary, I paired it her favorite IPA made by Sockeye Brewery, Dagger Falls!
We cheers-ed while looking each other in the eye knowing that if we looked elsewhere we'd have 7 years of bad sex (oh my!).
Coming soon:  My birthday treats!

Farmer's Market
My Saturday morning revolves around the new Boise Farmer's Market (the real farmer's market in town as I see it) + what I'll be making with these lovely specialty items!  As my CSA share kicked in, the need to get all of the greens + veggies from the market became lesser + lesser, but it's become more of a fun Saturday morning routine to walk around with others that are there to support fresh Idaho food + the farmers that provide us this luxury!

This little Adri went to the Boise Farmer's Market! Fiddlehead Ferns, Parsley, Chard, Asparagus, Dill + Spinach!
All from Purple Sage, Sweet Valley Organics + Morning Owl Farm.  Hells yeah, supporting local farmers! :)

Yes, PLEASE, Cheese! Pictured is the Bleu Agé by Rollingstone Chevre.  I am one dedicated customer to Rollingstone Chevre because their product is absolutely supreme + I feel so lucky to have the best cheese available right here in Idaho!  They have my full support, as you'll see throughout this post!  
Purslane from Purple Sage!  Purslane grows like a weed, you can harvest it while weeding in your own garden!  I had no idea what it was until I made my usual stop at Purple Sage for some specialty herbs.  I bought this succulent plant to try it out.  The next day, I picked Purslane out of my friend's tomato patch for 4 hours because that's how it goes, right?! Ha!
Head over heels for seasonal Frittatas!  

One of my savory Frittatas...Arugula Pesto (Adri-made), sautéed Greens + Morels with fresh eggs from my family's Ranch, oven-baked in a cast iron skillet. This makes it SO easy to please me!

My first year of growing food after my year at Earthly Delights Farm has had it's ups + downs, but my green thumb pulled through to deliver some tasty treats. Home grown + fresh out of the that's where the flavor is!  Here are some Before + after shots of my sexy veggies!

Before Collards
After! Look at those pretty ladies!  

Before:  my delicate kale starts freshly transplanted into the ground!
After:  These mighty dudes have grown into some big, strong kale plants!

Before:  Carnival Carrots - my second time direct seeding these guys after my first batch failed to grow in another location.
After:  SUCCESS!! My second batch is lookin' real nice + lively!  Though I have yet to get in there + harvest one of these for a snack, I am enjoying watching them grow up!

Before:  Little Teeny Tiny Lettuce!

After:  Full-Bodied Beauts!

Before:  10 Cilantro plants IN.

After:  Sad turn out for the cilantro!  Only ONE lone cilantro plant!  I'll take it! :)

Tomatoes are growing as the temperatures are rising!

I've got three tall ladies workin' on providing me with the goods for salsas + sauces! 

My first harvest out of my garden!  Lettuce, Collards, Cilantro + Kale!  What good lookin' greens I have!  The take after me!

My freshly-harvested + sautéed Collard Greens + Kale with Brown Rice, cumin-glazed Carrots + Red Lentils, seasoned with turmeric + cumin.

                            Dinner Parties + Lady Dates
The quickest way to my heart is through my stomach!

Dinner party with former neighbors of mine.  They know I love decadent everything + boy did they spoil me! :) Pan-seared fish - perfectly done, lightly coated + nicely seasoned with Potato Gnocchi with a sage sauce, an incredible kale salad, bread, supreme olive oil + a knockout glass of red! 
Gnocchi takes me back to a special dinner date with one of my aunts in
New York, where as a little girl I discovered gnocchi for the first time.
I gain that same satisfaction to this day when I bite into a velvety pillow
of potato pasta. 
Dinner left me one happy guest!
I had two dinner parties at the same place I mentioned being a dinner guest.  My former neighbors had me housesit for them while they were away for nine days, and with a stellar home + garden like theirs, how could I resist? 

My first dinner guest was my favorite wild woman of them all, my Grandma!  We ate, drank
+ remained merry all through the day, starting with this pictured glass of Moscato!  This was
only our breakfast booze! :)

How do you go through a day with 3 bottles of wine?
You get a lot of cheese!

My city is celebrating it's 150th birthday + for the special occasion my favorite local chocolatier, Dream Chocolate is making a SAGE bar using our local sage, + well, I had to support that smooth-sagey-chocolatey goodness!!!

Dinner first!  Made one of my grandma's favorites!  Pizza Naan!
Hers was a meat-lovers.  Mine had mushrooms, mozz + wilted arugula.
Both were graced with my homemade tomato sauce which my grandma is
now addicted to!

I like to describe her garden as the "Willy Wonka Factory of Vegetables."
I was their housesitter + arugula goat!
Arugula, my favorite green grows like a weed in their garden,
so I was harvesting arugula like wonka bars!

My second dinner guest was my big sis!

For her I made (for the first time!) Lamb Loin Chops.  Jen reported that
they were cooked perfectly!  I made a Carrot Salad w/ Arugula + a Shery
Cumin Vinaigrette.  Paired the meal with a Pinot Noir!  Perfecto!

Remember my Farmer's Market favorite Rollingstone Chevre? Yep, this is their yummy work!  Nasturtium cheese I picked up for the next day's special lady date with my roommate!

Reunited after 9 days of housesitting, Megan + I packed up all the cheeses,
carrots, figs, strawberries, crackers + bread + headed out for Ste. Chapelle
Winery for their Summer Concert Series with the amazing Marcus Eaton.
We wined on their Gewürtzraminer (one of my faves), we dined on our fave
cheeses, enjoyed live music in the sunshine overlooking the rolling hills of the
Vineyard under a clear blue sky.  It was the ultimate in pleasurable experiences!
Whatever it is that you find yourself happiest, truly enjoying the moment, giving you pleasure, tune in + take note!  This is your life + your chance to live it to the fullest!  Indulge a little!

xoxo, Adri Baby