day 262 – My friend P and Canyon Restaurant AGAIN!!!!

Well,  I guess I have a love affair with this delicious place.  My friend is permitting me to use her likeness and I want to thank her for her company and gifts.  We are both from back east, found each other at yoga teacher training here in CA and have enjoyed being roomies at retreats in Big Bear, Palm Springs and Ojai. What keeps me visiting Canyon in Anaheim Hills and wanting to share it with others, is the freshness, artfulness and execution of the dishes.  It doesn’t hurt that the Lunch Tasting Menu is just $15.  And how intriguing – it changes week to week to reflect the produce that is in season!!

I remember last November partaking of a pumpkin trifle dessert in parfait form with maple ice cream.  Chef Rich Mead shows regard and even adoration for the CA bounty of seasonal and local ingredients.

I couldn’t even get the components for the appetizer for that price – not to mention the labor, creativity and thoughtfulness that clearly resonates in audacious, complex and layered yet subtle flavors.

Chilled Roasted Schaner Farm’s Heirloom Tomato Soup with onion and bell peppers, cucumber relish and dots of basil oil.

This was a tangy gazpacho made smooth with cream.  I would have preferred less or no peppers, but that is just me complaining about raw pepper in any dish.  My luncheon companion thought it was divine just the way it was.  The teeny diced up cucumbers still held their crunch and it was a clever juxtaposition to the elegant puree.

Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Salad with burrata cheese, sweet onions and pesto.

I can’t seem to get enough pesto these days.  The thinly shaved onions draped over the entree had been dressed in balsamic vinaigrette making them soft, supple and removing any sharpness.  The burrata seemed to melt in your mouth.

What I love, is how the salads are served almost at room temperature here so the tomatoes retain their authenticity. The watermelon was a sweet, crunchy surprise.

Shrimp over Fried Green Tomatoes in a Creole Sauce with fresh lima beans and scallions.

The tomatoes were battered and fried last minute keeping them crispy not soggy.  The lima beans were fresh and al dente, full of buttery flavor.

My friend was concerned and skeptical about ordering the only other entree on the prix fixe menu because she has never liked lima beans, but it just goes to show how when produce is at its height and is treated with respect, it can make a believer out of most anyone.

I saw her eat them with pleasure and possibly disbelief.   I hated mushrooms until I had them fresh, not canned,  sautéed in olive oil with parsley and garlic.  So, I understand.

Tenerelli Farm’s Satsuma Plum and Lemon Pot au Creme with toasted French meringue and tuile cookie

Last luncheon, we had the plum with lemon too but this is a new twist on the same combo. This dessert came in the cutest, littlest martini glass.  At first glance I thought I had been given mini marshmallows but upon further review, I encountered carmelized pillows of merengue.

Then my spoon dipped into a creamy, zesty lemon cream.  As I dug deep, chopped up plums in syrup were lurking at the bottom of the base of the triangular shape, waiting to be scooped up and brought up through the surfaces to reach my anticipatory gaze and salivating grin.


day 261 – Midsummer Garden Harvest

So grateful for our bounty!  Swiss chard in the basket.  Rosemary, front and center. Thyme on top of the pruners.  Sage to the right.  Oregano above the dish full of pesto my daughter made with fresh basil she grew (the best pesto ever)!  Heirloom zebra, green and red tomatoes.  Red hot chili peppers.  Kale to the left of the tomatoes and heirloom ears of corn between the chard and kale.  Oh, and a teeny weeny yellow summer squash fully grown.

Apparently, my cukes, squashes, pumpkins and zucchini are puny or non-existent this year.  Last year, I had trouble with peppers, but this year, so far so good.  All the plants or seeds are organic, growing in organic soil, mulched from time to time from my compost pile.

Organic IS better.  The bounty you grow has to survive without artificial feeding or protection.  Therefore, it has to contain higher levels of antioxidants because “the more stress plants suffer, the more polyphenols they produce.” according to Lamuela, a University of Barcelona scientist in the latest study.  Your produce is forced to activate its own defense mechanisms and you eat that vitality.  Just like you consume all the antibiotics if you eat conventional/industrial meat and dairy.  You ARE what you eat!

Wild (never buy farmed) Sea Bass sautéed in 1 teaspoon of coconut oil (organic), smothered in my little chef’s homemade tangy pesto with zebra and heirloom bite sized tomatoes sprinkled with a little of Cecilia’s salt seasoning.

day 260 – 4 concerts in 9 days!

I am exhausted.  What am I? A rock critic?  I used to be able to do this and not bat an eye. The wear and tear is showing.   Four concerts in nine days.  I need and will get a long break before Hall and Oates!

Start the summer concert series with b52’s.  See earlier post.  Day 250.

Following evening, Three Dog Night.

Lost my voice, was recovering and then… Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.

and the next night, Weezer.

Rivers Cuomo from Weezer, serenading us on the stairs – and we had aisle seats here!

day 259 – Boxing

Great boxing matches last night.  Amazing three fights between six contenders.  All six fighters showed skill, determination, courage and most importantly, heart.  Through pain, blood, sweat, broken hands, dislocated shoulders, hard jabs and smooth blows each athlete countered, threw lefts and rights, they came back into the center of the ring from their corners after every bell with renewed vigor, aplomb and nothing short of sheer willingness and faith in their talent and stamina.  My Kudos goes to the sportsmanship and professionalism shown, the brutality and finesse defined in each and every round and the warrior spirit in all these men.

First fight: Thurman vs. Chavez (Argentina) welterweight knockdown and out in the 10th by Thurman.

Second fight: Figueroa vs. Arakawa (Japan) lightweight unanimous decision for Figueroa.

Headliner: Soto Karass vs. Berto welterweight technical knockout in the 12th round after Karass left hooked Berto and the fight was stopped.

I may not seem like a boxing fan, according to some who don’t know this about me, but it’s the most natural Saturday evening thing for me to watch with my husband – and before that – as a kid and teen with my dad.

I grew up watching boxing, ice hockey and Monty Python with my dad.  I also was his first mate on our boat, fished in the wee hours frequently, clammed by his side, learned how to clean a fish, make a bonfire anywhere, start a fire for grilling without charcoal or lighter fluid, how to appreciate precision and balance in math, building and design, plus he took me ice skating in freezing arenas and ponds or lap swimming in heated pools, two to three evenings a week.  We usually watched our sports in my mom’s upstairs teeny sewing room on the daybed.  I remember the television was a very small, portable black and white model with adjustable antennae.  I treasured those moments, even then.

Boxing stories are most always about an underdog or a poor immigrant kid making his way up the ranks of an even harder, harsher ladder in the ring.  There are always tales of inspiration from a relative, interested teacher or mentor.  Included in his rise to the bout “you are about to see” are statistics, recent setbacks that might mess with his emotional head or a long line of ups and downs in his personal life that require he win this fight or risk losing everything.

Drama, story, physicality, aggression, mental training, strategy, fan favorites, political or national prejudice, strength, steadfastness and “expect the unexpected” are all part of the spectacle.

I enjoy the rumble and the show.  I am interested in the humble backgrounds.  I take pleasure in the simplicity of the stage.  I delight in the emotion of the win, either by violent knockdown, a disputed technical knockout or the subjective and often times but not always merited judge’s decision.

Boxing is driven by spontaneity.  It is the epitome of earnestness.  It is the height of human force, speed, alertness and muscular power.  It is a clash of titans of equal weight.  I suppose it’s heathenish of me to enjoy boxing so much.  Alas, I am pagan in many ways so don’t be so shocked.

Boxing is a world of intimacy  – a human sport based on primal emotion, edged into the arena of public display via a technicality called the arbitrary rules of the ring.  I am entertained by its crude yet chivalrous game and its players’ climb to glory for a brief moment in history.

No wonder I love hockey with all the outbreaks of impromptu fighting peppered throughout a typical three period game.

day 255 – Dedication

I dedicate this year to my writer self. Or to however and whatever my HP wants me to be and mold me into.

Let it be the Source’s will and may I be graced with optimum health in spirit, in body and in mind.

May I communicate clearly, concisely, consciously and compassionately.

May I reach for the stars but remain firmly planted on terra firma in order to be hope as well as practical help to others; to guide, to transfer information, to inform subtly or powerfully and to encourage.

May I blossom with practice, may I unfold in new ways and may I deliver the goods.

Oh, Universe, give me the understanding, the space to love and write and the discipline to organize my thoughts.

May I explain with simplicity, design with an authentic eye and embrace each moment with awe, wonder and appreciation.

Bless me, bless all around me and thank you.

Use me as an instrument of divinity, of humanity and the connection between the two.

May I be able to write about the Universe and the Soul in Earthly terms and may I be able to reach others with insight and depth.

This is my prayer.

day 254 – Birthday Tasting Menu at Canyon in Anaheim Hills

My day started off with a beautiful bouquet from my beautiful walking buddy/friend J.

Lots of calls, messages, cards, gifts and a superb lunch with the love of my life, my husband.  I feel loved.

Prosciutto wrapped Weiser farm’s melon with mint and extra virgin olive oil.He had: Grilled Italian sausage and linguine with shiitake mushrooms and spinach in tomato cream sauce.And I had: Grilled shrimp, herb grilled Japanese eggplant with mixed lettuces, sun dried cherry tomatoes, roasted peppers, fresh mozzarella, balsamic vinaigrette, roast tomato vinaigrette topped with pine nuts.

Dessert: Tenerelli farm’s Satsuma plum crisp with blueberry lemon ice cream and lemon poppy seed cookie.

Funny how this is day 254 and I turned 54 today!

day 253 – The Road to Inner Self

Maui – July 2008Ah, the road to my inner self is paved with chocolate covered nuts, swathed and be speckled with fashion, painted with rainbows striking against the sky, dripping with precious stones and wrapped up in French lace and ribbon.

Seriously, though, I am looking forward to my birthday tomorrow and although I feel every day is a birthday, I love being celebrated while I am spiritually, mentally and physically fit.

Happy First Day to the newborn English royal and May we all live long and well!