Tuesday, July 22

Visiting friends in the Berkshires, and we walked over the Bridge of Flowers today in lovely Shelburne Falls.

And a big bad hornet on some flourishing Sea Holly.

Tuesday, July 15

lettuces, herbs and french radishes. I have France on my mind again lately, as I've been hearing from my two INSEAD friends: Janet's family is packing up to leave after their sabbatical and Sonia and her family are coming to town! Unfortunately I think they will visit just after the last of my radish crop, otherwise I would serve them:

Belgian Tartine

(recipe slightly adapted from Lynne's at La Tartine Gourmande)

A tartine is an open-faced sandwich, usually made with coarse country bread spread with fresh cheese and topped with fresh vegetables or herbs.

Use grainy, sturdy country-style bread. When buying the cheese, sample for a clean, creamy-yet-tangy fromage frais (French for fresh cheese). In the U.S. you may have to substitute thick sour cream or Greek Yogurt (full-fat version.) Here's how to make a tartine:

* 1 large slice whole-grain country bread, cut about 1/2-inch thick
* About 2 ounces Fromage Frais (substituting as necessary)
* 3 thin-sliced radishes
* Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper

1. Spread the bread with the cheese. Fan radish slices over the cheese and sprinkle with coarse salt and a grind of black pepper as desired.

2. Serve the tartine on a large plate and eat American style with your fingers, or Belgian style with a knife and fork.

Monday, July 14

Le bon marché !
From my visit to France in May...visiting the market in Melun is one of my most vivid memories. The colors, sounds, smells, tastes...almost overwhelming. Luckily I was with my friend Janet (at right) who really knew her way around and led me in a happy daze through the baroque excess of deliciousness, tasting an unfamiliar fruit here and sampling a strange cheese there. We ended up making a few mistakes despite Janet's expertise, somehow being presented with a kilo of fresh spinach when we asked for bananas (we were too embarrassed to point out our mistake to the beaming greengrocer) and being shouted at by the pork butchers, bulgy men flashing sharp knives, when we tried to sneak a shot of their astonishing display of all things pork. You could have set up their stall of pork products (which included whole skinned carcasses and artistic pyramids of snouts and tails) in a New York Gallery and called it Art, it was that amazing. But they were quite fierce about anyone taking shots of their artistic handiwork so we quickly left their vicinity, humming and trying to look all innocent "Do you hear someone shouting at us, Janet?" "Why no, Nancy, why would anyone be shouting at us? But let's go look at the honey shop now!" Lots of excitement and fun at le marché! Janet, I know you will miss it when you leave, especially those pork vendors! Au revoir!

Sunday, July 13

into new art forms! While at camp in California last week I took a gnome-making seminar (it was the City of Berkeley family camp after all) and needle felted for the first time! My gnome (lower right) came out very wizard-y looking rather than gnomish, but our teacher told us (in mystical accents) that we only help the gnomes take form, we don't create them. So, that's OK then (I guess?) My sister-in-law Christine's lovely she-gnome (upper left), Herb Woman, is much more in the traditional gnome style. Our teacher told us that our gnomes would whisper their names to us, but mine remained resolutely, if genially, silent. Any suggestions? Feel free to email me if you hear something I don't!

Friday, July 11


Night river, and these frail boats
bobbing past, small flames flickering-
only the crickets dare breathe