I am sitting here at my laptop, thick curly white-girl ‘fro in a monstrous bun on top of my head and some ridiculous outfit that was an attempt at cuteness and comfort to beat the heat, and I can’t help but wonder... am I the Carrie Bradshaw of Cheese Blogging?
I have a fabulous home, more clothes and shoes than I know where to store, go to fabulous events with fabulous food and wine, write a column on my vices, and go through cheeses in an almost episodic rhythm. I am, however, currently going through a little “dry spell” (a.k.a. luxuries like wine and cheese are the first to go during an austerity period) and so my “column” is drying up as well. What would Carrie do for her hungry New Yorkers longing to read about her sexcapades at a time when there are no men in sight? Write about daily life, other kinds of love, weathering the blues, and good times with friends.
If you think the life of a writer is a bumpy one, you can well imagine being a lowly blogger is even more of a challenge.The competition is ON between me and Will Fertman for the most California-local, farm-fresh experiment-gone-right, and he is basically killing me. But what Will doesn’t know is that we’ve replaced regular household freezer items with these natural tree-bearing ones from over the fence next door... let’s see what happens. Yes, Will, come September, I will have a bevy of cheese-pairing chutneys from my bounty of fruit and herb, so start shaking in your Birkenstocks.
In the meantime, I’d like to share with you one of the many perks of writing and blogging in a focused marketplace.
28 June 2011
What’s a little healthy summer competition between colleagues, especially two newcomers to Northern California, the artisan cheese, sustainable farming, and organic produce Mecca?
Now, I don’t want to mention any names, but a certain someone is getting a little fruity in the kitchen lately, and his initials are Will Fertman. That’s right, Will. I’ve seen your posts with your peaches on your pizza and other such Cali-Foodie adventurous combinations, and I must say: I like it. It jump-starts my competitive nature, but I do like it. I’m just wondering what the folks back home on the East Coast might have to say about peaches on a pizza...
So here’s some food for thought. Tonight’s entrée-sized salad at Lauren Berley’s Sonoma home:
05 May 2011
Ha! Victory has been had in the war on finding the Middle-Eastern products I adore... I have found my Labneh, right here in Sonoma even, at Sonoma Market (http://www.sonoma-glenellenmkt.com.) Much to my surprise, I found it at a most abundant location, as opposed to the less-than-luxurious environments I had imagined trekking to Oakland or Berkley to a Middle Eastern specialty market and being pushed around by the regular customers as I have in the past. Those living in L.A. can relate if you’ve ever shopped at the fabulous Elat Market (http://www.yelp.com/biz/elat-market-los-angeles) on Pico Blvd. (Best Bulgarian Feta, btw.) But today in Sonoma is about both victory and convenience. Right on! So, what came next? Lunch.
Inside each of us is a grilled-cheese-loving kid lost in a land of worldly spin on such pedestrian cravings. In case you have been living in a cave for the past ten years, Americans have a reputation for unhealthy eating and obesity associated with our comfort and fast foods, compared to those foods enjoyed for centuries by our healthier brothers and sisters nestled alongside the Mediterranean Sea. But who can deny the not-only want, but NEED for a grilled cheese every so often? I can’t, and today’s lunch was no exception as I got my “old world” on. Fueled by a trip to Trader Joes, I have unearthed a most delicious cheese and created an unforgettable sandwich: Mediterranean-Inspired Grilled Asiago.
15 April 2011
One thing I miss about being married to a Lebanese man is the food. More specifically, the Labneh. In earlier years, a starving artist in NYC, I used to bring lunch to work. In spite of a tight pocketbook, I’ve always had a vow to wow, homemade lunches included in the lifestyle. There was no bologna and cheese sandwich in my little mini-Igloo, no sir. It was all about labneh sandwiches rolled with zataar, fresh mint and basil leaves, cucumber and tomato into a lavash, doused with olive oil and held together with aluminum foil until lunchtime.
03 April 2011 Sonoma, CA I have no internet, nor even a chair for that matter. My furniture is coming next week. I have only what went to Italy with me, plus a few things I’ve needed since landing. There is dust everywhere from renovation, yet inches below are a fantastic kitchen and an entire house with tiled floors and a garden. My new home in Sonoma. But right now I can only see brooms, my trashed socks, white pawprints on everything, and the air mattress where Lincoln the Dachshund and I sleep folded like a taco under a 1970s sleeping bag. The past two weeks Lincoln and I have been sleeping in the loft portion of an R.V.
24 March 2011
Even a gypsy eventually reaches the end of her rope, and I have. All the schlepping, buying, wrapping, TSA-ing, and airport shuttling has gotten the best of me, and I am ready to settle down somewhere delicious for a while... you know, actually live somewhere I can sink my teeth into. After Italy, what should a girl do?
07 March 2011
There is certain arrogance to being a foodie, a sort of lifted-up, unspoken status that of course means absolutely nothing other than the fact that you've survived being raised on Big Agri and have since reinvented your relationship with food. Indeed it is cool to embark on a life of tasting and pairing, spreading and dipping, and of course, adding cheese to anything and everything you can sample it with. And it’s fun to work the gastronome angle, show off your cheese exposure to your pedestrian-palate friends, dropping names and saying it properly as well. Admit it, it’s equally as fun to whip out the arbitrary seasoned or wine-crusted piece in gorgeous wrap and pass it off as just some little nothing lying around in your humble Sub Z. Admit it, knowing what’s out there is a constant source of amusement. Which brings me to my latest game: introducing myself as a blogger for an American cheese magazine, while befriending the Lunigianese artisan cheese producers and sampling everything in sight. Well it’s true, isn’t it? Wouldn’t you do it?
Saturday, 26 February 2011
Desperate times call for desperate measures, one of the few clichés I can actually tolerate, applies tonight. And I do mean desperate. It has been a completely manic week at the farm, with Spring showing up early and agriturismo guests following the season. Needless to say, tonight is una Notte di Blockbuster, accompanied by a local syrah (purchased Monday by my friend Teri Love of Gioia Wines in Santa Barbara, but sadly left behind for ME!) and some cheeses I bought this week and (gasp!) haven’t found the opportunity to open slowly, bleeding out the process of pairing and sampling at a snail’s pace. Anything less deliberate is a wasted opportunity fraught with the tastelessness of simply snacking and the oblivion of a half-cocked palate, and was thus omitted from this past week’s agenda.