Yeah, that's how my brain works...
It had been a while since I last visited California. I lived in Los Angeles for a short period of time when I was in my twenties. My life then not too much different from now evolved around food but I don't think I really appreciated the California cuisine as much as I did this past week. Here in Virginia, eating local and seasonal requires mindful planning and effort. In California, not so much at least from what I saw....
Walking around in a small town outside of Napa on a cool morning to find coffee, we stumbled on a coffee shop that offered "lavender coffee", what???? Lavender for calming, and then coffee for a pick me up. It was delicious!!! As we walked around the town, the pots outside one store had lemon trees in place of what in Virginia would have to be an evergreen and the hanging flowers/plants around it were rosemary. I told Husband, all I need is a pot of boiling water and packet of pasta. Little lemon leaf in the water for flavor, to cook the pasta, smash some of the rosemary in a bit of lemon juice and zest, then YUM!
Yeah, that's how my brain works. I often embarrass my family when I pick leaves, fruits and flowers off landscapes to taste. The abundance of variety of produce in California is a haven for a cook. I mean, really? Dill grows on the side of the highway outside of San Francisco and they grow larger than I have ever seen them at any farm or garden in Virginia. Quince climbs up walls filled with fruit in strip malls or next to winery gates. Figs...OMG fig trees are just filled with young-mature figs and the birds leave them alone?!!?!? I guess there is plenty to go around so they don't attack them like they do my fig trees. I can go on and on about all that grows wild but we did not end up eating the lemon rosemary pasta off the street(but look for it in a future menu) and ended up trying some amazing food at various towns and restaurants.
I can not say there was one thing that stood out more than another. Michelin star restaurant, Food Network Star chef's Eatery, or a small cafe out of the way, we ate amazing food and gratefully the chefs/cooks were open to sharing ingredient lists and techniques with us. We learned a few little tricks at Culinary Institute and we brought back with us some herbs, oils,Verju,tools, and wine of course, to share with you. I have to say in particular the infusion of flavors in the oils and waters used for cooking is what was most inspiring. Pasta cooked in tomato water, not tomato juice. Fig leaf infused oil. Tomato leaf infused oil...and more.
Anyway, this weeks menu is inspired or copied in some cases from the meals we had last week. We hope you will enjoy this weeks meals as much as we are excited to share them with you.
From everyone at Ezie and Emil... It's All about food... Enjoy!