Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Changing Seasons in New Mexico

October 20, 2008

The seasons begin to change here in a beautiful transition. The days continue to be warm and sunny, but now the nightime temperatures dip comfortably into the high 40's and low 50's. The mornings are crisp and clean. Bootsy, my 12 year old Siberian husky is coming in to her own again. She wakes up spirited and anxious to go out: Maybe we'll see a coyote again this morning.

The Santa Fe farmer's market is bursting with mostly natural or organic bounty. It was just a few weeks ago that the Santa Fe farmers market moved in to its own, permament building in the new Railyard district ( more about the Railyard district in a future blog). There are so many vendors that the stands flow out of the main warehouse and pour like a cornucopia out into the railyard.

It has been almost 30 years since I had a garden and so I started slowly this year. I had to remove the old railroad ties ( creosote!) and fill in with new earth. I am so excited by my efforts, the pure joy of eating and cooking the vegetables you grow yourself. I have plump carrots so sweet it seems like candy, kale so crisp it screams LIFE with every bite. And winter squash....well I did have one very delicious buttercup before the vine died, but my butternut is orange and sweet and deeply flavored. Tomatoes, yes tomatoes, eaten fresh from the garden is an unbelievable experience. Am I sounding like a recent New York City transplant? Well it is hard not to gush. Tonight I savored homegrown carrot and brussel sprout nishime, homegrown creamy squash soup and a Braised Halibut with a homegrown tomato braising juice. Yummmmm.

New Mexico

September 11, 2008

Greetings from Santa Fe. It is almost 1 year since I moved from New York City, my home of 27 years. It has been an incredible journey and learning experience. It is a very different climate here. While we enjoy 4 seasons, the warmer months last longer. We are at 7,000 feet so it means drinking lots of water and cooking a bit differently. I was shocked that the first time I cooked beans it took 2-3 times longer. I am grateful that I had a chance to cook for myself before embarking on cooking for others. Unless one is limited as to use of spices, you do feel the need to add more spice to your food here. This time of year is chile roasting season. The fresh green chilies come up from a town called Hatch and are roasted in big drums on almost every corner of Santa Fe.

I have met many new friends and find people open and friendly, eager to make new acquaintances. This has helped my transition greatly. What has been a huge disappoint is the real lack of quality vegan restaurants. I had become so used to dropping in to Souen and Mana and Ozu when I didn't feel like cooking. I really empathize now will all my classmates from outside the New York City area that complained about all the cooking! Honestly, the couple of vegan restaurants are really not good. I wish you could experience what they call miso soup (or maybe you shouldn't). I had to ask one if they knew about any greens besides chard!

I do love being back out West. There is nothing like the western skies and the open feeling.

I wish you all well.