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June 2010

May 2010

The house of belonging

- David Whyte

I awoke this morning in the gold light turning this way and that
thinking for a moment it was one day like any other.

But the veil had gone from my darkened heart and I thought
it must have been the quiet candlelight that filled my room,
it must have been the first easy rhythm with which I breathed myself to sleep,
it must have been the prayer I said speaking to the otherness of the night.

And I thought this is a good day you could meet your love,
This is the black day someone close to you could die.

This is the day you realize how easily the thread is broken between this world and the next
and I found myself sitting up in the quiet pathway of light,
the tawny close-grained cedar burning round me like fire
and all the angels of this housely heaven ascending
through the first roof of light the sun has made.

This is the bright home in which I love,
this is where I ask my friends to come,
this is where I want to love all the things it has taken me so long to learn to love.

This is the temple of my adult aloneness
and I belong to that aloneness as I belong to my life.

There is no house like the house of belonging.

One last cup of Bavaria

Chamomile flowers
When I was a little girl, my grandmother remarried (my grandfather died when I was eight). Her new husband, Rudy, was German and introduced us to all kinds of interesting things like bloodwurst, stollen, and herbal tea. Whenever I smell a chamomile teabag I am transported back to those sweet days of learning about a different culture from a different grandfather. Rudy, who never had children of his own, became the great-grandfather my children knew and loved before he died - in a sauna on a cruise ship at 90.  

Anyway, I grew chamomile during the late winter and early spring on our south-facing front steps and later in window boxes. It's delicate ferny leaves and tiny daisy-like flowers are now beginning to fry to a crisp. So I am harvesting the last of them. I'm going to try re-potting them, cutting them back and putting them in a shadier area to see if they will somehow survive the summer. I'm not optimistic. 

But I will drink a cup (or two) of tea to them. A tablespoon of fresh or a teaspoon of dried flowers, steeped in boiling water, with a bit of honey makes one sweet cup. And it tastes like 1970, in my mother's kitchen.

Chamomile tea is supposed to be good for anxiety, stomachache, pms, headache, and insomnia. I should plant more next year.

Frittata - perfect spring vegetable container

Raw ingredients mid-may
Just about everything that can grow in this region is being harvested right now - the last of the cool weather crops, the first of the warm. We had a lovely assortment to put to use for Wednesdays cafe: chard, lettuce, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, radishes, kohlrabi, potatoes, onions, dill, carrots . . . plus eight dozen eggs from Springhead Farm, some cheese from the food bank, and Kelley's fabulous goat cheese. 

What to do?  Well, first we made a salad - grating the kohlrabi, radishes, and carrots tossing with the mixed lettuce (Mrs. Carlysle put beautiful nasturtiums in hers!) and goat cheese - sprinkling with our house dressing (1 part rice vinegar, 1 part vegetable oil, a little salt sometimes shaken in an almost empty jam jar or maple syrup bottle). 

Then we made refrigerator pickles, slicing the cukes into slivers, mixing with chopped sweet onion and fresh dill and tossing with vinegar, honey, and salt. 

Everything else went into frittatas. These are similar to a quiche but without the fancy cheese and cream. The potatoes form the crust this time and the savory pies are a great container for greens, squash, and tomatoes. We make them in the oven since we have more pie plates and oven space than skillets and burners. Here's how:


One or two potatoes
An assortment of veggies (for one frittata we would have used approximately 1/2 onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 bunch of chard, 2 summer squashes, and one tomato
8-10 eggs depending on size of pan
1/2 cup grated cheese (opt.)

Lightly oil a pie plate with olive oil (I would use 9" or larger). Arrange enough thinly sliced potatoes to cover bottom. Place in oven and bake at 450 for about 20 minutes (depending on how thin the potato slices are. While potatoes are baking, sauté vegetables in a skillet until tender and grate cheese if you are using it. When potatoes are done, cover them with vegetables, lightly salted or seasoned, and then add enough scrambled eggs to come within a half inch of the top of the pan. Cover with grated cheese if you would like. Bake the whole thing for 30-40 minutes (till center is done) back in the 450 degree oven. 

May frittata