We shared the richest and fullest family day to date. The day started early as it always does when you have a precocious two and a half year set on proving his place in the family structure. I just wish his coordination matched the age of his mind and he could act on his thoughts. Beau wakes us up with promises of ‘presso. My half awake early morning brainwaves conjure images of the perfect espresso rich and creamy with it’s crema perfect like at Insight Coffee in Sacramento. Thoughts wander to Antoine St. Exupery’s passage from his amazing book “Wind, Sands and Stars”, “The joy of living, I say, was summed up for me in the remembered sensation of that burning and aromatic swallow, that mixture of milk and coffee and bread by which men hold communion with tranquil pastures, exotic plantations, and golden harvests, communion with earth.” . My java filled dream bubble rudely popped by Beau’s impromptu impersonation of a dinosaur complete with screaming at the top of his lungs and menacingly lunging at us. I suppose in the long run, a two year old screaming Dinosaur gets me out of bed faster than coffee.
Lately mornings have been more tolerable as cooler weather patterns have moved in. We decided on a walk in the Desert just south of the Top of the Cove, where we live. The slow season out here is great in the sense that you rarely see anyone walking in the Desert. The explanation is two fold, (a) most people leave this are for the hot summer months and (b) only a fool takes a long walk in the Desert with 126 degree temperatures. We walked through an area that a flash flood recently ravaged. The devastation was amazingly surreal and permanent, forever altering the landscape, where piles of rocks once stood, only dried plates of dirt and sand remain. Beau enjoyed himself jumping on these natural tiles and smashing him imploring Daddy to join the destruction.
I was set on cooking an Asian based fest for Gary and Joan, Lisa, myself and Beau. I had purchased three pounds of calamari, one whole Tai Snapper, fresh pork from De La Ranch and some ground beef to cook with. The menu was Tibetan Beef Dumplings with Ginger Tomato Sauce, Pork and Cabbage Dumplings with a Ginger dipping sauce, Salt and Pepper Calamari, Crispy Tai Snapper with Green Papaya and Scallion Oil, finished with barbecues Pineapple with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream drizzled with a (Pyrat) Rum and Vanilla Bean butter sauce. I prepped feverishly for two hours trying to get as much done as quickly as possible. Strange, you’d think I hated cooking on my day off. Truth be told, cooking is love and what a great way to show love, one stomach at a time!
We ventured to Beau’s favorite playground, the Blue Playground, just off of 111 and Adams. Beau danced in the water like a dervish spinning and whirling to some hidden, ecstatic inner voice and rhythm, endlessly circling the fake palm tree squirting water all over. The women of his tribe chased him as he ran around the tree stopping momentarily in the safe harbor of mama or dada’s lap. Water had transformed our little dinosaur. WE stopped at Home Depot for a few things to garden with. I converted our Guatemalan drink cart into a garden planter and made a pot of herbs for Joan and Gary as a thanks for the help they give us raising Beaumont. Beaumont passed out hard, for twenty minutes, not as long as we hoped but enough to re energize him and prime him for Dama and Putz (grandma and grandpa) arrival.
For seven years I dwelt in the loose palace of exile.
Playing strange games with the girls of the Island.
Now I have come again to the land of the fair and the strong and the wise. Brothers and Sisters of the pale forest. Children of the night. Who among you will run with the hunt? Now, night arrives with her purple legions. Retire now to your tents and to your dreams. Tomorrow we enter the town of my birth. I want to be ready.
– Jim Morrison
Dama and Putz arrived and Lisa elevated the mood with her Golden Lions. One day I will have to transcribe the recipe for Daniel Boulud’s amazing cocktail, fresh ginger juice, Pyrat rum, lime. Together we shared plates of Sha Momo (Tibetan Beef Dumplings), Chinese Pork and Cabbage Dumpling, crispy fried Tai Snapper, Salt and Pepper Calamari and a refreshing roasted Pineapple with Vanilla Bean and Pyrat rum sauce…
Beaumont sporting his Pumpkin Lights from Dama
Long after the night ended and our dinosaur was fast asleep, we enjoyed a flute of Prosecco promising that every Sunday should be like this…
Sha Moma: largely stolen from Andrea Nguyen’s amazing dumpling book that ought to be a part of everyone’s cook book collection called “Asian Dumplings”
3/4 pound ground Beef
1/2 cup Onion, chopped fine
1/3 cup Scallions, chopped
1/4 cup Ginger, minced
1/4 cup Garlic, minced
Salt and Sichuan Pepper
2 tablespoon Canola Oil
6 tablespoons Water
Mix everything together, rest one hour
2 cups Flour
3/4 cup boiling water
Mix in food processor with plastic dough blade, rest two hours.
Cut small lumps of dough and roll thin with wine bottle or rolling pin. Take a big spoonful of meat and wrap around. Put into a cabbage leaf lined steamer and cook 12 minutes. Serve with a tomato sauce made from scratch adding cumin, hot peppers, copious quantities of ginger root, mint and cilantro.