“February – the month of love..?!! No wonder the shortest one in the calendar.” – Dinesh Kumar Biran
I prefer this quote:
February days are a marketing gimmick; love happens every day. Randeep Hooda
Always look for hidden treasures. I tend to find them in the least likely places. Like on a recent hike:
You know what they say…one persons rubbish is another persons treasure. But look at what became of this desert treasure:
A piece broke off so I placed it in a vase with fresh flowers around it… the old with the new.
My friend Leonard then created an outdoor mixed media of sorts using the larger piece and mushrooms that light up for a unique solar light installation placed in a terracotta planter with mixed gravel. From the desert floor to my floor…
“It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn’t matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Zahir.
Getting ready to embrace some change
“Change is a great and horrible thing, and people love it or hate it at the same time. Without change, however, you just don’t move.” -Marc Jacobs
“I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question.” -Harun Yahya
The brochure perfectly describes it. Ocean sunsets, sheep filled pastures, rocking chairs and award winning grounds. Piles of pillows and a cozy fire. Serenity and Relaxation.
On my side trip to Carmel I was taken to the charmingly historic Mission Ranch, one of the most spectacular spots on the Monterey Peninsula. It is a sight to behold with meadows stretching to the south which join the wetlands and Carmel River Beach. The exquisite views are unrivaled. Point Lobos, a scenic coastal natural reserve featuring a variety of sea life, wildlife, hiking trails and a whaling museum can be seen in the distance across the bay. Mission ranch is a place unto itself but close enough to the town of Carmel-by-the sea. You might just want to stay put because there’s also a great restaurant with a view and nightly live piano bar. On Sundays their live jazz brunch was voted “best brunch” by local newspapers.
A little history:
In the 1850’s, the property became one of the first of the early California dairies. The creamery, which supplied the county with cheese and butter, now houses the restaurant. The barns were used for hay and milking. The ranch has had some 17 owners.
The Ranch now encompasses 22 acres. Originally it consisted of 160 acres and was owned by Juan Romero, a Native American who is believed to have lived in the village next to the Carmel Mission. In 1852 he deeded the property to William Curtis, a Monterey storekeeper, for $300. The Martin family, who owned the Ranch for 60 years, also farmed potatoes for the Sierra gold miners.
The Ranch operated as a private club, an officers’ club for the Army and Navy during World War II. At that time the windows were occasionally blackened against a possible Japanese landing. It had a rollicking reputation, with dance bands and a lively bar scene.
In 1986 Clint Eastwood bought the Ranch, rescuing the property from an impending fate as a condominium development. Once again, Dirty Harry to the rescue! He sought out the best craftsmen for renovation, who have replicated moldings, door frames and hardware to match the style of the original buildings. Each structure reflects a different architectural period: from the 1950’s feel of the restaurant and dance barn, to the century old Martin farmhouse.
The one time Bunkhouse is the oldest structure on the Ranch. It’s nestled among historic cypress and eucalyptus trees, as well as newly planted gardens, which adorn the entire Ranch.
Sure beats the old bar he used to own in Carmel “Hog’s Breath Inn” although I’m told the artichoke soup is to die for.
How many ways to cook wild salmon? I can count the ways. Here’s a good one:
White Wine and Herb Poached Wild Salmon for two.
Incorporating three of the things I love most: wine, herbs and salmon.
1 salmon fillet, skinned & debonned, about 1 lb (½ lb for each)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup water
1 lemon, sliced
6 sprigs fresh sage salt & pepper
Check salmon fillet for any pin bones, taking care to remove with tweezers. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside. In a large nonreactive skillet, place lemon slices and herbs. Pour in wine and water and bring to a boil over high heat. When boiling, add salmon on top of lemons and herbs, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook, about 10 minutes. Check doneness – if fish is firm and opaque, remove from skillet and drain on paper towels. Set aside until ready to serve.
Warm Brussel Sprout and Haricot Vert Salad
1/2 lb french green beans, trimmed
1/2 lb brussel sprouts, cleaned and shredded roughly with a mandolin or a very sharp knife
1 shallot, sliced
1 tbs butter salt & pepper
In a skillet over medium high heat, warm butter until melted. Add green beans and shallot. Season generously with salt and pepper and cook until green beans are just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add Brussel sprouts, tossing thoroughly until combined. Set aside until ready to serve.
makes 1 cup
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 cup sage
2 tbs dijon mustard
2 tbs lemon juice
3/4 cup olive oil salt and pepper
In a food processor, pulse to combine garlic, sage, egg and mustard, about 10 seconds. While food processor is running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add lemon juice, season generously with salt and pepper and pulse to combine, about 10 seconds.
To serve, plate Brussel sprout & haricot vert salad, top with salmon fillet and top with a spoonful of aioli.
*The original recipe called for 1 cup of canola oil and 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. You can decide.
Is canola oil healthy?
Quality canola oil is on par with some of the healthiest oils out there. Canola oil is higher in anti-inflammatory omega-3s than most vegetable oils, which may help reduce your risk of inflammatory illnesses like heart disease and cancer. Like olive oil, canola oil also contains a boatload of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. In the kitchen, canola has a mild flavor and relatively high smoke point, making it a versatile cooking oil and safe at high heats. Since cold-pressed oils can spoil more quickly than others, they should be stored in dark bottles and refrigerated to ensure freshness.
Bottom Line: Some conventional canola oils are questionable, but you can avoid the dangers and reap the heart-healthy benefits by choosing a quality expeller-pressed or cold-pressed oil that’s also organic or non-GMO.