forgive me, but i need to take a little break from all of my iranicizing. not because i'm not aware of what's going on, but because i'm too aware. it's overwhelming.

i want to catch you all up on what's been going on here for the past couple of weeks:

there were 700 or so jars of apricot preserves at yes we can, which we made at la cocina, whilst ryan farr taught handfuls of laypeople how to make emulsified sausages.

there was the couscous royale at asiya's goodbye party, where i finally met jessica, the woman behind rabbits and wrinkles.

a week later, there was an educational day of canning cherries and cherry jam for green string farm, wherein i realized that cherry jam could never be a money-making enterprise. fifty pounds of pitted cherries yielded 46 8-oz jars of jam. i don't even want to think about the math involved in that.

there was the day we went over to veller's house to kill four rabbits for our dinner celebrating the release of her book. this is the least graphic photo i had. notice the fraying nylon string veller saved from her hay bales and rigged up to the tree for hanging the rabbits to skin.

but as one might imagine, the cage the rabbits were in wasn't the most secure apparatus, so one bunny had escaped two nights before the big day. he was last seen at the liquor store down the street. we searched for him for 20 minutes to no avail, so we made do with three bunnies. as soon as we left, veller said, the smart guy showed up but she couldn't catch him.

there was my lunatic idea to cook a dinner using as many backyard and urban farmed and foraged ingredients as possible to celebrate the release of novella's book, which meant that i somehow had to find dozens of backyard farmers, figure out what and how much they'd have available the week of the dinner, set up drop-off times and make time to forage and harvest, and somehow write a coherent menu around it all. it was the most involved, challenging, invigorating and fruitful experience of my cooking career.

the dinner couldn't have been more lovely:

chris cutting into the prosciutto made with novella's pigs

novella's olives (which we served with the prosciutto)

cucu sabzi, a persian frittata (my mom's is better) i made with all of the leftover foraged herbs and greens

the second prosciutto (CL got a little carried away)

CL slicing prosciutto on the beautiful berkel slicer emilio lent us for the night

the experience of seeing those rabbits on the farm over the past several months, killing, skinning and cleaning them up, then cooking with them was something i hope all cooks have at some point in their lives. chris and cedric did a fantastic job with them. we dried sunny slopes farm apricots and made a moroccan-inspired stuffing. those are little heirloom carrots from novella's farm on the outside, with fresh chickpeas from catalan farm.

all in all, it was a fantastic night, with so many of our friends and neighbors present. the sense of community was so strong that night, with nearly every table scouring the menu for the ingredients that had come from their own yards. perhaps the most special contribution was the incredible sack of mulberries from suzanne's neighbor's yard in south berkeley. thank you, everyone, for filling that night with such authenticity and love.

and finally, yesterday there was the discovery of lola's ice creams & sundaes (via aaron), a sort of beautiful ice cream version of the moro books (not much of a surprise since they come from the same publisher). i might just have to get that for myself.

a little linkage

if you live in london, or visit, check out violet cakes at the broadway market--taking the city by storm.

i definitely laughed out loud more than once when i read
this column by a striking comedy writer the other day. so funny.

i really liked what april wrote about hippies yesterday--it's so true. i have to stop myself from going to that place a lot. it's just so easy to judge people and be superior about things. ugh. one of my friends this week called me crunchy, and i suppose that compared to some people, i am, but really, i just want to take care of myself, and the earth, and the people i love. and i hope that others do, too.

i have mixed feelings about "going green." i guess it just seems like an oxymoron, buying a whole bunch of new stuff and throwing out all of your old stuff in an effort to be more environmentally friendly. there's "green fashion," which i find to be kind of ridiculous. i mean, if you were truly "green" then wouldn't you spend all of the time, money and energy on something like figuring out how to make ocean water potable or something, instead of clothes made out of haute couture scraps in some industrial factory with slave labor?

there's a new "green gift shop" in the elmwood, and it kind of freaks me out and intrigues me at the same time. it's beautifully curated, and a lot of the merchandise seems to be made out of something else that was at one point trash. it's just that cashing in on "saving the environment" seems so wrong to me (all of these quotation marks are making me think of that "blog" of "unnecessary" quotation marks).

i started to get the willies a while ago about all of my soaps and lotions and things, and i've been trying to switch over to more natural alternatives as i've been using up the old stuff. i've been having major difficulty letting go of the good old tide with bleach, though, since i manage to get all of my clothes so smelly and dirty at work. but i think i may have found an alternative: vaska. julia, the lady who came up with the formula, does some textile work for us at the restaurant. and, she's been partnering up with abc diaper service for the past year or two to test her detergent. i say, if it gets poop out, it can get my damage out. i bought vaska at monterey market, but you can also get it online.

i kind of also love the way dryer sheets make my clothes smell, but i have made a pact with myself to switch over to nellie's dryer balls when i use up the last of the bounce.

the other thing i use copious amounts of with my laundry is oxi-brite/oxi-clean. it's basically just hydrogen peroxide in powder form, but i am superstitious about it. i feel like everything just gets so much cleaner. and it is definitely a lot gentler than bleach, especially for my precious chef coats.

okay, enough preaching. and don't worry, i'm working my way through my thoughts and photos from sunday--i just want to do it all justice before i really write about it.