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.
jam update: 

i left in a huge rush this afternoon, so i won't know if the jam set until tomorrow.  but it was awfully beautiful.  

other updates:

i'll be helping out this sunday at yes we can, with one of my favorite canners of all time, le fuerst. we'll be making apricot jam, and if i'm not mistaken, there are still spots available to come can with us.  i'm gonna bring my copper jam pot and lots of gossip.  maybe some burritos. 

veller's book got reviewed in the nyt yesterday, by someone who actually got it!  the fantastic death-to-the-possum scene was even mentioned!  excellent!

i have some sneaky writing stuff up my sleeves.  as soon as i have more to share, trust me, i will share it.  but it's pretty exciting!

did you see this article on canning in the nyt last weds?  

not so much in this shot, but i've found that i have trouble sometimes getting my lens to focus on what i want it to focus on. sometimes, when i want the front to be in focus and the back blurry, it ends up with the middle focused, and the forefront and back of the shot blurry. it's really annoying, and upsetting when i get back home and upload the photos onto my computer. dad, what am i doing wrong?


going on lately:

+went to emmy's spaghetti shack and the seward st. slides with cynthia (though looking for the slides might have been more fun than actually riding them). i'm not going to link to it, but the slides have their own yelp page with 149 reviews. wtf?

+almost done with my big project (kind of). it's due 10/19, but i pretty much have to be done with it by 10/1...i'm feeling pretty good about it, but not good enough to blab about it on the internet. if anything comes of it, i will definitely celebrate here.

+crazy novella's brought one of her piggies to the restaurant for us to butcher with her. today, we made prosciutto, pancetta, soaked the heads for soppressata, and cleaned the loins and tenders for her to take home. tomorrow we'll show her how to make arista, boil the heads, and clean the shoulders for salami. i think she plans to make bacon, pate, and a bunch of other stuff with the other pig. she's a maniac, and i see a LOT of pork in her future. yikes. i'll try to remember my camera for tomorrow so we can take some photos of the heads.