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Nov 27th
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How Great Thou Artisans

food featA whirlwind tour of the latest from Santa Cruz’s culinary crafters 

Artisanal update! Once I finally turned my attention away from the pumpkin tea cake and almond biscotti, I discovered the baguette sandwiches ($6) at Companion Bakeshop. Long slender baguettes perfect enough to make a Francophile weep are topped with various temptations all week long. There’s a sensuous veggie version, and another for us carnivores, such as last week’s model packed with Brie and el Salchichero’s divinely authentic salami.

Brisk field work revealed that the salami is properly called “summer sausage,” and so I zoomed down to the gleaming butcher shop at the edge of the Ingalls/Swift empire and had a look for myself. Yes, the summer sausage was indeed, visually at least, a doppelgänger for salami. But my attention was immediately snagged by two gorgeous slabs of paté—one a classic campagnola, country-style creation of rough-cut pastured pork, and the other a paler pink-brown made of rabbit. What could I do? You guessed it—I bought one of each, took them home and found out why paté will never ever leave our hearts and minds. From the $10 block of rabbit paté the size of a swollen baseball, I sliced a sample (to be washed down with a handy Malbec) and here was the deal: subtle, delicate, yet bold, the paté offered up its internal alchemy of locally sourced rabbit heightened by saffron, chamomile, crème fraîche and some pork to add richness. The next bite was of the pork-intensive campagnola—from an equal size block for $6.50. Rich, but not overwhelming, this was country paté made by a master artisan, perfumed by apple brandy, onion, cloves, nutmeg, garlic and the expert hand of charcuterist Chris LaVeque. El Salchichero uses pasture-raised animals from Devil’s Gulch Ranch, Marin Sun Farms, and other ranches where animals are treated with respect. These patés were a revelation. I’m thinking memorable picnic item, paired with bubbly and cornichons.

Greener Pastures

Come visit former chef and current sheep rancher/cheesemonger Rebecca King, at her atmospheric Monkeyflower Ranch, Saturday, May 3 from noon to 4 p.m. The first time I visited Rebecca— when she’d just begun raising her flocks—we sat at a picnic table on her property sampling some of the European-style sheep cheeses she had made that were aging and perfecting. From where we sat, I could watch the ewes pampering their little babies, and the young sheep literally bouncing around the pastures. I must admit, it was charming beyond belief. The handmade cheeses are superb and the ranch is an ideal place to come and savor a quieter, gentler way of life. Kids will go nuts over the sheep, and baby piglets, too.  Almost nothing is cuter than a baby pig (apologies to cat fanatics everywhere). Monkeyflower Ranch lives at 1481 San Miguel Canyon Road, in Royal Oaks—bring a picnic, or purchase foodstuffs made from farm-raised ingredients during the May 3 Open House. Beer from Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing and wine from Odonata Wines will also be available. Total relaxing, ranch-style fun. Parking fee of $10 per vehicle. Please let Rebecca know you’re coming by clicking on the Open House Evite.

Product of the Week: Part 2

Those Kevita people are knocking me out! Just when I thought the Lemon Cayenne version of this exciting—and I’m not kidding—sparkling probiotic drink was the ne plus ultra, I just tried some of the Living Greens flavor. Pull up a chair—let’s review. Cool pale green and loaded with probiotic cultures, green tea, apple cider vinegar (think alkalinity), chlorella, lots of green aqua cultures, fig concentrate—all of it organic. The entire 15.2 fluid ounce glass bottle contains a mere 60 calories. So here is a tart and hence utterly refreshing drink that tastes like a blend of green tea, spirulina and a hint of fruit. You could sip this all day long.

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Good Times Holiday Giving

Giving Where It Helps

 

Giving Thanks: The Thought-Form of Solution

We are in the time and under the influence of Sagittarius, sign of the wanderer, good food, good music, and the joy (Jupiter as ruler) that occurs from giving to others while simultaneously giving thanks from our hearts. Having the Thanksgiving holiday during the month of Sag is not a mistake. No other sign understands joy (an aspect of the Soul) as Sag (except Pisces when not in despair). “Sag is a beam of directed and focused light. The beam reveals a greater light ahead, illuminating the Way to the center of the Light,” emitting the Ray of Joyfulness. Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude; in the form of prayers, thoughts, feelings, wishes, hopes and greetings. Gratitude is something we still need to learn. Gratitude creates goodwill. Together, gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution” for humanity and our world’s problems. Gratitude and goodwill are the prerequisites for the reappearance of the Christ, the Aquarian World Teacher. In Ancient Wisdom texts it is written, “being grateful is the hallmark of one who is enlightened.” Gratitude comes from the Soul—the characteristics of which are love and wisdom (Ray 2). Gratitude is scientifically and occultly (mental, not emotional) a releasing agent. Gratitude liberates us and everything around us. Also a service to others, gratitude is deeply scientific in nature, releasing us from the past and laying open our future path leading to the new culture and civilization, the new laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarian, the Age of Friendship and Equality. The Hierarchy lays much emphasis upon gratitude. Let us be grateful this year and this season together. And so now the days of light illuminating the darkness begin (December’s festivals and feast days). Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I am grateful for all of you, my readers.

 

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