The light begins- January

The light remains a little longer each day and it feels good. In my early days on Orcas Island, the dark lingered longer but in a good way. It was a time to rest and regenerate. Winter in times past truly began for us after the holidays. The last of the tourists and part time residents fled the rainy, cold dark and save for a scattered showing in the spring, they didn’t return until Memorial Day. Without internet like it is today, the dark was filled learning and reading off the screen, creating, sharing food. Potlucks were popular as was craft night, “stitch and bitch”. We spent guilt free time binge watching Northern Exposure on VCR tapes recorded by friends and did I mention the crafts. I learned to spin wool (not very well), knit and bought a 4 harness cherry wood loom. It’s something I’m still holding onto.  The weaving went well enough that I made and sold chenille scarves at our still thriving, local art cooperative, Olga Artworks. Keeping the wood stove going and the pipes warm was also a priority. Early garden planning was always a joy as it still is. But now we don’t mark up catalogs, call in and verbalize each item number. And we don’t wait patiently for seeds (or anything) to arrive 10-14 days later. And so it was.

Twenty five years later looks different for us and the island as a whole.  We are just short of five months at Wild Island.  Many restaurants still close in the winter for a few weeks and as long as ten weeks. A shift has slowly occurred and people are much more active than the times mentioned above. Locals are out and about. Busy. Folks are visiting more in the off season to avoid the crowds. Our local Chamber of Commerce has done a bang up job creating festivals and parades and putting Orcas Island on the map.  Businesses like Girl Meets Dirt are doing promotions like this one  that share the bounty of our island. We’re even in NYTimes top 52 places to visit in 2019. This change of pace requires an adjustment. It means attempting a steady pace year round versus the summer blow out and winter restoration theory. It might require a few more morning baths!

We enjoyed a  few days off over the holidays and we now are staying open through the winter. Winter to me primarily being January and February.  We’ve seen smiling faces walk through Wild Island’s door these first two weeks of 2019. People come for a quick stop on their lunch break, or they’ll call in an order for pickup. I love too, when customers, a majority at this time of our community and friends, come have some food then stay and feel the comfort of our dining room. It’s intimate and conversations jump between tables. One of my favorite dishes we’ve had on special that I hope to get on the daily menu is a warm kale salad.

I finely cut kale- a variety is nice but you use can use any single variety. Give it a little massage with a dash of olive oil, lemon and salt. I top the kale with warm quinoa, roasted squash (insert any root veggie), mushrooms and chickpeas, It’s seasoned with salt, olive oil and lemon and topped here with red kraut, avocado and cilantro. I’m thinking a nice tahini, green goddess like dressing could be nice here too.

Happy January!

Wendy


Lemon tahini sauce

Are you thinking what? Lemon tahini sauce? Really?

Yes. really. It’s basic and it’s so good. And we all need a reminder sometimes of the basics. I went to look up the recipe online only to find my favorite Mollie Katzen recipe. I searched my shelves at home high and low for my Moosewood Cookbook and Enchanted Broccoli Forest. I’m so sad. I think in an extreme Kon Mari moment I gave them away. I haven’t completely accepted that possibility and am hoping I will stumble across  them.veg-and-lemon-tahini-sauce-7

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Rice salad with spinach and pistachios

Rice and spinach salad-6The sun shines today and 2013 is feeling good. We have a long to do list with our move back. Our Hamburg belongings are on a ship just coming up the coast of CA as I write. O  is tracking it on an iphone app. Love that. We are also working on his USA visa and closing up shop in Hamburg. Well he is closing things up and still working a ton… he’s a champ.

On this side of the Atlantic, we are getting the house back in shape- things like the hands and knees tile floor scrubbing and re-sealing and dismantling and cleaning the six burner stove…

IMG_2945 stove cleaning

We are re-arranging rooms and painting walls that were begging to be refreshed with a new coat of paint. And then there’s the barn/greenhouse, landscape and garden- but I’ll save that for another post. We are planning a huge multi-family garage sale in the spring, passing on about twenty years of child-rearing goodies, clothes I’ve clung to far too long, random iron hooks, mop heads that never fit, multiple quantities of the same size tape measure, alarm clocks, no longer needed tools etc. Sound familiar? As I sort and separate, I am also consciously considering how I will not collect as many personal possessions in the next twenty-five years. This is how long I have lived on my own. Ok- twenty-seven to be exact. January is my spring cleaning.

It’s also the month I barely need to muster the willpower to eat clean nor do I need to clear the pantry of naughtiness, for I am superior at allowing myself to over-indulge in an extreme holiday way. I am brilliant. So come Jan 1st, I was so over it. And these first couple weeks have been a breeze. Now day seventeen. The chocolate covered expresso beans are making eyes at me. The sight of the left-over dough balls are once more appealing. And really isn’t there less calories in a little bit of dark chocolate than a rice cake with tahini and currants? But wait. This is for my health. As it was in this Jan 2012 post.

I will do my best to complete the month of January without refined sugar, processed foods or wheat. I’m no paleo so I will keep eating brown rice.

Rice and spinach salad

Loads of fresh veggies like spinach…

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And nuts…

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A lot of lemon. I’ve been adding zest to many many things. I have also started my day with a large glass of warm water and a squeeze of lemon. Google this and you will get loads of good reasons why to try this. But you can start here. A blogger who credited her sources. good girl. And this is not new info. Who remembers Jethro Kloss’, Back to Eden (I don’t have a kindle, this is just what my front cover from the 80’s looks like). I just upacked my copy of this and proudly placed it on the shelf. Too classic for the garage sale.

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And really, I’ve been cooking and eating like a winner. Last week I made three salads. A red and white cabbage carrot salad that accompanied almost every lunch and dinner, our perennial lemony quinoa with cucs, tomatoes, peppers and capers…

salads (rice&spinach)

And last but not least the rice salad with fresh spinach and pistachios, adapted from the Jan 2013 Oprah mag. I will admit too, I love this magazine. I love me and I love my body, my life and so on. And I am a self help junkie… but I think in a good, non-preachy way. I also love food and health stats.

This is a simple side dish and it is a great way to use up the leftover rice. You can add or subtract quantities to adjust to the amount of rice on hand or if you cook it fresh.

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Print oh so simple recipe Rice with Spinach and Pistachios. The others are self explanatory… I think. If not, give me a shout.

2 cups cooked brown rice (basmati is nice)
2 T olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
2 # spinach cut in strips
Zest of 1 lemon and 1 T juice
½ cup roasted and chopped pistachios
1 T dill (optional)
dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

For another healthy grain salad, check out this red quinoa with pistachios from The Bitten Word. I’d throw some spinach in that one, too.

So here’s to a fresh start in the new year and don’t worry, those sweets and treats will most certainly be sneaking back in through the cracks in no time and yell out to the world with glee… We’re back 🙂

Tschüß xx

 

One year Ago: Check out Granada, Spain

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And Seville, Spain….

 

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streetbynight

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