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May 24, 2003: The scent of spring

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In a burst of creative energy – brought on, no doubt, by the fact that the little far-too-early heat wave has been replaced by much cooler (and windier) weather – I decided that today was going to be another Experimental Meal day. These are days when I rummage through my collection of recipes I've ripped from magazines, copied from cookbooks, or found in all manner of unsuspecting places on the internet – then printed up and stacked haphazardly on the cookbook shelf until such a time as I finally get around to giving them a try. Considering that I'm married to a man who usually has no problem whatsoever with playing recipe guinea pig with me, this means we've tried out quite a few.

Tonight's experiment was a layered mexican chicken tortilla sort of affair that included far more sour cream than any recipe really ought to have. We followed this with pumpkin chocolate chip brownies, which had just the right amount of rich texture and just a hint of spice, mixed with the gooeyness of melted chocolate chips, still warm from the oven. Experimental Meal days don't always produce recipes that I'm willing to make more than once, so it was rather nice to end up with two this time, although the layered chicken thing lacked enough oomph that it may have to undergo a few slight modifications first. Those brownies though – yum! Right now the only issue I might have with them is convincing myself to not eat the entire pan.

We got up fashionably late this morning and headed into Davis for what seems to be becoming a weekend tradition – cornmeal waffles with pecan butter. Then we strolled around the farmers market in the park since the weather was so nice and it was such a pretty day. We nibbled samples of cheese, various fruits, herbed oils, and inhaled the delightful smells of fresh produce.

A few bags of cherries, kiwis, and a container of some sort of crumbly yet spreadable garlic cheese concoction called quark ended up coming home with us. I'd never heard of quark before, but at this point I can now tell you that if there is garlic involved, it's pretty darn tasty when spread on crackers and eaten for lunch.

We took advantage of the wind to do a few loads of laundry, including every single one of the placemats and napkins (which, when all hung on the clothesline side by side, really point out our penchant for things that are blue). While we watched the linens flapping madly in the breeze, we also took advantage of our new sod and flopped on the grass to admire the day. Then, while Richard wrestled with the wind and his laundry, I headed back inside with the rapidly dwindling bag of potting soil to do another round of repotting. All the herbs are now breathing sighs of relief in slightly larger pots – and I am keeping my fingers crossed that they will not grow too much in between now and when I can finally plant them outside. In the meantime, they're living in the garden window in the kitchen which, for the first time, actually has enough plants to qualify as 'garden'. Isn't it pretty?

Of course, this may require some rearranging, since a certain ornery little tortie cat has taken a liking to the garlic chives. Naturally she did this after I gave them all plates of canned cat food whose origin was not exactly clear except that large quantities of fish were involved. Take regular cat breath, toss in fishy cat food, and then top it all off with the essence of garlic chives and…well. I think I've said enough.

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