a horse named Tory

Tory's CurvesTory, with chestnut curves and a long, flowing mane tinged with copper.

Tory up closeTornado - who steps close to sniff me then gently demands the carrot I’ve been hiding.

Tory - Kerry's horseTor-na-do (with a Spanish accent) – who always knows when I’ve brought carrots.

Tory's herd

And when we’re finished, he rolls in the dust, nibbles on hay and rejoins his herd …

Tory's pasture - Coyote Hillon sun-parched, but beautiful Coyote Hill.

Thank you Kerry for introducing me to Tory, your handsome Tornado.

from the weekend: the farmers’ market & memories of Paris

farm market blue & greenBlueberries and sweet green peas from the Mountain View Farmers’ Market on Sunday.

Thank you Kerry & Fred for letting me tag along! I can’t wait to go back and get some homemade stuffed cabbage rolls, or for those of us who grew up in Polish households: gołąbki (pronounced goWUMPkee).

I haven’t had “piggies in the blanket” in a very long time. Actually, I can’t recall the last time I had my mother’s stuffed cabbage rolls, but quite unexpectedly, my husband and I had some that were just as good – if not better – while on our first trip to Paris, fifteen years ago this summer. As we spent the morning exploring the neighborhood around our tiny hotel in the 7th, we stumbled upon Le Florimond and after reading the menu posted outside, an older couple (elegantly dressed as all Parisians seem to be) gestured to us that we couldn’t go wrong. And with that, we rushed back to our hotel to make a reservation … only to learn (with great disappointment) they were booked solid.

Except, wait … one moment … if we would be willing to come early, they’d squeeze us in. We were thrilled! An early dinner suited us just fine and a few hours later, dressed up and excited beyond measure, we experienced the best of French hospitality and had the best meal of our lives. We started with two glasses of Champagne (as one should when dining in France) and were presented with some lovely amuse-bouche, my first ever. Initially surrounded by empty tables, but then slowly by French speaking locals, my husband and I had what we both agree, will always be, our most memorable meal and a true peak life experience – so much so that the following day we made reservations to return several nights later, willing to try dining at eight no less.

On our following visit we were warmly greeted and had yet another memorable evening – once again surrounded by the hushed voices of French speaking locals.* Having thoroughly enjoyed a delicious rabbit on our first visit, I turned my attention to the other words on the menu that had caught my attention:  recette de ma grand-mère.

Recipe of my grandmother” I understood, but “Chou farci” left me confused. Thankfully, our host Laurent solved the mystery; you guessed it, it was his grandmother’s recipe for stuffed cabbage rolls! They were superb, along with everything else (especially the Millefeuille for dessert, followed by coffee). It was a meal I’ll always remember.

For a more definitive description of Polish stuffed cabbage (and a recipe that I really ought to try), click here to read “You Say Gołąbki … I Say Galumpkis” by Rosie Hawthorne. I also found this recipe at The Grazer, a food based blog written Anna Hedworth (even though this doesn’t actually look anything like the stuffed cabbage I grew up eating or was served at Le Florimond in Paris, this recipe makes my mouth water).

The Mountain View Farmers’ Market: Sundays 9am – 1 pm, rain or shine. Located at the CalTrain station in Mountain View, northern California.

Le Florimond, 19 Avenue de la Motte-Picquet, 75007 Paris, France

* We returned to our beloved Le Florimond several years later and while the food, hospitality and service were all still excellent, the magic spell was broken; we were surrounded by Americans, many of whom were quite loud. Regardless, I hope to return one day soon; perhaps to celebrate our anniversary.