It’s December in the mountains. Mist is pooling in the valleys, tiny dewdrops feathered on the tips of fir and redwood and pine. The ocean, fecund with kelp and salt, foams at the ragged edge of the coast. Wild mushrooms sprout from fallen logs and duff. Our windows stay lit after dark, shining orange home-light out into the darkness. On the longest night, we celebrate a tipping point, and the balance slowly begins to shift back, towards daylight and hot sun, though we have months yet of winter to slosh through. In the pantry, jars of summer are waiting for this moment. Pull a jar of jam down from the shelf. Say apricot.
Oh look, we made the dessert first. It IS delicious with morning coffee...
We should have made this next recipe in October, all orange and black like it is. Whatever the calendar says, this is fare to warm and fill and satisfy. Pumpkins keep for so long; if you grew your own, they may wait your porch for months before their turn to become dinner. Good old winter squash. Get it in the pot.
Wash that meal down with this gem from Pascal Baudar.
And after the beer (or cider, or sparkling shrub) is made, and bottled, and aged…or heck, even just bought from the store, it will be time to raise a glass. A toast it is, then, at the end of a challenging year. We hope that you are gathered with dear family and friends, around a table spread with enough, and the murmur of conversation rising like bubbles in a glass from all around. Forks clink on plates, the children squirm and dream and whisper secrets. What could we say, that has not been said already? Perhaps nothing new, but there is a comfort in tradition, too, in the repeated rituals of season and food and belief. Say the words that bless, in whatever way seems best to you, the goodness that is everywhere. There is darkness outside the windows, but the light inside is warm, full of memory and possibility. Even the darkness outside is only a metaphor; the moon shines down on the same dear complicated world that the daytime does, and is no stranger to us, after all.
Sometimes a toast gets long-winded; we try to say too much; to sum up everything into a few sentences is impossible. We will avoid this pitfall, here and now, gathered as we are around this metaphorical table with you, and simply say: We are glad to be here. We are glad that you are with us.
Make your own Chevre for the cheese tart featured in this edition of the journal with this DIY Goats Cheese Kit!
The perfect beginner kit for making cheeses with your delicious goat milk. Includes recipes for Chevre, Fresh French Style Goat Cheese and Lactic Cheese.