Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Soul Food

Today when I came home there was an envelope on the counter from the British Embassy. I knew what it was but I didn't open it, it was for my 17 year old son, Cooper.

It was his official certificate of his British Citizenship! We applied last year, it is quite a lengthy process. Now we just need to go through the entire process again to get a passport!

We spend a lot of time with our son, and I believe that is why he has grown to be a successful, caring young man.  He has great friends too who also seem to enjoy spending time here with us!

Today, his friend Adam came busting through the door with a prize in his hand. He presented it with a flourish: a package of Iberico ham from Spain.

He also had some Manchego cheese and chorizo. He and his Spanish father had visited the Spanish table in Berkeley the day before and he wanted to share this with us!

David and Cooper had LOOKED at the ham last time they were there, but it seemed way too expensive, and now here was Adam bringing it to share with us!

Here are three friends in our kitchen celebrating and having a great time. Adam, Cooper and Timothy. They have olive oil, bread, ham, cheese, and sausage.

For dinner we all had "soul food", a farm raised, organic chicken from Soul Food Farms which I had purchased from the farmers market.

I  brine it overnight in sugar, salt, water, peppercorns, clove, allspice, thyme and red pepper flakes. 

It is a Chez Panisse recipe and I always make my chicken this way. We then put it on the rotisserie and it will slowly spin over grape wood fire (from the yard out front) for almost 2 hours until the meat is falling off the bone

We had it with roasted new potatoes from our CSA delivery, artichokes and homemade aioli (garlic mayonnaise). 

For dessert Adam and Cooper had a new treat that Adam just introduced Cooper to. It is a whole milk artisinal yogurt called Saint Benoit. I don't normally eat yogurt and if I do I stick to low fat, but this stuff is alike candy. 

It comes in plain, strawberry, meyer lemon and honey. I bought several today at Whole Foods, it comes in these great crocks, which have a deposit of $1.50 on them, or you can use them as cups!

The boys all say the honey is the best.

I think that we are lucky to have 16 and 17 year olds who want to hang around with us, who appreciate fine foods and the joy of sharing them at the table.

The dinner can be tailored to a "dieter". I had only one tablespoon of aioli (120 calories), chicken breast, artichoke and half a new potato. Washed down with copious amounts of water, it was wonderful sitting outside and talking with the men. 

We have yet another 7 foot table outside, so that's where we are in the summer. They all had lots of chicken, bread dipped in the aioli and talked about all the ham they will eat as they travel through Spain together next summer, on their European Union passports...

It is important to spend quality time to teach young people to appreciate the importance of good, natural whole foods and travel. These guys all appreciate the homemade mayonnaise I made them, they know they cannot get it at the store and they know I made it just for them, not myself.

Just because I shouldn't be eating it all doesn't mean they have to diet too. Be adventuresome with your foods, invite the kids to try new things, open up a world of wonder for them.