If you read one of my recent posts about wishing for a simpler life, these pictures would illustrate perfectly what I envision doing were I to drop everything and move to the rural coast. It had been a couple of months since my last visit to Pescadero so I tagged along with my husband when he said he had a few things to do there yesterday. I packed my camera, some sunscreen and a hat, jumped in the truck and off we went early Friday morning.
Expecting him to be busy, I was fully prepared to keep myself company and reconnect with my husband at lunchtime. Instead, I hopped behind him on the quad, the all-terrain vehicle he uses to get around the area, and he showed me all the work he’s been doing. I listened and snapped pictures while he worked but everything was done at a leisurely pace. We explored the grounds. He showed me the little water basin against the hill where a handful of tadpoles currently reside. He showed me all the flowers that were in bloom; the air smelled so fresh and clean and when we rode by the patches of lemon verbena a lemony fragrance would waft from the ground. The apple trees were in full bloom, too, and the plum trees were dripping with marble-sized fruit. I went in search of the new resident–the wild turkey that I’ve heard so much about but no luck. I could hear her but she was either shy or had absolutely no interest in meeting me. I’ll have to bribe her with a treat next time.
When it was time for lunch I drove into town to pick up a sandwich and salad at the bakery. While they were being prepared I strolled over to a couple of shops across the street and browsed. I resisted the urge to buy yet another dish towel (prop for the blog) but I did walk away with a vintage pewter bowl that I can’t wait to use. Conversation with the shop owners was pleasant–everyone is so neighborly that you immediately feel like family.
With lunch in hand, I drove back inland to meet my husband where we ate al fresco before heading to the beach.
I’ve shared so many images here of this area that I wonder if you’ve grown tired of them yet. I haven’t and I don’t think I ever will. I want to capture every movement of the ocean, of the creatures that depend on it. Even if a picture can’t communicate sound, by looking at them I can remember the calls and cries of the seagulls, the barking of the seals from the rock that is their haven just beyond the state beach, the waves pounding on that rock. The effect is so calming that I find myself just wanting to linger for hours. Rain or shine, it’s always good to be there.
There is a marsh across the street from the beach, a protected area that my husband and I like to visit once in a while. In winter, the spot is a bird watcher’s paradise as migratory birds find refuge in the marsh. In April, the preserve is quite peaceful and with the place to ourselves, we walked a couple of miles along the narrow trail in waist-high wild mustard and soft rush (grass).
One of the perks of this walk was seeing the abundance of ladybugs on the flora. I stopped every few feet to try to capture their beauty but they were shy like the turkey. I was lucky to get a couple of decent shots, making the walk worthwhile despite seeing a couple of caterpillars on the trail–two too many for me. While I clicked away with my camera my husband scoped the landscape with his binoculars looking for anything and everything that might be interesting. It wasn’t long before I heard him cursing the raven who flew above us with an egg in its beak. He suspected it was a hawk’s egg and he was saddened by the great likelihood of the raven returning to the nest to steal the rest of eggs until there was none left.
Before heading home we stopped back in town for a few things I had my eye on. At Norm’s Market I picked up a jar of jam, a marinade, a tub of cheese spread, a couple of pounds of fresh sausages–all made on the premises–and finally, some locally grown asparagus and baby artichokes. On the drive home ideas formed in my head about how to put these items together and I brought them to life tonight. Since the two dishes were such a hit with me and my husband I’ll share them with you soon. For now, I’ll leave you with this simple dinner we enjoyed after spending one of the best days I’ve had in a long time.
A full day of walking, sunshine and work (in my husband’s case) left us too tired to primp and drive to San Francisco to meet friends for dinner last night so this happened instead. I cooked the fresh asparagus that I picked up on the coast with some leftover broiled wild salmon and rice and my husband and I were happy campers. If you haven’t tried salmon and asparagus this way before, you’re in for a treat. There’s something magical about the two of them together. I caramelized a shallot and threw my homemade chili sauce into the mix but you can leave both out if you wish. A drizzle of lime and soy sauce are all you need to complete this one-dish meal.
Asparagus-Salmon Fried Rice
- The amounts here are approximate but this dish is very flexible so feel free to adjust amounts to suit your taste
- 1/2 pound cooked salmon flaked
- 1/2 bunch asparagus ends trimmed then chopped in small pieces
- 3 cups cooked rice
- 2 eggs whisked
- 1 shallot chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce plus more for serving
- lime wedges for garnish
- freshly ground pepper
- chopped fresh chives for garnish
For the eggs: In the same skillet that you plan to stir-fry the rice, heat 1-2 teaspoons of oil over medium heat. Add the whisked egg and cook for a minute or two on each side. Remove from the pan and cut into small, bite size pieces. Set aside.
For the rice: In the same pan, add 1 tablespoon of oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the chopped shallot and cook for a minute before adding the asparagus. Cook for a few minutes until the shallots start to caramelize and the asparagus is crisp-tender. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chili sauce then the rice. If your pan is too dry, add a bit more olive oil. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes, add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and the flaked salmon. Stir fry for another minute, just until the salmon is heated through then turn off the heat. Stir in the egg and plate in bowls. Garnish with chives and black pepper and drizzle with lime juice and a touch more soy sauce.