Whew — the last couple days have been a whirlwind.
To begin our busy weekend, we had a lovely family over for dinner that’d recently moved in just down the street.
Brittany and Nic are just the sweetest couple, and Charlotte is in love with their adorable two-year old, Adelyn.
Knowing that they had moved here from San Francisco, I decided to do a spin on one of my favorites from Zuni Restaurant — a classic French roasted chicken (with mine stuffed with Meyer Lemons).
I bought two gorgeous looking birds at New Seasons and marinated them for two whole days before the party — plenty of time to let the salt seep deep inside the meat and to pick up all the lemony goodness packed within.
We sipped on the incredible Pinot Noir they brought and the kids played outside until dinner was ready.
I was so busy pulling dinner together that I forgot to snap a pic of these two roasted beauties fresh out of the oven, but I did remember to take a pic just before it hit the table.
I added lots of chopped basil and pan juices (plus a little bit of truffle butter I had stashed in the fridge) and I have to say it turned out pretty darn tasty.
There was a lot to eat; besides the chicken there was an Arugula, Jumbo Crouton and Currant Salad, Roasted Tangerine and Honey Carrots, and a Yukon Gold Potato Puree.
Amazingly enough, we all found room for the Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with Tangerine Frosting.
Charlotte and I like to bake almost as much as we enjoy eating our creations.
What a sweet evening — and I’m so excited to have this family on our block.
But my cooking had just begun; in honor of 9/11, I’d decided to have a Bake Sale to honor firefighters.
Long time readers with elephant memories will remember what I did last year on 9/11 and the fire station I visited, and this year I wanted to go a step further: a Bake Sale.
So all day Saturday was spent making Triple Ginger Chewy Cookie batter
and getting everything ready for an early Sunday morning bake.
Man I love these cookies and here’s the recipe.
They’re spicy and chewy and they never fail to please (and they always remind me of my Mom, the ginger cookie queen).
I also made a huge vat of soup to sell: Chicken with Grilled Corn, Fennel and Lentil.
The soup started with the leftover roasted chicken and bones I had on hand from the night before; into the developing stock went the lentils, basmati rice, sliced fennel and garlic. I then added some grilled corn in at the last minute along with a flurry of fresh herbs.
Before I knew it, it was time for the sale.
What surprised me was how quickly things went; I’d also made a dozen quinoa salad bowls and they were gone within minutes, and cup after cup of the soup — plus all the other baked goods– started to fly off the table.
People were buying boxes and bags full of items.
Charlotte’s friend Lily helped out by making yummy blondies and lemonade and manning the station with her, and we were glad for the extra help as we were busy.
A couple dozen Bittersweet Chocolate SKOR brownies– gone.
Who doesn’t love a brownie topped with toffee bits?
Or a rice crispy treat made richer with peanut butter and dark chocolate chips?
There were Lily’s blondies (gone before I could take a pic) and these ginger chews.
I purposely offered everything at low prices (e.g., my jumbo Quinoa, Avocado, Heirloom Tomato, and Cucumber Salad with Cilantro Dressing was priced at just $2.50, and all treats were just a dollar) so that everyone would feel like they were getting a value, and many people responded in kind by adding a few dollars on top for the charity.
One neighbor even gave fifty dollars to our cause — the same amount my brother Dave had also committed by phone earlier that day.
Man, it makes me so happy when the people around me give so generously.
Yesterday was such a happy day connecting with friends, neighbors, and even strangers who saw our stand or saw our mention on Next Door and wanted to help out with my firefighter fund.
I got to meet up with old friends, and introduce them to new ones.
I love this picture of Adelyn and Brittany — such sweet folks.
And I’m beyond excited for an errand I’m running later today.
I’m taking Lily and Charlotte to the Firehouse that I visited last year.
I’m going to tell the firefighters that we sold 142 items on their behalf because we wanted to honor them — and their brave predecessors who fifteen years ago gave up their lives on that beautiful, cloudless day.
I’m going to bring them a fresh batch of ginger cookies
and ask them what would they’d like to do with the $300 dollars we raised.
Do they want a gift card? Something for the station? (I’ll let them decide.)
Can’t hardly wait.
In the meantime, thanks to my dear friends and neighbors who showed up, bought our food, bestowed upon us their good wishes and donated to strangers they’re unlikely to meet.
Ah, firefighters, and other public servants.
This week I’ve been thinking so much about them and all they’re willing to give up.
So here’s to you, my heroes.