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The Jam Session at Bay Burger

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There is a roadhouse family restaurant in Sag Harbor, New York, that we try to get to every Thursday night. Bay Burger makes really good burgers and their lobster rolls are delicious. We love their fresh veggie sides and their Joe & Liza’s homemade ice cream is wonderful (free ice cream on Wednesdays with your lunch or dinner – you can’t beat that!).

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Although it’s jam-packed (no pun intended!) and chaotic on Thursday nights, we absolutely LOVE coming out to listen to the live jazz which is led by Claes Brandal and features the Thursday Night Live Band every week. If you miss coming out, you can always listen in to the Jam Session Radio Hour every Wednesday night at 7:00 EST on WPPB 88.3 F.

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You never know who you will see there jamming and we have heard some truly world class entertainment (a week ago Thursday we saw world-renowned trumpet and flugelhorn player, Randy Brecker, and his beautiful wife, Ada Rovatti, a brilliantly talented saxophonist, jamming with the locals. There was a line-up of performers out the door that night, but the highlight was a young man of fifteen who stepped up to play sax with this cast of seasoned talent. I’m sure it was a night he’ll always remember, as we will, and he’ll be someone to watch in the years to come.

Mother Mary

Ron and I are both so fortunate to still have our amazing mothers. My sparkplug of a Mom is 85 years young and living independently on our family farm east of Innisfail, Alberta. Ron’s Mom, Mary, turned 97 this past December and still lives in their family home of over 65 years in Santa Clara, CA and still takes total care of her home, herself and everyone in her life.

Mother Mary is an inspiration to all who know her. She’s an excellent driver and cruises all over Silicon Valley for her medical appointments and to pick up the organic groceries she prepares her legendary food with. An example of her eternal optimism, she bought a new car after an accident shortly after her 96th birthday (which was NOT her fault, by the way). She is still traveling every February to visit her oldest daughter and son-in-law, Mary and John, in Ajijic, just outside of Guadalajara, Mexico.  She brings her youngest daughter, Claire, with her now and Ron and I try to get over to the mainland to share some precious time with Mother Mary and some of the family.

Mother Mary in Ajijic

Mother Mary in Ajijic

Mary and Jake raised six children in their modest bungalow. Their home was filled not only with their own children, but with all the kids’ friends. Everyone was welcome and still is in Mother Mary’s home.

Mary made my Mom welcome back in early March. Our Moms got on the phone and conspired to meet, so Ron and I picked Mom up in San José, they spent a couple of days together, then we took my Mom down to Palm Springs with us for the Indian Wells BNP Tennis Tournament. It was very special to see these girls together, forming a new friendship, and learning that their lives shared many parallels that had much in common.

My Mom and Mother Mary

My Mom and Mother Mary

Neither of these women had easy lives and both started with extremely difficult childhoods. What could have made both of these women bitter had the complete opposite effect. Both chose to not be victims but rather the victors in their own lives. These women are my heroines.

I’ve been learning some of Mother Mary’s recipes over the years, watching her make them and listening to her explain, writing some of them down, taking photos of others so that her food will live on. It’s embarrassing when we visit twice a year because she won’t let us do ANYTHING for her, from food prep to even the dishes after one of her sumptuous meals. We spent almost a week with Mary and she treated us to a couple of her famous dishes and our favorites: Portuguese Omelet (with carmelized onions and flat leaf parsley), French Toast (with Trader Joe’s Cracked Wheat Sourdough Bread), Lamb Stew and her “Boiled Dinner” of corned beef, potatoes, cabbage, onions and carrots. The leftover corned beef made of the best road food sandwiches ever – we enjoyed them for days after we left Mother Mary’s.

Lamb Stew

Lamb Stew

Corned Beef "Boiled Dinner"

Corned Beef “Boiled Dinner”

The last thing I wanted to do was bring illness into her home, but I succumbed to a bad flu/cold while we were visiting this last trip. Mother Mary immediately made a pot of chicken soup for me, which I feasted on every few hours for three days. I absolutely attribute her soup to my quick recovery. It was so delicious that I hated for it to end. She uses her Aunt May’s recipe which is filled with goodness. She started with three pounds of organic chicken legs that she cleans with salt before cooking. She covers with water and boils for one hour. Remove the chicken and set aside. Add celery, onion, carrots and, five minutes before serving, add some white rice and chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve. Mary maintains that you need to sip on a small cup of this broth every few hours for the soup to work it’s best magic. Heat it up, with or without chicken taken off the bone, in the microwave to reheat. Mother Mary’s penicillin – it really works!

One of the things that Mary requested of us was to take a trip to Grass Valley to see her younger sister, Rosalie, who recently broke her leg and is scheduled for surgery in the near future. Rosalie is over 90 years old, as is their brother, Tony, and all of them are bright and in amazingly good health. A special cousin of theirs, affectionately known as “Little Mary” accompanied us that day and she is unbelievably healthy and beautiful – believe me, it’s shocking when you learn that she’s 84 years-old! Each and every one of these Portuguese seniors looks at least 20 years younger than their actual age indicates – they share some very special “fountain of youth” DNA!

Mother Mary, "Little Mary" and Aunt Rosalie

Mother Mary, “Little Mary” and Aunt Rosalie

Never does a birthday or special occasion go by with Mary not sending a card and letter to acknowledge people and let them know she’s thinking of them. She demonstrates kindness, generosity and tremendous thoughtfulness to everyone who knows her. She is grateful for her extraordinary health and her ability to share with others and does so every single day. WE are incredibly grateful for both of our beautiful and precious Moms. We love them both with all our hearts and always will. xox

Sweet and Spicy Roast Chicken

In my last post, I was telling you how much we enjoy Melissa Clark’s recipes and videos. She is an absolute delight and her recipes are fresh, fun and fabulous. The recipe that I’m going to introduce you to here is a prime example of what we’ve come to expect and enjoy from what she’s creating.

Many of the ingredients in this recipe we sourced from our local organic market which is located just half a block up the street from where we live in Cabo and is open Wednesday and Saturday mornings. A fresh, free-range organic chicken, organic lemons, Mandarin oranges, honey, carrots, onion and green onions all combine to make this a truly delicious and flavorful dish. A few steps outside the front door is where I have fresh herbs growing, and I cut some fresh thyme and Italian parsley for the recipe as well.

I highly recommend that you watch Melissa’s video to get a sense of who she is and the fun she’s created with this dish. You can just link to the recipe, but you’ll miss her delightful personality. This dish is described as a “chile-flecked, honey-imbued marinade spiked with fresh citrus juice that gives this chicken its fiery, syrupy character. Dates and carrots give the sauce texture and additional sweetness while a garnish of fresh herbs and pistachio nuts lends freshness and crunch.” This is a really fabulous dish that can be prepared a day in advance, making it perfect to warm up in the oven for a dinner party. Serve with rice or something else to soak up and savor the sauce with. This is absolutely a five-star dish that I highly recommend!

The Smell of Rain

We’ve had several days of unseasonal rain this past week: gentle light rain that is warm and wonderful.  Disappointing for the tourists, but the locals here LOVE the rain.  Water is life here and it’s lovely to look across at the mountains and see them so green.  Our friends at the market, the organic farmers, are ecstatic as two of them were horribly impacted by Hurricane Odile and have had to start some crops, trees, and irrigation systems from scratch.

I’ve always loved the smell of rain and Ron found a wonderful video in the New York Times that explains the phenomenon: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/27/science/how-the-smell-of-rain-bubbles-from-the-ground.html?_r=0.  Enjoy!

 

Cauliflower Soup with Toasted Garlic

We’ve had some cooler weather this past week and even some rain, which is very rare for Cabo this time of year.  Regardless of where in the world you are living, there is nothing to warm your body and spirits when the weather is cool than soup – wonderful, healing soup.  I had a beautiful head of organic cauliflower from the market up the road and decided to try this recipe that I had seen recently (http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/cauliflower-soup?xid=dailyrecnews-01-09-2015).  I used fresh thyme from just outside our front door – add some fresh sourdough bread with either butter or olive oil and voila!  The only thing that I would do differently with this recipe in future is to roast the cauliflower in the oven for additional flavor.  Either way, this soup is delicious!

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