Life as I know It

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San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What a Weekend!

A rainbow of colors for our roasted vegetables

I felt like a child awaiting Christmas Eve. Why? Because of anticipation of my cooking class with Edward Espe Brown, co-founder of the famous Greens Restaurant in San Francisco, and author of The Tassajara Cookbook, The Tassajara Bread Book, and Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachings (and more).

Edward shares his viewpoint about fine foods and taking time to enjoy them with friends and family

We met at a beautiful home in Morro Bay, and 13 of us worked together in a large, sunny kitchen. Just listening to him philosophize, advise, proselytize about food, and concoct his stunning recipes was a dream come true.

Edward sprinkled our salad of dino kale with salt and "massaged" it into the chopped leaves. This process is called "hand frying," but why I do not know.

We worked together for a few hours and created a fabulous and healthy meal of roasted vegies on a beurre rose sauce, "hand fried" dino cabbage salad, and cloud-like chile relleno souffles. Good wine and conversation around a long table made for a perfect day.

Rena chops the carrots and turns and rolls them for each cut. Note the correct grasp of the Japanese knife blade, instead of holding the handle (I splurged and bought one)

Every place at the table was set with a fanned napkin and a lovely sprig of rosemary, the herb of remembrance

Saturday, February 20, was the big event at my friend Susan Branch's farmstand in Arroyo Grande, California.

Susan and I signed books for a steady stream of wonderful attendees. I saw so many people that I haven't seen since I sold Heart's Ease, and they made me feel like a princess for the day.

The day was moved from February 6th, due to rain, and we all thought that yesterday was going to be a wash out. But the rain held off, and we had a sunny, blue-sky day with about 400 eager attendees, great foods, antiques, and book signings. We had a ball.

Our friends Susie and Ellis Bassetti own Green Valley Herbs and Bassetti Vineyards. They create great wreaths, harvest olives and make Taggiasca olive oil that is to die for, and bake home made bread that goes perfectly with their divine jams, jellies, and syrups. I use their pomegranate syrup to baste my roasted chickens.

Just a look at Miss Amy O'Kane makes me smile. Can I adopt her?? and NOT just because she bakes yummy and fun cupcakes, but also because she is a very special woman.

Love to you all,



Erin | Bygone Living said...

That cooking class sounds wonderful- I've always wanted to take one.

I love Susan Branch! I saw your picture with her on her Twitter... wish I lived closer to CA so I could have attended!♥

Lori ann said...

dear sharon!
it was so lovely to meet you. it was such a thrill for me. i'm so glad you enjoyed, you made all of us feel so special too.
it was a pleasure to meet your husband jeff also, it was so easy to see the pride and love he felt for you.
thank you for the beautiful inscriptions you wrote in my books, i'll treasure them always. if you get a chance to see my blog you can see photos of you and jeff and one of you and i. so great!

and your cooking class sounded fabulous too! i would have loved to join that. i am going to add his book to my list.
what a weekend indeed.

Zuzana said...

Looks like a lovely weekend indeed. I envy you the weather the most.;) And the food too.;)
Hope your Monday will be lovely as well,

Dawn said...

Oh yes, what a weekend indeed! I so much enjoyed this post, it made me feel I was there with you at the cooking course and the farmstand sale. (So wonderful that it didn't rain!) You and Sue look so sweet. Two of my favorite people. xo
I just might have to make roasted veggies after seeing that vibrant photograph. And that's the way my mother always cuts carrots, turning them as she goes. I never really got the hang of that.
I was with you in spirit Sharon...thank you for sharing all of this with us! Sue told me she has her own blog in the works, I can't wait. It's so lovely to have such creative, inspiring, and warm-hearted friends.
Wishing you a glorious week!
Love, Dawn

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Oh Sharon,
This looks wonderful! What a awesome cooking class you got to attend! What a lovely day you had for the book signing, can't wait until you get to Wisconsin! Hugs, Cindy

Marcie said...

What an amazing opportunity! Now I'm going to have to re-watch the documentary "How to Cook Your Life." I feel more relaxed just reading about your colorful and delicious meal, and the beautiful atmosphere in which it was enjoyed. Thank you!

Janna Leadbetter said...

I'd take a heap of those roasted veggies right now. Delicious!

You and your friend Susan could be sisters! And what a lovely day you had. Sounds like you were in great company. Did you get to look through the antiques at all? I'd have been itching to do so.

PamKittyMorning said...

I was so sorry to miss you.. we had to leave before noon to head back home! Glad you had a great day. It was very lovely, wasn't it?

Hindsfeet said...

Hi Sharon! : )

I'm visiting by way of Scattering Lupines site, checked out your profile and saw that we both love "West With the Night" and "Bird by Bird", and our taste in music is not far apart : ) Just thought I'd say Hi and that I enjoyed my little visit here : )

(Say "Hi" to California for me!) (Originally from San Diego : ) )


Hindsfeet said...

p.s. Also a fun little "blast to the past" reading about The Tassajara Breadbook and it's author...My mom and I use to bake out of that when I was a child...Back in our vegetarian hippie days ; )

Aunt Jenny said...

Oh my....I am so homesick now!!!
And my gosh!!!...I KNOW Amy!!! I haven't seen her for probably 7 or 8 years but used to can and make candles and stuff with her years ago! She is a doll!!
What a fun post to read. Hard to be excited about our snowy weather seeing all that fun in my old stomping grounds!! haha

Sharon Lovejoy said...

I have to admit that I crack up when I read some of the posts I receive. I love them. Don't you love it that Hindsfeet talked about baking from the Tassajara book during her hippy days?

I am off to film some segments for Gardener's World. Jeff and I are lugging plants, Trowel & Error cures, teapots for the chamomile dose, and too much more to mention.

My friends will move in to baby sit the gardens and I will write more when we return.

The hills are shouting with green and I feel like I've been doused with a magic elixir. Hope to stop and visit one of my favorite places in the world-the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens, which is rising from the ashes of last year's disastrous and devastating fires.

More later and THANK YOU for the e-mails and blog comments.

Sharon (so sorry you're homesick Aunt Jenny)

lasagnagardener said...

Sharon, I was at the Red Barn Flea Mkt this week and saw your book diplayed really well so commented to the owner I knew you and she told me yours was her best selling book. I took a picture of the display and got a card to send you her email, all at the owners request, and as ssoon as I return from speaking tour to KC,MO next week will send it on. Congratulations!Cheers, Pat Lanza

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Pat Lanza is the author of the Lasagna Gardening book, which is fantastic, and others.

We met when we were both keynote speakers at Chuck Voight's Herb Symposium in Illinois. Pat is a fabulous speaker and I loved hearing her talk about aprons and their significance.

Thanks Pat for the great information. I look forward to receiving the photos. Let's keep in touch.



Unknown said...

Oh how fun!!! I love to cook. Everything looks deeeelish!!!

:) T

Julie said...

Hi! I found your blog on Lemon Verbena Lady's (I'm on there also). It's just delightful and I love the title. You probably have already heard or done this before. I read about this in an article. You grow sunflowers in a square or rectangle in your garden. Plant something that will climb, like morning glory, next to the s. flowers. Then when it's all grown you will have a sunflower play house for the kids. I haven't tried it yet but as soon as our grandchildren get old enough I intend to. I want to invite you to visit me at my I give daily art tips and life lessons (mine and often laughable).

Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Lovejoy~~ I saw your comments on Catherine's [A Gardener in Progress] blog. When my kids were young your books were a constant source of inspiration.

It was a delight scrolling through your posts, especially your garden and potting area.

Cheers, Grace

Sharon Lovejoy said...


I wrote and illustrated the book Sunflower Houses and The LIttle Green Island. That is why my blog carries that title. In the pages of my books I describe fully how to plan and plant a sunflower house.

All best,

Sharon Lovejoy

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

It does sound like a great weekend! I'm going to be keeping an eye out for your new book. Having two young kids that like to help in the garden, I know we'll enjoy it. I've always wished we had the space to plant a sunflower house.
I loved seeing that you have gardened in your robe, it's nice to know I'm not the only one outside in my pj's once in awhile when the gardening urge strikes.
Thank you for visiting my blog.

Terra said...

That looks like a wonderful event, food, your book, garden things, yum.

GloriaBonde said...

Hi, I too found your lovely blog on Catherine's. I have always enjoyed your articles. I love a romantic whimsical garden.Gloria

Amy O'Kane said...

It was an absolute delight to spend the day at the Farmstand with you, Susan, and all those lovely guests! Thank you. And here I find a long lost friend has posted here! "Aunt Jenny" above was my canning, craftin', homestead in the city buddy. :)

Sharon Lovejoy said...


Did you mean to send this to Susan?? But Aunt Jenny did post on my blog so I am thinking you just mixed us up?? Just saw a message from you on FACEBOOK and it was to me, so.....

Sharon-Susan?? Sharon

Courtney at SL's No Ennui said...

Ah, everything sounds SO lovely! And all because of the lovely souls who were present!

Your last comment made me laugh! I say that about people of all ages all the time: "Honey, can I take her home with us, PLEASE?!?!"

Your blog is such a wonderful place!

koralee said...

Thank you so much for visiting me the other day...your blog is a delight. I would love to see your book...looks lovely. I am off to take a peek around your blog some more. xo

Mozart's Girl said...

Hello deasrest Sharon, great weekend, great post....THE Edward Espe Brown, man of bread extraordinaire - what a joy it must have been, I lived it through you! And then in the and my darling friend Sue! What a treat. I know how hard everyone worked and what a marvellous day it was. Wonderful to share it with you, thank you! And I LOVE your leaf jacket....just gorgeous! xoxo Rachel

Storybook Woods said...

Oh it just kills me I do not live in CA any more. What an amazing treat to meet both you, Sharon and Susan. It looks like it was a special day and I am sure everyone was so glad they could be there. Clarice

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

What an amazing weekend to share! You were with Susan Branch? WOW! And you ate all that glorious food? I am really going to enjoy your blog! I love Amy's smile and her cheery apron! What fun you have! ♥

Beth said...

Dear Sharon, It looks like you had such a wonderful weekend. I envy you the beautiful sunshine and the fragrant plants. About 8 years ago my daughter gashed her forehead while playing in the yard and we had to take her to the hospital for stitches. I had been moving my enormous rosemary plants that day, and I brought a cloud of rosemary smell into the emergency room with me. It refreshed everyone and kept me feeling calm! I love rosemary. love, Beth

Judy Wise said...

Oh, I still make my bread from the Tassajara Bread Book! You guys down in SoCal get all the good stuff!! xo