Living in the bohemian woodworker’s house has been a mysterious and wonderful experience. Last week, a woman stopped by to discuss the ins and outs of rentals and leasing — and just when I needed the advice. Before long, she invited me over to see her home and left a lovely orange persimmon on my counter.
A few days later, another woman came over with pumpkin cupcakes and buttermilk scones from May Day, a bottle of red wine, and a gift… for me. The jacket of a vintage paperback edition of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. She knows how much I love Mrs D, so when the jacket fell off of her own book, she put it in an antique gold frame and gave it to me. I was disarmed by her thoughtfulness.
Tonight, I went to a movie and dinner at Salut with friends. On my way home, jostling my things on the front walk while looking for my keys, I heard a woman shout “Excuse me! Excuse me! Don’t you just love Nathan’s house?”
I turned around and saw a lovely woman approaching me. She introduced herself as P from the salon down the street and told me how much she appreciates Nathan and his artistry. She was elegantly dressed and carrying wrapped packages as though she could be Mrs. Dalloway lost in thought walking home by herself from a party.
“Are you a teacher,” she said? No, but perhaps I have a way about me. I don’t remember how, but the conversation turned to food right away. She was happy to say she recently won a guacamole contest hosted my some official circles in town. She told me about chefs she knows, the restaurants she loves, and that she prefers Chilean and Spanish wines. We said we’d probably see each other again and I went inside to check out some of the things she had told me about.
Appropriately enough, this weekend marks the 50th birthday of this charming guy Nathan who brings so many people together. A party was being held and I was eager to see who would be attending. Since I had so little extra time to cook anything, I made one of my favorite no-cook appetizers.
- mixed pitted olives
- feta cheese
- fresh mint
- lemon zest garlic, oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
Cube the feta and mix it carefully with the olives, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, sea salt, pepper, crushed garlic, and olive oil. (Mix the oil and garlic separately so the garlic will be evenly distributed.)
Soak toothpicks in water to take the edge off. In the meantime, peel the cucumbers, slice them in quarters horizontally, and draw the seeds out with a spoon. Chop the cucumbers into pieces roughly a centimeter thick. They’ll be a squat U shape, which is the perfect resting spot for the plump end of an olive. Push a toothpick through a cucumber, mint, and olive, being sure to leave just about a half centimeter of space at the end of the toothpick. The feta needs to hang on, but just barely. If you push the toothpick in too far, the feta will crumble.
Pardon me and my silly iPhone picture. I was in a hurry!
Rather than placing all the spears in an organized and circular fashion on a platter, I haphazardly placed them in an old enamel bowl I got from Savers.
And that was it. I brought it over to the party with a card, a bundle of flowers, and three beautiful peacock feathers.