Potato Leek Soup (a.k.a. Vichyssoise)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sunchoke & sweet potato soup with sour cream

I made a big pot of this wonderful soup earlier in the week. It is comfort incarnate, especially when served hot, topped with a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche, which is how I like it. Traditionally, vichyssoise is served cold but this is simply not the season for cold soups, at least not here in the northeast...

I've had potatoes on the brain because they were one of my aunt Maggie's favorite foods and a mainstay of her diet during the rough periods in her battle with lymphoma.

Homegrown Yukon Gold potatoes by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

She grew her own spuds in the dirt of her ever-expanding garden in Putney, Vermont. She'd eat them baked with lots of butter or blended in potato leek soup in an effort to put some meat back on her tiny bones during rounds of chemotherapy when, as she said, "It is often harder not to throw up than to."

Maggie with a "heart potato" she grew.
I've been re-reading Maggie's emails and her postings on her CaringBridge site since she died and I've found so much wisdom, courage and sweetness in her words. This excerpt from an entry Maggie posted after her cancer returned is a poignant reminder not to sleepwalk through our precious lives, to be present even when things are difficult or painful.

think of all the things we take for granted (excuse my sounding like a hallmark card, but i am struck so often by these thoughts); just brushing teeth, rubbing cream on face, slicing apples for a pie, eating a bowl of coffee ice cream cold on tongue, feeling the road under my boots.....an endless sensory barrage that we don't even realize we are experiencing until it may be taken away; YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YA GOT TIL IT'S GONE, thank you joni mitchell. maggie

One of the things I love about cooking is experiencing the beauty of the ingredients. The unique color, shape and texture of each potato, the vivid chartreuse core you find when you cut into a leek, the crunchy, white crystals of Kosher salt, the thick, smooth surface on a cup of cream. It's a feast for the senses.

Cutting up potatoes for the vichyssoise (potato leek) soup by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

This is one of the simplest soups to make - you start by slicing the leeks and chopping the potatoes, then you saute the leeks in butter or oil.

Sauteeing the leeks for the vichyssoise (potato leek) soup by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

Once they've softened, you add the cubed potatoes and saute a bit longer.

Sauteeing leeks and potatoes for the vichyssoise aka potato leek soup by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

Then add the stock and bring it to a simmer until the potatoes are cooked through.

Potato leek soup before blending by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

Then it's time to break out your trusty immersion blender - one of my top five favorite kitchen tools - and blend until smooth (or not, it's up to you so just blend until it reaches your desired consistency.)

Blending the potato leek soup by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

Although I sometimes make this soup with chicken broth and cream, I made this batch with vegetable broth (I was making a batch at the same time from my frozen veggie scraps) and skipped the cream, making it vegan. It's good either way.

Top with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh herbs - dill, fennel, thyme, marjoram - pretty much anything goes well.

Sunchoke & sweet potato soup with sour cream

Potato Leek Soup (Vichyssoise)
Serves 6

Ingredients

* 4 organic potatoes, cubed (peel them if you want a really smooth soup)
* 6 leeks, white parts only, washed well to remove any dirt or sand, and chopped
* 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
* 1 cup of organic milk, 1/2 & 1/2 or cream (optional)
* 3 Tbsps olive oil or butter
* A generous handful of fresh herbs, rinsed and chopped (dill, fennel fronds, thyme, marjoram, cilantro, etc.)
* Sea salt to taste
* Freshly ground black pepper to taste
* Sour cream or crème fraîche (optional)

Directions

1. Heat the butter or oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute them until soft - about 4-5 minutes. Add the potatoes and continue to saute until softened, another 8-10 minutes.

2. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are completely softened, about 20 minutes. Add the milk or cream, if you're using it.

3. Puree the soup in the pot using an immersion blender (or in batches in the blender) until completely smooth or until it reaches your desired consistency.

4. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. Serve warm, topped with a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche and a sprinkling of fresh herbs.

You might also like:
For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Perfect Popovers

Sunday, January 25, 2015

With their delightfully browned, over-the-top poofs, popovers are something you might expect to see on one of those long, deliciously filled tables in the Hogwarts dining hall.

Popovers by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

I think of popovers as the Rice Krispie treats of savory baking - they taste and look like they took hours of careful work but are surprisingly easy to make. There are just five ingredients - flour, milk, salt, butter and eggs - and three rules to follow.

3 eggs, butter and milk for the popover batter by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

The Rules for Perfect Popovers

1. Get the greased muffin tin hot before you fill it with batter.
2. Don't fill the muffin tins too full - half-way is perfect.
3. Don't open the oven while they're baking - you can glance through the glass to watch them puffing up and turning a lovely, golden brown.

I made a batch of them to accompany the potato leek soup I'll be writing about very soon. It took all of 15 minutes (including a few child-related interruptions) to get all the ingredients mixed and ready.

Adding salt to flour for the popovers by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

Since I had a jar of bacon drippings in my fridge, I used the fat instead of butter to grease the muffin tin.

Greasing the muffin tin for popovers by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

When my older son, the picky eater, saw me pull the tin out of the oven half an hour later, he said, "What are those?!" Then he scarfed one down and promptly asked for another (he only ate half of it but I was still thrilled :))

Popovers by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

I love the look of them, like gloriously toasted, edible chef's hats. And there's something irresistible about the way they're equal parts airy and eggy.

Popovers by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

Popovers are the perfect sidekick for soup. They're also delicious with butter and jam for breakfast. And I like to make little melts with them - I cut them in half, smear a little apricot or fig jam inside, top with a piece of ham (skip that part if you don't eat the meats, of course) and a thin slice of sharp cheddar - put in the toaster for a minute or two, remove, blow on them to cool them down enough to handle, then DEVOUR.

Perfect Popovers
Makes 12

Ingredients

* 1 1/2 Tbsps organic, unsalted butter, melted, plus additional softened butter or bacon grease for greasing the muffin tin
* 1 1/2 cups organic flour (we're talking the regular white stuff here)
* 3/4 tsp sea salt
* 1 1/2 cups organic milk, at room temperature
* 3 large eggs, at room temperature (try to find pasture-raised eggs from a local farm)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Generously grease a 12-muffin tin with butter or try my trick and use bacon drippings for the task (but make sure to remove any solids as those will burn and stick).

2. While you're waiting for the oven to heat up, whisk the flour, salt, eggs, milk and melted butter together until smooth. It will be a thin, runny batter. Once the oven has reached 425°, put the greased muffin tin in for 2 minutes to heat up.

3. Fill each muffin halfway and bake for 28-30 minutes, until the popovers have "popped" all the way up and are golden brown. Do not open the oven while you're baking. Remove from the oven, let cool for a few minutes then remove the popovers to a rack to cool more fully.

You might also like:
For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Saying Goodbye

Sunday, January 18, 2015

We spent last week in the heat and bright sunshine of Costa Rica, spending as much time as possible immersed in the water and drinking cold, sweet agua de pipas through bamboo straws. Our five-year old was wild for both the water and the young coconuts and managed to amass a sizeable collection of bamboo straws that he insisted on bringing home (they're now sitting in a plastic bag on the rug in the middle of his floor where they will stay until I move them.) Our two-year old was, unfortunately, terrified of both the pool and the ocean but he lapped up the attention from his aunt and uncle and his grandparents and put away astonishing amounts of food between frequent dips in the yellow, plastic baby bathtub I bought at the little supermercado in town.

But all good things must come to an end. On Wednesday we awoke in the hot darkness of the wee hours to load the bags into the waiting taxi, break down the travel crib and carry our two sleepy little boys out to their car seats for the two hour drive over bumpy, dusty roads to the airport. After a long but blessedly smooth day of travel, we returned home to frigid temps, one very happy cat and a driveway coated in a slick crust of ice. The next morning, just after I'd packed the children into the car for school, my mom-in-law phoned to say that she was heading back up to Vermont where her younger sister, Maggie lives.

Our beautiful Maggie.
I've written about Maggie here before but in case you missed it, she's been battling lymphoma for the past 10 years, undergoing two brutal but temporarily effective stem cell transplants and countless rounds of chemo and radiation. After exhausting the last of her treatment options - a drug cocktail including a new drug called Ibrutinib - this fall, her tumors had spread and grown at a frightening pace, she was having more and more difficulty breathing and was often in unbearable pain. It took her some weeks with help of hospice at home, before finally departing her poor, little, battle-scarred body.

Maggie and her love enjoying the sun in Maine after her first stem cell transplant which led to a 6-year remission.
I can't tell you how much I will miss my beautiful aunt. I loved her from the first time I met her almost 15 years ago, just a few months after I began dating her nephew who would eventually become my husband.

Maggie and her friend, Helen, swimming out to the seals during her remission.
She was full of life - downright irrepressible. When she was well she took care of people as a nurse practitioner at the Brattleboro Free Clinic, hiked, biked and swam, helped her friends tap and boil sap to produce hundreds of gallons of pure amber maple syrup, raised and slaughtered her own chickens and lambs, grew, picked and canned enough food for an army, collected plants for her beautiful botanical artwork, cooked and baked and cleaned, and generally showered her partner and kids and sisters and all the people in her life with affection.

Even during the many punishing rounds of chemo when her immune system had been zeroed out, she'd be out in her garden with her mask on digging in the dirt despite the fact that her doctors had expressly forbidden it. Having her hands in the earth made her feel alive and that's a pretty powerful medicine.

Maggie planting peas in her garden in the early spring.
In the week before she died, she shocked her family by calling on some unknown reserves of energy to finish framing the gorgeous, new prints for her final show, "Gone To Seed" that opened last week at Mitchell Giddings Fine Arts. Then she amazed yet everyone again by making the trip down to Brattleboro to see the show hung the day before it opened. She had to tour the gallery in a wheelchair with a barf bucket on her lap but it filled her with happiness to see her work writ large on those clean, white walls.


Below is her artist's statement for Gone To Seed - I find it very profound and moving.

In the late Fall of this year I hiked the familiar woods trails where every Spring for the past 30 years I have collected Vermont’s ephemeral flora. The transformation of the plants was so dramatic, from tiny shapes of starry pale flowers and their new born leaves clasped tightly around their stems to ungainly bug-eaten golden leaves bearing red and blue fruits, oozing their seed and juices into the soil and decaying leaf matter. What a metaphor for life, for my life, as I struggle with terminal cancer, birth, death and rebirth.                                             

-Maggie Lake, December 2014

I did not get to see Maggie more than once or twice a year but we had a wonderful email correspondence. I felt that I could share pretty much anything with her - absurd or awful anecdotes from my daily life, stories about my kids - both funny and frustrating, recipes I liked, gardening questions, fears and insecurities I was struggling with, thoughts about art and life, etc., I will treasure her emails which were notoriously lacking in capitalization and full of the vivacious, appreciative, no-nonsense, humorous, generous, and loving spirit that marked her life. It gives me a queer, hollow feeling in my gut to know that there won't be any new ones arriving in my inbox.

Below are a few bits from messages she wrote me while wrestling with terrible physical pain and the tremendous uncertainty of not knowing how soon her life would end.

"i still love life and the big fat golden quinces out the window begging to made into membrillo. delicious with goat cheese on a good cracker. better go pick em."

"i think the world of beautiful things is the answer to all problems; loving your kids, your partner, your friends and family. loving the growth of gardens and plants and the miracle of seasons. sharpening your awareness of the wind, sun on your face, the feel of dirt when you pull weeds, the beautiful smallness of life. i will so miss it. i love you m"

"i am getting into the tub. bath, bed and beyond. love you m"

Here's to you, sweet Magpie, wherever you are. I hope you have found the most wonderful peace.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Potato Leek Soup (a.k.a. Vichyssoise)

Sunchoke & sweet potato soup with sour cream

I made a big pot of this wonderful soup earlier in the week. It is comfort incarnate, especially when served hot, topped with a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche, which is how I like it. Traditionally, vichyssoise is served cold but this is simply not the season for cold soups, at least not here in the northeast...

I've had potatoes on the brain because they were one of my aunt Maggie's favorite foods and a mainstay of her diet during the rough periods in her battle with lymphoma.

Homegrown Yukon Gold potatoes by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

She grew her own spuds in the dirt of her ever-expanding garden in Putney, Vermont. She'd eat them baked with lots of butter or blended in potato leek soup in an effort to put some meat back on her tiny bones during rounds of chemotherapy when, as she said, "It is often harder not to throw up than to."

Maggie with a "heart potato" she grew.
I've been re-reading Maggie's emails and her postings on her CaringBridge site since she died and I've found so much wisdom, courage and sweetness in her words. This excerpt from an entry Maggie posted after her cancer returned is a poignant reminder not to sleepwalk through our precious lives, to be present even when things are difficult or painful.

think of all the things we take for granted (excuse my sounding like a hallmark card, but i am struck so often by these thoughts); just brushing teeth, rubbing cream on face, slicing apples for a pie, eating a bowl of coffee ice cream cold on tongue, feeling the road under my boots.....an endless sensory barrage that we don't even realize we are experiencing until it may be taken away; YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YA GOT TIL IT'S GONE, thank you joni mitchell. maggie

One of the things I love about cooking is experiencing the beauty of the ingredients. The unique color, shape and texture of each potato, the vivid chartreuse core you find when you cut into a leek, the crunchy, white crystals of Kosher salt, the thick, smooth surface on a cup of cream. It's a feast for the senses.

Cutting up potatoes for the vichyssoise (potato leek) soup by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

This is one of the simplest soups to make - you start by slicing the leeks and chopping the potatoes, then you saute the leeks in butter or oil.

Sauteeing the leeks for the vichyssoise (potato leek) soup by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

Once they've softened, you add the cubed potatoes and saute a bit longer.

Sauteeing leeks and potatoes for the vichyssoise aka potato leek soup by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

Then add the stock and bring it to a simmer until the potatoes are cooked through.

Potato leek soup before blending by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

Then it's time to break out your trusty immersion blender - one of my top five favorite kitchen tools - and blend until smooth (or not, it's up to you so just blend until it reaches your desired consistency.)

Blending the potato leek soup by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

Although I sometimes make this soup with chicken broth and cream, I made this batch with vegetable broth (I was making a batch at the same time from my frozen veggie scraps) and skipped the cream, making it vegan. It's good either way.

Top with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh herbs - dill, fennel, thyme, marjoram - pretty much anything goes well.

Sunchoke & sweet potato soup with sour cream

Potato Leek Soup (Vichyssoise)
Serves 6

Ingredients

* 4 organic potatoes, cubed (peel them if you want a really smooth soup)
* 6 leeks, white parts only, washed well to remove any dirt or sand, and chopped
* 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
* 1 cup of organic milk, 1/2 & 1/2 or cream (optional)
* 3 Tbsps olive oil or butter
* A generous handful of fresh herbs, rinsed and chopped (dill, fennel fronds, thyme, marjoram, cilantro, etc.)
* Sea salt to taste
* Freshly ground black pepper to taste
* Sour cream or crème fraîche (optional)

Directions

1. Heat the butter or oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute them until soft - about 4-5 minutes. Add the potatoes and continue to saute until softened, another 8-10 minutes.

2. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are completely softened, about 20 minutes. Add the milk or cream, if you're using it.

3. Puree the soup in the pot using an immersion blender (or in batches in the blender) until completely smooth or until it reaches your desired consistency.

4. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. Serve warm, topped with a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche and a sprinkling of fresh herbs.

You might also like:
For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Perfect Popovers

With their delightfully browned, over-the-top poofs, popovers are something you might expect to see on one of those long, deliciously filled tables in the Hogwarts dining hall.

Popovers by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

I think of popovers as the Rice Krispie treats of savory baking - they taste and look like they took hours of careful work but are surprisingly easy to make. There are just five ingredients - flour, milk, salt, butter and eggs - and three rules to follow.

3 eggs, butter and milk for the popover batter by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

The Rules for Perfect Popovers

1. Get the greased muffin tin hot before you fill it with batter.
2. Don't fill the muffin tins too full - half-way is perfect.
3. Don't open the oven while they're baking - you can glance through the glass to watch them puffing up and turning a lovely, golden brown.

I made a batch of them to accompany the potato leek soup I'll be writing about very soon. It took all of 15 minutes (including a few child-related interruptions) to get all the ingredients mixed and ready.

Adding salt to flour for the popovers by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

Since I had a jar of bacon drippings in my fridge, I used the fat instead of butter to grease the muffin tin.

Greasing the muffin tin for popovers by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

When my older son, the picky eater, saw me pull the tin out of the oven half an hour later, he said, "What are those?!" Then he scarfed one down and promptly asked for another (he only ate half of it but I was still thrilled :))

Popovers by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

I love the look of them, like gloriously toasted, edible chef's hats. And there's something irresistible about the way they're equal parts airy and eggy.

Popovers by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

Popovers are the perfect sidekick for soup. They're also delicious with butter and jam for breakfast. And I like to make little melts with them - I cut them in half, smear a little apricot or fig jam inside, top with a piece of ham (skip that part if you don't eat the meats, of course) and a thin slice of sharp cheddar - put in the toaster for a minute or two, remove, blow on them to cool them down enough to handle, then DEVOUR.

Perfect Popovers
Makes 12

Ingredients

* 1 1/2 Tbsps organic, unsalted butter, melted, plus additional softened butter or bacon grease for greasing the muffin tin
* 1 1/2 cups organic flour (we're talking the regular white stuff here)
* 3/4 tsp sea salt
* 1 1/2 cups organic milk, at room temperature
* 3 large eggs, at room temperature (try to find pasture-raised eggs from a local farm)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Generously grease a 12-muffin tin with butter or try my trick and use bacon drippings for the task (but make sure to remove any solids as those will burn and stick).

2. While you're waiting for the oven to heat up, whisk the flour, salt, eggs, milk and melted butter together until smooth. It will be a thin, runny batter. Once the oven has reached 425°, put the greased muffin tin in for 2 minutes to heat up.

3. Fill each muffin halfway and bake for 28-30 minutes, until the popovers have "popped" all the way up and are golden brown. Do not open the oven while you're baking. Remove from the oven, let cool for a few minutes then remove the popovers to a rack to cool more fully.

You might also like:
For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Saying Goodbye

We spent last week in the heat and bright sunshine of Costa Rica, spending as much time as possible immersed in the water and drinking cold, sweet agua de pipas through bamboo straws. Our five-year old was wild for both the water and the young coconuts and managed to amass a sizeable collection of bamboo straws that he insisted on bringing home (they're now sitting in a plastic bag on the rug in the middle of his floor where they will stay until I move them.) Our two-year old was, unfortunately, terrified of both the pool and the ocean but he lapped up the attention from his aunt and uncle and his grandparents and put away astonishing amounts of food between frequent dips in the yellow, plastic baby bathtub I bought at the little supermercado in town.

But all good things must come to an end. On Wednesday we awoke in the hot darkness of the wee hours to load the bags into the waiting taxi, break down the travel crib and carry our two sleepy little boys out to their car seats for the two hour drive over bumpy, dusty roads to the airport. After a long but blessedly smooth day of travel, we returned home to frigid temps, one very happy cat and a driveway coated in a slick crust of ice. The next morning, just after I'd packed the children into the car for school, my mom-in-law phoned to say that she was heading back up to Vermont where her younger sister, Maggie lives.

Our beautiful Maggie.
I've written about Maggie here before but in case you missed it, she's been battling lymphoma for the past 10 years, undergoing two brutal but temporarily effective stem cell transplants and countless rounds of chemo and radiation. After exhausting the last of her treatment options - a drug cocktail including a new drug called Ibrutinib - this fall, her tumors had spread and grown at a frightening pace, she was having more and more difficulty breathing and was often in unbearable pain. It took her some weeks with help of hospice at home, before finally departing her poor, little, battle-scarred body.

Maggie and her love enjoying the sun in Maine after her first stem cell transplant which led to a 6-year remission.
I can't tell you how much I will miss my beautiful aunt. I loved her from the first time I met her almost 15 years ago, just a few months after I began dating her nephew who would eventually become my husband.

Maggie and her friend, Helen, swimming out to the seals during her remission.
She was full of life - downright irrepressible. When she was well she took care of people as a nurse practitioner at the Brattleboro Free Clinic, hiked, biked and swam, helped her friends tap and boil sap to produce hundreds of gallons of pure amber maple syrup, raised and slaughtered her own chickens and lambs, grew, picked and canned enough food for an army, collected plants for her beautiful botanical artwork, cooked and baked and cleaned, and generally showered her partner and kids and sisters and all the people in her life with affection.

Even during the many punishing rounds of chemo when her immune system had been zeroed out, she'd be out in her garden with her mask on digging in the dirt despite the fact that her doctors had expressly forbidden it. Having her hands in the earth made her feel alive and that's a pretty powerful medicine.

Maggie planting peas in her garden in the early spring.
In the week before she died, she shocked her family by calling on some unknown reserves of energy to finish framing the gorgeous, new prints for her final show, "Gone To Seed" that opened last week at Mitchell Giddings Fine Arts. Then she amazed yet everyone again by making the trip down to Brattleboro to see the show hung the day before it opened. She had to tour the gallery in a wheelchair with a barf bucket on her lap but it filled her with happiness to see her work writ large on those clean, white walls.


Below is her artist's statement for Gone To Seed - I find it very profound and moving.

In the late Fall of this year I hiked the familiar woods trails where every Spring for the past 30 years I have collected Vermont’s ephemeral flora. The transformation of the plants was so dramatic, from tiny shapes of starry pale flowers and their new born leaves clasped tightly around their stems to ungainly bug-eaten golden leaves bearing red and blue fruits, oozing their seed and juices into the soil and decaying leaf matter. What a metaphor for life, for my life, as I struggle with terminal cancer, birth, death and rebirth.                                             

-Maggie Lake, December 2014

I did not get to see Maggie more than once or twice a year but we had a wonderful email correspondence. I felt that I could share pretty much anything with her - absurd or awful anecdotes from my daily life, stories about my kids - both funny and frustrating, recipes I liked, gardening questions, fears and insecurities I was struggling with, thoughts about art and life, etc., I will treasure her emails which were notoriously lacking in capitalization and full of the vivacious, appreciative, no-nonsense, humorous, generous, and loving spirit that marked her life. It gives me a queer, hollow feeling in my gut to know that there won't be any new ones arriving in my inbox.

Below are a few bits from messages she wrote me while wrestling with terrible physical pain and the tremendous uncertainty of not knowing how soon her life would end.

"i still love life and the big fat golden quinces out the window begging to made into membrillo. delicious with goat cheese on a good cracker. better go pick em."

"i think the world of beautiful things is the answer to all problems; loving your kids, your partner, your friends and family. loving the growth of gardens and plants and the miracle of seasons. sharpening your awareness of the wind, sun on your face, the feel of dirt when you pull weeds, the beautiful smallness of life. i will so miss it. i love you m"

"i am getting into the tub. bath, bed and beyond. love you m"

Here's to you, sweet Magpie, wherever you are. I hope you have found the most wonderful peace.