Sunday, November 27, 2011

My Heaven

Last year, in the beginning of November I stayed with some friends at an amazing hill top estate just north of Los Angeles. My buddies invited us to relax for a few days while they house sat for some old family friends. I spent two days there and returned with a fresh head and a kind of peace that I hadn't felt since returning from my honeymoon. But, most of all, I felt inspired. Inspired to cook, to grow things, to live a better life. Here's why... was paradise up there. We were out of the smog and congestion of the city. The new rains of November had begun to turn the hills green and everything smelled fresher than I knew possible. This house and the property it sits on, were so memorable, so special, that I think I now have a clear idea of what my dream home would look like but mostly, what it would feel like.

True, it was a fancy piece of real estate, but what made the property particularly amazing was not it's size or the amenities that it had. It was how the house and the hillside that it was built on, worked together. The house was very much part of the land, unimposing and harmonious. There was an enormous herb garden and a dozen amazing fruit trees...


Kaffir lime..

Buddha's hand...


a donkey...

a chicken coup,

a ten million dollar view...

and a stunning pool with a pool house (okay that part was kind of fancy).

The homeowners are huge foodies so to top it all off, the kitchen, oh the kitchen... was perfect. Everything in this kitchen was in the right place, a thick solid chopping block with a prep sink just off to the side of the stove, a grand refrigerator that was stocked to the gills with everything good, a pantry with a thousand beautiful oils and vinegars and fresh spices from around the world. Baskets hung from the ceiling used for collecting the days harvest. There was an impressive collection of the greatest cookbooks ever printed. Anything you could imagine, it seemed, had been made in that kitchen. Apparently the homeowner used to teach cooking classes there. I would pay for those classes, if not simply to just be in that kitchen again.

After a day of sunning ourselves by a deep blue mountaintop pool and drinking wine from my friend's family winery. We needed a substantial meal. On the menu that night were grilled beef kababs (grass finished and organic) with couscous and a blood orange sauce, leafed brussel sprouts with pancetta and pomegranates and cheesecake prepared by the lady of the house as a "thank you for housesitting" gift (like that was needed).

Cooking in that kitchen was divine. At one point, I was so blissed out, so deep in the mojo of prepping dinner, inundated with a feeling of purpose and connectedness, that I didn't notice The Husband sitting alone at the kitchen table staring at me. He had a Cheshire Cat smile on his face. "What?!" I said, when I saw him. "One day," he said "I'm going to buy you a kitchen like this. I will." I laughed at him. "I'm serious," he said "I will."

So while I'm waiting for that to come true (and saving every penny for a house of our own), I'll just think back and remember the house of my dreams, the garden, the animals, The mountains, the pool, the kitchen, the meal, the wine and the salted caramels that we ate while sitting by the fire.

I took home a basket of loot when I left the next day. I came up with some fun recipes to make with the citrus fruit (yes mostly cocktails, so what?).

More to come...

1 comment:

  1. I think I'm starting to have a clear idea of what my dream house will look like.
    I love your blog, it's warm and cozy.

    I'm a professional actor based in New York City (I wish we had such places here).
    I have a blog where I write on acting and anything else that relates to it. I'm also into organic food and healthy life styles.
    Well, I'm looking for followers and if you're interested in acting under multiple points of view (psychological, philosophical, technical, etc.) with digressions on music, poetry, literature, films, and books, then you might be interested in what I write. If that is so, I'd be happy if you became a follower and left some comments whenever you have some.

    Congratulations again on your blog.

    All the best,
    Jay Paoloni