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19 June: Friday

Indio, California: We are back in Indio. No more jet-setting for a while. We had to return to receive our Coachella Valley Harvest Box - like a local CSA veggie/fruit box, except CV Harvest Box is combined through many different local farms. Fun!

Our delivered box included, Armenian cucumbers (like a cucumber, but actually a melon), beets, fresh dates, green seedless grapes, living basil, living rosemary, microgreens, New Girl tomatoes, shishito peppers and tomatillos. Won't I have fun planning the meals for this week! So excited.

Armenian Cucumber - about 10 inches long

The usual morning routine. Coffee. Exercise. Crossword puzzle... and then I have no idea where the day goes. Dave went to Costco because handles of Tanqueray gin (not the little bottle - I mean the 1.75 liter bottle with a handle - are $18 (again). Only problem, to receive the $18 price, you must buy two handles. This is basically free gin. 1.75 liters of Tanqueray for the price of a nice bottle of wine? Done.

California truly is the Promised Land.

Since it was going to be 105° this evening, I decided to prepare dinner (risotto) inside the air conditioned motorhome - prepping it to about 75% - instead of stirring for 45 minutes in the hot outdoor kitchen. I sauteed shallots and garlic in olive oil, added a cup of arborio rice, and then slowly added home-made chicken stock (flavored with saffron) and stirred and stirred and stirred until it was nearly al dente. After the risotto cooled, it was placed in the fridge until dinner time. (I'm sure this must be how restaurants prep risotto?)

Remember all the way back to Wednesday when I grilled all those zucchini slices for lasagna? I also grilled the "heels" of the zucchini slices and set them aside. What to do with these end-bits? (Don't waste food!) The grilled zucchini (with so much skin) really reminded me of grilled eggplant, so just went with that, and invented a tapanade with the chopped grilled zucchini, olive oil, minced garlic, basil, chopped roasted red pepper, sea salt, and balsamic vinegar. The concoction rested for a day, and was served tonight on toasted multi-grain bread as an appetizer.

Something so simple, yet so lovely. It would have been enough for our dinner! Oops, already made the risotto, so had just a bit of the rice dish, with a salad, so have plenty of risotto for lunch tomorrow... or suppli for another day... or who knows?

Don't waste food!

To finish the risotto, it only needed to be warmed, topped-off with a splash of white wine, a knob of butter and a handful of grated Pecorino cheese. (The thyme sprig is purely gratuitous garnish.)

Saffron risotto with chicken stock and peas

Until my next update, I remain, your stirring correspondent.