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Issue 10

July 2023


A monthly composition of
sensory inspiration.

"Eternity exists in minutes of absolute awareness."
- Alex Katz

As we try to savor every moment of summer we're meditating on Alex Katz' simple and profound observation about time and presence. Does time slow down the more we inhabit it? What practices can we instill to refine our awareness? Summer can feel fleeting if we're over-busy, don't get enough time outdoors, time with friends and family. In this issue we share how we're prolonging this special season and finding ways to drop in and extend the bliss of summer. 
David Whyte's book, Consolations, examines and expounds on 52 ordinary words, offering poetic imagery and philosophic reflection. With each word Whyte illuminates the depth and consoling power of its meaning, connecting us to our humanness and sense of belonging in the world. We've been taking our time with this one, reading a single essay a day. Recently, we read the essay on Beauty, which spoke directly to our theme and feeling for this month's newsletter. We've included an excerpt below, but recommend you get your hands on this book and let these words and reflections permeate slowly. 

"Beauty especially occurs in the meeting of time with the timeless; the passing moment framed by what has happened and what is about to occur, the scattering of the first spring apple blossom, the turning, spiraling flight of a curled leaf in the falling light; the smoothing of white sun-filled sheets by careful hands setting them to air on a line, the broad expanse of cotton filled by the breeze only for a moment, the sheets sailing on into dryness, billowing toward a future that is always beckoning, always just beyond us. Beauty is the harvest of presence."
- David Whyte

Mary Oliver

Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy
and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles
for a musical battle
Mary Oliver needs no introduction. Her influential poetry is deeply inspired by nature and her keen observations of the world around her speak to the power of presence. As instructed by Oliver in her poem, Invitation, we've been spending time attuning to our surroundings and practicing focused listening. There's a calm delight that comes from this practice - noticing the birds calling to each other, the pounding echo of an ocean wave, the rhythmic sound of a loved one breathing as they sleep. 

In doing this, we are reminded of the album series, Environments, a collection of 11 LPs that contain field recordings of mostly natural sounds: a thunderstorm, a country stream, a summer cornfield, a swamp at dawn. By sinking into each environment we are reminded that these rhythmic and alive soundscapes are all around us if we quiet ourselves and tune in. 
environments disc 10
In this 2021 article from the New York Times, fragrance maker, Ernesto Collado encourages people to engage with the scent world around them and recognize, “The sublime which is right here." 
“We have never had so many fragrances around us...
but at the same time, we have no idea of what life really smells like."
- Ernesto Collado
Collado leads smelling tours through his native Catalonia and has inspired us to do the same. Summer is the time to get daring with your nose and open to the cacophony of natural scents around you. We've been taking plant walks where we live using our nose as our guide and identifying the fragrant native plants in our area. Below is a list of some of the plants we are noticing lately, and inhaling deeply.
1) Hummingbird Sage, 2) Rock Rose, 3) Elderflower, 4) White Evening Primrose, 5) Musk Sage, 6) Pitcher Sage, 7) Woolly Blue Curls, 8) Brickellbush, 9) Ceanothus, 10) Coyote Brush 
Bartavelle Coffee and Wine Bar is a beloved Berkeley Cafe that just re-opened in a new location this June. In celebration of its much anticipated opening, we asked Bartavelle pastry chef, Nellie Stark, to create a simple summer dessert highlighting the fruits of the season.
Nellie made a Dacquoise, a meringue-style cake made with nut flour which gives it a light crisp outside and moist chewy center. Her recipe features layers of fresh stone fruit and Leaves and Flowers Hojicha cream, making this cake utterly irresistible. Bring this cake to a party, make it for yourself and eat it in your garden, whatever you do, do it soon! This cake is for celebrating the longest and hottest days of the year.

Stone Fruit and Almond Dacquoise with Hojicha Cream

Hojicha Infused Cream

1 C  Heavy Whipping Cream 
1/2 Tsp  Hojicha Powder

- Add powder to a small amount of cream. Smooth out any lumps before adding the rest of the cream, stir to combine.
- Put cream in the fridge to infuse while you make the dacquoise.



1 1/2 C Almond Flour (toasted for 20 min)
1 C Sugar
1/4 C Flour (you may sub any flour to make it gf)
5 Egg Whites
2 Pinches Salt

- Preheat oven to 320F. Spray two 8” round cake pans w/ oil and line the bottoms with parchment.
- Combine toasted almond flour, flour, salt, and half of the sugar in a medium mixing bowl.
- Whip egg whites with a handheld or stand mixer until frothy. Add remaining 1/2 of sugar (1 Tbs at a time) and whip to stiff peaks.
- Fold meringue with a spatula into dry ingredients, taking care not to deflate the mixture.
- Divide batter into pans, and bake for 20-25 min. (or until golden). Turn off oven. Leave meringue to cool in oven for 1 hour with door ajar.



- While the meringue cools, prepare your fruit. Slice, and season with sugar, vanilla extract, or lemon juice if needed. Peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries, and apricots work well here. Use a variety of whatever is best at the market that day.

- Whip the cream and sweeten with a pinch of sugar or a little honey.

- Carefully remove dacquoise from the pans and place one layer on your serving plate. Top with whipped cream and fruit, repeat with the second layer. 
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