You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2011.

last tuesday, the birthday celebrations continued. with enthusiasm and general festivity, we enjoyed a lovely dinner at los galanes.

little did the man of honor know, the real party wasn’t to start until after dinner. the surprise, pinata-infused, mexican-wrestled after party would feature fun, bright color, and rum cake. the classic birthday dessert at dinner helped keep the surprise alive (an whetted our palates for more sweets to come… who doesn’t love a little coconut fried ice cream?)

soon, the plan was in place, and we arrived at the house of the surprise party with neither glitches nor realizations by the birthday celebrator. and a party was had!

and this, good friends, is where the rum cake comes into play. before this night, i had never experienced a rum cake. but, after it was requested by the birthday honoree, i gratefully received a recipe (and a bag full of necessary ingredients!) from alex’s mom. and what a beautiful, delicious cake it was!

a show-stopper. a light, moist, rummy cake with a delightful rum glaze, and softly powdered sugar, the bundt, crumbs and all, disappeared by the end of the evening.

and so, the evening was a success.  a little mexican, a little surprise, a lot of bright costuming, and rum cake. a birthday fiesta done right.


it’s decided. this past saturday’s earned the title celebration station. yes, i recognize a general awkwardness that comes with naming a day celebration station– that seems like more of a place than a time frame– but the day continuously filled with minor celebrations, making each stop along it’s way a station for celebrating.

first, rising pheasant farms sold out of sunflower shoots for the third consecutive week, before 12:30 this time. these sunflower shoots, so tasty and enticing, really sell themselves. i’ve just had the great honor of working with carolyn, jack, and little finn in the harvesting, selling, and general promotion of such tasty greens. the first of many celebrations stations regarding the farm.

rising pheasant farms lettuce seedlings

after this great success, carolyn and i determined that part of the farm really needed tilled, and asap. with wet weather and rain in the forecast, a certain feeling of urgency came with this need, as tilling wet earth is messy, miserable, and not necessarily helpful. and, after a series of events, including the locating and collecting of two tillers on opposites sides of town, the plot got tilled! and oh! how great that feels. soon, friends, our table will boast of not only sunflower shoots, but head lettuce, tomatoes, cut flowers, onions, and more. SPRING has SPRUNG! (celebration station number two).

following the success in tilling, i scurried home to prepare a meal, a secret birthday meal, to honor a very exciting birthday. and, as this, too, was to prove to be a celebration station, i cooked meat. i know, i did it again. the main course for the meal? pasta carbonara with bacon, artichoke hearts, and arugula. this dish, based off a delicious recipe from sunday suppers at lucques, danced the line of heavy decadence and light springtime delight in a way so very appropriate for early april in detroit. a true reason for celebrating. this was coupled with a delicious kale and arugula salad with caramelized shallots, dates, and grated raw sweet potato, and a side of michigan ambrosia peaches, bought last fall and bright with sweet, sunshiney peach goodness. (celebration station number three).

birthday celebration station

while preparing his birthday meal, alex completed the construction on a new shelving unit suited for growing transplants. this, dear friends, is a HUGE celebration station. with many heads of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and flowers to boot, this shelving unit is the only way i can start rising pheasants farms’ transplants. and, an ongoing project, it feels so exciting to have it done. (celebration station number four).

in the beginning, there was a frame

and then, there was chicken wire


three shelves, HOORAY

and so, with success at market, tilled vegetable beds, delicious dinner, and fresh shelves, saturday’s celebration stations overwhelmed the weekend.

and now, for the pasta recipe. the crisipiness of the bacon, the sweetness and depth of the onion, the spicy bite of the arugula, and the soft saltiness of the canned artichoke hearts… this, the perfectly balanced late winter/early spring meal. warm and heavy, light and fresh, it won me over in taste.

pasta carbonara with artichoke hearts and arugula

based off suzanne goins’ sunday suppers at lucques

2 tablespoons olive oil
10 ounces bacon, chopped (try for local, antibiotic- and hormone-free)
4 eggs
4 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups grated parmesan cheese
1 pound pasta
1 red onion, large, diced (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups)
4 cloves of garlic, minced (just over a tablespoon)
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
1 can artichoke hearts, quartered
2-3 handfuls fresh arugula
chopped fresh parsley (garnish)
fresh, soft cow or goat cheese (garnish)
salt and pepper to taste

1. bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2. heat oil in dutch oven on high heat for a minute. swirl, add bacon, reduce temperature to medium high heat. cook for 5 minutes, until crisped but still tender.

3. meanwhile, combine eggs, egg yolk, and parmesan and whisk to mix, in a large stainless steal bowl. season with salt and pepper. drop pasta in boiling water.

4. add chopped onion, garlic, and thyme to bacon. cook for 6 minutes or longer, till onion is translucent and flavors are melding.

5. add artichoke hearts to bacon, continue to cook until hot and tender.

6. when pasta is al dente,  drain it and add to bacon mixture, cooking for 1-2 minutes, stirring well. at the end of this process, add in arugula, stirring to incorporate.

7. then add the pasta mixture into the stainless steal bowl with the egg/cheese mixture. the egg mixture is the sauce. stir to incorporate– the hot pasta and bacon cook the eggs, but do not keep on heat or the eggs will scramble. if the sauce seems soupy, the eggs have not cooked enough, and you can put the stainless steal bowl over a low flame, stirring until sauce thickens and holds to pasta. plate and garnish with a sprinkle of parsley, a glob of soft cheese, salt and pepper.

enjoy! wishing you celebration stations of your own!