This post brought to you by the color SUNSHINE

I’m a summer lady. I’ll spare you the whining and instead I’ll tell you that I like open windows, diaphanous white dresses and heat. I want the world to be blooming! Bountiful! Vibrant! Colorful! All. The. Time. It never gets old for me. Even in Los Angeles when it’s the ninety-fifth straight day of sun I bound out the door in the morning with a fist pump like I’ve never seen summer before.

Now that you’re acquainted with my proclivities, let me say a few things about January:
It can be grey.
The Garden looks a little…..peaked.
Sometimes rain happens (I know, I know. If we’re lucky blah blah blah)

In fact, rain HAS been happening. There were several stormy days last week and you shoulda seen the pitiful look on my face under the hood of my soggy raincoat. HOWEVER. The day after the storms I went to The Garden. My friend Leonardo and I discovered that our wildflower seeds were sprouting and the flowers were perking up and and the kumquat trees were full of luminous, golden fruit.


I’m not gonna say I like the rain, but if it brings out all the garden colors then I’ll concede the point with an eye roll.

Color therapy is real, people. This is how I combatted Michigan winters. I imagined my parka beaming winter right back outta town like a frigid Care Bear stare or something.

About those kumquats. I needed a properly reverant recipe to honor the little guys, so I concocted a variation on David Leibovitz’ Super Lemon ice cream. I added kumquat juice to the lemon juice and also used kumquats and minced ginger that I candied in whisky and sugar.

Ummm…I’m sorry to inform you that juicing kumquats is best compared to milking a cat.


You gotta have an appropriate vessel for killer ice cream. This is one of my depression-era sherbet glasses. The spoon is square at the bottom to facilitate effective scraping of the bottom of the dish.

This whole, “winter problem” has me thinking pretty deeply about garden colors, so I’m playing with plant-based dyes. Last week I cooked up batches of goldenrod, fuchsia and green (turmeric, beets and kale) and hauled them all over to the garden in jars for a Micheltorena School project. The chickadees and I spent the day talking about colors and textiles and dying wool.

Praise the lord above for my helpers Helen, Audrea and Leonardo. Without them, one hundred tiny people would have gone home covered head to toe in beet juice. I just don’t have room in my gmail inbox for that volume of irate parent memos.

I offered beet slices so the kiddos could eat the color pink. Photo credit: Leonardo Chalapuwicz
Almost no one wanted to try the beets- a lot of, “eeeeeews.” These stained lips are misleading. She spat it out!

9 thoughts on “This post brought to you by the color SUNSHINE

  1. That yellow coat always brings a smile to my face! How did the plant-based dyes work out? Would love to see the kids’ textiles!


    1. Leonardo!
      The ice cream is (was?) at James’ house because I brought it to empathy. If it makes it to next Tuesday you can have some 🙂
      Actually I was particularly keen for you to try it because it’s inspired by an Argentinian recipe I found.


  2. Oooh, Leyna, this is brilliant! On the beets: did you give them to the kids unadulterated? Or did you try them cooked in red balsamic…. until the balsamic becomes really gooey and sweet? Toss those in a salad of greens and watermelon with goat cheese. (I stole that combo from a restaurant in Oxford where spouse and I had dinner once). – – – Micheltorena School? After that general? He waged war in the early days of California, before it was part of the US.


    1. Thank you SO much for reading, Katharina! I will add you to my email list.
      The beets I offered were the very beets that produced the dye. They were boiled and sliced. I would have liked to make some sort of dish with them (you have me dying for a beet and feta salad now!) but I have to prepare for over 100 kids and I drag everything around on my bicycle! Plus, I rather liked the idea of the stripped down beet to get as close to imbibing the dye as possible. Who would have thought they wouldn’t like beets? They’re sweet! What an un-vegetabley veggie!

      In any case, I do not know anything about the school’s namesake, but now I’m so curious!

      Would you be willing to send me your mailing address? You can send it to my email address if you prefer


  3. It warms my heart to see you making all this rad stuff! I seriously love all the yellow in this post. The kumquat lemon ice cream looks delish!!


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