“Patience, tiny bud…”


The little trees are doing very well.  Penjing and Penzai have lots of new growth and Penjing has little flowers. 

But the real interest in Irohamomiji, which finally is showing some determination.

And more!

Thus, I was delighted to read this from the erudite Laudator:

Winter in July
August von Platen (1796-1835), Winterlieder:

    Patience, tiny bud,
    In the dear quiet wood:
    It is still much too cold,
    It is still much too soon.

    For now I pass you by,
    But I remember the spot,
    And when Spring draws near,
    I’ll fetch you then, my treasure.

    The sky is so clear and blue,
    If only the earth were green!
    The wind cuts, if only it were mild!
    The snow glistens, if only it were dew!
    If only the earth were green!

    Geduld, du kleine Knospe,
    Im lieben stillen Wald,
    Es ist noch viel zu frostig,
    Es ist noch viel zu bald.

    Noch geh’ ich dich vorüber,
    Doch merk’ ich mir den Platz,
    Und kommt heran der Frühling,
    So hol’ ich dich, mein Schatz.

    Der Himmel ist so hell und blau,
    Ach wäre die Erde grüne!
    Der Wind ist scharf, ach wär’ er lau!
    Es schimmert der Schnee, ach wär’ es Thau!
    Ach wäre die Erde grüne!

Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve, [Of the famous Latin grammar fame…] "Platen’s Poems," in Essays and Studies, Educational and Literary (Baltimore: N. Murray, 1890), pp. 401-450 (at 403):

    We may well despair of giving to an English translation the finished perfection of language which is to many the highest, to some the sole charm of Platen.

The summer has been very cool, so far, … not as cool as the poem… but the evenings are still long with lingering light.

It is nice to sit on the deck in the evening with a glass of something and have some chat through a couple ancient laptops with Z-Chaters in the Z-Chat room via the Z-Cam and Radio Sabina.

From last Sunday…

In the evening as it cools the sent of jasmine rises and with a watering, the rosemary as well.

In the last couple weeks I have had guests for supper who have brought steaks and wine.

On one occasion I made Bearnaise and prepared some fresh peas.  Fresh peas… ahhh… hardly to be surpassed:

Some butter, some vinegar, shallots, tarragon from the garden and a whisk. 

Eggs’ leap to immortality. 

On another occasion, bottles of wine were brought as well.  

I was pretty skeptical about this one… a 1984 Opus One.

It was absolutely disgusting, as I suspected it would be.

Hey!  Worth a try!

Happily he supplied an more recent alternative.

This was past its prime, for sure, but it wasn’t bad.  It really needed the food to support it.

I tried something different with the steaks this time, T-bones, which was able to work with ahead of time. 

I seasoned them, and layers lemons slices above and below for a couple hours.

The result was "okay".

The advantage of this was a very tender meat.  But … well… I think … I will use my more "Florentine" method next time.

I sauteed mushrooms with butter, Marsala, thyme from the garden and cayenne. The baby bok choy (on sale for $2.49/lbs) was stir fried with a little salt and grated ginger.

Straight forward… no frills.

Few things are as pleasant as an unhurried meal with a friend … who brings the main course and the wine!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Fr. Z's Kitchen, My View, SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. MargaretMN says:

    My peas are just about done. They are no longer setting pods due to the heat. Time for crop rotation since we have a very small urban garden. Looks like you boil rather than saute fresh peas?

  2. little gal says:

    One thing I would add to an evening on the veranda…listening to Renee Fleming’s CD, “The Beautiful voice.”

    What does the lemon do to the meat..tenderize?

  3. Margaret: I used the water I set up for the preparation of the Bearnaise sauce, just enough to warm them. They were magnificent.

  4. Dominic says:

    Wow…some real apostolic poverty going on here. [yah… it was bound to happen… DNFTT, folks. I’ll toss this fellow and let’s move on.]

  5. LCB says:


    The Desert Fathers were very clear, that even if you are on a 40 day fast, if you are offered the finest of meals by another who is attempting to be generous, you should always accept.

    Surely you don’t contradict the desert fathers and advise spurning the charity of others, denying them the grace of a good deed?

  6. Liam says:

    Try not to let herbs flower if you want to continue use the leaves for culinary use: [Yes… we know that. So, I let my old rosemary bush bloom and none of my basil.] typically, the leaves acquire a more bitter taste after flowering. For example, Americans notoriously tend to fail to prevent their basil from flowering, after which it acquires a harsher methol profile that the folks who invented basil condiments like pesto (Liguria) and pistou (Provence) find coarse and unflattering. Now, if one merely wants to provide bees and butterflies some flowers, go right ahead.

  7. Evelyn says:

    Could somebody please fill me in on the backstory of these oriental plants who get their own updates?

  8. Maureen says:


    Penjing is Fr. Z’s original bonsai of many years’ standing. It’s been to Rome and many other places.

    Irohamomiji is a maple bonsai that was bought last year, and the other one is another bonsai from last year also.

  9. Maureen: Actually, Penzai is a new acquisition, though it is several years old. Someone sent it through my Amazon wish list. The same for Irohamomiji.

  10. little gal says:


    It’s a long life and everyone, including priests and other religious need to recharge. Some recharge with cooking…FYI,it is possible to do pretty terrific cooking at a low cost when you are a good cook( bernaise sauce is made from cheap ingredients- eggs, vinegar etc.; the steaks and wine were donated). I dated a guy once who apprenticed at a French restaurant and he made the most marvelous edibles at a very low cost when he was an impoverished grad student!


    Correction… Do not feed the JANSENIST troll. o{];¬)

  12. Brian Day says:

    I am surprised that the ’97 Opus One was past it’s prime. I’ve been to the winery in Napa and to my best recollection, the wine is designed to age about a dozen years for optimal drinking.

    Perhaps it was more of a storage issue?

  13. HURRAY!!! Grow, Irohamomiji, grow!

  14. Great photos! I’m so hungry. IMHO, bad wine IS a mortification all its own.

  15. Brian: I am not sure. There are a few more bottles, I understand, of the same year. So… we shall see.

    They have been cellared in just about idea conditions.

  16. Roland de Chanson says:

    Dominus tibi gratia Sua subridet: tibi gratulor. Quid enim iucundius sit nisi sub arboribus sedere solem dormiturum spectando, philosophiam naturae contemplando, cum amicis benignis fabulando, gloriam Creatoris laudando?

    The Lord in His grace smiles upon you: I congratulate you. For what might be more pleasant than to sit beneath the trees watching the setting sun, contemplating natural philosophy, chatting with sympathetic friends, praising the glory of the Creator?

    Regarding the Jansenist deprecation of good Epicurean (in the true Epicurean sense) living, I side with my Gallic compatriot:

    Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine
    There\’s always laughter and good red wine.
    At least I\’ve always thought it so:
    Benedicamus Domino!

    Be of good cheer. Belloc did not despair at the occasional corked bottle. I\’ve had my share. My wine merchant is indulgent to a fault. Life is good.

  17. Roland de Chanson says:

    I wanted to mention but I had forgotten — where does the Laudator (Michael Gilleland) find the time to post all that sublime stuff? I’ve read him for years and he is sine dubio the Summus Anthologus of the internet. Laus sit Laudatori!

  18. Tracy says:

    Fr., next time try using finely diced onion instead of lemon slices on your steaks for tenderness. I tried it last week and it worked great. Onions have as much if not more citric acid than oranges (so I’ve heard) and I just kept them in the fridge with onions, top and bottom, a few hours and before cooking I scraped off the onions and then grilled the steaks. Mmmmyummy!

  19. clinton says:

    Inviting Guests, by Ch’eng-kung Sui (d. AD 273)

    I sent out invitations to summon guests.
    I collected together all my friends.
    Loud talk and simple feasting:
    Discussion of philosophy, investigation of subtleties.
    Tongues loosened and minds at one.
    Hearts refreshed by discharge of emotion!

    (Some things never change. I’m glad you enjoyed yourself, Father.)

  20. Michael says:


    I agree with your closing sentiment, although if said guest brings a fine Kentucky bourbon in place of wine, I find the heartwarming effect to be much the same.

  21. Jacques says:

    The Napa Valley wines cannot be kept as long as some French wines.
    Richard Olney the well-known wine critic said he tasted a Romanée-Conti of 1918 by the end of the nineties that he qualified as “somptuous”

  22. irishgirl says:

    Ooooo-those steaks look good, Fr. Z!

    Not much of a ‘wine’ person myself-couldn’t afford it!

    But I love looking at your plants-and your cooking!

    How do you keep track with two laptops-that’s what I want to know!

  23. AlwaysCatholic says:


    Dear Father,

    Okay, the reason the lemon slices aren’t the best choice is because, (as I’m sure you already know) the high citrus level will “cook” whatever raw fish, chicken or meat it is placed on or in the case of lemon juice “in”. The beef, however, compared to fish does not “cook”” thoroughout but the outside of the meat will begin the “cooking” stage. Whever marinating something for tenderness NEVER use citrus of any kind unless of course you are making ceviche!

    Now the mushrooms: I see that they appear to be fresh but look as though they are of the “white” variety. NO NO NO NO!!! Crimini, or known in supermarket circulars as “Baby Bella” (isnt that horrible when crimini is such a beautiful name)are a much better choice. The crimini have a ton more flavor and a beautiful compliment to the bok choy.

    Now on to the wine–YOU should have known better ‘enuf said.

    Finally a tip about salt: gray salt for cooking- fleur de sel for salting before eating. Fleur de sel is NEVER used for cooking. If you do a little research on FleurdeSel you will see how it is cultivated in France. The method for cultivation produces the gray salt at the bottom of the water with the fleur de sel like lace rising to the top! Glorious! Anyway you can see that I am not just “Always Catholic but Always a Chef!”
    I have diplomas in Grand Cuisine as well as my REAL love Pastry & chocolat. If you are stumped , ever- (I doubt it) feel free to email me.

    As far as the lad that starts that “apostolic poverty?” (I thought it was the Evangelical vow of poverty!?) jazz, just let him read about Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Anthony of Padua. These Saints were both very large in size because they love to eat, cook and visit homes where they were fed like princes.Honoring God’s glory in Creation by see the aesthetics in cooking and in the joy of eating and passing that on to others is not something to be scorned. Our friend with his observation probably thinks that a supper of frozen “chicken nuggets” fries, Wonder bread and butter with Twinkies for dessert is acceptable for you as a priest. Well Father, the food entries you make are always well planned and thought out as well as consideration for price in your menu. I must confess as a professional at home I NEVER consider price. Shame on me I guess. Of course when I was an Executive chef at a nameless restaurant that was one of my jobs–to consider costs.

    If Our Lord came to my home would I feed Him Chicken Nuggets or your lovely meal (with certain adjustments LOL)? I think we know the answer to that question.

    When Our Lords feet were being anointed with the expensive perfumed oil and the Apostles whined about the cost and said that it use would be better sold and money given to the poor, Our Lord told them that the poor they would always have with them. There are many explanations for that passage but one could take from it that our priests that are “another Christ” could be treated in likewise fashion, you think?

    Ad Iesum per Mariam,

    Sophia Guerra

  24. AlwaysCatholic says:

    To Liam:

    This is one American chef who understands how to grow and use herbs. I have many American colleagues, both chefs and food providers that know how to grow and use herbs.

    Next time in order to make your statement sound, try this: It seems that in America there are some that…

    My French born instructors in France and Italian instructors in Tuscany would support me in that also.(It is not true that all Europeans detest Americans–I can personally vouch for that since I have many European friends who love America and its people. They just dont like crass Americans and never do I!)

    Apology accepted in advance!

    Chef Sophia Guerra

  25. Father, those pictures and descriptions make priestly celibacy look desirable. You should get a job as Vocations Director for some large archdiocese. Dominic must be jealous! I know I am!

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