Another Perfect Meal

us

Last night i went to Park Kitchenwith my girlfriends to celebrate kaatje’s birthday. I have wanted to go there for years and finally the stars were aligned and we got to try it out.

So, the menu was overwhelming. It was possibly the most eclectic menu i have ever seen and i just kept looking it over and thinking, what am i going to eat?? At the top of the menu under the name of the restaurant was HAPPY BIRTHDAY KAATJE. Then our AWESOME waiter, best waiter of the year, told us we could just kick back and the chef would love to cook for us. ummmm no brainer. So we sat back and the plates began to arrive. Each plate was more interesting and unique then the last. The flavors just exploded and everything was seasonal and local. The one i keep thinking about were these wide beet pasta noodles with beef shortribs, brusselsprout leaves, a crazy butter sauce and creme fresh. OH MY GOD! it was incredible! i would go back just for that. Then we got desserts including parsnip apple beinets with a roasted white chocolate sauce. my favorite was a scoop of sour cream apple ice cream. yummmmmy!

The only odd thing was that they really wanted to get rid of us. we sat around talking and then we asked for another glass of wine at 10 and it was like we asked them to cook us a new meal…they were NOT happy about that  and let us know like 3 times that this was the last thing we could have. Some people have no sense of humor. too bad for us i suppose but i would go back any day of the week just to have our waiter show us his iphone again and to eat those beet noodles.

We also fell in love with this wine. wine 
We are already in love with Sami

OH and my crocuses are up! SO FUN!

crocuses

Advertisements

My Blue Hawaii

I just got back from Hawaii last night. i spent 6 short days in the sunshine, the blue water and the amazing trade winds. Put all of that together and you have yourself a fantastic place.

This was my first trip to Hawaii and i didnt understand what all the hoopla was all about. i get it now. the people are awesome, there are no language barriers and you just cant beat the weather. I have pictures and more to write about this but i am still so tired i can barely keep my eyes open. I also have 4 animals hovering around my feet looking for some love, or maybe some dinner. maybe both!

so the Highlight of my trip? My dear dear uncle Paddy. without a doubt he turned a simple visit to the beach into a memory i will never forget. I would have gone to visit him in Little Rock or Detroit but lucky for me, i had to go to Hawaii :) DARN! at 86 he drove me around the entire island, made sure i hit all the best beaches and sites and ate lots of seafood. He also took me snorkeling each day i was there and never missed his date with his dear friend Louie who has alzheimer and enjoys to feed to fish each day. What a man. When i cried after he left us at the airport my friend Molly told me that she didnt think Paddy is as sentimental as i am. I dont think a lot of people are as sentimental as i am. I think Paddy is very sentimental.

Paddy

Happy Valentines Day!

yesterday I got to celebrate valentines day with my adopted family.

Matt, Kathleen and I  started the day with french toast and a long walk through the delta in the pouring rain with 4 dogs. it was beautiful out there, even in the rain and snow. We came home, dropped off the dogs and Matt for a nap and headed out to a local yarn store. Kathleen was looking for patterns…the poor thing, i fell madly in love with a knitted patchwork blanket and she bought the pattern! it is so unique and beautiful but woooweeee a lot of work!

Then we hit New Seasons for dinner supplies and headed home. My friend Denise was there when we got home and we baked love cookies! (heart shaped sugar cookies) then i got to work on dinner.

I was feeding 7 adults and 2 toddlers. For the todlers i made mac and cheese of course. that is a no-brainer.

For us, i made chicken picatta, fresh pasta, cranberry beans and kale and salad. Because it was love day i added an extra stick of butter to the picatta sauce…ohhh it was sooo good!

The meal was really great! and i have to pass along this salad recipe to you all from my friend Molly. i am addicted to it now.

baby spinach
Frozen peas (of course fresh of you have them!)
toasted pine nuts
pesto

Combine the above in the amount you want. i usually do lots of peas and pine nuts because i love them and about 1/4 cup of pesto to a bag of spinach. i am not sure what it is about those flavors but they are perfect together. mmm i need to go get some now!

among my guests was my 8 day old nephew Reid. Holy smokes. This critter is a knock out! And i am totally biased but i could care less. he is so tiny and perfect and he snorts and coos and sneezes. i adore him. That was the best gift i could have asked for!

here are my proud Auntie Pictures

john_reid

Reid with his papa

me_reid

me and Reid

perfection

Sweet Perfection

Off to pack for Hawaii. I leave in  3 days! The dogs headed to Olympia for a few days, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

Oh i get to go see why Hes just not that into me with the girls first :) i hear it leads to hours of facebook surfing. I hope not!

Elizabeth Gilbert and Ann Patchett

Yet once again I had the pleasure to sit and listen to Elizabeth Gilbert share stories about her life and writing process. This time we got to up the ante as she shared the stage with Ann Patchett. As I took my seat in the cheap GA section about 3 feet from the ceiling, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
There were 2 big fat mushy chairs on the stage with a small table in between and a couple glasses of water. I imagined them with a bottle of wine and a fireplace in someone’s living room, maybe mine.  I didn’t realize how far up I was until these two tiny woman came out onto the stage and curled up in their chairs like cats, feet tucked beneath. I was already smiling.
I was there to witness the second meeting of two friends who had become friends over long poetic letters to each other. They were as excited as we were. They sat and just talked to each other. They praised each other and questioned each other. They questioned their own abilities and praised each other’s abilities. It was magical.
Again the topic of being childless came up. Both of these women had chosen to not be mothers. However both of these women also took their responsibilities as aunties very seriously. They understood that even if they remained in constant motion, they would produce 1/10th of the energy expended by a mother of one child. Therefore they felt it was their duty and privilege to be a power house for mothers and their children. I love that! I want to be a mother one day, but until then I want to give all the extra energy I have to those who are participating in the raising of our next generation. I am part of that process if I want to be and what a gift to everyone involved.
They also talked about their writing styles. Ann Patchett is an observer. She relishes her invisibility in the world and is still astounded by how invisible she really is, even to those who have seen her in public before. Liz Gilbert is in a cone of light. She enters a space and directs it to get what she needs for her story. She went to Maine to a small lobster island and had to bend the wills of these introverts to write her story. She also does so with a beauty and grace that makes people want to help her.
After EG and AP had chatted for about 30 minutes (MUCH TOO SHORT) they took questions from the audience. They had several insights about themselves and each other that were profound. One that I was intrigued with was a question for EG. Someone in the audience wanted some advice about traveling alone as a single woman. And how to do so without doing the typical tourist thing.
First EG said that women should dress modestly. She said that we should cover our arms and legs and our bellies. We are only alienating the women in other parts of the world that we want to connect with. She told a story about introducing a young Dutch woman dressed in a tank top and mini skirt to her medicine man and to this day she regrets not dressing her in sarongs from head to toe. The look on his wife’s face was devastating. She was tortured by this young half naked girl in her home. Dress modestly and behave modestly. She also said that we are all so concerned about being common that we are missing out on great things. If you have one week in Egypt and are so concerned about being a tourist that you miss seeing the Pyramids, you are foolish. Get on the bus with all the Germans and enjoy one of the wonders of the world. The greatest wonders of the world are some of the most popular so deal with it.
I was taken by this concept. I have done both. I have lived in a place with a kitchen and bought my own groceries and I have stayed in big lush hotels and hit all the hot spots. There is a time and a place for both ways of travel and both offer unimagined memories. Of course I want to have a one of a kind experience but even at the base of the pyramids amidst thousands of tourists from all over the world, it was a one of a kind experience because it was my experience…and I was the only one who got in a fight with the man on the camel and threw my “rock” on the ground. Of course I did.

The Snow Came…and went

I woke up to a huge snow fall. everything was white and it was gorgeous outside. i put on my new mittens and headed off to work.
Now it is just raining. I did go to the grocery store last week and to buy apples and found these sweet little miniature daffodils that are blooming like crazy on my desk.

AND  I found this recipe for real hot chocolate. YUM! i would also add a little chile or cardomon to it
Yield: 3 servings

1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup light cream
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, plus a pinch to garnish
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Pinch salt
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
Whipped cream
Combine ingredients over medium heat until chocolate melts. Serve with whipped cream and garnish with cinnamon.

Keeping Warm One Mitten at a Time

img_3072

i knit my first mitten! i ran out of yarn so i hope i can find the same color for the other hand. Mitten making is pretty darn simple now that i know what i am doing and i can decipher Martha Stewarts bizarre hieroglyphs. sometime i think she must nip at the cooking sherry bottle one too many times as she signs off on “her” projects.  thankfully, there are other people on this great earth besides martha who have knit a mitten or two and they arent sherry nippers. I may be one of them.

I think the thumb on my mitten looks a bit like an uncircumcised penis but i can live with that.  It is my first thumb after all…I wonder if God felt much the same way.

Stay tuned for Mitten #2 and some needle felting :)