Monday, March 30, 2009

Let's Move On...

It's been a great feeling to get my jewelry stuff out these past few weeks. I've been trying to work on some different (for me, at least), colorful pieces to put in my sister's store. When I've been hopelessly UNcreative for so long, it always takes me at least a day or two to get back into the zone and organize my stuff...then I play around with color and pattern until I hit my stride. So I keep my supplies out on the coffee table in the living room. When I get home from work, I'll pour myself a glass of wine (when it's warm out, I really love a Spanish rosé), forget the stresses of the previous 9 or 10 hours and just lose myself in patterns, colors, shapes, and sizes.

Here I was playing around with freshwater pearls, grays, lavenders, and silver.
I can't wait to see what happens with this one: turquoise, bright orange glass, aquamarine, and amber crystals.

I mistreat my wooden spoons. I never wash them in the dishwasher, of course - but I do wash them with soap and leave them to dry. When I can't stand seeing their parched, gray edges, I'll rub them with cooking oil and leave it to soak in overnight. I have a bit of an addiction to wooden utensils. Aren't they beautiful and richly colored?

Like I mentioned previously, D. and I went to Little Rock on Saturday because he'd been booked to play a big crawfish boil on Saturday down at the river market ampitheater. This time of year it's always risky to plan ahead for any outdoor event and sure enough, despite being bookended by sunny, mild days, Saturday was freaky cold! Sleet and thunder! The wind was blowing so hard and cold that I could hear it whooooooting through the band's microphones. The turnout was terrible but I hadn't been to a crawfish boil in several years and couldn't stop thinking about spicy boiled potatoes & corn cobs with rich little tasty morself of crawfish tails washed down with, like, Miller Lite from a keg in a red Solo cup.

There's just something about the crawdad season. Here they are, propped up in bags.
And after a quick rinse, awaiting their spicy jacuzzi of doom.
On my lap, just before I cracked the shells and dug out the petite, tender tailmeat. My friend Erin, who had never eaten crawfish before. remarked that it seemed like a lot of work for such a small piece of meat. They're so worth it.

Of course the next day the sun reappeared! Its powerful brightness made the pale electric green of new Spring appear extra glow-y and vibrant. This is that stretch between Maumelle and Conway on I40:

Tonight I made birthday dinner for mine and Stella's birthdays. She loves homemade pesto so I knew we had to have that. I remembered my friend James who kept reminding me to ask him if I ever needed a specific ingredient or quality item from his work, Freshpoint. I knew that I'd either have to ask him to help me get a large quantity of basil or I'd have to buy frozen, which is still really good, but just not special enough for a birthday dinner. Not when I can make it myself. James offered to get me a large bunch of basil. The he started naming other different options: blood oranges, baby spinach, portabello mushroom caps, strawberries, jicama, mixed greens.....I just said YES to everything. He suggested some sort of fish with a blood orange beurre blanc. YES! I will take it - whatever!

This afternoon I took off work, picked up my oh-so-contrite daughter, picked up the huge box of produce from James, picked out some wine, and stopped at Richard's Meat Market. I was hoping for fresh sole, but the closest they had was tilapia. I brought everything home and spread it all out on the counter and, much like with the jewelry, waited for inspiration to strike.

And so....the final Mother/Hoodlum Daughter Birthday menu was:
tilapia-wrapped baby asparagus with a ginger blood orange beurre blanc
portabello mushrooms stuffed with herbs, ricotta, parmesan, and breadcrumbs
basil/spinach traditional pesto with veggie bowtie pasta
mixed green salad with jicama matchsticks, grape tomatoes, and radish sprouts
sourdough bread
The Crossings Sauvignon Blanc, Spy Valley Gewurtztraminer, and a slightly chilled, robust and delicious Côtes Du Rhone, the winery of which I've completely forgotten and the bottle's out by the curb in the recycling bin.

I couldn't have made all this without Liz, who is just a massive powerhouse of energy. She jumped right in and helped me complete this whole dinner within an hour and a half.

Here I'm straining blood orange juice for the sauce.

Liz's incredible salad in the background. Tilapia-wrapped asparagus up front. I poured some white wine in the pans, covered them with foil and baked them at 450 for 20 minutes.

The portabello mushrooms - rich and tangy and earthy.

Pesto pasta. Yum. I like to toast the pine nuts before grinding them with the a big bunch of basil, a handful of raw baby spinach, pinch of salt, big handful of grated parmesan cheese and about 1/4 c. of olive oil.

The final fish/asparagus dish. They kind of look like fancy, saucy pigs in blankets.

Pearl's plate.

Pearl, my grandmother Mommom, and my sister Jessy.

Jess made the cake. It tasted even better than it looked, especially with a perfectly ripe strawberry and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
She said the recipe is from the container of Hershey's cocoa powder! Who knew?


AMY said...

This post made me hungry for many things, including a piece of your jewelry!

Glad things are better with contrite daughter. I don't even want to imagine Emiko as a teenager!

Hey, we're going to be in town April 16-20 -- better get to see you!

ste-pha-nie said...

I love that Jesse made a cake from the recipe on the can. I do that too sometimes!

And it makes perfect sense to keep your creative supplies out, I completely understand that 2-3 day get-in-the-groove time.