lillibet: (Default)
This year Alice requested that we not undertake a major trip for her Spring Break. She's been very busy and feeling the lack of downtime, so despite my regretting not getting a real vacation, we agreed we would stay home. But then I suggested that perhaps we could pop down to New York for a couple of days, which we haven't done with Alice in a couple of years and she thought that might be ok.

Trip, trap, trot. )

On the way home I asked Alice how she thought Spring Break is going and she said "Mama, it's amazing," so I'm counting this trip as a win.

Easter Day

Apr. 17th, 2017 12:13 am
lillibet: (Default)
Lately, Sundays have become especially busy. If I only have two or three events on my calendar for a Sunday, that's a pretty easy-going day--sometimes there are five. Perhaps because of that, today felt only moderately busy.

I was surprised to find, as Easter approached, that I was thinking of my mother more than usual. It felt so strange to be planning for the day without figuring out how to include her. Perhaps it's because for her it was still a very religious holiday, or just because I have so many memories, so many pictures of us all gathered in the sunshine in our Sunday best, with her tucked between her giant girls.

This year I actually wondered if we had to celebrate Easter as a family. And then I thought sure, keeping the tradition of getting the family together a few times a year is no bad thing. I wondered if I might turn to my sisters and ask what plan they might come up with that didn't involve my house, or me cooking. And I thought about hiring a chef, which I've done a few times, or going to a restaurant. But in the end I decided that I did want to cook and to gather family and friends around the table.

The day started early, getting to First Parish by 8am so we would have time to eat breakfast there and practice our skit before the choir gathered at 8:30. Jo and I were performing a piece based on The Yellow Tutu, with narration by our fabulous DRE and some mean-girl assistance from members of the choir. It was short and sweet and involved the indelible image of the two of us dancing in front of the congregation wearing tutus on our heads.

Our minister had asked us to wear silly hats and I'd decided to get this blue fascinator, which was an utter hoot to wear. The adult and children's choirs collaborated on "Easter Bonnet" and we sang lots of joyful hymns. We also did a responsive reading that I found really moving, adapted from a sermon by Nadia Bolz-Weber:

Some Modern Beatitudes )

During her invocation for communion, Marta also gave us a chance to speak the names of the dead who were in our thoughts today and I was so grateful for the chance to say my mother's name, to invoke the presence that has been hovering over me this week.

Alice had a grand time in the Easter Egg Hunt--her first year in the graveyard with the big kids. We stayed for the first part of the second service, in which Alice was one of the readers, while Jason and I reprised our performances, and then snuck out. The car said it was 82F as we pulled out and I was dreading turning on the oven for dinner. But while I took a nap, Jason turned on the AC and it was actually pleasant inside throughout the day. Alice found her Easter basket and seemed to enjoy the various treats and toys I'd included in it.

While Jason de-cluttered and got the dining room set for dinner, I roasted the lamb that had been marinating since yesterday, on top of potatoes, onions, mushrooms and garlic, which I seved with a very tasty demi-glace. I made way too many deviled eggs, with the help of Lisa, Paulo, and George at various points. Beckie & Neil brought the traditional too-much-nosh (shrimps and cheeses and summer sausage and pate and olives, oh my!). Anne & G. brought Greek-style braised green beans and I made a chopped Greek salad and heated up some Hawaiian rolls that miraculously survived several months in the freezer to be wonderfully soft and tasty. Dave and Jo collaborated to decorate the spiced carrot chiffon cake I had made yesterday with honey-cream cheese ice cream and pecans. By the time Hatem got out of work and could join us, we were just about ready to put it all on the table.

The food was reasonably good (not the best I've ever managed, but no one complained) and it seemed like an especially good group of people and conversations. Jo and Beckie helped enormously with the clean-up and by the time everyone had left around 5:30, another half hour got the kitchen to a state where I felt I could leave it. So I took another short nap, rising in time to be awake when the Mourning Becomes Electra arrived for a line-thru of the whole show.

I was able to do the whole thing without my script, though I did get confused and have to call "line" a couple of times. I felt pretty good about it and most other people are also in pretty good shape. This is going to be a really powerful show and there are a lot of dark moments, but we had fun together and it was really nice to be in a room with most of the cast, since that hasn't happened much yet. Jason got Alice to bed during one of the stretches when he's not on stage, but I was able to pop up and kiss her goodnight.

The cast and crew took off and after a break, it was time to finish up the kitchen and get the garbage, recycling, and compost to the curb. And now, I think I can say that I am well and truly done. I'm very excited that Alice doesn't have school in the morning.
lillibet: (Default)
Last night we saw Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, a dinner theatre version of War and Peace, or at least the romantic plotline thereof. We really enjoyed it.

Borscht and Baritones )

This afternoon we saw Christopher Durang's "Sonia, Vanya, Masha and Spike," which recently won the Tony for Best Play. I hated it.

Ask me why! )

So, win some/lose some, but seeing even bad theatre with good friends makes for a good time!
lillibet: (Default)
Jonathan Carroll posts a lot of things on FB: poems, quotations, snippets from the book he's writing, vignettes from his life in Vienna, extraordinary photos he finds on the web. They're often thought-provoking and sometimes uncanny in their relevance to myself, or the situations of others in my life. I comment sometimes, but mostly figure if something isn't relevant to me then he was talking to someone else that day.

This morning there is an unattributed passage that I'm guessing comes from his own work:

At the end of their relationship she asked if they could still remain friends. His face was expressionless until he said "No. Because we put friends in boxes. You see them once in a while, or even a lot, but still they have their box in your life, their specific place.Their *category.* That's one of the great things about being someone's love-- you have no box in their life because you're part of all their boxes. You're their friend, their lover, their confidante-- all those things. I don't want to be put in one of your boxes and I don't want to shrink you to fit into one of mine."

And while I know what he's getting at, my experience is somewhat different. Read more... )

A toast, then, to my lasting friends: the ones who jump out of the box, defy definition, and transcend context. You know who you are, even if Jonathan Carroll doesn't believe you exist.
lillibet: (Default)
In the company of a few close friends, we took over the private dining room at Menton and watched through the window as the staff prepared the following incredible food for us:

Chef's Tasting Menu )
lillibet: (Default)
Because [livejournal.com profile] muffyjo is my hero, tonight I took her to Menton, where we had the following, amazing meal:

Potato Vichyssoise
Forbidden Rice, Olive Oil Cured Chanterelles
NV Aubry Champagne 1er Cru Brut Jouy-les-Reims

Rock Crab Salad
Grapefruit, Almond, White Sturgeon Caviar
2008 Heidi Schrock Muscat

Clean Seas' Bluefin Tuna Tartare
Heirloom Tomato, Lemon Cucumber, Yogurt
2009 Château Peyrassol Côtes de Provence Rosé

Maine Lobster
Pain Perdu, Grilled Local Romaine, Dill
2007 Qupe Rousanne "Bien Nacido Hillside Estate"

Carnaroli Risotto
Summer Vegetables, Porcini
2007 Nigl Gruner Veltlinter "Privat"

Seared Foie Gras de Canard
Wild Maine Blueberries, Lemon, Basil
NV Velenois Lacrima di Morro d'Alba "Visciole"

St. Canut Farm's Porcelet
Green Tomato Jam, Fava Beans, Rapini
1008 Hirsch Estate Pinot Noir "Storyteller's Cuvée"

PT Farm's Strip Loin of Beef
Carrot, Lange de Boeuf, Sauce Périgueus
2006 Château Peymartin Saint-Julian

Selection of Artisanal Cheese
Challerhocker ~ St. Gallen, Switzerland
Reypenauer V.S.O.P. ~ Utrecht, The Netherlands
Sainte-maure Belgique ~ Wallonia, Belgium
Delice de Bourgogne ~ Burgundy, France
Miti Blue~ Castile - La Mancha, Spain
Chiviri ~ Extremadura, Spain
2007 Kracher Beerenauselese Cuvée

Oefs a la Neige
Raspberry, Vanilla

Chocolate Cake
Vanilla Glace, Cherry, Marcona Almond
2009 Marenco Brachetto d'Acqui "Pineto"

Peaches and Cream
Brandy, Anise Hyssop, Crème Fraîche
2009 Caracco Moscato d'Asti

Assorted Miniature Macaroons
Vanilla, Raspberry, Mint, Black Sesame
lillibet: (Default)
Because [livejournal.com profile] muffyjo is my hero, tonight I took her to Menton, where we had the following, amazing meal:

Potato Vichyssoise
Forbidden Rice, Olive Oil Cured Chanterelles
NV Aubry Champagne 1er Cru Brut Jouy-les-Reims

Rock Crab Salad
Grapefruit, Almond, White Sturgeon Caviar
2008 Heidi Schrock Muscat

Clean Seas' Bluefin Tuna Tartare
Heirloom Tomato, Lemon Cucumber, Yogurt
2009 Château Peyrassol Côtes de Provence Rosé

Maine Lobster
Pain Perdu, Grilled Local Romaine, Dill
2007 Qupe Rousanne "Bien Nacido Hillside Estate"

Carnaroli Risotto
Summer Vegetables, Porcini
2007 Nigl Gruner Veltlinter "Privat"

Seared Foie Gras de Canard
Wild Maine Blueberries, Lemon, Basil
NV Velenois Lacrima di Morro d'Alba "Visciole"

St. Canut Farm's Porcelet
Green Tomato Jam, Fava Beans, Rapini
1008 Hirsch Estate Pinot Noir "Storyteller's Cuvée"

PT Farm's Strip Loin of Beef
Carrot, Lange de Boeuf, Sauce Périgueus
2006 Château Peymartin Saint-Julian

Selection of Artisanal Cheese
Challerhocker ~ St. Gallen, Switzerland
Reypenauer V.S.O.P. ~ Utrecht, The Netherlands
Sainte-maure Belgique ~ Wallonia, Belgium
Delice de Bourgogne ~ Burgundy, France
Miti Blue~ Castile - La Mancha, Spain
Chiviri ~ Extremadura, Spain
2007 Kracher Beerenauselese Cuvée

Oefs a la Neige
Raspberry, Vanilla

Chocolate Cake
Vanilla Glace, Cherry, Marcona Almond
2009 Marenco Brachetto d'Acqui "Pineto"

Peaches and Cream
Brandy, Anise Hyssop, Crème Fraîche
2009 Caracco Moscato d'Asti

Assorted Miniature Macaroons
Vanilla, Raspberry, Mint, Black Sesame
lillibet: (Default)
Mostly for my own reference, here are notes, thoughts and recipe links for last night's tasting menu:

Details Behind the Cut )

Overall, I was very pleased with this meal. I liked the way that certain flavors echoed in other courses--the mint from the chicken salad recalled by the garnish on the chamomile sorbet, the beef fat flavor in the onion soup echoed in the short ribs, the pears with the cake recalling the initial pear-ginger sorbet, etc. It also feels like I'm getting the hang of quantities--everyone was certainly full by the end of this meal, but it wasn't some kind of Herculean exercise in bloating. And we have remarkably few leftovers, considering.

I want to give a special shout out to [livejournal.com profile] muffyjo and [livejournal.com profile] heliopsis, who served as designated diners after two of our original guests were striken by stomach flu. It was a marvelous, casual evening and so fun to share all my cooking adventures with you.
lillibet: (Default)
Mostly for my own reference, here are notes, thoughts and recipe links for last night's tasting menu:

Details Behind the Cut )

Overall, I was very pleased with this meal. I liked the way that certain flavors echoed in other courses--the mint from the chicken salad recalled by the garnish on the chamomile sorbet, the beef fat flavor in the onion soup echoed in the short ribs, the pears with the cake recalling the initial pear-ginger sorbet, etc. It also feels like I'm getting the hang of quantities--everyone was certainly full by the end of this meal, but it wasn't some kind of Herculean exercise in bloating. And we have remarkably few leftovers, considering.

I want to give a special shout out to [livejournal.com profile] muffyjo and [livejournal.com profile] heliopsis, who served as designated diners after two of our original guests were striken by stomach flu. It was a marvelous, casual evening and so fun to share all my cooking adventures with you.

Dinner

Aug. 2nd, 2009 10:37 pm
lillibet: (Default)
This year friends of mine have been doing a series of tasting menus at their home. It seemed like so much fun that tonight I decided to repay the favor.

View Menu )

Everything came out well and I think we managed to serve it with a minimum of fuss. Some of the recipes are new--I'll do a separate entry on those--and others are old favorites that I enjoyed sharing. It was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. I'm particularly pleased that I seem to have managed the portions reasonably well, since causing my dinner guests to explode was not one of of my goals. I think I'll have to do this again sometime, but next time I'll schedule it for better cooking weather and a time when I don't have a show looming on the horizon.

Dinner

Aug. 2nd, 2009 10:37 pm
lillibet: (Default)
This year friends of mine have been doing a series of tasting menus at their home. It seemed like so much fun that tonight I decided to repay the favor.

View Menu )

Everything came out well and I think we managed to serve it with a minimum of fuss. Some of the recipes are new--I'll do a separate entry on those--and others are old favorites that I enjoyed sharing. It was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. I'm particularly pleased that I seem to have managed the portions reasonably well, since causing my dinner guests to explode was not one of of my goals. I think I'll have to do this again sometime, but next time I'll schedule it for better cooking weather and a time when I don't have a show looming on the horizon.
lillibet: (Default)
I recently read about baked cucumbers in Julie & Julia, and since I've been getting cucumbers in my farmshare, that seemed like a good thing to try. And I have this lamb sausage that I wanted to use. So I came up with this idea for a deconstructed baked gyro kind of thing.

I started with #79 Roasted Tomatoes )

Then I made #80 Baked Cucumbers )

While the cucumbers were baking, I put the lamb sausage on a baking sheet and let those bake--possibly too long. They turned out a little dry--those are some very solid, meaty sausages. But I had all this yogurt-cucumber sauce and that moistened them nicely. I served the tomatoes and sausage over the cucumbers, with pita chips that I toasted while I was cutting up the lamb. I'm not sure it was worth all the work, but it made a tasty meal and it's certainly something to do when you have too many cucumbers.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] muffyjo for being tonight's test subject!
lillibet: (Default)
I recently read about baked cucumbers in Julie & Julia, and since I've been getting cucumbers in my farmshare, that seemed like a good thing to try. And I have this lamb sausage that I wanted to use. So I came up with this idea for a deconstructed baked gyro kind of thing.

I started with #79 Roasted Tomatoes )

Then I made #80 Baked Cucumbers )

While the cucumbers were baking, I put the lamb sausage on a baking sheet and let those bake--possibly too long. They turned out a little dry--those are some very solid, meaty sausages. But I had all this yogurt-cucumber sauce and that moistened them nicely. I served the tomatoes and sausage over the cucumbers, with pita chips that I toasted while I was cutting up the lamb. I'm not sure it was worth all the work, but it made a tasty meal and it's certainly something to do when you have too many cucumbers.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] muffyjo for being tonight's test subject!
lillibet: (Default)
In honor of [livejournal.com profile] gilana, tonight I tried a recipe from an issue of BHG that Mom gave me, with a few minor changes.

#65 Herbed Cheese-Stuffed Salmon )

Served with rice pilaf mixed with spinach and roasted broccoli, this was a very tasty meal. I went ahead and used basil in the broccoli this time and it was the best yet.
lillibet: (Default)
In honor of [livejournal.com profile] gilana, tonight I tried a recipe from an issue of BHG that Mom gave me, with a few minor changes.

#65 Herbed Cheese-Stuffed Salmon )

Served with rice pilaf mixed with spinach and roasted broccoli, this was a very tasty meal. I went ahead and used basil in the broccoli this time and it was the best yet.

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