Monday, May 15, 2017

Salmon Skewers: Posh Picnic Fare

My mind is swimming with recipes that I want to try, experiences I want to have, things that I want to photograph. As a day or week develops, I try to think of a good fit for the circumstances to make the most out of life.

For example, we were expecting a beautiful day in the low 70's last week and we had been eating indoors at home a lot lately. I wanted to get us out into the fresh air and I wanted to eat outside. Grilling at home is fun, but if we went to a local park and used their grill, we could enjoy a few hours of cooking and relaxing.

I keep a stash of disposable grill toppers in my picnic supplies. Have you seen these? It lets you use a grill in a public park while giving you a clean surface to grill your food on. 
At home, I cut fresh salmon into equal-size square pieces (so that they would cook at the same rate) and placed them on Press n Seal cling wrap. I put another piece on top and sealed around each piece of fish so that it wouldn't dry out. That way I could bring everything to the park on ice and assemble the skewers on site.
I threaded pieces of lemon, cherry tomatoes and salmon onto cedar skewers that I had soaked in water (so that the wood doesn't catch on fire). On other skewers I threaded fresh mushrooms, zucchini ribbons (cut carefully on a mandolin at home and doused in olive oil) and cherry tomatoes. These vegetable skewers cook faster so I placed them on the grill after the fish had started to cook. I covered the cooking area with non-stick Reynolds Wrap foil to keep the heat in and speed up the cooking. When the fish was cooked, I basted it with a mixture of Dijon mustard and apricot jam. The flavor of the glaze combined with the grilled lemons made the salmon even more delicious.
I brought cooked asparagus from home and placed it in a foil packet on the grill to reheat. I also brought a cold salad of drained canned beets (cut in quarters) mixed with 2 cans of drained mandarin oranges, a splash of olive oil and a tablespoon of Dijon mustard. I transported the cold beet salad double-bagged in gallon Ziploc freezer bags in the cooler on ice. It was a great addition to our meal.

Yes, I brought along a set of melamine dishes, wooden silverware and paper napkins to make the meal look pretty and give us a stable surface to eat from. I always bring along a kitchen trash bag to transport the dirty dishes back home and it works out just fine.

We had such a nice time in the local park listening to the birds chirp and the children squeal from the nearby playground. It was a great start to a summer of fun.

#picnics #seattle #salmononthegrill #momentsofdelight

Friday, May 12, 2017

Seeing Nature inside the Seattle Art Museum

The rain of Seattle kept me inside this spring (plus I've been decorating the new house) so I had no idea that the special exhibition "Seeing Nature" (a collection of landscape masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection) was closing so soon. Get thee to the Seattle Art Museum before May 23. 

I am very new to Seattle and am very interested to learn about influential figures in the area. It is unlikely that I will ever run into Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft) at a party, but if I ever do I can now chit chat with him about his landscape art collection. 

What first struck me was that while all technically landscapes, the styles are so diverse. I would love to have heard the logic behind curating this collection. Some paintings are cram jam with perfectly represented objects, like Jan Brueghel the Younger's The Five Senses: Sight. The happy clutter reminds me of my old studio on a busy day.
And then not much farther into the collection we see the dreary gray and black gas station known as Untitled by Ed Ruscha. While it may convey a stark commentary on the place of energy in our past, it hardly seems to fit into the collection as a whole. 

Yet that is the beauty of art; where color and content are in charge and the message is up for interpretation. 

I found myself jealous of the Paul Allen who owned one of Monet's Water Lilies, happy for the Paul Allen who saw beauty in a psychedelic work titled The Grand Canyon by David Hockney and worried for the Paul Allen that selected Untitled by Ruscha. His life is surely as complicated as his art collection and I appreciate that he was willing to share it with the public. 

People talk about the vastness of the ocean and how small it makes them feel. I get that feeling when I stand close to the dried paint of a masterwork. 

The collection Seeing Nature includes 39 significant works that span 400 years and is only on display another week! The paintings are by a wide range of artists including Gustav Klimt, Claude Monet, Paul Cezanne and Georgia O'Keeffe and I think you will have a thoughtful and interesting experience viewing them. Let me know what you think.

#seeingnature #momentsofdelight

Monday, May 8, 2017

ANA Cigar Box Purses

Shop for my Cigar Box purses at
Each purse is signed and numbered. A one-of-a-kind item for your wardrobe.

Here's a link to my online store on Etsy so you can shop for my cigar box purses easily. 

I met so many people, was welcomed to the area and got the citizens perspective on the many art shows and events on the east side of Seattle. I am grateful for their input and support and had a very successful night.
I want to extend a big thank you to Troy Salon in Issaquah, WA for inviting me to host a Pop Up Shop during the May 5th Wine Walk.

Thank you!

#cigars #cigarboxpurses #winewalk

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Seattle: Ferry Season Returns

I absolutely love riding the Washington State ferries and we were finally able to take a ride from Seattle to Bainbridge Island yesterday.  When I take the ferry, I want to stand on the deck and enjoy the incredible view, so I have been holding off our trip until the weather cleared.

You see Seattle just experienced the most-rainfall-ever-recorded-between-October-and-April (since 1895!) and everyone in the Pacific Northwest is overdue for the bright blue sky and fresh air. 

Sunday May 7th was the perfect day! Notice the woman at the bow (above) reenacting the Titanic's "king of the world" moment. We were all feeling that way when we felt the sun on our skin.
After a beautiful day of shopping and snacking on Bainbridge Island, we took the ferry back across Puget Sound. I don't think any of the ferry passengers stayed indoors; we all seemed to be out on deck taking pictures of Mount Rainier.
Selfies, however, were more of a challenge.
The city looked beautiful and it was exciting to think that we live just 30 minutes from this vibrant city. It has been a challenging winter but things seem to be returning to the climate we expect. Hallelujah. Picnics, here I come!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Fresh Air and Fresh Flowers: Issaquah Farmers Market

Saturday. May 6 was the season opening of the Issaquah Farmer's Market. After a long winter, it feels like fresh air and fresh flowers are all I need.

The reddish pink bouquet I'm holding is a variety of peony tulips. They have more than twice the petals of a classic tulip and sport slightly green touches on the tips of their petals. The flower vendor was surprised that I didn't want any greens or filler flowers. I knew that they would make a wonderful arrangement all on their own.

We also bought fresh rhubarb (here comes my crisp!) and a large bunch of asparagus. Oh! and a square of real honeycomb from Bees in the Burbs to serve with cheese and apples. *sigh* I love this time of year.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Green Accents: When Color Makes the Meal

Nothing says spring like verdant green accents. The trees are bursting with bright green growth and my table is reflecting that happy time. 

I've combined some inexpensive green glasses from CB2 (sadly they have discontinued this color), my Tea Time trivet project and some bright green Heather Bailey napkins to bring the table alive. 

When I bought my latest multi-hued hydrangea (pale green with pink splashes), a bloom broke off and my pull toward green and pink began.

The most important message of this post is this:
I set the table even though nothing is happening and no one is coming over. I like to look at beautiful linens, flowers and colors and I shouldn't have to wait for an occasion to use what I have. When I set the table, the house comes alive.

If your kitchen table is collecting bits and bobs, go clear it off and make yourself a pretty table setting.