Sunday, January 17, 2010

And after the pictures were taken and they had time to think about it, Sunny and Ella came back to tell me that their brother Mac was collecting money to help Haiti, too. Mac works in the family restaurant on Sundays with his dad so I stopped by get a picture of him. He was over at the grocery store getting milk but came back soon enough for this shot. Think these parents should be given a Nobel Peace Prize for the values they are instilling in their children?

The 'Kan EWA

So they just show up. Like they always do except this time they bring reinforcements: their cousins. They ring the doorbell and say We are going around to collect money to help the Red Cross help the people in Haiti. If you could give money, we would appreciate it. And don't worry about giving a lot; anything helpsssss. These two angels that live next door, who inextricably appear in the most random of moments, arcing the air with their fairy dust, magic, generosity and kindness. Extraordinary, extraordinary children. But then I've mentioned that before...

The 'Kan EWA

Thursday, January 14, 2010

We had people in to dinner here at Bellemaison last night. It was an evening of food, friends and fun. The Chows were quite delighted how everything--the table, the flowers, the conversation--turned out and marked a recipe for you to see. But first, I want to say how much strength I gain from my friends. Melody struck a deep note within me as she continues her courageous battle with brain cancer. She's tough and resolute and has not lost one bit of her funny, feminine, experienced ways. She came to dinner in a cute pair of black slacks, a very sexy black, suede sweater with lovely evening makeup and her hat. She doesn't go anywhere without a hat. She's currently going through chemo again but has and will keep all her hair except for the one inch swath of scalp running from the crown of her head down to the back of her ear. That's the scar from surgery. Because of radiation, she will never grow hair there again. She is petite, lovely, funny and fun. I love her deeply and am scared by her calm in the battle of her lifetime. Of any one's lifetime.

Katie was here, too; she's limping into the dugout after her battle with breast cancer. She's run the bases and made it home. I do not want her to have another at bat. How can I control that? How can I fix her if she does get up again? I cannot. Now that I have lived enough, I know I cannot. I cannot fix Katie. She's inventive, creative, incredibly feminine and lovely and has a soft, caring and gentle touch. She carries the wisdom of the ages with her. When I called her for dinner, she was working on a lesson for a class she teaches to a group of women. She was going to teach on God's creation and so made, by hand, a flower pin for each of the women who had signed up to come to her class. She brought one for me, and for Melody, and they are exquisite! looped felt around a beaded center, perfectly finished front and back. Mine has a little feather petal in it; I shall carry this pin proudly and go in love, knowing that in our lifetimes, we all have to run the bases and then if we have to run them again, we do so with love from each other and in perfect accordance with God's creation. God, what an evening. I feel like I have a PhD in grace this morning. Not that I earned it, I just observed it.

So. The recipe. It's my thought that if you really want to please people at dinner, you absolutely can't go wrong with pork, dairy and salt. Sugar's good, too and should be given your full consideration. I usually don't do much dairy in January after December's carotid blow out of hedonism but fixed this dish last night with a nod to my buddy, The Beermaker. It's from the Nordstrom cookbook, Friends and Family.

And you thought I only bought shoes at Nordstrom.

Roasted Asparagus Gratin

2 pounds jumbo asparagus, tough ends removed and lower half each spear peeled

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon minced shallot

2 cups heavy cream

3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 Tablespoons coarsely shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 Tablespoons unseasoned dried bread crumbs

Position a rack int he upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 450F. IN a shallow dish, toss the asparagus with the olive oil, a little salt and pepper, and the lemon juice until the spears are perfectly coated.

Roast the asparagus until the spears are just beginning to brown yet are still crisp and tender, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and drain off the excess oil.

Meanwhile, in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and shallot and saute, stirring constantly, until the shallot is translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the cream and simmer, uncovered, until reduced by one third, about 6 minutes. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange the asparagus in a ovenproof serving dish and spoon the Parmesan cream sauce over the spears, allowing the tips and bases to remain uncovered. Scatter the shaved Parmesan over the top and sprinkle with the bread crumbs. Bake until nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

The 'Kan EWA

Monday, January 04, 2010

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Omigoodness. One post in December? apparently. Blogger doesn't lie. Advent came and went in a swirl of shiny glass orbs, swaths of gauzy glitter and tinsel, popping flashes of soft, jewel-like lights and deep whiffs of pungent evergreen. And a few handsful of fudge.

It's over now and contemplation and the new year have set in. I am grateful for my life here; it's quiet. It's purposeful. And at the moment leads absolutely nowhere. Or back here everytime. Where ever it is that life is leading me at the moment, it's good enough.

The 'Kan EWA