Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Eat, drink, and be married.


So we did it. I may have gotten flustered during the ceremony and said the wrong words, and got grass stains on my wedding dress from jumping around in an apple orchard, and never got around to eating a piece of pie, but we did it. I woke up to cloudy skies, and shivered as a strong wind blew across the lake during one of many photo sessions, and when I heard someone say "It's misting outside!" sometime in the night, I simply brushed it off and kept on dancing. We're married now. We did it.

When you have a DIY wedding, but you're far from a DIY bride, it certainly helps to have friends and family who will lend a helping hand. Or maybe 50 helping hands, during a span of 16 months, including one long, whirlwind weekend of joining together and making it all finally happen.

That's what I saw when I looked around on my wedding day -- every brown basket filled with apples, every light strung across the trunk of a tree, every sign posted along the grounds, every green flag and pie stand and hydrangea bunch and baby's breath garland and lit candle and song played represented someone very close to us who helped make our day incredibly special. Our wedding was not only a union of two people madly in love, but a proud display of what beauty and perfection results from family and friends who truly care. My heart swells with love and gratitude for each of them, and you know who you are. Thank you.

And now, it's back to life as usual. We're taking our honeymoon in February, to Mexico, when it's good and cold in Chicago and a week at the beach is sure to cure any bout of winter blues. There are boxes of china to unpack and recipes upon recipes upon recipes to share. And there is a husband, and a wife, and every day, together.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Getting hitched.


Tomorrow, I'm packing up my wedding dress, green sandals, a whole lot of brown paper bags, wrapped and unwrapped presents, clothespins and flower wire, and a fat brown cat into the car, and I'm heading east on I-94 with my fiance to a lake house in Michigan, where we'll be married on Saturday.

I wish I could write more -- about what I've been up to, and where I've been, and what I've been eating -- but right now, my head is a jumbled mess of to-dos and what-ifs and I-hopes and can't-waits.

So here's a sneak peak of a bride-to-be's everyday during the last month before her wedding, as told through my cameras. Also, a recipe for a salad I had two weeks ago with my sister, after a trip to the craft store where we bought lots of ribbon, and right before we sat down in her sunny kitchen and practiced making baby's breath garlands. This salad was so good, with smoked salmon and tomatoes and a touch of dill, and will forever remind me of wedding projects and baby's breath.

I'll be back next week with stories and photos and a long sigh of relief. See you on the other side!

Summer Farfalle Salad with Smoked Salmon (Cooking Light)

3 cups uncooked farfalle (bow tie pasta)
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1 (6-ounce) bag baby spinach
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons cold water
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 ounces (about 8 slices) smoked salmon, cut into thin strips

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain.

Combine pasta, tomatoes, dill, and spinach in a large bowl, tossing gently to combine.

Combine lemon rind and next 5 ingredients (lemon rind through pepper) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over pasta mixture; toss gently to coat. Top with salmon.

Yield: 6 servings
Serving size: 2 cups
Calories per serving: 206

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Not just yet.


There was a chill in the air this Labor Day weekend. A September kind of chill that normally comes later in the month, not on that first weekend, when we're still hoping to soak in the last of summer's heat out on the boat. The sun came out here and there, but mostly just there.

We stayed out of the water the entire holiday, wearing jeans and sweatshirts, inching closer and closer to the bonfire until the wind picked up and had us scooting our chairs quickly back. Fall came blowing in with a vengeance, and as much as I'd like to welcome the open windows and the cooler temperatures and the rustling leaves (oh, and a September wedding in 18 days), I still feel like I didn't get to say a proper goodbye to summer.


So instead of getting excited about cooler evenings and big pots of soup and stick-to-the-bone meals and apple pies, I'm going to make a few final grasps at summer. Well, just one in particular.

This recipe for buffalo grilled shrimp was from my bachelorette party in Michigan, the weekend after July 4, when summer was at its peak and there was no end in sight. It was a perfect weekend for boating, and having drinks with girlfriends, and gathering around the kitchen island to a meal of appetizers. The sun was so hot and the day was so long and our bellies so full, we struggled to make it out to dinner. It was the kind of weekend when passing out from exhaustion at the end of the day is just proof of a summer well spent.

Buffalo Grilled Shrimp with Blue Cheese Dip (from Gourmet)

For blue cheese dip
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (2 ounces)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons milk

For shrimp
18 jumbo shrimp (1 1/2 to 2 lb), peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup hot sauce such as Frank’s RedHot
1/2 bunch celery, cut into 4-inch sticks

Make dip:
Stir together ingredients, 1/8 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.

Make shrimp:
Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium heat for gas)*

Toss shrimp with oil and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper. Oil grill rack, then grill shrimp, covered only if using a gas grill, turning once, until just cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes total.

Stir together butter and hot sauce in a large bowl. Add shrimp and toss until coated. Serve shrimp with dip and celery.

*Shrimp can be cooked in an oiled hot 2-burner grill pan over medium heat.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

lake house.


some shots taken over the summer
from the lake house in michigan
where we're headed
this weekend
for one last hurrah
to say goodbye to summer.
how it can it be september