Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer Sunday Dinner: Mahi Mahi with Basil, Nectarines and Corn

This is the start a new series on the blog! Throughout the summer, I'll be sharing a peak at our Sunday dinners. That is when our most pretty, fun cooking takes place, and I want to have a record of all that good stuff. It will usually (probably) be a menu list without real recipes, or just links to recipes I used. I hope you enjoy it!

The main dish here was inspired by a Dorie recipe that used scallops instead of fish. Mahi Mahi fillets were on sale at my grocery store and looked beautiful, so I decided they would work just as well. Any thick fish, like tuna steaks or swordfish, would be great.

Peter sprinkled the fillets generously with salt, pepper and olive oil, and I did the same to halved and pitted nectarines. Then he worked his usual magic with the grill.

While the fish and nectarines were grilling, I cooked a little rice, steamed the corn and cut it off the cob, made a healthy batch of the garlic lime dressing linked below (probably 1.5x the original), and cut my basil leaves into cute little threads. Then everything got stacked together! Make sure you eat bites of corn, fish and nectarine all together - it's a heavenly combination.

Happy start of summer eating to you!!

Summer Sunday Dinner - Late May Mahi Mahi

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Golfing Girl

1. J Crew Chino Short 2.Woven Webbing Belt  3. Tory Burch Ruffle Polo 4. Maxfli Women's Golf Balls 5. Full finger mesh golf glove 6.PUMA Women's Golf Shoes

I started taking golf lessons last week, and I am super into it. I love being a student - getting instructions from an expert, being around new people, getting praise for my work. There's probably something deeper here that's related to being married to a teacher, but let's not go there.

A few tips on my favorite golf stuff:

  • Shorts - not the time for booty shorts. You will feel like a newbie if you wear too-short shorts (speaking from experience!). I like 5-7 inch inseams. However, this is the time to go for the crazy colors and patterned stuff you might not wear in every day life. All is fair game on the golf course!
  • Maxfli balls are my favorite. I have ones that are sparkly like diamonds that feel extra lucky, but I couldn't find them online. Snap 'em if you find them in a store! They will be your faves. Also, don't use pink balls. Another newbie give-away ;)
  • I like gloves that have mesh on the back - they keep your hand from getting too hot and ick. 
  • This is probably just me, but I like to always have snacks on hand (not just when golfing, so this is almost definitely just me). Almonds, skittles, crackers - anything non-melty works well. Golf takes a while and you might get peckish!
That's all I've got! Any other golfing girl tips to share?!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ipswich, MA

On Sunday, we drove to Ispwich to go to Crane Beach on the Crane Estate. The drive out was beautiful - it reminded me of the pretty views you get going to Gay Head on Martha's Vineyard.

There is a small visitors center between the parking lot and the beach, and they had a bulletin board explaining that each spring, all the children from Ipswich are invited to spend the day at the beach for a picnic. There were a few thank you notes from the kids posted - this was my favorite.
Dear Crane family,
Thank you for buying the property. If you didn't, the place might have turned into a pizza place or something...

It was an absolutely perfect day, and the beach was crowded. This was the last weekend before they shift to summer rates, too ($8 vs. $25 to park for the day, eeks!).

We are getting sort of crotchety in our late twenties, and actually had to move away from these hooligans above! They were so noisy. And a group of guys behind them were listening to Taylor Swift on full blast. Not cool, guys. Not cool. I had some serious Laura Ingalls Wilder reading to do.

On our way out, we headed over the estate part of the property. It was so beautiful! I thought it was a beach-y version of the Mount :)

All in all, an absolutely wonderful day. We are thinking about becoming members (so fancy!) so we can go back throughout the summer. I already have plans to hit up this place and this place next time!

Friday, May 18, 2012


This weekend Peter and I are doing some celebrating! Lest you let your suspicions become aroused, wine will be involved for all parties :) It's professional-accomplishment celebrating. Yay! Our weekend of fun will include:

Happy Friday to all! 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Summer Rolls: My Warm Weather BFFs

Readers, I would like to introduce you to my favorite warm weather dinner - summer rolls.

This dinner requires little to no cooking, just assembling. Set out rice paper wraps, soak rice noodles in warm water for 10 minutes, arrange some vegetables and chicken or pork (or not!) on a platter.

I usually make a peanut sauce for dipping, sort of like this one (no soy sauce, though, ew). Soak the wraps in warm water, and then you are ready to fill them up, burrito style! Some things that are good inside: 
  • Avocado
  • Mint, basil, dill (any fresh herb you like, really)
  • Lettuce 
  • Carrots
  • Radishes
  • Pickled red onions or shallots
  • Cucumbers
  • Asparagus
What is your go-to summer dinner? 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Growing Fresh Basil

Four years ago, I named this blog Fresh Basil for no reason other than I thought it was sort of cute and happy sounding. It's been my private shame that I have flat out murdered every fresh basil plant that has entered my home during that time. Until now.

I was doing it all wrong. I would try to start from seed some years, willing those tiny little plants to grow up fast so that I could finally start making pesto. I would alternate between drowning them every day, and then taking a week off of watering for fear of rotting the roots. I plucked off the most prized leaves from anywhere on the plant, thinking it was a mistake to cut the stalk. Wrong, wrong, wrong!

This is the article that changed my fresh basil growing life. All the advice is good, but my three main take-away were:

  • Buy a full-grown, healthy looking basil plant. This one was from Whole Food on sale for $1.99. 
  • Snip the stalk with scissors right above new leaf growth. This will help the plant grow, but not get too top heavy. 
  • Water it a little - just a little - every day. I put it under the sink for literally two seconds. I actually count.
I might be getting cocky, but I think I'm ready to try mint and rosemary! 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

2nd Anniversary: China

1. Wickford Sandpiper Hors d'Oeuvers Tray 2. Fifth Avenue Dessert Plate 3. Butterfly Bloom Tea Caddy  4. Emblem lock vide poche 5. Cuckoo Two Tier Cake Stand

The easiest way to do China for the second anniversary is, of course, to pick up a piece of your wedding China. If we were really going to splurge, I would want this gorgeous piece of our China. Gosh, I love that thing! It's practically a plane ticket abroad, though :)

We are not going that route (obviously). Instead, I already found the perfect thing while shopping in Paris! I'll show them to you when our anniversary gets closer - we're waiting until then to put our fun gift to use!

I have to ask - do you guys do the traditional wedding anniversary gifts (or are you planning to?). Peter finds the whole thing to be pretty mystifying, but he goes along with it for me.

P.S. Cotton and Paper!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Rockport, MA

We spent the day out in Rockport over the weekend. I had read about Roy Moore Lobster Co. and thought it might be worth a visit.

The weather was just warm enough to enjoy sitting out on the back deck. We got two steamed lobsters and  an order of clam chowder. If you're looking for something slightly more upscale (key word being "slightly"), they have a real restaurant down the street, too. I'm sure the food is just as wonderful!

We wandered around the town for a bit (I had to snap a pic of this store selling Fresh Produce!). It winds on and on - much bigger than I thought when we initially got there. Lots of art galleries and ice cream shops. I loved wandering through the Bearskin Neck Country Store - so many great old fashioned games and candies.

Later in the afternoon, we drove a few miles out to Halibut Point State Park. There's a short trail that leads to a giant granite quarry. I kept thinking, "I wonder how many counter tops are sitting here!" I might be reading too many design blogs.

Beyond that, there's a bit more trail, and then lots of rocks, and finally the ocean! We settled in and soaked in that beautiful salty air. A few cute seals even swam by us!

The sun hadn't been out all week in Boston, and I think people went a little nuts with the temperature soaring over 60 degrees. That couple to the right in the last photo were hanging out in their bathing suits! Ooooh, New England.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Loving Lately

An amazing mash-up of 100 years of whistling in pop songs! Truly amazing, no? I brag a lot about my whistling skills (What? I'm good.) -- but this guy is unreal.

I always wish I knew more about art, and visiting all those museums in Paris really reignited that desire. We started watching The Impressionists with Tim Marlow this week. Are your eyes skimming over this?! It's really good, I swear! I love being able to say things like, "Look at the progression of his brush strokes throughout his career!" (In my head only.)

A girlfriend pinned a bunch of cute stuff the other day, and I assumed it was Anthro. I clicked anyway because sometimes you just want to lust after some Anthro, you know? But it wasn't! It was Spool72. Have you heard of it? Super cute and reasonable to boot. To boot! Let's use that more.

Weekend things:

  • The perfect margarita.
  • Placing bets! I think I'm going with Dullaham. You?
  • Museums on Us weekend if you're with BofA. We might hit up the MFA!

Lastly, thank you for your very kind comments and emails about my last post. I was nervous about hitting publish (as excited as I am, I am also sort of embarrassed?). Anyways, you are lovely readers, and I am very lucky indeed.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Good for the Soul

In a fit of near-graduation panic, I applied to a couple of MFA programs during the winter break of my senior year. Much to my surprise, the program chair of one of the schools called to tell me I had been accepted. I was walking up a grand staircase in the Treasury building on the way back to my desk after lunch, and after I hung up, I slumped down on those steps in the rather dramatic way that only interns can pull off.

My mom went out to Idaho with me a few weeks later, and I got to meet that professor and loads of other writing students. At dinner in Spokane, my mom and I talked about our lives, and my parent's marriage, and what it means to be successful and fall in love. There was something I couldn't put my finger on, but I knew that this school, which had lentil fields that stretched on for long miles beyond the campus, wasn't for me.

One week later, I met Peter.

I do not regret passing up graduate school, but there are times when I long for the body of work that I surely would have produced as a student. I wrote this post during a time when I was feeling some of that angst. So many of you seemed to interpret it as happy and sweet, but I felt antsy and a little stuck - searching for the lofty and astonishing.

I turned to google in my time of need (don't we all?), in search of some kind of writing contest that would make me feel like I could produce material any time I wanted. I found that the Chicken Soup for the Soul series was accepting submissions for an upcoming books on weddings and engagements. I whipped something up, sent it off, and promptly forgot about it. More than a year later, they wrote to let me know that my little essay had made the cut.

And today, I came home to a giant box from the publisher - the very publisher that I used to work for in New York. It was a terrible job for me. It made me weepy and irritable. There were times when I had so many knots in my back, I felt like I couldn't fully fill my lungs with air. I left after just a year.

MFA or not, I think my professional life would have followed a similar trajectory. I would have wanted to try traditional publishing, and then I would have returned to international development, and ultimately I would try to figure out a way to marry the two. I am still working that out. But if I had done that MFA program in Idaho, I would not be married to Peter. And it turns out that he is the key element - the very best part - of my lofty and astonishing life.

 *   *   *

As you can see, I have been gifted with quite a few copies of this book. If you would like one - for yourself or someone you know who is recently engaged or planning a wedding - I would be absolutely delighted to send a copy along! Email me at AT
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