While I really love flowers and would have them everyday everywhere in my life, they do have a very short shelf life and are not the best investment. So for the wedding I have tried to create great floral statements by insuring that the entire presentation adds to the atmosphere that we are aiming to create. While I do think that this should always be an objective, often times it gets lost. For a few years now I have been collecting old aqua Ball jars and decided that they would be beautiful in collecting running down long tables for dinner. I am planning on using a few different heights and pairing them with some candles as well. Some of the candles will be in jars, somewhat like the picture, but the ones that I am planning on using will be smaller and have a metal latch for their lids. There will also be aspen or birch wrapped candles along the table and in the floral groupings. I can’t wait! We got our first batch of e-bayed jars on Friday. I have been using the jars to store collections of items that I being back from trips, shells from China, shells from the Bahamas, rocks from Telluride, and I am so excited to have so many more to store little collections in over the years, and how nice that they will be a beautiful memory from our wedding that the rest of our life will be filling up. Cheesy, but great.
As part of my trip to Telluride I places my order for my wedding shoes. The pictures above are from the shop. In the one on the left I am having my foot traces, and then measured in four different places to make sure that we get an great fit. On the right I am sitting with, or really he is sitting with me, the owners dog, my father took quite a liking to him until his allergies started to kick in. I can’t wait to get them, my parents thought that was the most excited that I have gotten about the wedding planning so far…
A few nights ago I decided to make one of my new go to easy meals. I love the simplicity in making it, and the creamy, chewy, wholesome goodness that you are left with in the end. Plus, I have discovered that I love barley. I do not think that I will ever make traditional risotto again, not that I really made it to begin with. My mom found the recipe last year on 101 Cookbooks, my favorite, and I have made it numerous times since. I hope that you all enjoy it and love it as much as we do!
Meyer Lemon Risotto
I used tatsoi, left over from this weekend’s market, as the green in this recipe but feel free to experiment with other greens (chopped chard, spinach, arugula, etc). The recipe calls for 6 cups of stock/water. This can vary quite a bit depending on your pot and the grains, but you are likely to need between 4 1/2 – 6 cups. Sometimes I like to throw in a handful of chopped Meyer lemon segments in for added flavor and texture, but be sure to remove all the seeds.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 cups lightly pearled barley
1 cup good quality dry white wine
6 cups light vegetable stock (or water)
Grated zest of 4 Meyer lemons (more to taste if you like)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup crème fraiche (or sour cream)
3 big handfuls of greens, chopped
Handful of toasted pine nuts, for garnish
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, then add the onions, shallots, garlic, and salt and saute, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften.
Add the barley to the pot and stir until coated with a nice sheen, then add the white wine and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes, until the barley has absorbed the liquid a bit. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle, active simmer.
In increments, add about 6 cups of water or stock, 1 cup at a time, letting the barley absorb most of the liquid between additions; this should take around 40 minutes altogether. Stir regularly so the grains on the bottom of the pan don’t scorch. You will know when the barley is cooked because it won’t offer up much resistance when chewing (it will, however, be chewier than Arborio rice).
When the barley is tender remove the pot from heat. Stir in the lemon zest, Parmesan, and crème fraiche. Taste and adjust – add more salt if needed, more lemon zest. Then stir in the greens. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and a dusting of extra Parmesan before serving.
Easily serves 4 to 6
From 101 Cookbooks
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photos from cox & cox
I am off the to grocery, it is snowing here and accumulating fairly quickly. So I best get there while the rest of the world is still at work!
We have had quite a busy start to the New Year. On the third we drove down to Table Rock state park in South Carolina to attend Curt and Bonnie’s wedding. It was really beautiful and we had such a wonderful time. JP was the best man and looked very dashing if I may say so. The state park that they chose had some cabins that we were able to rent and they turned out to be nicely appointed. We arrived a day early and were able to spend some time relaxing and enjoying a mini break before the rest of the guest got there, and the wedding activities were in full swing. I think that this is something that we will try and do with all the weddings that we are going to this year, just so that we can really enjoy the time that we are able to be away. And it is also nice to be adjusted to a place once festivities start. It was truly a great start to a year that is going to be full of weddings for us.
After our drive back to Baltimore, I had a 6am flight out the next day to Telluride in order to plan our wedding in 3 days. Fortunately I was able to make it, my flight was delayed in Dallas because of snow in Montrose, where we fly into, and the roads into Telluride were quite challenging. We have never seen so much snow there and there did not seem to be an end in sight. I think that my mom was hoping that I would be snowed in and not able to leave. At any rate, I was able to get a lot accomplished and feel really thrilled about how everything is shaping up. Sadly, JP was not able to join my parents and myself on the trip, but he has been filled in on all the details. After deciding on a cake, flowers, DJ, venue, a place for the guests to stay, the caterer for the rehearsal dinner and brunch, and some activities for the weekend I flew back home to Baltimore, and went right back to work.
On Saturday night, my mom’s best friend and her husband were in town for a convention and took us out to dinner. We had such a lovely time with them and really enjoyed being able to share our excitement about the wedding with others who genuinely wanted to hear about it and are thrilled that we have reached this step in our relationship.
This week I am going to look at potential bridesmaid dresses, and will keep you all posted on the success of that trip. I am hoping that, like the rest of the recent wedding decisions, or most of them, it will be a quick and easy decision. But at any rate I will let you know.
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We hope that everybody survived the holidays and had a wonderful and stress free New Year. We had a good month, but are really happy that it is over. New Years was really laid back as we moved back into our house after some plumbing issues, and had Curt and Bonnie over to dinner while they were gearing up to leave for their wedding. We are so excited for all that this year has ahead and are so happy to share in this great time in so many people’s lives.
As part of my daily, weekly and monthly blog tour that I do from my PowerBook I like to look at a series of inspirational food blogs. I have a dream of doing a smaller version of my own on this site. More to get us on a more stable path to eating healthy and at home on a regular basis. I am thinking that it might be motivation for us if we know that we made a commitment to cooking all the recipes from our favorite cook books and sharing them with all of you and how they turn out. That being said, at this point it is just a dream, but an achievable one. One of the sites that I like to visit is Cupcake Bakeshop. There is a featured recipe every month, always unusual and always well styled. I love the little paper cups that they use to bake the cakes in, just the rite amount of sweat and such a nice turn from the standard. Any of you who have had my cupcakes knows that I love to try and use other non traditional papers for the cakes.