Some of the best summer evenings are spent with dear friends on our tiny screened porch. It never matters that we're crammed together around the table, elbows bumping, feet tangling, as we pass food and drink. Laughter comes more easily outside. The waves thunder against the ledges, rainbows arch across the cloudy sky, and later, when the candles sputter, and the last of the food disappears, the fireflies begin their dance.
Yesterday I woke early and began the preparations for a picnic on the porch. I trimmed 6 artichokes and blended herbs and lemons for their topping. I popped red quinoa, then cooked it with herbs, shallots, and fresh ginger, mixed with a spoonful of curry. Three pounds of freshly filleted haddock were cleaned, spread atop a mound of spinach, doused with lemon juice and Pinot Grigio, dotted with butter, and readied for the oven. Jeff sliced Maine sweet Italian sausage and I skewered them with onions and red bell peppers. I baked bread chips, dished out goat cheeses, sliced cucumbers and avocados, garlic scapes, and tomatoes for a salad, and set the table. My pal Marilyn, who makes one of the best Caesar salads in the universe, volunteered to bring that part of our meal.
A storm hit us in the afternoon, misty sea spray drifted through the screens and wet the glasses, and the tablecloth threatened to kite out the window. "Dress warmly," I cautioned our friends, "it is raining and breezy, but we're NOT eating indoors." I wondered if anyone would opt to bow out of the party, but all the hearty souls arrived and the celebration began.
Jeff took this photo of us feasting. Herb Schaal, the designer of the new children's garden at the Coastal Maine Botanical garden (I'll have a post on that garden in a few days) sits beside his wife Cindy, my pal Marilyn, and Heather and Doug.
Tarts devoured, fireflies dancing, stories told, and all prepare to leave.
Thanks for stopping by. I love hearing from you and will try to answer your comments and letters.
P.S. Last week my dear friend Elizabeth Murray, author and photographer of Monet's Passion (a newly released anniversary edition by Pomegranate Press) stopped by for a visit and supper. I am including an audio of Lizzie on NPR. Liz is the first female allowed to work in Monet's gardens at Giverny. She is remarkable. I know you'll be inspired by her words and her work, oh, and let's not forget her TENACITY. I admire that ability to stick to it just about more than anything.