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Posts Tagged ‘Sicilian dinner’

Saturday, 9 May 2015

I began the day at midmorning with an obligatory walk to the Ilwaco Saturday Market to take photos for the Discover Ilwaco Facebook page.  Even though the market is always a treat, I felt more like weeding my garden.  I’ll enjoy the weekly excursion more when I get my spring clean up finally done.

Ilwaco Saturday Market

at the market

at the market

This cute puppy was well worth the trip...

This cute puppy was well worth the trip…

and got lots of attention, of course.

and got lots of attention, of course.

Looking at this photo now, I wonder why I did not buy at least one of these.

Looking at this photo now, I wonder why I did not buy at least one of these.  I hope this vendor returns.

The tamale booth beckoned.  However, I was saving up my appetite for dinner plans.

The tamale booth beckoned. However, I was saving up my appetite for dinner plans.

yummy

yummy

Speaking of asparagus, De Asis Produce featured it exclusively this week.

Speaking of asparagus, De Asis Produce featured it exclusively this week.

Blog reader Rose Power recommends the new Smoked Salmon salad.

Blog reader Rose Power, whom I met by chance at the market,  recommends the new Smoked Salmon salad.

flowers at one of the charter fishing companies

flowers at one of the charter fishing companies

a new fish taco booth...but I could not succumb!

a new fish taco booth…but I could not succumb!

more cute dogs

more cute dogs

and a hopeful dog

and a hopeful dog

Alliums in our port office garden

Alliums in our port office garden

another cutie

another cutie

¯

more flowers

more flowers

more flowers by Purly Shell knitting shop

flowers by Purly Shell knitting shop

I was pleased to see that our neighbours have a booth for their organic cranberry business.

I was pleased to see that our neighbours have a booth for their organic cranberry business.

I like their juice in tonic water with lemon or lime.

I like their juice in tonic water or plain water with lemon or lime.

cran3

heading home....our garden on Howerton

heading home….our garden on Howerton

and another of our curbside gardens

and another of our curbside gardens

the xeriscape in front of the old Harbor Lights Motel (soon to reopen as the Salt Hotel)

the xeriscape in front of the old Harbor Lights Motel (soon to reopen as the Salt Hotel)

blue ceanothus still blooming

blue ceanothus still blooming

the Time Enough Books boat

the Time Enough Books boat

detail: the latest tulip, 'Formosa'

detail: the latest tulip, ‘Formosa’ backed with ‘Florette’

I popped into Time Enough to order Ken Druse’s new shade garden book, and saw another book that might help me.

hmmmm....

hmmmm….easier to do in the garden than inside

Unfortunately, my house does not reflect the fact that I had a Seattle housecleaning business for 18 years before I moved to the beach and started gardening for a living.

another Howerton garden

another Howerton garden

On the way home I checked the meander line ditch as I went in the back way through Nora’s yard.  Oh!  It is aswarm with tadpoles.

lots and lots of tadpoles

lots and lots of tadpoles

at home in the garden 

Allan mowed our lawn and also Nora’s and made a path through her back lot (which is much too long and time-consuming to completely mow with our push mower).

path

I find it fascinating to see this lawn turn into a meadow.

Mary on her way to check out the new path.

Mary on her way to check out the new path.

A little bird with a small worm in its mouth watched us carefully.

A little bird with a small worm in its mouth watched us carefully.

atop the west gate

atop the west gate

must be a nest somewhere near...

must be a nest somewhere near…

fragrant peachy roses by Nora's back porch

fragrant peachy roses by Nora’s back porch

I spent the afternoon with the pick removing more variegated carex from along the front yard entryway.  The metal decoratey thingies were hidden so I moved them into a more visible spot.

weeding

While I weeded, a car pulled up and two gardeners, Laura and Mary (who said I used to mow her ex-husband’s lawn many years ago in Seaview…) came to tour the garden.  We went all around every pathway, something I always enjoy.  (Allan was still mowing that lawn path, so no photos were taken of that pleasant event.)

After they left, I think I managed to get all of that carex out at last.

At five-ish, Todd arrived for our evening excursion, with time to tour the garden first.

This is when he IDed the shrub that I could only remember started with a C...

This is when he IDed the shrub that I could only remember started with a C…

the red flowered Calycanthus; I think it might be 'Hartlage Wine'

the red flowered Calycanthus; I think it might be ‘Hartlage Wine’

We found some of the little plants that he had sent us, still alive, and briefly examined the benches of Ladies in Waiting.

DSC00614

Allan was lurking nearby with his camera, and soon after this all the little ferns Todd sent him got checked out. All but one look promising.

And then the three of us were off in Todd’s car into the wild backroads of Naselle to find Ann, the Amateur Bot-ann-ist‘s, ancestral home.

dinner at the Estancia

It proved to be an adventurous trip, with excursions and tight turn arounds down country roads with many “Beware of Dog” and one “Impeach Obama” sign, some exciting backing up (Todd:  “It’s ok, we’re on a curve.”), the dreaded “no service” on my phone, driving back out to the “Hunter’s Lodge” where we suddenly thought to try Todd’s phone as he has a different carrier.  (Note: Verizon works better in the wilds of Naselle.)  Ann directed us back to where we had already been, and just one sharp turn past a tall hedge brought us to the Estancia.  We were late, but were reassured that that was “Italian time”.

Ann and I had met the Bloggers Fling in Portland last summer and she had since been to visit my garden once.  She had invited to us to a Sicilian style dinner.

a riverside Italianate fishing lodge

photo borrowed from Ann: a riverside Italianate fishing lodge

Allan's photo, Todd and Ann

Allan’s photo

We walked a grassy path, imprinted with deep hoof-holes from a rogue herd of cows, down to the Naselle riverbank.

Naselle River

Naselle River

on the riverbank

on the riverbank

a viewing chair

a viewing chair

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

riverlight

the path

the path

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Up the stairs we went, and I worried a little about the embarassment of having to go down backwards at the end of the evening….the price of encroaching decrepitude.

view of the river from the dining room

view of the river from the dining room deck (Allan’s photo)

view from the front (Allan's photo)

view from the front (Allan’s photo)

the dining room with the first courses on the table

the dining room with the first courses on the table

I had brought Ann a bouquet.  You might recognize that I swiped the roses from Nora's peachy rosebush; I did not have any as pretty, yet.

I had brought Ann a bouquet. You might recognize that I swiped the roses from Nora’s peachy rosebush; I did not have any as pretty, yet.

Ann’s father is into all things fishing (he publishes several fishing magazines) and all things Italian.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan, Ann, and Todd, watched over by her father's antique crucifix.

Allan, Ann, and Todd, watched over by her father’s antique crucifix.  “He’s very Catholic.”

I described to Todd the floral headdress that Ann wore at the opening soirée of the Bloggers Fling, and he asked if he would be expected to come up with such attire for the Hardy Plant weekend in June.  Oh, no, we said, although I did remember the green on green costumes at the Fifty Shades of Green evening at last year’s Hardy Plant weekend.  Hmmm.

Ann and blogger Kate at the Bloggers Fling, July 2014

Ann and blogger Kate at the Bloggers Fling, July 2014

the feast:  Allan's photo

the feast: Allan’s photo

This was a smaller version of the five course Italian dinners that Ann gives in Portland.  We all contributed, as prearranged, some funds for the ingredients, which I tell you because otherwise I would feel we had taken advantage of such lavish hospitality and many many hours of cooking.

an intricate Sicilian eggplant dish

an intricate Sicilian eggplant dish

delicious calimari (Allan's photo)

delicious calimari (Allan’s photo)

a light salad with oranges and parsley

a light salad with oranges and parsley and olives

extraordinary food

extraordinary food

food2

squid

another course: enormous fancy meatballs

another course: enormous fancy meatballs

The whole experience was so glorious that it was almost surreal.  I should have taken notes on the many dishes; I did not.

so satisfying (Allan's photo)

so satisfying (Allan’s photo)

Ann makes another course: pasta with cauliflower, and regales us with tales of the popularity of cauliflower in Sicily.

Ann makes another course: bucatini pasta with cauliflower and anchovies, and regales us with tales of the popularity of cauliflower in Sicily.

anchovies

delicately flavourful anchovies in salt from Sciacca, Sicily

delicately flavourful anchovies in salt from Sciacca, Sicily

Ann and her husband reside in Portland, Oregon, where such delicacies are available.  She said the owner of the little shop where she bought the anchovies expressed great approval of her selection.

cooking

Ann is used to creating regionally themed Italian dinners with an audience.

Ann is used to creating regionally themed Italian dinners with an audience.

pasta

the pasta course in progress (Allan's photo)

the pasta course in progress (Allan’s photo)

Chef Ann

Chef Ann

Ann stuffing cannolis for dessert.

Ann stuffing cannoli for dessert.  (Allan’s photo)

dipping the cannoli

dipping the cannoli

I asked Ann later to remind what was in the filling, and she wrote back: “ricotta, powdered sugar, cinnamon, shaved unsweetened chocolate, candied fruit (melon), candied fruit peel (blood orange and lemon), and rosewater. I didn’t have a strainer, but it’s best to strain the ricotta for a day or two in order to thicken it a bit. This is also the traditional cake filling in Sicily too. It goes really well with lemon cake.”

Ann's father is especially fond of his Viking napkins, which I recall he purchased in Astoria.

Ann’s father is especially fond of his Viking napkins, which I recall he purchased in Astoria.

Cannoli served on her dad's Viking napkins.

Cannolo served on her dad’s Viking napkins. “The Vikings were in Sicily, you know.” (Allan’s photo)

ends

I learned that just one of these delectable treats is a cannolo and that the singular of ravioli is raviolo.

Ann’s young cat, Quincy Mercurio Carbone, had also come to the river house for the weekend.  You can read all about him here.

Quincy in repose (after some madcap running back and forth)

Quincy in repose (after some madcap running back and forth)

Quincy

Quincy

ever watchful

ever watchful

DSC00655

The conversation was, of course, plant-centered once we had settled down to eat.  Ann is an avid seed collector; Todd was the curator for the display garden at the famous Plant Delights nursery until recently moving back to the Peninsula.  I thought it simply brilliant that he presented Ann with some cool seeds at the end of the evening.

This dinner was one of the best things to happen in my life because of blogging (that and the comments from regular readers).  After 11 PM, I made it down the stairs (backwards) and we found our way out of the country roads without any more adventures.

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