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A thought for the evening following a political convention:

“In a world so torn apart by rivalry, anger, and hatred, we have the privileged vocation to be living signs of a love that can bridge all divisions and heal all wounds.”

–Henri Nouwen

                               from a Diana Butler Bass post on fb

Just home from an Alaskan cruise...What words could I use to describe it?  None, I think. A few photos might help.

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Above two: Eagles and an Orca (killer) whale in Sitka Sound. I took a wildlife tour; Dave went fly fishing. I saw bigger fish! There was a whole family of Orcas. Quite unusual there.  For a while, I thought we’d need a bigger boat.

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Above two:  Me, all cleaned up. (It happens.)  Dave at the Hubbard Glacier.

I headed to the grocery after these 10 days away. Oh, sigh.  First a peek into the freezer to see that a big bag of shrimp needed to be used…. The basil was towering in the garden, flowering and going to seed.  Lemons languished in the produce drawer.

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The store, when I arrived, had gorgeous, deep red tomatoes. It’s really summer.  YES!  What could dinner be?  Shrimp tacos with basil salsa? Pasta with spicy shrimp and marinara?  Shrimp omelet or po’ boys?

And meantime, I kept thinking of what needed to be done in my yard that looked nothing like this sweet garden between apartment buildings in the funky Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle (below). Is there anything that doesn’t grow there? … Best meal we ate in Seattle was Sunday brunch at the MarQueen Hotel. Innovative, fun, a bit on the weird side, and luscious. Excellent service, too.

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Brunch at the MarQueen:IMG_3734
IMG_3731 above:  higher-end wine in  Safeway grocery store just across from hotel. Wow!

below: These guys in the ms Amsterdam kitchen do fruit a bit differently than I do.

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above:   Sitting in a favorite spot: the Dining Room!  Someone else shops, cooks, serves, and washes dishes. I just sit, dream, eat, drink, and look at the hub. And why not?

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above: Dave first in the dining room and then a favorite spot as we leave port each day–The Crow’s Nest, a huge bar at the top of the ship with windows all around 180 degrees.

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above: Dave and I working on vacation selfies in each port.

below:  1. Foliage along cool and shady path that led to: 2. Salmon spawning right where we had supper in Juneau.  Gorgeous and sad; the males soon die.

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above: leaving behind the Hubbard glacier and also the view from our dinner table that night.

below: Totem pole in Ketchikan. “Every picture tells a story, don’t it?”
IMG_3972below: Victoria, BC   Callebeau chocolate shop (sadly closed when we arrived) IMG_4028below: First my own cheesecake and then three pics of Dave and me at Pagliacci’s Restaurant in Victoria, BC, from whence my wonderful recipe comes! I’ve made this for years and years for Dave’s birthday. As that’s in July, it requires a 5am start or the kitchen is unbearably hot.

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We finally made it to Pagliacci’s for dinner AND dessert.  BUCKET LIST!  Lovely place. Just incredible food, though just a little too much of it. I suffered through the seafood lasagna. Dave, of course, got his cheesecake and gave me one bite.

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IMG_4023 IMG_4024But on to tonight’s dinner. It seems no waiter is about to appear with a big fat menu. I’ll have to cook dinner myself. Dave will have to wash dishes.  Grimace.

What might we eat?     With all the noise of our deck being removed … …FullSizeRender-15

(Poor Tucker:  Where’s my yard, Mom?)

…and a long hot day of laundry, shopping, and putting away everything, it had to be easy. The grill is stored in the garage for the duration, more’s the pity. How about a little lemon-chive risotto along with a few spicy shrimp and some warm tomatoes and basil? It’s perfect for a day when the herbs are crying out to be used as often as possible and the tomatoes are juicy-juicy on the counter.

Food-Herbs

Try this:

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                 above:  the dish in this year’s herb pot just outside the front door

SPICY SHRIMP ON LEMON-CHIVE RISOTTO WITH TOMATO SALAD  serves 4

GAME PLAN:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F for shrimp. Begin risotto.
  2. Roast shrimp; remove from oven and reserve. (You could grill it, too; scroll down for link.)
  3. Slice tomatoes and toss with other ingredients. Reserve.
  4. To plate:  Divide risotto between 4 plates, nestle shrimp and tomato salad alongside. Garnish with more chopped chives and a few grinds of black pepper. Serve while risotto is hot.

 1. LEMON-CHIVE RISOTTO

Contrary to popular opinion, risotto does not have to be constantly stirred. Nor is it difficult to make.  Just keep a close eye on it and be patient. It’s a perfect and inexpensive vessel for using up the odd leftover (bits of cheese, vegetables, or meat) or for filling out a meal if you’re cutting back on meat.

Here’s a simple tutorial by Mark Bittman.  (Easier: Make plain white or brown rice and stir in chopped fresh herbs and grated lemon with a little butter, salt and pepper.)

  • 4 cups (32 oz) low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh ground white pepper
  • Generous pinch crushed red pepper, optional
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • You’ll use the 4 cups previously heated broth (see above) here.
  • 1/2 cup water, for high altitude only
  • Finely grated rind from two lemons
  • Large handful fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives (You’ll need some extra chives for garnish when plating.)

Heat the broth to boiling; reduce heat to a low simmer and place on a back burner.

Warm the butter and oil in a second (heavy) 4-quart pot over medium heat; add shallot and garlic; sauté until tender, but not browned.  Add rice; stir and let cook a minute or two. Season with salt and peppers.  Pour in white wine. Stirring, let cook down briefly until wine is absorbed.

Pour in two ladles or so of the hot broth. Cook, stirring regularly, until broth is absorbed.  Repeat, also adding water if at altitude, until all of the broth is used, and rice is nearly tender and creamy.

Stir in lemon rind, spinach, cheese, and chives. Let cook another minute or so, stirring, to wilt the spinach just a bit.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Cover and keep warm until needed.

2. SPICY SHRIMP

I buy frozen shrimp in a big bag from Costco as I live in a land-locked area where even the shrimp in the fish shop are previously frozen. If you live where shrimp are fresh, adjust recipe accordingly or use this recipe, excluding sauce, etc., of course!

  • 1 pound large frozen shrimp with tails, unpeeled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and crushed red pepper

Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.  Place frozen shrimp on the sheet in single layer.  Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and peppers. Toss well.   Roast in a 400 degree F oven for 13 minutes or until shrimp is pink and just barely firm. Do not overcook. Remove from oven and set aside until needed.

Want to grill the shrimp instead? Follow this recipe, adding a another minute or so for frozen shrimp.

3. TOMATO SALAD

  • 4 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into eighths
  • 4 tablespoons fresh basil julienne (fresh basil cut into very thin ribbons)
  • Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons each: Extra Virgin olive oil and white balsamic vinegar

Toss tomatoes gently with remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside until needed.

WINE:  Icy Rosê.

PRINTABLE RECIPE:  Recipes-Fish and Seafood-SPICY SHRIMP ON LEMON RISOTTO

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In excellent local news…

The former Little Market & Deli will soon reopen as the Willamette Market & Deli.

The former Little Market & Deli will soon reopen as the Willamette Market & Deli.

… we find the very cool Willamette Market soon opening  in Colorado Springs.  A small local grocery with neighborhood investors, this new venture opens  in  the space formerly occupied by the popular Little Market & Deli.     Read about it here.

(photo courtesy: CS INDEPENDENT)

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Sing a new song,

Alyce