I just got back from a combined trip to see friends in Northampton, MA and to attend the Squam Arts Workshop. The trip to Northampton was big fun, marked by not one but two home Chopped competitions. (The Reader's Digest version of Chopped is that 4 contestants are presented with a basket of mystery ingredients with which to prepare a course. Pantry items may also be used. In each round, a contestant is eliminated until the dessert course, when a winner is named.) We decided on 4-5 ingredients to make a meal. (Dessert was separate.) Sir Eli directed the competition and chose the teams. On night one, he and his dad shopped, and his mom and I cooked. We were presented with shrimp, calamari, radicchio, chocolate mint, and potato chips. From that came grilled radicchio dressed with balsamic vinaigrette topped with sauteed calamari, shrimp with a chip/cumin/chili crust and a watermelon/strawberry/basil/chocolate mint salsa cruda. Let me tell you, crushed chips give panko a run for its money as a crust. Night two saw his parents confronted with ingredients he and I procured. We presented them with Sockeye salmon, dandelion greens, ginger beer, sunchokes, and cherry fruit leather. The mystery basket produced a ginger/soy/cherry glazed salmon (fruit leather melts in warmed ginger beer and it makes a fab glaze), dandelion greens with a cherry vinaigrette, sunchoke puree, and a ginger beer/lemonade/vodka aperitif. (Sir Eli got a virgin version.) It was great fun, and I recommend it as a fun dinner party activity if you have some adventurous cooks in your crowd. (Ample cocktails are a must.)
From Northampton, I travelled up to Holderness, NH to the Squam Arts Workshop. I learned a few things:
- I get squeamish about anything described as "transformative."
- I have determined that I am a short hugger. I met some long huggers at Squam, and I am decidedly in the short hug range of things.
- I am now excited to sew. The Reinvention sewing class I took got me hyped about uses for that big, white Singer paperweight in the Craft Dungeon.
- My over-packing has reached epic proportions. I had four knit hats with me. Four. Plus a sunhat. It got worse from there.
- I learned a lot about how I want to display my yarns in retail situations.
- You can be 1039 miles from home and meet your neighbor from five houses away for the first time. True story.
More later. I'm off to TNNA.