Monday, August 8, 2011

Vacation

"Stickman " sculpture
Our ride
Nicoise Salad
Recently I returned from a trip to Richmond, Va, to visit our son, who was celebrating a special birthday.
As with most trips I take these days, I had intended to combine our stay with some plein air painting, and perhaps a gallery visit or two; conducting some business.
The temperatures in the high 90's and even some triple digit days said otherwise. Mind you, now that we live in Arizona, 101 degrees isn't really out of the norm, but combine that with 80% humidity, and the plein air painting literally went out the window.
Since I was purposefully " unconnected", this made for a true vacation.
Days and evenings were spent seeing the sites ( a few days in a '68 Chrysler Newport convertible fun in itself! ), going to the movies, visiting museums and botanical gardens, sporting events , and, oh yeah, a lot of good food. Some was in terriffic restaurants, some prepared at home... I discovered only a few years ago that I actually like to cook.
The sculpture at the top of the page is at the Ginter gardens, and was created specifically for the site, by Patrick Dougherty, www.stickwork.net . I was not familiar with his work, and loved it immediately. This was one of two formal gardens I went to... so nice to experience lush greenery and colorfully planted blooms at their peak.I also visited the Virginia Fine Arts Museum, where I spent a lovely, cool afternoon with some of my favorite impressionists, and also saw exciting contemporary works , as well as african and ancient egyptian pieces. Not something I get to enjoy everyday here. It was such a nice change to just look at art , without feeling any pressure whatsoever to try to emulate , incorporate, deconstruct, or judge!
The third photo is of a summer salad that I like to make, inspired by all of the great fresh fish that we enjoyed...so on my return this was the version.
The recipe is simple, and will be for two:
Nicoise Salad
Fresh tuna steak , broiled aso desired ( or canned may be substituted)
Two hard cooked , sliced eggs, A couple of firm fleshed , sliced, cooked potatoes ( I used a handful of several small gold), Crisp-cooked fresh green beans , ( or asparagus will work)
Good black olives. Roast red peppers, if desired.
All of this is arranged on a large platter of spring greens.
It is drizzled with a very simple dressing of olive oil, white wine vinegar, and a sprinkling of
provencal herbs. That's it!
Now, you may wonder how it was a vacation if I cooked...the key was that I did just when I wanted to, and no more!

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