Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day at home

A steady rain was falling this morning, so my friend Molly and I were deterred from our now regular outing to the nearby Sunday flea market.  We took consolation in a local thrift store which resulted in fur acquisitions for both of us. I know, I know.  But they are secondhand . . . and I'm not a vegan and only a sometime vegetarian.  The particulars are a fluffy black coat for Molly and these black furry boots for me.  They are so warm and comfortable that I've had them on all day.  The kids like to pet them.

In the afternoon, Jon and I implemented a "divide and conquer" strategy.  He headed off with the older two and friends for a showing of Avatar, while Lily and I made ourselves busy in my craft room.  We had some serious hospital work to do on a doll that had had an unexplained misadventure with scissors, to include the near amputation of a leg.

Lily and I collaborated on a complete restoration of Flora who had come to us originally from Colonial Williamsburg, donning a mob cap and apron.  Lily thought she should go in a different direction.  After some restuffing, leg repair, and replacing of her locks (in PINK!), Lily picked a rosy pink floral cotton from my scrap bag for a new dress.  She handed the fabric to me and then started away to busy herself with her stuffed animals.
"Lily, I think you can sew this dress yourself for Flora," I told her.
"But I don't know how to sew." she replied.
"Well, let's teach you now. You can do it," I said.

We cut a simple tunic shape from the folded fabric and then I helped her sew up the sides and sleeves, stitch by careful stitch.  A quick turn to right side out and the addition of the ribbon belt completed Flora's new look.  Lily was overjoyed with the results.

She and I set a lovely Valentine table (featuring my other thrift shop find -- a Scandinavian looking vase), some fabric and pipe cleaner napkin rings designed by Lily, and a vintage embroidered cloth.

Then I set to work on a dinner of Giada di Laurentis' Fra Diavola Shrimp, Pumpkin Risotto, and a big green salad (liberally festooned with buffalo mozzarella).  With perfect timing, Jon, Emily, and Quinn arrived home with much to talk about.  It was a lovely Valentine celebration.

Here's my Pumpkin Risotto recipe:
1 medium onion
2 tbsn butter
1 tbspn olive oil
1 1/2 c. Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 can pureed pumpkin
1/4 tspn nutmeg
1/4 c heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
Combine water and broth in large pyrex measuring cup and warm in microwave for 2 minutes. In a medium saucepan, saute the onion in the butter and oil until transparent.  Add the Arborio rice and cook a couple minutes to coat rice with butter and oil.  Add wine. Cook until absorbed, stirring often.  Add one half warmed broth/water mix and cook, stirring often, until absorbed. Add second half and repeat.  Add the pumpkin, nutmeg, cream, and cheese.  Stir and cook a few more minutes.  Serve immediately.

Buon appetito!

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