Monday, July 10, 2006

A Dachshund Delightful surprise

One day while stumbling around the internet I came upon a photo contest, so via the ease of digital emailing, I sent a photo of Bella as a puppy in my son's old dinosaur toy. Then I forgot all about it - until last week, that is, when I received a phone call that my photo had won in Animal Wellness magazine's photo contest for "happiest" dog and that I'd be receiving a prize soon. Woo Hoo! They were sweet enough to send me an advance copy (new issue comes out July 18th) so check her out in the green dinosaur.

A few days later a call came in from Dachshund Delights asking me for Bella's measurements for her special "harness" they were going to make for her. How much fun is this?

The new harness arrived today, so here's the weiner schnitzel wearing her newly won apparel:

This is the second photo contest I've ever won, so I still get overly excited about these types of things. Thanks for bearing with me! :)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Summertime...and the livin' is easy

I was finally able to attend my Thursday night metalsmithing class after having missed the first three. Because I've been taking a little vacation from jewelry making, I felt a bit out of it and don't know what project I want to tackle next. HB gave a demonstration on granulation and there is a class starting on that subject this month, but making all those teensy little silver balls and fusing them onto metal seems like it would require concentration and focus... and I'm in summer mode. This must be the residue of feelings from that extraordinary trip I was was just fortunate enough to have been able to experience. So...I'll save granulation for something to look forward to learning in the future.

Meanwhile, the hubby and I are still on a cooking spree. We even went out yesterday and ordered a new grill!

The last night Jess was here (sniff, sniff), we made Moroccan Fish Skewers from a recipe in a book called "Grilling" by Louise Pickford. I found it at Crate and Barrel. The author added couscous, but I made a side of rice instead. Here's a photo:

To this I added and a salad with simple greens, feta cheese and arugula...along with our homemade salad dressing (which happens to be the only one we use, for the most part). If I haven't already shared this recipe, here it is: It's 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, touch of sugar and 1 chopped garlic clove.

Moroccan Fish Skewers:

1 1/2 lb. swordfish steaks
extra virgin olive oil
24 large bay leaves, soaked in cold
water for 1 hour
2 lemons, cut into 24 chunks
lemon juice
1/2 recipe Moroccan Rub
8 wooden skewers, soaked in cold water for 1 hour.

Using sharp knife, cut swordfish into 32 cubes (I actually made larger cubes and made less that that). Put into a ceramic dish. Add a sprinkle of olive oil and the Moroccan Rub and toss until the fish is evenly coated. Marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour.

Preheat grill. Thread the fish, bay leaves and chunks of lemon onto the soaked skewers and cook over hot coals for 3 to 4 minutes, turning halfway through until cooked. Serve over couscous or rice. NOTE: One hour is sufficient to flavor the fish with the rub and any longer could cause the flavors to be overpowering.

Moroccan Rub:

1 tbls. coriander seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 cinnamon sticks (I used a teaspoon of cinnamon instead)
1 tsp. whole allspice berries
6 cloves
a pinch of saffron threads
1 tsp. ground turmeric
2 tsp. dried onion flakes
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. paprika

Toast the whole spices and saffron threads in a dry skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Transfer to a spice grinder (I used a mortar and pestle) and rush into a coarse powder. Mix up remaining spices and mix well (I continued to crush it all up with the mortar and pestle).

As you can see, this recipe takes a lot of preparation. I'd suggest making the Moroccan Rub earlier in the day.