Kim, me, and Susie – the moms!
You can’t tell in the photo, but I’m wearing a cool-as-hell necklace that Susie made for me for my birthday. The girl makes killer jewelry – always good to have a friend who makes jewelry! Now I need a friend who designs clothing and another who creates fragrance – jewelry, clothes, and fragrance may not pop into most people’s minds when they think “epicurean” (then again, most people don’t think “epicurean” very often…), but in the realm of sensual pleasures, they are each a MUST. For me. Ha. And don’t get me started on makeup and bath products, I have much to say about those as well. But I’ll save those raves for a different day. Because I’m striving for moderation, I won’t write everything about myself all on one day (and for those who know me, they know that’s a..BIG..effort for me).
So, jewelry. While I would love to collect fine jewels, it’s not going to happen for me for the same reason it’s not going to happen for any other normal person – too much money, definitely not moderate. Inheriting jewels would work. I love the way old-school WASPS, aka the guilty rich, look in their frumpy clothes and big, flashy, family rocks, pulled out of the safe for the holidays. Fabulous! But I’m not an old-school WASP, my mom hocked years ago the only (sort of) big diamond in the family, and I hate frumpy clothes. I have, however, inherited some fantastic costume jewelry, big, flashy, family rocks that never need to be in a safe and look great with fashion-y clothes. MUCH more moderate, thank goodness.
So, clothes, nothing can change my mood from bad to good as fast as a flattering piece of clothing. Except a lovely glass of wine. Or some seared foie gras (OMG, that even sounds good at 10:00 a.m., especially the two together, mmm…) While I’m sure I could get VERY caught up collecting serious designer pieces, again, the pocketbook – and good sense – do not allow. Plus, at 5’11” with a 35″ inseam, I have to find what fits me and just stick with it. Thank God for J. Crew pants, they have changed my life. I used to stretch my jeans in high school – hang them in the laundry room with an iron tied to the bottom of them as a weight – so they would be long enough. It sucked. And it didn’t work that well. So J. Crew 35″ inseam pants are much, much better. Tailored, basic, from there the fun details can be filled in – flirty and funky tops, skirts, and amazing shoes from Anthropologie (I LOVE Anthropologie, they knock off all the great seasonal trends plus add their own signature, boho twist and it all affordably WORKS). Inexpensive, trendy shoes and boots from Nine West. When the need for a true designer piece overwhelms, I peruse www.bluefly.com, and I find great deals on the real thing. Scarves – I am a scarf freak – and I love cute little evening handbags from anywhere. Even my downstairs, guest bedroom dresser. My mother-in-law, Dot, called on my birthday last week and told me to look in said dresser…when she was here this past fall, she had tucked my birthday present away to be revealed on my birthday! How clever is that, and fun! And the gift was a little handbag, from Cambodia, all silver filigree, gorgeous. Dottie (as her sons affectionately call her) always gives killer gifts – some of my best earrings are from her – and this one is unique and a total blast.
So, fragrance. I used to be a one, signature fragrance kind of girl, and then, I changed. I have a very sensitive sense of smell (helped my husband John quit smoking, because there was no cheating, no sir, I could smell that he’d smoked one cigarette 24 hours earlier…). I’ve decided that learning about fragrance is like learning about wine, the essences are complex and require study and memorization. It can also get VERY expensive, experimenting with fragrance, and also ridiculously time-consuming to be sampling endlessly at department stores or Sephora. I’ve found a terrific short-cut, an amazing website, www.makeupalley.com, the moderate epicurean’s dream. MUAers, as they call themselves, review products – you can look up anything, or peruse lists by rank a la Amazon – and some of these women seriously know their fragrances. Spend an hour reading reviews and you will most certainly have an answer to the question: honey, what would you like for your birthday?
OK, off to get SOMETHING done today, laundry, cleaning, preparing for my Picture Person presentation on Wednesday at Nathan’s school…not very epicurean, but totally necessary. But hey, I know how to make those tasks bearable..sneak in some little sensual pleasures. Good music while I fold laundry and clean, good coffee while I prepare my presentation. A healthy lunch and a good walk – because that dinner I made last night was delicious but left me puffy and bloated, I definitely over-indulged. And then I’m off to Coastal Seafoods for halibut, I’m making a Jacques Pepin Fast Food My Way (killer cookbook) poached halibut on fresh polenta with red pepper oil for dinner. Sounds complicated, but it’s not. Wish I’d written the recipe myself. I did post it as a comment, below, if you’re interested.
Thanks for the props, girlfriend! You are the best model for my jewels! (the FAMILY jewels!)
Uh, forgot to say that the above recipe serves 4.
From Jaques Pepin Fast Food My Way
Halibut on fresh polenta with pepper oil
1 red bell pepper, skin removed with a vegetable peeler, seeded, and flesh cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
3/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 c. corn kernels (from about 4 ears of corn; Stephanie's note: unless it's summer, I use thawed frozen corn)
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 small halibut steaks (each about 4 oz. and 3/4 inch thick)
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
Put the red pepper pieces in a blender with 1/4 tsp. of the salt and the olive oil and process until smooth. Transfer to a microwavable bowl.
Bring about 1 1/2 quarts salted water to a boil in a large skillet.
Meanwhile, put the corn kernels in a blender and process until smooth. (You will have about 2 cups.)
Heat the butter in a saucepan, and add the corn puree along with the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and the pepper. Bring to a boil and cook for about 30 seconds, or until the puree thickens. Set aside while you poach the fish.
Drop the halibut steaks into the boiling water. Reduce the heat to low and cook the fish at a low boil for 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish and your own taste preferences.
Meanwhile, heat the pepper oil in a microwave oven for 1 minute. Divide the corn puree amoung four plates. Lift the fish out of the water with a skimmer or fish spatula, pat it dry with paper towels, and place a steak on top of the polenta on each plate. Spoon on the hot pepper oil, sprinkle on the chives, and serve immediately.