Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Recitals and Radishes

Last week was a busy one. Summer school started along with poms camp for my daughter and basketball camp in the afternoon for my son. My hours at work switched over to summer hours, 8 to noon, and I get to spend some quality car ride time with my son who is working in the warehouse. Plus, this past weekend my daughter had her annual dance recital.  This is my favorite time of year.

It is my favorite time for many reasons.  First, the stress level in the house is way down.  The craziness that goes along with the regular school year just isn't there.  No lunches to pack every morning, no buses to catch, the sun is shining and everyone seems genuinely more happy.  Everyone isn't rushing about. With my work hours shifting to mornings I feel like I can accomplish more in the afternoon.  I don't feel so hurried to try and get an errand in or prepare for dinner as when I work in the afternoon during the fall and winter. I don't have to worry about an after school snack or driving someone to an activity, and that 3 o'clock tiredness I usually feel during the school year is gone. Poof!  Gone!  Summer is a miracle medicine!

Secondly, its recital time. There was excitement in the air at our house, mixed with a little anxiety.  There were lists to go over - rehearsal times sheet, the show performance list, and a checklist of extra items that were needed, such as tights, a nude colored leotard and lots of bobby pins. My daughter checked these lists numerous times to make sure she knew when she needed to be at rehearsal and what she needed to bring and when her performance was in the show line up.  She was in 7 dances this year, the most she has ever been in, and that meant 7 costumes to pack up and make sure no parts were missing. This year she needed a hat for one of the jazz numbers, so I made that. I was amazed at my talents and what I could make out of .50 cent red glittered can cozy from Michael's, a bag of red feathers and a fabric rose hair accessory from a tap costume that wasn't being used.  I love that my daughter at 14 still asked me to do her hair and make-up.  Though this year, as I tried to apply eye shadow, apparently I wasn't doing a good enough job and I was fired as make up artist.  But, that's OK. I knew the time would come when she would do it by herself and that time came this year.  I enjoy sitting and watching the rehearsal and it is the time when I can video and take pictures during my daughters performances, since they don't allow this during the actual show. I love to see all the glittery, feathery, flowy costumes, the dramatic make-up, the low buns, high buns, pony tailed hair dos plastered down with hair spray, gel and numerous bobby pins. I even love to hear the technical chatter from the studios art director and owner about lighting, music, and the dancers stage placement. A lot of hard work goes in to these performances. Most of the moms and dads anxiously await the next day for the performance and to see how well money was spent, to see how much was learned, and to see the joy on the faces of their daughters. The last one is what it is really all about! Happy tears well up in my eyes every time I see my daughter dance.  She has the grace, the confidence, the ability and stage presence that is all her own as she lights up the stage with her smile. I am so proud of her!

So, with all of the excitement and new schedules of the past week, there has been an adjustment and shift to summer living. I am recharged and recalibrated, and so is my pallet.  My taste buds are longing for the delicious fruits and veggies of the season. The weather and the fresh produce inspire my cooking and during this time of year I turn to Italian and Mediterranean recipes. My little garden has begun to produce and I pulled out my first crop of radishes.  I made two wonderful salads using them, which were perfect quick sides to make last week.   The first recipe I adapted from a beautiful cookbook, "Recipes from an Italian Summer", and my husband said that this salad was like summer in a bowl.  He practically ate the whole bowl. Seriously, that is how good this salad was.  The next one is from Martha Stewart Living Cookbook.  I think this may have been her first cookbook that she wrote using all the recipes from the magazine because there is no year listed in the title. I'm checking the inside of the book as I am writing this.  It was published in 2000 and the forward from Martha says that the book is an accumulation of 10 years of recipes from the magazine, which started in 1990. The recipe for Chunky Radish Salad has a definite Mediterranean flare with the use of dill, cucumber and feta.  Really refreshing and light.  I have planted some more radish seeds and they have already started to sprout.  I'm looking forward to trying some more recipes using radishes.  I hope you try these two recipes.  Enjoy! M:)

Radish Salad with Corn and Olives (Insalata di rapanelli corn olive)

3 ears fresh corn, shucked and rinsed
12 radishes, trimmed and sliced
1 small red onion, chopped
Juice from 1/2 of lemon
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper or to taste
5 basil leaves, chopped
12 pitted green olives, sliced
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

Place corn in a pot of boiling water and cook for three minutes.  Remove and set aside to cool. Combine lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Whisk to combine well.  Remove kernels from cob using a knife and place in bowl with radishes, onion, chopped basil and olives.  Pour dressing over and mix well.  Serves 4 to 6.

Chunky Radish Salad (Adapted from Martha Stewart)

12 radishes, trimmed and sliced (or quartered for chunky)
1 medium English cucumber, quartered and chopped
8 ounces feta cheese
12 yellow or orange cherry type tomatoes, cut in half
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

Combine radishes, cucumber, tomatoes, and dill.  Mix together the olive oil with vinegar, salt and pepper.  Add dressing to vegetables and mix in basil leaves and feta cheese.  Serves 4 to 6.

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