August 24, 2014

The Portrait, The Limes, and Some Other Things

Months and months ago, we’d planned a small dinner party for our friends Reggie Darling and Boy Fenwick, who were going to be in Baltimore for the Summer Antiques Show. A casual picnic was planned, with tables on our friends’ beautiful green lawn. However, plans don’t always go as intended, as Reggie and Boy were unable to travel to Baltimore, and for the first weekend of the summer, it rained heavily on Saturday.IMG_2714 Nevertheless, we carried on, first with a tour of the gardens (photos coming on Wednesday) and then an amazing dinner of traditional Maryland foods, including Maryland fried chicken, two types of crabcakes, Southern fried corn, Capresi salad, and peach cobbler. To drink, we had the usual summer Southsides!IMG_2717

After dinner, surrounded by good and dear friends, including fellow blogger, Loi Thai of Tone on Tone, Stiles, the host of the party, made the most beautiful speech about friends, which had me and everyone else in tears. At the end, he presented me with the painting that we had done of Connor earlier this summer. The painting is called My Favorite Blanket after the old patchwork quilt that Connor sits on in the back seat of my car. IMG_2733

To say that I will treasure this painting always, is an understatement. It will always remind me of dear Connor and of the wonderful people whom I am lucky enough to call friends. I have hung it on the wall by my staircase, so I can see it when I come in the front door. IMG_2729

Sam Robinson, a friend and the artist, did a terrific job of capturing Connor’s spirit and the light in his eyes, as well as the shading on his fur, from the white face to the pale orange on his back. We are planning an exhibition of Sam’s canine portraits, including Connor’s picture, at Halcyon House Antiques in the fall. Stay tuned. And if you’re interested, Sam is accepting commissions.

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Earlier this week, friends had given me some produce and I asked you what I should do with limes, mangoes, garlic and more. Someone suggested a lime and mango chutney and that’s what I made. The good thing about chutneys and relishes is that you can be free-wheeling with some of the ingredients. I found a recipe here but made some substitutions. I used molasses instead of honey and cutting the amount of hot pepper to about a half a jalapeƱo. I also cheated and used pre-made pickling spices because it was mainly the same spices as the recipe called for and I wouldn’t have to buy individual jars of the different spices. I put them in in a tea-ball since I didn’t want whole all-spice or chips of cinnamon stick in the chutney. I also threw in a handful of golden raisins. 

One of the steps is to chop a whole lime and add it, peel and all, to the mixture. I did that, but ended fishing out the slices of lime at the end of the cooking process. The chutney had just the right amount of heat, and was sweet and sour at the same time. It will be a great addition to chicken salad, or on pork. I used my Weck jars and it made three 12 oz. jars. One for me, one for my dinner hosts and one for the friend who gave me the produce!

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Here’s a small preview of the garden pictures that I will post on Wednesday,IMG_2789 and a reminder of what the gardens looked like in early June here, and mid-July, here.

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In the coming weeks, I will be telling you about all of the exciting things happening in Baltimore in conjunction with the 200th anniversary of the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner, our National Anthem. imageIt’s going to be the biggest celebration Baltimore has ever hosted and we’re not likely to see anything like it again in our lifetimes. I remember being on the Friends of Fort McHenry board 15+ years ago, and starting on the planning work for this huge celebration, and now, it’s just weeks away.

17 comments:

  1. Such a dear portrait of dear Connor. Just love the expression on his face and can't help but think he's looking up at you with eyes full of love and happiness.

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    1. Thanks! But i think he was really looking at the squeaky rat!

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  2. Your reporting of these days show you know how to live life. The portrait of Connor is a treasure. I've already decided I will be attending these Baltimore events during September. They look amazing.

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    1. I hung it along the stairs, so I can see it when I come into the house!

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  3. I was in tears just looking at Connor's portrait... what a kind and generous gesture from your friend. You surely will cherish that always. What a splendid evening that was!

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    1. The portrait is even more beautiful in person! We all love it!!

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    2. The portrait is really just more incredible than I could have imagined!

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  4. Meg,
    Tom and I had the best time!!! We loved seeing you again and meeting everyone. Think we need to move to Baltimore :) Stiles and Jonathan, what gracious, kind and classy hosts. Their home and garden, truly BEYOND! The evening, from the moment we turned into the maple-allee drive to the unveiling of Connor's portrait, was very special. Thank you for including us!
    Lots of love,
    Loi and Tom
    PS - Hope to visit you soon and see Connor's portrait in situ. And please add us to the guest list for Sam's exhibition at Halcyon.

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    1. We were so pleased that you could join us. It was such a great evening.

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  5. Hi Meg,
    What a beautiful day. Connor's portrait brought me to tears. What would we do without our wonderful friends and beasties. Thank you so much for sharing. xo Mary

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    1. Me, too! I cried like a baby. It was overwhelming.

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  6. you are blessed with friends + now a picture of connor + it is sooo lovely. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  7. Meg,though it was too bad that Reggie and Boy could not make it,having Loi and the others; what and delight. Connor looks so great I now want a portrait of Miss Belle!
    Xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

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  8. What a fabulous and generous gesture from your friend in painting Connor. Your evening of good food, friends and everything else that goes along with that sounded perfect.

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  9. Love the light in his eyes. So glad you two found each other.

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