In the week since my last post, spring has finally arrived in earnest. There are certain days in May when I can't quite believe that the world can be so beautiful--when trees rain pink petals and the sun, like a willful child, refuses to set until long past its bedtime. This past weekend was filled with three such days in a row.
Friday nights are free nights at the Portland Museum of Art, and the first Friday of each month is also Art Walk night, when all the galleries in the Arts District stay open late and the streets fill with gallery-hoppers. Those are Cheap Date nights for us. They usually include a slice of pizza at our favorite joint or an ice cream cone (caramel and sea salt for me) at another favorite haunt.
And then there's the fun of the museum.
I'm not sure which I love more: staring at the art or staring at the people as they stare at the art. I love to see how a piece engages the viewer. Certain pieces seem to invite touch or even play. This is what always makes me a little crazy about museums. I completely understand and respect all the rules, but I still long to touch!
Once back out on the street anything goes. We can hula hoop until nightfall, if it ever comes.
Later in the weekend, Mr. Magpie and I celebrated Mother's Day with my mum at her house, which happens to be the house where I grew up. We spent the day working in her garden and cooking together. The forecast had called for rain, but we saw nothing but sunshine and blue skies full of impossibly puffy, white clouds the whole day long. Lucky ducks.
Dinner was mostly grilled outside: shrimp marinated in lime, olive oil, garlic, jalapenos, scallions, and cilantro; new potatoes tossed in olive oil with salt and pepper; and portobello mushrooms marinated and stuffed. The only things not grilled were the fiddleheads, which my mother steamed and tossed with butter, which is the simplest way to make them, and maybe the most delicious.
Have you ever had fiddleheads? Here in Maine they are a celebrated springtime treat. They are simply fiddlehead (ostrich) ferns that have sprouted through the soil but have not yet unfurled. Available for just a few weeks in the spring, they are a highly prized find at farmers' markets and local grocers. You can't eat just any variety of fern, so don't run out and pick some for cooking. Buy them from a reliable supplier. Just as with mushrooms, there are certain locals who know where the fiddleheads grow, and they keep their harvesting spots a secret, making these magical greens all the more special to those of us who love their flavor. To me, fiddleheads taste like spring and childhood, because my memere always cooked them in late April or early May. She often cooked them with bacon and always tossed them with butter. Some people serve them with vinegar on the side and others like them with hollandaise sauce, but I'll take them tossed in butter every time.
For dessert, I made a strawberry-almond meringue and sponge cake with cream.
It sounds over the top, and it is, and we loved every bite of it!
Later in the evening, there was still plenty of sunlight left, and I couldn't resist capturing a few shots of the yard as the sun's rays slanted through the pale green of the trees' sprouting leaves.
I hope your weekend was every bit as lovely,
especially all you mothers and grandmothers out there in blogland.