Monday, June 24, 2013

Mid-Summer's Eve (+ Lemony Chive Dip with Sugar Snap Peas)

My family likes to make fun of my fickleness: First I am certain that April is my favorite month, in the same way that Thursday evening is my favorite part of the week--with everything stretched out before you, the trees just barely fuzzy and gold, Friends and Seinfeld on, because it's still 1995. Oh, but then May, with its riot of lilacs and dogwood! Who can resist? Forget it though, because it's really June, the year's big TGIF, with its peonies and endless days, the kids tumbling joyfully from their school year, the evenings so long it's like you get a whole other day attached to the end of the one you just had.

So we had a little Summer Solstice party to celebrate. And really, we were cheating, because Ben isn't even done until today, while all the other kids were out on Friday. Who cares, though.
Although if you're the only one still in school, take precautions so you don't get screwed out of your fair share of the summer fruits that everyone is lying around gorging on while you finish up various probability graphs.
Birdy and I got loads of (cheap) flowers from the beautiful u-pick place.
I pickled shrimp.
We served a lovely lemony dip with sugar snap peas. Half raw, half blanched, as per various preferences around here.
And we made flower crowns, using twine as a base, and attaching the flowers and ivy leaves with short lengths of coated floral wire. Ava was, as in all things, brilliant and meticulous.
Make sure to pick sturdy flowers--the kind that don't drop all their petals in a fright when an ant breathes on them. Daisies are ideal. We used the crown-making method here.
Ben, 164 months.
Ben, 8 months. I thought this was the party with the flower crowns, but it appears to be the one with the dragonfly wings. Ah, Santa Cruz.
Flower crowns and sugar snap peas! What could be better?
Sublime or ridiculous? You decide.
Birdy experimented with a grass version, which was extremely fetching. Put a flapper dress on that girl, and she'd be good to go.

Happy summer, dear friends!

Lemony Chive Dip with Sugar Snap Peas
This is the same dip I was making for asparagus earlier in the season, and it’s a current favorite: light and lemony, easy-peasy, with just a little punch from the chives. It is also very good with tiny boiled potatoes and/or radishes. In another few weeks, it will be good with blanched green beans.

Sugar snap peas (or any other veggies!!!)
½ cup each mayo and sour cream (you could also use yogurt or buttermilk instead of some part of the Fatty McFattersons)
Zest of 1 lemon and the juice of half of it
½ teaspoon sugar
¾ teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
1 tablespoon finely slivered chives

“String” the peas by snapping off each which will tug along with it the tough string down its side. If you want to blanch them, bring half a large pot of water to a boil and drop the peas in. Drain them after 30 seconds, and run them under cold water until cool, then lay them on a dish towel to drain and dry.

Whisk together the dip ingredients, then taste for salt and lemon, adding more as needed. Serve with the peas.


  1. Cannot wait to try this dip with Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream and the five billion chives taking over our flower bed.

    For Father's Day, we gave Scott a knock-off of the ceramic knife you recommend, wrapped in a copy of your China Moon Shrimp recipe. Mmm.

  2. Loved these pictures! Happy Summer to you and yours. I was wondering if you could put together a book recommendation list/post (like your gaming posts?) I had come across some titles when catching up on your blog but was hoping for several more all in one post. (I really enjoyed "Mothers") I'm sure you have lots of spare time now with the kids out and all... ;) Take care!

  3. Jill M2:09 PM

    One of those pickled shrimp seems to be eyeing me funny. :) Happy summer to you!

  4. I see from Ben's 8-month photo that you've always been behind the diabolical plan to turn him into a, gasp!, pink-loving boy!

    Beautiful photos.

    Keep enjoying.

  5. So funny - just this morning I set a calendar reminder to pick up the makings for pickled shrimp for a girls get together tomorrow night. Thanks for linking to the recipe today so I could grocery shop on my way home.

    Also, we got chickens this year. I saw that bowl of snap pea strings and thought, "Too bad she doesn't live closer because my girls would love those, I'm sure."

  6. Anonymous9:39 PM

    Clearly sublime. Duh! :)

    In other news, today was a non-stress-free day because we had to break up with our architect after he turned out to be (probably) a charming-but-crooked embezzler. All for the best, surely, but still sad. Anyway, I was reading through Real Simple in a waiting room, and since I'd forgotten you write for them, I was surprised and delighted to find your etiquette column there. Somehow, your kind and wise words made the day feel more balanced and gentle than it started out. Thank you!

  7. 'Ben, 164 months' - LOL! Beautiful pictures!

  8. lisdarl9:14 PM

    Every time I hear that song, "June is Bustin' Out All Over", it makes me gleeful!

    Happy Summer Daze....

  9. Melanie4:18 PM

    I have been seen standing out in my garden as of late, eating up all the snap peas right off the vines. Thanks for this recipe. I shall now bring a dish of this dip out with me!

  10. Hi there!! Your blog is really fantastic same as your blog post. I can't wait to see your latest post. I'll visiting your blog everyday to be updated with your new post. Thanks!!

  11. Sublime all the way!

  12. Oh, those shrimp!

  13. That dip looks fantastic! I took a page from your book and have put my son in charge of sauces and dips. He made his first dressing this week - dip tomorrow!

  14. OMG!!!!! Ava, the same Ava who used to be a little girl, right? Ben's best friend, right? She is a full blown young woman!!!! (sob) are we getting old or what? :(

    I LOOOOVE Birdy's grass crown!!

  15. Anonymous10:23 AM

    I made the pickled shrimp!!! Deeeelicious! I also added a few drops of sesame oil in your dipping-sauce recipe. Loved it so much that I bought a used China Moon cookbook from Amazon for 0,99$. A little complicated but on the days I am inspired will probably enjoy making the many cooking-dipping oils in the book. Love LOVE the flower-crowns! Also want to make snap-peas with dip. I´m behind as I also want to make the Tzaki (spelling!).