Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spray Painting a Side Table

Once again I'm posting about a piece of furniture that we received from my husband's grandparents' home: a small side table.  There is not much to write.

I took this table and spray painted it gloss white.  I used spray paint primer then many, many light coats of gloss white.  (Be sure to remember to flip over the table to get the back of the legs and a few coats underneath.)  As a final step, I finished the table by spraying it with a protective enamel coat.


Remember, these days you can spray paint just about anything.  If something has "good lines", it has potential to be reinvented with spray paint!

Happy Spray Painting!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Transplanting Pachysandra

Thank goodness for good neighbors (and we have lots of them!)  One couple, Sally and Mark, aside from being great people are a wealth of knowledge in the garden.  She's a landscape architect and he is a landscaper (sorry Mark-not sure of your exact title.)  Basically, she designs the landscape, and he gets the plants in the ground and maintains them.

Several weeks ago, I emailed them and asked if I could have more pachysandra from their yard.  Until two years ago, I was unaware that pachysandra existed or of its laudable qualities.  Pachysandra is an ever-green ground cover much like ivy, but, as my neighbors tell me, it is better.  It's lush and dense, yet soft.  It does spread like crazy, but unlike ivy or Vinca, it is easy to pull up. It likes shade but can take sun.  (Click here for more information on pachysandra.)  Being the kind people they are, they told me to come down at any point and clip some pachysandra.  So my three-year-old son and I took his red wagon, a trash bag and some clippers--oh yeah, and a plastic lawnmower--to their yard and went to work--I on the pachysandra; he on the grass.

Their pachysandra is well-established, so thinning it a bit actually helps it, so I'm told.  If you know someone with an established bed of pachysandra, you are in luck!

Here is how to transplant it.  The great thing is that you don't need to get the plants' roots.  Just snip off a long shoot and throw it in a bag.  After bringing your bag home, tie the stems into knots like so:

Dip a small hole with your trowel and pop the knot in the hole.  Cover it thoroughly and firmly, and you are done.  Our neighbors even gave us some extra Holly Tone to put on the plants.

After planting the pachysandra, I just scattered liberal portions of the fertilizer over the plants.  It will rain tonight, so I don't even need to water the pachysandra.

I hope we'll have nice, lush bed of pachysandra in a few years!

Thank you Sally and Mark since you taught me everything I wrote in this post!  And thanks for the plants and fertilizer too!


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Greek Fish Stew from Food and Wine May 2011

(Written 4/09/11)
Tomorrow is my husband's birthday, and this morning we were trying to decide whether to go out for dinner or stay-in.  He said that he was in the mood for me to make a fish-stew.  Coincidentally, I was flipping through the new Food and Wine and saw a recipe for Greek Fish Stew, so it was settled.

After lunch, we hit-up the Yellow Umbrella seafood (in Richmond.)  This is the best seafood in Richmond.  Period.  No other store--large or small--can compare with the quality, service and selection of the Yellow Umbrella.  (There are also great sides and wine.)  There, we purchased the halibut, mussels and shrimp (we decided to add shrimp even though the recipe did not call for it) for the stew.

With the exception of the shrimp, I stuck closely to the recipe.  We served the stew with crusty French bread and a bottle of Pinot Grigio though some Greek white would have been a more fitting choice!

Below is the recipe from Food and Wine with pictures I took while cooking the stew:

"On the Greek island of Kalymnos, fishermen make a stew with shellfish, whole fish, lemon, onion and water," says Andrew Zimmern. "They eat it straight from the pot with their hands—no bowls. It tastes of sweat and iodine, but it is easily one of the best soups I've ever had. I make my version with halibut, throwing in mussels at the end."
video Michael Psilakis: Defining Greek Food

Pairing Suggestion

Vibrant whites from the Greek Isles, made with grapes such as Roditis and Moscofilero, are fantastic with seafood like this fish stew.

Greek Fish Stew

  • FAST


  1. 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 1 onion, thinly sliced
  3. 1 medium leek, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  4. 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  5. 5 large celery ribs, thinly sliced, plus 1/4 cup leaves
  6. 2 parsley sprigs
  7. 2 thyme sprigs
  8. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  9. 1 small lemon, scrubbed and quartered
  10. 3 cups dry white wine
  11. 2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  12. One 1 1/2-pound halibut steak on the bone
  13. 2 pounds mussels, scrubbed
  14. Crusty bread, for serving

  1. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 1/4 cup of the oil. Add the onion, leek, garlic, celery ribs and leaves, parsley and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, 8 minutes. Add the lemon and wine and simmer over moderately high heat until the wine is reduced by half, 4 minutes. Add the stock and simmer over moderate heat until reduced by one-third, 5 minutes. 
  2. Season the halibut with salt and pepper and add it to the casserole. Cover and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Turn the halibut and add the mussels. Cover and cook over moderate heat until the mussels open, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Transfer the stew to a deep dish and serve right away with bread. 

Bon Appetit!