Happy Valentine's Day!

Wishing everyone a very Happy Valentine's Day - please help yourself to a delicious, calorie free chocolate from my favorite candy shop - Reppert's of Oley, PA (www.reppertscandy.com). If you have any reason to be in the Oley Valley area it is worth planning a visit - check their website first - they do close for a few months out of the year. Their Easter candies are stunning!I apologize for my absence - it was my birthday last week and, well, life got busy. I had a surprise weekend visit from my daughters - Meredith attends Boston University and Olivia is at Parsons School of Design in NYC - I wasn't expecting to see them again until the snow melted - it is going to melt, right?

We had a wonderful weekend. Saturday we took a drive out to Lancaster County. Our first stop was Central Market in downtown Lancaster - this is the oldest farmer's market in the country and will get a post all it's own very soon. We lunched at the Lancaster Brewing Company (www.lancasterbrewing.com) - a great local brewery and restaurant located on Plum and Walnut Streets in downtown Lancaster - keep it in mind while you are visiting Lancaster for the quilt show in March - what - quilters love beer! We had delicious beer and very respectable bar food.

We tried to take country roads home from Lancaster - it was challenging as the snow drifts were massive in places - towering over the car. At one point we were traveling on Stratsburg Road when the road simply ended - the wind had drifted a wall of snow across the road at least 5 feet high - thank heavens for the GPS! The scenery on that ride home was breathtaking - the angles and ripples of the drifting snow, the icicles lacing down from every rooftop and more, the beauty of the landscape blanketed in snow. I know there are many places on this earth that see far more snow, but to see this amount of snow, here in our home, is a rare opportunity. If you have the time, take a ride out to Lancaster and enjoy the scenery.
These past few days have been all about food - some very good food - definitely too much food. Friday evening we went to one of my very favorite restaurants - Restaurant Alba in Malvern (www.restaurantalba.com).Dinner was amazing - for appetizers I had the pig trotters and my husband had the grilled octopus; for dinner it was goat for my husband the the delicately sweet Birchrun Hills veal special. Sean and Kelly Weinberg are wonderful hosts - the service and the food are always excellent.

I really wanted to keep dinner light for our Valentine's Day. I cooked up a flavorful broth using clam juice as the base and infused it with red chili, lemongrass, ginger, basil and garlic. I allowed the broth to simmer for 30 minutes to develop flavor, then strained it and seasoned it with fish sauce, soy sauce and rice vinegar. I added sweet potato, bok choy, asparagus, and cooked udon noodles to the broth, then topped the vegetable rich, noodlie-broth with a serving of grouper that I had bathed with Korean barbeque sauce and roasted till just flakey. I topped the dish with slivered red chili and a chiffonade of basil. It was delicious - light and healthy. O.K. - here is a peek at a quilt I was working on last week - it is a breath of spring. Most of the fabric in this quilt is from one of Amy Butler's first lines. As I said - this is just a peek - I don't want to spoil the surprise. I have it all sandwiched and ready to quilt which I hope to start and, maybe, finish tomorrow.