Women of Achievement

Today I had the pleasure of attending the Women of Achievement lunch at the Carolina Inn. The lunch is the time to publicly acknowledge the women who are honored in Chapel Hill, Chatham and Durham Magazines Women’s issues. This is the seventh year of this event and by far the best program they have ever had.

There were two fabulous speakers, Katie Loovis , the Vice President for External Affairs for the Chamber of Chapel Hill- Carrboro and Jesica Averhart, the Executive Director of Leadership Triangle. They could have not been more different, but equally impressive. One thing Jessica said stuck with me, “Pay attention, be astonished and tell about it.” Perhaps it resonated with me because I have this blog where I am constantly sharing the things that astonish me, both the good, bad and the weird.

My two favorite winners from Durham Magazine this year were Susan Ross and Mary Moss, partners in Moss and Ross. Susan and Mary spend their time helping non-profits and organizations raise money, improve their operations and learn to be more effective. Something I am passionate about myself.

At most lunches of this type I am usually ready to bolt when the lunch is over, but not today. I stayed and visited with the always fun Treat Harvey and a number of other women I met for the first time. This group gives me lots of hope that the world my daughter will be entering in a few years is supportive and kind.

Celebrating Christy

May is certainly the month of birthday celebrations around here. My dear friend Christy had her birthday on Memorial Day. That certainly doesn’t stop us from celebrating. First we had special lemon cake Carter made for Christy at Needlepoint last week. It was our fourth citrus dessert to celebrate a birthday in six weeks.

Then today Mary Lloyd and I took Christy to the WaDu for her birthday lunch. Her birthday was a great excuse to wile away the afternoon enjoying salads, telling stories and laughing. Sadly the time together is never enough and we all had to return to the real world.

We had so much fun we forgot to take a new birthday photo, but since we celebrate each other’s birthdays together every year we had more than one old one to chose from for this post.

There is nothing better than good friends. Christy and Mary Lloyd may be younger than me by quite a bit, but I cherish their wisdom and points of view. I’m sad that the month of birthdays is almost over, but August will come soon enough when we start all over again with Mary Lloyd’s.

Northern Neck Crab Made Into Cakes

One of the benefits of going to the Northern Neck of Virginia was our ability to buy fresh local hand picked crab meat. Finding American crabmeat is a not the easiest thing around here. It is also very expensive since it is such a labor intensive product. After our breakfast on Memorial Day Russ and I stopped at the Jim Dan Dee seafood market and picked up a pint of Oysters and a pint of lump crab meat and a pint of special crab meat.

We ate the oysters that night because the fresher the Oysters the better, but the crab night was coming.

Last night I made crab cakes using half lump and half special crab meat, but only half of each. Tonight I made corn and crab chowder using the left over crab. Boy, they really have some yummy crab up in the Northern Neck. Tonight I am doing the crab cake recipe , later will come the chowder recipe.

Crab cakes

1/4 cup of mayo

2 T. Lemon Juice

1 egg

Squirt of Sriracha

Glug of Worcestershire sauce

Mix these ingredients well.

1/4 cup of oyster crackers well crushed.

Add cracker crumbs to the sauce and then gently fold in the special crab meat followed by the lump crab meat working so gently as to not break the lumps. Set the bowl of crab cake mixture in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Scoop out crab mixture and form into patties about an inch thick.

In a non-stick fry pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter on medium high heat. Add the crab cakes to pan and cook on one side for three minutes and gently flip and cook on the other side for two minutes.

I like a real horseradishy cocktail sauce with my crab cakes, or just a good squirt of lemon. Nothing better. But then there is the chowder …

Raw Salad

Yeah, I know most salads are raw, but not usually the Brussels sprouts. This salad may be a little out of season, but I made it for dinner tonight and I want to remember what was in it because it was so yummy.


1/4 cup lemon juice

1 large garlic clove grated on micro plane

1 small shallot minced

1 T Dijon mustard

Black pepper

1/3 cup olive oil


10 big black kale leaves with the stems stripped out, chopped

10 Brussels Sprout, shaved

1 Apple, cut into thin slices

1/4 cup hard Italian cheese, like Romano or Parmesan

Pumpkin Seeds

Mix the dressing ingredients up to the black pepper in a small jar. Add the oil and place the top on tightly and shake it up well for a whole minute. It’s longer than you think.

Put the kale, Brussels and apple in a bowl and toss with just enough dressing. After dressed sprinkle with cheese. Can keep the salad this way only add the seeds at serving.

Memorial Day Adventure

Russ and I woke up in Irvington after our fun weekend with friends. Russ went off to the local Ace hardware to buy some tools to use to put together David’s bike he had won five years ago and was still in the box. My old Dickinson friend Blair and her daughter Isabelle departed our little shared house. It was great to see her after so many years. After Russ finished the bike assembly we bade farewell to David and John who had been the best hosts.

Russ and I made our way to the next town Kilmarnock, to have breakfast at the Car Wash Cafe. Exactly as named it was a tiny cafe attached to a working car wash. Luckily we timed our arrival perfectly as there was one free table and then a long line of waiting diners soon after us. After a yummy breakfast of soft shell crab we stopped in the seafood shop two doors down and bought some oysters and crab meat to bring home. It is always a good idea to travel with a cooler.

We headed back towards Irvington to make our last stop of the trip at Christ Church. It was built in 1735 by King Carter, certain relative of mine. The glorious brick church was very impressive and Russ and I lucked into a private tour just before the Memorial Day service was to begin. We saw very old men who still fit in their uniforms come in for the service and the local high school ROTC honor guard followed by a bag piper. It was fitting to spend a few minutes remembering those who served and gave all.

We tooled home to Carter and baby Shay. We finished up the evening with oyster tacos made with the bounty we brought home from the Northern Neck. A lovely reminder of a great get away. Thanks to all the friends, Karl, Brian, David, Blair and John who took this photo for a fun weekend.

Life of the Party

My old, old friends John and David are always the life of the party. As such they have made a fun eclectic group of friends here in Irvington. Last night their darling house, Sunny Mac was filled with people from age 15 to 90. People arrived on foot, by golf cart, bike or Rolls Royce. It has been such fun getting to know their rivha friends.

This morning the core group of nine who are visiting from far off places gathered back at David and John’s for some slow scrambled eggs and toast. It was a nice easy start to our day on the rivha. Their sweet neighbors Ellen and Jeff were taking us all out on their big boat to see Irvington from the water. It was clearly the best way to get your bearings as there are many coves, creeks and fingers of water.

Jeff was a great captain and narrator of the history of the town and waterways. Ellen a former Miss. Virginia, was just all about fun. So for three hours we toured as they served us drinks and snack. Such hospitality for people they had never met.

After our time in the sun on the water we needed a little lie down and then it was back to Sunny Mac for a reboot dinner of the night before. It was been such a fun time to be with old friends and make new ones. Now, exhausted we are falling into our little beds with sunburned noses and happy memories.

To the Rivha, For a Party

My friends David and John have a darling house in Irvington, VA. They have invited us many times to visit and it just hasn’t worked out that we could make it, until this weekend, for a big party they were throwing. So off to the Northern Neck of Virginia Russ and I drove.

We arrived after lunch to join my old college friend Blair Phillips and her daughter in a house two doors down from John and David. As we drove down King Carter road I recognized David and John’s house from the many photos I had seen on Facebook. We stopped first at their house to see how prep for the party was going and drop off the cheese cake I made for them to serve.

John said everything was ready except for those last minute food prep that couldn’t be done until an hour before the party. Then he pulled four bags of frozen shrimp from the freezer, “When should I thaw these?”

“Honey, you should have called and asked me that question yesterday,” I told him. There was still time to do a quick thaw. Russ and I went off to explore Irvington and I promised to return at five to do the last minute catering.

At the appointed time I came back to lay out the cheese trays with the special cheese David had brought back from his last trip to Belgium. John showed me the now thawed shrimp. “How do these smell?” he asked. I told him I would smell them after they were cooked.

“They are cooked, aren’t they?” I looked at the bowl of giant raw shrimp and said, “Umm, no.”

“But I ate one already.” Thankfully, John is still alive. So are all the other guests because we cooked those shrimp and iced them down before serving dinner.

The party was quite fun with a mix of Irvington folks and friends from DC and a Charlottesville. The cheese spread was a hit, the dinner delicious with us sitting on the lawn at tables in the cool evening air. The dessert spread was orgasmic. I didn’t eat any of the Belgian chocolates because they were too pretty to disturb, but other raved about them.

It was a delightful evening and a good start to what is certain to be a fun weekend at the rivha.