Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Water Lilies Are In Bloom Again

The water lilies are in full flower here at the Seamaiden's modest little lagoon. They are probably my favorite flower with their fragrance and showy, serrated petals that float on the surface of the pond. If I could, I would have them as the focal point of my bridal bouquet!

Enjoy the pictures and these fun facts and illuminating links about water lilies:

The water lily family, Nymphaeaceae, is prehistoric and primitive in terms of evolution. Fossil evidence suggests that nymphaeas have not changed much over the past 160 million years. They have simply moved throughout the earth, staying in tropical and temperate zones.

The Egyptians had different words for lotus and water lily, but the Romans, who brought knowledge of the lotus to Europe, used the same name for both plants.

The ancient Egyptians revered the Nile water lilies (they were used as a key to good health, sex and rebirth), and they are a frequent motif of temple art. Remains of the Egyptian blue water lily, which flowers during the day, and the Egyptian white water lily, which flowers at night, were found in the tomb of Ramesses II. The Egyptian blue water lily was found scattered over the body of Tutankhamen (that's King Tut) when Howard Carter opened his tomb in 1922.

How to Care for Water Lilies and Other Aquatic Plants

Claude Monet's Water Lilies

Pink water lilies (the prettiest!)

Water lilies at the Getty Villa (Malibu, California)

Lilypons Water Gardens

International Waterlily & Water Gardening Society

Shop for all things water lily!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Shrimp Spring Rolls

This Asian-inspired dish is perfect for a light summer meal, too!

24 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Sea salt and pepper
3 oz. rice noodles
Eight 7-inch rice paper wrappers
1 large carrot, shredded
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cups romaine lettuce, shredded
1/2 cup Thai peanut sauce

Season the shrimp with sea salt and pepper and grill until cooked through. Cool and halve lenthwise.
In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the rice noodles until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
Fill a shallow bowl with warm water. Working with 1 rice paper wrapper at a time, soak wrapper for 30 seconds and tranfer to a work surface.
Arrange 3 shrimp on bottom 1/3 of wrapper. Top with 1/8 of the noodles, 1 tbsp. carrots, 1 tbsp. onions adn 1/4 cup of lettuce. Fold in the sides. Starting from the bottom, roll up the wrapper to halfway. Top with 3 more shrimp halves and continue rolling.
Cover shrimp roll with a damp paper towel and repeat above steps until 8 shrimp rolls are completed.
Cut shrimp rolls in half and serve with Thai peanut sauce (or soy sauce if you prefer)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sea Glass: Tears of the Mermaid

Folklore has it that sea glass shards are the tears of mermaids who cry for sailors lost at sea or of mermaids who were banished by the god Poseidon (or Neptune for those who prefer the Roman pantheon) for saving the life of a sailor. So naturally one of this seamaiden's favorite oceanside occupations is combing the beach for sea glass (that's seaglunking to the uninitiated) and fashioning my finds into jewelry. The photo above is one of my genuine sea glass treasures wrapped in wire and a pink Swarovski crystal.

For a crash course in sea glass seeking, read my interview with C.S. Lambert, the first lady of sea glass, and my article, Sea glass, the jewels of the ocean.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sexy Little Pink Capelet on Etsy!

Visit my Etsy shop to order this sexy little pink capelet, set off by aqua/teal shell edging on the bottom and fashionably fastened by a colors of the rainbow brooch! Perfect for a cool summer evening!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mirror Ball Earring Giveaway

These faceted glass earrings remind me so much of those glass mirror balls of the disco years. So retro! Congratulations to Melissa Dinan, the first reader to email me with her name and the words "Mirror Ball Earrings" in the subject line. Thanks to all the reader who played along and stay tuned for more giveaways!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Grilled Shrimp Po' Boys

Try this savory spin on the shrimp sandwich meal!

1/2 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. cajun seasoning
3 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp. water
One 12-inch French baguette, cut in half crosswise
Romaine lettuce leaves
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 tomato, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

In a bowl, combine the shrimp, olive oil and cajun seasoning.
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard and water. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
In a small grill pan coated with cooking spray, combine the peppers and onions. Grill until tender, seasoning with sea salt and pepper.
Grill the seasoned shrimp until opaque.
Arrange the lettuce leaves, tomatoes slices, peppers, onions and shrimp on the baguettes. Drizzle with the mayonnaise-mustard sauce and serve.
(Makes 2 sandwiches.)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Chicken Vinaigrette Salad with Angel Hair Pasta

The romaine lettuce was picked fresh out of our garden today!

1/3 lb. angel hair pasta
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
Sea salt and pepper
8 oz. mushrooms
1 lb. chicken breast tenders
1 pint grape tomatoes
12 romaine lettuce leaves

Cook pasta according to package directions.
Drain pasta and rinse with cold water.
In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and mustard and season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Reserve half of the vinaigrette for serving. Brush some of the vinaigrette onto the mushrooms. Add chicken to vinaigrette in bowl and toss to coat.
In a grilling pan, grill chicken and mushrooms together until cooked through. Let stand a few minutes and then slice the chicken and mushrooms.
Arrange the lettuce, tomatoes, pasta, mushrooms and chicken onto serving plates. Serve with the reserved vinaigrette.
(Makes 2 hearty servings.)

The Nereid Jewelry Collection: Limnoreia

The latest addition to the Nereid Jewelry Collection (see my Jewelry page for the details). My thoughts when bringing together all the elements of this informally balanced necklace --with the butterfly focal piece and the dragonfly dangling from the clasp--combine to conjure the vision of Limnoreia, the Nereid of the salt marsh, which is common habitat for skipper butterflies and dragonflies. Visit my Etsy shop to purchase or contact me here. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pineapple Pink Baby Sweater on Etsy!!

Send your tiny little princess floating away on a cloud of pink pineapple stitches with this crochet sweater made by yours truly! Visit my Etsy shop for the details!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate mousse is the ultimate dessert!

8 oz. semisweet chocolate
3 tbsp. powdered sugar
3 tbsp. coffee, strongly brewed
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups whipping cream

Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in a pan with hot water.
Add sugar, coffee, and egg yolks to chocolate. Stir until mixture is thickened. Remove from heat and let cool.
Whip cream. Fold into chocolate mixture.
Spoon mousse into serving dishes. (I use six wine glasses.) Cover. Chill in refrigerator for at least one hour.
Garnish with whipped cream and serve.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Roasted Gorgonzola Tomatoes

I made these roasted tomatoes and Italian fried olives (recipe below) to add some zing to simple hot dogs on the grill last night.

2 medium plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
3 tbsp. Italian breadcrumbs
3 tbsp. gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Heat oven to 450 degrees.
Using a grapefruit spoon or teaspoon, remove seeds from tomatoes. Place cut side down on paper towel to drain.
Mix 1 tbsp. of oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add tomatoes and toss until coated. Let marinate for 10 minutes.
Combine breadcrumbs and gorgonzola cheese. Place tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Fill tomatoes with breadcrumb mixture. Drizzle with remaining oil.
Roast tomatoes 20 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

Italian Fried Olives

1 tbsp. gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp. ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp. ground or dried thyme
1/2 tsp. lemon zest, grated
12 extra large black olived, pitted
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 1/2 cups oil

In small bowl, mash up gorgonzola and ricotta cheeses, thyme and lemon zest until no lumps of gorgonzola remain.
Spoon cheese mixture into a small pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch tip, or spoon into a plastic bag and cut a small hole in one corner.
Pipe cheese mixture into each olive.
Beat egg in a small bowl.
Roll each olive in flour. Then coat each olive in egg and roll in breadcrumbs.
Heat oil in a 1-quart saucepan until deep-frying thermometer registers 350 degrees. Or you may place a cube of bread in the oil. Oill will be ready when bread cube is browned.
Fry olives for 30-45 seconds or until golden brown.
Drain olives on paper towels before serving.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Shrimp-Stuffed Chicken

1 lb. chicken breast halves
1/3 cup onion and chive cream cheese spread
8 oz. small cooked shrimp, peeled with tails off
4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
2/3 cup whipping cream

Flatten chicken to about 1/4" thickness.
Spread cream cheese spread over each chicken breast and top with shrimp. Roll up chicken and skewer with toothpicks.
Dust chicken with flour.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet.
Over medium heat, brown chicken thoroughly.
Add mushrooms and cook chicken until thoroughly cooked, about 15 minutes.
Add remaining shrimp and whipping cream. Heat to boiling.
Let mixture cook until sauce thickens.
Serve chicken with mushroom mixture spooned over it.

Jewelry Supplies on Etsy

Just listed several supplies for your sea-inspired jewelry projects on Etsy. Stop by and shop. And stay tuned for more!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Congratulations to the Starfish Earring Giveaway Winner!!

Congratulations to Tracie Rutkowski-Foltz! Tracie was the first reader to correctly identify Dr. Howard A. Kelly as the founder of Johns Hopkins Hospital who also built the Liriodendron for his wife Laetitia.

Thanks to all the readers who played along! And don't worry. I will doing more jewelry giveaways soon. In addition, I will be making more starfish earrings available for purchase in the very near future. Check back soon!

Starfish Earring Giveaway

These lovely silvertone starfish dangle earrings, lovingly created by this seamaiden, will be sent to the lucky reader who can answer the question that follows. What is the name of the Johns Hopkins Hospital founder who built the Liriodendron for his homesick wife, Laetitia? (Hint: the answer is contained within this blog.) The first reader to email me at with the correct answer wins the earrings.

A Day by the Bay in Havre de Grace

The seamaster and I were feeling like we needed a day by the water's edge, so we took a scenic drive up Rt. 155 to historic Havre de Grace, which was voted the Best Historic Downtown in the Baltimore Region by the readers of Maryland Life magazine. Havre de Grace played pivotal roles in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. These days, this historic destination offers up some of the best shopping, dining, sightseeing and recreation in Maryland.

Today, the seamaster and I took a relaxing walk along the Promenade, a 3/4 mile boardwalk that offers a lovely view of the Susquehanna River and all its waterfowl. At the end of the Promenade, the Concord Point Lighthouse, built in 1827, stately stands, still watching over the upper Chesapeake Bay. We could not resist a climb to the top of the 36-foot granite beacon, although the climb up a ladder from the landing to the lantern room was a little daunting for me. But the seamaster saw me safely up and then back down again. After descending back down the granite spiral staircase, we headed over to the restored dwelling of John O'Neill, the heroic keeper who defended Havre de Grace during the War of 1812. At the gift shop, the seamaster bought me a lighthouse ring and lighthouse cookie cutter (be on the lookout for lighthouse cookies).

After another refreshing walk back along the Promenade, we were off to the Laurrapin Grille, where we feasted on scrumptious lobster crabcakes served on croissants. I also sampled an orange crush, a delightful commingling of orange juice and vodka.

After lunch, we headed back home for a swim in our pool, but we plan on returning to Havre de Grace in the coming weeks for more sightseeing and maybe even some parasailing (gulp!). We may even make it an overnight trip with a stay at the Spencer Silver Mansion Bed and Breakfast. The carriage house, complete with a fireplace and whirlpool sounds too romantic to pass up. We may even do some ghost hunting during our stay!
The view from the lantern room

Friday, June 3, 2011

Thai Shrimp Seashells

The seamaster, (that's how I will now refer to the other half--lol) says this dish should be called Knock-Your-Socks-Off Thai Shrimp Seashells. But this seamaiden is much too humble to do that! :-)

8 oz. uncooked shell pasta
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup sugar snap peas
2 cups carrots, shredded
1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
7 oz. jar of Thai peanut sauce

Cook pasta according to package directions. Cook peas along with pasta.
In a large skillet, cook carrots and mushrooms in olive oil over medium heat until softened.
Add shrimp and cook until pink.
Add peanut sauce and heat through.
Drain pasta and peas. Transfer to serving bowl.
Add shrimp mixture to pasta and toss before serving.

A Seamaiden's Secret Treasures: Fish Dishes and a Mermaid Thermometer

This seamaiden is ecstatic to report that she has yet another chic shop to plunder for seaside-style serveware and decor. The Whitehouse Trading Co. LLC is now open on 140 N. Bond Street in downtown Bel Air, and the stock is as charming and shabby chichi as it is varied. My booty today includes a distressed metal Mermaid Cove Seaside Inn thermometer ($15) and this bright blue pair of fish dishes by burton + BURTON ($8.99 each). I can't wait to serve tonight's dinner (stay tuned for the recipe) on them!

The Whitehouse Trading Co. LLC is having a grand opening celebration tomorrow, June 4, from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. I have it on good authority from the owner that delicious refreshments will be served up, along with some terrific shopping. Can't make it to the store? Surf over to Facebook and shop right off of their page!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Orange-Maple Glazed Chicken

Another great chicken recipe that works great with a simple spring mix salad on the side.

1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup maple praline syrup
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. grated orange peel
1 lb. boneless chicken breasts

In a saucepan, combine orange juice, syrup, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced to 1/2 cup. Stir in basil and orange peel. Remove from heat.
Sprinkle chicken with additional salt and pepper. Grill chicken on each side until done, basting frequently with the sauce. Remove from grill and serve.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Nereid Jewelry Collection: Erato

One of my ongoing projects is to design pieces of jewelry inspired by the 50 Nereids, or the sea nymphs of Greek mythology. The Nereids were the daughters of the water deities Nereus and Doris, and they were hailed as the patronesses of sailors and fishermen. The ancient Greeks believed that the Nereids dwelt with their parents in a cave at the bottom of the Aegean Sea, and they depicted the Nereids in art as beautiful maidens, sometimes riding on the backs of dolphins or fish-tailed horses.

This design is inspired by Erato, the Nereid referred to in Hesiod and Apollodorus as "the lovely." The 19 1/2" necklace features chunky ceramic heart beads, faceted glass beads and a palm frond focal clasp with a silvertone starfish dangle. The necklace is available for purchase for $35. Contact me at if interested.