local milk x makr: d.i.y. menus & place cards

clams in saffron mint broth

makr x local milk: d.i.y. menus & place cards

makr x local milk: d.i.y. menus

For my second collaboration with Makr, an addictive print design app for the iPad, I knew I wanted to create menus & place cards for a meal celebrating this, my favorite passage—winter receding and spring emerging. So I channeled my affinity for the moon and designed the suite you see here. Before I knew it, I had custom menus on my door step. Just like that.  All that was left to do was have a few friends over to share in a meal to send winter on it’s way, to usher in spring. I baked fresh bread to go with honey roasted radishes and cultured butter laced with my herbal salt, steamed clams from South Carolina in a wine broth perfumed with saffron & mint, and made a big pot of farro risotto with local beets and greens to round it all out. It was a simple menu; the entire thing was thrown together in an afternoon. The way I figure it, you don’t need a reason to create a dinner complete with beautiful menus. Life is reason enough to make anything special. So if you’d like to do the same, a reminder that Makr is generously offering a special for Local Milk readers—you can enjoy a free Makr credit and 20% off a print order! Just register with the code LOCMILKFAN and enter the same code at checkout. You can download the Makr app here—and you can check out this project and customize it for a gathering of your own. I’ve already moved on to new projects from baby shower invitations for my sister-in-law to blank labels for my dry goods. I, it would seem, can’t stop.

clams in chardonnay saffron mint broth

makr x local milk: d.i.y. menus

makr x local milk: d.i.y. menus & place cards

clams in chardonnay saffron mint broth

The ash tree moon—the Celtic moon of March, the last of winter. The crone the maiden becomes; a cycle starts anew. This world is always going around rising from the ashes, coming back to life. How strange. I try to be aware of the seasons as they pass. I find making notches—gatherings, rituals, observances—as one season, one moon, passes into the next helps me remain present. When I’m not mindful of it, the cycle fades into the background, and I lose touch with time. I don’t want to sleep walk. Stress has a way of making all the days look the same, no matter how charismatic each tries to be. The snow and the dogwood blossoms bleed one into the other, and all that you notice is that feeling in the pit of your stomach that there isn’t enough time, never enough time, until finally you get a perverse pleasure from being so damn busy. Oh! I’m just so busy! It’s so crazy around here! And we figure it means we’re doing something right. How productive we must be! We have to stop ourselves. It’s a lousy vortex.

local milk x makr: d.i.y. menus & place cards

local milk x makr: d.i.y. menus & place cards

clams in chardonnay saffron mint broth

local milk x makr: d.i.y. menus & place cards

I’m still learning to make time. It’s a creative act I haven’t even begun to master yet, the weaving of that golden stuff out of thin air—that wibbily wobbly timey wimey stuff. I have a vision for my life: it’s the vision I create in this space, the vision I create in the vignettes I share with you all, slivers of small triumphs, of mundane dreams carved out of space-time. It’s an expansive vision, one where the seconds yawn out into hours and there’s time for it all, for the farmer’s market, baking bread, and tea breaks. I imagine there’ll be time to make myself shiny as a new penny each morning, time to read my runes with a cup of tea, time to make breakfast from scratch, time to water the plants and clean up the chaos I’m so adept at creating, and time to create recipes & photos and meet my deadlines. One day, I tell myself, there’ll be time to make everything myself, to make candles that smell like honeysuckle and bath salts laced with lilac. Time to paint the guest bathroom and hang those shelves. Time, even, to slip out of that cold productivity. Time to be a different sort of creature, one with skin, with fingers and nape of neck and collar bone. It’s hard to be flesh; mind is a tyrant. It’s been a minute since I’ve felt much like a creature with blood at all. Since some night, unseasonably warm, in November that I won’t remember. I’d aim to find time for being instead of doing.

local milk x makr: d.i.y. menus & place cards

clams in chardonnay saffron mint broth

local milk x makr: d.i.y. menus & place cards

makr x local milk: d.i.y. menus & place cards

makr x local milk: d.i.y. menus

I’d love to carve out corners of my day between weeding my inbox to weed my yard or to sit and craft layered rituals and gaze endlessly into bowls of dark water, trying to touch the invisible. But I’ve barely learned to make time to calm my mind before I fall asleep far too late at night, much less spend time scrying and trying to dissolve the boundary between me and not me. So in the end, this space is a story of what life can be, is sometimes, what I wish it could be always. It’s the story of aspirations. Of arguably boring aspirations. But the truth is I’ve already walked down the lurid plot line. I like boring. Nice looking dust pans do it for me. Still, I’m mostly a fraggle running around with dirty hair, a fake cigarette hanging out of my mouth & swearing (albeit amiably) under my breath. Or not under my breath. But it’s moments like this weekend past, with friends around my table and a few blooms in between, that this story I tell comes to life. And that is why I bake bread, use the special things on the pantry shelf, and make menus and place cards and fill amber bottles with flowers that splay out whichever way they please. I do it because while it can’t always be so, it can sometimes be so. And I like it so.

local milk x makr: ash moon dinner

clams in chardonnay saffron mint broth

A little reminder that voting for the Saveur Best Food Blog awards is open until April 9th! Tell your friends, pets, mom, etc & vote here!

clams in chardonnay saffron mint broth

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 13 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 starter or side servings or 2 mains

I have, since I was a child, love steamed shellfish of all types. I don't think I've ever met a mollusk I didn't love, and this is currently my favorite base for steamed clams. The mint and saffron are both unexpected and delicious; the combination is impossibly bright.

Ingredients

  • 2.5 dozen clams, well scrubbed
  • 2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 a medium shallot, minced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chardonnay or other dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup water
  • good pinch of saffron
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • three fingered pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • hand full of fresh mint leaves, chopped

Instructions

  1. In a medium-large pot, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and shallot and sautee until just translucent and fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the clams along with the wine, water, saffron, red pepper flakes, and pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10-15 minutes until all of the clams have opened up. Discard any that fail to open.
  3. Remove from heat, stir in butter, and top with the fresh mint. Serve with plenty of crusty bread for sopping up the broth!
http://localmilkblog.com/2014/04/makr-x-local-milk-d-i-y-menus-place-cards-clams-in-saffron-mint-broth.html

local milk x makr: d.i.y. menus & place cards

makr x local milk: d.i.y. menus & place cards

local milk x makr: ash moon dinner

 

This was a sponsored post, and I was compensated for my participation. All opinions, stories, recipes, and ramblings are, as per usual, my own. 

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31 Responses to makr x local milk: d.i.y. menus + place cards & clams in saffron mint broth

  1. Beth says:

    I love that you made a Doctor Who reference. :)

  2. Ramona says:

    Wow… love you your words. I believe finding balance and making time and resting are things we all always need to fight for because otherwise routine and busyness will take a hold of us and we spin in a circle of going from one thing to another. Sometimes we just need to carve out time, sit down and think or be creative or go for a bike ride and see the beauty that spring brings.

  3. Love the table decor as well as the recipe. Saffron is a totally underused spice!

  4. Imen says:

    One day I shall find myself seated at your table….until then I shall salivate over saffron clams and chamomile panna cotta. Congratulations again on your Saveur nomination, well warranted indeed. Pip pip. Imen x

  5. Maja says:

    You magical woman, is there anything you don’t do with with beauty?! Really love the moody place cards and menus. And seafood always wins in my book :)

  6. Christy says:

    There’s magic in your words. When I read them I feel gladdened I’m not the only one thinking these things. Sharing with friends in that way often stops time a little. We are similar in aesthetic-love the table setting (linen!) and design touches, (that Makr is fun stuff!) But where on earth did the flatware come from? Thrifted? I have searched for something like it.

    • beth says:

      Yes, it was thrifted! I had the good fortune to find a 66 piece set of the stuff, servingware and all, for under $100!

      • Christy says:

        Impressive! I will keep looking-someday! I wish we had as many amazing place to thrift that Tennessee seems to have.

  7. Diana says:

    Lovely! Between your real words about managing time and finding enough of it to the all the things we’d hope to accomplish, to your lovely prints and deliciously looking mussels. Simplicity at its best!

  8. Beautiful! This looks like a fantastic app and the menu you created looks delicious.

  9. Jenny says:

    Beautiful and oh, what fun!! Be still my creative soul!! Sadly, I don’t have an iPad, iPhone or ‘smart’ technology. If I did, I would be first in line!

  10. amanda says:

    Your blog is beautiful! I stumbled upon it today. Lovely, lovely. <3

  11. Another Tennessee girl says:

    Each time I read a new vignette I find a part of soul saying, “Yes, oh yes, that IS how it is!” Thank you for sharing! It is truly always heartwarming.

  12. Meghan says:

    Beth Kirby, you magical woman; you’ve done it again. Your words are spellbinding, and I haven’t even had a taste of that ‘magic salt’ on your menu beside the buttermilk bread, the salt that I’m ever so curious about. (If you don’t want to share, I understand. Every good chef has her secrets.) And is that a pink dogwood branch that graces your table, as well? Whatever, it’s beautiful. All of it is just beautiful.

  13. […] these clams in a saffron mint broth. so classy. […]

  14. Que entrada tan bonita, todo tiene una pinta estupenda. besos desde España. Avelina

  15. […] from Emerson Fry seems perfect for Spring and Summer.  Yes? Apparently my brain just wants to entertain lately..  I cannot get enough of these posts! Last but not least we have added some great new […]

  16. Mindy says:

    I am officially obsessed with this table setting. I will promptly be stealing the centerpiece idea at the very least.

  17. I have never tried cooking with clams. This looks divine!

  18. Susie says:

    Just lovely table setting and the clams look divine but I have to know where did you find those overalls? They are adorable!

  19. Alia says:

    Yes Doctor Who! And here I thought I couldn’t like your blog any more than I already did. Local Milk loveliness + DW = all my favorite things!

    ps. I made your strawberry and rosemary muffins this weekend and they were amazeballs!

  20. Linda says:

    This is so lovely Beth.

  21. I had clams in saffron broth for brunch a couple of weeks ago. They were utterly delicious and I’ve wanted to replicate that dish ever since. Thank you for sharing this post with us. It was, as always, a wonderful one.

  22. this might sound weird, seeing as how you write a food blog but i’ve been daydreaming about the overalls you’re wearing. where did you get it?

  23. Wow. I really love how you describe the tension between the persuasion of busyness and the desire for a slower, more mindful pace. I think we are all like this in one way or another, trying to find our way out of the quick sand of a frenzied life. Thank you for normalizing that…beautiful post.

  24. Becky Reams says:

    Your work is beautiful [food + photography]
    I wish we’d been on the same MC season… :) We have so much in common!! Except you have exceptional style, as I do not, hehe
    Rad stuff Beth, sorry it took me so long to see!!
    xx
    Bec

  25. Webbyrå says:

    This looks delicious!!! I’ll definitely make this recipe some time next week. :D

  26. […] over fries and aioli duty, and Meghan was in charge of the clams. We were using Local Milk’s recipe for clams simmered in white wine with saffron and fresh mint.  I threw a bit of the minced shallot […]

  27. G. Valenti says:

    The photography is amazing, just amazing…I was never really good with clams, but this is my dish for one of the next Sundays…:)

    Thanks for this gift

  28. […] Credits: 1. Zara Home 2. Ruffled 3. eBay 4. Local Milk 5, 6, 7, 8. Anthropologie 9. Pocketful of Dreams 10, 11. Zara […]

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