Museum to Table

A visit to Crystal Bridges Museum was both enjoyable and invigorating.  We were visiting friends in Northwest Arkansas. The new life given to that region simply by the installation of a world class art museum is measurable.  We visited the museum in 2012 when the museum had just opened but wasn’t fully realized.  During that visit our dining choices were national chains.  Now, the entire area is  fully vitalized and forward thinking.  Alice Walton’s vision for a museum has been the inspiration for a beautiful living environment for the locals and an invigorating respite for visitors.

We would’ve visited the museum just to see the progress.  However, two of my greatest sources of inspiration are currently on exhibit…a Frank Lloyd Wright home has been moved on the property permanently and the work of Dale Chihuly is there for the rest of the year.  We have visited other Frank Lloyd Wright homes but this visit amplified how many of his renowned applications we incorporated in our farm house.  Equally amazing is the use of organic shape and saturated color Chihuly has mastered which sends my creative juices soaring.

We were very fortunate to be surrogate parents to a beautiful and brilliant young lady who did her undergraduate work at Rhodes College.  She now has an MBA from Texas and was sought out by Wal-Mart for the marketing department in Bentonville. They are seeing what we’ve always known…her potential is endless. We could not be more proud. We had already planned to visit Fayetteville Farmer’s Market to shop for a farm to table dinner in our “daughter’s” home.

As we walked through “Chihuly in the Forest” Fiori Boat brought me to a halt.  It looked like a salad I’ve made on numerous occasions which I call Confetti Salad.

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I decided to shop the market using Chihuly as my inspiration. I didn’t tell anyone what I was planning until they came to the dinner table.  They thought the purchases were beautiful but had no idea what was in store.

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Chihuly calls these pieces Squero di San Trovaso Chandelier and Campiello Barbaro Chandelier.

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They led me to….

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Roasted Heirloom Potatoes and Spring Onions

Green Goodness

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Grilled Pork Tenderloin

  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1/4 brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 pork tenderloins (one package about 3 lb.)

Mix the marinade and marinate overnight or at least four hours.  Grill on high heat with a closed lid…12-15 minutes total…giving a quarter turn every 3 minutes.  Remove from heat; wrap in foil; let stand 15 minutes.  Slice and serve.

Roasted Heirloom Potatoes

  • Red, purple and white heirloom fingerling potatoes
  • Small Spring Onions
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Quarter the potatoes and thin slice the onions, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss and place in a baking dish.  Roast until fork tender; about 15-20 minutes. The number of potatoes used determines whether or not to toss the potatoes during the cooking time.  If there’s more than one layer of potatoes a toss will help cook evenly.

Green Goodness

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest plus 3 tablespoons fresh juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cucumber peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, chopped
  • 1/2 Jalapeno finely chopped
  • 2 cups seedless green grapes, halved
  • 1 large avocado, diced

Whisk together honey, oil, lime zest, lime juice, mustard, and salt in a small bowl.

Combine cucumber, apple, jalapeno, grapes and avocado in a medium bowl. Drizzle with dressing; gently toss to coat. Add avocado; gently toss just until combined. Chill and serve. ***Other green items can be substitued or added…honeydew, pear, celery etc.

“Sole d’Oro” (Golden Sun) is made of 1,300 hand-blown pieces and was created exclusively for the Chihuly in the Forest exhibition at Crystal Bridges.

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The incredible texture created by Chihuly’s craft led to the cheesey deliciousness that tops Tomato Pie.

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Tomato Pie

  • 4 tomatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 (9-inch) prebaked deep dish pie shell
  • 1 cup grated parmesan reggiano
  • 1 1/2 cup grated cheddar
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the tomatoes on paper towels, sprinkle with salt, cover with paper towels and allow to drain for 30 minutes. Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on the bottom of the pie shell. Layer the tomato slices and basil in pie shell. Season with salt and pepper. Combine the grated cheeses and mayonnaise together…reserving half cup of the cheddar. Spread mixture on top of the tomatoes and sprinkle remaining cheddar over the mixture. Bake 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let set for 15 minutes.  Slice and serve. ***I use Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust

This is Chihuly’s Neodymium Reeds.

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The reeds allowed me to create a dish with eggplant and long beans.

Eggplant and Long Beans with Oregano and Basil

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This is very simple.  The long beans were blanched in salted water until tender. The small Japanese eggplants were sauteed in olive oil and garlic. They were sprinkled with salt and pepper, drizzled with olive oil and topped with a rough chop of fresh basil and oregano.  Easy and delicious!!!

Finally, the piece that started it all…Fiori Boat.

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…and Confetti Salad.

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Originally I do this inspired by a dish at Hot & Hot Fish in Birmingham, AL.  However I was trying to capture the colors of Fiori.  This is Spring Peas, Tomatoes (seeded), Spring Onion, Red Cabbage, Sweet Corn, Crumbled Bacon, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Salt, Pepper and topped with Shredded Cheddar.  Again, fairly simple…but summer freshness at it’s best.

Our dear friends are always lovely and a good time was had by all.

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