When Kevin Costner said "if you build it, he will come" in Field of Dreams--famously misquoted as "if you build it, they will come"--I don't think he was referring to your first house as a married couple. Since living in a place that has two bedrooms and plenty of space, we have had a lot more visitors, which I don't mind at all. It means there are more opportunities to entertain and spend time as a tourist in our own city. That is exactly what we did for the August long weekend. Both of our parents were spending the weekend in Ottawa, so the weekend was jam-packed with food and fun.
Having a table that fits six to eight people somewhat comfortably also helps to encourage people to visit. That means more room for good food. On Sunday night, we had dinner at our place with steaks, the shrimp and avocado salad pictured above and green beans and potatoes. I find making a bunch of salads great for entertaining because everyone loves salad and they are versatile for lunch the next day or as leftovers. It was my interpretation of "surf and turf." We bought some amazing aged steaks from Seed to Sausage in Ottawa. I mean, look at those things.
The focus of the weekend was Mike's parent's boat. They were taking a six-week long journey from Midland, Ontario to Ottawa, Ontario on their boat for their summer vacation. It was neat that we could see them and spend some time on the boat while it was docked in Ottawa. Of course, who wouldn't want in on some boating action? My parents wanted to join and decided to visit that weekend as well. My favourite boating activity is boating "happy hour," which we did a lot of when the weather wasn't nice enough to go out on the boat. I am perfectly alright with using a boat as a glorified patio.
Living in Ottawa, we are surrounded by culture, history and attractions that we sometimes forget about living here. Museums are also a nice activity to take visitors to for an afternoon. Many of the museums in Ottawa are amazing for the architecture alone, like the Museum of History formerly known as the Museum of Civilization located across the bridge from downtown Ottawa in Quebec. We visited the museum last time we visited Ottawa before moving there and watched one of the IMAX films. The Museum of History is one of Canada's most visited museums with more than 1.2 million visitors each year. The Grand Hall is an impressive indoor space with six-storey windowed walls and an homage to the First People of Canada's Pacific Coast.
That weekend happened to be the last weekend the Magna Carta was in town for a special touring exhibit. The copy of the Magna Carta with the exhibit, as well as the Charter of the Forest, was written around 1300 and stamped with the seal of King Edward. To see the documents that are more than 700 years old, to read every word and to admire the penmanship was truly amazing--coming from someone who loves words. The documents were in Ottawa for a few weeks before traveling to other cities in Canada.
The Magna Carta paved the way for modern ideas of democracy. It established that no one, not even kings, were above the law. Much of the current Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and other international charters were based on the ideas of the Magna Carta. The law also says you probably shouldn't take photos of rare documents in museums, but somehow my husband sneakily took a non-flash photo of the document in the exhibit.
Can you get any better than this for a city to show people when they come to visit? Ottawa, although you are far away from a lot of things, you are alright. Now it is August and the summer is practically over, so soon it will be back to the crippling cold of Ottawa, which I can maybe deal with after this beautiful summer. This photo is the view from the museum looking over to Ottawa and the Parliament buildings:
Now, on to that salad I made for dinner. Even if you are not a fan of sea crawlies, you may still like this salad. I adapted from this recipe that originally called for nacho chips with it to serve. You could put it in the middle of crackers or chips as a kind of guacamole. I liked it as a fresh, side salad. Depending on the avocados you have, the mixture might be more of a guacamole texture than a salad. I promise you it will still be tasty as a side salad or even as a meal.
Shrimp and Avocado SaladIngredients:
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and cooked
10 oz spinach
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
2 avocados, diced
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp chilli powder
salt and pepper
Directions:1. Defrost or cook the shrimp and peel them.
2. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, mustard and parsley and whisk together.
3. Coat the shrimp with a few tablespoons of the dressing and let marinade for 20 minutes.
4. Chop the tomatoes and scoop out the avocado into cubes if possible, depending on how ripe.
5. Combine the shrimp, tomatoes and avocado.
6. Layer the serving bowl with spinach and then the shrimp, tomato and avocado mixture.
7. Pour the rest of the dressing over top.
What is your go-to recipe for dinner parties? Where do you like to take people when they come to visit? Let me know in the comments or like Food.Love.Happiness on Facebook.