Monthly Archives: November 2015

Thanksgiving Holiday

2015-11-29 01.24.57 - INTRO

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Hi everyone,

I was so busy shopping & cooking for the holiday that I didn’t have time to post my Thanksgiving tablescape, so here it is. I thought it was so sweet that so many of you sent me emails to see if I was okay because the post wasn’t up on Thanksgiving. I am fine, thank you.

I hope you all had a very lovely Thanksgiving with your family and friends. This year for us it was only dinner for two; our son could not be with us this year.

Although, if you saw what I cooked, it looked like dinner for 20. I love, love, love Thanksgiving. It has been my favorite holiday since I was a child. Even though we were only two, I prepared all the traditional foods for this holiday. I just couldn’t eliminate anything.

(I’ll post some food pictures at the end of the post).

Every year after cooking for two days, I say that I am going to cut down on what I prepare for the next year and then while food shopping, my Italian gene kicks in and I go overboard.

Every dish I prepare is a memory and a link to when my family was still here with me. How I wish those days could come back.

The only thing I did change this year was the size of the turkey because it was only Bob and I.

2015-11-29 01.28.58 - INTRO II - CLOSE UP

This year my Thanksgiving tablescape was completely different from years past.

I usually have solid dinnerware in fall colors with matching chargers along with turkey accent plates and platters. Some autumn colored votive candles and autumn leaves scattered around the table on a leaf design tablecloth. Not this year….

1393071_10202673799509100_2146320635_n--- old thanksgiving place setting

This year something new caught my eye.

Pumpkin designed dinnerware.

Every Fall catalog that I received from either Pier 1, William Sonoma, Crate and Barrel and Pottery Barn had pumpkin designed dinnerware; but one pattern really caught my eye and that was from Pier 1 (Pier 1 has become my 2nd home these days).

What attracted me the most to the dishes was the glazed crackled finish giving it some Old World charm. The dish is an off white crackled background with pumpkins and vines in soft colors of orange, beige and olive green.

2015-11-29 00.57.51 DISHES

Now a photo of the complete set…

2015-11-29 00.58.58 COMPLETE DISHES

 I bought a pumpkin tablecloth last year that I never used that I thought would look great with these dishes since it had a similar pumpkin and vine design.

2015-11-28 09.06.23 - THANKSGIVING TABLECLOTH

I am using my annual Thanksgiving napkins in assorted autumn colors and a bronze pumpkin napkin ring.

2015-11-29 00.42.54 NAPKINS

Since you all know by now that that primo course of our Thanksgiving menu is “Uncle Vinny soup”; I am keeping with the pumpkin theme and using a glazed ceramic pumpkin soup tureen with matching pumpkin soup bowls. The soup tureen and bowls are sage green in a glazed finish.  

(I didn’t display the soup bowls in my pictures so you could get a good look at the pumpkin dishes; but we used them during dinner).

This is my go to soup tureen for this holiday. I should just rename this the “Uncle Vinny soup tureen & bowl set”, since I only use it once a year for this soup.

2015-11-29 01.02.32 - SOUP TUREEN

The chargers I chose are the same ceramic chargers in solid autumn colors that I use every year. They are just perfect for the holiday. I have had these chargers for many years and they are in assorted colors of olive green, gold and bronze.

2015-11-29 00.45.22 CHARGERS

At first I was undecided if I wanted to use a placemat and then after going through my collection, I decided to use a woven placemat with autumn colors of gold, bronze, rust and brown .

2015-11-29 00.48.42 - PLACEMAT

I am using my everyday flatware in a gold and silver. 

2015-11-29 00.54.11 -FLATWARE

The glassware I selected were gold goblets; another Thanksgiving favorite. Unfortunately, while taking them out of the box, we discovered that two were broken. Since I didn’t have enough remaining to set the table, I quickly switched to a plain clear goblet.

2015-11-29 01.49.24 CLEAR GOBLET

Just to show you the gold goblet, I took a picture and Bob and I used them for a cocktail. (About that later).

2015-11-29 01.50.19 AMBER GOBLET

Now for the centerpiece. Every year I use my ceramic cornucopia as part of my centerpiece. This year I decided to put the cornucopia in a natural basket along with pumpkins, chestnuts and the most beautiful candles.

I had to buy these candles as soon as I saw them because the colors match the colors in the dish perfectly.

2015-11-29 01.22.56 CENTERPIECE

I placed pumpkin votive candle holders on each side of the centerpiece with a pumpkin spice scented candle. The house smells wonderful.

You know I love candles.

2015-11-29 00.36.41 PUMPKIN VOTIVE

I am using pumpkin salt & pepper shakers,

2015-11-29 00.36.12- PUMPKIN SALT AND PEPPER

and a ceramic pumpkin napkin holder.

2015-11-29 00.37.49 PUMPKIN NAPKIN HOLDER

I am finishing the table with autumn table scatter, 2015-11-29 00.53.29 TABLE SCATTER

and mini ceramic turkey salt & pepper shakers.

 Many times I use salt and pepper shakers for accent pieces on the table to carry the theme and not for salt and pepper.

2015-11-29 00.39.49- TURKEY SALT AND PEPPER

2015-11-29 01.28.16 - BUFFET

Place Setting

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Bob and I toasted the holiday with an Apple Cider Bellini– just delicious!

The recipe is very simple. Rim your glass with cinnamon sugar, fill the glass half way with apple cider & top it off with Prosecco. Garnish with a thin slice of apple.

2015-11-29 01.14.41 -APPLE BELLINI

Here are pictures of my Thanksgiving 2015 turkey, dinner plate & dessert plate.

2015-11-26 19.40.06- Turkey 2015

Of course we started off with Uncle Vinny soup.

2015-11-29 01.59.01 UV SOUP

Along with the turkey, we had sage stuffing, sweet potato casserole, stuffed mushrooms, mashed potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce, green beans with almonds, cranberries and toasted breadcrumbs and homemade gravy. 

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And lets not forget dessert…..

Sweet potato pie infused with rum topped with whipped cream.

This was my first attempt at this pie and Bob loved it. 

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with an ice cream cannoli on the side.

2015-11-29 01.21.22 DESSERT

My annual “guest” to the table is a stuffed animal my Dad gave me and I display it every year. It’s a turkey holding an “Eat Ham” sign.

Shopping in Hallmark with my Dad one day, I thought it was so cute. Next thing I knew, Dad bought it for me and brought it as his guest for Thanksgiving.

2015-11-29 01.51.58 EAT HAM

It was a great meal and now I look forward to making turkey soup and turkey pot pie.

My wish for you are many blessings and I hope your blessings last a lifetime!

Be grateful for the precious gift of family, good friends, good food, a home and good health.

My sincere best wishes always.

2015-11-29 01.26.13- BUFFET I

Table Details

Pumpkin tablecloth from Kohl’s

Autumn napkins from Bed, Bath and Beyond

Chargers from Bloomingdales

Basket from Michael’s Arts and Crafts

Placemats from Homegoods

Pumpkin napkin rings from Amazon

Pumpkin napkin holder and salt and pepper shaker- had them too many years to remember

Mini turkey salt and pepper shakers from Crate and Barrel

Pumpkin dinnerware from Pier 1

Pumpkin votive holders from Pier 1

Glazed pumpkin soup tureen and soup bowls from Crate and Barrel

Flatware –  my every day silver and gold set

Table scatter from Pier 1

Gold goblets from Sur La Table

Plain goblets from Marshalls

“Eat Ham” turkey plush from my Dad

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to follow DishingwithDiane.com either on facebook or sign up for emails directly from the web page. 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

And please continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Happy-Thanksgiving-day1- HAPPY THANKS FOR BLOG

Hi everyone, 

I want to take this time to wish you many blessings this Thanksgiving from both my family and DishingwithDiane.com .

I am so grateful for many things and one of them is starting this blog back in January and having the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people and share my passion for cooking and tablescapes. 

To me, you are not just members, you are my extended family.

Thank you for joining the blog and posting your comments. It’s truly a pleasure for me to hear from you.

I won’t be able to post my Thanksgiving tablescape until this weekend because I am in the process of preparing a Thanksgiving feast. 

As I have mentioned before, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

I hope you have the opportunity to try some of the Thanksgiving recipes I posted and that you enjoy them as much as my family has over the years.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Diane

 

Sweet Potato Casserole

2014-11-27 19.36.54 SWEET POTAOTES

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Hi again everyone,

I hope you had a chance to look over the Sage Stuffing recipe I posted yesterday, because here comes another favorite side.

This is my second favorite side dish and it is a little on the sweet side, (no not pie, that’s later). My husband loves this one too. We were fortunate to have this at a Ruth’s Chris Steak House and it was a bite of heaven. 

You know what I mean, the bite that you savor, close you eyes and you are whisked away to another planet just for a brief moment. It’s that bite of heaven.

It really should be a dessert instead of a side.

It is the RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE.

Wait until you see the ingredients for this one; a lot of butter and sugar, but once you take your first bite you will be amazed and forget about the calories.

I was fortunate to find the recipe and I have been making it ever since. Give it a try.

2014-11-27 19.36.54 SWEET POTAOTES

Ruth’s Chris Steak House Sweet Potato Casserole

  • Time 30 minutes
  • Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • CRUST
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (pecans preferred)
  • 1/3 stick butter — melted (Do not omit or reduce this amount)
  •  
  • SWEET POTATO MIXTURE
  • 3 cups mashed sweet potatoes (Garnets looks best and I bake mine first)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs — well beaten
  • 1 stick butter — ( 1/2 cup) melted (You can leave it out or reduce it, if you wish)

Directions:

  • Combine brown sugar, flour, nuts and butter in mixing bowl. Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, salt, vanilla, eggs and butter in a mixing bowl in the order listed. Mix thoroughly.
  • Pour mixture into buttered baking dish.
  • Sprinkle the surface of the sweet potato mixture evenly with the crust mixture.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to set at least 30 minutes before serving.
  • Cooks Note:
  • Serves 6 -Double the recipe. People will love the leftovers, which also freeze beautifully.

I hope you have the opportunity to try either one of my favorite side dishes this year for your Thanksgiving table if you want to try something new.

Stay well and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to follow DishingwithDiane.com either on facebook or sign up for emails directly from the web page. 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

And please continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Sage Stuffing

2014-11-27 19.37.08- SAGE STUFFING

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Hi again everyone,

With Thanksgiving approaching at a rapid rate, I wanted to share a few of my favorite side dishes for the big day.

But before we start, if anyone is of Italian descent like me, then you know that it takes a while to get to the turkey and the side dishes so no need to worry if you get a late start cooking the turkey… 

If you are not of Italian descent, sit down, this will take a few minutes to explain. 

Italians have many course around the TURKEY. Because there isn’t a nonna alive that isn’t going to have a pasta course at a holiday, expect pasta.

This is the menu for an Italian /American Thanksgiving.

First is the antipasto tray– cured meats, olives, pickled vegetables, fennel, and a variety of cheese and roasted peppers. Antipasto is one of my personal favorites. 

I would always look for the sharp provolone cheese and pickled eggplant.

DSC00028 - antipasto tray

Followed by the soup – in my case, it was “Uncle Vinny’ soup.  I really hope you have a chance to try that soup, it’s a keeper.

2015-11-08 23.30.01 CLOSE UP SOUP

Followed by the pasta course – usually lasagna – this is vegetable lasagna with no bechamel.

2015-07-16 21.04.27- slice of veggie lasagna- WITH TEXT

Followed by a salad -Our salad was a mixed green salad with an orange & cranberry goat cheese, sliced pears, cranberries, and sliced almonds covered in a poppy seed dressing.

(You can slice goat cheese with dental floss if it is too sticky for your knife).

When my grandmother was alive we followed a European tradition in our home and had the salad at the end of every meal. However, I found this hard when you have guests who are not familiar with this tradition and expect their salad at the beginning of the meal, so we changed the order.

2014-11-27 18.46.35 -SALAD SIDE DISH

NOW THE TURKEY AND SIDES

See how much time you had to get to this point?

The menu is not finished after the turkey. Even though I am concentrating on the side dishes, an Italian / American Thanksgiving keeps going.

For a better understanding of the Thanksgiving I had growing up, I am listing the remainder of the courses. 

The turkey and sides are…..

Followed by – fruit, nuts and cheese  

fruit-nut-platter # 2

Followed by – TAKING A BREAK…..

Taking a break in my house growing up meant that the women cleaned up, small children went to play and the men took a nap. At this point you had to have a break because you ran out of dishes and had to wash them and start over.

Once the break was over, the next course was

Dessert–  a variety of pies pumpkin pie, apple pie, coconut custard pie, mince meat pie and sweet potato pie; just in case you weren’t sure what you were in the mood for. Lots of ice cream and whipped cream along with after dinner drinks. This is when I was allowed to sip amaretto or creme de menthe.

And let us not forget, Italian cookies and pastries with espresso.

 I remember the first time my husband came over to my home for Thanksgiving when we were dating; he was in total shock with this meal. We didn’t move for hours and he couldn’t believe more and more courses kept coming out of the kitchen. He expected  turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, apple cider and cranberry sauce. Oh, we had that too plus a little extra. After 30 years, he has adjusted.

This complete meal is followed by feeling so full and bloated, you swear you will never eat so much again- until Christmas Eve that is.

Then it’s the Feast of the Seven Fishes. We’ll discuss that at another time or your head will explode now. Too much to take in at once.

But one thing is for sure, we are all GRATEFUL for this feast and for our family and friends and for being able to share another year together.

Okay, now that you know the menu, let’s get back to my favorite sides….

Of course the star of the day is the TURKEY; but for me it’s more about the side dishes, and there were plenty to choose from. I am not going to list recipes for all of my side dishes because I am sure we make many of the same things, stuffed artichokes, glazed carrots, brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes, stuffed mushrooms, etc… I am just listing a few recipes of my favorites that I wanted to share with you.

First one, my all time FAVORITE side dish is SAGE STUFFING.

Oh, I could just eat stuffing with some gravy and be a happy girl. Although I would have to make a double batch because my son feels the same way I do about this stuffing.

Once I found this recipe, my family insisted that this would be the ONLY stuffing they would ever eat; so delicious. You have to try it.

2014-11-27 19.37.08- SAGE STUFFING

SAGE STUFFING

(You have to make this with corn bread so I will include my recipe for sour cream cornbread.) 

8 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs (from a 1-lb white loaf with crust removed)

4 cups coarsely crumbled corn bread
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 turkey liver or 3 chicken livers (2 to 3 oz total), trimmed and finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup turkey giblet stock or low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Spread all breadcrumbs in 2 shallow baking pans and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven until dry, about 15 minutes total. Cool crumbs in pans on racks, then transfer white bread and corn bread to a large bowl and stir in parsley, sage, salt, and pepper.

Melt butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, and then add onions and liver and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add celery and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl with crumbs and toss well.

Add eggs, stock, and cream and toss well.

Transfer stuffing to a buttered 2 1/2- to 3-quart shallow baking dish. Bake, covered, in middle of oven 30 minutes, then uncover and bake until browned, about 30 minutes more.

Cooks’ note:
• Stuffing can be assembled (but not baked) 2 days ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before baking.

Sour Cream Corn Bread

1 Cup All-purpose flour

¾ cup yellow cornmeal

¼ cup sugar 

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp baking soda                                                         

½ tsp salt

1-cup sour cream

¼ cup whole milk or Buttermilk

1 egg (beaten)

2 TBSP melted butter

 Preheat oven to 425 degrees

 In a bowl, mix 1-cup all-purpose flour, ¾ cup yellow corn meal. ¼ cup sugar, 2 tsp baking powder and ½ tsp each baking soda and salt. Stir in 1 cup sour cream, ¼ cup milk, 1 beaten egg and 2 TBSP melted butter.

 Pour into a greased, 8-in square pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until a pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cut in 16 squares. Best served warm.

 My next post and side dish will be Sweet Potato Casserole.

Until then, make every day a celebration!

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to follow DishingwithDiane.com either on facebook or sign up for emails directly from the web page. 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

And please continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Linguine with Clam Sauce

2015-07-22 18.35.33- SPAGHETTI WITH CLAMS for blog - Copy - RETOUCHED

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Hi everyone,

I have been receiving multiple requests for a recipe that I talked about in my

October 10, 2015 post, “One More Seaside Dinner” but never posted the recipe for.

 Well, here it is, my version of Linguine with Clam Sauce and I am giving away my “secret ingredient” for my members. Trust me, the secret ingredient makes a big difference.

 I hope you all try it and enjoy it. Let me know what you think.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to follow DishingwithDiane.com either on facebook or sign up for emails directly from the web page. 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

And please continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Linguine with Clam Sauce

Ingredients:

1 lb. linguine or spaghetti

½ cup olive oil

2 dz. little neck clams, scrubbed and cleaned

1 cup dry white wine

1 small can (2 oz.) of anchovies in olive oil * SECRET ingredient

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 small shallot, diced

½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

2 tbsp. butter

1 small bottle of clam juice (I use Cento 8 oz.)

½ cup Italian parsley, chopped (more for garnish)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

Cover the clams with cold water in a bowl and add a fistful of salt. Let them stand for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, rinse and scrub the clams well under cold running water discarding any clams that are open.

In a large pot, boil water for linguine /spaghetti. When the water begins to boil, add salt liberally. Let the water return to a boil and cook your pasta al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat and sauté shallots and ¼ tsp red pepper flakes for 2-3 minutes. When the shallots are translucent, add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Take the pan off the heat (to avoid splatters) and add 2 tbsp. of butter and the can of anchovies. Stir well to dissolve the anchovies.

Put the pan back on the heat and stir in the clam juice, salt and pepper.

Add the white wine and the clams. Cover and steam until the clams open (approx. 7-10 minutes). Discard any clams that do not open.

Remove clams from their shell and leave some in the shell for presentation. (I chop some and also leave some whole).

Drain the linguine/spaghetti and add to the pot of clams. Toss well to combine and add the fresh parsley. Check for seasoning….garnish with more parsley.

download- clams

Uncle Vinny’s Soup

2015-11-08 23.24.56 - INTRO

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Hi everyone, 

I prepared this tablescape on Friday and was about to post it when the terror attacks struck Paris and then I couldn’t post anything. My heart is broken and saddened by the events in Paris and my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Paris.

This is a fun blog meant to be informative and entertaining and that is my goal. I hope this post can make you smile, even for a brief moment…..

Yesterday I was reminiscing about my Uncle Vinny. Uncle Vinny was a very tall, loud, loving man that worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and his family meant the world to him. He was the father to my cousins Laura and Jeanette and husband to my Dad’s sister Rose. He was also one of the first “foodies” that I ever met, even before that term was made popular.

To me he was a gentle giant and if you read my 4th of July post, he is the uncle that always drove out from Brooklyn to give us the best fireworks display each year. He loved all the kids so much. But for me, he always brought me my favorite, sparklers!

Back to my uncle, the foodie. My Uncle Vinny was very particular about what he ate and he had to have his food from certain places around Brooklyn. This drove my Aunt Rose crazy. He had a special butcher, fish monger, and grocer. You name the food and he had someone special to buy it from. All the store owners knew him and knew how he liked his food. 

In addition to the usual Italian fare, he introduced me to certain Italian delicacies when I was a child. For example, Uncle Vinny ate rabbit, snails, tripe, frog legs and the ever frightening lambs head at Easter. Yes, I have to say that I have tasted it all; probably because he told me after I took a bite what I was eating, but I tried it none the less.

But of all the foods he loved, Uncle Vinny LOVED “escarole soup with meatballs” the best. Today it is know by the name, Italian Wedding Soup. I have no idea how this soup evolved into that name and honestly, I have never seen it served at any Italian wedding I have attended.

2015-11-08 23.38.01 INTRO 3 - SOUP AND TUREEN WITH SOUP

In our home we renamed the soup to be respectfully called “Uncle Vinny Soup”. Even when I had friends over, they all knew it by that name. Uncle Vinny became famous for this soup and I think as a food lover, he was thrilled that a food was named after him.

In fact, every year we had to have Uncle Vinny soup for our primo course at Thanksgiving. I still keep this tradition going since I got married and passed this along to my son. It brings a smile to my face when serving this soup, as if Uncle Vinny is sending us a blessing from heaven. 

And no Thanksgiving is complete without it.

Yesterday for some reason, I woke up and Uncle Vinny was on my mind. Did you ever have that happen with someone? You just can’t stop thinking about them. Well, in his memory, I decided to make his soup and not wait until Thanksgiving. I had all the ingredients in the house and took that as a sign to start making soup.

Of course, I will still be making this soup again on Thanksgiving.

We can’t break a tradition.

I want to share this special recipe with all of you. I hope you try it and enjoy.

But first, a simple Autumn tablescape to showcase the soup.

2015-11-08 23.25.17 EXTRA

Naturally with all of the beautiful colors of the leaves changing this time of year, I had to use dishes with autumn leaves featured. 

The dishes I am using today are my every day Autumn dishes, (yes, I change my dishes quite often). The dishes are a light beige background adorned with leaves in beautiful fall colors, along with acorns, cranberries and tartan plaid ribbons.

Something different for me this time; the dishes are square. I usually gravitate toward round dishes, but they were too pretty to pass up.

The name of the dish pattern is “Autumn Celebration” and that is exactly what it is.

2015-11-08 14.08.11 - DISHES

Since there are so many colors and patterns going on with this dish, I decided to stay with the neutral color scheme for my accessories so I am using a very basic tan tablecloth.

2015-11-08 14.17.55- TABLECLOTH

However, I am picking up the leaf pattern from the dishes with the napkins I chose. They are once again, a light beige background with autumn leaves in the same fall colors as the dish.

2015-11-08 14.26.19- UV NAPKIN PATTERN

The napkin rings are wrapped rayon yarn in autumn colors. I am using the spiced red and gold from the set that also includes forest green and brown. 

2015-11-08 14.24.21- NAPKIN RINGS

2015-11-08 14.11.44 NAPKINS

You know I love to set a table with a charger plate but it wouldn’t work for this tablescape. Since the dishes are square I am using  NEW autumn placemats that I bought in Pier 1 that could work perfectly. The placemats are gathered maple leaves. I fell in love with these placemats as soon as I saw them. The colors are just so rich with the gold accents.

2015-11-08 14.06.09 PLACEMAT

The flatware is also a neutral color and I am using off white with a pearl finish to pick up the background of the dishes. This time I am setting the table with the addition of a soup spoon.  It doesn’t come with the set but I always use a soup spoon for soup instead of a large dinner spoon.

I have been doing this since I was a child (thanks Mom) and it’s a habit I just can’t break. I even bought a set of soup spoons for my son when he got his apartment.

2015-11-08 - FLATWARE 14-05-51

Keeping up with the simple and neutral color scheme; I am using amber goblets for my glassware. You have seen these before on a few of my other tablescapes. The amber picks up the color of the acorns on the dish.

2015-11-08 14.10.20- GOBLETS

I wanted an earthy feel to the centerpiece, so I am using a basket made completely out of twigs. I usually have this basket in my den (remember the Safari room)? This time I am filling it with assorted gourds and autumn leaves for a real outdoor feel.

2015-11-08 23.55.19 CENTERPIECE

2015-11-08 23.36.39-- GO

The table scatter (which I must have) for my tablescapes, are various colored autumn leaves.

2015-11-08 14.23.09- LEAVES SCATTER

I am using two other pieces from the Autumn Celebration collection and that is the soup tureen and also the small oval Thanksgiving platter which I will use to serve hot biscuits.

2015-11-08 14.13.02- TUREEN

2015-11-08 23.23.26 - SOUP IN TUREEN

What is better than soup with hot buttered biscuits? I could have that every day for every meal.

2015-11-08 23.22.54 - SOUP AND BISQUITS

The saying on the platter is a quote from American poet, Wilbur D. Nesbit.

“Forever on Thanksgiving Day. The heart will find the pathway home”

2015-11-08 23.06.00 PLATTER

This simple lunch is served in memory of my Uncle Vinny; a man who brought a lot of love and fun to the family and is missed so deeply.

There is a reason why Uncle Vinny was on my mind today; maybe to send us a blessing before the holiday season or just remind me not to forget to make the soup.

Please try the soup recipe (recipe printed at the end of the post) and may you and your family receive many blessings of your own.

Don’t forget some hot buttered biscuits to go along with the soup. These are buttermilk biscuits topped with sesame seeds and LOTS of butter.

2015-11-08 23.26.47 - BISQUITS

Place Setting

2015-11-08 23.35.40 -PLACE SETTING

Tablescape Details

Autumn Celebration dishes from Macy’s

Napkins from The Christmas Tree Store

Tablecloth from Amazon

Napkin Rings from Bed, Bath and Beyond

Maple Leaf placemats from Pier 1

Off White Pearl flatware from Amazon

Twig centerpiece from Fortunoff’s

Gourds and leaves from Michael’s Arts and Crafts

Amber goblets from JC Penney

Soup spoons from Chef’s Catalog

I have also included my recipes for homemade chicken broth, chicken stock, meatballs and meatballs with sausage along with the soup recipe in case you want to look these over as well.

Have fun cooking.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Diane

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Let’s get started…

I am making homemade chicken broth first. Usually, I have some broth in the freezer, but not today.

2015-11-08 16.34.53 INGREDIENTS - USE THIS

Uncle Vinny Soup

2015-11-09 17.15.28- CLOSE UP 2

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups of homemade chicken broth (recipe follows), canned or boxed is fine*.
  • 3 large carrots, diced
  • 3 large celery stalks, diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Red pepper flakes – to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp. of tomato paste
  • Fresh nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup grated cheese + 3 tbsp. for egg mixture
  • 1-2 bunches of escarole, washed and shredded (approx. 3-4 cups)
  • ½ cup of parsley- chopped fine
  • 1-2 cans of cannellini beans (your choice) –rinsed and drained
  • 1 ½ lbs. of mini meatballs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 Cooked ditalini, acini di pepe or pastina – (1 cup dry)

  • (Optional – 2 tbsp. chicken fat)
  • (Optional – shredded chicken from homemade soup)

In a large pot, sauté the carrots, celery and onion in 3 TBSP of olive oil for 10 minutes until veggies soften. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and 1 tbsp. tomato paste and cook for 1 more minute

Add the chopped escarole and beans to the pot and sauté until the escarole wilts (3-4 minutes)

Add 8 cups of broth (homemade, canned or boxed *), parsley, bay leaf, salt and pepper and simmer for 15 minutes. (If you are using chicken fat add it now)

  • If you use boxed soup, “Imagine” has an organic chicken broth but DO NOT BUY the Kosher chicken broth variety- that contains soy, canola oil, yeast extract (aka MSG) and xanthan gum

While the soup is simmering on LOW, make the mini meatballs (various recipes below, either with or without sausage), and then add them to the broth – they will cook in the broth in approx. 20 minutes (they will float to the top of the pot when they are done)…If you are using shredded chicken from the broth, add it now.

Meanwhile, prepare the egg mixture – In a bowl combine 3 large eggs to 3 tbsp. of grated cheese. (Additional parsley can be added at this time). Beat the mixture lightly with a fork or whisk.

Add the mixture in one fell swoop to the hot broth, stirring vigorously with a whisk or fork so as to break up the egg (this will form fine light flakes or stands of egg). Simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly and remove from heat.

I serve the soup over cooked pasta in the soup bowl. (I don’t like to add the pasta to the soup because it expands and gets mushy the longer it sits)

Serve the soup with additional grated cheese

Serves 6-8

MEATBALL RECIPE

  • 1 ½ lbs. ground grass fed beef or ½ lb each of meatloaf mix( Veal, pork, beef)
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup grated cheese
  • ½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, diced or 1 tsp minced garlic from a jar
  • Fresh ground black pepper and salt to taste

Combine ALL ingredients in a large mixing bowl. The mixture should be solid, not mushy. If too mushy, add more breadcrumbs. Roll the meat to form mini meatballs

MEATBALLS WITH SAUSAGE 

  • ½ lb. grass fed ground beef
  • ½ lb. ground pork
  • ½ lb. ground veal
  • 2 mild sausages, casings removed
  • ½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup grated cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, diced or 1 tsp minced garlic from a jar
  • 1 tsp of kosher salt & ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup whole milk

Using a whisk, mix the milk and the breadcrumbs in a deep bowl. Add ALL the remaining ingredients. Mix well and form the mini meatballs. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place meatballs 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes until lightly brown…add the meatballs to the soup

HOMEMADE CHICKEN BROTH

This is a good basic broth to keep in the freezer to use as a base for other soups, as a flavor base for sauces, or to use on it’s own. Simmer it slowly to prevent cloudiness. To create a richer, darker broth, you can roast the chicken in the oven before simmering.

  • Add any saved chicken parts (wings, necks and bones you saved in your freezer for stock) to the pot

Ingredients:

DO NOT wash the chicken

  • 1 (4 lb. chicken, whole)
  • 8 cups of water (2 quarts)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled
  • 1 medium parsnip, peeled
  • 3 stalks of celery cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 head of garlic, halved
  • 3 generous sprigs of fresh thyme OR 1 tsp. dried
  • 3 generous sprigs of fresh parsley OR ¼ cup just leaves
  • 1 small bunch of dill, tied together with a string
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to rub inside the cavity of the chicken (2 tsp salt & ¼ tsp fresh black pepper) plus additional salt and pepper for seasoning
  • (Optional – 1 organic tomato, quartered)
  • (Optional – 1 (14 oz.) can of low sodium chicken broth for added flavor)
  1. Combine ALL ingredients in a large stockpot. Do not remove the skin from the chicken because this helps to create a richer soup. Simmer on MEDIUM to just under a boil
  2. Reduce the heat to a very LOW simmer, so that 1 or 2 bubbles break the surface of the broth about once a minute – this will cook for 3 hours. Periodically, skim fat and scum from the surface with a ladle, large spoon or skimmer……(To prevent losing a lot of stock when skimming, put the skimmed liquid into a degreasing cup, and return useable broth back to the pot)
  3. At hour # 2 or until chicken is cooked through but not dry, remove the chicken from the pot and continue to simmer the broth. Cool the chicken for about 10 minutes. Cut the chicken meat from the bone, and return the bones to the pot and cook for the last hour.
  4. When all the cooking is done, strain the broth through cheesecloth into another pot. Taste and season with salt & pepper
  5. Broth can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days

Chicken Stock instead of broth

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 ½ lbs. of chicken wings, backs and bones
  • 3 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 onions coarsely chopped
  • 4 ribs of celery, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. of tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 bunch parsley stems
  1. In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil over high heat until smoking. Add ALL the chicken parts and brown all over, stirring to avoid burning. Remove the chicken and reserve.
  2. Add the carrots, onions and celery to the pot and add 3 quarts of water, the tomato paste, peppercorns and parsley.
  3. Stir with a wooden spoon to dislodge the browned chicken and vegetable bits from the bottom of the pan.
  4. Bring almost to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook at a LOW simmer until reduced by half, about 2 hours – occasionally skimming excess fat.
  5. Remove from the heat, strain and press on the solids with the bottom of the ladle to extract out all the liquids.
  6. Stir the stock to facilitate cooling and set aside.
  7. Refrigerate stock in small containers for up to a week or freeze up to a month — yields 1 ½ quarts