Monthly Archives: August 2016

Parisian Bistro…

(Click on PHOTO to enlarge and then hit the back arrow to return to original size).

Hi everyone,

Wow, we are approaching the middle of August already…where does the time go? Especially the summer.

I hope your summer has been great so far.

2016-08-07 10.47.10 -INTRO

Today’s tablescape is one I have to dedicate to a beautiful little girl who just celebrated her christening. Once I saw her christening dress, (the floral pattern and colors reminded me of a floral pattern on a set of dishes I own).  I know, this is how I think, in dish patterns. I took the dishes out for a closer inspection. 

 I just had to send a photo to her grandmother to show her the similarities and then I decided to use the dishes for a new tablescape.

I was planning on having a few friends over for lunch and these dishes are perfect for a ladies lunch. 

The dishes have a Parisian theme so I started to think about what I could serve for lunch that I would order at a French bistro.

I know for some this will be hard to believe, but I don’t just eat Italian food.

 I love a croque madame or a croque monsieur sandwich, mussels and frites; but not everyone likes that. So, I decided to play it safe and serve a classic Quiche Lorraine and a few salads.

Phone calls were made to invite the guests and I was ready to start setting the table and planning the menu…

The dishes I am using are by 222 Fifth and the pattern is called Lissome.

The dishes have a scalloped border that originally caught my eye. The design features an off-white background and a floral rim with a few dabs of coral and blush accents and the dinner and salad plate are Parisian scenes.

2016-08-07 10.42.33 DINNER PLATE

 2016-08-07 10.43.24 SALAD PLATE

The cup and saucers to this set are so pretty and delicate that I am setting the table with them at the beginning of the meal instead of waiting to bring them out just for the dessert course.

2016-08-07 10.24.44 CUP AND SAUCER

To accent the colors in the dishes I am using a light pink tablecloth with dove gray woven placemats.

File Aug 07, 2 36 45 PM- PLACEMAT TC

I didn’t want a charger that would interfere with the soft design of the dishes so I am using beaded glass chargers – one of my favorites.

2016-08-07 10.22.30 GLASS CHARGER

 I have blush colored napkins with Eiffel tower napkin rings in silver with tiny rhinestones for a little sparkle.

2016-08-07 10.16.39 NAPKIN RING

The flatware is clear to coordinate with the chargers and the handles look like chunks of ice.

2016-08-07 10.22.51 FLATWARE

The glassware are wine goblets with hand painted pink roses from American Atelier. I have had these glasses for so long that I don’t even remember where or when I purchased them.

The hand painted roses pick up the floral pattern in the dish.

2016-08-07 10.25.10 GLASSWARE

Even though it is not a color coordinated table accent; I decided to display some French lavender in the water pitcher that matches the set. The French lavender leaves a wonderful scent and being French, it fits.

This lavender came directly from the lavender farm, “Lavender By the Bay” in East Marion, NY. I dried it for a week and the scent is magnificent.

The farm is a very nice place to visit for fresh and dried lavender, sachets and honey.

2016-08-07 10.25.40 LAVENDER

I wanted to create a very mellow and relaxing atmosphere, so I am keeping the centerpiece very, very simple.

Tablescapes can go from simple to elaborate with just a few added accents. But remember, tablescapes do not need a lot of bells and whistles all the time. Don’t be intimidated organizing a tablescape. Think of the occasion, how many guests and the mood you want to create; and go from there.

For today’s Parisian tablescape, I am using a replica of the Eiffel Tower to match the scenes from the dish, displayed on a ceramic gray cake stand. 

I’ve added pink carnations to the cake stand as well.

2016-08-07 10.49.23 EIFFEL TOWER

2016-08-07 10.09.18 CARNATION

For each flower, I tied a sheer white ribbon to the stem and then embellished the ribbon with a material rosette to match the design on the glassware.

2016-08-07 09.40.48 - ROSETTES

2016-08-07 10.09.24 - FLORAL EMB..

Each guest took home a carnation from the centerpiece as a favor from lunch.

2016-08-08 03.29.12 CENTERPIECE ll

For a little extra sparkle I am using mercury glass votive candles scattered around the table. You know I just love candles.

File Aug 07, 2 37 05 PM CANDLES

Additional cake stands for the tablescape…

2016-08-07 10.23.11 PINK STAND

2016-08-07 10.24.05 PARIS STAND

Now for lunch…

 I served the classic Quiche Lorraine, a mixed green salad, a haricot verts salad and of course, croissants.

I found a great recipe from Emeril Lagasse on Food Network for Quiche Lorraine that you would expect to find in a French Bistro.

I decided to be brave and make my own pie crust since the recipe didn’t look too frightening.

Well, I am happy to say that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Just a few cracks here and there after it baked, but I survived and so did the crust.

2016-08-07 17.42.38 DOUGH

2016-08-07 20.31.33  QUICHE

(recipe at the end of the post)

My first salad is one that I had at a French bistro and honestly I don’t know if it is an authentic French recipe or if the restaurant just put it together, but it was great.

The salad consisted of baby spinach, romaine lettuce, grapes, walnuts, and Belgian endive leaves stuffed with goat cheese and apples, all dressed with a champagne vinaigrette. Delicious!

For a little extra touch, I added edible sugar butterflies for decoration.

My recipe for the champagne vinaigrette is at the end of the post.

2016-08-07 20.24.10 SALAD

For the haricot vert salad, I just mixed the steamed haricot vert with toasted almond slices and sun-dried tomatoes in a red pepper dressing with fresh chives, basil and tarragon…

2016-08-07 20.33.10  HARICOT VERTS

 Cannot forget the croissants.

2016-08-07 16.35.58 - CROISSANTS

Lunch is served…

2016-08-07 22.51.26  PLATE

Now for dessert…

The first French desserts that came to mind were creme brulee, pot de creme, chocolate mousse, fruit tarts and eclairs.

I had a brief moment when I thought I would make my dessert and then snapped out of it immediately because baking is not my thing. So I went to the bakery for help. 

 I chose a gorgeous cheesecake decorated with fresh fruit from a wonderful bakery,

“La Bonne Boulangerie.”

The bakery is located in Port Jefferson, NY and one that I frequent often. There are so many wonderful choices it’s hard to pick just one item. If you are ever in the neighborhood, stop in.

2016-08-06 19.41.31-  LA BONNE

2016-08-07 16.33.41 CHEESECAKE

You just have to have macarons if it’s a French inspired lunch, so I purchased lemon, pistachio, chocolate and vanilla macarons from the bakery as well (displayed against a delicious napolean).

The macarons were added to each dessert plate with a slice of cake for a little extra French touch. 

2016-08-07 16.30.40  MACARONS

My friends and I had a wonderful time. It was great to have the chance to get together, share a meal and catch up with each other.

Appreciate the little moments in your life that create big memories !

Until my next post, make every day a celebration !


2016-08-07 10.50.28 BUFFET II

Place Setting

2016-08-07 10.17.23 PLACE SETTING

Table Details

Lissome dishes from Homegoods

Pink tablecloth from Christmas Tree Store

Gray placemats from Homegoods

Blush napkins from Amazon

Clear chargers from Crate and Barrel

Lucite flatware from Amazon

Eiffel tower napkin rings from Amazon

Rose painted wine goblets from American Atelier

Lissome cake stand from Replacements, Ltd.

Lissome water pitcher from Replacements, Ltd

Eiffel tower replica from Amazon

Gray cake stand from Target

Pink vintage glass cake plate from Pier 1

Mercury glass votive candle holders from Michael’s Arts & Crafts

Floral rosettes & sheer ribbon from Michael’s Arts & Crafts

French Lavender from “Lavender By the Bay”, East Marion, NY

Dessert from La Bonne Boulangerie , Port Jefferson, NY

File Aug 07, 1 43 31 PM EXTRA

Quiche Lorraine

Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse

Of course I had to tweak it a little…


6 ounces thick cut bacon, cut into narrow strips (or “ lardons”)
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1- 1/4 cups half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup grated Gruyere OR Swiss…… ( I combined 1/2 cup Gruyere and 1/2 cup Swiss)

Flaky Butter Crust:
1 – 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1 to 2 tablespoons ice water, or more as needed


On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to an 11-inch circle. Fit into a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and trim the edges. (Alternatively, a 9-inch pie pan can be used.) Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Line the pastry with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the crust is set, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove the paper and weights and bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
In a medium skillet, cook the bacon until crisp and the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Discard the fat or reserve for another use.
Arrange the bacon evenly over the bottom of the baked crust.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, yolks, and half and half. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine. Pour into the prepared crust and bake until the custard is golden, puffed, and set yet still slightly wiggly in the center, 30 to 35 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving. 
Flaky Butter Crust:
To make the dough in a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and butter in the processor and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube and pulse quickly 5 or 6 times, or until the dough comes together and starts to pull away from the sides of the container. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten it into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
To make the dough by hand, combine the flour, salt, and butter in a medium bowl, and mix with a pastry blender or your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time and mix until the dough comes together and is no longer dry, being careful not to overmix. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface according to the recipe, fit it into the pan, and allow to rest again in the refrigerator before baking.
Yield: one 9-inch tart or pie crust.


My recipe for champagne vinaigrette…


2 tbsp. shallots – diced

2 tbsp champagne vinegar

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

5 tbsp. olive oil

fresh black pepper to taste


In a bowl, whisk the shallots, vinegar and salt

Let it stand 10 minutes

Whisk in the remaining Dijon mustard, oil and black pepper


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Make every day a celebration !


2016-05-15 20.26.47- ice cream

Eggplant Patties


(Click on PHOTO to enlarge then hit the back arrow to return to original size).

Hi Everyone, 

Have you ever been so excited about finding a recipe you have searched for, that you just have to tell all your friends? Well this happened to me and I have to pass this along to you.

The other day, Bob and I stopped at a farm stand and I bought the best looking eggplants I have seen in a long time. I got a little carried away and bought more vegetables than two people could eat in a week.

Now that I had my abundance of eggplant, I made the usual eggplant parmigiana and then I even stuffed some of the small ones with ground beef, sausage and fresh tomatoes.

(I posted that recipe last year, but I will post a recap at the end of this post)

2016-08-05 17.25.25 - STUFFED EGGPLANTS  II

Well, I still had more eggplant and Bob and I were talking about my mother and her bountiful garden each summer and what she did with all her vegetables.

Granted she gave a lot away to neighbors and relatives and still had enough to pickle and cook.

I was telling Bob that one of my favorite things my mother made with eggplants, beside pickled eggplant was eggplant balls that she used instead of meatballs; tossed in sauce and macaroni. Delicious!

I was now on a quest to find the perfect eggplant ball recipe. I searched the internet and many of the recipes I found had so many ingredients that I knew it wouldn’t taste like my Mother’s.

Until I stumbled upon a recipe by Lynette Marie on the Allrecipes site. Her recipe was passed down to her by her Aunt Mary. Once I read the simple ingredients, I knew this would be just like Mom’s.

So I set out to make Aunt Mary’s Eggplant Balls. And me being me, I had to tweak the recipe a bit. I added  a 4 oz. can of chopped mushroom pieces & stems to give the eggplant ball a more meaty consistency. I used a different grated cheese than recommended, I peeled the eggplant and I used less parsley. Not too many changes.

Since I just bought fresh ciabatta rolls I decided to make eggplant patties instead of eggplant balls and have a sandwich with some of my leftover marinara sauce and fresh mozzarella from the Italian deli.

It was a hit and so delicious, that Bob asked me to put it on the regular dinner rotation. I hope you give this recipe a try and enjoy it as much as we did.

A special thanks to Lynette and to her Aunt Mary and to my mother for the memories.

Food Is Love !

(I served my eggplant patties with stuffed cubanelle peppers or Italian frying peppers. More veggies from the farm stand.)

Aunt Mary’s Eggplant Balls

by Lynette Marie by way of Allrecipes – 2016

(ALL of my tweaks are in an italic font)

Formed and ready for the oven.

File Aug 10, 8 23 44 PM EGGPLANT PATTIES


  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 cups cubed eggplant, with peel (I peeled the eggplant)
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • ½ cup grated cheese (recipe called for Parmesan, I used Locatelli)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley ( I used ½ cup)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ¾ cup dried bread crumbs
  • I ADDED – a 4 oz. can of mushroom stems and pieces, drained and chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking sheet (I used parchment paper)

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Pour in olive oil and sauté garlic just until lightly browned. Mix in the eggplant and water. Reduce heat to low and cover skillet. Allow eggplant to steam until soft, about 20 minutes.

Place eggplant in a large bowl to cool.

Take a 4 oz. can of mushroom stems and pieces, drained and chop finely by hand or a few pulses in the food processor. Add the mushrooms to the eggplant.

Mix the cheese, parsley, eggs and bread crumbs into the eggplant. Stir with a wooden spoon or your hands until ingredients are thoroughly combined and mixture can be rolled into balls. Add more bread crumbs as needed to make the mixture workable.

Refrigerate mixture for 15 minutes, then roll into balls or form into patties.

Place eggplant balls on prepared baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes. Serve immediately.


Stuffed Eggplants


2-4 small long eggplants

14 oz. mushrooms (I use a combination of white button, cremini and oyster)

2 (1 lb.) pkgs. of ground beef or ground turkey OR (1 lb. ground beef & (1 lb) sausage- out of the casing) 

3-4 fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped OR 1 pint of grape tomatoes, cut in half

4 tbsp. grated cheese or more to taste

6 basil leaves, shredded

Sprigs of parsley, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

Olive oil

Mozzarella cheese, shredded for topping eggplants


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Wash the eggplant, cut them in half lengthwise, and scoop out the flesh. Salt the cavities, put the eggplant in a baking pan, cover the pan with aluminum foil, and bake for 20 minutes (they should be soft but not mushy)

Trim the roots from the mushrooms, wipe the dirt off with a damp cloth, and dice them lengthwise.

Add the mushrooms and the flesh from the eggplant to a food processor and pulse just a few times to make small pieces to fill the eggplant.

Heat ¼ cup olive oil with the garlic. Season the ground meat with salt and pepper. Add the ground meat to the oil and sauté until it begins to turn brown.

Add the diced eggplant and diced mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes over a medium flame, then increase the heat and add the tomatoes and the basil leaves.

After 5 minutes, turn off the burner, stir in the parsley and grated cheese. Check the seasoning.

Stuff the hollowed out eggplant with the filling, top with shredded mozzarella and heat them in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Serve them hot or warm.


Until my next post, make every day a celebration !


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

And share this post with your family and friends.

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

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


Note–  You can add DishingwithDiane photos to your pinterest page; just hit the save button in the top left hand corner of the pictures.