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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.
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.
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.
To accent the colors in the dishes I am using a light pink tablecloth with dove gray woven placemats.
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.
I have blush colored napkins with Eiffel tower napkin rings in silver with tiny rhinestones for a little sparkle.
The flatware is clear to coordinate with the chargers and the handles look like chunks of ice.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Each guest took home a carnation from the centerpiece as a favor from lunch.
For a little extra sparkle I am using mercury glass votive candles scattered around the table. You know I just love candles.
Additional cake stands for the tablescape…
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.
(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.
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…
Cannot forget the croissants.
Lunch is served…
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.
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.
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 !
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
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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