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We had a mini heatwave here in the Northeast the past few days. The temperature went from very cool weather to being in the 90’s in a matter of days.
Since the weather has been so unpredictable, I have had a late start planting my garden.
We finally bought our plants and they are all in the ground.
Now we wait for the first bounty.
I feel like my Dad when I plant a garden. He followed in the footsteps of his family and planted a vegetable garden every year. Back in Brooklyn, all the neighbors would share whatever vegetables they grew.
Sharing your garden bounty is always a nice part of summer.
Bob and I usually plant tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers and some herbs.
This year I am increasing my herb plantings.
I don’t know about you but it seems I am constantly buying herbs in the grocery store. I buy basil and within a day it turns brown. My parsley turns yellow almost immediately.
So I have decided that this year, is the year of the herb garden. I have added thyme, sage, dill, rosemary and tarragon to the usual parsley and basil.
While I was planting the herbs, I thought it would be great to make a quiche using a combination of herbs for a light brunch with a side salad. So I did some research for a new recipe and I found one for a “Crustless Herb Quiche”. I want to share this recipe with you today. Very fast and very easy.
Along with the quiche I made a Baby Spinach Salad.
My take on an old classic.
The classic spinach salad minus the bacon, fresh mushrooms and croutons.
The right salad dressing means everything to enhance the flavor of a salad and I have had the good fortune to meet a wonderful fellow foodie named ” Cucina Teresa” on one of my Facebook food groups who makes the perfect salad dressing.
Spinach salad calls for balsamic dressing and Cucina Teresa makes the best creamy balsamic salad dressing I have ever tasted. (which I highly recommend for this spinach salad recipe.) I just can’t say enough about it. I know I sound like a walking advertisement, but it’s that good.
I have included her ordering information after the “Recipe” section at the end of this post, in case you are interested in trying her dressing. You will not be disappointed.
Another salad for this brunch is one my mother made all the time with cucumbers from her garden.
Cucumbers with Sour Cream and Dill.
Brunch is served ...
(Recipes at the end of the post.)
What better way to enjoy herb inspired food than on “herb” themed dishes. I have just the right set.
The dishes I am using for brunch are made by Certified International, designed by Susan Winget. I just love her work.
It is an earthenware dish with a cream background with designs of herbs, butterflies and bees in shades of blue, lilac, green and yellow with a brown rim. The name of the featured herb is on each plate.
I only bought the salad plates and mugs along with a few serving trays because I intended to only use this set on the patio, just for dessert and coffee/tea after dinner on summer nights.
The large serving tray is 14 X 14 and highlights lavender and chamomile alongside a birdcage and butterfly. The tray is cream and lilac with various shades of green and a brown rim.
The small serving tray is 11 x 5 and is cream and green with a brown rim. The word “herbs” is spelled out on the tray with a design in lilac, blue and green that features not only herbs and a butterfly, but a gardening tool as well.
The set comes with the most adorable tea pot, creamer and sugar bowl that caught my eye first. Both pieces have a cute butterfly attached to the lids.
The tea pot is a watering can with accents of lime green with a design of chamomile flowers (one of my favorite teas) and a butterfly on the lid.
The sugar bowl is a flower pot with accents of lime green with a floral and butterfly design, a butterfly on the lid and the message on the creamer says, “Plant your wishes”.
The creamer is also a watering can, with accents of lime green and a similar floral and butterfly design and the message on the creamer says, ” Hope for rain”.
I am using the same burlap tablecloth that I used for Easter. I just love this tablecloth and find it is the perfect backdrop for a lot of my dish collections that feature garden themes.
You will be very surprised, but I am not using a cloth napkin. For this tablescape I am using a paper guest/dinner napkin and therefore no napkin rings. I found this napkin in a gift shop in Stony Brook, NY and it turns out that the napkin is also by Susan Winget. Somehow, I am drawn to her work everywhere I go.
Susan’s work reminds me of two other designers that I admire, Susan Branch and Marjolein Bastin.
The napkin is cream with lovely branches of lavender and a few bees. Perfect for the dishes. Thinking about it now, I should have bought more than one package.
No placemats either for this tablescape, just my brown rattan chargers. Another natural earthy addition to go along with the theme. I suggest if you buy only one set of chargers, purchase brown rattan. They are very versatile.
I have a new flatware purchase that I bought for a different dish collection but thought that it would be perfect on this table. The flatware has wooden handles in the same shade of brown as the plate rim and they coordinate perfectly with the chargers.
No glassware, I am just using the matching mugs from the set. The mugs are over-sized and have a mint green handle and the same designs as the salad plates.
My centerpiece is all about gardening and I am using a wooden cream picket fence plant holder that was given to me back in the day when my son was still in grade school. The plant holder has hand painted designs of watering cans, birdhouses and flowers.
This planter is over 20 years old.
Close up of the hand painted designs.
I am filling the plant holder with an artificial Lavender plant (you know how I am with live plants and yes, after a good two years of tender loving care, I killed the bamboo. A story for another time).
Anyway, this lavender plant reminded me of the design on the napkins and matches the colors on the plate; and for $ 9.99 in Homegoods it was a great bargain.
I am adding a few garden tools, garden gloves and some packets of seeds to complete the centerpiece.
I just love the way the centerpiece turned out so I am leaving it on an end table in the living room for the entire summer (it was put together in five minutes).
For a little fun and a pop of color, I have added a packet of seeds to each place setting for decoration that can be used as a favor.
Favors do not have to be expensive. Just a little token as a reminder for your guests of the party, luncheon, dinner or gathering is enough.
This tablescape and centerpiece, reminds me of the visits Bob and I have made to a Lavender Farm in East Marion, NY called “Lavender by the Bay”.
If you are ever on Long Island, NY and want to take a drive and see a gorgeous field of lavender, that is the place to go.
Lavender by the Bay
Together will the dried lavender, they also sell lavender products from sachets to lotions, including lavender honey (one of my favorites).
I should have purchased this sachet, it would have looked adorable on the table. It blends right in with the dishes. Next time…
I hope this tablescape gave you some inspiration to try a new recipe for brunch, take a drive to a lavender farm or plant an herb garden of your own.
Good luck to anyone with a garden this year and I will keep you posted on the success of my garden.
Don’t forget the recipes at the end of the post.
Until my next post, make every day a celebration!
Salad plates and mugs from Certified International – pattern, Herb Garden
Tea pot from Certified International – pattern, Herb Garden
Creamer and Sugar bowl from Certified International – pattern, Herb Garden
Serving platter and trays from Certified International – pattern, Herb Garden
Burlap tablecloth from Amazon
Paper Napkins from Tapestry Designs
Brown rattan chargers from Sur La Table
Brown flatware from Amazon
Artificial Lavender plant from Homegoods
Picket Fence plant holder was a gift
Seed packets, gardening gloves and gardening tools from Ace
Crustless Herb Quiche
from Chef Mary-Frances Heck of Fitness magazine
- Makes: 4 servings
- Prep: 20 mins
- Total Time: 50 mins
- Carb Grams Per Serving: 6
- 2 strips bacon, chopped
- 1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 6 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup low-fat milk
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 ounces goat cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat, 3 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 15 minutes. Stir in herbs and remove from heat.
Spray a 9-inch glass pie dish with cooking spray. Arrange onion-herb mixture in dish. Whisk together eggs and milk; season with salt and pepper. Pour into dish and dot with goat cheese. Bake until set and golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Diane’s Baby Spinach Salad
I use a creamy balsamic vinaigrette for this salad.
All ingredients can be adjusted to your liking.
- ½ cup of dry mini farfalle (bowtie) pasta. (I use Barilla brand)
- 4 cups baby spinach leaves, washed and patted dry
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
- 1 small can mandarin oranges, drained
- 1/3 cup walnut pieces (or any nut of your choice)
- ½- 1 cup mozzarella “pearls” (or goat cheese or feta)
- ½ an English cucumber, sliced
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup red onions, sliced
- 1/4 cup scallions
- 1 hard- boiled egg, sliced
- fresh basil
- Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain. Set aside.
- In a large bowl toss together pasta, spinach, strawberries, mandarin oranges, walnuts, mozzarella pearls, cucumbers, red onions, scallions, sliced egg and tomatoes. Mix well.
- Just before serving pour dressing over salad, toss, add some fresh basil and serve.
Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream and Dill Dressing
By Martha Stewart
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 tbsp. fresh lemon (from 1 lemon)
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish (optional)
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 4-6 Kirby cucumbers (about 1 lb.), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
- In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, lemon juice and dill
- Season with salt and pepper, and whisk well to combine
- Add cucumbers, and toss to coat. Garnish with more dill, if desired.
- Serve, or refrigerate, covered, up to 4 hours
The Cucina Teresa website is under construction at the moment but you can inbox her facebook page, “Cucina Teresa” and she will give you prices and directions on how to send payment for this fantastic product.
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