Author Archives: aries041158

Italian Street Food

Photo Aug 04, 8 07 06 PM.jpg MORTADELLA SANDWICH

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

Hi everyone, 

This post is dedicated to my grandmother. You all know by now how much I adored her and she would have turned 113 years old this month. So “Happy Birthday” in Heaven grandma. I will always miss you and love you. 

 I was recently sharing a memory of my grandmother with a friend. I have so many wonderful memories of her. Grandma is always on my mind but today I was telling a friend what a wonderful cook she was and how much fun we had when she would visit for the weekend.

When grandma visited, “everything” involved food.

On Friday nights she would make zeppoles and calzones for a snack.

The zeppoles are fried balls of dough covered in powdered sugar. I am sure you have seen them if you have ever been to an Italian Feast, (probably near the sausage and peppers). At the feast, the vendors put them in a paper bag with powdered sugar, shake them up and you are on your way with this greasy bag of goodness. Of course you always need extra powdered sugar.

IMG_4883.JPG ZEPPOLES.jpg for blog

The calzone are oven baked folded pizza dough that is filled with Italian ham, mozzarella, grated cheese and rich creamy ricotta. Absolutely delicious. There are other variations with tomatoes, anchovies and olives but grandma stuck to the original recipe from Naples, Italy.

1033249144001_4388224590001_video-still-for-video-4377529155001.jpg CALZONE 2.jpg- for BLOG

But on Saturday, I would ask my grandmother to make her mortadella sandwiches in focaccia bread for lunch.

Before we go any further, ALWAYS buy imported mortadella—enough said.

Mortadella is compared to bologna, but it really isn’t the same. I copied a definition from one of the Italian websites (italyinsf.com) to give you a clearer understanding.

“While bologna is made with pork scraps, or even chicken, turkey and beef, mortadella is only made from very finely minced high quality pork and cubes of fat “sprinkled” inside. Shelled pistachios and black pepper grains are then added to the mixture which is stuffed into a casing and cooked in brick ovens. In substance, mortadella is a giant sausage- up to 200 pounds!- slowly cooked and then sliced to serve”

Here is a photo of mortadella with the pistachios and black pepper.

564a034bd6306a1e4c30e373daa4d616.jpg mortadella.jpg III for BLOG

Mortadella-lavorazione-4.jpg - MORTADELLA PROCESS.jpg - for BLOG

 In Rome there is a famous sandwich called “Pizza co’ la mortazza”,  it is a classic Roman street food snack. Pizza bianca, a local flatbread, is cut open and filled with a few thin slices of mortadella, no mayo, just mortadella. The sandwich is best when the pizza is straight out of the oven and the mortadella melts into the steaming bread.

focacciamortadella1.jpg foccacia with mortadella.jpg FOR BLOG

My grandmother went one step further and made her own foccacia bread with rosemary and olives instead of pizza bianca, sliced and filled with a few slices of mortadella. 

As a rule, Italians do not over-stuff their sandwiches with cold cuts and cured meat. My grandmother would have been shocked if she could see the overflowing cold cut sandwiches that come out of deli’s today.

This mortadella sandwich was one of my favorites growing up, so today I am going to pay tribute to grandma and make my version of “Pizza co’ la mortazza”.

My grandmother is from Bari, in the Puglia region of Italy.  In the Barese version of focaccia there is always a mashed potato in the dough.

I didn’t have grandma’s recipe for her focaccia, so I had to look up various foccacia recipes until I found a Barese version on a great website, “Italian Food Forever”. 

The recipe below is for the basic Foccacia Barese. I did not use all the toppings in the recipe, I made the foccacia with the toppings my grandmother used, olives, rosemary and sea salt.

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Adapted from website Italian Food Forever by Deborah Mele

FOCACCIA BARESE {FOCACCIA FROM BARI}

fococciabarese5.jpg BARESE FOCCACIA II.jpg FOR BLOG

Ingredients:

FOR THE FOCACCIA:

  • 3 Cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 Medium Potato, Peeled, Boiled & Mashed
  • 1 Tablespoon Rapid Rise Yeast
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Luke Warm Water

TOPPING:

  • 1 Cup Halved Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1/3 Cup Pitted Olives (Optional)
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Coarse Sea Salt

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl mix together the flour, yeast, potatoes, oil, and salt, then add just enough warm water to create a dough.
  2. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 to 7 minutes, or until smooth and shiny.
  3. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  4. Place the bowl in a warm spot in the kitchen, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  6. Lightly oil a 14 inch round baking pan and press the dough in to fit.
  7. Press your fingertips over the top of the dough to create dimples.
  8. Place the olives and tomatoes over the dough, then sprinkle with the oregano and coarse salt.
  9. Drizzle with olive oil, let rest for 30 minutes, then bake until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  10. Cool to room temperature before slicing.

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Here is my version of grandma’s Barese Foccacia with mortadella.

A Roman recipe with a Barese touch.

 I know she would be proud of me for recreating one of her special dishes.

Memories of grandma!

Thee foccacia is ready for the oven…

Photo Aug 04, 6 41 46 PM.jpg - READY FOR THE OVEN

Not bad for the first try…

Photo Aug 04, 7 54 10 PM.jpg FOCCACIA OUT OF THE OVEN

I can’t wait to try a slice; brings back memories…

Photo Aug 04, 7 57 49 PM.jpg SLICE

I know that Grandma would be proud…

Photo Aug 04, 8 07 06 PM.jpg MORTADELLA SANDWICH

Photo Aug 04, 8 06 56 PM.jpg FOCCACIA END

 

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to subscribe to DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you subscribe, you’ll never miss a post…

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

Low Country Shrimp Boil – 2 recipes

Photo Jul 22, 2 12 34 PM.jpg SHRIMP BOIL

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

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are all enjoying your summer so far.

 Here in the Northeast we are in the middle of a heatwave. For me it has been wonderful! I love hot weather and it has been in the high 80’s. I wait all year to bask in the warmth of July.

Bob and I are slowly coming out of vacation mode. It’s been tough. We really had a nice relaxing time in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; spending days on the beach and nights eating southern cuisine.

I have a few southern favorites and you know from my last post that “She Crab Soup” is one of them. I hope some of you tried the recipe for the soup.

Now I am going to try and make another favorite dish from vacation,

“Low Country Shrimp Boil”.

Basically it is a combination of shrimp, smokey sausage, sweet corn, onions and new potatoes boiled all together with seafood seasonings. The shrimp boil we had on vacation also included some clams so I am going to add clams to my shrimp boil.

You can really add any other seafood that you and your family enjoy. Some shrimp boil recipes added crabs & crawfish.

But the key is to add ingredients in a certain order.

Photo Jul 22, 12 17 54 PM.jpg INGREDIENTS

While doing some research for the recipe, I found out the origin of this dish and I wanted to share it with you…

The story is that a National Guardsman and shrimper named Richard Gay invented the dish in the 1960s in order to feed 100 soldiers during a National Guard exercise and he needed to stretch the shrimp since it was a more expensive ingredient. He named the dish after his hometown of Frogmore, South Carolina, a community on St. Helena Island.

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This dish goes by many different names…

*Low Country Boil or Frogmore Stew in Georgia & South Carolina

*One Pot in Alabama

*Farmers Seafood Boil in the Gulf Coast of Texas

Think of it as the equivalent of a New England clam bake in the Northeast. 

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So I took out my 12 qt. stockpot, bought all of my ingredients and set out to make my very own Low Country Shrimp Boil.

 I know the traditional way to serve this dish is drained from the broth and straight out of the pot on a newspaper lined picnic table but I had a different idea.

I purchased a vinyl “Shrimp & Crab Boil” tablecloth (I couldn’t help myself, I had to have it) while shopping on Amazon one night and served the food in my paella pan.

Loved the tablecloth because it gives the appearance of the newspaper lined picnic table.

Photo Jul 22, 2 12 50 PM.jpg TABLECLOTH

I also took out my red plastic fast food baskets I use for the beach, for individual shrimp boil servings; but this time I paired them with a new purchase. I bought newspaper designed food liners.

Photo Jul 22, 2 12 24 PM.jpg BASKETS

I love the look when restaurants serve french fries in newspaper, and I was so happy to find the liners.

I came across the liners another night while shopping on Amazon and originally bought them to go along with the french fry serving baskets that you saw in the 4th of July post. 

Now they came in handy and were perfect with the shrimp boil.

Photo Jul 22, 2 16 07 PM.jpg CLOSE UP

Serve this meal with ice cold beverages; either beer, lemonade or sweet tea.

 

Now if I only had a peach cobbler or hand pie for dessert, it would complete my southern meal. I have to work on a recipe for that.

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I looked through a lot of recipes and the recipe I liked the best was from Epicurious Magazine, so here it is. Give it a try and start out with a 12 qt. stockpot.

This recipe serves 10, so adjust your ingredients accordingly to how many guests you are serving. Enjoy!

Low Country Shrimp Boil

YIELD  – 10- 12 servings …ACTIVE TIME – 20 minutes …TOTAL TIME – 45 minutes

Photo of the traditional way to serve this dish on newspaper…

Low-Country-Shrimp-Boil-15062017 (1).jpg FROM EPICURIOUS MAG

INGREDIENTS

  1. For the shrimp boil:
    • 2 lemons, quartered
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
    • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
    • 1/2 -3/4 cup crab and shrimp boil seasoning, such as Old Bay, plus more, or 4 (3-ounce) bags Zatarain’s Crawfish, Shrimp, and Crab Boil (See Cooks’ Note)
    • 4 pounds small new potatoes (about 1 1/2″ in diameter)
    • 2 pounds smoked pork sausage (about 4 links), such as kielbasa, cut into 2″ pieces
    • 2 sweet or yellow onions, peeled, quartered
    • 8 ears of corn, shucked, cut in half
    • 4 pounds fresh large shrimp (31–35 count; preferably wild-caught), unpeeled
  2. For the cocktail sauce (optional):
    • 1 cup ketchup
    • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
    • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    • Louisiana-style hot sauce, such as Crystal (to taste; optional)
  3. For the lemon butter sauce (optional):
    • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
    • 2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
    • Louisiana-style hot sauce, such as Crystal (to taste; optional)
  4. Special Equipment
    • A large (at least 12-quart) stockpot, preferably with a perforated insert, or 2 large (at least 6-quart) pots

PREPARATION

  1. Cook the shrimp boil:
    1. Fill stockpot with 6 qt. water (if using 2 pots, divide ingredients and water between them). Add lemons, bay leaves, salt, peppercorns, and 1/2 cup seasoning, cover, and bring to a rolling boil. Add potatoes, return to a boil, and cook 7 minutes. Add sausage and onions, return to a boil, and cook 5 minutes. Add corn, return to a boil, and cook until corn is cooked and potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 5 minutes more.
    2. Add shrimp and cook (no need to return to a boil), stirring gently, until shrimp turn pink, about 3 minutes. Remove insert or drain through a very large colander.
  2. Make the cocktail sauce:
    1. Stir ketchup, horseradish, Worcestershire, lemon juice, and hot sauce, if using, in a medium bowl.
  3. Make the lemon-butter sauce:
    1. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in lemon juice and hot sauce, if using. Taste and add more lemon juice, if needed. Cover and let sit in a warm place.
  4. Serve the shrimp boil:
    1. Serve shrimp boil on a newspaper-lined table or large platters. Dust with additional Old Bay, if using. Serve with sauces alongside, if desired.
  5. Do Ahead
    1. Cocktail sauce can be made 1 week ahead. Transfer to an airtight container and chill.

Cooks’ Note

Use 3/4 cup Old Bay for a more richly seasoned boil. Choose Zatarain’s Crawfish, Shrimp, and Crab Boil for a spicier, Louisiana-style boil. If you can’t find small new potatoes, cut larger potatoes into 1 1/2″ chunks.

Artichokes are a great addition to this mix when available. Halve the artichokes and scrape out the choke with a spoon and add them with the potatoes. Make sure they are tender and the leaves pull away easily before adding the shrimp.

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I came across another recipe on the website “Damn Delicious” for a sheet pan shrimp boil, so here is that recipe too.

Sheet Pan Shrimp Boil

(Photo courtesy of DamnDelicious.net)

Easiest shrimp boil ever! And it’s mess-free using a single sheet pan. That’s right. ONE PAN. No newspapers. No bags. No clean-up!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound baby Dutch yellow potatoes
  • 3 ears corn, each cut crosswise into 6 pieces
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 (12.8-ounce) package smoked andouille sausage, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook potatoes until just tender and parboiled, about 10-13 minutes. Stir in corn during the last 5 minutes of cooking time; drain well.
  3. In a small bowl, combine butter, garlic and Old Bay Seasoning.
  4. Place potatoes, corn, shrimp and sausage in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Stir in butter mixture and gently toss to combine.
  5. Place into oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque and corn is tender.
  6. Serve immediately with lemon wedges, garnished with parsley, if desired.
 

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I hope you give either one of these recipes a try.
Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to subscribe to DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you subscribe, you’ll never miss a post…

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

She Crab Soup

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

Hi everyone,

Well, I’m back from vacation.

Bob and I spent a lovely 10 days celebrating his 60th Birthday in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Even though I live on Long Island, NY and my home is not too far from the beaches, there is something so different and calming about staying in a home on the beach and falling asleep to the sound of the waves and waking up to a spectacular view of the sunrise over the ocean. Bob thoroughly enjoyed his relaxing birthday.

In addition to the days on the beach, whenever I visit Myrtle Beach, I always enjoy one of my favorite soups. I know, hot soup in the summer, but this soup is very popular on the South Carolina coast and it is “She Crab Soup”. I just love it.

Photo Jul 10, 11 25 54 AM.jpg SHE CRAB SOUP

Bob and I drove from Myrtle Beach to spend a day in Charleston, South Carolina; where She Crab soup is the city’s signature dish. 

We read about a restaurant on Yelp that has won awards for it’s She Crab soup and off we went to sample this award winning soup. The soup is a combination of cream, crab-meat, a splash of sherry and female crab red orange roe (eggs). A cross between a bisque and a chowder.

We arrived at 82 Queen Restaurant and had a very nice dinner (including the soup), while watching all the horse drawn carriages pass by the restaurant.

Here are a few pics from our day in Charleston, SC and the “award winning” She Crab Soup.

Photo Jun 29, 6 34 23 PM.jpg 82 queen sign

Photo Jun 29, 5 36 37 PM.jpg 82 QUEEN FRONT

82 Queen Courtyard…
Photo Jun 29, 7 51 00 PM.jpg 82 Queen

Love the horse drawn carriages…
Photo Jun 29, 6 30 52 PM.jpg CARRIAGE

The award winning “She Crab” soup… with roe

Photo Jun 29, 6 56 24 PM.jpg 82 QUEEN SOUP

The roe just takes the soup over the top with a fantastic flavor, but roe is not harvested all over the nation in an effort to preserve the supply of crabs and it is very hard to come by in some areas.

When I first tasted this soup many years ago on a trip to Myrtle Beach and fell in love with it, it contained the roe. Now a lot of restaurants aren’t adding it, but the basic recipe is still fantastic on its own.

One of the waitresses told me that two crumbled hard-boiled egg yolks can be substituted for the ¼ cup roe needed for the traditional recipe to give it the right texture.

This year, back in Myrtle Beach, I was fortunate enough to get a recipe from one of the local chefs for “She Crab Soup” and I have to share it with you.

I made this soup when we got home (with a little tweaking of course).

Photo Jul 10, 11 26 15 AM.jpg SHE CRAB CLOSE

She Crab Soup

By Chef Heidi Vukov 

Owner of Croissants Bistro & Bakery

Ingredients:

¼ lb. butter

¼ cup flour

2 cups small diced celery

2 cups diced onion

½ cup sherry

2 quarts heavy cream

½ tsp nutmeg

1 lb. lump crab-meat (fresh is best)

Salt & pepper to taste

COOKS NOTES: I tweaked this recipe by adding,

2 crumbled hard-boiled egg yolks

½ tsp. Hungarian paprika

Chives (for garnish)

Directions:

  1. In a large pot over high heat, melt butter and add flour, mixing well. Cook until a blonde roux is formed. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the celery and onions and cook until the onions are translucent. Deglaze the pot with sherry….Move to a double boiler.
  2. Add heavy cream*. Bring to a boil. Add nutmeg

*(I added the crumbled egg yolks and paprika with the cream)

  1. Gently fold in the crab-meat.
  2. Thin with additional cream if necessary. Season with salt and pepper.

COOKS NOTE: I garnished with chives and fresh crab-meat.

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I hope you give it a try.

We are still in vacation mode so we are going down to the beach tonight with some of my “She Crab soup” and biscuits and have a relaxing night on the beach.

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By the way, the birthday boy is the ultimate NY Yankees baseball fan so I had to get him the ultimate NY Yankee Stadium birthday cake for his 60th Birthday!

 (The cake is also from Croissants Bistro & Bakery).

If I lived in Myrtle Beach I would eat there every day….just delicious.

Here is a pic of the cake… had to show you, almost too pretty to cut.

Photo Jun 26, 10 09 34 PM.jpg YANKEE CAKE

and the filling…marble cake with peanut butter & chocolate mousse.

Two of Bob’s favorites.

Photo Jun 26, 11 09 00 PM.jpg SLICED CAKE

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to subscribe to DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you subscribe, you’ll never miss a post…

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

Photo Jul 01, 7 18 23 AM.jpg - BOB AND DIANE IN SHELLS

 

4th of July – 2017

Photo Jun 21, 12 24 07 PM.jpg INTRO - USE THIS !!!!!

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

Hi Everyone,

I will be very busy the next few weeks so I decided to post a “4th of July” tablescape a little early.

 I am serving a very American menu and not the usual Italian influenced 4th of July menu I grew up with.

I know it is an American holiday with the standard barbecue fare of hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, but being Italian, my family always celebrated the Italian way with antipasto, linguine with crabs, chicken, steak, fish, lamb kabobs, sausage and peppers, caprese salad, roasted peppers, potato/onion/string bean salad, panzanella salad, tomato salad, rice salad, tossed salad, focaccia with olives & rosemary and zeppoles.

I can’t even start to name the desserts we would have…

My American menu this year will be hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans, corn on the cob, French fries, apple pie, and ice cream.

This year I even purchased red, white and blue popcorn.

Another Homegoods find.

Photo Jun 21, 1 47 31 PM.jpg POPCORN

I made a test batch of popcorn. The kernels didn’t pop as red, white and blue as I wanted, but it tasted great with a little butter and a dash of cayenne.

Photo Jun 21, 12 23 44 PM.jpg POPCORN IN BUCKET

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I love decorating for the 4th, but seriously, there is just so much you can do with red, white and blue. I already have two sets of dishes that I use for 4th of July and if you have been following the blog you have seen both of them.

Here is a little reminder….

2015-05-23 21.49.09- MEMORIAL BUFFET

2015-07-04 00.57.34- BUFFET

I try to mix it up every year with the standard stars and stripes, but this year I happened to wander into Sur La Table one afternoon and it changed my 4th of July decorating world.

Instead of the usual stars and stripes, Sur La Table is featuring a new design called “Fireworks” and I love it. I bought the platters, plates, napkins, serving bowl and salad tongs. This is a very cheery pattern. I think you will like it…..

Photo Jun 21, 12 24 44 PM.jpg EXTRA

I am starting off with a navy tablecloth with white stars that I use quite often for my 4th of July and Memorial Day tablescapes. It has always been a “patriotic” favorite of mine. 

(PHOTO looks black with the lighting but the tablecloth is navy)

Photo Jun 21, 1 42 05 PM.jpg TABLECLOTH

To that I am adding red woven placemats and galvanized metal chargers. You have seen this combo before, but I think this combination looks best with the tablecloth.

Photo Jun 21, 12 11 09 PM.jpg PLACEMAT AND CHARGER

My dinner plates are a solid navy melamine plate with a white star border. Very bold and matches the tablecloth. 

Photo Jun 22, 9 49 02 AM.jpg DINNER DISH

The salad plates are also melamine and they are my new “Fireworks” purchase from Sur La Table. Red, white and blue fireworks bursting across the plate. I think they are great with the dinner dishes.

Photo Jun 21, 12 03 55 PM.jpg SALAD PLATE

I also bought the “Fireworks” napkins and I am using a red, white and blue spray napkin ring made out of glass and plastic beads. 

The napkin rings also remind me of a fireworks display.

Photo Jun 21, 1 41 35 PM.jpg NAPKIN AND RING

Cutlery is red enamel by Cambridge.

Photo Jun 21, 12 14 38 PM.jpg RED CUTLERY

I usually use red and blue striped glassware, but this year I am using cobalt blue goblets for a little change.

Photo Jun 21, 1 42 27 PM.jpg COBALT GOBLETS

 I have used this centerpiece before for the 4th of July and I just love it.

The centerpiece is a crème, red and blue water pitcher with stars and “America the Beautiful” written around the neck of the pitcher. 

Adding a Flag with some red, white and blue carnations and Gerber daisies makes it complete. Simple and perfect for the table.  

Photo Jun 21, 12 16 41 PM.jpg CENTERPIECE

Table accents for this tablescape will start out with mini galvanized pails that I found in Dollar Tree. I am going to use the pails as votive candle holders with just a little bit of sand in the bottom of the pail to hold the candle in place.

Photo Jun 21, 12 05 24 PM.jpg PAILS FOR CANDLES

You can also string a tag on the handle and use the pails as place-cards instead of candle holders.

Photo Jun 21, 1 45 16 PM.jpg PAIL PLACE CARD

Next, a flag salt and pepper shaker set added to the table. Remember, salt and pepper shakers are great for a tablescape to enhance the theme and small enough not to get in the way of the serve ware.

Photo Jun 22, 12 29 59 PM.jpg SALT AND PEPPER - USE THIS !!!!!

The last table accents are patriotic table scatter and a wooden sign that reads “God Bless America” which I found at a spa gift shop of all places. You never know where you’ll find things.

Photo Jun 22, 8 06 54 AM.jpg TABLE SCATTER

Photo Jun 21, 1 43 40 PM.jpg GOD BLESS SIGN

The serving pieces are quite large so I am setting them up on the buffet server and not directly on the table.

The first piece of serve ware is the large “Fireworks” melamine platter. The platter is 14 x 20. I will be using this platter to serve hot dogs and hamburgers. 

Photo Jun 21, 1 52 00 PM.jpg LARGE TRAY

The next piece of serve ware is a large “Fireworks” melamine serving bowl and I am using stars and stripes melamine salad tongs. I didn’t want to use the Fireworks  salad tongs and have them blend into the design on the bowl.

This serving bowl is 14 x 4 and has the capacity to hold 5 quarts.

I will use this bowl to serve my 4th of July potato salad.

Photo Jun 21, 1 53 02 PM.jpg SERVING BOWL.jpg WITH FRAME - USE THIS !!!!

 Since I got married, the first day of the year that I make my potato salad has always been 4th of July and never a day sooner. It has become a family tradition.

I will repost the potato salad recipe for you at the end of the post, absolutely delicious.

2015-07-04 07.59.17- POTATO SALAD CLOSE UP

Along with hot dogs and hamburgers you have to have French fries. I will be serving Tuscan French fries* and serving them in mini fry baskets along with condiment cups for ketchup.

* Tuscan Fries are made with garlic & fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage) added to hot oil and drizzled over the French fries.)

Photo Jun 22, 8 09 22 AM.jpg BASKET WITH CUP

 I am lining the fry baskets with red and white check basket liner tissue. This tissue is food grade so it doesn’t leak or fall apart (especially with greasy French fries).

Photo Jun 21, 1 58 39 PM.jpg BASKET WITH LINER

I just love mini serve ware of any kind. It must go back to the days when I had mini everything in a doll house. I just find the mini items too cute to pass up.

Remember the mini colanders?

For the corn on the cob, I will be using another melamine platter, but this one is  white stars on a navy background with a red border. 

This tray is 7 x 15.

Photo Jun 21, 1 54 01 PM.jpg OBLONG TRAY

The main dessert has to be red, white & blue of course, so I will be serving vanilla ice cream with strawberries and blueberries along with some apple pie.

Bob needed a dessert sampler ahead of time, so here are the photos. 

Photo Jun 22, 11 30 11 AM.jpg ICE CREAM

Photo Jun 22, 9 58 11 AM.jpg APPLE PIE FROST

I have one more 4th of July family dessert tradition to tell you about.

Every year we purchase Friendly’s Watta -Melon roll. It just isn’t 4th of July without it. My son came up with this tradition many years ago and it has been going strong for decades.

Watermelon and lemon sherbet with chocolate chips as the seeds. To me, this means Summer has arrived.

I bring it to the table on a platter with fresh watermelon cut into the shape of stars (using a cookie cutter) and the addition of some sparklers. 

I love sparklers.

Reminds me of my Uncle Vinny. He brought sparklers every 4th of July.

rolls_ice-cream-rolls_wattamelon-roll (1).png 2.jpg FRIENDLY'S IN BOXrolls.jpg watta.jpg WATTA SLICE

And that completes this year’s 4th of July tablescape. I hope I gave you some inspiration for your own 4th of July celebration.

Have a wonderful holiday and take this opportunity to make beautiful memories with your family and friends.

Be safe and keep your pets safe too.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Photo Jun 21, 1 48 50 PM.jpg BUFFET.jpg WITH NAME - USE THIS FINAL

Place Setting

Photo Jun 22, 8 03 09 AM.jpg PLACE SETTING ON THE 22ND

Table Details

Navy tablecloth with white stars from Macy’s

Red woven placemats from Homegoods

Galvanized chargers from Pottery Barn

“Fireworks” cloth napkin from Sur La Table

“Fireworks” serving bowl from Sur La Table

Star and Stripes salad tongs from Sur La Table

Large “fireworks” platter from Sur La Table

Stars oblong platter from Sur La Table

Navy and white star dinner plates from Sur La Table

“Fireworks” salad plates from Sur La Table

Mini fry baskets and condiment cups from Sur La Table

Mini galvanized pails from Dollar Tree

Red, white and blue glass spray napkin rings from Pier 1

Patriotic pitcher from Homegoods

Patriotic artificial flowers from Michael’s Arts & Crafts

Patriotic table scatter from Pier 1

God Bless America wooden sign from Drew Patrick Spa

Red, white and blue popcorn from Homegoods

Blue goblets from Crate and Barrel

Red flatware from Amazon

Food grade basket liners from Amazon

Ice cream dishes from Williams Sonoma

Ice cream spoons from Chefs Catalog

NOTE: ALL melamine serve ware is indoor/outdoor and is ONLY top rack dishwasher safe.

*******************

Potato Salad Recipe

2015-07-04 07.59.17- POTATO SALAD CLOSE UP

Ingredients:

5 lb bag of red potatoes- NOT PEELED – boil whole until a fork can pierce the skin but not mushy – DRAIN

2 ½ C         Hellman’s mayo – NOT LIGHT  

5 TBSP      Red Wine Vinegar

3 ¾ tsp       Kosher salt

2 ½ tsp       Sugar

¾ tsp          Pepper

2 ½ C         Celery (chopped)

1 ½ C         Red onion (diced)

1 dz            Hard boiled eggs

(Shredded carrots are optional)

* Safety check…

Check your eggs for signs of cracks. Since fresh eggs are harder to peel it is best if you purchase your eggs a week prior to boiling. You can test the freshness of the eggs by placing them into a glass of water. The freshest eggs will lie on the bottom of the water on its side. As an egg ages the air pocket inside grows so your egg will start to stand up on end. An egg that floats to the top should be discarded.

Directions:

Mix mayo and vinegar together—Add salt, pepper, and sugar and mix thoroughly.

Add celery and onions—Next add potatoes WARM  (cut into bite size pieces)

Add eggs (sliced) and fold all ingredients together.

ENJOY!

*Cooks Note: I think the potato salad tastes best after it has cooled in the refrigerator for a few hours and all the flavors have blended together. 

*******************************

Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to subscribe to DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you subscribe, you’ll never miss a post…

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

Photo Jun 21, 12 24 44 PM.jpg EXTRA

 

 

Cooking with Herbs …

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

Photo Jun 16, 4 43 04 PM.jpg INTRO

Hi everyone,

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.

Photo Jun 16, 9 08 44 PM.jpg HERB QUICHE

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.

CUCINA TERESA.jpg for blog

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. 

Photo Jun 17, 12 17 01 AM.jpg SPINACH SALAD

Another salad for this brunch is one my mother made all the time with cucumbers from her garden. 

Cucumbers with Sour Cream and Dill.

Photo Jun 17, 12 38 51 AM (1).jpg CUCUMBER SALAD

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Brunch is served ...

Photo Jun 17, 12 45 46 AM.jpg COMBO BRUNCH

(Recipes at the end of the post.)

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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.

Photo Jun 16, 11 08 52 PM.jpg DISHES

 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.

Photo Jun 16, 4 27 28 LARGE PLATTER

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.

Photo Jun 16, 4 19 34 PM.jpg SMALL TRAY

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.

Photo Jun 16, 4 24 00 PM.jpg TEA POT

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”. 

Photo Jun 16, 4 28 29 PM (1).jpg CREAMER

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”. 

Photo Jun 16, 4 28 50 PM.jpg CREAMER

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. 

Photo Jun 16, 4 39 31 PM (1).jpg TABLECLOTH

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.

Photo Jun 16, 11 28 39 PM.jpg NAPKIN

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.

Photo Jun 17, 12 18 00 AM (1).jpg CHARGER

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.

Photo Jun 16, 4 40 36 PM (1)

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.

Photo Jun 16, 4 25 31 PM.jpg MUGS

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.

Photo Jun 16, 11 28 07 PM.jpg PLANTER B

Close up of the hand painted designs.

Photo Jun 16, 4 22 49 PM.jpg CLOSE UP OF FENCE - USE

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).

Photo Jun 16, 4 23 20 PM.jpg CENTERPIECE

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.

Photo Jun 16, 4 40 36 PM.jpg 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

DSC_0708- LAVENDER FARM FOR BLOG II

DSC_0700- LAVENDER FOR BLOG

Together will the dried lavender, they also sell lavender products from sachets to lotions, including lavender honey (one of my favorites).

2016-08-31 12.56.46.jpg LAVENDER - STORE

I should have purchased this sachet, it would have looked adorable on the table. It blends right in with the dishes. Next time…

DSC_0685.jpg LAVENDER SACHET

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Photo Jun 16, 4 43 21 PM (1).jpg BUFFET

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!

Stay well.

Diane

Place Setting

Photo Jun 16, 11 06 55 PM.jpg - PLACE SETTING

Table Details

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

Recipes

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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

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.

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Diane’s Baby Spinach Salad

I use a creamy balsamic vinaigrette for this salad.

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl toss together pasta, spinach, strawberries, mandarin oranges, walnuts, mozzarella pearls, cucumbers, red onions, scallions, sliced egg and tomatoes. Mix well.
  3. 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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  • 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

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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.

CUCINA TERESA.jpg for blog

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Photo Jun 16, 11 06 07 PM.jpg EXTRA

Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to subscribe to  DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you subscribe, you’ll never miss a post…

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

Chinese Style Spare Ribs

Photo May 24, 2 03 31 PM.jpg CHINESE SYMBOLS

(Click PHOTO to enlarge and then back arrow to return to original size)

Hi everyone,

You know how I love to share a great recipe when I find one and here is another one to add to the list.

A member of one of my food groups posted a picture of Chinese style spare ribs that she made and they looked too good to be true.

She was kind enough to share the recipe that she found on the website, “Serious Eats” and I had to try making them. I cannot thank her enough. They were delicious.

The recipe has only FIVE ingredients!

Her name is Malia Ploughman and she is an excellent cook. All of her posts are mouth watering and her presentations are beautiful. Along with the spare rib recipe, Malia gave me her personal recipe for fried rice. Equally as delicious.

With her permission, I am posting both recipes for all DishingwithDiane.com members.

I completed my meal with wonton soup from a local Chinese restaurant.

Photo May 23, 8 30 26 PM.jpg COMPLETE MEAL

Bob and I had a very interesting time shopping at the Asian market picking up ingredients for these recipes including a bag of chocolate fortune cookies for me.

I hope you find the time to try these recipes and enjoy them as much as we did.

Now I’ll have to find an egg roll recipe….

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

****************************************

Recipes

Chinese style Spare Ribs

Photo May 23, 6 49 21 PM.jpg SPARE RIBS

See my Cooks note below (you know I have to tweak every recipe)…..

Courtesy of “Serious Eats” by way of Malia Ploughman

Note: You can add a few drops of red food coloring to the marinade if you want a deeper red hue on your ribs. Baby back ribs will work just as well as St. Louis-cut. You can cook ribs the same day they are marinated, but for best results, allow to marinade at least overnight and up to three days.

Chinese five spice powder can be found in the spice section of most major supermarkets. If unavailable, you can make your own by combining 1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon, 2 teaspoons powdered fennel, 1 teaspoon powdered star anise, 1/4 teaspoon powdered cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon powdered Sichuan peppercorns (you can substitute ginger for Sichuan peppercorns for a different style of five spice).

  • YIELD:Serves 4 to 6
  • ACTIVE TIME:15 minutes
  • TOTAL TIME:1 1/2 hours (plus overnight marinade)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 full rack St. Louis-style spareribs, cut into individual ribs (about 3 pounds total)
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey

DIRECTIONS

Sprinkle five-spice powder evenly over ribs and rub into them until thoroughly and evenly coated. Set ribs aside.

Combine hoisin sauce, shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and honey in a gallon-sized zipper lock bag. Add ribs to bag and mix until evenly coated. Seal bag, transfer to refrigerator, and let ribs marinate at least overnight and up to three nights.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 375°F. Remove ribs from bag, wiping off excess marinade with your fingers (reserve the marinade). Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, set a wire rack in it, and spread the ribs evenly over the rack. Cover with aluminum foil and roast for 1 hour. Remove foil, brush ribs with marinade, increase heat to 450°F, and continue to roast until charred, glazed, and sticky, about 20 minutes longer, rotating ribs and basting with marinade once more during cooking. Let rest 10 minutes, then serve.

Diane’s Cooks Note: Additional glaze can be made using the same marinade ingredients….. I used a fresh marinade to baste the ribs the last 20 minutes and as a glaze before serving. 

Diane’s Cooks Note: If you buy the entire rack of ribs instead of already cut individual ribs from your butcher and need help learning how to trim it into St Louis style ribs, here is a video from “The Meatwave” blog to help with that process.

http://www.meatwave.com/blog/how-to-trim-a-rack-of-spare-ribs-to-a-st-louis-style-cut

Classic Fried Rice

Courtesy of Malia Ploughman

Photo May 23, 6 52 56 PM.jpg FRIED RICE

Ingredients:

2 ½ cups cooked jasmine rice

Pepper, carrot, peas and green beans etc….

Fresh ginger – minced

Fresh garlic – minced

Soy sauce – 1 tbsp.

sesame oil

 Shaoxing wine or dry sherry

Sriracha or sambal (optional for spicy)

brown sugar or honey (optional for sweet)

2 eggs

Directions:

Just make your rice ahead of time. (The day before or in the morning) and let it cool. Never make fried rice with hot rice. It will be mushy. Jasmine rice is ideal but any medium grain will work. 

Have any veggie you want to use diced and ready to go when you start cooking. I use peppers, carrots, green bean and peas. 
I like a little fresh ginger and garlic in my fried rice. If you are using those, have them minced and ready as well. 

Keep the sauce simple. Add a couple Tbsp of soy sauce, some shaoxing or sherry if you have it, a couple dashes of sesame oil, and sriracha or sambal if you like it spicy. If you like it a little sweet, you can add some brown sugar or honey. Totally up to your preference. But you don’t need much sauce. Like 1/4c for 2- 2 1/2 cups of rice. 

Beat two eggs in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. 

Place a wok (or large skillet if you don’t have a wok) over medium high heat. Drizzle with oil. Add eggs. You want to create a flare omelette. So let the eggs start to cook, then lift the sides of the omelette as it cooks and tilt the pan so the uncooked eggs run off to the side. Do this a few times. Then flip the omelette. Let cook 30 seconds more and remove from the pan. 
Dice it into cubes. 

Add a little more oil to the wok and add your ginger and garlic. Stir fry until fragrant. Add veggies and stir fry about 2 minutes. Add rice. Breaking it up with your fingers as you add it. Stir fry with veggies. Breaking up any clumps of rice for 2 minutes. Push aside. Add sauce to the pan and toss everything together. Off heat, stir in diced egg.

Diane’s Cooks Note: I love onions in fried rice, so I added some diced onions as part of my veggies and topped the rice with sliced almonds.

************************************

Thank you once again to Malia for sharing her recipes,

and

Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to  “follow”, “like” , “share” DishingwithDiane.com and please join.

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

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

Wishing you all the following……… Photo May 24, 2 03 31 PM.jpg CHINESE SYMBOLS

Happy Mother’s Day 2017

MothersDay-CateringPage-768x768.jpg MOTHER'S DAY END

(Click PHOTO to enlarge and then back arrow to return to original size)

Photo May 12, 8 35 02 PM.jpg EXTRA

Hi Everyone,

Wow, Mother’s Day is here already. It feels as if I just packed up the Christmas decorations……

Every year when Mother’s Day approaches, I never think of myself as being one of the mom’s to be celebrated with that great honor of being a mom; even though I have been a mother for almost 27 years.

Instead, I think of the other mother’s and strong women in my life. My grandmother, my mother, and my sisters. I wish they were here today, so I could show them how much I love them and tell them what they mean to me.

I am fortunate to come from a long line of strong women who taught me great lessons.

They taught me unconditional love, family traditions, all about my heritage, perseverance, and gave me a strong work ethic to get things done.

Another important lesson I learned from these women, “If you don’t want to fail, then you don’t give up”. This is something that I remind myself of when life gets a little overwhelming.

I told you they were strong women.

So today’s tablescape, honors these women in my life who made a difference along with my mother-in-law who gave me the love of my life.

Bob is an angel on earth and I couldn’t imagine a day without him.

*****************************

When I think of a Mother’s Day tablescape, I think it should be very feminine.

The first set of dishes that immediately came to mind were a set of floral dishes from the Kathy Ireland collection.

So let’s get started…

The dishes are the Georgian Estate pattern by Kathy Ireland and they are porcelain with a cream background with various flowers and leaves in shades of pink, lilac and green.

Photo May 12, 8 27 06 PM.jpg KATHY IRELAND DISHES

I am starting the tablescape with a dusty rose tablecloth. This color goes so well with the flowers on the dishes and it is also one of my favorite colors.

(It looks a little more coral in the photo due to lighting, but it is a deep rose in person).

Photo May 12, 7 08 11 PM.jpg - TABLECLOTH

Since my mother of pearl charger plate is so detailed and beautiful on it’s own, I am not using a placemat. The charger looks great against the dusty rose tablecloth.

Photo May 12, 7 07 30 PM.jpg CHARGER

This tablescape gives me a great opportunity to use my new purchase, pearl napkins rings. The pearls add to my very feminine theme and also remind me of my mom and her pearls. They will be used along with blush pink napkins.

Photo May 12, 7 13 07 PM.jpg NAPKIN AND PEARLS

Flatware will be off white pearl to match the chargers.

Photo May 12, 7 13 49 PM.jpg FLATWARE

My glassware will be Waterford Marquis goblets. 

Photo May 12, 8 29 43 PM.jpg SPARKLE GOBLET

The centerpiece can be no other than roses. What mom doesn’t want to receive flowers on Mother’s Day?

Photo May 12, 8 30 37 PM.jpg ROSES

You know how much I love candles, so I am using mercury glass votive candle holders and champagne scented candles.

Absolutely wonderful fragrance from Pier 1.

Photo May 12, 8 17 49 PM.jpg CANDLES

What is more feminine than pearls and diamonds?  So I am mixing pearl and crystal table scatter along with glass pebbles in shades of pink, frosted white and burgundy to decorate the table.

Photo May 12, 8 28 32 PM.jpg TABLE SCATTER

My centerpiece, along with the flowers have little mementos that remind me of my mother, grandmother and mother-in-law.

A strand of pearls for my mother; she wore pearls every day. 

She was such an elegant lady, full of love and a warm heart.

A trinket box for my grandmother and a pair of gloves.

The handbag trinket box was a gift from my grandmother and every time she took me out for a special day to the Plaza Hotel’s Palm Court restaurant in NYC for afternoon tea, she always bought me a new pair of gloves to go with my dress. I see gloves and I think of grandma.

Fruit jelly slices for my mother-in-law.

Jelly slices were her favorite candy in the world. We just bought them for her whenever we saw them- no special occasion necessary. When I see them I think of the smile on her face whenever we gave her a box.

Photo May 12, 7 15 49 PM.jpg CENTERPIECE CLOSE UP

These memories help to make the centerpiece complete.

Photo May 12, 7 16 12 PM.jpg CENTERPIECE

Photo May 12, 8 35 27 PM.jpg INTRO

Now that I spoke of them, I have to take this opportunity to share a few pictures with you of these beloved women…

This is a photo of me (I am the youngest) and my sisters with my mom in 1961.

Squeglia Girls - July 1961.jpg FOR BLOG POST.jpg with NAME

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Me with my beautiful mom ( and her pearls).

Diane&Mom 1963.jpg DIANE AND MOM FOR BLOG

Me and my sisters.

Every year I dressed in the same color as one of my sisters for Easter.

2013-08-19 22.06.34.jpg SISTERS FOR BLOG

The next two photos are of my grandmother. The first picture when she was 19 years old and the second picture when she was 90 years old with my son. 

14002488_10210560634400779_758390721_o GRANDMA AT 19

**********************************

GrandmaMichael.jpg FOR BLOG

The next picture is of my mother-in-law with my husband Bob (on the left) and his two brothers.

2015-05-10 09.12.55.jpg FREDA AND HER BOYS

Bob and his mom.

2014-10-30 22.59.19.jpg BOB AND HIS MOM

I miss them all dearly, but I am blessed to have had them in my life…

*********************************

This year Bob wanted to take me out for Mother’s Day, but I decided to stay home for Mother’s Day dinner instead and Bob will be helping me cook. My son will not be able to come home for a visit, so Bob and I are planning our day driving out east on Long Island to some of the farms to get some new plants for the flower garden as well as my vegetable garden before returning home for dinner.

My menu for Mother’s Day 2017 with be some of my favorite dishes…

(Bob helped prepare and taste test the recipes for me last night so I could take the photos and share the recipes with all of you today).

(recipes at the end of the post)

Starting with a …

Mimosa or Bellini 

1st course: Shrimp and Champagne Bisque soup with Gruyere Cheese

Photo May 12, 11 03 47 PM.jpg SOUP

2nd course: Tart with Pancetta and Green Onions

Photo May 13, 5 17 12 AM.jpg TART

Spinach salad with strawberries, mandarin oranges, goat cheese and sliced almonds.

Photo May 13, 5 33 47 AM (1).jpg ENTREE

Dessert: Chocolate cake with chocolate and dulce de leche mousse, served on a pink glass vintage cake stand.

(purchased- no recipe)

Photo May 13, 1 11 38 AM.jpg cake Full

Photo May 13, 1 13 53 AM.jpg CAKE WITH SPARKLE.jpg WITH NAME

Photo May 13, 1 34 48 AM (1).jpg SLICE PHOTO 1

*********************************

Maybe, if I have room left after dinner, Bob and I will go out for some homemade ice cream and return home to relax on the patio.

Sounds like a perfect Mother’s Day for me.

I wish all of you moms, moms to be, grandmothers, godmothers, stepmoms and pet moms a wonderful, happy and joyous Mother’s Day.

Enjoy your children, grandchildren, family and friends and make great memories.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well.

Diane

Place Setting

Photo May 12, 8 33 26 PM.jpg PLACE SETTING

Table Details

Kathy Ireland dishes – pattern, Georgian Estate from Dinnerware Depot

Dusty rose tablecloth from Amazon

Blush napkins from Amazon

Pearl napkin rings from Amazon

Mother of Pearl chargers from Pier 1  

Goblets and Champagne flutes from Waterford

Off white Pearl flatware from Amazon

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

Champagne scented votive candles from Pier 1

Pearl and crystal table scatter from Michael’s Arts & Crafts

Shades of pink glass table scatter from Michael’s Arts & Crafts

Pink vintage cake plate from Pier 1

White cake plate to display centerpiece from Target

********************

RECIPES

Shrimp and Champagne Bisque with Gruyere Cheese

Makes about 6 cups

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons butter
½ cup minced shallots
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups clam juice
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 pound Medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup Champagne or other dry sparkling wine
2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh chives
Garnish: Gruyère cheese, chives

Directions:

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots, and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle in flour; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Gradually whisk in clam juice and stock; bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes. (At this point, soup can be refrigerated up to 3 days.)

Cut shrimp into ¼-inch pieces. Over medium-low heat, add cream and Champagne. Return soup to a simmer, and slowly whisk in cheese ¼ cup at a time, letting melt between additions. Stir in chives and shrimp, and cook for 3 minutes or until shrimp are opaque. Garnish with shredded Gruyère and chives.

Note: Clam juice can be replaced with chicken stock for a milder flavor.

Recipe courtesy of the Cottage Journal

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Breakfast Tart with Pancetta and Green Onions

Ingredients

  • Butter, for the pan
  • Flour, for the pan
  • 1 — 9-inch unroll-and-bake refrigerated pie crust
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 3 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded gruyere cheese
  • 3 scallions, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Butter and flour the bottom and sides of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Unroll the pie crust and gently press into the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim any excess from the top.

With the tines of a fork, prick the bottom of the pastry. Using a pastry brush, brush the crust with the beaten egg white. Put the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until the egg white has set. Let cool 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, for 6 to 8 minutes, until browned and crispy. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Whisk in the mascarpone, gruyere, scallions, salt, pepper and the pancetta. Pour into the cooled crust and bake for about 18 minutes, until the mixture has set and the top is golden.

Cool the tart for 10 to 15 minutes and then remove from the pan. Cut the tart into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis from “Weeknights with Giada” for Food Network Magazine

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There is no recipe for the salad….I just mixed some fresh spinach with fruit, almonds and poppy seed dressing. 

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