Category Archives: Side Dishes

Summertime Potato Salad…

Photo Jul 22, 12 44 32 PM potato salad

 

Click on the photo to enlarge and then the back arrow to return to original size.

Hi Everyone, 

I have to share this recipe with you. Whenever I am invited to a barbecue, everyone asks me to bring the same thing- my potato salad.

This has to be the easiest recipe around and it is always a crowd pleaser, so I wanted to share this with all of my members.

I have been making this potato salad over 20 years and I don’t remember where I got the original recipe from. Of course, I have tweaked it a little here and there over the years (I couldn’t help myself).

In my house, we have made it a tradition that this potato salad does not make an appearance until the 4th of July. After that, I make it the rest of the summer.

The recipe calls for 1 dz. hard boiled eggs, so make sure you check your eggs for freshness.

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.

If you try this recipe, PLEASE let me know what you think.

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

DIANE’S POTATO SALAD

PREP TIME : approx. 2 hours

Ingredients:

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

2 ½ C         Hellmanns 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

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.

(Best when chilled in the refrigerator for a few hours).

ENJOY!

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

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 become members of DishingwithDiane.

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

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails, I LOVE hearing from you.

 

 

Scallops Provencal with Lemon Orzo

Photo Aug 22, 8 00 06 PM SCALLOPS PROVENCAL

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

Hi everyone, 

Today I posted a photo on the DishingwithDiane Instagram page and received an overwhelming number of emails for the recipe.

The Instagram posts can be seen here on the blog in the right hand column.

Included with the blog photos, I also include some personal pics (mostly food) on the Instagram page, to use as a reference for future recipes that I will feature on the blog.

The scallop photo was a photo from last night’s dinner.

I was quite surprised to get such a response.

I decided to make scallops for dinner last night because I have been wanting to try Ina Garten’s recipe from Foodnetwork for Scallops Provencal. 

I recently purchased scallop shells from Sur La Table just for this recipe.

So after a morning full of email requests; I am sharing the recipe with all of you.

It was delicious, quick and extremely easy. Just make sure to have all of your ingredients ready.

I made this dish along with Lemon Orzo and I will include that recipe as well.

Have fun cooking!

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.

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

Scallops Provencal

From Ina Garten

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh bay or sea scallops
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots (2 large)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced …( I used two cloves)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lemon, cut in 1/2

Directions

 

If you’re using bay scallops, keep them whole. If you’re using sea scallops, cut each 1 in half horizontally. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss with flour, and shake off the excess.

Cooks Note: I kept the sea scallops whole.

In a very large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over high heat until sizzling and add the scallops in 1 layer.

Lower the heat to medium and allow the scallops to brown lightly on 1 side without moving them, then turn and brown lightly on the other side. This should take 3 to 4 minutes, total.

Melt the rest of the butter in the pan with the scallops, then add the shallots, garlic, and parsley and saute for 2 more minutes, tossing the seasonings with the scallops. Add the wine, cook for 1 minute, and taste for seasoning. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice.

 

Pairs well with Pinot Grigio

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

Lemon Orzo

from All Recipes website

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray … Cooks note: I used 2 tbsp butter instead
  • 1/2 cup prechopped onion
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
  • 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.

Coat pan with cooking spray. Cooks Note: I used 2 tbsp butter.

Add onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in pasta, broth, wine, and thyme; bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and pasta is al dente. Stir in chopped chives and lemon juice. Keep warm.

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

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

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.)

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

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

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St. Joseph’s Day 2017

photo courtesy of zazzlefeast_day_of_st_joseph_card_march_19-r5ffbc83794be45c1a16d208c74e4073e_xvuat_8byvr_400 HAPPY FEAST OF ST JOSEPH

Hi Everyone,

 Every year on March 19th we pay special tribute to St. Joseph.

I am posting this a day early, just in case you want to look over and include one of the traditional recipes for your St. Joseph’s Day dinner.

There really is no tablescape to set for St. Joseph Day, so I am re-posting about the history of this holiday and all the traditional delicious food on the St. Joseph’s Day menu.

Especially the sfinge di San Giuseppe and zeppole pastries many people are familiar with. Enjoy !

All recipes are at the end of the post…

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

happy-st-josephs-day

Saint Joseph is the patron saint for my family, so instead of a tablescape, I decided to share with you some of my family traditions and customary foods for this special holiday.

Before we start, a little background for Saint Joseph or San Giuseppe that might help you understand the holiday a little better. Saint Joseph was the husband of Mary. It is in Sicily where Saint Joseph is regarded as their patron saint for preventing a famine during the Middle Ages. There was a severe drought and the people prayed to Saint Joseph for rain. They promised that if he answered their prayers and the rain came they would prepare a feast in his honor.

Well, the rain came and the people prepared a large banquet. Legend has it that the fava bean was the crop which saved the population from starvation and that is always part of the Saint Joseph day dinner.

Some people keep painted fava beans as a good luck charm.

DSC00639 PAINTED FAVA BEANS FOR ST JOSEPH for blog

When I was younger (much younger), on Saint Joseph’s Day my Grandmother would take me to bring food to the Saint Joseph’s Day altar of her local church after Mass. Many of the older generations set up altars in their homes, but we did not. We always wore red to honor Saint Joseph, in the same way that green is worn on Saint Patrick’s Day.

The altars are quite a sight to see and they have 3 tiers to represent the Holy Trinity. The top tier holds the statue of Saint Joseph surrounded by flowers (especially lilies). The reason is that – “The lily is associated with Saint Joseph, spouse of Mary, through an ancient legend that he was chosen from among other men by the blossoming of his staff like a lily”. 

 The other tiers hold candles, figurines, special breads, pastries, lemons for luck, fava beans, pineapple for hospitality and wine. There is also a basket on the bottom tier where you can place prayer petitions.

 Here is a picture I found of of a Saint Joseph’s Day altar just to give you a better idea. Definitely wouldn’t work in my dining room.

5547597178_9560e0b681_z- st joseph altar USE

(photo credit-isitsauceorgravy.com)

 In my family, my Grandmother (even though we are not Sicilian) believed deeply that praying to Saint Joseph would protect her family and she bought all her grandchildren, at a very young age, a statue of Saint Joseph.

This is a photo of mine that I proudly display in my bedroom today. It is over 50 years old. In fact, my son’s middle name is Joseph to honor Saint Joseph.

st joseph statue

In addition to the celebration of Saint Joseph’s Day, I have always enjoyed the FOOD for Saint Joseph’s Day.

Many of you know this day only by the pastry (zeppole or sfinge di San Giuseppe) but we had a fantastic meal before the pastry.

(There were no words to describe how fantastic these pastries are).

2015-03-07 23.40.39 - St joseph pastry for blog

Purchased at Alpine Bakery- Smithtown, NY

My family (especially my dad) would make the pilgrimage each year to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx because we wouldn’t run the risk of buying ingredients at a local grocery store and be disappointed. No, ingredients had to be Italian and imported. No questions asked.

If you ever have the chance to visit Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, NY you will be thrilled. The food is so fresh and it is like stepping back in time with the mom and pop shops. But Arthur Avenue isn’t just shops, it’s restaurants as well and the food is fabulous.

A real Little Italy.

Different regions celebrate Saint Joseph’s Day differently but all involve meatless foods (because this holiday always falls during Lent), minestrone soup and pasta with breadcrumbs (The breadcrumbs represent saw dust since Saint Joseph was a carpenter), seafood, and fava beans for luck and for dessert, the star of the show, zeppole and sfinge di San Giuseppe.

Here is a picture of my minestrone soup.

Photo Mar 20, 9 44 10 PM.jpg MINSTRONE FOR ST. JOSEPH.jpg WITH BLOG NAME

In my family, we made minestrone soup followed by bucatini with anchovies and breadcrumbs. (For those of you who are not familiar, bucatini is basically a larger spaghetti with a hole inside. Another pasta that is traditional is mafaldine; this looks like thin strips of lasagna noodles). Sicilians usually make the dish with sardines (Pasta con Sarde) instead of the anchovies.

Here is a picture of my bucatini with breadcrumbs.

Photo Mar 20, 8 09 49 PM.jpg BUCATINI WITH ANCHOVIES.jpg WITH BLOG NAME

The Saint Joseph’s Day bread was another special part of the meal and my Dad would buy the bread and have it blessed before he brought it home.

It is a round crusty loaf scored with a cross and flavored with anise.

joebreadsm2- ST JOSEPH BREAD

(photo credit-bennisoncakes.com)

And now back to the pastries. They are called zeppole or sfinge di San Guiseppe and I am sure you have all seen them. It’s a sweet dough like a big cream puff split and filled. They can be filled two ways. One with cannoli cream with tiny chocolate chips and candied fruit and also with custard cream; both topped with powdered sugar and a cherry and both delicious. Every year I always have to have one with each filling.

A fine tradition I passed along to my son.

st joseph's pastries 2

(photo credit-homestyledessertsbakery.com)

A lot of the old traditions unfortunately are not practiced as much today. Grandparents and parents have passed on and lives have become much busier, but I try to keep as many traditions going in my family as I can. I do make the bucatini with anchovies and the minestrone soup, but I buy my pastries because baking is just not my thing. (I have included the recipe at the bottom of the post, in case you want to take the baking challenge). I personally don’t make the fava beans for this holiday either, but I wanted to mention it again because it stands for “good luck” in case you wanted to include them on your menu.

All in all this holiday brings back great memories for me when I was younger and my family was still here with me, enjoying each others company and a great meal together.

Here is a picture of me (I am the toddler) with my parents, grandmother and two older sisters. All of my family have passed on now and all are missed every day. I keep the traditions alive to honor them; and thank them for all they have taught me about traditions and being proud of my heritage. 

Squeglia Family

I don’t have many photos for this holiday but at the bottom of this post, I will leave you with some traditional recipes if you want to celebrate St Joseph’s Day with your family.

It has been my pleasure to share my traditions with you for this special day. I hope this post gave a few of you some inspiration to try some new Saint Joseph’s Day holiday recipes.

Until my next post, stay well and make every day a celebration!

Diane

Saint Joseph’s Day is also the birthday of my dear friend Sue Tetonic.

Happy Birthday Sue!

RECIPES

Toasted Fresh Bread Crumbs

Warm 2 tablespoon olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat.  Add 3/4 cup of fresh breadcrumbs and stir to coat with oil.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the crumbs are golden brown and crunchy, about 5 minutes. I add a little grated cheese to the breadcrumbs as well. You can never have to much cheese.

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Bucatini with Anchovies and Breadcrumbs

Revised

Ingredients:

12 anchovy fillets in olive oil, finely chopped with the oil from the can (small can- 2 oz.)….for a stronger anchovy flavor add two cans.

Salt and pepper to taste

1 pound bucatini

1/2 cup olive oil + 3 TBSP

4-6 large garlic cloves, sliced and divided

Large pinch of red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Grated cheese

1 and 1/3 cup toasted fresh breadcrumbs (1 cup for sauce * 1/3 cup for garnish)

 Directions:

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve pasta water.

In a small skillet, add 3 TBSP of olive oil and approximately 3 cloves of sliced garlic and warm on a very low temperature (you want to flavor the oil)

While the pasta is cooking, heat ½ Cup of the olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat

Add 3 cloves of sliced garlic, red pepper flakes, and the finely chopped anchovies. 

Cook, stirring until the anchovies dissolve. (Be careful of splatters)

Remove from the heat. 

Add 1 cup toasted breadcrumbs and stir for 1 minute to combine the oil and breadcrumbs

Add 3 ladles of pasta water to make a sauce 

Return to the heat on low and stir in the parsley

Add the drained cooked pasta to the pot with the anchovy sauce. Toss until the strands are well coated

Slowly add the warm garlic oil with sliced garlic and mix well.

Season with salt & pepper

Transfer the pasta to individual serving bowls.

Top each serving with a sprinkling of the reserved breadcrumbs and grated cheese.  

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Minestrone Soup

Ingredients:

¼ cup olive oil

1 cup onion, finely chopped

½ cup celery, with leaves, chopped

1 carrot, sliced thin

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

1 (28 oz.) can of whole tomatoes, with juice

1 large can of cannellini beans

5 cups of beef or vegetable stock

½ cup flat parsley, finely chopped

1- 2 cups finely sliced, then roughly chopped spinach

2 zucchini, unpeeled and cut into little cubes

½ cup small pasta (like ditalini)

Freshly grated Parmesan or Locatelli cheese

1 tsp. dried basil (optional)

1 tsp. dried oregano (optional)

pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

Sauté the onion, carrot and celery in the olive oil until soft. Toss in the garlic and stir for another minute.

Cut up the tomatoes and add them to the pot and cook down for 15 minutes.

Stir in the beef or vegetable stock and the bay leaf and beans and bring to a boil. Add half the parsley, dried oregano, dried basil, pinch of red pepper and lower the heat and cook for about 30 minutes

Add the spinach, zucchini and pasta and cook at a gentle boil until the pasta is tender. * If you are not serving the soup immediately, make the pasta separately and add to the soup when serving otherwise the pasta will absorb all the soup if left in the pot to sit.

When ready to serve, stir in the rest of the parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve with the crusty bread and topped with grated cheese

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Fava Beans
(I do not remember who gave me this recipe).

Ingredients:

1 lb. dried fava beans
1 bunch green onions
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic
3 bay leaves
chopped parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook dried fava beans in boiling water until tender, adding more water as needed. Sauté seasonings in olive oil ’til tender, then add to beans. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in soup bowls.

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Zeppole di San Giuseppe

Recipe credit-mangiabenepasta.com)

(Makes about 12 (2-1/2-inch) zeppoles

Ingredients:

 Pastry:

1 cup water

3 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Pinch of salt

1 cup flour

4 eggs

Filling:

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup whole milk

2 egg yolks

1/2 tablespoon dark rum

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup heavy cream, whipped

 Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Maraschino cherries

 Directions:

 To make the pastry:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

 In a medium saucepan, combine water, butter, sugar, and salt. Bring to a

boil.  Remove from heat.  With a wooden spoon, beat in flour all at once.

Return to low heat.  Continue beating until mixture forms a ball and leaves

side of pan.  Remove from heat.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating hard

after each addition until smooth.  Continue beating until dough is satiny and

breaks in strands.  Allow the mixture to cool.

 Transfer the dough to a pastry bag with a large star tip.  For each pastry,

pipe a 2-1/2 -inch spiral with a raised outer wall on the baking sheet.  Bake

for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.  Remove and allow to cool before

filling.

 To make the filling:

Combine sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan.  In a bowl, whisk together

milk and egg yolks  Whisk milk mixture into sugar mixture.  Place the

saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking

constantly.  Boil for 1 minute; remove from heat.  Stir in rum, orange zest,

and vanilla.  Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl. Place a piece of plastic

wrap directly on the surface. Allow to cool for 30 minutes and then

refrigerate until cold.  Fold in the whipped cream.

 To assemble the zeppole:

Cut the pastries in half horizontally.  Transfer the filling mixture to a pastry

bag with a star tip.  Pipe some of the filling onto the cut side of the bottom

half of each pastry.  Place the top half of the pastry on the filling.

Pipe a small amount of the filling into the hole in the center of each pastry.

Place a maraschino cherry in the middle.  Dust the pastries with

confectioners’ sugar.

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Fig Cookies (Cuccidate)

Courtesy of Paula Carbone Gati from facebook page- Born Again Italian

Dough:

4 cups of flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups of butter, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup of Crisco, cold and broken into small pieces
2 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
2 tsp vanilla

Filling:

One 12 oz pkg of dried figs, I use either mission or calimyrna
1/2 cup almonds… chopped,,,not to fine,,,more on the course side
1/2 cup of dates -no pits
1/2 cup of raisins
1/3 cup of honey
1/4 cup of orange marmalade
1/4 cup whiskey
1 tsp of good cinnamon

Icing:

4 cups confectionary sugar
a few table spoons of milk
nonpareils

Directions:

In stand mixer…mix all dry ingredients, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt set aside….to this add butter pieces little at a time, then cold Crisco, then have all wet ingredients mixed and slowly add this to the flour until a nice smooth dough forms…after the dough comes together..put on table and knead a few minutes till the dough is smooth, add more flour if necessary… make a smooth ball and cover in saran and refrigerate …while you prepare filling

I double this recipe..because I make a big batch and for the amount of work that goes into this its best to do it at once…it makes approx 5 doz cookies for this recipe…. which is a good amount..but you can freeze these cookies..I usually pack 6 at a time in a Ziploc then put in glad ware container and take out as needed..they freeze really good.

I remove the dried stems from the figs, and put all the dried fruits through the meat grinder
when all the fruit is ground up I add the rest of ingredients,,, and mix really well…I usually let this sit over night for all the flavors to really marry.

Start the assembly…taking a piece of dough at a time roll out to make approx a 3 inch by 12 inch rectangle..cut with knife to square off…then take the fig filling and make a log approx 12 inches long….place this log onto the rectangle of dough and roll and have seam side down….cut approx 1 1/2 inch pieces and place on parchment lined cookie sheets…..350 degree oven for approx 15 minutes, till bottoms are slightly golden…
Make icing and after cookies are cool….spread a little icing onto each little bundle and sprinkle with some nonpareils…

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Maple Soy Glazed Salmon

2016-04-15 21.24.39 SALMON CLOSE UP

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

Hi everyone,

I read every comment and email you send me and I have received a few emails saying  that many of you are looking for meatless meals. Well, I have the perfect meatless meal for all the salmon lovers out there and I just wanted to share it with you.

First of all, I am always looking for new salmon recipes because Bob could eat salmon 365 days a year and be a very happy man. This one is definitely a keeper.

I found this recipe on cookingclassy.com and the creator of this site was kind enough to allow me to share her recipe. 

This recipe is delicious and best of all, very easy to prepare.

Only five ingredients. What more can you ask for?

Bob said it was simply fantastic. So, look it over and give it a try. Enjoy!

I served the salmon on a bed of arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette along with steamed broccoli and my version of cold sesame noodles.

2016-04-15 21.24.30 SALMON FULL PLATE

I hope you enjoy this recipe and please let me know if you try it.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Diane

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

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

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Maple Soy Glazed Salmon

(Only five ingredients !)

2016-04-15 19.33.16- SALMON INGREDIENTS

Prep time: 10 minutes & cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 (6-7 oz.) skinless salmon fillets
  • 1/3 cup real maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce (not low sodium)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper and chopped green onions

Cooks note: Even though it wasn’t the recommended ingredient I used low sodium soy sauce and Bob loved it.

Directions:

  • In a mixing bowl whisk together maple syrup, soy sauce and garlic.
  • Place salmon into a baking dish, then pour the maple syrup mixture evenly over the salmon
  • Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes, carefully rotating salmon halfway through.
  • Preheat oven to 400 during last 10 minutes of marinating salmon
  • Spray a 13 X 9 baking dish with cooking spray then transfer marinated salmon into the greased dish (don’t discard marinade)
  • Bake in preheated oven until salmon is cooked through about 15 minutes
  • Meanwhile, pour the marinade into a small saucepan, bring to a boil over medium –high heat, stirring frequently. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat slightly and allow to cook for several minutes, stirring frequently, until reduced to ¼ cup
  • Serve salmon warm with 1 tbsp. of the maple soy glaze drizzled over the top and black pepper and green onions. Add salt if needed
  • From cookingclassy.com

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