Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dinner for Two

Dinner this evening will be lighter fare but I still enjoy setting a nice table even if just for the two of us, myself and my husband. My menu for this evening is a Mixed Green Salad of Baby Greens from the garden topped with olives, marinated artichokes and Feta with a sprinkling of a favorite Greek salad dressing. I have also prepared a new recipe that I wanted to try called Serependipity Pasta Salad with Roasted Chicken. I prepared it earlier since it should be refrigerated for a few hours before serving and will have fresh Yeast Rolls dripping with butter, of course, with dinner as well.

Serendipity Pasta Salad with Roasted Chicken

1 lb rotini pasta
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 lb Serendipity "Cyprus", cubed (this is an herbed cow's milk cheese from Sweet Grass Dairy from Thomasville, GA-it has a definite Mediterranean flavor.)
1/4 cup plus 2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried basil
1 cup thinly sliced roasted red peppers
1 cup black olives
1/2 cup thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes (rehydrated or oil-packed)
2 tbs chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare a large sauce pan with enough salted water to cover your pasta by about 2 inches and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, in a bowl large enough to accommodate your cooked pasta, mix garlic and approximately 1/2 tsp salt together. Mix in the balsamic vinegar, dried basil and just a pinch of black pepper. Once these are thoroughly combined, slowly whisk in the olive oil. Once your water is boiling, add the pasta and cook "al dente" (about 8-10 minutes). Toss cooked pasta in bowl with prepared vinaigrette and remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly to incorporate everything. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (at least 3 hours to allow flavor to intensify).

I also added three chicken breast halves that I had roasted in a 350* oven for approximately 30-35 minutes. I also salted and peppered both sides of the chicken breast and added olive oil to both sides before roasting. After roasting dice the chicken breast into bite size pieces and add to salad.

Since dinner was prepared much earlier it gave me the time to set my table for our Dinner for two.

The candle holders are a sweet little blue and white ceramic piece that I found a couple of months ago and HAD to have. Of course, right now in North Florida my hydrangeas are in full bloom and I love to bring them in by the armfuls. They brighten every corner of my house.

Tonight I used yellow quilted placemats since I love yellow with blue, my Vilroy and Boch white dinner plates and Vilroy and Boch, Audin Ferme salad plates and bread plates. The taller etched wine glasses are a new purchase when I was in Atlanta last week at one of my favorite shopping spots, Boxwood. The water glasses are some I have had for a long time that were purchased from Willian Somoma Home online that were a steal. The silver oak leaf and acorn napkin rings are also a new purchase from Boxwood last week.

I can never resist acorn napkin rings and these were wrapped in oak leaves. Now I ask you, how southern is that?

I really loved the heighth of these wine glasses. I think heighth variations at a table setting are more interesting so I HAD to have these as well. My husband rolled his eyes because I do have a lot of stemware. This too was another purchase from Boxwood in Atlanta. If you are ever in Atlanta make a point to visit this shop. They advertise in Veranda magazine and it is a charming little shop. It's a gift/floral/antique and just a fun shop.

I am joining in the fun of Susan's party for Tablescape Thursday
To view other beautiful table settings check out Susan's blog at Between Naps on the Porch. Have a lovely Thursday.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday

I think this is the first time I have participated in Outdoor Wednesday but I appreciate having the opportunity to do so. Thank you Susan for providing us this opportunity. Outdoor Wednesday is hosted by Susan at A Southern Daydreamer. You can access other posts for Outdoor Wednesday at

Over this Memorial Weekend my husband and myself and our oldest son and his family went up to our farm in South Georgia. It is a little piece of heaven that I would like to share with you. Our son and his wife have twin boys and the light of our life. We have so much fun with these two little guys.

They came up on Sunday afternoon and we cooked out and then later in the afternoon we fished in our pond on our property until darak. They didn't catch anything to write home about but they had such a good time and isn't that all that matters? Our farm is a rich source of entertainment and I wanted to share some pictures.

Our pond and a very peaceful place.

My husband enjoying this little piece of heaven.

Our daughter in law and grandson, Jackson enjoying the fishing.

Our oldest son John and grandson, Mason enjoying fishing from the opposite side of the pond. They had a great time.

I had to include a pic of my two furry babies. Huey, the beagle and Miss Scarlet, my Cavelier. They thoroughly enjoy the farm as well and this is a pic of the two of them on the way up. I thought it too cute to not place here.

This is how we spent our Memorial Weekend in the great outdoors of South Georgia. I am looking forward to seeing all the other posts for Outdoor Wednesday.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Sometimes one just feels like getting into the kitchen. Today was my day to make some chicken stock with a left over Roasted Chicken and I have also been craving one of my favorite cakes that I would like to share.

This is a wonderful and simple cake that I have made many times. It's like a pound cake in that you could add anything you wanted to this cake such as some fresh berries and whipped cream. The recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Olives and Oranges, Recipes & Flavor Secrets from Italy, Spain, Cyprus & Beyond by Sara Jenkins and Mindy Fox.

Lemon Olive Cake is a moist, light cake with an unusual texture. Different from a pound cake texture. There is just a light hint of lemon and the olive oil gives it this different texture and also keeps it moist.

I especially enjoy this cake with no garnish but by itself with my favorite cup of tea.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Slow-Cook Recipe/ Makes 10 servings

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
Finely grated zest of 3 lemons
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Put oven rack in center position and heat oven to 325*. Lightly oil a 9-inch springform pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

With an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl on high speed for 5 minutes, or until pale and thick. Add yogurt and zest; beat to combine. With mixer on medium speed, add oil in a quick, steady stream. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture just until blended. Whisk batter by hand to make sure that all ingredients are incorporated.

Pour batter into pan. Bake, rotating pan once, until cake is golden, center springs back to the touch, and edges pull away from pan, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pan for a minute or two on rack, then release from pan and let cool completely on rack before slicing.

NOTE: I used Greek yogurt and this is the time to use your very best olive oil.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about one of my favoirte cakes. If you try this cake you will not be sorry.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The First Porch and Patio Party

I am joining in the first Porch and Patio Party hosted by Barb at Grits and Galmour, This sounded like such fun to me and I thought I had some fairly decent photos to share that I took today for this very first Porch and Patio Party.

We will soon begin an addition to our house and the garden area surrounding my patio will be dug up and moved. The rose bush on the black arbor will have to be severely cut back and potted up. I was so hoping that I would be able to enjoy it as I have for the past four years again this year before our addition began.

I very often have my morning coffee on this patio and afternoon tea. It is one of my favorite spots around our home especially now as you will see.

The old rose on the arbor is New Dawn and I am constantly amazed at it every day. Each day brings a new flush of bloom. It will last for about a month and then bloom sporadically until frost but this will soon have to be dug up so I am relishing my time outdoors watching this beautiful climbing rose. Even at night when I take out my dogs out because of it's light color it is just amazing.

I keep pillows handy by my back door and they change with the seasons. This time of year my color of choice is Pink or shades of pink.

I have enough seating for visitors as well.

I have a small table for two and I enjoy having my afternoon tea with my favorite reading material here. It is a very relaxing area.

You can barely see it but to the right of the table beyond the retaining wall there is an iron bird house and we have a family of birds.

Here is a close up of that bird house.

We also have mockingbirds building a nest right now in the arbor, between the arbor and the rose bush. It should be a safe place to build a nest.

So for now I am enjoying my patio area until we begin our construction. I have enjoyed participating in the very first Porch and Patio Party and look forward to seeing others' posts. Thank you so much for visiting my blog.