Monday, February 22, 2010

Front Entry vignette

Today is the first Tabletop Tuesday by our new host Marty at A Stroll Through Life. Marty it is wonderful that you have decided to take over for this fun party.

Today I am sharing my Front Entry vignette. This is a mahogany antique table by my front door that changes with the season or holiday. Last year we had a new custom door made. My old door had been given to me as an anniversary gift from my husband many years ago and the wood on the old door was beyond repair. We were able to take the etched beveled glass oval out and the new door was made to fit this oval along with the sidelights. The whole piece is solid mahogany and I think it looks very well with this antique table and antique mirror at the entry. Click on to any photo to enlarge and in this first photo in the far left hand corner is an umbrella stand that was painted by my grandmother more than 35 years ago.

I most always place some cherished things on this table because I pass it everytime I go upstairs.

A very dear friend who paints on china gave this to me many years ago. She knows that being the Southerner that I am that I would love this plate painted with a magnolia. This is a "Special" treasure to me.

I also have a fondness for orchids and I have a large collection of orchids. When they are blooming I bring them inside and usually have two or three blooming all the time. This one with it's delicate soft pink blooms seems to be enjoying it's spot with the morning sun that comes through the sidelights.

This is a metal piece and I have a growing fondness for gardening metal pieces. I am not sure why but I do have a tendency to gravitate to them.

In the evening I light this fragrant candle for ambience when guests arrive. The toile red and white wallpaper has been there for a while and I LOVE it. When we were doing some construction in the downstairs last year, we were putting in deeper base and crown moulding, one of the things I was adamant about was to preserve this toile wallpaper.

Please take the time to see other participants of Tabletop Tuesday by clicking here. Thank you for visiting my blog.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lentil and Chickpea Soup

It's Foodie Friday once again and I am joining in the fun on this one year Anniversary of Foodie Friday hosted by Michael Lee West. Happy Anniversary Michael.

In so many parts of the country winter is still around so with that in mind I thought I would share a comforting soup recipe that I prepared recently for the first time. My husband and I really enjoyed this hearty and nutritious soup.

The recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Frank Stitts, Bottega Favorita. Frank Stitt owns two restaurants in Birmingham, Al and this book is the favorite recipes of the restaurant by the same name, Bottega.

It's an easy recipe to put together and so very nutritious with lots of fresh vegetables along with the Lentils and Chickpeas.

Pared with some crusty bread and an Italian wine, it was a hearty dinner on a cold evening.

Topped with a drizzle of a good olive oil and a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese put it over the top.

Lentil anc Chickpea Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, cut in 1/2-inch dice
1 red onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored,and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 celery stalk, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 1/2 cups de Puy lentils or brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained (not rinsed)
2 cups drained canned diced tomatoes
2 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
Leftover braised meat such as lamb or veal (optional)
Chopped mint, flat-leaf parsley, or chives or extra virgin Olive Oil for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden brown. 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onions and saute' until they are tender but have not begun to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the parsley and coriander and stir for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the diced fennel, carrots, celery, and bell pepper and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, combine the lentils in a medium saucepan with water to cover by 2 inches and bring to a rolling boil. Drain lentils and set aside. (The cooking liquid can be reserved for another recipe or discarded; we don't use it here because it would muddy the soup. The lentils can be cooked in advance.)

Add the lentils, chickpeas, tomatoes, and stock or water to the vegetables. Add the meat, if using, and bring to a simmer. Simmer partially covered, over low heat for 45 minutes to 50 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Check the level of the liquid from time to time, replenishing it as necessary. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Garnish with the fresh herbs or a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and maybe a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Please join other participants of Foodie Friday by clicking here.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Surprise Metamorphosis

I haven't joined in on Susan's Met Monday in a very long time. Mostly because there aren't too many changes that take place when one has lived in a home for 29 years. Welllll, maybe there has BUT this one was definitely worth blogging about.

I was in a interior design shop early last week,mainly to get some fresh ideas. However, I came upon a pair of chairs that I absolutely fell in love with. My husband had been talking for quite some time that he wanted two new chairs in his at "home office" and I told him about these gorgeous red leather chairs that I had seen earlier in the week. Now keep in mind that I use red throughout my house in my decorating scheme frequently and I had only casually mentioned them to him so I thought. He decided to go take a look at them.

This was the before.

The plaid chairs looked great with the drapes, so I thought.

I have had these chairs for many years and have had them recovered many times but apparently my husband didn't care for them in his at "home office". BUT he loved this gorgeous pair of chairs that I had casually mentioned to him.

The leather is so soft and they are very comfortable to sit in.

He even bought a beautiful side table to go between the two of them and guess what, it fits right in with my decorating scheme.

They even fit right in with the color scheme of the adjoining foyer which has a red and cream toile wall covering. The best part is that it makes a beautiful bold statement as one enters our home since it is the first thing you see when you walk through the front door.

To say that I was in shock over the "happenings" of this past Saturday and what my husband surprised me with even though it is HIS at "home office" is an under statement. It still makes a fabulous bold statement as you enter our home and I couldn't have been more pleased.

My next project will be to tweak all the side tables but that is a good thing. The down side to this is that he seems to think that he can see clients more often in our home now that he has made his at "home office" more to his liking. I'm not sure how I feel about that????? BTW, that is Miss Scarlet, my Cavelier King Charles Spaniel, on the floor appearing to be napping. She is waiting for me to leave because she likes those leather chairs too????

This sudden change in our home did make for a great Met Monday post so I thought. Please join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for other wonderful Met Monday posts.