Thursday, April 18, 2013

YaYa Dinner Party

A few weeks ago my dinner group met and I realized that I had failed to share the table setting and it was such a lovely table. My dinner group is only women, we get together once a month and we call ourselves the YaYa's. We are all so very Southern, of course, and have all been friends for many years. We look forward each month to this dinner gathering with excellent culinary delights and fellowship.

My friend has a beautiful home and when we met she had some azalea's blooming in her garden which she used as her centerpieces, low enough to talk over.
She had set such a beautiful table.
Her china pattern is one that I have admired for a very long time and have often thought that I would like to add this pattern to my own collection of china. The pattern is Laurel by Castleton, an American china pattern and the company began producing china in 1901. The pattern originally belonged to my friends mother and she has added pieces over the years. It is such a beautiful pattern. The sterling flatware is the King Richard pattern. My friend chose this pattern when she married because her husband's name was Richard. I just love hearing story's that have special meaning to someone as to why and how one comes to chose these things. Unfortunately I do not know the patterns of the goblets.

I didn't get a close up while at our dinner party but found a pic online. I love the laurel leaves in gold on the inner band and the outer band of gold is beaded.

Our delightful menu was a Seafood Lasagna, Roasted Asparagus with a refreshing congealed Cranberry Salad on a bed of fresh baby greens. It was absolutely delicious. I should find out about the individual molds because that was such a nice touch.

A wonderful evening was had by all in this beautiful home, a charming hostess, an amazing and delicious dinner and lots of laughs and fun.

I am sharing my post at Susan's blog party, Tablescape Thursday.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Penne with Braised Short Ribs

This recipe is one that I had watched Giada prepare on a repeat program of hers. I had never seen this particular program but as she prepared it I thought it sounded amazing. I'm not sure if it appears in any of her books but it may. I made my copy from my computer.

Penne with Braised Short Ribs
serves 4 to 6

4 pounds beef short ribs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
5 Roma tomatoes, cut into eighths
1 cup red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 pound penne pasta
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Place an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Season the ribs with salt and pepper. In a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or ovenproof stock pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. In batches, add the ribs and brown on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the ribs and set aside. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, wine and mustard. Bring the mixture to a boil and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Return the ribs to the pan. Add the beef broth, cover the pan and place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours until the meat is fork-tender and falls easily from the bone

Remove the ribs from the cooking liquid. Using a large spoon, remove any excess fat from the surface of the cooking liquid. Using a ladle, transfer the cooking liquid in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture is smooth. Pour the sauce into a saucepan and keep warm over low heat. Remove the meat from the bones. Discard the bones. Using 2 forks, shred the meat into small pieces. Stir the shredded meat into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and place in a large serving bowl. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the sauce and add to the pasta. Pour 1 cup of the sauce over the pasta. Toss well and thin out the pasta with more sauce, if needed. Sprinkle the pasta with Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley before serving.

I chose to use a French Pinot Noir in this dish, something I would drink with the dish.

My husband is a very picky eater but he raved over this and it is such an economical dinner as well.
Pared with a simple salad it was quite simply, an excellent dinner.
Whenever I find a recipe that pleases my husband and he raves about it, I will definitely be preparing this again and again.
I hope you are enjoying your weekend.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Easter Decorations and Dinner Table

Easter has come and gone but I wanted to share some of my Easter decorations and my table setting for Easter dinner. Most of our family shared the day with us with the exception of my oldest son and his family. Their twin boys came down with some kind of bug that is going around so they didn't want the rest of us to get it plus the two boys were in the bed.

Because we were minus four people I chose not to do an children's table as I usually do. Instead all the children sat with the grown up and they loved it.

Instead of making one large flower arrangement I chose to do three smaller arrangements with my crystal candle holders but also with small voitive's scattered around as well.

Different flowers in each container but all in the same color scheme.

The pink and white flowers are tulips and they opened up huge, they were gorgeous.
Trying to keep everything simple I used my Vilroy & Boch white dishes sitting on  green fluted chargers, hotel silver flatware, the water glasses I don't even know what they are or where I got them I have had them so very long but the wine glasses are Waterford. The tablecloth and napkins  came from William Sonoma and the table runner is a new purchase. It is burlap, lined and you can't see it here but our last initial is monogrammed on each end. The chandelier we purchased about four years ago too and it is made by Swarovski. The pattern is called New Orleans and I do love some French influences in my home.
These little running rabbit napkin rings was a purchase from Pottery Barn a couple of years ago.
My sideboard was decorated with some of my favorite bunnies nestled around my Easter Tree. I have collected these ornaments over the years and some hold some very fond memories of special gifts from special people. My sideboard is a 1920's mahogany piece and when I got my new and larger dining room table and china cabinet about four years ago I decided I could not part with this sideboard. I am not one to do the matchy matchy thing anyway and think it is far more interesting to mix pieces. The lamps on the sideboard are Waterford.
There are several of these little birds on my tree and I was gifted with these many years ago by a dear friend. I think of her everyday but most especially when I place these little birds on my Easter Tree. We both share a fondness for gardening and our feathered friends as well as many other shared interests.
Of course, GiGi (that's what my grands call me) had to have Easter baskets for the children filled with goodies but also a few little gifts.
One of my grand daughters got this darling flamingo with bunny ears. I found that I could not resist it, I ask you how cute is this?
Two of the girls got stuffed bunnies but with their own monogram on the ears.
The older grand daughter being six almost seven has sadly outgrown stuffed bunnies sooooooo she got a new Barbie and a hair dresser chair for her American Girl. I was given lots and lots of hints.

We even had bunnies on the mantle as part of our Easter decor with candle eggs in the candle holders.
We had a most enjoyable Easter. After dinner we spent the rest of the afternoon having multiple Easter Egg Hunts.
Easter Menu
Ina Garten's Baked Virginia Ham
Collard Greens
Red Potato Salad
Roasted Asparagus with a Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette
Green Beans with Fingerling Potatoes
Deviled Eggs
and for Dessert
a medley of Cupcakes
Our traditional family dessert is a Cointreau Cake that I have been making for years and I garnish it with pansy's from my garden but this year time got away from me so I was compelled to go to plan "B". I made a trip to the Cupcakery, a darling little shop that makes the MOST delicious cupcakes. Besides that the children liked that even better.

One of my family's favorite appetizers is my Sun Dried Tomato Hummus. Even the children love it and it is somewhat different for most Humus's.
Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 ounce sun-dried tomatoes, minced
1/4 cup sliced green onion (white and pale green parts only), sliced thin
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper


Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Check taste and add additional salt, pepper and horseradish, to taste. You may want to add more sun-dried tomatoes as well.
My notes: I usually add a little more sun-dried tomatoes and I always use those that are jarred and in olive oil. If the hummus is too pasty then I add in some of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes. I really like not using tahani but using the horseradish instead. It makes a most unusual hummus and it is delicious. My grands could eat their weight in this hummus. Anything the children will like I definitely will make and they don't know it so good for them,YAH!!!!
I am linking my post to Between Naps on the Porch and Design by Gollum.

 I hope each of you had a fun filled family holiday as we did. Thank you for visiting my blog and please do come again.