Sunday, February 22, 2015

An Easy Dinner

I think most all of us are always looking for a delicious but yet simple chicken dish. This recipe definitely fit the bill and truly an inexpensive dish as well. An easy dinner but yet worthy of dinner party fare in my opinion, Chicken Cutlets With Herbed Mushroom Sauce.
I came across this recipe in the most recent issue of Southern Living magazine and decided to give it a try. I had two chicken breast halves and this would have served four. When I said it was economical , yes it is and I always enjoy using fresh herbs from my Herb Garden.

Chicken Cutlets With Herbed Mushroom Sauce

2 (8-ounce) skinned and boned chicken breasts
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup canola oil, divided
1 (8-ounce) package fresh button mushrooms, quartered
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 fresh sage sprigs
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons butter
Garnish: fresh thyme sprigs

Halve each chicken breast lengthwise to form 4 cutlets. Place each cutlet between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and flatten to 1/4-inch thickness, using a rolling pin or flat side of a meat mallet. Discard plastic. Sprinkle salt and pepper over both sides of chicken.

Place flour in a shallow dish, and stir in chopped thyme and rosemary. Dredge chicken in flour mixture; shake off excess. Cook 2 cutlets in 4 1/2 teaspoon hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove cutlets from pan, and repeat procedure with 4 1/2 teaspoon oil and remaining 2 dredged cutlets.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to drippings in skillet; add mushrooms, and sauté over medium-high heat 4 to 6 minutes or until browned and all moisture evaporates. Stir in vinegar, and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Stir in broth and sage; bring to a boil. Boil until liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Remove from heat; stir in mustard. Whisk in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Spoon sauce over cutlets.


 I used baby Portobello's since I think they have much more flavor and sliced them rather than cutting them in half. I thought it gave it a more appealing presentation.

Pared with rice and a simple sauté of fresh spinach it makes for a delicious dinner.
 I hope you will try this dish and oh have I mentioned that the sauce is absolutely amazing. The Dijon mustard gives it a really special flavor.
  I am sharing this post at Foodie Friday hosted by Michael Lee at Rattlebridge Farm. Click HERE to enjoy other shared recipes.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Breakfast Vignette for Two

This table has a story and will not be in my kitchen very long. I bought it last October at a charming little shop in Apalachicola, FL and I thought it would be perfect for this spot. This is the same spot where I had originally had my antique French Pastry table. I have since longed for my French Pastry table back where I had originally placed it. This table which I fell in love with just wasn't being used but I do have another place for it. I will soon be rearranging most of my house in terms of furniture but that is for another time. It occurred to me that I had never shared a table setting at this diminutive table for two.
This is an area at the end of my kitchen and it fits perfectly for a table for two but to seat others at this table, it will open up and can seat 6 people but it made it quite close with the cabinetry just behind it. When it's moved it will always remain open and used as a buffet for a breakfast room just off from the kitchen and I just fell in love with the eclectic look of this table.

A table set with my favorite Italian Vietri  dishes, Contrada which has now been discontinued and I would love to add to this set of dishes. I have checked replacements many times but they are always out of stock. Some day I will find more.

The depression glass fruit cup was THE piece which began my collection of depression glass. As you may or may not know, various depression glass pieces were placed in boxes of laundry detergent during the depression. My great grandmother collected these in the yellow Madrid pattern which she eventually gave to my mother. Over the years my mother added to the collection and later gave her collection to me. I have since collected other patterns but the Madrid pattern is very special to me because of it's story.

The daffodils are an antique variety which are now blooming in my garden. I added some sprigs of lavender to the vase for a subtle fragrance. My Italian dishes seem to be a perfect pattern for this wee table for two. Nest time you see it, it will have found a new resting place.

I am sharing this post with Susan at her blogging party Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch. You can click  HERE to view other fabulous table setting ideas. Enjoy your day everyone.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Friday, February 6, 2015

Potato Leek Soup

I love a good Potato Leek Soup during the winter months and we have been having freezing temperatures in the evening, warming up during the day but by dinner you just can't beat a good hot soup. It's warm and very satisfying. This is a soup recipe that comes from one of my "go to" cookbooks for superb food, Dorie Greenspan, Around My French Table.
Leek and Potato Soup,
 smooth or chunky, hot or cold
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, preferably Spanish, chopped (or 1-2 more leeks)
2 garlic cloves, split, germ removed, and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
3 leeks, white and light green parts only, split lengthwise, washed, and thinly sliced
1 large Idaho (russet) potato, peeled and cubed
6 thyme sprigs
2 fresh sage leaves (optional)
4 cups chicken broth (or water)
3 cups whole milk (or water)
Optional Toppings
Minced fresh parsley, sage, tarragon, or marjoram, or a combination
Snipped fresh chives
Grated Parmesan or Gruyere
Truffle Oil
Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or soup pot over low heat. Add the onion and garlic and stir until they glisten with butter, then season with salt and white pepper, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes, until the onion is soft but not colored.
Add the remaining ingredients, along with a little more salt, increase the heat, and bring to a boil. As soon as the soup bubbles, turn the heat to low mostly cover the pot, and simmer gently for 30 to 40 minutes, or until all the vegetables are mashably soft. Taste the soup and season generously with salt and white pepper.
You've got many choices now: you can ladle the soup into warmed bowls and serve as is, mash the vegetables lightly with the back of a spoon, or puree the soup through a food mill (my first choice-you'll get a more interesting texture) or with a blender- regular or immersion-or food processor. If desired, garnish with the topping of your choice.
My Notes: I did use the sage, chicken broth and whole milk and also used an immersion blender.
Prepped and ready to begin. I love the fragrance of leeks and always enjoy a soup using fresh herbs picked from my garden. Prepping was a little time consuming but well worth the effort.

This was a simple but elegant soup and I chose to top with freshly grated Cheddar Cheese with a slight drizzle of black truffle oil. The truffle oil gives it a little flavor boost and is delicious. I think my photo would have been enhanced by a sprinkling of chives which I do have in my garden but by the time this was done, I was ready to try it ASAP.

I have never prepared anything from this book that I did not like and this soup is no exception. Even "Mr. Picky Eater" enjoyed it. Pared with a simple salad and crusty bread, a feast on a cold evening. It's always good to have an exceptional Leek and Potato Soup recipe in your repertoire. Dorie talks in the book in more detail about the versatility of this soup, the different add ins and also whether to serve hot or cold, so many choices to make it your own.
I am linking to Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday and looking forward to checking out other wonderful recipes submitted. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Review of Table Settings, 2014

This past year I did not post too many table settings which is odd because I do love to finesse a beautiful table, play with my choices and share the result. I am now at a stage in life that I am trying to pare down all the "stuff" that one collects over the years but that just makes setting a pretty table more of a challenge in not doing the same ole same ole thing each time you set a table. So I have more often gone with very simple tablescapes and flowers. These are a few that I apparently never posted this past year.

Easter, 2014

As always I enjoy cutting flowers from my own garden to do a flower arrangement. My landscaping was originally designed with year round options for putting together flower arrangements. The greenery is always from my garden, limelight hydrangeas with a few store bought roses added in. There is so much color going on in my dining room that I have been going with the "less is more theory" in terms of color in my arrangements and I am loving those shades of whites color schemes for my arrangements.


This is one of two antique salt and pepper cellars with the original cobalt blue inserts. I believe these were made in the early 1800's and are often on my table when entertaining.  
Simple Summer Table
I love using blue in the summer. It is so crisp and clean and perfect for a casual small dinner gathering.

I've only had these Limelight hydrangeas planted in my garden for two years but this past year to my delight  this variety not only gives shades of white but I have found them to be the easiest hydrangea for drying. I still had some of these blooming into October as well. I have been extremely pleased with this variety of hydrangea.

Thanksgiving 2014
Often in the Fall I get out my antique dough bowl and fill it with seasonal pumpkins, gourds, and ornamental squashes. It stays on my table until after Thanksgiving.



Thanksgiving Appetizer Table
A French Antique Pastry Table, not often used as a pastry table but I do enjoy using it to serve appetizers and it has been moved to a room that I can move the flow of people in my house during a busy holiday.

Christmas 2014
My centerpiece for Christmas was a long ceramic piece that I planted with very small hydrangea plants, again going with the "less is more" theory. It appears that I did that most of this past year and never realized it until looking back at my review.


Another year has past, we are now into February and I am anxious to get busy finessing more tables. I guess that means I should have more dinner party's or luncheons.

It's Thursday and I am sharing this post at Tablescape Thursday hosted by Susan at Between Naps on the Porch. It has been a while since I have posted on this blogging party. Click HERE to view other shared tablesettings.

Enjoy you day, Carolyn


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

All tuckered out after a day at our farm. It speaks for itself. They are outdoor girls and love the farm.