Monday, November 30, 2015

King’s Arms Tavern Peanut Soup

In my youth, when I traveled, I would always come home loaded with various remembrances of my trip. It was always fun, and I still retain some of those items, fondly remembering each adventure every time I look at them. These days, with storage at a premium, and my interest in lugging big heavy bags a part of my past, I shop for more practical souvenirs. Because traveling is as much about sightseeing as it is about sampling the local cuisine, I tend to opt for local cookbooks, recipe postcards, and tea towels, so I considered my purchase of a souvenir tea towel that contained a recipe to be a bit of a double bonus.
The Kings Arms Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg is a fun, atmospheric, tasty place to dine. One of their specialties is peanut soup. I'd never had peanut soup prior to visiting here, and found the whole concept to be rather off putting, so, naturally, I ordered it. It was delicious! Now I'm not quite sure just how authentic to colonial days peanut butter is, but I refuse to be bothered by that because I really like this soup. With Thanksgiving now behind us, we are on the cusp of loads of holiday dinner parties and other such gatherings, so why not start off your lunch or dinner with a little bowl of this soup? Unique and enjoyable, I'm sure your guests will love it.

King’s Arms Tavern Peanut Soup

1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1/4 cup butter
3 Tablespoons flour
2 quarts chicken broth
2 cup smooth peanut butter
1-3/4 cup light cream
Chopped peanuts, for garnish

Saute onion and celery in butter until soft, but not brown. Stir in flour until well blended. Add broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and puree either in a blender, using an immersion blender, or food processor. Add peanut butter and cream, stirring both in thoroughly. Heat through and serve. Garnish with chopped peanuts (and I used bacon as well.)

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Giving Thanks, a Thanksgiving Tablescape

I know that none of you probably want to see a Thanksgiving table after the fact, but you're going to anyway. Considering that I had absolutely no idea just how I was going to set it as close as the very day before, I thought it turned out beautifully.
It was largely due to our good friend and dinner-and-baseball bud, Lennie, who was not able to join us, but sent a lovely little flower arrangement instead. It was a bit small for our table, so I surrounded it with some faux pumpkins and the result was quite pleasing, I think.

Then, I thought I'd do something really different with the napkins this year, so folded them into turkeys!
While they are more pretty than practical (because each diner has to deal with not only two napkins, but a securing pin and piece of foil), everyone enjoyed them and they were amazingly easy to do.
The best way to learn is to watch this video. I find that it really helps to fold them on an ironing board, and iron between each step. Also, do starch your napkin that will be used for the feathers.
I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving. Here's what we had for dinner (and this took me THREE DAYS to prepare!) that probably tasted better than it looks.
Even two days hence, I am still recovering from it!
Now...on to Christmas!

Plates – Johnson Brothers “His Majesty”
Placemats – World Market
Tablecloth - Williams-Sonoma
Brown Napkins – World Market
Indian Corn Napkins – Made by my mother
Stemware – Gift from my dad

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?

Erma Bombeck
"from No One Diets on Thanksgiving"
26 November 1981

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

1907 New Zealand Water, a natural choice

I was watching the news the other night, and one of the reporters was doing a story on the water in the St. Louis area that, for 30% of the customers, tasted funny. But, the reporter added, they should be assured that it was safe and they were working on it.”  Uck, I thought, as I reached for a cool bottle of 1907 New Zealand Artesian water. What was giving it that funny taste?

If you have ever experienced something similar, or wondered why that cup of coffee, glass of iced tea, agua fresca, or other water-based beverage
tasted funny, have you ever given a thought to the water? Perhaps it's time that you should. As my son always says, If you think that water has no taste, then you haven't been to Michigan. I can add Pennsylvania to that list, along with Iron County in Missouri where I was punished sent to Girl Scout Camp one summer where we totally understood after that wretched week where Iron County got its name.

Water is an important, yet largely unappreciated ingredient in many things, and yet I doubt that most people give it much thought.

Sourced 680 feet deep at the foot of New Zealand’s Kaimanawa Ranges, resulting in pure, uncontaminated water, 1907 New Zealand water is naturally alkaline. The high alkalinity helps to keep your body well-balanced, and fight the high levels of acidity that can result from a fast-paced lifestyle that may not consist of all of the best foods all of the time.

So the next time you want a cool, refreshing beverage, or rich cup of coffee, reach for the water that will ensure that you get a pure, fresh, clean, unadulterated taste to whatever you are drinking.

Thanks to the good people at 1907 for providing me with some of the best water that I have ever tasted!