Thursday, August 31, 2023

Dinner at the Shore Tablescape

Despite the fact that the calendar insists there are three more weeks of summer, once September hits, it’s over for me. My official first day of fall is September 1. I’ve noticed a change in myself; I’m starting to gravitate towards fall colors, I bought pumpkin to make quick bread, and I’ve been digging out my favorite throws to launder and have at the ready. Why am I mentioning this, you may ask? I mention it because this will be my last table of the summer. I had actually started another summer table in pink and green with flamingos, but I just wasn’t feeling it, so I took it all down in favor of something more autumnal.
What I brought forward here from last week's tablescape is the salmon colored glassware. As I mentioned last week, it fits quite suitably on a table with an ocean theme, based upon name alone. 
The star of the show is the Dario Farrucci Italian ceramic pitcher at the center.  Isn’t he a cutie? The flowers came in a vase (that I donated) from Amazon (I chose the Burgundy arrangement, and it matched perfectly), to which I added fresh olive branches that I snipped off of my tree.
The table covering is from Williams-Sonoma, as are the matching napkins and crab plates. I love this combination. The woven placemats form the base of the plate stack on top of which I have painted tin chargers, and rustic brown plates that I found here. Next to the place setting are little fish dishes (from World Market) to do use for butter pats.

The hammered flatware is by Mikasa and I found it here. Joining the salmon colored ice tea glass is gorgeous cobalt blue stemware.
While dining at this table I enjoyed a new (to me) recipe for a clone of Chi-Chi’s enchilada casserole made up of crabmeat enchiladas. It was very delicious and the plate was perfectly appropriate. 
Be sure to come back next time to see what elements of this table I brought forward into my first table of fall.

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  This post is linked to: Tablescape Thursday

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Woot! Woot!

I must say that I am really enjoying my cocktail of the week. No surprise that indulging in them has put me in a pretty good mood. This one is delicious! Fruity and refreshing, it honestly doesn’t taste as though there’s any alcohol in it at all. The flavors blend together so well as to make a wonderfully satisfying drink. As always, pin the top picture and you’ll have the recipe forever.


Monday, August 28, 2023

Black Olive Vinaigrette

I have been on a bit of a black olive tear as you may have noticed from last week's Black Olive Fettuccine. It’s amazing the difference they make in everyday recipes. The same holds true for salad dressing, as I found out, when I turned my favorite recipe for simple vinaigrette into something extra special with the addition of black olives. This is tremendously good, and must be tried. There’s really no need to buy a can of sliced olives if you have some whole [pitted!] ones in the pantry. Just toss them into your mini processor and give them a pulse or two first before you throw in the rest of the ingredients.  You are going to love this! Black Olive Vinaigrette

 1 2.25-oz. can sliced black olives

1/3 c. cider vinegar

½ t. kosher salt

1½ t. sugar

¼ t. dry mustard

¼ t. freshly ground pepper

1 t. garlic salt

½ c. vegetable oil

 Place all ingredients into a mini food processor and pulse until blended.

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Friday, August 25, 2023

Black Olive Fettuccine Alfredo

Fettuccine Alfredo, made properly, is not something that you want to have all of the time because it is so rich. It is also delicious, so occasionally it is fine to indulge. I have been doing a bit of experimentation with black olives this past week, having discovered quite a few cans in the pantry when I started my annual pre-fall cleaning and organizing. (Don’t be impressed. It only lasts a couple of days because I bore easily.) On a whim, I decided to add chopped black olives to Fettuccine Alfredo. It’s visually more interesting, and exceptionally good. It’s a 30-minute meal that serves two, so it’s easy enough for a weeknight; very romantic with a nice bottle of wine.
Black Olive Fettuccine Alfredo
¼ c. butter
2 oz. cream cheese
1 c. heavy cream
½ t. garlic powder
1 2.25-oz. can sliced black olives*
15-20 gratings freshly ground black pepper
Salt, if you think you need it, I didn’t
6 to 8 gratings whole nutmeg
1/3 c. grated Parmesan
6 oz. fettuccine noodles, prepared as directed

In a medium saucepan over low heat melt butter. When butter is melted add cream cheese, stirring until combined. Add heavy cream, garlic powder, salt (if desired), and pepper. Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly until sauce thickens, 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in black olives, Parmesan, and nutmeg. Toss with cooked and drained fettuccine. Serve immediately.

Serves two as a main dish, four as a side

*You can use chopped or sliced here. I just grabbed a handful and threw them into a food processor. Whatever does the job.

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Thursday, August 24, 2023

A Horse of a Different Color Tablescape

Remember last week when I said that I was going to start taking one element from each table setting, and bring it forward to create a new table setting? What is it they say about the best-laid plans? I knew exactly what I was going to do with my next table, and had it pictured perfectly in my mind. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the dishes that I had intended to use. I spent three days looking for that set of dishes! Now, I ask you, how can you lose service for 12? I managed to do it. So instead of bringing forward the dark blue stemware as I had anticipated, I brought forward the yellow Waechtersbach dinner plates.
With summer coming to a close, I wanted to work in a number of shore table settings. This one started with another quilt as the base, one that I had gotten a number of years ago from L.L. Bean, and that I think I’m going to start using in the guest bedroom.

I wanted to pick up all of the colors in the quilt, along with a coral accent. I started out with the Bordallo Pinheiro geranium leaf chargers (that have endlessly served me well). The yellow Waechtersbach dinner plate from my last tablescape (that you can find here) is atop them. Finishing off the plate stack is a lovely square “Stamp Seahorse” plate by Maxcera.

 The salmon (appropriate, no?) colored water glass is one that I bought 40 years ago, specifically to use with a the set of dishes that I can’t find. I have no idea as to the manufacturer. The turquoise stem glass is from Pier One.

The Cambridge Silversmiths flatware with the bamboo handles is from Amazon here, as are the oyster shell shaped dishes that work well for sauces, condiments, or pats of butter.

I love the coral reef napkins here. I was so excited when I saw these on Amazon. I thought they gave just the right pop to this table with their coral (reference to sea life there) and turquoise blue colors.

The centerpiece is quite showy here. This pair of pelicans, with wonderful detailing at the base, are from Fitz & Floyd. Behind them, looking a bit like sea oats, is a candle holder, believe it or not.


This is a wonderfully serene table setting, I can almost hear the sea. Be sure to come back next time to see what piece from this table will be used in my next.

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  This post is linked to: Tablescape Thursday

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Strawberry Lemon Drop Martini

Oh, my goodness! This is the best cocktail I have had to date. In fact, this may be the best cocktail I’ve had in my entire life. You must use fresh lemon juice, and, of course, fresh strawberries to make the purée. These little steps take extra time, so do yourself a favor and squeeze some lemon juice ahead of time and make a lot of purée. You are going to want more than one of these cocktails. You may just want a pitcher of them. They are so refreshing and delicious. I had to stop myself from glugging it right down.

Strawberry Lemon Drop Martini

Adapted from

 5-6 fresh strawberries

1 oz. water

1 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ oz. Stirrings Simple Syrup

1½ oz. lemon vodka


 Place the strawberries and water in a mini high-speed blender; blend until smooth. Pour puree through a mesh sieve over a small bowl. Use a spoon to stir and press the puree through the sieve; set aside.


 Fill a cocktail shaker* half way with ice.

 Add the strawberry puree, lemon juice, simple syrup, and vodka to the shaker. Place the lid on the shaker and shake until frosty and cold.

 Run a lemon wedge around the edge of the martini glass.  Pour the sugar in a shallow plate or bowl, then dip the glass in the sugar and twist to coat the rim.

 Pour the shaken martini into the glass, and then garnish with a fresh strawberry.

 *A quart Mason jar works as well.

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Monday, August 21, 2023

Brennan’s Oatmeal Custard

Prior to finding this recipe, I had never heard of Brennan's before. Apparently, Brennan's opened in 1967, in Houston, as a sister restaurant to the world-famous Commander's Palace in New Orleans. I have been to Commander's Palace, but whether I had or hadn't been to either of these places, I was interested in trying this recipe. I have been to Commander’s Palace, but whether I had or hadn’t been to either of these places, I was interested in trying this recipe, because I want to add more oatmeal to my diet, and I want it to taste good. I’ve tried the overnight oats. How do you all eat that stuff? There is something decidedly unappetizing about cold, mushy oats, whether there’s fruit and nuts in them or not. I also tried the slow cooker version. That was a complete disaster, causing me no end of scrubbing in my attempt to hack out every last bit. This recipe, however, it’s a real winner! It takes a bit of assembly, and bakes for an hour, so plan accordingly. That said, my guess is that you can make up the various components the night before, stir everything together, and easily slide it into the oven. The fact that it’s baked in a water bath makes it creamy and custardy. It reheats and freezes well, so make a double batch, and enjoy it on those cold days during the winter, or even, as I did, right now.

  Brennan’s Oatmeal Custard

As seen on

5 large eggs, beaten

1½ c. whole milk

¾ c. whipping cream

1 c. + 2 T. brown sugar

1 t. ground cinnamon

2½ c. oatmeal

½ t. vanilla extract

1 c. mixed fresh raspberries and blackberries*

1 c. whipped cream, to garnish

 Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease 8 1-cup ramekins with butter or nonstick cooking spray. Place the ramekins in a 9”x13” baking dish with straight sides.

 Thoroughly whisk eggs, milk, and cream. Push the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to fully incorporate the eggs. Discard any residue. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, oatmeal, vanilla, and berries. Pour the mixture into the prepared ramekins to within ¼” of the top.

 Fill the baking dish with water to within ¾” of the top of the ramekins and bake, covered, for 1 hour. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and serve warm, garnished with berries and a dollop of whipped cream.

 *I used blueberries because I prefer them.

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Friday, August 18, 2023

Chicken Marsala Meatballs

I love Chicken Marsala, but I rarely go to the trouble to make it. When I saw this recipe for Chicken Marsala Meatballs, I thought I would give it a try. These are so good, and the sauce is absolute heaven! I have never made a chicken meatball before, so this was a new experience for me. I didn’t follow this recipe as written, instead, I threw all of the ingredients into a food processor, pulsed it about 15-18 times, and the work was done. Truly, nothing could be easier. I threw in the scallions, egg, breadcrumbs, oil, parsley, s&p, the entire chicken breast, and chopped everything together. I don’t think I could have mixed it by hand and gotten those ingredients as well dispersed as I did here. Choose the method that you prefer. It’s a fairly quick and easy meal that is company worthy.Chicken Marsala Meatballs

Adapted from Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen

  1 lb. extra lean ground chicken

1 T. chopped scallions

1 large egg

½ c. Italian breadcrumbs

1 T. olive oil

1 T. fresh parsley

½ t. salt

¼ t. freshly ground black pepper

Marsala Sauce

 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced

2 T. butter

2 T. flour

1 c. Marsala wine

½ c. chicken broth

¼ c. heavy cream

1 T. fresh parsley

½ t. salt

¼ t. freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat; set aside.

 Combine all ingredients together in a mixing bowl; mix well. Form into 16 meatballs (I used a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop), place on prepared baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes.


 Melt the butter in a 10” sauté pan; add mushrooms. Cook 5 minutes until the mushrooms start to soften; add the flour to form a roux, cook for 1 minute. Add chicken broth, Marsala, parsley, salt, and pepper, and stir until blended; stir in heavy cream. Bring to a boil; lower to a simmer until the sauce starts to thicken. Add the cooked meatballs to the sauce, and simmer on low for 15 minutes.

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Thursday, August 17, 2023

Holy Water

There were a couple of things that attracted me to the cocktail for this week. First of all, the color, is that not a gorgeous color, I ask you? Imagine how beautiful it would look on a table set with sea tones. This one, for example. Gorgeous! Second, it made use of the peach schnapps that I had bought for some mysterious reason, as well as citrus vodka, ditto. This drink is potent. So, don’t suck it down like you’re having an iced tea. Otherwise I doubt that you’ll see the conclusion of your movie, book, or anything else that has served as your evening’s entertainment. Don’t ask me how I know.

The recipe is on the top photo. Pin it and you’ll have it forever. I used bottled, sparkling French lemonade, and it was wonderful. Feel free to use anything that you like including Squirt or 7-Up. Wonderfully refreshing.