Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday Favorites

I have been talking about my grandmother in a few posts recently so I thought I would repost one of my earliest blogs this Sunday for Sunday Favorites. Join Chari today at Happy to Design for this event.

Looking back I have come to realize how much my father's mother influenced my life. She was widowed when I was about 5 and lived independently in her sparkling clean house in Sussex, New Jersey for many years. She loved to sew and cook. She was a wonderful cook - nothing fancy - just good. She did not spare the butter, sugar or cream. My sister and I each had some time with her in the summer. She took me to my first auction and I still have the little flatiron with the wooden handle that I bought for a dime!

She loved auctions, pinochle, church suppers, a good "tsk, tsk" story and shopping. My mother used to take her to Bamberger's in Morristown and she would not come home until she had spent what she had planned on spending. If there was $1.50 left, she found something for $1.50. I inherited that gene! She made most of her clothes and her crocheting was legendary. All of her pillowcases had knitted or crocheted lace trim and most surfaces had doilies.

The dining room had a bow window that was full of plants and looked at a perennial garden. She did well with begonias and gloxinias as I recall. I still have her oak dining room table. Her china was a Limoge with pale blue flowers and gold trim. She used the "good stuff" for family events. The china cabinet was built-in and was the wall between the kitchen and dining room. You could open it from either side so the dishes could be washed and put away from the kitchen side. There was a special place where food could be passed back and forth. I loved that cupboard and everything that was in it.

She could bake and when we would arrive there would be cookies in a pressed metal tin. The tin was silver and black, shaped like a treasure chest and lined with wax paper. There would be layers of cookies separated by wax paper. My absolute favorite were Rocks! A few years ago when my sister was visiting in Maine, she and I decided to make them to see if they were as good as we remembered. We thought it would a nice gesture to make them for our parents who were there for the summer. Well, they were just as we remembered and we saved one for grammy! The cookie dough will seem quite crumbly but kind of squish it together.
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup butter
1 ½ cups sifted flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup chopped dates
3/4 cup dark raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
Cream together sugar and butter. Combine the rest of the ingredients. Drop by spoonfuls on greased baking sheet. Cook at 375 for 10-12 minutes. Makes 3 dozen.
To be continued.....

Friday, February 26, 2010

Pink Saturday

Well, here it is another Pink Saturday at Beverly's How Sweet the Sound. Each week lots of bloggers find pink things and take lots of pictures and then they share them. It is wonderful especially if you love pink!

This week's pinks are roses from a dinner party we went to last weekend. There were two arrangements and I could not stop taking pictures. I will be linking this post to Mosaic Monday as well.

The plate in the top left corner is a pattern called Wild Anemone which was made by Richmond. An identical or almost identical pattern was made by Shelley and I used to have some of the pieces. When I downsized I sold or gave away so many dishes and stuff. Seeing this plate was truly a treat.

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This week I visited Rebecca a  Our back Porch. What a wonderful blog.She took lots of pink pictures at a favorite antique shop. Stop by if you get a chance.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tomato Soup for Supper

It is Foodie Friday so please join Michael at Designs by Gollum for this delicious weekly event.
We decided to make Ina’s Cream of Tomato soup after listening to friends rave about how delicious it was. And it was! Jack did the prep work and then we cooked.
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Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup
From Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 ½ cups chopped red onions
2 carrots, chopped (don’t peel)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
4 pound vine ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 5)
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup packed fresh basil plus extra julienned for garnish
3 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
Heat oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium low heat. Add onions and carrots and sauté for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, chicken stock, salt and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes until the tomatoes are very tender.
Add the cream to the soup and process it through a food mill into a bowl discarding the pulp. Reheat the soup over low heat just until hot. Garnish with julienned basil.
This recipe can also be found on Food Network
I got out the bread machine and let it make some Herb bread.
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It was a good supper and the house smelled wonderful!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tablescape Thursday with a note or two…..

Thursday is one of my favorite blogging days because we all get to play with dishes. I have found that I like using my big pine coffee table as a setting for dishes. Today it is set for for coffee. I plan on sitting on my sofa and catching up with a couple of close friends using these note cards that I have had for too many years.

After visiting with me and saying hi, please go visit Susan at Between Naps on the Porch and see all the other wonderful tablescapes.
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The dishes are by Sascha Brastoff and the pattern is Surf Ballet. You can read about him here. The set included the coffee pot and creamer and a covered sugar bowl. The dishes are black with a mottled black glaze. They date from the 50’s. There are several colors available. The black is not readily found.
The poppies are silk and the arrangement was purchased several years ago. The super glue to put the blossom back on the plant is in the sugar bowl!
Next week I will use the dishes on the dining room table for a dinner party. See you then.

Monday, February 22, 2010

No Particular Topic…..

I saw this sign in New Hampshire and just had to have it. I am having one of those “I really should clean this house” spells. Usually I just get a burst of energy and do the whirling dervish thing but it just hasn’t happened.
One of the bloggers I visited was crocheting granny squares. The were just beautiful. I’m sorry I can’t remember which blog it was…. So I decided that I needed to learn to crochet. There were wonderful directions on many internet sites so off I went. There is a wonderful new knitting store in Sarasota called A Good Yarn. Below is my first effort!
But I kept going and actually started to enjoy the process.
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With a basket of beautiful colors next to me and a cup of cappuccino I just kept going!

I wanted colors that were in the Kaffe Fassett colorways since most of my quilts are made from his fabrics.L1020379
I will add another row of  blocks and then just keep crocheting around and hopefully when I am done I will have a granny square block afghan quilt.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cloche Friday

My friend Jackie in the UK encouraged me to participate in Cloche Friday hosted by Marty at A Stroll thru Life. The theme is wintery but alas I am in Florida and really don’t have a winter theme (although it has been cold).


When I first started blogging, I did so to remember and honor. My grandmother was a treasure. She loved her home and her family. She was a widow for many years but never stopped going or learning until she became ill. I have many of her belongings and decided to “cloche” some of them.




The bisque figurine was hers and I found it stored in a garage! The jewelry was hers as well – sort of mishmash but again treasured. The little girl in the jeweled frame is me holding an apple from her garden.

Stroll over to Marti’s and see the other cloche creations.

Foodie Friday – my first

I have posted many blog entries about food but this my first official one at Designs by Gollum hosted by Michael.

Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten is a favorite cookbook of mine. I have never been to Paris (sadly) but the photographs in her books and others’ almost take me there.
As I created our “romantic” dinner for Valentine’s Day, I considered several desserts (mostly chocolate) until looking through this cookbook and reading Ina’s comment that this is a “guy” dessert!
I have made this before and I don’t know why I haven’t made it more often. The small torches (available at Williams Sonoma) make the caramelizing a breeze and offer entertainment and magic for your guests.
So here we go - Ina’s Crème Brûlée

Preheat oven to 300°
1 extra large egg
4 extra large egg yolks
½ cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon for each serving
3 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
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Using the paddle attachment of your electric mixer, mix the egg, egg yolks and the ½ cup sugar on low speed until just combined. Meanwhile scald the cream (very hot but not boiling). With mixer on low, slowly add the cream to the eggs. Add the vanilla and Grand Marnier. Fill 6- to 8-ounce ramekins until almost full.

Place the ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan about halfway up the sides. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes until custards are set when gently shaken. Remove from water bath and cool. Refrigerate until firm.
To serve, spread each ramekin with 1 tablespoon sugar. Heat with a kitchen blowtorch until the sugar caramelizes. Let sit for a moment to let sugar harden.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tablescape Thursday – a little romance


Ok – so I am still celebrating Valentine’s Day. I love to set the table. I usually like to keep it set and then eat out on the lanai but it has been too cold down here. So we carefully move the settings  and eat on “dishwasher” dishes and then move them back!

We didn’t do roses this year because they tripled in price!!! The gerbera daisies worked just fine!


Susan at Between Naps on the Porch hosts Tablescape Thursday each week and we all get to play dishes. Stop by and see the other dish displays!

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I had ordered salad plates which arrived after Valentine’s Day so I redid the table and changed things slightly.


I like mixing up the fabrics – sort of like a quilt effect.



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I found edible flowers at Fresh Market so they went on top of the spring greens, Roquefort cheese and campari tomatoes. Red wine vinegar and olive oil completed the salad.


Red dinner plates Vietri, Salad plates, placemats, tablecloth from Williams Sonoma, Wood chargers, flatware, napkins and candlesticks from Pottery Barn.

Thank you for stopping by. If you have time I would love a comment!


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