Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Blue Skies & Sunshine ~ The Italian Countryside

Blue and Yellow

Let's Dish about a 

favorite color combination.

I happened upon this gorgeous tablescape 

at one of my favorite shops in town.

The sunny yellows made me smile and 

pull out my camera so I could share the happiness.

Love the variety of square 

planters filled with yellow gerbers.  

I like the contemporary touch 

they lend to the very traditional china.

The white linen cloth accented with 

these bright lemons gives the table a crisp look.

Notice how the addition of the 

yellow linen placemats anchors 

the blue and white china so it 

doesn't get lost in the sea of lemons.

The blue and white china is 

Blue Italian by Spode.

Considered a design icon, this pattern was 

inspired by the Italian countryside and

features an 18th century Imari Oriental border.

The pattern goes back to 1816 

and is one of the most popular and 

successful patterns in Spode's collections.  

My tip for the week:
If you haven't switched over to the new Blogger interface you are missing out on the ability to super size your images on your posts.
I switched over some time ago and highly recommend it.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Happy Birthday, Julia!

Remembering Julia Child,

sharing a memory, and serving dinner.

Julia Child

August 15, 1912 - August 13, 2004

Julia Child, very close in age to my mom, would have been 100 years old this August.   In honor of this legendary American icon I felt it appropriate to reprise a post I did as a tribute to Julia Child when I first began Hyacinths for the Soul.  

I rarely cook much any more because my husband does most of the cooking. That allows me the pleasure of  focusing my attention to setting a special table. True, the first 25 years of our marriage I did do the everyday grocery shopping, cooking, and clean up, while my "personal chef" saved his kitchen talents for weekend dinner parties and invited guests. My husband has long held a fascination with cuisines of the world, has a library of cook books, follows many of the Food Network cooking shows, has attended the occasional cooking school, and was a student at The French Culinary Institute in NYC.

Julia Child and Assistant, LaVarenne Cooking School at the Greenbrier

In December 1999 when I discovered that Julia Child would be a guest chef at Ann Willan's La Varenne Signature Series @ The Greenbrier in March of 2000, I signed us up. The week was one of pure delight! The Greenbrier, a National Historic Landmark, is a 6,500 acre estate nestled in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia. The southern charm of this national treasure was the perfect setting for a week of culinary classes and pampering by the staff at the Greenbrier. This national treasure has offered classic southern charm and outstanding amenities since the late 1800s.

Julia Child @ The Greenbrier Resort in 2000

As avid fans of the early PBS series THE FRENCH CHEF and later THE JULIA CHILD and JACQUES PEPIN COOKING @ HOME public television series, Julia Child has long shared her culinary expertise with us. The opportunity to attend a cooking session with Julia Child and actually meet her, was the icing on the cake! Or as Julia might say, "The butter on the bread!"

"Elegance with Eggs"
Hard Boiled Eggs, Eggs a la Tripe, Eggs a la Chimay, 
Poached Eggs, Poached Eggs in Aspic, French Omelet, and Cheese Soufflé.

The class we attend with Julia was entitled 

"Elegance with Eggs", and it was all about eggs! 

Julia's joie de vivre was infectious! She did not disappoint!

Julia Child with a Group of Participants
Photo used with permission of Greenbrier Photography

Here we are with Julia.  That's us on the far right.

Le Menu on Courage Brewery Cockerel Menu Stand

The menu is set, and the chef is at work in the kitchen.

CA Chef Mustard Pot and HB-Henriot Quimper Hen On Nest

Welcome to 

"A Casual Dinner for Two"

honoring Julia Child.

As the saying goes, "The rooster may crow,

but it is the hen that delivers the goods!"

Le Coq Quimper Pottery, French Faience Roosters, and Sunflowers 

So our table was set with a chicken theme, both roosters and a setting hen!

Henriot Quimper Le Coq Dinner Plate,
Blue Pinstripe Charger fromNeiman Marcus,
Flatware from Pottery Barn

The Crowing Rooster

A Fresh Baguette, a Basket of Cooking Tools, 

and a Rooster McCoy Planter with Fresh Flowers

A Geo Martel Desvres - Cockerel Double Salt

Fresh Bouquet of Sunflowers

Rex-Goliath Pinot Noir

Petite Tarts with Fresh Berries

Our table is ready and waiting.

Shall we pop into the 

kitchen and see what the chef is doing?

Looks like he is busy cooking our omelets. 

Tutorials, Tips, and Tidbits @ Stone Gable 

Julia recommends that the best omelets are made as single servings using only 2 to 3 eggs. Cook the eggs over the highest heat. Once a film of coagulated egg forms, begin to jerk the pan roughly toward you. This throws the egg against the pan and forces it to roll over upon itself.

Then you can slide your 

perfect omelet off onto a serving plate.

Top with a bit of chopped parsley and red bell pepper. 

Then add a simple salad of mixed greens.


you have dinner!

So here's to you, Julia Child!

Bon Appétit!

Thank you for allowing me to 

share some personal memories of Julia Child.

I appreciate the joy that Julia has 

brought into our home through the years.

If you have a personal story 

or remembrance of Julia Child, 

please share it with us in a comment.


French Inspiration Thursday @ French Cupboard

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August ~ And It's HOT

~ Summer Fun ~

Let's Dish August Challenge
Cuisine Kathleen

I had good intentions to set a table of cool blues

filled with beachy details

Like this shell and coral teapot .   .   .

And the cute cream and sugar set that

I brought back from my Galveston 

beach trip early in the summer.

But .   .   .  it's just too hot 

in August here in Texas to set a table outside.

Texas Heat = Not fun!

So I decided to .   .   .

Hatch Chiles that is!

August = Hatch Chile Festivals 

If you can't beat the heat, 

eat Hatch chiles! 

Too hot to be in the kitchen, 

so I let Central Market do the cooking.

Hatch Beef Fajita Wrap

 Hatch Chile Tortilla Chips

And an ice cold Corona!

I traded the cool blues for 

hot stripes and spicy Hatch chile cuisine

served on a tray pool side.   .   .

With just the right mix of textures.

And to finish with a bang

~ Austin Slowburn Hatch Brownies ~ 

Basically you add 

4 T. Austin Slow Burn Green Chile Jam 

to a box of Ghirardelli Brownie Mix.

These are so good!

Tutorials, Tips, Tidbits @ Stone Gable

My tip for this week:

When the summer heat gets you down,

Don't heat up the kitchen.  

Let your local deli do the cooking.